Recruiting and dating have many parallels that I can’t help but notice on a daily, or even hourly, basis. More accurately, recruiting these days seems a lot like online dating. After all, recruiting is performed mainly through online resources like LinkedIn. You check out a profile, maybe a person’s picture, and assess or judge how the candidate writes about him or herself. Does it make sense? Are there spelling errors? Could they be a good match? How would they fit in? I wonder what they’re like in-person? Are they the same as they portray themselves?
Hmmm, this sounds awfully familiar to me. Ever heard of Match.com, okcupid (personal fave), or eHarmony? Online dating is becoming increasingly popular, and so is sourcing and hiring candidates online from Linkedin.
Let’s explore the similarities a little further. Online Presence vs. Reality: It’s the worst to realize that the person you’ve been speaking with over the internet is not quite what they portrayed themselves to be. For example:
Online Dating: “Oh, wow, so it’s clearly been a few years since you played all those sports you talked to me about. Oh, I see, you’re not employed right now. Layoffs, sure, ok. Ah, your roommate is your ex. Totally understandable. Excellent.”
Recruiting: “Oh, I see, you’re not employed right now. Layoffs, sure, OK, just one layoff. Oh, you worked next to the marketing team, but you really only managed your own Facebook account? You actually don’t know about marketing?”
It’s easy to look like a big shot online, but when you meet with someone in-person it can be fairly clear that they were stretching the truth. Usually, this is obvious right away. However, sometimes it takes a few interviews to really set in.
Interviews: Interviews are typically pretty revealing, too. And they might remind you of some pretty awful dates that a matchmaking service has set you up on. For example:
Online Dating: OK, so maybe someone made a great first impression, but maybe they are just a really good liar? Most good friends would highly recommend not accepting a first date at face value. Take it with a grain of salt. Does that make me cynical? Perhaps. Realistic? Yes. Take as many dates as you need to figure out if they’re worth committing to.
Recruiting: Would you marry someone after the first date? I hope not! I don’t recommend hiring someone after the first interview, either. It takes time to really vet a candidate and dig into their past and personality.
References: Whether it’s recruiting or dating, you can’t always believe what you hear. Candidates – whether for a job or a relationship – and their friends will likely tell you what you want to hear. So, the quality of your references and your ability to put their advice into context is critical. For example:
Online Dating: You meet someone’s friends and they gush: “Oh wow, he/she like REALLY likes you. And you are so cute together!” Or, maybe you happen to work with someone that knows your potential boyfriend. “Oh, you’re going out with Brad? That’s nice. Did he get a divorce yet?” The importance of references is actually true for any dating, not just online. And while you can’t always believe what you hear, it can give you some insight.
Recruiting: You can assume that references directly from the candidate are going to be outstanding. But it’s the backdoor references that will really give you the answers you might be looking for.
Hiring/Firing: OK, so you’ve vetted your relationship or job candidates, and you’re ready to date or hire them (hopefully not both). Or maybe you’ve already hired or begun dating them, and it’s not working out. How are dating and recruiting similar when it comes to hiring and firing?
Online Dating: You did your “interviews,” checked references, and he or she is still calling or texting. It might be time to take that plunge into exclusivity. Hey, worst case, they are not as they appear and you break up. Happens all of the time!
Recruiting: Backdoor references are a check, skills align, salary is within range. Congrats you’ve got an offer to extend! Hey, worst case, they are not as they appear and they get fired. Happens all of the time!
Anyone else agree with me here? There seem to be so many nuances between recruiting and dating that I can’t even list them all in one post! photo by: Ed Yourdon Read more posts on OpenView Venture Partners