Interviewing vs Dating: Are they really all that different?

22 March 2018 Laura Barratt

Single Cocktail E1468239275313

Have you ever thought about the similarities between a job search and dating?  I’m certainly not the first to draw that conclusion.  I recall an episode of Sex and the City where Carrie states that “First dates are like job interviews with cocktails”.  This perhaps explains why myself and other recruiters I know have always said that dating just feels like work!!  Both involve a first meeting, nerves, multiple outfit choices and the need to achieve a certain level of engagement with another person in a short space of time.  If you are successful, you are afforded the chance of a second meeting which may then result in an offer.  In recruitment terms, this offer would be for employment.  In dating…..well that’s up to the individuals to decide what that offer entails!

Recruitment and dating have come a long way in recent times thanks to digital advances.  Online sites and apps full of data make screening the dating world as easy as a swipe to the left or right.  In recruitment, we are perhaps not as swift in our judgement but equally we are no longer limited to screening applicants via words on a piece of paper.  LinkedIn provides a more comprehensive view of an individual’s career history, education, skills and volunteer work and allows the recruiter or company to directly contact the candidate, whether they are actively seeking a new role or not.  Facebook provides a glimpse into the social life of an applicant if they have chosen low security measures on their profile (yes we do look!!).

Whether you are searching for a job or a significant other the success of your search can be dependent on your communication skills and, perhaps at times, a little creativity to gain an edge over your competitors!  Communication in recruitment is absolutely paramount whether you are a candidate, a recruiter or a hiring manager.

Although I am a recruiter myself, I am the first to recognize that we are not perfect.  My years of experience in legal recruitment have shown that one of the areas in which recruiters fall down is communicating any sort of negative feedback.  Instead, they avoid the topic all together choosing to leave the candidate in the dark.  That’s a terrible service, and one that has been damaging our industry for many years.

If you are a recruiter feeling guilty of doing this, it’s time to put an end to the avoidance.  There is a world of automation being built that will at some stage see the end of recruitment as we know it today.  So if you want to stay in this game, you’ve got to remain at the top of yours.  Stand out from the crowd.  Have the awkward conversations and offer a better service than your competitor.  Call the candidate to tell them they have been unsuccessful.  Offer them advice on what that they can improve on for next time or simply reassure them that you are still there to represent them to other opportunities.

Our clients have come to us for assistance with the full spectrum of their recruitment which includes professionally dealing with unsuccessful applicants on their behalf.  So yes, sometimes we are tasked with the call that may feel like we’re saying sorry but they’re “just not that into you”.  But isn’t that better than just leaving the poor person in the dark?  If you are tenacious you’ll find another opportunity to represent them to or at the very least, provide advice that may help them land their next role.  Hopefully their gratitude will result in new business being sent your way.

With all of that being said, recruiters aren’t the only ones guilty of going silent!  We have plenty of experience investing our time with candidates, providing advice, assisting them to interview stage and then suddenly………silence!

Communicate effectively with your recruiter.  This is your job search.  Take ownership of it and be an active participant ensuring you get what you want.  Keep your phone on and regularly check for messages.  Your recruiter needs your confirmation in order to secure your interview in the clients diary.  Excellent service goes both ways.  An exemplary candidate will always be called with the top roles before the one who disappears for days on end.

If you have a change in your circumstances since meeting your recruiter – tell them!  We are a very skilled bunch, but mind readers we are not!  We are also thick skinned and can handle a little “it’s not you, it’s me. I need to put my search on hold due to ….”.

The truth is whether you are interviewing for a job, looking to employ someone or dating, you’re dealing with human interaction.  The strength of your communication skills will go a long way to ensuring your success, both professionally and personally.