The Parallel Worlds of Recruiting and Dating

Recruiting and dating are parallel universes. In superhero terms, there is a doppelganger for every dating action in the ‘recruitment verse’. In this article, we explore these doubles to show you why you need to approach recruiting just like you would dating.

Table of Contents

  1. The Parallel Worlds of Recruiting and Dating
  2. Most Popular Dating Sites == Job Boards
  3. Blind Dates == Referrals
  4. Other Options
  5. Second Date == Second Interview
  6. Consecutive Dates (3rd date onwards) == Consecutive Interviews
  7. Employment = A Marriage with a Prenup?
  8. In Conclusion

The Parallel Worlds of Recruiting and Dating

Parallel Worlds

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Recruiting and dating are parallel universes. In superhero terms, there is a doppelganger for every dating action in the ‘recruitment verse’. In this article, we explore these doubles to show you why you need to approach recruiting just like you would dating.

Most Popular Dating Sites == Job Boards

Image by Alexander Sinn from Unsplash

One of the tools in every recruiter’s arsenal is a job board. We all have our favorites, and by now, know which ones are the best for the different candidate types we are looking for. So is online dating. Here are the top dating sites worldwide, with the ‘candidate types’ you should expect:Dating Sites

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So, as a recruiter, you search for the best ‘dating site’ to post your job ad. After all, you want to make an impression.

On the other hand, candidates want to stand out, so that they can be noticed by the recruiters, especially on platforms where their profiles will be scrutinized. Is this starting to sound like Bumble or Tinder?

Since both recruiter and candidate are seeking a relatively long-term relationship, a platform like Tinder would not be a strategic move. We need strategy even in dating, right?

Let’s talk about the job ad. This is the recruiter’s chance to showcase how ‘charming’ they are. Aspects like hourly or daily rates (for freelancers) and diversity, team size, work methodologies, flex or work from home options, benefits, growth opportunities, and an emphasis on work-life balance need to be flaunted (of course only if the companies you are recruiting for actually have them). “Who wants to work for the ‘coolest’ company in the world?” the job ad screams.

On the other hand, the candidate polishes up their profile ostentatiously showing what they are great at. Check out these gaudy Tinder profilesTinder Profile 1

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(We really do like the second profile)

Once both recruiter and candidate have set up their profiles, it’s time to let the algorithms do their thing. (Read how dating app algorithms work here

Depending on how the app/platform works, you might get a match soon, and connect (if you are on Bumble and identify as male, you have to wait for the lady to make a move)

If you find someone you like, then it’s time to start chatting with them. Depending on the platform you are using, there are options to send images, and gifs too.

Some of the apps offer additional features at a fee, for example, if you want to reach out to a previous connection that you had overlooked and have decided to give them a second chance.

After chatting with someone for some time, as you get to know more about them, you might want to go on an in-person date, yes the dreaded first date (first interview)

Blind Dates == Referrals

Blind Date

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You might not always find dates via apps. Sometimes, a friend may know someone, and they refer them (or refer you). The great thing about blind dates, especially where a friend has referred you, is that you have already jumped the intention hurdle. You are not going out with someone hoping that they are available and interested.

Your friend will also have an idea about shared goals, values, and interests, so you will really not be starting from scratch. From a recruiter’s perspective, if the skill set you are looking for is already known, then a more qualified candidate can be sent your way.

Since for blind dates, you have never met the person, the first date rules should apply (we look at them in an upcoming section)

The Dreaded First Date == First Interview


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Both candidate and recruiter show up nervous on the first date (the conversation on the gaudy profile might have gone something like the above image which is the tragedy of Darth Plagueis The Wise in binary ). The most important thing is to keep first date rules in mind. Yes, the first date is all about first impressions, and I am sure you have heard a lot of quotes around these.

A lot is at stake here, and both of you are strangers. You need to be judicious so as to be vulnerable, without giving away too much information, while being honest at the same time.

Here are a few things to remember on a first date (interview):

  • Be on time – otherwise, it may start to look like you are a ‘no show’. If you are late, call or text ahead and communicate the same.
  • Keep your phone out of sight unless you are expecting a very important call, which you should explain. Your date needs to have all your attention.
  • Discuss your goal, and what you are looking for. Are you looking for a short-term relationship (short contract)? Long-term (full-time)? What skill sets are you interested in?
  • Maintain eye contact – this may look quite obvious, but it communicates that you are interested and are present.
  • Ask questions. It is alright to seek clarification and ask questions to ensure that you are communicating effectively.
  • Do communicate your availability. f you are not available, do communicate.
  • It could be awkward – since both people might be nervous, it might be a little awkward.

Other Options

Online apps and blind dates are not the only ways to meet new people we could end up being interested in. You can meet people in-person or online in an infinite number of ways from events, conferences, social groups, clubs, online groups, and even at the gym.

Whenever you meet people, it is always a good idea to start a conversation with them. You never know who you will meet, and where a simple conversation would lead. It might end up with a first date.

Second Date == Second Interview

Second Date

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If the first date went well, then a second date might be in order. What are some second date rules you need to keep in mind?

The second date is a test for compatibility while still getting to know each other more. While for a job interview this might look like a coding technical interview to test a person’s skills in a particular programming language, in the dating world, this could be an activity that the other person mentioned they enjoy doing (and will be surprised that you remember).

Goals and aspirations are an appropriate second-date topic. This will help you see whether your goals align and how they fit into each other. For example, if the candidate has a goal to become the CEO in 2 years and the job position is entry-level, there might be a clear goal misalignment here.

You can also talk about previous or past relationships – exes, former employers, and your intention. In the dating world, you might want to let the person know how you feel about them. In recruiting, the candidate can observe how the interview is progressing. Depending on your hiring process, you might give feedback on the next stage – a third date, or let them go.

Consecutive Dates (3rd date onwards) == Consecutive Interviews

Consecutive Dates

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Depending on your company’s hiring process, there might be consecutive dates. By this time, both recruiter and candidate are ‘interested in each other’ and are willing to ‘take the relationship to the next level’. There may be more interviews here.

There are fewer candidates left, and it’s time to choose one to commit to. While we may not be meeting parents to ask for your hand in marriage, we talk to former employers and references who can really verify that you are who you say you are.

It’s now time for a proposal. Once the candidate accepts the terms of employment (says yes), it’s time to make things official.

Employment = A Marriage with a Prenup?

Consecutive Dates

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We like each other a lot and we can make this work thing work. While there may be no ceremony, some papers will be signed (contracts, and non-disclosure agreements) and some compromises may need to be made (working on weekends when called upon?).

The contract should lay out prenuptial terms – the grace period to serve a notice of your resignation, benefits should the contract end, and what happens if you get fired ( corporate divorce

In Conclusion

We have explored the parallels between the dating and recruiting world. While we appreciate that every company, just like every relationship is unique, we have identified general aspects that both parties should consider.

At the end of the day, nothing is cast in stone, and the two parties should be able to decide how much they are interested in each other and choose to build a relationship or forgo it.

What other parallels have you come across that we haven’t discussed in the article?