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November 13, 2016

How Online Dating is a Metaphor for Recruiting

online dating is like recruiting

The candidate you sourced looks so good. They had everything on your checklist. You reached out via LinkedIn or AngelList and the next thing you know, you are chatting almost every day! You set up a time to meet. This was going to be great. You meet in person for the first time. Boo-ya; fireworks!

Things are going awesome; they were as good in person as they were in profile and on the video call. The conversation was great, you had the same goals and interests; it was perfect! You definitely see this going long term.

You wait the standard 48 hours before you connect again but they didn’t answer. No big deal. You send emails … they never respond.

i want it to go better

Turns out, you were a bit more interested in them they are in you.Think this sounds like a bad date? It’s very similar — it’s the case of the missing candidate. Ever notice how recruiting and interviewing is like dating? We’ve got some tips that can help!

Job Description = Dating Profile

On most dating sites, people put their picture, their interests, what they are looking for in a mate and enough of a personal description to garner attention. That is how a job description should be. Share enough good information to not scare them away but enough to trigger their interest. Make it unique but not weird, clever but clear. Make it realistic and describe the truly important parts of the job. And please get to the point.

Automate Email, But Call Yourself

You can get great info via email but you are only reading what was selected for you to read. It is not a good indicator of whether or not you will click in real life. When you talk to someone, they are not using a grammar check, looking up good responses or getting help from their best friend (we hope!). You can get more of an organic response to further questions you may have in a one-on-one call.


Before you talk about the job, drill down to find out what your candidate wants. Like having your first conversation with a potential date, you need to listen to what the candidate is saying and not saying. You wouldn’t just see if they match your keywords selecting them as a potential mate. Spend at least 15 minutes on the phone with potential candidates, listening more than you talk.

start listening


Don’t get catfished. Before you send a candidate to someone on your hiring team, meet them or at least do a video chat. Make sure the candidate is not doing the ol’ Bait and Switch. If you feel creepy when talking to them or it doesn’t seem like the same person, hang up — don’t waste time! If you think you like them, keep listening. Pay attention to their speaking tone and style. Most importantly, don’t ignore any red flags your gut sends you.

Still interested? It is time to meet.

Meeting in Person

The first interview is like a first date! Be on time. There is nothing fashionable about being late. Be polite but honest. Turn off your cell phone. Don’t expect perfection right off the bat. Remember, it is not about just emotional feelings. Sure you like them, but are they the real ideal candidate? Don’t react right away. Let the interview sink in a bit. Let the candidate know what your initial reaction is and let them know you will follow up. If you feel 100% that it is going to work, let them know but still plan on following up.

Be on time. Be honest. Don’t react right away.

Post Dating Rules

Nail down what you liked or did not like about your first date. Assess your level of interest. Remember that people may not always be their natural selves during first dates, so you may want to give someone that you’re not quite sure about a second chance. Don’t ignore the red flags! Signs of a good first interview/ date are:

  • Good Eye Contact
  • Ease of Conversation
  • Knowledge of your Company
  • Knowledge of the Position
  • Appropriate dress and demeanor
  • Honest Answers

Some red flags include:

  • Coming Across as an Ego-maniac
  • Complaining about Past Relationships (past jobs, in this case)
  • Extended Uncomfortable Silences
  • Checking the time
  • Closed Body Language

Keep Dating (Interviewing)

If you determine that the candidate is not going to be a fit, there is no need to ask for a second date. It is important to let the candidate know that you are not interested so you can avoid that creepy stalking factor.

If it went well and you want to see the other person again, then you may want to move the candidate further along your candidate pipeline.

Call them in a minimum of 72 hours. Make sure to leave a message and a follow-up email expressing true interest. Ask for their feedback, questions and concerns as well. If it doesn’t feel right at this time, maybe it will in the future! Stay in touch!

Remember, just because your meeting went well doesn’t mean that they are ready to commit full-time. I promise the right one will come along!