You might not realise it, but there are many similarities between the recruitment process and dating. You might not present a potential employee with a bunch of flowers or a box of chocolates, says Nikki Taylor of REJS, but there are many principles which apply to your professional dealings as they do in your personal life.
Perfect mates are in hot demand, as are the most qualified candidates, so first impressions count! People who are high achievers have no interest in working for a company that is ‘run of the mill’ and just like every one of its competitors. They want to know that you are special, that you stand out from the crowd, and have better opportunities and potential for their career to grow.
Having said that, you have to balance being positive and assertive against seeming desperate. While you want to sing the praises of your operation in a strong, confident manner, you don’t ever want to beg and plead for an individual to join you. No one wants to date a needy individual, and nothing will raise someone’s suspicions about the wellbeing of your organisation more than begging that person to come and work for you; so play a little hard to get!
By playing hard to get you’ll also keep the newly-hired employee on their toes once they start working for you. If someone knows you had no other options, and feels that you need them more than they need you, they’re likely to take advantage of the situation. But if they believe from the outset that you’re confident in the package you have to offer, and in your ability to attract other staff, they’ll be much more likely to strive to impress and keep you happy!
Too Good to be True? If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! His online dating profile may say he’s six feet tall, athletic, and a college graduate, but it doesn’t guarantee he really is. Someone’s résumé may portray an image of the world’s greatest staff member, but it doesn’t mean they are. Keep an open mind at all times; make sure you check all references, and run as many tests and interviews as you need to ensure they really are capable of carrying out the tasks they say they can.
Don’t settle! Remember that while you can train people to carry out certain jobs and fill certain roles, you can’t change who they are deep down. So hunt down the negatives in their personalities, and then decide if you can work with them. If you turn a blind eye to a candidate’s weaknesses you’ll eventually end up being disappointed, and will likely have to go through the whole process of advertising, interviewing and hiring all over again. So hold out for the right person!
Be prepared when the time comes to conduct your interviews. You wouldn’t turn up to a date without ironing your shirt or brushing your hair, and when it comes to meeting potential employees you need to put some time and forethought into the process. Have a clear idea about what you want to achieve from your meeting with a candidate – the questions you want answered and the skills you would like to see them display. You need to respect the fact that they have taken time out of their schedule to come and see you, and bear in mind that they may end up working for you. Looking unorganised, uninterested or under-prepared at your first meeting is not a great way to begin a professional relationship.
If you’ve prepared yourself properly and know what you want to get out of the interview, you won’t need to ramble on. A candidate should do the bulk of the talking in an interview, and if you’ve thought about the questions you need to ask you should be able to convey them succinctly, then sit back and listen to the answers. Don’t offer more information than you need to. You wouldn’t expect a suitor on a first date to blurt out ‘Well, to be honest, you’re the only attractive person I’ve met in a long time, and I’m desperate to settle down’, and similarly a candidate doesn’t need to know that you urgently need to hire someone and haven’t seen any other reasonable options.
With that in mind, don’t be afraid to wrap things up sooner than you were anticipating if you have achieved everything you needed to. You may be convinced the person is right for the job, or convinced they’re wrong for the job – either way you don’t need to fill in time with mindless babble just because you promised them a 30-minute interview. If you’ve made your decision you may as well save all parties some time and energy and wrap things up.
Hang around the right people. When people are looking for dates they go to places that attract like-minded people: bars, parties, and other social gatherings that expose them to a wider group of people and enhance their chances of finding someone they’re attracted to. When you’re looking to employ someone, find ways to meet potential candidates. Utilise any contacts you have to come across possible employees, and keep your ear to the ground – you never know when someone will know someone who is just perfect!
And lastly, make sure you follow up all candidates. You’d be a bit miffed if you went out on a date and then never heard from the other person again, and a candidate who has sacrificed their time to come in for an interview deserves to hear from you, even if it is bad news. If you’ve decided they’re not the person you’re looking for, the right thing to do is always to let them know. If you’ve decided that they may well be the person you’re looking for, you don’t want to waste time before getting back in touch – a person with great qualities will inevitably be in high demand!
So as you can see, the romantic world and the recruitment business have many things in common. Messing things up in your personal life could leave you with a broken heart, but messing things up in your professional life could leave you with a broken business! So next time you are looking to hire someone, make sure you put thought, care and attention into the process, and hopefully you’ll end up working together happily ever after!