Job searching is a lot like dating...

I use this analogy quite often with candidates and the reaction is pretty intense.  All of a sudden, they get it.  That company won’t return your calls?  Listen, they’re just not that into you.  Blabbing all over Facebook that you nailed your phone interview and expect an offer any day now?  Discretion people… discretion.  (Honestly it was a phone interview… you’ve got a ways to go, friend.)


For me, this analogy was born during my agency days after a conversation with a hiring manager. We were getting close to final interviews and I had one superstar still in the mix.  My client says to me, “Is Gary really in?  I don’t want to get to the altar only to have him turn me down”.  Altar, you say?  As fate would have it I was in the middle of planning my wedding.  WOW – looking back on my courtship, disastrous first dates, and everything in between I started seeing some striking similarities.  What I’ve learned…


# 1  Don’t look too eager; you’ll only look desperate.

Mr. Candidate, I have to be honest, when you call me every hour asking if I’ve reviewed your resume yet it creeps me out just a little.  If I threw an offer letter at you before we got a chance to get to know each other, wouldn’t you wonder what was wrong with my company?  Do we treat ALL our candidates that way?  Desperation smells bad no matter who’s wearing it.


# 2  Nobody likes “hard to get”.

I get it; people are emotional and often irrational creatures.  When I show interest in you the instinct is to pull away.  I know you don’t want to look desperate (see above), so you’ve decided that being unattainable makes you more attractive.  That might work in certain circumstances, but in the job search?  Not so much.  If you’re into the job I’m offering - yet lack the common courtesy to reciprocate my interest - it’s never going to work between us, darling.


# 3  No kissing -um- interviewing and telling.

I know you’re going to talk to other companies.  I expect you to.  What I do NOT want, though, is for half of our conversations to be about all the other fish you’ve got on a string.  When we’re interviewing, let’s talk about my req and my company.  Bragging about how attractive you are to other companies during the “courting” phase only makes you look like an egotistical a$$.  When it comes to offer time I might need to know what else is on the table for you… but remember I’m seeing other candidates too.


# 4  For the love of Pete – follow up!

How hard is it to send a thank you note?  I’m sure if you took a poll you’d find a fair mix of “right” answers.  Some like a hand written thank you note, others think you’re weird if it’s anything besides e-mail.  I think most recruiters and hiring managers would say the thank you follow up is crucial, and at the very least it tells me you want to keep talking.  Call me old-fashioned, but if my husband hadn’t called me after our first date you wouldn’t be reading this blog by Amy Ala.


# 5  No playing games.  Are you in or out?

Ok, you’ve wooed me.  The offer is on the table.  I need an answer… I’ll give you 24 hours, maybe longer depending on the circumstances.  But at some point, you either fish or cut bait.  Playing the coy “maybe” game is only going to get your offer pulled.  Surely the time we’ve spent together should have allowed you to make a decision on whether or not you can see yourself making a commitment. Negotiate?  Possibly.  Manipulate?  No.


*Bonus point – Employer, you will not always be the prettiest girl in the room.

9% plus unemployment makes you pretty darn attractive… you’ve got more candidates than you know what to do with, and certainly a job seeker should consider themselves lucky that you’d deign to glance their direction.  Well guess what buttercup, eventually the market WILL rebound, and the so-called “War for Talent” will rage again.  Remember the stuck up girl without a prom date?  Don’t let it be you.


Views: 166

Comment by Subramani B on June 22, 2011 at 4:20am
Excellent post Amy. Very simple things but critical.
Comment by Tom Dimmick on June 22, 2011 at 11:04am
Good post Amy.  Most of my recruiting is with "passive" candidates and so time tends to drag a bit longer but after the first interview with the client, I really want to know and I really will ask and I really do expect and answer as to what it is going to take to get you (the candidate) to say "yes".  If you can't or won't tell me, I move on.  Does that make me a Playboy in this analogy?
Comment by Torquil Thomson on June 22, 2011 at 11:05am
Nice parallels, fresh angle: great read!
Comment by Jessica Goursolas on June 23, 2011 at 12:02pm
Amy - Love your article.  Your writing style is great!  We have a blog also that is niched for our candidates.... may we use this post in our blog?
Comment by Sean Mulhern on June 23, 2011 at 1:16pm
Great post- totally agree.  Asking a passive candidate to apply in your ATS right away is like asking a complete stranger you see to get need to build a relationship first before getting to that point!  So important to see if candidates are interested first and tell them more about you before going thru the apply process!
Comment by Amy Ala Miller on June 23, 2011 at 2:50pm

Thanks everyone!  It was a lot of fun to write.  Tom, if you're a Playboy, so am I!  Well, Playgirl perhaps.  :)


Jessica, yes please!  Thanks for asking - hope it helps.


Day 4 of my Corporate Recruiting career, and I'm coming up with all kinds of fun blog topics... many similarities to agency recruiting, but some differences for sure.  Stay tuned....


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