Aaah, love – what a beautiful feeling. With Valentine’s Day recently passed by (the international day of love, in case you lived in a cave for the last seven centuries), celebrated by some couples and avoided by others, there is one thing that those lucky people who have found their other half may have forgotten about. Dating.
You probably have that one friend in your circle who is, for some reason, constantly dating. It might be on-and-off, where they tend to think they’ve found “the one” but it ends up just being another fun story to tell at dinner parties. While you find their stories entertaining and amusing, it might be an exhausting game for them.
We often laugh, at headcount, when onboarding newcomers, scientists to become future recruiters, about the parallels between recruiting and dating. Wait til you laugh (or sigh) – in this article I’ll give you examples on how the two are related.
Ghosting is basically avoiding an uncomfortable conversation by disappearing, like magic. Since when is this a thing? Ghosting has increased since dating apps and social media came into our lives, not only for romantic relations but also between friends, family members and — here it is — in business. Is it avoidance behaviour, bad organisation (as in “multi-dating”, heh), lack of empathy or communication issues? Sometimes even a mix of the four?
Candidates and recruiters alike are confronted with ghosting way too often and both are pointing fingers at each other (see that Spiderman meme, yes this one):
- Candidates and recruiters are both as much victims as they are guilty of ghosting.
- Candidates and recruiters – both victims and both guilty of ghosting
Candidates disappearing for no apparent reason after interviewing or getting an offer, recruiters not informing them they were rejected, or their CV was not selected for the role – it’s just bad. If it happens to you, the best is to move on, no answer is also an answer.
Some people are either very photogenic or just skilled with retouching (or FaceApp is pretty scary too) and again, with all that social media usage and comparison, people aren’t happy with their image any more (I promise this shouldn’t be a depressing article). Arriving at the first date, the person looks nothing like what you expected, and you’re annoyed, not necessarily because you don’t find the person attractive in real life, but because you feel tricked or fooled. What is it going to be like for other things? Boom, trust already gone – and without trust, there is just no chance for a healthy relationship.
Samesies for business, folks: Candidates go to interviews thinking a company is offering a job described as A only to find out it is actually a W (nothing against W – you’re fine, guys). Why not just sell the real deal and attract the right candidates for the challenge? It’s not all roses anywhere; every environment and job has its flaws.
Meanwhile, recruiters face the opposite – more and more, nowadays. It’s called ‘candidate fraud’.
Yeah, that’s right. Some people can land jobs despite never ever having done something similar in the past. With remote roles, by reading from papers during meetings, people can get away with being undercover fake experts for MONTHS. Ever dreamt of being a remote Astronaut? Now’s your chance.
So. Much. Choice. Again, social media and dating apps (we’re starting to see a common denominator here) give the impression that the grass is greener on the other side. But is it? If you’ve used dating apps, you may have realised how hard it is to stop swiping.
It’s just super addictive. Devs know how to trick that dopamine neurotransmitter effect – dang! Either that, or people on social media are just very good-looking – or just well-trained in photoshop and posing. When people meet someone nice, well, there could be someone nicer out there, so they start going on multiple different dates per week or even day. TERRIBLE practice. Focus on that one nice person, not a match after a few dates? Next. The fear of missing out is most real for multi-daters. What’s meant for you will find you (bit of spirituality here, thank me later).
How does multi-dating relate to candidates and recruiters? A lot of ways, actually.
Sometimes, candidates receive great opportunities which tick all the boxes they have been looking out for since initiating their search for something new, but when the offer for the dream job comes, they get all fussy about the package. We spoke about your expectations. Why has this changed now?! ARGHHHHH. Or then they happen to get a great offer but waiting for another one they have ongoing and then they lose both! (also argh).
Recruiters have this practice too: You’ve found someone good, available, motivated, who can do the job, so why do you need to see 3 other people? This is giving mixed signals, and you’re losing that one good person imagining there are 4 unicorns when finding one was already a battlefield. Had criteria in the beginning ? Remember them and make a decision.
If you’ve ever been on dating apps or social media, you know some folks don’t even look at your profile and just send a copy-pasted message from their notes. This has probably proven to work but is dating today REALLY a numbers game? Or about genuine connections between people? Or are people just messaging the same boring message to everyone because of FoMO? Dating experts have confirmed there is this fear of missing out on people you’d normally never speak to and with the facility of speaking to multiple people just from our fingertips, dating app users forget to personalise their approach.
How does spamming relate to candidates in the recruiting world? We’ve seen the practice of candidates applying to random jobs. This usually applies to people actively looking for something or needing to change urgently, which is never an easy situation to be in and can be tiiiring and time-consuming as hell. It is a full-time job! Let’s be honest, though, you will have far better results contacting fewer and targeted companies with a personalised approach (and I am not speaking about a cover letter, if you need to use chatGPT, life changer).
Like, don’t apply for a marketing role in oncology if you’ve been an IT Dev for seven years – the opportunity should be a step that makes sense, provided it’s not a career conversion or a traineeship.
It’s not looking much better for recruiters to be honest, we’ve all been there too. It pains me (as a recruiter, you know) to say this, but some fellow recruiters out there are just terrible with their approaches.
“Have you even read my profile, JENNIFER? I am not a Quality Assurance Expert. I recruit them, yes, but pleeease.”
Unfortunately, it can happen that you receive a mass mail about a role which does not fit your experience at all and would not be an interesting step for you – and you can just sigh at this point. It’s not that hard to personalise an approach, at least a bit, and make sure that there is something in there for the person you’re reaching out to.
You don’t marry someone overnight. Dating takes time. Meet as many people as you feel you need or want – as long as you remember whom you told the story about that time Fluffy, your poodle, really ate your homework and who told you about their oddly specific thimble collection, I guess you’re fine. In the end, it’s all about showing up and consistency, getting to know someone as well as how you feel around that person, identifying red flags and discovering what things you are willing to compromise on.
Candidates are often in several recruitment processes at the same time. If they have the luxury, they proceed with their favourite choice, ticking all the boxes they had for their next ideal step. What a great position to be in! But these processes take massive amounts of time. From the first application to an offer, it can on average take up to two months, considering you get answers from everyone in similar timelines (as some companies take more time or even ghost you).
Stay consistent, follow up on your interviews, and thank them for their time, as you would do after a date. If you haven’t heard from them within a week, check in to confirm timelines – nothing wrong with that! Just find a balance between the creep following up 20 minutes later and the slacker checking in after a month.
Recruiters sometimes forget that our job IS about relationships, like, solely. We are THE dating app! Speaking of Business Partners or candidates you want to represent, trust is an ingredient you need in that magical soup. Be transparent, honest and deliver on your promises. It’s not harder than that, like for any relationship – let’s be real here. If you only care about the revenue you could make off people, get a job in sales and leave recruitment to people who have ethics and empathy – thank you.
Relationships between recruiters and candidates are built over years! Sometimes you’re not able to help on someone’s next step only after having been in touch for three to five years. But during all this time you had a catchup now and then, and that’s exactly how the best placements come.
After years in recruitment and years dating (oh, well), I can’t help but notice the similarities between the two worlds. I suppose the question is “Does the recruitment world mirror the dating world in how behaviours have changed in the past few years?”.
As it’s a candidate-driven market right now, the broad choice that candidates have perhaps drives their highly picky behaviours (as detailed above, Jan!). The proliferation of dating apps and technology which provides a seemingly endless field of potential partners to choose from while dating also drives highly picky behaviour.
I’d really love to hear from you.
“Hey, recruiters! Hey, candidates! Hey, hiring managers! Have you noticed any similarities between the dating and recruitment world?”
We might do a part 2, if you clap your hands loud enough. No pressure. We even might use your examples – anonymously, of course. Again, no pressure. Send me your messages directly on Linkedin. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!
Share it with your network on LinkedIn, tag us, and let us know what you think!