A Hopeless Romantic’s Guide to Recruiting in the Modern World — Hiring Blog
Careers are the new relationships. Everyone’s looking for The One, no one wants to settle, and playing the field is becoming increasingly socially acceptable (just not according to your dad).
Anyone who’s tried to date in the 21st century can relate to the feeling so many recruiters face every day: you have a few prospects lined up. They know they’re not the only ones you’re courting. You know you’re not the only one they’re courting. Any day now, they might find someone they like more than you. And now you’ll never know what could have been.
Cue the Netflix marathon and a gallon of ice cream.
It’s easy to lose your footing on the ever-changing recruiting landscape, where competition for the best talent is fierce. But if you think of the talent hunt as dating’s better-documented and more transactional cousin, there are a few things you can keep in mind to help you get back on your feet.
As luck would have it, Jobbatical’s resident relationship and recruitment guru is here to break it down for all you lonely-heart recruiters out there.
Play it cool (but not too cool)
The equivalent of “Hey, so you wanna go out for a coffee sometime, or whatever?”
You’ve been looking for the perfect hire for longer than you care to admit. You’re starting to lose hope. The One That Got Away just updated their LinkedIn profile with that shiny new job with your top competitor.
Things are looking bleak.
But what’s that? An application from someone you think you could really get serious about? They have the experience. They have the personality. They read up on you and wrote a really nice cover letter. It was even capitalized properly!
You don’t want to get ahead of yourself, but you think you see a future with this person. You allow yourself to daydream about signing that employment contract (definitely don’t tell them that — that’s coming on way too strong).
Don’t panic. Stay cool and let them know you’re interested. Ask them out for an interview or two. Don’t make an offer on the first date. If you move too quickly, they’ll see red flags. Basically — let’s be blunt — they’ll think you’re desperate and that there’s something wrong with you.
But — and this is important — don’t let them wait too long, hoping someone even better might come along. You know the best people have more options than they can shake a stick at, so time is of the essence. Keep them engaged (ideally, just busy enough not to have time to seriously consider working for anyone else) and pop the question when the time’s right.
Put your best foot forward (but be honest)
The equivalent of letting them know you sometimes leave wet towels on the bathroom floor, but you try to remember not to.
So how do you keep them interested while you get to know each other? Making an impression is vital. They need to see everything you have to offer. They need the fireworks and the butterflies.
Hit ’em with it. Flexible hours! Flat hierarchies! Family leave! Fabulous perks (you have how many beanbags in the office?)!
That’s all fantastic. Good for you. But you’re not perfect, and they’re not expecting you to be. So if you try to be all sunshine and roses, they’ll know you’re hiding something. You know the golden rule: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Face it — there’s probably something about you that’s going to annoy people down the line. So be honest. Manage those expectations like there’s no tomorrow.
Like in any other area of life, clear communication from day one is key. Don’t sugarcoat. Don’t make the job sound like a holiday, or a huge favor you’ll be doing them. Make sure they know and understand what will be required of them if they join your company. Have an open conversation about the challenges they can expect to face.
Managed expectations = no unpleasant surprises down the line.
Don’t settle (but don’t count on miracles either)
The equivalent of “You complete me.”
So you’ve managed their expectations. Now it’s time to manage yours. You’re a serious grown-up now, and as such, can’t afford to be 100% romantic 100% of the time. You’ll have to accept that perfect matches are not a thing for most of us in the real world. And that’s OK. It doesn’t mean you have to make compromise upon compromise upon compromise. There’s such a thing as good enough — and that’s by no means bad.
In fact, good enough can be great, if you have your priorities sorted out.
Can’t find the person with all the skills you need? Look for potential. Look for trainability. Look for fearlessness. Adapt and adjust your requirements where it makes sense to do so.
Can’t find a perfect culture fit? Pfft. What’s a perfect culture fit anyway? Someone who thinks exactly like you do? Consider rethinking that. You need people who will bring you forward — not an army of yes-men. A good relationship is one where both parties get to — and want to — grow.
Not that into them? Strictly no ghosting.
The equivalent of “It’s not you, it’s me.”
The practice of ending a relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.
Unless you literally died and now exist only in spirit form, absolutely no ghosting, please! Your applicants deserve a response, even if it’s not what they wanted to hear.
And if that’s not enough to motivate you, remember that everything you do (or don’t do) will affect your employer brand. If you build a reputation as that company, people will eventually stop applying, and you’ll be right back to the recruiting equivalent of Netflix in the dark and ice cream by the gallon.
It doesn’t take much. A quick automated message will do. Really don’t see yourself responding to every single application? At the very least, drop a quick “Super sorry, but we only have time to contact shortlisted candidates” into your job ad from the start. It’s not ideal, but it’s something.
Don’t give up
The equivalent of “There are plenty of fish in the sea”
Potentially offensive oceanic metaphors aside, it’s really not the end of the world if one promising prospect falls through. The world is full of talented people (more than 155,000 of them are waiting for you on Jobbatical as we speak) looking for that career move that’ll make their heart race.
So just keep swimming. The One is out there — in fact, there are probably thousands of The Ones.
Jobbatical is here to make it easy for you to find them, wherever they are.