(Editor’s note: With so many new ERE members coming on all the time, we thought that each week we’d republish one popular classic post. Here’s one, below, that was a big 2008 hit.)
Dating and recruiting have a lot in common. Learn how to improve your recruiting efforts by applying the most common dating rules.
Dating rule #1
First impressions are critical.
Differentiate yourself. Resist the “I have a great position for you” especially if you have never spoken to them.
Dating rule #2
Don’t believe everything you see. We have all heard stories from people that signed up for an online dating service and were shocked when their date was two feet shorter and 10 years older than the profile.
Candidates exaggerate their strengths and skills and down play their weaknesses. Do not assume anything. Prescreen, interview, administer assessments, and call the references before you present the candidate to your hiring manager.
Dating rule #3
Play hard to get. Desperation is the world’s worst perfume.
If you make a huge fuss over the candidate and beg them to interview, you will diminish your negotiating power.
Dating rule #4
Be selective. You can not change people.
Look for the red flags; don’t avoid them. It is better for you to uncover any candidate weaknesses or issues than your hiring manager discovering them. Your name and reputation is all you have in this business.
Dating rule #5
Prepare for the date.
If your candidate has spent 20 minutes on the phone with you and takes time off work to come to interview, and then you ask them “so, tell me what you want to do?” — you are wasting the candidate’s time. You should have notes on the candidate’s resume that you want to clarify, and if appropriate, the company profiles that best match what your candidate’s needs.
Dating rule #6
Don’t talk too much. People who express the “enough about me, what do you think about me?” attitude sit home alone, a lot.
The candidate should be doing most of the talking. Assess what the candidate has to offer, what they need, and then set expectations of how you will work together. Let the candidate talk about the interview before you disclose the hiring manager’s view. If you blurt out “they love you, you are the best candidate they have ever met!” — what do you think happens to the candidate’s salary requirements?
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Dating rule #7
Follow up with your date.
As an industry, one of the biggest complaints we get from candidates and hiring managers is the lack of communication. No news is still considered news to the candidate; make sure you keep your candidate in the loop.
Dating rule #8
Don’t be afraid to end the date early.
Prescreen carefully, ask the hard questions, and always tell the candidate the truth. If they are not going to fit into your recruiting focus (skills, salary expectations, location, etc.), coach or make suggestions regarding who may be able to help them in the market.
Dating rule #9
Improve your odds by hanging out where (like) people hang out.
If you are recruiting technology talent, sign up and participate in technology activities in your market. Volunteer at association meetings to check members in: you will meet every attending member, every meeting.
Explain to people you meet that there are two types of people you would like to be introduced to: those who are leaders in their field and are looking for an opportunity and those who are leaders in their field and are not looking for an opportunity right now. You are an expert in your market, so people who are not looking now would still benefit from knowing you and the people in your network.
Dating Rule #10
They will not buy the cow if they are getting the milk for free.
When you agree to represent a candidate, you are entering into a business agreement. You need to set clear expectations of how the process must work. If the candidate will not agree to the terms, they are not committed to you, so turn them loose.