This month I have been married for 14 wonderful years. Sure, it has been awhile since I was on the dating scene. However, the longer I counsel job seekers, the more I am convinced that job hunting is a lot like dating. The better you understand this analogy, the better off you will be in landing a great job.
I first came to this realization early on in my Executive Recruiting career. I was working on a CFO position for a local company. I felt like I identified the right candidate for them according to their search criteria. Yet, it took more than 5 interviews to close the deal. Somewhere in the process the candidate remarked, “This process sure feels a lot like dating.” That comment began a shift in my thinking from that day forward.
6 Ways Job Hunting is Like Dating
1. First impressions are everything. Most of us have heard how important first impressions are when it comes to dating. However, it is just as important in your job search. Too much perfume, being poorly dressed, or a weak handshake can ruin your chances from the beginning. Hiring managers make a judgement about you in the first 2 minutes of the interview. The rest of the interview they are validating their opinion or changing their mind.
2. Honesty is vital for long-term success. You want to be careful about just giving a hiring manager what they want to hear. You must be able to back up the talk. If you genuinely cannot do a certain task, be honest about it. You will avoid much aggravation later on.
3. Don’t let everything out of the bag all at once. While honesty is a virtue, you don’t bring all your faults, baggage, and failures to the first interview either. Just like you wouldn’t share all your potential annoying habits on a first date. You do need to use discretion in the beginning. Why you ask? Because they are just getting to know you. Use wisdom along with honesty.
4. Don’t bad mouth past experiences. A first date is not the time nor place to share your bad experiences about your exes. The same is true when it comes to talking about past employers with a hiring manager. Be careful what you say.
5. Be careful about becoming too emotionally attached. There is an emotional side to the job search that many job seekers forget about. This is especially true when all the stars seem to line up about a job we really want. if you are not careful, you can ruin your chances. Being too aggressive can be just as much a turn off. Just like coming on too strong with a potential date. Be careful with your words. Be careful about getting “tunnel vision” and missing out on other job opportunities. I have seen candidates wait for weeks to hear about a job offer; all the while, missing out on other good job opportunities.
6. Don’t become a stalker. Just like dating, you do not want to be guilty of calling a potential employer several times a day. Doing a daily check-in call about your resume is not going to better your chances. You need to be more strategic about it. Call different people in the process so no one person feels bombarded.
I could probably make many more parellels to dating if I thought about it some more. As you can see, adopting the dating mindset can empower you when you think about it. It gives you a fresh prospective on the whole process of finding a better job.
Question: In what ways has dating and job hunting felt similar to you? Please comment below.