Job interviews can feel exactly like first dates. There you are, sitting across the table from this other person, and you’re both both trying to impress each other with how much you have to offer and wondering, “Is this going to be the one?”.
And at the end of it, if you both play your cards right, you could end up in a committed long-term relationship.
The entire hiring process itself can start to feel a bit like an old-fashioned courting process, as you and the candidates try to feel each other out over the course of a few brief meetings. You both want to make a good impression, but you’re both also wary of signing on too quickly with someone who might not work out.
So why not embrace the similarities in the search for love and the search for talent? As it turns out, some of the best advice you ever got about dating can help you be a better recruiter and better interviewer.
1. Be nice. This one is simple, right? But a lot of hiring managers assume that since the candidate wants a job from them, they don’t have to worry about impressing the candidate. This is a huge mistake. Being disorganized, rude, unprepared, or distracted will turn good candidates off immediately and they’ll look for another place that will be able to appreciate and showcase their talent. Always meet candidates on time, be attentive, and treat them with respect.
2. Don’t be too aggressive. A little mystery is a good thing. In your interviews, let the candidate answer your question, and then keep quiet for a moment. Most people feel the need to fill silences in a conversation, so if you don’t pipe up right away, most candidates will reveal new information. They may take your silence as a challenge and second-guess or alter their original answers, but awesome candidates will use the opportunity to elaborate on their good idea.
3. Don’t string anyone along. If you know a candidate is not a good fit, tell them promptly. It sucks to get your hopes up for weeks and weeks, only to be rejected later on, so send every candidate you won’t be moving forward in the hiring process a polite note or call as soon as you possibly can. It may not feel like a big deal to you (or you may just avoid delivering bad news), but it makes a huge different to candidates.
4. Trust your gut. Sometimes a candidate just gives you a good vibe. If you’ve done you due diligence (asked hard questions, gotten amazing references, etc) and it’s down to two candidates, don’t second guess your first instinct. Unquantifiable factors can often make us feel like we know someone is a great fit (or a terrible fit), even if we can’t fully explain why. Don’t automatically pick the candidate who looks best on paper if your gut is leaning another way.
5. Make every breakup a good breakup. If you’re doing recruiting right, even candidates who you reject should walk away feeling like they had a good experience with your organization. Does this sound impossible? Far from it. Think of your candidates like your customers, and your hiring process like marketing. If you treat them with respect and show them their time and talent is important to you, they’ll feel it. Make every candidate’s good experience your number one priority.
Just because you’re dating – I mean, interviewing – a lot of people, doesn’t mean it has to be complicated.