Tag Archives: answers

Recruiting is Not Like Dating – More Like House Hunting

In the mid 1990’s a prolonged discussion between myself and a hiring manager was going on about why he should select his top candidate. He had interviewed five candidates and told me he had a top choice so I felt that there was not a need to see additional candidates. I quickly thought of a comeback after he stated that his reason for wanting additional candidates was just to be sure he was making the right choice. Seeing his wedding ring I commented “…so, when you proposed to your wife did you tell her that she is the one but that to be sure you need some time to search the market?” His response was a friendly explicative then the ok to extend an offer to our top candidate.

From that point I had compared recruiting and dating off and on with hiring managers over the years. When blogging became popular within the recruitment space I read several articles/posts also making this comparison and wish I had started blogging sooner to trump those that had written and broadcasted my shared comparison.

I now disagree with this comparison. I think a better analogy to the job search for candidates and recruiters trying to find candidates is the house hunting (or apartment shopping) experience. Consider these:

  • People start their house hunting search by going to the internet and either doing a general Google search or going to a site like realtor.com
  • People have specific wants when trying to find a home – location, size, local amenities, school district, culture of the neighborhood
  • People conduct research on the home and neighborhood by viewing the potential residence on-line, reading reviews of the neighborhood (or builder), asking their friends or family members if they know anything about the  neighborhood
  • New listings receive a good bit of activity when first posted then the activity slows considerably with only serious shoppers taking a look

Recruiters and candidates are using similar tools to find, research and gauge if they want to learn more about each other in ways that house hunters and realtors operate.

There is also one other factor that many people forget during both types of searches. The little annoying detail that gets glossed over by company reputation, salary, benefits or that the little annoyance can be fixed once they start (think move in).

What most people do not realize is that the little annoyance becomes a major frustration because just like in an interview or house hunt it only showed up for a brief moment. It could be a light switch in an odd place, or a squeaky stair only stepped on once or twice – it could be a clunky application process or a quick comment that changes were made recently. In these cases the savvy seeker will question what they noticed and typically the recruiter will have their response prepared to put any concerns at bay. However, just like in a home, once within the company that little annoyance is now with you all the time, it grows into a major frustration.

As recruiters we try to brush over the annoyances that might turn a candidate off or away from our opportunity. Sometimes we are confused on why a top talent candidate did not stay with the organization for very long and when asked they state what appeared to be small concerns during the interview ended up becoming major distractions. When boiled down it is that classic “fit” argument. The recruiter should recognize if the fit is not there and the job seeker should as well and be willing to pass on the opportunity.

Candidates are becoming more and more savvy around the job search process and can find out information about organizations through many channels. As recruiters we are typically prepared to answer questions around the small annoyances and are just as savvy in convincing the top talent to join our organizations. My advice is that when a seeker does bring up minor points to treat them as major because those are the ones that will make or break their decision and if you are honest with the candidate it will help move your organization forward.

I welcome your thoughts.


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“It depends…”

Those wonderful two words people hear when they have asked a well thought out question either during the interview process, offer stage, at a conference, or sitting in a studio being interviewed by a famous talking head. We hear these words and in my opinion they are almost as bad as “but”, “however”, and “you should”.

Most people briefly tune out when they hear “it depends…” because it is a signal that A) a long winded answer is coming or B) they are about to be snowballed into confusion with multiple answers suddenly thrown at them. As recruiters we say these two words a good bit during the process because two candidates are never exactly alike. Sure the positions may be exactly alike but the people in those roles are not. So when we are asked questions about career paths, long term growth or managers ask why their roles are not filled faster than their peers, our minds immediately bring forth the hundreds (if not thousands) of different scenarios we have handled in the past. And then it comes out “It depends…”

“It depends on the timing within the department but we have seen a few employees promoted within their first year and some after five years….”

“It depends, we are in heavy growth right now and who knows what may be available two years…”

“It depends on whether you are willing to work the extra hours to meet….”

“It depends on what you ideally are looking for and what is your main priority – salary? benefits? location? challenging work? awesome culture?”

“It depends on the event, if the hosting firm does not do a good job marketing or with site selection then we could end up paying a large fee for minimal return…”

“It depends on the role we are trying to fill, your positions are highly skilled and sought after industry wide, and most of them do not live in our far flung small town…”

“It depends if those type of candidates actually use social media or not, we would have to research them…”

“It depends on what type of employee you are seeking because what may work for a start-up may not fit the beaurecratic culture here…”

“It depends on the salary range we are willing to pay…”

These are obviously not actual quotes but probably pretty close. People know they are about to be told a generalized answer that may satisfy immediate concerns and it gives the recruiter the opportunity to somewhat address it and quickly move on. The problem is when the candidate or manager ask for details. Be prepared to address their specific situation and do not hesitate to be upfront. It may save you time and help identify that the candidate is not a good fit or that the hiring manager may realize they have set unrealistic expectations. Reducing the use of “it depends” and giving clear straightforward answers I have moved companies forward.

I welcome your thoughts.


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