Valentine’s Day – Why Hiring Is Like Dating

ValentineFirst you talk on the phone – get the sound of the person’s voice in your head. You share pleasantries, talk about talents and interests. Then, if you’re intrigued, you set a date and time to meet face to face. On the day of the rendezvous, each party is dressed to impress and on its best behavior.

The beginning stages of a relationship can be hand-sweatingly awkward, but this isn’t a run-of-the-mill romantic comedy relationship – it’s a job interview.

So why the emotional involvement? Well, if you’re striving startup or a close-knit company, a new hire will have to meld perfectly with the rest of the team and the mission of the business if there is going to be workplace harmony. The goal to dating is to develop a long-term relationship that is fun and enables both parties to grow and learn together. The same goes for the employee / employer relationship.

So, how does one go about finding the professional perfect partner? Here is my 3 step process – very similar to my last article – The Four P’s Of Hiring – HR Takes A Lesson From Marketing.

1. Express Your Need For A Partner – Vacancy Advert

You are “single and searching“. Where do you look for the perfect partner? In the mall, at the night club, in church, a referral from your friends or family……….it all depends on what you are looking for. How do you pass across your “single and searching” message so that you attract the right species (lol). The same goes for an employer looking to hire the perfect employee. Where and how do you search?

Do you just write the vacancy on a blackboard outside your locations? Do you use social media, jobsites? Are you asking for referrals from your top performers within the organisation? How do you write your Vacancy Advert? Is the Vacancy Advert compelling enough to attract the right kind of people?


2. What’s In the Public Domain Saying About You – Website, Facebook Fan Page, Comments on Public Forums, etc

So your best friend has this cute cousin in the US moving back to Nigeria and is looking to hook up with someone and she gives him some options including your profile. He goes online to research. What does your Facebook profile page pass across about you?

As an employer, your website, Facebook page……in short your online reputation is critical. Job seekers conduct online research about your company. Will your perfect match find you interesting enough to want to come for your interview? Do you have a career page on your website? Do your website express your Employer Value Proposition? For example, our firm advertised a vacancy within the firm in 2013 and while monitoring our online reputation, we came across this thread on Nairaland. We were on standby ensure that if any negative information was posted, we would provide clarity.


3. Will Your First Meeting Create The SPARK – Interview

So its the D-Day to meet your best friend’s cousin (very cute cousin). You have set a date to meet at a fancy Chinese Restaurant at 5pm. He gets there late, shabbily dressed, no remorse about keeping you waiting…..talking all about his problems and how some his luggage was missing on arrival and picking up calls all through the date.

Same for a talented applicant who arrives for your job interview and the receptionist is too busy to help, the interviewer is late, unprepared, and takes a call during the interview. Not good. Candidates form their opinion of an employer before, during and after the interview process.


The process of meeting and getting to know the right candidate can be stressful, awkward but ultimately rewarding. On your end as an employer, you’ll also have to go the extra mile to conduct Pre-Employment Screening (like background checks, reference checks, skills testing, personality tests, etc). It is important to do everything that will give some comfort that you are getting the right person. This person will spend Monday – Friday 8am – 5pm in your organisation. Thats more than the hours he/she will spend with family. So it better be the right person, otherwise thats a heck of a lot of miserable hours.

Going the extra mile to meet the right candidate may seem like a lot of effort, but in the long-run, it will be worth it. As stressful as the “dating” experience may be, it’s better than the “break-up.” Like the saying goes “Hire Slowly, _ _ _ _ Quickly

If you need help with this hiring dance, talk to us.

Do you think hiring and dating are similar? Do you ever feel like you are trying to impress top talent so that they see your organisation as a great place to work? Share with us in the comments section below!

To your success,

Olanrewaju Oniyitan