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I’ve been recruiting for about 15 years now. What fascinates me about the world of work is how the job search so closely mirrors the world of dating and the search for that perfect mate.

Let’s start with how we find job opportunities. There’s networking – having a friend, co-worker or family member introduce you to that person who is looking for someone just like you. Then there is the all familiar approach of online postings for that perfect opportunity through the numerous matchmaking sites. And of course, there are those jobs you happen to stumble across doing something you enjoy — having something in common with your future employer, so to speak.

As you approach your search for that perfect match, you have to consider the kind of job opportunity you may be seeking. You may be looking for a temp job – the one that’s “Mr. Right Now.” You may be more comfortable with the temp-to-hire opportunity so you can “try it on” and see if it fits before you commit. And finally, there are those of you who just know it is right from the very beginning and are seeking that direct hire position.

As you set out on your quest, you may find yourself playing the field a bit. You flirt with opportunities you know aren’t the long term relationship types, but you justify the mismatch by telling your friends it’s for the experience, it’s “fun for now,” or perhaps you just aren’t ready to settle down yet.

But then you come across a job that has potential. Your phone conversations go well and it’s time for that first date known as an interview. You shop for the perfect outfit and contemplate all the right stories to tell to ensure you’ll make a good impression.

At the interview you’re smart, you’re quick, you’re funny. There seems to be chemistry. You move from topic to topic as if on the dance floor, moving in perfect rhythm.

Once the interview is done, you call all of your friends and analyze every word that was spoken during the meeting. They cheer you on and assure you that everything went well. But you have to ask yourself, did you say the right thing? Should you have not talked so much about past jobs? Do they think you “got around” a little too much during your temp phase? What did the interviewer mean when they asked what you are looking for long term?

So you wait by the phone to see if they call. Will you get asked back for a second date? The days pass and your excitement turns to frustration. You thought they liked you. You have everything they said they wanted in the job description. Should you call them? Send an email?

At last the call comes and you are asked to come back. Elation! Every insecurity about this job search process is replaced with the joy of being wanted. You’ve met someone who could truly appreciate you for who you are. You call all your friends to share the exciting news and they, of course, confirm what you hoped to be true – that you are indeed worthy of this new relationship.

The second interview leads to an offer. Negotiations begin. You both hope that what you saw in the courtship is what you get in the marriage. You see some flaws in the new mate, but you ignore them in hopes that everything will change once you commit.

The deal making comes to a close, everyone’s happy, and the recruiter tells you it’s a go pending reference checks.

Reference checks? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could include THAT step in the dating process!