Match.job? The Parallels of Job Searching and Dating

Women on a date in a cafe

You get the notification on your phone; you have a match! As difficult as it has been to land that perfect experience, you have a match that can meet the criteria in which you thought would be impossible. After reviewing all the ways in which this match is perfect for you, you take the leap and make contact. Your heart races when you hear back about setting up a brief time to chat over the phone. This may very well be the One. 

To prepare for your first conversation, you check their social media engagement (privately of course so you don’t look like a stalker, wouldn’t want to give the wrong impression). You prepare yourself to ask questions, but not too many; you don’t want to dominate the whole conversation. The first phone conversation is the best for initial contact because at least they can’t see you and you don’t have to go through the whole ordeal of picking the right outfit.

Finally, the day has arrived! When the phone rings your heart skips a beat. This may finally be what your forever looks like. The conversation starts like any other. You talk about your background and why you are on the market. You explain that you are looking for something more serious and long-term, and they express the same sentiments in finding the perfect person. You leave the conversation feeling like you hit it off well and expect to be invited to meet face-to-face.

After waiting a week, you finally get the email that you’ve been waiting for: you will meet in person in a few days. Shit just got real! You knew it went well so you aren’t surprised, you just don’t know what took them so long to make the decision to meet in-person. There is one caveat, this will be a group meeting. Once again, you start the preparation process: picking the right outfit, preparing the right questions for the group, and researching carefully and privately each person in the group. Now you are ready to go.

As you arrive for the meeting, you realize the seriousness of this encounter. You know that meeting with so many people must mean something, so you get even more excited. The conversation starts as a normal get-to-know session with questions again about your background and your availability on the market. This was so fluid and informal that you were confident that it went well. There was one person that drilled you hard about why you would leave your last situation, but you explained well, right? You leave feeling good and expect a call for another one-on-one meeting.

Days and then weeks pass without any contact. You tried calling once, more than that seems bothersome and desperate. Finally, you get the call; the company is just not that into you. You are devastated. You start to roll back all the footage from the last meeting and you seem to pick apart everything you did. The job fit you suitably, the phone interview went very well, and you hit it off with the panel. You ask for a debrief, but don’t hear back. Where did things go wrong?

Similar to dating, sometimes the job seemed perfect, the company appeared to be great, and all the people you interviewed with gave the impression that they really liked you, but you didn’t get the job. That’s okay, your position is out there. However, it must be a perfect match for everyone.

You know the popular saying about relationships, “people don’t stay together like they used to.” It’s the same with jobs; people don’t stay in positions or with companies like they used to, and I believe that retention starts at the interview process just like in a relationship; it starts at the first conversation over the phone. Ideal situations portray communication of clear expectations from everyone involved and transparency around the process. Even then, it sometimes doesn’t work out because overall, it’s not the right fit.

Companies and candidates should have realistic expectations around the recruitment process. Job seekers should never hang their hopes and dreams on one single position that appears to be perfect. Similarly, companies should be transparent in communicating to candidates what stage of hiring they are in so there are no misunderstandings. If companies are in the initial stages of the interview process; be honest and let candidates know you are “seeing other people”.