How You Can Help Your Hiring Teams Improve Their Candidate Experience By Relating It To Dating

Corey Burns candidate experience, Corey Burns

Here you are, after hours of sourcing, screening candidates, aggressively rubbing your forehead in frustration, and finally the gem that you’ve scoured the earth for appears! It’s a relief that you’re on the right track to filling that role. You carefully nurture the candidate; cross the T’s and dot the I’s to make sure the candidate and hiring teams are briefed for a successful interview day.

Then the interview day comes and the hiring teams deliver a candidate experience that sends your gem running for the hills. Maybe it was the jerk in the interview who played the hard***, or the manager who thought it was a good idea to ask, “If you were an animal, what animal would you be,” or maybe the hiring manager who forgot about the interview!

This exact situation has happened to me, and it’s fair to say it has likely happened to most recruiters. The problem starts with us failing to get hiring teams to share our line of thinking.

Make your life easier by explaining that recruiting is just like dating. I came across the below illustration on my newsfeed and I’m sure many of you have stumbled across this as well. It never fails to get me laughing, but it also contains a lot of truth.



It’s not just our friends and family—hiring teams also can fall into this group of people who don’t understand what we do.  Often, when I work with new hiring teams, I quickly realize that there is a misconception about the process and how we gain candidate commitment. Through no fault of their own, hiring teams are often unaware of how to deliver a candidate experience that makes candidates eager to join.

One of the best ways for me to gain an understanding and commitment from the hiring team, in order to deliver a top-notch experience: I relate recruiting to dating. First, it always catches the audience’s attention and generates some laughs because dating is awkward. Recruiting and dating are very similar – both are relationships that evolve through a process based on a value proposition, qualifications, trust…etc.

Here are a few points to help you understand the similarities so you can explain the recruiting-as-dating metaphor without sounding absolutely crazy.

  1. Attraction

    When I first met my wife, I didn’t just walk up to her and say, “I like you, want to be my wife?” While I would like to think I’m that good, it took a LOT longer. We went on multiple dates and we both were determining whether we met each other’s requirements. It’s the same with candidates; we need to prove that we are the right company for them to grow their career! This is when you show that you’re different from the rest.

  1. I like you…but don’t be Stage 5 Clinger.

    A sure way to scare a candidate away is being too desperate. Candidates can smell it when you are desperate and it causes warning signals to go off. Well, the same goes for dating. Whatever you do, don’t turn into a Stage 5 Clinger. Hold some of your excitement back, as you don’t want to show your cards right away.

  1. Passive vs. active: who initiated?

    It is so important for hiring managers to know when a candidate is passive or actively applying for the role. Nothing is worse than a hiring manager grilling a candidate on why they want to join the company when the candidate is only in the investigation stage of whether the job, company, and manager are the right fit. Again, this relates to dating because the last time I remember, I spent a good amount of time proving that I’m someone my wife wants to be with!

  1. Roll out the red carpet!

    Treat the interviews like first dates. First dates are awkward and so are interviews. Just like a date, plan it out and make sure you have your ducks in a row to ensure a smooth process. It’s always my goal to make sure everyone is prepared for the interview and to give a welcome reception to candidates. When a candidate is relaxed, we learn more about who they are and what to expect during a normal day.

  1. Follow up: no one wants to constantly check their phone for a call or text.

    Ok, I’m guilty! I waited a week to text my wife after our first date and I still hear about it to this day. Luckily, she gave me a second shot. Candidates want to know that you haven’t forgotten about them and that you’re interested. Our hiring teams need to know that time kills deals and we do not always have the luxury of waiting a week or two weeks to make a decision.

  1. Making it official: AKA the offer stage.

    You finally made it! You got through the awkward first date, you both proved you’re the right fit without being a clinger, and now you want to make it go the distance. Now it’s time to close the deal by extending the offer. Without going into the offer process, one thing I will say is that it’s so important to share with the candidate why they are a great fit for the role and make them feel good about being the one!