Having a fully optimized funnel of qualified candidates separates a successful business from one that is barely hanging on. However, we’ve found that the same can be true when you’re dating and looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right.
In either scenario, the process of narrowing down top prospects consists of a solid job description, sourcing candidates, online or phone interviews, and a series of in-person interviews.
As such, with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we thought it might be interesting to compare small business recruiting with dating.
Tell us if you agree!
Always Start with a Job Description
Small business recruiting efforts should always start with a well-written, clearly defined job description. Not only do you want to know exactly what you’re looking for and where to look, but you want to attract suitable candidates for the position.
Before you start dating, you should know what you’re looking for as well, even if you don’t explicitly write it down. What qualities does your ideal candidate have? Are they kind, respectful, athletic, funny?
Do they enjoy long walks on the beach or binge-watching hours of TV? Are they fitness buff or couch potatoes? Is the candidate college-educated, or were they schooled on the streets?
Granted, most people just fall into dating, but if you’ve reached that point in your life where you’re approaching dating with any level of intention, do yourself (and your future partner) a favor and spend some time thinking about exactly what you’re looking for.
Where you source candidates makes a massive difference in your ability to attract the right people to your small business, the same can be said for dating.
For example, suppose your small business recruiting efforts are searching for a highly qualified chief financial officer.
In that case, your best bet is to post your job opening to executive search sites or involve an executive recruiting firm to target individuals who are already in similar types of positions. You wouldn’t post the position to your local university’s career page.
The same can be said for dating. What type of person are you ultimately looking for? And where is the best place to attract that type of person?
If you’re looking to party or keep it casual, maybe hitting up the bar scene or utilizing an app designed to swipe left and right is the right way to go. However, if you’re looking for someone who aligns with the qualities you’re looking for in a life partner, you might want to try other sources.
Narrow Your Candidate Pool
The next step in your small business recruiting efforts is to narrow down your candidate pool. Simply letting the world know that you’re firm is hiring will likely draw in a number of qualified and unqualified candidates, and it’s up to you to determine who is a good fit.
Narrowing down your “candidate pool” isn’t that different on the dating scene. While it can be exciting to talk with 30+ different prospects that at one point complimented you on your physique and ability to carry on a conversation, that excitement will wear off.
While some dating websites will give you key compatibility factors, the process of narrowing down your prospects is mostly intuitive.
Meanwhile, small businesses can quickly automate the process of resume sifting, parsing, formatting, interview scheduling, etc., with a small company applicant tracking system.
An ATS automatically sorts resumes as per the job description or keywords selected by the recruiter. Qualified candidates are sorted within minutes rather than wasting valuable time that can be better spent on other small business recruiting efforts.
An applicant tracking system helps small businesses avoid unconscious bias when recruiters manually sort through resumes manually.
Make the Interview Count!
At this point, you have a shortlist of candidates that are interesting enough that you want to bring them in for an interview. If you’re recruiting for a small business, you might conduct a phone interview first, but then you would schedule a series of interviews leading up to an offer.
Along the way, you might come across candidates that could be useful in the future but not necessarily a fit at the moment. If you’re using an ATS, you can actually retain those resumes in the ATS database to ensure that an ideal candidate is not lost for future opportunities. Furthermore, the ATS keeps candidates engaged before, during, and after the interview process.
If only dating could be this simple. The actual term “dating” implies a series (be it long or short) of interviews that will eventually lead to a decision to either spend the rest of your life together or part ways.
How many candidates should you interview?
How many candidates should you interview for an available position? Are we talking about small businesses or dating? Either way, the interview strategy here is to interview as many as it takes to fill the position. But there’s a lot more that goes into that, right?
In small business recruiting, the interview strategy is to interview no fewer than seven candidates, although that doesn’t necessarily mean that you bring seven candidates into the office.
Lucky #7 should give you an idea of who is exceptionally qualified for the position, which personalities are a natural fit, as well as how each of those potential candidates might fit into your company culture.
Sure, you could interview fewer candidates, but we find that seven gives you the most transparent picture of who’s a good fit. You could also interview more, but we find that tends just to confuse the process.
Is there a target number for dating? Not exactly. Some will tell you that they met their true love on their first date and lived happily ever after, but not all stories happen so quickly.
In today’s dating market, if you wanted to approach dating like a small business, you might start your “interview stage” by seeing if your shortlist of candidates (let’s start with 7-10 people) can hold a text conversation for at least three days.
You’d expect a partner to carry on a never-ending text conversation with you in real life, so this approach is a great way to determine if a person can carry on a conversation while demanding very little from you.
Much like recruiting, this trial period mirrors a phone interview. Not only can you get a sense of a person’s response time, but you can see if you’ve got natural chemistry. Do they get your sense of humor? Are they night owl or early bird? What are their favorite things to do? Do these text messages make you want more?
Further, narrow down your list and bring your top contenders in for a round of short face-to-face interviews/first dates. Keep it simple: coffee or lunch. Allow for no more than 30 minutes to see if you like each other enough to have dinner. If you don’t hit it off in person, cut your losses and move on. No harm. No foul.
Interview Strategies: Move from Interviewing to Selling
Whether you’re a small business or you’re pursuing a dating prospect, at some point, you’ll find that to secure a candidate, you must move from interviewing to selling.
In the context of an interview, your business needs to promote its best qualities, explicitly focusing on reasons why a candidate would want to join your team.
Just as your interview should determine if a candidate will fit into your current team, the candidate should be interviewing you to determine if your firm is a natural fit for their life. Use this exchange to highlight the perks of working with you.
Do you have a campus gym, vehicle allowance, signing bonus? What does the current staff enjoy doing after work? Do they hang out or go their separate ways? Your answers may or may not be what the candidate needs to hear, but the conversation is essential.
The same can be said of dating. Unlike a job interview, it’s often frowned up if you start blatantly bragging about yourself during a date. Therefore, while important to “peacock,” it’s best if you do it subtly.
For example, if you want your date to know that you have a prestigious job, one “interview strategy” is that you wear swag (company-branded) that might encourage your date to ask more about what you do.
Another interview strategy is to casually ask your date what they enjoy doing in their free time. Most dates will respond with their interests and then turn the question to you, giving you the floor to speak about your favorite things.
Interview Strategies: Testing
One interview strategy that many small businesses use that could easily be applied to dating is a testing round.
Once a firm believes that a candidate is a good fit for the organization, it must conduct its due diligence. This might include a personality assessment, simulation, or group interview. Each is designed to see how the candidate will potentially perform on the job.
We often do the same thing in dating relationships, even if we don’t always realize it while we’re doing it. Just as you want to see if a potential candidate can perform on the job, you want to know when you’re dating someone. The, how that individual responds to various activities that you find important. These include (but are not limited to) the gym, church, restaurants, and the bedroom.
On the same note, you can conduct a group interview to see how your love interest fits in with your friends. Pay attention to the interactions between your “candidate” and your friends. And, at the end of the activity, get feedback from your friends, just as you’d get feedback from your coworkers on a potential employee.
There’s a reason why job candidates often provide references to a company when they submit a resume, and you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t check those references.
Today’s dating scene almost starts with a reference or background check. Tell us that you went on a date without first checking out a candidate’s Facebook profile or scrolling through their Instagram account and we’ll call you a liar.
And if you find that you and your candidate have friends in common, you’d be crazy not to ask your common friend about the person you’re dating. Some might call it stalking, but in today’s world, we call it brilliant.
What if the “Candidate” Isn’t a Fit Right Now?
In the event that you run across a great candidate, but they don’t necessarily fit into your life or business – don’t just toss them to the side. Become friends, or in the case of small business recruiting, continue to keep in touch by using our free version of Recruiteze!
Recruiteze is a powerful online applicant tracking system. Your job candidates can apply to your open positions and be instantaneously added to your talent database.
End-user customers can go online anytime and access candidate resumes to make any necessary changes.
We make recruiting easy because Recruiteze also comes with a custom job board that allows candidates and customers easy access to information and creates a level of professionalism expected in today’s marketplace.
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