Job Hunting is Like Dating

By: Elias Cobb, National Recruiting Manager

I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but I felt like throwing in my two cents on this topic: Finding a job really IS a lot like dating. Many of the same principles apply, and perhaps it helps to think of the job search that way, even in these days of high demand for IT talent.

  • Getting to Know Each Other: Ever been on a date where the other person only talks about themselves and never asks you single question about you, or shows any real interest in your life and interests? Did you go out with that person again? The same holds true in an interview. Make sure you are asking questions about the company and engaging in a meaningful discussion about how you can be a benefit to the company and the manager. Not only does that show the manager that you did some research and are actually interested, it also gives you the opportunity to figure out if that job and company are truly right for you.

For the in-demand IT professional: Yes, this applies to you as well. Even if you’re not really interested in this job / company, you may run into this manager again at a different company, and he / she may remember you as the person who seemed bored in the interview.

  • Stay Positive: I’m not sure I have met anyone who enjoyed dating someone who constantly complained about all the bad dates they had been on and how they were jerked around in their past relationships. I think most people would avoid that person like the plague. The same holds true in a job search. No manager (or recruiter, for that matter), wants to interview someone who complains about the job market, other recruiters, and worst of all, bad mouths their former employer(s). That’s one of the surest ways to end an interview (and a date) quickly.
  • It’s Not What You Know…: I know, everyone knows THAT saying. But I think it applies to dating just as it applies to your job hunt. Would you rely solely on for finding dates? Most people know you need to take a lot of different approaches in finding that special someone. Getting friends to introduce you, joining social clubs, being active, and yes, using online dating sites are all important, but using just one at the expense of the others is a bad idea. But many of those same people will only use Monster, DICE, CareerBuilder, etc, in their job search. You have to get your friends (network) involved and let them know you’re looking. Join a user group. You might meet a manager there who has an opening.
  • Interviewing and Impressions: Everyone knows that if you screw up that first date, you’re probably not getting another one. It’s the same with an interview. Hiring managers and recruiters assume you are at your best in the interview, so if things don’t go well, they aren’t going to feel too good about how you will succeed once you get the job. Also, after the first date, how do you go about getting the second date? You have to show some interest and ASK FOR THE DATE. Do the same in the interview. At the end of the interview, ask about the hiring process and what the next steps are. Don’t be afraid to ask for the next interview. It shows interest in the position.

For the in-demand IT professional: If you don’t want the job, don’t ask for it (obviously). But please decline graciously and professionally – as mentioned above, you may run into this hiring manager again somewhere else.

  • Desperation: The flip side of the coin is desperation. Most people are leery of dating a desperate person; the person who is dating just because they really want to be in a relationship. Similarly, companies are very leery of candidates who come across as if they want any job, not THIS job. Recruiters are trained to look for this too, so you have to mitigate your desperation with agencies too. If you are taking the job just to have a job, managers and recruiters feel that if a better job comes your way, you’re out the door.


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