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How the Hiring Process is Like Dating (and Why It’s Important)

by Stacy Pursell, CPC, CERS

The VET Recruiter®

Perhaps you’ve never heard of this analogy before, although some of you may have heard it. Regardless, the Valentine’s Day holiday this week—and this current candidates’ market—make this an excellent time to discuss it.

That’s because the hiring process IS like dating, in some respects, and those Animal Health employers and Veterinary employers that ignore this analogy do so at their own peril. That’s because the best candidates in the marketplace have a lot of “dating options” and your organization is just one of those options. It’s not like it was during the Great Recession, when the only option that candidate may have had was staying with their current employer.

No, if you’re trying to fill an important, critical position in this current market, then that’s the equivalent of a single person who wants to get married. In the case of the employer, though, their prospects for doing so aren’t that great, especially in the veterinary space right now. The reason: there aren’t enough qualified candidates to begin with, and there are other suitors, as well.

So what does this mean for the single person (or the employer with the critical position to fill)?

It means they have to do their very best to impress every single person they go on a date with. Conversely, for the employer, it means impressing every single candidate who enters the hiring process. And just like a single person should want to especially impress a person they’re dating who they find particularly attractive, the same goes for the employer. It should want to especially impress those candidates that it finds particularly attractive.

Because failure to do so means reducing the chances that you’ll be able marry the person you want to marry . . . or hire the person you want to hire.

With all of this in mind, below are five ways that the hiring process is like dating:

#1—The first impression is critical.

This is all about employer branding. Just like in the case of personal branding, employers must put “their best foot forward” when it comes to interacting with candidates and engaging them. This could mean a number of different things, from the organization’s presence on social media to its application process to the first time the hiring manager contacts them. This is, of course, like the first impression on a first date. (Is there a “spark”?)

#2—Keep the candidate “on the hook.”

The first impression is just the first step. Once you’ve branded your organization in a positive fashion in the mind of a candidate, you must continue to brand it in a positive way. In other words, you must keep the candidate’s interest. It the same thing with dating. On the first date, you must keep the other person’s interest. And then, after the date is over, if you like the person, then you must still keep the other person’s interest. If not, you might have seen them for the last time.

#3—A little respect goes a long way.

There’s a saying in the world of dating. According to that saying, how your date treats the waiter or waitress in a restaurant says a lot about them. If your date treats the waiter or waitress with respect, then they’re likely to treat other people with respect (including you). The same applies to the hiring process. When a candidate is going through the process, if the organization respects both their time and the confidentiality of their job search, for example, then the candidate will be more likely believe that the organization will respect them once they’re hired and they become an employee.

#4—Hire for the intangibles and not just for “looks.”

Don’t hire in a superficial way, just like you should not marry in a superficial way. Sure the candidate might look good in terms of skills and experience, but what about the intangibles? What about their character? What about their core values? If you marry an incredibly attractive person, but they’re negative, combative, and lazy, then perhaps you made a mistake. If you have a candidate who has all of the skills and experience you want, but they’re also negative, combative, and lazy, then you do NOT want to hire that person.

#5—You must continue to woo them after the hire.

Let’s say that you date someone and then you successfully marry them. You don’t start to immediately neglect and ignore them, do you? Of course not. Unfortunately, that’s what some employers do with their new hires. Yes, there’s an orientation and onboarding process, but does the organization truly keep trying to woo them? Does it take the time and effort to assure the new hire that they made the correct decision in accepting the organization’s offer of employment? This is a crucial step in the retention of employees. It’s also a crucial step in the process of staying married to not neglect your spouse.

A person’s choice of where they’re going to work and their choice of who they’re going to marry are two of the most important decisions they make during their life. That’s why the process associated with both are so similar. And that’s also why the hiring process is like dating.

As mentioned above, the best candidates have a lot of suitors. There many employers trying to “court” them, so to speak. That’s why you need every advantage you can get to make sure those candidates choose your organization.

That’s where an Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter enters the picture. They have the knowledge, experience, and expertise to help your organization attract, engage, hire, and retain the best candidates in the marketplace. If you’re not working with a good recruiter or search consultant to fill your most important positions, then you’re missing the opportunity to give yourself the strategic advantage you need in this competitive marketplace.

We help support careers in one of two ways: 1.By helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2.By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of Animal Health and Veterinary organizations. If this is something that you would like to explore further, please send an email to stacy@thevetrecruiter.com.

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