So the western world is imploding, North Korea has successfully tested the ballistic missile and air pollution has reached critical levels in fifteen of the world’s major cities. Civilization as we know it is falling apart. And, on top of this month’s news bombs, another has dropped: it seems that, according to research, recruiters are officially the loved-up teens of the working world.
Yes, you read that right. According to a recent study, employees in the recruitment industry are the most likely to engage in an office romance, most likely to think an office romance acceptable and most likely to harbor a crush on a colleague. And why should this surprise us? Recruitment is, after all, a form of corporate matchmaking – the job hunt, a search for love in its purest form: the monthly pay cheque.
So what happens when we apply the rules of online dating to your job search?
“Which one do I choose?”
With so many dating platforms and apps available – OKCupid, Match, Plenty of Fish, Tinder and Bumble, to name a few – it can be hard to pick the one that works for you. The general advice? Sign up to several and maximize your chances – or at least see which one can offer you more bang for your buck.
This nugget holds true with recruitment agencies. Like dating services, these companies are interested in finding candidates who provide the best ‘fit’ to the roles they’re contracted with – that is, making a perfect match. Different agencies will have different roles available so, to maximize what you’re put forward for, you’ll need to spread your net far and wide. While it can get awkward if you’re put forward for the same role by two agencies, you can avoid this by asking to be consulted before your CV is submitted for any positions.
There is one major difference between recruitment and dating agencies. While the latter often charge money to subscribers, a jobseeker in the UK should never pay a fee to the agency; it is, in fact, illegal. While the rules are sketchier in the U.S., you should always enquire as to what is expected of you financially by an employment agency.
Not literally. That only works in 1% of cases.
When writing a dating profile for OKCupid or Match, sites often instruct you to differentiate yourself from others – and they’re totally right. Enjoy watching movies? So does the rest of the earth’s seven billion-strong population. Love Kubrick’s 70s output but felt he hit a dip post-The Shining? You may sound like a bit of nerd, but at least you’re an interesting one.
The same goes for job applications. It’s never enough to say: “I am a self-starter.” Prove it. Cite instances where you demonstrated verve and ambition. Don’t just claim you’re good at sales; offer statistics from your last role where you hit and exceeded targets. Use numbers, reports and detailed analysis to stand out from the crowd of wishy-washy, vague claims. Whatever you do, don’t make it boring.
Keep your blurb short and sweet
In a CV, as in a dating bio, it can be tempting to incorporate as much detail as possible. After all, this person/contact/employer is thinking about meeting you; surely they want to know as much as possible about you first?
The answer is yes and no. Employers, just like prospective lovers, want to know the essential facts about you – your former roles, your education, your skills. But they don’t want to read your life story. If they do have any extra questions, they’ll save them for the interview.
The lesson? Pique their interest, sure – but save something for the date.
Go to the interview
When you’re dating, it can take some people a while to find your ‘rhythm’. But every new meet-up is a chance to perfect your social skills, and chances are your third date is going to go better than your first. All matchmakers will tell you: go to every date you’re offered. You never know who will ignite that spark. In any case, it’s good preparation for the real thing.
Interviews are the same. If you’re going to ace that dream job app, you’ll need some practice first. So if you get an invitation to interview, take it – whether you’re sure about the job or not, it’ll be great practice. And who knows? You may find you click with the hiring manager.
It’s common wisdom that you should go into a date with some topics prepared – a story, perhaps, or an anecdote, or a series of questions to promote conversation. The same is true of interviews: always have questions ready to go for the end of the session. Try to engage equally with your interviewer – it’s a conversation, not a Powerpoint presentation – and don’t be afraid to go off-script when called for.
Pick up on all cues
They say intuition is your greatest weapon in the hunt for love. If it’s going to go well, you’ll know in the first five minutes. Similarly, if you get a bad feeling about someone on the first date, there’s only one answer: get out.
The same goes for hiring managers. If your interviewer seems strung-out, aggressive or pushy, or you get a bad vibe from the office, don’t ignore your instincts. Incorporate every factor into your decision. Then run.
The humble internet scam is everywhere, including the world of online matchmaking. The average dating scam victim is 49 and loses £10,000, say police. That’s twenty-five new-issue Apple Watches, in modern money lingo. The lesson? That swashbuckling Robert Pattinson-lookalike with the private yacht and Silicon Valley start-up should be contacted only with caution.
The same goes for jobs that look too good to be true. Usually they are, and the ad is a con – either to get you to fork out cash, or to submit work in a false ‘application process’ that will then be used elsewhere. Top signs that jobs are a scam include: overly high salaries; the words ‘no experience necessary’; non-business email addresses; on-the-spot job offers; requests for personal info; and poor English usage. You may not get your heart broken in a false job app process – your piggy bank, maybe.
So next time you don that suit, slash on that eyeliner and say ‘yes’ to an interview request, ask yourself: “Can I see this relationship getting serious?” Examine every opportunity as you would a potential life partner. Because in the end, no matter how they bill it, most of these HR managers are just in it for the checks.