Job-hunting lessons to be learned from the dating game

When it comes to looking for a new role we will often make mistakes that are strangely similar to those we make when dating! Here are some examples of these no-no characters and situations which you may or may not be familiar with…

Job-hunting lessons from dating game


1. The one who is a bit desperate

We have all laughed at the desperate guy or girl lunging at anyone in their sights at a party or in a nightclub – those damn shots! Yet, a candidate acting in desperation can be very off-putting for recruiters too. From our point of view the eager candidate that applies for a variety of roles that have completely different requirements can be perceived as desperate and therefore lower their stock. Other things that can come across as desperate include closing an interview with ‘How do you feel I have performed in the interview?’, ‘Is there anything that you aren’t sure about in my experience that I can reassure you on before I go?’ The idea is good – i.e. being conscientious – yet it is a bit like going out for dinner with someone and them asking you how you think the date is going and is there anything you don’t like that they can overcome…  And you are left thinking ‘Is he a weirdo? Or just desperate?’

2. The unattractive one

Fortunately finding a new job isn’t based on good looks, else a lot of us who are very successful in our careers wouldn’t have had a look in! Yet in all seriousness, the more attractive you look on paper or online in terms of your experience, your presence online, the layout of your CV, your achievements (credentials) the more likely a company will want to see you. For example, having lots of Twitter followers on a work Twitter account, a strong presence online can add to the desirability created from your CV. When someone becomes famous they often appear more desirable as others want to associate themselves with them.

3. The one who has slept around a bit

Someone who has had a lot of jobs and moving around companies frequently is great when recruiting for an interim role but this person often looks less desirable to hire for a permanent, long-term role. Just like in the world of dating the perception is often that after a short time this person will get bored and look elsewhere.

4. The one that bores you

If you are still systematically talking through your experience twenty minutes after being asked the question ‘talk me through your background’ or have put together an interview presentation that has many, many slides it may be that you are in danger of being this – the boring one. We’ve all met people who talk incessantly about themselves and seem to think the other person is as interested in hearing what is being said as they are enjoying speaking. Conversations and interviews are successful when they are two way and engaging for each party. Don’t be the person who looked so good on paper but was boring in reality.

5. The embarrassing one

We want to be proud of the person we are dating and keen to introduce them to other people. It’s the same when companies look to hire – is this someone I would be proud to say works for me or someone I want in my team? Doing embarrassing things whether that be bad photos of you on Facebook the public can see, or in an interview acting a bit ‘far-out’, loud or inappropriately can make you quite quickly become a no for a role. Other things to mention here include exaggerating, swearing, cracking jokes and smelling of cigarettes. Every recruiter has some really funny stories of candidate interview horror stories – an all-time favourite was a candidate who had turned up for an interview at a City bank with bags full of shopping because ‘I was early, and Waitrose was next door’.

6. And finally, the one that no one realises is available

I think many of us have stories of meeting up with someone you used to fancy and finding out they fancied you too ‘but I didn’t know you liked me/were available/were single’. It’s surprisingly like that in the world of recruitment. A hirer knows of someone but doesn’t think they are open to a new role. Little things like having contact details on your LinkedIn profile and ‘open to career opportunities’ ticked and having your CV registered with appropriate recruitment agencies when you are starting to consider a role are worth doing to ensure this doesn’t happen to you.

If you are now settled down or married this is where the similarities end – the lack of a ‘job for life’ often means your commitment to a position is limited to a few years rather than life. Although trends are suggesting this may change in the future as companies look closer at employee loyalty and engagement.

We’d would love to hear any other examples of how the no-nos of dating can be applied to looking for a new role… oh and any embarrassing interview stories!

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This blog was originally posted on 15/9/15 and has been re-purposed to include updated content.


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