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It’s a match! Using the rules of dating to ace your next hire



It seemed odd when a few of my clients started to refer to me as the Cilla Black of recruitment. Recruitment and dating appear worlds apart, but the comparison got me thinking. I decided to pop up a poll on LinkedIn to see if others felt the same, and interestingly enough, 80% of respondents agreed that there were similarities. Like dating, recruitment happens in different stages – some of these are time-intensive and don’t always go our way. Could applying the rules of dating to your recruitment process help you find your perfect match?

Our Executive Search methodology, Corvus Assured, breaks down the stages in a similar way. So, in true Cilla style, I wanted to share our inside secrets on how we help businesses find their ideal candidate.

Stage 1: Figure out what you want 

Much like dating, it’s good to go into the process with a clear idea of what you are looking for, however, this can be more challenging when there are different viewpoints to consider. Imagine asking your mum, dad, brother, and best friend all to agree on your next love interest – I am sure we all cringe at the thought. 

It goes without saying how messy it would get, and this is why aligning your stakeholders before you begin the process is key to success. According to Forte One, companies that lead with culture and alignment tend to drive strong business results over time. That is because alignment within the Senior Management Team (SMT) leads to a clear and focused strategic plan, which trickles down to the rest of the organisation. 

So how do we ensure that our client’s Management/Leadership teams are aligned and agree on the ideal candidate? 

Along with taking the time to fully understand the business, we ask stakeholders to individually complete a short online behavioural assessment. This allows us to get a clear picture of the ideal candidate from each perspective and establish if the Management/Leadership team are on the same page.  Often this is not the case and provides an excellent opportunity to discuss individual perspectives and gain consensus on what a ‘fit’ looks like. 

This stage goes deeper than skills and qualifications and looks at the behavioural requirements to ensure a fit with the business culture. A colleague recently completed a poll on LinkedIn, asking participants why they left past roles. Coming in as the top reason was Company Culture at 43%, so getting the fit right is crucial to creating a successful placement. Like the client survey, we also ask candidates to fill out an in-depth behavioural assessment. Matching these to the desired profile makes for a strong cultural fit and leads to higher retention rates.

With critical hires, some of our clients have been on the search for quite some time. Often enough, the reason they haven’t secured their perfect fit is that, without even knowing it, the SMT don’t agree on who they are looking for. 

Stage 2: Find your Soul Mate 

According to Tribepad, eHarmony claims to be the dating site most likely to deliver happy long-term relationships because they prioritise compatibility. Similarly, once your SMT is aligned, it’s time to start the search for compatible candidates. 

As part of our Corvus Assured offering, key stakeholders get access to our portal, which is not that dissimilar to an online dating page. Here, you can access behavioural profiles, key competency questions/answers, CVs, and video covers (essentially the video alternative to a cover letter). We all know romantic relationships won’t last long if someone feels the other person isn’t being true to themselves, so this gives a holistic view of the candidate and makes it easy for the team to weigh up their options. 

Keeping in touch and ensuring clients and candidates are in the loop helps avoid the dreaded “ghosting”! We all know how it feels – you’ve been on a great date, all appears to have gone well, you have been messaging and then bam, you don’t hear from them again. It can certainly pinch! Just like traditional recruitment, we have all fallen for the “perfect” candidate, just for them to drop off the face of the earth without warning. Along with access to the portal, our candidates are prepped on our process and proposed timescales. This provides clarity and ensures their commitment to the role in advance of any interviews. 

Stage 3: The Dating Scene 

So, you have worked out what you want and created a list of a few who caught your eye. Now it’s time to start the dates interviews!

Before any candidates meet with our clients, we do preliminary interviews to ensure the fit is right – a bit like meeting through a mutual friend. We know you both, and we know that it could work. We do the groundwork in informing the candidate about your business and its culture, helping give them a better picture of what it would be like to work there. 

While the pressure is normally on the candidate, the interviews are an opportunity for you to sell your business further and give real-life examples of how they will fit into your team. According to Glassdoor for Employers, 94% of UK job seekers want to know about all aspects of a company before accepting an offer, so the more authentic the experience the better.

To get the most out of the “date”, asking the right questions is vital. Tailoring the interview questions to the desired behavioural profile will make sure you are delving into the detail and helps to remove any blind spots once the start date comes around. We work with our clients to create bespoke questioning, making sure you are in the know about your potential new hire.

Stage 4: It’s official 

After we have poured our hearts and souls into finding your perfect match, and you have gone through the numerous interviews to make sure it feels right, it’s time for the final stage – making an offer.

Offering your candidate the role can be a make-or-break situation. You need to get it right and make sure they feel valued from the start. Low-balling with pay, or taking overly long to decide, can leave the candidate feeling underappreciated, which isn’t a great start in any budding relationship. 

We work with our clients and candidates from the beginning of the process to ensure expectations are clear from all sides. It gives peace of mind that everyone “wants the same things”. 

Oh, and let us not forget the dreaded ex. Approaching with a counteroffer – please stay, we swear we will change. It’s an unlikely story, and unless the only reason to leave is salary, it’s seldom a good idea to take a counteroffer. We understand our candidates’ motivations before shortlisting them, helping to ensure anyone at the offer stage is serious and ready to move. 

If you feel your business needs a Cilla, one of our team would be happy to have a discovery chat with you. We’ve completed over 70 assignments using our Corvus Assured method, so you know you’ll be in safe hands.

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