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Is Finding the Perfect Hire Like Finding Your Soulmate?

If you’ve been involved in HR or business management for a year or two, you may be starting to notice how the bargaining, courting, offering and negotiation involved in the hiring process can sometimes reflect the world of romance and dating. And there’s a perfectly valid reason for this, since the goals of both endeavors are similar. In both cases, two parties are sizing each other up and preparing for a potentially long term partnership. Both are prepared to make a few compromises in order to gain something in return, and both would rather avoid making a hasty decision, overlooking red flags, and opening the door to trouble down the road.

So if finding the perfect candidate is similar to the quest for a romantic partner, what steps can you take to make your story ends happily ever after?

1. First, attract a wide pool of potential applicants by showcasing your best selling points. The more your job post appeals to your specific target audience, the more options you’ll have and the more the odds will lean in your favor. Picture your ideal candidate and target your post directly to that hypothetical person.

2. Be honest. While you emphasize the perks and benefits of this company and this job, be careful not to stretch the truth. Don’t sell your workplace culture as “fun” or “innovative” if this environment is actually serious and bound by tradition. The further you move into the application review and interview process, the more clear you should be with your candidate about the challenges of this position, not just the free parking and casual Fridays.

3. Ask the right questions. Be sure your interview scripts are meaningful and substantive. It’s okay to go where the conversation takes you, but only up to a point. No matter how much you enjoy chatting with the candidate, keep steering the interview back on track. Incorporate skill tests and technical questions as necessary.

4. Be respectful. Never bait, demean, cross-examine or personally challenge a candidate during the interview process. This is silly and self-defeating. If you alienate your candidates and test them to see if they’re willing to grovel, you’ll be selecting for desperation. The stronger applicants will leave and accept offers with your competitors, because they can. Only the weakest will put up with abuse or show up for fifth, sixth, or seventh round of interviews.  

5. Don’t make lowball offers. If you truly like a candidate and want to close the deal, start the relationship off on the right foot by making an offer that’s generous—or at the very least, fair. If you underpay, you may think you’re getting a bargain, but this is a poor strategy over the long term.

Attract the most talented candidates, court them successfully, bring them on board and retain them as your company grows. Reach out to the NC staffing experts at PSU for specific guidance at every stage of this process.