Online Dating Is Recruitment

The internet is full of articles about how recruitment these days is very similar to online dating (and even articles that state that the time for treating recruitment like online dating is over). 

Well, as a recruiter who was online dating before the global pandemic put a halt to almost all socialisation with strangers, let me tell you: Online Dating IS Recruitment. 


Strategy meeting

In this instance, you are both the hiring manager and the recruiter, but either way, you’re going to have a discussion about your recruitment strategy: what are the must-haves, the nice-to-have, what platforms are you going to use, is it a permanent role, a contract role, etc. 

Job title: Chloe’s boyfriend 

Contract: Monogamous relationship 


  • Man looking for woman 
  • Within a 20km radius 
  • +/- 5 years in age 
  • Equal or taller than me 
  • Not allergic to cats 
  • Doesn’t have kids 
  • Non-smoker 
  • Not completely dumb, can hold a conversation 
  • Interested in more than his navel 

Nice to have but not essential: 

  • 3rd level education 
  • Easy on the eyes 


Job advertising

You’ve selected your advertising platform, now you need to turn your job spec into a nicely crafted advertising. 

So the job is not necessarily to most exciting in the world and your pool of candidates is small, so you’re going to use inbound marketing techniques to write your ad (here your profile). 


Let’s start sourcing

Get onto your platform of choice, enter your criteria and start reviewing profiles. Has the candidate got the “hard skills” on their profile? Let’s face it, recruitment or dating, it’s a bit of a box-ticking activity. Either the candidate has the must have skills and experience or they don’t. 

Now obviously, in any recruitment process, you have to deal with bias, and when it comes to online dating, the biases are even more preeminent since instead of getting mostly text, you get mostly pictures. 

I must confess, I actively discriminate against profile of guys holding a fish or a gun. On a day to day basis, I keep my biases in check so much that half of the time, I skipped their name and have no idea about their gender until I get them on the phone. While being so oblivious on a day to day basis makes me sometimes sound insensitive, it’s a great thing when you’re a recruiter and are actively trying not to discriminate or be biased. 


Engaging with candidates

You’ve matched with one of your carefully selected dating candidates; congrats! Now you need to engage with them. 

This is probably one of the elements that is the closest to recruitment: crafting that initial cold email to build a rapport with a stranger. 

Let me tell you that “Hi! How are you?” is not going to cut the mustard in recruitment and in dating alike. 

Back to basics: personalisation! So what can I find in their profile that I could reference in my message to get them to engage with me??? If the person has a nice fully filled profile, this shouldn’t be too hard, but more often than not, you’re dealing with this: 

Job: Got one 

Interests: Keeping fit, going out with friends 

So you’re left with scanning photos to try and find a tiny detail that you could write about. Run a reversed Google image search to try and figure out where that building in the background is located (I see you went to [insert completely random place name], how was it?).  

And obviously, as in recruitment, you’re never from a blunder – “Oh, you’re favourite place is St Petersburg, I’ve always wanted to visit Russia.” Too bad it was St Petersburg, Florida… 


Adapting to Zoom hiring

2020 or when living with the plague brought forward digital transformation. BTT (Before Twenty Twenty) you would have met all of your candidates face to face; heck you flew them over rather than hiring them remotely. Then March 2020 happened and suddenly, you didn’t have a choice but to interview your candidates remotely: hello Zoom, Jitsi and other video platforms. Well, online dating took the same path: first there was the lockdown and you literally couldn’t meet people face to face, and even now, meeting people is so fraught with health precautionary measures, that really, why bother when you can meet on Zoom or WhatsApp video? 


Also known as dates. When you get to know the candidate personally and sell them the job and the company. You’re going to ask them questions, they will ask you questions, and if you both like the answers, you’ll spend the rest of the time trying to convince the other that you’re the best thing since sliced bread and that they should chose you. If you’re not convinced, you’ll try to cut the interview or date short by making an excuse of some sort. 


Giving feedback

Right, so you met the person, and the interview/date didn’t go so well. Getting them to talk was like pulling teeth, they were a heavy smoker or they were just boring. Whatever happened, that just didn’t work. With all the hard work that you’ve put into sourcing that candidate, engaging with them and interviewing them you’ve got nothing to show for it AND you now have to let them go easy because you’re not a horrible person. Ghosting in life, ghosting in recruitment, this is a major pet peeve for me, so whatever happens I will be brave and tell them something along the lines of “it was lovely meeting you, but I don’t think this was the best match”. All the while hoping that they will be one step ahead and will have texted me “thanks but no thanks” so I don’t have to do it. 


The offer

You’re now both convinced that this is a great opportunity to work together (or start a relationship), so one party will make an offer to the other. Both parties will discuss the terms, and agree on a salary, a contract, a start date, etc. Or to put it in the terms of Sheldon Cooper, you’ll draft a “relationship agreement”. And off you’ll go on your merry way, to see if you pass probation. 


So what do you think fellow recruiters? Do you also feel like you’re doing your daily job when online dating? I personally find it exhausting after a full week of doing the same thing.