What Dating Can Teach You About Recruiting

Are there really similarities between recruiting and dating? The answer is YES! Here's what you should know in order to take your career to the next level.

Over the years many people have associated being recruited with going out on a first date.  The similarities between recruiting and dating are significant and by examining these we can help you become a better recruit.  On your first date, everyone puts their best foot forward. As the process continues, the truth of whom the other person, as well as yourself, becomes apparent.  It’s this next step that I want to examine carefully.

How The Similarities Between Recruiting And Dating Really Shine:

A Blossoming Beginning

Everything is going great.  You like the same food, you like the same leisure activities, and conversation is easily flowing; but now it becomes really apparent that there is something there, which is special.  Emotions start to play out as you start to weigh the possibilities of a real future with your new partner.  Like those first dates, you are being courted by a hiring manager if you are good (which we know you are).  Your initial inquiries have been well received.  This is the first stage where we see similarities between recruiting and dating. The platform is what you have been looking for, and you like the culture.  Now the real question starts to arise in your head: Is this a place I want to go to?  At this point in the engagement process, you have already been asked back for that coveted trip to the home office.

Next Steps

As you ponder the next steps and weigh all possibilities, confusion starts to reign in your head.  “If I go back to the home office for a visit, am I obligating myself?”  The answer to this question should be clearly no.  They are inviting you back to the home office so both you and them can get to really know each other.  We’ve taken those first dates to the next level, but now it begs the question, “Are we at the point of getting to the altar?”  This can feel like a big step in moving forward with the similarities between recruiting and dating. The entire family has to meet you and as you well know everyone has an opinion. However, what matters most at this stage is still your opinion.  You are the one that has to say yes (if an offer is provided), pass the background checks, and show up on that first day.  Outside of our industry in public finance, the fear of a candidate not showing up for their first day of work is real.

The Similarities Between Recruiting And Dating Get Serious:

To Commit Or Not To Commit

The visit is over, and you and your hiring manager got along really well.  Everything is looking great. Your recruiter calls and then after a debrief of the trip, the inevitable question from the recruiter poses, “Is this the place you want to go to?”  So many thoughts are crossing your mind as they would in a personal relationship – the commitment phase leads to tons of similarities between recruiting and dating.  “Am I ready to commit or do I want to see what else is out there? Am I taking myself off the market? Is there a better opportunity?  Can you, Mr. Recruiter or Ms. Recruiter, find me something that is better?”  These are all natural questions, but if the recruiter has done his or her job they should never occur.  The recruiter you are working with has hopefully listened to all your needs and has found you the perfect position.  Why would you want to continue to play the field?  And the answer is – if you had yet to have a position created for you, i.e., through our dedicated opportunistic approach you may have been wondering these things.  But because this position is being created just for you, they should not arise at all. 

All In

By being loyal to the process that we have set out, you have only been introduced to one firm. This is the final stage in seeing the similarities between recruiting and dating. As long as neither party has questioned the relationship, we can get the best compensation package for you.  The reason is that the firm knows they have an exclusive with you, which means an awful lot when we can say to them with 100% certainty that if you meet the candidate’s financial expectation, he/she will accept your offer.  Why upset the apple cart when everything is leading that way?  As you know, you both had the opportunity throughout the entire dating process at any stage to shift gears. Why introduce a new factor, i.e., a new suitor in the mix if everyone is happy?  This process works, so let it work for you.


If you would like to discuss your options, please reach out for a confidential conversation at 760-477-1284 or email at [email protected]. He can also be reached on LinkedIn. Harlan publishes a blog every Thursday here. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here, which is a compilation of our weekly blogs, so you never miss one. You can find our listing in the “supplier and services” section of the Red Book under the title of “executive recruiting.”

About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all levels Public Finance Bankers, Healthcare Bankers, Municipal Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.