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September 02, 2014

Hiring Managers in Love—4 Ways Jobs are Like Relationships

Dollarphotoclub_60986414A few years back, a Chicago job search startup posed this question to employers:

You don’t marry someone based on who they used to date. Why hire people based on where they used to work?

Their point wasn’t that previous jobs were irrelevant, but that a successful hire depends on too many factors to summarize in a resume. After all, they claimed, jobs are as demanding, time-consuming and complex as romantic relationships.

Are jobs like relationships? Here are four ways they are—and what that means from a hiring point of view.

  1. Coworkers and Lovers Spend a Lot of Time Together.

Say a typical tech worker spends 50 hours a week on the job. Unless she hangs out with her romantic partner every night and all weekend, she probably spends as many waking hours with her coworkers as she does with her main squeeze.

Think about that the next time you’re interviewing. Do you like this person?

That might not seem like a “professional” question, but it’s important. Because your team members will spend more time with her than they do with their significant others—and if you don’t like her during the interview, they’ll probably hate her!

Make sure candidates interview with people they’ll be working with—and then listen to your talent.

  1. Job or Relationship, Communication is Critical.

Romantic partners have months or years to communicate before they commit. You don’t have that luxury—but that doesn’t make a candidate’s communications skills any less important.

Fortunately, you can get a feel for his abilities even before the job interview:

  • How well did he address the guidelines and qualifications in your listing?
  • Was his resume easy to follow, with key credentials prominent?
  • Was his cover letter a sales pitch, or a conversation starter?

The interview, of course, will be the biggest demonstration of how well the candidate communicates. Does he ramble, or get to the point? Is he direct, or evasive? Does he listen?

  1. They Both Fail Without Passion.

When someone says she loves her job—and means it—she’s probably pretty damn good at it.

How do you find talent as passionate and committed as the closest romantic partners? Do what Dear Abby always recommended—get out and get involved with people who share the same interests.

As a tech hiring manager, that means going to groups and associations where people explore, exchange and talk about tech—like Chicago Interactive Design & Development. When people get together outside of work to expand their professional skills and contacts, that’s a good sign they’re the kind of passionate, committed people you want working for you!

  1. They Both Drive People Crazy.

The flip side of all that passion and commitment is the craziness factor. The more you love something—whether it’s your job or your partner—the greater its potential to induce stress, fear, loathing and rampant paranoia.

How do you hire passion and avoid pandemonium?

There are obvious red flags—like a resume full of brief job stints or career detours—but the best way to know how talent will perform when the job gets challenging is through references. When your candidates come from an employment agency like WunderLand, they’ve already proven they can do the job with passion under stress.

And if they’re a little crazy, at least you know they care!

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