My first blind date and what it taught me about job interviews

I look at my watch. Hmm, only 20.30. Where is the coffee I ask myself. “Yes” I hear myself replying to her question if I have to start working again tomorrow. “Cheque please!”

And so ends my first blind date. A long evening with an exchange of pleasantries that was worth a try but after the first minute I knew already that this was not going to work. And I am sure she was thinking the same. Familiar perhaps

The First Impression has actually been a well-studied subject by psychologists for decades (1). How much time do we have to impress? A minute, 30 seconds? Actually, a series of experiments by Princeton psychologists revealed that all it takes is 0.1 seconds. Excuse me? Yes, a tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger from their face.

My colleague at the time did all the data parsing of my hobbies, her interests and our personalities. Scheduling for date night took 2 weeks before we found a convenient time. She was sure it was going to be fun for us and possibly even a match for a second date! Hélas, it was not meant to be.

I think recruiters must be extremely good in blind dating. You try to find out as much as possible with all the available data and profiles we can lay our hands on. And then, how often have we not been disappointed after that first interview? Or, from a positive angle, why did we not meet this amazing candidate sooner?! Wait any longer and someone else would already have made her that job offer.

Candidates have already become a binary personality based on parsed zeros and ones, stored in endless online databases. Yet despite all the efficiency tools we have that can predict, screen and schedule there is no data in the world that will let you feel that flimsy handshake or lack of a smile. And that just made your first interview a long polite 30 minutes’ waste of your candidate’s time. And this not even includes travel time or interview preparations.

Not so deep in our hearts, everyone knows that interviewing for a job simply requires 2 humans, having an intelligent discussion with each other to determine if they like one another. A CV or database cannot be touched, heard or seen. Tools can make the processes perhaps easier but will not prepare you for that first blind date.

The closest thing we have today in our recruiter tool box, is seeing a video of a candidate before you decide to go for a first date. It will help provide you with valuable insights before you are meeting someone, not after, and can even be enriched with psychological tests such as personality assessments based on micro-expressions. More importantly, video interviews will help you deliver a more transparent, fair and unbiased selection process.

Dating Apps offer plenty of candidates for a blind date, or so my single friends tell me, but they have yet to marry one. Let’s take our valuable lessons from dating and apply it to how we want to engage candidates. Happily, hired, ever after!

(1) http://www.psychologicalscience.org/how-many-seconds-to-a-first-impression.html


 

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