How The Job Search Is Like Dating

by SixFigureStart | March 01, 2010

  • My Vault

Wouldn’t it be pretty cool if a career fair was more like a singles bar; where you could cozy on up to a prospective employer late at night and make your move? You know how the saying goes – “Drink ‘Til He/She’s Hirable.” Talk about an uncomfortable morning that would be when you showed up to work and your employer realized a mistake was made.

video game controllerAll kidding aside, Susan Adams over at Forbes.com recently posted an article Why Job-Seeking Is Just Like Dating and it made me think about my own job search and the parallels it had to finding the right girlfriend.

Slip out the back, Jack

Back when I was a reporter, I had completed my seventh year at the paper (what we would call the Seven-Year Itch in relationship terms), and I began finding other jobs to be more attractive. The way they looked in those slinky outfits, almost calling out to me, while my current job was just there, no longer willing to give back; always claiming they had a headache when I asked for a raise.

And so, I began looking elsewhere. Forget eHarmony; I was going through sites like Vault.com, looking for the best companies to work for. My bosses were suspicious, asking me why I had the equivalent of lip-stick on my collar – a tie (no journalist wears a tie…what was I thinking?) when I would come back from an interview. So, I began hiding the evidence, changing clothes before I got into the office, telling my boss I would be “home” late, or not even going to work at all on a particular day until I found someone that treated me the way I felt I should be treated.

Make a new plan, Stan

And eventually, I found what I was looking for and did the one thing you can’t do with a girlfriend – I gave my three weeks’ notice. Imagine telling your girlfriend, you will stay with her for three more weeks before you start dating someone else. Try it…let me know how it works out. And when I did enter my relationship, I knew it was temporary. They were just waiting to get back with their ex (in truth, I was replacing someone on maternity leave, but it’s funnier the way I wrote it), and so I found myself single again.

(Incidentally, that relationship was with The New York Public Library, and while it was just a short fling, I met my next partner during it: the library teamed up with Vault.com up for a Back-to-Work event which included another exciting aspect - A speed coaching session very akin to speed dating. Go figure.)

Drop off the key, Lee…

I lived the bachelor life, freelancing for one company after another, but nothing permanent. Sometimes, I would work two assignments in the same day. One night, I worked so late, that I did the walk of shame home at 6 a.m. in the same clothes I wore a day earlier. I would do anything to be fulfilled until I could get back into a relationship that mattered, but that was proving rather difficult.

I would search for jobs and put myself out there, hoping a company would like what they see. I would get a look or two and I would give them my number, waiting patiently at home for a day or two until I could just scream – “Ring phone ring….why don’t you love me anymore?” I would send out emails, telling companies I was still interested in them and waiting for an opportunity to take the next step in the process. “Just give me a chance!” That is a no-no…one email is fine, but more than one is begging.

Occasionally, a company would call me back and tell me they had time for an interview, but I needed to be there in two hours – the equivalent of a booty call. Like the Forbes article explains, never agree to that. It makes you look desperate. You should always play a little hard to get with prospective employers. Make them think others find you hot. Of course, I didn’t follow that advice…and surprisingly I didn’t get the job. But someone is out there.

...and get yourself free

I found Vault. We had flirted a little in the past, but now they were ready to give me a chance. They were checking me out and I was checking them out, too. It started off slow. I would see them, but not too often, and slowly, I would see them a little more. The courting process was pretty long, which is good. You don’t want to rush into a new relationship. And it worked out. Now we’re dating exclusively. I think she’s the one.

--Posted by Jon Minners, Communications Manager, Vault.com

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