The One Difference Between Dating And Hiring

The One Difference Between Dating And Hiring

I have hired employees for almost 18 years now.  In fact, I hired my wife to work for me.  That’s right, I used to be my wife’s boss!!  She hated me…  She tells the story often that I was the worst boss she ever worked for…she may be right!

It was back in 1997 and we weren’t married.  She and I had went to school together since I was in 2nd grade – but we didn’t know each other.  Well, I knew who she was, but she didn’t know me at all.  Her resume came across my desk and I knew I needed to hire her.  I called her for an interview and she was hired the next day.  She worked for me for about 3 months and then quit to pursue other employment (and because she hated working for me!).  I then asked her out on a date…and the rest is history!

I’m not sure how many people I’ve hired.  Or interviewed.  But, it’s been a lot.  And hiring employees is art as much as it is science.  Sure there are questions that you should ask, but at the end of the day there is a lot of subjectivity built into it.  And, what happens all too often, I’ve found, is that managers treat the hiring process kind of like their dating.  They don’t know they’re doing it, but they are.

They naturally look for someone that is likeable and that they get along with.  Someone that they could envision a long-term relationship with.  Someone that they could spend hours of their week with and not be annoyed by.  It’s similar to the qualities we look for when dating, isn’t it?

We see it all the time when two people are dating.  She loves him because he’s charismatic and makes her laugh.  Mom and dad loves him because he’s nice and he treats her with respect.  Friends love him because he is fun and is comfortable as the center of attention.  But, then the relationship falls apart.  Why?

The why is the biggest difference between dating and hiring.  But, it’s also the key to a lasting relationship. The difference?


Does this person being interviewed for the position go beyond personality traits and do they actually FIT the position?  Do they have the skills necessary?  Do they fit into the culture of our organization?  Do they have experiences that would lead to success in this new position?  Do they FIT?

The same is true in dating.  Is there a FIT that exists?  But, that’s a post for another day…

One of the things that I learned in my studies is that if you want to avoid discrimination lawsuits when your interviewing, writing job descriptions, conducing performance reviews, etc. was to make sure that everything that was said is “job related.”  This means that the interview questions must tie to something that relates to the job (i.e. can’t ask about age), job descriptions must only include things that are job specific (i.e. can’t include that the person must be a morning person), and performance reviews must focus on job related tasks and skills (i.e. can’t comment on whether an employee is happy often).  This is what I mean by FIT here.  The question is – what is the likelihood that this person will succeed in this position?  Not – do I like this person?  There are plenty of like-able people who aren’t equipped to be successful in many jobs.

Can you relate to this?  When have you worked with someone that wasn’t a good FIT for the organization that you worked for?  Comment below…

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