Online Job Hunting versus Online Dating

The Evolution of Online Job Hunting versus Online Dating


Since the late 1990s, we've seen the shift in companies using the Internet to find candidates.  Each company is posting their open positions on job requirements online, and they initially received many qualified applicants. Then the online job application became the standard and the process of submitting applications gradually automated. Now companies receive a flood of applicants: qualified, semi-qualified or just applying to as many positions as possible on the odd chance something sticks. Employers now rely on algorithms similar, to search engine optimization, to sort through the flood of resumes to find whoever’s resume has the right key terms, and ignoring the rest.

Online dating has followed the same curve. You can put a profile up and meet people all over the world, all from the comfort of your own home or wherever you take your cell phone.  The same automation allows you to ping hundreds of potential parties or puts your information in front of everyone looking for the new mark.

You can browse through each of their profiles and messages, hoping to make new friends or even find 'the one'. The sheer number of people on the online dating sites results in a flood of applicants and respondents alike. Ignoring the bots and fake profiles, humans respond by processing the sheer volume of information similar to the methods used by applicant tracking systems, searching for key search terms before moving on to the next prospect, ignoring what misses those key terms regardless of quality, and deleting anything that suggests it might be spam or scam. The large volume of applicants also results in many scammers preying on them, seeking their information to use for identity theft or making promises in exchange for payment.

The large volume of applicants in both cases allows the parties seeking partners to be picky. They try to winnow down the selection with long lists of "what we're looking for" in an effort to find the best match, often losing out on good people who don’t meet impossible standards while the employers and lovers feel like they lost out on the perfect candidate that doesn’t exist when they pick someone with 7 out of 10 wants and/or must-haves. 

Even if you think the two of you are a match, there is no guarantee that they would respond because of the volume. You may get an auto-generated message thanking you for your interest but no thank you, but silence is more likely. Rarely do they have the decency to say sorry, not interested, we found our match.

If the two profiles match up and the other person likes your application in either situation, you get the inevitable call arranging a first meeting. Then you meet, ask questions and decide whether or not to fill the open position. Whether your first meeting is an interview or date, and it is the first time you can impress them by showing them who you really are. You had to go through all the technological hurdles first to reach the point that used to be easy to reach.


Speed Dating and Career Fairs


Speed dating and career fairs are similar to each other. A large group of people come together in one spot.  One group, those with open positions and enjoying a buyer’s market, are seated.  Another group, the sellers trying to sell themselves, move around from table to table.  You go through quick introductions and hand-shakes, telling each of you are looking for.  Eventually, it ends with the two of you either exchanging numbers or one of you realizing that nothing will come of it.  Thus, on to the next prospect.



What About Headhunters?


Headhunters are similar to one night stands. You meet someone who says that they are utterly and completely infatuated with you based on your profile or reputation.  When they talk, they are bright, engaged and energetic at this new prospect who they are certain will work well for their purposes. 

Head hunters and recruiters can always be a nice change of pace from the normal dreariness of job hunting. Since they seem to want you,  you tend to go along, though you suspect it won’t work out. 

Once the two of you have concluded your passionate, whirlwind meeting, you wait to see if they ever call you back. If the headhunter is dissatisfied, they may call you to tell you it didn’t work out. They may try to let you down easy by saying it is them, not you, but they’ll keep your information on file in case something else comes up. It rarely every does.
If it does work out, they'll just hand you off to someone else in the hope you form a long term relationship with that someone.  Then you'll probably never hear from them again since they've already moved on to their next pursuits.


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George N Romey Added Aug 11, 2017 - 7:33pm
Great article and very true. There's not much human anything anymore in human resources and nowhere is that more applicable than the recruiting process.  Ask anyone out in the job market lately and you're get the most bizarre stories.
Tamara Wilhite Added Aug 12, 2017 - 10:40am
 George N Romey This article was the result of conversations with people laid off and finding new jobs or becoming permanent gig workers.
* Headhunters assume everyone can up and move, and they leave it up to you to figure out how to pay for it.
* Reliance on headhunters combing the country results in someone saying "It is in your area" ... meaning within 100 miles of you, hey, it looks like it is in the same state.
* You took this lower level job to feed your family? Some consider it a permanent demotion, others celebrate it as initiative and prefer you over the unemployed. Which view you encounter in an interview is a crap shoot.
* If you have an engineering degree but worked as a tech, you can't get a tech job because they're afraid you'll leave when engineering jobs open up but engineering departments say "tech experience" and leave you.
* Credentialitis results in continuing education demands on adults that rival college tuition but without the clear communication of meaning. A bachelor's degree is understood, as is one's major. A string of letters after your name, less so, unless the person interviewing wants that particular set of letters as an indication of knowledge. This also results in hurting the value of the bachelor's degree and rewarding people with a single course in a subject. Example - Lean certificates result in many business majors qualifying for industrial engineering jobs, but the industrial engineer took years of courses in what that certification taught in a few classes.
Rusty Smith Added Aug 12, 2017 - 12:56pm
I suggest most people avoid head hunters because you can do just as well by yourself.
Most head hunters have a few openings they are being paid to fill by companies that several reasons might prefer to let the head hunters find them candidates, then look for them themselves.  In those cases you are just ONE MORE potential candidate, if their money comes from the company, not you.  They get a percentage of fee and are not likely to want you any more than other qualified candidates they can find themselves.  They usually get their best candidates by calling people who are doing a similar job for another company.
Some charge a fee to the applicant for finding them a job and most can't see much that the candidate couldn't find if they scoured the internet themselves, and they focus on talking candidates into accepting lower compensation so they can get you into a job quickly and get their commission from you.  You can do just as well yourself and by cutting out the headhunter's commission, even better.
There are jobs you can only get by going though head hunters, but even those you can usually find by scouring the internet and the job sites of companies you are interested in.  There is no good reason for paying a head hunter to find a job for you even if they promise to "make you marketable" by improving your resume and giving you pay classes that help you do better in an interview.  
Most employers know that job skills and resume writing and even interview skills often correlate poorly.  Wise employees skip all the fancy flowery garbage you include and go straight to your recent past experience and your certifications or licenses and experience at similar companies.  Sure you can do better by writing a decent resume, and not choking in an interview, but you can learn everything you need to know about that by reading about it on the internet and copying the format of good looking resumes.
Tamara Wilhite Added Aug 13, 2017 - 3:26pm
I'm not the only one who encountered different headhunters trying to fill the same position. "I already interviewed for the position, not a fit." Or in one case, personally, "That's the position I LEFT."
Dale Murrish Added Sep 7, 2017 - 1:01pm
Great article, Tamara! Guess everything is getting automated these days including minimum wage jobs with the push for a $15/hr minimum wage, there will be no place for a young person to work to learn the ropes. 
Have you posted it on LinkedIn along with your information in the comments? They might feature it. Not sure how to get their attention for a wider audience within the LinkedIn platform. 
Tamara Wilhite Added Oct 19, 2017 - 9:00am

Dale Murrish LinkedIn isn't really the place for political content like this. I have a technical blog for professional purposes.  I also post a number of short stories and professional pieces on Hubpages.