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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