7 Ways You Should Hire Like You Select a Mate

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Have you ever hired someone and later regretted it?

Maybe you didn’t have much time to fill the job, so when one of your team members recommended her friend, who seemed awesome, you talked to her once and then offered her a job.  Within a few months, you could see that she didn’t have the skills or abilities you needed.

Give yourself a break. You’re busy, so it’s tempting to fall into an easy hire.

Hiring has many things in common with selecting a mate.  Although your employees may not be with you as long as a significant other, I’ve found that if you use similar principles in hiring that are commonly used in finding a life partner, you can avoid those moments of hiring remorse and build a stellar team.

Read on to learn seven rules for hiring someone you can live with over the long-term.

The Lucky 7

  • Invest now, save later.

Letting employees go can be messy, just like breakups and divorces often are.  Take the time on the front end to hire well and avoid excessive coaching, disciplining, firing, and hiring again down the road.

Although no hiring process can guarantee a “hire until they retire” situation, the following steps improve the odds of finding a top-notch contributor.

  • Align values.

Most people are looking to spend their lives with a partner who shares their values such as honesty, family, adventure, etc.  When hiring, you want to select someone aligned with the company’s values, so they feel personally satisfied and willfully engage in the work.


  • Habits you can live with.

Make sure their work habits fit yours.  If the person likes the thrill of working on projects at the 11th hour and you like to have them done days in advance, the partnership may be too stress-inducing to be workable.

It’s the same reason that you scope out the dust bunnies and piles of clothes on the floor of your new steady’s place – to decide if you could coexist.

  • Fit with the family.

A milestone in any relationship is meeting the family.  If they get along with family and close friends, it makes life a lot simpler.

Do the same test for top candidates by having them interview and interact with multiple people on your team.  Although the ultimate hiring decision is yours, you’ll want to know if others notice any red flags, as well as figure out if it is likely everyone will work effectively together.

  • Multiple encounters.

It’s natural for a person to bring their A-game on a first date.  After a few dates and calls, you may start to see a glimmer of their true personality.  The same is true for job candidates. They want to leave a great first impression. Who doesn’t?

The more often you meet with someone, the more you begin to form a realistic impression of the person.  If the same person continues to show up and the behaviors, examples, and stories align, you can be confident you’re seeing them as they are and not just as they’d like to be.

  • Meet in person.

It’s always a good idea to interact with a candidate over the phone as well as in person.  Just like most people wouldn’t marry someone after just talking over the phone or chatting online, don’t hire someone that way either.

You want to see how a person presents him/herself in writing, over the phone, and in-person to get a complete picture of their communication and interpersonal skills.

  • Test the waters.

At the end of this courtship, you may extend a job offer, and hopefully, the candidate accepts.  But don’t just wait and wish.  Ask questions along the way to test the waters to see how they feel about the potential of working at the organization, in this job position, and for you.

This is no different than a marriage or move-in proposal.  Most people drop hints or playfully explore “what-if” scenarios to make sure that when they do pop the question, it’ll be a slam dunk!

Find a Soulmate

When you look at hiring as entering a long-term relationship, which you are actually doing, then you’ll avoid some common hiring mistakes and find another company soulmate!

Just remember, you may have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find that special someone, so be patient!

I’m sure I’m missing a few analogies.  In what other ways is hiring like marriage?  You can leave your thoughts in a comment below.

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People Matters supports business owners and leaders in all areas of human resources management including the topic in this article: hiring people.

HR is what we at People Matters love to do! We help our clients create great workplaces that engage employees and produce better business results.  Because of our years of experience recruiting and interviewing, we can save you not only time by taking the bulk of the work off your plate, but also money as a result of costly hiring mistakes.

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