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When job hunting is like having a bad date

You probably have already come across the saying that “job hunting is like going to a Tinder date”. Getting the job is described as a “Tinder match”. For those of you who are not familiar with Tinder: it is a smartphone dating app. On Tinder, you have a quasi-unlimited number of potential hook-ups. The app has a short “bio”, i.e, your social CV, and a couple of profile pictures. You can decide to swipe left or right to select or deselect someone. It is so popular that there was a “Tinder match” even in Antarctica, the world’s least inhabited continent. This all sounds great, but why is job hunting being compared to dating?

Unfortunately, I have no own experience on Tinder, thus I must rely on the second-hand information delivered by a friend. According to her, swiping right means that you like their looks and their bio. Swiping left basically means that you reject them. The other person behind the profile will only be able to match with you if both parties have swiped right. It can be compared to a game. Some are better at choosing the right picture and know how to write a compelling short bio. This kind of gaming seems to give a similar kind of adrenaline rush than what a child experiences when entering a candy store with an unlimited number of different candies. Perhaps hunters have similar feelings. Imagine if a child could lick all the candies first before making a purchasing decision! Or a hunter could just choose the trophies to be hung above his fireplace.

Now imagine having a similar kind of unlimited feeling when choosing your next dating partner. All those beautiful candies, and just for you. You would have an instant sugar rush. However, should we treat job hunting the same as dating? Do companies also experience a similar kind of an “overdose of sugar” when going through the piles of CV's and cover letters of different applicants? Also, do we really choose companies based on the criteria we have when choosing a partner?

Do we choose the company based on similar criteria as to when choosing a Tinder date?

One could assume that the big majority of us would answer no. Job hunting is not a dating game. We need a job to be able to pay for our living. The CV a person has does not reflect their dating habits, or at least should not unless we talk about gigolos or similar groups. Relationships and job careers are usually very different issues. Let’s assume that there are people with zero Tinder experience due to steady relationships. However, their CVs might be almost endless lists of employments and job titles. On the other hand, people with very unstable relationships might have very stable careers.

Today, when company life lasts only 5 years - on average - a job at a company is not for life. In a modern business environment, almost any company may kick the bucket - anytime. In the private sector, you have no job guarantee. Jobs are unsecure, unless you work for the government. In a sense, your private sector career is not a steady relationship but merely a short-lived fling. Careers are nowadays more like casual dating, thus getting a new job compares with a “Tinder match “.

Comparing job interviews with an actual date

When we want to compare job interviews with dating, it is also vital to find some actual examples from real life. The good and the bad. If you follow the internet, one could say that the dating scene is like entering a battlefield. It is extremely hard to find a real match; dating horror stories are more common. The bad apples and ugly frogs make also juicier stories. It is more entertaining to share stories about Hobbits and Orcs than Princes or Princesses on white horses. In job-hunting and Tinder dating dodging bullets is key to success. The most common dating/recruitment problems are:

1. Dates who overshare during the first date
2. Having commitment issues
3. Too clingy and desperate people
4. The crazy bunch!
5. Dates that don’t look anything like their pictures
6. The ones that completely ghost you
7. Dates that are not able to make decisions and waste your time for months while dating others

The dating scene applies 1:1 on job recruitment. Who has not experienced getting completely ghosted after an interview or forced to take part in an interview process that takes months to finish? Or forcing people to literally work for free by giving them ridiculously long tasks that equal the length of an actual bachelor’s thesis? It is like a very bad and prolonged date to produce over 30 pages of corporate strategy for free. In addition, it is like modern-day servitude. Slaves were treated better. At least they were served food, not only lousy meeting coffee with or without a biscuit.

Some companies have very polished PR and marketing strategies. However, when it comes to conducting a proper job interview, the truth comes out.

Then there are the “psychological tests” that seem to be trendy in job interviews. Most of the time they are conducted by someone who has not studied psychology. It is so easy to download a test from the Internet and even easier to make someone take the test online. Quite funnily, most of these tests are “made in the USA”. Cultural values translate very badly. Even the most outgoing Finn tends to be graded as an introvert. There is also another big difference. The tests come mainly from the United States, so do test training courses and cheat sheets. In the US, consultants help you to prepare for job interviews. They know the test companies are going to use and they will sell you efficient training.

One of the worst tests you may encounter is the Rorschach Inkblot Test. As the name implies, it's just inkblots. However, if you voice the obvious, you are off the game. Pilots have lost their licenses simply by telling the truth.

Should companies treat job interviews like Tinder dates?

Now that we know how dates can go wrong in many ways, it is time to get back to job interviews. Should companies treat job interviews like Tinder dates? We already know that it is very common for companies to ghost job interviewers. Some might even go as far as enslaving job applicants to get free labor in the name of a job interview test. Doesn’t this sound just like a freeloading girlfriend/boyfriend?

However, a date is a date, and a business is a business. Business is not there for job applicants’ pleasure. People want to be taken seriously during a job interview and they want to be treated with respect. If the interview process is not properly thought of, the damages to the company can be devastating. The company may get a bad reputation if it comes out how badly they treat potential employees. One day, these job seekers might also be potential customers. When it comes to job interviews, people also tend to remember WHO the interviewers were. Hiding behind the company brand will not give them anonymity. You may represent the company today, but perhaps no longer tomorrow. However, you gave your face to the company, thus in the eyes of the applicants, you bear responsibility forever.

So, should companies treat job interviews like Tinder dates? No, absolutely not.

Written by,

Juliane Jokinen

Tinder match - When both parties swipe right on the Tinder app.

Kick the bucket - to die.

Short-lived fling - Very short-term and not serious relationships between (usually) two people.

Ghosting - When someone who used to be friendly or even romantic with you suddenly cuts off all communication.

The Rorschach Inkblot Test - The test was developed in 1921 by Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach. His favorite game as a child was Klecksography, which involves creating inkblots and making up stories about them. While working in a psychiatric hospital, Rorschach noticed that patients with schizophrenia responded to the inkblots differently than others,

Freeloading girlfriend/boyfriend - Someone who is happy for other people to buy them things but never returns the favor.

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