Author Alexandra Pascuzzi: Alongside her HR role, she is a regular Relationship Columnist/blogger and she is also involved in Media and PR projects for Matchmaker for Hire.
I often joke that recruiting and matchmaking are basically the same—you find out what a person or business needs, you screen individuals to find candidates who fit the necessary criteria, you arrange introductions with decision makers, and then you cross your fingers for the intangible “chemistry” or “organizational fit.”
For those of you who haven’t worked in matchmaking, let me share something with you: trying to find someone a life partner is exorbitantly more difficult than trying to find a candidate for a role. Recruiting is by no means easy, but if you thought your hiring manager was picky, you have no idea…
During my time as a matchmaker, unrealistic expectations were as common as pancakes at IHOP. I ate unreasonable requirements for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Here are just a few examples of what I dealt with on a daily basis:
Exhibit 1: The client who wouldn’t date anyone named “Laura” because that was his ex-wife’s name.
Exhibit 2: The female client who was 5’1” and yet rebuked the mere suggestion of dating a man under 6’ tall.
Exhibit 3: The client who wrote out an extensive list of certain DOB’s to avoid because her birth chart indicated people born on the specific days/years would not be a fit.
Exhibit 4: The client who ACTUALLY insisted that she wanted to meet a gentleman with “salt and pepper hair.” Brown would not cut it, grey was out of the question…the only thing that would suffice was salt and pepper coloring on her beau.
And these were just additional criteria to top off all of the other narrow specifics!
When it comes to love, rationality goes out the window, even for people who are usually extremely level-headed. Emotion stands in for logic and, as the matchmaker, you end up on a goose chase for a unicorn (preferably a well-travelled, PhD, George Clooney look-a-like unicorn…but with blue eyes of course).
I’m starting to sound jaded. Let me assure you that I’m not–even though there were many days that I felt like I was being set up for failure, there were many successes and wonderful moments that helped me weather the challenges.
Matchmaking made me a better recruiter because it forced me to cultivate tenacity which helps when I’m tasked with finding a specific type of candidate who may not even exist. It promoted a certain persistence within me that comes in handy when hiring managers decline candidates who seem to fit all of the criteria. It developed a determination in me that gets me through those days when a candidate decides to accept a counteroffer and I watch weeks of work go down the drain.
Aside from being a character builder, it also taught me lessons that are applicable across the “people” sector:
- Sometimes gut instincts trump facts. If you accept this early on, you’ll be much happier.
- The sooner you relinquish a need for complete control, the less likely it is that you’ll lose your mind. Recruiting has repeatedly been compared to herding cats for a good reason; there will always be a few strays that you won’t be able to reign in.
- Explicit (and even repetitive) communication is a key component to being successful. It’s better to be Captain Obvious than Captain Oblivious.
- Tough conversations are often necessary. Being a ‘yes man/woman’ can only get you so far. Sometimes you have to dish up a reality check.
- Apologizing for things that aren’t your fault wears you down. As a matchmaker or a recruiter, you’re the middleman. This doesn’t mean you need to say sorry for other people’s mishaps/character flaws/bad behavior. Trust me, you’ll feel a lot better at the end of the day if you don’t make yourself a professional martyr. I’m still not so good at this one but I’m working on it.
Matchmaking really did make me a better recruiter and it prepared me for corporate recruiting in more ways than I could have ever anticipated. The greatest part of transitioning from the one industry to the other, is that I still get that amazing feeling that pops up every time I find the “right” person and make a “match” that benefits all parties involved.
Happy Tuesday and a big thank you to Jane Carstens for teaching me how to be a great matchmaker and (inadvertently) a strong recruiter!