In Professional Life as in Dating, it’s all about “Find, Get, Keep.”

Managing The Candidate Experience 01

The dating world is inundated with promises of harmonious matching algorithms and lasting true love. Equally, there’s a plethora of recruitment websites and headhunting companies claiming to be best placed to find the best talent for organizations, and the best job for professionals. In fact, it seems the whole Human race is after something to conquer and keep.

Good marketing follows certain universal truths. One of the most important is the “power of three.” Things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things. A series of three often creates a progression in which the tension is created, built up, and finally released.

Matthew Hussey – a popular “love guru” in the UK and the US – uses the power of three in his maxim of “Find. Get. Keep.” to motivate women to find lasting love. As in… how to find the guy, get the guy and keep him.

Sounds effective! And in fact, the “Find. Get. Keep.” maxim seems a pervasive draw for the Human race that extends beyond love. For example, think of our relationship with knowledge, political and military power, and even healthy eating habits.

But how does this all relate to one’s professional life, I hear you say? Well, I’d say it applies across the board.

As professionals, to progress in our careers, we…

  • Find exciting opportunities through networking or targeted job hunting activities
  • Get introductions, interviews and (hopefully) great and fulfilling jobs
  • Keep our jobs, and work to keep our knowledge and skills current

It works the other way round too, for organizations hunting for the best talent in the market – from sourcing activities (Find), to hiring processes (Get), to staff learning & development programs (Keep).

And when the two worlds overlap – those of a professional and an organization – we again have a dating parallel. How many of us have waited for the phone to ring with good news (any news!), or for an email saying we’ve been short-listed for interviewing, for those things never to materialize… Perhaps contrary to the dating world, though, there is light at the end of the tunnel here, with organizations making improving the candidate experience a key priority in 2014.

Check out Master Burnett’s recent paper on this topic.

According to Matthew, “Just be yourself” is one of the most unhelpful pieces of advice that friends and family often give women in their quest for love. I agree with Matthew! After all, what’s that? What is “being yourself?” Some days, you are – as Matthew would put it – the most wonderful and magnetic person that ever walked this Earth. Other days, you are a bore, the most annoying person ever. Both these extremes are “you.” And let’s face it, this applies to either gender! More… it’s true of folks hunting for a job, and those interviewing them (the organization’s “ambassadors”) alike.

So where does that leave us, professionally? Well, I’m certainly not advocating cheating and lies! In my opinion, a better suggestion would be to concentrate on the ‘Keep’ stage. That may sound nonsensical, but hear me out.

If we make a concerted effort to better ourselves professionally, we will become better employees, individuals with higher knowledge and tuned up skills, who create value for an organization. We will hence become more attractive candidates, whether for internal promotion or external hiring. Granted, we still need to get out there, and put our best foot forward, but the focus on the ‘Keep’ should lead to the ‘Find’ (of great new opportunities) and the ‘Get’ (up the career ladder). And so on and so forth. And as I reflect on this cyclical nature, I would like to think that’s where the dating metaphors stop…

From an organization’s perspective, workforce engagement is critical to commercial success. And one area that significantly drives this ‘Keep’ goal is learning and professional development opportunities. Lucian Tarnwoski, BraveNewTalent’s CEO, commented in a recent blog that “Organizations with highly engaged workforces enjoy more productivity, more profit, more customer satisfaction, and an average of 13% less employee turnover.”

At BraveNewTalent, we believe the path to professional happiness (dare I say “love”) for both professionals and organizations includes social learning and online learning communities.

With online learning communities, professionals…

  • Find more knowledge and other professionals with shared interests, whether within or outside their organization
  • Get new connections, communicate and collaborate with them, and gain recognition for their contributions and expertise
  • Keep current in their industry, visible to other professionals and organizations

Organizations benefit from online communities by putting themselves out there as thought leaders through their knowledge sharing and social learning activities, attracting the best talent in their industry area and developing their own internal workforce.

Paraphrasing Bogart… “I think this [move to social learning] is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

Sonia Araujo on Twitter @ProductSonia