August 27, 2013

A Consultant’s Spin on Dating

A couple of months ago, I was having lunch with a friend who was new to the dating scene.  My friend was expressing how perplexing the dating world is these days, especially with all the social networking sites available.  She was ultimately questioning, “How do I weed out unqualified candidates?”  As my friend was talking, a light bulb went on in my head.  For the past few weeks, I have been working on a project to revamp Kenway Consulting’s recruiting process, and I thought I could help my friend find viable dating candidates by leveraging the same principles as those of the recruiting process.   It’s a stretch, I know, applying what I do for work to my friend’s social dilemma.  But hear me out.

Kenway identifies potential candidates through multiple avenues, including employee referrals, networking, LinkedIn searches, websites resume submissions, etc.  Regardless of where Kenway finds a candidate, the interview process the candidate goes through is the same.

Kenway’s interview process consists of three main steps: Screening, Skills Assessment, and Situational Assessment:

  • The Screening interview is the first interview in the process.  It is used to narrow down a list of potential candidates, thereby increasing the efficiency of the next two interviews.  The goal is to make a determination if the candidate would be a good fit for Kenway, based on their skills and personality.  The screening interview is held over the phone by someone from the Kenway Human Resources Team.  The screening interview includes questions intended to clarify information about the candidate and to gauge how the candidate responds to basic qualifying questions.
  • The Skills interview is the second interview in the process and is used to take a deeper dive into the candidate’s skill set.  The goal is to decide if the candidate has not only the appropriate skills, but also the experience necessary to be a successful Kenway Consultant.   Unlike the screening interview, the skills interview is held in person and focuses on questions that are most relevant to the candidate’s skill set.  For example, if a candidate reveals they have extensive experience in a specific skill set, then a majority of the interview questions will focus on that skill set, but will not be limited to that skill set.
  • The Situational interview is the third and final interview in the process.  The situational interview focuses on how a candidate will respond to specific employment related situations.  Once again meeting in person, the candidate is presented with challenging situations and asked to describe past behaviors to determine if the candidate is in alignment with Kenway.  For example, a candidate might be asked, “Tell me about a time you were asked to do something a certain way”.  Based on the response, the candidate may or may not be a good fit for Kenway.

In considering Kenway’s recruiting process, I was easily able to apply similar rigor to my friend’s dating dilemma.  Similar to employment recruiting, finding viable dating candidates can be accomplished through multiple channels, such as referrals from friends, networking, dating sites and social networking sites.

The three interviews (screening, skills and situational) can then be tied to the first three dates:

  • The goal of the first date, which has similar qualities to the screening interview, is to determine if your date is a good enough fit for you go on a second date.  This can be a short get-to-know you date.  If your date was referred to you, ask questions about the things you already know about them.  If you found them online, ask questions about their profile. Get clarity around things that are important to you and confirm they are of the same importance to your date.
  • The goal of the second date, which has similar qualities to the skills interview, is to determine if your date has similar personal interests.  Get to know them better by asking questions around things you like to do.  If their interests match yours, this can be a good indication that you would enjoy spending time together.
  • The goal of the third date, which has similar qualities to the situational interview, is to determine if the person has a similar belief structure to yours.  Bring up things about which you are passionate, whether they are volunteering, exercise or politics, and get their perspective on it.

At the end of the three interviews or at the end of your three dates, you should have enough information to know if you want to move forward.  If moving forward with hiring a candidate, Kenway sends an offer letter.  When moving forward in a dating relationship, the next date gets planned.  In both cases, the decision to not move forward should be communicated clearly.  In both situations, the goals are the same.  Kenway is seeking to recruit and hire the most qualified consultants that can form lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with clients and co-workers alike. In some cases, the dating process ends similarly – in lasting, mutually beneficial situations.

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