It’s recruiting season for second year b-school students, and it’s remarkable how much the Recruiting Game feels like The Dating Game. (for more about actual dating in b-school, check out this post)
So, in honor of two timeless mating rituals, here are the top nine ways MBA job recruiting is like dating:
9. You meet for drinks: Any experienced dater knows it’s best to start with a drinks date instead of a full-blown evening. Alcohol is a wonderful social lubricant, and cocktails give you options. If the person is a winner, you can continue the date with dinner. If they’re not, you can fake other plans and only lose an hour of your life. Recruiters know this. Hence the popularity of networking cocktail hours.
8. You get free meals: My mother told me the only reason she went out on a blind date with my father was because it meant a free meal. Many a girl is guilty of going on a date for the free nosh. Sometimes the same is true of a recruiting event. Good food or a trip to a nice restaurant might entice an MBA to sign up — and maybe, like my parents, they end up falling in love.
7. You dress to impress: Everyone wants to look their best for a date. Recruiting events are no different. The guys look a little raw with their fresh haircuts and perfectly pressed shirts, and the women are pulling their suits and interview heels out of storage. None of us look like we do on an average day.
6. You put on a show: When we’re trying really hard to impress on a date, we laugh a little louder, act a little more enthusiastic, smile a little bigger, tell stories that make us sound a little more glamorous. Shockingly, MBAs in company briefings do the same thing. If we were peacocks, we’d be walking around with puffed out chests and fanned tail feathers. Look at me! Look at me!
5. You wait for the call: So much of dating is about waiting — for the call, the text, the email that indicates the other person is thinking about us. In recruiting, you’re waiting for an email from a company rep, the sight of your name on a closed list or — hallelujah!– a job offer to tell you if the company wants you. If you don’t get those signals, they’re just not that into you.
4. You love the one your with: Let’s face it. Not all dating is an honorable pursuit of one’s true love. Sometimes being with someone is better than being with no one, and we’ve all been guilty of dating people just to feel secure. MBA recruiting is no different. When the goal is to land a job offer before graduation, some MBAs find themselves flirting with every company that has a decent cash flow — and even some that don’t.
3. You have a fear of committment: If we talked about getting married on every first date, none of us would go on a second. Recruiting is the same way. Most MBAs can imagine working for a company for two or three years. Any more than that and we get cold feet and start talking about how we need to “focus on me right now” and assuring the company that “it’s not you, it’s me.”
2. You juggle quantity vs. quality: Anyone who’s tried online dating knows you have to balance quantity and quality. You want enough lines in the water to catch some interesting fish but you have to make sure you have enough time to lavish attention on the ones that seem most promising. And so it is with job recruiting. You’ve got to keep your options open and cultivate the most promising leads at the same time. It’s a delicate balance.
1. You just want to find true love: When we’re really honest with ourselves, dating wears us out. We may love the thrill of the chase, but after awhile we grow tired of prancing around in uncomfortable shoes and smiling too hard in search of our soul mate. We just want to fall in love with that one perfect person who will adore us for who we are. And we want that one perfect company too, that place where we can let our guard down a little, do a job we’re passionate about and go home each day fulfilled and happy.