Sex and the Job Search: How Hiring Managers Act Like Hot Models

By Dominic Bokich

I feel like a pompous ass for writing this, but job applicants should treat Human Resource (HR) reps, hiring managers, and interviewers like hot models.


Because models don’t date just anyone and employers don’t hire just anybody. Like models, employers are very discriminating and have a specific selection process.

Let me give you an example.

Let’s say that I see Adriana Lima, the Victoria’s Secret model, in the VIP area of a club. Or, for those interested in men, picture Channing Tatum in this scenario. Suppose that I walk up to the velvet rope and start yelling, “I love you Adriana. Pick me!” More than likely I will get thrown out of the club by the bouncer in a matter of seconds.

Wrong approach. That’s not how Adriana meets potential suitors (she’s married, by the way). Likewise, I routinely get “hit on” in the wrong manner by people who know I work in human resources for a large, stable employer.

People come up to me on my hospital’s campus, at coffee shops, and in line at the movies. “Hey, I really need a job.” “Can you tell me about the status of my application?” “Hey, can you help my friend get a job?

While approaching an HR rep or hiring manager in the community is a way of making contact and getting answers, it is not how employers look for job applicants. Employers have a specific four-step process that they follow when hooking up with applicants. Knowing this process will help you develop an effective job-search strategy.

How employers “hook up” with job applicants

Step 1:Is there a current employee that we can promote who we think has potential?”

Most employers first look internally when there is a job opening. Why? Because employers already have first-hand knowledge of that person’s work ethic, it’s cheaper to promote from within, and it’s a quick solution.

As it relates to dating, this is like two friends realizing that they both really like each other. The transition to dating is an easy one.

If that search comes up empty, employers move on to the next best option.

Step 2: “Is there a promising candidate we have interviewed in the past, an intern, a temporary employee, or a contract worker that we think has potential? Do any of our contacts know of anyone that can meet our needs?”

Still playing it safe and looking for solid referrals, employers expand their search to the outer limits of their contact lists. This is why networking is so important.

In the dating world, this is like telling all of your personal and work contacts, “I’m open to being set up. But make sure they’re cute and nice.”

If an employer strikes out again, they expand their search even further.

Step 3: “Let’s see if HR knows of anyone qualified and let’s put the job on our career website.”

At this point, employers are open to finding candidates from outside their company. They expect numerous applicants to lie and embellish their work history, but hope to find a gem among them.

It’s not unlike trying to meet someone on or at a speed dating event. This method has potential, but may require more time and effort.

If an employer still comes up empty-handed …

Step 4: “What online job board would be best for the position we want to fill? What search firms or placement agencies can help us find an applicant? How much will it cost?”

At this point employers are frustrated. They know it may cost hundreds, if not thousands, to fill the position and have no guarantees it will happen any time soon.

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Similarly, if you have specific dating criteria and you are not finding the type of person you are interested in through your inner circle of friends, acquaintances, or through online dating websites, you might pay big bucks for one of those “executive” matchmaking services you see in airline magazines.

Impossible is nothing: How Adidas finds applicants

Let me give you a real example of how this works. I know someone who works for Adidas in Portland.

They are a great company with great perks, some of which include playing pick-up games with pro athletes and mingling with entertainers like Snoop Dogg, who are occasionally on campus.

It should come as no surprise that Adidas’s employees are constantly bothered by their friends about getting jobs there. The Adidas HR department is flooded with resumes of carefully selected “friends” who have made the cut.

When Adidas decides to fill a position, they first look internally to see who they can promote. Then they look through the stacks of resumes they already have in their HR department.

If they still don’t find the right fit for a position, they advertise the job on their website for a day or two. There are people who check Adidas’s website a couple times a week because they really want to work there. Rarely, if ever, do they have to advertise on websites like Monster or CareerBuilder.

People who end up making the cut and get hired tend to stay with Adidas for the long haul. The company offers significant growth opportunities and the chance for employment abroad. In addition, a 50 percent employee discount on gear like top-of-the-line running shoes and athletic clothing is an added bonus.

Adidas truly is a dream employer.

Hiring managers are easy – and golddiggers, too

I said earlier that HR reps and hiring managers act like models. That’s only part of the truth. They’re actually kinda “easy,” too, once you prove you’re an attractive applicant. Here’s why.

Remember, HR reps are in the business of hiring people and want to hire good people. As soon as they find someone who seems to be a good match, they are open to quickly hooking up with them.

They’re easy, in other words.

Golddiggers are able to see how a potential date suits their needs. They want a match that meets their needs, and so do hiring managers.

During the interview, a hiring manager quickly assesses what you can do for them and the company.

Don’t forget, this relationship is mutually beneficial: you get the satisfaction of doing what you love and a paycheck. We’ll talk later about how you can become the one hiring managers want to “score” with.

Excerpted with permission from Sex and Your Job Search: A Guide to Scoring Your Dream Job, by Dominic Bokich. Copyright 2013, Dominic Bokich.

Dominic Bokich is a talent acquisition specialist for a 14,000-employee university medical center in California. He is a certified interview coach with 11 years experience and has taught behavioral and values based interviewing to hiring managers and new grads. Dominic hires, on average, one person per day and numerous interns every year. When he’s not working, you can probably find him on a surfboard.


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