6863_medium You should know up front that (500) Days of Summer is not a love story.  It is a story about one person looking for more out of a relationship than the other one is ready to give.  It is a story about how human nature has evolved due to social norms into allowing us to miss cues that would otherwise keep us from making the wrong decisions in life.  It is a story about expectation and reality.  It is a story that is simply a metaphor for life.  It is a story that, in this case, can be directly tied to Recruiting.

In the most basic terms, recruiting is nothing more than a love story (professional) – It has a courtship time (Sourcing), dating (interviewing), a proposal (offer),  wedding (The accepted offer) and a marriage (Retention).   It is a simple balance of managing the natural laws of attraction with the practical nature of future success and logic that is needed in every relationship.

In, (500) Days of Summer two sections jumped out at me both because I liked the way they were filmed, but also because they had such a clear tie back to recruiting and hiring.

1  In a split screen shot clearly labeled “Expectations” on one side and “Reality” on the other.   The guy is headed to a party and it show what he is expecting to occur (basically the girl falling madly in love with him) and the reality (Not giving it away).    This past month I sat in on one particular interview that played this scenario out to a T.  The candidate was a great fit (on paper) and I knew as soon as I met him that he wasn’t the right fit in person.  The hiring manager I happened to be helping out also knew he wasn’t the right fit very early on, yet continued the discussion sharing details and asking questions that would seem more appropriate only if you were actually interested.    The conversation led to a false since of reality and likely just expanded upon this candidates (now unrealistic) expectations of getting the job.  I can clearly see the split screen of the aftermath as he walks/drives home excited and the HM just isn’t.  At all.

2.  “She’s better than girl of my dreams, she’s real” In a randomly added documentary style interview section of various characters and them discussing the love of their life and how they knew it was “the one” this quote stood out.  We strive ALWAYS to find the “perfect’ candidate, but the reality and our expectations rarely align.  The truth is, there is not really any such thing as the perfect candidate, just like there is no such thing as the girl of your dreams…the reality is that what your expectations are searching for may not be right for the reality of what you actually need and you don’t realize it until it happens.

Recruiters often forget that the entire recruiting process is built around both the candidate expectations and reality they experience.  Are they (the candidates) getting (from you) the time, attention, effort they feel they deserve?  Are they giving the the time, attention, effort you feel they should?   Is your responsiveness and feedback providing a false sense of reality to them – encouraging them to embrace expectations that are unrealistic or is it truthful and effective.  I have talked a lot about candidate treatment and expectations over the years (From Since when do recruiters care… in 2006 to Does our industry care… in 2009) and yes, I have been frustrated with my share of stalker over excited candidates (Stop being so nice)  but I have also learned to develop an understanding of how to more carefully manage their expectations with reality of where we both stood.

Let’s really start to move forward in 2010 on candidate experience – beyond the employment brand and pretty websites.

About the author: ImSoCorporate.com


Through her roles in recruiting, project management, consulting and now as Chief Strategy Officer at HRMDirect Talent Management Software Sarah White has over 10 years of diverse experience aligning talent strategies with business strategies.  She is an experienced speaker, blogger, author and trainer working with organizations of all sizes and industries with a particular niche in privately held small to mid sized organizations.

In the past few years, she has served as keynote or guest speaker on a national, regional and local level for such prestigious groups as Kennedy Information, SHRM, HRMA, Young Professionals Group (YP), Children’s Miracle Network and more.  In addition, she authors articles and blogs, guest speaks in university classrooms, CEO roundtables and other business groups and has been tapped as an industry expert by Wall Street Journal, NBC News, and various regional newspapers and business journals.  She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communications with a focus on Organizational Communications.

By Noel Cocca

CEO/Founder RecruitingDaily and avid skier, coach and avid father of two trying to keep up with my altruistic wife. Producing at the sweet spot talent acquisition to create great content for the living breathing human beings in recruiting and hiring. I try to ease the biggest to smallest problems from start-ups to enterprise. Founder of RecruitingDaily and our merry band of rabble-rousers.