Finding your next unicorn employee is a lot like dating. From that initial sliver of curiosity to the nerve-racking first date (read: first interview), the similarities go well beyond that first encounter.
While recently watching Netflix's Indian Matchmaking, a docuseries featuring matchmaker Sima Taparia, I was struck at the matchmaker's wisdom when it came to facilitating lasting long-term relationships. Immediately, I thought how this could be translated into the interview process. Putting cultural nuances aside, Taparia's insight into the open-mindedness and concessions needed in a first meeting is an excellent case study in what modern recruiters should be practicing while interviewing a prospective new hire.
From editing down your must-have list to not shying away from hard-hitting questions, here are three interview lessons I took away from my afternoon binge-watching Netflix's hit show Indian Matchmaking.
1. Ditch the hyper-specific requirements
At the onset of every client meeting in Indian Matchmaking, matchmaker Sima asks her client and their family what they are looking for in a future partner. We then watch as a comically long laundry list of must-haves, often contradictory, appear beside them on the screen.
While it can be good to be picky and have high expectations, Sima argues that most people do not really know what they are looking for until they find it.
It can be incredibly tempting to whip up a job description and set of requirements that clearly outlines everything from years of experience needed to specific skills necessary to apply, but this greatly limits your chances to be blown away by an unexpected candidate. I can say with full confidence that some of my best hires ever came with little, if not none, of the requirements I had originally set out to hire for.
The lesson? Make sure you are open to being surprised, and don't be afraid to swipe right on a wildcard every now and then.
2. It's OK to ask the tough questions
With only a short time to make a great first impression, first meetings are often a tricky balance of trying to determine if someone will be a compatible fit and actually getting to the tough questions.
In the series, Sima takes a lot of the guesswork out of the process by having the metadata of potential matches sent out to the families right away (think: reviewing a résumé). However, after both people agree to meet, they do not waste any time before discussing their biggest deal breakers. Do they want a soccer team size family? It's on the table. Are they open to moving across the country? Let's talk about it.
When it comes to the initial interview, you cannot shy away from asking the questions that you are most curious about, and that will actually help you make your final decision. If you don't think you are getting an actual answer from someone, clarify or ask again.
3. Involve the whole team
Throughout the show, matchmaker Sima is invited into the homes of people looking for love. But these are not one-on-one meetings; the potential matches often take along members of both their immediate and extended family who are able to weigh in on their desires and offer feedback on any new partners.
While it can be tempting to avoid the hassle of hashing out your team's schedules and finding a time for a group interview, involving your team in the hiring process is essential. Even if your executive team can not make the actual interviews, discussing the best options with everyone involved and making sure that they have their unique concerns heard during the process is critical to finding a match that will have long-term success at your company.