3 Things Dating Apps And ATS Have in Common

Even if you have never explored the adventurous world of dating apps, you likely know someone who has tried finding “the one” on those platforms.

And this usually how it goes…

You get excited thinking about the people you might meet.

  • So you create your dating profile,
  • add your best photos,
  • and write something witty in your bio.

You are confident that your time in these apps likely will be short, until you meet the “perfect one”.

3 weeks in, 200+ profiles “left” swipes after, and 3 “meh” dates later, you are still single.

You have over 15 unread messages from dating apps, excited to hear from you, but they didn’t impress you so they can wait.

There were a few “good prospects” but they were not the “perfect one”.

With more options at the tip of our fingers than ever in human history, did you know that in 2019, 47% (122 million) of people in the U.S. were single, up from 28% (38 million) in the 1970s pre-internet era?

Psychologist Barry Schwartz calls this the “paradox of choice” – having limitless options can make people less sure they made the right decision and less happy.


Here are 3 Things Dating Apps And ATS have in common.

What happens when your org needs to hire a software engineer?

Recruiters post job ads across all the job boards and your ATS gets filled-up with 200+ applicants.

Within a few weeks, hiring managers face a similar paradox.

  1. Choice overload sets in.
  2. Every applicant becomes another “profile” to screen.
  3. Months slip by assessing candidates who aren’t “perfect.”


So what you should do if you want to find your “perfect” candidate?

1. Define your “Ideal Candidate Profile” first.

As a start, accept that there is no “perfect”.

“Perfect is the enemy of good” – Voltaire

Like dating apps, ATS allows unfettered access to profiles. But while more choice seems better, it makes knowing what you want harder. Successful dating starts with understanding core wants. Similarly, define an Ideal Candidate Profile before posting jobs.

Here are a few examples on how you can approach your engineering team when crafting your ICP:

  • Are technical skills more crucial than leadership abilities?
  • Can the team train the new hires, or do they need to hit the ground running?
  • Is the role geared towards technical guidance rather than hands-on coding?

Did you know that 69% of hiring managers do not understand the goals and missions of their company leaders?

Be in the 31% of hiring managers by defining the priorities first.

2. Look beyond the profile with human interaction.

Online dating misses nuance without actual conversation.

Likewise, over-relying on resumes as profiles causes biased, rushed judgments. Look beyond to connect with applicants as real people first before assessing fit.

I know what you are thinking.


There are so many of them?

Here’s the caveat…

If you create the ICP as mentioned above, this instantly reduces the # of irrelevant candidates clogging up your pipeline.

If recruiters have too many requisitions, limit them to 1-3 and focus on critical roles.

3. Avoid the “never settle” perfectionism trap.

I recently read a book, “4000 weeks: Time management for Mortals”, where the author dives into the flawed mindset of “never settling”.

Because adopting the “never settling” attitude is actively choosing to believe that we have unlimited amount of time to make decisions and to dismiss that time itself is a limited resource and how it can lead to unrealistic expectations and perpetual dissatisfaction.

How paradoxical right?

To believe the perfect match is one more left-swipe or job advert away. But there is no perfect. At some point, we have to “settle” on a new team member. Because only after we “settle”, we can fully invest in that decision, be it a love partner, career, or a newly hired team member. Because great hires are made, not born perfect.


In review, dating apps and ATS share the challenges of:

  • choice overload,
  • dehumanization,
  • and the illusion of perfection.


Just as settling for a dating partner takes wisdom, settling for a great hire means avoiding the myth of perfection.

Focus on the must-haves and invest fully once you decide.

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