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Is a peacock’s mating ritual any different than a job-seeker’s ploy to get noticed?


Adrian Papara is a full-time MBA student at the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa, with an interest in management consulting. Previously, he held various roles in the financial and marketing industries and earned a bachelor of arts, with a major in economics, from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C. In his spare time, he volunteers with the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, raises funds for various charities and has a keen interest in recreational flying and automotive restoration. This is his fifth blog in a series.

With less than two months left before I complete my full-time MBA program, I'm shifting my job search into high gear and couldn't help but notice the resemblance between seeking a job and dating. With that said, can someone successful at dating be just as successful at getting a job?

It has been more than a year since I established an online presence through my LinkedIn profile. As my digital résumé, I constantly explore new ways to improve it to highlight my capabilities and experiences to potential recruiters. In similar fashion to that of a dating profile, crafting a well-thought personal description always helps you stand out among other users and increases your chances of standing out.

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When it comes to getting noticed at business or school-related networking events, I have adopted the habit of wearing vivid coloured neckties to make myself increasingly memorable and attract attention. Some of my peers stand out by accessorizing with intricately folded suit pocket squares or lapel pins, which make for great conversation starters.

Funny as this may seem, it is not much different than the mating ritual of a peacock, which puffs up his body and spreads his tail feathers to attract hens. I believe appearances can say a lot about someone, so I ask myself: What does my physical appearance say about me? In my opinion, my fairly good physical shape speaks to how well I manage my work-life balance, being committed to a cause (a healthy lifestyle) and that I manage personal goals well. In addition, chances are that if a hiring manager is health conscious, he or she would probably most likely hire someone who is similar to them on that level.

Relating to hiring managers could be helpful, but some of them put a greater emphasis on a candidate's overall fit with their team. A lack of corporate cultural fit is sometimes a deal breaker and managers can make this assessment fairly quickly during a job interview. Memories of failed dates graze my mind when I think of cultural fit. Similar to dating, if you are not compatible with someone or have no chemistry off the bat, it is best that you both move on.

The speed dating technique has also been incorporated into some on-campus career networking events for MBAs. I am very attentive, and as I run through my 30-second elevator pitch, I can quickly tell if I have been able to capture a recruiter's attention. Picking up on these cues gives me a fairly good indication of the success of my prospect and whether it's worth pursuing further or moving on to the next.

Being previously unemployed, I learned that there is also a technique to courting your prospects. It is best to avoid looking desperate for a job but try to tango around the topic. I aim to be pleasant, show interest and learn as much as possible about an individual and his company so that if something does come up in the future, he will think of me or at least refer me to one of his peers.

So far I have discussed some of the similarities between seeking a job and dating. Whether there is a relationship between the two remains debatable, but if you agree that it does, I recommend further reading The Art of Seduction to hone your skills. It is always best to remain genuine throughout an interaction as there is only so long that you can uphold a front. Superior dating skills might help secure a job but not necessarily keep it.

Adrian can be reached through his LinkedIn profile.

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