If you’re single or you have single friends, you’ve likely heard of Tinder. If not ask one.  It’s a dating app, that is really no more than an advanced real life game of "hot or not." 

What does this have to do with your company and hiring? A LOT. Keep reading. 

On the app, you select a basic (AND I MEAN BASIC) group of parameters or filters. Male/Female - Age Range - Location and a Picture. 

If you click on a picture, there is sometimes a few sentences or a brief description about the person and what he/she is looking for.

Upon seeing a picture you have a choice:

Swipe Right… Hot. I’m interested. 

Swipe left… Not. Next. Not interested. 

The challenge is that you have no idea or control over who or what appears next while swiping. 

One minute it may be a handsome doctor or lawyer. Swipe right. Next is a dude wearing camo, holding a deer he just cleaned or maybe a guy with a shirtless gym selfie whose main focus is is his tan and protein intake.  You might see a super model, yoga Instructor or executive followed by a Waffle House Waitress with a Confederate tattoo holding an assault rifle. (I’ve personally experienced this one. True story. Hey, I'm single. Don't judge.)

If they swiped right also, there is a match, but that really doesn't mean anything. There is no guarantee that you will ever speak or communicate with them, let alone you being mutually attracted to each other beyond a picture and brief description.

You have no control of who appears, it is total chance, and even if there is initial interest it may go nowhere... KIND OF LIKE A JOB POSTING





If you click on the picture to actually read a person's description. (Most people don’t btw) it’s usually the standard pablum. "I like to live, laugh and love”, "I want someone who likes to travel and enjoys the outdoors.” Looking for LTR (Long Term Relationship), No Hookups and Non-Smokers only.

Don’t know about you, but I'm sensing a “soul connection” Get's me right in the "feels",  kind of like The Notebook” 

C’mon, these descriptions are similar, shallow, nondescript, generic crap.


Seriously, what you and your company are doing to attract and hire talent is IDENTICAL.

Your entire recruitment and hiring strategy is based on hope and caters to the lowest common denominator.

What your recruiters mean when they say, "We have some good "APPLICANTS" 

What your recruiters mean when they say, "We have some good "APPLICANTS" 

Not exactly a way to run a company, find your next leaders or demonstrate that “people are our most important asset.”

Here is why you should be concerned and consider a different approach to identifying candidates and people who are going to be part of your company. 

The quality people you want to lead your organization or serve your customers are ... NOT ON A JOB BOARD OR COMING TO YOUR SITE. 

Just like the love of your life and person you want to raise your children IS LIKELY NOT ON TINDER.

Think about it. Happily married people don’t go on Tinder or dating sites. 

Just like happy, successful employees aren’t looking at your posting or causing a job board or linked in. 

A happily married person doesn’t respond to flirty text… just like a successful, happy, employed person isn’t going to respond to your stupid LinkedIn Mail. 

Not to say everyone on a job board or who applies to your post is bad. (But I will say there is a HUGE difference between and APPLICANT and a CANDIDATE)

Much like there is a difference between a walk on and a recruit or draft pick… or someone you choose for a part versus an open casting call. But that’s a different story. 

Let's recap your current situation and give you a better way. 

Currently, when you rely on postings, LinkedIn or a job board...

  • You’re in bloody waters (Red Ocean) competing with dozens if not hundreds of similar companies looking for the exact same thing and hoping to gain a candidates attention. 
  • Your message is not dramatically different than the others, assuming they read it.
  • There may be companies with greater name recognition than you.
  • The job or company description is generic or reads like an ingredient label 
  • You have no control of who applies or responds and there is no guarantee that they are either qualified or the best.
  • You can guarantee they are talking with or exploring companies other than yours. 
  • Your missing out on the largest and best group of potential people to choose from (est.80%+) because they are already working and not seeing your message or know who you are… 

Your chances for success are not looking good my friend. 

I may stop off at the QT to get some Powerball Lotto Tickets and a Snickers. I'd have about the same odds.  (however, I hear the Snickers satisfies... unlike your job postings and "craplicants" who may or may not decide to participate.)

... yes, I said, "craplicants" that wasn't a typo.

An Obvious but Seldom Used Solution

Be proactive. Be selective. Identify them specifically. Discover where they are and how to reach them … THEN GO GET THEM.

You know, actually source or target prospective people you think are a great fit.

This means creating a target list or pipeline of high potential employees or prospects that may or may not be currently available or interested.

It means knowing who is working for your competition. It means knowing the prospects in the market just like your sales and new business groups do

It means "search and acquire" instead of "post and pray."

C'mon it's called "Talent Acquisition" but too many companies take the lazy (and sexier) way out and fall into "Talent Attraction".

To "acquire" is an action word. To "attract" is passive. 

Hello Tinder... Starting to sound familiar?

You tell me which is harder but would yield a higher quality partner? Actually courting someone, dating, wooing or pursuing an individual who you feel is great potential match even though you don't currently know them but can introduce yourself OR swiping right for the chance to compete with others for a hookup and night of Netflix and Chill?  

Despite it's simplicity, sourcing is next level stuff where recruiting is concerned. However it is second nature in sales though. We have no problem preparing and competing to acquire market share or customers. But people frown upon "poaching" or being aggressive , "salesy", pushy or targeting people. That's weak thinking. If a VP of Sales took that approach he or she would be fired. But it's common practice in many HR departments. 

Start to take the same approach to targeting and capturing "mindshare" as aggressively as your sales department pursues marketshare.

Standing apart and beating your competition for the best people begins with creating a bench or a pipeline of high potential people who are currently and successfully working for someone else.   

By proactively sourcing and reaching out before you need it (or at least identifying who the potentials are) you can flip the script and take back control. 

Sourcing helps you hunt rather than fish, hoping that you get a bite. It allows you to be a predator rather than a processor.

Relying on a postings, inbound candidates or whoever happens to "apply" means you give up control and make your company a commodity.

Failing to have a sourcing strategy means you're playing game of chance and timing. By the time someone hits the market, posts a resume or visits a job board or your site… you’ve lost all momentum any competitive advantage you may have had. 

You had better HOPE that someone applies (swipes right) because they recognize your company. (like your picture in Tinder terms)  

If you are lucky enough to have them even click your ad or even read your well crafted "job description", it will likely read similarly to every other company looking for the same thing you are.

Even then... the odds are still against you because you know they are looking at every one else and applying as many places as they can. They're swiping right. (Yep, they're dating around on you... can you believe it? Rude)

A Solution is to dig your well before you're thirsty.

By proactively sourcing you can have knowledge and certainty that you have identified the entire market and have a better chance at landing “the Best” rather than the “best available who happened to luck out and see our ad and we have to compete with everyone else she is intervening with.

Proactive sourcing and planning ahead lets you be in control, upgrade the quality you choose from and gives you the opportunity to develop relationships organically rather than out of desperation.  

It is a simple concept but hard to implement. It takes effort and while not rocket science, capital intensive or resource heavy, it is much more complex than giving a coordinator or entry level recruiter a LinkedIn seat and calling it sourcing. That's like saying that you do yoga because you wear Lululemon yoga pants.

If you have questions about this, what it means, how to implement or enhance it in your company, or even have it done for you (yeah, that exists), we can show you how to leveraging your own resources and team. 

Otherwise, keep swiping right and good luck finding love.... I mean candidates.



PSS:  If you really want to go down an entertaining rabbit hole and time suck, google bad Tinder profiles. * thats where the photos above are from. Genius AND disturbing. 


Bradley Richardson is a 20+ year veteran in the career, recruiting and executive search space. A best-selling author and speaker, his work with individuals and companies as been featured in media such as The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, USA Today, CNN, Fox News, Entrepreneur, Good Morning America and more. He is the founder of OSP Advisory in Dallas, Texas,  where he is engaged to teach, coach and mentor leaders of INC. 5000 and high growth companies how to recruit and hire better, faster and different than their competition.

Bradley Richardson