Musings & Threads. More About Online Dating.
More About Online Dating.
Advice from a 38 year-old married guy. It's all about LEAD-GEN. By Guest Contributor Troy Lavinia.
Editor's Note: This post was written in response to an earlier Hummingbird piece published a month ago by Contributor Angela Rieck entitled "Oh Good Lord." It details Angela's foray into online dating and bears the subtitle "A Widow's Guide to Dating." We highly encourage you to read it in combination with the post that follows. Here's the link. (Oh, and LEAD-GEN is lead generation.)
Just a thought, because I'm SO sure you want dating advice from a married 38-year-old guy...
The reason why online dating sites are no good is because they are only lead-gen sources - they don't help you properly screen candidates. LUCKILY, dating is just like hiring (and you were probably great at that) - it's a numbers game, and all you need is a good system for finding and screening candidates. And it can be FUN!
First you need a few good lead-gen sources. This is where online dating sites are a huge help - they simply allow you to get more candidates into your pipeline than ever before. You may also want to announce to your friends that you are "hiring" and ask them for referrals. Post on Facebook and offer to give them a $100 massage gift certificate if they introduce you to a candidate that you date for more than 6 months.
Regardless, have a few lead-gen sources and refill your pipeline on an ongoing basis.
Next, you need to find efficient ways of weeding people out BEFORE your in-person meeting... This is the bread-and-butter of your process, and allows you to save MASSIVE amounts of time.
Phone and text screening is best. A set of standard questions should do the trick, to give you a good sense of the guy's intentions, depth, and character before stepping out the door for a date:
"How many books have you read in the past year?" (more than 1 is acceptable)
"How many cats do you own?" (zero is the acceptable answer)
"What is your favorite George Michael song?" ("huh" is the only acceptable answer, if you are looking for a straight man)
"If you had a week to yourself with no commitments and an infinite budget, what would you do?"
If someone has any red flags during your phone/text screening, CUT THEM.
I'm sure you've been enticed by hiring candidates in business that have strong resumes, and you've gone down the path with them, even though they had a red flag (e.g. the reason they left their last job was "kind of mutual," or "they are living at home with their parents 'temporarily'") - CUT THEM. If you want to meet your hiring goals and find a great man, you don't have time to mess around. Remember, "Any red flags, and they are going stag."
Before your first in-person date, it might be helpful to throw in a "case study" of sorts. You want a guy who knows how to pick a good date spot, and who is organized and dedicated enough to make it happen.
Leave the spot-picking and scheduling completely in his hands - see how he handles it. Does he pick a good location? Is he easy and breezy to schedule with? (any more than 3 back-and-forths with you to get coffee or dinner scheduled is a red flag)
Again, any red flags - difficulty scheduling or lame date spot - and you have to cut him.
At this point, you are processing several candidates a week AND, you haven't even gotten out of bed yet. Remember, "If flags are red, don't get out of bed."
Next, if a candidate has navigated your screening labyrinth and EARNED an in-person date with you, you have your standard questions that you ask all candidates during the in-person meeting, and you go with your gut. You've done this before at work, this is no different. In this case: does he dress appropriately, is he well-groomed, does he smile and laugh easily, do you like the way he views the world (optimist rather than cynic, for example).
Other suggestions: Make this a 30 minute meeting. Only go past 30 minutes if you think he is AMAZING and you're really enjoying yourself. Bail after 10 minutes if you see any red flags.
Next, after the first coffee, if you still think they are a good fit, it's time for some background checking. Have your craziest, stalker-est girlfriend do a social media/online deep-dive on your candidate. Tell your girlfriend that you need this guy vetted hard; give her a 2 day timeline and $10 budget, and see what she comes up with. Have your girlfriend present her findings to you over coffee - "the debrief" - this will be fun.
FINAL ROUND - GROUP INTERVIEW:
IF all signs point to YES, at this point, set up a group interview. Have your candidate meet you and a friend for coffee or a drink at a casual location. Here, you're looking for his social comfort level, his manners, his ability to engage your friend, how much fun is he, etc.
There will be one of three outcomes, coming out of the group interview:
- Your friend loves him and gives you the unconditional thumbs up.
- Your friend is hesitant (ranging from "honey, run away!" to "that thing he did with his teeth was weird") - in this case, CUT HIM. It's better to cut him now than continue down the path with someone who has a red flag from your friends.
- Your friend loves him, but you don't - your friend now has a fully-vetted man she can take out. (This is like when you interview a candidate and they just aren't perfect for your company; but they would be a great fit for your friend's company - just make sure she gives you a referral fee!)
YOUR HIRING GOALS:
You want to go out on 1 date this year. Once you have this system up-and-running, you may be having so much fun that you will want to raise your sights.
Let's take a look at the numbers we could expect...
My guess is you can find 5 reasonable candidates per week, to add to your pipeline.
Of those 5, 2 will probably make it through your phone/text screening.
Of those 2, only 1 will be sharp enough to pick a date spot that you like and be able to schedule with you efficiently (pass the "case study").
So that is 1 date per week (1 "in-person interview"); 4 per month.
Of those 4 dates in a given month, 3 will pass your friend's online vetting process (3 will pass the "background check").
That is 3 group coffees ("group interviews") per month.
Of those 3 group coffees, you will probably land 1-2 "candidates" that you want to date on an ongoing basis.
And your friend might get one too.
(If you want to scale back, just adjust your lead-gen numbers accordingly - 10 candidates per month will yield 2 dates per month and a group date every 2 months. Whatever feels manageable for you. Just work the system.)
Not a bad haul, for a month of "hiring."
Have fun! :)