How I found love by thinking like a recruiter

Love was elusive to me my first three years in the city. The first two of those years, I was determined to find love “the old fashioned way”, but quickly found I was turned off by the arrogance of the models and bottles scene, and found there was not much bang for my buck in going to events in hopes of meeting someone… events ranging from dance parties to Tough Mudders to coding weekends to music festivals. I’m one of those people that’s not shy 1-on-1, but I find a room a bit intimidating, and tend to just meet a few people at each event. Applying some simple statistics shows that the chances of meeting “the one” at one of these events was not proportional to the amount of time I was pouring into them.

Next came online dating. Back then (early 2012) it was pretty much just OkCupid and, so I tried them both. The mistakes I made upon first try were:

1) Spending hours, days, conversing with someone, only to meet up for dinner and finding out the spark wasn’t there.

2) Doing dinner! It’s such a time consuming affair, and I could figure out within 5 min if I was interested or not.

As I complained to a girlfriend that I found it odd that I could have no problem finding candidates for hard-to-fill roles, but found it impossible to fill my open “boyfriend” requisition, a light bulb went off.

Recruiting is a numbers game. I knew my statistics… how many resumes I needed to source to insure one would get a phone screen, how many phone screens were necessary to translate to an onsite, how many onsites resulted in offers, and what percentage of offers would be accepted. I would be a *terrible* recruiter if I just went to, say, hackathons, and relied upon the hope that of the few people I met, they would be in the job market, qualified for the jobs we had open, and interested in working at our company. That would be an insane strategy. And yet, that was the strategy I was using with my love life.

I found that OKCupid had a feature that let you rank potential matches on the five star system. Once you ranked the match, the next one popped up. I couldn’t figure out, from my phone, how to write to people from this feature… but I figured that didn’t matter. Rate now, either they’d write to me, or I could go back and write later.

I also scrapped dinner and made these dates for coffee or froyo, and gave myself permission to cut the date off 10 minutes into if it wasn’t working out. There was no point in wasting hours of my time and his if this date was also a last date.

A few bad things happened as a result of this strategy:

1) I got texted a few pictures that I can never unsee. By putting it “out there” to a greater number of people, I was putting it “out there” to a greater number of perverts and wackos.

2) I went on some epically bad dates. Most notable were the hunter who hated his mother, alternately showing me pictures of dead animals (though my profile said I was vegetarian) and her bad plastic surgery… and the contortionist whose dad lost the family’s savings by trying to promote Niagara Falls with polar bear characters that traveled on rainbows. At least I had stories!

But then, one day in January 2013 I got an automated email that a guy had rated me 5 stars and I had rated him 5 stars. I’d been intending to write to him and it had slipped my mind. We met up for tea, then grabbed dinner, and well, the date never ended. We’re getting married in 2 months.

I’m happily surprised to see dating apps like Tinder following this “numbers game” model. It’s no surprise they’ve been a wild success. As unromantic as it may sound – it maximizes the ROI for time spent looking for love.

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