hire an assistant using dating rules
Rebekah Epstein thinks of the dates as character-building exercises until the right person comes along. Interestingly enough, online dating can also be an excellent training tool for choosing your assistant. Finding not just a good one, but a perfect one, is a little bit like finding your soulmate.

Five ways online dating can help you:

1) It is a numbers game. The more people you meet, the more likely you are to find “the one.” Finding the right employee operates on the exact same principle. The more effort you put into getting out there and finding someone, the higher the likelihood you will find the perfect match.

2) Asking innocent-sounding (but very loaded) questions. Come again? What does that mean? There are a few questions in the arsenal of dating tools that one can ask as a character assessment. For example, “how was your weekend?” or “what do you normally do on weekends?”. They seem like innocent niceties, but in fact help understand how social a person is.

The same goes for interviewing possible employees. Your candidate will come armed with the same canned answers. Are you good at time management? Yes. What is one challenge in the workplace you had to overcome? Blah, blah, blah. Those questions/answers will not give you real insight. Sprinkle in questions about weekend plans, hobbies, dating, school work. You will learn a lot more about whom you are going to hire.

3) Keep your search targeted. It’s not just about Monster.com (or, to continue our analogy, Match.com). Just like online dating, you have to hit up niche sites to find what you want: JDate to find somebody Jewish, Meet A Cowboy to find a cowbody, Purrsonals to, no joke, find a fellow cat lover. This same tactic can be helpful when looking for employees: searching in niche markets will narrow the playing field. Post the opening in an industry specific group on LinkedIn. Or, send a job notice to target students at your local college or university studying the appropriate majors.

4) Know your non-negotiables. You have to set surface-level criteria to help narrow down the applicant pool. For Rebekah, when it comes to dating, height is a big thing. Since she is tall, she won’t date anyone that is under 5’10, even if he is the greatest dude of all time.

The same method is true for finding an assistant. If you decide that follow-ups and confirmations are going to be your big thing: If the candidate doesn’t e-mail you the day before your interview to re-confirm time and place, you may be automatically done with them. What if they forget to follow up with a Good Morning America producer the day before a client goes on?

5) Have an escape route. Bad interviews can be just as awkward as bad first dates, and they tend to be a major time suck. Most likely, you know if the person is a good fit within the first few minutes. If they aren’t, you always need an exit plan. For dating, prior engagement (e.g. dinner plans) may be a good excuse.

When you are meeting people for interviews, you also need to have a way to get out. There is no use wasting time if the person isn’t a good fit. Rebekah usually relies on this one: “I have a very important client phone call in 10 minutes.” Sometimes, it’s true.

Read the full article here.