I love my job as a recruiter. Every day, I make a difference in people’s lives – the work is challenging, fast-paced and rewarding.

But if I were to switch careers, LinkedIn is pretty sure it knows what I’d do next. The business and employment-oriented social networking service analyzed 94 million members’ profile data and found that people who move on from recruiting often land in human resources, sales, consulting, corporate training, business strategy or project management.

I think they may have missed a profession: matchmaking.

Yes, matchmaking – the central theme of Hello Dolly, TV’s Millionaire Matchmaker, and Jane Austen’s Emma – has many parallels to recruiting. After all, as a recruiter, my goal every day is to connect people who are a great fit for each other. My methods certainly would sound familiar to anyone who pairs people for a living:

  • Start by finding out everything I can about both parties.
  • Go beyond the basics to understand each of them as people – learn about their personalities and what makes them tick.
  • Help them differentiate themselves to really stand out from the crowd.
  • Find connections between them.

The needs and interests of my job candidates and employer clients are of paramount importance to me, and I follow a few key principles to help them succeed:

Follow up

Like the determined Dolly Levi of stage and film, I believe that caring should be part of the equation in my work. When serving my clients and candidates, I keep in mind that I’m not only representing myself, I’m representing Lucas Group – and I’m diligent about communicating with them.

On the client side, if I haven’t found the right candidate for a client, I make sure to follow up with the employer. I’ll reach out to them with an email or preferably a phone call – people appreciate when you take the time to call. I try not to let time go by. I show them I care by offering solutions. If an idea occurs to me after hours, I’ll share it.

On the candidate side, if I’m not finding a job fit, I follow up and let them know why. Often, I’ll requalify them and discuss their work history. I might give them pointers about their resume and make sure they’re quantifying their results, rather than just listing job duties. I help people differentiate themselves; for example, if I know a client is an animal lover, I might advise the candidate to list her volunteer work with the Humane Society.

Advocate with transparency

Just as reality TV’s Millionaire Matchmaker Patty Stanger kept in close touch with her team to best serve her clients, it’s crucial for me to share information with my colleagues.

I work with eight people in Atlanta, and I’m part of a team of 40 across the country. We share everything about our clients and candidates with each other: how many interviews we’ve set up, exactly what each client is looking for, and what makes each candidate special. I really try to paint a picture of a candidate as a person. I never know when something I share might spark an idea or opportunity with one of my colleagues.

Foster relationships

In literature and film, Jane Austen protagonist Emma is all about relationships. The same is true for recruiters: we go beyond finding top talent by building strong connections. To foster those relationships, I need to understand my clients and candidates as people. When I speak with a client, I go above and beyond the job description and ask about the team and the culture, to get a feel of the place. I also try to share some information about myself: I look for a common interest with someone, knowing that it can create a bond between us.

As a recruiter, it’s so important to listen and be attentive to my clients and candidates. I want them to trust me, so I communicate clearly and often with them. Simply acknowledging that I received their message can make a big difference in how they view me.

Bringing People Together

While we usually think of matchmaking as relating to romance, one dictionary definition of matchmaker fits recruiters to a T:

matchmaker

[mach-mey-ker]

NOUN

Any person or organization that brings two parties together, as to effect a sale or other transaction: an agent serving as a matchmaker between buyers and sellers.