Founder Friday: How a Dating Mentality Helps Me Hire Star Employees, with Heidi Zak

Founder Friday: How a Dating Mentality Helps Me Hire Star Employees, with Heidi Zak

As a #ByWomenForWomen company, we love celebrating brands that are led by fellow female founders. Our new series, Founder Friday, is a chance to get to know some of these standout women, including our very own Heidi Zak!


Over 10,000 applications were submitted to ThirdLove last year, and I personally interviewed 130 people. At some point along the way, I realized that hiring is a lot like dating.


When you go on a first date, you know pretty quickly if the person sitting across from you has potential. It’s the same when you sit down to interview someone. Within the first 30 seconds, you’ve likely identified whether or not this person has a chance of being successful on your team.


My Co-founder, David, or I used to interview every single person we hired at ThirdLove. Now we tend to spend time with more senior candidates, given our size. Everyone has their own interview style. People have different ways of interacting and extracting information from a candidate. My Co-founder and I have very different interview styles, but it’s great because we have unique interactions in interviews. We get different information from candidates based on our approaches, and that gives us more to work with.


When I screen people on the phone, it’s like a first date. I know immediately if there’s chemistry. But in final round interviews, things get more serious. I want to know specifics and address hesitations.


The hiring manager may say they love a candidate, but there are some areas where I need to spend time pushing a little more. That’s my job. I want to focus on filling in information or addressing the hiring manager’s concerns with every candidate.


When we looked back over the candidates that didn’t work out during the interview process, each situation had a similarity. I can remember one thing in the interview that should have tipped us off or a question that went unanswered. And those are learning opportunities.


Regardless of whether things work out with a candidate, I really strive to make sure that anyone who interviews with me walks away with a positive impression. Even if they’re not the right fit, I want them to feel like I’ve been considerate of their time.


Actually, we give everyone who comes in for an interview a free product to take home. If it’s a guy, we ask if they want a bra for their girlfriend, wife, sister, mom, or friend. If it’s a woman, we give them a bra to thank them for coming in.


It never pays to be rude, whether or not the date went as well as you’d hoped.