Interesting, I'd suggest the exact opposite.
I think it's less about a numbers game. If I was being courted (as an employee, employer, or potential love interest), you wouldn't win me over by making me feel like I was just an option out of a pool of hundreds. I'd feel more connected to someone who spent time learning about me and expressed genuine interest because they saw me standing out from the rest.
It's the same reason why we, as developers, dislike generic recruiting emails. Because we know the recruiter sent the same email to a thousand other people.
I totally get that! And if you're lucky enough to have some personal information to work from (most jobs posted just take you to some generic website), then of course you're going to stand out by showing a genuine care for the people you're speaking with.
But, like dating, you often don't have much information at the outset. You don't even know if they're all that into you. So if you invest too much time in the starting stages or give away too much potentially disqualifying information about yourself, your overall cost per acquisition gets too high.
Why invest an hour of your time researching a company that might not be all that interested in you? Or, for that matter, might not be a fit for other reasons?
I usually don't start the interview process knowing that I want to work for a company. The interview process is what gives me enough information to figure out if I want to work for that company. So I'm usually trying to give them just enough information to get to the next step (if I even want to invest time into that next step).
You apply to get a phone call. You get a phone call to get some basic info and see if there's a personality fit. You go through other stages of the interview to tie up all of the other loose ends. Then you compare offers and decide which one best fits your current goals and working style.
If all goes well, you find a role that makes you happy. If it goes supremely well, you stay for a long time.
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