So eHarmony, the popular online dating site, is developing a career site to match job seekers to employers. Puh-leeze. As far as I am concerned, agency recruiters shouldn’t spend even five minutes worrying about this new ‘competition.’ I’ve written before about how job boards compare to online dating services, and my sentiments haven’t changed.
Here are my top 5 reasons why eHarmony’s new endeavor won’t threaten agency recruiters:
1. Hiring is not dating. Sometimes you go on a date and realize there won’t be a second date. Sometimes you date for a few months and realize the relationship isn’t going anywhere. Many times (most?) when you break up, you never want to see or hear from the other person again. How does that make sense for employment? Most employers don’t want to hire someone only to hear, “It’s not you, it’s me” 3 months later. And most employers also don’t approach most hires with a “try it before you buy it” mentality. Applying a dating ‘strategy’ to the employment process really doesn’t make a lot of sense. Agency recruiters, on the other hand, cultivate long-term relationships with candidates BEFORE they have a job that is suitable. And they stay in touch with their “exes,” knowing that people move on and create new placement opportunities.
2. Really long ‘application’ process will turn off job seekers and employers alike. To use eHarmony as a dating site, users must currently complete a 250+ question profile. 250+ questions! Just to see if eHarmony will even accept you as a user! Now complicate it by factoring in the high probability that job seekers will be using a mobile device. 250 questions on a phone? Not gonna happen.
2. High rejection rate, which could be discriminatory in an employment context. According to some reports, approximately 20% of all people who try to use eHarmony’s dating platform are rejected as unsuitable. True, many of them are already married, which doesn’t bode well for a site that wants to help people find lasting relationships that lead to marriage. BUT, a significant number of applicants are rejected because the answers they give on the eHarmony profile are inconsistent or too hard to match. eHarmony believes that people who think a lot like each other are more likely to be compatible. Translation: eHarmony works best for black-and-white “yes/no” people. People who think “it depends” is usually the right answer are harder to match in this system. Lots of jobs require flexibility, creative thinking, and nuance — in other words, “it depends” answers. If it turns out that there are certain types of people who are more likely than others to be rejected because of the way they answer questions, this could potentially lead to discrimination-related lawsuits.
3. Lies and TMI (Too Much Information). People exaggerate or outright lie on both their resumes AND their online dating profiles. Savvy users have figured out the keyword game and know how to stuff their profiles with words they think others will search on. TMI is another issue, with some people “oversharing” and an increasing number of employers reportedly turning down candidates based on what they have posted on social media profiles. Agency recruiters struggle with these same issues, which can’t be solved (yet) with an algorithm.
4. Poor job descriptions / employers don’t know what they want. The best matches come when both sides to the party know what they are looking for. Unfortunately, many employers still struggle with poorly-written job descriptions that are based on what a candidate HAS and not what the candidate can DO. It’s the old garbage in, garbage out concept – if the employer doesn’t know what they want, no one will be able to find it, whether it’s an agency recruiter OR a service like eHarmony.
5. The people you want aren’t there. People who aren’t actively looking for a date OR a job probably aren’t using these sites. I don’t care how good the site is, you can only find the people who register.
Hiring is a complex process. It involves a lot more than comparing yes/no tick boxes on an online profile. Agency recruiters understand nuance and culture, which can’t easily be analyzed with software. If job boards haven’t put you out of business, this won’t either. Share if you agree!
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