Maren Hogan, contributing member Editorial Advisory Board

Maren Hogan, contributing member Editorial Advisory Board

Since time immemorial (or just since blogs basically) people have ben writing about how recruiting and dating are very similar. I’ve even written these fateful words, after all, you are searching for a person that meets a certain set of pre-ordained and usually immovable parameters. You do set up little phone calls and meet ups to see if there’s any chemistry….er, cultural fit. It does take a lot of frogs before you find a prince…or princess. Yes, the similarities exist and if those similarities lend themselves to blog fodder, so much the better.

So, when rumors started floating around (again, by my count this is the fourth go around) about eHarmony getting into the HR and Recruiting space, I was surprised at the number of tech writers who covered the story!After all, most recruiting folks were unsurprisingly blase about the whole thing and with good reason. While recruiting and dating may have a lot in common in the blogosphere, it’s a far cry from being bedfellows when it comes to technology.

Does anyone remember cassette tapes? Whenever anyone would ask how they worked, some wise guy would pipe up with “MAGNETS!” which while technically not wrong, is far from an explanation. I feel that in tech writing the very same thing is happening with the word “ALGORITHM!” Whenever someone pitches a new product, writes a blog post or wants to defend a slow and clunky technology, they simply yell “ALGORITHM!” and run far, far away, leaving you with a 73-page white paper.

Anyway, proponents, the ONE proponent of eHarmony being the annihilation of recruiting tech, are sort of doing the same thing. The case is, eHarmony has a matching algorithm for people to fall in the loves and recruiting technologies USE algorithms to match candidates to jobs so obviously, they are ideally poised to blow all other recruiting technologies out of the water.

I hope you can tell by my tone that I think this is stupid. No? Okay here are the reasons it is stupid:

1) Timeline. Recruiting has long since ceased about finding the right fit for more than 5 years. In fact, an infographic I worked on with Entelo, shows that those that stay longer than 5 years tend to be lifers. In career, unlike marriage, the 7-year itch happens at about 2-3 years. So a matching technology that is looking for a lifetime match might just bork out completely, since most of the workforce doesn’t even want that anymore.

2) Vulnerability. On a dating site, everyone is skewing the same amount of vulnerability (maybe men have it a touch easier, as usual) but for the most part, everyone is putting themselves out there and inclined to give other folks on the site that same benefit of the doubt. In job hunting, or recruiting, or whatever, you have a completely different power dynamic, one in which, despite recent advances, the companies/recruiters/headhunters still have much of the power. Now I’m no coding genius, but it seems you’d have to factor that in.

3) Personality. In most relationships, save those profiled on TLC and Jerry Springer, two people are figuring out how they work together. In most workplaces, you have to work in a team environment, that makes personality assessments (even if they are really good personality assessments) just one part of a large puzzle (or one cog in a wheel if you want to get hopeless) instead of one half of a whole. In Facebook terms, “It’s complicated.”

4) Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That! As Sweet Brown famously put it. Look, I haven’t dated since God was a boy, but I can tell you that eHarmony (as well as other dating sites) takes for freaking ever to fill out! It’s pages upon pages of questions and it sometimes freezes up. Sound familiar? The HR space has been trying for years to ease the application process for candidates and applicants…so this is a move in the wrong direction. If we’re going to try an algorithm can we look at whatever Grindr is using? Now that’s fast….I’ve heard.

I’m sure if I sat at my keyboard for long enough, I could come up with more. The point is, there is a reason you don’t hear that many analogies pairing dating with HR…or management…or leadership. The recruiting process (or even interviewing is more accurate) may be like dating but once you’re on the team, it’s a far less accurate way to describe the process.

P.S. I think eHarmony is great and I know a lot of awesome people who have met their significant others via sites like this. Just stay on your side of the fence okay, dating sites? We’ve got our own problems to solve over here.

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