Back in 1995, Match.com launched itself onto the world wide web, and singles running Windows 95 on their 8 megabyte PCs had their first taste of online dating. 20 years later, the landscape of online dating had exploded as the concept of being “online” evolved with mobile devices. While Match.com was (and is currently) still around, its market was now crowded with apps like Tinder, OK Cupid and Bumble.
Like any other development in technology, dating sites and, with more zeal, dating apps have been the target of much criticism. As a single millennial myself, I can’t say many of those criticisms are unfounded. Dating apps have completely changed the rules of “the game” and it’s hard to think of many pros that have come from those changes.
So why in the world are we about to hand talent functions over to these monsters??
In case you think I’m getting ahead of myself by thinking dating apps are encroaching on the talent space, check out this piece from earlier in 2017 about a new app called Bizz. Here’s an excerpt from The Verve, summing up the app:
“Bizz lets users swipe to find connections to network with Bumble’s 20 million users…Bizz profiles let users add verified photos, digital resumes, a skills section and examples of their work.”
It does say in the article how Bizz’s owners, Bumble (the same Bumble as the dating app mentioned above) aims to make the app about networking and building professional relationships rather than about recruiting and finding jobs. But, where there’s networking, there’s job hunting and recruiting happening. Not to mention, it sounds an awful lot like a certain social media platform that started as a professional networking site and is now used extensively by recruiters and job seekers…
It might seem like progress-phobia to hate on an app like this so early in the game, but as a society we can’t stop collectively talking about how dating apps sucked the life out of romance. Why would they be any better at connecting employers and candidates? After all, the two types of relationships aren’t that far off (see: the 6.25 million Google results that pop up when you search “dating recruiting”).
Consider these top detriments dating apps cause to romance, and how they might do it to the TA world too:
- The first thing you judge a person on is their looks. In the good old days, you would hear about a prospective date through a friend and get an impression that way, or you’d see them at a coffee shop or a bar. Maybe the latter you’d still see them and notice their looks upfront, but you’d also already know something about them (i.e., they like hanging out in a coffee shop or a bar). Nowadays, it all comes down to swiping left for “no” or right for “yes” on a picture.And this would be even more detrimental in the talent world. The last thing a recruiter should do is make a snap judgment on a candidate based on their looks, but if a picture and a short blurb is all they have to go on, what else are they to do? Bias could become even more of an issue than it already is.
- It’s easier to tell a lie and string the other person along for a longer period of time. Ever heard of catfishing? Sure, the argument could be made that candidates can create false resumes and LinkedIn profiles and catfish recruiters in today’s world, but think of how much longer the con could go on for with a dating app-style recruiting platform. A recruiter could be talking back and forth with a star candidate for weeks until they finally run a background check and learn it was all a lie.
- And, most importantly, you have to go through a lot of creeps to find the right one. Even if the person isn’t catfishing you, most people on dating apps have to filter out twenty weird messages for every normal one. And then for every date that comes from a normal message, you’ll have to sit through five ones where the person is much different in person than over the app.Wouldn’t the same be true for recruiting? Recruiters would have to spend even more time fielding spammy requests and inappropriate candidates before finding a few good ones to talk with. And then they’ll be going through multiple ones of those before finding a candidate who resembles their online persona.
Dating apps have made the romance world feel more accessible, but it’s taken the—for lack of a better word—heart out of the game. The same impersonal touch would transfer to the talent acquisition world and make recruiting apps that reflect dating apps more of a hassle than a tool that’s worth using.