What eHarmony Can Teach Us About Finding The Employee-Employer Match Made In Heaven

Guest: Mary Ila Ward Always Be Closing, Audacious Ideas, Candidate Pool, Employee Communications, Employee Relations, Employment Branding and Culture, Good HR, Hiring Managers, HR, HR (& Life!) Advice, Interviewing, Recruiting

I signed up for eHarmony.com. Yes, I’m still happily married to my baby’s daddy whose birth I wrote about for FOT a few months back.  And he’s actually sitting with me as I sign up.

“You’re crazy,” he says.

Maybe so. But I think dating sites can teach us a lot about how we can better “match” employees and employers.

As I begin the assessment and profile process, I solicit him to help me answer the questions. The first part is a list of words that could be used to describe a person… with instructions on how to rate yourself on a scale of one to seven by how much that word describes you.

“Adventurous.” I say.

“Two.” He says.

“Two??!” I question. “I’m adventurous! I ran a marathon (many years ago before previously mentioned children were born).

“That’s not adventurous,” he says. “You haven’t hiked the Appalachian Trail, climbed Mt. Rainier, spent the night in the woods…” Of course, those are all the things he has done regardless of kids (or no kids) being in the equation.

Next one.

“Bossy,” I say as I prepare myself for him to give me a higher score than I’m comfortable with admitting.

“Six,” he grins.

“Oh come on,” I say, “I know I like to take charge, but, really, a six?  I’m not that high!”

“You left me a list of things to do at the house on my day off from work,” he responds.

Okay, point taken. But, I blame the recency effect on this. That’s probably the only list I’ve left him all year.

This dialogue and the many other questions on the personality profile (the sucker is long!) lead me to one of many observations about what we can learn about talent acquisition and selection from dating sites:

  1. Don’t question a candidate’s perception of who they are; ask them from the get-go (or better yet, their husband) how they behave. We’ve gotta get at behaviors early so we quit wasting upfront time. I don’t care what or who you think you are—you tell me who you are by how you behave.

Like the eHarmony profile asks me later on, such as, do I smoke, do I drink, do I like to take long walks on the beach (ok, it doesn’t really ask me this cliché of a question but I was expecting it to), we assess behaviors and we’re on to our perfect match. If we can find a way to assess behaviors of both the organization in aggregate and the individual job seeker, we define organizational culture and individual values or priorities and we match these up in an automated fashion that saves us all time, money and headaches.

  1. We need to care more, earlier on, about what our potential “mate” wants—their must-haves and non-negotiables. Whether it is an employer or employee market out there, as employers we need to care about what our candidates want. This isn’t for altruistic reasons; it’s for selfish reasons. What they want may not be right or wrong, but if we can’t meet the need of what they want, we’ll end up in divorce. And we know how much that costs.
  1. Save time and get out of the bars searching. What is your analogy to “the bar” in your recruiting strategy? It could be relying too much on your website portal (LinkedIn), certain people in your network, or certain places you frequent. Find a new way that drives results (and, at the risk of beating a dead horse, is behavioral based).

In terms of what eHarmony thinks about their model applying to our world of employment matchmaking, they are on it. Check out the CEO’s interview on Bloomberg here that, among other things, talks about them launching a career matching site, Elevated Careers.

Dang it, they stole my idea, I think as I watch this clip. At least now, though, I can provide my husband with a behavioral-based example that shows that instead of me being crazy, I’m just downright brilliant.