What recruitment should learn from online dating

Think Again: The recruitment industry is in desperate need of modernisation - what if it were more like online dating?

by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic
Last Updated: 27 Oct 2015

Imagine walking into a bar and receiving a phone alert with your dream job. A stranger approaches and conducts a brief interview. The next morning you receive a formal offer by email.

Science fiction? Not really. Too good to be true? Perhaps, but only because the recruitment industry is in desperate need of modernisation...

Now imagine being single - or in an unhappy relationship - and depending on a human matchmaker to call you on a daily basis to find you a date. And because the matchmaker gets paid only if you actually go on the date, they make every candidate seem like Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt (but with the IQ of Stephen Fry).

What if recruitment were more like online dating and less like real estate? More people are looking for a better job than a better relationship, and the average relationship lasts for a shorter time than the average job, not least because we seem more willing to put up with an uninspiring or tedious job than relationship - not to mention that single people are generally happier than unemployed people.

It is therefore illogical that we have better systems in place to make rational decisions about dating than careers, particularly since job fit is a lot easier to predict than relationship fit.

So, here's the solution. Let recruitment be a C2C (consumer-to-consumer or citizen-to-citizen) business. As in online dating, job seekers would get profiled in advance by completing valid personality assessments, which are much more useful for determining career potential than romantic suitability.

Clients and employers would also be profiled and an algorithm would be used to determine their business compatibility with each candidate or vendor. Finally, as with mobile dating apps, such as Tinder, nearby matches would be alerted and invited to interact, virtually or physically. And regardless of the outcome, both parties could be invited to leave their honest feedback on the other person after their interaction (a la Netflix or Amazon).

Businesses such as Gild, an online directory that provides access to millions of software engineers and scores them on merit, and LinkedIn, the world's most successful professional networking site, already offer some of the above features, which enable them to cut out the middleman (human recruiters) to some extent. But until people carry their career or company profile in their smartphones, we will have some way to go to perfect the talent acquisition game.

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic is a professor of business psychology at UCL, VP of innovation at Hogan Assessments and co-founder of metaprofiling.com

Follow Professor Chamorro-Premuzic on Twitter: @drtcp

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

How performance rankings can turn culture toxic

They might encourage competition, but staff league tables introduce other pressures.

How to hold on to top staff when promotion isn't an option

Smaller, flatter firms can struggle to offer their rising stars senior roles, but that doesn't...

Diversity and inclusion: Do CEOs really care?

For all the talk around D&I, progress over the last decade has been mixed.

How a company’s history can drag it down

Podcast: In the latest in his Profit Levers series, MIT's Jonathan Byrnes argues that it’s...

Ban football chat at work? There are other ways of being inclusive

Conversations can exclude people, but they're also what make the workplace human.

Ranked: The UK's best marketing departments

Exclusive research from Britain's Most Admired Companies shows which firms are most respected by their...