Sandy Huffaker / Bloomberg News
The online dating website eHarmony is planning to extend its services to match employers with people looking for a job. In this file photo a job seeker looks for work using a job board.
The company was founded in 2000 by clinical psychologist Neil Clark Warren and has recorded over 44 million users in Canada and the U.S. It says its introductions have led to 565,000 marriages.
Expanding into the job market is a natural, says Langston. He says his company’s “secret sauce” is research that helps determine what types of people fit best for the long term.
“We’ve seen indicators that 60 to 65 per cent of people are unhappy with their jobs, whether or not they are actively searching for new ones,” Langston says.
While most recruiters use a skills-based model with employers asking most of the questions, eHarmony envisages an approach where employers and employees will complete extensive questionnaires focused on culture.
When employers post a job on eHarmony, job seekers in the database will be matched to that job and both parties will be notified. They can review each others’ profile and communicate online before meeting face-to-face.
Langston acknowledges that eHarmony has a lot of experience evaluating personality traits, but it will have to play catch-up when it comes to understanding the job market. That’s why the company has not ruled out purchasing an online job board and marrying the two services.
Reesearch supports eHarmony’s hypothesis that culture matter when it comes to hiring. In the December, 2012 issue of the American Sociological Review, Northwestern University Professor Lauren A. Rivera reports on a study of the recruiting practices of 120 professional service firms.
Rivera found applicants with experiences, hobbies, and personal appearance matching those of employers could cash in on these similarities. They may be offered jobs paying double to quadruple the salaries earned by other graduates from the same schools. However she also noted that placing too great an emphasis on “the right fit” could skew assessments of “hard” skills.
Mehrdad Derayeh with Toronto executive recruiting firm Knightsbridge says his firm uses a predictive tool to measures hundreds of different competencies. It is an effective way to evaluate job applicants, he says.
But he recognizes his company’s personalized approach would be difficult to replicate when there is a large volume of applicants.
“eHarmony is trying to apply a similar concept on a more global basis and trade on their current brand,” says Derayeh.
It is also not yet clear who would pay for the service or how much it would cost. However, Langston believes that many companies will be prepared to pay a little more up front for less employee turnover down the road. “Recruitment is a huge burden. They need productive employees who want to come to work every day. We think we can help them with that.”