eHarmony Launches Website for Job Seekers

The matching service attempts to extend its customer base to employers

By Aliah D. Wright Apr 1, 2016
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Can a dating site use its expertise in finding love to match job seekers with their perfect career?

That’s the hope of eHarmony—one of the nation’s most popular online dating sites—as it launches its much awaited job matching website, Elevated Careers, on April 1.

More than three years in the making, Elevated Careers aims to create the same magic for employers that it has for couples. The eHarmony site attributes 438 marriages per day to its matching algorithm.

But can it do for employment what it has done for couples by matching workers to the perfect job?

The company says the answer is yes.

Elevated Careers aims to match candidates with jobs and companies by using criteria from three areas: values, culture and personality, Dan Erickson, general manager of Elevated Careers, told SHRM Online in a telephone interview March 31.

For now, only one-on-one matching is available on the site, he said. The company hopes to match new candidates with their potential colleagues, too. Eventually, everyone involved would need to take a 15-20 minute survey consisting of 150 questions. 

Software company Burning Glass Technologies, which provides the HR sector with resume processing and predictive matching, is eHarmony’s partner on skills assessment. But it will use its own algorithms to match people based on 16 factors of values and company culture and eight personality factors.

Erickson said Burning Glass “has crafted a predictive algorithm that takes the features in a resume around skills, work history and experience and matches those with the feature in a job description to create a predictive algorithm of how likely that person would be to be hired.” Combined with eHarmony’s matching technology, Erickson says, Elevated Careers can help job seekers and employers find the perfect match.

How It Works

Elevated Careers is a stand-alone careers site. Its road map includes plans to integrate with applicant tracking systems.

Job seekers upload their resumes into the site or import their resume data from their LinkedIn profiles. Then they spend 15-20 minutes answering the questions to determine whether they’d be a good match for jobs that need their skills and experience.

Erickson said this can help HR in a number of ways.

The goal, he said, is for Elevated Careers customers to know that "the people that we’re bringing you have been vetted to the point that [they] are going to be long-term productive employees at your company,” Erickson said.

eHarmony says some 70 percent of Americans are dissatisfied in their current jobs. “Companies know that the disengaged workforce is leading to multibillion turnover costs every year,” he added. There are also many studies that show the benefits of having an engaged workforces—with one, a company can outperform other companies by up to 202 percent, he said.

Career assessment technology isn’t new.

“There are several companies, consulting firms and software assessments [vendors] that attempt to and claim to do a similar thing,” Craig Fisher, head of Employer Brand at New York-based CA Technologies, told SHRM Online in a phone interview. His company is among eHarmony’s prospective foundational partners that plan to use the site. “The twist of this is that eHarmony is going to use its exclusive algorithm to match job candidates to a company's culture.”

Other companies that have tried a similar strategy include GamePlan, a partner with the Society for Human Resource Management, which uses a 20-minute questionnaire to help people determine what types of careers they should be in. Another company used an hour-long questionnaire devised by two university psychologists who validated their matching exercises. It reportedly didn’t do so well because people didn’t want to spend an hour answering questions.

Why will eHarmony succeed?

“I think we’ve worked really hard with HR professionals, with a whole set of advisors to create a very interactive questionnaire that people will enjoy taking because they’re going to be learning about themselves,” Erickson said. “The great thing about this being an eHarmony product is that” they’ve already found success with the same process for dating.

“People are really interested in talking about themselves and learning about themselves,” Erickson said. “If we can make looking for a job a less onerous and even enjoyable activity, which I believe we have, it will really be successful. We want to bring verifiable, deep dive data to make… the best relationship choices in their lives” and that includes the employment relationship, he said.

Right now the site is “entirely free” for job seekers. We do anticipate having premium features for job seekers,” he said, but anyone who takes an assessment can be matched with companies. As for employers, fees will be based on a “subscription model based on size of company and how much hiring they do. We are finalizing our pricing on the employer side but it will be very competitive to the traditional job board market,” he said.

Concerns Exist

Experts tell SHRM Online that while cultural fit is important, so too is diversity and diversity of thought.

“I don’t know as a leader if I would want a group of employees that were 100 percent compatible with each other,” Blogging for Jobs CEO Jessica Miller-Merrell said in a phone interview with SHRM Online. “Sometimes it’s those differences in personality and cultural differences that make for a good team.”

Added Fisher: “I have always believed that hiring managers are often not trained for two things—managing and hiring. They’re in their current job because they were good at their old job. They’re not experts at hiring.  Many managers hire from gut feeling and hire people like themselves. They want to hire people they can eventually hang out with.”

eHarmony says that, eventually, Elevated Careers will be able to match teams—but not just yet.

Team matching is more important, Miller-Merrell said because while people may get along great with their boss, they’ll need to get along great with other people across the organization, since many people work with more than just their supervisors.

Aliah D. Wright is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

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