Musing about matching: ElevatedCareers and the long, long road

Star-Trek-style-teleportationI admit it, I’m a sucker for ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if….?‘ products. You know – personal jetpacks, StarTrek transporters, self-cleaning litter boxes – and during my young adulthood (now sadly long past) I often indulged in buying ‘gadgets’. They promised the world – but when I actually tore off the packaging and started using them, I was invariably disappointed. The relationship between the picture on the outside and the reality of the product inside was often tenuous – at best. (NOTE: this does not hold for great albums, which often surpassed my expectations despite mediocre packaging. But that’s another post.)

Which brings me to matching. Back in 2010, I wondered if matching (as in job-to-candidate, candidate-to-job, or candidate-to-company) would ever actually happen. With my usual sunny optimism, I opined that it probably wouldn’t.

Then in 2013, I learned of eHarmony’s plans for a matching job board (NOTE: full disclosure, I did some consulting work with them during the conceptual phase of the project). I saw Dr. Steve Carter (twice!) talk about the thinking behind the planned site. I was not alone in thinking that for once, matching seemed to have a chance. The eHarmony folks were eminently qualified in data science, had lots of bucks, and a clear plan.

Here’s the thing about matching, though: no matter how you define it, it’s hard. It requires a lot of data to work – from both candidates and employers. It requires time from both sides to generate that data. It requires some serious number crunching. And – toughest of all – it’s trying predict what one unique person (you, for example) really want to do with your life – and then find the company AND job that can deliver for you.

Wouldn’t it be cool if something like that existed?

Yeah, well…it would. But I’m not sure we’re there yet. Maybe we’re a few more steps down the road. However, ElevatedCareers stumbles where so many have before – it takes too much time from the candidate. Thirty minutes…forty minutes…I bailed at forty-two. This is, I think, where job hunting is not like dating. In the latter, if you’re high-minded, you’re looking for a life partner (and if you’re low-minded, you are trying to fill a basic physical need) – and this means you are will to spend a lot of time inputting data. (Or maybe not – Tindr’s swiping model seems pretty darn popular).

And if you’re looking for a job? Well, you have lots of options – your friends, your professional network, dozens or hundreds of relevant job boards, social media, your mother, and the local grocery bulletin board. None of them are going to take 40+ minutes of your life just to get started (well, ok, maybe your mother).

So what can I say? I applaud eHarmony for making the effort (as I do all of those other companies in the matching space). I hope that incremental improvement over time will yield a product or process that is useful for the average Joe or Joey. And I hope that a year from now, you are holding up this post as an example of my ignorance.

Now, excuse me while I put down my $1000 for a Tesla 3….

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This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Kathryn van Nieuwkerk

    I’ve written a program that does just this, only takes minutes, and includes something no other matching system does (that I know of, I have loved). I just need backing 🙂

  2. Felix Wetzel

    In the early 2000, we had Workthing in the UK. They failed – besides some other issues – because candidate registration took 20+ minutes. Candidates, especially thought after ones, did not take to it and preferred a quick seamless application process. It seems it is the same with Elevated Careers.

  3. Fidalla Ho

    Jeff,
    Another great article. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the newest eHarmony product.

    Yes, when I first heard of eHarmony looking into building a job matching / career site based on the same philosophy of eHarmony, I could see the disaster signs up ahead. What Dr. eHarmony failed to recognize is that people who are looking for jobs do not have nearly the same amount of focus or patience as they do for finding a personal relationship. People will drag themselves through hell and back to get a great (or even decent) relationship, but simply do not have the same sense of value of their time and money for a career/job. Don’t know why, but it is the truth. In short, Elevate Careers does not get it. Headhunters are in business for a good reason; it is very difficult to match the personality and skills of an individual with the culture and requirements of an employer for an undetermined length of relationship.

  4. Tyler Brookes

    To date, there is really only one company that I know of that has “mastered” an actual matching platform. Having reviewed, tested and used all the others who stake such claims, I believe the company who has actual matching software that works is the company RealMatch.

    The term “matching” has been so abused over the past five years I honestly don’t think the average job seeker or employer even knows what matching is and more importantly what it is designed to do.

    Having conducted several interviews and seen all these so called matching companies, I found 4 important ingredients to having any success. 1) It takes years of research, coding, testing and failing, fixing testing an so on to launch. 2) It requires huge amounts of live data in the form of resumes, profiles and job discription to begin to perfect it. That means 3-4 million resumes/profiles and job titles. 3) The software is really never going to be finished or perfect. It learns as it grows and as new industries start hiring newly created job tiles are created to match the new technology that is also being created. And finally number 4. Money and time. 7 plus years and millions of dollars is your entry fee. Then you need the masses of both job seekers and employers using the software in the real world which requires a wide and devirse distribution.

    Fidalla’s points are spot on. So know it time to test and review before we make any judgment.

    So the question for you Jeff, is what are your expectations of true matching?

  5. JobBoardDoctor

    Tyler, good question. I think that the average employer or job seeker assumes that the term ‘matching’ implies that they don’t have to search – that instead, the software does the searching for them. In other words, if the employer and/or job seeker is willing to input some data (or have a resume parsed, or whatever), the software will find a ‘match’. Ideally a match means something that the employer or job seeker actually wants to see – something that makes sense. That would be my expectation of ‘true matching’. I’ve seen a few examples of it, but none were ‘easy’. Jeff

  6. Chris Harvey

    “Job matching” always struck me the same as “computer dating.”

  7. Pingback: The Simply Hired Shutdown: News and Next Steps | Careerleaf

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