There is no eHarmony of job search

RoundPegg promises to be the "eHarmony of jobs." So do a handful of other Job boards - Realmatch, Trovix, Climber, jobFox, ItzBig. Good luck with that.
Written by John Hazard, Contributor

RoundPegg promises to be the "eHarmony of jobs." So do a handful of other Job boards - Realmatch, Trovix, Climber, jobFox, ItzBig.

Is that possible? RoundPegg thinks so. So must Access Venture Partners and Croghan Investments, which today announced $1.27 million in funding for the eHarmony of job-search sites.

But I don't.

Surprisingly, it is proving easier to apply science to affairs of the heart than affairs of the workplace. Though far from proven, eHarmony has been successful winning over believers in it's 29-dimensions of compatibility. Using eHarmony's secret-sauce algorithm, dating members who answer the 29-dimensions test honestly have decent shot of being matched with someone who will share common traits, likes, dislikes, etc. They're likely to "date well together" and, perhaps, "marry well together."

The problem is that in the job-search business, no one has developed a compatibility test or algorithm that matches employees and employers likely to "work well together." At least not as successfully as eHarmony.

RoundPegg thinks they've done it, according to the report in TechCrunch.

The site aims to match employers and potential employees based on personality and culture matches as well as skills and experience. Founder Tim Wolters says that currently the site has thousands of job seekers and hundreds of companies who are looking for employees that fit within their corporate culture.

RoundPegg is working under the idea that matching common traits, likes, dislikes, etc. should apply to the job search as well, something supported by the research on personality traits and workplace culture of Mark Mallinger, a professor of applied behavioral science at the Graziadio School of Business and Management's at Pepperdine University.

It is generally assumed that a successful relationship between an individual and an organization is based on a shared foundation of beliefs and behaviors. Similar beliefs and ways of working usually encourage communication and tend to support the working relationship, allowing synergies to emerge. In contrast, a high level of dissimilarity usually requires a high consumption of adaptive energy.

RoundPegg, and any site that claims to be the eHarmony of jobs, faces a difficult task if they want to base their matching system on personality and culture profiles. Because, unlike affairs of the heart, when it comes to affairs of the job, most of us lie.

Lie is a strong word. Misrepresent is probably more accurate. Both sides of the engagement --  employees and employers -- misrepresent culture and personality and most do so unintentionally or at least without malice.

How many employers describe themselves as "dynamic," "transparent," "open to new ideas." How many are those things?

How many would-be employees sell themselves using words like "self-starter," "energetic leader," "results focused." How many are those things?

Is it intentional? In part. What company would advertise itself as an "antiquated," "top-down," micromanaged" place to work.

More innocently, recruiters say most hiring managers don't know how to define the position, let alone the culture.

"Typically, [hiring managers] have a difficult time delineating this because they have a bucket list of what they want," [said Regina Angeles, owner of executive search firmTalent2050]... So she explains that a list of bullet points is not that useful and then educates them about how the req has to be more marketing-oriented to be truly effective.

Recently, Angeles completed a search for a new sales strategy position within a large advertising sales group. Some recruiters might have seen this as cut and dried, calling for nothing more than that bullet list. Angeles worked with the manager to define the strategic elements of the position, the interactions within the sales organization and the ongoing mandates the person would be in charge of. In other words, what initiatives would the person be expected to push through? The candidate was also expected to conduct competitive research.

Executive recruiters swear up and down that recruiting is an art, not a science -- that there is no way to for any method other than a trained and honed hiring pro to judge and match the compatibility between employee and employer. It is difficult to train even a human to be a fellow recruiter, let alone a machine, argues Glen Cathey on his blog Boolean Blackbelt.

I believe that the 20% that is "art" is not actually tied to the recruiting life cycle or process itself. I believe the "art" comes from the person performing the recruiting role - in other words, the "human factor" in the equation. As I've previously mentioned - you can't teach someone to be passionate about recruiting, nor can you teach someone to have a solid work ethic, or to be tenacious and driven to produce great win-win recruiting outcomes. Each recruiter is unique, inevitably bringing their own set of intangibles to the application of recruiting best practices.

In my experience, even judgment and "feel" can be taught to a certain extent - but it won't come from a single training class. It can be accomplished under the guidance of recruiting manager, coach, or mentor (however you define the role) who works with you on a daily basis and provides you with feedback and suggestions for any scenario you encounter.

Unless they're using a lie detector test or a Myer's-Briggs on BOTH sides of the compatibility questionaire, RoundPegg won't be the eHarmony of the job search, nor will anyone else. Heck, there are plenty of reasons to doubt that eHarmony isn't the eHarmony of dating.

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