By Patricia Reaney
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Just as social media changed how people find love and marriage, with research showing about 22 percent of U.S. couples now meet online, an Internet dating website is betting its matchmaking techniques will help people find the perfect job.
In March 2016, eHarmony plans to launch Elevated Careers, an online employment service that will put the compatibility matching techniques it has used in pairing couples to the test in the career market.
If they get it right, recruitment and human resource management experts say the approach could transform the recruitment industry.
"It could be a game changer," said Michael Haberman, a human resources consultant, writer and co-founder of Atlanta-based Omega HR Solutions, Inc. "I would think in today's world of big data that it certainly would have a potential for working."
Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com and Indeed.com are among the largest employment websites. A variety of apps are also designed to simplify, streamline, track and speed up the process.
eHarmony uses questionnaires and algorithms to match couples. Its website claims 438 people get married everyday as of result of its compatibility matching.
Dan Erickson, director of special projects at Elevated Careers by eHarmony, said it will take job recruiting to the same level, matching compatibility by skills and background, personality and culture.
"We are trying to take that matching compatibility expertise that eHarmony has developed in the online dating world and bringing that to careers," he said.
MATCHMAKER FIND ME THE PERFECT JOB
Elevated Careers will use predictive algorithms and dozens of variables based on features within resumes and profiles and the firm's job listings and corporate culture to find a professional match.
"The methodology is the same," said Steve Carter, vice president for matching at eHarmony. "We are approaching this as social scientists saying, 'Can we improve decisions people are making?'"
It plans to match a job seeker with the hiring manager or supervisor to improve employee satisfaction and engagement, reduce turnover and increase productivity. The average turnover rate in U.S. companies in 2014 hovered around 16 percent, according to compensationforce.com.
"Anything that refines the process and improves the success rate between the job seeker and the hiring authority would be beneficial," said Jamie Schwartz, chairman of the board of the National Association of Personnel Services who has been in executive recruiting and staffing for 22 years.
"Can I envision technology enhancing that? Definitely," he said in an interview.
Haberman thinks the compatibility component is the key.
"If you get people who are deemed to be more compatible with your organization, be it the company or the particular manager that they are being hired by, it certainly lessens the chance of losing that employee early on," he explained. "It reduces the potential for turnover."
But he warned that it could be seen by job seekers as less personal than working through a recruiter. It must also meet guidelines on employee selection procedures prohibiting discrimination on grounds of race, color, religion, sex and national origin.
"I think it can work as long as they are paying attention to the government restrictions on the selection process," he added.
For Schwartz, the big question is whether companies and candidates will embrace the concept in an online transaction and how well the algorithms work.
"The technologies I see as having the biggest impact are those that compress the time needed to build trust," he said.
(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Tom Brown)