Don’t Recruit On Dating Sites! (It’s Weird)
Late last year, Tinder added a jobs field to their user profiles and it quickly proved a popular addition to the dating and hookup app. Now, several months later, its crunched the numbers and can tell you, more or less, what the most right-swiped jobs are for men and women.
|1. Pilot||1. Physical Therapist|
|2. Founder/Entrepreneur||2. Interior Designer|
|3. Firefighter||3. Founder/Entrepreneur|
|4. Doctor||4. PR/Communications|
|5. TV/Radio Personality||5. Teacher|
|6. Teacher||6. College Student|
|7. Engineer||7. Speech Language Pathologist|
|8. Model||8. Pharmacist|
|9. Paramedic||9. Social Media Manager|
|10. College Student||10. Model|
|11. Lawyer||11. Dental Hygienist|
|12. Personal Trainer||12. Nurse|
|13. Financial Advisor||13. Flight Attendant|
What’s interesting about the data is the mix of professional, aspirational and stereotypically gendered “adventure” or “beauty” trades. Pilot is the number 1 job for men on Tinder but doesn’t appear at all in the list for women. Flight Attendant, though, is number 13 for women. Model, Founder and Teacher are popular on both lists – no one’s surprise – but there’s a huge disparity between Physical Therapists and Personal Trainers and Doctors and Nurses. The difference between the two lists is obvious, and I think we can comfortably draw a few conclusions as to why.
However, what’s unfortunate about the data is that it isn’t controlled. The list is an overall picture of jobs that correlate with dating success on Tinder, but we can’t say for certain what role your job plays in user decisions to swipe left or right, or what plays out between users after the swipe. That is, we don’t know if people with these jobs are more likely to hook up more often, date more often or develop long term relationships more often. We also don’t have any demographic data about these users, which means we don’t know if one subset of Teachers is more successful on Tinder than another.
We do know, though, that listing a profession makes you more attractive to other Tinder users. The company’s VP of communication and branding, Rosette Pambakian, told Quartz that “adding professions to profiles increases users’ chances of being swiped right.” Listing professional information may make you look more honest to other users and adds the chance for them to glean more insight from your profile – and, if they are so inclined, look for financially successful dates.
The lack of answers to these kinds of questions isn’t because Tinder lacks depth of information on its 50 million users (estimated 10 million daily active users), but simply because the data hasn’t been mined for the kind of information that would be interesting to recruiters and economic statisticians – yet. Like many apps and sites, Tinder is sitting on a horde of potentially useful user data, but aside from the odd rudimentary study about modern love, none of these companies have done much with that data. Dedicated dating app and service users check in daily, and have thousands of interactions with other users, that leaves behind a trail of demographic and consumer preference data that could be useful to marketers, brand managers and, argue some, even to recruiters.
Older dating networks like e-Harmony have begun to move towards offering room for recruiters, and last year, The Ladders created a swipe-based recruiting app modelled after Tinder. We’re more than likely on the cusp of a new hot topic in the recruiting space: dating data for recruiters. Ok. I can see the business case. But this is not data any of us should be looking to acquire or should rely on. User generated profiles on dating sites often includes information that is unverified and unverifiable, and even when it’s truthful, is curated for a particular purpose: securing sex and/or a relationship. The details may be fudged and professional failures glossed over. The chance of stumbling across data that recruiters and hiring mangers neither want nor should have is high. And most importantly, encouraging professional recruitment in dating spaces is fundamentally creepy, a too close blurring of professional and private lives that will lead to more harm than good.
It’s one thing to scan a potential hire’s social media profiles and general internet presence. It’s another to set up shop within dating spaces, looking not for love but for, er, talent. I google potential hires. I do a brief look through their social media profiles. We all do. What we’re looking for are obvious red flags; things like blatant falsehoods in resumes or illegal activity. What we shouldn’t be doing, is trying to build complete psychological profiles of of potential hires. What’s germane to recruiters and HR professionals is professional data, and what googling applicants allows us to learn is how they conduct themselves in professional and nonprofessional but public spaces. Dating spaces, apps, sites and networks, are not a part of the public sphere in the same way that an open network like Twitter is. These spaces are designed for a specific purpose and have an atmosphere, rules and norms of behaviour and performance that aren’t especially relevant to our professional lives.
Should I know if an applicant uses cheesy pickup lines or how many casual sexual encounters they’ve had? Do I, as a recruiter, need to know applicants’ sexual orientation? Their preferences and kinks?
There is an expectation to privacy in these spaces, or at least the expectation that this data will be treated as an open secret and not connected to our professional lives – except in cases where we’ve behaved poorly. Harassers, abusers and bigots deserve to be found out. The rest of us, whatever our inclinations, deserve the space to explore sexual and romantic possibilities without professional encroachment.
Not all information wants to be, or should be, free.