The first love of Tinder and eHarmony Inc. might have been online dating, but the companies are moving on to a more buttoned-up type of romance: the lucrative human resources industry.
EHarmony launched Elevated Careers on April 1, a job site that uses algorithms to connect job candidates with companies by matching skills, personality, and company culture. Last month, Tinder acquired contact management app Humin for an undisclosed amount, which could help Chief Executive Sean Rad with his ambitions to use Tinder’s swipe-to-connect feature for a forthcoming networking app.
Motivating those moves are the respective companies’ attention to the bottom line as they push up against the edge of the large – but limited – dating market. EHarmony’s market research indicates that the U.S. dating industry worth anywhere from $4 billion to $5 billion. That’s less than one-tenth of the $60 billion to $80 billion U.S. job recruitment industry.
“Elevated (Careers) has a much larger potential,” said Neil Clark Warren, eHarmony’s chief executive and co-founder.
But executives at online recruitment companies said eHarmony and Tinder might struggle to break into an industry crowded with competition.
“For new entrants, there is a high wall to get over,” said Ian Siegel, chief executive of Santa Monica online job-listing aggregator ZipRecruiter. “Job seeking (through search engine optimization) – it’s one of the most hypercompetitive categories online.”
Driving traffic to Elevated Career’s website will require eHarmony to appear high in organic search engine results. The West L.A. company would also need to outbid rivals in targeted paid search and banner advertisements, tasks which are difficult and expensive in the crowded online recruitment industry.
Dozens of online recruitment startups are launched each year, yet many of those budding companies are short-lived, according to those in the field.
Having built plenty of runway with their core dating businesses, eHarmony and Tinder appear undeterred.
“We are very excited about this,” said Warren, 81. “We had a lot of outside experts look it over and they’ve given it such positive feedback. It could change a whole lot of what goes on in this area.”
Rad, 29, has talked for years of building a professional networking app, and his West Hollywood company has been making strides toward that goal.
Tinder updated its app in November to allow users to include education and job information on their profiles. In August, it launched a pilot networking app of sorts for all past and current members of Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list. The app included a member directory, a social platform to share links and ask questions, and a messaging feature. The acquisition of Humin last month moves Tinder even closer to launching a public networking app.
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