Business school is not just a great place to get a practical education or switch careers; it’s also a great place to make lifelong friends and, just maybe, meet your future spouse. But if you’re single and looking to mingle in 2016, making it known online is almost a prerequisite. Tinder is only the most recent and most conspicuous platform for doing so, but research conducted with nearly 20,000 newly married American couples between 2005-2012 (before anyone knew what it meant to “swipe right”) found that more than one-third of those marriages began online, those marriages were slightly less likely to break up, and couples that met online reported slightly higher marital satisfaction. Given that online dating platforms were still in their infancy when this study began, those numbers are astonishing and paint a pretty clear picture: online dating works.
There is a different type of matchmaking industry that has not been as quick to embrace the advantages of online networks. Corporate recruiters and job seekers around the world have thus far failed to follow the lead of their online dating counterparts, and continue to rely on the same sort of recruiting methods that were used half a century ago. In 1966, heavy investments of time and money into on-campus recruiting made sense, but times have changed. Dating has kept up. Is it time for recruiting to do the same?
After all, technology has become integral to modern dating so why shouldn’t modern job candidates use the internet to find a job interview the same way they can use it now to find a date. There are more than a few similarities between recruiting and dating, and one of the biggest is the power of technology to make them both less stressful and more effective.
MISPLACED CRITICISM: ONLINE DATING IS A POOR SUBSTITUTE FOR MEETING SOMEONE IN PERSON
The internet has revolutionized dating – and it’s all about the numbers
Dating websites and apps, along with the ease of global communication through email, chat, and cell phones, have made it possible for single folks in the United States to browse and explore hundreds of thousands or even millions of profiles belonging to potential mates from anywhere on earth at any time. And with this exponential increase in access, online daters can now also prescreen admirers to determine those that are worth the time investment, and can use messaging software to more quickly contact more people. In MBA terms, this means far greater operational efficiency, and the real world outcome is a more informed and healthier dating life.
One of the more common – and misplaced – criticisms of online dating is that digital engagement is a poor substitute for meeting someone in person. This is often true, but it misses a larger point about what makes online dating so attractive. Sites like OKCupid and apps like Tinder aren’t substitutes for in-person dates – they’re tools to make those in-person dates more plentiful, more enjoyable, and ultimately more successful.
In other words, the end game of dating has not changed, but rather the earliest stages of the process have changed (and improved) dramatically with the rising popularity of dating sites. Savvy online daters use these sites to expand and enrich their dating experiences, and as a result they have more dates with better matches and spend less time finding those dates. This is especially true for those individuals with nontraditional tastes, but the numbers make it clear that the benefits of online dating cut across groups and demographics.
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