Yes, it’s how the media works. And, of course, we play our own part in it: spotting trends, drawing parallels, seeking analogies, looking for success formulas to be copied from other industries. As Uber and AirBnB revolutionised the driving and hotel industries respectively, the idea of meeting any form of significant other at a party swiftly disappeared due to the rise of Tinder. And as is the case for many societal trends, recruitment and HR surely couldn’t be left behind. And when you think of a scenario wherein candidates and companies thrive on speed: is quick swiping for jobs really such a bad idea?
Why wouldn’t they be successful?
After all, “The average recruiter spends 5 seconds on a CV”, as per Yarden Tadmor, who uttered those words in an interview with The Washington Post in 2014. So why shouldn’t fast job-tinders stand a chance? However, in the grand scheme of things, reality dictates that expectations have not been met. Speed is important in recruitment, but swiping for a job hasn’t lived up to the hype.
When you take stock in 2023, it is at least clear that looking for a job is still something very different from finding a date.
It also shows how fast things can move in the world of recruitment technology. When new initiatives emerge, the media — and we’re guilty of this ourselves — often queue up and hear the most beautiful scenarios, and it is hard not to let yourself get carried away with the hype. But when’s the last time you read an article about an app launch, versus an article about an app that has slowly ceased to exist? And so when you take stock in 2023, it is at least clear that looking for a job is still something very different from finding a date.
The 8 examples of ‘Tinders’ in the job market
But have any lived up to the hype? We must warn that it is difficult to determine exactly whether any of these apps has truly been successful or unsuccessful. However, a tentative first inventory gives the impression that they have not yet ‘disrupted’ the job market as much as Tinder has done in the dating market. We have, however gathered eight examples. Are any of them still downloaded onto your phone?
US-based Jobr was actually one of the first to describe itself as the ‘Tinder of the job market’ in 2014. The San Francisco-based company raised 2 million in growth money with their swipe option back then. But the fairy tale was short-lived, because not only did LinkedIn close the API that Jobr used, the company was also one of the first job tinders to be acquired: in 2016, by Monster. Since then, little has actually been heard of it. The technology has been integrated into the Monster platform, with the parent company also later acknowledging that the acquisition was mostly an acqui-hire.
One of the youngest — and probably one of the better-known shoots on the tree of the Tinders of the job market is the so-called ‘Smart Job Dating’ app by Martijn Vermeulen. Since 2018, Likewise has helped employers find new personnel based on possible matches with company cultures. On the flip-side, it promises candidates no complicated letters or CVs, but simply swiping and liking what excites you. Certainly sounds promising, but with around 5,000 downloads, likewise.ly doesn’t quite come anywhere near the 430 million times Tinder has been downloaded globally.
You can say what you like, but for the concept of job swiping, JobSwipe is as good of a name as any. After all, it promises exactly what it says on the tin: swipe for a job. But if you use the tool, and search for a job in the Netherlands, you will not come across any unique vacancies. Rather, it is filled with jobs from job boards such as Indeed and Monsterboard. As an aggregator, they may promise ‘more than 1 million vacancies’, but that’s not quite the real truth. It also then doesn’t quite make true on the idea of fast swiping is also quickly lost.
‘Swiping’ for a new job. In 2015, it seemed to have a bright future. It’s the same year the app JobTalk came to exist. Two years later, more than 12,000 people were using the app, producing around 200 matches a month. But two mere years later, in 2019, our swiping desires had clearly vanished. After a period of 4 years of scaling up, JobTalk announced the discontinuation of its tinder-like app for the job market. “Finding a job is not a monthly activity for many”, the company stated. “As a result, the frequency with which jobseekers used the app was low. And once a job was found, the app was no longer used and often deleted.”
#5. Cocoon / CareerMatch
Another of the ‘Tinders of the job market’ that has not survived is CareerMatch, known as Cocoon as a start-up. The company started in 2014, but was acquired in 2017 by the company then known as Minescape, now known as RecruitNow. Today, the app is no longer found in the well-known app-stores, nor is the website responsive. All knowledge is now integrated in the ATS Cockpit.
Sweden’s Selfiejobs was predicted to have a great future when it was launched over eight years ago. Founder Martin Tall, who already had some experience in the start-up scene, introduced an app that focused on job placement in the services and sales sector, as well as internships or jobs for students. A few keywords related to education and work experience were enough. Users — both employers and candidates — also had to upload their favourite Instagram photo or video, or take one with their smartphone. And thus the application was ready to be used. Swipe away!
When we look the company up now, its LinkedIn page now still reads: ‘The worlds fastest recruitment app! Relaunch planned for 2021.’ We somehow doubt it.
It sounded very promising — but the results were anything but. “We want to become Europe’s most popular job portal in 2018”, Tall said at the launch. But as the calendars turned to 2018, But Selfiejobs actually announced its own demise. Tall explained that the business was not making enough money and competition had become too fierce. He shifted his focus to launching security app Zfr. When we look the company up now, its LinkedIn page now still reads: ‘The worlds fastest recruitment app! Relaunch planned for 2021.’ We somehow doubt it.
Back to 2015. Jobr’s biggest competitor Switch also raised $2 million and a total of $6.4 million, according to TechCrunch. But that money may not have resulted in any business results. When we tried visiting the Switch URL, you own’t find something resembling a Tinder for recruitment: you’ll find a page filled with bags and jewellery. Another link, found on the LinkedIn page, doesn’t even open at all.
Interviews from those early days are still plenty to be found, working websites unfortunately hardly at all.
So it seems Switch has suffered the same fate as other ‘Tinders of the job market’ from the early days. Similar to Jobr, Quickily and Workruit, which seem to have disappeared just as quickly as they emerged. Interviews from those early days are still plenty to be found, working websites unfortunately hardly at all. Nor are they found in Apple or Google’s app stores. Switch’s last sign of life stems from July 2021. According to LinkedIn page of the company’s founder, Yarden Tadmor, 2018 is when the company called it quits.