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Swipe Right: 4 Employer Brand Lessons We Can Learn From Tinder


Lois Payne Lois Payne



Employer Branding

Okay. You’re thinking, “What does a dating app have to do with attracting and retaining talent?” A fair bit, as it turns out.

Like Employer Branding, Tinder is all about making a strong impression, telling your unique story and making those sweet, fairy-tale matches.

But it’s not all about swiping right, (for all you Tinder non-natives, that means: “yep, I’m interested.”) A good Tinder experience is a two-way street. It’s about singling out the minority who get you and filtering out the rest - we’re talking the “Netflix and chill” crowd.

So, what can we learn? Here are five simple lessons from Tinder on attracting and retaining talent.

1. Get to the point

In a Tinder bio, you only have 500 characters to get your personality across, so you can’t afford to waste space with lengthy or convoluted messages.

Trying to make your point in fewer words is a good exercise in general, as often more concise = more engaging.

Let’s be real, a potential partner doesn’t need a thesis on your Jujitsu accolades any more than talent needs a long-winded brag list to understand whether your opportunity, and organisation, is right for them.

Cut the waffle. Get the swipe.

2. Don’t say what everyone else is saying

Ah, the cliché profile. You know the type: they love dogs more than people; they can’t live without their morning Starbucks; they like long walks on the beach and breathing oxygen. Great. Them and everyone else on Tinder.

In job descriptions and careers pages, these platitudes look a bit more like, “We have a great culture!” “We’re one big family!” or, if you’re in the tech industry, “Come build the future with us!”

Unfortunately, you don’t get brownie points for following the crowd or playing the role of Captain Obvious. If you express a value, it needs to be a unique truth and you should be prepared to back it up with evidence.

Great employer branding means digging beyond the obvious and pulling out unique and useful insights about your organisation. This takes time, patience and a whole lot of workshopping.

This guy’s got his unique angle covered:

3. Get interactive

Even when two people match on Tinder, there is not always a strong motivation for either to take that first step and message.

Perhaps you have talent admiring from afar? Lurking on your careers site, unsure whether to make a move.

The Tinder smart cookies solve this by making things interactive by, for example, including a controversial opinion like, “I just don’t get the hype around Tom Hanks,” or gamifying their bio with two truths and a lie.

Give talent a challenge; spur on that first step. Get them to solve a puzzle related to their role, or test their attention to detail by hiding a word in your job description for them to include in their cover letter.

As a bonus, if you get applications with that word in, you’ll know your copy is engaging enough to pay attention to – free feedback.

4. Use media

The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text.

So, while a great bio goes a long way on Tinder, we know that often the photos are the clincher.

If you’re not already making use of media like photography and video to illustrate your employer brand, you should strongly consider it.

Great photography and video help to reinforce what you are saying. They help you to show, not tell, your company truth. And they reassure talent that you are who you say you are; that you’re not, to invoke a Tinderism, "catfishing" them.

Need inspiration? Canva’s careers site is a prime example of how to capitalise on media to showcase team and culture.

5. Try honesty 

A love interest will find out about your idiosyncrasies soon enough anyway, so isn’t it better to warn them about your morning breath, your fear of smallish dogs, or your borderline unhealthy devotion to Dungeons and Dragons in advance?

The truth is, when people are comfortable being honest about their shortcomings, others breathe a sigh of relief, knowing they will not be expected to be perfect either.

And if you send some running for the hills, good. Those weren’t the right people for you anyway.

Perhaps you’re a small agency, and struggle to match the salary of bigger players. Or maybe your company is experiencing growing pains, and processes aren’t as slick as they could be.

You will find to your surprise, that the ‘ugly truths’ of your organisation that you were scared to share don’t deter the right talent, and in fact, draw them in, because when your ideal applicant senses a gap, they will want to fill it and your unique flaws will be the type they can get on board with.

Bonus points if you can inject a little humour into the situation. Hats off to Alex for this humble admission…

To sum up

While Tinder might not seem the most obvious source for Employer Branding inspiration, it can teach us how to get our point across truthfully, stand out from the crowd, and use the right media to create a winning profile – all of which is useful for connecting with your audience.

Tired of being ghosted by talent? Use these Tinder tips and tricks to get the star candidates you need sliding into your DMs.

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