Why Finding Cybersecurity Professionals Is Like Dating

If you’re single—or remember the days when you were—you know how hard it can be to find the right person. Meeting people at work, the gym, or during happy hour might get you dates, but any initial chemistry you have can mask glaring incompatibilities. Online dating only began to gain popularity when the platforms provided information that different people looking for a relationship could use to better assess if the profile they were viewing was a good match for them.

Believe it or not, it’s been 25 years since Match.com began connecting people online, and the way online dating has evolved has not only revolutionized how people meet, fall in love, and hopefully maintain a lasting relationship, it has also revealed how important compatibility is to lasting happiness.

So what does this have to do with recruiting cybersecurity professionals? Same as dating, it’s about compatibility.

How to Find Employees You’ll Love

What Match.com, eharmony, and other similar online dating sites have in common is they let people view not just pictures of possible matches, but a whole menu of attributes, from where someone lives to interests.

Surveys of people who have used online dating apps reveal that this approach—searching based on metrics like location, career choice, and Zodiac sign (if that’s your thing)—works for the majority of them. A study by the Pew Research Center found that 64% thought dating apps made it easy for them to find someone who shares their hobbies and interests and that 61% easily found someone who was interested in the same kind of relationship.

Does That Really Relate to Cybersecurity Professionals?

The goal of the talent search should be to match skills and experience with your company’s needs. Resumes do a terrible job of showing employers what a person is really capable of. What’s worse, job descriptions often fail miserably at telling cybersecurity professionals what the organization is looking for.

Not only are organizations telling us they can’t find the right professionals using traditional HR recruiting methods, the cyber pros we know say it’s difficult for them to find a job that’s right for them! With a shortage of cybersecurity professionals, how could that be?

We asked ourselves the same question and believe it’s because the process is broken. There’s a disconnect between the way people are searching for work and the way organizations seek talent. We were tired of navigating around the problem, so we decided to do something about it. We created the platform KnowMore to let companies post jobs for free, as well as search cybersecurity professionals’ profiles based on the specific skills they need.

By taking the same approach that made dating apps successful, we knew we could make matching organizations and skilled cybersecurity professionals easier.

More Lessons From Dating Apps

Diving deeper into how online dating could lead to better workplace happiness, we saw more advantages than just letting people search by attribute.

Going Beyond Where You Normally Look

Back in the days when people asked each other out on dates in real life, choices were pretty limited. If the person didn’t live in your town or work with you, chances were you would never meet. Online dating opened a whole world of new potential mates but increasing the size of the pool from which you can search. You can chat with someone three towns over—or across the country—from the comfort of your couch.

Same goes for companies seeking talent. When you rely on the same local pool of candidates, you are limiting the possibilities. Even headhunting apps like Monster.com or LinkedIn are limiting, since many cybersecurity professionals stay clear of those sites. We liked the idea of having a platform that’s for cyber pros and those who have open cyber jobs, allowing them to connect wherever they are in the world.

Privacy Is a High Priority

When Gary Kremen first launched Match.com, he knew the key to the company’s success was getting women to adopt the platform. But as he gathered feedback from women about what metrics the site planned to gather, he found many of the questions and the way the answers would be displayed were concerning to women. It may seem quaint now in the era of social media influencers, but one of the biggest questions from potential users was privacy. They wanted to know, who would get to see my profile?

That’s something we hear all the time. Cyber pros who are thinking about making a change don’t because they fear the boss will find out about their job hunt. Having a platform that protects privacy encourages top talent to see what’s out there, but it also pushes organizations to look past more superficial aspects, like where someone went to school.

Accounting for Culture and Work-Life Balance

Because cybersecurity hiring is a competitive market, skilled cybersecurity professionals are looking for a job that’s going to be the right fit. This includes all aspects of the job, from the day-to-day work to length of commute, opportunity for growth, pay and stock options, and working remotely. KnowMore includes these key attributes, allowing job seekers to search jobs that offer the perks they’re looking for, and for organizations to attract top talent by including them in a job description.

Building Trust Through a Better Platform

Above all else, building a successful match-making platform—whether it be matching people looking for love or people looking for employees—relies on a sense of trust. Both parties must believe the platform will deliver a good match if it’s to work.

Companies searching for cybersecurity professionals have struggled in recent years because the platforms they use fail to deliver enough candidates that match what they’re looking for. They can no longer trust that the old way of doing things works when it comes to cyber hiring. We saw this as a big problem, holding back both organizations and professionals looking to advance their careers. We think we’ve come up with a better way, one that focuses on matching skills, needs, and work-life balance. Like we said, it’s about compatibility.