(With apologies to Eminem) Will all the people who hate networking please stand up, please stand up, please stand up? Whether it’s in person, over email, or on LinkedIn, networking can be tedious, awkward, and confusing. However, Bumble, a mobile dating app (of all things!), is trying to revolutionize the concept of networking to be simpler, more casual, immediate, and fun.
Find a New Bae – or New Boss
With a new component called “BumbleBIZZ” (set for release in early fall) Bumble is aiming to make a transition from a Tinder-like dating app to a more all-encompassing social-networking platform.
This new feature matches individuals to others in similar professional circles. Like with Bumble’s dating feature, women must message first — and within 24 hours of being matched. CEO Whitney Wolfe says that this makes it “easier for women to set the tone in a potential business relationship.” Unlike Bumble’s business networking competitor, LinkedIn, where conversations and connections are more formal and professional, BumbleBIZZ hopes to engage potential cohorts in a more casual and immediate manner.
With merely a swipe, individuals who have the potential to influence and advance careers can be within reach. Whether the user is looking for help, an intern or a new coworker, BumbleBIZZ can connect them to others in the field. The algorithm behind this program takes into account the location, “industry, current job, education, and other relevant details” to match profiles of similar interests or professions to benefit both parties.
Dating-Style Networking Has Its Challenges
Individuals searching for a job, connection or internship may feel more confident connecting to individuals on BumbleBIZZ than on LinkedIn due to its casual vibe. However, employers may not be equally invested. They may feel as though they are wasting time swiping through photos as opposed to dissecting resumes and reading emails from individuals who are taking more time and care to reach out themselves.
It will be interesting to see whether there is a good balance between individuals searching for opportunities with those that can provide them. Similarly, workers on BumbleBIZZ must find the app legitimate enough to actually follow up on their new connections, which may be quite a hassle depending upon how many matches they make.
Another challenge facing this new function is keeping a solid wall between the Bumble features. Bumble has stated that the business profiles will be “kept distinct from their dating profiles,” although it will be interesting to see just how they are separated. If the profiles are not distinguishable, there is a danger of matching romantically with a potential boss — a terrifying thought, to say the least.
Lastly, most professionals don’t include a photo with their real-life resumes so as not to bias the selection process. However, physical attraction may weigh in on matching decisions on BumbleBIZZ due to the inclusion of numerous photos in users’ profiles. Similarly, people may wish to display different photos and interests on their dating profiles than on their professional profiles, so they should be afforded the ability to customize each one.
This leads one to wonder: how extensive will the professional profiles be? What criteria will hiring managers use to decide on whom they will swipe right versus left? CEO Wolfe herself stated that the process is “less about your resume and more about who you are.” That said, it appears as though BumbleBIZZ will lead workers to connect based on personality rather than by focusing on credentials. Is this strategy most advantageous for scouting new hires? Time will tell.
There may be current limitations to BumbleBIZZ due to its matching algorithm and the platform’s original focus on dating. However, BumbleBIZZ certainly has the potential to change networking for the better — as long as the guidelines are clear and it distinguishes itself enough from its competitors.
Is BumbleBIZZ worth all the buzz? Let us know in the comments, or chat us up on Twitter.