The Art of Striking a Match

Sunday, 21 June 2015 17:01
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Corporate employees don't typically get directly exposed to the economics associated with introductions, referrals and matchmaking, but for folks like me, it's an integral part of the work that I do. It's not as if there's a rule book, nor are there universal standards. Still, I think many readers might be interested in learning some of the considerations associated with professional matchmaking.

Curious to learn more? Read on, dear friends...

Credit: Gary Larson

The Art of Striking a Match

Matchmaking is a time honored practice, going back hundreds if not thousands of years. While the methods employed to generate successful matches have evolved significantly over the years, at its core, matchmaking is about putting parties together to create value. Matchmaking can be driven by a wide variety of objectives: connecting friends and/or people who share common interests, romantic connections, professional contacts, filling open work positions, connecting organ donors with needy recipients, bringing together homebuyers and home sellers, etc... Sometimes matches are made simply for the perceived benefits that the matchmaker believes the parties involved will realize from the connection and they don't seek anything in return for their services. Their reward is the satisfaction of knowing that they've created a potentially useful connection. Other times, matchmaking is the matchmaker's primary line of business. It's how they earn a living. So, assuming that one facilitates matches for a living, what is fair compensation for matchmaking? It's a tough question to answer, because the circumstances that drive the match can vary considerably. Also, certain matches are much more challenging than others to bring about. Some require much more pre-work, vetting and careful consideration regarding qualifications and even intangibles such as style and chemistry. I don't profess to have all of the variables worked out, but I tend to organize my thoughts regarding the financial value of matchmaking by answering the following questions: What value do I expect to create by facilitating a match?Do the parties involved agree that value should be created by this match? (In effect, is the value obvious to them?)How much effort/thought have I put into matching these parties (that is, how certain am I that the match should create value, or do I have considerable uncertainty?)Am I directly investing effort to provide ongoing facilitation of the match to allow the parties to assess its quality and to help ensure its success?

In brief, compensation for a professional match should be commensurate with the value that the matchmaker personally creates through their direct judged by the party (or parties) being connected. It should not be based on the value that ultimately results from a connection, independent or regardless of the matchmaker's direct involvement and efforts. These concepts are at the heart of the executive recruiting (and technology scouting) businesses. Retained executive recruiters are hired by corporations because the employer feels that a successful match will create substantial value for his/her company given the executive level position they're seeking to fill. They wish to ensure that only high quality candidates are brought to them for consideration. They are essentially paying the recruiter to "sweat the details" and carefully vet candidates prior to submitting their credentials. In doing so, they are also seeking to minimize the risk of an unsuccessful search effort. Net, successful matchmaking is about creating genuine value as judged by the party or parties being matched.

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Since 2005, BFS Innovations has helped its Fortune 500 clients with technology scouting, new business creation and development services. Contact Michael today at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 614 937-2408 to discuss your company's needs.

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