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If you've got dating app fatigue, you may find yourself contemplating professional help to find the right life partner. Lots of singles have been turning to matchmakers and the field is likely to keep growing for the next 10 years. If you’re thinking about hiring a matchmaker, how do you choose the right one?

The answer should be: very carefully. In my ten years as a professional matchmaker, I’ve learned that the right pairing that you need first is with your matchmaker.

In order to find it, there are questions you definitely want to ask. Like with any industry, what’s the tenure of the people involved? (Typically the longer the better, but also consider that much older matchmakers tend to attract older audiences, which may or may not be what you’re after). Do they have online reviews? (If not, that’s a red flag.) What factors do they consider when matching clients? (They should be passionate when talking about this and go beyond intuition to mention alignment with deeper-level aspects like personality, politics, worldview, and lifestyle habits).

There are also standard questions people think they should ask. We’re conditioned to think these are important. But there are a few of these that can completely misguide your decision. Specifically:

  1. What is your success rate? 

A classic! You’d think that the higher the success rate, the better the company, right? Not so fast.

First, many companies don’t even track their success rates, so they can’t give you an answer, or at least an honest one. Unfortunately, some companies use very old or skewed data, or in some cases what appear to be just made up data. You really won’t be able to tell, so be wary of the stats you hear.

Also, for the companies that do track their success, how do they define success? Their definition may be different than what you expect. Some companies boast high success rates based on the number of people who go on second dates. But if you are long-term or marriage minded, this may not be enough. At DateSpot, 87% of our first daters who we introduced either want or are open to going on a second date. We take pride in ensuring mutual interest before the first date. So if the company does blind dates, consider asking about second-date interest (a blind date discussion is for another post).

Finally, not all clients who end up “coupled” through a matchmaker keep in touch to share their  continued journey, especially beyond the service end period. That means matchmakers may not know which relationships have ended or reached the goal, even if they do follow up. Personally, I’d swap this question for something more valuable.

  1. Are you single?

You might think a matchmaker who hasn’t found a mate can’t find you one either. Wrong. After many years of being a single-and-dating matchmaker, and years as a matchmaker with my amazing man, I can assure you that a matchmaker’s status doesn’t tell you what you think it does. A matchmaker’s status simply has no bearing on their effectiveness in their career.

Often times someone single means they are very selective, which is probably the same boat you’re in. This means it’s a strength and you can actually relate really well to each other. They can better understand and appreciate your high bar for a partner and for compatibility, rather than potentially accepting sub-par “matches” and accusing you of being “too picky”.

You want your matchmaker to be an advocate for you finding a match that is a good fit. You can compare it to being a realtor helping you find the right home. You do not and would not ask your realtor what their house looks like, what the listing and purchase price was, and about their real estate investments. You don’t care, as long as they are great at their job. Why would we treat matchmakers differently?

What’s more is that if a matchmaker has a significant other, we don’t know the quality of their relationship. You’re assuming that any relationship is better than none, but you know nothing about their level of happiness or compatibility with their partner. That should be an essential piece of info since your goal is not just to meet anyone willing to stay with you.

Something else to consider: someone married for years is very much out of the dating game. It’s possible that they closely keep up with the current market. But they may not have the benefit of knowing first hand the struggle of dating apps and the current dating environment.

And what you probably don’t think about at all is that a single matchmaker has the major benefit of being able to go out and about and recruit people easier. They have time to scope “the scene” and scout way more than someone in a relationship - and trust me, coming from the mom of a toddler, way more than a parent.

I’m not saying only choose single matchmakers, but definitely don’t penalize a matchmaker for being single, either. 

  1. Where are you based?

It can be interesting to know where the company is located, and/or where the person you’re working with lives. But it really should not impact your decision at all.

The reason is that a company’s success depends not on where they are but on the size of their network and their breadth of candidates for you in your area. Many large companies are based out of certain cities but have strong networks nationwide, others are strong in certain areas, and yet others have matchmaker leads focused on areas outside of their own, especially if they live in a small town.

With remote work being the norm these days, location has become nearly irrelevant. Keep in mind that most matchmaking companies have teams, with members distributed in different spots.

You don’t want to get swept away by the idea that a local company is better than a nationwide or non-local company. In fact, many local companies have networks that are far too small to service clients well, and I hear that with feedback I sometimes receive. If you do online dating or have recently done a lot of online dating, you’ve also probably run into some of the people who are part of these matchmaking networks. Matchmakers want you to believe that their members are completely separate from the people on the apps, but in reality there is a lot of overlap. 

Choose a company that has a reputation for being a large network to increase your changes. DateSpot is based in the San Francisco Bay Area, but we have a vast network of bachelors and bachelorettes nationwide. 

Also think about whether you’re open to matches outside your area - if so, you may even prefer a company solid somewhere else.

Again, I wouldn’t reject a matchmaking company just because it focuses on local matches within a certain city or metro area, but I wouldn’t consider it a plus, either.

I hope this helps save you some time so you can find the right person faster if you choose to hire help. And if you want to talk about your specific search and consult on the right high-end matchmaking company for you, feel free to book a 45 minute deep-dive video call with DateSpot. Good luck!

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