My Posts

Swipe Right: China’s Unconventional Job Hunt on Tinder

By Albulena Murturi


8 December 2023

Chinese youth job search on Tinder

©️ Tinder / Gencraft / LinkedIn

In a surprising twist to the world of online connections, young graduates in China are turning to the popular dating app Tinder for job-searching opportunities. This unconventional trend has gained momentum among individuals who face challenges securing employment through traditional methods such as email applications and LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Departure From China

The genesis of this unique trend can be traced back to 2021 when LinkedIn decided to discontinue its local job app in China. The move left job seekers in a quandary, struggling to identify reliable multinational companies and organizations to send their resumes. Despite LinkedIn’s scaled-back presence, its alternative, known as InCareer, managed to attract only 959,600 monthly active users by March 2023. It lagged behind domestic rivals like 51job and Liepin.

Chinese youth job search on Tinder
©️ / Freepik

As a vacuum in the job-seeking landscape emerged, young professionals in China found an unexpected alternative in Tinder. Surprisingly, Tinder, despite requiring a VPN to access due to government restrictions, has become more popular than other international dating apps like Bumble. The app’s popularity is ironically bolstered by its accessibility challenges. Its users perceive that the restricted access filters out individuals without stable careers and decent jobs.

Tinder’s widespread use, albeit with the help of a VPN subscription, has positioned it as an unconventional but effective networking platform for job seekers. The app’s robust filter options and GPS tracking feature allow users to expand their professional circles. It helps them connect with individuals outside their typical social networks. For many, this trend has proven beneficial as they discover potential career opportunities through encounters on the dating app.

From Professional to Personal Real Quick

A compelling success story emerged from a Peking University graduate who shared her experience with Sixth Tone. Having completed her philosophy degree in 2020, she turned to Tinder to alleviate her anxiety about post-graduation job prospects. A chance encounter led her to match with a man working in a prominent tech company in Beijing. Their initial date transformed into a pivotal moment as he provided valuable tips for securing an internship at his company. This internship not only opened doors for her future career but also led to a blossoming romantic relationship. This resulted in the couple’s engagement.

Chinese youth job search on Tinder
©️ gencraft

The graduate highlighted the distinct atmosphere Tinder fosters compared to LinkedIn. It emphasizes that Tinder’s initial conversations often delve into personal life. This intimacy, she argued, makes it a more effective platform for networking within specific industries. In essence, Tinder has evolved into a modern tool for job-seeking, crafted by the younger generation.

Warning to Respect the Platform Purpose

However, amidst the growing job search on Tinder from the Chinese youth, the dating app’s spokesperson issued a warning. Users attempting to leverage their accounts for “business purposes” were reminded that such actions violated the platform’s community guidelines. The spokesperson emphasized that Tinder is intended for personal connections, not business transactions, and discouraged users from promoting businesses or seeking financial gains through the platform.

The intersection of romance and career advancement on Tinder in China is undeniably unique. As young graduates navigate the challenges of a competitive job market, they are reshaping the boundaries of networking platforms. While Tinder’s primary purpose remains rooted in personal connections, its unintended role as a job-seeking tool highlights the adaptability and creativity of the younger generation in leveraging technology for their professional endeavors.

The question remains: in a world where swiping right could lead to both love and career success, would you consider turning your Tinder account into a job-seeking opportunity?

You might also want to read: Why Does China Want to Limit Screen Time Limit for Minors?

Albulena Murturi

An enthusiastic learner rediscovering the joy of writing.