I was recently interviewed by Sophie Inge of The Local and part of the interview was published yesterday.
'Never put your personal life on hold for work'
Published: 02 Dec 2013 09:00 GMT+01:00
Updated: 02 Dec 2013 09:00 GMT+01:00
Trea Tijmens, originally from Holland, has worked as a matchmaker since 2005, helping expats find love in Switzerland. Here she tells The Local how she went from head hunter to heart hunter and offers some tips on how to navigate the Swiss dating scene.
What inspired you to set up SuccessMatch?
My professional background is in Human Resources. I have always worked in the front side of Human Resources as I find that most exciting.
After arriving in Geneva in 2000, I had the opportunity to work as a recruiter and head hunter, working with International professionals and matching them for professional purposes.
Nine years ago, I launched SuccessMatch catering to the same target group: professionals.
But now, instead of matching them for professional reasons, I match them for personal reasons.
The reason I switched from head hunting to heart hunting is that I came across a lot of professionals who had a busy and successful professional life but no private life.
Matchmaking is my passion and I am proud to say that I recently became the first certified matchmaker in Switzerland — in fact, in continental Europe.
It's simple: I'm convinced that to love and be loved is a basic human need. Ultimately love is what is most important in life; I launched SuccessMatch to help busy professionals find love.
What kind of people come to you for help?
Our clients have busy and successful professional lives, they tend to be highly educated and often have an international background, they enjoy a good quality of life, in fact; they have everything in life except for a great partner to share that life with. Clients range in age from mid 20s to late 60s.
How does it work?
SuccessMatch offers confidential and personalized services. I personally meet and get to know all of our prospects at our office in Zurich or Geneva. First I offer a complimentary consultation without obligation on either side in order to better understand who the prospect is and what they are looking for in a partner and the level of service that suits them best. If we both want to work with each other the client needs to sign a contract.
We offer a dating service, a matchmaking service that includes another in-depth intake interview, Myers Briggs personality profile, professional photo shoot, date preparation, coaching and accompanying you throughout the dating process.
How would you describe the dating scene in Switzerland?
What dating scene?
I meet a lot of singles and often hear complaints about the dating scene in Switzerland. True, cities like Zurich and Geneva are so much smaller than other cosmopolitan places, and perhaps here in Switzerland things happen more through personal introductions.
However, I work with clients in New York, Amsterdam, Paris and London and often hear that the dating scene is miserable there as well – albeit perhaps for other reasons.
Is it really so hard for expats to meet people in Switzerland?
If by people in Switzerland you mean Swiss, then yes, it can be challenging to meet Swiss singles, especially when you focus on work and do not speak the local language.
In general, (although I do urge my clients not to generalize), the Swiss are the nicest people but perhaps not the most outgoing or spontaneous upon first encounter or chatty to complete strangers.
The Swiss are relatively family oriented. They grew up here, already have their network of family, friends here and have an existing social life and activities so they may have less need to connect than the single expat who still needs to build his or her life here.
What advice would you give to expats looking for love?
Never put your personal life on hold for professional reasons. I have seen too many people who did that and regretted the wasted time and opportunities later.
Consciously build up a good social life as soon as you arrive in your new environment.
Connect with other people, not only to other expats but also with local people. Joining in activities is the best way to do this, take any type of class (one where you have the opportunity to meet people of the opposite sex), join sports group like hiking or skiing, go to a local church.
Remember that love can be found anywhere at any time so make a conscious 'effort' to become aware of your environment and potential opportunities to meet someone nice.
Connect with others as much as you can. This will make your life more enjoyable and interesting and may lead you to find that special partner.
You can contact Trea Tijmens for a complimentary consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the SuccessMatch website. She is also the CEO of Dating Success.