This post isn’t about any of that. It is, however, about the one item that may have impact on the employment game.
It was practically an afterthought with all that was going on, but an update to how users find iPhone and iPad apps caught my attention: A discovery feature dubbed “Popular Near Me.”
What is it?
It was described as a way to browse through apps based on geographical popularity, thus localizing the app discovery process. For example, if you live in New York and browse apps popular in the area, you might see an app for the Yankees. Likewise, someone in Los Angeles could see an app for the Dodgers.
The Impact on Employment
Finding a job is largely local. Until this latest feature, employment-related native apps had been general in nature. Apps like CareerBuilder and Indeed have ruled, while niche players are mostly bypassed.
This could change with “Popular Near Me.”
Now, local job boards have an opportunity to be found in their local markets in favor of bigger players. Now, an app for, say, jobs in Orlando, Florida could show up in a search for “jobs” to someone in Orlando. Or someone browsing top apps in Seattle could find a local job search apps in the area even though they weren’t even looking for employment.
This new option should be a boon for local newspapers, which have had challenges with their place in the app ecosystem. There’s no reason for Chicago Tribune to be a top app in Chicago, for example. And if you’re a local newspaper that doesn’t have an app, complete with classifieds, you may want to develop such an app.
It’s potentially as important as Google was in creating niche in the early days of the Web. When site owners understood that ranking for “Cleveland jobs” was easier to do as a niche than it was as a general site, it sparked the birth of tens of thousands of sites that wouldn’t have existed in the previous environment.
To date, Beyond.com is one of the few general job sites with a local strategy. The developer behind iPhone apps like Manhattan Jobs and Phillyjobs may have a leg-up on the near-me trend, and it will be interesting to see how their exposure changes, if at all, once the new iOS goes mainstream this coming fall. If they do get favorable placement, I’d look for a wave of localized jobs apps to take-off.
And if I had to guess, they would’ve gotten there be being downloaded by a good number of local residents, which would obviously be aided by promoting the app in their local market.
The evolution of app discovery - much like every medium before it - is starting to segment and specialize. All kinds of content - including jobs - are bound to follow suit.
Granted, Tumblr is no LinkedIn when it comes to sourcing your next great executive. However, the service does offer a potential trove of potential candidates to source.
Let’s start with who’s on Tumblr. Fortunately, the service has added Quantcast tracking code to its HTML, so demographic information is publicly available and about as accurate as you’re going to get.
You can check the data on your own, but here are the broad strokes. Tumblr users are:
- Young (18-34)
- No Kids
- College Educated
*Mobile app data is not calculated via Quantast, so it’s an under-reported datapoint, however, other data supports this.
If this is the kind of audience you’re looking for, read on, Tumblr just might be a place you want to start visiting. And if you’re going to do some recruiting there, here are some tips to get you started:
- Join. You’ll need to make the decision to join as a company or an individual. You’ll have better luck interacting as a human being, but Yahoo! will likely be making corporate participation easier and normal in the future as advertising options open-up.
- URL. You’ll have the option of having a Tumblr subdomain (myname.tumblr.com, for example) or a domain of your choice. Either way, consider having a domain name with keywords representing your recruitment goals. You could be hiringengineers.tumblr.com or jobsatcompanyname.com.
- Presentation. Get yourself a nice theme and make it look lived-in and cared for. Don’t go with the out-of-the-box Tumblr theme you get when you first sign-up.
- Search. Searching by hsahtags can be very effective. Searching #nursing or #carnegie mellon, for instance, will reveal a variety of users talking about those topics.
- Explore. Click on these profiles and checkout what these people are sharing. There could also be links to other hashtags that will help you learn more similar topics.
- Follow. If you see a candidate who looks appealing, follow them. Following people, like most other social platforms, is key to success. And doing this means that user’s posts will start showing up in your main feed.
- Participate. Now that you’re following prime candidates, interact with them and be part of the Tumblr community. This largely comes down to “hearting” their posts or reblogging them. When you do these things, the user will be made aware of it (and hopefully go checkout your page / jobs as a result).
- Discuss. Like any blog, Tumblr allows you to comment on posts. And some blog posts will actually just be questions that you can answer directly. Just don’t be spammy by simply leaving a link to your jobs page.
- Follow the followers. Many Tumblogs showcase the other users who follow them. Check them out. There’s a chance birds of a feather flock together.
- Be excellent. Similar to No. 3, don’t let users see a ghost town when they come checkout your tumblog. The good news is, unlike most blog platforms, Tumblr makes it really easy to share content. Publishing YouTube videos, pics and famous quotes are a breeze. Subject lines are also optional.
- Drive awareness. Add a Tumblr widget or button to your career site and other social channels. If you haven’t communicated with your applicants in awhile, sending them a “Hey, we’re on Tumblr” email might be a good idea to boost your numbers.
It’s a lot to take in. Adding another social platform to your daily activities may seem like overkill, especially one as quirky as Tumblr. But with 200 million monthly users and now Yahoo!’s muscle behind it, Tumblr is certainly one to put on your radar.
Disclosure - Tumblr is a Jobscore client.
Look who’s getting into the job matching game.
Popular algorithmic dating site eHarmony went mainstream last week that they have their eye on the job search marketplace.
“It seems like there’s a social problem here that needs fixing, much in the same that when we started with relationship matching, there just seemed to be a problem,” said Grant Langston, eHarmony’s vice president of customer experience.
In theory, this seems like a match (pun intended) made in heaven, but I’ll go ahead and predict disaster.
Here are three reasons eHarmony-for-jobs will flop.
1. It’s never worked before. We’ve been down this road before. The story doesn’t end well. Remember itzbig, Climber, Jobfox and Trovix? They’re all gone as matching solutions and only Trovix, a Monster acquisition, cashed out … nevermind the eventual product, 6sense, failed to round the bases.
Langston said, “We don’t see a company in the jobs market that is providing an ‘eHarmony-like’ matching service.” There’s a reason. Google it.
2. No core competency. Big companies with lots of traffic have tried to made inroads into employment for years. Remember eBay’s Kijiji or MySpace jobs? They didn’t make a dent in Craigslist.
The hubris of company’s with eyeballs and brand who think they can make a splash in recruiting never ends well. And, by the way, it reeks of desperation.
3. Recruiting isn’t dating. Motivation to fill out a 29-point questionnaire works if you’re hoping to find true love. It doesn’t work so well with employment. In order for matching to truly work, but parties - in this case, job seeker and employer - must fill out a lengthy dataset. Successful matching doesn’t occur magically, no matter what computer scientists tell you.
Only the most desperate job seekers will do it and employers don’t want to compete lengthy forms to access these candidates.
They’re right. Stick to the love connections and leave the employment stuff to the professionals.
Doostang acquired Jobfox in October last year. I interviewed the buyer’s CEO, Jeff Berger, at the time to find out more. And although he was relatively open about the purchase and what they’d do with the property, there wasn’t a lot know about the future of company founder Rob McGovern (photo).
The silence was deafening, since the new ownership was stuck dealing with some brutal allegations against Jobfox and, more interestingly, McGovern himself.
A secondary post drew a bevy of negative comments, focused on people who had delivered services to Jobfox and been stiffed on payment. One industry CEO vowed to help fund a class action suit.
Their fearless leader [Rob McGovern] managed not to pay some very large bills to a lot of people in the industry as well. Kept running them up even after it was very clear they were bankrupt. I for one would make a contribution to the legal fund of any employee who wants to sue him personally, since walking off without paying your employees as a corporate officer pierces the corporate veil in many states.
An anonymous commenter added, “Rob McGovern. This guy is just the pits. I worked with Jobfox as a Resume Writer for a LONG time. He owes me and my team LOTS of money. He is a criminal. He knowingly assigned resumes to writers, LONG AFTER he knew he would not pay them, just so he could get paid, and get out.”
About the only thing we knew was that McGovern was launching a site at www.cobrain.com, but the site was relatively barren at the time.
Visiting the site this week, however, revealed a company open for business.
The company’s mission is pretty obtuse at the moment, but all the buzzwords of the day - big data, data science and insanely great - are represented (I’m sure “pivot” will show-up eventually too).
Cobrain is about collective intelligence; the shared brain power of people like you. We’re building mobile and Web products, which will be absolutely free for consumers … Cobrain will appear in your world through various apps and software components. We’re about advanced data science and machine learning. We’ll help our members make better decisions via the collective intelligence of others.
Most notably on the company’s About page was, “The most frequent feedback we hear: ‘You’re going to change the world.’” Change the world? Certainly a piece of cake for the guy who founded CareerBuilder.
For more insight on the company’s mission, checkout their submission for a trademark here.
The best news for McGovern, who also survived a near-death car crash in 2009, is the legal troubles of Jobfox may be over. Aside from a lot of trash talking and a 2011 suit, I can’t find evidence of anything active online.
LinkedIn didn’t listen to a word I said.
Jumping onto the resume reinvention bandwagon, LinkedIn introduced ‘visually enhanced” portfolios last week. As the name suggests, LinkedIn users are now empowered to add even more eye-candy to profiles.
According to the release:
This means you can illustrate your greatest achievements in the form of stunning images, compelling videos, innovative presentations and more. From the analyst who makes annual predictions on tech trends to the 3D animator who is looking to fund a new short film, the opportunities are limitless for how professionals can now use the LinkedIn profile to help showcase these unique stories in a visual way.
Here’s the Slideshare:
I know the company is crushing it on many fronts. But this unending move to out-Facebook Facebook just seems like doing something for the sake of doing something.
The recruiters I talk to want standardized resumes. That’s boring, I know, but boring is efficient. Sure, there are professions where pretty pictures make sense, but that’s not the message here, as LinkedIn uses “Recent Grad” as one of their fancy profile examples.
Does that really say “Graduation photos”? How many recruiters want to use Pomp and Circumstance pics as a prerequisite for employment?
In contrast, Indeed remains steadfast in providing an effective, simple platform for searching and submitting resumes. And they’re quietly growing an audience that loves said interface for managing those resumes.
The more LinkedIn gets away from its roots, the more Indeed becomes a threat to its place in the market. Indeed is already the most popular place to search for jobs. By some accounts, more job seekers apply to jobs with their button than LinkedIn’s. The have commentary that gives Glassdoor a run for its money. And all the while, their stuff remains fast, mobile and search engine friendly.
I could go on.
The point is, LinkedIn is going to lose its recruiting crown if it keeps up the arms race with Facebook, Twitter and all the other Valley darlings.
Maybe that doesn’t matter. Maybe the dollars outside of employment are just too tempting. Maybe their blind with success.
LinkedIn’s shareholders certainly don’t seem care. The stock is a Street favorite even after last week’s hiccup. Keep in mind, however, Monster’s stock used to be just as loved.
it took Indeed less than 10 years to remake the job search space. It may take less than that to own the entire employment landscape.
It probably started with the cavemen.
The more visually acute among us were more likely to escape saber-toothed tigers and catch Sunday brunch. Stop signs and help wanted shingles didn’t come along till much later.
In short, we’ve evolved as visual beings.
MRI in Indianapolis was an early adopter of online-video-as-job-posting. I’m talking 2006 early. At the time, posting on YouTube was too dangerous for corporate viewing, so MRI set-up a Blip.tv channel to bypass firewalls.
They still rock videos:
We’re not talking Oscar quality here, folks, but it must be effective considering they’re in year seven of the strategy. They even add “See Video” in all their job titles, which I’m sure helps them cut through the clutter on job search engines like Indeed and titillate candidates to click.
And I’d guess 7 years from now, they’ll still be doing videos. Cameras are on everything. High speed connections are ubiquitous. And an ever-demanding audience is wanting more.
Will more employers follow this example?
A growing number of vendors are hoping so. From video interviewing to promoting employer brands, names of companies like Wowzer, Hirevue, Green Job Interview, Montage and Take the Interview are connecting employer and job seeker in unique ways.
One of the more interesting new solutions is Wowzer Match, coming soon to a smartphone near you:
It’s a bold move to say the least.
It goes beyond the business-to-business model of most video recruiting solutions and goes after the candidate. Job seekers have been hesitant to download native apps to search jobs and company profiles, especially if they don’t have a ton of job listings to peruse.
Unless Wowzer has 100,000 companies using their service, the odds are against success, but it may be a window into the future. While a standalone video solution is akin to climbing Mt. Everest, becoming a nice feature to an existing product could be interesting.
A handful of job sites already offer video as part of their traditional offerings, and while most of these videos fall under the “Here’s Why It’s Great to Work Here” banner, envisioning a greater variety seems likely.
Earlier this year, I interviewed Jason LaBarbera of Sunol Group at HireCamp, who specializes in video recruiting. Their strategy focuses on sending hard-to-recruit candidates a series of three videos promoting various qualities of a company. Videos are much more attention-getting than black-and-white copy.
Penske is one example, targeting management training prospects:
In 2009, Kevin Wheeler wrote Why Recruiting Has To Go Video. In it, he said, “According to Gartner, Inc., the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company, more than 25 percent of the content that workers view each day will be dominated by pictures, video or audio by 2013.”
Well, fast forward and here we are in good ol’ 2013. In those four years, the world got acquainted with Instragram, Vine and Pinterest. A world dominated by pictures? Indeed. And don’t forget about YouTube, Hulu and Netflix bringing moving pictures to TVs, tablets and smartphones everywhere.
All this video talk reminds me, there are a few episodes of "House of Cards" I still haven’t watched. I just hope I can find it among all the cartoons my kids have watched under my username.
I do admit to loving “Adventure Time" though, just between us.
Not that long ago, I used to say, “Unless you’re a sales person or a recruiter, LinkedIn sucks.” I doubt the powers-that-be were listening, but since going IPO, it sure seems like they were.
The first significant move away from being “your father’s LinkedIn” came in 2011 with the launch of LinkedIn Today, This offering “delivers the day’s top news, tailored to you based on what your connections and industry peers are reading and sharing.”
Fair enough. Aggregate some content based on shared articles within my network. It’ll be nice to finally weed through the grumpy cat memes and LeBron shares on Facebook and get right to some meat-and-potato business content.
News aggregation and original content? Check.
Early 2013, LinkedIn upgraded its company pages, complete with pretty photos, followers and tabs. (Yeah, I know this all sounds a lot like Facebook’s evolution, but stay with me.) HP hit 1 million followers in Feb. There’s even an infographic to celebrate.
Then, last week, LinkedIn acquired the popular news aggregation app Pulse.
According to the company release, it’s “completely revamped with the general professional and everyday use case in mind. … We’ve designed the new LinkedIn mobile phone app for every professional, with a richer and more engaging stream and more personalization features.”
Of course, there’s a video:
Therein lies the crux of LinkedIn’s future: It’s moving beyond the recruiting junkies and sales hounds. Though, oddly enough, it’s a great thing for this original core consumer.
A few month’s ago, I attended a recruiting roundtable where a group of headhunters were complaining about the lack of software developers on LinkedIn. “I’d guess only 40 percent of the engineers in my area even have profiles on LinkedIn,” one said.
This reality has given rise to trolling sites like Github for talent. Dare I say Facebook, with its Graph Search, may even be a better place to source certain candidates, especially with its $1-per-message pricetag compared to LinkedIn’s $10-per-message fee structure?
At a recent Facebook event where CEO Mark Zuckerberg described the aspiration for Facebook to be the world’s best “personalized newspaper,” he said:
What we’re trying to do is give everyone in the world the best personalized newspaper we can. We believe that the best personalized newspaper should have a broad diversity of content. It should have high-quality public content from world-renowned sources, and it should also have socially and locally relevant updates from family, friends, and the people around you. It should also enable you to drill into any topic that you want to discuss.
The future of the Web is a battle for time, as in who controls yours. Facebook, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn and myriad others are vying for your most precious resource. Few things demand attention like good content, so it’s no surprise they’re all getting into that game.
Can a LinkedIn-meets-CNBC video channel be far behind?
If LinkedIn can carve out its niche for providing no-filler content for everyday professionals, I think they’ll be fine. Keep improving the employment offerings and keep empowering companies, and differentiation will stay intact. It’ll still be a get-a-job and network destination.
If they stray too much into Facebook and Twitter territory, I think an opportunity opens up for someone like Indeed, who I’m sure would love to fill the void as “professional hangout.”
While LinkedIn is noticeably doing its best to become Facebook, Indeed is quietly doing its best to become LinkedIn. Weird. But, that’s a separate post.
There are certain things in life that have become commonplace for everyone’s benefit. Red means stop. The sun sets in the west. The Browns will never win a Super Bowl.
So why companies are still hoping to reinvent the resume is beyond me.
And speaking of beyond, Beyond.com released a new “visual resume” last month. According to the news release, it “provides a new way for professionals to supplement their traditional resume with a dynamic infographic of their career history.”
You can click here for a live example.
Industry vet Peter Weddle is quoted, saying “The traditional resume is hard to decipher, at least efficiently, and is as inspiring as a brick. In today’s hypercompetitive job market, job seekers need a way to stand out, and I think that Beyond.com’s Career Portfolio is a big step in the right direction.”
If by “stand out,” he means ticking off a recruiter who’s used to looking at resumes in a standardized format, then sure, it’s a way to standout.
Another online recruitment stalwart and friend, Chris Russell, launched CareerCloud last year with a similar pitch: “Your paper resume says what you did. Your social resumes says WHO YOU ARE.”
These are all well-meaning initiatives, but history is against them.
Five years hence, the site is still live but the most recent press release is from 2009 and the footer copyright reads 2011. It’s fair to say it didn’t take off. And a few more years of Facebook and Pinterest won’t change that.
There’s a reason resumes are the way they are. They work. They work because they’ve become standardized. Recruiters know the format. Job seekers are taught early on this format. And if they aren’t, Google searches are there to show them how it’s done.
Recruiters go blind as it is looking at resumes. Could you imagine a world where every resume they review is formatted differently? Some have pictures, some have tags, some have YouTube videos and some have all the above.
Resumes work because everyone knows the rules and expectations are met. Expecting to change consumer behavior is a failed experiment. Just ask Ron Johnson, the now ex-CEO of JC Penney.
Companies like LinkedIn and Indeed got it right. If you’ve ever exported your LinkedIn profile to PDF, you’ll notice all the bells-and-whistles get stripped out - just like a pressed-for-time recruiter likes it.
Does this mean rules aren’t meant to be broken from time-to-time? Of course not. The guy who tricked-out his resume to look like an Amazon sales page, in order to get a job at Amazon, was brilliant.
Now, that was a legit purple cow. No company would ever fault a job seeker for having such creativity in trying to gain employment, especially a recruiter at Amazon coming across such a resume.
But there’s a big difference between cutting through the clutter and becoming an “Oh my God, are you serious?” distraction for a hiring manager.
And don’t even get me started on video resumes. For the rest of world history, can we just skip all this reinvention of the resume stuff and put our resources to something a little more practical?
Have you ever heard someone say, “I can’t wait to talk with a sales person today”? Yeah, me neither.
People may love buying stuff, but they sure hate being sold.
I’ve spoken to a number of business owners over the last year or so and a growing number of them are doing everything they can to rid themselves of reliance on sales people.
That’s bad news for sales people. And technology is helping to make a salesperson-less future more and more possible.
If you pay attention to Wall Street, you know Carl Icahn, an investor well-known for buying stakes in promising companies that he deems a little rough around the edges, took a large stake in a company called Nuance.
You may not know the name, but you know the technology, which powers Apple’s Siri, a voice-powered valet for iPhones. Tell “her” to schedule a 1:00 reminder to call your mom, and Siri makes it so.
A future where we tell our remote controls to record the next Manchester United game or ask a digital waitress to summon a cold beer aren’t all that far from mainstream.
What does all this have to do with the decline of sales people? Well, I’ll go out on a limb and say a lot of consumers would rather speak to a machine as opposed to a human being. Maybe it’s the same reason we’d rather text than play phone tag or make small talk.
Checkout “Rob” rocking the tradeshow circuit.
Not nearly as cool as Tupac onstage, but eventually these holograms will be able to have Q&A with prospects and show-off products, which means fewer sales people in the booth.
I’ll give you a more relevant example closer to 2013. Thanks to technology, filling a sales funnel is easier than ever before. Savvy companies are using content marketing in any variation of webinars, ebooks and videos to send prospects on a road to an eventual purchase.
Email autoresponders make ongoing contact with prospects easy. Prospects can view demos and hear pitches on their own time as opposed to dealing with sales people calling “at the worst possible time.”
And don’t forget about cost. No doubt the best sales people are worth their weight in gold - especially in specific industries - but for the other 90 percent, there are a lot of business owners who would rather not incur the expense of dealing with such overhead.
The frontline of the sales process is slowly losing out to Mr. Roboto. Get used to it. The rise of the machines will impact a lot of people. If 3D printers ever put a whole lot of Chinese workers out of a job, things could get really dicey. That’s a different post.
But sales is a lot different than putting together an iPhone, right? Maybe. Since it’s now baseball season, I’ll make this analogy. Of the nine players on a team, maybe 3-4 are great. The others come-and-go with little fanfare. They can be a manager’s biggest headache.
That’s what sales is becoming. The best will be tolerated, nurtured, rewarded. The others will be holograms at a tradeshow.
And how does this impact recruiting? Well, fewer sales people to hire is a start. The other is knowing how close sales’ DNA is with recruiting DNA. There’s the same risk that many recruiting tasks will become technosized.
Prescreening, assessment and sourcing tools are already doing their damnedest to get rid of a lot of recruiting tasks. It’s a trend that won’t quit and many recruiters are less necessary today than they were yesterday.
Indeed Trends data may reveal the canary in the coal mine. Although job postings for titles around “sales” are steady, these tend to encompass a lot of retail jobs, which take time to catch-up to professional trends. In contrast, the postings for “business development,” a title more familiar with white collar positions, is way down even in an improving employment picture.
A recent interview with Square CFO Sara Friar entitled “Square is Avoiding Hiring Sales People" serves as a good template for how many companies regard sales people. "I’m least excited about the day that I have to hire a salesperson," she said.
Sales people aren’t going away. I’m sure they’ve been around since cavemen were bartering sticks for rocks. What I do believe, however, is there will be a world with fewer sales people and breaking into the profession will be tougher.
And a lot of consumers and companies are quite happy with that reality.
Time to start getting comfortable pimping your stuff in 140 characters or less. With an upgrade to its marketing platform this week, Twitter is now a legitimate advertising medium for employers.
From a recent email,
Great news! Today, we announced more targeting options for your Twitter advertising. Based on your feedback, we added new features to connect you with the Twitter users most likely to be interested in your messages.
Before the upgrade, advertisers could promote specific accounts and targeted tweets. One popular tactic, for example would be to promote a tweet that might have a hashtag that would get you in front of your prospects.
Employers looking to get in front of an audience of techies, for example, might promote a tweet with #SXSW in it to be seen by conference-goers of the popular Austin gathering of geeks and influencers.
Twitter’s takin’ it to a whole other level. Here are some of the updates:
Target by interests: by @usernames and interest categories
- Target @usernames, to build an audience with similar interests to that @username’s followers.
- Choose from a wide-ranging list of 350 interest categories.
Target by device
- Tailor your content to reach users on laptops, desktops, tablets or smartphones.
Target by gender
- Target by gender when you want to reach just the guys or just the gals.
Target by location
- Worldwide, country, state or metro.
Since we’re talking about recruiting, let’s leave the target-by-gender thing alone. It’s likely not relevant unless you’re recruiting for Hooters or Chippendale’s (not that I know anything about those businesses, of course).
Interests is the most interesting. Targeting @unsernames, for instance, allows employers to get their message in front of followers of their competition, as well as their CEOs.
Interest category targeting is also complete with subcategories, which includes Careers. See screen capture below:
Targeting by location, may be the most beneficial of all for many employers, since most hiring is done in this fashion. The solution doesn’t get quite as granular as, say, Google, unfortunately. Trying to type-in a zip code, for example didn’t take.
The option to segment by device may seem irrelevant, but for employers who have a mobile-friendly career site, specifying that your ads only show-up on just iPhones, for example, should keep your costs lower, because there should be less competition for ad inventory.
As more-and-more employers move beyond traditional recruitment advertising options, Twitter has proven itself a worthy use of your time to investigate it as an alternative to job boards and even Google or Facebook.
In a unique way, Twitter brings together the best of Google advertising and social media marketing. It’s a mashup of interests and demographics, and it’s very cool.
A little creepy? Yeah, probably. But when did creepy ever get between a candidate and a career opportunity?