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.
Facebook is in the enviable position of being able to pretty much launch anything and get it in front of a billion human beings. And over the years, they’ve done a good job at throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks.
Their most recent foray into search (a good move, in my opinion) is one such example. Others, such as deals, check-ins, chat, Poke and classifieds exist too.
I say the dabbling is over. It’s time for Facebook to get serious about jobs.
Here’s why: Facebook is losing its cool. Teens are leaving the site for cooler kids like Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. I recently presented to a group of students at Penn St. who told me Facebook is “moderately cool.” Other anecdotal evidence is even less optimistic.
It’s OK. It happens to the best of us. Fortunately, anti-cool is not a death sentence, but for a company that blossomed because of coolness, figuring out the next chapters are vital.
Most readers know Facebook acquired cool-kid Instagram last year. That good news and bad news. Good for its current popularity; bad because it too will one-day be uncool.
Facebook is putting itself in a position where it has to drop cash every so often to stay on the cutting edge. That’s a tough treadmill to run.
LinkedIn, on the other hand, is on the opposite end of the social media spectrum. Possibly cool to the buttoned-up, degree-carrying, cube-dwelling humans that walk the earth, but less so to hipsters.
Who cares? You need a job? Get your butt on LinkedIn or else it’s mom’s basement for you, buster.
In other words, LinkedIn is a utility. It’s Google, YouTube and Amazon (or at least on its way). It doesn’t care about being cool because it’s become the place for professional networking.
And that’s where Facebook needs to go. it can spin its wheels on one end of the hip meter snatching up the next Instagram, but it would be better served acquiring a major player in the employment space.
So, if Facebook isn’t seriously considering a play in the employment space that’s more than window dressing, it would do right by making a serious play for Monster. LinkedIn would be nice, but it’s probably too expensive.
Monster’s stock price and lack of acquisition interest make it ripe for bargain basement shopping. Additionally, Monster’s database is rich with employers who might have soured on Monster’s product over the year’s, but are just waiting to be reenergized around new ownership.
Lots of industry partnerships, brand awareness and roots in employment add icing to the cake. Most importantly, however, Monster potentially puts Facebook on par with LinkedIn, a network immune to the winds of cultural change.
Employment, as LinkedIn has shown, will never go out of style. Facebook needs to embrace this reality, grow-up and get boring.
It’s that time of year again. So here are my predictions for 2013:
- Monster finally gets acquired. With its growth days behind it and an economy that should remain challenging - as in recession challenging - Monster’s stock dives enough to be too juicy for a bigger fish to gobble-up.
- LinkedIn buys Simply Hired. If you think Monster and CareerBuilder are LinkedIn’s biggest concerns, think again. It’s Indeed. And buying Simply Hired, who already runs LinkedIn’s posting backfill, is a relatively inexpensive move to strengthen their position in the job search landscape.
- Craigslist mobilizes. I know, the company is synonymous with “stubborn” and has done little in its 18 years to get with the times. That said, not being able to surf the site comfortably on a smartphone is ridiculous, especially when you consider how important mobile is to local search.
- Rise of the domains. If you thought .jobs was an unnecessary addition to the Web, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. ICANN is opening the floodgates, which will open the door for .career and being able to throw “jobs” into everything from .accountant and .ibm.
- Facebook makes a serious push against LinkedIn. Maybe the app was supposed to take attention away from the real strategy. Facebook is starting initiatives to generate revenue like their hair’s on fire. Going public will do that to you. And I think LinkedIn is in the crosshairs. Testing pay-to-contact at $1-per-message is a potential blow to LinkedIn’s cash cow, InMail, which charges $10-per-message. Now Facebook just needs to enhance their search engine in order to find qualified candidates.
For anyone who pays attention to this space, it should be an interesting year. Startups are again a serious part of the landscape while established players continue to face the challenges of an ever-evolving world led by increasingly powerful companies looking to get into the game.
Happy New Year!
Multiple sources are telling me a lot of people were laid off at Monster today. The axe fell at around 3 p.m., EST. Apparently, all departments, worldwide, were hit, with the exception of sales.
The number of workers who were cut is being quoted at 800, which is said to be about 7 percent of the company. In January 2012, 400 employees were terminated, so this is a significant increase from that, if true.
About a month ago, Yahoo! started playing around with a homepage redesign.
In one of the iterations, the link to Monster.com job content from the main navigation - which has been a staple since Monster acquired Yahoo!’s HotJobs a few years ago - was absent.
But if you thought the love affair, or maybe the contractual requirements, were over, you’d be wrong. The latest version of the Yahoo! homepage, according to All Things D, includes a link to job openings (see lefthand navigation in image below).
Granted, the link to jobs is in last place, but it’s clearly there and shares real estate among fewer links when compared to Yahoo! today. The main change: The current Monster favicon “M” has been changed to an image of a briefcase.
Good news for Monster and its clients, who can continue enjoying the exposure that only a Yahoo! homepage can give, as well as ride the wave of Yahoo! rebirth, currently being led by former Google executive, CEO Marissa Mayer.
Feel the love, just in time for the holidays.
Monster is shutting down its Latin American operations.
“Consistent with our previously announced plans to concentrate our resources on our core business in North American and key European and Asian markets, Monster has decided to close its operations in Brazil and Mexico,” said a company spokesperson. “Monster remains committed to providing talent recruitment solutions to our customers in more than 40 countries.”
This comes on the heels of a pursuing-a-sale of China announcement earlier last month.
“This past weekend, they started phasing out the employer side of the business,” said a source. “Jobs are posted for 30 days, so the job seeker stuff will start deteriorating after that. It’ll conveniently go away entering 2013.”
Monster has operations in Latin America within Brazil and Mexico, but runs job postings throughout 10 countries within the market.
Monster’s Q3 earnings call hinted at changes in emerging markets that have little impact on their larger business in North America and Western Europe. Expect Eastern Europe to face a similar restructuring as Latin America.
The number of employees negatively impacted by the move is unclear, especially since layoffs have been happening over time. However, one former employee quoted a number of “maybe a couple dozen” in the region.
So why not just sell those emerging market properties? According to the most recent earnings call, “the business is at such an early stage that, most likely, that would not result in a sale.”
As far as CEO Sal Iannuzzi losing his seat of power, considering the recent moves in China and now South America, not to mention an ongoing “No Sale” vote by the marketplace? Fahgettaboudit, said the spokesperson. “Any rumors about Sal losing his position as CEO are patently false.”
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Enter new CEO Marissa Mayer and the link goes buh-bye thanks to a redesign. Here’s a screenshot:
Go there today and you’ll see a pretty prominent link to “Jobs” with the Monster “m” icon featured on the left. In Mayer’s reshaping of Yahoo!, job search apparently doesn’t make the cut of VIP services.
The caveat, perhaps, is asking, “Does job search have greater prominence in whatever enhancements Yahoo! may be making to search?”
If that’s the case, and they pull a Google Base, Part 2, where job-related searches feature a separate search box for Yahoo!-specific content, then it could actually be good for Monster.
If Monster stays hidden and doesn’t get more love in a search overhaul, that’s really, really bad. Yahoo! still gets mad traffic and taking jobs off as a main navigation is going to tank traffic big-time.
Monster is able to charge a premium for their services in large part to partnerships like Yahoo! Looks like the love affair is in jeopardy. Can you say, Discount?
Trusted sources are saying
If true, it would certainly squash the rumors of LinkedIn buying Monster, bypassing the job board model in favor of vertical search. LinkedIn has its own job posting solution, of course, and currently supplies users with a secondary search, powered by Simply Hired.
I suspect this deal, assuming it goes down, has a lot more to do with taking out an upcoming competitor than it does vertical job search. Think Facebook taking out Instagram.
More than Monster, Indeed has been quickly building a resume database and their “Apply with Indeed” company pages look awfully familiar and directly competitive with key LinkedIn initiatives.
And keep an eye on the employment space if this goes down as rumoreed. It could help set the market for other job sites looking to sell out to most eligible sugar daddies. Monster’s stock price, for instance, will be fun to watch.
Could be a fun week. We’ll see. Stay tuned.
UPDATE (9/24/12; 9:47 p.m., PST) - Another trusted source has come forwarded saying LinkedIn is not the buyer, but that Indeed is, in fact, being acquired.
UPDATE (9/24/12; 10:28 p.m., PST) - Rumors of a “Japanese firm” buying Indeed is a common theme as this thing snowballs. Now, what exactly “Japanese firm” means is unknown. Private equity, perhaps? The number $1.2 billion has been thrown out.
UPDATE (9/24/12; 11:57 p.m., PST) - It’s official. According to their blog, Indeed has sold to Japanese-owned Recruit Co. Click here for details.
Someone might be close to acquiring Monster - finally.
The who’s-going-to-buy-Monster rumors have come and gone over the years - LinkedIn being one of the most recent - but the buzz this time ‘round may be more than a ploy to pop the stock.
Sources have been pointing to Fall as the time it’s all supposed to go down. Only time will tell, but here are a few of the players in the mix, ranging from logical to not-a-chance-in-hell:
- Microsoft - Maybe. I think the company still owns a small position in CareerBuilder, so they are privy to the online employment landscape. As Microsoft struggles to hold onto their enterprise stronghold, adding job postings and Monster’s technology might be a move they’d make.
- News Corp - After things going so well with MySpace, what could possibly go wrong? With the newspaper biz fading into the sunset, buying a an online job board may seem reasonable for ol’ Murdoch. I think they also have a position in Simply Hired, which could make for an interesting combination.
- Salesforce - The cloud champion has been adding to its portfolio of companies like mad lately, so throwing in some employment IP could be in the playbook.
- Oracle - They hate Salesforce and their CEO is nutso.
- SAP - They bought SuccessFactors earlier this year, which begat adding Jobs2Web a few months later. Monster could be another piece to the puzzle.
- More Old Media - A longshot, but The New York Times or Washington Post could come out of left field.
- Portals - Aol’s stock has been on a tear lately, which may embolden it to make a move for a different kind of content play - jobs. Like old media, I see them less interested in the technology, but who knows? Yahoo!’s lack of success with HotJobs could be a deterrence.
- Wildcard - Thrown into the discussion have been China’s 51Job and Australia’s Seek. CareerBuilder seems like a longshot, but what the hell. LinkedIn? Fat chance.
Timing is always paramount to acquisitions, and each of the alleged prospective buyers are either grasping for innovation or hoping the replace one dinosaur for other ones. I still contend a sale is a long shot, but if it’s going to happen, it’s likely to be one of the above.
And hopefully soon. I hate long soap operas.