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.
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.
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.
But Mason’s model was dead-on-arrival. And the comparisons to the job board industry are omnipresent.
As outlined in the book “Groupon’s Biggest Deal Ever,” the company found early success and grew a workforce of some 2,000 in just a few years. This was done to grab as much marketshare as possible with competitors like Yelp, Amazon and Google breathing down its neck.
The novelty of balloon rides and botox was contagious with consumers and the company turned down a reported $6 billion offer from Google and went IPO in 2011.
In an effort to increase profits, Groupon began cutting its marketing expenses, expecting its e-mail list of millions would mean a steady stream of free traffic. The decline of email’s effectiveness is probably a bigger reason for Groupon’s demise than will ever be reported, but that’s another post altogether.
What remained, however, was a large sales force. Local merchants are a diverse group, with many knowing little about technology while regularly being inundated with “silver bullets” promising to fill tables at lunchtime and sell out yoga classes.
The overhead to sustain such a people-heavy business is immense and the company has made moves to become a more scalable technology play, focusing on POS software and goods.
The pivot from a hand-holding, labor intensive agency for local merchants to a tech-centric, goods business will be painful and wrought with challenges.
The Job Board Parallel
Newspaper classifieds begat online job sites. The idea of taking a $5,000 print ad and turning it into a $99 online ad has been an effective model for over a decade. Without the cost of cutting down trees and paying paperboys, newspapers couldn’t compete.
However, in many cases, the large sales forces remained. Human resources, it continues to be argued, is a “people business.” Add “risk averse” to that equation and the perceived need for bodies on the street runs rampant.
Armed with little more than skeleton crews and server farms big enough to keep the lights on, these companies proved that you didn’t need local offices, regional VPs and Super Bowls ads to reach the heights they’ve achieved, while disrupting the traditional recruitment advertising model in the process.
Who knew? HR people really will buy stuff without holiday gift baskets, concert tickets and lunch dates. Tech companies really could out-duel armies of sales people.
The daily deals business, or more appropriately the local market business is digitally a much younger business than employment. Groupon is a victim of timing. Someone will prove that technology can penetrate the corner yogurt shop.
“Local” will get its Indeed someday. It just won’t be Groupon.
Google owns Android, the most popular mobile operating system on earth. That’s probably not news to you. What may be news, however, is realizing Google has a window into mobile usage that few could ever dream of as a result. So, when they focus on getting mobile right on one of their many properties, you should take note.
Enter their redesigned mobile career center.
It’s awesome. Responsive. Fast. Rich in content and branding. Integrates its Google Plus platform.
For Google to set such standards is no surprise. Their applicant tracking solution was way ahead of its time 8 years ago, bringing an Amazon-like ease-of-use to its prospective talent pool.
I have to imagine Google looked at traffic coming into the career center and recognized the trend of mobile visitors, which I’ll bet was also heavy on tablet usage as well, and took action.
You can argue that Google is interested in making everything on their properties mobile, and you’d be right. However, this was apparently a focus for them, as Laszlo Bock, Google’s Senior Vice President of People Operations, made an announcement of the changes earlier this month:
The world of HR is infamously slow to change and adoption of new technologies, often letting others blaze the trail that they’ll eventually get to.
For the most thrift-conscisous, redirecting candidates to your Indeed.com profile page might work as a mobile strategy, as all these pages are friendly to small screens. It’s a strategy with some negatives, like potentially sending candidates to your competition that’s on Indeed’s job search, but comes at a very reasonable price.
Should you care about mobile? If you’re an employer, do yourself a favor and go visit the person who tracks site traffic. Ask what percentage of users come in through mobile devices. If the answer is greater than 10 percent, it’s time to add mobile to the checklist of things to do in 2013.
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!
Venture capital is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it means ammunition to take your idea or product to heights it wouldn’t otherwise go. And on the other hand, someone owns your ass.
Swimming with sharks can be as exciting as it is deadly. And the clock is ticking all the time. Enter Simply Hired. Launched in 2003, it was part of the vertical search engine phenomenon that was happening at the time. The more successful brother-in-arms has turned out to be Indeed.com.
Simply Hired was founded by Gautam Godhwani, who, according to the old company page,
… co-founded the India Community Center to help bring the SF bay area community closer together. Before that, he was CEO and co-founder of AtWeb, an Internet 1.0 company acquired by Netscape/AOL in 1998. AtWeb made a product called Web Site Garage that helped millions of small businesses “tune-up” their websites and register them with all the leading search engines (yes, once upon a time there was more than one). Before the dot-com era, Gautam worked for several small businesses including HP, IBM, and Microsoft.
Six years on and the clock has probably run out on Godhwani. The company announced a new CEO this week and has deleted its co-founder and now ex-CEO from its about page. His new title, according to a release, is Chairman.
Indeed selling to Recruit for an alleged $1.2 billion was probably the last straw for Godhwani, as investors likely saw that acquisition as a missed opportunity.
I often struggle with understanding how Indeed beat Simply Hired as the default job search engine for consumers and, more importantly, advertisers and employers. The answer, although complicated, might best be summed up by a former Indeed employee:
Differences in strategy and execution were the reasons Indeed won. Simply Hired wanted to pay for high profile partners like CNN. That sounds good but did not necessarily provide a good quantity or quality of traffic. Indeed focused everything on SEO and high-volume partners that were more under-the-radar. Simply Hired also struggled from a sales standpoint in that they were always the second option and copied many of Indeed’s features after they were already out there. They always seemed late to the game in terms or product, sales etc.
Well, now it’s someone else’s problem. The property still has a lot of traffic that can be monetized in new and possibly more effective ways. If it were me, I’d undercut everyone on cost-per-clicks and throw money at sites already leveraging Indeed’s content as backfill to switch in order to gain some market traction.
Not that anyone called me, of course, but there you go. They seem more focused on the opportunities around mobile right now, which isn’t a bad thing.
I really like Gautam. I wish him the best. He was probably pretty spent anyway. I’m sure he’ll land on his feet. His LinkedIn profile highlights Keepsy and Intuary as current board seats, which may be a glimpse into his future.
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Where would you go after selling your company for a bucketload of cash? Maui? Disney World?
So long, CEO.
“Co-founder Rony Kahan is now CEO of Indeed,” said Anne Murguia, Indeed’s senior director, corporate marketing. “Paul Forster has moved back home to the UK where he works in our London office. Paul and Rony are continuing to work together as a team, as they have for years.”
Kahan’s tech know-how and laid back demeanor went well with Forster’s business acumen at the top of Indeed’s executive food chain, so it’ll be interesting to see how Forster’s advisor role plays out long term.
When companies take over other companies, departments and roles that overlap are commonly eliminated or reallocated elsewhere.
With Forster’s focus on the sales side of the business for so long, I have to wonder if Recruit will now have a greater influence on sales and service going forward.
Time will tell.
No surprise to see changes taking place at Indeed following their acquisition, but seeing such shuffling at the top is certainly unique. It’s doubtful Recruit will mess with a good thing, but for whatever reason, this was a move the powers that be deemed necessary.
Or maybe Paul just missed the fish and chips.
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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.