Thursday, July 13, 2006

Arms Race Escalates in War For Talent

Before I start, here's my disclaimer: I like Jobster. I'm was honored to be asked to be on their Customer Advisory Board and they have been good to me. That's not why I like them though. I've been a Jobster fan since day one because they 'get it'. They are the most innovative force in Recruiting Technology, they have surrounded themselves with smart people, they listen to their client base, and they are fearless.

I first heard about Jobster in early 2005. When I witnessed their launch at the 2005 Spring ERExpo, it hit me like a ton of bricks. "This is it!" I thought, this is what I've been looking for! A way to easily and efficiently deliver job information to targeted audiences. This was a natural extension of our already successful employee referral program.

We signed up soon after and have had some success since, primarily as a vehicle to promote our Open House events. Several hires have been tracked back to candidates receiving information about these events from our employees via Jobster. Over time, we have grown our talent network and recently, they have helped us to wrap our jobs into the system. Admittedly, we do need to make more hires from this tool, the ROI isn't exactly there yet, but I'm preparing to do a few things that hopefully will kick things up a notch and engage alot more candidates.

I've offered my constructive criticism, and for the most part, they have listened. Most recently, in my ERE article, I suggested that they (and others) needed to do more to educate the public as to what these tools are and how they offer a 'better way'. Today's WSJ article was a nice first step. That article was timed very nicely to coincide with Jobster's new release today.

This has been their most innovative (and IMO risky) move yet. The upgrade they launched today makes the effort to tie together 'social networking' and job 'finding'. This is their first move to truly reach out to the public and engage them in the process. They are taking what is already happening online on blogs, message boards, and on websites such as Vault.com, and asking people to provide information (hopefully honest and accurate information) about their employers (or former employers). As mentioned there is some risk involved, but there are also controls in place to protect employers from 'inappropriate' posts. How will traditionally conservative Corporate Communications and HR departments feel about this relatively 'open forum'? Time will tell.

What do I like about this? New media such as blogs are so popular today because they present information in a fresh, honest and open way, what Jobster presents as an 'insiders view'. This is information people want and need to help them make more informed decisions about their career moves. They are using tags to help connect people with similar interests. Overall, employers can use this new functionality to present themselves in a more interactive and engaging manner.

Will this work? Will the workforce latch on to this and see this as a better way to gain more information and make connections that will enhance their career prospects? Will some employers be too risk averse to participate in full? It will be fun to watch at the very least.

Jobster dropped a big bomb on the recruiting technology community today. What will the rest of that community do to keep up with these innovations? Don't know myself, but Jobster has undoubtedly raised the stakes. Kudos.

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