Tools and Applications

Who are jobrapido? A conversation with Vito Lomele

If you follow this blog, then you might remember that I had the opportunity to announce that Evenbase made their first acquisition,  Jobrapido, on April 16′th. I got to speak with Evenbase Chairman Keith Potts at the time, who explained the reasoning behind the deal. Potts sees the future of digital recruiting being having a strong presence and brands in 5 key areas:

> Jobboards
>Job Posting
>Social Media
>Mobile
>Job aggregation 

Jobrapido filled the aggregator spot, having built themselves up as the second biggest brand in the world in just 7 short years. I was impressed by their story and what I have seen and heard about the service. Aggregators are a relatively new area for me on this scale, and I was keen to find out more.
Last week I got to catch up with enigmatic Jobrapido founder Vito Lomele, to find out a little bit more about the business, and just how they had managed to achieve this level of success.
The key numbers:

> 52Mn – The number of unique visitors to the site in May

> 660Mn – The total number of visitors to the site annually in 2011

> 160Mn – The number of searches conducted on the site in May.

> 3 – The average number of searches per unique visitor.

> 70 – The number of Jobrapido employees.

>7 years – The age of Jobrapido

>15 – The number of languages Jobrapido are fluent in.

> Eu 30Mn – The investment Evenbase made in acquiring the business.

Lomele talks passionately about the business, why he feels they have achieved so much, and where the business was going now after the Evenbase investment.  Lomele describes Jobrapido as a vertical search engine. The business has expanded quickly across the globe country by country, and are now ranked in the top 5 career sites in 50 countries, usually ranked number 1 or 2. In terms of traffic, there are only really 2 job aggregators who dominate the market, Indeed and Jobrapido. The gap in traffic numbers between 2 and 3 is huge. Most notably, Jobrapidolaunched in the U.S. in June 2012, and in 12 short months have risen to the number 2 spot.

Vito Lomelle

I asked Lomele about his strategy for growth in new markets. He explained that the model is quite simple. First they partner with all the job boards in a country to ensure a comprehensive listing of jobs, (whilst avoiding duplicates), then they acquire traffic through social channels, PPC and ad words. They start small-scale, split testing everything to see what works, then build from there based on user behaviors. I was curious about why Lomele favored this route over SEO. His answer was enlightening.

We don’t want to get tied to the whims of the search engines.  Just when you think you are on top of it, they move the goal posts and you have to start again.  You have much more control over acquired traffic. The real challenge is not in getting the traffic, but making sure that visitors are happy with the experience when they get there and want to return.”

I was really interested in this last point. Lomele sees the real competition being not between the destinations or methods available to job seekers, but for their time. What their data shows them (and they track everything), is that the average job speaker spends 30 minutes a on-line searching for an opportunity, and take between 3 and 6 months to get a job. JobRapido are battling for their share of that time, and by becoming trusted for hosting all the relevant jobs across all the boards in the country, then they get the biggest share of that time. Job seekers divide the time invested in search evenly between networking and applying and content consumption. That means 15 minutes a day spent finding opportunities and completing applications.

What Lomele has to say about what retains traffic and time holds a big message for any recruiter or technology company. Their approach is to make sure that the user interface is very simple, and that the complicated bits live under the hood. For Jobrapido this means only asking for 3 bits of information, what, where and distance. The challenge is making sure that the results that come back are very relevant. People will only come back if the interface is simple, quick (both in terms of returning results and completion), and the results relevant to the query. In the job search business, immediacy and accuracy are everything. Job seekers want simple navigation, limited clicks and are unforgiving when things don’t work out. They have no time for error.

When you arrive at Jobrapido either via a PPC ad, search or Facebook there’s a simple screen with 3 options:

> What – with prompts for job title, skill, company etc, and a drop down list of popular job titles.

> Where – with a drop down list of countries,city, county and postcode. There is a drop down menu of popular cities. Clicking on country diverts to the domestic site.

> Within – with a drop down menu offering 10 – 40 miles.

Clicking on the find jobs tab triggers a pop up that offers updates of new jobs by e-mail by simply entering the address. Search results are instant, and applying on the original job board is only 3 clicks away.

I asked Lomele what he could tell me about what goes on “under the hood”, or at least as much as he was willing to share. It is, after all, the engine and the algorithms that give them competitive advantage and deliver accurate results quickly. The big challenge is keeping up with synonyms and understanding what job titles mean and match. The technology is intuitive, which means it learns about users by searches and results, in order to return better and better results. Whatever is hidden, it’s clear from the results that it is working. Acquiring traffic is relatively easy, retaining it is considerably harder, and they seem to be very good at the retention part.

Lomele spoke about the trends he is seeing from job seekers. He sees the demand switching from jobs by e-mail to jobs by mobile and Facebook messaging. At the moment, 20% of traffic comes via mobile, although this is rising each month, with a higher % coming direct from Facebook. I asked Lamele if this meant that a mobile app was next on the cards for Jobrapido, or developing the existing Facebook app. His response was enlightening:

“Why build separate apps? Why not build one that does both?”.

The current Facebook app is a divert to the home page and takes the user out of Facebook. It is hard to see how much traffic this drives as diverts out of the channel do not record users via app data. It is in the blue print to create an app that keeps the user within Facebook or mobile according to how they arrive, without impacting on experience. My concern would be the experience the job seeker has when it comes to applying at the final destination if the job board is not mobile compatible. one solution might be to incorporate mobile jobs and application in a similar way to Maddle.Com as an extra service to customers that retains the candidate experience. Maddle is a plug and play mobile solution. Lomele also spoke about the impact he thinks Google+ could have, with particular reference to Google rankings. The vision is to develop the app to work and live cross-channel, and to offer the same experience in each, giving job seekers the choice to search in the channel they are most comfortable with.  I will be following how  this one develops with interest.

I wanted to know a little more about what was behind Jobrapido, and where the vision originally came from. As with many companies of this type, the idea and vision was born out of Lomelles personal frustration with job search. Before founding the company, he spent 8 years working in different city’s around the world including London. Lomele worked with on-line media and products, websites and mobile communications. On returning to Italy and looking for work, he realised how fractured and complicated on-line job search was and created the first version of Jobrapido in 2006. In 2008 he opened the first Jobrapido office and began hiring. What is impressive is that the growth up to the acquisition, which included hiring 70 staff was self-funded. The business generates revenue by selling enhanced listings and traffic, while providing all job seeker services free. It is a model that works.

I was interested in why a self-funded business that was evidently successful felt the need to join a bigger group. Had Lomele moved on, it would have been a question of financial gain, but he has remained as the head of the business post acquisition. He felt the business needed to bring in expertise to help capitalise on the global growth, in particular in the U.S. Whilst there were other offers, Lomele felt Evenbase offered the best fit, especially with regards retaining and supporting entrepreneurial  individuals and retaining the business identity, as well as the opportunity to collaborate with the other brands in the group.

The early years of Jobrapido have been a real success story so far, but with Evenbase backing and support, the potential for global growth is phenomenal.Good luck to all involved. Vito, it was a pleasure talking, and thanks for sharing. Here’s to #truMilan in the near future.

Bill

Jobrapido

Vito Lomele

Evenbase

If Google Were A Person

I’m just back from a brilliant #truBudapest, which was put together by Balazs Paroczy and was sponsored by our friends Kelly OGC and Monster Hungary. They were fantastic hosts, and over 100 participants from 9 different countries attended.  It was a great event.

One of the tracks I took part in was SEO, hosted by Ivan Stojanonvic (@IrishRecruiter.) Ivan is a real expert in this subject who I always learn from, but last week i was on a call with Vito Lomelle who founded Jobrapido (I’m going to be posting our full conversation on Monday), and he spoke about why Jobrapido take a non SEO strategy, electing instead to acquire traffic through social and conventional web advertising. Vito sees the challenge not in getting traffic (and their Google rankings and positioning in the top 5 visited career sites in the world would suggest they are very good at it),but in making sure they stay and revisit once they arrive. Lomelle also didn’t want to build a business that was dependent on Google’s whims. Many people I know in this sector have been thinking the same thing recently, as soon as the algorithm changes through initiatives like Panda, then it’s all change with the ranking and positions, and this impacts greatly on traffic. Vito feels that it is better to have your traffic in your own hands through acquisition.Know the right seo tools to use for your company.

I put this view to Ivan during the track, which created plenty of discussion from the participants. Search results have become more local, geared around what is being viewed and shared by your social connections, (particularly Google+) , and your own search history. Recent changes have a greater ranking to content that answer questions, get liked and shared. Who knows what Google might think next?

During the conversation Ivan made a comment that really got me thinking, so much so that I stuck it in drafts as a reminder for this post,

“You need to think of Google as a person, not an algorithm.”

What Ivan meant by that is that behind all the technology, cogs, whistles, bells and complicated mathematical formulas is a group of people who decide what content we want to see when we ask Google a question.

Google has its own personality and is working on reading and ranking content like a person. This means that loading your content with keywords just doesn’t cut it, it’s content all the way. One of the problems Google faced is when they were trying to find the best answers to the questions people ask. The problem in the past is that questions asked have usually ended up at sites like Yahoo answers because the questions matched, and the answers were often of limited value. Google, the person, didn’t like this, so they changed things.

What Google is looking for now is answers and information that has some value, so they read posts as a person would, looking for original content that reads well and has plenty of information presented in a logical way, with  comments and shares. The way to get your posts picked up and noticed is to use the questions your post answers in the title, repeated in the text in bold. Tagging posts with questions is another key area. Think about the questions your post answers and use this.

Like a person, Google likes pictures in the logical places. Always include at least one image on every page and post, and because Google likes pictures, they love infographics and diagrams. Google also favours its family first. If you are including video, always make it YouTube first and share in Google+. Even if you don’t visit often, a big Google+ network will help boost your rankings. Google also looks for links inbound and outbound that are logical and relevant. The days of embedding links and blog rolls to get Google juice are long gone, overload the links and you will sink down the rankings. Google, like a person is on the look out for scams, and they don’t like them when they find them.

Another point Ivan made is that like a person Google flatters to deceive. When you search for a topic on your own search accounts, then your posts and pages will come up higher than they would on other people’s searches. This is because of the history and location features. When you are searching from the UK or on .co.uk then Google likes to serve up UK posts first, and based on your search history, content from authors you have searched for, opened, liked or shared before.  To find out your real ranking as other people find it, search using the incognito or similar  window.

Ivan closed the track by concluding that just like a person, Google can be temperamental, moody and unpredictable, they also change their mind often, so you are often left playing catch up. What is clear is that if you want Google to find you and recommend you, then you need to treat Google as a person and write for people rather than algorithms, and get rid of any books you might have read about SEO that are over 3 months old. Get to know Google the person.

In answer to my first question, based on Vito and Ivan’s comments, I think both strategies have merit, and clearly get results, but after conversations with two people a lot smarter than me in this area, I now feel a lot better informed to progress the conversation of acquisition v SEO. thanks guys!

Bill

Ivan Stojanovic

Vito  Lomelle

How well do you know LinkedIn? Embeddable tests from Smarterer

Every so often you see an application or a tool that is actually different. and is something you can use easily. The company is Smarterer, a Boston-based start-up who have just secured an additional $1.25Mn investment from True Ventures, Google Ventures and the About.Me founder Tony Conrad who joins the board of the business. This brings their total funding to $3Mn.

Smarterer gamify skills and knowledge testing for job seekers, developing tests through crowd sourcing, giving jobseekers a skill and knowledge level on a badge they can embed on any of their social places or resume. Companies can choose to either build their own tests or choose from the tests already available. Tests are scored using a smart ranking system that is intuitive. As questions get answered, they get ranked for difficulty according to how many people get it right and wrong. The more difficult the question, the higher the score attributed. Since November last year there’s been over 10,000,000 questions answered, which means the scoring, and recognition is gaining in value.

For a recruiter, the feature I really like is that you can simply embed tests on to any site with 2 clicks. Tests and interactive features on sites and social places (widgets embed in to fan pages as well as blogs and websites.), greatly increase the time spent on site. The gamification aspect encourages users to share tests with friends and compete, which brings more people back to your site to create Smarterer profiles. Questions come from users, so the more people completing a test, the more questions get added. This is crowd sourcing at it’s best!

The number of tests completed and created are only going to increase, with tests being integrated in to The Resumator, Bullhorn Reach and About.Me for starters. The more users, the more accurate the scoring, and the more accurate the scoring, the better they become for selection. The tests are crowdsourced and ranked by the users, and when they are growing at this rate, is there really a need to spend the vast sums asked for by some of the more academic assessment companies like SHL? Could be the assessment market is changing and moving to a more practical, intuitive, crowd sourced solution.

For a bit of fun, and to show you how the tests work, I’ve added the LinkedIn test below. It took me 30 seconds to embed. See how you get on and post your scores in comments.

Bill

LinkedIn

The @CERN Track: Perfect ATS

At #TruGeneva I got to meet the Head of Recruiting for CERN James Purvis. It was interesting to hear the challenges they face in hiring some of the greatest brains in Europe if not the world. During the conversation James spoke about the challenge of what an ATS should look like in these social days. He produced this video for #TruMadrid, posing the question:

The conversation carried over to #truDublin and this summary was captured by SocialTalent who did a great job of mixing the final cut. Here is what #truDublin had to say after some added refreshment, Dublin style.

What are your views on what the perfect ATS might look like?

Bill

What is LinkedIn Now?

Last week I wrote a post on the value of a LinkedIn share. The tracking i completed through Visibli led me to rank the value of a share in the channel as 6 x the value of comparative channels. This is mostly due to the greater relevance of LinkedIn networks, which is the most valuable feature of the network in my opinion. I’ve been spending a lot of time investigating the features, and how users are using the channel in order to get a clear view of just what LinkedIn is becoming.

I blogged a while ago that LinkedIn was not really a social site. It was one of my most popular posts in terms of reads. I’m seeing this becoming increasingly true, with less interaction, comments etc, and more people accessing the network and its features externally via e-mail etc. Where I see LinkedIn now is as the professional reference site for people. When you come across anyone new, we are increasingly turning to LinkedIn ahead of Google to check who they are. On my desktop I do it whilst I’m on the phone, and I’m sure it won’t be too long before we will be able to see the headline profiles of people who call us or connect with us on mobile devices so that we can see who and what they are instantly.

Equally, I’m seeing LinkedIn data getting integrated in to other applications as the point of reference. Tools like Salescrunch, which is built for running on-line sales meetings or webinars for groups of up to 40, and Cardcrunch (now owned by LinkedIn) which allows you to scan business cards of people you meet to send out invites,both use profiles to give reference to people’s profiles as you interact with them. I also revisited the chrome application store to view the apps that integrate in a similar way, working via the toolbar.

The search on LinkedIn extension enables you to find company profiles by highlighting any text, and the profile appears in a pop up without leaving the page you are on. You can review a resume/CV and take a look at the listed employers without needing to complete a separate search. Although this covers only company pages at the moment, there are plans to add people profiles very soon. 

Whoworks.At is a great extension or app for recruiters and anyone in a sales or research company. Once you’ve added the extension, you can see who you are connected with on LinkedIn on any website. It’s a great way for quick sourcing or reference in any conversation.

LinkedIn for Chrome lets you view all the updates from your network without logging in to the channel. You can add comments, updates, likes, share via twitter, see profiles and post in to your groups from your toolbar.

Share On LinkedIn enables you to share any content with your network from your toolbar. See any interesting content and you can choose to share it with everyone via updates, with individuals via messages and with groups.

I’ve listed 4 extensions that I use, but there are plenty of others either available or in development. The common trends are that new apps work with Linkedin data and profiles without the need to log in to the channel. The common denominator is that they all enable users to access and interact with the channel as the professional reference point enabling interaction, sharing and review outside of the channel. Central to this is the quality of personal and company profiles and network connections. Each of these applications are controlled by LinkedIn’s strict terms that determines how the data can be used. That means no scraping or storing, with access in to the data coming at the point of inquiry. LinkedIn enforces this rigorously, which means all apps need to follow this, and having a detailed profile is not an option, it’s a necessity. This strict control and enforcement means that access to the API is essential for any recruitment product, and that LinkedIn can determine just how users data gets used. this gives them control over developers, and protects the integrity of the channel. The tough stance is starting to make a lot of sense.

Increasingly LinkedIn profiles are the reference point for sign ups. job applications etc. This will only be multiplied by the increased use of mobile, where form filling is cumbersome and awkward. All of this points towards the channels purpose as THE professional reference point for companies and individuals.

The other area I see LinkedIn focusing is as a specialist source for news and content. The real benefit of LinkedIn networks is the relevance of connections. Looking at my own network, I’m connected with just under 3,500 people. Looking through the connections, 89% have direct relevance to what I do. My network gives me an extended reach of over 16,500,000 people. If you consider the relevance of my network, if the same ratio applies then it’s easy to see how far relevant content can reach.

When I published the sharing post i got an e-mail from Daniel Roth, who is the Executive Editor at LinkedIn, giving me more detail on what they are doing to encourage sharing of news and content. In March LinkedIn launched LinkedIn Today, which was added to increase the exposure and reach of shared content. The analytics behind what gets featured comes from the LinkedIn share button, called InShare, which you can embed in any web place. Each share scores points, and trending storys get featured on LinkedIn Today and the home page of LinkedIn under trending storys.

You can view LinkedIn Today by all news, sector news or individual publishers. On sign-up, users get a choice to follow industries. Theres currently 48 sectors to choose between. Following is by simple tick. You can also choose from an A-Z list of publishers (which includes blogs.) To get on the list of publishers you need to include the LinkedIn button on the sharing options and apply directly to LinkedIn Today for a publisher page. I think that this could be a great source for new, targeted readers in sector. Users can sign up to receive e-mail updates on the trending storys with choice over intervals. Featured content is selected ranked by shares from a wide range of sources. It will also help to achieve this by sharing appropriate posts in to groups. You can do this from updates or the InShare button. Don’t share every post or it will be considered spam, and include an introductory discussion and respond to comments. Groups will multiply your shares and your points. Monitor which groups share which content, so that you can rotate posts according to their topic. It takes a bit longer but it keeps you as a friend rather than foe.

Recently, LinkedIn has been added to the WordPress share features, so there is no need to add any complicated code or embed it in the programs.  This used to be only available in self-hosted .Org blogs. To add the InShare  button go to the settings feature from your dashboard, then the sharing setting, The first section enables you to link your Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Messenger and most importantly LinkedIn. Every time you publish a post, it is added to updates. Right now, you need to update manually if you want to add an image (which increases click-throughs), and some introductory text. I’m sure this will change in the near future, and activating it means you never forget. The other advice I would give is to disable automatic sharing to Twitter, and tweeting direct from your LinkedIn update. My reasoning behind this is that if you share from a LinkedIn update, each retweet counts as a LinkedIn share and is added to your score. Combining Twitter RT’s with LinkedIn shares give you a much greater chance of getting featured as a trending post by combining the channels.

The next section is the sharing buttons that you can add to each post. These now include LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr, as well as channels like Digg, Stumbleupon, E-mail, Reddit etc. You choose which buttons to feature, and which ones to put behind the share button. You can choose the style of button, and what text you want to add. I have put the LinkedIn button first because I believe that this will lead to the most shares in LinkedIn, which is most likely to be relevant and will earn you points. Choose to feature your share buttons on all pages, posts, archive and other media.

The last bit is the tough bit, you need to create content worthy of sharing. It looks to me that LinkedIn are doing all they can to develop focused content sharing in to targeted networks. I think LinkedIn Today will become an important feature for achieving this, and should form an important part in your content strategy. Enable sharing by adding all the buttons, apply to be a publisher and produce content for this audience.

That brings you up to date on my thinking on where LinkedIn is going as a channel, and how you can get the most out of it. The functions of where LinkedIn should feature in your thinking are:

1) As THE professional reference point for people and companies, accessed in the channel and through third-party applications and extensions.

2) As the sourcing channel by search.

3) For building a targeted network by connections. New applications like Salescrunch and Cardmunch encourage adding connections from other activities. The more targeted the network, the better the share.

4) For sharing, promoting and consuming targeted content with a specific audience.

This is my thoughts on what LinkedIn has become. Less about engagement, and more about reference and targeted distribution. I think we are beginning to get a clear definition of what LinkedIn is as a channel and where it should fit in to our thinking. What is clear, is that it really isn’t a job board.

Bill

Links

LinkedIn Shares

LinkedIn Share Buttons

LinkedIn Today FAQ

Salescrunch

Cardmunch

Chrome Extensions

WordPress Add Share buttons

Cool Social Recruiting Tools With @Fishdogs #LASHRM

At Louisiana SHRM I got the privilege of presenting again with my friend Craig Fisher, better known as @Fishdogs. It is a bit of a geek fest when I get together with Craig. We are always looking at the latest apps that come out, and trying to hack them for recruiting purposes. With 100′s of apps coming out each week, it’s hard to keep up without one slipping under the net, so it is great when we can compare notes, even if the stalker potential scared the HR audience a little.
I have included the presentation that lists all the tools that we had a look at. Whilst the presentation is called cool tools, I would always maintain that it’s not the tool that is cool. A carpenter doesn’t call a hammer or a saw cool, but it’s what they do with them that sometimes get great and unexpected results. I think these tools are much the same, less cool tool than cool result. You need to be careful to not get seduced by the bright and shiny things, whilst being open to finding the ones that really will help you find the best talent.
As well as the ones on the list, i also did a bit of a live demo of Bullhorn Reach, and talked a little bit about Tribepad (as middleware), and the Visibli share bar that i have blogged about recently. It was a great session, and a real joy to show some of the unitiated just what is possible with a little imagination. Thanks Craig for inviting me to join you again. It’s always a blast.
As well as looking at the tools, Craig also shared a few tips on LinkedIn, that form part of his LinkedIn certified training. Things like:

> A profile of a 1000 words or more gets 40% of clicks.
> Pictures or avatars with photos of men staring straight at the camera and trying to smile or holding their chin 80% less connection requests from women than those who look at an angle.
>The word jobs is searched for 4xmore than job. always use Jobs in keywords.
>Embed keywords and long-tailed keyword phrases as the name on links to sections of your website for SEO.

While I like them all, I think to tool that really stood out for me was Rapportiv. I’m going to be blogging about this in more detail later in the week. Enjoy the show!

New LinkedIn Sourcing App: Pealk

My friend and top UK Sourcer Martin Lee, who runs the cool free tools group on LinkedIn sent me over a link to a new app recently to have a look at, and when I took a peek, I was impressed with what I saw. Whenever I look at a new tool or app, and I probably look at about 100 a week, I use a simple criteria to judge it:

> Does it do something I can’t do now or does it improve on what I already have?

> Is it simple to use and follow without instruction? I like my tech to be intuitive needing limited support.

> Is the navigation easy and logical?

> Can I export data to work with my existing tech?

> Can I track what is going on in one screen?

> What analytics come out of the back-end?

Pealk stands up really well against all this criteria, and the version1 beta has just become available.

Pealk are another of the great start-ups coming out of Paris at the moment. I know from #TruParis, there is some very interesting work going on in the recruiting space at the moment in this region. If I was a VC, I’d have my eyes firmly on this community right now, and Pealk is the latest product from this area to catch my attention.
Pealk bill themselves as the number 1 search app for LinkedIn. It’s a big claim, and one I thought was worth checking out. signing up for Pealk is easy, it’s a one click sync of your LinkedIn profile, and it’s free, even if just for the moment.
The search screen gives you the option to search using the following fields:
> Search criteria (and this supports boolean logic)
> Company (with a filter option for only current companies)
> Position
> industry (with drop down choices)
> Education
> Location

Theres a simple tick box option to filter out your LinkedIn connections in results, if you want the search to be for people you don’t know.
Once I’d put in some test criteria, the search was incredibly quick. Much quicker than LinkedIn’s own search, and the results come back in a very clean format that is easy to scroll through. It’s also easy to go back to your original search and reset the parameters if you want to change the result for any reason. I like the app’s I use to have very simple navigation and a logical interface. This is one of the best apps I’ve seen in this regard. It is incredibly simple to use.
The results come back in a business card view showing photo, name, professional headline,number of connections, sector and location. Another great feature of this app is that the results are very easy to organise. You can select a profile by tick box, drag and drop the profile in to the side bar for export to another folder, messaging or saving as a result, select a profile by tick box for another action or star a profile for more attention. Another neat feature is how easy it is to view the whole LinkedIn profile even if you are not connected. It’s one click and opens in a separate window with the close option. There is no need to navigate back and forth and risk losing your way. You can also browse all the profiles you’ve selected to your” cart” one after another using the profile flow feature. When you view the full profile there is a simple 4 button bar that allows you to select the profile, star it, add a note to the profile, open the profile in LinkedIn or take it out of the search, and they are all one click functions.

When you’ve got your results in the cart, you can message people individually or collectively using a free text message template. Again you can do this without the need to leave Pealk and go in to LinkedIn. Working in one place on one screen is a lot more efficient for recruiters. Each user gets a really simple dashboard that gives you all your analytics you need, so you can track all your interactions and results in one place, and make changes where you need them.

Having tested a few searches in Pealk, I’ve got to say that I’m really impressed. The search results are accurate and returned lightening quick, and they are very easy to organise. You don’t need to be a great sourcer or understand boolean strings to make this work for you. Although I tried, I couldn’t find anything I didn’t like. With even a basic knowledge, you can make it work for you.

I’ve not spoken with the guys at Pealk to know what their relationship is with LinkedIn, though they display the LinkedIn logo next to powered by, on the opening screen, so I’ve made the assumption that there must be a relationship. The app is very close to LinkedIn Recruiter, so I have some concern about whether this has not come up on their radar yet, or if an agreement exists. If it doesn’t, I have a concern about how long they will have access to the LinkedIn API before they are seen as being a direct competitor. That said, using it now is a bit of a no brainer, it is that simple to use.

My other big concern is over the messaging within Pealk to non first level connections. The messages go out in invites, although the messages are different to the standard LinkedIn invites because you get an extra 100 characters and you can include a link. LinkedIn invitations prohibit this in the normal invite. My worry is that these invites go out as friends, and that is clearly not the case. There is a big risk of getting reported for spam or “I.D.K.” and then it’s not long before you get blocked or stopped from inviting people without e-mail addresses, which creates real problems. If your going to proceed with using Pealk anyway, I’d recommend taking time on each individual invite to show why the target has come up in the individual search and the relevance of the job according to their profile. A bit of extra time to show this makes the message personal and less spammy. (I know I recommend not personalising invites normally, but when you are using the invite as a means of messaging a job, I think you have to.)

Hats off to the 4 guys who have developed Pealk, Nicolas Lemmonier, (Co-Founder and Business Development Director) Anthony Simon, (Co-Founder and Marketing Director), Yann Hourdell ( Technical director)and Boris Golden (Co-founder and Lead Product Director).  If there are no API issues, I think they are on to a real winner because of the simplicity of use, navigation, speed, analytics and results. It’s in my toolkit already!

Thanks also to Martin Lee for another great spot and share, go join his group to keep up with more.

Bill

Pealk

CoolTools group

The history of recruiting according to @Zartis #Infographic

This is a bit of a fun infographic created by my friend John Dennehey from Zartis. I think he makes an interesting point that referral recruiting is far from a new concept. Although technology changes the possibilities in terms of reach and relevance, theres lessons we should have learnt from the past, not least that paying cash rewards has limited impact to volume or quality.

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Talent Communities, Talent Networks And Stack Overflow Reviewed

In the music industry, few bands attract real fan boys and girls. A cult like following of people just waiting around each day for a proclamation from the chosen ones. The majority could loosely be described as followers. A following who quite like the band but aren’t scouring the news for the next release. If they hear of the next release they will probably download it, but they are not visiting fan pages or websites every day in the hope of the next announcement or the next snippet of news. They don’t want to know all the news, gossip, but they are pleased when they come across the news of the latest release.
In the sports arenas where people are genuinely labeled as fans but he number of actual paying, participating fans compared with the population as a whole is quite small. Theres a much bigger group who would describe themselves as fans but actually fit the follower category. They have an affection for the team in question. They look for the results in the papers and might watch them and cheer when they are on TV, but that really is as far as it goes. Most people are by nature passive followers. Not emotionally attached enough to make a commitment to do something on a regular basis, but enthusiastic enough to take a look when something comes across their path. They will always read a post that involves their team or band if it comes across their stream, but they won’t be desperately waiting on it. This is why sports teams and the music business have taken to social media, because they can get in front of the passive followers and connect with them, in the hope that repeated connections will result in them forming more of an attachment, perhaps becoming fans or customers. It makes commercial sense to be where you might get noticed by the vaguely interested.
In the recruiting markets I don’t think things are dissimilar. Most people are not looking for a job. They don’t want to visit in talent communities which require their effort or participation. They come to content and opportunities as the vaguely interested, often driven purely by noseyness, to see how the other half live. That really is the benefit of having conversations about work in public places, someone might just hear or see enough to want to go a bit further and look under the surface. At the looking stage they are going to mostly passive. Not announcing they are there, but wanting to poke around and see a bit more. This is why I’m not convinced about many of the talent communities which employers have tried to set up.

I don’t think the majority of people you want to hire are actually interested in actively engaging with an employer on a regular basis, other than when they are actually looking for a job, and then they don’t want to talk about specifics in a public place. What you need to be offering is much more than just job or employer content, and that’s my main reservation about what are company managed and hosted talent communities. What best suits most companies are not talent communities but talent networks. Talent networks enable people to sign up for relevant updates, jobs etc. Technology like Find.ly  and TribePad allow people to sign up in all their social and web places with one click. The technology uses data from social profiles particularly LinkedIn to tag them and create lists for sending relevant jobs and content. it keeps people in touch with opportunities without flooding them with every job that comes up.

I’m also more enthusiastic about skill communities that have a very different focus to job seeking. I like the way BraveNewTalent tag people and employers by skills, and enable them to communicate. The platform has a way to go yet, but I think it is the beginning of something interesting, and will be watching closely what skills (not jobs) based content emerges, and how those with similar skill sets connect. If the team at BNT can develop more features around knowledge exchange and advice that go beyond job search and careers.

The platform that has got this right in my opinion is Stack Overflow, the site for programmers. What I like about Stack Overflow is that its primary purpose is not recruiting or careers. The jobs and careers aspect is an add on for members for the community as and when or if they want to use it. The main purpose is to connect programmers to ask and answer questions about programming. Because of the technical nature of the questions and answers, there’s not likely to be anyone other than programmers actively involved because we wouldn’t understand a word of the content.It’s also a public platform, not owned by one employer. Stack Overflow is free for users, and is accessible via a dedicated platform or Facebook application. Sign in and sign up is by social profile.  Stackoverflow is part of the Stack Exchange family of Q and A communities. There are over 85 sites in total with 1.7mn users, 3.5mn questions and 7.2mn answers. All the sites are community based and free to users, ranging from topics like cooking and gaming through to real talent communities like game development, Unix and Linus, WordPress, Drupal and the lead platform Stackoverflow. I think it is this approach to community and community features first with a clearly defined purpose, with any recruiting or jobseeking as a secondary option that makes these platforms stand out as some of the few genuine communities.

Stack overflow explain their purpose and function in this way:

Stack Overflow is a programming Q & A site that’s free. Free to ask questions, free to answer questions, free to read, free to index, built with plain old HTML, no fake rot13 text on the home page, no scammy google-cloaking tactics, no salespeople, no JavaScript windows dropping down in front of the answer asking for $12.95 to go away. You can register if you want to collect karma and win valuable flair that will appear next to your name, but otherwise, it’s just free. And fast. Very, very fast.

We don’t run Stack Overflow. You do. Stack Overflow is collaboratively built and maintained by your fellow programmers. Once the system learns to trust you, you’ll be able to edit anything, much like Wikipedia. With your help, we can build good answers to every imaginable programming question together. No matter what programming language you use, or what operating system you call home – better programming is our goal.

Members of the community post questions and other members answer them. Users rank the answers, which earns reputation points, so there is a big emphasis on peer-to-peer rankings, and the rankings are based on the answers. Users with high reputation points are the “stars” of the community. Questions are tagged, so it is easy to search questions or answers by tag.

Theres a chat area, where anyone can set up live chats and send out invites to others who share the same expertise. To take part in chats you need to have earned 20 reputation points before taking part. This makes it easy to see the expertise of contributors. It also means members don’t have to wait around for answers when they need a few ideas.

The more you use the site, the more intuitive it becomes, offering questions you might find interesting based on your tag preferences by choice, or the tags of questions you’ve answered previously or looked at in the past. Other tabs are featured questions, hot questions and the most popular by week or month.

The platform plays to the ego of users, with gaming features like the leader boards and badges. In the right environment, where badges and league tables mean something have real value, based on peer recognition, it’s an important community aspect. It’s a way users can recognize other users, and individuals can promote  their own expertise while adding real value to the community by sharing their knowledge. The community is also self-policing, with moderators elected by the users, and gaining extra recognition. For me, it’s a perfect talented community, operated by the members, for the members, on a simple to use technology program. Theres a reason to be there other than looking for a job or careers.

This is taken from the Moderators section of Stackoverflow:

Stackoverflow is run by you! If you want to help us run Stack Overflow, you’ll need reputation first. Reputation is a (very) rough measurement of how much the Stack Overflow community trusts you. Reputation is never given, it is earned by convincing other Stackoverflow users that you know what you’re talking about.

The users of the platform are all involved in the moderation process, with greater moderation points earnt by reputation as follows:

  • Users with 15 rep can flag posts.
  • Users with 500 rep can retag questions.
  • Users with 2,000 rep can edit any question or answer in the system.
  • Users with 3,000 rep can cast close and open votes.
  • Users with 10,000 rep can cast delete and undelete votes on questions, and have access to a moderation dashboard.
  • Users with 15,000 rep can protect posts.
  • Users with 20,000 rep can cast delete votes on negatively voted answers.
I see this as being another feature that marks Stack overflow down as a real community in that the rules and policing are determined by the community members themselves, and elected by contribution and reputation. positions of authority are earned  rather than being self-appointed. The moderators are described as human exception handlers. I like that expression.

At the side of the main screen, there is the option to enter the careers area. The Careers 2.0 section is an optional section of the platform rather than its main purpose, which is the exchange of knowledge and advice driven by user requests.  Users can create a profile either to apply for jobs advertised in the job board section, or matched jobs sent by employers. The bit I really like is that not everyone gets a profile.they are available by invite only. According to the site:

“Stackoverflow grants new invites to users fitting certain criteria of activity on Stack Exchange sites, including reputation. Participate more, ask good questions, and give good answers. You never know what might appear in your inbox.”

Effectively, members of the platform determine you are worthy of a profile. Thats got to make for a better place to source from than an open platform, and another community recognition feature. You want to use the site to get hired, then you are going to have to get involved. When you get a profile invite, you can populate the profile using your LinkedIn data with one click. Quick and easy. As you answer questions, these are rated by the questioner and other members, and these rankings, tags and comments on expertise are added to the profile, enabling companies to see how peers rank the expertise of their potential employees. Thats got to be great information for anyone looking to recruit the best talent in to their organisation.

Members and users of the site are kept up to date in the meta stack overflow area, which is a site designed for posts on bugs,features and discussions around the platform.

The careers area includes a job board which is easy to navigate, and laid out in the same way as the rest of the site for familiarity. Visitors can search for jobs by keyword, job title, location, employer, telecommuting only or distance from home. Theres also featured employers on the home page who have paid to be listed. Jobs include the same tagging as the Q & A section. For the benefit of users, advertising companies include a “Joel Score.” The Joel Score is a 12 question questionnaire that gives the software team at the employing company a score between 1 – 12 based on the number of yes answers they give. It’s not scientific but it is quick to complete and gives potential candidates a comparison between employers.

The Joel Test

  1. Do you use source control?
  2. Can you make a build in one step?
  3. Do you make daily builds?
  4. Do you have a bug database?
  5. Do you fix bugs before writing new code?
  6. Do you have an up-to-date schedule?
  7. Do you have a spec?
  8. Do programmers have quiet working conditions?
  9. Do you use the best tools money can buy?
  10. Do you have testers?
  11. Do new candidates write code during their interview?
  12. Do you do hallway usability testing?

The apply button takes you to a screen that surprisingly asks for your personal detail like e-mail and phone number, and space to write a cover letter. Stackoverflow explain this by the fact that they do not want to make applying too easy, and applications to be personalised, as they would be through traditional means. Next is CV upload, and a check screen to review how your application is going to look before sending it. For candidates without a CV, there’s a neat feature that converts the user’s profile in to a C.V.with the option to add free text.

Stackoverflow has over 15million monthly users from around the world. This has to make them the biggest collection of programmers on a single platform anywhere.Prices to advertise start from $350 to list a job for 30 days with a featured job function which highlights the job and raises search rankings, costing an additional $250 a month. Top spot which keeps the ad near the top of the listings for an additional $900 and brings an average of 4 x more click-throughs a month, and spotlight, which features the hiring company logo and description on the home page users log in to, and the job board page with price on application starting at an additional $600. Given the number of active users of the platform, it has to be a serious consideration if you are looking to reach a targeted audience.

For recruiters looking to be more proactive, there’s a profile search available by subscription. User profiles are only available to those with 15 or more rep points, awarded by other users. The members with profiles have the option to mark their profiles as active jobseekers, meaning they are open to approaches from employers, passive jobseekers denoting that they are open to occasional messages. Messages come to the selected member through the platform and elect if they want to receive the message and make contact.

The search is organised by:

> Skills (any of or all of.)

> Location (and a within bar) with the option to include candidates seeking relocation.

> Employment type with options to include full-time, temporary, telecommute or internship.

> Candidate type with options for all, active or passive.

Results come back showing profiles that match by profile and on a data map (overlaid on Google maps.), as well as data graphs that show:

> Top Technologies

> Demographics by active and passive, student and non-student, relocate and not relocate’

The profiles from the search display the following data:

> Name, location, web address and twitter name

> Summary of career interests

> Technologies displayed as tags by likes and dislikes

> Experience including work history, tags and summary

> Education including tags

> Stack Exchange network accounts including reputation points in each

> Open source data

> Tools by first computer and favourite editor

> Background including projects and links

Recruiters can access the additional information behind the reputation points and Stack overflow and their interaction with the site. The data is displayed by:

> Bio including name, title, website, location, age, summary and twitter name.

> Picture and reputation points

> Answers – access to all answers given on the platform and reputation points awarded

> Questions asked by votes received, activity and newest.

> Tags attached to answers

> Accounts held with the stack exchange platform.

> Badges awarded by peers like “Nice Answer” and “Disciplined.”

> Active bounties (Bounties are traded reputation points, only available to users with 75 or more reputation points. This positions a question as a featured post for 7 days, making it stand out by position and visually. I really like the concept of trusted and rated users being able to promote those questions they want answers to, as well as raising their ranking by interaction with other members.)

> Votes cast (Users can vote questions and answers up and down.)

Users have the option to keep profiles private, viewable by invitation only. Public profiles have a vanity URL that can be listed anywhere for external access or linking. The members have the choice and control over how their data gets viewed and by who, privacy obviously being a key concern to many potential users. There are over 50,000 live profiles on the site with 4.9,000 in the U.K. Whilst the numbers are quite small compared with LinkedIn, it is a focussed community with user’s knowledge ranked by their peers. A peer ranking of knowledge has to be far more valuable than a solicited recommendation in my opinion.

I’ve gone in to a lot of detail looking at all the features of Stack overflow and Stack exchange because I see it as one of the few real talent communities on the web. There also taking the communities off-line through a series of meetups across the globe aimed at bringing the members and users closer together in person by location. I’m confident that this initiative will take off and build the platform.

The key features of Stack overflow, in my opinion make it the perfect blueprint for any talent community. If your planning on going down this route, take a good look at the platform for a few ideas.

Bill

LINKS

Stackoverflow