Tag Archive for Keith Potts

Keith Potts, Evenbase, Evolution And The Hottest Prospects For Digital Recruitment In 2020

I was lucky enough to get an early look at some extensive research from Evenbase titled “The evolution of digital recruitment: The hottest markets in 2020″. It makes for interesting reading and it is published this morning. Evenbase are one of the worlds leading digital recruitment groups (Full description at the end of the post.)

The research was conducted by MBA & Company in late 2012, and took in to account factors like GDP growth potential, level of employment, maturity of digital recruitment, mobile adoption, social media integration and other factors. I got to discuss this research at length with Evenbase CEO Keith Potts, to understand a little better what this research means from one of the veterans of the industry. A conversation with Potts about anything is always illuminating and enjoyable, and this was no different.

The culmination of the research is the production of the Evenbase hot list of who they believe will be the top 10 countries for digital recruiting by 2020. This is the list in order:

1. Brazil –A young, confident and ambitious market, Brazil has growth potential on many levels and is known to be digitally innovative.

2. India – India’s sheer economic growth potential makes it an exceptionally interesting market. Only serious development imbalances keep from the top slot.

3. China – Although significant political and cultural challenges remain, the sheer growth performance and destiny of the world’s largest economy make it attractive.

4. US – Expected to stay a dynamic, innovative economic powerhouse and driver of change in digital recruitment over the next few years.

5. Australia – Another confident and ambitious AsiaPac country, Australia’s skill shortages make it ripe for innovation in digital recruitment.

6. Japan – This massive, technologically innovative economy is undergoing cultural change after many years of stagnation.

7. Canada – Although small in size, Canada has been fast to adopt new ideas, with a range of unique opportunities for the introduction to the new digital recruitment offerings.

8. Germany – Considered as the European economic powerhouse for the foreseeable future, and currently undergoing significant labour market changes

9. Russia – A wild card, Russia is beset by deep political and economic issues but has a range of opportunities to unlock its untapped potential.

10. Mexico / UK – Mexico, another wild card, is highly problematic at present but has the potential to suddenly take off and become the new Brazil. The UK has significant economic growth issues but is traditionally one of the world’s largest recruitment markets.

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I discussed these results with Potts to get his take on what the research means, and what the big surprises were. He cited Mexico being on a par with the UK, the high ranking of Australia and Brazil ranking above China. The thinking behind China was that there is still plenty of uncertainty around the future political situation in China. This was certainly the message I took back from #truSingapore and #truHongKong. By contrast, Mexico is showing stability year on year, and Australia has a huge demand for technical and engineering staff that will fuel growth in digital media, particularly given geographical challenges. Competition is another key consideration, and what is already established in the market. The report cites the example of Japan, which offers great potential, but has a well established and very competitive local market. There are 3 times more employment agencies in Japan than their nearest competitor. When a market is so well established and populated by competitors, better to explore the growing markets which offer more potential and a less developed market.

The scarcity of labour is another consideration, along with pay. Where jobs are harder to fill, and the salaries are higher, then there is more demand and greater reward for digital recruiting. I was surprised to read that the salary for an executive post in Brazil is double that of the US, which goes some way to explaining the top spot for Brazil.

Keith Potts

Potts sees the rise in adoption of mobile and mobile apply anywhere being one of the main game changers in digital recruitment over the coming years. The when and where people are looking to use mobile for web search and applications will have a massive impact on the digital products in these countries. The brands that get this right will gain a real competitive advantage, hence the importance of mobile to Evenbase.

How this manifests is going to be dictated by understanding the local market. A good example of this is India and the US, where the cost of data access compared to what we know in Europe means text messaging features much higher than  mobileweb access. Whilst there are global trends, each of the countries have their own unique problems which calls for a local solution. Potts sums this up in the report with the comment:      

” Globalisation levels some playing fields, but national identities remain complex – models that work in Belgium will probably not work in Brazil”

This is why Evenbase invests so much time and effort in to local partners who really understand what is going on in their own back yard.

Potts sees Workana as being one of the rising stars in the group because of the service they offer. Evenbase recently invested in the Argentinian start-up, who are fast becoming the region’s leader in brokering freelance work on-line. Potential clients post work (rather than jobs on the site), and freelancers pitch for the work by presenting their portfolio. Customers can check references on previous work, social recognition, endorsements, etc. through the site, and the more the freelancers work through the platform, the higher their ranking. With more and more jobs converting to work and projects, and the rise in freelancing and working from home, this platform has the potential to grow quickly, and globally. They are another string to the Evenbase bow.

I asked Potts how he felt this shift, and the rise in digital recruiting would impact on recruitment agencies, after all  if Evenbase are making it easier to connect employees and employers, and contractors and contracts with contractors without the need for the middleman, then the market potential must be shrinking. Potts was quick to dismiss this, explaining, “We are talking about people not products, and people are incredibly complex. As long as companies need people, agencies have a part to play. Many (though not all) direct hiring organisations are behind the sourcing capability of the agencies, and this means agencies will be around for years to come, even if the market is shrinking”. We share the view though that many agencies will need to work harder on relationships, becoming career managers rather than people placers, but like the job boards, they are a long way from dead yet.

I spoke with Potts about how he sees job boards evolving over the coming years. He highlighted the changing pricing models giving the examples of Jobsite.Co.Uk and the US launch of Jobsite.Com. Whilst Jobsite.Co.Uk currently operate a pay per post  model, Jobsite.Com utilise scraping technology to post jobs (at no charge) from company career sites, offering job seekers up to 4 times as much relevant content, using social profiles and Evenbase’s semantic matching technology, Jobtology, to offer up only jobs they are qualified for. Customers pay for access to candidates who fit and have expressed an interest in the opportunity, in a pay per performance model. Potts highlighted that it was important to understand these new markets, in order to offer the best digital products for each of them on a local basis.

Potts feels semantic matching, and Jobtology in particular, will play a big part in improving candidate experience and quality of response by only offering jobs or candidates that are relevant. I shared the research from the UK #CandE’s that the average response needed to fill a job is 85 applicants, and that an average of 70% of these applicants are unqualified. Only 20% of applicants see anything other than the job ad before they apply, hence the mismatch.  Potts pointed out that Jobtology uses social profiles and other data to match potential candidates only to jobs where there is a fit, and this will significantly change these numbers, after all, if applicants don’t see jobs they don’t fit, there is no danger they will apply. This will see a reduction of jobs by e-mail, and other filtered services, with matching and messaging by the most appropriate channel, such as mobile. It will be interesting to see how this evolves.

I asked Potts where the aggregators like Indeed and Evenbase own Jobrapido fitted in to this brave new world. His reply was that Vito (Lomele), the Jobrapido founder can take content from any job board in the world and serve it up to. JobRapido have a presence in 55 countries, and are the number one job site in many of these locations. This doesn’t mean that all of these countries will be a priority (hence the research), but it does give Evenbase a foot in the door. Growth in new territories by Jobrapido will come by investment in those countries who are displaying the best potential for GDP growth, a key factor in the research.

Given the growth of Jobrapido and competitor Indeed across the globe, i asked Potts how this had impacted on the domestic job boards. My thinking was that there was now only a need to advertise on one board, and the job would go viral via the aggregators. Potts responded that recruiters haven’t caught up with this yet, and that 95% of advertisers go for the job board model. The remaining 5% opt are smarter and go for a joint approach. Whilst any job can, and will end up in the aggregation channels, it is the sponsored ads that get front page listings and promotions. An increasing amount of the aggregator revenue stream is coming from job boards, who recognize the additional traffic and response driven by these platforms. Interestingly, spend on both job boards and aggregators are continuing to increase. What is clear from the Evenbase strategy is that whichever way customer spend goes, and it may switch as more companies look to join the smart 5% who invest in both, they have both options covered. Jobrapido is proving a shrewd acquisition by the group.

Away from the job boards and aggregators, Potts highlights the new products that are being developed by Broadbean to support direct sourcing efforts. The first launch will be a universal search tool, that will enable recruiters to search across multiple channels from one place. Whilst they are not ready to share yet, there are a number of new products on the road map that Pott’s feels will make a real difference to recruiters. It will be interesting to see what is coming next, because Potts was clearly excited by the prospect.

We concluded the conversation by talking about the last piece of the digital jigsaw, social media and social recruiting. Potts has a clear view of where social meets traditional media.  He sees social as the natural partner for digital recruiting. There is the benefit of being able to integrate social profiles in to matching without the need for candidates to submit data, particularly when you consider mobile. Social channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter give potential  candidates the opportunity to become aware of companies through employer branding content. The research places less importance on social media, and the likelihood of job seekers turning to social in their search. I think this is an area that sometimes confuses job seekers. Whilst they may not expect to apply in a social channel, the time spent by users in the channels means they can only be influenced in all of their decision-making by the content they come across whilst browsing. It is a little bit like the mobile questions, where job seekers often  rank mobile as not important, not because they don’t want to apply by mobile, technology means it is not really an option at the moment. The result is that it is not a consideration. This will only increase response in other areas of digital media, and open up opportunities for social sourcing through the Broadbean products.

After the call, I had the opportunity to reflect on the first conversation I had with Potts when he was announcing the launch of Evenbase, and the thinking behind forming a combined digital media offering across the DMGT brands, and the second conversation after they had acquired Jobrapido. The strategy was to take the brands global, look for new investments and products that strengthened the group, and to be able to develop an offering in all areas of digital media. This was a big plan, but it looks like it is paying off in a relatively short space of time. Having witnessed this close up, the prospect of expansion based on this research is realistic. In Evenbase style they have chosen to share the full research with anyone interested. You can download this on the Evenbase site. I enjoyed my conversation with Keith, as always it was an education.

Bill

DISCLAIMER: I am an occasional adviser to Evenbase and Broadbean.

About Evenbase

Evenbase is a global digital recruitment group and part of dmg media

The Evenbase portfolio includes the flagship job board brands Jobsite and Oilcareers, the leading multi-poster and unified search provider BroadbeanJobrapido – one of the world’s largest job search aggregators, and recruitment partnerships with brands such as 02 Active and the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

The portfolio spans 55 countries, includes a network of over 60 recruitment sites and employs more than 400 people, with offices in North America, United Kingdom, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates and Australia..

Breaking News: Evenbase announces acquisition of Jobrapido

In January, I blogged about the launch of Evenbase, and what this might mean for the digital  recruiting space. The Evenbase portfolio comprises of the market leading digital recruitment assets within the DMGT Group,including Oilcareers, Jobsite and 10 other niche, generalist and vertical sector job boards, the leading multi-poster and unified search provider Broadbean, and technology partnerships including NHS Jobs, Northcliffe Media and Johnston Press. Evenbase was created to encourage collaboration between the brands, and to spearhead global expansion. At the time, the Evenbase C.E.O. and Jobsite founder Keith Potts commented that each of the brands would remain independent with their own management team, and representation on the Evenbase board. Growth of the group would come about through a combination of organic growth wherever there is synergy, and strategic acquisitions that added to the capability of the group. I got the distinct impression that it wouldn’t be too long before further announcements to this effect would be forthcoming.

Today, Potts  announced the acquisition of Milan based  jobs aggregator Jobrapido for 30Mn Euros. Jobrapido were launched in 2006 by Vito Lamelle, who stays with the business as Chief Executive. Potts has spoken to me in the past of the importance of retaining the entrepreneurial individuals who built the businesses. This provides continuity, and expertise gained by building the business, whilst adding the additional knowledge and resources from the group. The Jobrapido acquisition follows this formula.
I first became aware of Jobrapido in June last year, when they launched the business in the U.S. following significant growth in Europe. The launch was promoted  through a story told on video, of an Italian ,Daniel who had moved from Italy to LA 2 years previous, and was in danger of being dumped by his love for being workshy. Using Jobrapido to apply for jobs, he was able to get 14 jobs in a month, The video stood out because it was amusing and wacky, but more importantly, it showed the range of jobs on Jobrapido. The video proved to be very popular with U.S. jobseekers, driving significant traffic to the site.


Job aggregators provide job seekers with a single site to search all job boards for opportunities, and to sign up for e-mail alerts. They derive their income primarily by partnering with job boards, and from clients who want to promote their listings. Jobrapido do nothing but job aggregation, and having tested the site, they have an accurate algorithm behind the search screen that returns jobs to a job seekers criteria. The user interface is simple, through a single screen, with quick sign up for jobs by e-mail.

All of the job board research I’ve seen puts simple sign up and accurate jobs by e-mail as the top 2 requirements of job seekers. When job seekers log on to the home screen of Jobrapido, theres 3 search options: What? Where? (By country) and Distance. Each search returns the option to set returns by e-mail. It’s incredibly simple, and as a result leads to most of the visitors signing up for the jobs by e-mail option.
The benefit aggregators offer to job seekers is enabling them to be able to search all the job boards without the need to visit multiple sites. The challenge for the aggregators is getting the technology right to avoid job duplication when jobs are posted to multiple sites. You can imagine how irritating it would be to get an inbox full of the same job notifications. I have run 20 searches to test this in the UK, as well as signing up for jobs by e-mail, and they seem to have solved this. There will always be issues with agencies who are posting the same jobs, but this is not dissimilar to the problem on any other job board or media place. Applicants are redirected to the original job board, with the only data retained being the e-mail address and search parameters. The additional traffic Jobrapido bring is great for the job boards and their clients, and the convenience of being able to search and get updates from one source is great for the jobseekers.

When you look at the leading job aggregators across the globe, there is really only 2 names that feature, Indeed and Jobrapido, and the gap between 2 and 3 is significant. On the face of it, Jobrapido are much like any other aggregator, and there are plenty of them, but if you dig under the bonnet a bit, you see what the appeal is to Evenbase. For a start, they have a significant presence in 50 countries, bringing significant global reach to the group. The site is multi-lingual, currently operating in 15 languages. Jobs are syndicated from all of the domestic job boards, and are converted for advanced S.E.O., returning them to the top of all the local Google searches. Coming top in the rankings in most job types attracts the most unique visitors. I’m not sure how the Jobrapido technology achieves this, but whatever goes on under the hood definitely works. Comscore data ranks Evenbase in the top 5 (with the addition of Jobrapido) for traffic globally. It’s great to see a British company positioned at the top of the tree.
Looking at the Jobsite figures, they achieve around 5million unique visitors a month, JobRapido have a massive 42 million, and the traffic has been doubling each year since their launch, with a current annual total of 660 Million visitors. In my opinion, it is the traffic volume that makes this such an interesting deal. When you combine the reach of JobRapido, Jobsite and associated job boards, Broadbean and the other partnerships like NHS jobs, and you are looking at accessibility to candidates on a global scale, and Evenbase as a leading name in digital talent acquisition, is really strengthened by this reach, combined with proven technology.
Hitwise, the recognised reference site for internet visitor numbers in the UK feature Jobrapido in the top 5 sites each month in the UK. They are ranked as number 1 in Italy, Spain and other European countries, and as the number 1 aggregator in the important German market. Given the restriction on social recruiting in Germany, reach in this market through traditional means is key to European coverage, as well as number 1 status in emerging economies like India and Mexico. In the U.S. they have achieved the number 2 status in a short space of time. It’s impressive growth that rivals any other site of its type.

Evenbase C.E.O. and Jobsite founder Keith Potts, told me that they have been looking closely at aggregators for the last decade, and JobRapido really stands out for their ability to attract traffic and to duplicate the model globally. Evenbase will add expertise and resources in expanding in to new territories, further developing the technology, as well as identifying opportunities to collaborate within the group, offering new products to the client base. It’s an exciting prospect.

Potts commented on the deal: ” There are significant opportunities for our existing portfolio of brands including economies of scale, entry to new markets, increased ability to capture CV’s, and attractiveness as a partner to international corporations. Take Jobsite, for example. These synergies will position that brand as the clear number one in the UK market.”

“Just as valuable to us are Vito Lomele and the Jobrapido team who are exactly the savvy, innovative and passionate people we love to work with. Their success in six short years speaks volumes.”

Commenting on the deal, Vito Lomele added:

“Our short and intense history has seen us grow from a self funded local operation to a successful international business ready for its next stage of growth.

“As Jobrapido enters this new phase, I am convinced we couldn’t find a better partner for consolidating our international reach than Evenbase with its global brand and client base.

With Evenbase we gain the backing of a global group such as DMGT, as well as the vivid entrepreneurial spirit and the deep industry knowledge of Keith Potts and his team. And to top it all off, there are market synergies that can be activated immediately.”

Keith Potts

Keith Potts

I spoke with Potts about how Evenbase has evolved since the launch in January, on his way back from having signed the deal in Italy. He is clearly excited by the prospect of what Jobrapido adds to the group. Potts is of the opinion that the future of job search will be centred on 5 channels:

Mobile. Social, Job boards, Referral and Aggregators.

The companies who perform best in digital recruiting will have a focus in each of these areas, rather than one or two exclusively. The addition of Jobrapido gives Evenbase a strong position in each in each. (Broadbean now operate a joint venture with referral technology company launching Broadbean Referral.) This range of coverage across each channel must put them in what I see as a unique position.
Further growth within Evenbase will come from a mix of organic growth, further acquisition and joint ventures, with a global focus, In particular,I’m interested in the prospect of the joint ventures that could emerge from the group. A great example of this is what has been achieved by the Jobsite brand, who now provide the technology powering the job advertising for 55 of the U.K.’s local newspapers, as well as all the on-line recruiting for the N.H.S, the U.K.’s largest employer.

What I think defines Evenbase in my dealings with them is that everything starts from the job seekers perspective. Their website describes them as a digital recruitment group, set up with the aim of revolutionising the matching of talent to opportunity, making the recruitment process better for everyone involved. When you consider the synergies within the group, the expert knowledge and experience within each of it’s component parts and the entrepreneurs who make up the board, then it is going to be interesting in seeing what evolves. Potts will be joining the Jobrapido board as Chief Executive, along with Ray Duggins, who heads up  new ventures within Evenbase. Jobrapido will be integrated in to this part of the group.

I wish Keith and all at Evenbase all the best with the new addition to the group. They’ve always been good people to work with, and have an attitude to job seekers I admire, Jobrapido adds to the 5 channel approach, and as the first acquisition, provides the foundation for growth.  It will be interesting to see what comes next on the Evenbase journey.
Bill

LINKS

Evenbase

Jobrapido

Jobsite

Broadbean Referral

Keith Potts

Breaking News: Keith Potts announces Evenbase. A new global name in digital recruitment.

Jobsite founder Keith Potts  today announced the launch of new digital recruitment group “Evenbase”.  Potts,  takes the helm as Chief Executive Officer of the new business, which sees new responsibilities for key personnel in the team.

This is a bold but logical move to formally combine the complimenting services offered by the companies in the group, and provide a springboard for growth globally. The plan for Evenbase was formulated during a 4 month strategy project in 2010, with much of 2011 getting all the pieces and personnel in place during 2011. Speaking to Potts, he is clearly excited by this next stage of growth, whose roots lie in a porta-cabin in Portsmouth. It’s clear in what he says that despite the success of the business, his biggest pride is in the team he has built around him during this time.

For Potts, Evenbase means the day-to-day focus moves from operational to strategic.Potts puts much of the success of the business down to people, and that they have been able to retain the entrepreneurial  characters within the business, and this has impacted on the group. It’s the people who are at the heart of everything, and it’s the people who will continue to move the business forward. They have assembled an enviable team. The purpose of the Group is explained on the newly unveiled website:

“Evenbase is a global digital recruitment group. We discover and develop intelligent recruitment services that revolutionise the matching of talent with opportunity.”

The Evenbase portfolio contains market leading digital recruitment assets including Oilcareers, Jobsite and 10 other niche, generalist and vertical sector job boards, the leading multi-poster and unified search provider Broadbean, and technology partnerships including NHS Jobs, Northcliffe Media and Johnston Press. The structure of the business sees the formation of a central group executive, with four business units, each headed by a Managing Director and shares a vision to revolutionise how candidates find work and how companies source and hire candidates domestically and globally. Keith Potts, Evenbase Chief Executive Officer, says; “Today’s announcement is a significant milestone in the group’s maturity as a business.

Potts continues; “We’ve come a long way from a family start-up as Jobsite.co.uk, to the group of market leading brands and 330 employees we have today. It’s not surprising that our ambitions outgrew our structure and operating model along the way. Although many of our brands are already operating on the international stage, we see a far greater potential for Evenbase given the synergies of our portfolio as a whole.”

I see this as an exciting progression for each of the individual business. I see the 5 big factors in recruiting forward are:

> Collaborative technologies

> Data mining and analysis

> Local focus, global reach

>Innovation

> Ease of operation and interaction

There is no doubt that with a unified approach between the brands, on and off-line presents a powerful force in the market place, and ticks all these boxes. Whilst being big names in their own right, each of the individual brands have had a largely domestic focus until recent years, that said, they have by no means been parochial in outlook. The accumulated expertise across traditional media, on-line media and job distribution places them in a unique position for growth globally. Jobsite currently power all the on-line job advertising for 55 local newspapers, and reach 60% of domestic households in the U.K. The job board business has quietly launched brands in 5 countries, and Broadbean now service 65 countries with a growing operation in Newport Beach in Orange County, USA, employing 25 people in a relatively short space of time. Over the last few years, Broadbean have been switching their product offering from essentially agency focussed, to the corporate market, numbering some significant global brands in their portfolio. The NHS are the second largest employer in the world, and it is the Jobsite portal that powers all of the NHS jobs. There collective scale has perhaps been hidden till now, behind the individual brands. I know Keith, Felix Wetzel, Strategy development Director and Broadbean founder and CEO Kelly Robinson well from their involvment and support of #tru events. The candidate is always at the heart of their business approach, and I’m confident that Evenbase, with Potts at the helm will retain this focus, and that is good news for candidates globally. I’ve been impressed by how Jobsite and Broadbean have been using the “Big Data” available to them to develop their capabilities in data analysis and predictive user functions. I’m sure this will feature in new offerings from the group. Evenbase will have 4 key areas of operation:

1. Job boards: Focusing on the delivery of superior service and solutions across the portfolio’s generalist, niche and vertical market job board brands

2. Business Solutions: Providing award-winning, scalable job board and recruitment software services to the Public and Private sectors

3. New ventures: Focused on the international expansion of key group assets and roll out of new business models and initiatives.

4. Recruitment software: Providing recruitment software solutions for multi-posting, CV search, candidate matching and reporting tools Keith Potts added “Evenbase gives us a solid foundation for both international expansion and the fulfilling of opportunities not only for our brands but also for our clients, partners and candidates. Day to-day business will continue as normal for brands within the portfolio, while the Evenbase executive team will focus on our ambition to become a truly global digital recruitment group within three years.”

The Evenbase Executive team consists of: – Keith Potts, Chief Executive Officer – Damian McCallion, Chief Operating Officer – Felix Wetzel, Strategy Development Director – Graham Potts, Group IT Director – Mike Wall, Managing Director – Job boards – Heather Wozniak, Managing Director – Business solutions – Ray Duggins, Managing Director – New ventures – Kelly Robinson, Chief Executive – Broadbean – Dan Martin, Managing Director – Broadbean This is big news in the industry, and I’m delighted in particular for Keith, Kelly and Felix, proof that good guys need not necessarily come second. While this is a great move for the businesses that form Evenbase, I’m confident that it will be good news for candidates and companies alike, and expect to see some exciting innovations emerge from these collaborations. I wish Keith,Felix, Kelly and all the team the very best for the future. I’m expecting great things,with plenty of innovation.

Bill

LINKS Evenbase.Com