Salary, Benefits and the View Out the Office Window

Jobster is adding social-networking features to its employment services. The two-year-old start-up has attracted $48 million in venture capital.
Jobster is adding social-networking features to its employment services. The two-year-old start-up has attracted $48 million in venture capital. (Screen Grab From Jobster.com - Screen Grab From Jobster.com)

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By Leslie Walker
Thursday, July 20, 2006

There's something about Jobster that intrigues Internet investors.

On the surface, it sounds like just another Internet job-listing site. But by creating something different -- a site that adds the social aspects of the job and employer, the MySpace of the workplace, if you will -- Jobster has raked in $48 million in venture capital over the past two years, including an $18 million round led by the venture arm of publishing giant Reed Elsevier, announced yesterday.

Jason Goldberg, a former White House aide who founded and now runs Jobster, says traffic to the site is growing at a heady clip because it's adding features that job seekers and recruiters find useful. Last week, for example, Jobster launched a makeover that lets employees write and read reviews of corporate workplaces, much as TripAdvisor encourages travelers to review hotels and restaurants.

"We are bringing more of the human element to job search," said Goldberg, who spent six years in the Clinton White House. "We read reviews about everything else we buy. We are bringing that into job search so people can learn what it's like to work somewhere before they make a career decision."

Plenty of Web sites have tried with little luck to become the social networking site for work, letting visitors create personal profiles and connect to share professional information. But no business networking site has scored the runaway success of teen social hangout MySpace.

Jobster may be on the right track, but it has got work to do, particularly in persuading worker bees to be candid about the hands that feed them, with their bosses able to read over their shoulders on the open Internet.

Jobster launched in 2004 as an Internet headhunter, helping employers recruit new workers. It still provides subscription recruitment services to nearly 400 corporate clients, including Starbucks, Microsoft and Boeing.

Companies pay Jobster up to $9,000 a month to help them find candidates through employee referrals, e-mail campaigns and other advertising programs. Goldberg said his company employs 125 people and took in $3 million in new business last month. Revenue has been up an average of 50 percent quarterly for the past three quarters, he said.

Jobster has plenty of competition from such big names as Monster and CareerBuilder, and from job listings on newspaper Web sites, including washingtonpost.com.

But in the past year, Jobster has been on an acquisition tear to broaden its repertoire and offer more services to job seekers. Last summer, it bought WorkZoo, a service that crawls the Web for job listings from many sites. The WorkZoo purchase turned Jobster into a searchable job board with more than 2.5 million listings from over 130,000 employers.

Last month, Jobster bought Recruiting.com, a blog for the recruiting industry. And two months ago, it bought Jobby, whose system for letting job seekers "tag" themselves and others with phrases to attract attention from prospective employers has been incorporated into the new Jobster, allowing people to create profiles using descriptive words.

"This goes beyond a static career Web site to interacting and building relationships," Goldberg said.


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© 2006 The Washington Post Company

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