Discussion With Careerbuilder.com CEO Rob McGovern Thursday, September 2, 1999 at 1 p.m.
Welcome to The Download – Live. I'm your host, Shannon Henry. My guest today will be Rob McGovern, CEO of Careerbuilder.com, a local Internet start-up that serves as a kind of "portal" for anyone in a job-seeking (or job-filling) circumstance.
A lawyer in Washington, for example, who wants to work as an in-house counsel for a technology company in Boston, can run a search for "lawyer," "technology" and "Boston" and immediately see a listing of relevant openings.
With an additional click, the job candidate can send a resume directly to the company.
The service is free for job seekers but employers pay to post their positions. CareerBuilder also contracts with more than 20 "affiliates" -- media outlets such as CNET and NBC -- to manage their online job listings.
McGovern was online Thursday to talk about the online job market.
Hi Rob. Thanks for joining us today. Send questions now!
Shannon Henry: Let's start with a quick description of why someone would look for a job online rather than the old-fashioned circling ads in a newspaper method.
Rob McGovern: I think there are two key reasons to look for your next job online: 1) Speed, and 2) Quality of information. In the old days we used to sit around waiting for the Sunday paper...now you can log-on any day/any hour and see virtually every job that's available. And, instead of reading three line cryptic ads, you can now see the job posting, plus info on the company, it's financial info, etc
Shannon Henry: Tell us about Microsoft's investment in Careerbuilder. How much do they own and how does the ownership affect your business? Friendly e-mail advice from Bill Gates?
Rob McGovern: Contrary to popular rumor, Bill Gates isn't my rich uncle. Microsoft invested $18M in the company (May 99), and it serves as their realization that the online careers business represents a lucrative market. They looked at a number of players, and decided to invest in us on the basis of our unique business model.
West River, MD: CareerBuilder's share price is currently around half of its price when it first went public. So far today, it's down more than 7 percent. How do you explain this?
Rob McGovern: Hi West River,
Rob McGovern: I think your best bet would be to check out our job listings at Business Week or Bloomberg (We run both of those sites), as they tend to cater to higher level audiences.
Arlington, VA: Are the majority of the jobs offered technology jobs? Are you finding that non-tech job seekers and employers are having much luck recruiting online, or is it still mostly for the educated, tech-y elite?
Rob McGovern: Two years ago, this was primarily a tech jobs venue. That's all changed now. For example, of the 100,000 jobs we posted last month, only 17% were tech jobs.
Shannon Henry: Many people I talk with about searching for a job on the Internet love the idea, but have privacy concerns. What if a current employer sees his worker's resume online? How do you address these issues at Careerbuilder?
Rob McGovern: If you take one thing away from our chat today, it should be that you should NEVER submit your resume to a online resume database. It's okay to submit to individual job listings, but the public resume databases are problematic. Aside from putting you at risk with your employer, you also will be hounded by headhunter (they are the primary users) for the rest of your lives.
Reston, VA: Why didn't CareerBuilder go to national TV advertising like Hotjobs and Monsterboard?
Rob McGovern: We do a fair amount of national advertising, particularly on the radio. If you saw yesterday's media metrix numbers, we've grown from the perceived #10 to the #3 position in the past few months. In the same period, Monster's national TV advertising has resulted in 5% DECREASE in traffic.
arlington, VA: I think you provide a great service, particularly for the desperate -like me- but how do you know if people are responding or getting jobs from things they see? Do you get any kind of feedback on that?
Rob McGovern: Aside from the thousands of Emails we get from job seekers saying thanks, we also regularly survey our customers. Our data indicates that the majority of people are finding jobs.
Washington, DC: There seem to be about 500 web sites focusing on recruiting. How is an employer supposed to determine where to place an ad? How is a job seeker to judge the best place to look? Any advice?
Rob McGovern: employers have the harder job, as you are right, there are plenty of choices. One of the things my sales consultants do is out together multi-site media plans for our customers, which are based on our experiences with many sites (ranging from generic to very targeted by profession). On average, our customers use 6-10 sites, and get better results than a "just wing it" strategy.
Shannon Henry: Obviously newspapers see sites like yours as great threats to an important revenue source. How do you see newspapers participating in the online job market? Tell us about your partnerships with newspapers-can the two work together?
Rob McGovern: In the classic description of Internet "disintermediation", the newspapers are in a tough spot. There's almost a feeding frenzy in the market, trying to redistribute the customer's dollars. We've had good success working with newspapers as partners (Dallas Morning NEws and USA Today), and think we can help them make the transition, while enriching our shareholders.
I am currently engaged in a full time search for a management position with a high tech firm, specifically in the DC metro area. I've been using CareerBuilder as well as other similar websites and their personal search agents.
Rob McGovern: You are pointing out a common frustration--now that it is easier to submit your resume online, employers are now receiving higher volumes of resumes. I'll give you a quick tip. Take your standard resume and cover letter, cut and paste it into an Email message, and mail it to yourself. This is what the employer is going to see. In most cases, it's going to be a jumbled mess. I suggest making a short and sweet two page (1 Cover message + 1 page resume) email, that is formatted for maximum Email browser clarity.
Arlington, VA: Many online positions seem to be closed but still listed online. Isn't "live" information interviewing of potential employers -presuming one knows where the hidden jobs are- still a more effective tool in the long run?
Rob McGovern: This is where you need to focus on the quality players. Many of the second tier career sites leave ads online indefinitely, as a way of boosting their content quality. If you go a good site (like careerbuilder.com!), you'll only find jobs which have been posted in the last 30 days.
Washington, DC: I've read recently about new "auction-style" recruiting sites, where job seekers make their services available for employers to bid on. Do you think this will change the online recruiting market in the near future?
Rob McGovern: In a word, no. While this new auction concept has received a lot of media hype, in reality, the important players (the companies who pay the salaries) aren't playing. The companies don't like this model, as searching for a good employee has much more to it than simply paying the highest bid. I firmly believe the Internet will usher in many great new ideas in the careers area, but as for auctions, I'm selling the idea short.
Shannon Henry: How did you move from #10 to #3 on Media Metrix's ratings? Over what period of time?
Rob McGovern: I think there are two key trends driving our steady increase in traffic. First, our new Mega Job Search, which searches nearly every job on the Web, is a huge hit with job seekers. We consistently hear that it's the best job search tool on the Web.
West River, MD: West River here, again. Thanks for your response... A follow-up question: According to what source is the overall Internet sector stock value down 50 percent since your company went public in May?
Rob McGovern: You basically have two types of metrics you can us. The first are baskets of stocks assembled by the large investment houses. For example, Goldman Sachs as an Index, as well as Hambrecht and Quist, etc.
ARlington va: follow-on to Potomac's question. I too am looking for a management position and all the on-line sites seem to be focussed more on the programmer-analyst types. Do you have a feel for the ratio of IT Management vs. IT Programming jobs filled on line ?
Rob McGovern: If you are looking for a management position in the IT sector, you couldn't be better positioned in this "new" economy. There is a huge shortage of tech people who can both develop and lead. I would suggest using our Mega Job Search capability, using keywords focused on 'team leadership' and IT management.
Shannon Henry: This market is several years old now. How has it improved or changed? What's the Next Big Thing for online job sites?
Rob McGovern: When I founded this company three years ago, my initial investor presentations included a tutorial on "what is the Internet"...wow, has it ever changed.
Washington, DC: What is Career Builder doing to help employers reach passive job seekers? What services do you offer job seekers that the other recruiting boards do not?
Rob McGovern: Passive job seeking is the new trend in our business. We've got almost 600,000 people who have registered for job alerts, where we Email them matches as they are filled. Most of these people are very happily employed, but use the service to scan for their dream job as it becomes available.
Seattle, WA: I am a career program analyst with the government. Much of my work entails writing which I love to do. I would like to know how I can provide prospective employers - both public and private - with samples of my writing to convince them to hire me when I'm ready to move on.
Rob McGovern: I suggest developing your own Web site, with samples of your work. You can do this at Geocities, for example, and it won't cost you a cent.
Arlington VA: Do you find more employers accepting formatted resumes online, or are they doing ascii searches for keywords. If the latter, are employers scanning the entire text ? or looking for specific keywords in one section?
Rob McGovern: As we said early, this keyword thing is overblown--almost no employers actually use it. My advice: "think ASCII" as the majority of time it will be converted into text by the company.
Washington, DC: We all hear this shortage of skilled tech workers. I am a very good end user, and familiar with specialized programs such as geographic information systems and project management. Recently I've begun to develop skill in VB programming, but I am having trouble finding a company that would give me a chance. Why?
Rob McGovern: I think you are seeing why you need to stay on the cutting edge of technology, if you plan to have a long and lucrative career in the tech sector. Visual Basic is somewhat passe (pass-say), with new technologies like C++ and Java becoming the language dejour. I always tell programmers to stay in touch with the new languages, because it's easy to get lulled into being an expert on yesterdays hot trend.
Shannon Henry: As someone who's closely following the overall job market, what big-picture trends are you seeing? Really hot jobs/industries, etc.?
Rob McGovern: Healthcare, technology, marketing, and finance jobs are white hot at the moment. I think you'll see this trend continue. One other hot trend are new titles, that incorporate "new economy" concepts in jobs. For example, one of our clients, Yahoo, inc., regularly advertises for Web Surfers and Head Yahoos.
You alluded earlier to some of the sites you operate for others contain different content depending on the audience for that particular organization -e.g. Business Week-.
Rob McGovern: If you want a comprehensive index, simply go to careerbuilder.com and do a Mega Search. It's that simple!
alpharetta, ga: In terms of initially marketing your site , where did you advertise?
Rob McGovern: We try to balance interactive and broadcast mediums. We find interactive (banner ads) very good for driving traffic, but broadcast better for building brand. We do spend some on print, although many of the nation's newspapers reject our ads (Present company excluded...our terrific host likes our money :)
Washington, DC: Why would an employer place an ad in a database with 2 million other jobs, rather than place an ad in the local paper? Doesn't the greater number of jobs reduce the value of each one?
Rob McGovern: Bingo...you are raising a great point. Employers should advertise where they find the best ratio of job seekers to job listings. This is something we work hard at to make sure we deliver excellent value to our HR clients.
Well, time's up! Thanks Rob for a great discussion. Tune in in 2 weeks for The Download Live when our guest will be Marc Andreessen, chief technology officer of America Online. Bye!
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