Friday, May 20, 2005

Jobster-Brand or Substance

I'm typically an early adapter of technology--but I'm also a skeptical one. I want to know that it's going to make my life easier and do what it's intended to do. I have to say that at this moment I'm still skeptical about Jobster. I have a lot of respect for David Lefkow--I read his blog and feel he is a smart guy. So I'm going to assume that is something good to come from Jobster. Also--I think the branding is excellent. I hear some people saying that the brand is a rip off of Monster--get it, Job-ster...Mon-ster. I actually thought it was a play on Napster when I first heard of it. Who cares though--the fact that we are even discussing this tells me the brand has penetrated our minds and hearts. Whether you like it or not their brand has market share. All this said--are they just a great brand at this point or is there substance? I got to preface with saying that I haven't actually used Jobster yet. However, I will tell you why I haven't and what my fundamental skepticism is based on at this point.

1. I still don't know exactly what it does. When I asked people that have used they even have a tough time explaining it to me. When I got the site it is inspirational but extremely vague. It looks good but I have a hard time figuring out EXACTLY what they do. The best explanation I have received so far is that it's essentially like LinkedIn.

2. Here is my problem if it IS similar to LinkedIn. LinkedIn is brilliant in the sense that they have a multi-faceted approach. There connections are based on new business deals, collaboration, job prospecting, staying in touch, etc. You essentially get a lot of people who are looking for jobs and are not looking for jobs. It's specifically not branded for jobs exclusively which drives a lot of traffic to the site. You get senior level people looking for business engagements and this is the beauty of it. You really do get to the passive job seeker. Jobster on the other hand is branded as a JOB tool. It implies that the person is looking for a job and therefore I don't believe it will get to the passive candidate as well as it claims. Again, this is assuming that it is in fact similar to LinkedIn. What I do think Jobster will be good at is hitting the semi-passive candidate. This is the candidate that is looking but not actively.

3. It's confusing on how to sign up. Before they launched they would send out these e-mails saying they wanted to speak with your company about this new exciting tool. Whenever I would send mail back I never got a response. Finally when they were about to launch I received an e-mail saying that they received my inquiry and would like to engage in discussion. When I replied to this, still, no response. Then the launch came and went. I checked out the site and there doesn't appear to be a way to register on-line, you can't find pricing information etc. It's very confusing in terms of how to get started with this...and for a web based tool you would think that this would be easier--it needs a better e-commerce portal.

4. How does it compete against the free networking tools like LinkedIn. There are some great prospects on LinkedIn and it is a rapidly growing network. What will they offer that is uniquely different that they can charge for? The other element is that these tools are only as good as the time you put into them. I am an active seeker of passive candidates. However, it's hard for me to even find the time to work leads on these sites. You have to put in a lot of time an energy. They may be great at finding passive people but they don't necessarily make your life a lot easier! That said--I'm a big, big fan of these networking tools and I think the work you need to put into it is worth for what you can get out.

On a positive note--as I mentioned in my first paragraph...I think their branding is brilliant. In my opinion they already have a more recognizable brand among recruiters than LinkedIn or Spoke. Does this brand hit passive candidates though--hard to say at this point. I do think if they can make it more clear on their site about what they actually do, create an easy to use ecommerce portal and have pricing that justifies the ROI then it can be a good thing. I guess we will just have to wait and see.

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