The pay for performance model, so successful in other areas of online marketing, has been pushing into recruitment advertising for years. In one form or another, recruitment sites have been tinkering with the model to see what will work.
The aggregators (Indeed, SimplyHired and others) have pay-per-click models. BountyJobs offers a variation on contingent search. You can probably name dozens of other sites that have some form of pay for performance. The groundswell prompted Nate Swanson, then a financial analyst with ThinkPanmure and now head of investor relations for Taleo, to write: “We believe that companies are beginning to realize that the value proposition of the large, generic job boards (Monster/CareerBuilder/HotJobs) is waning.”
Now comes one more variant. Jobg8.com entered the US market last month from the United Kingdom, where it launched a job board candidate sharing market in the spring. It offers a twist on the pay for performance model by creating an auction for candidates.
This is strictly a between-job-boards market. Not even the employers posting positions need to know precisely where their applicants are coming from.
Says Matt Hoffner, who is heading Jobg8’s U.S. marketing effort, “What we see are job boards relying on unique visitors and page views when what matters to the employer are the number of qualified applicants.”
The pay-to-post model, however, is so entrenched that none of the big boards — and most of the smaller, regional and niche boards — have shown any inclination to change.
“Everything we are doing is behind the scenes, ” Hoffner says.
How it works is fairly straightforward:
An employer posts a job to its usual site. If the site is part of the Jobg8 network — and so far, 65 boards in the U.S. and Britain are — then the job board operator can choose to submit the posting to other Jobg8 sites. When it does, it sets a price it will pay for each qualified applicant who applies via the network. The posting will then appear on other sites that are willing to accept the offered price.
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Note the use of the word “qualified.” “These aren’t just any candidates,” explains Hoffner. “We pre-qualify them. If they qualify, then we send them on.”
Prequalification can be based on Jobg8s stock, industry, and occupation-specific questions, or the employer can specify how to pre-qualify, or the job board can use its own criteria. In all cases, the applicants must meet the criteria before Jobg8 passes them through to the employer.
“It’s all seamless,” Hoffner says. “We’re like the Chicago Mercantile. We’re treating a qualified candidate as a commodity, if you will.”
Here’s an example: Job board A gets a posting for an IT worker. The job can either immediately be submitted to the network or the board operator can wait to see what kind of response the employer gets. If the response is inadequate, the operator can pass the job to the network with a buying price. Say $4. Network sites that accept IT jobs (jobs can be filtered for relevancy) will automatically get the feed assuming they are willing to sell their candidates for less than $4. (The price would have to be $3.07 or less because Jobg8 adds 30 percent as a fee.) If the candidate qualifies, the deal is struck and the site from which the candidate applied gets paid.
Hoffner, a former CEO of JobsInTheUS.com, which was sold to the Journal Register Co. in 2005, says the network isn’t for all the job boards that pepper the Internet. The small scale job-boards-in-a-box aren’t technically equipped to automate the process. “We’re talking to job boards that have a little sophistication,” he notes, suggesting there may be 3,000 or 4,000 that fall into that category.
Jobg8 was founded by Robbie Cowling, who serves as CEO. He is also CEO and founder of Jobserve, one of the larger job boards in the United Kingdom.