Jobster Layoff News Buzzing; New CFO Takes Over

Jobster may announce next week its plans to layoff up to half of its 145 employees, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

However, chief executive officer and founder Jason Goldberg posted on his blog last week that, “Truth is that jobster.com is taking off and we’re about to launch some truly big-bang stuff there in January and beyond.”

A Jobster spokesperson says the company is in the midst of a business planning meeting for 2007, “And part of the drive is to get Jobster profitable. There are no specific plans to lay off people,” he says.

Expect a clearer view on the company’s specifics early next week, once the company releases the outcome of its annual review of what is working and what is not working, according to the spokesperson.

“That process is going on now and the news will be shared on January 2,” the spokesperson says.

He adds that, “At this point, any blog [rumors] are basically speculation.”

Seattle-based Jobster currently stands as a $48 million-backed consumer Internet startup. In July, Jobster added an additional $18 million in venture capital, led by Reed Elsevier, Harcourt Education, and other businesses. This was less than a year after it closed a $19 million financing round backed by U.S. venture capital firms.

“Well, $48 million is an investment in the company and does not accrue to profitability numbers. They are working toward profitability; they just want to make sure they are able to do that. That is separate from venture capital; think of it as a savings account and a checking account,” the spokesperson says.

Too Big, Too Soon?

One analyst notes that Jobster might be ahead of its time.

Ernest Feiteira, regional manager, Human Capital Specialist at NAS Recruitment Communications, says the jewel of Jobster is “its concept, and one that should be used more frequently by HR; sometimes they are laggards and it’s hard to persuade them to embrace technology,” he says.

“Their candidate relationship marketing to me is a competitive tool for companies that embrace it. With the job market getting tighter, being able to reach candidates, the passive especially, is going to be critical,” he says.

“Sometimes companies are so focused on today and don’t plan ahead enough, or do enough upfront to determine the return on investment, and are too focused on the price tag of an item versus what that investment will result in.”

Feiteira says he can see substantial barriers of entry for this type of service, an indicator that employers are slow to adopt the technology.

“Jobster is looking to use new sourcing tools that go beyond the job board, but there are 40,000-plus job boards, between niche sites and general sites. On those, all you do is post the job and wait for the candidate to find it, or search a resume database. Jobster is taking it to a new level, integrating referral products and tracking it, which is one of the most important things,” he says.

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In June, Jobster acquired Recruiting.com, which aggregates content from more than 70 recruiting industry blogs and original content, and in May, it acquired GoJobby.com.

While Jobster’s online career site claims it is seeking applicants who have, “the skills, the smarts, and [who] like to have fun while you work, we’d love to talk to you,” the last job posting is dated December 6, 2006.

Two other Seattle-area job sites, Blue Dot and Vizrea, went through a round of layoffs last week.

Earlier this month, Jobster faced the news that competitor Simply Hired formed two new media partnerships: first, with The New York Post, it now provides job search capabilities to nypost.com, the Web edition of the country’s fifth-largest newspaper; second, it launched Resume Post, a resume syndication service on MySpace Jobs.

New CFO Takes the Helm

On December 19, Jobster appointed David Eckert to the position of chief financial officer, replacing Ron Stevens, who left the company after less than a year on the job.

“I have been very impressed with Dave’s insights and his recent work developing recommendations that guide Jobster toward profitability in 2007,” said Jason Goldberg, chief executive officer, in a release.

“He has already proven to be a capable and trusted advisor and I look forward to him playing a key role on the Jobster executive team in 2007. Dave shares my commitment to building Jobster into a high-growth, highly scaleable, and cost-efficient business,” Goldberg added.

Eckert previously served as the CFO of Informed Medical Communications, formerly HealthTalk, where he helped achieve a revenue growth from $4 million to nearly $75 million in 2006.

At Jobster, his responsibilities will include finance, accounting, legal, human resources, risk management, banking, and facilities operations.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.

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