Monster’s 7 Warning Signs May Have Come Too Late

Is Monster becoming a Mini-ster?

That’s the kind of question that’s really meant to be a statement. No matter how you answer it, the predicate already tells us it’s going to be bad for the subject. No surprise, then, that Jason Buss posed it last week in the midst of offering “7 Warning Signs For”

It’s a sad litany of the ills that have befallen the once-mighty job board. The company that is synonymous with digital recruiting, is up for sale, or in the Wall Street speak used by CEO Sal Iannuzzi, it’s exploring “strategic alternatives.”

The company has retained financial advisers to help it with that exploring. The outcome could be almost anything from nothing to a partial divestiture to the outright sale that many think is the likely path. The only mystery there is who would buy.

Investment adviser Motley Fool says LinkedIn would be a perfect suitor. There may be fine Wall Street reasons why that might make sense. However, I can think of at least one good reason against it. Recruiters already are beginning to see LinkedIn as a job board, a pretty good one with a strong social component, but a job board nonetheless. And even though we now have two independent studies, using wholly different data, to tell us job boards deliver candidates that get hired and do it very well, they get no respect. By buying Monster, LinkedIn would confirm the suspicions and send recruiters looking for the next alternative.

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One other interesting point. Buss notes: “Comscore shows leading the job search pack.” True enough when it comes to the job search traffic. But in overall careers and jobs focused traffic, LinkedIn beats everyone with 36.8 million uniques.

(Attention data geeks: the Comscore numbers represent unduplicated uniques, and the job search number for Indeed is smaller than what the chart shows, since the latter counts visitors to other parts of Indeed besides job searching.)

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


7 Comments on “Monster’s 7 Warning Signs May Have Come Too Late

  1. LinkedIn definitely needs to walk a tightrope. Employers freak out when they see resumes of their employees on general or niche job boards yet somehow those same employers don’t seem to mind when they see an employee’s “profile” on LinkedIn.

    The reality is that the vast majority of those who post their profile to LinkedIn do so for the same reason that they post their resume to Monster or any other site: so that they can be contacted by potential employers. If LinkedIn is to continue to succeed in the same way it has in the past, it needs to do everything it can to brand itself more as a social network and less as a job board.

  2. It’s a great point Steve. It would be interesting to hear what recruiters and HR leaders at some of our Fortune 1,000 feel about employees putting their profiles on LinkedIn. As someone who worked at Monster way back at the start in 1997, I have not heard the same worry and fear from the recruiting world as I did back then. This could be for one of a couple reasons. Either….

    1) LinkedIn has done a good job getting the message across that it is truly just a business networking platform.
    2) The recruiting world understands that the internet and moreover, social media is transforming the talent management industry. To fight against it would be like trying to put duct tape on a hole in the Hoover Dam. Keep your employees happy and they will stay.

    Just wait for Facebook to really jump into the mix or one of the FB apps like Branchout to really take hold. In my over 15 years in this space it seems like there is some sort of significant transformation every 5 years or so. Change is good.

  3. Monster, the once mighty job board passed up countless opportunities to remain relevant and now is very much like the classified pages of print newspapers.

    When I look at some of the firms who have missed opportunities, it leaves me flummoxed: Xerox (missed the personal printer opportunity), Kodak (never saw the digital revolution coming), Pilot (thought it was a bad idea to add cell phone tech to its devices)… And now Monster.

    There were signs and the firm heeded none as it hewed to its business model slavishly rather than poke its head up to see how the business landscape was changing.

    The BeKnown app created for Facebook seemed like more of a last gasp than anything else.

    If Monster wishes to remain a timely option for today’s job seeker, it should take some (some) best practices from the likes of Google+, Twitter, KLOUT, Empire Avenue, and eCademy. Most of the tools are already there and Monster can easily convert its many job seekers to active and engaged participants.

    Job seeking is more of the moment nowadays and does not remotely look like the digital world which Monster was once the undisputed ruler of.

  4. If you look at where LinkedIn gets most of its revenue, you’ll come to the conclusion that LI is becoming the biggest job board on the web. You can brand Linked In as much as you want as a social network – Its more frequent users will ultimately determine its brand. As for Monster, its just another data base for finding people with its own unique value. I’m sure it will continue to evolve to remain relevant.

  5. Job posting aside, let’s not overlook the fact that Monster has deeper (full resumes vs. ‘skeletal” profiles) and more actionable (phone numbers, email addresses) human capital data than LinkedIn, and I am sure there is more overlap than most people would assume or even want to believe.

    Now more than ever, data is king, and recruiting power and ROI comes from deep and actionable data.

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