Montreal based Standout Jobs burst onto the scene in 2008 with the rollout of its beta “Reception” product at the January 2008 Demo conference. Standout Jobs signed up over 200 customers during its beta phase and launched the Recruitment Communication Platform in October 2008 with many new features.
Standout Jobs’ Recruitment Communication Platform uses video, blogging, chat and widgets to showcase and brand a company’s culture and team to potential recruits. These social media tools are designed to attract and engage high value job candidates based on their talents and cultural fit with the company.
I recently had a chance to interview Standout Jobs Cofounder and CEO Ben Yoskovitz about the release of the companies Recruitment Communication Platform and about Standout Jobs business model and future plans.
OnDemand Beat – “What is Standout Jobs Mission?”
Ben Yoskovitz – “Our mission is twofold:
1. To help companies recruit top talent more efficiently. The process of recruiting is a horribly inefficient one. Companies post on job boards, but don’t drive interested job seekers to anywhere of value. Many small and medium sized businesses don’t track the efficacy of their job advertising spend. And with the emergence of Web 2.0 technology, social networks and communication tools like Twitter, employers are overwhelmed with choices and not sure what to do.
2. To help companies realize that recruiting people is really all about sales and marketing, and providing a simple solution to empower companies to do so.”
OnDemand Beat – “How is Standout Jobs’ Recruitment Communication Platform different from its competition?”
Ben Yoskovitz – “The challenge in the HR ecosystem is that there are a lot of vendors, all tackling similar problems from different angles. Generally this creates market confusion for the end customer.Our difference lies in the fact that we focus primarily on the front-end experience for job seekers and candidates. We focus on employer branding and marketing.
There are quite a few HR vendors that focus on back-end systems – on how to manage applicants once they’re through the door. There are lots of HR vendors that focus on attracting people to an employer. But there are very few vendors that focus on getting the right people through the door. That’s what Standout Jobs is all about – converting the right people into applicants, and ultimately into hires.”
OnDemand Beat – “What type of Social Media and Web 2.0 functionality is built into Standout Jobs’ Recruitment Communication Platform?”
Ben Yoskovitz – “We’ve built Standout Jobs on the principles of social media and Web 2.0 – ease of use, dynamic / evolving content, interaction. And for us this is an ongoing process. For example, we will launch a chat feature soon that will allow employers to communicate immediately with job seekers on the career site.Currently we offer employers the ability to blog, post videos and create polls.
We use content from various sources, and allow employers to publish their companies LinkedIn profile and Twitter account. Search engine optimization is also a core component of our platform. More and more people are using search engines, and in particular Google, to look for work. Most of the top results when someone searches for a job are the big job boards. Being able to rank highly in the search engines will help companies attract job seekers and candidates that they were never really reaching before, and that’s of significant value.”
OnDemand Beat – “Have you seen differing use of Standout Jobs by companies in Canada versus the US or in North America versus Europe?”
Ben Yoskovitz – “Not really. Most of our customers are in North America, so it’s a bit early to see if there will be differences between North America and Europe (and elsewhere.)Generally what we’ve found is that employers – all over – struggle to hire people and are willing to invest a bit more time in presenting themselves and marketing themselves effectively.What we have learned about the market – from some of our experiences and through communication with our channel partners – is that European companies (particularly in the UK) are leveraging recruitment micro-sites more eagerly than their counterparts in North America.
A recruitment micro-site is used for targeting a specific audience – for example sales people or engineers – or used for event-based recruiting, for example, tied to college recruitment season. This trend – of launching targeted recruitment micro-sites seems to be a stronger trend in Europe, but we’re seeing it catch on here as well.”
OnDemand Beat – “In a recent interview with Joel Cheesman on Cheezhead you went into a bit of detail about how Ericcson was using Standout Jobs to set up microsites internally. Are you seeing similar innovative usage of Standout Jobs within Government or University clients and Non Profits?”
Ben Yoskovitz - “Ericsson is a good example of what I’m describing above – the group in Ireland uses our platform to market and promote themselves, but also the benefits of working in Ireland. They don’t get the candidate flow they need from their corporate career site, so they’re fending for themselves and branching out with a great deal of success.
We don’t have any Government or University clients at this time, but I think they could benefit a great deal from our product. Those are two industries that routinely struggle to recruit, and need to make increasing efforts to explain their value proposition to job seekers. We have a few Non-Profits that have used the platform with a great deal of success. The advantage here is that they can really expose more about themselves and the unique value of working at a non-profit. It’s not something everyone may understand or think is a fit for them right off the bat. But through our platform companies can really give job seekers and candidates that sneak peak in side, which can convince people that there’s a connection worth pursuing.”
OnDemand Beat – “What type of Integration is possible between Standout Jobs’ Recruitment Communication Platform and Job Distribution Solutions or Applicant Tracking Systems?”
Ben Yoskovitz – “To-date we’re using our own job distribution solution for posting jobs to various job boards and job aggregators. We have done some integration work with channel partners to leverage their own technology as well.
Integration with Applicant Tracking Systems is core to our strategy. We have our own lightweight applicant tracking system, which we believe is more like a CRM tool than a traditional ATS. But our focus is not to replace an ATS that a customer is already using – but to layer our front-end Recruitment Communication Platform on top of the ATS to provide more value.
There are a few integration options for Applicant Tracking Systems. Generally what we do is grab an RSS or XML feed of job postings and post the jobs automatically on the customer’s career site. Then, when someone clicks to apply for a job, they’re redirected to the applicant tracking system itself, to go through its process.”
OnDemand Beat – “Standout Jobs seems to have a mature business model, including a reseller channel. How does your reseller channel work?”
Ben Yoskovitz - “Our reseller channel is definitely important. We have a variety of resellers – including recruitment ad agencies, newspapers and media companies. They do vary somewhat, but generally our channel partners are using a white-labeled version of our product and adding their own services to the mix. In some cases we’re integrating in some of their own functionality as well, so that each reseller is providing a unique product in the market. With most of our resellers, it’s the reseller that handles the sales and client management (while we handle second and third level support.) A recruitment ad agency, for example, is a perfect fit since they have the creative talent to deploy career sites for their customers and manage that client experience long-term.
We also have an affiliate program – although not a public one – where some of our channel partners are passing the leads and customers directly to us.”
OnDemand Beat – “With the current economic downturn, has it become more difficult to get companies to see the value in Standout Jobs solutions versus doing recruitment the old way?”
Ben Yoskovitz – “The economy certainly doesn’t help – I think that’s the case for almost any vendor in any industry. In our case it’s still early, so we haven’t yet assessed the real results of the downturn. The situation has, in part, changed our message and approach to the market. Typically in downturn economies we see companies spend less on transactional-based recruitment (primarily job boards.) The “shotgun” approach to recruitment becomes less appealing and less necessary; companies aren’t in as big a rush to hire and are hiring less.
We’re speaking to those companies about strategic recruiting – which is a more long-term way of thinking. If you’re not desperately trying to fill a spot today (which you really needed to fill three weeks ago) then it’s the perfect time to invest in longer-term strategies. One of our benefits is that our platform increases in value over time – and when things do start ticking upwards, if you’re using Standout Jobs you’ll be better prepared to move quickly and attract the right people.”
OnDemand Beat – “Conversely, when the economy improves there will continue to be an extreme shortage of Generation Y employees and Employer Branding will be critical in finding the best employees. Can Stand Out Jobs’ solutions be used as a single “portal” to create an Employers Branding?”
Ben Yoskovitz – “Yes, I think we can be used as the single “portal” to develop a customer’s employer brand. For a small and medium sized business with a minimal or non-existent online recruiting presence, Standout Jobs is a perfect fit and can serve as a true recruitment hub. For larger organizations, we’re a great platform for deploying multiple recruitment micro-sites to target specific needs.
And the shortage of workers is coming. Even if the downturn economy forces some people to work longer and retire later, the shortage of talented workers is inevitable in a whole host of industries. Being able to stand out in a crowd against your competition, and being able to attract, engage and convert the right job seekers into applicants (and hires) will be critical. A huge part of that will be how a company presents itself online – which is a component of its employer brand – and how that company interacts with and treats job seekers and candidates.”
OnDemand Beat – “What types of products and features does Standout Jobs’ intend to roll out in the future?”
Ben Yoskovitz – “We’ve got a lot planned and a lot still to decide on based on customer feedback, reseller input and our own understanding of the market and where we want the product to go.
In the next few months we’ll be putting a lot of emphasis on the front-end – adding functionality for employers and job seekers to interact more quickly and easily. Distribution is also an area ripe for evolution – be it distribution to more job boards, or through social media and social networking sites.
We’ll always maintain our emphasis on helping companies recruit by marketing and selling themselves; so functionality that brings us back to that core value proposition will continually get developed. And we also focus a great deal of energy on ease-of-use, so we have to balance the addition of functionality with the product’s usability.”