By Jason Buss.
A Career Site Conversation with Benjamin Yoskovitz, CEO & Co-Founder of Standout Jobs.
Jason: Please introduce yourself for The Talent Buzz readers.
Ben: I’m currently the CEO & Co-Founder of Standout Jobs, which started in 2007 and launched at the end of January 2008. Prior to that I was the co-founder of another web software company, which I had started in 1996. As a software entrepreneur I’ve touched on every aspect of starting and running a business – financing, operations, recruiting, sales, marketing, product development, customer service, etc. I enjoy all of them, although I get especially excited about product development and customer service. These are areas that I’ve focused on in my career as an entrepreneur.
I have a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from McGill University – and started my first company (1996) while I was still in school finishing the degree.
I’m all neck-deep in the world of social media, blogging and social media marketing. I write a blog on startups and business called Instigator Blog (http://www.instigatorblog.com), and have done consulting work for numerous small and large companies on social media strategy.
On a personal note, I’m the father of two young boys (3 and a half and 14 months), and I’ve been happily married for 7 years. I live in Montreal, Canada.
Jason: How do you think career sites have evolved over the past 3-5 years?
Ben: From my own perspective, as the owner of a small company (prior to Standout Jobs) I don’t think career sites were even on my radar. Certainly they existed, but I think they looked / acted much the same way as they do now; they’re static, uninspiring and provide a very poor candidate experience.
Over 5+ years we’ve certainly seen significant evolution of corporate websites. They’re getting better designed, faster, and more streamlined. They’re targeting prospects better, and many companies do much deeper analytical research into visitors’ behavior. But little of that has translated effectively to career sites, at least for smaller and medium-sized businesses.
Jason: What are some of the biggest challenges with career sites today from your perspective?
Ben: I’ve mentioned some of them above – but I think the crux of the issue is that HR isn’t given the real estate or flexibility to do what it needs to on its career website to attract the right audience and keep them engaged. Corporate sites are dominated by Marketing/Sales – which is understandable; HR’s biggest challenge is being able to translate the Marketing/Sales-driven approach to corporate websites to their career websites. And, I would encourage companies (of all sizes) to give more prominent real estate on corporate sites to recruiting. Every single website should have a “WE ARE HIRING” sign right on the home page, because it works.
Beyond the “who rules the corporate website” situation, I think the next biggest issue is the quality of career sites to provide a great experience to job seekers, interaction and engagement. Currently, most career sites allow you to apply and do nothing else. But you can be sure there’s plenty of people who are “window shopping”, interested in engaging with the company but not ready to apply. Many of those people aren’t being supported effectively.
Jason: With all of the changes in technology, why do you think there have been few improvements in the overall engagement and experience for candidates?
Ben: There’s a lot of technology out there. There are even more buzzwords. That in and of itself is a big part of the problem. I’d say the next issue is that none of the technology, or solutions out there to-date are recruiting-centric. Yes, you can use an existing platform or existing technology to put something together and start to provide candidates with a better experience, but there’s a learning curve, you need to potentially get I.T. involved, and it’s downright overwhelming.
I think we’re starting to see newer technology that leverages some of the newer principles of how to use the Web (blogging, social networking, social media, etc.) targeted to HR, and if that’s done successfully, with easy-to-use tools that don’t require huge cost or time investments on the part of companies, things will change.
Jason: What do you see as the top 2-3 areas of improvement with online recruiting?
Ben: The overarching issue with online recruiting is that it’s not built around active communication between employers and candidates (and prospective candidates). Online recruiting isn’t built to representative how people interact. It’s evolved into a much more transactional model, which has its merits, and you can understand in the early days of the Web why things went in that direction. But times have changed online, and they’ll continue to change at a very quick pace; online recruiting hasn’t caught up, and while I don’t go starry eyed into the night with dreams of “social networking for jobs” or assuming that every Web 2.0 concept is perfectly suited for recruiting, the fact is that online recruiting has to become more conversational and open, and less process-driven.
Jason: When did V1 launch? What upcoming changes are being made with the V2 Standout Jobs product? When will they be available?
Ben: We launched the product at the end of January, 2008. Since that time we’ve made numerous improvements – iteratively adding features, fixing others – and generally responding to our clients’ needs and following our product roadmap. As for V2, who said anything about V2? *chuckle*
What we’ve built to-date is a good platform for allowing HR to quickly and easily create a branded career site. We’ve started opening the doors for more communication of a company’s culture, and more interaction between companies and people. There’s definitely room for more, ultimately to fulfill on the goals of helping company’s representative themselves more effectively and communicate more actively with candidates (prospective or already in the pipeline.) I can say this – we move very quickly – it’s what makes a startup so exciting, the ability to iterate quickly, launch new things fast, test the market and get feedback. I can’t promise dates for anything new, but you can expect lots of news in the next few months.
Jason: How can our readers, Recruiters, HR professionals, and businesses contact you.