Just over a week ago at the Society for Human Resource Management’s annual conference (#SHRM11), blog posts and articles about the latest product from Monster.com, called BeKnown, were swarming the web. Many were calling the app “game changing”.
I weighed in and share an alternative point of view, “BeWare of BeKnown“. Shortly after publishing it I received a message from Monster.com asking if I wanted to be put in touch with one of the developers of the app. Instead, I asked to have a conversation with Monster about the strategy, goals, and thoughts behind the launch.
The following day I had a call with Tom Chevalier, a product manager at Monster.com. The headers (bolded) below were the main focus areas of the conversation.
What Monster wants you to know:
The BeKnown network offers new advantages to both career-minded networkers and companies searching for talent. For employers, BeKnown opens up a vast source of potential global talent on Facebook; from students to blue-collar and white-collar professionals. By “living” on Facebook, BeKnown’s membership is expected to be uniquely diverse spanning ages, income and experience levels and ethnic groups. BeKnown allows you to manage your professional and social connections on one site, Facebook. It’s been designed to keep these two distinct networks separate from each other. So you can keep your social activity with family and friends separate from career-related activity with professional contacts. BeKnown users can follow company job and network activity, increasing an organizations engagement with passive and active job seekers.
The strategy and intent behind BeKnown:
BeKnown is aligned with Monster’s strategy to continue advancing careers for job seekers as well as make it as easy as possible for companies to find the right talent.
A lot of comparisons about BeKnown have been made between BranchOut and LinkedIn. I asked for some additional insights on who Monster sees as competition in this space. Tom stated that there are certainly reference points between these 2 examples and comparable functionality that exists, however when compared to BranchOut, Monster believes they have a clear advantage given their perception that there is a stronger level of trust already between them and their users. When compared to LinkedIn as a standalone web site, Tom mentioned there will be some obvious overlap with both the niche and white collar demographics – yet globally they feel like they have the upperhand as BeKnown was built in 35 countries in 19 languages. And although Monster identified LinkedIn more as a point of reference vs. a competitor, they likely felt the blow when LinkedIn cut off API access for BeKnown and BranchOut, for TOS violations last week.
Why claim a company page on BeKnown and not create a page on facebook direct?:
The day after BeKnown’s launch at SHRM, clients starting receiving information about opportunities with BeKnown from Monster. I asked about why a company would want to claim a page and build a network / community through BeKnown vs. creating a page right on facebook directly. He stated most pages for companies are owned and driven by marketing – not recruiting, and through BeKnown an opportunity could exist to leverage more holistically as a social recruiting solution.
Job Postings through BeKnown:
You can aggregate your company postings from Monster into your page on BeKnown or post directly – and drive talent through the Monster posting. Aligned with the page concept – I asked why a company would want to drive traffic to their posting on Monster vs. directly on their corporate careers site? Tom mentioned it’s not always feasible to leverage a companies’ existing technology to drive candidates through their internal processes – and candidates don’t always have the greatest experience. With Monster, the experience is consistent.
Paid Features on BeKnown:
A lot of people have been touting BeKnown is free. And, it is. As I referenced in the previous post, Monster didn’t launch BeKnown as an act of kindness, they are in business to return a profit. I asked Tom about potential costs for employers. He reiterated that BeKnown is free. He also stated that there absolutely will be paid features for Recruiters and Companies. I asked for some specifics about the paid features and was told Monster was still evaluating options. I asked for an example of a premium service, and Tom stated that you could certainly imagine that a resume search product would be a logical transition. Monster has also been soliciting clients to participate in a beta program for an employee referral program tied to to BeKnown. They’ve also communicated to employers that they will soon have online access to company profile pages to help employers showcase their brand and extend your job posting reach.
After my conversation with Tom, the opinions shared in the original post “Beware of BeKnown” remain unchanged. I applaud Monster on an attempt to break away from the status quo. And while I do think it’s great to have competition between vendors / products (for many reasons), will this really be a game changer?
To close this out, here are some examples of the recurring themes from some conversations, and messages received over the past week with candidates, recruiters, and recruiting leaders:
Not all jobs are posted on Monster, or BeKnown. This means networkers only see a small percentage of the available jobs.
Companies should build proprietary talent communities of their own, not grow Monster.com’s.
Why would you grow Monster.com’s network, and then get charged to search it?
This is yet another way for Monster to get their job content in front of people.
Do people want to share their professional network on a facebook app?
People network directly. An app on facebook won’t change that.
Although separate functionality exists, do users want to share their professional network on a social network?
While opportunities to build a networking app on facebook have clear possibilities beyond Monster’s current Resume database, how much overlap will there be between current Monster.com users and early adopters of the app (12-24 months)?
You can currently target facebook users with ads, apps, and pages. This doesn’t change that.