Talent Talk: Q&A with Maneck Mohan, CEO Recruit.net
Some nine companies, both local and international, compete in the job aggregation space in Australia. Aggregators, unlike job boards, do not own the jobs listed on their website. Like search engines, they merely act as a platform to redirect job seekers traffic. Some job boards depended on them to increase their own traffic, while some sees them as a threat. Aggregators offers employers another channel to net talent at a very attractive price-point, including the increasingly popular pay-per-click services.
An early innovator, and one of the first companies to introduce vertical job search technology in Australia, Recruit.net is currently the leading player in Asia-Pacific. I recently caught up with CEO Maneck Mohan and he shared his views on the job board industry, SEEK’s reluctance to have their jobs aggregated, and glimpses into the future of Recruit.net.
DT: Maneck, can you shed some light on your background and recruit.net’s history?
MM: My career started in investment banking and then moved into technology recruitment where I’ve spent the better part of 15 years working with Fortune 100 companies. Part of the initial motivation to build Recruit.net was the need for an in-house tool that could systematically gather and analyze job data from the hundreds job sources across internet. From a recruitment perspective there was immense value in being able to track and monitor job postings, industry trends and job supply across various sectors. We were also eager to launch a service that catered to the needs of job seekers in general as opposed to corporations which had been our focus for so long.
Upon launching Recruit.net quickly established wide spread appeal among job seekers largely by word of mouth. Today we do close to 1 million job searches and receive more than 800 new job seeker registrations per day.
DT: Where do aggregators add the most value? How do you differentiate the value you offer from the rest of the job board community?
MM: Recruit.net is a vertical search engine or aggregator that provides jobseekers an easy way to search job boards, agencies and corporate job postings from one site. Recruit.net currently lists around 250,000 live vacancies, making it the largest resources for jobseekers in Australia.
We are different from job boards in that we are not a content site. We don’t host any job data. We display summary listings of data in our results and direct the job seeker to the content sites (such as job boards) to view and apply for a job. We work much in the same way Google works, basically we drive high volumes of targeted job seeker traffic to job sites.
Our place in the online recruitment eco-system is different from job boards. We complement each other and job boards are some of our most loyal customers. Our corporate tag line is “Job search starts here.” We’re only the starting point for the job seekers search, the destination is the job site that is posting the job and the place where the job application takes place.
DT: There are about ten job aggregators operating in the Australian market. Do you think the market can accommodate such a number? Is consolidation in this space likely to happen?
MM: We were the first to launch in Australia and we’ve set the bar pretty high. However, I personally don’t give too much weight to being the first mover in a market. It’s far more important being the best mover Google was late to the web search business but they quickly won market share and took over the market because of the quality of their service.
The internet public does not need to be loyal to any specific web service. We tend to use the product that serves our needs best. So yes I think there will be consolidation in the Australian job search market. Companies need to focus on innovation and the quality of their product. Competition is good. It’s keeps us all on our toes!
DT: There has been lots of talk that aggregators don’t have a long-term future in Australia, largely because SEEK do not allow their jobs to be aggregated. What are your thoughts on some job boards’ reluctance to participate and open up their jobs?
MM: I compare it to the New York Times or other online newspapers that previously restricted access to their content to protect paid subscription fees. Recent history has shown that subscription fees cannot possibly outweigh the dramatically higher ad revenue that comes from increased traffic on a free site. SEEK are well aware of this and it’s just a matter of time before they embrace similar changes taking place in the online recruitment landscape. Content is free and the internet is flattening. Almost every ASX listed company now has their job listings posted on their corporate web site. The online recruitment landscape has changed and there is no turning back.
With regards to aggregators not having a long term future in Australia. Let me put it this way: What is a more compelling option for a job seeker, to search a proprietary database of paid job listings or a web wide search of job listings from hundreds of sources across the internet? By excluding themselves from job aggregators SEEK is just losing free job seekers traffic to their competitors.
DT: Pay per click is a relatively new model as opposed to pay-per-post in the job board arena. What do you think are the benefits and what has been recruit.net’s experience?
MM: We provide pay-per-click and pay-per-application recruitment solutions, wherein an advertiser only pays per visitor or CV received. This is performance based, measurable advertising which provides advertisers a transparent return on their investment.
We typically work on a consultative approach with our new clients who are usually more familiar with the old pay-per-post model. We set up performance monitoring; we integrate with their existing applicant tracking system (ATS) and then provide a completely free trial period for the client to evaluate the campaign performance. Advertisers assess for themselves the volume and quality of the applications they receive. We’ve found that results speak louder than words.
(P.S: The above is an excerpt from the forthcoming Job Board Report 2009. Register now to receive your free copy)
Thanks for posting this Phil, a great insight for me
SEEK’s reluctance to simply hand over its hard won inventories to new entrants is often held up as an excuse by aggregators for their inability to generate meaningful market share.
I’ve often heard the argument that SEEK is ‘missing out’ on valuable traffic allegedly going to its competitors by not collaborating with new starters with unknown brands who clearly have SEEK’s market share in their sights.
There is no evidence that SEEK is missing out on traffic. Last month we had over 3.2 million unique browsers visit the site – a large proportion of the workforce. If there is an aggregator out there that can reach an Australian worker who has not heard of the SEEK brand, we would of course be open to discussing opportunities to extend our traffic reach.
At present there are quite a number of aggregators in the Australian marketplace with a greater job volume than SEEK. The idea that by adding SEEK’s volume to these aggregators, their business models will suddenly work simply does not bear scrutiny. Nor does the idea that these aggregators have changed the traffic distribution of the job board industry in Australia.