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Back to the Past With The Ladders New, Free Recruiter Service

by Jan 10, 2011, 12:01 am ET

Channeling its past, The Ladders is launching today a new recruiter product it’s calling Passport.

At no cost, recruiters can post openings for $100,000 jobs and get access to My Pipeline, The Ladders’ private social network, and to the CRM. Sure, there are some caveats. You only get to post one job at a time, and you can’t search resumes. But what a deal, even if you never post a single job.

Just My Pipeline alone is a great offer for any recruiter who hires for jobs in the six-figure category. It lets you build a social pipeline of candidates interested in your company, your jobs, or you (as a recruiter specializing in their field). When you have a job, you have a ready audience of candidates.

What makes My Pipeline different from Facebook and  other social networks is that the job seekers are all $100k earners. They’ve gone through an initial screening process when they joined; the monthly fee to be a member deters most of the unqualified wannabes.

The free job posting is icing on the cake, and rather necessary, since that’s what you send to your pipeline. The CRM lets you sort, store, and communicate with the candidates who respond to your job posting.

Alexandre Douzet, president and co-founder of The Ladders, described Passport as “an entry-level product.” I suppose that’s primarily because, as a freebie, it’s lacking the all-important resume searching and some other bells and whistles.

However, that may not be as critical on The Ladders as on other job boards. Since job seekers have to pay to see jobs, it’s a fair bet that most of the members are active, and are likely to find you.

Passport service also doesn’t include FitFinder, The  Ladders’ RPO lite. FitFinder is a human-powered service that matches candidates to jobs sending three or four names for each job posted.

As for the single posting limit, that’s per recruiter. So a company with multiple recruiters can have one job posted for each recruiter registered on The Ladders, Douzet said.

The free posting harkens back to The Ladders’ roots. For the first few years after its founding in 2003, the company offered unlimited free postings. Revenue came from the membership fees paid by job seekers. In 2007, The Ladders began charging for every job posted to the site.

So why now is The Ladders looking backward?

“We realized over the past couple years,” Douzet explained, that “job postings in their current form have become commoditized. Recruiters don’t necessarily see the value in job postings.”

In the last half of the last decade, as Indeed and SimplyHired came online, and Craigslist exploded globally, and recruiting SEO took center stage, many recruiters discovered they could get just as good a response for free as by paying to post. Corporate career sites took on greater importance as a place to court prospects, as well as process their applications

That doesn’t mean recruiters are wholesale fleeing pay to post sites. There is still value in paying to post an opening, not the least of which is convenience. However, it does mean that services are becoming more important. These include wider distribution via integration with the social media sites, improved resume searching, candidate matching, branding, and the like.

Which is why Douzet said, “What we are really selling… are the services.” “If I was working there (at a pay-to-post site), where half their revenue is from job posting, I personally would be nervous,” he added. Douzet once did. He was director of online marketing at HotJobs a decade ago.

Now, Douzet and The Ladders team detect the trend is toward free postings, which will put more importance on the other things a commercial career site can offer. FitFinder is one of those other things, Douzet pointed out. “It’s been phenomenal,” he said of the reception its gotten since being introduced last summer. Being a private company (at least for now — see this), Douzet wouldn’t share numbers, though he did say growth in FitFinder use has been strong.

Why not just offer free unlimited postings? Douzet said most recruiters work on just a handful of the top salary jobs a month, so wouldn’t likely post many openings at any one time. And, though he didn’t say this, there’s still money to be earned from the pay to post business.

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel regarding any threatened or pending litigation.