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David Manaster

ERE Media, Inc. CEO David Manaster continues to learn about recruiting every day. His first job in the profession was way back in 1997, and he founded ERE Media the following year. Today, David spends his time thinking up new ways that ERE can serve the recruiting community. You can follow David on Twitter or email him at david(at)

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ERE Media Has a New CEO

by Sep 5, 2012, 2:36 pm ET

When I started ERE Media in October 1998, it was a labor of love. I was a 23 year old, and spent every spare moment after my day job thinking about how to grow my hobby into something real. When we launched the first ERE Expo, I wore a suit and glasses so people would think I was older than I was. I’m pretty sure that nobody was fooled.

Next month will mark ERE’s 14th anniversary. The company now operates four brands, and has become the preeminent source of information for the recruiting profession. Thanks to TLNT, our footprint among HR professionals is rapidly growing. The team is the best in the business, and has been working together for years. I’ve had Lasik surgery, and wore jeans to the seven conferences that we produced last year.

In short, the company has matured. Despite my best efforts, so have I. It’s an exciting and important time in the recruiting/HR world, and it’s the right time for ERE to step up with new ideas, new information, and new services — things that will help us continue to better serve our community. And I’ve discovered that even though this company feels like a part of who I am, I like being the underdog more than I like running the show.

And so after a period of soul searching, I have decided to step down as CEO of ERE Media.

Ron MesterI’d like to introduce Ron Mester, ERE’s new CEO. Ron is uniquely qualified to grow a company like ERE Media. His understanding of recruiting and HR runs deep. He ran Towers Perrin’s San Francisco based Strategy & Organization consulting practice. More recently, Ron served as CEO of Staffing Industry Analysts, where he and Founder Peter Yessne grew the business dramatically before its sale to Crain Communications.

ERE’s team is the best group of people I’ve ever worked with, and with just over a dozen people, they regularly accomplish things that much larger companies are unable to. It’s going to take a special person to lead this team. keep reading…

LinkedIn to Monster & BranchOut: Pay Up

by Jul 6, 2011, 7:44 pm ET has learned more details about LinkedIn’s July 1 decision to cut off Monster’s BeKnown and BranchOut’s API access. We’ve also obtained copies of the emails that LinkedIn sent to both companies.

If there was any doubt that commercial reasons were behind the move, it’s gone now. Both emails end by proposing that the companies join LinkedIn’s “Partner Program for enterprise products.” A representative for LinkedIn has confirmed that the companies would pay for this access.

While BranchOut and BeKnown got all the attention, LinkedIn also cut off access to at least four other companies. Startup mixtent and resume parsing company Daxtra are two more companies that serve recruiters that were affected. As of this morning, the import function that is the core of mixtent’s service appears to be completely broken.

keep reading…

Game On! LinkedIn Fires Next Shot in War for the Career Social Graph

by Jul 2, 2011, 12:13 am ET

Another shot has been fired in the war to own the social career networks — TechCrunch reported today that LinkedIn has cut off access to its data to both BranchOut and Monster’s BeKnown.

As we’ve reported, both services are designed to leverage Facebook’s social graph and more than 750 million users to help them find career opportunities through their friends. Until LinkedIn’s move, they had been able to use the API to give those Facebook users a shortcut in creating a resume on their own services, making them easier to set up.

As this conflict unfolds, we are going to hear a lot from each party about how they are acting in consumer’s best interests, while the other side is trampling their rights. Don’t be fooled by the rhetoric though — all three companies are simply following the money and acting for their own best interests.

LinkedIn has not yet commented publicly about this situation, and its blog doesn’t even hint that anything out of the ordinary is going on. But when it does, LinkedIn will likely claim that it is protecting its users’ privacy. Who could argue with that?

But the real motivation here is something else. LinkedIn’s rapidly growing business depends entirely on its proprietary data; there’s just no way that it is going to let other companies use its own data to compete with them. In fact, the LinkedIn API’s Terms of Use, section 1.5.n., explicitly states that companies using the API agree not to “use the APIs in an Application that competes with products or services offered” by LinkedIn, something that Monster and BranchOut were surely aware of when they built their applications.

Monster’s Vice President of Product Management Matthew Mund posted Monster’s official response to the API shutdown. In it, he says:

We are disappointed by this decision. Why? It’s not good for LinkedIn users: blocking the API effectively limits LinkedIn members’ ability to import their own profile data or invite their own connections to another environment, whether BeKnown or others.

See? Monster is doing this for the poor suffering users who just want to post their data anywhere they want.

Except that Monster’s entire business is charging for access to a closed database. In the Monster Terms of Use, the company specifically prohibits anyone who would “aggregate, copy, or duplicate in any manner any of the Monster Content or information available from any Monster Site, without express written consent from Monster.” What’s good for the LinkedIn goose is clearly not good for the Monster gander.

As for BranchOut, its public position is similar to Monster’s. As the new kids on the block, it also seems happy to be getting this kind of attention, and used its response to the TechCrunch article to promote the superiority of the Facebook audience over LinkedIn’s.

This move by LinkedIn will not greatly hurt either BranchOut or Monster’s services in any big way — importing a resume was just a convenience for their users, who can still create profiles the old-fashioned way. But its a clear sign that LinkedIn recognizes that these services are taking aim squarely at its market, and that it won’t just roll over and let them do it.

Or to quote Monster VP Eric Winegardner, “game on.”

Facebook Wars: BeKnown & BranchOut Take on LinkedIn

by Jun 28, 2011, 1:27 pm ET
The war to bring career opportunities to Facebook’s over 750 million users is on in a big way here at SHRM Conference.

Sunday, Monster launched BeKnown, an app that lets Facebook users harness their social graph to find a new job. If this sounds familiar, its because it is exactly what BranchOut  has been offering since its public launch in January.

When two products are as similar as BeKnown and BranchOut, it’s only natural to start comparing them, (and Monster helpfully provided Bloggers with a cheatsheet) but the real elephant in the room is LinkedIn. Both Monster and BranchOut are convinced that the future of professional social networking lies through Facebook’s social graph, not LinkedIn’s network of connections. But the truth is that they have no choice. Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn’s business model relies heavily on recruiting for revenue, and there is no way that they would allow companies with similar designs to build a business using their proprietary relationship data.

Tom Chevalier, the product manager for BeKnown at Monster, told me that they created BeKnown in response to the demand from their users on Facebook. However, Monster views this as an answer to LinkedIn and BranchOut, and also an opportunity to extend the reach of its existing job network. In fact, Tom just changed his job title on LinkededIn to Product Manager yesterday, but his Twitter bio still reads “Job Distribution Strategy @ Monster.”

Both Beknown and BranchOut have elements of the traditional job board in their offerings. They both plan to gather more job postings native to their applications, but right now both are relying on sources that are outside their apps for job listings — BeKnown lets users search Monster’s jobs, while Branchout relies on Indeed to backfill their job listings. They also let users connect to each to network their way into a job. They feel very much like LinkedIn circa early 2008. keep reading…

Advice for Recruiting Startups

by Apr 26, 2011, 12:13 pm ET

Two weeks ago, the team at KODA threw in the towel. With their goodbye, the Gen Y business connection site joined a long list of promising startups with sweeping ambitions to change the way that people find jobs that ultimately failed.

Except for the runaway success of soon-to-IPO LinkedIn (and arguably Indeed & SimplyHired), there have not been any huge startup success stories since the job board explosion of the late 90s. And even those successes have been more about efficiency then radical change.

There has been no lack of aspiring entrepreneurs in the recruiting space, especially in the last few years, as the startup scene has heated up. So why do we not have more success stories? More change?

Before his current incarnation as a Venture Capitalist at First Round Capital, Charlie O’Donnell spent two years as the entrepreneur behind Path 101, a startup that attempted to be a “guidance resource for your career indecision.” Today, when aspiring entrepreneurs approach Charlie for his advice on launching a startup in the recruiting space, he advises them to run, because in his words, human capital is a “bad neighborhood.” Aspiring entrepreneurs should read Charlie’s post carefully, because it presents some good reasons why they should choose greener pastures.

I’ve been observing the recruiting space for over a decade, and like Charlie, I get approached by lots of startups looking for advice. The best advice I can give — don’t make the same mistakes as the guy before you. Most startups make the same mistakes over and over again.

It’s Easy to Spot the Problems in Recruiting — but Much Harder to Fix Them

Everyone knows that recruiting is inefficient. It’s slow. It has been done in much the same way for decades. In other words, a classic target for disruption. keep reading…

Is the Ladders a Scam?

by Feb 15, 2011, 11:08 am ET

A couple of weeks ago, The Ladders invited (and paid T&E for) a number of influential bloggers, writers, speakers, and consultants in the HR and recruiting profession to join them for a day of “insightful and spirited conversations.”

If the reason for the invitation sounds like PR double-speak, that’s because it is. In spite of its rapid growth, The Ladders has a real image problem in our profession — if you type “the ladders ” into Google, the first autocomplete suggestion is “the ladders scam.” The Ladders’ invitation seemed like an attempt to step beyond that and change the conversation into something more positive.

The changed conversation lasted for a whole 37 minutes, when the first caller into a HR Happy Hour online radio show being broadcast from The Ladders’ own conference room ignited the scam debate all over again. Since then, the debate has spread around the HR blogs, and it has become obvious that this criticism is a genie that will not go back into the bottle until The Ladders addresses it directly and publicly. keep reading…

Open Letter to ICANN: Reject the .jobs Amendment!

by Jul 15, 2010, 11:46 am ET

For months, John Zappe has been covering the .jobs saga here on, so regular ERE readers will be familiar with much of the background. If you are new to the story, you can catch up here and here.

Today is the final day of ICANN’s open comment period before they consider Employ Media’s .jobs charter amendment. It’s our last chance to be heard.

I’ve emailed ICANN the following letter urging that they reject the proposed amendment, and it is posted alongside hundreds of other comments in the ICANN Archives. Join me in by writing to ICANN today and letting them know what you think. keep reading…

Help Us Organize Local ERE Recruiter Meetups!

by May 25, 2010, 1:31 pm ET

July 13th. Circle it in your calendar, recruiters.

On July 13th, ERE Recruiter Meetups are going to be simultaneously run in cities around the U.S. It’s going to be a great opportunity for recruiters to meet and network with other recruiters in their area.

The Meetups are going to be locally run and organized by the people attending them — crowdsourcing at its best.

This means that we need your help, and here’s how you can pitch in:

  • Visit the ERE Recruiter Meetup page and sign up for a Meetup near you. If you don’t see one in your area, start one up!
  • If you know a great location (bar, restaurant, office) where your group can meet, add it to the Meetup.
  • Help us get the word out! We don’t need a huge group in each city to get together, have a good time, and make great connections. It can be as few as half a dozen, but the more the merrier, so tell all the recruiters in your area about the Meetup!

…And of course, join us!

Why SHRM Must Reject the .jobs Amendment

by Apr 8, 2010, 10:17 pm ET

Ever since John broke the news yesterday on that a committee of the Society for Human Resource Management was meeting tomorrow to consider amending the .jobs charter, several people have asked for a simpler explanation of what the stir is all about.

In this post, I will attempt to explain the facts of the situation and then explain why I think that if SHRM approves this amendment it will be doing a disservice to the HR community.

But first a little history.

SHRM & Employ Media’s Roles

In 2004, SHRM and Employ Media submitted an application to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to sponsor and manage a new top level domain (TLD) called .jobs. In 2005, this application was approved and on May 5 the .jobs charter was published. As the sponsor of the TLD, SHRM’s responsibility was to set policy and establish registration requirements, while Employ Media took on the more traditional business responsibilities of managing and marketing the new domains names. keep reading…

A New Kind of Sponsorship on – Introducing the Site Wrap

by Mar 22, 2010, 5:59 am ET

If you are reading this on or in our ERE Daily email today, right now you’re seeing red.

That’s thanks to the generosity of our sponsor, iCIMS, who is graciously underwriting this week. We’ve wrapped in their brand — woven their ads and colors into our navigation, look and feel.

Why are we doing this? keep reading…

Welcome to Lance & the Creative Excellence Awards

by Feb 17, 2010, 2:18 pm ET

This is an exciting time for ERE. We’re just a month away from the start of both the 10th Annual ERE Expo and our newly acquired SourceCon in San Diego, and both are going to be the largest since this recession began. (You heard that right — when’s the last time that you were at a conference that was growing?)

I’ve got a couple of new announcements about what’s happening here at ERE:

LanceFirst, I’d like to welcome Lance Haun to the ERE team as our Community Director, with a mandate to reach out to the recruiting community and increase participation on Many of you may already know Lance. He has been an active and well-respected figure in the HR community for years, and he already has some great ideas about where to take our 50,000 member community next. Lance has a post up about how he landed the gig on his blog.

Second, I’m pleased to announce that ERE Media has acquired the Creative Excellence Awards from Landon Media.

The CEAs have been a fixture in the recruitment advertising world for decades, recognizing the best and most creative work in the field. They have a long and storied history. They were founded by the agencies themselves in an era when recruitment advertising revolved around the newspaper classified section. On a personal note, my first job in this industry was at TMP Worldwide. I remember the buzz and excitement around the CEAs every year, so I am excited at this new addition to the ERE portfolio!

Our first task as we put our stamp on the CEAs will be to make sure that they reflect that real work in recruitment communications today no longer just done in the newspapers, but across many media, and especially online.

The Creative Excellence Awards are going to be held in October at the upcoming ERE Expo 2010 Fall conference in Florida, and in the coming weeks we’ll provide more details on the CEAs and how to be considered.

2010 is looking like it’s going to be be a big year, and it’s only February!

ERE Acquires SourceCon

by Oct 6, 2009, 3:13 pm ET

ere_sc_heart3I’m proud to announce that ERE Media has acquired SourceCon, the only live, in-person event for sourcing professionals in the world.

SourceCon is unique. It brings together the best minds in the sourcing profession to focus on minute intricacies of the art like no other event in existence.

I was at the first SourceCon, and remember being impressed by the vibe. There was an excitement in the air of a community coming together face-to-face for the first time. Several people came up to me unsolicited and told me how amazing it felt to finally be in a place where there were other sourcers “just like me.”

Since the current recession began, there has been talk of the death of sourcing. I disagree, and now ERE is putting its money where its mouth is.

So what does this mean? keep reading…

HR Blogging, Workforce, and Disclosure

by Sep 10, 2009, 8:24 am ET

I am looking at an email in my inbox from June. I’m not going to call anyone out by name in this post, but it’s from an HR Blogger, and in it the Blogger is complaining that they did not get a speaking slot at our Social Recruiting Summit even though they would promote the event if they spoke. Not a word about how much value they would deliver, or how insightful they’d be. Only that they could promote the hell out of it.

I have a second email from an even more prominent HR blogger in my inbox from late July, offering “guaranteed positive posts and tweets” in return for ERE covering all or part of their travel costs.

Why do these emails bother me? They show a willingness on the part of their authors to write their “thoughts” publicly, while never disclosing that those thoughts were not genuine, but contingent on favors.

I don’t think that either blogger thought of those emails in this way, but they were, in short, proposals for payola. I scratch your back, you scratch mine. And these are not extraordinary — they are just the two of the more bold tit-for-tats I’ve received.

Workforce Online recently published a piece on transparency in the HR Blogosphere. Collectively, the HR bloggers’ reaction ranged from outrage to dismissal. Nobody likes to be called out in public.

But as someone intimately familiar with many (but not all) of the players, I’ve long been troubled my many of the same things that are brought up in the Workforce piece. And so far, I’ve seen a lot of indignation and questioning of motives about the article (Old media: scared, out of line, link-baiting.  Bloggers: Great guys, opinionated, keeping it real.) but nobody seems to be claiming that any of the points and examples of undisclosed conflicts of interest in the article were incorrect.

I think that is a disservice, because even if HR bloggers disagree with the assertion that the level of disclosure they’re currently providing about their conflicts of interest is woefully inadequate, it’s worth considering the issues raised in the article and the level of disclosure that they provide.

It’s not wrong for bloggers to make money from their hard work. But deception about the motives behind a post — even by omission — can destroy all of that in a heartbeat. (Anyone else remember the Pay Per Post scandal?)

HR bloggers: I love you. Please don’t let the Sturm und Drang over the Workforce article keep you from giving this issue a cold, sober look.

New Email & Twitter Options on!

by Jun 4, 2009, 1:31 pm ET

A little over a month ago, I announced the launch of’s new community. Since then, we’ve received a lot of great feedback on how we can make a good thing even better, and I wanted to share a couple of the new things we’ve been working on.

One of our goals with the new community is to reach out to the entire recruiting profession to participate in our conversation, not just those who visit the website each day. (Don’t worry — we’ll always love you best!) To that end, we’ve opened up the conversations on in a couple of new ways. keep reading…

by Apr 29, 2009, 12:59 pm ET

It’s hard to believe, but ERE has been running a community for recruiters for more than 10 years. In that time online communities have radically changed, morphing from from listservs to forums to today’s never-ending cascade of social networks.

Our community has evolved as well, expanding to include over 50,000 recruiting professionals, and growing more every day. Today, I’m proud to announce the next step in that evolution of the ERE community —

When you check out the new community site, you’ll recognize many of the same discussion groups and people that you have followed for years, but you’ll also see lots of new features.

Some of the features that I have been using the most are:

  • The new activity feed. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be exploring how to make this more visible on our home page, because it does a great job of showing just how much activity is happening in real time.
  • Voting. Finding ways to separate the wheat from the chaff has always been one of the most challenging aspects of running a professional community like, and the new voting system will let the community collectively decide which posts bubble to the top.
  • Blogs. A select few have had blogs for a long time on, but now every ERE member will be able to express themselves in their own personal space.  We will be featuring the best of the blog posts more prominently on the site.
  • New discussion emails. We’re trying to cut down on the number of emails that you get from us, so we’ve consolidated our community emails into one community newsletter that will be easier to navigate and read.

Jim — who did a great job developing the site with Hunter — put together a video to introduce you to the features of the social network. Check it out, and then give the new features a try! keep reading…

Social Media: The New Cover Letter?

by Mar 23, 2009, 2:18 pm ET

Over the weekend, I followed a conversation between Charlie O’Donnell (@ceonyc), Founder of Path 101, and Alison Doyle (@alisondoyle),’s Job Search Guide on Twitter, and then later on their blogs. (Click on the graphic for a larger, more readable version.)

They were debating the value of the cover letters vs. a more comprehensive personal branding effort built around social media.

So here is my take:

Charlie is right. Social media allows you to take control of your personal brand and highlight your strengths. You can show rich examples of your work. You can let people peek inside your head in a way that resumes and cover letters never have and never will.

This morning, Jessica Lee linked to Matthew Cadwallader, a senior at UMass-Amherst who is using his website and blog to showcase his obvious skills and passion for communications, A/V production and writing. Matthew’s got it going on. He could not possibly have communicated just how impressive he is with only a resume and cover letter.

Alison is right too. The vast majority of professionals are unwilling or unable to send the time and effort needed to maintain a presence as good as Matthew’s. To do it well is a job in and of itself, and if you are looking for a new job immediately, a cover letter can absolutely convey that you have spent the time to learn about the company to which you are applying. When I receive a cover letter that shows an understanding of what ERE is and the position that we are trying to fill, I definitely take note. keep reading…

LinkedIn Founder Reid Hoffman: We’re the Disruptive Low-cost Provider of Hiring Services

by Mar 20, 2009, 11:33 am ET

Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn’s Founder and CEO, was on Charlie Rose a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been meaning to give it a watch since I saw it on Techcrunch, and I was not disappointed. keep reading…

ERE’s Beta Community Site is Live — Tell Us How to Make It Better!

by Mar 18, 2009, 12:06 pm ET

The ERE team has been working on the next evolution of our community for months, and today we’re ready to show it off!

There’s a preview up at, and we’re looking for your feedback on how to make it better before we go live on the main

So what’s new? Here are some of the highlights:

  • Easier to use. You will find it easier to post discussion messages, and you’ll be able to add links, pictures and HTML without jumping through hoops.
  • Threaded Discussions. To make it easier to follow conversations in the longer threads, all the discussions are now threaded.
  • Community voting. We’re testing a new voting system for determining which discussion messages are most valuable to readers.  The best content will be voted up to the top of threads by the community.
  • Activity Feed. There is now a central activity feed for all activity on the ERE Network, so it will be easier to see where the action is!
  • Blogs. Every person in the ERE Network now has a Blog! Blog posts will have more prominence within the community, and we are working on integrating the best posts into the main feed on our home page to highlight the best content created by ERE members.
  • ERE Forum. We’re bringing back the ERE Forum — a single, central place to post messages where everyone can see them without joining the smaller, specialized, groups.
  • Following. Everyone has their favorite contributors on the network, and we’ve made it easier for you to follow just the ERE Members that you want, so you can see their content anywhere on the Network! This will replace the notion of “friends”, which as several members pointed out does not have a lot of practical use.

Why are you still reading this? Go kick the tires over at the preview site, and don’t be afraid to post messages to test it, because messages posted on the preview site will not appear on the main

Let us know in the feedback thread what you would change about it before we go live – we’re listening!

Geography of a Recession

by Mar 4, 2009, 10:55 am ET

The New York Times has a great interactive map showing how employment rates are changing across the United States.

Recession Geography

I find it striking how the worst problems in employment seem to center around the local areas that support the industries that are the epicenters of this recession: the real estate bubble, automobile manufacturers, etc.

Lots of red…

Meetup’s Unique Approach to Talent Pipelines

by Feb 19, 2009, 5:19 pm ET

“Talent Pools.”

“Talent Pipelines.”

“Talent Networks.”

All of these buzzwords describe the same thing — the idea of building a community of individuals whose skills you will need before there is an immediate opening for them. The idea is to strengthen the bonds between these people and the organization so that when the need arises, it’s a simple matter of picking up the phone.

In theory, of course.

In practice, I’ve seen too many software solutions aimed at creating these “communities” turn out to be little more than databases with candidate names and contact information. I’ve seen too many companies fall in love with the idea (which is a really good one), but not put in them time necessary to implement them in a way that realized the concept’s potential.

This Tuesday, I attended a NY Recruiting & HR Network Meetup and had the pleasure of hearing Linda Paul, the Director of Team Development at Meetup talk about her work. keep reading…