This recruiting-with-social-media bit has become popular enough that some companies are trying — in some cases successfully — to patent it.
Beyond.com is one.
In the summer of 2012, it acquired the assets of a company that was struggling called JobFox. JobFox was one of the early matching companies. JobFox was later sold to Doostang. Confusing, I know, but in short, JobFox sold its assets to Beyond.com, and its domain name to Doostang.
Anyhow, Beyond.com acquired three patents and three pending patents. One of those pending patents was just awarded, for what Beyond.com says is “the invention of a technology that allows for social recruiting, the process of sourcing or recruiting job candidates through the use of social platforms.” You may have seen an intriguing press release this week about it and thought, “huh? Did Beyond just patent social media recruiting?”
Essentially what Beyond acquired and patented was a form of talent community. The job board signs people up for communities based on their fields of interest, and builds them for clients. The patent it got, PDF embedded below, has to do with recruiters building talent communities with candidates and sharing profiles of candidates with other recruiters at their firms.
I asked Beyond’s CEO Rich Milgram the million-dollar question(s): aren’t other companies doing this? And you now own the patent?”
I reeled off a list of many of these firms, companies doing “CRM” (customer relationship management) for the recruiting industry, which some call “candidate relationship management” with the customer as the candidate. I’m talking about companies like Findly, Jobvite, Talent Circles, and even Salesforce.
I asked if these companies could be infringing on this new patent. “It remains to be seen,” Milgram says. “Talent Circles is similar. Is it the same? Is it something that’s infringing? I’m not the patent attorney.”
Milgram says he’s focusing on getting more people aware of what Beyond.com does, particularly (pardon the pun) beyond a simple job posting. Again, the patent is below, and the “full screen” mode in the lower right may allow for easier reading.