Social Networking Benefits Ex-Jobster Employees

Matt Martone, in recruitment media sales at Yahoo! HotJobs, says he steered clear of much of the Jobster news earlier this week because he disliked the anonymous posting aspect that seemed to care more about the missteps of executive management than focusing on a productive conversation of how to help the 60 affected employees.

So to help the ex-Jobster employees, he posted an invitation on his blog for the workers to connect through LinkedIn and share his network. He also made a plea to his colleagues to extend the same invitation to the affected workers.

Martone also directed the workers to upload their resume to Yahoo! Hotjobs, with a promise to forward relevant information to other recruiters.

“It seemed like there wasn’t much of a discussion on the people on the market, and everyone was ignoring the fact that there are people out there not working,” he says.

“We’re in the recruiting industry; couldn’t we get together and be more productive instead of focusing on the negative? Everything on the blogs was anonymous, so I said, ‘let’s grow up,’ ” Martone says.

(Martone also connected with Dave Lefkow, vice president of professional services for Jobster, to discuss additional ways to reach out to the workers.)

Social Networking Trends

New York-based Martone says his attempts at helping laid-off workers around the country is another sign that people are more connected than ever before.

In addition to the few who have commented on his blog, he says more have emailed him privately or connected with him via LinkedIn.

“When things like this play out online, good things can happen through social networking. From what I have seen so far, the ex-Jobster employees are very qualified and appreciate the support,” he adds.

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Martone is not the only analyst to connect the power of social networking plus job search with the potential future of job boards.

While fewer niche boards survived in 2006, there are still plenty of top players in the online job board space. In fact, a recent Business Week article suggests that such niche boards are posing a threat to the “big three” career sites. The article says visits to Monster, HotJobs, and CareerBuilder dropped by 23.7%, 18.4%, and 7.1%, respectively.

However, sales at LinkedIn rose more than tenfold in 2006, according to CEO Reid Hoffman.

It remains to be seen whether Jobster’s recent layoff is a harbinger of its plans to position itself as a smaller, social-networking recruiting site to fuel merger talks, though Doug Klinger, president of Monster North America, has previously stated that his company is “planning to be a consolidator.”

Peter Zollman, publisher of Classified Intelligence, says he has no indication that Jobster is heading toward such a merger.

“Though certainly, every small- to mid-size player is in one state of play or another,” says Zollman. “No owner or investor is going to turn down the right amount of money or the right opportunity, but this is not necessarily positioning for a sale.”

“It could be, quite literally, that having outside salespeople is too expensive. If you look at the job sites, most of what they do is inside sales and telemarketing. An outside sales force is very expensive and a very slow growth option, so it may be that you can take exactly what they said at face value,” he says.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.

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