Jobster Recruits Passive Job Seekers

Several startups serve up the latest twists in online job hunting, including Jobster's plans to launch a service that taps viral marketing and social-networking methods to uncover hidden candidates.

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Posting an online "help wanted" ad might deliver the resumes, but an upstart Internet company wants to uncover those talented professionals who wouldnt usually respond to traditional job postings.

Jobster Inc. on Wednesday is introducing an online service for recruiters that combines viral marketing and social networking techniques to attract job candidates who are not actively seeking a career move.

In an approach akin to word of mouth, Jobster lets recruiters tap into their contacts and the contacts of their colleagues and hiring managers to find candidate referrals and recommendations.

It also provides tools for creating targeted recruitment campaigns and reporting on their performance.

The major online job boards, such as Monster Worldwide Inc.s Monster and Yahoo Inc.s HotJobs, are addressing the needs of active job candidates, but those candidates only account for about 11 percent of the workforce, said Jason Goldberg, CEO and founder of Seattle-based Jobster.

"While the dollars have been shifting to online, the model has still been a classified-ad model," Goldberg said. "We want to address that other 89 percent."

Jobster isnt alone in rethinking online recruitment and job seeking. A series of startup companies have introduced new approaches, from searching across millions of job listings to incorporating job postings into social-networking services.

Search startup Indeed LLC on Monday unveiled its search engine, which aggregates 2.5 million jobs from more than 500 Web sites. The sites range from the major job boards and newspaper sites to career pages from associations and companies.

At the beginning of the month, social-networking service LinkedIn Corp. announced a pair of job-oriented services. It officially moved into paid services by letting recruiters and hiring managers post open positions within the service. Listings on LinkedIn Jobs cost $95 per job.

It also introduced a Web-browser companion that displays users LinkedIn connections when they are related to a job posting being viewed at a major job board. Called LinkedIn JobInsider, the software download supports Internet Explorer for Windows.

/zimages/4/28571.gifWhere are the tech jobs? Click here to read about shifting trends in IT employment.

For its part, Jobster is neither an online job board nor a social-networking service. Instead, it is a hosted service sold to enterprises and job recruiters.

Recruiters can create campaigns that can contain multiple job listings. They then can e-mail campaigns to coworkers and contacts that they think would be helpful in finding potential candidates. Microsoft Outlook integration lets users add contacts directly from Outlook.

Those contacts, in turn, can share the job openings with others, express their own interest in a position or recommend a potential candidate to the recruiter. Potential candidates can also subscribe to receive e-mail alerts about future job openings from a recruiting company, Goldberg said.

In a technique common in social networking, recruiters can view how many degrees of separation respondents are from the person to whom the campaign was originally sent, Goldberg said. Each job also has its own landing Web page, which can be posted as a link on other sites and on Weblogs.

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By focusing on reaching those job candidates who are not actively reading online job boards, Jobster is addressing a long-time need among recruiters and hiring managers, said James Holincheck, a research vice president at Gartner Inc.

"The most desirable candidates for a job are not necessarily out there looking, so how do you reach those people and do it in a way where they feel comfortable being part of it?" Holincheck asked. "What [Jobster is] doing is sort of a novel approach to this problem of reaching passive candidates."

The biggest challenge for Jobster will likely be whether potential job candidates respond to the job queries. Sought-after employers likely will find the most success in recruiting through Jobsters approach, Holincheck said.

So far, Jobster has had about 43 customers use the service since beginning a pilot of the service in January, Goldberg said.

Jobster also is supporting the HR-XML standards for integrating with existing recruitment software. It also expects to forge specific integration partnerships with several recruitment-system vendors as early as this week, Goldberg said.

Jobster is pricing its service based on individual job postings, which can be used across multiple recruitment campaigns. Pricing starts at $399 per job.

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