Jobster is a new career network. It has advantages for job seekers. It has advantages for recruiters and hiring managers. It offers a palate of features designed to make it easier for the two classes to actually connect and find business/career Nirvana.
Last year, I finally took the Jobster leap and signed up. The features weren’t drop-dead fantastic. After a few, short weeks, I dropped my membership and deleted my profile. But for some reason, I’ve managed to get the attention of the CEO at Jobster and the CEO of another networking site. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say they conspired with one another to get me re-enrolled on Jobster, it was very interesting that the timing was so brief between the CEO of one site making a connection to me from Jobster and then having some other commitment event come from Jobster’s CEO. Yes, I’m re-enrolled on Jobster.
The other thing about being involved with all of these career/recruiting sites is the dual capacity I wear. It is important for me to know and understand the workings of sites on behalf of the job seekers I coach and counsel so that there will be as few surprises as possible. It is also important that I appreciate the effectiveness of these sites so that the right type of person is using the site most appropriate for their talents. But I also need to take into consideration how the recruiter is viewing these sites so that recommendations to that part of my population can be addressed as well. Living life riding the front and back of the saddle gets really interesting.
The Employer Roster
Last year, Jobster had a slate of employers with whom a job seeker could research and search for openings unique to their goals. The trouble was, the list of employers was not very large. Therefore, the opportunities were rather limited. Combine that with a still tepid employment market, and Jobster was not one of the more lucrative places to visit for finding the job.
Then Jobster took some drastic steps. At the end of the year, it started laying off employees. Part of it was due to over-ambitious growth that could not be sustained. Part of it was cost containment. Part of it was a redesign of efforts and focus as well as a change in business models.
But Jobster, like a panting suitor, stopped me in my tracks and got me to do my profile on their site. Two connections were waiting for me. And this time, I took more care with the profile. I answered the questions that accompany the education and so on. My work history, well let’s just say it still needs to be completed. But my two connections think I’m great and they turned into four connections. Most likely this is a result of their having observed me and my activities rather than sitting passively and reading about the tales I can spin.
Jobster continues with creating tags that will help people find you. These tags are much like those you’d create for Technorati. The difference is there are the primary tags and the lower echelon tags. The top five are used for search engine optimization to your profile. It’s important to select very carefully.
The Flickering Robot
For a while, Jobster had a little robot that was supposed to help match jobs to tags and find good matches for the job seeker. The robot was supposed to do all manner of matching and connecting. He got fired. His life lasted about as long as a match to an unlit cigarette.
While waiting for things to coalesce, I began exploring the Jobster site. I signed up for job alerts and employer information. These are coming at a great clip. Some are very close to what I’m looking for. Many are not. I’ve answered more questions about my background and added them to my profile. I’ve looked for other Jobster users in order to connect with them. In fact, I sent messages to several of them saying I wanted to connect with them. No answer. Additionally, I took the time to comment on some of their answers to the canned questions. There’s been no response to my volunteered feedback and recommendations for improved answers. No one has responded to the requests for connections.
The FaceBook Aspect
Jobster has partnered with FaceBook. This is a good thing. They are able to capture the college graduate population. They are able to capture the Baby Boomer population. They are able to capitalize on the population that is still actively in the job market. Friends share the word that their friends are on Jobster and that they’re in the market. Friends can rate and recommend friends. Jobster users can get insights from other Jobster users about potential employers who are part of the Jobster network.
This sounds almost idyllic, right? Right. It’s working for some and not for others. There are connections I’ve attempted to make. They have not responded. We talked about the failed new connections.
Meanwhile, Jobster continues making deeper inroads with FaceBook. Initially, the robot was supposed to ask user friends to endorse the user by validating their tags. This request came through FaceBook. That was the last we saw of the unnamed robot. While it was very easy to do the validation, it is still impossible to go to the Jobster site and see whether anyone has validated any of the tags or find any feedback. At least, through FaceBook, there is now a means of knowing whether anyone has responded to the request to validate the tags. Jobster has implemented yet another tool for getting feedback. Incidentally, the initial feedback request through the FaceBook interface had some issues. The application would crash or the feedback would be input and the application would crash. Either way, it resulted in no feedback.
But Jobster has now implemented “Workin’ It,” a system of giving a friend a gold star because you believe the talents they have listed on Jobster are valid or because you believe that they are an outstanding person. It’s more of a fun thing to do compared with a real evaluation of the person. It promotes friendship and camaraderie. But it doesn’t look like something that people are taking seriously as a career search tool. But it’s fund to have 16 gold stars, even if 15 of them are from the same person.
The question is, are employers finding all of this information about the job seekers? If so, how are they finding the information? If they’re finding it, does it have any relevance to them? As they are seeking the most qualified person, are they looking for the keyword tags only or are they looking at the personality that is evolving from the answers to questions, the network of friends, the stars from friends, the validations from connections? Are these recruiters looking at the work history and stated skills in order to connect with the right person? The answers to these questions are important, but they’re also not answerable at this moment.
I think Jobster still needs to do more on Workin’ It.