Job-Search Upstarts Weathering Recession

By Ed Frauenheim

Jul. 16, 2009

The recession has been painful for old-guard job boards. But upstarts in the field known as vertical search engines appear to be doing well.

For the first quarter of 2009, revenue from’s North America network—including its main job site and partner newspaper sites—fell 27 percent year-over-year to $141 million. Monster’s North America careers revenue—which reflects all of the firm’s career-related services in North America, including job postings—plummeted 35 percent, to $119 million.

The third job board giant, Yahoo HotJobs, declined to provide information about its revenue for the first quarter of 2009.

Happy to talk about rising results are Indeed and SimplyHired, two firms that specialize in job searches by aggregating job openings from around the Web.

     Paul Forster, co-founder and CEO of Indeed, says his 4½-year-old firm has continued to grow revenue despite the downturn. Indeed gets most of its revenue from pay-per-click advertising—principally through sponsored job ads. Advertisers pay only when job seekers click through to view and apply for the jobs on their Web sites.

“People are very cost-sensitive,” Forster says. “In this environment, it’s definitely great for the pay-for-performance model.”

Business is also strong at SimplyHired, which was founded in 2003. Gautam Godhwani, SimplyHired’s co-founder and CEO, expects revenue to double this year from 2008.

Both Indeed and SimplyHired allow job seekers to see if they have any contacts from their social networks at firms showing up in job search results. And both sites offer to help other Web sites publish job listings.

SimplyHired now has a network of some 5,000 sites, which helps employers reach passive candidates, Godhwani says. Godhwani says job boards are at a crossroads. While a decade ago they were effectively the sole option for companies looking to recruit online, they now are just one of many choices.

“What job boards have to do is work harder and harder to deliver value,” Godhwani says.

Workforce Management, June 22, 2009, p. 27Subscribe Now!

Ed Frauenheim is a former Associate Editorial Director at Human Capital Media and currently works as Senior Director of Content at Great Place to Work. He is a co-author of A Great Place to Work For All.

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