Monster.com was originally designed as a Help Wanted/Need a Job matching site. It’s one of the many such sites that have dramatically impacted the employment services industry. Monster was one of the first job-hunting sites and one of the most successful in both fulfilling its mission and in remaining at the top of the heap. One of the things that distinguished Monster.com from the outset was its unremitting focus on the end-customer—the person seeking a job. The original founder, Jeff Taylor, knew that if Monster didn’t cater to job-seekers, they wouldn’t have any qualified candidates to offer to their paying customers—companies’ HR departments and head hunters. Monster.com provides a classic case of designing an online business for multiple audiences/customer bases—some of whom are paying customers and some of whom use the site’s services for free. Catering to multiple audiences means that there lots of areas that are ripe for conflict: head hunters contact job seekers to offer their services (taking Monster’s commissions), yet those same head hunters pay Monster for the privilege. Many job seekers don’t want their employers to know they’re looking, yet they want to throw their hats in the ring.
Monster has come a long way since its inception in 1994 and since our consulting engagement in 2001. Today, Monster.com is part of a $1.1 billion global firm with many different web sites and employment services and advertising revenues—targeting many different vertical markets all over the globe. Its online tools and services are embedded into many companies’ internal job posting sites. Its BeKnown Facebook application helps job-seekers strut their stuff appropriately on Facebook. Monster has partnered with newspapers and with online publications like Ars Technica and Wired to provide interactive tools for those advertising jobs and those seeking jobs. Yet, the company is facing pressure—pressure from a soft global job market, pressure to innovate, and pressure from competitors and has “announced that it is exploring strategic alternatives with respect to maximizing shareholder value and retained Stone Key Partners LLC and BofA Merrill Lynch as financial advisors in connection with this review.”
Trying to Use Monster.com to Help with a Career Change
Ronni Marshak proposed doing a Customer Experience Test Drive of Monster.com for a critical customer scenario: “Help me decide what job(s) I should apply for.” I found this intriguing. Particularly so, since I knew that Monster’s original founder, Jeff Taylor, wanted Monster.com to be the first place people would come to when they wanted to think about changing their career paths. Over a decade ago, Taylor articulated the vision for Monster.com of offering all the services a job seeker might need, including training and education.
The scenario we tried to execute on the current Monster.com web site was not “find me a job.” It was the scenario many job seekers need to do before they’re ready to find a job: “figure out what kind of job/career I actually want to move to next.” Doing a great job at helping prospective job seekers zero in on the right career is a customer-critical scenario. According to one of Monster’s latest press releases, “55% of global workers are considering a career change in response to economic climate.”
So, Ronni and I were both surprised and a bit dismayed that Monster.com doesn’t do a great job on this critical scenario. Sure, there are a lot of tools and a lot of advice. But there’s no easy path to navigate. And many of the tools are confusing. There is a spiffy and easy-to-use “find me a job that fits my skills” tool that you encounter right at the top of the Monster.com home page. But there’s no equivalent tool or path to address the needs of the 55% of workers who want to think about what career might be better for them than the one they’re in now. The moral of the story, as Ronni summarizes: “Make sure that when you offer tools and information, you also provide clear guidelines about how to best use these tools and info to achieve your customer’s desired result.”
Here's Ronni's article:
Career and Job Hunting Advice
How Well Does Monster.com Help Prepare You for Your Job Hunt?
By Ronni T. Marshak, Executive VP and Senior Consultant, April 26, 2012