Vendors Reach Recruiters With Coffee Mugs, Rockets, and Information

After two years in the vertical search business, JuJu was looking to make an impression. So the job search engine is sponsoring the coffee breaks at the ERE Expo. Now coffee is always welcome at conferences, but what really is getting the attention of recruiters are the hundreds of brushed aluminum travel mugs JuJu is giving away at the breaks.

“We want to let everyone know about us,” explains JuJu’s Euan Hayward. Around since 2006 (with the JuJu brand) and with respectable visitor numbers, Hayward says it was time for the company to reach out to recruiters. “This is our first booth experience.”

A job search engine with roots in the late 90’s, JuJu is nearly identical in concept to the better known Indeed and SimplyHired, both of whom are also at the Expo here in Hollywood Beach, Florida. Like them, it “scrapes” job postings from commercial and corporate job boards making a jobseeker’s search a one-stop effort.

Does the world need another vertical — or meta — job search site? Hayward thinks so. “There are some additional opportunities,” he says. “Innovation is not dead in this market.”

There was other evidence of innovation on the show floor.

Take CareerAthletes for instance. Much to my disappointment, it’s not a job board for athletes at least not in the way I was hoping (“Quarterback wanted for NFL team”). It is, however, a means for companies to hire college athletes for more typical jobs, such as in sales, marketing, engineering, and the like. It is the product of a merger between Career Athletes and Athletes4hire.com.

Working through college athletic departments, CareerAthletes provides a branded networking-oriented site for the athletes and former athletes. The focus is on community, and a site might include alums of a particular sport mentoring current athletes and sports news and similar types of content. There’s also a job board, which is supplemented by a resume-like database of the college’s athletes, which, over time, can grow to be quite extensive.

What sets CareerAthletes apart is the company’s campus-based orientation for the athletes. “We’ve done over 800 on-campus presentations,” company CEO Chris Smith says. “We are hands-on with the athletic department.” These presentations, made to the athletes, include on-the-spot sign-ups for the site, ensuring their participation and availability to recruiters.

At the other end of the showroom, AllianceQ was making a first appearance. A consortium of several large employers, AllianceQ enables these firms to share resumes of employees they don’t hire. Besides cutting the cost of sourcing candidates, the resume-sharing opportunity can salve the sting of rejection. Before sharing a resume, the candidate has to agree. And not every candidate is shared. Participating companies get to decide whether they want to share a particular resume — a precaution against losing a hot prospect for whom there may not be a position just now.

There are also at least three companies exhibiting here that focus on helping employers market their jobs through search engine optimization, a term which means tweaking a Web page in such way as to improve its placement on the results a search engine returns.

We’ve seen Jobs2Web (profile; site) before. It helps employers manage their websites and job listings to increase visibility and traffic. Also showing at the Expo are SEO4Jobs and OptiJob. Both create microsites for job listings, with OptiJob focusing exclusively on the individual job posts and SEO4Jobs also providing some additional careersite optimization.

I asked OptiJob’s VP of Business Development Chad Hensler what he has been hearing from recruiters. “It’s a mix,” he says. Most recruiters understand the value of a high Google ranking, but many are uncertain how those search results (typically called organic search) differ from search engine marketing (which, in this context, means paying for a position on the search results page).

“We do a lot of explaining,” Hensler adds. “This is a critical part of recruiting.” Not to mention having some fun. OptiJob is giving away toy rockets that fire a good 20 feet straight up.

Jonathan Duarte of SEO4Jobs was even more of an evangelist. He says search engine optimization and search engine marketing are things recruiters absolutely need to know about to be competitive. “We’re getting a lot of (recruiters) stopping to ask us all sorts of questions.”

And then he pitched a workshop on the topic at the next ERE Expo, which comes up the end of March 2009.