How to make applying for a job less painful – Job Board Doctor

Jobboardgeek podcastJob­Board­Geek dives into the murky and some­times con­found­ing world of can­di­date expe­ri­ence when we Alex Mur­phy of  His com­pa­ny hopes to solve the chal­lenge of mak­ing a job appli­ca­tion not too hard or too easy, but just right – and improv­ing the sit­u­a­tion for both the job seek­er and employ­er. Jeff also mar­vels at the year in job boards – as does Steven. Both are dumb­found­ed at the amount of mon­ey spent and deals done.



0:00:01.4 Jeff Dick­ey-Chasins: Hel­lo folks, this is Job­Board­Geek, the pod­cast about con­nect­ing can­di­dates and employ­ers. I am Jeff Dick­ey-Chasins, the Job Board doc­tor. And today, I’m here with my co-host, Steven Roth­berg of Col­lege Recruiter. Hey, Steven, how you doing?

0:00:17.0 Steven Roth­berg: I am doing well, and I’m excit­ed. We have plen­ty of snow falling here in Min­neapo­lis, and by the time this is over, we’re gonna have maybe 15 inch­es.

0:00:26.6 JD: Yeah, that real­ly makes me so excit­ed, I could almost jump out of my seat. If lis­ten­ers don’t already know, I’m a native Tex­an, and although I live in Iowa, after 25 years, I’ve still not adjust­ed to the con­cept of win­ter. But any­way, today we have a great guest, friend of both of ours, Alex Mur­phy of Job­Sync, who we’ll be talk­ing to short­ly, but first of all, I just kin­da want­ed to jump back to a blog post that I put out on Job Board Doc­tor ear­li­er this week. I went and looked at what had been on in 2021, and, I mean, it’s been an incred­i­ble year, and this was the year that we saw Stack Over­flow sold for 1.8 bil­lion dol­lars, we saw all these dif­fer­ent rais­ing mon­ey, Eight­fold AI raised 220 mil­lion dol­lars. Beam­ery raised 138 mil­lion dol­lars.

0:01:20.0 JD: We saw these acqui­si­tions, Pan­do­Log­ic got acquired, DHI sold eFi­nan­cial­Ca­reers, and a bunch of com­pa­nies, like a lit­tle old com­pa­ny called ZipRecruiter, decid­ed to do an IPO and they made a lot of mon­ey. So, I was just… I’m used to writ­ing about this stuff, but I thought 2021, par­tic­u­lar­ly after the pre­ced­ing year, was kind of wild. What was your take on it, Steven?

0:01:43.7 SR: Yeah, 100%. I was look­ing at this a lit­tle bit ear­li­er, and Georges Laraque just wrote that 2019 was the year with the most invest­ment mon­ey com­ing into TA tech. 5.3 bil­lion, which in 2019, we all thought that was astro­nom­i­cal. We have three weeks to go in the year, and we’re at 17.5 bil­lion. We’re gonna end up with prob­a­bly four times the great­est total ever. That’s just amaz­ing to me.

0:02:15.8 JD: And strange­ly enough, absolute­ly none of that mon­ey has end­ed up with Job Board Doc­tor LLC. I don’t know about Col­lege Recruiter, [chuck­le] but it’s been one of those years, but I do get to work with some real­ly cool peo­ple. So our guest today is some­one that I’ve known for a long time, I had the plea­sure of doing a pre­sen­ta­tion with him at a con­fer­ence, also I had the plea­sure of iden­ti­fy­ing him when I was doing a blind pre­sen­ta­tion over an Atlantic con­nec­tion, where I could­n’t see the audi­ence. And he me a ques­tion and I said, “Is that Alex Mur­phy?” And he said, “Yes, it is.” So, you know, this guest has a real­ly dis­tinc­tive voice, and so Alex of Job­Sync, wel­come to Job Board Geek.

0:03:04.3 Alex Mur­phy: Thanks for hav­ing me. Much appre­ci­at­ed.

0:03:06.4 JD: Yeah, well, you can tell I’m excit­ed. Just to get things start­ed out, Alex, why don’t you tell us a lit­tle bit about who you are and where you came from? Like your sor­ta Spi­der-Man ori­gin sto­ry, and then also, how did you get involved in the Job Board indus­try? What have you been doing it in all these years?

0:03:26.4 AM: Well, I was orig­i­nal­ly bit by a spi­der about 20 years ago…


0:03:33.1 AM: And was one of the co-founders at, the first ver­sion of, before it was the cryp­tocur­ren­cy ver­sion that it is today. And I had the great hon­or of work­ing with some pret­ty awe­some peo­ple back then, one of which was Dad Price, who’s now the CEO at [0:03:48.5] ____, so a lit­tle job board in the mid­dle of Vir­ginia… I was there for about five years, left the indus­try, went to an e‑commerce to do a turn around for a few years, and then came back, and was work­ing with Beyond, which is now Next, from 2008–16. Did a hand­ful of star­tups, just try­ing to find some­thing that had a lot of inter­est from cus­tomers, most­ly in cir­cling the tal­ent acqui­si­tion space between 2016 and 2019, and start­ed Job­Sync along with my co-founder from Rethink Data, John Bell, in 2019 as a joint ven­ture, and real­ly went all in on Job­Sync at the begin­ning of last year, and we’re now about 33, 34 peo­ple, locat­ed in India, Argenti­na, and the US, work­ing real­ly hard to make the tal­ent acqui­si­tion process a much more stream­lined and improved expe­ri­ence for both can­di­dates and recruiters.

0:04:54.2 JD: So I guess… Why don’t you explain for the lis­ten­ers, who may not be famil­iar with Job­Sync, what exact­ly do you guys do? I mean, what’s your pur­pose for being… And how does this relate to job boards and recruit­ing sites?

0:05:08.2 AM: Sure. So in a nut­shell, what Job­Sync is, is we do work­flow automa­tion for tal­ent acqui­si­tion, and that real­ly starts at the very top of the fun­nel, which tends to be job boards. So we part­ner with all of the var­i­ous ser­vice providers in the recruit­ing stack, if you will, or the recruit­ing fun­nel, so going from job boards and social media sites at the begin­ning, to tex­ting and engage­ment plat­forms, CRM solu­tions in the mid­dle, to the sys­tems of records that are the ATSs and so forth at the end. We are an inte­gra­tion plat­form, that sits in between those dif­fer­ent solu­tions, to auto­mate the flow of data, gen­er­al­ly can­di­date data, as it goes down through the fun­nel, to accel­er­ate what the expe­ri­ence is for both the can­di­date and the recruiter.

0:05:54.4 AM: So you imag­ine solu­tions like Indeed Apply, ZipAp­ply at the very top. What we do is we con­nect the sys­tem of record to get the appli­ca­tion require­ments out of the ATS, and have those ques­tions asked of the can­di­date wher­ev­er they are, rather than mak­ing the can­di­date leave the job board. We the can­di­date, we have the job board con­trol that expe­ri­ence, how the appli­ca­tion hap­pen on the job board, that increas­es con­ver­sion rates, that increas­es the return on ad spend for the employ­er, that makes the can­di­date expe­ri­ence tremen­dous, that removes a lot of man­u­al pro­cess­ing work that recruiters would oth­er­wise have to do. So we kind of think about it as like a win, win, win, win solu­tion. Every­body’s win­ning. The recruiter is win­ning, the head of Tal­ent Acqui­si­tion is win­ning, the job board is win­ning, the sys­tem provider in the mid­dle is win­ning, the solu­tion sys­tem of record at the end of the process is win­ning because there’s just more activ­i­ty and more accel­er­a­tion, more speed in the entire process.

0:06:52.7 JD: Sounds like an easy sale actu­al­ly, right?

0:06:57.1 AM: Yeah, we don’t real­ly actu­al­ly sell right now. We have more inbound demand to explore and use our solu­tion than we can actu­al­ly han­dle right now. So we’re in the process of hir­ing. We got two new peo­ple start­ing on our team for imple­men­ta­tions on Mon­day, and I don’t real­ly see any kind of end in that over the future.

0:07:19.9 JD: Wow.

0:07:20.5 SR: So Alex, if I’m an employ­er, I can def­i­nite­ly see the use case, right? If I’m run­ning an ad on ZipRecruiter, Indeed, some oth­er place, it’s much more can­di­date-friend­ly for that can­di­date to be able to stay with­in that envi­ron­ment. They already have some lev­el of trust with Zip. They have some lev­el of trust with Indeed. They prob­a­bly are already reg­is­tered and rather than send­ing them over to my ATS to have to reg­is­ter and enter a whole bunch of data that they’ve already entered, they can just maybe answer just the few ques­tions that I as an employ­er might have that say Indeed does­n’t already know, and so that’s gonna increase the num­ber of appli­ca­tions that I get. It cre­ates a much more seam­less expe­ri­ence for the can­di­date.

0:08:07.0 SR: Talk with me about it from the per­spec­tive of the job board. You may know that Col­lege Recruiter, most of our busi­ness­es are a pay-per-click basis. We don’t get paid for the click unless the can­di­date goes to the ATS. If the can­di­date applies on Col­lege Recruiter to a job that’s been adver­tised with Col­lege Recruiter, then there is no click that ends up hap­pen­ing. How do you work with job boards? Are there cer­tain kinds of job boards that you’re work­ing with that work real­ly well with this prod­uct and oth­ers that just don’t? Like what’s your ide­al cus­tomer from the job board side?

0:08:44.7 AM: So we part­ner with job boards in a cou­ple of dif­fer­ent ways, one of which is to cre­ate that ful­ly immer­sive native appli­ca­tion expe­ri­ence. Think about it like meet­ing the expec­ta­tions of the user, which is that I’m gonna have instant grat­i­fi­ca­tion, instant , and I don’t have to have any delay. So think about it as the Ama­zon-ifi­ca­tion of the world. Like I can buy Ibupro­fen that’s deliv­ered by Cost­co, but I buy it from Ama­zon. Now inter­est­ing­ly, Ama­zon is just a in that sce­nario. You can actu­al­ly buy Cost­co ibupro­fen from hun­dreds of dif­fer­ent e‑commerce providers, where they do some­thing called EDI, which is they trans­mit the sale and the trans­ac­tion to Cost­co with what’s ref­er­enced as a drop­ship order, which is to say this is the address of the cus­tomer. Send them the stuff. Check­’s in the mail. Although the check isn’t in the mail. The funds are going through a wire trans­fer, and they’re prob­a­bly already in your bank account.

0:09:51.0 AM: We’re just tak­ing this con­cept of what hap­pens in the world already in e‑commerce, in trav­el. This start­ed in trav­el back in the ’80s, where you could buy tick­ets through a trav­el agent. You could buy a tick­et through Unit­ed, but that would actu­al­ly include a flight that might be Lufthansa tak­ing you, so you buy the tick­et to Berlin or not to Berlin but to Frank­furt, and then from Frank­furt to some place else, and you’re com­bin­ing all these car­ri­ers. So same con­cept 35 years lat­er applied to job search­ing. So that’s one. The sec­ond would be like what we call sim­ply a con­nect­ed apply, which is, it’s real­ly not dis­sim­i­lar from what your expe­ri­ence is today that your can­di­date on Col­lege Recruiter would have, but instead of send­ing them to an ATS where the expe­ri­ence is going to be I have to look at the job again. I click Apply, I’m then pre­sent­ed with this login form which if you haven’t seen this, it’s a real­ly not awe­some expe­ri­ence, I’d say. [laugh­ter]

0:10:57.7 SR: That’s quite under­stat­ed. It’s hor­ri­fy­ing­ly bad.

0:11:01.9 AM: Like well, I live out­side of DC, so I have to put my spin to things. Any­way, this expe­ri­ence, you put your job seek­er hat on. Like I’m on a sub­way, I see a job on Col­lege Recruiter, I click apply, I’m tak­en to anoth­er web­site that looks dif­fer­ent now. So it took a while to load ’cause that’s what hap­pens on the mobile web where most peo­ple are. Now it’s the same job detail that I just read. Okay, that’s frus­trat­ing. So I’m frus­trat­ed twice. I click apply again, and I’m tak­en to a log-in form. What am I sup­posed to do with this login form? What user name, pass­word?

0:11:40.7 AM: Fine, I’m con­di­tioned, it’s 2021. I click for­got pass­word, put in my email address. It says, “You don’t have an account.” [laugh­ter] What am I sup­posed to do here? Right, and unless I’m a job seek­er, the pro­fes­sion­al job seek­er knows, oh, you skip the login form and you go to this lit­tle link that says, “Don’t have an account yet?” That’s the thing you’re sup­posed to click, and peo­ple won­der why they spend so much mon­ey and have so many peo­ple drop off. In the aggre­gate, it’s 95% of peo­ple drop out. 19 out of 20 peo­ple don’t apply that start down this apply jour­ney. 19 out of 20.

0:12:18.1 JD: I think you’re being real­ly good at being aggra­vat­ed as a job seek­er. I mean, I can feel the aggra­va­tion com­ing out in your voice, and I know you’re try­ing to be emphat­ic about it, but I think… I hope the lis­ten­ers real­ize that he’s hit­ting on some­thing that is a total and absolute com­plete pain point. I worked with hun­dreds of sites, I’ve talked to hun­dreds of employ­ers, I talked to hun­dreds of can­di­dates, and this comes up over and over and over again.

0:12:46.6 AM: So think about the job board oper­a­tor, right? Your job as a job board oper­a­tor is to ful­fill the need of the buy­er, your cus­tomer, and the need of the cus­tomer is not clicks, it’s not job post­ings, it’s not impres­sions. It’s not even appli­ca­tions, the need of the cus­tomer is I need to hire peo­ple. That is the prob­lem that they are seek­ing to solve. All the oth­er stuff is how you trans­act, and it’s a good way to trans­act, doing a CPC is a good way to trans­act, you could mod­i­fy your mod­el a lit­tle bit and instead of charg­ing for send­ing them off of your web­site, charge them for send­ing them from the search results to a job detail page. It’s effec­tive­ly the same click.

0:13:26.1 AM: You still charge them per click in that sit­u­a­tion, the appli­ca­tion takes place on col­lege recruiter, and then that way they actu­al­ly get more appli­cants more quick­ly, which means that they’re more like­ly to hire peo­ple faster, reduce their time to hire, which is kind of the key met­ric that most of our cus­tomers any­way, that we’ve been exposed to, that seems to be the thing that mat­ters the most for them, because at the end of the day, they are being held account­able for whether or not they actu­al­ly got the hires that they need­ed to get for their hir­ing man­agers.

0:13:55.6 SR: And the best can­di­dates just won’t put up with that crap.

0:14:00.2 AM: That’s exact­ly right.

0:14:01.7 SR: Peo­ple will say, “Well, you’re mak­ing it too easy for peo­ple to apply.” Yeah, you’re gonna get some, let’s call them bad can­di­dates, peo­ple who aren’t a good match. It’s just, it’s a lit­tle too easy for them, but the real­i­ty is, you also lose the best can­di­dates, the peo­ple who just say, “I’m not gonna go through your 45-minute process, if I can apply for the same job at the com­pa­ny across the street in two min­utes.” Why should they? They’d be stu­pid to.

0:14:21.5 AM: Leah Daniels joined us a few months ago, she’s our Chief Com­mer­cial Offi­cer, and she has a won­der­ful way of char­ac­ter­iz­ing this as the Goldilocks zone. So the 45-minute appli­ca­tion is too long, too bad, too hor­ri­ble, the easy, easy, easy apply, like the One Click apply, here’s my name, my email and my resume, when you phone them as a recruiter, they go, “Who are you? I did­n’t apply to a job.” You actu­al­ly need to have some lev­el of screen­ing ques­tions to kin­da get at, as David Bern­stein on our team would put it, “I wan­na find the peo­ple that are inter­est­ing, which means that I need to get enough infor­ma­tion from them to dis­cern who are the peo­ple I wan­na con­tact ver­sus the ones that I prob­a­bly should­n’t spend my time on.”

0:15:00.8 AM: And so that kind of Goldilocks zone has six screen­ing ques­tions, nine screen­ing ques­tions, does­n’t require a col­lege essay, is some­thing that can be answered and com­plet­ed while they’re in the sub­way sta­tion for the 80 sec­onds and they are con­nect­ed to the sub­way Wi-Fi, that does­n’t require email­ing a link, and now I’ve got­ta think about my dis­ser­ta­tion for this appli­ca­tion, which is one of 50 appli­ca­tions, which is a major thing most recruiters and employ­ers don’t real­ly con­cep­tu­al­ize is they go through the process of apply­ing, they go, func­tion­al­ly, it works, did­n’t break, but they don’t go through the empa­thet­ic process of apply­ing. What is this life like for this can­di­date?

0:15:38.5 AM: And to your point, Steven, the best ones drop out first. You’re gonna be left with only those that could endure going through this ter­ri­ble process, as I put it, the pro­fes­sion­al job seek­er, the one that knows which link and how to go through and apply quick­ly, has every­thing at the ready, which prob­a­bly isn’t exact­ly the per­son that you’re hop­ing to be intro­duced to.

0:15:58.1 JD: Well, Alex, I think you make a real­ly strong case. And I remem­ber the pre­ced­ing ver­sion of this when it was Rethink, think­ing, “This is a solu­tion that every­one in the indus­try has said we need to have, and it just had­n’t been around.” I think it’s, in some ways, it’s a great equal­iz­er for job boards, in the sense that you talk about the large boards that have the One-Click applies with a Job­Sync as part of your ecosys­tem as a job board, you have essen­tial­ly the same thing. But like you say, with a lit­tle bit of use­ful fric­tion, which I think is real­ly good. I’m kin­da curi­ous, apart from what you guys are work­ing on right now, what do you see as… What are you will­ing to reveal as being sort of the next step on what’s going on with Job­Sync, what’s a log­i­cal next step for you guys?

0:16:47.6 AM: Yeah, so as you not­ed, so Rethink Data was a major jump­ing off point for what we were doing. The piv­ot, the pri­ma­ry piv­ot that we made was around who our cus­tomer was. So we were try­ing to sell, in Rethink Data kind of land­scape, we were try­ing to sell to the job board. We were not effec­tive at doing that. When we went to sell to the employ­er, instead, what we found was that we were unearthing a much, much larg­er prob­lem around recruit­ing inef­fi­cien­cy, and what we were solv­ing for was to address that head-on. How do we cre­ate effi­cien­cies in your recruit­ment process, elim­i­nate these man­u­al steps, extra man­u­al steps for the can­di­date, extra man­u­al steps for the recruiter, so you kin­da get this best of both worlds out­come.

0:17:38.1 AM: And so what’s next for us is just doing more automa­tion with­in the work­flow that we’re enabling for our cus­tomers, and so that’s just, that’s… What’s inter­est­ing about the way we approach the mar­ket­place is that we under­stand that every com­pa­ny is dif­fer­ent, the way they recruit is dif­fer­ent, the way that they man­age tal­ent is dif­fer­ent, and so what we’ve built in our plat­form is, while there’s a lot of com­mon­al­i­ty, and there’s a plat­form back­bone to it, it cre­ates a unique imple­men­ta­tion for every one of our cus­tomers.

0:18:09.8 AM: So we aren’t try­ing to go in and force some­body to do some­thing dif­fer­ent­ly, we’re just try­ing to take what they do man­u­al­ly and allow the com­put­er to do it, rather than the peo­ple. Our cus­tomers get back 10 hours per recruiter per week of time that was oth­er­wise spent doing man­u­al tasks to actu­al­ly just spend that time get­ting back in touch with the can­di­dates that they have com­ing in, which means that again, they can accel­er­ate, etcetera, etcetera. So just doing more of the same, mak­ing that process more stream­lined, mak­ing it so that we can imple­ment new cus­tomers more quick­ly, imple­ment the inter­ac­tion or the inte­gra­tion into a job board more effi­cient­ly, just do more of that and accel­er­ate.

0:18:49.0 JD: Wow. Well, so I’ll make a pre­dic­tion. I’ll be a lit­tle bit Chad and Cheese-ish on this one. I will say that you guys are gonna be a tar­get for acqui­si­tion some­time in the next cou­ple of years, if you’re not already. ‘Cause this sort of… What do they call it? I’ve heard it called mid­dle­ware before. This kind of mid­dle­ware solu­tion is so uni­ver­sal, and I see it in every mar­ket that I do con­sult­ing in, not just North Amer­i­ca, it’s wher­ev­er there’s recruit­ing. So if that hap­pens, I hope it’s a good expe­ri­ence for you. If it does­n’t hap­pen, I hope you just get big­ger and big­ger. So Alex, it’s so good to have you on the show. And if some­one wants to get a hold of you and find out more about your own check­ered past or per­haps more about Job­Sync, how do they do that?

0:19:38.4 AM: So is our web­site. And then I’m pret­ty active on LinkedIn and Twit­ter, so LinkedIn, my han­dle is AMurphy59. And on Twit­ter, it’s Alex_Murphy, hap­py to have a chat.

0:19:51.4 JD: Yeah, well, thanks so much for com­ing on to Job­Board­Geek. I real­ly appre­ci­ate it.

0:19:54.2 AM: Thanks guys.

0:19:55.8 JD: You know, Steven, in case peo­ple for what­ev­er rea­son wan­na get in touch with you, how do they do that?

0:20:02.2 SR: Feel free to email me, Alex, thank you so much.

0:20:11.2 AM: Thanks, Steven.

0:20:13.0 JD: Yeah, yeah. Okay, well folks, it’s the end of anoth­er excit­ing Job­Board­Geek pod­cast, I want to remind you to be sure to sub­scribe to Job­Board­Geek, you can do that via our RSS feed, Spo­ti­fy, Google, Stitch­er, Deez­er, etcetera, etcetera. Yes, we are still work­ing on get­ting Apple to sign us up. I think prob­a­bly anoth­er week or so, we should be lucky on that. This is Jeff Dick­ey-Chasins, and you’ve been lis­ten­ing to Job­Board­Geek, the pod­cast about con­nect­ing employ­ers and can­di­dates, and that’s all for this week. I’ll see you again lat­er. Thanks, bye.


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