Talking Aggregation – The Interview Series

Aggregation is not new. We first saw early job aggregators around 1999 and in recent years we have seen a huge growth in job aggregators globally but, what is surprising people is the value being put on such and this was certainly the case last year when was acquired for $1.250bn.

The Jobg8 Summits both in Europe and our recent June event in North America have enjoyed huge support from the aggregators and I’ve had the opportunity to meet and discuss “aggregation” with the founders of a number of leading sites.

My first interview in this series is with Doug Monro Co Founder of Adzuna.

Doug Munroadzuna

Q – Where did the inspiration for Adzuna come from?

We knew job search could be made better and saw that the existing vertical search sites were gaining some traffic but just weren’t innovating enough for consumers. Through our experience at Gumtree, Qype and Zoopla, we were deeply involved in the online classified ad market and, with the maturing world of social networks and big data, we spotted an opportunity to create a next-generation vertical search engine. The Adzuna plan was finally hatched in 2010 on the back of an envelope in a central London pub.

Q – Did being a “classified site” influence how you moved into recruitment?

We moved into this space because job, property and car ads are fragmented and too complicated to navigate; because at Zoopla and Gumtree we had worked with the early aggregators and saw how their service could be better. Many users want to search all the ads in one place, which is what we provide at Adzuna – a one-stop shop. We then make the search experience better and empower our users to find the right ads for them, by layering on innovations in social [media] and data.

Q – You use social media better than many job boards – where did this “vision” come from?

When we were starting Adzuna we looked at the big changes that were happening online and how they were impacting job search – and social was an obvious focus.

Social media is transforming the way employers and jobseekers come together with over 90% of companies, large and small, now using social media to find staff. Our data shows that the average British adult is connected to 300 relevant, open job vacancies through their first and second degree connections on social networks. Adzuna encourages users to login with Facebook and LinkedIn using our social feature: Adzuna Connect. We then show you all the companies you’re connected to and all the live vacancies at them. You can then message your connections to get the inside track on what it’s like to work there, or ask them to put in a good word for you.

Q – You also use “content” smartly and, again, where did thinking come from?

Listing every available job vacancy in the UK gives us access to an incredible trove of data on the job market, and it would be a crime not to use it! We believe this data empowers jobseekers to make better career decisions like no tool has done before. The service is free and brings together historical salary trends, pay comparisons, vacancy maps, company hiring patterns and more. Adzuna provides rich data for over one million job titles and location combinations: from wages for bankers in Bristol to demand for construction workers in Cambridge. Previously, this kind of market data was only available to large corporations via expensive benchmarking studies from HR consulting firms, now Adzuna is making it available to anyone for free.

Q – Why the international expansion?

Jobseekers around the world were crying out for a better job search experience, and the technology we’ve built can be extended relatively easily to new markets and languages. Canada, Germany, Australia, South Africa and Brazil are all exciting, growing markets underserved by existing job search tools. Brazil’s and South Africa’s internet usage has really exploded in the last few years – we’re keen to be part of the growth in internet use in these countries. Germany, Canada and Australia all have large, mature internet populations so these markets pose their own challenges and opportunities. We’re continuing to look at further expansion – watch this space.

Q – What are the top three benefits to a job seeker of using an aggregator and what have Adzuna done to enhance that experience?

Many users see the benefit to finding everything in one place: a one-stop shop. Adzuna adds powerful search, insightful market data and social connections, so you can find your perfect ad with a little help from your friends. The core benefits are:

Abundance – We aggregate every listing from every top job source. Completeness and freshness of our index is hugely important to us so we go to great measures to ensure that each ad has a specific shelf-life and there are no duplicates.
Insightful data – With this abundance of ads at our finger-tips we are able to mine our search-index to produce unique insight into what’s going on in the job, property and car market. In jobs specifically (and soon property and cars) we truly believe that this data is stronger than anything else out there on the job market, including the data put out by the ONS, because it’s more comprehensive and more up to date. We’ve had a number of stories picked up by national newspapers: BBC, Telegraph, Independent, The Sun and more – and we even feed real-time market data to the Prime Minister’s iPad app!

Social – Adzuna Connect feature lets you connect your LinkedIn or Facebook accounts to see current vacancies at your contacts’ companies – every single job you are connected to. So when the site displays job search results, it shows connections underneath each relevant ad along with links to message contacts about the jobs.

Jobsworth – Our data reveals that more than 50% of UK employers do not publish salaries in their job advertisements and we believe that job seekers have a right to know what pay to expect. For this reason we have recently launched ‘Jobsworth’, a unique tool which predicts the salary of any job ad based on its contents.

How it works:
1) We analyse over 500,000 UK job ads on a daily basis to understand current salary trends based on keywords, categories, companies and locations.
2) Our neural network-based system then produces a Jobsworth salary estimate for every ad with no advertised salary. In tests, we’re within 10% the vast majority of the time – and getting better every day.
3) This all results in job seekers knowing what salary to expect, and ultimately a better job search experience.

Q – How do firms recruiting benefit from “aggregation”?

At the simplest level, we are making the job market more efficient, simply by having everything in one place and making it easier to match candidates to roles. Job boards and their clients benefit from the additional candidates and applications that we send through to them. Because of our great search and social & data innovations, our clients tell us that the traffic we send converts better than from almost any other source. The reason for this is simple: the more research a user has done on what jobs are out there, how they are connected to them and what they should be paid, the more ‘qualified’ their interest in that particular role before they click through and apply.

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