Monster.com is rolling out its Trovix-powered Power Resume Search in the U.S., a technology with which the company hopes to “leap-frog” all competitors and set a new standard for the global recruitment-services business.

The new technology was the showcase presentation in a half-day conference with investors and analysts, held live and in a five-hour webinar.

It represents a $100 million investment for Monster in a time when revenue is precious.

Monster’s revenues were off 35 percent in the third quarter.

In 2008, Monster bought semantic-search Trovix for more than $70 million. CEO Sal Iannuzzi said the company spent about $30 million more “to bring the product to market.” The technology’s origin comes out of M.I.T.’s vaunted Media Lab, taken private and expanded upon – “six-and-a-half years in the making,” Iannuzzi said, emphasizing the difficulty competitors will have on matching the new technology.

While most database searches are keyword-, Boolean- or free-text based, Monster’s new search is conceptual – capable of understanding the thousands of contextual relationships between job titles, skills and other relevant data points. Unlike keyword-search products, PRS looks for synonyms, acronyms, abbreviations and so forth. It understands similarities in job titles.

If, for example, a candidate were to say that she had Omniture experience, PRS would know that a recruiter looking for Web analytics training would recognize this one as a good candidate. If a hiring manager wanted a George Washington University graduate, the Monster search wouldn’t include candidates named Washington, or those who lived on Washington Avenue, as some other keyword-search tools might and do.

An example repeated several times in the presentation: A good recruiter can eyeball a resume and in a 90-second average determine how well the candidate fits the available job, by comparing skills, experience, availability and other criteria against the company’s needs. PRS can do so with similar subjective accuracy, Monster says, but with a speed of 15 million resumes per second.

It’s not just that the new tool makes shorter work of more data. It does a better job of matching candidates to jobs by doing a better job of reading and understanding resumes.  And rather than merely serve up those resumes, PRS distills each relevant bit of info into a dynamic dashboard that, at a glance, assigns relative values to the most important attributes.

 “We defined four criteria recruiters said were most important – job titles, years of experience, location and most importantly skills,” said Monster’s Darko Dejanovic, EVP and CIO. 

In a search for a lawyer with banking experience in New York, for example, a demonstration of PRS delivered a candidate with 15 years experience, pulling this cumulative number from his five years at one job, seven years at another, and three years at a third.

In a demonstrated search for a sales representative, Dejanovic looked for someone who “exceeded sales goals.” A candidate who had stated reaching 125 percent of sales goal was included in the search results. In yet another search that required someone with Truth in Lending Act familiarity, PRS was able to recognize that a candidate’s TILA notation meant she was qualified.

Something else recruiters can do with it: compare candidates side-by-side, in much the same way car shoppers compare makes and models on the big auto portals.

About 1,000 recruiters have been beta testing for the last few months to positive feedback, Monster said. While specific pricing wasn’t discussed, Monster said that it’s now the most expensive tool in its belt – but execs expressed confidence that its value to recruiters would outweigh price hesitation. At least two companies signed on at launch day.

From meetings with 15 large enterprise clients and 48 recruiters Monster determined that PRS was delivering a 65 percent improvement in search results efficiency compared to similar products, with a 150 percent increase in qualified candidates delivered. Of those surveyed about the new search, 90 percent preferred it over its competitors. 

PRS will roll out in the U.K. later this quarter; France and Canada in Q1, The Netherlands and Germany in Q2 or Q3, and other countries to be determined.

Monster is also using the technology to improve job-seekers’ search – to serve up jobs with more relevance. The thinking is, the better the match on both sides of the process, the more likely employers and seekers will find each other. In beta testing, its job-seeker job-hunt side brought Monster a 24 percent increase in job views and 32 percent jump in applications. 

 

All about innovation

Monster Worldwide  kicked off its investors’ day with its third-quarter earnings report. From there, the story was all about innovation: Calling it a “brand new Monster,” CEO Iannuzzi told the audience that the online recruitment giant is “centered on rebuilding and pulling ahead of the competition.”

Execs also showcased Monster.com’s integration of Affinity Labs technology to serve up profession-specific social networks. (See http://my.monster.com/communities/default.aspx.) Monster bought the company for $61 million in January. It currently hosts networks for police, fire, IT, sales, healthcare and others, helping candidates determine career choices through networking, news and statistics.

Eighty percent of all job-seeker profiles are integrated into at least one of the 17 Affinity community of like-minded people. Members participate in creating the content as well as rating it and conversing about it. More communities are planned.

 

Better mood

“I think we’ve seen the bottom of the economy and the mood is much brighter today than a year ago, said Iannuzzi. ” It hasn’t materialized into people hiring – they’re recruiting more selectively, and not at normal levels. There’s a lot of caution, companies waiting to see. The good news is that things have sort of flattened out at this point.”

India and China’s recruitment market are rebounding, according to Iannuzzi,  especially as the government money is expanding into China’s south and west and manufacturing is producing again. Korea, while not a huge part of Monster, is on a definite upswing as well. 

Iannuzzi promised that “we’re going to grab every sale we can.”

 

Fixes in house

One of the Monster fixes was infrastructure, particularly in the area of sales departments. Inside and outside sales staff competed, Iannuzzi told the audience. It was to the point that telesales people were actually calling customers who purchased online to cancel their sales and have them sign again with the rep, so that rep could take the commission.

“This was not a cohesive company, ” he said. Only top executives were rewarded with bonuses. With recent changes, 55 percent of employees have now earned company equity as bonuses. “We want a company of owners and those who care about the long term benefits of the company,” he said.

The sales restructure is more local, with teams working together in top DMA markets whose staff have often doubled. DC, for example, had had only had one telesales rep near Baltimore but now has 6 local salespeople working together for a common goal of bringing in new Monster advertisers.

 

Other innovations

“2009 was a real milestone for Monster,” said SVP Louis Gagnon. “This was the year Monster profoundly changed its story.” The company talked to hiring managers and recruiters about what they wanted, determined the needs were reach, scale, consistency and a good match. 

“We completely rebuilt the seeker platform,” Gagnon said. “We’ve never allowed shareability before – we’re doing it now. To be social has to be more than about jobs and companies – it has to be about me: I have goals, aspirations, skills, experience.” 

Monster developed a series of application called Career Management tools so candidates can make better career decisions and understand themselves. Then, when they apply they’re quality candidates.

Career Matching launched this year, what Gagnon called “The Google map of the world of work.”

More than 1.4 million facts have been explored, and candidates choose various industry bubbles to look at qualifications, job duties, and titles, for example. Career Matching is useful for deciding what you “want to be when you grow up.”

The new Career Snapshot tells candidates everything about an occupation – skills, pay and so forth.   More than 1 million have visited so far. Through the personalization of Career Matching and Career Snapshot resumes increased 32 percent, accounts per visit were up 26 percent, and applications per posting shot up 80 percent. 

CMO Ted Gilhorn said that monetization of Monster begins with audience. “Driving traffic is getting more complicated. We’ll continue to use search engines but we have to find new and innovative ways to do it as well,” he said. Gilhorn highlighted other new traffic-focused Monster products:

— Career Ad Network, launched in 2008. This pushed Monster postings off to dozens of sites, linking Monster users to sites they recently visited. The product now has captured 84 million passive job seekers.

— Monster for Publishers launched in March. These live job widgets are for bloggers and publishers, who can register on Monster, launch the widgets on their own sites and get paid when they perform.

— All Monsters marketing will now include social media. All jobs are live fed to broad-based social media sites to reach passive job seekers where they are online. Career advice and content from Monster will be published on social media to bring visitors back to the Monster site.  

— Monster’s successful Keep America working job fair has garnered 700 million U.S. media impressions, free of charge to Monster.  This summer the tour expanded to Europe, with positive employer responses and media coverage. 

 

 

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