Recruitment aggregator Jooble.org (a commercial enterprise, despite the URL) has gradually and quietly become an international force. Only over the past year has the company garnered attention as it has managed to take on the Recruit Holdings-owned giant Indeed (the world’s No. 1 recruitment vertical by total monthly visits) across several markets – and win. Jooble is now the No. 2 job vertical by monthly visits globally, according to SimilarWeb.
The Indeed rivalry is fitting as Jooble resembles Indeed both in design (even the logos are similar) and business model. Indeed, too, started out as an aggregator. However, Jooble is no copycat. The site was launched as early as 2006 by Ukrainians Roman Prokofyev and Eugene Sobakarov. The two poured $100,000 into the business before it became profitable in 2008. It’s since taken on Horizon Capital as a minority shareholder, but the terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
The site only targeted the Ukrainian market initially, but began expanding into nearby Russian-speaking countries like Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus in 2008. Today, it’s active in around 70 countries and ranks among the Top 5 job sites in 28 territories.
Current CEO Prokofyev told us the company demonstrated double-digit growth in all key performance indicators — like traffic, revenue and net income — in 2018.
From 2009 to 2017, the aggregator entered a new country every two weeks. This slowed down in 2018 when it entered only five Arabic countries: Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Challenging for top spot in Russia
Jooble’s biggest achievement to date is its success in Russia. From the relative periphery of the Top 5 recruitment verticals, the site has rapidly grown its audience to become the No. 2 in the country over the past year in terms of total monthly visits. No easy feat considering the relative unknown had to bypass established market veterans like SuperJob.ru, Zarplata.ru and international major Indeed.
In January 2019, the ru.Jooble.org site attracted 14.6 million total monthly visits, while its international homepage Jooble.org attracted around 14 million monthly visits from Russia (the homepage does not reroute visitors automatically to the country of their location). This places it well above current No. 3 SuperJob with its 16.2 million total monthly visits in January.
Jooble is still some way away from being able to challenge incumbent HH.ru for its dominant position on the market, but at least it’s now in the conversation.
So, how has the aggregator been able to achieve such rapid growth in recent years, both in Russia and beyond?
The company has good coverage all over the world. It employs a strong marketing and development team who carry out a massive amount of testing to deliver solutions that work statistically. The company also aggregates data from a number of sources. This means job-seekers can find the best possible search results, which contributes to Jooble’s Google ranking.
Jooble was always going to expand beyond its Ukrainian base. The platform was built to be a sustainable and scalable jobs aggregator; but it carefully considers which region to enter next.
The company ranks markets based on their population and average annual income. Then, it tests search-engine optimization to determine a market’s appeal. The aggregator uses pay-per-click advertising to attract new visitors before localizing the domain.
Russia remains Jooble’s largest market, making up around 20 percent of its total net income. It had more than 1 million listings in the country in January. Around 90 percent of the company’s Russian revenue comes from paid leads. Worldwide, its income is divided 50 / 50 between paid listings and AdSense. Jooble currently employs 170 staff — 50 work from home while the other 120 are stationed at its head office in Kyiv, Ukraine.
When it comes to A / B testing, the company strives to determine the efficiency of improvements statistically. When it was considering changing its email design and layout, for example, Jooble’s testing team concluded that it would have no impact on the site’s conversion rate. Nevertheless, the process cost the company $150,000 U.S.
Prokofyev described the site’s search engine as “Google, but in job listings.” (The clue is in the name). When a listing is placed on several job boards, Jooble directs job-seekers to the one that’s most user-friendly — unless one of the others is paying for leads. The price of these leads depends on a number of factors; like the number of competitors in a specific market.
Jooble’s marketing strategy rests on three pillars: search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising and email marketing. “The company uses the same marketing approaches for all countries. If any country demonstrates good dynamics, the same techniques are applied to all other territories,” Prokofyev told the AIM Group.
Lessons from testing
Jooble upgraded its mobile app in 2018, introducing swipe matching, much like Tinder. Although 15 percent of users seem to like the feature, these users deliver much lower conversion rates than the rest of the site.
The company has also learned that content marketing doesn’t produce leads. As a result, it no longer invests in industry reports.
The same goes for social media. Jooble is already buying 600,000-700,000 thousand visitors a day, so the couple of thousand it might attract from social media isn’t significant. This situation is different in smaller countries like Denmark and Austria, though, where 10 percent of the site’s traffic comes from social media sources.
Localization remains a challenge. The process of transliteration, especially for languages that use special symbols, can take months to complete. The company also tried to register new domains for individual regions, but faced legislative challenges in countries like Brazil, Hungary and South Korea where only citizens can buy local domains. Instead, it operates sub-domains from Jooble.org.
The aggregator could do more to get to know its users, but since they don’t need to register on the site, it currently has insufficient data for a social demographic analysis.
Going forward, Jooble plans to shift its focus from geographical expansion to building new products.
Since 70 percent of the site’s users visit it on a smartphone, Prokofyev said the company is working on improving usability for its app. “Most visitors don’t keep their resumes on smartphones, so Jooble’s task is to make the mobile-driven application process easy and convenient.”
The aggregator will also work to improve its crawling, to drive the number of direct vacancies from corporate websites. It counted 120,000 vacancies that hadn’t been advertised on classified sites in January alone.
Jooble is currently strong in Eastern and Southern Europe, but remains weak in Western European and North American markets. Its goal is therefore to spread its presence further in these countries.
Aside from local operators, its consistent rival is Indeed, the only other recruitment brand with a strong presence in all corners of the globe. The rivalry between the two is thus likely to accelerate.