Categories: Articles by JoelUncategorized

They’re heeeeeere. Again.

Remember itzbig (see pic)? Trovix? Climber v1.0? The original Jobfox? It’s sort of like remembering your first iPod and its navigation wheel. These were the original “eHarmony for jobs” players.

Similar to the popular dating service, these solutions hoped to magically pair candidates with employers based on sophisticated algorithms.

It didn’t go too well.

Trovix, the big winner, sold to Monster for like $70 million and became 6Sense. Climber pivoted. itzbig went to Jobtarget. Jobfox is on life support.

The problem? Typical chicken and egg stuff, which is common in online classifieds. Job seekers had to fill out complicated forms and employers did likewise.

I’m not sure either got much out the time invested. Trovix, in contrast, didn’t require the same commitment, which is likely the reason they saw a payday.

This trend started around 2006 and pretty much ended with The Great Recession.

Fast forward to today, and they’re back. Only the names have changed to protect the innocent.

Heard of Path.to? Bright? Silp? These are the new kids on the job-matching block.

History tells us these startups are headed for the same eharmonious scrap heap of their forefathers. But they’re betting on an infrastructure that didn’t exist in the first generation:

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn … in other words, The Social Graph.

Maybe this will help:

It’s not a bad idea. These new services leverage – varying degrees – a candidate’s social activity and footprint in order to match them up with the right job or employer. So, let’s say you tweet a lot about HTML5, CSS3, iOS and Android. Chances are, you’re a mobile developer and thus, such jobs would come your way.

“Culture is just as important as being a good technical fit,” said Path.to CEO Darren Bounds. “The ubiquity of social networks, even niche networks like GitHub, has allowed us to tap into a new dataset – what you’re interested in, what kind of environment do you want to work, are you single, married, liquid, a recent grad?

"We know this information now. The first generation didn’t have this backbone. A big data approach to hiring can eliminate 80 percent of the work being done by humans.”

I root for companies like these. The Davids armed with a technological slingshot. A better mousetrap. Unfortunately for them, however, the current mousetraps are usually just fine for most people.

Being armed with an ever-growing social graph may not change that reality. The issue of selling employers on the idea and supplying enough job seekers to make it all worthwhile is still as prevalent today as it was in 2006.

In what may be an ominous sign for this trend, fellow matching site WorkFu added an update to their site late last month:

UPDATE 31/08/2012: We are currently in discussions regarding the possibilities of keeping WorkFu alive and will update as soon as we have more information.

A closer inspection reveals the company has called it quits. Yikes! Not a good sign for the movement. I still love a good underdog story. But this one may just turnout to be another zombie remake. But at least this version will come with Twitter chiclets.

Joel Cheesman :