SM: How do you view LinkedIn? I have seen your ads there.
MC: We are one of the largest advertisers on LinkedIn, and we have a great relationship with them. I have a profile there. I think that LinkedIn and TheLadders are absolutely complementary.
SM: I think that LinkedIn makes the majority of its money by selling recruiters access to the database.
MC: They certainly do, and recruiters in that fashion are almost doing the sourcing function. The thing with LinkedIn is that they can give you a list of people, but we can give you a list of highly qualified people who are looking for a job. Those are two different things. Some recruiters like going out there and talking to all kinds of people, while other recruiters would like to focus only on people who are actively looking for a job. We have a good relationship with LinkedIn, and I don’t see that changing.
SM: You let job seekers follow recruiters. Are you helping them facilitate the actual introduction? I envision your sourcing function could be preemptive.
MC: I have not mentioned it yet, but a sizeable portion of our business is actually resume writing. We test and track numbers for all of our services. I can tell you that there is a 77% difference for job seekers on TheLadders between people who get their resume professionally written and those who write it themselves.
SM: What exactly do you mean by 77% difference?
MC: There is 77% greater recruiter interest in job seekers who use a professionally written resume. Job seekers should think of the resume as an advertisement. Great ad copy works.
SM: What is your exit strategy? You said you took more than $7 million in VC funds, which means they are going to need an exit.
MC: There will eventually be an IPO. Timing will be important. We will hit $100 million in revenue this year.
SM: What excites you about the future?
MC: In this business, it seems like there is always something more to do. My passion in life is jobs. I think they are fascinating. I love the human emotion, the hopes and dreams, and people’s ambitions realized. I also love the economics of it. Jobs have a supply and demand. It is real and it can be studied. In fact, we do study it intently. We have underwritten research at universities to learn more about this phenomenon, and our goal is to take that research and turn it into a product.
The focus going forward needs to be to continue to develop products to help job seekers. I think training them how to do a job hunt is important. They don’t know how to do it professionally because they do not do it every day. I am blogging about that on my site right now. I have written about the history of job search and how it has evolved. The evolution has really turned up with the Internet. When I joined HotJobs, newspapers made $8.7 billion a year in help wanted ad revenue. In 2009 they were down 91%. That is industry transformation in front of our eyes.
SM: Marc, congratulations on your success. I look forward to following your story.