Podcast - Rec Tech Media- Jobsync CEO Alex Murphy – Interview
Updated: Nov 30, 2021
Alex Murphy: This is Alex Murphy, CEO of JobSync. And I’m next on the RecTech Podcast.
Speaker 1: Welcome to RecTech, the podcast where recruiting and technology intersect. Each month, you’ll hear from vendors shaping the recruiting world along with recruiters who’ll tell you how they use technology to hire talent. Now here’s your host, the mad scientist of online recruiting, Chris Russell,
Chris Russell: Welcome back to the only podcast that helps employers and recruiters connect with more candidates through technology-inspired conversations. If you want to know what the latest tools and tactics for finding talent online, this is your show. Today’s episode is a vendor edition.
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Chris Russell: So my next guest is the founder and CEO of a pretty cool piece of recruiting technology that is helping solve a big problem in the apply process. If you’re having trouble at the top of your recruiting funnel, you’re going to want to hear the show. Alex Murphy, welcome to RecTech. It’s great to have you.
Alex Murphy: Thanks, Chris. It’s wonderful to be here.
Chris Russell: Why don’t you give the listeners a quick bio of yourself and you can tell us about your history in the critical technology space, if you could.
Alex Murphy: Absolutely. So I started out in this space about 20 years ago, working with a company in Virginia. And one of the things that we were working on was founding job.com. And I did that for about four or five years. Along the way, I did a lot of work on applications and conversion optimization around generating more users. I left the space for a couple of years, went and ran an e-commerce business, and then came back and worked with a company out of Philadelphia called Beyond, and headed up traffic and user acquisition, and then took on business development.
Alex Murphy: Along the way, I had a real direct responsibility for ROI and acquiring new users and getting users to apply to jobs. And so I had a real front row seat to what was happening over the course of, let’s say, 15 years around conversions and lack thereof, or I guess the degrading quantity of conversions for employers that had their jobs going up on our job site, but they weren’t getting the applicants that they were hoping to get. And so that kind of spawned me to after leaving, working with a couple of companies that ultimately got me to where I am today in terms of being a co-founder for JobSync.
Chris Russell: Yeah. I mean, I think you’re definitely one of those spaces experts on the conversion apply process. Well, Alex, from a high level, what are the keys to getting people to apply to a job?
Alex Murphy: Well, so I think the number one most important thing is a lack of friction in order to get somebody to apply to that job. I would go up one step, probably even before that and really say you have to get them interested. And how do you get them interested in a world where, even today in the middle of a pandemic, there are over six million job openings currently online and the largest job boards out there they’re having actually their best months ever from a revenue perspective. And that’s because the employers that are hiring, while there are lots of employers that are not those that are, are struggling to get applicants and they’re pouring more money in to try to get applicants and interest.
Alex Murphy: And so kind of starting at the very beginning, it’s getting distribution of your jobs to all of the places that candidates are, and then get them to look at the job, entice them with a compelling job title. It’s the first piece. A short and concise and precise job description that’s written as a compelling why do we want you to come work with us type of advertisement, thinking about it like marketer, and then getting them to express interest with the simplest form that you can possibly get away with.
Alex Murphy: When I was talking about watching conversion rates decline, call it from 2002, 2003, advancing 10 years to 2012, 2014, the conversion rates of people that looked at job postings and applied had gone down from 25% to today it’s actually running at about 5%. So it’s gone down by about 80% in terms of conversion rates. And a big driver of that is building out application flows that require candidates to go from one site to another, that have them fill out far too much information for that first step.
Alex Murphy: And so at the end of the day, the answer to your question is in a really simple way. You need your job to get maximum distribution, putting it where people are, make sure that it’s compelling and written in a way that is inviting for somebody to apply, and then minimize the amount of effort required in order to submit that application as a first step.
Chris Russell: I love that synopsis. That’s the perfect way to think about your job listings. And that’s where JobSync comes in. So tell us, tell the audience what JobSync does and why they exist today.
Alex Murphy: Yeah. So we started out kind of focused on a fairly precise problem. And JobSync is, was originally a joint venture between a business that I had called Job Wrapper, which dealt with job management and a client of mine, reThinkData, which was dealing with delivering applications from job boards into ATS. And we started JobSync really to solve for jobs on Facebook specifically because the two had to go together, meaning the management of the job posting going into Facebook. In order to get your jobs in Facebook, you really had to have a way to get the application out and delivered into the employer’s ATS.
Alex Murphy: And we started out with that process really kind of to tick off the mark on the first one of those three items that I was talking about with respect to distribution. Facebook is the website with the most people online at any given point in time during the day, all day, every day. Recent status for today, actually 3.5 billion people, which is remarkable to think about worldwide. And people are on Facebook doing everything. They’re talking about politics, they’re sharing cat videos, they’re looking up recipes. We bought a car on Facebook and they look for jobs.
Alex Murphy: And so there’s an app for that so to speak within Facebook, almost everywhere, if you will, for almost everything. And the jobs’ marketplace is huge. It’s really the second largest jobs marketplace on the web behind Indeed in terms of searches and activity. It’s a relatively new medium, if you will, new source, but it is enormous in terms of volume and exposure. So we solved for that problem first. And then as it’s kind of gone on in terms of what we’re doing, it’s not just about more reach. It’s really around improving ROI for the TA group within a company for the talent acquisition team.
Alex Murphy: So what does that mean? It means making it easy for the candidate to apply results in more applications per job view. More applications per job view means that you’re spending less to get applications overall. On some sites, having a better application experience means getting more distribution within that system as well, because that system may have aspects of their algorithm that are influenced by the candidate experience. And so we are helping companies take their application process that is happening on, let’s say their applicant tracking system. And instead of requiring the candidate to leave the job site to go to the ATS to apply, then we’re bringing the application up to the job site. So similar to that Facebook solution, with respect to having to have the application take place on Facebook, we’re helping that company do the same thing with a number of other job boards.
Chris Russell: Yeah. So for example, so if I’m a seeker I’m applying to a job on Facebook and the employer is using JobSync, describe that experience for the listener, if you could, and what happens in the package.
Alex Murphy: Yeah. So Facebook jobs marketplace came out a couple of years ago. It came about because they were being analytical about their data and looking at what users do. And they have a search bar at the top of the screen, and people were doing job searches from that search bar, right? So sales job in Little Rock, Arkansas, and they were getting pretty poor results. Things like posts and pages instead of job listings. So they rolled this out and now you have a kind of really three different or four different paths to a job listing. You can run it through a search, and then that takes you into the jobs’ marketplace. So you could navigate through the menu links to the jobs’ marketplace. Or if you’re on a company page, you could click or you could look at their menu and you see a jobs tab, you click on that jobs tab. And that lists out the jobs for that company, kind of like a careers link on the bottom, in the footer that many companies have on their homepage.
Alex Murphy: You see the listing of jobs, you click on a job just like you would on any search result on Indeed or any other job site. It then shows you the job, you click apply. When you click apply, a form comes up and that form contains all the screening questions. So all the profile details and the screening questions required to apply for a job. And what we do, we help companies that use SuccessFactors or Taleo or Greenhouse, or a number of other ATSs, we enable those companies to have the screening questions that they have defined in the ATS. We have them asked and answered exactly as they’ve defined them in their ATS. We have ask and answer those questions on Facebook. And then that way, the candidate can apply to the job without leaving Facebook, which If you think about it’s way more common-
Chris Russell: That’s the key?
Alex Murphy: Say again.
Chris Russell: That’s the key, right? Keeping them there.
Alex Murphy: It is. Yeah. So if you think about like the typical experience on most job sites, a candidate searches for a job, they find a job they want to look at in more detail in the search results. They view the job listing, and then they click apply. And that takes them off of that site. That might take them to sometimes to another job site, or if it’s a direct link to the company, it might take them to the company’s job view page.
Alex Murphy: So they were looking at the job on the job board. Now they’re looking at the job again on their company page. And then they click that they want to apply again and all too frequently, there’s a form that comes up that has them sign up for a talent community, or some other type of form. They clicked through that again. And now they end up going from the career site to the ATS where they’re viewing the job for third time. They click apply again and now they’re asked to log in, which really means that they need to register first. And then they go through that application process. All of those steps are points in that application flow, where people abandoned the process. And that’s why conversion rates get really, really low for companies when that’s what their workflow looks like.
Alex Murphy: By taking the candidate, or I’m sorry, the application to the job site and having the user stay on Facebook or whatever the job board, they’re reusing the profile data to populate half of that application, because you already know Facebook, as an example already knows the person’s name and their phone number and email. And they just have to answer a few screening questions and everything is done. And so the conversion rates are much higher and the application rate becomes material.
Chris Russell: So you’ve been you mentioned Facebook as one of the sources you work with. What other job boards are you working with today? Can you kind of give us a list?
Alex Murphy: Yeah. So we work with Indeed. We work with recent job boards that we’ve set up are ZipRecruiter and Monster. We are about to launch CareerBuilder, [inaudible 00:15:57]. We’ve been working with SEEK on a couple of different methods of integration with SEEK in Australia. CV-Library in the UK uses our smart form as does Resume-Library here in the US and Health Jobs Nationwide. We’ve got about a half dozen or eight different job boards that are in the middle of various stages of onboarding with us over the next month or two as well.
Alex Murphy: In addition to that, we’ve got a new solution where we will be bringing on job boards that are either going to be just what we consider to be a connected apply, where it’s not full native application experience, but one where it uses part of the data from the candidate profile, as well as an email to apply functionality. So we can receive the applications by emails. So we’ll be accelerating the number of job boards we have integrated over the course of the next six months to be many dozens and then ultimately growing into hundreds around the world.
Chris Russell: By the way, have you ever talked to any of the job or software vendors out there about integration, company like JobBoard.io or SmartJob, or perhaps?
Alex Murphy: Yeah. So one of our co-founders, John Bell, started Boxwood Technologies about 22, 23 years ago. John had the position of watching these conversion rates fall and because Boxwood Technologies, which was bought by Naylor, and they really cater to job board software for associations, their audience didn’t change. So he watched all these conversion rates on applications from job views to actual applies plummet, and he knew it wasn’t the audience because the audience for these associations wasn’t changing, what was changing was the process. And so he really got reThinkData started with Boxwood, and he carved out the reThinkData service when they sold Boxwood to Naylor and really started the journey there because he was one of the very few people that had clarity around this problem and what the cause was.
Alex Murphy: So anyway, so we started out with an integration with Boxwood’s sites. There are several hundred that are facilitated there. And then Jobiqo, which is headquartered in Austria has about 40, 50 job boards that are online, including Health Jobs Nationwide. That’s how our integration with them works as through the Jobiqo platform. So it’s available on their platform. And we have a couple of other platforms that are in the process of adding it to their system as well.
Chris Russell: Yeah. Let’s talk numbers a bit. Where are sort of the key metrics you’re tracking as part of those conversion rates, et cetera?
Alex Murphy: So we have a client called Headway. They are a accommodation staffing firm in RPO. They won an ROI award from an analyst firm called Nucleus Research. And the ROI award was around the return on investment from their spend by using JobSync that applied to their Indeed spend. They calculated, I believe the number was a 480% return on investment in six months, a payback that was just a couple months into the investment. And the underlying reason why they’re seeing such an ROI is twofold. One is that they, depending upon which way you want to go, you can either have a reduction in your cost per application because you’re getting a higher conversion rates, or you can increase the volume of applications that you get by maintaining your spend or a combination of the two.
Alex Murphy: So it’s not uncommon for us to see companies see something like a 3X increase in applications and a reduction of their cost per application by 50% at the same time. In that scenario, what’s commonly happening is they may spend a little bit more with that job site and they’re finding that sweet spot where they’re getting maximum number of applications that they want, and as fast as they want, because at the end of the day, the most important metric is what are you doing for your company, right? It’s nice to have some process improvements and definitely nice to have some cost reductions, but you can only impact the business by so much by reducing costs.
Alex Murphy: What’s much more impactful is if you can translate that into some type of specified or specific business outcome, such as filling a seat in three weeks instead of three months, because if your time to hire is reduced by 60 to 70%, you’re capturing a time in the business for that new hire that you otherwise can never get back. It pays dividends, it’s really, it’s like thinking about compound interest in an investment portfolio. Having that person start a month earlier, that month is always coming, is always paying a dividend forever. And that at the end of the day is really the biggest driver of value that comes out of using a service like ours.
Chris Russell: Yeah. So the average conversion rate you mentioned top of the show was around 5%. What is on when you use product with like JobSync with it?
Alex Murphy: It goes up, it can go up as much as to 30 to 35%. We’ve had a number of companies see their conversion rates in terms of when a job board’s tracking impressions on the job views or clicks from a search result. So you imagine, if your candidate experience, when the user leaves Indeed, as an example has all these extra hops and there’re very long form, and it’s very difficult. You can see conversion rates that are actually much lower than 5%, and you can actually get your conversion rates up to close to mid-double digits, 30+ percent. Now I will say that obviously, what that’s really dependent upon is what questions are you asking. If you ask questions that are too intrusive, or if there are too many, or if you’re asking people to write paragraphs, then these are contributing factors to reducing the conversion rate, reducing the number of applications that you get.
Alex Murphy: So, there’s one of the, I’ll say, unintended benefits of engaging with our service is that it’s a moment for reflection. It’s extremely common that the application questionnaire that’s been defined within a company has been defined in part by committee, right? So somebody in compliance needs to ask these questions and somebody, the hiring manager wants to ask these questions and HR wants to ask those questions and they all kind of get added to and added to and added to and with frequency we see, we actually can see the same question asked in a different way twice, right?
Chris Russell: Yeah.
Alex Murphy: This group wanted the question asked this way, and this other group wanted to ask them a different way. And they both asked this question. And that kind of thing is the type of thing that really stops candidates from completing the application because they realize what’s going on here. My application’s just going to end up in some black hole, I’m not going to get any responses. They can’t even bother craft the questionnaire properly. Not that they use the word questionnaire, but they can’t craft their questions properly. So this point of reflection, if you will, it happens when we start talking about how to have a massive impact. And we start, we really encourage people to remove anything that would require or suggest that a person should think about drafting, what the answer’s going to be.
Alex Murphy: So for example, like if you want a paragraph response, that’s really not appropriate because you have to think about where, you have to meet the candidate where they are and increasingly where they are is they’re on their device, right, they’re on their mobile device. They are not in a position to sit there and write it out and then reflect on what their answer is. They’re on a form on a website that will time out if they don’t answer it quickly enough. So it’s like, think about the moment where you are, where the candidate is rather and ask the appropriate questions that make it easy to screen and make sure that those screening questions are actually related to the job and make sure that you are asking questions that you don’t absolutely need to know the answer for to determine whether or not to move them onto the next step. Not whether or not you’re going to hire them, but whether or not to move them onto the next step. Those are the only questions that should be asked at the first step.
Chris Russell: Well said there, Alex. So what’s next for the product? What do you got going on for 2021 and what excites you about what you’re doing there at JobSync?
Alex Murphy: So we’ve got some really awesome stuff going on. We’ve been building out partnerships with other companies in think about like the TA tech stack. This journey with JobSync had started with connecting an ATS to Facebook and really has grown from there to many ATS and many job sites. What we’re finding is that our customers are using a bunch of different systems up and down the funnel from at the top, in terms of sourcing with respect to job boards and social networks to engagement platforms like texting tools like WorkHere, to assessment tools like Tradify, engagement tools, selection tools, and then a multitude of hiring systems. So not just ATSs, but ATSs and CRMs, and then ultimately analytics platforms to be able to measure what’s working and what’s not.
Alex Murphy: And the average Fortune 500 company has over 20 systems in their HR tech stack and in the TA tech stack, it’s 10+. And they have to log into these systems all the time and the data is out of sync. And what we’ve been working on and building solutions for is actually the integrations to not just take the data from the job board and put it into the ATS, but to take the job postings incorporated into the programmatic solution delivered into that analytics solution in the CRM, the ATS, and then make sure that all the data is all kept in sync with each other so that what you see in the ATS is live, real time actionable.
Alex Murphy: And what our goal with that is, is to really help unleash the people doing the work, to be able to do the work in the platform where they need to do it rather than to bounce back and forth with a bunch of different browser tabs. And so we have a lot of product enhancements that are coming along in the next year, that will support that as really as like a connection layer across the entire ecosystem.
Chris Russell: Well, I love the mission, Alex. I think you’re really solving a huge problem out there, both from the recruiter side of things and also the candidate experience, which is just to me, is so important these days. So appreciate the knowledge dropping and thanks for the advice today.
Alex Murphy: Thanks, Chris.
Chris Russell: All right. That will do for this episode of the RecTech Podcast. Be sure to follow us on the socials, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, via the @RecTechMedia handle. Thank you to my sponsors, Emissary and Adzuna. Be sure to check them out for text recruiting and job advertising. Thanks for listening, everyone. And remember, always be recruiting.
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