Newspapers and recruitment ad agencies agree. CareerBuilder has gotten too big for its britches. It used to be that ad agencies were the only ones crying in their martinis about working with CareerBuilder. Why? Among other things, CareerBuilder has earned quite the reputation with agencies for ‘stealing clients’ from agencies.
Enter the newspaper partners. They’re on the same side as CareerBuilder, right? CareerBuilder has been THE lifesaver for newspaper companies all over the U.S. for the last 5 years – yielding tremendous profits and product growth and stock saving profit margins. But things have changed. While I was still at Knight Ridder Digital (up until 16 months ago) internal talk was starting to shift about CareerBuilder’s attitudes. Once the can’t miss darling of the company, more and more anecdotal reports from internal people told of experiences with CareerBuilder personnel and practices that smacked of arrogance. People’s teeth were beginning to grind on both the print and online side of Knight Ridder. But the prevailing feeling at the time was that CareerBuilder was doing a fantastic job (just look at their results) and that a little adolescent cockiness was tolerable.
Enter the McClatchy purchase of Knight Ridder. News this morning is that another former Knight Ridder paper, (one of the properties that McClatchy sold) The Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre, Pa) has joined The Philadelphia Inquirer and Akron Beacon Journal in dumping CareerBuilder for Monster. I’ve talked to some insiders about these deals. It’s a simple money decision. CareerBuilder wants a huge cut (many times inflated over just a few years ago) and newspapers feel like they’re getting screwed. Monster is simply walking in with a sweet deal for the newspaper and signing them up.
Hey CareerBuilder clients… Does any of this sound familiar? The newspapers have been only too happy to leave, based on the experiences they’ve had with CareerBuilder. A month ago I was speaking with a print/online executive from another major market independent newspaper who uses CareerBuilder. Without any prompting, the discussion we had on their online recruitment efforts quickly turned to frustrations with CareerBuilder. Something along the lines of feeling bent over if you know what I mean. I’ve got to tell you, this independent property is one that CareerBuilder would REALLY hate to lose as a partner, but if things continue as they’ve been going, that’s exactly what’s going to happen and either Monster or Yahoo! will happily take their place.
As a contrast, companies like Yahoo! Hotjobs have become known as ‘agency friendly’ and at least in terms of the job boards, great print partners as well. Ah, you say, that’s because they’re not numero uno like CareerBuilder. Good point, but how often does the arrogant company hold onto the poll position in a free market? I think of Oracle and Larry Ellison here and that little web company Salesforce.com that is kicking their ass. And what of Google’s entry into web based word processing and spreadsheet products and the potential impact on Microsoft (another company one could argue has been hurt by market arrogance). On that score, what of Monster, who is happily taking some of CareerBuilder’s customers? Well, much like an older sibling, Monster has shared much of the cockiness that CareerBuilder is now acting out. Perhaps, if it wasn’t for CareerBuilder, they still would be. But, things may have changed over at Monster. There is a renewed effort to be ‘agency friendly’ and the best new friend of newspapers who they’ve long vowed to crush. Monster the web 1.0 disruptor, would appear to have newspaper partnerships as a key facet of their web 2.0 disruptor strategy.
How have your experiences with CareerBuilder been over the last year? How would you rate their customer service, business practices, and pricing? How about their product value proposition (expanding, waning, same)? Talk back.
[tags]CareerBuilder, Career Builder, Monster, Job Boards, Knight Ridder[/tags]