The New Year brings new resolutions. Many of us welcomed 2013 fully committed to finding happiness, a soul mate, a convenient gym, or that dream job. I’m probably not qualified to comment on your love life, and I know better than to discuss those unwanted pounds you may have packed on over the holidays. However, if this is the year that you’re going to launch a new career, land that new position, or simply start looking to see what’s out there, then we’re likely in safer territory.
Anyone conducting a job search should pursue every channel available whether that means leveraging social and professional networks, engaging a headhunter, combing through job boards, or posting resumes online. Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com are two of the largest and most established employment websites out there. Some job seekers find value in both. Others have a preference for one over the other. And then there are those who feel that adding their resume to the massive electronic pile is an exercise in futility.
Professionally speaking, both companies do some things very well from a user experience and customer engagement perspective. In other areas, however, there is plenty of room for improvement. So, how do Monster and CareerBuilder stack up against each other? Here’s a quick look at how both companies fare across various touchpoints.
Website: At their core, Monster and CareerBuilder are similar companies that offer comparable services. Neither site is stellar, but the edge goes to CareerBuilder. Monster.com takes a broader, more holistic approach and includes various links to a lot of different information. The end result is a site that tries to do too much and ultimately feels unfocused. Monster also features a lot of advertising up front, which tends to add to the clutter. By comparison, advertising on CareerBuilder.com is a little less in your face. The site is utilitarian, functional, and ultimately more focused than Monster’s. CareerBuilder also does a much better job of presenting international opportunities.
The analytics favor CareerBuilder.com as well. Monster’s traffic ranking in the U.S. is 120 versus Career Builder at 165. CareerBuilder also seems to be attracting a more loyal visitor and boasts better retention (5.5 page views versus Monster’s 4.4; a bounce rate of 43% compared to Monster’s 52%; and average site visits of 6.5 minutes on CareerBuilder.com compared to four minutes on Monster.com).
Facebook: Monster and CareerBuilder both do a good job of integrating their Facebook pages with other social media. Monster’s main Facebook page includes tie-ins to Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube, as well as links to Monster’s blackboards, job search tips, and surveys. Monster also actively promotes BeKnown, an initiative that allows users to leverage their social networks to find job opportunities. Monster’s main Facebook page has 35,000 likes. BeKnown has its own Facebook page with 155,000 likes.
CareerBuilder’s Facebook page has 293,000 likes (about 100,000 more than Monster’s main page and BeKnown combined) and does an even better job of integrating other social media. CareerBuilder’s Facebook strategy emphasizes utility and practicality over brand promotion. The page primarily serves as another channel where candidates can apply for jobs.
Twitter: Twitter is, hands down, the most effective social media channel for both companies. Monster utilizes 22 different hashtags and its tweets are delivered across several, smaller micro-communities. Twitter followers can track the information they need based on the types of jobs they’re looking for rather than being inundated with information that doesn’t apply to them.
CareerBuilder takes the concept of micro-segmenting a step further. In addition to dividing its Twitter content by category, CareerBuilder gives its followers the ability to track feeds based on their city and country. Both companies do a great job of disseminating information and driving discussions through Twitter, but the edge goes to CareerBuilder.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn has its own jobs site, which essentially makes it a competitor of Monster and CareerBuilder. That may be the reason why neither company has given LinkedIn much thought or attention. Monster’s company page is underdeveloped and is targeted more toward employers than jobseekers. CareerBuilder fares a little better here. Its LinkedIn page includes company updates and job search products. But like Monster, CareerBuilder is clearly more focused on other channels.
Pinterest: Pins featured on both companies’ Facebook pages tend to be much cooler than their actual Pinterest pages. Monster’s Pinterest strategy is poorly managed, and the same image appears multiple times across various posts. CareerBuilder tends to be more active, and it does post a lot of infographics. Unfortunately, the content lacks organization and the page feels cluttered. Pinterest is one area where both companies have an opportunity to improve and evolve.
Video: Monster and CareerBuilder both do a very good job of producing and promoting video content on You Tube. Monster’s videos, collectively, have received over 3.5 million views. Much of Monster’s content is practical and informative. Some of it is very entertaining as well, including several short segments promoting BeKnown.
CareerBuilder outpaces Monster two-to-one in terms of total views, largely due to the amount of content CareerBuilder produces. The videos tend to be less commercial and cheeky than some of Monster’s spots. That may explain why CareerBuilder’s most popular video has only 27,000 views, compared to four different Monster videos that each have more than 240,000 clicks.
Their video strategies are distinct, but the results for both companies are strong. In terms of execution, this category is a tie.
Blog: Monster’s blog site, MonsterWorking.com, is well-organized and has some good tie-ins with other social media channels. However, the content is basic and reads like a classic blog site. CareerBuilder uses a portal approach. TheHiringSite.com, powered by CareerBuilder, is a microsite and blog that features content for both jobseekers and employers. Articles are segmented and fairly easy to navigate. CareerBuilder also uses its blog to promote the company as a thought leader in the field.
Monster and CareerBuilder can both do more with their blog sites, especially on the personalization side. Visitors are presented with a lot of information. The key is making specific content accessible for readers based on their specific geography, experience, and interests.
Mobile: Monster’s mobile site is simple, convenient, and utilitarian. The menu is easy-to-use and searches are fast. When you consider the fact that Monster.com is somewhat cluttered and unfocused, it may be surprising that Monster’s mobile experience is lean and mean and ultimately superior to CareerBuilder’s. The CareerBuilder mobile site has a decent interface, but users have to navigate to another screen to conduct a job search. CareerBuilder also serves large, distracting ads, which tends to cheapen the mobile experience.
The Monster app, like its mobile site, is clean, quick, and focused. While the CareerBuilder app does allow users who have their resumes on file to apply for jobs from their mobile devices, Monster does a better job from a search and usability perspective.
Email: Monster and CareerBuilder require users to create profiles in order to receive email updates and newsletters. Email is a mechanism that companies can use to stay connected in a passive way, so the path to signing up should be easier and more accessible. Job searches are highly personalized, so emails can eventually be tailored to include content that speaks to each user. Both companies can do better in this area.
Brand Champion: Monster and CareerBuilder do some things very well, but they both have ample room for improvement in other areas. Monster would be well- served by applying its simple and focused mobile approach to its largely cluttered website. The opposite is true for CareerBuilder, which offers a seamless web experience, but needs to pare down on the mobile side.
Both companies have implemented strong social media strategies and do a nice job of integrating content across touchpoints. In addition to some of the obvious outlets (Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest), Monster is experimenting with Flickr, LightShare, Foursquare, and FriendFeed. CareerBuilder, meanwhile, uses Instagram, Spotify, Visual.ly, and Google+.
This bout isn’t a knockout by any means, but the win goes to CareerBuilder. CareerBuilder is more active than Monster in almost every social media channel and has a stronger international presence. It also does a better job of segmenting across job categories to deliver a simple and targeted experience for its users.
Happy hunting in the New Year.
Uzair Dada, CEO of Iron Horse Interactive. Want more from Uzair? Check out his analysis of travel sites Kayak and Orbitz.