December 9, 2009

An open question to Robert McGovern, CEO Jobfox

Filed under: Heads up, Stuff I worry about, We all need a laugh

Dear Robert,

I just went to the Jobfox web site to send you an e-mail, but your profile page doesn’t provide an e-mail link. I wasted only about two minutes searching elsewhere on the site but gave up. Figured I’d just post a note to you here on my own blog. (You are welcome to e-mail me back: nick@asktheheadhunter.com. I love hearing from my audience. It’s something Tom Peters taught me a long time ago — it’s good for business.) I still can’t figure out why people who run websites don’t want to be bothered with e-mail. (Marc Cenedella over at TheLadders really doesn’t want to be bothered with e-mail.)

I did try clicking on your My Press Bio: Here’s what my handlers say to the press, but it goes to a dead page. Ah, well. Anybody who admits he’s got handlers to handle the press is out of my league anyway, but I guess if all they give people is a dead web page, that keeps you covered. (Cendella’s handlers write e-mail to his customers, who really get pissed off when they spend a bunch of money on an expensive new resume but can’t get a note back from the boss.) Hell, when I saw that you’re the founder of CareerBuilder I realized I’d be wasting more time communicating with you privately. We probably wouldn’t agree on much. I think the big job boards suck. (Hey, did you see the latest CareerXroads survey? CareerBuilder was the source of hires for employers less than 4% of the time among companies polled. Guess you’re glad you bailed when you did, eh?) **Update: Never mind. I just checked 2002, the year you left CareerBuilder. The figure was only 1.5% in 2002.

Jobfox has been characterized as another me-too job board and resume mill. (That combo — big job board + resume services — seems to tip people off to job boards that don’t work well and need alternate ways to suck some bucks out of customers. Did you ever think of offering special resume-writing services for the HR managers who pay to post jobs? That could be a real winner.) So I thought I’d take a look.

I don’t usually waste time with new job boards (well, I did post something nice about LinkUp, which doesn’t send out long sales letters) because let’s face it, most of the entries in this space are all alike — they load the database with crap, churn ‘n burn the customers, let them get lost among the millions of dusty old jobs and multi-level marketing come-ons, and sell access to their “info” to personnel jockeys who are glad to spend millions to… get lost in the database, because who cares? At 5pm everybody goes home and tries again tomorrow.

Anyhow… Here’s why I wanted to get in touch with you. An Ask The Headhunter reader posted a comment on You idiot, you showed this résumé to an employer?? (That’s a pretty old posting, but older stuff gets read around here — “Content is King” and all that.)

Skott Coffee (comment dated December 8, 2009 at 3:42 pm) was concerned that Jobfox has started using a lemon of a marketing ploy that Marc Cenedella has already squeezed all the juice out of. Skott seems pretty ticked off. He posted the entire sales letter he received from one of your people — and I have to say I agree with him.

I mean, 1,400-word sales letters selling resume-writing services kinda went out with hawkers selling oceanfront property in Arizona, Bernie Madoff-style “double your money” investment programs and TheLadders selling boilerplate resumes for $900.

Sales letters that just go on and on until you finally just break down and buy something generally make people feel like they’re being flagellated or something — and that’s not a good sign when you’re selling resume-writing services that are supposed to deliver resumes that make managers want to hire you.

I think Skott has a point. The sales letters Jobfox sends out make it look like the resumes you produce are going to flagellate the managers who read them. I’d have a hard time paying for that.

Skott says your resume services are selling boilerplate. I think he also means the sales letter is biolerplate. 1,421 words worth of it. Do your resume writers actually write those letters? You might want to take a look into that. They could be writing 1,400-word resumes! And charging for them. I could see how that would piss people off. Hell, it would piss me off if I were running Jobfox. But like I said, I think big job boards suck so that’s not even a remote possibility. What sucks even more is job boards that try to milk people for resume-writing services, using boilerplate sales letters that kinda demonstrate exactly the opposite of what a good writing service should be. That really sucks.

Anyhow, Skott’s comment (I read all the comments people post on my blog) got me thinking.

How do you sleep at night?

.

5 Comments on “An open question to Robert McGovern, CEO Jobfox”
By Marc Drees
December 10, 2009 at 9:17 am

Hi Nick,
During the summer I did a series on JobFox because of their temporary free offer of their so-called “Personal Job Market Explorer”. The series can be found here (in Dutch): http://recruitmentmatters.nl/?s=%22Personal+Job+Market+Explorer%22

In addition, I sent McGovern the following e-mail:

Dear Mr McGovern,
I have been analyzing your Personal Job Market Explorer (as part of the free 14-day offer) over the last week and have written a series on the subject on my Dutch blog, RecruitmentMatters.

Based on my research, the service turns out to be completely useless:

1. “Highly compatible matches” turn out to be total mismatches
2. Jobs claimed to be found on the 1.400+ sites are not available on the JobFox Advantage dashboard
3. The user is required to return to JobFox to see jobs for both the Direct Employer and Recruitment Agency

This for a service that is under normal circumstances a paid-for model. Compared to verticals like Indeed or SimplyHired, with a free job agent and no requirement to return to the site to see the jobs, the JobFox service service falls short of any expectation.

In the light of these findings I’m interested in your response to these findings. I would also be very interested to learn how many people have signed up for the paid version of the Advantage Membership.

To no surprise I’m still waiting for an answer…

By Marsha Keeffer
December 11, 2009 at 3:31 am

Love to see you bringing it like this, Nick. Sounds like it’s snake oil by any other name, eh?

By Another Steve
December 11, 2009 at 9:17 am

You nailed it, Nick. Who has time to read a 1400-word sales letter? Even the unemployed have MUCH better things to do with their time.

By Jorgen Sundberg
December 15, 2009 at 7:34 am

You tell ‘em Nick! Love it :-)

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