Karen Lawson had a huge task ahead of her when she joined CareerOne as CEO last year.
The company has run at a loss for years, according to part-owner Monster’s financials.
And despite years of operating as Australia’s number two online jobs board, CareerOne has never been able to topple Seek.com.au, which accounted for 70 per cent of online job ad placements as of January.
So Lawson spent the past year quietly restructuring CareerOne into a digital media business and plans to continue doing so at low cost by using its existing data assets, leaning on Monster technology and partnering with audience-hungry start-ups.
“I’m always about building businesses, building partnerships, using data intelligently,” said Lawson, who was previously general manager of business development and partnerships at Yahoo!7.
“I love the spirit of entrepreneurship, I love innovation, I love being around start-ups. They have such great ideas and passion, and I think it’s a really exciting momentum to be part of.
“We’ve been able to pivot our business into these new areas without having to acquire anybody.”
Much of CareerOne’s new business strategy, unveiled today, relies on partnerships.
An upcoming crowdfunding business line, for example, will be powered by partnerships with “one or multiple” existing crowdfunding sites. Negotiations are ongoing; the feature is expected to launch this year.
CareerOne will use new Monster acquisitions Talentbin and Gozaik in its BeFound and Skills Exchange businesses.
TalentBin will let CareerOne scrape additional information about the candidates from their Facebook, Twitter, Quora, Meetup, Github and Stack Overflow profiles, and add that information to job seekers’ resumes, which are stored on CareerOne’s BeFound to be accessed by recruiters when relevant.
And Gozaik will let CareerOne aggregate job listings from other websites and social media, in a bid to encourage users to spend more time on its Skills Exchange jobs board.
Meanwhile, short-term job listings on its Skills Exchange will be powered by Sydney start-up Airtasker.
The deal precludes Airtasker from partnering with any other jobs board and did not involve any exchange of equity. Here’s how Lawson said she made it happen:
I literally cold-called Tim [Fung], the CEO, and said, ‘I know you’re going to have a vision around who you think we are and what we do, but I’ve just been hired and I’ve got this vision around how I want to change the employment landscape.’
He said, ‘Yep, come in.’
They can’t work with other job boards. If there are other business opportunities that aren’t job board related then of course we’d want him to have the flexibility to grow their business, but we’ve also recognised that there has to be some boundaries to that [partnership].
It’s great to see all the synergies between all of our businesses. Some of their biggest investors are customers of ours: Clarius, for example, is a great business we’ve had a relationship with for many years.