Whatever Happened to Jobster? Now It’s the Power of Career Development

When you think of Jobster, what comes to mind?

Are you reminded of a company that reached its heyday in 2006 as a leading job referral site and then quickly squandered away over $55 million in venture capital? Or a company that seemed to lose its way through a series of acquisitions and poor business decisions?

At one time, Jobster reached celebrity status in the world of talent acquisition. It threw the best parties, hired the best people, and attracted media and investors. As many upstart celebrities, it seemed like it was just a matter of time before they fell into trouble – – and, they did. Also typical of celebrity followers, many people wished they would fail and many hoped they would make a comeback — and in 2010, Jobster made a comeback.

Zapoint, a career-mapping solution provider acquired Jobster and is taking steps to transform the company into more than a job board as part of an integrated talent management strategy. Who is Zapoint? How are they innovating in a saturated market, and how are they integrating Jobster?

That power of career development

In a world of layoffs, downsizing, and dwindling incentives, employers seem to call the shots. This certainly holds true in the talent management technology market. Solution providers are making a strategic push to target “the business,” not “the individual.”

Talent management suite providers are continuously expanding in areas such as recruiting, performance management, succession planning, compensation, and workforce planning. Yet, few providers are thinking of the one area of talent management that directly benefits the employee — career development.

Zapoint is one exception. Zapoint is giving employees a way to regain some power by creating a way for them to own their careers. They provide a unified talent profile built on a repository of individual skills to help job seekers, employees, and even alumni find a career path. This is where Jobster comes into play.

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Jobster expands the scope of career development. Through the acquisition of Jobster (innovative job board technology) and significant enhancements to Skillsmapper, (web-based career development tools), Zapoint has found a way to make the talent profile collaborative, engaging, and a tool for the individual to own rather than the employer. Employers will also benefit from this improvement in the talent profile, which is a good thing since they are the ones paying for the solution. Organizations can expect improved employee engagement and greater visibility into their skill gaps.

A closer look at Zapoint

Zapoint differentiates itself through user adoption, collaboration and the ability to identify skill gaps.

  • User Adoption – Zapoint is made for employees and designed so that they will actually want to login to use the system. Individuals are responsible for maintaining their own profiles, strengthening their skills, and connecting with peers. Each profile includes areas of promotion, expertise and collaboration—all tied to specific key performance indicators.  The user interface is smart, easy to use and based on social networking. For example, customers can purchase additional apps to enhance the talent profile (a familiar concept to any iPhone user) instead of viewing a long list of commands.
  • Collaboration – Social networking has become a must-have for talent management. Zapoint is committed to social media and providing a high level of interactivity and connectivity to its customers.  Users have the ability to follow co-workers, conversations and skills.
  • Skill Gaps – Zapoint provides HR with several views into skill gaps. Comparisons include employee vs. employee, employee vs. department, employee vs. category and department vs. department. Also, skill definitions are created through a wiki, where organizations can create skills and descriptions and even vote on them, providing more collaboration.

The future of Jobster

Why would Zapoint acquire Jobster? It’s simple. Through Jobster, Zapoint acquired over 800,000 profiles and close to 300,000 active users as well as a brand name. While Zapoint has mastered the internal side of understanding skills, Jobster gives them insight to the external market. It expands the talent pool and provides the data Zapoint needs for its skills mapping.

The success of the Jobster integration will depend on the ability to get passive candidates actively using the systems and updating their profiles. Success will also hinge on the ability to position Jobster as much more than a job board and part of a broader view of talent management and career development.

Madeline Laurano is the founder of Aptitude Research. Her primary focus over the last 12+ years has been on the talent management market, specializing in talent acquisition. Her work helps companies both validate and reevaluate their strategies and understand the role technology can play in driving business outcomes. 

Prior, Madeline held research roles at Aberdeen, Bersin by Deloitte, ERE Media, and Brandon Hall Group. She is co-author of Best Practices in Leading a Global Workforce and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Yahoo News, and The Financial Times. She is a frequent presenter at industry conferences including the HR Technology Conference and Exposition, SHRM, IHRIM, HCI’s Strategic Talent Acquisition conference, GDS International’s HCM Summit, and HRO Today.