Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How About a Bigger, Badder Monster?

I spoke to Eric Winegardner, Monster's VP of Client Adoption and Kathy O'Reilly, Monster's Director of Social Media Relations at the HR Technology conference last week. Eric was excited about Monster’s new candidate and employer platforms, recently released and still in Beta. I wanted to know what changed, and what made it “new and improved”.

It turns out there’s more than just a new skin on Monster. The job board has made some interesting advances towards contextual search…what most of us mistakenly call artificial intelligence. For us non-geeks out there, contextual search is defined as “A search for documents or records based upon the data they contain, rather than their file names or key fields”, according to Or in other words, Monster is now a more intuitive search that delivers close matches.

Why is this important to job seekers?

Contextual search allows you to have related jobs included in your search, rather than multiple searches or complicated Boolean formulas with nested AND and OR statements. Instead, contextual search allows the candidate to search for “RN” and pull up jobs for nurses, or search for “attorney” and find jobs for lawyers. The “Old Monster” (it’s still available if you prefer) suggests additional close searches, but would not include exact and close matches within in the same search. So a candidate only has to perform a single search.

In addition, contextual search knows the difference between a Java developer vs a Real Estate developer. A search for “Financial Executive” won’t return Executive Assistant jobs in the new Monster.

Contextual search has even further reaching implications when you consider how it affects how employers can now search. For instance, an employer searching for a Manufacturing Supervisor, might also like to see Operations Supervisors, or Manufacturing Managers at smaller companies. Contextual search allows close matches of experience to criteria. In addition, employers can search for required criteria, as well as nice-to-have criteria.

Monster’s new capabilities also allow employers to search for number of years of certain experience, plus place additional weight on recency. If a hiring manager has 3 years of events marketing experience as a criteria, the employer can direct Monster to rank candidates with 3 years of recent experience higher than candidates with that experience further in their background. This is critical for candidates to understand, as more experienced candidates tend to focus on how many people they manage, but leave out the details of their current roles. This underscores the importance of heavy resume customization for each position you apply for.

One of the Monster’s big selling points to employers is to make it easier for hiring managers to pull candidates out of the database that the employer wouldn’t otherwise find. When hiring starts to increase again, employers will start to find shortages of certain skill sets, increasing as the Baby Boom continues to retire. Even today, certain pockets of job skills are in short supply – nursing, for instance.

I was able to test drive the site, and I’ve got to admit it was pretty cool. I can see how it can save candidates time and frustration, and provide employers a closer match.

In addition to the technical changes, Monster has added a ton of new features for candidates:

1) Career Mapping: Monster now allows a janitor the tools to figure how to become an astronaut, and what steps he needs to take. For instance, Monster might suggest that our janitor friend first enroll in some flight classes, earn a pilots’ license, and log thousands of hours of flight time, because a high percentage of astronauts have already reached their career goal via that path. Next, Monster might suggest that either working as a commercial pilot, flying an Air Force jet, or getting an engineering degree might help by showing the percentage of astronauts who gained these experiences along the way.

In the same way, Monster can show a reCareering manufacturing worker what she needs to do to start a career in health care. What options does she have and what’s the best way to get there?

2) Career Snapshots: Monster publishes career snapshots so that candidates can read real, unabridged commentary about what a job is like…pros and cons. Sure it sounds cool to be an astronaut, but what if you can’t leave Piscataway, NJ? A corporate President role might sound great, but will the travel, overtime, and stress fit well with your personality? Better to get an idea first, before committing to a career track.

3) Virtual Mentoring: Monster has a huge audience of staff as well as managers. By identifying managers who are looking to “give back” and find mentoring opportunities, earlier stage employees can get career guidance from someone who’s already been there.

Finally, Monster is rolling out some social media tools, like blogs, Facebook groups, and Twitter job postings that make it easier for candidates to find job postings and job search information.

I recommend you check out some of these tools…you’ll see me there also, as my articles are often republished on Monster’s blogs.

Executives exploring Career Change: For a free 30 minute resume consultation, or career advice for executives, email your resume confidentially to reCareered (, and we'll schedule a time to talk.

Staff, Managers, Entrepreneurs, and career changers outside the US: Send your resume to to enroll in a free group teleseminar "Accelerate Your Job Search - tools you can use".

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