Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA) Jobcase, which bills itself as "the social platform dedicated to empowering and advocating for workers", has announced the acquisition of California-based job matching platform Upward.net. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
According to Jobcase, Upward.net will be a fully owned subsidiary and will retain 100% of its current employees. Steve Lombardi, CEO of Upward.net will stay on as General Manager of Upward. Co-founders Brian Hom, COO, and Zubin Nagarvala, Chief Business Development Officer, will continue in their current roles, as will other Upward management and staff. As always: watch that space. These types of acquisitions typically move into a phase where reduntant leadership roles become eliminated.
The move is interesting, if somewhat predictable. Upward has a good-sized chunk of job traffic - Jobcase just grabbed enough real-estate to become the third-largest career destination. Upward bills themselves as a "job-matching" solutions. Job boards/ marketplaces such as Jobcase have been moving towards a concierge model for jobseekers for some time now. This follows standard UI-advice: make it as easy as possible for you audience to complete transactions that bring the most revenue. For an Amazon, the key moments involve sales steps (search for a product, read reviews, add to cart, check out). Removing friction from those steps has made the company successful (removing one seemingly-minor friction point from just one step made the company an additional $300 million per year in revenue). For job board vendors, there are similar key transaction moments within their process. Adding grease to any one of those wheels makes sense. One of the glaringly obvious ones is producing job matches that actually make sense for the job-seeker.
This is not without geometric challenges.
For an Amazon, suggesting product matches is relatively straightforward compared to suggesting job-matches to a candidate. To begin with, products on Amazon, vs jobs on a career site, are fairly consistent. You may be looking for a paddle-board, and there are a variety of options to consider, but in the end: it's a paddle-board. There's a universally accepted shape, use, and list of basic features. Along with that: there's nothing on the product description that requires you to meet a certain basic skill-level before you purchase it. And, added to that last part: if there was, that criteria would generally be very standard.
With a job description/ ad, the variables get more complex. Not only do very few companies describe their companies the same as others, which makes even serving up suggestions of possible matches based on a candidate's resume/ profile challenging, the requirements multiple that. A job matching system has to not only serve up suggested roles out of a sea of poorly written job descriptions, it also has to make sure that the candidate has the skills needed. The potential for human-error in both directions is profound.
It's a tough knot to cut - and yet, a critical one: digital humans have proven that the path of least resistance is the one that gets followed (ie: do not put up barriers). Making it dead-simple for a candidate to find an appealing job-listing and then apply for it matters.
Entire the fuzzy, not-terribly-accurate-but-trying-to-learn "job matching" promise. The large career-sites are in a race to gain advantage here. The ones that can offer truly accurate, intuitive "suggestions" to job-seekers gains a massive competitive advantage. Indeed is racing ahead in this arms-race, and it looks like Jobcase just added some gas to their engine.
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