by Lorna Li

Last Thursday May 10 GigaOm and TheLadders co-hosted a party at San Francisco’s Pier 38, and I give it a score of 8.9.

It made me reflect on what it takes to make a party “” The GigaOm-TheLadders party was not an all-out, full-open bar, oyster spread, swanky deal with contortionist circus performers thrown into the mix kind of tech party. But it was…well, great – why?

Was it the fact that establishment had to boot us out at 11pm, though the cocktail party officially ended at 9?

Or was it the fact that I had to pull myself together for work the next morning with a monster hangover, realizing I had no recollection of how I got home?

Or was it the fact that I ran into a former classmate from college after 12 years – Joshua Jaffe – technology writer for, and enjoyed a profound conversation on virtual worlds, such as Second Life, and the alternate realities perceived by Amazonian shamans. Oh yeah – that was after wine refill #8.

The beer and wine flowed freely, tasty appetizers were served, the venue – elegant. And, yet, for a company like that deals exclusively with online jobsearch for $100K+ executives, the whole thing was so refreshingly relaxed, unpretentious, and ungeeky. I actually forgot it was a tech party.

Maybe you got your last job on Craigslist. You’ve heard of Monster, CareerBuilder, HotJobs, maybe even SimplyHired, Indeed, and Jobster, but have you heard of TheLadders? Well, if you’ve reached the $100K+ mark, maybe you ought to pay attention. is the world’s largest online service catering exclusively to the $100k+ job market. Founded in 2003 by Marc Cenedella, has grown into the largest specialty employment website with over 1,260,000 members and 30,000 recruiters. In only 4 years, they’ve successfully captured 8% of their market. And at any given time, they have 70,000 live job listings on their site.
Prior to founding, Cenedella was the Senior Vice President of Finance and Operations at, where he shepherded the company’s $436 million sale to Yahoo! in 2002. is not a Web 2.0 company. But what they do better, much better than the big Web 1.0 job sites is quality matching and spam reduction. By charging a cover to get access to the $100K+ job listings and recruiters – essentially the top 10% of jobs in the country – TheLadders enables much better career targeting with a lot less emailing around.

Why the party? TheLadders is celebrating the launch of RecruitLadder Premium- a new service targeting big company recruiters. RecruitLadder Premium allows recruiters to manage multiple searches, search by zip-code and radius from job location, correspond with multiple candidates and save candidates for future positions. Given that Fortune 500 recruiters contribute to a grand total of $10 billion in available job listings on TheLadders, this is one customer segment you want to make very, very happy.
Monster, Careerbuilder – Move Over

According to WSJ’s Career Journal, niche job sites are on the rise in volume as well as in traffic, while users are defecting the big job boards in record numbers.
“, which advertises only public-sector jobs, attracted 565,000 unique visitors in February 2007, 42% more than during the same month in 2006, according to Media Metrics, a division of Reston, Va.-based research firm comScore Inc. Also during this time,, which lists job ads by state, more than doubled its unique visitors to 290,000. By contrast, Monster saw a 20% decline in traffic for the same months, lowering its unique visitors to a little over six million, the research firm shows.”

One of the reasons for the rise of niche job sites is the improving economy and the increased competition for top talent. Corporate hiring managers are turning more and more towards niche sites because the big job boards produce too many unqualified candidates and hopeful career-changers.

Another reason for the shift away from the big job boards is the ability of Web 2.0 technologies to better mimic personal and professional networks online.

Think of it this way – in the old days, job applicants would peruse the newspaper, see a job listing and snail mail their resume to the company. Hiring managers would receive hundreds of applications in the mail and have to sift through all of them to find the best candidate. Most Web 1.0 job boards are simply the electronic version of this age-old practice.

For this reason, most jobs today are still filled entirely through personal referrals and existing professional networks. Social job networking, however, enables jobs and candidates to be matched through relationships that are greater than 1 or 2 degrees of separation, without the sudden drop in trust that usually comes with interacting with a stranger you’ve met online.
Increase in LinkedIn Membership 2003-2006

Jobvite, Anyone?

I also met Jesper Schultz, Founder and CEO of Jobvite at the party. Founded in 2003, Jobvite a really cool subscription based service that allows the whole company to collaborate and be involved in the referral and hiring process.
Companies can essentially build and manage their corporate career site using the Jobvite system. In addition to providing flexible, integrated hiring workflows for HR recruiters, Jobvite also connects key recruiting sources, like external job boards and agencies in one central location. It also tracks prospects, candidates, and referrals, on the back-end. At the end of the day, you have a database that’s searchable, sortable and designed to scale.

What I love the most about this site is the fact that employees can send Jobvites – personal job invitations – and spread the word about opportunities at their company. This is way better than word of mouth and far more effective than taping your job announcement on break room fridge.

It’s one helluva referral network.
Related Articles:

Funding Fuels Jobsearch 2.0


Rapid Growth in Social Networking Sites Means New Job Acquisition Avenues

The Job Search Engine Guide

Why It’s Time to Broaden Your Job Search Beyond the Big Boards

More party picts, courtesy of Brian Solis.

Marc Cenedella, CEO and Founder of

Dan Farber and Elizabeth Phillips

Nick Douglas and Melissa Gira

Om Malik and Elizabeth Phillips

Irina Slutsky and Sarah Meyers

Liz Gannes, Brian Solis, Joanne Wan

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Lorna Li

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