SEO (Search Engine Optimization) was popular in recruiting and then it seemed like nobody cared anymore. Then Google 4 Jobs launched and everyone started caring again
Venkat Janapareddy, CEO of Jobiak steps behind the mic to talk Google for Jobs, SEO, and what matters most when trying to get the most relevant eyeballs on your jobs.
Welcome to the start of another VOICES in-depth interview series with Venkat Janapareddy brought to you by HR's Most Dangerous Podcast.
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Chad: What is the state of Google for Jobs today? Does it really matter? Is it going to overtake Indeed? What are some of the big questions and what matters right now with Google for Jobs?
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Joel: Yo, what's up everybody?
Chad: The hell was that?
Joel: Welcome to HR's most dangerous podcast, The Chad and Cheese Podcast, I'm your co-host Joel Cheesman.
Chad: And I'm Chad, with a new standup desk, Sowash.
Joel: Ooh, fancy.
Joel: And, you may have heard about it, you may have listened to an episode, this is a new Voices series. We are honored to have with us for this one, Venkat Janapareddy, CEO and founder of Jobiak. Venkat, what's up?
Venkat: Thank you Chad and joel. Thank you for having me. It's good to be here.
Joel: Very welcome. You sound very relaxed in all this virus panic.
Venkat: Yeah. Yeah. This whole Corona is starting to hit us in Boston. We have almost 91 cases. A lot of working from home. Hopefully, it's going to slow down. Right now, it's really affecting us in a big way in terms of travel events. I'm hoping in the next couple of months it'll go away.
Joel: Are you seeing any panic from customers or prospects at this point?
Venkat: Not customers or prospects, but VCs and investors, they're starting to slow down. Definitely, that's a big concern, not only just for us, a lot of startups who are looking to raise money, that's going to be a big challenge because they're very, very conservative now. A couple of my friends who were close to closing around, they were sent away and they were told to hold up for six months. I think it's going to have a big impact on fundraising.
Chad: Yeah. The market itself, obviously is sending everybody into shock. Again, it's all around managing a crisis overall. Yeah, hopefully we can get our arms around this shit.
Joel: You've raised the money, just for listeners, what's the update on that for you guys Venkat?
Venkat: Yes. We raised close to $3 million, predominantly from successful entrepreneurs from Boston. Some prominent people like Rajat Gupta, [Inaudible [00:03:23.05] from Dallas, a lot of Boston HR type guys. It's only five or six people, we're good for the next six to eight months, so we don't really have to worry about the sole fundraising. I think as I told you guys in December, we launched our product, the optimization product for Google for Jobs, and it's doing really well. Our customers are very happy, they're seeing all jobs ranking especially in top 20, which is what our new product does. That's good. We've got almost 18 customers in the last two months. We've got 40 more in the pipeline. All the hard work is really starting to pay us off. It's good time for Jobiak.
Joel: Nice. And what's your staffing look like now?
Venkat: We are close to130 people. When I spoke to you guys almost 14 months back
Joel: Time out. What are they doing?
Venkat: The technology, 90% of our staff is still tech. The optimization product is pretty intense, it took us 14 months of machine learning. It's not easy to build something to show up in the top 20.
Venkat: The product has been really good. Again, we are spread across the country. We've got a CTO in Bay Area. We have got people in France as well as in India. It's tech, but it's really intense to machine learning platform.
Chad: In France and India. Tell us a little bit about the work habits, and obviously, you're incredibly well attuned with not just working here in the US but throughout the United States, but our listeners might not, how is it different working with individuals in India and France, let alone the US with regard to trying to getting things
Joel: Longer lunches.
Venkat: The number one is, first of all, obviously, the cost-wise India is much, much cheaper. They work in different shifts, so if you want to get a lot of work done when you're living in the US especially in the evenings, and they get most of the work done by the time you wake up. India is really picking up in terms of machine learning, it's extremely, extremely difficult to hire engineers right now, especially in machine learning. A lot of colleges are starting to educate and teach, so if you're looking for solid AI and machine learning engineers, you get them at a reasonable price from India. In terms of working with them, a lot of things have changed in the last 20 years for good, the kids are a lot smarter, kids who are graduating from college.
Chad: Uh-huh (affirmative). Thank God.
Venkat: The work we get, it's really good now. The output is really good. It's smart, not about working 18 to 24 hours anymore, they do have a life after work now. It's used to be not the case.
Chad: Are they ready for you when they come out of college? Are they ready or is there a lot of onboarding that you have to do to get them set up and ready to do what you need them to do? Because we've always heard about the skills gaps. Right? But it sounds like from you, at least the types of individuals you're pulling in, that might not be the case. So what does that onboarding timeframe look like or are they just a plug and play, get it done?
Venkat: No, they're absolutely not plug and play. You still have to, especially if you're hiring fresh graduates from college, you really have to train them for six to seven months. It's an investment that you have to do. Once you'd go through the initial six to seven months investment as long as you like the company, the culture, they really work hard and they'll get going right after that. But it's not plug and play. I still have to do a lot of hard work. I still have to train them, mentor them, coach them. But after that, once you do that initial investments, it pays off big time.
Joel: So these are all full time employees?
Venkat: Yes. They're all full time employees because of IP reasons, investors insist that everyone of these guys are on our payroll.
Chad: Everybody cares about Google for Jobs, right? They're not really sure if it's helping. Some companies like iCIMS say that it's the number three traffic provider for their companies. That's pretty big because it came up from number six for them within the past year to number three. From your standpoint, and you were obviously, neck deep in Google for Jobs, what is the state of Google for Jobs today? Does it really matter? Is it going to overtake Indeed? What are some of the big questions and what matters right now with Google for Jobs?
Venkat: Yeah. It started very slow to be very honest. Google doesn't really do a lot of advertising. It's live now, most of the world. It's available in Asia, most of Europe, Latin America. The Google for Jobs little visit that you see Google organic says now accounts for 38% of all job searches, that's almost like 100 to 120 million clicks per day. What's happening now is it's initially, if you look at last year when you're pushing your jobs on Google, there was not much traffic, now people are starting to see the traffic, the visit is starting to pick up. Again, the Google for Jobs also has his own problems. Originally, it started with schema, they said just put in a schema then you're all set. That worked really well in 2017 and 2018 but it's not working now because every single job is published on Google for Jobs by hundreds of jobs boards, and Google only picks up six of them because it has a limit of six applies. So how do you show up on Google if your job is being published by a hundred other job boards?
Venkat: It's starting to become a big SEO play. It's no longer about the schema. Lots of people have figured out putting the schema. Most applicant tracking system have this technology in place, but most of them don't see anything from Google because it's SEO play.
Chad: Well, and they get kicked out because they're not one of the six. So obviously, how do you become, and this might be some secret sauce shit right now, but how do you become one of the top six? Because it sounds like Google is picking winners and losers, at least the top six.
Joel: Here comes the red meat.
Venkat: Yes. It's all about landing pages. Whatever these RMPs doing, investing in career size, that's where it's really starting to pay off. If you have a good starting landing page, you are going to do well. The reason you see most jobs today on Google for Jobs, you see LinkedIn, Glassdoor, their landing page is loaded with SEO. They have just not the job posting, they have a lot of additional information, related jobs, training materials, significant additional information that will be helpful for job seeker. Various applicant tracking system, they don't really have good landing pages and they don't get any traffic. So you're now competing with 100 other job boards with the landing pages. For you to do well, you really have to understand the SEO for jobs and if you don't know the SEO, which most of HR tech guys, especially recruiters, there's still a CS, it's too technical for them and they're not marketed. So people are investing in SEO, which is basically RMPs, they're putting a lot of effort in terms of career pages and landing pages. They tend to do well, but if you are thinking you're just going to put the job schema and let it show up, 50% of your jobs do not even show up and not even searchable on Google for Jobs.
Joel: Just for our audience Venkat, when you say the landing page, do you mean the job description page or something else?
Venkat: It's the landing page on the company career site, which is the job description page which has the apply button. When you go to Google for Jobs and you find a job, say a Java developer, there's this apply on LinkedIn, apply on Glassdoor, most of these buttons when you click on them, they take you to a landing page which has the job details. That page has to have first, good quality in the formatting, the quality of the content has to be really good. Significant additional information you have to provide, just not the, just the job pays alone. But if you provide, related jobs, some keywords people are using to find this job, anything that will be helpful for job seeker, Google likes that. Once you have a lot of this information, then you tend to do well. Again, first you have a show up in the first six. Then the next big one is 50% of the people who will always click on the first apply. Either way, if you show up, if you are the second or the third or the fourth, it's like Google organic says, "Most people click on the first one," so once you make the top six, how do you make it to top one? That's where the SEO is to get to the top six, the optimization, the whole job posting optimization, meta keywords, there's a lot of stuff that goes on in optimizing your job. If you do well, then you show up being the number one. If you have number one, you get the same traffic as what you get from job boards. If you are not, you're not going to see much value from Google for Jobs. So if you're investing on Google for Jobs, you make sure you show up being the number one apply button on Google for Jobs, then you will see three to four X more applicants than what you're seeing today.
Chad: Okay. So, like iCIMS, they're obviously doing well since they're seeing it being their number three, but most applicant tracking systems aren't, what are they doing better than everybody else? They're just focusing on that job description page and doing those things that you're talking about or maybe they have a better relationship with Google because they know Google knows that is the point of conception for the actual job itself, it's the original place? Do you think that there's any weighting that happens there?
Venkat: No. Initially when Google for Jobs was launched, they partnered with about 16 to 20 different companies like LinkedIn, iCIMS, they got the documentation first, but as far as showing up on Google for Jobs ranking, it doesn't really matter, it's all about quality of your job and SEO. iCIMS does a good job, the problem with iCIMS is they haven't really figured out the apply button on the company name. Like Sangaze is a customer of iCIMS, when you go to any of iCIMS customers right now, it says apply on the client name-iCIMS. A lot of job seekers don't know what iCIMS is. When we went live 12 months back, all of our jobs used to sa apply in Jobiak, nobody knows what Jobiak is, what iCIMS is. If you put Deloitte, it says apply on Deloitte careers, it says apply on IBM careers versus LinkedIn or Glassdoor, the chances of candidate clicking on Deloitte is a lot higher.
Chad: So you have control of that yourself? iCIMS has control of what that button says and Jobiak has control of what that button says on Google for Jobs?
Venkat: It depends on what your implementation is. iCIMS is an applicant tracking system right now, they don't own the career sites. Especially RMPS, they have a good shot at controlling what it shares because you own the career site. The way you go about getting the apply and what Google recommends is make sure these jobs are on your career site, not on ATS, not on job boards. If you look at, take an example, iCIMS or Lever, most of their jobs have a url pattern of clientname.lever.com or clientname.icims.com. What Google is saying now, that's not good, put it on careers.deloitte.com.
Venkat: So if you have a job, and you use the deloitte.com versus deloitte.icims.com, the one at deloitte.com will always do better because Google learns that's the company that hosts these jobs.
Chad: That's SEO 101. Right?
Venkat: I assume it's nothing that they do, they do have some custom career sites for some other clients, but very, very small portion of that, but if you don't have that, you don't get the apply button.
Joel: So are you guys setting up sub-domains and having the company point that to you guys to accomplish that goal?
Venkat: Yeah. We have a couple of implementations. When we are working with companies like Phenom, it's a lot easier because they already own these career sites. So there's a stair to put a pixel to get our platform on it. We work very similar to Google analytics, they have to put in a one time pixel code, then they're all set. We do all the machine learning, we make sure your jobs are showing up on top 20 and you're getting a lot of traffic. But if you don't have a good career site, which is the case for most of the applicant tracking systems, then we do what Joel just said, we just create a sub-domain and have them point to one of our servers and then we build pretty much what RMP stay in terms of landing page. We only focus on landing page, we don't do he whole career site and all of that, but we provide significant additional information on the landing page, which Google really, really likes it. What we provide and say, that's really our secret sauce, but that's been really working out. We didn't have this at the beginning, we were like anyone else, just putting the schema, that didn't work out for us and most of the applicant tracking systems, but with this new SEO and optimization, things are looking really good.
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