Last week I sat down with the three founders of Jobdot — a boutique digital-media recruiting firm based in New York. Jeff Kuntz, Scott Berkson and Adam Glantz are serial entrepreneurs in one form or another. Between the three, they have launched and built multiple digital businesses, including a top-five ranked ad network. I wanted to find out why three guys blazing a trail in emerging media decided to take a different direction and build something a hell of a lot more traditional. What I discovered is that they are young, hungry and they really do seem to know digital media like the backs of their hands. They can talk the talk and walk the walk with their clients — and candidates. Could this be the thing that makes them shine? I know I’ll be keeping an eye on them — and their killer logo.
Q. You launched Jobdot in late 2007 and, soon after, the market tanked. Tell me honestly, are you guys kicking yourselves?
A. Not at all. We are trying to build a brand here, vs. just a recruiting firm. Sure, our core competency is recruiting but we are planning more. When Adam and I were building adNet for MediaWhiz from the ground up, the biggest problem we had was finding talent. The recruiters we worked with were sending us personal trainer resumes for ad sales executives! We realized that we had to do it on our own and eventually decided this would be a viable business to get into.
Q. Why do you think you are different than the other recruiters in the space?
A. The other recruiters out there have not built ad networks. They have not been in on the ground floor when digital agencies were sprouting up. Other recruiters don’t have a hands-on, intrinsic knowledge of the sales, marketing and operations skills needed to actually run an online business. They didn’t run Internet advertising teams like we have. We understand the business from the inside out because this is the only business we know. When we bring in new clients, we really get under the hood and understand how they run their businesses. We can then effectively relate this information back to our candidates and find the right fit without having to push a million resumes across our clients’ desks. I can’t think of any other recruiters in NY who were completely born into digital, vs. growing into it because of market demands.
Q. So, can you tell me who some of your clients are?
A. AOL, Hearst, Fox News, Rodale and a lot of pure plays. We work with ad networks, social media and technology companies. Most of our smaller clients have had at least 1-2 rounds of funding with 20+ employees.
Q. How are you incorporating social media into your business model?
A. Social media is one piece of our overall plan to get our brand out there, along with sponsorships and advertising. We’ve been using social networking tools since we started out —LinkedIn and Facebook. Our goal is to have our network of people see us as a full-service employment services company for the digital media industry. We want to be a source of information for career growth in this field and will use social media to promote this goal.
Q. How do you think candidates should use social media in their efforts to get a job?
A. Candidates need to do their homework. If they are going to meet with a hiring manager, they should research that person’s background ahead of time. Read what other people are saying about him. They need to use this information and leverage it as a communications tool on an interview. Candidates should spend more time crafting their LinkedIn profiles. It’s very, very important to link to as many people on LinkedIn and Facebook as possible. They also need to have recommendations but these should be selective and it shouldn’t look as though you went shopping for them. And, obviously, don’t put pictures up on Facebook that can do more harm than good.
Q. What do you think about VisualCV?
A. I don’t really see the value. Too much information doesn’t actually make it better. If you are a creative person, you are most likely going to build your own site to feature your work, so what’s the point?
Q. Do you think there is a stigma attached to a candidate who does not use Facebook or LinkedIn?
A. If you are in digital media, you need to be involved and connected to social media communities. If you are not involved, we have to wonder: “How much do you really know about the industry?” I also pay attention to the number of connections/friends someone has. If they only have eight, that’s just bad.
Q. What’s your take on job boards? They are popping up all over the place. Effective or not so much?
A. They are just another tool to do research. We use search agents — as one of many resources to source candidates — and go thru resumes everyday. So, yeah, it’s feasible that you could get a call from us if you are using the boards.
Q. How do you see the recruiting market changing?
A. When we first started, there were too many jobs and not enough talent. Now supply and demand are polar opposite. Clients are being very selective and making sure that they get the best people — taking their time. As things continue to shake out it will be interesting to see what happens. It’s a cyclical business.
Interview conducted with Jeff Kuntz, Scott Berkson and Adam Glantz