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Odds and ends: mercenaries, LinkedIn, and CPA

mercenariesSometimes (well, perhaps more often than not) I see news and trends and events that don’t really merit a full post – but definitely are what I think of as interesting. So guess what? This is the official ‘odds and ends’ post! I hope there’s something in here you find intriguing or enjoyable.

Mercenaries needs jobs, too: Somehow I missed this job board – but in fact there is a site for ‘soldiers of fortune’ and it’s called Silent Professionals. It has apparently been around since 2017, and it focuses on “a wide range of jobs available within the defense and private security industry as well as unique corporate security job opportunities”. In other words, mercenaries. It seems to be running on a WordPress platform (guys, that’s probably not the most secure way to do it!). As the article referenced above says, “Susan Gonzales (a co-founder) told VICE News that the site is trying to help PMCs do precisely the opposite of recent mercenary exploits, and is adamant that Silent Professionals would never support coups.” Hmm. As I tell everyone, there is a job board for every niche. EVERY NICHE.

LinkedIn makes $10 billion: Everyone’s favorite “it’s not a job board” job board just broke the $10 billion (yes, that’s with a B) mark. It is absolutely true that in addition to making money from recruiters and candidates, LinkedIn has been very successful at taking marketing cash as well – bringing in over $1B in the last quarter from that segment. So what’s the most interesting thing about Microsoft’s money-printing operation? It’s not clear that LinkedIn is actually profitable, according to a recent article. As it points out, “Microsoft stopped reporting LinkedIn’s operating profits publicly in its 2019 fiscal year. LinkedIn was profitable earlier in its life as a standalone public company, before posting a $165 million loss on $3 billion in revenue in 2015, prior to the Microsoft acquisition. LinkedIn ran at a loss initially inside Microsoft due to long-term costs associated with the acquisition.” Well, if they’re not profitable now, I suspect it’s because they – or Microsoft – have chosen to be unprofitable. At any rate, $10B is an impressive number, and one that probably makes Indeed sleep restlessly.

CPC, CPA, CPQA, and ….?: The AIM Group’s John Zappe recently wrote an interesting analysis of the pay for performance market – specifically, the interest by high volume hirers (think Target, Amazon, etc.) in cost per application (CPA). This of course makes total sense (cents?) – they would certainly prefer to have lots of filled-out applications instead of plain old ‘clicks’. But as Zappe points out – and several vendors discuss – all applications are not equal. This of course brings up the eternal conundrum of ‘what is a quality application’? Appcast says it is an ’employer triggering event’ that indicates application quality – something like scheduling an interview. As you might guess, this means tying into the employer’s ATS. Recruitology has a different approach – they “(parse) incoming resumes to compare them to the job description and then offers to bill the customer only for completed applications in the 60thpercentile of relevancy.” A third vendor, the recently acquired PandoLogic, uses AI to determine quality – they “(compare) an application to the job description, but goes deeper, incorporating job taxonomy to supplement the employer’s requirements and an NLP bot’s interaction with the candidate.” I applaud anyone trying to discern what an employer means when they say they only want ‘quality applies’ – but it seems like Appcast might be closest to guessing what is in an employer’s (often opaque) mind. Remember – it’s what they do, not what they say!

Busy summer!: I have recorded 13 acquisitions, sales, or mergers in our industry since May 1st – including purchases by Veritone, Circa, Stepstone, PandoLogic, Prosus, and many more. So much for the dog days of summer – and we still have a month to go! That’s considerably more than I recorded for the same period in 2019 or 2020. Lots of pent up energy, apparently.

Something you think I should notice? Let me know!

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