How CareerBuilder is Preparing For a New Era
Thirty years ago, Irina Novoselsky and her parents arrived in the U.S. as refugees from the former Soviet Union with less than $300 to their names. Today, Novoselsky is the new CEO of CareerBuilder, one of the most well-known companies in the recruiting/talent acquisition space.
Much has changed since a group of media companies launched CareerBuilder in 1995 as one of the nation’s first job boards. The rise of niche job boards, social networks and job aggregators put a strain on the job-board business model and big players like CareerBuilder and Monster saw their revenues drop. Both companies have since been acquired by much larger firms (Monster was bought by Randstad in 2016 while Apollo Global Management purchased a majority stake in CareerBuilder last year).
CareerBuilder has spent the past few years acquiring other companies—among them WORKTERRA in 2016—and transforming itself into what former CEO Matt Ferguson called “a full-scale human capital management company.” Earlier this year, Ferguson (who’s now executive chairman) handed over the reins to Novoselsky, who moved over to CareerBuilder from Apollo after it acquired its majority stake last year and served as COO and president. In addition to an extensive background in investment banking, Novoselsky has also served as CFO and president of Novitex Enterprise Solutions, a management-services company with 9,000 employees.
In the following Q&A, she explains CareerBuilder’s plans to be a one-stop shop for recruiters and jobseekers “from hello to hire,” and how it’s preparing for a future in which desktop computers (and job boards) will no longer be around.
What are you finding most exciting in recruiting today, and how are you positioning Careerbuilder to capitalize on those trends?
What I’m finding most exciting is how tech is driving the candidate experience, which itself is being driven by mobility. Seventy percent of candidates are using their mobile devices to look for jobs. I mean, separate us from our phones and we go into panic attacks! Mobile is becoming central to the work experience. We don’t believe desktops will still exist five or 10 years from now. So, we’ve been investing in moving to mobile apps across our entire platform of hiring products. “One-click wonder” is now the norm, and we’re very much focused on that.
“Candidate experience” is now the top buzzword in recruiting, along with “artificial intelligence.” How are you focused on providing a better candidate experience to folks searching for jobs via your platform?
One of the things we’re doing is to make it possible for jobseekers to build a resume in less than a minute. We have so many profiles in our database that auto-fill takes care of most of it. We’re also using A.R.—augmented reality—to make job hunting a much more fun and interactive experience. It lets you point your phone at an office building or go to a mall and, depending on the settings you’ve chosen for the positions you’re looking for, it will show you on your phone job openings at those places that meet your requirements. People want flexibility, they don’t want to have to comb through lists, and we think this gives them the engaging experience they’re looking for.
At the most-recent HR Tech Conference, “recruiter experience” was a topic of discussion. What’s Careerbuilder doing to make the process of finding and engaging new talent easier for recruiters?
Our strategy for recruiters is to be their one-stop shop for talent, “from hello to hire.” We’ve got an intake tool that makes it easier for recruiters to play a consultative role with hiring managers that includes sample resumes of potential candidates. It has data on where to find top talent, compensation ranges for jobs and who the top competitors are for that talent. Our CRM functionality lets recruiters spend time with candidates who’ve already indicated they like the company’s brand. We’re using A.I. to make the background-check process much faster, because our data also show that 70 percent of candidates continue looking for jobs even after they get an offer. If the average background check is taking two weeks, then that’s two additional weeks you’re giving candidates to find a different job. We’ve also introduced a tool that lets recruiters build job descriptions just by entering a job title.
A number of observers have, over the years, called job boards obsolete. What’s your response to that?
On the job board piece, we’ll be OK if job boards don’t exist five years from now. One of the things we want to climb aboard is the software aspect, the CRM aspect, going back to the candidates you already have as opposed to spending dollars going after new ones, and getting them to the hire phase. I think we’ve previously been known as an expert in online recruiting, we have a pretty strong penetration in the talent acquisition space, and we love that, that’s our key. We’re now taking what we’re known for, leveraging it and highlighting it through showing and telling what else our technology can do via an integrated approach. I believe we’re a tech company first and an HR company second. In fact, most people don’t realize that we’re one of the largest employers of data scientists in the HR tech space.
Finding diverse candidates and removing bias from the recruitment process have been big topics lately. What role do you see for CareerBuilder in this area?
We’re doing a lot of work in that area. We’ve been helping clients diversify the candidates they’re getting. And we keep the focus on ourselves—in order to provide a diverse experience for our clients, we need to be diverse as technologists and as an employer. Our leadership team is over 70 percent women and minorities, and more than 50 percent of our manager positions are held by women or minorities. On our platform, we’re putting in features that make it difficult for bias to come into play, such as by highlighting skills, for example. A lot of this is being brought forward thanks to the diversity we’ve got on our team. If you want diversity of thought in your organization, then you need to mirror the market that you serve.
Although you’re just starting out as CEO, have you given some thought as to what you hope your legacy will be at the company?
I’m really honored to be CEO of this company. I came to this country with nothing, so this reinforces for me that education and opportunity are two of the reasons that America gives you the chance to achieve your dreams. As a company, I want our mission to be doing everything we can to match candidates with their ideal careers and help them build the life that they want to have.