Watch out BranchOut, there’s a new monster in town

Clearly seeing the advantages of using social networks to reach out to millions of users like LinkedIn and BranchOut, Monster has launched a Facebook app to build a professional network separately and apart from the ones their friends get to see.

The app, called BeKnown borrows much from LinkedIn and BranchOut focusing on younger workers beginning to build their business contacts that don’t have access to, nor use the number 1 recruitment business network LinkedIn. The app makes it possible for users to invite contacts from other sources which BranchOut does not, from sources such as Gmail, Yahoo!, Twitter and of course Facebook. Installing the app gives users a second Facebook profile that can be imported from LinkedIn or Monster if they are registered there. The user’s personal information such as personal pictures and other Facebook content can in fact be managed to create a different persona from the your social friends on the networking site get to see. Keeping it as it is, your BeKnown visual appearance will mimic that of your Facebook appearance and presence.

When you set up your BeKnown profile, you can view and apply for jobs, see company information, get endorsed and apply for jobs directly from the app. You even have an online version of your resume which can be printed in PDF.  You’ll be automatically matched to jobs, based on the information you profile on your BeKnown profile. The great thing about this app is that anyone and everyone from all experience and work levels and different job seekers can use it. You don’t need to be professional to use the app and it promotes a different level of networking on Facebook whichever position you are seeking. It’s also international as the app is available in 19 languages. Groovy eh?

It’s pretty easy to get started on the app. There’s no long lengthy processes to get you started and millions of questions to tick, click or choose. When you install the app, import your Facebook profile and a photo (the more professional kind), probably not the one of you getting legless at your mates birthday (just saying)  and edit your profile to include all your experiences and education. Once you’ve completed your BeKnown profile, it will look like an online version of your resume and you’ll be able to apply for jobs. It’s important to know that any information you do import from your Facebook profile is brushed up and not anything that can dampen your chances of getting a job. Wouldn’t want that now hey. If you’re already a Monster user, you can in fact import your resume from Monster to the app. In addition to your online profile, there is a PDF version you can print.

Connecting on BeKnown couldn’t actually be simpler. You don’t have to be Facebook friends to make a connection on BeKnown. If you want to, who’s stopping you, but from an employment perspective you don’t need to add your boyfriend, your parents and party-animal cousin Judith to your app. Treat this app as your professional network of connections, remember that Facebook is your private life and LinkedIn is your professional life. Just think any bad press on yourself could hurt your chances of that dream job. It’s a point to remember and not to forget.

When you’re job searching, BeKnown provides active assistance with several job search tools. Monster’s job search is built into the app, so you’ll be able to search for jobs on Monster from BeKnown. You’ll see job openings at your friend’s companies, and you’ll also see featured jobs. The featured jobs are automatically matched with your profile, which is why it’s a good idea to make sure that your profile is complete and accurate. Monster’s matching service provides personalized job leads based on your experience and qualifications. When you find a job you’re interested in, you can either apply now or apply later. When you’re ready to apply, there’s a one-click process where you’ll send your BeKnown profile to the company. You’ll also be able to read more about the company on its BeKnown company page. If there’s a company you’re interested in that doesn’t have an opening at the moment, you’ll be able to follow the company to see new job openings once they are posted.

Know someone who is great at what they do? Give them an endorsement on BeKnown and you’ll earn a badge similar to BranchOut’s badges. The badges you earn will be posted on your profile. When you receive an endorsement, it will show on your profile, as well, once you approve it. On the employer side, BeKnown provides company pages and job postings for employers. Job postings are free to list for your 1st and 2nd degree connections, there’s a fee if you’d like to expand your posting to reach more job seekers.

How does it compare to the other Recruitment networking sites out there?

As most people in the talent acquisition industry know, LinkedIn has and is the major force in the corporate recruiting market. It’s seen by all and is best known as being the professional social network for corporate recruiters and job seekers. Corporate recruiting is LinkedIn’s fastest growing revenue stream, and the company is now aggressively building new tools and services.  Today the LinkedIn network has around 100 million users and is growing at a rate of nearly 3 million per month. While this growth is wonderful for LinkedIn’s investors and most corporate recruiters, there is an entire world of Facebook users who do not use LinkedIn (yet).  Facebook, with more than 750 million users, taps into a broader audience who uses the network for different purposes.  Facebook users keep in touch with friends, play games, share photos and family news, publish personal information, and often promote information about their children, pets, and local activities.  They even publish their location.

So, despite LinkedIn’s tremendous growth, there is still a huge untapped network of Facebook users who are not yet taking advantage of professional social networking.  (A “professional social network” is one that we use for business networking, recruiting, and the promotion of our professional expertise and experience, so it requires a different set of features and security than Facebook offers today.)  BeKnown has the potential to bring professional social networking to this huge new audience.

The big question running through my mind is, Can Monster make a success of BeKnown?

It sounds like a great idea, I really do think it will do well for itself. I’m just hoping it won’t be a slow starter like BranchOut, which still, a year on is struggling to get its full money worth as a direct competitor of LinkedIn. The use of Social Networks for Corporate Recruiting has proved powerful for both recruiting and job seeking. The corporate recruitment industry itself is worth a staggering $120 billion and is still transforming by LinkedIn because the system is such a powerful tool for recruiters to find passive candidates.  People in the LinkedIn network maintain their profile actively, giving recruiters a real-time, highly accurate database from which to search and contact candidates. And the growth of LinkedIn has dramatically impacted many of the big players in this market.  Mid-sized recruiting companies are seeing big companies develop more and more expertise in the use of social networking internally. And large job boards like Monster.com, The Ladders, and others are seeking job seekers (and recruiters) move their money and energy toward LinkedIn. The first professional networking application in Facebook is BranchOut, which has built around a million users already is still at a slow start in comparison to the fast growth LinkedIn has seen since its launch.  The launch of BeKnown, developed by Monster, is a major move to change these dynamics and give Monster a significant opportunity to play in the Facebook network of job seekers and recruitment needs.

Monster.com is one of the biggest and most experienced players in the corporate recruiting market. The company operates a vast array of websites, advertising services, and media tools to help job seekers and recruiters with more than 49 million unique visitors globally. It has always been a great database to source new candidates and has thrived since its launch back in 1999 which has seen it become known as the biggest recruitment network in the world. Now with major players such as LinkedIn and most recently BranchOut, Monster has had to explore other avenues to help recruiters find the best talent in the market. Although the company generatess over $1 Billion in revenue and has continued to grow over the last few years, it seems its business has been slow because of the growth in social networks, vertical job boards, and job aggregators like Indeed.com.

Most of my clients and agencies I work with have said they are shifting their spend away from the likes of Monster, Total Jobs, CV Library etc and spend their money on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter as well as their own employment branding strategies as the ROI is much higher and better. Nearly everyone including job seekers, employers, the dude next to you and the girl in front of you on the tube has a Twitter and/or Facebook account. The fact that social networks has increased its followers/fans/members and can reach a global audience for little or no money, its no surprise Monster have launched an app for these markets to attract more people and become a more social recruitment tool.

I really hope that BeKnown makes a great stand in this  competitive recruiting market and keep on the ball with the latest trends to keep their app up-to-date and in line with Facebook & LinkedIn. The app only launched a few weeks ago so it is early stages yet to start throwing our opinions around and judging it or complimenting it as it’s yet unproven in the market. Potentially this could become a major social networking tool in the marketplace that will potentially one day be in the same line or better than LinkedIn. The 600 million “non-LinkedIn” users in Facebook can use the app as an entry point to build their own professional network.  LinkedIn users who may not want their Facebook identities shared can use BeKnown to build professional networks through their Facebook friends, many of whom may not use LinkedIn today. As a tool for professionals, BeKnown gives users the ability to more carefully control what information they share – enabling people to finally separate their “family and personal” Facebook account from their “Professional” facebook profile in BeKnown. For recruiters, BeKnown extends Facebook with features to make recruiting far easier.  Recruiters can easily set up company pages, post jobs, create referral networks, and leverage existing Monster job listings among the BeKnown network.  The system’s features for badging, job sharing, job referrals, and company pages should quickly create a “market for jobs” which builds upon Facebook’s reach, but bypasses Facebook’s more generalized advertising system. For professionals who actively use LinkedIn today, this is a directly competitive system (and now another professional network to manage). I hope BeKnown will attract a bigger audience of people who are one to join the likes of LinkedIn and build a strong network of people from all walks of life, young or old through a global audience whatever their profession is. Maybe one day we may see LinkedIn coming a close second to this new and exciting app.

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2 thoughts on “Watch out BranchOut, there’s a new monster in town

  1. HI there,

    My name is Ali and I work for BranchOut.

    You have an interesting take on BeKnown, there are mixed reviews of Monster’s launch, but we’re paying attention. Our synopsis (and that of most of the blogosphere) is that it’s a bad copy, rushed to market for SHRM. The primary purpose of the site appears to be a traffic generator that redirects people from Facebook back to Monster. For example, the job listings do not have the community features we have; rather, the user is driven back to Monster listings. This makes sense as Monster struggles to maintain traffic to its service and justify its premium pricing.

    Take a look at the InsideFacebook.com article that compares BranchOut and BeKnown:
    http://www.insidefacebook.com/2011/06/27/monster-beknown/

    I’d love to be a resource for you if you have any questions about BranchOut. Have a terrific weekend and I look forward to staying in touch 🙂

    Ali

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