Amusing Job Seekers

See how 2016 iTalent competition winner The Muse is revolutionizing online job search.

By Marta Chmielowicz

Searching for a job online can be a frustrating and unrewarding process. Hours are spent perusing hundreds of dry, banal listings that provide no real insight into company brand or culture. Over time, the listings begin to blur together, leaving job seekers confused and discouraged about ever finding a good fit. When most career platforms are geared toward offering quantity over quality, it can be difficult to determine which companies are uniquely qualified to fill each candidate’s specific needs.

While traditional career websites provide the scope and variety of jobs that candidates are seeking, they lack the individualized approach that is necessary to ensure a good cultural fit between employee and employer. And this is a key piece to the talent puzzle: According to Randstad Sourceright 2015 Talent Trends Report, cultural fit is the second most important criteria when assessing talent. The Muse, the winner of the 2016 iTalent Competition, seeks to fill this need with its interactive, multimedia approach that helps employees find the right job and providing them with the resources needed to grow in their new role.

“First-generation career sites provide the ability to do specific searches for text-based results, but they all look the same,” explains founder and CEO Kathryn Minshew. “Nobody was providing a really vivid, insightful look into various career options, company culture, and what it’s like to really work at a company. And today, the most talented people are seeking meaningful, fulfilling work at companies where they can make a difference.”

Through its innovative approach, The Muse strives to provide job seekers with valuable career content and the opportunity to find work at a company that fits their needs.

“For individuals, we provide career advice, coaching, and other career development services as well as job listings, and an inside look into companies and career paths using photos and videos, interviews with people at different companies that you might want to apply to, and a very unconventional take on company profiles,” says Minshew.

Because traditional job boards provide access to job listings and little else, Minshew saw an opportunity to provide career management resources and coaching for job seekers. These resources are valuable to both young Millennial workers who are just starting their careers as well as established professionals looking to make a career change or move into a new job or industry.

“I think the desire to have information before making a career decision is fairly universal. And for us, creating this very comprehensive, personalized career destination was an important part of establishing trust with our users and with creating a beloved community that many of our people come back to again and again, even if they have a great job, because they see us as a mentor or a guide,” she says.

The community that The Muse fosters has been essential to the growth of the company, with more than 100,000 users avidly sharing and promoting its content and resources on Twitter alone. According to Minshew, “There’s 50 million people [using The Muse] every year. The average age is 29, over half of them (about 60 percent) are female, just about half are non-white—so it’s a very talented, engaged, diverse set of potential candidates.” As content becomes more visible and widely-circulated, the value of The Muse has grown exponentially, with sales skyrocketing by five times since last year.

“Creating a career experience that can be very social but doesn’t have to be was important for us because the last thing we wanted to do was make people feel like their job search had to be in any way public,” says Minshew. “It’s not. It’s a very private thing for many people, but for those that were more open or those that were simply happy in their jobs and reading the career advice, looking at the coaching, and thinking about career development, we provided a tremendous number of resources and made those resources very shareable on social.”

Although The Muse is primarily geared toward easing the job search for applicants, organizations can also benefit tremendously from taking advantage of this service. “For companies, we give them a way to communicate directly with potential candidates to showcase their culture, their office, and their employer brand and to put a really human touch on their employee value proposition,” says Minshew.

The Muse does this by developing company profiles that tell compelling stories about brand and culture through various forms of media, including photos, videos, and articles. By providing original content and dedicated support, The Muse offers companies who may otherwise lack the resources to develop their own recruitment content a fresh perspective on the quirks that make them unique and desirable among applicants. This helps organizations of all sizes attract the right type of talent, build a more motivated and productive team, and gain an advantage in the marketplace.

“We’re experts in helping companies communicate their employer brand in a more human, authentic way,” explains Minshew. “So when companies work with The Muse, they’re signing up not only for our audience, but also for our expertise. We have a nation-wide network of photographers and videographers, we have in-house content experts and employer branding experts, and we see our job as to help companies attract the right candidates, not just any candidates. So, we help them tell a story about what it’s like to work at their company that’s going to resonate with the type of people who would be excited by that opportunity and be the long-term members of that team.”

Through collaboration with experts at The Muse, companies are able to reach out a diverse audience of platform users, change the perception of their brand among people who may have never considered them as an employer, and find qualified, new hires. This service has already been taken advantage of by a myriad of companies, including Facebook, Dropbox, Wells Fargo, HBO, and AT&T, among others.

This is just the beginning. “We have a lot in the works right now,” she says. “One of our biggest goals is to continue to personalize the site and the experiences of the user so that an individual, whether they’re a 25-year-old looking for their second job or a 45-year-old with a very deep expertise in one area who’s looking to make a big change, can have a personalized experience at The Muse to help them get where they need to go faster and more effectively.”

In addition to personalizing the site, The Muse will also be expanding into new geographies and markets and providing companies with competitive insights so that they may improve and optimize their recruitment strategies. One of Minshew’s major goals is to allow companies to “know how they’re doing on The Muse but also see how that compares to other companies and where particular parts of their recruitment strategy or even their job descriptions might be able to be improved.”

SIDEBAR: iTalent Competition

The Muse took home top honors at the fifth annual HRO Today Forum iTalent competition in Chiacago in May, where six leading technology companies demonstrated how they are solving HR problems. During the competition, the finalists gave seven-minute pitches about their products, highlighting the innovative ways that they help businesses recruit, hire, and retain talent. A panel of HR technology experts, industry analysts, HR practitioners and technology investors, as well as the general HRO Today Forum audience, voted The Muse the winner.

“The iTalent competition was a really useful opportunity to present our business to an audience of potential customers and experts and investors in the space, and get feedback, understand reactions, and have a forum to really discuss and debate some of the big issues that we’re tackling as a company,” says Minshew. “It was a great competition; I would very enthusiastically recommend it to anyone else.”

Posted September 15, 2016 in Talent Acquisition

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