Job board software: An Engine to generate more Revenue

Tom Ricca-McCarthy
Tom Ricca-McCarthy

When you look at a software solution for job boards, you normally think in terms of functionality such as mobile recruiting, job ads upload, job search and other sometimes rather boring topics. This is not quite the case when it comes to the Madgex solution. As the functionality just has to work fine, more important aspects are on the hot topic list of the Madgex sales pitch. A powerhouse in the publishing industry worldwide, Madgex is expanding geographically and into different lines of industry segments.

Crosswater Job Guide talked to Tom Ricca-McCarthy, CEO Madgex, how he thinks this can all be accomplished.

Crosswater:

Madgex has been positioned as a supplier of state-of-the-art software technology solutions for job boards. How would you summarise the strengths and opportunities of Madgex?

Ricca-McCarthy:

Madgex is 15 years old and I am quite sure our employees are the highest concentration of Job Board fanatics in Europe. We’ve got an amazing client base worldwide of the biggest and best news brands, publishing brands, professional associations and pure play online recruitment businesses. We’ve got a huge amount of experience in this space from those 15 years, 200 customers, 12 countries. So as an example, we were there, in the middle of the restructuring of the ad industry in the US and UK 2007-2010 when there was a structural shift from print to digital. We know what that pain looks like and what businesses need to do to get through that. For a country like Germany that still has high print revenues, which won’t last, that’s invaluable experience.

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Opportunities? Our growth is twofold. We continue to expand internationally, replicating what we do elsewhere. We also have a very vibrant Innovation Team that researches, builds and launches at least one whole new product a year – all relevant to our clients – all around monetizing audiences around their careers. So we have a lot of opportunity ahead.

Crosswater:

Focusing on the strength factors: What are the salient points of the product features, the scope of functionality and the ease of adaptability – specifically for international clients?

Ricca-McCarthy:

There are some really key areas that online recruitment technology needs to get right – it doesn’t matter where you are, the issues are the same. We have always spent a lot of time and effort on getting the SEO & User Experience of our products right. Attracting relevant, targeted traffic to the site and then ensuring those users – whether they be jobseekers or recruiters- transact; register, upload CV, apply, place an ad, spend money. This is basic but critical. With our products, we also view the web/desktop as just one channel, so there are many other channels that drive & grow audience engagement – mobile, search, social, APIs, widgets, content – we’ve even integrated into digital TV. There’s a lot of capability for businesses to leverage. There’s a very broad & very flexible Sales Inventory to keep our sales & marketing clients occupied. And one thing I personally feel passionate about but some people find dull, is Management Information. Running a job board, you have to have very, very strong MI so you can see what your business is doing, where to focus your efforts for maximum return, how to compete. So we are big on that – some of the tools we have are like switching the lights on for our clients.

 

Crosswater:

What criteria are important to Madgex when considering the importance of state-of-the-art job board technology?

Ricca-McCarthy:

Well if I look at the key areas we focus on as part of our product roadmaps – our monthly ongoing product releases to all our clients – we focus on four key themes that we think are of ongoing importance to our customers. Revenue Generation – no surprise there I hope. Efficiency & Automation – being able to achieve & deliver more with less resource. Acquisition & Engagement – driving traffic and converting that, ultimately, into money. Lastly Data Insight – this is a really interesting area where we are creating new products that generate whole new revenue streams for our clients.

Crosswater:

Madgex is currently positioned as a solution provider to support job boards in the publishing industry. Well known newspaper including Guardian, The Times, Financial Times (FT), Washington Post. What requirements and challenges are important in this industry?

Ricca-McCarthy:

So the sites you mention are some of the newspapers, the generalists. They are having an interesting time at the moment, concerned with & perhaps more vulnerable to the impact of Indeed & LinkedIn. But they are also running very successful businesses. They have brilliant brands, world famous brands in fact. Their brands & content activities obviously generate huge amounts of traffic and for them the key thing is understanding the behavior of that audience & traffic and to convert that content traffic into recruitment traffic and ultimately recruitment revenues. The other thing with these customers is, without stating the obvious – they aren’t technology houses. So its really important for them to work with a trusted technology provider & we do all the worrying about the technology so they can concentrate on audience engagement, sales & marketing.

Crosswater:

Madgex is committed to international expansion. While it is relatively easy to expand into English speaking countries, an expansion in Europe pose not only language barriers but also specific local recruitment requirements. How can Madgex cope with these challenges?

Ricca-McCarthy:

Well we’ve been in the US since 2008 and whilst they speak English it would be a mistake to assume that’s a straightforward move. There is much more to it than that! We’ve been expanding into Europe since 2010, we’ve got customers in 12 countries and the technology & products are in 10 languages now. So we do have some pretty good experience of life outside the UK. We recruit nationals/native speakers – so we have German Sales people, German Account Managers, German Technical Support etc, we invest quite heavily in this.

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We have an office in Toronto and we are expanding our German office from Berlin to Düsseldorf in 2016, adding account management and support locally In terms of product then yes if we see a local requirement that we haven’t seen before we develop it. It’s not hard, we have the skills and resource and we certainly have the intent, so we develop whatever is required and put it into the platform. The flip side of this is that we have a lot of experience & ideas & opinion on best practice from around the world that we bring with us. So our customers really benefit from that wherever they are.

 

Crosswater:

Germany is one of the preferred regions for international expansion. Most recently, Madgex has signed up Ingenieurkarrie.de, an established and traditional job board managed by publisher VDI, part of the Handelsblatt group. Another publishing house, Konradin Verlagsgruppe, has launched their new job board Fachjobs24.de on the Madgex platform. What factors contributed to this early success?

Ricca-McCarthy:

That’s a good question. I think, speaking to our German customers and others in the German marketplace, I think there are a few things to look at. The experience we have elsewhere is of value. For example, everyone in Germany is sitting on big print revenues – do you really think that’s going to continue? So we have some pretty important knowledge there about that transition. Our technology is very, very sophisticated. One of the problems we had in early conversations was to explain that “yes we really do offer all that” as German companies couldn’t quite understand the breadth of what we offer.

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And forward thinking customers want to do different things, they want to move their businesses forward in different ways and perhaps they have felt frustrated with what’s available in Germany. The thing is, we have 100% market share in the UK with all the big newspapers. Same 100% market share with the B2B publishers. That’s not an accident – our technology & how we work with customers makes them a lot of money and I think smart people see that.

Crosswater:

Did Madgex experience some form of culture or language clash during the implementation projects? What lessons were learned?

Ricca-McCarthy:

As I mentioned before, we recruit German staff. We are very focused on providing a good experience & service experience in Germany. The country is renowned worldwide for its engineering quality so I have been relentless with the team to make sure we are getting that right. One really nice moment was the CEO of VDI wrote to me to say how impressed they had been with the project and how the team had dealt with everything with such “alacrity”. I had to go and look it up myself as it’s not a word I usually use. The Dictionary say alacrity is “cheerful readiness, promptness, or willingness, liveliness; briskness.”. So we must be getting something right.

 

Crosswater:

The job board technology is driven by many hyped buss-words such as search & match, semantic technology, mobile recruiting or active sourcing. How is the Madgex platform positioned to constantly be at the leading edge of technology?

Ricca-McCarthy:

Important question – we are a SaaS business so we have a very very high proportion of our revenues are recurring. This means we are very stable financially and this means we can invest in product development – and we do invest a lot. There are two levels we operate at – Product Roadmap and New Products.

 

Our Product Roadmap means every month – every month to every client – we release new features and capabilities into every job board. These are features in the four themes a mentioned earlier (Revenue Generation, Efficiency & Automation, Acquisition & Engagement, Data Insight). We released hundreds of features & improvement each year like this. Our customers don’t pay extra for this, it’s all part of our service and it’s all about keeping our customers competitive at no extra cost. If our customers are successful, we are.

New Products wise, well like most small to medium sized businesses we are busy. I was getting frustrated with not quite getting round to building whole new products so last year I set up an Innovation Team and I challenged them to come up with at least one new product a year. So this is like an incubator we have in the office with 7-8 smart people in it from across our disciplines (design, development, user experience, mobile etc.). So they have just given birth to their first baby which is our Courses Platform. It’s a whole new product and revenue stream for our customers allowing them to broaden out jobs into Career Management, and our customers make a lot of money from the advertising going on here. It’s very clever and I can’t wait for a German customer to take it. So we are already onto our next one – top secret of course.

 

Crosswater:

How does Madgex stand out among the competition? Who are the more challenging competitors and how does Madgex ensures it stays ahead of the competitors?

Ricca-McCarthy:

I think the easiest way to answer that is this – I’ve been with Madgex for five years and every time we move a customer from their own technology or from a competitor’s technology, to our technology & working with us, their business improves. They get more traffic, they get more registered users, they get more applications, they have more to sell in smarter ways and they make more money.

Crosswater:

What is your vision of the future of recruiting? Some industry experts have predicted the death of the job boards or dying the pay & pray business model. What is your view?

Ricca-McCarthy:

If I had a Euro for every time someone told me job boards were dying I’d have more than €100. We come at this question and industry from an audience engagement and audience monetization point of view. Will someone always have an online audience that has some quality and value in the context of recruitment? I think the answer to that is yes and actually the online audience is only growing & growing. Will someone therefore be willing to pay to advertise a job or to attract a high quality candidate from that audience? I think the answer to that is yes they will.

 

The audiences may be changing, growing, shifting. The technology they use may be changing, growing and shifting. Job boards will therefore change, grow and shift. But they won’t be going away. We are excited about our future. We are busy, we have many many ideas for our customers to change and grow over the next five years.

Crosswater:

Madgex is certainly proud to maintain a status as an independent company. However, the capital needed to finance international expansion, product platform upgrades, technology adaptations, international sales and staffing in development and support poses a considerable challenge. If you would suddenly receive a „windfall finance bonus“, how would you spend it?

Ricca-McCarthy:

Well as I said before we have very high recurring revenues that allow us to grow from our own capital. We reinvest a very high amount of our revenues back into the business, it’s what keeps us healthy & moving. The serious answer is I would buy one of our weaker competitors and put our technology into their client portfolio, to make those customers more successful. The less serious answer is buy a bigger boat – I sail. I must tell the Board.

 

Tom, many thanks for the interview.

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