Jordan Cohen’s resume has a clear theme: data-driven marketing.
In April, Cohen joined Ladders, a job board for positions that pay $100,000 or more. But before going brand-side, he spent most of his career in the performance space, with recent stints at email content marketing platform Movable Ink and performance marketing company Fluent.
Cohen plans to bring a performance mindset to Ladders, which, like other old-guard job sites, wants to reclaim market share from younger and nimbler players, such as ZipRecruiter and Indeed.com.
A few years ago, Ladders floundered a bit when the company abandoned its raison d’etre and started listing jobs at all salary levels. But now Ladders, which has 10 million members, is back to centering its attention on the premium job market, which is what differentiates it from competitors, Cohen said.
In 2017, Ladders was the fastest-growing career site, according to comScore. But there’s still a lot of work to do.
“I’ve been to a few external events since I got here and I’ve heard people say, ‘Hey, where have you guys been?’” Cohen said. “Well, we’ve been here. But now we’re getting back that laser focus on the niche we operate in. We’re investing in the enterprise talent acquisition side of the business and we’re getting very focused on performance marketing.”
AdExchanger caught up with Cohen three months into his new gig.
AdExchanger: What’s your first order of business?
JORDAN COHEN: Considering my background, we’re really going to start leveraging data. The benefit I have from sitting on the other side of the fence all these years is broad exposure to the ad tech and mar tech marketplace and knowing what’s happening behind the scenes, what really works and what doesn’t when it comes to customer acquisition and doing it at scale and efficiently.
What data does Ladders have access to?
We have a deep database of historic data. We know what a $100,000 candidate looks like, who is likely to be actively applying for jobs, and we know what really matters to employers, who care about hiring better people smarter and faster.
It’s more than just creating a profile, though. When people come to us, they give us a full resume, which is exactly what they would give an employer when applying for a job.
Are you doing anything to get data beyond the resume?
We just launched a new product called Third Page, which we’re using to survey our members. The only incentive to take the survey is to tell recruiters more about yourself. We’re not dangling any other carrot beyond that, and users are gravitating to it en masse.
The average Ladders member is answering around 125 unique questions that go far beyond what you get from a standard resume, information that’s very relevant to employers, like, “How important is work/life balance?” or “How much do you value the ability to work from home?”
We also ask people about their personality and their aspirations – what they’re interested in on a personal level – and that’s helping us unearth a lot of insights. We’re getting at the psychographics to help employers make a personalized connection with individual candidates.
How are you going to use that information?
In the short term we’re mostly focusing on building out our own audience through performance marketing, performance media and targeting with precision individuals who meet the criteria of employers.
We do that by leveraging our anonymized first-party data assets in a way that’s different from how it’s done in ad tech, where you might blindly define an audience and then go out there and try to find lookalike audiences. We’re more precisely homing in on those individuals.
We’re not, however, thinking about a DMP right now or applying our data outside the realm of growing our audience of qualified candidates. But we are constantly testing different creative strategies to highlight our value proposition.
We launched an online publication called Ladders News [in April 2017], with business news and career advice. We have [nearly] 5 million monthly uniques, which isn’t shabby for an upstart, and we’re monetizing it [with advertising].
It allows us to push articles and relevant content to members, so we can see who’s really leaning in and looking to make a move as opposed to someone who might be a little colder, and then we can think about how to approach those two candidates differently.
What investments are you making in the enterprise side of the business?
We don’t just know who the best candidates are, we know who’s most likely to apply for a job and be receptive to inbound interest. That’s the real nut to crack in our space right now. We’re at record low unemployment and employers are actually struggling to hire people fast enough. It’s an incredibly competitive job market and people are getting bombarded. Being able to really make a connection with people actively in-market is important for employers, and we’re using our data to help connect employers with the right audience.
Legacy job sites have had their lunch eaten by the Indeeds of the world. What are you doing to revive Ladders’ brand marketing?
This is a brand that’s already invested a tremendous amount into its existing equity. The company has been around for 15 years and it’s got a great head start, especially in our niche. We have a strong member database and that’s hard to compete with.
But we do need to bring the brand back to the forefront, and we need to do that not only with our existing audience, to remind them that we’re here and that we’re working on new things, but also appeal to the new crop of millennials who are starting to break into the six-figure bracket and have never heard of the company before. We’re very focused on getting in front of them, and we’re using a digital approach to do it.