Location, Location, Location!

LBS (Location-Based Services) are the new ‘black’ when it comes to shiny new sourcing tools. Everyone (including me!) talks about how we can (and should) be using services like FourSquare, Gowalla, Loopt, Yelp, and Britekite to enhance our mobile recruiting activities. Some have even talked about using these types of services for putting pins on locations where companies have job openings. In fact, many folks in our industry have written about the significance of this:

Let’s take a look at a location-based resource that was designed specifically for recruiting: ZubedJobs, a product of Zubed.com.

While UK-based Zubed.com isn’t a new company (it launched in the UK a couple summers ago), it’s relatively new to the States. Principal Consultant Martin Lee told me that they’ve got about half of the USA covered at this point, and he says they plan to also make ZubedJobs fully available for Australia and South Africa in the near future. For now, you can run job searches in some of the major metropolitan areas of the US such as Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, and New York City. You can also check out some other articles that have been written about it hereherehereherehere, and here.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Martin, who is based in the UK, early yesterday morning. I first had to ask where the name ‘zubed’ (pronounced zoob’d) came from, and Martin chuckled and said that it is an Australian slang term for “pissed off”. He went on to share the history of why he decided on the name Zubed.com  – a story many small business owners can relate to. Essentially, Martin used to run an RPO consultancy, and a larger corporate entity came in and low-balled all of their clients, thus putting Martin’s company out of business. Rather than staying down and defeated, Martin decided to channel his energy to pursue the new world of location-based offerings, and thus Zubed.com was born. In their words,

“Zubed Geospatial delivers bespoke web-GIS mapping solutions for private and public sector organisations that want to identify geographical patterns in their data, or provide a user friendly map-based interface to their products or services.

“Traditional GIS solutions are complex and costly; Zubed Geospatial delivers cost-effective turnkey hosted Location Intelligence solutions incorporating powerful display, search and analysis functions.

“We specialise in the creation of true web-GIS applications integrating intuitive map-based presentation of data with state-of-the-art targeted search technologies such as Semantic human-language interpretation, federated searching, and deep web drilling.”

ZubedJobs is just one portion of this product. Martin took about an hour to show me what it is capable of. I have to say, I was pretty impressed…

From the candidate side, individuals can search for job openings by city and/or radius around a specific location. For example: check out this search I did for software engineers around Manchester:

Even cooler, from the recruiting side, you can do that same search – but instead of looking for jobs, you can look for resumes:

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These are all the people in the database who have software engineering experience within a 15-mile radius of Manchester. Other services offer search like this, but sometimes it’s cooler to see this kind of information in a visual layout.

Some of you may be thinking, ‘OK, this is cool but not really new…’ – but think about the competitive intelligence that can be gathered from this information:

  • A visual map of clusters of hiring activity for a specific company or industry (over time as well)
  • Heat maps showing heavy concentrations of specific skills or certain types of companies (you choose the criteria)
  • Information for companies looking to build an office, transfer locations, determine target demographics, etc.
  • Trends over time that give insight into industry boom and bust

For any sourcer out there, this is information that can prove to be of great value to your company or your clients. But that’s not all – Martin showed me how Zubed can also take an existing database of candidates and provide valuable information in the case where a company employs contract workers. Let’s say your company hires contractors and you want to visualize the skills, availability, and location of your contractor talent pool. You can load this information into Zubed and create a map of contractor candidates and determine who is available, where, and what skills they have. That way, when you have a project that comes up in a remote location for someone who has Oracle experience, you can conduct a search for the skills required and see who is available and lives closest to the project. This is a great internal tool as well as an external resource, and a step further toward the combining of recruiting activities and use of location-based services.

So, who will be next in the LBS space? Do you feel that LBS products will be game-changing in sourcing and recruiting, or do you think they’re just more “shiny new objects” for us to be distracted by? Share your thoughts below!

Amybeth Quinn began her career in sourcing working within the agency world as an Internet Researcher. Since 2002, she has worked in both agency and corporate sourcing and recruiting roles as both individual contributor and manager, and also served previously as the editor of The Fordyce Letter and SourceCon.com with ERE Media. She currently works as Sr. Manager, Technical Talent Sourcing for Walmart eCommerce. You can connect with her on Twitter at @researchgoddess.

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