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Wednesday, July 13, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Recruiter Jobster lands WorkZoo, online job finder

Seattle Times business reporter

Jobster, a Seattle-based job recruiting and networking site, is moving quickly to expand its base in the lucrative online-recruiting industry.

The16-month-old startup has bought WorkZoo, a small Fountain Valley, Calif., company that developed a search engine to compile job ads from all over the Web. Terms were not disclosed.

The acquisition will add a new feature — job listings — to Jobster's model, which had been geared mostly toward employers and headhunters seeking top talent through online referrals and social networking.

With the addition of WorkZoo's Web crawler, which culls some 40,000 listings a day from other online boards such as craigslist and Monster.com, job seekers will see postings from a variety of sources and, more important, get a referral to someone at the company.

"Finding information about jobs is really easy," said Jason Goldberg, Jobster's founder and CEO. "The real value is in combining the search technology with the social-networking technology."

In what may be a job-board first, the listings will have an interactive map noting a job's location, a feature on WorkZoo's site.

Jobster launched in March, backed by $10.5 million in venture capital and headed by Goldberg, 33, a former executive with T-Mobile and AOL Time Warner and a White House aide during the Clinton Administration.

Its Pioneer Square offices have grown to 47 employees, and the company has more than 100 corporate clients, including Boeing, Starbucks and Expedia.

It also has netted some big fish for its board. Former Microsoft Chief Financial Officer John Connors joined the board this month. Connors is now with Ignition Partners, one of the venture-capital firms financing Jobster.

WorkZoo has just two employees: founders Mark Maunder and his wife, Kerry Boyte, who worked together at eToys.com, the online retailer that went under in early 2001. The couple developed the job-search technology while they were working as consultants in London.

"Keeping our eye on the job boards was kind of tedious," Maunder said, "so we wrote a little search engine for ourselves and put it on the Web."

After the technology developed a small following in Britain, Maunder and Boyte launched a U.S. version in February. Traffic has reached 5 million page views a month, and the site earned a spot on Time magazine's "50 Coolest Websites of 2005."

Maunder, who met Goldberg three weeks ago, will oversee Jobster's search technology, which will be rolled out later this year. Boyte also will also join the company.

Jobster aims to capture an underserved segment of the $1.5 billion online-recruitment sector — so-called passive candidates who may be employed but are open to other opportunities.

To do this, it relies more on a targeted approach — personal referrals — than on the high-volume, scattershot method used by megaboards such as Monster and Hotjobs.

Recruiters send job notices to their contacts, who can either apply or forward the notice to someone they know.

The result, presumably, is employers can find experienced, qualified candidates without sifting through thousands of résumés.

Jobster has some growing competition.

LinkedIn, a 2-year-old business-networking site that includes a job-recruiting function, recently formed a partnership with Simply Hired, which has a job-search engine similar to WorkZoo's.

And yesterday, Yahoo! announced its Hot Jobs will begin using a Web crawler to scour multiple sites for job openings, even those listed with its competitors.

Shirleen Holt: 206-464-8316 or sholt@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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