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Interview with Simon Appleton from Workcircle

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 7:07pm Friday 16 January 2009    Print Article

I first blogged about Workcircle in late Dec 2008 as they prepared to enter the Australian marketplace see related post here I spoke with Simon Appleton, CEO and Co-Founder of Workcircle to find out more information.

What is Workcircle? What do you have planned for the Australian market?

Workcircle is a vertical search engine for jobs or aggregator. We bring together job listings from as many sources as we can to give jobseekers an easy way to search across multiple job boards. All our listings are 'with permission' - we get the jobs from feeds rather than scraping, so the content is current.

We're in the early stages in Australia, but we intend to be one of the top destinations for job seekers. We've learnt a lot optimising our site in the UK and we'll be bringing that experience to Australia.

Tell me about you and your previous experience in the marketplace?

My business partner and I formed PlanetRecruit in 1999 (one of the UK's top job boards). We sold PlanetRecruit to The Hot Group in 2003, and developed Workcircle from around 2005. We're 'mature' entrepreneurs - we formed our first internet businesses in the early nineties and haven't stopped since.

What makes Workcircle different to other aggregation providers in the marketplace?

Two things differentiate Workcircle

1. We are an 'opt in' aggregator - all our jobs are sourced with permission, and we work closely with advertisers to ensure we only list current vacancies.

2. Secondly, our proprietary 'Massive Traffic Driving' (MTD) systems are unique in their ability to dynamically drive high volumes of jobseekers to our jobs. These systems automatically manage our online marketing - controlling over a million sponsored keywords and phrases on Google and other search engines. MTD refines our bidding, ad content and campaigns based on the current database of jobs we hold - making us very efficient at getting the right jobseekers to the right job.

What technology/web2.0 tools are used within Workcircle?

Workcircle's site is developed in-house and is based on the classic LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl).

We have distributed virtual team, and rely heavily on web 2.0 tools such as Google Apps and the 37 Signals suite of services.

What have been the biggest challenges in launching the Australian portal of Workcircle so far?

Getting the .au domain!

Is the "global financial crisis" affecting your business?

Things have slowed down - stats-wise, our UK business is running roughly as it was a year ago. Last year was atypical - we saw huge growth during the summer, and then a slump after. That said, we're one of the most cost-efficient ways to drive traffic to a job site, so we're seeing many sites shift budget to us to reduce their costs.

What is the most important lesson in business you have learnt so far?

Build a great team that can work without micromanagement, and strip out or outsource anything that isn't core.

Plans for the next 12 months?

More international expansion, plus launch some new services. We're oddly excited about 2009, which is refreshing, given the gloom we see every day.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?

Go for it! Listen to your gut, don't take on too much investment early on, and find good people.

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