Q&A with Jeff Taylor: The Monster on Your Desktop

Founder of online job resource Monster continues to play matchmaker despite a difficult job market

Unemployment rates have reached their highest levels since you founded Monster in 1994. What has changed most about the type of job seekers using your site in the last decade?Monster began at the onset of the Internet, arguably the biggest invention of the 20th century. The one thing that has changed about our job seekers is the widespread use of the Internet, across all demographics. Technology workers and young people were the first to adopt the Internet and utilize a service such as Monster. Now, we have job seekers across all industries, across all levels and across all age brackets. It is truly an amazing thing.

With applicants and employers from around the world, what noticeable differences do you see between the United States and the international job markets? Since our inception in 1994, we have brought the Monster brand to 21 countries and nine languages worldwide. As the United States was one of the first to fully adopt the Internet as a recruitment tool, it is the leading country for Monster. However, we have witnessed Monster countries around the world grow and prosper as the Internet has expanded as a vital recruitment tool. Monster is in 14 countries in Europe, and we’re currently the no. 2 site in India.


With more than 480 of the Fortune 500 companies contracting with you, can Monster ever be too big? How can you maintain the one-to-one or direct communication that job seekers crave?  Our goal at Monster is to help advance the careers of everyone, from truck drivers to CEOs.  Monster has relationships with more than 200,000 companies, which enables us to offer job seekers great opportunities from the leading companies in the country – both large and small – as well as in all different sectors. On Monster, we have communities for several industries, including health care and government. The communities give job seekers targeted career articles, tips and advice to help them manage their careers and advance their lives.


Your goal is to connect people to their dream jobs – a modern day Chuck Woolery for career seekers. With millions of visitors a month, do you set company goals for successful matches? What has been Monster’s success rate?In June 2003, Monster had more than 45.9 million unique visits. We have helped people across the globe find their dream job, and we hear about their success stories every day. We do not require job seekers or employers to tell us of their successes, so we do not have statistics on it; however, we know we have been successful based on employers who continue to use Monster for their recruitment, as well as job seekers who have made us the leading global online careers site with the largest résumé database in the world.


What lessons did you learn from previous jobs that have helped you launch and grow Monster?I am very thankful for what my career has brought me. The idea for Monster came from my experience as a recruiter and then running a company called Adion, a niche recruitment advertising agency I founded in 1989. Adion specialized in designing and placing recruitment advertisements in traditional media for high-tech clients in and around Boston. At the time, 85 percent of companies were using newspapers for recruiting. My clients were experiencing difficulty recruiting candidates with technical skills, and newspapers just weren’t working anymore. It was then that I took a chance on the Internet to start the Monster Board. What is the one mistake or error in judgment you see job seekers make most often?

A common mistake I see from laid-off workers is not spending enough time on their job searches and utilizing all available tools. We currently are at 6.4 percent unemployment, and there are more than 9 million people unemployed. The competition for jobs is fierce, and it is critical for job seekers to do everything they can to find those opportunities and present themselves as the strongest candidates for the job. I tell laid-off job seekers to spend as much time looking for a job as they would at an actual job.  If they spent 40 hours a week working at their previous job, then they should spend at least 40 hours a week looking for a new job. In a tight job market, the job seekers who work the hardest on their job searches are the ones who have the advantage in getting the jobs.

During your St. Thomas commencement address, you urged new graduates not to play it safe, but to be daring as the president of “You Incorporated.” Is it difficult to offer this same advice to your own three children? Not at all. I encourage my children to strive to do the best they can at school and in various sports and activities. The precedent they set when they’re young is the foundation of hard work that will help them succeed later in life. I encourage my kids to choose what they love and to be good at it.


Readers at ESPN.com voted the Monster commercial, “When I Grow Up” (1999), the seventh-best Super Bowl commercial of all time. That is some pretty heady company. What made that commercial so memorable?The commercial struck a chord with so many people on so many levels. The use of children to illustrate the irony in most of our job experiences worked. People couldn’t get enough of this message – “Is this what I wanted out of my career?” The commercial challenged people to think and ask themselves … are there dream jobs out there? If “yes,” Monster is here to help you find them. The “When I Grow Up” spot was instrumental in launching the Monster brand and catapulting it to its current status.


Finding the right job and doing well is only part of the process – you have to celebrate success as well. How do you reward yourself for a job well done?I restore and collect Shelby Mustangs – I own 13 of these special cars from 1966 to 1969. My collection also is an investment. I am also a disc jockey. I make time to buy vinyl records and practice four to five hours a week.  I deejay parties and would like to produce a CD.


What song can you always count on to get people out of the seats onto the dance floor?I’m a big fan of all kinds of music from ’80s to house music. In terms of ’80s music, the one song that I’ve been told by employees I consistently play is “Whip It” by Devo. The song is a lot of fun, and it’s always a good time to bring back some of the great music from the past. 

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