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SHOOTOUT: Monster Board's easy navigation wins over panelists

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Everyone agrees that the job search is a difficult process. Employers and individual applicants often find they have trouble finding one another in the job market.

That's why several Web sites thrive by helping to bring corporations and workers together. For this month's Marketing Shoot-out, we asked 79 WebScore panelists to evaluate two of the most popular job search sites: Career Mosaic and Monster Board. (Monster Board has a co-branding arrangement on the Web with Business Marketing's sister publication Advertising Age at Adage.com.)

Respondents were told to view these sites from the perspective of a human resources manager at an imaginary corporation. We asked them to shop for the best site for advertising job openings.

Monster Board wins 43-36

By a 43-36 margin, panelists felt that Monster Board would be the better choice for announcing their company's jobs. The key factor behind Monster Board's slim victory appears to be the ease with which panelists could find information. Twelve of those who preferred Monster Board voluntarily commented that it is easier to navigate and better organized than Career Mosaic.

In particular, many respondents mentioned Monster Board's search engine for job openings. Monster Board allows applicants to look for positions by geographic region, job category, keyword or all three.

Eleven respondents were impressed by this range of options. "I liked Monster Board better because you could make the search very specific . . . or broad if you like," wrote one panelist.

In contrast, Career Mosaic offers searching by geography and keyword, but not at the same time.

Monster Board also offers a search agent, which continually monitors new openings and e-mails the job hunter when a position meets his or her qualifications. Three panelists took special note of this feature.

Site helps employers, too

Although Monster Board's search engine is designed for job seekers, respondents recognized that it would benefit employers as well. By making it easier to find positions that fit, Monster Board would, in one panelist's words, "attract a larger and more qualified selection of applicants."

In fact, by a vote of 45-34, our panelists said Monster Board has better overall resources for job seekers. In addition to its search engine and search agent, respondents noted Monster Board's resume builder and help with relocation.

Of course, Career Mosaic offers similar features, as well as a special section for recent college graduates. But it did not receive the same amount of approval from our panelists.

The only other area where Monster Board seems to have an advantage is in brand name. Although both Career Mosaic and Monster Board claim to receive millions of visitors each month, Monster Board is the only one of the two that was chosen by our panelists on the basis of its reputation.

Four respondents said they would rather advertise jobs on Monster Board because it "is more well-known and publicized."

In all other aspects on which a Web site may be evaluated, Career Mosaic and Monster Board are both strong. Although our panelists picked Monster Board as the easier site to use by a 44-35 margin, 11 people who preferred Career Mosaic specifically mentioned that they found it an easy site to use.

A deadlocked vote

We also asked our panelists which site allows corporations to present themselves in a more positive light. Here the vote was virtually deadlocked, with 39 choosing Monster Board, 38 selecting Career Mosaic and two unable to make a choice.

Among those who preferred the Career Mosaic site, the largest group was put off by Monster Board's whimsical design. The Monster Board site has graphics of various bizarre creatures that serve as the user's tour guides around the site.

It also includes many unusual fonts and a high-contrast color scheme.

Nine of our respondents said the site "lacks maturity" and didn't look "like a serious place to find good job positions."

These people appreciated that Career Mosaic is "less cluttered" and spends "less time loading cute graphics."

If you like it, you like the look

Those who preferred Monster Board overall were not bothered by its look. They called it "attention-getting," or said that "it seemed to have more life to it."

The majority apparently felt this way, since Monster Board was voted the site with the best design and layout. Monster Board's powerful and varied search options, along with its reputation, may give it a slight edge in attracting candidates and the companies that wish to hire them.

However, both Career Mosaic and Monster Board offer a variety of employment opportunities and other resources for job hunters in an attractive, easy-to-use format. Job hunting may be difficult, but both of these Web sites can make the process a little easier.

Matthew Weinshenker is an online services analyst for New York-based CLT Research Associates, which offers WebScore. He can be reached at matt@cltresearch.com.

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