Advice for Employers and Recruiters

Why transparency between buyers and sellers of candidate traffic is the rising tide that lifts all ships.

Shelby Konkel AvatarShelby Konkel
January 25, 2023

Create, manage, and work with Job Boards and Recruitment Marketplaces.

Each week, Steven Rothberg, Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of College Recruiter, and Peter M. Zollman, Founder of the AIM Group, along with guests from the world’s leading job sites, analyze news about general, niche, and aggregator job board and recruitment marketplace sites.

Today’s episode features Joseph Stubblebine, the Chief Revenue Officer of Lensa, a fast-growing aggregator whose founder and most of its staff are located in Hungary but mostly serves employers and candidate users based in the United States. Joseph is also an Advisory Board member of TA Tech, the largest recruitment advertising organization in the world.

Joseph joins our hosts to share some of Lensa’s latest innovations, including their own performance-based product, FastTalent Direct, which ensures that employers are only paying for clicks and provides quality applications to fill open jobs as fast as possible. Listen to the full episode to hear more about the recent shift to pay-per-application, salary transparency in job postings, and other industry insights.

Subscribe here to follow the Inside Job Boards and Recruitment Marketplaces podcast and stay up to date with new episodes!


Steven (00:09):

Welcome to the Inside Job Boards and Recruitment Marketplaces podcast. I’m Stephen Rothberg, the founder of College Recruiter, job search site at College Recruiter. We believe that every student in recent grad deserves a great career.

Peter (00:23):

And I’m Peter Zolman, founding Principal of the AIM Group, the leading global business intelligence service for marketplaces and classified advertising companies. We consult with recruitment marketplaces, companies and publish AIM group, recruitment intelligence, and a free weekly digest. We also host the annual Global Rebus Conference.

Steven (00:44):

This is the podcast for you to learn more about how to create, manage and work with general niche and aggregator job boards and recruitment marketplaces. Well, if it’s a Thursday and it looks like it is, I, I must be back with my friend Peter Zolman. Peter, good to be with you

Peter (01:04):

Today. It’s good to be with you. But the secret is that we’re really recording this on a Tuesday, so it’s airing on Thursday, but today’s Tuesday, although I’ve been so confused for the past five weeks I have no idea what day it is. It’s terrible.

Steven (01:21):

<Laugh>. Well, I think our, our, our sense of timelines vanished either because of Covid or old age, or a combination of the two. Yes.

Peter (01:30):

What were you saying again? I’m sorry. <Laugh>.

Steven (01:33):

<Laugh>, who is this? Who am I? <Laugh>.

Peter (01:38):

Oh, old jokes are not, are not particularly appropriate, but I’m allowed to make ’em. Every once in a while I’ll be on stage at a conference and I’ll say the fat old white guys and people all go, and I go, I’m allowed to make that remark because I am one.

Steven (01:54):

This is true. This

Peter (01:56):

Is this. Although I’ve lost 15 pounds, so I’m still a fat old white guy, but a little less fat.

Steven (02:00):

Well, somebody who maybe he thinks of himself as an old white guy, but he is not a fat white guy. Is, is our good friend. And today’s guest, Joe’s Stubbe. I met Joe I think something like a dozen years ago. I was at a TA tech conference, and at the time he was running human Capital Solutions, which I knew then, and I think most people know as Job Circle. He turned around and he sold that to job search site network that became known as Next. And his Chad and Cheese would say that’s next with the two X’s, not the three Xs. And I think he led media sales there before he left. And, but the fast last four years, I can’t believe it’s been that long. He’s been the Chief Revenue officer of lenza. One of the really interesting things about Lenin, we’re gonna dig, dig into it in the interview, is that it’s founder, the engineers, the operations team, they’re all in Hungary but Joe and the headquarters, and I’m, I’m assuming a bunch of other staff too are in the Philadelphia Metro.


So we’ll get into that. But Joe, in the meantime, welcome to the inside job boards and Recruitment Marketplaces podcast.

Joe (03:23):

Hi guys. It’s really great to be here. Peter, Steven, big fans of you both, and happy to be on the show. Very excited.

Peter (03:31):

Well, we are happy to have you. It’s been a long while. I think I’ve known you even longer than Steven, because when I knew you, it was I a E W S and I think it was before you were at Beyond. In fact, I know it was before you at Beyond, so it’s been a long time. The recruitment world is changing and all of the recruitment marketplaces are changing. The latest shift, although it’s not latest anymore, but the latest shift is indeed is going in all in on pay per application. Seems like a, an an interesting choice, if not a difficult choice. Talk about that and insights into performance advertising in general.

Joe (04:21):

Yeah, I I think that this is probably one of the most interesting topics in our space. I know at Lensa, one of our big moves that we’ve been working on over the last year is doing server to server integration. And Steven, obviously you run a job board here that I think CPAs fantastic for the space. And I think that over the next 12 to 18 months most job boards will be selling to other job boards that way, as well as a lot of employers will be buying that way. The challenge is being able to get the data back to be able to get the feedback to, to be able to convert those clicks into applications

Peter (04:57):

That that raises a question, which is how do you attribute a job application to a recruitment site? Obviously, if it comes straight through, indeed, indeed can say, okay, they applied on our site, but what about, and, and then the employer can say, but that was a bogus application. That was a meaningless application. What about attribution? And I mean, the ultimate is pay per hire, but that’s just really complicated. How do you attribute paper per apply?

Joe (05:33):

Well it’s a pretty simple way, right? So most job boards have a unique click ID that’s appended to every single click that is sent from the job board to the applicant site or to the ats. And typically the ATS or wherever that job seeker is landing, is gonna provide some kind of feedback either in the form of a pixel fire or a server to server integration, usually via web hook hook that takes that ID after it converts and sends it back to the, to the job board so that the job board then knows we sent 12 clicks to the job, three of them converted into applications, and then from there you can derive your cost per application, your conversion ratios, and all the interesting data around that. Now, when you talk about paper hire, really that’s kind of like what contingency staffing companies do, right?


Or replacement first. Once you get to that point, it’s definitely much trickier. The problem is if you’re looking at CPA versus CPA start, we can send the job secret to the corporate site, but perhaps the ATS process is long and cumbersome. It can be challenging to generate a apply based on how that employer has set up their, their landing pages or their, their application process. So I think that there are many applicant tracking systems and many job boards that still don’t have the capability to report back to the source of the click. Which I think is one of the challenges that our space needs to overcome in terms of the recruitment advertising publisher platforms.

Steven (07:00):

Interesting. So question for you on, on the paper apply, the candidate goes over to the employer site in, in the US and some other markets. That’s typically the at t s in other markets might not be, but they go to the ats, they apply, there’s some kind of a trackable r l or some other mechanism that the, the job board is, is using so that the at s should automatically identify it report back and the employers paying on a per application basis. One of the things that I have heard very, very little about, but with Indeed’s changes, I think we’re about to hear a lot about it, is I think there’s gonna be a big move to job boards firing their customers or saying, Hey, you know, your X, Y, Z pizza chain, but you’ve got a 4,000 question application process. And so it takes people an hour and a half to get through.


If you’re gonna pay us on a per application basis, you’re gonna have to pay $300, your competitor’s only gonna have to pay $30. I’m kind of anxiously awaiting the day for Indeed or some of the other pay per application sites to come back and say, no, we won’t work with you, or we’re gonna have to charge you such an exorbitant amount of money because your application process is so horrifyingly bad that almost nobody’s getting through. Is that, is that something that you guys at Lens are, are talking about or are you not even looking at the pay per application model yet?

Joe (08:30):

We have a couple clients that we are charging on a CPA basis. I think in that particular case, most of the job boards are moving to native apply. So Indeed has job seekers that are sitting on its site, and when you push that little apply with Indeed Button on Indeed, they’re gonna count that as an apply. So they’re not necessarily concerned about moving candidates off of Indeed to the ats. They want everything inside Indeed. And obviously there are sites like Phenom people that create landing pages to sort of compensate for the fact that many applicant tracking systems still use a self-select dropdown, you know, where did you hear of us? So I still think in the traditional ATS world, you’ve got the landing page type software out there that people use, but Indeed is really trying to encapsulate that entire job seeker experience within its own platform, obviously, even with the interview questions. And they’ve got a built-in light ATS as well, so that everything is sitting on one platform.

Steven (09:30):

So if, so, if you’re indeed or if you’re another site that’s charging per application and you’re gonna send a candidate over to the at s what you’re actually gonna charge for is a click. You’re not actually gonna charge for a completed application on the, at s if the employer insists on the, if the employer insists on the candidate coming to the at t s to apply, no problem, then we’re just gonna charge you per click. And I think Indeed calls that an apply start.

Joe (09:53):


Steven (09:55):

We’ll be back right after this break. Welcome back to the inside job boards and recruitment marketplaces, podcasts.

Peter (10:11):

Let’s talk about pay transparency, the New York law, the California law, Denver all of those places. Do you require pay transparency? What do you think about it? How’s it gonna work in Europe? How’s it gonna work everywhere? I saw an article that said everybody who now sees pay transparency in the job ads is going to be asking their bosses for raises. How’s this gonna all work?

Joe (10:44):

Well, I come from a recruitment advertising perspective, so I think it’s interesting. We obviously don’t require we work publisher or publisher as well as with our direct clients. And we don’t make any requirements at this point with regard to, you know, publishing salary or publishing a range. I think we’re just kind of sitting back and waiting to see what happens. I personally struggle with the concept of forcing private companies to disclose their pay. I tend to be a capitalist from that perspective, and I understand that there is obviously disparagement from different groups and what the reason is behind it. But I do think it adds complexity for publishers like us, because what is our responsibility with regard to publishing these jobs? And if we don’t have that information is there any liability for us?


We only actually sell traffic and job seeker acquisition in the United States, so I can’t really speak about the rest of Europe. But I’m not sure. Sometimes we can over-regulate. I think some regulation is good but we’ll have to see how this plays out. I think there’s a handful of states now that, that are requiring it, and there hasn’t been specific guidelines on what the responsibility of the job board or the publisher is in, in, in all of this. So I think we’re going to evolve with the industry on this one. So

Steven (12:04):

Yeah, it, I I, I could definitely see the regulations evolving to where the, it’s not just the employer that has to publish that data, it’s also their agents, and if it’s their agents, it’s the job board. So we’ve, we’ve mentioned Europe a couple of times and let’s, let’s, let’s dig into that a little bit with respect to Lens, cuz I kind of find it really fascinating. The, the owner, I don’t know if he’s the a hundred percent owner or, or just the, the primary in Hungary. If I understand correctly, that’s where your engineers are most, are all of your operations folks. When I was getting ready for the interview today, I saw that your global headquarters is I think it might be a room in your home <laugh> or down the street, whatever, but in Philadelphia where, where in a Philadelphia metro, where, where you are. And then I’m, that’s, that’s no coincidence. So talk with us about lenses model, because it seems really unusual to me to have this significant presence in Hung Hungary, but all the operations, if you will, the job postings, the customers, the candidates in in the us. You know, how how did that happen? Why does that ha why’d that happen? Are you looking to expand outside the us? What’s your social security number, all those, all that good information?

Joe (13:20):

Yeah, it’s actually an interesting story. So our CEO is Gar Gargo, Vadi and, and Hungary, they do last name first, so it’d be Vadi Gaal. And Gargo built the largest job board in Hungary called Profession Dou. And he sold it to StepStone back in 2012. And he got some a nice exchange for that. And like most people they wanna make it big in America. And he went to high school here for three years. He lived in, in California for 10 years. He has Canadian citizenship as well. Went to school in Canada. So he is always been attracted to the United States from a business perspective and just from a cultural perspective. So what he did was he set up a US based company and we are headquartered in, right outside of Philadelphia. And we actually have very beautiful offices in Westchester, Pennsylvania.


And so we’ve got about 12 US folks and the remained of our team is in Budapest. The s is pronounced sh so it’s Budapest and <laugh>. We have about 120 folks in Hungary. The model is actually quite brilliant because we only sell traffic and job seeker services in the United States. We make our revenue and dollars, but yet we have extremely capable engineering team in Hungary and we pay our Hungarian teams in Florence. So we have a wholly owned Hungarian subsidiary of the US company. And the economy is scale, especially as the dollar starts to fluctuate in, in a positive direction against you know, the, the currency of other countries. We just have a natural advantage of really being able to, to capitalize the, the salary disparities. In terms of Hungary versus the United States. We have some excellent engineers.


Most of our team has master’s degrees at least. We have PhDs in ai, mathematics. We have a really, really smart Hungarian team with an American front end. All of our client relations, customer service, sales all of that type of stuff is, is run in the us So it’s an incredible blend between two cultures cuz these guys are really smart, really analytical. And then of course we know the space. We’ve got some people on the team that have been in the space since, you know, forever. I’ve been in the space since 1998. So it’s a really great marriage between the two. And Gargo kind of helps bridge the gap between the two cultures. Everybody in our company speaks fluent English. All of our meetings are conducted in English. And we have beautiful offices in Budapest. And as a matter of fact, we’re adding another, I think 10,000 square feet cuz we are aggressively, aggressively hiring about 10 to 12 people a month.


We’re onboarding right now just because there’s so many complex things we’re trying to solve. And obviously having the, having that intellectual capital is really the core. That’s one of the main reasons I I left you know, some of the US companies I work for and, and went to Len because when you’re, when you’re on the revenue side to have the power of intelligent people behind you, a massive amount of development and project managers and AI folks and SEO folks it really creates a distinct advantage in the space. And I think Len has proven that we’ve grown very, very, very quickly in the last four, four years. So for sure all the credit goes to ergo quite frankly. Very, very smart guy.

Peter (16:35):

So you said, you know, you’re on the revenue side, but you’ve been in the field a long time and you worked as an application engineer way back when are you really a geek at heart? And and how does that affect your, you know, c r o, chief Revenue Officer approach? Are you a geek at heart or No, not anymore.

Joe (16:57):

I wouldn’t say I’m a geek at heart. I’m actually a capitalist, but I like taking technology and making money and I think it’s a lot of fun to just write some code, put some stuff together, see if people buy it, replicate that process, scale it. So from that perspective it’s fun to be able to craft something with your hands and put it out there and people purchase it. So I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m, I’m, I’m a geek or a nerd but I really enjoy taking technology and converting that into revenue. And I think in our space, we actually get to help people find jobs. If we do our job well, there’s somebody somewhere that’s feeding their family as a result of the work we did. And so you have this extra layer of just sort of being satisfied in this particular space more so than just a, a straight, you know, FinTech or, or other sort of generic tech space. So but I used to be a coder back in the day and I wasn’t very good at it. My team always said, Joe, make it, but we make it better. So I would try and code stuff and then they would just fix it and make it more efficient. But I did start out as an IT contractor for many years.

Steven (18:00):

Well, there, there, there aren’t too many things in this world that are more honorable than helping somebody find a great new job. And, and I think one of the things that, that we’re be, we’ve become good at a college recruiter is continually reminding ourselves internally, this is what we are doing. So you can talk about a click being 50 cents, or an employer signing up for a thousand postings or whatever, but at the end of the day, when we’re helping people find jobs that is transformative for them, their family members, their friends, their community, it’s, it’s, it’s really honorable and we all need to keep an eye on that. We, you talked about revenue and one of the things that I recently learned about was lens’s new product, and I think it’s called Fast Direct. What’s different about Fast Direct than the, the previous products that, or the products that you were offering previously?

Joe (18:53):

So it’s actually called Fast Talent. And f Fast talent is it’s a performance-based product. And I think one of the things that’s interesting about it is a lot of employers don’t have the capability or the desire to figure out, should I be beating 52 cents for my job, a developer job in Philadelphia? Or what are these nursing jobs worth? What they want is they want applications to fill their open jobs as fast as possible. So fast talent’s very simple. We just simply grab the jobs from the site. We have something called Smart Bid that evaluates about 60 60 million job postings. And we look at what everybody in the market is pricing that particular click or view at, and we can automatically price those jobs, put those into our auction-based ecosystem and we can then drive eyeballs to your jobs.


And some percentage of those eyeballs hopefully will convert into applications. And I think it’s not dissimilar to many of the performance-based products out there, but we do have really great data. As you know, Steven, we work together on the <inaudible> side as well. So we can show customers at the job level, clicks, conversions, tool applies. We have the ability to obviously distribute those jobs to 70 plus partners. We also have a very strong Google for Jobs presence. We have about 26% of our traffic is s e o. We get over a hundred thousand registrations a month just from organic traffic. We get about 25,000 jobs seeker registrations a day, but over the course of a month, over a hundred thousand come from organic. So we have this, we’ve learned through years of, of selling in the quote unquote wholesale space, how to really drive efficient performance. And we’ve now taken that and kind of, you know, packaged that into a very simple performance based product that customers can be sure that they’re only paying for obviously clicks on jobs and, and eventually applications on jobs. So that’s really what fast talent

Peter (20:54):

Is. We could go on for another half hour mocking each other and making fun of each other, <laugh> and talking about how we’re all old and gray which is not good for podcasts because the audiences are much younger than we are, but that’s okay, <laugh>. But I think that’s a good place to wrap up. Any last points you want to make? And the other question we always ask is if people wanna find you, how do they find you?

Joe (21:23):

I would just like to say thanks to you guys. I think you know, having these podcasts and obviously I’m, I’m a big fan of both of you and the work you’ve done over the years. I, I, you know, I think it’s important to document these things and have a chat about ’em and I love listening to your podcast. So and in terms of me feel free to reach out at any time or fast Happy to help anyone that might be listening in any way I can.

Peter (21:49):

Sounds good. Let’s just spell Lenza so people know. It’s l e just like you have to spell next and a few others indeed you don’t have to spell. But on that note, sir, thank you very much for joining us. It’s been a quick 20 minutes.

Joe (22:08):

Thank you both for having me. I

Steven (22:10):

Appreciate it. Thanks, Joe.

Peter (22:14):

Inside job boards and recruitment marketplaces is a co-production of Evergreen Podcasts College Recruiter and the AIM Group.

Steven (22:23):

Please subscribe for free on your favorite app, review it. Five stars are always nice and recommended to a couple of people you know who wanna learn more about job boards and recruitment marketplaces.

Peter (22:34):

Special thanks to our producer and engineer, Ian Douglas. I’m your host, Peter Zuman of the AIM Group, the leading global consultancy in the field of marketplaces and classified advertising. Find out more about our reports on recruitment marketplaces, job boards and classifieds, including our new recruitment marketplaces annual at aim

Steven (23:00):

I’m your host, Stephen Rothberg of job search site college recruiter. Each year we help more than 12 million candidates find great new jobs. Our customers are primarily Fortune 1000 companies, government agencies, and other employers who hire at scale and advertise their jobs with us. You can reach me at

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