Creative industries have changed dramatically over the past decade, but unfortunately the options for creative professionals to showcase their talent to peers and prospective employers hasn’t. Until now.
When it comes to recruiting creative talent, most employers still rely on word of mouth rather than running the gauntlet of advertising on traditional job boards (on and offline) and wading through stacks of static resumes.
That could all be about to change with the launch of The Loop, a new Australian online multimedia platform designed to match creative professionals with potential employers.
The Loop is certainly no Seek clone for creative professionals. Founders Matt Fayle and Pip Jameison, both former MTV employees, were continually frustrated by the limitations of existing platforms for creative professionals to showcase their work and for employers to identify suitable talent. So they set about planning a new kind of online platform that incorporated rich multimedia and the best aspects of online social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
“The idea came about in January 2008,” says Matt Fayle, Director and co-founder of The Loop. “I was Director of Digital at MTV and people were coming up to me and saying, ‘Matt, can you build me a website? I want to put up my showreel.’ And, ‘You’re the digital dude. Can you sort this out for me?’ From that starting point we began thinking, ‘Alright, they all want to promote themselves. What’s the best way to do that? And how can we make sure they are putting themselves in front of the right companies in Australia — the companies that will really value their work?’”
The more Fayle and Jameison researched, the more they realised that it was absurd just how far online sharing technology had advanced beyond the existing ways an individual could showcase a creative portfolio to companies (and vice versa). While creatives were showcasing their best work on online social platforms such as YouTube, Flickr and Facebook, there was no central, multimedia-rich platform where professionals and companies could find each other — a marketplace. So they built it, spending nine months researching every aspect of the business and hiring Visiontech Digital to develop the website.
“As soon as someone attaches their CV or a word document, it is out of date anyway, because they have created something new — they have moved on and they can’t update it,” says Fayle. “I don’t understand why recruitment companies would want to keep piles of CVs on database, because they’re not relevant. The site at the moment is testament to that, because there are people coming back to the site once or twice a day to update their profiles — uploading new content or a little bit more about themselves.”
Individual users of The Loop create profiles free of charge to show off as much of their work and experience as they like, and can update these as often as they like. Employers and recruitment agencies are also able to create profiles that individual creatives can peruse. Advertisers can book standard, premium and display ads, as well as accessing a price-capped Cost Per Application model — a new alternative in the online job advertising market — and advanced, custom-built filtering options.
“People want to have value in the applicants they receive,” says Fayle. “The whole idea behind the Cost Per Acquisition model was if you filter applicants to your requirements then we will charge you the value of those applicants. And I think we will charge people $10 for that, based on the number of credits that they purchase. But it’s only going to get cheaper. A lot of creative companies probably wouldn’t put a $180 ad on Seek to find someone. Traditionally, creative industries would use word of mouth and I think this really gives people an opportunity to dip their toe in the water. If they want five applicants they will never pay more than a maximum of $50. They get those five applicants and then their job ad comes down.”
The Loop launched in beta on 1 December 2009 with 30 employers advertising on the site, including Animal Logic, Discovery Networks, MTV Networks and AFTRS.
According to Fayle, (in January) The Loop was receiving approximately 50 new profiles a day, spanning across advertising, design, digital media, film, music, performing arts, photography, publishing, radio, television, and visual arts fields, as well as other creative-minded industries. Visitors are doubling week on week, and users spend an average of seven minutes and fourteen seconds per session on the site, which is impressive even taking into account registration time.
TheLoop.com.au will always remain focused on the Australian market, but Fayle and Jameison are looking to expand the concept overseas later this year. Any overseas versions of The Loop will be focused on those local markets, but with the added benefit that employers will be able to access a back end of international talent if they choose.
“We’ve got a huge amount of functionality and development plans at the moment and we are going to add more community features to the site and that will allow people to customise the way they see updates from people, companies and jobs that are relevant to them. We’re also looking at other advertising revenue models,” says Fayle.
“We have only been live for eight weeks and we are already starting to talk about Phase Two, which is great, but it is certainly going to keep up busy.”
Paul Ryan is Editor of Anthill Magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @PaulDRyan