Glassdoor CEO on the Company’s New Round, Next Steps and the Threat of Social Networks

This morning, Glassdoor, an employment site driven by user submissions, announced a $12 million Series C round led by Battery Ventures. Other participants in the round include previous investors Benchmark Capital and Sutter Hill Ventures. To date, it has raised $22.2 million.

The funding was expected. Though Glassdoor doesn’t disclose revenue numbers and won’t comment on whether it is profitable (which I take to mean it isn’t), the 30-person company has enjoyed impressive growth in its three-year-history. It now sees 3.5 million monthly unique visitors, many of whom have anonymously contributed precious data and insights about more than 110,000 companies around the world.

One anonymous Facebook employee, for example, recently wrote of Facebook’s “pros” that it offers “free food, dry cleaning, and snacks,” along with the opportunity to work with “extremely bright people in engineering/product teams.” In the “cons,” the employee lists that Facebook has a “products versus everyone else mentality,” that sales and operations are “not valued by senior management,” and that “meetings all the time” make it hard to get work done.

That kind of feedback is incredibly useful. At the same time, Glassdoor has serious competitive challenges, not least among them big job sites like Monster and Careerbuilder, which enjoy 25 percent and 36 percent of the U.S. online help-wanted market, respectively.

Glassdoor must also contend with a shifting landscape in which people spend increasing amounts of their time on a few social platforms, including the business networking hub LinkedIn.

Glassdoor’s co-founder and CEO Robert Hohman suggests that Glassdoor isn’t overly concerned about either hurdle right now, saying that “we’re not trying to build a social network.” We talked yesterday; some of our conversation, edited for length, follows.

Q: People spend so much of their time on Facebook that applications like BranchOut could potentially transform the site into a serious career networking center. Does that concern you?

A: We consider Facebook a partner. A couple of months ago, we launched enhanced employer profiles, which invites companies to join the conversation on Glassdoor. They get great analytics on how many people are viewing their companies, where the job seekers are regionally, and other interesting information that helps employers get a sense for how much Glassdoor is impacting their recruiting funnel. We now have relationships with hundreds of employers who’ve built why-work-for-us sections. And Facebook was one of our first employer partners there.

Q: I more mean: In this day and age, don’t you need to engage users outside of Glassdoor?

A: We’re not trying to build a social network. That’s not something we’re going to do. Leveraging the social fabric is very important and something we look at very closely. I think what LinkedIn and Facebook have built is fabric that helps people make good career decisions. But I don’t think you’ll see us building the same features. We’re trying to fulfill a very specific need, which is: ‘I have a career decision, which is to stay or leave my company, and I need help making that decision.’ It’s very complementary to what’s available. You can look at job listings at LinkedIn, for example, and then learn more about the company at Glassdoor.

Q: Are you able to monetize those people who are conducting research?

A: We have three main revenue buckets: our enhanced employer profiles — they pay to own a profile — which is a subscription model [whose cost is determined] by how many jobs the employer has open. We have featured job ads; employers come to us with jobs that are hard to fill, and we target people as they move through the site with ads that are highly relevant to what they’re look for. And last, we make money off traditional display advertising, where we charge premium rates.

Q: Is it safe to say that the last one produces the most revenue?

A: We don’t break that out [publicly], though all three are growing, and we’re most excited about the first two products. You can buy display advertising all over the Web, but it’s hard to join relevant conversations with potential employees.

Q: And what will we see that’s new in 2011?

A: We have some broad buckets. The main one is building our proprietary content. We need to deliver more value by collecting and presenting more information, and there are all kinds of ways you can do that. [For users], we’ve already touched on how to get ready for an interview and, ‘How much money should I get?’, but there are other areas we can expand into, like, ‘How do I leverage my network?’ [And] ‘Is it worth relocating?’ There are tons of areas. It’s a big, open field to us.

Q: That sounds like early About.com. Are you talking about hiring writers on the cheap to produce these areas?

A: I don’t rule anything out. Our blog today serves a lot of that content and we do work with freelancers and contributors who write [instructive pieces] for job seekers. But Glassdoor’s power has been about leveraging the wisdom of the community, and I think we’re more excited about that.

Q: Can you offer more specifics about your road map?

A: I wish I could go into more detail, but we have a strict rule not to talk about what we’re developing. What I can say is that our new funding will accelerate sales and accelerate developments around these opportunities to leverage community. It’s clear that we can collect this content. Now it’s time for us to lean into this recovery and seize it.