Worky: Career Development Through Social Networking

Worky is the latest project from Ray Nolan, one of Ireland’s most successful Internet entrepreneurs. He set up HostelWorld.com in 1999 with three other investors. The company was sold ten years later for a multi-million dollar return on the initial $150,000 investment.

Ray then set about establishing Worky, which is a social network for employers and employees. Users input their details and skills into their Worky profile, and the site then recommends jobs which are applicable to that user’s skillset. As Ray says, “The reality is you’re not getting found with a paper CV in your back pocket. With something like a Worky profile you can. It’s an industry that needs to change.”

So what makes Worky different from traditional job sites?

“Take Monster which is a pure job site. The problem with job sites is that they’re fairly pointless. They are, I would argue, not necessarily good for the individual searching for a job, nor for the publisher of jobs. Because if you’re a small or medium enterprise and you’re publishing a job ad, you might find yourself on page three of the search results. No-one’s ever going to see it.”

How does Worky compare to Linkedin?

“Linkedin is much more our territory, it’s a social network for business. It’s very lofty in terms of its positioning so it’s very much for senior management or business development people, people who have to market themselves or their companies a lot. It’s very much about the network.

“In other words, I go into work, I work in a team of three people doing whatever I do and I go home. My work network is the people I meet every day, I don’t have to be on any website to see them, and I get my instructions from my boss, and I do my job.

“Our view was that there has to be somewhere in the middle, somewhere between Facebook and Linkedin that is inclusive rather than exclusive.

“Linkedin’s very exclusive — you have to be in that tier one demographic. Also the site is a closed network so you don’t get found on Google or any other search engine, so it’s a closed environment.

“If you Google my name and you find a reference to me on Linkedin, their optimisation within Google would be very poor because they only care about getting you to use their network. If you’re not in a network onn Linkedin then you have no real point to be there.”

So how is Worky different?

“Worky is a business network; much of the functionality is the same as Linkedin. We would argue that it’s positioning is not as lofty so it applies to people from entry level, first job, or even graduates, right up to CEO’s so it’s much more inclusive in terms of the range of people that have relevance within Worky.

“It is also an open network so you do get found on Google or Linkedin, and it’s your profile that gets found, it’s not a link to get in to Linkedin or another site, it’s all about you, so you’re worky.com/joebloggs or whatever, and that is your profile, it’s not some convoluted URL.

“It’s nice and clean, you can tell people where you can be found, so it’s not exclusive either.

“Also the job element is much more built into Worky. While there is a network, it’s not mandatory to partake in it. You might just say, look I work in a team of three people, I don’t need to connect or link in to anybody, but I do deserve a place to showcase my skills, to showcase my talents, to put my CV online so that I might get a better job.”

Accessibility seems to be a big part, in that you can go in, not be part of a big network, and still find opportunities?

‘Yes, the point is that employment is built in to Worky right from day one, so if you build your skills or build a profile on Worky, you can press one button and send a PDF of your CV effectively to anybody.

“It’s the kind of place where I can showcase my talents, where we’ve automatically matched jobs against you so, we’ve got about 2.5 million jobs on the site. If you put in your skills on your profile you won’t go searching for jobs like you would on a jobs site, you get automatically presented with jobs that match your skillset.”

What technology do you use in matching user’s skillsets to jobs?

“The reality is we use word sequences and word pairs that are appropriate. If you’re a software developer we’ll also match you to jobs like programmer and so on and so forth. So it’s pretty straightforward stuff; we can only match you with the data that we get from the people that have the jobs to give. Typically the matching is very good.”

Worky has members in 150 countries, but acknowledges that the company has not yet made a big push outside Ireland, citing profile membership at, “sub-100,000 for sure, but ask me in six months!” Citing his success with HostelWorld, Ray sees no reason why such success can’t be repeated, “That’s the scale of our ambition.”

“People typically in Linkedin world are collecting connections as if they’re meaningful, but they’re not, they’re less and less meaningful as you get outside what is a typical business network. While I might have met 5,000 people during my business career of 20 years, how many of those am I going to call? Not that many is the short answer. So we feel that with Worky we’ve got a Facebook kind of feel to it.

“We absolutely believe in the separation of your Facebook life and your Worky life. Because if you don’t then you run the risk that someone finds something on your Facebook profile, where they’ll see that, “gosh, he also likes to dance naked on bars at parties.” So the separation between your work life and social life has to be there.

“There’s no reason why you can’t build a career network or a career place to extol your virtues and your talents. You have a right to do that, everybody has.”

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One thought on “Worky: Career Development Through Social Networking

  1. Great to read the interview Ray – was fascinated to find out more about Worky and how you intended to compete with LinkedIn. As you say, LinkedIn was certainly focussed on ‘collecting’ contacts at one stage.There is this theory of ‘Social Objects’ and it has been mooted for over five years that this is where LinkedIn failed – it failed to provide the things that connect us together – see http://www.zengestrom.com/blog…But they have certainly tried to push forward their groups / communities which, for me at least, provides more incentive to go back and use the site as opposed to using it as a big address book.I wonder what moves Worky is going to make in this direction – what is the social object for Worky that will make me go back to the site (apart from looking for a CV) and keep going back?John

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