‘This allows for pivots into numerous areas’: Why Vogue has got into recruitment

Vogue Business, the fashion bible’s newsletter for beauty and fashion professionals, has expanded into the online recruitment industry as the publisher continues to explore non-ad-driven business models.

Launched last week, Vogue Business Talent sits somewhere between a careers site and a place for brands to promote their culture and ethos through content. CNI creative studio can assist, if needed and for a fee. It is the publisher’s second business-to-business venture spun out of the Condé Nast International Business Development team, set up to develop new non-ad funded products and services.

The Vogue Business Talent site was built over six months with 10 selected clients including Burberry, Louis Vuitton and Harrods. During this time, it registered 8,000 international professionals, although the publisher was tight-lipped about how many more had joined since last week.

“We are talking big numbers,” said Alistair Williams, lead of Vogue Business Talent, and former director of Guardian Jobs. “We found in the last few days the ability for Vogue Business Talent to resonate with the audience is immeasurable. We’re in the business of encouraging talent to entrust us with their data — they do in significant numbers. Doing so under the Vogue Business brands makes that easier.”

Vogue Business Talent will evolve based on feedback from the community, a similar approach to how Vogue Business has developed. One early finding from the feedback was that people on both candidates and clients struggled to find what they were looking for. Now, candidates have to register in order to see or apply for a job, adding a layer of quality control.

A slice of the growing online recruitment market, projected to reach $34.5 billion (£27.47 billion) by the end of 2023, according to Orbis Research, is appealing on its own. But as diversifying revenue streams go, Vogue Business Talent offers multiple options. Currently, the main source of income comes from fashion brands paying for job listings, which the company was unwilling to share for competitive reasons. Soon Vogue Business Talent will offer what it calls candidate curation, where it will sift through CVs and create a shortlist of candidates for clients.

It also offers content and marketing services from the CNI creative studio for clients who want help to tell their brand story to promote their company on the platform. There are now 23 clients working with Vogue Business Talent. In the future, the publisher plans to offer brand sponsorship and events options too.

“This allows for pivots into numerous areas,” said Williams. “We’re developing it with the talent community in mind, followed closely by client community.”

Besides its focus on the fashion industry, Vogue Business Talent differs from broad jobs boards like LinkedIn because there is also content from Vogue Business chosen by chief editor, Lauren Indvik, featuring pieces like career advice from 11 different Vogue editors and this piece interviewing former creative director at Calvin Klein Collection, Francisco Costa, about creating a beauty brand.

Vogue Business Talent has five people working on roles across product development, user experience and talent acquisition, drawing on the wider CNI Business Development unit for additional staff, and plans to hire more as it builds up its services. Being set up as a separate entity to Vogue prevents it from running into organizational challenges that other consumer titles making the jump into business-related content can struggle with, like how much editorial resource to devote.

Vogue has successfully straddled the line between consumer and business for some time, said Douglas McCabe, CEO of Enders Analysis, adding that Vogue advertising is for wealthy consumers as well as industry peers. The publisher hosts fashion conferences in London and Paris and fashion colleges in London and Spain. It also runs consulting services for local governments that run fashion-week events, research and whitepapers.

“A hefty proportion of Vogue’s distribution is through business like hotels and hairdressers,” he said. “A branding message with an industry purpose as well as a traditional sales logic. In other words, Vogue is an industry fashion bible, not just a high-end consumer magazine. One of the big themes we are seeing in the magazine sector is a convergence of B2C with B2B.”

Vogue has a history of nurturing young talent through initiatives like Vogue Talents and its fashion and design colleges. Business publishers have a unique positioning with their audience which makes them a natural fit for recruitment, particularly, as Williams said, because their links with the fashion community are so strong.

“The fact that business professionals use Vogue and Vogue Business to help them in their daily professional lives makes it interesting to take that approach,” said Williams.


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