They may have patents on certain algorithms they use to sort / present jobs to people, but it's unlikely that anyone has a patent on the general idea of a career portal. If you'd like advice on how to do an effective patent search, or how to affordably file your own patents in the US I'm happy to help.
all the best,
You absolutely need to have a patent attorney check other patents before you spend time and money developing a website. You should also do searches on website names to make sure you can get a name that will work for what you are launching. I heard a true story yesterday about an entrepreneur that was very successful and a large company began to use her name and idea , which she had not patented and registered properly. It unfortunately put her out of business. I have some ideas on what you can do yourself and what you absolutely need an attorney for if you would like to set up a call.
My main question would be this: When you say "like Monster.com" what exactly are you referring to? What is your secret sauce?
As Lee mentioned, if there is a specific filtering/matching algorithm that you've developed that you feel fits the following categories (requirements for a patent) then the answer is YES, you should file for a utility patent.
1) New and useful (No one else has Known about or used this process or algorithm in the US & there are NO patents on this anywhere in the world)
2) Utility (actually useful in real life or a very solid theoretical foundation for being useful)
3) Novel (Unique, authentic idea - See #1)
4) Non-obvious (This is the hardest obstacle to get through. Simply put, your idea can't just be the combination of 2 other patented Ideas. Previous patents are called "prior art" and your idea will be compared against prior art to ensure there was a substantial difference in your invention versus previous inventions. Patent examiners will also look at the commercial marketplace.
5) You Haven't publicly disclosed your idea
If you don't have a secret sauce and you're creating a website that duplicates someone else's algorithm/process then you may be infringing on someone else's patent & you should ask yourself why you're going into business in the first place.
Other than the legal question.
Spend as much time as it takes to come up with answering this question..Why would I buy your product or service? This will give you your USP. From there you will develop your drive, your, passion, and your marketing voice. From this you will develop unstoppable perseverance for success.
Best of Luck,
From the Trenches to the Towers Marketing
I will be glad to help as my time permits.