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It is better
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John Sumser

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24 Electronic Recruiting Trends 2000
(November 22, 2000) John Sumser's 24 Electronic Recruiting Trends 2000 piece will be available momentarily. It is a must read. The trends piece is part of the 2001 Electronic Recruiting Index (available January 2001).This Annual interbiznet™ Report highlights the 24 Trends listed below:
  • Trend 1      Recruiting Gateways Emerge
  • Trend 2      Inventory Principles Take Hold
  • Trend 3      Perfection Of "Do Nothing Recruiting"
  • Trend 4      Continued Rumors Of Consolidation
  • Trend 5      NASDAQ Crash Drives Profitability Up
  • Trend 6      Proliferation Of Job Boards Unabated
  • Trend 7      Explosion Of Trade Shows
  • Trend 8      The Recruiter Returns
  • Trend 9      Search For A Business Model Goes On
  • Trend 10    Consequences Of The Staffing Industry Crash
  • Trend 11    Internet Search Techniques Wear Out
  • Trend 12    Job Posting Explosion Goes Exponential
  • Trend 13    Enterprise Players Join The Fun
  • Trend 14    Job Board In A Box Business Opens
  • Trend 15    Traffic Development Techniques Deployed
  • Trend 16    New Ad Agencies Take The Field
  • Trend 17    Newspaper Wars Won By Surprise
  • Trend 18    Market Segmentation Multiplies
  • Trend 19    Referral Networks Try Their Hand
  • Trend 20    Alumni Networks Connect Ex-Employees
  • Trend 21    The Use Of "Communities" Expands
  • Trend 22    Emphasis on Strategy Rediscovered
  • Trend 23    Talent Markets Grow Slowly
  • Trend 24    Limits Of Tools Understood
Opening Remarks from the report:

Driven by market forces, the maturation of a variety of technologies and the ever-present labor shortage, the Electronic Recruiting Industry moved through a series of dramatic changes over the course of the past year. Shifts in the industry's capital structure, driven by the Spring "dot com crash", declining results caused by broad market acceptance, consolidation at the top end coupled with fragmentation at the bottom, and the economy's full throttle shift onto an information platform are a few of the underlying sources of change.

Still in its infancy, the Electronic Recruiting Industry has enlarged its scope and direction over the past year. Attracting market entries from companies as diverse as Peoplesoft and The Tribune Newspapers, the industry is blurring the distinctions between traditional staffing companies, newspapers and enterprise software providers. As more traditional HR companies in payroll, benefits, consulting, staffing, and Information Technology enter the market, they are joined by technical certification companies, publishers, pure technology ventures, personality assessment firms, investment operations (venture and investment funds), REITs and a multitude of other surprising entrants.

Alumni Networks, hybrid systems, referral programs, job boards in a box, recruiting gateways, labor exchanges, retention (internal recruiting) initiatives, talent markets and other new categories moved into the limelight this year. There was a concurrent explosion of trade shows, training offering and publications that catered to the new offerings and the emerging marketplace. Given the intensity of the recruiting problem and the enormous wealth available to the eventual winners, Electronic Recruiting is transforming a variety of traditional industries. In some ways, it may be better to begin referring to the industry as The Human Capital marketplace.

This report summarizes the top 24 trends that currently drive the Electronic Recruiting marketplace. Given the relative surprise with which an extended labor shortage has been greeted, these trends showcase the transition of recruiting from passive filtering to competitive sport. In the years to come, these 24 Key Trends will be seen as the launching point for a radically redefined industry. Increasingly, recruiting, whether for attraction or retention, is becoming the dominant reason for having a Human Resources Department.

Employment Branding II

(November 21, 2000) A brand is a relationship. In consumer branding, where Monster.com and HotJobs have shined in recent years, the equation is simple: paint a desirable image in the mind of the consumer that is designed to provoke purchasing behavior. Because consumer markets are huge, the game is a combination of direct marketing statistics, consistency in feel, innovation in delivery and articulation, investment in the brand itself and broad demographic targeting. Purchasing behavior in the Job Board business means buying into the idea that submitting your resume will work.

One of the most interesting features of all job boards is that, while they must be able to deliver extraordinary consumer advertising performance, revenue comes from an entirely different channel. Although consumer marketing campaigns create brand awareness in HR purchasers, the sales process involves a separate set of dynamics. Monster focuses on account style sales while HotJobs manages a phenomenal telemarketing sales force. At the income level, in other words, a brand involves a direct relationship with a human being.

Neither of these approaches is Employment Branding, however. There is at least some reason to suspect that companies with great consumer or B2B branding skills are less than likely to deliver powerful Employment Branding.

If Employment Branding were executed like consumer or B2B, there would be little discussion of the subject. With its focus on 1% behavior (1% of message recipients act on the message), consumer marketing is far too expensive and untargeted. The cost per relationship is prohibitive in B2B Marketing as well.

In the short run, this means that the Job Boards have created environments in which a Recruiter has a platform for delivering an Employment Branding campaign. To be sure, this means that their investment in interface design, branding and matching technology is an issue. The extent to which the internal rules of the game on any Job Board are clear, the playing field is level. By definition, their utility as a platform for message delivery is a function of one organization's ability to distinguish itself from another in the messaging environment.

In other words, as a customer of job boards, you should expect a constant stream of tips and improvements that increase the effectiveness of your investment in their service. Otherwise, each new customer that they gain detracts from your effectiveness. A fair question for a Job Board is "What percentage of my fees are plowed directly back into product improvements and candidate acquisition?" A good answer is 15% for the first and 35% for the second.

Employment Branding involves much more than advertising jobs on job boards, however. Media placement is certainly an important question when developing an Employment Branding Strategy. It's the execution end of a well honed strategy and only one component of the ultimate solution.

- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

Employment Branding

(November 20, 2000) What do you need for Employment Branding? Let's see...some rope, a really hot fire, a long steel rod with your corporate logo on the end, a bucket of cold water, a couple husky wranglers and someone who looks like the Marlboro man...Well, maybe everyone's not lucky enough to live in an area where brute force branding is the way to go. For the rest of us, Employment Branding is a new arena with little in the way of guidance.

The objective of contemporary Recruitment Communications systems is to deliver messages of job availability and organizational flexibility as close to a Potential Employee as possible. Employment branding is the careful development of those messages, their delivery targets and the reconciliation of those messages with the reality behind the firewall. It's no small chore.

There are three components to the mix:

  1. Messages of Job Availability and Organizational Flexibility
  2. Definitions Of Targets
  3. Reconciliation Of The Message With Reality
Each item is a thesis subject in itself.

One thing you can be certain about is the fact that this is not a software problem. It won't be resolved by the movement of data about people through exchanges. It isn't about the brand name of the Job Board that you use. It doesn't involve investment in "user interface design".

It's about the job, the company and the person filling the job.

Even though the microtargeting disciplines required to fully execute Employment Branding are still being developed, the inherent problems are not technical at all. They involve making the workplace attractive to potential employees. Rather than fussing about how well the employee is going to fit the culture, the emphasis is on making the culture fit the employee. It's about managing real diversity...the various lives and life-cycle needs of each individual team member.

In a labor shortage, the question is "who has the most attractive workplace and who can communicate that best to the right people?" That's the essence of employment branding.

One of the key reasons that a Chief Talent Officer is becoming a central figure in our landscape is that someone has to have real, hands on responsibility for workplace attractiveness (no, we don't mean fresh paint and potted plants) and its clear relationship to profitability. Employment Branding can't be the "bait and switch" deal that some great Recruiters practice currently. The workplace has to build commitment as a natural component of its structure.

- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

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