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It is better
to not be on
the web than
to be on and
not know why

John Sumser

is more
it seems.
John Gall

It's better to
do a few things
really well than
than to do
a lot of things
If you can't
make the necessary
commitments of
time and energy
to your
scale back
your plan.
John Sumser

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(January 12, 2001) Like politics, Recruiting is a local sport. Given the web's ability to compress distance and time, the concept of "local" (or Regionality when we're talking to MBAs) is undergoing change. It isn't (as national brand marketers hope) going away. The concept of Regionality and what it means is simply in a state of flux. The web, which forces decentralization and hierarchical flattening, prefers local management to towering management structures.

We like to use the local Yahoo feature that maps places on the web based on their geographic distance from our front door. It's every bit as regional as job boards that claim regional capacity by zip code sort. Yahoo's definition of local is "25 miles or less from the center of the zip code" or "one gallon of gas from home". It's a good reference point and we always start there.


If you don't know about the Depot, our famous inhabitants, the Aikido Dojo, the mountain play, the Zen Spa downtown, the Mill Valley Herald, Kiddo, Mount Tam, the closest nude beach, the Zen Center, the Sweetwater, the Dipsea Race, the Dipsea Restaurant (where Lucas Breakfasts), Mama's Royal Cafe, or the Marin Headlands then you haven't got a clue about Mill Valley. The Yahoo approach simply can't grasp the nuances and they are hardly subtle.

And, the trouble with not having a clue is that it shows.

What the web does to regions is that it allows bonds to be tightened while physical geography becomes somewhat less important. While we're great fans of Craigslist, for example, the idea that it can be easily translated into New York seems sophomoric to us. Maybe the village or Westchester County but New York as a whole is better suited to regionalization by HotJobs than a loose band of techno-hippies from San Francisco. That's not to say that it won't be profitably done, just that it will always be vulnerable to something more local (and already working like MBAFreeAgents). As much as we like them real tall buildings, they are better handled by the odd folks who live with them.

This is where local newspapers (like ours) really show their strengths. It's not centralization that matters, it's an emphasis on the realities of the local market.

From our perspective, a region is best understood as an intersection of geography and interest (or profession) that encompasses about 25,000 people (max, 10,000 is better). As companies begin to master the art of building pools of candidates, they will discover that focused demographics are the key to defining these regions. In the harsh light of reality, they are as you define them. The trick is understanding just how much money can be leveraged by understanding the region you operate in or wish to extract people from.

- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

One To One

(January 11, 2001) We had a very entertaining conversation with an editor at the Rogers-Peppers Group yesterday. After digesting our 2001 Trends piece, the company was preparing to do an article on "Relationship Marketing In Recruiting". As the conversation progressed, we became aware of just how wide the gap between marketing and HR really is.

We raved about Hire.com's product as the prototype for Candidate Pool Relationship Management (after all, they are absolutely as good as it gets in that regard). We discussed the problem that any customer of a "Job-Board-In-A-Box" product encounters: low or inadequate traffic. We pointed out the fact that the solution is equally obvious and important: traffic development teaches HR people about the rudiments of market development. We underlined the fact that this teaches the value of a candidate. Once you start paying for them, you can begin to understand the value of maintaining a long term relationship with them.

And then they asked the question that will keep us laughing for weeks: "So, they use algorithms to tell who to communicate with and how often?"

We had to start explaining just exactly how marketing averse HR really is. We had to reemphasize that the notion that people really are capital to be invested in (with full anticipation of a measurable ROI) is an anathema to the contemporary HR manager. We finally said "Well, it's sort of a religious thing. People in HR tend to equate marketing and Lucifer".

Sadly, the state of Potential Employee Relationship Management Systems (PERMS) is primitive to the point that what happens is simply tracking and accounting. Knowing that effective one to one marketing is the essence of 21st Century Recruiting is far different from designing systems to accomplish it or actually (shhhhh) executing it. Coloring HR with Marketing expertise means teaching the religion of the Heathens to the assembled masses. It ain't easy.

More than anything else, marketing involves a way of seeing that seems contradictory to the HR world view. Marketing sees everything in economic terms. It hunts opportunity. It shapes its message. It repeats, not procedurally but creatively with each stroke. It takes responsibility for results. It wants measurement. It meets quantified objectives. It plans for years into the future. It pushes other departments forward. It is a proactive, mission critical department and discipline.

Marketing takes responsibility for channel development, market forecasting, supply forecasting, advertising, inventory, distribution, and logistics.

So should HR.

- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

Click Here!

Job Boards Are Local

(January 10, 2001) With this week's national rabble rousing out of the way (see yesterdays article), we were looking for some fresh hype to puncture. Job Circle, a regional IT website, shipped a press release describing its ascension to the holy ground. According to the release, Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler, through their CareerXRoads have named the site to their annual "Top 50 employment Recruitment sites in the nation". Delicious, we thought to ourselves, we should be able to skewer two birds with one stone.

Well, we're going to have to give Mark and Gerry a ton of credit for unearthing a real winner. (and we were so looking forward to an exercise in sarcasm).

You really ought to take a look at Job Circle. If there ever was a prototype of the effective regional Industry Job Board, this is it. We think the folks at Job Circle have done far more than implement a solid (and we bet profitable) business plan. They have identified all of the features necessary to do it. The model is ready for prime time and very repeatable.

Here's a quick rundown of the features we loved about the site:

In other words, these folks really get that careers happen locally in companies. They understand that their audience is where the money is and provide tools for the audience to succeed. In doing so, they create the opportunity for multiple revenue streams. What shows through in the execution is the simple fact that defines this operation: it is for and by local IT professionals. The people who run it know what they're talking about and it shows, giving the site a complete aura of authority and authenticity.

As is the case in most professions, career management is one part networking, one part ongoing education, one part awareness of opportunity and one part easy access to tools. Job Circle fills the bill on all fronts in a way that is simply not possible from a national perspective.

As you know, we believe that the marketplace will continue to fragment into tinier and tinier niches (as opposed to the giant one-size-fits all consolidation notion). Job Circle proves the point in an easy to navigate site that is chock full of user-centricity.

Guess we'll have to look harder for our next target.

- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

A Republican Fantasy

(January 09, 2001) Here's the letter we're sending the day after the inauguration:

George W. Bush President, United States Of America 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington, DC

January 22, 2001

Dear Mr. President,

Please accept our hopes that this morning finds you refreshed after an exciting evening of inaugural parties. You have certainly had an interesting journey. The work of building real momentum begins today.

After reviewing your proposed Cabinet, we are most excited by the extent to which your team shares our belief in the separation between government and industry. The government should never do what can be done more effectively in the private sector. More importantly, the government should never compete directly with private industry. It is clear from your initial decisions that this belief is a core principle in your administration.

We would like to suggest that you (or someone on your staff) take a moment to review and operation called "America's Job Bank" (AJB).

If you can believe this, the Department of Labor is funding a commercial advertising vehicle that competes directly with the rapidly emerging Job Board Industry. Not only does AJB directly compete for web traffic and commercial mind share, it does so by giving away services that innovative technology companies sell as the basis of their livelihoods. By delivering the service at no cost, AJB artificially depresses market pricing and stunts the growth of a powerfully important sector.

Ranked (by Alexa) as the 1750th most visited site on the web, AJB literally steals revenue and capacity from solid, investment based businesses. According to the website,

America's Job Bank is the biggest and busiest job market in cyberspace. Job seekers can post their resume where thousands of employers search every day, search for job openings automatically, and find their dream job fast. Employers can post job listings in the nation's largest online labor exchange, create customized job orders, and search resumes automatically to find the right people fast.

Mr. President, this is the language of a market competitor angling for even larger presence. In this capacity, the government is stifling innovation while directly and overtly competing with private industry. As you know, federal intervention in a dynamic and growing market is the surest single way to slow progress.

We urge you to make AJB an example of the sorts of block headed initiatives that you can terminate to add more funds for your proposed tax cuts. Please convert this embarrassment into an accomplishment by closing the operation and allowing the private sector to get on with doing its job.


John Sumser,

- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.


(January 08, 2001) We have been thinking hard about the role of the Chief Talent Officer. Like many "C" level jobs, the actual requirements of the job can be simply described. It is the implications and execution of the top level requirements that makes the job complex.

In a nutshell, we think that the following seven items comprehensively describe the responsibilities of the job:

  • Identify and Validate Short, Medium and Long Range Staffing Requirements
  • Develop Make Or Buy Planning To Meet Those Requirements
  • Execute A Development Program For "Make" Decisions
  • Develop Potential Employee Pipeline Adequate To Meet "Buy" Requirements
  • Build Staffing Vendor Relationships To Meet Variances
  • Implement Human Capital Metrics Systems
  • Create, Maintain and Improve an "Employment Brand"
The devil is in the details, however.

What we are suggesting in these seven bullet points is a complete reorientation of the traditional HR function with additional performance oriented responsibilities in Marketing, project/product success and at the bottom line. The accountability that should be embedded in the job would be too much for most existing HR managers to bear. Given the fact that the web environment makes success or failure on all of these issues quantifiable, we anticipate more structured performance reviews and a modification in the resource allocation process.

You might wonder where all of the juicy stuff we normally write about falls in this new hierarchy.

Recruiting, Training, Assessment, Development, Contract Staffing, Internet Research, Applicant Tracking, Payroll, Benefits, Referral Programs, Candidate Pool Development, Hiring Workflow and Employee Communications Systems are all tactical ways to implement these responsibilities. At the top level of an organization, the policy question begins with "Why?".

Why do you need a workforce? Why should we perform this function in house? Why do we have a training program? Why are we researching the net? and so on are the business of the CTO

The lesson of the first five years of Electronic Recruiting is that the elements of marketing, from intelligence gathering to advertising and copy development to distribution and supply management have become a feature of the face of 21st Century Employment Management. The simplest vendor research in the HRIS arena makes it clear that competitive advantage and flexibility are only available to the diligent, detail oriented vendor management functions. Cycle Time reductions, in recruiting or talent development, are inadequate in a constrained labor market. Requirements must be anticipated and planned for.

Talk about this notion with folks from HR. You'll be able to tell the survivors from the soon to be missing with one single vector: the willingness to take responsibility for results. Proponents of old school HR will whine and moan about not having adequate authority, involvement or "charter". This is the victim mentality produced by years of soft measurement and inappropriate participation in the production of real results.

The winners will embrace these notions, understanding that the freedom to contribute measurably is the hallmark of real adult corporate citizenship.

- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.


    Table of Contents
    Volume I
        1. Executive Summary
        2. Introduction
        3. The Premise: Human Capital Management Changes Everything
        4. The Human Capital Management Industry
        5. 21st Century Ad Agency
        6. Recruiter's Survey Results
        7. Valuation Models
        8. Employment Branding
        9. Forecasts and Predictions
      10. The Chief Talent Officer
      11. Stock Market Performance
      12. The Alliance Development Machine

    Volume II
    - 500 Pages of Detailed analysis of the top 225 vendors in the Human Capital Management Market.

  • Check out the Special Offers on 2001 and
    the 2000 & 1999 ERI.

     - Scheduled for release in January 2001.

Contacting Us:
Call, fax, write, email. We'd love to consult with you about your project.
© 2013 interbiznet.
All Rights Reserved.

Materials written
by John Sumser
© TwoColorHat.
All Rights Reserved.

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