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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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The Electronic Recruiting News is a Free Daily Newsletter For Recruiters, HR Managers, Advertising Agencies and Clasified Advertising Operations

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What's New?
(February 23, 2001) As usual, we're unearthing new web tools. Here are a dozen worth bookmarking.

- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

Recruiters' Ten Commandments

(February 22, 2001) From our friend Kevin Johansen (former CEO of 4Work) comes the Recruiters' Ten Commandments. Perhaps it's time to reconsider the idea that we need a code of ethics.

  1. Thou shalt be able to decode, spell, use correctly in a sentence, and pronounce the following acronyms: HTML, DHTML, EJB, ASP, JSP, XML, XP, XSL, XSLT, SQL, QA. The following are not acronyms: Java, Perl.
  2. Thou shalt not be vague. Java and JavaScript are not the same thing and Java Swing and Java Servlets are on two different ends of the spectrum so don't just require "Java".
  3. Thou shalt not lie. Be a straight forward and honest person who is not afraid to solicit candidates with high salaries.
  4. Thou shalt not be so technically inept that you can't read all of the following resume formats: .doc, .rtf, .html, and .txt.
  5. Thou shalt not require more years of experience in a given technology than that technology has existed for.
  6. Thou shalt not insult a candidate's intelligence by requesting the skills of 2-3 persons instead of one, i.e. a graphic designer who knows Java.
  7. Thou shalt follow up. Know how to actually store a resume for future reference and then use it to follow up in the future when a job opportunity match presents itself.
  8. Thou shalt not waste candidates' time on the phone, in email, or in person when you don't really have any job opportunities at the present time.
  9. Thou shalt realize that meeting 80% of an employer's wish list is probably good enough to justify sending the candidate's resume in.

    And finally,

  10. Thou shalt not act like an idiot.

- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

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The Dangling Conversation

(February 21, 2001) Hal Bennett, who works with us in the consulting side of the operation, is an amazing thinker. Trained in organizational development with a number of turnarounds under his belt, Hal is the kind of eclectic intellect we love to spend time with. Like many pioneers, he thinks hard about things that are hard to think about. He's taken our quest to redefine advertising seriously.

For Hal, all organizational life is a series of conversations that can be managed to higher levels of quality and effectiveness. Like us, he believes that these commercial conversations are micro versions of advertisements. He shares our distaste for that word and the baggage that it carries.

The idea that conversation is the essence of strategy doesn't surprise us. Advertising as a form of conversation is an interesting twist proposed by many over the years. From NTL to GBN, we've been in and around the idea for decades. Hal's important insight is that the conversation can and should be shaped and clarified. Getting people to tell the right stories, he says, is the essence of organizational effectiveness.

Conversations are small. They don't work well in groups. They involve lots of listening. When they work, they take an active interest in the other participants. Ego and shouting (and isn't that the essence of current Recruitment Advertising?) are bad manners.

Recruiting is a conversation that should be managed. The awkward change in our language, from recruiting and advertising to elements of conversation is the kind of thing that is driven by the web and the unemployment crisis. Moving from a broadcast metaphor to a conversational image helps describe the level of intimacy and attention required to make the next generation of Electronic Recruiting truly different.

Back in December, we published an article called The Search. It described the importance of discovering a new metaphor for the important work performed by our peers. Recruiting, with its overtones of abundance and slippery ethics, is quickly losing its effectiveness. So is the idea that 20th Century advertising techniques can continue to be applied effectively in the Internet era. The volumes of mail we received suggested that the real delight of Recruiting is the series of conversations that make up the process.

Above all, the Internet is an intimate medium for asynchronous conversation. The Broadcasting of badly written job descriptions, posing as an inducement for employment, is relatively rude. While we can't really imagine "hosts at the employment conversation area", we do think that the various vendors in the industry ought to do a better job of capitalizing on the new media's conversational strengths.

We're looking for "Recruiting Environments" that make the delivery of intimacy easier for the professionals who have to deliver the same message to tiny audiences. Each conversation must be tailored for it to feel right. If you're going to invest in technology, it should be in that direction.

- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

The Torture Of Carrie Baggy

(February 20, 2001) First we nailed her feet to the office floor. A variety of thugs took turns beating her with used keyboards. Then we dragged her across a gravel pit on her knees. We took her to the local ant farm where we buried her up to her neck, covered her head with honey and let the big red ants run free. If she survives, we'll move her to the beach, bury her up to her head again and wait for the tide to roll in.

That's how we treat people who let security lapse.

Before we began the slow torture (we're hoping it takes weeks), Carrie Baggs, our faithful correspondent, answered a number of wonderful phone calls from readers who took the time to let us know that we had infected the world with a variation of the "Anna Kournikova" Worm. Not to be confused with an intestinal pest, the "Anna Kournikova" Worm sends mail to everyone in your mailbox causing them to send mail to everyone in theirs. It's currently jamming mail servers around the world.

We got lots of kind and understanding email from concerned readers who told us how to fix the problem and related their stories of trouble with this particular virus. Of course, a few really grumpy calls and letters made it as well.

Carrie forgot three cardinal rules of the Internet:
  1. Never Open An Attachment Unless You Personally Know The Person Who Sent It
  2. Keep Your Copies Of Outlook and Eudora Updated With The Latest Fixes
  3. Keep Your Antiviral Software Updated
The more sympathetic in our audience might want to forgive her. She gets to open a lot of press releases. Many of the morons who send out press releases are too stupid to know not to send them as attachments. Many of the morons who pay them don't check the work of their subordinates.

We are not so forgiving. In a way, we are hoping she survives her experience with the tide. It turns out that we can be terribly creative here at interbiznet. One of the staffers suggested ground glass in mashed potatoes. Another chimed in with the concept of a Castor Oil Slurpee. Ultimately, we decided that she'd have to review 10,000 corporate job boards, finding something clever to say about each, should she survive.

Security problems are changing daily. As most users are starting to have fixed IP addresses (DSL, Cable, Ethernet), we are strikingly vulnerable to a range of hacking and mischief once reserved for the big guys.

Be careful out there

We're sorry for any inconvenience and urge you to be prepared so that you don't look as silly as we do.

To ease your concerns a bit, we expect Carrie back on the job, slightly chastened but cheerful as ever.

  • (No employees were harmed in the writing of this article.)
  • An email with the "Anna Kournikova" Worm will be titled " Here you have, ;o) "

- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

President's Day Sale

(February 19, 2001) This is the traditional holiday for post-Christmas sales. Apparently, we honor our forefathers by delivering special discounts on linens, clothing and cars. Given recent history, perhaps this is not as sacrilegious as it might seem at first.

It looks like the "SALE" signs are hanging everywhere. From our perspective, almost all of the major properties in the online employment arena are up for grabs. The obvious exceptions are either public companies or those teams lucky enough to have the endless deep pockets of a newspaper behind their endeavors.

It's a tricky time for little companies that want to become big ones. Led by Webhire's astonishing stock price declines (and concurrent rumors of a stock consolidation so that they can stay listed), the battle for market share over the past years has led to solid growth and cash flow problems. As we've been saying for years now, Electronic Recruiting is not cheaper. It's faster, perhaps. It's more expensive, for sure. Its real strength lies in the ability to communicate with potential employees over time.

Prices are going to rise.

We've never been huge fans of the high stakes investment game that leads to dreams of riches being prioritized over customer satisfaction. It's more than uncomfortable to be an HR manager whose decision to invest corporate resources, time and energy is at risk because a vendor's management team couldn't restrain their spending.

With the sale price for an online employment service hovering at all time lows, we're seeing market pressures reward market sensitive behavior while it punishes arrogance. CareerCast, our long term favorite, is busy picking up accounts and alliances derived from the silliness.

So, how did we get here?

By leaps and bounds, the fault lies in the myth of technology. While this company and that race to add new features to their "platforms", they don't seem to be checking with customers. "Does the current system work?" and "are you happy with it?" might be appropriate places to check. Instead, the fat technical teams are seen as the path to the future. We continue to assert the notion that this business is about people and communications, not technology. The overemphasis on technology comes, we think, from investors who don't understand the service economy.

So, if you want to buy a job board, advertising agency or employment service, this is the time. They're going cheap for President's Day.

- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

© 2013 interbiznet.
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Materials written
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© TwoColorHat.
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