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It is better
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Foundations 4
(July 26, 2001) What are the implications of being late in this field?

Ultimately, e-recruiting is the start of a process that results in significant competitive advantage. Controlling the flow of talent to, through and from an organization is a process that is very analogous to contemporary material management. The current economic environment (July '01) is the consequence of monetary policy rather than inventory adjustments. It's a relative first. The inventory management techniques that are now in place in all Western manufacturing concerns (chiefly the result of solid execution of ERP programs) have radically decreased the possibility that imbalances in inventories would cause layoffs. With the solid exception of the Personal Computer price war, prices have held steady as workforces were readjusted.

While we don't inherently believe that loyalty (particularly as expressed in retention programs) is necessarily a competitive advantage, we do believe that bad planning and the resulting workforce dislocation is a disadvantage. For the most part, you want former employees to have fond memories of their experience and the desire to return. The only way to achieve that end is by having real control of the sourcing process, the allocation of work within the organization and the development process.

As we've mentioned, all of these human resource acquisition, utilization and optimization functions are currently practiced in very reactive modes. E-recruiting is the beginning of turning them into constant improvement processes, a real world manifestation of a "learning organization"..

It would be easy to allow the current state of the e-recruiting industry to lull a company into complacency. The terrain is clogged with contradictory claims, confusing jargon, fractured marketplaces and primitive notions. The only thing scarcer than recruiting expertise in most of the e-recruiting companies is evidence of a realistic vision of the future.

The first wave of the process involves advertising. It's a surprising twist in some ways. Advertising is almost the exact opposite of the core values of an HR Department. While no one would confuse the fundamentals of recruiting with the fundamentals of advertising, the Internet creates the requirement for the serial communication of the availability of a given position. Making one's company standout against the noise of tens of millions of job postings is the earliest (and still least understood) components of e-recruiting.

The most interesting development in this regard is the emergence of the Job Advertising Distribution companies (JADs). The JADs form the basis of the future gatekeepers of the communication of staffing requirements. It isn't the case that any company will have to use a JAD. However, they will have to understand the function and reproduce it if they choose not to use one of these vendors.

Again, this is because the first transformation in the Human Capital Supply management process is the way that we describe and communicate openings. The language utilization and motivational midset of advertising professionals is precisely what is missing.

Advertising itself is evolving very rapidly these days. The goal of "one to one" marketing as the ultimate replacement for traditional advertising approaches has taken solid root in most corporations. Customer Relationship Management systems (CRM), while still in their early development stages offer a model of the right kinds of communications between recruiters and potential employees.

Being late means that your competitor is learning and absorbing these things first.

- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

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