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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


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

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Computing Is Not Recruiting
(February 05, 2003) -
- Part of the contemporary American psyche includes a clear longing for a sense of community. This is not satisfied by the silliness of so-called talent communities that are really direct-marketing schemes that are marketed as community.

A small but growing percentage of job boards feature incredibly personal and physical networking as a component of their approach to the game. Over the years, we've enthusiastically covered this trend and remain certain that it is a powerful and repeatable model. Combining digital information streams with physical gatherings, a community development technique pioneered by the Well, and utilized by Craig's List, Media Bistro and MBAFreeAgents, is a way of doing business that supercedes the old fashioned "job fair".

Last night, we once again braved the wilds of San Francisco's Mission District to see the West Coast Branch of MediaBistro in action. MediaBistro, whose new tagline is "jobs, friends, smarts, love", is the brainchild of Laurel Touby, a Manhattan based gadfly and entrepreneur. She organizes parties for members of the media community in geographical niches around the company. It's not the parties, the forums or the job board by themselves. Rather, the synergy of on and offline experiences makes for a milieu in which it is easy to get to know new people and network.

Not all of us are great networkers and the media bistro model clearly isn't for everyone. If you wanted to develop this sort of event for highly technical people, you might use Border's instead of a bar and feature a speaker rather than Cosmopolitans. But, the idea of gathering like minded people into a physical group on a monthly basis while keeping them connected with web-based content is ripe for duplication. It's a job board strategy. It's an HR department strategy. It's all about maintaining and developing relationships.

Imagine knowing the right 100 people (last night's party peaked at about 125) so that the next time an opening came up, you could reach the right person for it in a couple of phone calls. While the legwork and planning are at least as (if not more) expensive than traditional recruiting methods, the eliminated lag time is worth untold dollars in increased productivity and supervisory job satisfaction.

Maybe we should start selling bumper stickers that say "Computing is not Recruiting". It's not that the internet can't be helpful, it's just the technical part of a real strategic problem. The rest of the problem responds to investment in other than technical infrastructure. It needs and requires investment in people.

- John Sumser  

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Materials written by John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
Mill Valley, CA 94941

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