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E-recruiting 8

(August 23, 2004)
Is there a link between sector/market and the application of e-hr; between a company size and e-hr advantages?

In the Recruiting and HR environments, technical innovation spreads along a number of vectors. At the root of the patterns of technical proliferation is a model that bears some similarity to Geoffrey Moore's view . Moore imagines that high-tech products differ from those in other industries. His chasm theory describes how high-tech products initially sell well, mainly to a technically literate customer base, but then hit a lull as marketing professionals try to cross the chasm to mainstream buyers. This pattern dominates the adoption of eRecruiting at the individual level and is supplemented by the likelihood that a given industry has a high tech component. So, construction, in general, has been slow to adopt eRecruiting while trucking (with its surprising contemporary reliance on high tech communications, navigation and queuing systems) was an early adopter.

The early days of eRecruiting produced lots of loud debate on whether or not the techniques would ever be useful beyond the limited audience of engineers and engineering managers (who at one time represented 85% or the resumes and jobs posted online.) During that time, it was novel to hear that some Silicon Valley engineers wouldn't take a job if they couldn't find their prospective boss' resume online (after all, how could he look out for them if he wasn't looking out for himself?).

In Moore's eyes, the market is composed of a spectrum of users who range from tech-friendly to tech-averse. It's easier to sell, in other words, to people who are predisposed to believe that technology will inevitably confer an advantage even if the advantage isn't immediately clear. These early adopters always derive a huge benefit from new products and often form the backbone of the data that is used to sell new products to the "tech-averse" end of the spectrum. As it is in the Personal Computing market, huge competitive gains were delivered to the early adopters. Johnny-come-latelies had to buy in just to retain their position. The interesting thing about the adoption cycle proposed by Moore is that it gives huge advantages to the early adopter. In the early days of eRecruiting, small fortunes were accrued by the normal early adopters. If you review the history closely, time and again the first players to the game have been medium sized independent staffing and contracting firms. These folks don't make money unless they deliver results. Therefore, any new technical advantage appears immediately in their offices. From the fax to early eRecruiting, they are always first on the scene. They are followed, quickly, by fast growth technical firms who can not meet their objectives without adequate staffing. The biggest players are the slowest to the party.

With over 7,000,000 potential domestic American employers in the market, we've probably reached an overall penetration of 20% (a Pareto perspective might call that market saturation). The remaining 5.5 Million potential customers are a part of the localization phenomenon which will keep the market fragmented over time. They are small shops with 25 or fewer employees who simply are not served by anyone but the newspapers currently.

The medium term advantage seems to flow to bigger companies. With relatively limitless recruiting budgets, they have the capacity to reach out and develop relationships in a more experimental way than their smaller competitors. But, once price points begin to make sense, alumni networks, referral programs and other automated versions of current systems will root more quickly and effectively in smaller operations.

- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

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