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Room 4 Improvement 2

(March 27, 2006)  As we set about pulling this series together, it seemed a smart idea to gather input from bright minds around the industry. We asked a fair number of our colleagues to voice their opinions on the issues raised in the opening article. We'll be peppering the series with their responses.

The first came from David Hurst, the publisher of OnRec, the hub of information about our industry. Located in the UK and having a thoroughly British slant, David is a powerful antidote to the leading edge dominated thinking here in the States. As in this case, he's often a soothing voice of reason.

I found a comment Jeff Taylor made at the end of 2005 interesting when asked what Monster's focus would be going forward and he said "education". Educating the Small to medium companies he said, yet to be aware that online recruitment exists. I am mindful that whilst at the cutting edge of recruitment and online recruitment new ideas and developments sharpen the ability of the worlds largest organisation to attract employees, there is a huge market still unaware in the US and globally of the basics of using the web to recruit. An analogy I use is that its like tunnelling at the coal face, many and myself included are focused on those pushing forward and fascinated by the potential of the medium to put jobseeker and employer together. If we stop for a moment to look over our shoulders the bulk of employers are way behind us and yet to even start.

Referrals will always be a way to find employees, so developing networks and referrals and wanting to automate them is a logical progression. I am not so sure that human nature will support it on a large scale, it works in a micro environment but I don't know if it can be expanded.

I have learned with the internet and this is where its great sitting on the sidelines, time will tell. Putting a jobseeker in touch with an employer efficiently is the goal. Being able to replicate the process year on year makes a good business.
(David Hurst, Publisher - OnRec)

David offers a powerful reminder that our universe is young and still developing. Monster has earned its dominant position by tirelessly educating customers. Only a very small portion of the available pie has even been sliced.

The most widely heard complaint about Internet Recruiting technology (outside of the insider's knowledge that most commercial ATS installations are failures...see DubDubs) is the "firehose" question. It's a simple notion, really. Job boards produce such enormous response volumes that recruiters on the receiving end are overwhelmed. It's anecdotal but very widely cited.

Old friend Don Ramer (CEO of Arbita) offers this insight:

The disconnect between job-content and applicant response is a deep challenge for the major career-hubs. The demand for niche and truly regional job boards has been fueled by the failure of the major players to provide filtering and matching solutions that place only the right candidates before recruiting decision makers. Arbita has seen a significant increase in the number of job boards used per position by corporate recruiters.

Just 18 -24 months ago the average number of boards used per position was 2.5. Today it is 6.7. Niche job board adoption is accelerating as the local and niche players focus on delivering quality over quantity. To paraphrase Unicru, What's so great about seeing lots of unqualified candidates quickly?

The focus on delivering quantity is a hangover from the early days of the industry when the core question recruiters had was whether they were getting people as a result of spending recruiting dollars on the web. Today's question is whether or not recruiters are getting value for money. The key to the value question is matched candidates. If the major career hubs don't stop playing the numbers game (lots of responses whether they fit or not and let the recruiters dig through the piles of data if they want to find the gems) their days in the game will be numbered.
(Don Ramer, CEO Arbita)

We're tempted by a slightly different view. Job boards, per se, do a middling job of moderating the imbalances in supply and demand over the course of the business cycle. In a way, it's not their job. When the economy is weak and there are more job seekers than jobs, recruiters get buried in resumes. When the economy is strong and labor is scarce, recruiters get buried in resumes that seem to be from less qualified applicants.

Our take is simple. Job boards are one tool in an arsenal.

Tomorrow, more about the flood of applicants.

 John Sumser
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