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(April 18, 2006) Couldn't resist the title.
So, ZoomInfo is pretty neat. On the assumption that you are interested in hiring people with a clear web presence, the service will go a great distance towards helping you meet your goals. Their "networking tools" are really mass email campaign development tools. Although the most visible denizens of the web may, in fact, be the most networked (and therefore the best people to add to a referral network), the idea behind real referral programs is that the people involved actually know each other.
While we think that Zoominfo is a great additional quiver in your arrow-bag, it is not a be-all-end-all recruiting tool. It's a specialized thing like referral networks, big job boards, niche job boards, crm systems, email campaign tools, competitive intelligence/research, campus recruiting, classified advertising or employment branding. Each of these approaches ferrets out some component of the audience that is currently unaware of you or your opening. You use them based on the goals you are trying to reach.
You use Zoominfo when you want the kind of person who appears on the web. This is more likely to be a senior person since Zoominfo spiders and collects lots of data from newspapers (We were impressed by their example of finding a CEO through a reference to his son's baseball team which was sponsored by the company.) Lots and lots of people have "web visibility". They are roughly 10% of the people who go to work each day in the United States. The percentage is smaller in other countries.
What we're noticing is an explosion in detail level sourcing tools with little in the way of top level management. While there are great integration tools in the job boards area (HodesIQ or Arbita), there are few overall integration tools. Although you'd expect the ATS providers to be offering real back-end sourcing integration, there has been almost no development in that arena.
John Younger, over at Accolo, is fond of pointing out that Recruiters can now do 35 things they couldn't do 15 years ago. Unfortunately, it doesn't add to the net productivity of the Recruiting process. Smart integration of the new plethora of technical tools seems to be either a custom job or years away from the Market.
As Zoominfo continues to roll out its product suite, we're betting that it will move from 3/4 baked to fully baked. Entrepreneurial companies are rarely better than half baked and these guys are well ahead of the curve. If they were smart, they would grasp the limitations of their solution and offer services that more fully serve the needs of the Recruiting space. A sourcing integration vehicle, based on partnerships with major sourcing services, would be a great place to start.
Check out this podcast interview on Jim Stroud's website.
Revisiting The Job Board:
Introducing SmartPost, (www.smartpost.com)
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