(December 26, 2006)
There are two or three CEOs in our industry who prove the value of blogging on a
daily basis. If we're not mistaken, Martin Snyder, CEO of
Main Sequence Technologies (Maker of
PCRecruiter) was the
first. He was certainly the first on our radar.
Snyder can be found delivering
here. It's always powerfully useful to get the "truth" from a vendor's
mouth. Few active participants are aable to get the pulse of the indutry in the
way that vendorts can (when they want to and are capable of it). Here's Martin's
version of the important things in 2006:
To make my top 10 factors impacting recruiting in 2006, I selected for
impact on overall job focus , likely duration of impact, dollar value of the
impact, and naturally the appeal to the specialized, semi-coherent bundle of
interests that is Martin Snyder.
The Democrats are back, and so are progressive ideas. The election will
have a very real effect on companies; some will be up, others down, as the
realignment proceeds. Green products and communications are more powerful
than ever, and recruiting for politically and environmentally unpopular
firms (Halliburton anyone?) will be more difficult. While class warfare is
not likely to break out anytime soon, executive comp and pay fairness in
general is strongly on the radar. Progressive extreme probing and demandness
will occur, and political factors are more visible and powerful every day,
even in the recruiting world, much due to #2 on this list.
Blogs are still huge. Sumser was doing it before it was blogging, but
now its hard to overstate how the walls are coming down between and within
organizations as more and more key players not only blog, but blog and deal
with news and change sans the PR filter that so clouded and slowed
communications in years past. Can blogs help recruiting and thus ROI ? You
bet they can. They can hurt too, and measuring the impact is subject to a
lot of debate, but it's real and it's not going away. New rule in life; if
you do it, somebody is going to blog about it sooner or later. Yes, blogging
is the greatest navel-gazing exhibition in the history of personkind-
yielding oceans of useless writing; yet producing worthy treasure by the
hour in 2006.
The OFCCP vaulted it's obscurity with brazen, and in my view,
unconstitutional demands for essentially the entire work product of any
recruiters fulfilling government purchase needs. Could you imagine if the
government demanded from doctors or lawyers every keyword used while working
in some connection to the feds? That would last about an hour. Its probably
illegal rulemaking because OFCCP must be in violation of Executive Order
12866, which demands a real cost/benefit analysis when a rule will have an
impact greater than 100 million dollars- something anyone could (and should)
have told them would happen. I'd bet lunch money for a week that we are past
$100M in software code expense alone. The current guidance from OFCCP
suggests that you either use automated services that can save all searches
and results, with particulars, or that you laboriously cut and paste your
lives away. I wonder how many billions that will run over a number of years,
both in mindless work and soviet style restrictions hurting competitiveness?
Maybe for 2007, the OFCCP should just provide an approved search interface
and eliminate the middle man- like income tax withholding! In 2008, they can
apply the rules to everyone. Employment discrimination is evil and the
people who promote it should suffer, but this dangerous medicine is worse
than even that disease.
At the end of 2006, people still cannot tell the difference between ATS
and Recruiting Software. Through accident, market positioning, and the
inevitable range of roles grouped by the term 'recruiter', the terms are
hopelessly entangled. Buyers and users need to understand something: systems
are evolving fast, and while there are two distinct worlds between agency
and corporation, the lines are blurring in lots of ways. If you are a
corporation, you may think you you could not win by using agency software.
Well, maybe, or maybe not. The same goes for agency people- there are
corporate solutions out there that could blow away what you have today, if
you are doing things in a leading edge way.
At the end of 2006, people still talk about software without talking
about users. It's silly. Software is an instrument, like a piano, a violin,
or a table saw. The user makes it live and act- its capabilities are barren
without the skills driving its use. When you work as a team with software,
it's like an orchestra. If you buy or use software without respecting the
players, their roles, the way they work together, and the audience, its
probably going to sound awful, because it takes very few off-key moments to
ruin the performance. Don't buy software for the army you would like to
have. That's big every year- more than ever in 2006, because powering
collaboration is becoming a key attribute of information systems.
Third party recruiting remains stronger than ever in 2006- truly a
golden age. There are always good reasons, but add a new wrinkle for 2007:
corporations can't afford to leak
intelligence through online job postings. In the past, unless Competitive
Intel (CI) wanted to manually watch every little site, firms could let the
info out and be comfortable that mainly job-seekers would see it, and not
CI, especially if the postings were dynamic content. Not anymore; with
vastly more powerful job spiders and website aggregators, it's just not
smart to post jobs in cases where the descriptions lead outsiders to
understand your plans and situation. Call a discreet recruiter on the other
hand, and nobody will be the wiser.
In 2006 CareerBuilder has more momentum and a better image than Monster,
at least within our industry. They share a specialized model always under
threat, but that's life at the top of the food pyramid. Monster is or was in
a feedback loop akin to Microsoft's- they were giant first, so, always
feared and admired, they responded back to those feelings with defensiveness
and hauteur. CareerBuilder as obvious number 2, tried harder. Now times have
changed, and Microsoft is actually doing better reputation-wise facing some
real competition. I hope Monster does too.
In 2006, its still really hard to make decisions about the TMS concept.
One system for recruiting, background, onboarding, performance, assessment,
learning, forecasting, compensation, offboarding, (and one would hope,
retirement and perhaps interment) seems like a great idea, but what if it's
not? What if one or more parts are weak in every offering? Live with them?
Best of Breed plus TMS ? As a vendor, do you move into areas where you may
be weak, either at first, or more likely, always? Are application interfaces
and data sources going to remain stubbornly tied, or will high-end corporate
ideas about data being distinct from applications filter down? Time will
tell on this one, but there will not likely be a definitive answer for a
number of years yet, if ever.
Multiculturalism may have a little different meaning in recruiting in
coming years. With governments, NGO, and the likes of Gates and Buffet
transforming non-profits, you will be recruiting people who have totally
different approaches to organizational success. You will be recruiting
people with totally different ideas of how to assemble and lead teams-
within a building or across continents. You will be recruiting people with
different ideas and experiences around corporate governance, and even
workplace standards; people formerly with Best Buy corporate are going to
look at you funny when you discuss work hours and office assignments.
Culture, even more than skills, drives success in knowledge and symbolic
jobs, which there are more every day, so recruiting is likewise becoming as
much a game of cultural interpretation and transfer as skill identification
One thing did not change in 2006- the art of recruiting always contains
some elements of the art of selling. Anyone who answers to the title of
Recruiter has to sell at some point; some recruiters sell 100% of the day,
others very rarely, but its part of the job. In 2007, recall a few things
about selling: a little goes a long way, and if you are talking about the
object at hand (the job, the company, the good or service), you are not
really selling. Think about the ramifications of that as you do business.