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Top 10 in 2006 (V8)

(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 his opinion 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 and match.
  • 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.

The series so far:

2006 in Review

John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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