(December 28, 2006)
For the next segment in our year in review series, we tapped Don Ramer, another
industry veteran who doesn't suffer from opinion deficit syndrome. Ramer, as
most of you know is the CEO of Arbita, the job ad distribution company. One of
the few real survivors from the dot com crash, Ramer has reshaped his company
over the past five years. What was once a good idea is now a technical
powerhouse. The firm takes its mission seriously (making sure that the right
candidate sees your ad) and takes its values even more seriously.
worked all aspects of the business. Here's his take on the past year:
The emergence of the
Direct Employers Labor Exchange against the backdrop of the demise of
America's Job Bank could very well turn out to be the sleeper story of
2006. It heralds corporations assuming responsibility for the markets that
sustain their staffing needs. Always ahead of the curve and taking the long
view into account, any initiative led by Bill Warren and his colleagues is
worthy of attention and investment.
Rise of the
Indeed has a strong and experienced team with proven entrepreneurial expertise
and the tenacity to achieve their goals. Indeed benefits significantly from its
highly cooperative founders and a cadre of skilled technologists who really
understand the way the market works. The Indeed team is flexible and adroit.
Were we placing bets in this category our money would be on Paul Forster and
Enterprise customers adopt the brand because of grass-roots pressure from field
recruiters, but find so little substance in the solution-set that they don't use
the purchased products. Marketplace differentiation through polarization works
fine if you run an error-free game and deliver superior candidate experiences
and quantifiable recruiting results. Our industry really needs for Jobster to
deliver on its promises. We all want Jobster to sustain its momentum with the
wisdom and perseverance of an experienced long-distance runner. We hope that the
Jobster team will reassess its counter-positioning against the job boards that
form the backbone of the market. We are rooting for Jobster.
With lots of cash, the blessings of News Corporation, and enormous potential for
influence out of proportion to their numbers, the folks at Simply Hired are
making many of the right moves and attracting people of real worth like industry
Jeff Hunter. This is certainly a company to watch in 2007.
The big three get
bigger and smaller.
Career Builder gets big slowly and buys the traffic it needs while
waging a war of attrition. Using mountains of money to undermine the
momentum of their adversaries, Career Builder proves that capital, cunning
and a disciplined sales force can yield the results their newspaper industry
owners still desperately hope to achieve, i.e., a meaningful position in the
internet recruitment advertising market while print classified advertising
revenues continue to decline. The folks at Career Builder focus on the
basics, delivering applicants and jobs in local communities at all levels.
The open question is whether or not they can they prevail over the
"pure-play" and "blended model" regional job-boards like
Recruiters Network and
Regional Help Wanted in the long run.
HotJobs flounders as
Yahoo's stepchild. The previously astonishing company has suffered so
many missteps post merger that one wonders if Yahoo's senior executives have
ever really understood the value of what they hold in their hands. The
company could compete more effectively with a reallocation of resources and
a revised strategy that fully embraces web 2.0 for recruiting. They have a
superior team at the operating level. They are hungry for vision and
commitment. Given those things they could lead the industry.
Monster stumbles for the best and worst of reasons in a merciless
regulatory climate. With an eye on profitability and rewards for the people
who made his empire possible, Monster's founder stepped out of the executive
suite late this year. While the arrogance of Monster's posture in the market
was decried by some, we would have had no electronic recruiting industry
without the Monster. Billions of dollars have been made by investors who
gleefully rode the Monster's back all the way to the bank. That their
founder has enjoyed a reputation for integrity up until the end of his
astonishing career is inarguable among veterans in our space. That his
recent downfall and current travails emanate from loyalty to his team could
easily be read as an expression of complex human virtues rather than
corporate malfeasance. The company's choice to focus on fiduciary
responsibility to shareholders rather than buying traffic and maintaining
headcount at any price is a testament to Mr. McKelvey's legacy. Profits and
people both, not one or the other. We wish him well, and all of us who earn
our livelihood in the industry he helped create should think fondly of him
in this difficult time.
while Taleo Heads South
The relocation of Taleo's headquarters to Silicon Valley is emblematic of a
sea change in the company's culture from a Canada first, last and always
environment to one with a more cosmopolitan aura. The cost of relocating to
California may look like a small price to pay in order to wrest control of a
public enterprise from its remaining founders.
Kenexa has proven that you don't need to be based in Silicon Valley in
order to achieve technical excellence. Kenexa continues to reap the benefits
of public company patience, discipline and capitalization. The perseverance
and tenacity of the Kenexa team is one of the great untold stories in our
industry. That the post IPO environment would enable Kenexa to feast on a
banquet of good companies with great combined potential, like
PSL was unforeseen by many observers. The company appears destined to
deliver global leadership where pretenders with less substance have failed.
The British are
David Hurst and
OnRec "made a go of it" in the US and impressed marketplace observers by
delivering an event in Chicago that gave real value to corporate
participants and vendors alike. As first-timers in the US market they
managed to recruit a battalion of gifted speakers with nuanced views who
still have people talking. We're looking forward to next year's event in San
The Yanks are
David Manaster and
ERE, with tactical and logistical support from the deep and broad
network provided by
Keith Robinson and
Alan Whitford, delivered a very successful and informative conference in
Amsterdam. The content of the conference was well worth the price with an
outstanding presentation by Kevin Wheeler on the Asia-Pacific marketplace
and an impassioned PowerPoint on the failures of current technologies and
processes delivered by
conference in Australia will certainly be important for those who appreciate
the challenges and opportunities posed by the staggering economic developments
unfolding in the region. The move from contributor to impresario by one of our
industry's most sagacious consultants will certainly be something to behold. We
plan on participating and hope to see you there.
The Elephants are
Virtual Edge and becomes a force to be reckoned with in the small to
mid-size company applicant tracking marketplace overnight.
SAP gets serious about everything. Expect great things in the years
ahead as industry veteran
Mark Lange leads Human Capital Solutions Marketing.
Lawson goes global through a merger with Intentia and trusts its destiny
in Human Capital to our favorite visionary and market development executive,
Return of the
Hank Stringer brings us the next great thing with
ITZBIG! If you have ever wished that fundamental sincerity and
graciousness were part of the landscape of our industry, take heart. Your
wish is about to come true. Hank is at the helm of a start-up focused on
delivering outstanding candidate experiences while providing measurable
results to recruiters. A group of very fortunate venture capitalists has
invested in Hank's vision and we're confident that they won't be
Association of Employment Websites
Peter Weddle convened the first congress of the
International Association of Employment Websites on September 11th
in Chicago. With membership exceeding 800 websites around the world, the
association has real potential to breathe new life into the job-board
industry by providing a forum for the exchange of information and the
development of standards. The association is creating a culture of
accountability for the industry through measurement standards and is
advancing ethical practice by developing guidelines and a code of conduct.
We urge all participants in Internet Recruitment Media to join in this
Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association
With luminaries like,
Mike Mayeux, and
John Younger, among its guiding lights, the RPOA has the potential to
shape this burgeoning category for its constituents' benefit. The
marketplace will be better for this cooperative effort. It signals an end to
business as usual in the staffing industry.
Arbita plans to join as an affiliate member in January 2007. We think
you should too.