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Names and Regional Battles
(December 20, 1996): You might remember that our favorite introduction to using the web in a job hunt is the remarkable set of resources at JobSmart.org. The site is remarkable both for its content and for its unique public / private partnership. The material was prepared by a public librarian under a federal grant. The site is managed by a San Francisco television station with community publishing aspirations. It's the kind of innovative partnership you can only find on the web.
In a fit of keyboard clumsiness, we ended up visiting the site at JobSmart.com. (We're sure it has something to do with age). JobSmart.com, which bills itself as "New England's Premier Resource for Job Hunters" is a product of the Community Newspaper Company. It's a much better than average offering from the newspaper industry and features a job matching agent, resources and so on. The unconfirmed rumor on the street is that JobSmart.com has locked down the franchise for Yahoo: Boston's employment advertising section.
We're also big fans of boston.com's employment section which is an offering from a coalition of Boston based periodicals including the Boston Globe (their big local paper). We see the makings of a heavyweight bout and an intensifying of regional competition in the New England employment advertising market. Because of their roots in the Newspaper industry, boston.com enters the ring with their hands tied behing their back. They can only sell employment ads that are tied to paper classifieds.
(December 19, 1996): Few things are as overlooked as the strategic importance of recruiting. In the rough and tumble world of our day to day existence, recruiters face low survival odds and high workload demands. Yet, finding the right person with the right qualifications at the right time is often the key to a company's ability to adapt and flourish.
The online marketplace functions differently for various segments in the recruiting "food chain". Broad employment classified advertisers, (like Monster Board, Career Mosaic, ESpan, and OCC) driven by the potential of reaching mass audiences, offer recruiters access to the part of the market already moving towards a job change. In their own ways, each is hitting a saturation point. The market is driving them to more precise nicheing as a strategy. We don't know where, but we expect to see a much heavier emphasis on geography in one or all of these services.
Temporary and contract placement services (served best by Net-Temps and DICE) absolutely depend on a high volume of resume throughput. Because they fill immediate needs, the net provides an interesting dilemna. The investment required to generate the right volume of resumes is often out of reach. Depending on shared services (subscription and free) puts these firms at risk of becoming commodity businesses with commodity pricing.
Executive recruiters have been slow to embrace the net. The overlap between their natural candidates and the Internet Demographic makes this one of the oddest stories in the recruiting sphere. There's a major innovation waiting to happen for the first Executive Recruiter who really leverages the net.
Specialty recruiters are another story. We had a quick look at a website offered by Survival Systems who serve the Power Electronics and Analog Industry. The site (which is pretty standard fare on most levels) includes a fledgling industry news section. It's a reminder that these very docused recruiters stand the most to gain in the small niches of the net. By knowing precisely who they're searching for offline, finding them becomes easy online. Small and precise operations have a much better chance of effectively navigating the little talent pools online. Staying Abreast
(December 18, 1996): We lucked in to a very useful service. The ZD Net Anchordesk delivers a short, easy to digest nugget about the state of technology each day in email. Today's article talked about how to understand the viability of your ISP as the web access market explodes over the next four years. Recent daily articles have covered Java, browser news, awards, trade shows and so on. It's a very quick and easy way of keeping your finger in the technology question without getting overwhelmed.
Knocking 'Em Dead In The College Market
(December 17, 1996): Ken Ramberg of JobTrak fame reports that Harvard's career placement office has signed up with the Los Angeles service. JobTrak seems to be methodically locking down the college placement game. With all of the Ivy League and 500 colleges in total, they've got a hefty portfolio with lots of upside potential.
The entry level recruiting business is a hotly contested marketplace with players as diverse as Tripod,Mainquad, AboutWork, Job Direct, JobWeb and Ken's own JobTrak all competing for a piece of the direct action. Meanwhile, the entry level offerings from hiring employers are hardly shabby. Microsoft and KPMG are two easy to remember bright points in the hundreds of coporate HR assaults on the entry level marketplace.
The competition is just beginning. 1995 represented a demographic high pont. There won't be as many entry level candidates as there were in 1995 until about 2012, a full generation of entry level candidates in scarce supply. The competition for these native computer users (who coincidentally have the highest levels of educational accomplishment of any generation to date) is already getting intense.
JobTrak has staked out an interesting position. They are reaching critical mass in the college placement offices. Given the soon to escalate labor shortage at the entry levels, the placement office function is about to come under serious pressure. It will either become a goldmine or an irelevance. A look at the "hipper" entrants (Tripod,Mainquad, and AboutWork) would lead you to believe that the game goes to providers of a full range of lifestyle services. Job Direct, on the other hand, appears to believe that a hip veneer on a JobTrak style service is the answer.
Meanwhile, Ramberg and company keep locking down new clients at an amazing pace. Watching this competition evolve will make for entertaining material. We'd place the early money on JobTrak for sheer performance consistency. But, hipness has a pervasive quality in this demographic. As the supply shrinks, it will take an even larger role.
Putting It In Perspective
(December 16, 1996): Over the long haul, an Internet presence will be important to your recruiting process. Much more critical to your long term viability will be a solid electronic relationship with your customers (hiring managers, whether you work inside or outside of the company). Solving this problem is best learned by experimenting with job hunters on the net. Customer management is an infinitely more subtle process than candidate acquisition. You will want to hone your skills in areas outside of these critical relationships.
In a way, the web feels small and crowded. Looking over the 3500 websites that represent various forms of competition with your firm is a virtually impossible challenge. Knowing, with certainty, how and when to invest is a crapshoot. Discriminating your efforts in the sea of primitive sameness is an apalling challenge.
All talk of markets and competitiveness aside, the real bottom line question is creating an Internet "platform" for your business. Developing a website, arranging for research to be conducted using the net, collaborating with your customers using web technology are all essential components of your longer range web strategy.
We've Added Daily News
(December 14, 1996): We think you'll like this one. In partnership with Individual, Inc (the news providers), we're now offering a section of daily headlines for recruiters. Check it out. Recruiters' Internet
(AUGUST 01, 1996): It's here and we're proud. Staffing Industry Resources has published the Recruiter's Internet Survival Guide by our editor, John Sumser.
Order your copy today.
Besides our industry analyses and newsletters, we help recruiters integrate this new technology into their operations. We've added a detailed description of IBN to the website. We'd love to help you.
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