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It is better
to not be on
the web than
to be on and
not know why

John Sumser

is more
it seems.
John Gall


The Electronic Recruiting News is a Free Daily Newsletter For Recruiters, HR Managers, Advertising Agencies and Clasified Advertising Operations

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Daily News. Archived Weekly. Click Here For The Current Issue.

A New Day Dawning

(February 28, 1997): Like sanctimonious Luddites, we've been living in a Macintosh world pretending that the end wasn't near. This column is the first product of our new Windows 95 platform. We'll miss the familiar feel of the Mac. We're amazed at how different the web looks through Windows eyes. Java doesn't seem to crash our new browser.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since we first started following the evolution of the Web and Electronic Recruiting. The past year has seen an explosion of opportunity, technology and new sites. It's easy to get bogged down in the details and miss the changing big picture. We do it. Everyone we meet who wrestles with the web does it.

Remember when you learned to drive? The seat felt funny, all of the pedals seemed to do the wrong things. Once the car got moving, there was a terribly disorienting out of control feeling that came from the rush of new sensations. After a while, those strange feelings (and the associated terror) receded into memory. Learning any new technology is like that. The rhythms are different but the basic experience is the same. What is initially foreign and bewildering becomes normal as you get used to the technology. Using the web is like driving a car...you don't have to be a great mechanic to be an effective driver. You don't even need to know anything about what's under the hood (though it can be helpful).

Because the web is so new, changes so rapidly and seems to create new roads before the old ones are finished, it's easy to mistake familiarity for effectiveness.

We met several HR recruiters last night. They talked at length about how effective they were at using the various job boards (Master Sites). None could describe the structure and content of their company's home page. We find that terribly odd. For HR pros and third party recruiters alike, the future depends on understanding and using the totality of the web space available. For the internal HR set, not knowing the ins and outs of the corporate site may even mean that your candidates know more about your company than you do.

"But, no one has ever heard of us", said a Recruiter for one Fortune 500 company. "How could we possibly get traffic?" Trying not to roll our eyes too hard, we said, "If you can't build traffic, who can?"

We used Volt (our current favorite example) to explain how to use the Master Sites. Volt uses a variety of job posting forums as a means to drive traffic and applicants to their site. They combine Banner Ads and Master site accounts into a a solid, targeted market thrust. Their use of Master Sites is simply a piece of an overall campaign. At the bottom line, Volt seems to insist on building equity in their address. After they've spent money on advertising, they've built equity in their Website.

Master Sites provide distribution, not final results. You use them to amplify your marketing and recruiting efforts, not to replace them. Using a Master Site is a part of a larger campaign, not an end in itself.

(February 27, 1997): We like the very straightforward approach that Volt brings to their website. You want a job? Here they are. You want to work with us? Here are our offices.

This level of simplicity is quite difficult to achieve.

Like every solid design story, the Volt website mercilessly pares away the unnecessary to expose the simplest possible interface to their services. With no mission statement, required registration, message from the CEO or other distracting non-essentials the site bravely sticks to its knitting.

We know of site design processes that have taken lots of money and time to arrive at home pages with 25 words on them. Each concept, link and pointer was reduced to its simplest form through intensive study, argument and worry. The result can be very easy to use interfaces disguising the fact that thousands of html pages are available through the simple interface. It's an important reminder...on the web, less is almost always more.

Freeing the Niches

(February 26, 1997):Dave Winer, who runs one of our Top 100 Electronic Recruiting Websites, has made a move that will ripple through the employment marketplace. In a Dave-Net piece called The Web Is Free, Winer announced his intention to distribute free software for people who run web servers. The software (probably similar to the Webmaster's Ads Site) is designed to make it easy and inexpensive for every website to include classified advertising.

This is very, very smart.

While many websites struggle with the problem of gaining traction in their display (banner) advertising revenue, they almost universally overlook the powerful potential of employment (and other classified) advertising. With a simple script to take care of the maintenance, revenue from "tombstone" advertising will be a short step away. While we expect some consolidation in the market (maybe this summer?), over the long haul, we're betting with Winer. Ultimately, employment advertising will have a very solid component of tiny little websites that have direct contact with small groups of like minded people.

Imagine being able to reach directly into a community of a couple hundred specialists when you're recruiting for a crucial position. In the office, we talk about the potential of the web for finding "Left Handed Astrophysicists with a minor in Archaeology" or "Meat Packing Plant Supervisors With Experience Managing Teams of 200 or More" (we recently found 8 of these types for a client). Quite often, there's a small, hobbyish, professional site that attracts these sorts of narrow interest groups.

With employment advertising as a part of these sites, a recruiter's access to the community is facilitated while subsidizing some of the costs of keeping the small operation functioning. The implications of Winer's possible success in this venture are staggering.

To a newspaper, classified advertising, while a crucial component of revenue, is a low status operation staffed by minimum wage data entry professionals. Simply thinking about enlivening the area for the web usually produces migraines. For the community consuming classified ads, however, they are the source of valuable exchanges and serve as an introduction to the commercial marketplace. Used to "broadcasting" to large groups, newspapers (and other traditional media) have a terribly difficult time reaching the small groups that actually compose a geographic region.

Recruiters and HR Managers have had to settle for "statistical effectiveness" in their recruiting operations. With tens of thousands of very small employment advertising spots, the problem shifts to managing the precision with which advertising is placed. Again, the web shows its colors. It's about precision distribution and focused marketing, not flashy technology and high volumes. Winer's product will pave the way for increasingly user friendly small scale advertising delivery systems.

The high volume hype about being the biggest, cheapest, best, flashiest is sure to continue. Meanwhile, innovation will evolve where it always has...in the hands of small entrepreneurs. They are definitely not going to be the ones you'd expect.

On Line PR and Marketing

(February 24, 1997): Building a web presence is a fine and rewarding process. Done well, it forces you through a strategic evaluation process that can only help you succeed in your business overall. Done really well, it catapults you into a mode of continual strategic improvement. But, as we tell our clients, site design has the folowing makeup:
  • 30% Design (before a bit of HTML or graphics are composed
  • 20% Implementation (Website construction)
  • 50% Marketing
Once the web presence is complete, Marketing takes an even bigger chunk of time, attention and money.

Marketing savvy is the key to successful online recruiting whether it's in the form of Website promotion or the precise targeting of individual candidates. This comes as a surprise to many recruiting professionals. Most of us find the online marketing component to be difficult. It's just plain hard to write about yourself and your business.

Paula Wrenn specializes in working with small businesses in order to help them communicate their message more effectively. Her site, however, does contain a number of useful writing and public relations tips for small businesses. Much of the advice is pretty commonsensical, but it is nonetheless useful to be reminded of the obvious on occasion.

There is informed criticism of several companies' online PR efforts in an article called Online PR Assessments and Tips, which is part of the Successful Marketing Strategists website. The site as a whole is devoted to online marketing, and includes a section entitled Cybermarketing Info Center, which is full of interesting and useful info.

We were particularly impressed with one report, A Quest for Insight: PR in Cyberspace 1996, an in-depth look at how journalists are using the New Medium.

The site design and graphics leave something to be desired, but wade through the big graphics and emboldened homepage and you'll find a wealth of information.

Talent Alliance II

(February 24, 1997): Last week, we pointed out the emergence of Talent Alliance, a privately funded not-for-profit organization committed to helping both workers and companies address the effects of a rapidly changing economy and labor market. The importance of the announcement can't be overstated.

As we've profiled in the 1997 Electronic Recruiting Index, the web offers a range of entry opportunities for companies that serve the employment marketplace. Though the naysayers are quick to argue that their services will continue to be competitive, we have yet to see the basket of "value-added" services that might discriminate a traditional recruiter from an Internet savvy franchise. As the months pass, new forms of recruiting evolve and adapt leaving the traditional players in the dust.

From a corporate insider's perspective, finding proven candidates is an expensive and often random chore. Operations like the Talent Alliance erect a barrier to third party recruiters, professional associations and classified advertising distributors (newspapers and job search websites) by keeping both candidates and opportunities inside the "castle walls". We're certain that similar schemes have emerged over the years. The Web moves the game to a different level.

We class the opening of the Talent Alliance with several other Web specific innovations like

  • Recruiting Networks,
  • The combination Placement Firm / Professional Association (like Mindsource),
  • Automated National Search Engines,
  • Industry Wide Employment Nodes,
  • Broad scale "free" employment advertising, and
  • Complex Job Matching Automation

At the core, the changes in the Recruiting Industry are both technical and social. Underlying all of the effort is the growing demographic shortage of entry level workers. It's driving organizations to rethink their employee management programs and therefore adapt. It's creating new types of organizations in our industry. The technology facilitates, but at the bottom line, adaptation is a management challenge.

1997 Electronic Recruiting Index

(February 23, 1997): The 1997 Electronic Recruiting Index is a combination industry analysis, directory and hands-on guide for Navigating the transition into maturity as an Internet Recruiter. It includes:
  • A comprehensive aproach for designing and managing your web recruiting
  • Detailed planning for placing online Employment ads
  • A section written for managers of Internet Projects
  • Pricing comparisons of 75 key Recruiting sites
  • A detailed analysis of the Top 100 websites
  • A Directory of over 5800 Online Recruiters
  • A solid look at the Recruiting Industry in 1996
  • Forecasts and Trends for 1997and beyond
  • The Impact of Demographics on Electronic Recruiting
  • Motivations and Entry costs for the Various Market segments
If you are:
  • In the business and considering a change in strategy,
  • Considering entering the business, or
  • Trying to stay abreast of the changing landscape
You need to read this report.

"Recruiter's Resolutions For 2003:

1. Finally, clear the resumes off my desk
2. Take a speed-reading course to get through resumes faster
3. Find three new places to source good people
4. Lower cost-per -hire (make that, determine cost-per-hire...then lower it!)
5. Find a talent Management system to help with all of the above.

We know what you're up against. And we've got the answer.

Hodes iQ, brought to you by Bernard Hodes Group. From adopting our talent management system or enhancing your own system to providing new sourcing strategies on the web, we have proven solutions to make your recruiting enterprise better. Find out how Hodes iQ and Hodes iQPost can help you in the new year and beyond.

Put Hodes iQ to the test.

Call 888.438.9911 or visit http://www.hodesiq.com today.

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Materials written by John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
Mill Valley, CA 94941

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