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(April 25, 1997): Simply listing your jobs somewhere isn't enough. The questions you have to ask yourself (and the firms with which you are listing your jobs) is: "How likely is my job to be seen?" and "How likely is my job to be seen by the right candidates?"
One way to test this question for yourself is to post a job on several services (you are testing using free trial periods aren't you?). Once the job is up, find out the minimum number of "clicks" it takes you to get to the listing. Compare it across services. In the simplest terms, what you are looking for is the service (or services) that list your job in a way that gets it the fewest number of "clicks" to be seen by the largest number of people.
This is where services like City Pages really shine. At the expense of total impressions delivered for banner advertisers, the Net-Temps project ensures that your job listing is no more than two or three clicks from the job hunter's search. In the short term, this kind of "airing" of the database imposes a penalty on companies who are trying to use banner advertising revenue to subsidize job listings. By making individual listings easy to find, there's a potential revenue sacrifice of significant proportion. We imagine, however, that the short term penalty will be rewarded with longer term success.
In cases where your job listings are hard to find in a database, you will begin to see the tradeoffs your job listing service providers face. The engineering required to make individual records in the database easily accessible is not insignificant. Minimizing the number of clicks required from a user works for recruiters and candidates. It may not work as well for the service provider.
This discussion is a sort of a PS to yesterday's description of hits and impressions. Just as it's possible to radically inflate the number of "hits" a service receives (by adding lots of small graphics). It's possible (and even desirable in some cases) to inflate the number of clicks (or page impressions) that a user consumes. For instance, we could seriously inflate our impression count by making each article a separate page. It would probably double or triple our advertising income. It would also make the system more difficult to navigate. Simply having a large number of hits, impressions or users is not adequate information for you to make a decision about which service to use. The common sense questions, though harder to answer, will get you closer to the truth.
(April 24, 1997): The single least interesting thing that you can know about a website is the number of "hits" it gets. For instance, if we tell you that the IBN site got over 350,000 hits last week, we're sure that it can sound impressive (unless your site is getting more). Hits statistics are particularly useful for impressing your mother. But what do they really mean?
A single hit is the delivery of one file from our server to your browser. If you look closely at this page, you'll see that it is composed of many files. Each graphic is a file; all of the text is a file. So, one viewing of this page will generate about 7 "hits".
Aha!, you say. If each page uses 7 hits, then you must have had about 50,000 visitors last week, right? Unfortunately, it's not that easy.
We go to great lengths to make sure that our readers don't have to download a lot of files. It slows the viewing experience way down. When you look through our archives, the pages feature many recurring graphics. Since your browser "caches" files (keeps a copy), when you look at a second page, we don't download those files to your browser. You already have them. So, while one page takes 7 hits, 2 pages can take as few as 8 hits. That means that you really need to know how many pages each visitor views, on average, to understand how many "page impressions" or "page views" are actually contained in those 350,000 hits. In our case, the average reader views 2 pages for a total of 9 hits. Our 350,000 "hits" translate into about 78,000 page impressions and about 39,000 individual visitors.
The reason we've dwelled on this tutorial is that we've seen a surprising number of supposedly sophisticated sites whose PR includes a description of the number of hits they get. If you're thinking about using one of these services, make sure that you dig deeper into the claims.
(April 23, 1997): 56k modems are here and happening. Here's the lowdown...
Both US Robotics and Rockwell have come out with their own flavor of 56K modem. In a headlong rush to be first to market, we have two incompatible products and no standard.
This is bad news, because your ISP has to spend about $50,000 to upgrade their equipment to support one of the dueling 56K protocols. Lots of small to medium sized service providers either balk at the price tag, or hold off because they don't want to gamble on the upgrade, only to see the 56K standard change in six months.
So even though you can buy a US Robotics "x2" modem, or one of the Rockwell style "K56Flex" modems (made by Boca, Hayes, Motorola, etc.) today, you won't be able to surf at 56K unless your ISP supports the 56K modem you have. (You can still connect at 33.6 with the 56K modems, though.)
Hardware vendors and ISPs are lining up on both sides of the 56K fence, hoping that their gamble will pay off.
Visit these web sites to learn more about 56K and find a list of ISPs that support the 56K protocols:
For Rockwell K56flex - http://www.nb.rockwell.com/K56Plus
For US Robotics x2 - http://x2.usr.com/connectnow
The USR site has an "x2 LineTest" you can use to confirm that your phone lines supports the 56K speed.
The list of ISPs supporting USR's x2 standard seems to be a lot bigger at this point, and includes big names like AOL, CompuServe, Prodigy, Netcom, MCI and IBM Global Network. USR claims that more than 70 percent of online service users will be hooked up to providers that use its x2 technology.
Although the companies are trying to reach an agreement about a 56K standard, it's unlikely to happen until late this year. So confusion reigns for a while longer.
If you already have a 28.8 or 33.6 modem, it might be wise to wait a few months to see how things develop. But if your ISP is already supporting 56K speeds, it's tempting to upgrade, especially if you're running at 14.4 or lower.
Even though most pundits are crying "poor user" about this, I have a feeling that no matter which flavor of 56K becomes the standard, it won't mean you'll have to throw away your 56K modem if you buy today.
It would be a huge PR problem for either one of these companies to suffer the fate of tens of thousands of angry customers, so I'm betting that the issue will become moot either through software upgrades or exchange offers.
Simple, Not Easy
(April 22, 1997): We spent some time this morning working yet another reporter through the loop. Like most, he wanted simple and easy answers to the question "What's the best way to Recruit Online?". While we think the answer to the question is as simple as knowing what you want, we don't share the illusion that simple and easy have much of anything to do with each other. Using the web as a recruiting tool is simple.
The hard part comes when you have to hold your efforts accountable to a standard. "Does this service work better than that?" is a question that the user (for the time being) as to answer. There are market dynamics and changing candidate demographics that make it this way. As a Recruiter, constantly measuring performance, as it regards your particular requirements, is the only intelligent way to master the full utilization of the net as a tool. Experiment and failure, coupled with a set of clearly articulated objectives are the best way to fully utilize the Net as a tool in your arsenal.
From the perspective of a career recruiter, things are going to get worse. As we've prepared to deliver our Advanced Internet Recruiting Seminars, we've been looking more closely at the underlying demographics. While complaints about the quality of resumes available (on or off the net) seem to be increasing, recognition of the fact that it's caused by labor shortages is not.
As the Federal Reserve is trying to grow workforce participation (really!), employers and recruiters have to dip "lower in the skills pool" (according to a recent speech by Alice Riflin). The overall role of the Recruiter is changing, internet or not. We see the technology as a tool for surviving and prospering through that change. It will take a generation. It's as simple as demographics. But, it's not easy.
Jobs In The UK
(April 21, 1997): The UK Online Job Advertising market is slow to take off. This is in spite of the fact that serious pioneering work in the industry has been developed by companies like JobServe (originators of email notification of job postings). There are several interesting players in the UK market, but developing a solid head of steam remains elusive.
With it's new and simplified interface, JobSite makes a solid move forward. (Ever notice how difficult it is to distinguish between firms with names that begin with Job.... or Career....? JobSite is not JobServe). With 45,000 monthly visitors executing 130,000 searches, JobSite is on the small side of American players but big in the UK market.
A couple of their features bear examination. We're fond of anything that shortens the distance between advertiser and candidate. JobSite offers preformatted searches by specialty right at the top of their page. While this approach reduces available banner ad impressions, it takes the job hunter directly to the core of the hunt. It's a nice feature.
JobSite also puts effort into making the site very user friendly. Along the left hand side of the page is a comprehensive set of buttons that link the user directly to important features. They're clearly labled and inelligently organized.
In all, the site bears a look from anyone considering a redesign. It shows that there's life in the British market.
Advanced Internet Recruiting Seminars
(March 28, 1997): We're going to be delivering Seminars around the country in April and May. The schedule is:
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:
The past 16 months of the Electronic Recruiting News
The past 16 months of the Electronic Recruiting News
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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Materials written by John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.