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(September 12, 1997) PlaceWare, Inc develops and markets "live," community-based applications for the Web. It's Auditorium software is a Java-based platform that lets more than 1,000 people to attend live audio presentations without leaving their offices.
You can try it out for free. It might just be what you need to hold a real virtual job fair, or a training program, or an information session. Download the audio server. Its 760K. But, ask your IT people first if audio will travel through their firewalls.
Then, when it's installed, check out a presentation. On September 17-19, 1997, at 4:00 pm (EDT) each day, is hosting live, interactive presentations by internet authors. You'll be able to ask questions (and get answers), view a slide show, and interact with other attendees.
The schedule follows:
Even if this particular presentation is a bust, think of the implications of the software. A Java-based Web site leaves us cold. But the technology put to real use could be quite different.
Will They Stay?
(September 11, 1997) Can you guarantee that the next person you recruit won't leave the position in a month? Probably not. But the Business Research Lab (BRL), a market research firm in New York, might help you be a bit more sure.
BRL has released the E-Value2 Employee Satisfaction Survey, its newest solution to reduce turnover. It's in an MS Word format, free to download and evaluate, $99.00 to use.
According to one of their partners, "The survey takes the guesswork out of deciding which, if any, policies and benefits to improve, and helps prevent needless investment in improving areas relatively unimportant to employee satisfaction." Let's hope so, because there's got to be a real good incentive to visit their site.
It loads with tiny-fonted text and impossible-to-read light pink links. The welcome page is dense with text at the top; yet, at the bottom words and links seem to be strewn around the page with abandon. Eventually the colors resolve and the links turn green. The font is still small.
However, the four page survey which focuses on the corporate culture, the firm's ability to communicate and plan, supervisory influences, the employee's role and training, and pay and benefits is worth a look. Although geared toward an individual already employed within a particular firm, it is another tool to consider in the recruiting process. With some rewording and a slightly different emphasis, you could easily get a feel for the kind of positions, cultures, and organizations your recruits really want.
And, the more you know about the companies you recruit for and the people you need to find to fill those positions, the better the matches might be.
Pre-Employment Screening: Helps and Hindrances
(September 10, 1997) The case of Randi W. v. Muroc Joint Unified School Dist., in the California Supreme Court gives employers who provide recommendations for vacating employees a difficult choice.
They may either tell of both positive and negative aspects of the employee or they may say nothing.
The ruling requires that employers who give positive recommendations for former employees must also explain any violent behavior or acts that endanger others.
And in Ohio, employers are being held legally responsible for negligent hiring, retention and supervision.
Clearly these trends have implications for those who recruit. Screening and interviewing becomes more complex and often there may be less information to go on.
If previous employers offer little more than employment dates, job titles and salary histories, what can one learn?
Coopers and Lybrand has a new solution: the Strategic Selection Advantage Online application.
Although the site loads horribly slowly and has a cumbersome set of indexes to wade through, in the form of huge graphics, its goals are nonetheless commendable. (You can avoid a majority of the graphics by going directly to the interview page.)
The site is designed for college juniors and seniors interested in particular facets of employment with Coopers and Lybrand. So, the site will not suit recruiters in their search for prospects. But it will serve as a model of what can be done electronically.
The site suggests you spend an hour working through the 6 part interview. You're asked to complete an initial application, provide writing samples and answer a series of multiple-choice questions.
In addition, there are a variety of tools available to help. You can choose from pre-employment testing software to hiring specialized investigation agencies. Some interesting links are listed below.
Bits 'n Pieces
(September 09, 1997) We're intrigued by two sites that propose a compelling view of the future of recruiting. Our Square and Branch Out both aim to build so called virtual communities for graduates of prestigious universities. By offering a series of services (free websites, online class reunions, personals and so on) the companies hope to make an online home for the networking that is part and parcel of an Ivy league education. Recruiters and HR managers are eagerly sought as advertisers.
At the other extreme, TIPS (Truck Industry Personnel Services) has launched a (very) modest website. Interestingly, we'd bet that the TIPS site evolves, over the years, to look more like the IVY league entrants.
We received a note from ASYMPTOTES Conseil, a French Executive Recruiter. They hope to find an American partner with whom to build an international practice.
Deloitte and Touche, who seem to really have a handle on using the web as a recruiting and promotional tool, have funded a neat little site. The Excellence Files. The site, rooted in a PBS special, is a sort of contemporary update of Tom Peter's classic "In Search Of Excellence". The site is a good quick read and ought to offer you some ideas about current conceptions of business excellence. The sort of low profile sponsorship offered by Deloitte and Touche offers a sound alternative to the blaring pseudo classifieds that dominate today's web.
Though the interface is a poor approximation of the Ivy League counterparts, The Expat Forum offers another version of the "community as recruiting platform" business model. Featuring travel tips and cultural adjustment stories for American Ex-patriates, the site also includes a modest Jobs and Careers section. With a little work, it could turn into a useful tool for figuring out foreign assignment staffing questions.
Again, the emphasis is on creating a cluster of like minded professionals...a candidate pool. They intend to do this by providing the sorts of common wisdom and advice that only fellow travelers can deliver. Good idea.
(September 08, 1997) The Web is an ocean of experimentation. It is not cynical to expect that most will fail. That's simply how times of extreme experimentation work. Huge risk is taken by dreamers and entrepreneurs as a part of the process of figuring out how this all fits together.
We continue to caution you about the use of "free" services. The operators of those services have to eat. We just don't understand how one spends the "revenue" from a free service at the grocery store. Quite obviously, free means that the money comes from someone else's checkbook. That means that it's just a question of time before "free" services close down. You end up having to learn the nuances of a new tool with little in the way of notification. Free services put you in the position of depending on a vendor who can't buy his own groceries. That's not risk taking, that's irresponsible.
We were reminded of this dynamic over the weekend. Two very interesting experiments have closed their doors.
ICE (The Internet Career Exchange) was a fascinating technical offering from Softech Systems. We thought it was good enough to merit an award in last year's Top 100 Electronic Recruiters. At that point, we worried that the combination of "free" plus an overemphasis on technical capacity would cause the site to fail. Apparently, it did.
It's also interesting to note that one of our current favorites, Classifieds2000, has stopped taking job postings. Since the site still offers job listings, we're tempted to speculate that the value of an account with Net-Temps continues to be extraordinary for the temp agencies and third party recruiters they serve. With no other input, Classifieds2000 simply acts as a huge broadcast device for the Net Temps jobs database. In fact, being able to broadcast job requirements through Classifieds2000 is becoming the bulk of the benefit offered to Net-Temps clients.
It's very important to quickly grasp the small competitive advantages that the web affords. Users of ICE and non-Net Temps users of Classifieds2000 have had to scramble to replace their free services. Today's competitive edge is tomorrow's millstone. It will remain that way as long as the web continues this phase of deep experimentation.
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