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Research vs Recruiting
(November 21, 1997) It's the same old dead horse. Demographics is transforming recruiting. A generation of labor shortages requires fundamentally different approaches. Same old dead horse, new shoe.

In twenty-first century recruiting, you'll know the name of the candidate before you reach them. You'll know their name before they get to your website or database.

If you don't, someone else will.

This means that the role of disciplined, proactive research will move to a central position in the recruiting process. It's not just about getting resumes into the database any longer. Rather, it's about clearly identifying targets well in advance of incurring applicant tracking costs. In retail, this concept is called "One to One Marketing". It means knowing your customer before you make a sales call.

The discipline itself is not new to high end Executive Search Firms. Their businesses have always been built on a well greased network of candidates. The game changes, even for these experts.


Shortages require long term management. While the network approach works, the rolodexes on which it is built have to be larger. The relationships must exist of multi-year time lines. Candidate pools, built on solid personal relationships, become the core asset of recruiting enterprises. This is true whether you work inside or outside of a corporate HR environment.

This means that advance research will be the discriminating factor between success and failure. We think of it as Just in Time Recruiting: requirements anticipation coupled with ready supply lines.


(November 20, 1997) As diehard recovering Macintosh addicts, our first year as a Windows office has been enlightening. It's not a stretch to describe a Mac user's world view as religious. We spent years assuming (without checking) that the Mac delivered better functionality across the board.

We were wrong. This past year has opened our eyes to all of the web's blossoming features (and operating systems that don't crash).

Enter Microsoft's new browser (IE 4.0). We didn't want to like it. Something about our old days as Mac zealots seems to hang in the air. Embarrassing as it is, we've given Netscape a preference that resembles our old Mac biases. As was the case with Windows, it was using the tool that opened our eyes.

The new Microsoft browser is solid enough to justify the new computer you might need to run it on. Our take is that the features were built with us in mind. We're joining the recovering Netscape addicts club.

Although it didn't seem important, the browser's seamless integration with other Microsoft software is a critical selling feature. Like any recruiter, our day to day use of the net is essentially disciplined research. This means endless repetition of the same "cut and paste" tasks.

We'd simply grown accustomed to the idea that we had to clean the data before we could use it elsewhere. Over the years, we've spent thousands of hours reformatting text (or source data) from Netscape to use in databases and articles. Thousands of hours.

In IE 4.0, a table on a web page is a table in Excel or Word. Formatting is just that. No more endless spaces to be removed before data is usable. This is no small thing.

For the time being (and that's a short sweet moment in Web years) we suggest that you do your web research using IE 4.0 as an integrated component of Microsoft Office The time you save will pay for the new machine.

Is It A Booth?

(November 19, 1997) We participated in a panel at a recent professional Recruiter's conference. With us were five other "Internet Recruiting Experts". It was like living through the old Sufi story about the four blind wise men and the elephant.

"It's a great big free resume database," said one. "It's the world's largest classified advertising section," crowed the resident cynic. "It's an office automation tool," said another. "It's a research tool for sourcing passive candidates," said the third. "Email has transformed our office. It's the killer app," the fourth expert chimed in. "It's a tool, just a tool," we added.

Each expert held a strong and personal view of the Web's utility based on personal experience. And, they were all "right". Imagine the confusion in the audience. What is this Internet thing?

We're beginning to see the emergence of a number of discrete models. The net can be integrated into your recruiting practice in a variety of ways. The choices are strategic and require careful though and consideration before you begin implementation. The net is useful for each of the things that the experts on the panel enumerated. Your challenge (should you choose to accept it) is to figure out which one will work for you.

We suggest that you need to cautiously evaluate the claims that you encounter. Free lunches are usually expensive. If it's too good to be true, it usually is. And so on.

There are many ways to use the net in your recruiting practice. What will work for you comes from a combination of factors including:

  • Your Industry
  • Recruiting Volume (number of candidates)
  • Shortages In Your Industry
  • Cost of Living In Your Region
  • Internet Penetration In your Region
Thinking of your web presence as a recruiting "booth" offers some insight into the possibilities. Imagine all of the resources required to staff and manage a booth at a career fair. Now, imagine having to create all of the candidate traffic to your booth without much help from the event staff of the career fair company. That gets you close to one of the possible approaches to using the web.

The newspapers are re-entering the classified advertising game with vigor. See today's Wired Story on the subject.

Career Fairs Online

(November 18, 1997) Over this past weekend we visited a solid prototype of a "real" online career fair. The event, hosted by talkcity.com featured career experts, keynote speakers and career "booths". The site is similar to a series of America Online Chat Rooms.

We watched for several hours as candidates came and went.

It was clear that the "speakers" and "recruiters" were having a difficult time getting used to the format. In a career fair that has chat technology as its baseline, developing a clear stream of conversation takes some practice. At best, the environment is noisy and complicated. At worst, it is unintelligible.

However, talkcity.com offers a product worth investigating. The required software downloads in an almost transparent way. The interface is reasonably smooth. The "feel" is right.

Take a look. Using collaborative tools like talkcity.com will become an increasing component of online recruiting.

How Do They Do That?

(November 17, 1997) The search for the home pages of employees you might want to recruit contains little in the way of mystery. Supposedly "secret" web servers are anything but secret. Generally speaking, employees link their home pages to the corporate site. If the company provides home pages, you're really in luck. The trick is a simple search protocol in AltaVista. (HotBot has similar capabilities).

The search term you use is
This will show you all of the links to a company's home page. In many cases, you'll want to be somewhat more specific. So, you'd frame the search query as
"link:http://www.companyname.com +employee".
The "+employee" means that any page in your search results must contain the word employee.

For example, if you're trying to track down employees at Silicon Graphics, you might go to AltaVista and enter the search query
"link:http://www.sgi.com +employee".
Click on the link and you'll see the 3227 results. Fortunately, the second link in the set of results points you to Supportfolio which in turn points you to http://reality.sgi.com/, a server full of employee web pages.

On the face of it, this is quite exciting. Unfortunately, not all companies make your life this easy. There's no magic formula in this area. Rather, you organize this type of internet research by developing a mind set.

The readily available "link:" command is at the heart of so called "website flipping". It simply allows you to see who has established pointers to a specific page.

For instance, you can readily find links to some of the employees of Microsoft's Bay Area Research Center with the query link:http://www.research.microsoft.com/research/BARC/. PacBell employees turn up with link:http://www.pacbell.com +employee.

We're sure that you get the hang of this by now.

We feature this sort of information in our cutting edge subscription website. While it is a central component of our 2 Day Options and Search Strategies Seminar, we are currently making it available to readers of this newsletter for $295 per year (a $100 savings). The site is designed to be both a solid grounding in Advanced Search Techniques and a source of continuing education. We add two articles each week that enable you to continually upgrade your skills without burying yourself. The subscription price plus ten minutes per week will keep you at the peak of your game.

While knowing the advanced features of the search engines is a critical component of web based sourcing, we encourage you to learn how to "think like a website". The real key to building an adaptive, long term set of search skills is in the development of a way of thinking. Be wary of anyone who promises certainty or procedural answers.

You can order your subscription at this reduced rate by calling our offices at


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