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(April 24, 1998) We wandered through the offices at Junglee after we'd put yesterday's story to bed. Hanging on the wall, behind the door, was a gold medal on a ribbon (just like the Olympics). It turns out that Junglee was quietly awarded a Smithsonian medal for technical innovation earlier this spring.
It's been an incredible season for the leading companies in our business. Can you think of another time in which two HR/Recruiting/Personnel suppliers received national awards in a few short weeks?
The web is now moving in two very different directions. Popularization means that average user competence is halved with each doubling of population. As we grow, usability (at the interface level) is becoming an increasingly important issue.
While the front end of the web is getting widely known, the "back end" is changing as rapidly. Junglee's technology is a critical approach to making complex, disparate and confusing information work together. It's transparent to the user as all great technologies are.
If you have a passing understanding of HTML, take a look at the page source on a Microsoft page (use the "view source" command in your browser menu). The pages at Microsoft are all little software programs. Again, the technology is transparent to the user.
As early members of the web community, we're amazed at the changes just under the hood. From a user's perspective, the changes are minor. From a manager's point of view, there's a lot to learn.
If you're buying web recruiting services or a full web site, we recommend that you keep you eyes squarely focused on the results stream. It's easier than ever to get bewildered by the technical possibilities. Measure everything you can afford to measure.
Solid performance requires some level of technical competence.
There's also a growing requirement for the sales people who serve our industry to increase their skill levels. Like automobile salesmen (the best kind, of course), we need to be able to trust their judgements in technical areas. They need to be able to "dumb down" the technology so that we can buy it.
The awards won by Junglee and HotJobs have a dark side. As technical excellence enters our world, we have to up level our technical understanding. While candidates can be given transparent technology, managers, decision makers and professional recruiters won't have that luxury. Keeping your understanding of the possibilities up to date is critical.
The best way to get started is by measuring the results.
Wish You Were In Their (Soft) Shoes
(April 23, 1998) HotJobs, the full featured hiring solution, pulled off an amazing coup. Their product walked away from COMDEX with the award for Best Network/Internet Software. COMDEX is the major annual trade show for the computer industry. Past Winners have included Windows 97 and the Mindpath pointers we use in our seminars.
In the mainstream of the computer industry, HR / Personnel / Staffing products are rarely recognized as being leaders of the industry. In fact, they never are. As a niche, we rarely invest in the R&D required to make a meaningful difference in the overall industry.
HotJobs deserves a solid round of applause throughout our world. By paying attention to excellence in their technical development process, they've made us all look good. Their investments and efforts have bumped the bar up a notch.
The software allows collaboration between the members of the recruiting process in an organization. Resumes can be controlled, commented on and cycled for review. The system allows a number of configured levels of security within an organization. All of this while tied to the core database through the web.
While we agree that HotJobs is currently setting the standard for technical excellence in the business, we don't think that it's their major strength. Although it isn't ironclad (traffic never is!), the HotJobs commitment to excellence extends to include a near guarantee of traffic to your job postings. The best software in the world is nothing without adequate marketing and results. The HotJobs team clearly understands this and is closer than any of its competitors to delivering consistent quantified value and performance based advertising.
(April 22, 1998) Billing its offering as "the" Real Job Bank (RJB), a small company put out a ton of press releases to get visitors to view the 8 Resumes and 12 Job Postings in their database. The "Real" refers to Real Estate. There is an interesting link we hadn't seen to salary surveys. Part of using the niche sites in today's environment must include the realization that you'll have to help them succeed.
A better bet for reaching the niched passive job hunter might be by advertising on Mectronic (Directory of Manufacturers, Suppliers & Services). They offer a solid, searchable database of companies who supply "Electronic, Electrical & Mechanical Products". You'd fully expect gainfully employed component engineers and designers to have the site bookmarked. The service has dipped its toe into the employment scene with a very modest article on job hunting.
Wondering when the best time is to conduct your Internet research? Try the Internet Traffic Report. (The best time appears to be 12:30AM EST). The graphs should help you explain why some things take longer on some days.
If you are planning on building a candidate pool by delivering consistent value (content), you might want to join and read the new Online Writing mailing list. According to their promo material:
Online-Writing is a public list dealing primarily with the emerging field of content creation for online media, and the writers and editors who are building a role for themselves in it. Here we discuss writing and editing not only for all kinds of Web sites, but also e-mail publications, intranets, and any other venues that may appear in the future. Everything from the business and legal aspects of content development, to the evolving aesthetics of this medium, to the merits and flaws of specific projects is fair game.Register by visiting their website.
It should be no surprise that Web Workers command higher than average salaries. Print this one out and tell your boss you need another raise.
(April 21, 1998) Bigness is a vice on the web. Recent reports cite the large search engine's inability to comprehensively index the web. The search engines, at their best, index about 30% of what's out there. Deciphering the results is nearly impossible.
Don't depend on bigness to solve your problems. Don't discount it, just don't depend on it. Big sites, whether they are search engines or career hubs, share the same strengths and weaknesses. It's hard for candidates to find things in a big pile, just like it is for you.
Smaller sites, focused on specialty niches are a better bet in the long term.
Although the areas are incomplete, the best way to find small job advertising sites is by perusing the company listings in Yahoo!. The listings are organized by industry. In each industry, there are links for organizations and employment. Both areas will offer sites that carry advertising directly targeted at the marketplace you're working.
(April 20, 1998) CareerCast looks like a good deal. By combining a resume spider, do-nothing recruiting (like Junglee) and a series of alliances that must help build their traffic, the service is almost positioned correctly for a quick take off.
We love the enthusiasm, energy and technical competence that the CareerCast team lavishes on their site. It's got really valuable content, a powerful search tool and lots of resumes and job postings.
According to their PR,
The heart of CareerCast's service is its job database. There are over 700 commercial career sites currently on the Internet, yet only about 15% of all jobs that are listed on the web appear on these sites. The other 85% currently reside on corporate home pages. Companies subscribing to CareerCast will automatically expose all their jobs on CareerCast's site, not just the jobs they manually post. CareerCast's JobCaster system performs this process automatically. It's that simple. JobCaster eliminates the need to evaluate which jobs to post. JobCaster eliminates time consuming and confusing task of manually posting jobs. It gets better. JobCaster also eliminates per job posting charges. We simply charge a small yearly flat rate to automatically list all of your jobs.They make an additional key pont that the competition had better pay attention to:
Resumes from the Internet are often incompatible with many leading resume retrieval and management software systems. Resumes are purged every 90 days, and each is referral source coded to provide a reference for tracking of hires and resume flow. Our resumes can also be imported directly into the leading resume management systems like Restrac, Resumix and others.We wonder, though, if they realize how much traffic (and therefore business) they lose because of the sheer size of their starting page. One of the fundamental principles of solid site design is "Don't waste other people's time".
In our analysis of the industry, we always look at the sites we review with a variety of browsers at a variety of speeds. The CareerCast home page, weighing in at a bloated 94 Kilobytes took over 30 seconds to download on our slowest connection (a ratty 14.4 modem on a bad phone line like most job hunters use).
While the service is clearly pioneering the front end of technical development in our industry, we'd challenge them to carefully consider their users. All of the hype aside, what job boards have to sell is their ability to deliver the right eyeballs at the best price. All of the technical perfection in the world won't solve the core problem of attracting visitors to the site.
A close look at a more sophisticated market player (like Career Mosaic) will show an aggressive effort to build traffic and a careful consideration for the time and energy of job hunters.
The good news for CareerCast is that these are simple investment problems. Given money and effective advertising, traffic can be developed. Given a clear focus on the needs of job hunters, the design can be repaired. Keep an eye on them!
Advanced Seminar Series
(March 16, 1997): Our educational series has been expanded. We will be delivering seminars in 12 cities this Spring. We will be offering both of our successful courses, updated to reflect the changing web environment.
Seminar I: Management, Strategies and Tactics
Schedule For Seminar I
Seminar II: Advanced Searching and Sourcing
Schedule For Seminar II
Enroll today, seats are still available. There is a discount available for early registrations. The seminars have a retail price of $995. If your payment is received by April 15, there is a $150 discount. For Payments received by May 1, the savings is $100. We offer an additional discount of $100 for each member in a group of 2 or more.
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Spring Seminar Schedule
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