IBN: Defining Excellence in Electronic Recruiting


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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

It's better to
do a few things
really well than
than to do
a lot of things
If you can't
make the necessary
commitments of
time and energy
to your
scale back
your plan.
John Sumser

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Isn't That Cute?
(May 7, 1998) Have you noticed the term "ecruiting", "E-cruiter" and "ecruit" popping up in marketing campaigns? Companies all over North America have begun using the catch phrase to describe various aspects of their software, media planning, resume management, job posting and web development businesses. We're tempted to see it as an extension of the web's tendency to promote a decline in spelling accuracy.

Now that we think of it, we wonder how it could be that everyone seems to have missed "St@ffing", "tEmporary @gency", "hE@dhunter", "Inter View", "Contr@ct Recruiting", "Human E-sources", "HirE", "E-mployment @dvertising", "OutsourcE", "E-xecutice sE@rch" or "E-sume". While we certainly can sympathize with marketers who are trying to bring life into the "tombstone advertising" business, we're tempted to see "ecruiting" as yet another example of too much money and too little sense.

HR Managers, who are the paying customers in our industry, are swamped with offers and opportunities. It's no surprise that companies are searching for a memorable tag line. Market entry depends as much on being memorable as it does on producing results (because the market is so overcrowded). The use of the term "ecruiting" represents a step back towards brand development and away from reputations based on performance.

The implicit message is "we're unable to fit into standard definitions; we can't solve your Recruiting problems; we're trading on style as a strategic solution". It may be cute but it is not positive.

As the Electronic Recruiting Industry struggles with impending maturity, hiring managers and candidates face a bewildering array of options and possibilities. The coming generation of solutions will simplify decision making in a complex environment. Intelligent decision makers who are trying to deploy a technical solution to real business problems are unlikely to be swayed by a clever name. They have a basic allergy to cleverness and hope for solutions instead.


(May 6, 1998) The seminar tour dropped us in Denver today. Colorado is home to a number of innovative online recruiting services including: It's an interesting collection given Denver's size and relative isolation.

You'd be tempted to think that the local job scene would be more vibrant. But, the local paper trumpets "hundreds" of opportunities rather than the thousands you'd see in other parts of the country.

In general, web sophistication in a given region is a function of "wiredness" and cost of living. In cities and regions where $20 is "change", internet access is high. In places where $20 is "groceries", internet reach is low. We're guessing that Denver is nearly as affordable as Tucson with its very limited internet marketplace.

It's worth remembering that Electronic Recruiting success is related directly to geography!

Who? Log Analyzers

(May 5, 1998) So, you've got the website up and running. You're running ads on a number of jobsites. You're adding names to targeted email lists.

How do you tell what's working, where your job ads work best and who is visiting the site?

It's important to make sure that all of your efforts drive traffic back to your website. Every ad, business card, piece of email, "job posting" and sponsorship should contain your URL (web address). If all of your materials point back to your website, you can begin to analyze your "web logs".

Whether or not you are currently requesting and using them, all web servers generate logs of the activities on your site. Every time a visitor comes to your site, your web server tracks many pieces of information about the transaction: the visitor's domain name, the page that the visitor came from (referrer), the files requested and so on. The files tend to be very large and very cryptic. 5,000 page requests will result in a 1MB log file. You'd get a headache trying to read it.

There are a number of tools and outside consultants that analyze these logs (they can be huge). From the logs, you can get a grasp of the details of traffic to your site. Generally, Website analyzers import the log files into a database in order to produce readable material and charts.

We use WebTrends, a moderately priced log analyzer. At about $500 (retail), WebTrends occupies one of our office machines for about 30 hours per week. We review the logs as a group for another ten or so hours. As a result, we have a clear understanding of the traffic patterns on our site, who sends us the most traffic, where that traffic comes from and so on. Since we don't use cookies, it's difficult to see individual visitor patterns. We do a derivative analysis each week to add the information we know isn't in the logs.

There are many other tools available (including shareware). Generally speaking, the largest part of the cost comes from the tailoring required once the software is installed and you have a (more or less dedicated) machine to run it on.

You might want to check with your ISP or webmaster to see if they know of a consultant who can help you with the process.

Getting a detailed handle on the traffic to your site is the next step in fully controlling your online recruiting. It will give you a method for clearly analyzing the cost effectiveness of your various efforts.

The Point

(May 4, 1998) Every Recruiting operation we've ever seen is awash in paper. If a single image comes to mind, it's the bent and mis-shapen cardboard file box sitting atop an obviously bulging file cabinet. Obviously, most recruiters are certain that "there's gold in them thar files".

In some offices, you can even occasionally find something in the files. Office managers, with drill sargent precision, have organized them completely. Procedures have been written (and sometimes followed) to maintain contact with (at least) the best of the pile. But, when it gets busy, crisis management and reactive recruiting conspire to rob the files of any possible value.

It isn't any better in companies with outdated automation. More often than not, what's been automated is the storage of the resumes, not the recruiting! Instead of piles of unopened boxes, we see piles in opened megabytes of storage. The only difference is the level of physical clutter.

The boxes of resumes and databases of ancient contact information seem like a memorial to missed opportunity. We've seen large rooms devoted to the practice. We wonder if it isn't a form of ancestor worship. No one really goes into those rooms or opens the boxes.

Executed well, Electronic Recruiting allows you to reclaim the energy and real estate invested in lugging around that old baggage.

As we've been saying, the labor shortage is generational and driven by declining birth-rates. Even sub-Saharan Africa, where population growth is still rapid, has seen an overall decline from a family size of 7 to a family size of 3. The labor shortage will be global shortly.

That means that every resume, from here on out, is a precious resource. You may not be able to rekindle a fire from the old moldy data in your boxes and database. You can, however, make sure that every new potential recruit gets a different treatment.

Contact information, particularly email addresses, is the key to your successful future. It gets better when you use it and spoils rapidly when you don't. If you get a resume, add them to a list. Email is cheap, mail them something. Every resume is a chance to start a relationship. Use it. Throw away the resume...you can always get another one if you've built a relationship.

The winners will be the ones with the best electronic relationship networks. The losers will be sifting through piles of old resumes.

Recruiting Online:
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
Don't jump on the bandwagon to be cool. Don't use technology without a clear view of the payback. This intense seminar addresses the questions any manager, owner or director should ask before continuing to invest in Electronic Recruiting. It is designed for owners, managers and section heads. We're offering it in 3 cities this Spring.

Schedule For Seminar I
May 12: New York City
May 15: Chicago, IL

Seminar II: Advanced Searching and Sourcing
Learn how to mine the data fields. This one day presentation covers spidering, flipping, and depth searching...all of the tools required to unearth the passive candidate. The course includes a A CD Chock-Full Of Net Software and Tools.

Schedule For Seminar II
May 06: Denver, CO
May 06: Columbus, OH
May 08: Toronto, ON
May 11: New York, NY
May 13: Austin, TX
May 15: Atlanta, GA
May 18: Irvine, CA
May 18: Princeton, NJ
May 20: Boston, MA
May 20: Seattle, WA

Graduates receive:

  • $2,000 In Special Offers From 5 Online Recruiting Services
  • A One Year Subscription ($395 Value) To Our Subscription Only Web Site
  • All Course Materials

    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.

    You can learn more about the seminars, register online or call us at the office (415.377.2255 or 800-358-2278) to register.

    Contacting Us
    Call, fax, write, email. We'd love to talk about your project.

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