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(June 19, 1998) We received an interesting note from John Petersen, one of our futurist friends. Believing that the infamous 1/1/00 problem will not be adequately addressed in time, he (and a couple of impressive partners) have begun organizing a "movement". Their idea? On 1/3/00 (after the hangovers), there will be an unprecedented moment of opportunity for social change. The ideas that support their notions are available in an interesting white paper (we have it here in Adobe Acrobat format or Microsoft Word)
In another scene, Microsoft claims that 87% of all small businesses are at risk from the millennial bug. Only 17% have investigated the issue. They also offer a kit of tools to begin helping with the problem.
From a Recruiting perspective, it's probably increasingly critical to look at fit in your placements. Assuming that there's some form of disruption during the clock changeover, the people you hire today will be elbow to elbow with you in solving the problem. Many businesses will be significantly changed on a cultural level by the way their team responds to the problem. Underneath the rhetoric, that's the opportunity that Petersen's white paper points out.
(June 18, 1998) Where's the money? To date, online Recruiting has been overly focused on picking the low hanging fruit. It's been fun. A technical medium for recruiting the technical cream at a time when they are in short supply. The money flows and the grumbling from customers about results can be written off to national shortages. It is an extraordinary environment that fosters irresponsibility.
At the end of this week, Sears is convening a summit of major Retail employers. The recruiting problem in the industry is complex. Retail was once a sought after profession. It's been a traditional route for immigrants and the lower class to enter the middle and upper classes. These days, however, Retail Recruiting is haunted by the ghosts of the 1980's mega mergers, bankruptcies and layoffs.
Currently, no one wants a job in Retail. The national demographic shortages (which run across the board) are aggravated by history and the lack of status. The Retail industry is showing all of the signs of becoming the first major casualty of the dynamics that will drive 21st Century recruiting (online and off). The Sears sponsored summit proposes to begin addressing the issue.
We think that this creates an extraordinary opportunity for job boards, online recruiting services and recruiters. Retail has the potential to solidly demonstrate the real potential of the Internet as a Recruiting tool. Here's a market that needs (and is liable to pay for) a service that goes far beyond our current models of overly stuffed job databases and automated research/outreach. Abundant job opportunities, a severe PR problem, a dawning awareness of the issue and real consequences for failure make the Retail industry a powerful setting for the next generation of online recruiting.
What would it look like?
For beginners, the idea that web users are going to "go" anywhere to review retail job postings is a Red Herring. That's a definition of the problem, not the solution. So, the image makeover and market penetration has to precede the recruiting pitch. And, it has to reach potential candidates where they are.
We can easily imagine a full court press that focuses first on using the web to rearrange the perceptions of the industry. The problem is big enough and the web is (currently) inexpensive enough so that a small (relative to the alternatives) bit of money can be taken a long way. Don't get us wrong, we're talking lots of money. It's just that the alternative approaches contain an additional zero (or two).
The play would have to be much more sophisticated than the current model (come on over here, we have jobs). It would need to coax awareness and build response with patterned targeting over time. It would require subtlety, coordination and persistence on a grand scale.
We're very excited about the prospect. Over the long haul, our industry will migrate from technical enthusiasm and pathetic business models to exciting business usage with a modicum of technology. It's the natural progression. Retail is liable to be the inflection point.
We'll fill out the details of this kind of approach to web recruiting in the 1999 Electronic Recruiting Index (we'll publish in September '98). The story will be a part of our fall Management Seminars. Stay tuned.
(June 17, 1998) If you're a Restrac customer, you probably already know. The lumbering solver of last generation's problem (managing piles of resumes) has rolled out an impressive sounding network for job posting. Take a look at their website. It's clear that after fits, starts and procrastination, Restrac is trying to enter the game.
The new brand extension, WebHire, is a first attempt to integrate job posting with the Resume Management System. Not earth shattering, but it may help to mitigate a little of the constant grumbling we hear from Recruiters about the utility of the overall Restrac service.
However, the "clue" line is growing daily and Restrac hasn't even joined it. In earlier columns, we've pointed out the disconnect between their press releases and their website. Yesterday's PR promised a network of "over 100" services (a truly ambitious start). The website lists four and doesn't even mention the new or coming additions.
This is the web. It's a part of business, not an afterthought, particularly if you're going to use a name like WebHire.
Currently listed partners include
...contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Actual results and performance could differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. Certain factors that might cause such a difference include product development risks, new product announcements and introductions, changes in technology and industry standards, certain strategic relationships, continued upgrading of the Company's products, future demand for staffing software and services and end-user acceptance of the Company's products and those of its competitors.Tidbits
(June 16, 1998) What if the Japanese Economic crisis is an indicator of North American economic futures? Paul Krugman, author of the Accidental Theorist, is an economist who pares through the crap on a variety of issues. If you skate by the economic formulas, you might find his analysis of the Asian flu worth bookmarking. In the paper, he argues that the crisis is caused by investors perception that Japan can not grow for demographic reasons.
DejaNews is launching channels and packaged content services. You may want to check out their Career Channel which will become an interesting "portal" on the Usenet component of our market. It's just a question of time before they start selling a direct feed of sifted resumes to recruiters. At that point, the speed at which resume databases are updated will start to become a real competitive issue. (Most large resume databases are dependent on a "feed" from the Usenet Newsgroups and DejaNews is essentially closer to the source and more likely to have faster updates). Across the board, speed is becoming a major performance issue in online recruiting.
Do you know about WebMonkey? The Wired Enterprises site is a treasure trove of hands on instruction in the technical details of web design and construction. Of particular interest is their latest series "Web Database Crash Course"
Web ratings firms are having a hard time measuring audiences. We're familiar (from the pocketbook) with the problems associated with tracking audience size. If you're trying to understand what you're buying in our industry, you'll want to see ZDNet's article on Web Audience Measurement. The biggest problem? Measuring traffic from web surfers at work. Their activities are hidden in complicated ways by the caches that speed overall internet traffic. Too bad for us. Most job hunting appears to happen at work.
From Edupage: More than 75% of U.S. software executives say they expect to hire more workers this year, according to the 1998 Software Business Practice Survey, sponsored by Price Waterhouse, Silicon Valley East and the Massachusetts Software Council. The big question is, where will those workers come from? Recruitment worries have risen from No. 14 on a list of important items compiled in 1996, to a tie for No. 1 this year. "The competition for software talent is a major concern for the industry," says the national director of Price Waterhouse's Software Services Group. (Information Week 8 Jun 98)
The number keeps growing. The latest survey says that there are 340,000 open IT positions in North America.
We're hoping that the baby birthed on the net finds a job online someday.
Here It Comes
(June 15, 1998) The dynamics have changed. College Recruiting used to be the leisurely pursuit of large companies seeking perfect pedigrees. That was before last year.
Essentially, the placement of graduating seniors was in full swing by Thanksgiving and the cream of the crop had offers in hand by the Super Bowl. This year the game will start earlier and be even more competitive. Driven by declining unemployment figures, changing demographics and increasingly severe shortages, raw, green talent will be an increasingly sought commodity.
With higher levels of participation earlier in the process, it's logical to forecast a marked increase in the time (and the size of the offer) required to bring a candidate to the table. If you haven't started your planning yet, you're falling behind. As a recruiter, the question is how to gain access to these candidates before they hit the marketplace. (The spidering and search techniques we offer in our seminars will enable you to start to manage next year's college recruiting process.)
Give the colleges and universities in your region (professional or geographical) a good look this week. You'll find some amazing things.
More often than not, there's a resume database. The schools usually have home pages for students sorted by Department. There are often clear opportunities to provide sponsorship in exchange for access.
Recruiting in a time of scarcity requires rethinking the basic assumptions. Rather than simply sifting through the haystack, you have to build your own haystack to sift. If you wait until there's a clear pile to look through, everyone else will be crawling through the same information. Competitive advantage will come from figuring out how to be early to the game.
(June 15, 1998): We will be delivering seminars in 12 cities this Summer.
Advanced Searching and Sourcing Techniques
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 June 15, there is a $150 discount. For Payments received by July 1, the savings is $100. We offer an additional discount of $100 to any recruiter who completes our 1998 Electronic Recruiting Survey.
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June 15, 1998