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(July 30, 1998) It looked like a college dorm party. The cheap wine and Costco fruit juice were sloshed across a folding table littered with empties. The four room office, rumpled blue rug in need of a vacuum, included a workspace dominated by a tent. There were two desks, a bulletin board, two whiteboards and press clippings all over the walls.
The guys in suits hovered on the fringes eyeing the web entrepreneurs and their chums. The swirl of swapped, brightly colored business cards was only interrupted by the constant stream towards the rest rooms. The players seemed to say, "I'll trade you two of my four color cards for one of your plain white engraved cards." It was like kids and baseball cards in a bye gone era.
The tired elevator groaned as it pulled party goers up and down from the third floor. In a recent life, it probably hauled unimaginable people engaged in very imaginable commerce. But, the Web explosion has pulled the old tenements into the service of a new industry. "It's tacky but better than warehouse space," droned a slightly intoxicated member of our elevator group.
The party was the San Francisco launch of Bridgepath, but it could have been any of the 2,500 companies (fee based job boards) vying for attention in our industry. They all look like this in one way or another. Sometimes the in house suit density is higher but not often. The quarters are shabby. The glint in the entrepreneurs eyes shines through the bags beneath them.
Money is coming to online Recruiting....in big buckets dragged up and down those elevators. There has always been a "breathy" quality to the phone calls we get from entrepreneurs. Today, there seem to be more zeros at the end of the dollar figures they are throwing around. The venture firms have more initials and larger pocketbooks. The pitches are the same.
The Bridgepath idea, rooted in the demise of our old favorite Extreme Resume Drop, is to build a real web based recruiting system. It's smart. It needs money, active financial management, good operations and a real sales force.
The long range truth about Internet Recruiting is not that it is "cheaper and faster", rather it is "closer and longer". The net can produce extended relationships with candidates over time. The solution offered by Bridgepath is a step in the right direction. What's more interesting is that they have a platform for long term relationships coupled with intelligent marketing. Unfortunately, they think their benefit is price and speed (a recipe for poverty and low quality).
As our industry continues to build momentum, its worth understanding that the players wear tee shirts and the bankers wear suits. As we mature, the players will begin to wear suits. It's a good thing....the parties will have better snacks and the neighborhoods will be safer. The trick is to not confuse the sales pitch and the product.
It was an interesting party.
(July 29, 1998) Be wary of oddball attachments. Recent reports cover the emergence of a security "hole". in major email software. Microsoft offers a free email "security notification service" that will keep you informed of patches for security problems. Send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org and they'll keep you informed of solutions.
HireSolutions (crummy website, great product) offers a niched, agile version of the services provided by Resumix and Restrac. Resumes are parsed into a relational database that includes candidate tracking and statistical output. The package is scaled and priced for companies who handle 5,000 resumes or more per year.
Mine is bigger than yours. The small press release claims the launch of the "World's Largest Career Website". http://www.CareerIndex.com attempts to integrate the results of a number of other offerings. As Maria Muldaur was fond of saying 30 years ago, "it ain't the meat, it's the motion".
Office Team released a survey that asked the question "What is the preferred method at your firm for receiving resumes?" The (unsurprising) answer, 64% don't care. The detailed results:
By mail 21% By fax 8% By e-mail 4% In person 1% Don't know 2% No preference 64% 100%
Signs of a maturing industry: A company called RealResume announced the first of its patents related to online recruiting. US Patent 5,758,324 covers acceptance and retrieval of resumé files over the Internet. In a hyperbole fit, they claim
"Windows brought WYSIWYG to text-based computers and the PC market exploded. Browsers brought it to the text-based Internet and the Web skyrocketed. Now we're bringing WYSIWYG to the $4.5 billion recruiting industry."We're sure that they'll figure out the market size thing pretty soon. Meanwhile, we're filing a patent application for the wheel.
Extending The Definition
(July 28, 1998)Today, a small quote. We think it encapsulates everything that concerns the use of the Net in Recruiting.
"Recruiting is the sales and marketing component of a company's relationship with its employees and potential employees."
The Status Quo
(July 27, 1998) Around the planet, birth rates are falling through the floor. According to a recent ABC News report, 58 countries (including Russia, China, The USA, France, England and Italy) are experiencing negative population growth. Declining Birth Rates have been with us for 30 years. Still, the notion that the labor shortage is larger than the current economic good times defies belief.
It's really a simple equation. People who aren't born can't go to work.
But, the last three decades have also been full of intense preaching about continued population explosion. The forecasts all showed unimaginable crowding as the result of continued production of babies. Apparently, we all listened.
Unfortunately, the hidden assumption behind our growth driven economy is that there will always be plenty of workers. Those days are over. If ABCNews is right, the American workforce will start to shrink in about 15 years. Our research doesn't paint quite as bleak a picture. It does show very rapid declines in the overall rate of growth of the workforce.
In the meantime, there's background reporting that a deal on expanded H1-B visas has been reached in Washington. In the short term, we will be able to import workers to solve the problem. The longer term looks like a very competitive recruiting market.
Explaining the problem to a successful decision maker is another thing entirely. It's just like the problem Columbus had explaining that the world was not really flat.
We're beginning to see some very interesting developments in the companies that do understand. Trial work days for high school students, executives on loan to public schools, increased campus presence and, of course, broad use of the Internet to reach out beyond current needs. It is a slow but interesting start. Major changes in the status quo take some time.
(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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July 27, 1998