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(August 07, 1998) Here's a downloadable gem. Redei Enterprises, a shareware company, makes a phenomenal plugin for Microsoft Word. Word '97 Dialer allows you to highlight a phone number in a Word document, click and have it dialed. If we were going to build a resume verification operation, there would be a copy of this tool on every desktop.
We've gotten our hands on a new Sony VAIO notebook. If you travel and have basic needs for email, web access, Microsoft Office and LAN integration, this is a watershed. At about 3 pounds, it's the size of a magazine. After years of lugging heavy machines, the road looks appealing in a way that it hasn't in a long time. The bad news for American vendors is that SONY is firmly in the computer and laptop market. The good news for users is that it spells the end of the obnoxious quality problems we've written about from time to time.
A quiet problem caused by the proliferation of job boards is a sea of duplicate resumes. Remember the good old days when a recruiter could get away with saying "don't send your resume all over the place"? Those days are receding into the rearview mirror like a gas station on the interstate. The world is ready for a system that screens each new resume against existing data before letting it into the system. Only a few Resume management tools (hiresystems, for instance) even address the problem.
There is an increasingly compelling argument for using tools like AltaVista's Discovery as a front end for the Internet. By dumping all inbound resumes into a seamless central storage unit (a standalone desktop machine with a big hard drive), the duplicates can be ignored and administrative costs can be ditched. We've been excited about this prospect since the tool's earliest days. It may be that the whole architecture of applicant tracking is about to come under heavy fire.
Junglee and Amazon (the online bookseller) are a part of a new alliance. Some interesting things could be accomplished with a tool that integrates observable interests (books) with Recruitment outreach. Embedded in this alliance is the potential for some very interesting innovation in our industry. Watch those folks at Junglee.
Resumes As Marketing Tools
(August 06, 1998) Yesterday's article raised some dust and a lot of questions, some for us, some for you. As we thought about it, the idea of marketing a job board by stuffing other resume databases is really quite brilliant. It's not because it's likely to work. Rather, the tactic exposes an underlying weakness we really hadn't seen before.
What exactly do you get when you search a resume database? A phone number, some hints about history and contact information (in many cases). Our current pricing models (with the single possible exception of CareerCentral), emphasize the advertising component of the equation. Resume checking is a very limited subset. We don't know of a job board that offers a database of resumes that have been verified in any meaningful way. Offering such a service would seriously raise the performance benchmark (and prices) across the industry. In today's online recruiting environment, resume quality is a secondary issue left to customers.
So, how hard would it be to really monkey around with the current status quo? A couple hundred too good to be true resumes, five phone numbers and a week's worth of automated submittals would send a real shock wave through our industry. The notion underscores our need to move into a more proactive stance.
We often say that "the web evolves through the progressive failure of metaphor." It's a mouthful that means that the current crop of ideas about the web tend to break down after they reach a certain size. Early adopters gain a great advantage while those who are more conservative decision makers receive a reduced stream of benefits.
We never considered, before yesterday's events, that the resume itself might be subject to this dynamic. But it makes some sense. As we look over the data we've collected from 2,500 Recruiters (for the 1999 Electronic Recruiting Index), we're starting to see complaints about the sameness of the resume pools. Part of it is the labor shortage. Part of it is the broad based submitting that has become a part of online job hunting.
It shouldn't be a surprise that all online industries have niche specific security and information virus problems. The bogus resume marketing scam is just the first in our world.
Feed Me, I'm Hongry
(August 05, 1998) Here's a good one. We've gotten a number of similar emails describing the following scam.
We received an absolutely outstanding technical resume in email. We quickly faxed a copy to our client who got very excited. We called his phone number and got an answering machine. The message said that he'd already gotten a job and mentioned that he'd had his success with somejobboard.com. He mentioned it twice. This seemed odd since the resume had just flopped onto our desktop.The marketplace is full of paradox. The background buying and selling of jobsites continues. The rush to sign partnering agreements proceeds at a blistering pace. Meanwhile, the entrepreneurs running the boards still can't buy groceries. Marketing assaults, done on the cheap, are growing faster than the market itself.
The simplest moral of this story is that a resume received in email probably deserves a little checking out before you forward it.
(August 04, 1998) Lots of movement here in the home office. A new fall seminar schedule, a new issue of the paper newsletter sent to 80,000 Recruiters by snail mail, midnight oil burning as we wrap up the 1999 Electronic Recruiting Index. We've opened a sales office in LA.
If you haven't received your copy of the print newsletter in the mail, you may have fallen off our mailing list. We buy lots of them and don't always reuse them. The only way to be sure that it reaches you is by signing up for a free subscription. You can download the current version if you have Adobe Acrobat. If you have trouble reading it online, it's probably because you are using Internet Explorer and don't have the latest stuff from Adobe Acrobat.
On the press wires is the news that Career Mosaic and Career Central have bedded down in an alliance. (An eventual joint offering could either be called CareerCareer or MosaicCentral.) What's interesting is that this marks the entry of the ad agencies into the online reseller business. For about a year now, various entities have encroached on the ad agencies traditional turf with offerings of automated postings to a variety of services. It's a strong, high end move.
From out in left field comes the news that Headhunter.net has redesigned their offering. It's goofy and slick. You'll probably remember that Headhunter.net built its reputation on being a "free" service.
You've probably had a chance encounter with one of the wild-eyed, free love entrepreneurs who are sure that the web will liberate everything all at once. Generally, these visionaries come to their senses about the time that groceries need to be bought. Well, underneath the new offering, the actual price of free finally gets exposed. Headhunter.net offers less and costs more than competing services. Why? Someone has to pay for the free spirits.
You might notice our new sponsor (FutureStep). We've got to give major Kudos to the company. They seem to readily grasp the difference between agreeing with an editor (we've been hard on them) and reaching an audience. You'd be amazed at the number of players who think that writing a check for advertising means that all editorial material will be flattering.
More Than Sourcing
(August 03, 1998) Recruiting covers the range of activities from targeting to background checks and interviewing. Increasingly, it includes training and development before, during and after the employment contract. Sourcing is the process of defining specific candidates (long lists and short) to fill an opening. Most of what is called Online Recruiting is really a derivative of "sourcing".
It's not easy to work as a recruiter in today's tight labor markets. To meet requirements in a shortage environment, Recruiters are having to rethink the entire process. New tactics and techniques are proliferating and disappearing before they can even be evaluated. Definitions and responsibilities change daily. The really bad news is that "these are the good old days." The labor supply is looser than it will be for a generation.
There's a famous curse that goes "May you live in times of great change." Today's professional Recruiter must somehow manage to be a researcher, marketer, interviewer, media planner, negotiator, salesperson, vendor manager, Internet expert, politician, telemarketer and still maintain a personal life. It used to be easier. Recruiting is evolving into a discipline that requires a broad range of background and continuous skills development.
Meanwhile, back in Mahogany Row, the company executives are still not persuaded that Recruiting is a strategic issue with more long range impact than any other internal discipline. It is a predictable part of a Recruiter's existence that staffing requirements are defined 60 days after the financial planning process. In times of shortage, the success of the financial plan depends on the work of the Recruiting team. In reality, effective business planning can not be begun without an intelligent assessment of labor market supply conditions.
It may be time to think the unthinkable.
Generally, Recruiting is a part of the Human Resources Organization. It's very important to clearly understand that HR has its roots in the Accounting Department. When a company begins its life, the first HR Manager always works for the Finance Manager. Why? The first and most important HR questions involve payroll, benefits and pension administration. In any company's growth, these problems emerge well before a Recruiting Role can be developed.
Recruiting, the marketing and sales relationship between a company and its potential and current employees, involves a radically different skill set. While administrative excellence is important (and deeply responsible for the success of companies like Resumix and Restrac), the core skills of Recruiting are very different. The question to ask these days is "Does Recruiting really belong in HR?"
There are several precedents for thinking otherwise. Recruiting doesn't begin its life in a company as a part of the Financial world. In the early days of a company's staffing efforts, the hiring manager does the work. Size and convention are the reason the function migrates into HR.
Information Technology is the other organizational function that emerged over the course of the last generation. For decades, it was a part of the Finance Department as well. Why? The earliest investments in IT are always going to be for financial management purposes. But, as the issue gained strategic importance, it was elevated out of the Comptroller's shop and into a strategic role of its own. Today, it is common to find the CIO on the immediate staff of the company president.
Perhaps it is time to start lobbying for a CRO (Chief Recruiting Officer) slot in organizations.
(August 02, 1998): We will be delivering seminars in 18 cities this Fall.
Searching and Sourcing Techniques (The Toolkit)
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 September 1, there is a $150 discount. For Payments received by September 11, the savings is $100. We also offer group discounts You can learn more about the seminars, register online or call our sales office (415) 377-2255 to register.
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