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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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Smoke, Mirrors
(August 20, 1998) Testing. It's the only way you can tell. Really.

As we put the finishing touches on the 1999 Electronic Recruiting Index (1999 ERI), we're wading through data. The phone is ringing off the hook. The email is filling hard drives. We're learning some interesting things.

The surveys from trench-level Recruiters and various industry vendors are snugly entered into their databases. The results are, to put it mildly, very interesting.

And, the rivalry is hot. We're getting eye openers like the following "tip" from our in basket:

One example is MonsterBoard's continuous self-promotion re the number of jobs on their site...i.e., "Search more than 50,000 jobs". This is a "fact" that they've been promoting for a couple of years now. And in fact, they've even suggested that they have more than 180,000 in some publications.

The fact is, however, that in their March '98 10K report to the SEC (required since they're now a public company), they report "As of March 20, 1998, The Monster Board(Registered) listed approximately 30,000 jobs".

(It must be our week to pick on the Monster Board.)

When the 1999 ERI is done, we'll be able to tell you what the job boards claim and what real recruiters get. Your best bet is to ignore the hype, insist on a free trial period and compare results across different services.


(August 20, 1998) Here's a really good idea that is repeatable in many markets. Silicon Valley TechWeek appears in our mailboxes on a very regular basis. Subtitled "What Technology Professionals Need To Succeed", the free magazine (4 color!) covers the comings, goings and trends in the Industries that dominate Silicon Valley. It is sponsored exclusively with Recruitment Advertising. But, and this is the key to its success, the articles don't pander to career interests. Rather, the magazine covers the interests of its audience.

That's not to say that it is not targeted directly at passive career changers. It is remarkably well oriented to the sweet spot in our world...capable players, happy in their current jobs, trying to keep abreast of changes in the marketplace, willing to move on in search of greater challenge but not actively looking.

With articles covering new software tools, Recruiting companies, business strategy, the hottest current perks, technical issues and, in one issue, wine country as a biotech industry, the magazine reaches out to hit readers where they live, work and play. The events calendar focuses on local conferences with career advancement potential from the reader's perspective.

It gets at the hardest thing for most Online Recruiters to learn. What we have to sell is not what candidates buy. The candidate's perspective is radically different from the Recruiter's. An effective online recruiting play has to make this the center of its design. If you want to reach a group that has more than the desperate job hunters who are instantly attracted by job listings, you have to give them something that they want.

We give very high marks to the Techweek operation, online and off. If you want to see a model for reaching beyond the current cherry-picking, visit the website and sign up for a free subscription.

From A Recent Edition

(August 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.


(August 18, 1998) We are huge fans of Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler at CareerCrossRoads. They work very hard to make sure that their customers get a constant stream of information about new Recruiting sites. Their site includes a monthly newsletter which we read with relish.

This month, they've raised an interesting question:

In the growing debate over the IT shortage, we think there is a missing element- a serious dialogue regarding the ethics of pirating from your neighbors. The rules seem to have changed and the backlash hasn't yet begun. One example (and there are many others) is the folly of recruiters who are desperate enough to try and convince college freshmen and sophomores and even high school seniors to leave school for full time work just to fill their quotas.
Great question! We wish it were so simple.

Advertising people (and there's a deep advertising background at CareerCrossRoads) make funny distinctions. If a candidate responds to an ad, that's not piracy. If a Recruiter contacts a candidate directly, that is. The definition of "piracy" seems to depend on how you make your approach.

From our perspective, just slightly outside of the traditional advertising industry (but right next to where it's going). An ad is a communication. No more, no less.

Websites are ads. Telephone calls are ads. Email is an ad. Intellectually, we are tempted to say that all public communication has some advertising component.

If you want to establish a policy of never Recruiting a currently employed professional, we can understand why. (We would not ever invest in your company.) A policy that limits the labor source to the currently unemployed is a recipe for disaster. Strictly applied, it all but prohibits the use of any form of advertising.

The thing is, the Internet is radically changing the definition of advertising. We have moved from the days when the anonymity of broadcast advertising shielded us from the reality of our behavior. The precise reason that people advertise online is to try to attract someone who is already employed.

Once you have decided that it is okay to hire people who already have jobs, you are on the other side of the "piracy" question. The issue becomes "how aggressive do you want to be?" Rather than frame the answer in ethical terms, there may well be prudent answers that account for your particular food chain.

It is not smart to take all of the brainy and productive people from one of your key suppliers (unless you have an equally capable supplier waiting in the wings). It is even less smart to heavily recruit from the ranks of your customers. It is silly to build your entire business by solving all of your staffing problems in college dorms.

Those things said, you had better know the inside of the dorms, the key talent in your customers and the desirable players in your supply chain. Things change quickly these days.

Ethics has a critical place in Recruiting. Binding yourself to outdated views of advertising and its consequence just limits your effectiveness, however.

- John Sumser

Ads R Us

(August 17, 1998) Have you noticed the latest Monster Board Ad Campaign? For Job Hunters, the slogan is "1 in 4 Applicants Gets an Offer". For paying customers, it's "1 in 4 Jobs Get Filled".

We believe in honest advertising and all that. But, doesn't it strike you as dumb to come out of the chute with a message that says "We don't work 75% of the time?".

- John Sumser

Recruiting Online:
Fall 1998 Seminar Series

(August 02, 1998): We will be delivering seminars in 18 cities this Fall.

Searching and Sourcing Techniques (The Toolkit)
Faced with an overwhelming array of possibility, Recruiters are swamped with opportunities to waste time on the web. In this seminar, you will learn how to mine the data fields and use your Internet Recruiting time effectively. The one day presentation covers spidering, flipping, and depth searching...all of the tools required to unearth the passive candidate. Our emphasis is on the integration of the Internet into your daily Recruiting activities. The course includes a A CD Chock-Full Of Net Software and Tools.

Seminar Schedule
Sep 21: Boston, MA
Sep 23: Hartford, CT
Sep 25: New York City, NY
Sep 28: Princeton, NJ
Sep 30: Reston, VA
Oct 02: Nashville, TN
Oct 05: Detroit, MI
Oct 07: Tampa, FL
Oct 09: Toronto, Canada
Sep 21: San Diego, CA
Sep 23: Los Angeles, CA
Sep 25: Walnut Creek, CA
Sep 28: Las Vegas, NV
Sep 30: Denver, CO
Oct 02: Schaumburg, IL
Oct 05: Houston, TX
Oct 07: St Louis, MO
Oct 09: San Francisco, CA

Graduates receive:

  • $2,000 In Special Offers From 5 Online Recruiting Services
  • A One Year Subscription ($395 Value) To Our Subscription Only Web Site
  • A CD with over 30 pieces of useful software
  • 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 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.

    Contacting Us
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