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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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© TwoColorHat.
All Rights Reserved.

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Customer Satisfaction II
(September 11, 1998) Earlier this week, we posted some of the initial results from our groundbreaking study, the 1999 Electronic Recruiting Index. (If you haven't had a chance to read the executive summary, please take a moment to look at it.) In that first article, we listed the Top 15 Recruiting Websites in terms of Customer Satisfaction. The rankings were derived from a 400 question survey. 2,620 Recruiters took their time to respond to the survey.

The executive summary includes a graph that ranks an additional 30. The 1999ERI goes on to rank those job boards by a number of other factors and includes very detailed reports on a service by service basis.

We've spawned a wave of (sometimes) funny phone calls and emails. One fellow wanted to know why his service (which he was sure was the biggest and best on the net) didn't make the list. Several wanted to know why their services were ranked so "low" when "all of my customers tell me that they love it". Yet another correspondent was so displeased that one firm ranked highly that he sent us a detailed refutation of all of their marketing claims.

What makes our study so important and useful is that it is rooted in the responses of a large sample of paying customers. Most of them have tried several services. All of them use the web as a recruiting tool on a regular basis. The numbers and comparisons between services can only be generated by an outside source.

When the waiter stops by your table to ask how your dinner is, what do you say? For the most part, people say "Fine" and hope that he leaves quickly. Why? Most customers only complain to the management when things are really bad. They vote with their feet, not their opinions. Customer satisfaction is not something you can measure well by asking your customers directly.

Take a look at the executive summary. Our top ranked service only received a 75 on a scale of 1 to 100. The median score was close to 50. To say that there is room for improvement in customer satisfaction is to put it mildly. It's worth underlining the fact that the battle for the hearts and souls of paying customers is fought daily. It is also worth saying that, while Lexus always wins the JD Powers awards for Quality, General Motors still sells the most cars.


(September 10, 1998) We have a good friend who changed her name from Kathy to Crysthal just after her divorce. If we called her Kathy by mistake, she got mad and would stop answering her email. This must be what happened to Espan (who recently changed their name to JobOptions). Our attempts to visit the site are greeted with an arcane error message that boils down to a failure in their Oracle database. Kathy (ooops, we mean Crysthal) bought a cute convertible that always broke down.

The real lesson is, if you are going to try something new, be prepared for your friends to be confused. If it's technical, be prepared for it to break and have a Plan B.

A self-licking ice cream cone... That's what many of the stunning innovations we see these days look like...interesting tools that solve the wrong problem.

As the labor shortages expand across disciplines (we saw flyers for a regional Starbuck's Job Fair yesterday), people will still transition through the economy. A labor shortage does not mean that everyone always works for the same company forever. CareerCast is on to something. The other side of the Job Board market (as Demonstrated by Bridgepath a couple of months ago) is the outplacement business. Take a look at Careers2000. This is the CareerCast service for Northrup-Grumman who are laying off 5,000 highly technical players over the next 30 days. Careers2000. Email registration for this real time resume database is free.

- John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

Customer Satisfaction

(September 9, 1998) As promised, we are making the Executive Summary from the 1999 Electronic Recruiting Index available here on the website. You'll need Adobe Acrobat to view this file. (If you are using IE 4.0 or above, you might need to upgrade your Acrobat.)

The Executive Summary touches the high points of our annual report and includes the first ever ranking of Job Boards by level of customer satisfaction. The 1999 ERI goes on to rank them by market penetration and other factors.

This year, Computer Jobs Store tops the list. The site, which specializes in the regional recruitment of IT professionals, received better ratings from actual customers than any other operation in the industry by a statistically significant margin.

The Top 15 Job Boards, ranked by the 2,620 Recruiters we surveyed are:

  1. Computer Jobs Store
  3. Online Career Center
  4. Net Temps
  5. DICE
  6. Career Mosaic
  7. Junglee
  8. Recruiter's Online Network
  9. MedSearch
  10. Monster Board
  11. InfoWorks
  12. CareerPath
  13. Classifieds2000 (Excite)
  14. Wall Street Journal
  15. Yahoo!
With 2,500 operations competing for Recruitment advertising dollars, any service that made the top 15 is worth solid consideration. Our congratulations go out to all of these companies.

- John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

Rumbles in the Staffing Industry

(September 8, 1998) You might have noticed a bit of spottiness in our recent performance. We time our publishing deadlines for the Labor Day vacation peak. This year's Electronic Recruiting Index (1999ERI) required a supreme effort. Over the past two weeks, we've been bearing down. The report is off to the printer. The staff is breathing a small sigh of relief.

One of the interesting features of the marketplace is the incredibly poor showing from the publicly traded staffing companies. As a group, they just don't get it. We reviewed the web offerings from all these operations in the 1999ERI. The results were astonishingly negative.

Given the obvious pressures of price and performance, we expected to find more than a couple of diamonds in the mud. They just were not there. Just mud with one or two diamonds.

With all of the stock market fuss about the staffing industry, we expected to find in-process investments designed to reduce candidate acquisition cost. Unfortunately, the tight margins and credit issues that drive the industry keep these companies from being adaptive in a changing marketplace. It is too bad really. They are basically too broke to play in the game and you can see it in their websites.

Insiders tell us that the staffing industry is poised for explosive growth. We're reminded of the retailer who, when confronted with a loss on every sale, exclaimed "we'll make it up with volume." The bad news is that market sensitive competitors, from out in left field, are nibbling at the business and joining the game every day.

As a result, there's a revolution brewing in the branch offices and franchises around the staffing business. Why? Headquarters sings a great song but simply doesn't deliver. Meanwhile, smaller and scrappier operations are nipping at the heels of the big players who are so obsessed with the "deal" that they've lost sight of the market.

It would be a great moment to launch a web based franchise operation that actually served the needs of the branches. Properly positioned and financed, a hundred offices around the country would sign on in the first year. Our survey of 2620 Recruiters showed that training was the largest concern at the trench level. Nearly everyone of them felt the need, only 20% thought that headquarters provided adequate support.

Beginning next week, we will be unveiling our Top 100 Recruiting sites and a small portion of the data in the 1999ERI. At 800+ pages, it covers the entire gamut of Electronic Recruiting from market size and growth forecasts to large organization strategy; from detailed web operations advice to reviews of public staffing firms on the web; from the results of our survey of Recruiters to detailed assessments of fee based Job Boards.

- John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

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

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