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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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Materials written
by John Sumser
© TwoColorHat.
All Rights Reserved.

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    (December 10, 1998) Good as we are, we can't cover it all. Here are several key articles from outside our industry that cover critical issues.

    • Why Yahoo is Good (But May Get Worse)
      Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox, Nov. 1, 1998
      A look at Yahoo's strengths and weaknesses from the technical to the financial.

    • Search Engine Optimization: The Science…And The Art
      ClickZ, Nov. 19, 1998
      Generally, devoting lots of time to making sure that your site gets high exposure in search engines is a waste of time. There are some basic things you should attend to, however. This piece gets at those basics.

    • Tag, You're It! XML Supercharges the Net
      Industry Standard, Nov. 13, 1998
      Ultimately, XML (or something like it) will make a difference. This article talks about the possibilities.

    • Uneasy Allies: When Portals Go Retail
      Industry Standard, Nov. 16, 1998
      Many job boards have relationships with the portals that are similar to the retailers covered in this article.

    • Find it on the Web
      PC Magazine, December 1998
      Which are the best search engines? The ever changing answer is documented in this year's awards from PCMag.

    - John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.


    (December 09, 1998) The web is not a fixed environment. The number of competing recruiters is growing faster than the rate at which new users are coming online. The technology changes quickly. Corporate sophistication with the technology changes quickly as well. Windows of opportunity open and close very rapidly.

    It has been possible, up to this point, to manage an operation without having direct experience with the technology. Having an onsite database could be delegated to the smart database vendor. Computer purchasing decisions could be delegated to the office hacker, the owner's kid or the IT department. The web, unfortunately, requires a more immediate form of involvement.

    Just as you wouldn't consider delegating all of your phone calls, you can't delegate all of your web experience. The early adopters refer to a manager's reluctance to get his/her fingernails dirty in the technology as "technophobia" (fear of technology).

    While we won't judge owners and managers who haven't touched the technology quite this harshly, we are sure that this reluctance does cause very bad decision making.

    As a recruiter (or the manager of recruiters), the very best thing that you can do to get started with Electronic Recruiting is to build yourself a web page. Do it in a public way and let your peers/subordinates see the results of your work. Build the page yourself using one of the widely available web tools. Ask someone for help to get it posted to the web site.

    Why is this important?

    HTML (the "language of web pages") is neither complex nor scary. Like any word processing tool, its characteristics are simple and easy to understand. Actually building a web page will give you the experience required to understand how terribly simple the web really is.

    You need this understanding to effectively understand the decisions you and your staff face. The web requires continuous adaptation. By making the first step towards actually experiencing the environment and setting yourself as a role model, you enable the people around you to make the same leap. Adaptability requires understanding. Really using the web is not much more complex than using a phone.

    - John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

    Branding a Relationship

    (December 08, 1998) Is recruiting different from other forms of electronic commerce? Like buying a car or a home, the job-change transaction occurs less frequently than the purchase of a Compact Disc or Book. Like home buying, there are a nearly infinite variety of possible transactions based on region, desirability, affordability and so on. Unlike buying a retail product, there is no standard catalog.

    For the most part, contemporary electronic recruiting simply repeats the practices of the pre-web era. Candidates, in spite of their scarcity, are treated as cannon fodder. Recruiters look to volumes of resumes to make up for shortages in quality. Job Boards, hell bent on being the "biggest", sell quantity not quality as well.

    The costs borne by a recruiter who uses the web include both the subscription fees paid to the job boards and the internal costs associated with ad preparation and results review. As quantities of responses go up and their quality declines, the web becomes an increasingly expensive alternative. The growth objectives of the Job Board conflict directly with the quality objectives of the Recruiter.

    Over the long haul, the services that dominate electronic recruiting will be those that facilitate relationships between potential employers and potential candidates. These relationships are unlikely to carry the baggage of the language of HR. Rather, the relationships will be focused on the success of the potential candidate as defined by the potential candidate.

    An interesting example of this approach was showcased in yesterday's Good Morning Silicon Valley, the email newsletter of the SAn Jose Mercury News. Mentor Graphics, a company that creates custom chip design tools, ran an ad offering "free technical papers". The topics ranged from "Dynamic Timing Analysis" to "Interconnect Characterization Systems". The papers were interesting only to the community of users, customers and competitors of Mentor Graphics. Clicking on the ad takes a web user to a place that includes the company's job listings.

    The approach is a good deal more subtle than bulk recruiting based on bigness. It allows Mentor Graphics to establish solid relationships with the real pool of candidates.

    Increasing sophistication of this approach will include a stream of professional material that helps members actually do their jobs. The level of personalization and professional relevance in recruiting is only going to increase. Weeding through an ever larger haystack for decreasingly available needles will be supplanted by "needle cultivation" operations that eliminate the haystack.

    - John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

    Customized Onsite Consulting

    (Early Winter, 1998) Over the past four years we have had a large number of requests for Onsite Consulting. We are continually looking for new and improved ways to help with your Recruiting needs. We are now offering personal one-on-one Consulting in "Advanced Searching Techniques".

    We've recently added Nicky Gordon to our staff. Nicki is a seasoned recruiting research professional and an acclaimed trainer. She will be delivering these customized training programs in which:

    • We will explain how to make a clean move to web recruiting as the principal source of your income.
    • You will receive the tools needed to search the Internet effectively including A CD with over 30 Software Tools to get you started.
    • You get the full benefit of our "Advanced Searching And Sourcing Seminar" without having to leave the office.
    • You gain the knowledge needed to use Spiders and Robots, advanced Search Engine Techniques, Candidate Pool Access and the development of Just-In-Time Sourcing techniques. We'll teach you the skills and tools used by visionary recruiters.
    • You will get a detailed course of action; we will walk you through the steps involved in going from Job Order to Placement.
    • All Examples are done Online specifically tailored for your operation.
    Book your On-site consulting today. The fee for each One-Day Onsite Consulting is $2,500 plus Expenses. We are offering a discount to previous Seminar Attendees, our way of saying Thank You for your continued business. We would like to help set the techniques you've learned into action. Please contact us for more information.

    Hot Jobs Gets Bounced

    (December 07, 1998) As reported in the Wall Street Journal, HotJobs flunked the suitability test with the first pass at their Superbowl ad. Having ponied up a commitment for a $2.5 Million slot sandwiched between Budweiser frogs and car ads, the Hot Jobs team was (to put it mildly) surprised. Fox, the censoring network, is the producer of the Simpsons and the general arbiter of bad taste on TV.

    The ad features a JobHunter and an Elephant in a cage. The Elephant eventually sits on the Job Hunter. When the Elephant gets up, the Job Hunter is gone. The tag line, something like "Stuck In The Same Old Job?" closes the piece. The inference was apparently too rude to be showcased.

    While HotJobs scrambles, they are in the midst of a free PR bonanza. Imagine how many people will download the video (once it's available). If they never figure out how to produce the "right" commercial, they should be able to accelerate its growth on the publicity alone.

    On another front, the rumors are flying about an early January consolidation of OCC and Monster Board into a single service called While we can easily imagine the financial pressures that might drive such a decision, and we hope that technical improvements would be at the heart of it, it's hard to imagine how consolidation would be a good thing.

    Should the transition happen, customers will bail. The web is not a "one interface fits all" medium and "consolidation" (at the level of visible websites) simply diminishes advertising reach. Hopefully, the rumor will recede from trial balloon status quickly. Otherwise, there will be a nice cleanup benefit for other job boards as comfortable subscribers are uprooted.

    - John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

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