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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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  • Small To Medium Sized Businesses

    (January 22, 1999) Off an on, we hear a very interesting statistic. No validation, mind you, we're just repeating a bit of info that seems to get repeated.

    80% of the customers (recruiters) on most job boards are small to medium sized businesses who post an average of 3 jobs per year.

    If its true, Electronic Recruiting is reaching an entirely new audience. Typically, the Recruiting marketplace is composed of companies that are large enough to have a formal Recruiting/HR Department. They come to the game with procedures, processes and the ability to build a job requisition.

    If it's really the case that the small business owner is the largest (numerically) audience in online Recruiting, there are some interesting consequences. A Pareto analysis begins with the assumption that 20% of the customers bring 80% of the value. The question, in this case, is "what does the other 80% mean?"

    First of all, we take this statistic to mean that the playing field (in Recruiting) is somewhat leveled by the web. If the numeric bulk of the customers are small operations, the web is making it easier to compete with large operations.

    Secondly, the importance of content that teaches the fundamentals of Recruiting has been vastly under-rated. These small companies rarely have as much as a standard application form or a process for developing a requisition. Simple tools that help without burying the learner in data will be meaningful discriminators.

    Third, the small business is opening as a market for a broad range of Recruiting services. Imagine a sales pitch that begins with "We can help you with the confusing maze on the web." Differing price points are required, for sure. But, this end of the market has rarely been pursued as a part of a Recruiting service market strategy.

    In all, we're beginning to see a change in the market caused by the web. As companies in the Job Board, Infrastructure or Online Recruiting Businesses design their plans for "global dominance", it will be important to remember the impact of the small shop.

    - John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.


    (January 21, 1999) The deep bags under our eyes are from a blast-through cross country trip at the beginning of the week. From the rainy but warm comfort of our San Francisco operation, we ventured to Boston, where there is snow on the ground. We spent a very long Tuesday with the team from Restrac.

    You may remember that Restrac purchased the job ad distribution components of Junglee this past fall. Conceptually brilliant, the acquisition posed major risks for two reasons. Junglee retained all of the key personnel from their online Recruiting function. The technology itself, while brilliant from a sales perspective, contained a number of manual work arounds that posed serious transition difficulties.

    After a solid day of looking into the details of their strategy and implementation, we are convinced that Restrac stands a significant chance of making a real difference in the future of online Recruiting. The Junglee transition is nearly complete with the risks well under control and customers getting happier. The rest of the the Restrac solution provides a modular solution that can be easily configured for specific customer needs.

    The idea is simple. By controlling the administrative functions of the Electronic Recruiting transaction and using their core technology expertise to parse through the results, Restrac has organized the foundations of a serious play for the Recruiter's desktop. Single point billing, solid search and workflow capabilities, desktop tools and action lists, outsourced resume entry and validation and reliable customer support with true enterprise experience are all assembled into a unified solution. They don't assume that Recruiting happens exclusively online but have the capacity to provide a full range solution. Their goal? Let Recruiters recruit.

    The execution allows for complexity. Recruiters are not all cut from the same cookie cutter. Needs vary in two major areas: the kinds of candidates being recruited and the administrative processes in the Recruiting shop. The modular Restrac approach can be tailored and reassembled to fit a variety of circumstances.

    At Restrac, they are building a team to match their ambition. We were surprised to discover that the bulk of their management team is new and deeply experienced in the kinds of areas that a serious play requires. Senior managers from Lotus, experienced software project managers, solid quality control people, seasoned marketing types are all under the control of Lars Perkins, Restrac's founder.

    Lars is arguably the single most experienced player in the industry. In the very early 1980s, Restrac came on the scene with a product that revolutionized the handling of candidate data and Recruiting workflow. While we have consistently downplayed the likelihood that he could reinvent the company, we came away from our visit extremely impressed with the range of Restrac's proposed solution.

    Time will tell about the company's ability to execute and grow. But, they are rapidly defining the set of services that a long term central player needs to develop. If we were Hodes, TMP, Nationwide or one of the other ad agency players, we'd take a serious look at what Restrac is bringing to the party.

    - John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.


    (January 20, 1999) The Excite/@Home merger raises an interesting question..."Where is the best location for a portal?" Obviously, the @Home team believes that convenience is a large part of the answer. By positioning Excite as the first face of the web for their customers, @Home is making the bet that the web's evolution will follow Microsoft's supposed view of the world.

    We think of the theory currently espoused in the Microsoft anti-trust trial as "monopoly of first option". The core idea is that most users will never expand their grasp of the technology beyond the first option presented to them. Things will remain extremely complicated.

    The concept is similar to thinking that an advantage could be won by making sure that television sets came from the factory tuned to a particular network.

    In the short run, there's truth to the notion. Changing the default page of a browser is an easy task. But, because it is nested in an overwhelming series of choices facing a new user, it doesn't often get done. Leaving things alone is the path of least resistance. For the next couple of years, relationships like the @Work/Excite merger will be consummated as a way of accelerating the brand name of the portal while growing the customer base of the network. In the near term, we expect to see companies like @Home, in the bandwidth/network business, buying portals.

    Growth, however, is a very tough thing to manage. These mergers leave an open window for players who want to focus on "gateway excellence". The attention of the Teams at Excite and @Home are going to be diverted. They will be paying increasing amounts of attention to "newcomers". As a result, the development of services for sophisticated users is predictably at risk.

    For recruiters, this means paying increased attention to the demographics of the search. You'll want to start calibrating the relationship of advanced Internet skills to the types of candidates you are trying to attract. For companies that provide candidates (or advertising that attracts candidates) the question will be developing traffic streams that supplement the natural flow.

    Meanwhile, technology will continue to simplify. In the long haul, the net will have the equivalent of sophisticated channel changing capabilities. With their eye on capturing newcomers, these developments won't be likely to come from large merged portal/bandwidth operations. The merger creates an interesting opportunity for mid-market firms to create broad improvements to the net.

    Meanwhile, Excite's growth as a provider of Recruiting services just got a near term jump-start.

    - John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.


    (January 18, 1999) The importance and focus of "diversity" Recruiting has changed over the years. Once the result of Affirmative Action Legislation, broad demographic shortages have transformed "diversity outreach" from set-aside status to a role of increasing strategic import. Unemployment rates vary in minority communities. As a result, higher quality candidates are often more readily available in minority communities.

    Minorities Job Bank offers a series of "villages" that target individual minority communities including:

  • Hispanic-American Village

  • Native-American Village

  • Women's Village

  • Minorities-Global Village

    - John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

    Customized Onsite Consulting

    (Early Winter, 1999) 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 with extensive hands-on experience solving sourcing problems with the Internet. 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 prospective candidates
    • 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.

    Contacting Us
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