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It is better
to not be on
the web than
to be on and
not know why

John Sumser

Reality
is more
complex
than
it seems.
John Gall


It's better to
do a few things
really well than
than to do
a lot of things
badly.
If you can't
make the necessary
commitments of
time and energy
to your
electronic
marketing
efforts
scale back
your plan.
John Sumser




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


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  • Tupey Head


    (February 19, 1999) Some bonehead has devised an interesting new system that is sending us 12 to 15 copies of each new job listing he gets. While we routinely use filters to sift this sort of crap away from our inbox, he has developed a scheme that requires throwing each individual posting in the trash. Not having had enough coffee before sitting down to process the morning's mail, we got grumpier than usual.

    If you don't mind the fact that your solicitations will bury some of its recipients in unwanted email, you might want to try the service, called candseek.com. Although the service is poorly marketed and all identifying information has been removed, you can track them down. We do not recommend using such services. The damage you do to your reputation will overshadow any benefit that you get. But, we're going to tell you about it because some folks have to learn the hard way.

    A couple of minutes of research produced the following information about candseek.com (that's the email address to which all responses are sent).

    Registrant:
    Candidate Seeker (CANDSEEK-DOM)
    510 Horizon Center
    SuiteB
    Robbinsville, NJ 08691

    Domain Name: CANDSEEK.COM

    Administrative Contact, Technical Contact, Zone Contact:
    Michels, Steve (SM13149) Postmaster@CANDSEEK.COM
    609-584-9000 ex 214 (FAX) 609-584-9575
    Billing Contact:
    Michels, Steve (SM13149) Postmaster@CANDSEEK.COM
    609-584-9000 ex 214 (FAX) 609-584-9575

    Record last updated on 20-Oct-98.
    Database last updated on 19-Feb-99 06:29:38 EST.
    Domain servers in listed order:
    NAMESERVER.IDCI.NET 205.136.21.1
    NAMESERVER2.IDCI.NET 205.136.21.4
    NAMESERVER3.IDCI.NET 209.27.160.1

    We got this information from the Whois Server a catalog of domain name ownership information. Similar services (with an interesting twist) are offered by Websitez which offers the additional ability to find all of the domains owned by an individual company. In a pinch, these services are great for getting in touch with someone inside a company. If you are trying to track down a candidate, and have their email address, the domain name ownership information may help you get closer.

    For instance, the note that really irritated us was sent by one of candseek.com's customers, a firm called

    Brooks Personnel
    2337 Lemoine Ave.
    Fort Lee, NJ, 07024
    ( 201 ) 585 - 7200
    Fax: ( 201 ) 585 - 9897
    As our curiosity was aroused, we wanted to see if the two firms were "neighbors". It's often the case that a map will tell you a great deal about the relationship between two companies (we don't know much about New Jersey cities). So we visited the Maps section of Yahoo and got driving instructions for a trip between the two companies.

    This simple exercise suggests that the two companies are unrelated. What we have here is a bonehead and a customer of a bonehead. We remain unsure who is the dumber of the two.

    Typically, email filtering is adequate to handle the product of lazy recruiters who want a technical quick fix. The point of this article is twofold, really. We hope the named participants get the idea that they need to be more sophisticated. We also wanted to demonstrate the raw potential of the net for finding, cross-referencing and using the kinds of information that make a real difference in Recruiting Online.

    The article is entitled "Tupey Head". One of our children's first phrases was "tupey head, tupey head, tupey head". The grandfather to whom the words were directed beamed with pride. After all, his grandson was talking directly to him. Things changed when it became clear that "Tupey Head" was infant shorthand for "Stupid Head". We assume that the Recruiters at Brooks Personnel were beaming with pride about their new tool until now.

    - John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

    How Harsh?


    (February 18, 1999) Yesterday, we took a focused look at the history of mistakes that have plagued CDI's public web efforts. Consistently late to the game, underfunded and willing to overhype virtually non-existent features, we bashed the latest edition of the CDI website. Knowing that the company is in a stock price valley, we're certain that the penny pinching extends into web operations.

    Imagine trying to get a friend who is fast asleep out of bed when his house is burning down. After a couple of gentle shakes, you'd start yelling....anything to wake a friend and alert him to the danger.

    The large, publicly traded staffing/recruiting companies have been our friends for years. The earliest participants in the Online Recruiting revolution were third party recruiters, working from their desks inside of these companies. Over the years we have frightened, prodded, shaken, yelled, pleaded, presented and pushed. The web really is changing the face of Recruiting and these companies need to care about the impact on their stockholders.

    Considering the fact that much smaller entities (the large executive Recruiting Firms and mid-range newspaper syndicates) are making investments in the tens (and occasionally hundreds) of millions of dollars, a shabby offering like CDI's amounts to ceding the market. We think that the stockholders should be up in arms at this point. Five years ago, it would have been a lack of vision. Today, it is fiddling while Rome burns.

    The current crop of Job Boards plunders the low-hanging-fruit that used to be the province of staffing/recruiting companies. This dynamic pushes overheads (and hours per placement) through the ceiling. If companies like CDI don't wake up now, they will lose the easy portion of their business (the source of most margin). While we are not rooting for these companies, we think it's sad to see them lose business while sleeping on the job.

    We're we too harsh yesterday? More likely, we weren't harsh enough.

    - John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

    How Long?


    (February 17, 1999) Do you know what a "pipeline pig" is? (Hint: Pipetronix makes them). How do we know? Simple. A Company named CDI makes pipeline pig location and tracking equipment. And how do we know that? After reading an announcement of the upgraded CDI website, we tried to remember where there site was. It's a question that we're sure stockholders ask. We wonder if anyone else cares.

    The CDI we were looking for, as you probably know, isn't "Today's home of tomorrow's generation of neurophysiological monitoring systems" (although that CDI owns the domain name www.cdi.com. It's only one of the firms with the initials CDI in their stock ticker. The CDI we wanted to find is the parent of Management Recruiters International; the one with the stock price that is 42% of its 52 week high. We're still not sure whether its the same company at http://www.cdichoice.com/

    That CDI, because it was too late to the web, has the dubious distinction of owning the domain name www.cdicorp.com/. With the release of their latest version of their website, CDI continues to demonstrate the art of bringing up the rear.

    According to the press release:

    The site provides candidates real-time access to contract technical and information technology job opportunities at CDI and also provides links to the job banks of Management Recruiters International (MRI), the world's largest management search and recruitment organization, and Todays Temporary, a leading provider of professional, administrative and clerical staffing services. MRI and Todays Temporary are both CDI subsidiaries.

    ``For a leading staffing and outsourcing provider like CDI, robust on-line recruiting capabilities are of strategic importance today. The new site will enable us to accelerate the process of attracting quality candidates to augment the workforce of our Fortune 1,000 customers,'' said CDI Chief Information Officer Terry Ramey.

    Other features include a career advice section, links to other job search and professional sites useful to IT, technical and engineering professionals, and a range of relocation tools, including a salary calculator and a relocation wizard.

    ``The redesigned site underscores that CDI is not just a provider of career opportunities, but also a resource for career development and growth for professionals,'' said CDI Corporate Communications Vice President Tim Fitzpatrick.

    Another new feature is an electronic newsletter, ``Team CDI,'' targeting CDI's 34,000 consultants, contract employees and associates. ``The electronic newsletter illustrates our commitment to providing our field employees all over the world with on-going professional and career information,'' Fitzpatrick said.

    (source: PR Newswire)

    According to Altavista, the site has 363 inbound links. Hot bot says the number of links is 130. With no links and only a modest improvement in design, we wonder how serious these folks really are. (You might remember that we totally trashed an earlier iteration of the graphical interface.) The new and improved version features two logos. One appears to be a man reading a map while the other looks like a jogger going into a locker room.

    From what we can gather, the newly designed site is housed on a webserver that makes ours look like a slick performance engine. (We know, we know, and we're working on it.).

    The Job Search server was unavailable. The resume submittal screen had a neat feature (it will come grab your web resume if you give it the URL) but it assumed that the various divisions of CDI were of interest to a job hunter. Somehow, we imagine that they all think that CDI is in Atlanta and does something with Diseases.

    You might think that a company with "$1.5B" in revenues could do better than pulling together a list of 25 links. But this is apparently what Mr. Fitzpatrick meant by "CDI is not just a provider of career opportunities, but also a resource...". As for career advice, the only thing we got from the site is

    "The Internet will continue to buzz as a communications medium. Corporations will increase investments in the Internet by 40-70 percent annually, to reach $25 billion by the year 2000 and will want professionals to design, develop, administer and maintain their web sites".
    We're thinking maybe they could hire a couple.

    It's hard. With nearly 60% of the company's capital in the crapper, we can imagine that things are tight at CDI headquarters. The penny pinching shows. But, without a viable website or a traffic building strategy, we wonder if the company isn't out to prove just how right they are when they say "For a leading staffing and outsourcing provider like CDI, robust on-line recruiting capabilities are of strategic importance today."

    The key questions: Who is going to visit this site; how do we get them here; and, are they going to understand us do not appear to have been addressed. A good round of usability testing would improve the site. But it would be futile if the company has no plans to build traffic.

    This article is titled "How Long?" The clock is ticking now. If CDI and its family of divisions continue to avoid investing in the web, the bell will be ringing soon.

    - John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

    Video Conferencing


    (February 16, 1999) We're taking the office into video land. To say that using video requires a learning curve is to grossly undersimplify the issues we've discovered. Today's video services, clunky at best, remind us of the state of the web two to three years ago. An important part of the service we deliver, however, is experimentation at the clunky edge of things.

    Over the coming months, we're planning to develop the broad use of video conferencing with clients. As the experiment progresses, look for samples and descriptions of the mistakes we've made in the process. For starters, we've begun a small video library. The first video clip (a little longer than 30 seconds) is an introduction. At 840K, the file takes about six minutes to download (using a 28.8 modem). It was made simply using a Sony Digital Camera with no editing.

    We're going to provide a series of clips that showcase the power and potential of this kind of video.

    We're also experimenting with videoconferencing. Using NetMeeting (free from Microsoft and usually installed as a part of Internet Explorer), we've begun to keep our lines open for video conversations. We're moving the IBN team into a video meeting environment.

    If you have NetMeeting set up and running, give us a call. we're usually at ils4.microsoft.com/jrsumser@interbiznet.com. Effective use of NetMeeting currently requires a video camera (we're fond of the Logitech Quick Cam Pro (about $150). It's worth noting that getting up to speed in today's web video world requires patience and a tolerance for mistakes.

    Stay tuned.

    - 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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