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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


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Success Stories
(June 10, 1999) On a plane from Phoenix to Boston, we had the good fortune to share a cramped exit row with two people who were flying to job interviews. Although they didn't know each other and they were after different things (one sales and one technical), there was a great deal of similarity in their stories.

Under 25, they both learned to look for work using the web as a part of their college education. They had never looked for a job any other way. They had both found their first engagements online and expected to continue finding work this way until they were "middle managers". They wanted to relocate to bigger cities (better money). Neither of them wanted or understood stock options.

With our noses so close to the industry, it's hard to remember that just five short years ago, the idea of looking for a job online was constrained to a geeky subset who used DICE, Monster, Career Mosaic or the newsgroups. These days, Margaret Riley's famous FAQ is a part of the rites of passage from college to the work world. The change has been astonishing and rapid.

What was most interesting about their stories was that they had both found the jobs they were pursuing on local Job Boards. The companies they were going to visit had been clever enough to understand that their target candidates lived in certain geographies and would be likely to look for work in the local markets. Both companies, located in Boston, were small firms with no national reputations. "It was something about the way the job was described."

We've come a long way in a short time. Although our articles are often critical of the current Online Recruiting model, it's worth remembering that the Industry's progress is nothing short of amazing. These two young job hunters represent a generation (many of whom are already in the market) who have always assumed that the online world was the way to find opportunity.

- John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

Top Ten Reasons To Look For Work Online

(June 09, 1999)
10. It's fun to send out resumes, I can do 75 per hour.
09. Reading database results is more fun than mowing the lawn.
08. No messy people to meet.
07. Satisfies the unemployment office's requirement for looking for work.
06. I want a dead end job.
05. I love to read about the beautiful facilities in Tulsa.
04. It's a good cover for the porn sites I'm really surfing.
03. I'm tired of being a 90 pound weakling.
02. They don't give me nuthin to do so I get to surf the job boards.
01. Two words: Stock Options

- John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

The Essence

(June 08, 1999) The overarching feature of next generation Recruiting technology will be the development of trust and loyalty. Although relationships may begin in the highly technical (and extremely primitive) fashion that current online Recruiting operations promote, the future involves their management and expansion. Rooted in a continuous feed of free core services, the goal of 21st Century Recruiting will be vastly different from "matching" and "profiling". Stated differently, the goal is to expand the quality of relationships.

Current models are rooted in baby-boom Recruiting mindsets. In the days of abundant labor supply, Recruiters learned to have thick skins. Most applicants (and potential applicants) left the Recruiting relationship disappointed. With a surplus of workers, Recruiters could afford to turn a deaf ear to the needs of people who didn't make the cut for this or that particular placement. It's no wonder that the legacy of this (appropriate for the time) method is distrust.

This is the fatal flaw with systems that emphasize quantity and the statistical aspects of direct marketing. By allowing a candidate to leave the relationship disappointed, these services make themselves vulnerable to a level of negative press that is uncontrollable. Look at VaultReports. Then ask yourself how long it will be before a candidate system that evaluates Job Boards and Online Recruiting services comes into being.

On the web, every relationship has the potential to derail the business. Where abundant workers had little opportunity to cry "Foul", the tables have turned. Candidates, whether they know it yet or not, now have the upper hand. ask yourself how well your online Recruiting service would fare if there was a forum for reviews from disappointed job hunters. The old school managers will sue at first (they hate the fact that bad news is so uncontrollable). Ultimately, an ethic will emerge that values each and every customer transaction as the core of the business.

It won't happen overnight. But the word is already out. We had the chance to talk with recent graduates of an Ivy League business school recently. They spoke at length of the frustrating return on investment they discovered as they worked their way through profiling systems that returned no value. In a shortage economy, you can't afford that kind of press.

|n 1970, Alvin Toffler (our hero) coined an interesting Term: prosumer. A prosumer is someone who is simultaneously a producer (employee) and a customer. These roles, clear and distinct in the industrial era, are merging. To attract and build relationships with prosumers, you need to understand them and give them what they want. It's not likely to be hackneyed career management reprints. It's much more likely to be information that helps them live fuller and more effective lives as they define it.

- John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

Where's The Beef?

(June 07, 1999) The Monster Board is setting an extraordinary standard for advertising placement. The cute and effective television spot ("I want to be forced into early retirement") is designed to pry the most easily motivated set of passive candidate/couch potatoes out of their sofas and online to submit a resume. The operation is nearly single-handedly pulling our industry into real online Recruiting.

We've said it many times before. Someone who submits a resume online is an active job seeker. The extremely silly claim that job boards reach "passive job seekers" isn't really worth deconstructing. Submitting a resume online (or enduring a tortured intake process) is, by definition, the behavior of an active candidate.

Monster's commercial targets people who aren't active and tries to make them active. It's one step in the right direction. In the game of broadening the market, Monster leads the pack.

Here's the problem. Any corporate recruiter, faced with pressure and an empty chair, will ultimately turn to a third party firm for help. In spite of all the hoopla, search firms and temp agencies can still produce solid candidates on demand. The online services simply don't meet the accepted performance standards. Excluding price differences for a moment, the difference between the performance of Recruiting Firms and online services is huge. Online services focus on filling databases and administration. Recruiting firms focus on delivering qualified candidates.

While Monster's achievements are revolutionary for a job board, they are nibbles at a larger target. Why is it that a Recruiting firm can produce a fit so quickly while online services struggle to deliver those same results?

Part of the reason is perspective. Job Board organizations see statistics. Recruiters see people. Job Boards see database matches. Recruiters see "fit". Job Boards see $150. Recruiters see 25%. job Boards see "eyeballs". Recruiters talk to people who aren't looking. The Job Board Network is a room full of computers. The Recruiter's Network is a Rolodex of phone numbers. Recruiters invest heavily in relationships with people. Job Boards invest heavily in relational databases.

See the difference?

The Web Revolution will take a decade or so. We're just finishing the first phase. As we move forward, the essence of Recruiting will start to really find its way online. Soon, we'll see small professional communities, financed by online Recruiting entities that deliver real, consistent value to their members (not career counseling). Price points will rise as the level of intimacy rises.

For the time being, online endeavors are underperforming when measured against their traditional competition. The Monster advertising campaign is an incremental move in the right direction.

- John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

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