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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


The Electronic Recruiting News is a Free Daily Newsletter For Recruiters, HR Managers, Advertising Agencies and Clasified Advertising Operations

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(July 16, 1999) We've always maintained that newspaper companies have an inherent advantage in Online Recruiting. With deep experience in the development of content, armies of editors and writers, an understanding of the news and a comfort level with niche focus, they have loomed as strong potential competitors. The promise remains largely unfilled but there is a major bright spot on the horizon.

We rounded out our tour of New Jersey with a visit to Tony Lee and his crew at careers.wsj.com. Tony may well be the most seasoned living member of the universe we inhabit. Since just before the dawn of time, he has been editing various career components of the Dow Jones empire. Tony knows everyone in the business.

It's no accident that the Online Recruiting components of the Dow Jones empire are the benchmarks for the rest of the newspaper world (and perhaps the rest of Online Recruiting).

Take a good close look at dowjones.wsj.com. The site delivers tailored new to white collar professionals in any of 29 industries. New users have the opportunity to tailor the website to their liking as a part of getting to know the site. The goal of dowjones.wsj.com is to provide a rich source of regularly read information for the professionals who read it regularly. The site opened its doors to one million visitors in its first month.

Covering everything from deals to deep market research, the site seems nearly infinite in the scope of its content.

The best part is that each of the 29 industry sections contains well position links into careers.wsj.com. Each search is industry specific and features results powered by CareerCast.

According to Tony, the site produces a stream of potential candidates who aren't looking. After all, it's very specifically not a job board. Using specific professional content is a very major step in the right direction.

Using content to organize the front end of the Recruiting process is in our future. All websites will learn to create and manipulate professional (not career) material or be relegated to dataprocessing. It's the place where newspapers have the opportunity to shine.

- John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

Value First

(July 15, 1999) The labor shortage is broadly misunderstood as a consequence of economic good times. It just might be the case that the economic boom is a reflection of the declining availability of workers. With 1.04 jobs for every worker in the current market, the pinch is only felt at the fringes. Specialty technical areas, sales-marketing, nursing, education, retail and services are the most broadly challenged sectors. As economic growth continues, however, the numbers become more challenging.

The ratio of Jobs to workers will hit 1.10 (10% more jobs than workers) sometime in 2002. It will happen even if the bottom falls out of the economy.

In that environment, guaranteed time off, extraordinary compensation, ownership and radical workplace flexibility will be the key retention issues. On the Recruiting front, getting any sort of response will be the critical concern.

Between now and then (30 months), companies are going to get really good at keeping their people. Velvet handcuffs (extreme perks and benefits) will be the norm. We won't be surprised to discover that the real value of operations like Monster's Talent Auction is the data about compensation. It's increasingly easy to imagine compensation packages pegged to current market rates.

Just In Time Recruiting (JITR) has been portrayed as "communicating with potential employees well in advance of the employment transaction". While that's certainly a part of the equation, the more important pieces are long term planning and management of the candidate pool.

The current abundance of jobs has resulted in a net increase of 25% in the hours required to place a candidate. The only reason that the staffing industry hasn't shut down from this change is that they've been able to raise their rates. The question is: "What happens when time per placement doubles, as it will over the next three or four years?"

To build a reliable labor supply, the first requirement is that you understand the pool of potential candidates from their perspective. To build a relationship with them, you are going to have to deliver a lot of value well in advance of making the actual Recruiting pitch. They have to see it as value.

The time to begin an aggressive campaign is now.

- John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

It's Regional

(July 14, 1999) Red-eyed from the late night airplane ride, we got lost in Northern New Jersey today. The houses and towns looked very different from our Northern California digs. The people talked with funny accents. The more lost we got, the more the differences became apparent. When asking for directions, we couldn't understand the answer. The ethnic mix, which is similar to ours in California, inhabits citified structures. The buildings are, on the whole, older and less well maintained. The weather has something to do with that.

Along the highways, we kept encountering small temporary and staffing companies with big signs. In California, this way of doing business is reserved for the slums. In New Jersey, it's integrated into the fabric of things. Some of the difference comes from the core industries. You can't find a smokestack in California. You can't miss them in Newark.

The culture is different, the industry different, the money is different, the language is different, the amount of religion is different, the cars are different, the houses are different. It's been hundreds of miles since the last Starbucks.

It's hard to believe that the two places are considered part of the same market for anything but toothpaste, peanut butter and sneakers. Surprisingly, the same is true in Toronto, New York City, Boston, Salt Lake City, Seattle, San Diego, Dallas, Atlanta and Oklahoma City. Each of the top 250 American Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) differ on the basis of culture, weather, ethnic mix, religion, industry and so on.

Yet, the web continues to emphasize National Recruiting markets.

The forces that drive regionalization are at least as strong as those that drive globalization. Getting work depends on this person knowing that one. The web is going to have to catch up with reality.

- John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

RSLLC (From The Archives)

(July 13, 1999) We've harped, ad nauseum, about the changing roles of recruiters and how old definitions no longer fit. Nowhere else in the corporation are relations with a group of vendors subject to this intense strain. The tension between third party firms and internal Recruiters is a shadow of a past when candidates were abundant and jobs scarce. And, it's changing faster than we realized.

In order to run a functioning software development process, many Electronic Recruiting Vendors have frozen their "customer definition". It's a usefully human way of approaching a problem like designing for the web. If the world of the customer is a fixed thing, then an accommodating product is straightforward.

But, entire staffing functions are being outsourced each day. Companies are building internal temporary agencies. Contract Recruiting is blossoming. Ad agencies are purchasing search firms. And so on. The frozen customer isn't really and a part of the industry's slowness to change is the fault of the job boards. They've missed some of the market evolution while they were building their solutions.

It's an old story...great generals who continue fighting the last, great war; companies who develop an innovation without continuously watching the market.

We are extremely impressed with the offerings of a rapidly growing Colorado company, RSLLC (Recruiting Solutions, LLC). RSLLC has a trio of integrated offerings that appear to avoid the temptation to design old school ideas into the product. The market seems to agree. The company has grown faster during its first year than any company we've tracked since the inception of our industry.

There are three tools in the RSLLC arsenal.

  • A Recruiting Center (for Internal Administrative Processes)
  • A Vendor Management Tool (designed to handle the complexities of real world management of staffing vendors)
  • A Job Board (for public display of jobs and on-the-web resume collection)
The pieces can stand alone or be integrated as a suite. It's the first sophisticated tool designed by really web savvy recruiters for web Recruiting and marks the beginning of the second generation of the industry's offerings. Designed, by price and architecture, for the small to medium sized firm, the offerings set a standard for simplicity and ease of use. With the addition of a media planning (distribution) capability, RSLLC will be delivering a full set of the features required to keep recruiters focused on recruiting (and not administration) in a webbed world.

We're pretty sure that RSLLC has hit a home run. While much of the industry is shoe-horned into old stereotypes, RSLLC's suite of tools segments the process cleanly. In doing so, they point the way to future developments.

Nice job!

- John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

1999 Top 100

(July 12, 1999) It's been a busy year. With new products like our Recruiting Seminar in a Box, a busy Consulting Schedule, our move out of classroom seminars, and the normal consequences of growth, a couple of things have fallen through the cracks. As you know, we usually publish our annual Electronic Recruiting Index in the late fall. (We're hard at work on the 2000 Edition.) A part of that annual project is the publication of our Top 100 Electronic Recruiters listing. To date, the 1999 version of our list has only been available as a part of the Executive Summary for the 1999 Electronic Recruiting Index. For all the world would know, the 1997 Top 100 Electronic Recruiters Website is our most current listing.

That's about to change.

Today, we invite you in for a sneak preview of the 1999 Top 100 Electronic Recruiters Website.

Like the 1997 Edition (which will remain available as a window into the industry's history), a look at the website will tell you a lot about the changes in the Electronic Recruiting Industry since we developed the listing in late December.

Way back then, there was still an operation called "The Online Career Center" which was later subsumed into the MonsterBoard (which is now called Monster.com). There had been no television advertising, IPOs, Talent auctions, acquisitions, deep financing or redesign fumbles. Way back then, Junglee was a bright shining star and CareerCast was a little known upstart. The ComputerJobsStore had a clear lead in regionalization and no one had ever heard of InfoworksUSA. DICE was an independent operation and Net Temps was busily overtaking them. The Worklife partnership with AltaVista was in full bloom and looking very promising. Regional websites were beginning to assert their potency.

In hindsight, it was an extraordinary time, sort of late in the pregnancy but before the real birth of our industry.

Even though the project is (a bit) late, we decided to publish it in advance of the 2000 edition. Today, we invite you to visit for a "sneak preview". The bulk of the work is complete, a few loose ends remain to be tied down. We're guessing the the 1999 Top 100 Electronic Recruiters website will have the same kind of traffic as its predecessors (lots). As in the past, we'll freeze its configuration once we're satisfied with it. That tends to showcase the changes in the business and various websites.

Our Top 100 sites tend to be heavily used by Recruiters who are just learning their way around and job hunters who are getting their first orientation. For those of us who are immersed in the comings and goings of the industry, it provides a window into the very recent past. It seems like a long time ago; it's really only a matter of months.

To date, the site has one sponsor (CareerSite) to whom we are eternally grateful. Their commitment extends well into the introduction of our 2000 Top 100 listing which will emerge in the late fall. By agreeing to sponsor our work they have allowed us to help more new Recruiters up the learning curve while gaining broad visibility for their re-emergence as a key industry player.

Going from completed website to heavily trafficked resource involves a great deal of PR and marketing. We anticipate that you will hear more about the 1999 Top 100 Electronic Recruiters website as we build its traffic over the next months.

Stay tuned.

- John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

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