Our Rate Card

Please Click On Our Sponsors

Please Click On Our Sponsors

Recruiting News for the Human Resource Professional

Please Click On Our Sponsors

Please Click On Our Sponsors

Please Click On Our Sponsors

Please Click On Our Sponsors




Click On Our Sponsors

Click On Our Sponsors







Find out more
About IBN

Got a news tip?
Tell us at

Our Rate Card

     - Basic (PDF)
     - Strategy (PDF)

Recruiting Trends


Recruiting Eyeballs


(Over 60)

Company Job Listings
(Over 4000)

Email to IBN


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

All material on this
website is the
property of
(The Internet
Business Network:
You may download
a copy for personal
use. Redistribution
without permission
is strictly
All material on
this site is
© 1995-2003, interbiznet

Go Home

Click On Our Sponsors

Daily News. Archived Weekly. Click Here For The Current Issue.

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

Home | ERN | Bugler | The Blogs | Blogroll | Advertise | Archives | Careers
The Bubble
(October 08, 1999) We've seen a lot of head scratching about the "speculative bubble" in Internet Stocks. In our own tracking (see the right hand side of the newsletter), a $1,500 investment (made on August 01) in companies with strong Internet Recruiting interests is now worth about $2,050. A $650 investment in Traditional Staffing and Search is now worth about $550. The new view rose 33% over 60 days. The old view declined about 20%. Where would you put your money?

We think that there's a simple explanation for the difference. Of course, we could harp on the maladaptive strategies of the CDI style empires. But, that's just a symptom. The real energy driving the growth in Internet Related stocks (in our industry and others) is a generational leadership changed, financed by the market.

Here's how we see it.

Our generation (the baby boom) developed a British style career and leadership pattern. With no military training, the MBA programs took over the responsibility of producing the (usually) men who ran the major economic institutions (both corporate and government). Capable administrators, they managed the workforce as it absorbed a huge new workforce. Risk aversion, financial security and predictability were the essential elements of governing a large organization. A career involved having a series of experiences (jumping through the right hoops) until a plateau was achieved. The plateau meant sitting in queue until the slot of your aspirations opened through death or promotion of the incumbent. Leadership status (in the smallest increment) was rarely conferred until a prospect was about 30 years old.

It was a great solution for the baby boom.

Unfortunately, the world has changed and the baby boom leaders failed to navigate the change. Although we write often about the economic impact of generational labor shortages, the information was widely available as long as 15 years ago. Rather than prepare their companies and institutions for the future, these "leaders" (administrators, really) indulged in re-engineering, downsizing and other short term maneuvers that left their assets open to plunder at a later date. The short sightedness (similar to the complete absence of cash in the staffing industry) demonstrated these leaders' inability to move their operations into the next generation.

So what's happening?

The market is bestowing leadership capability and the resources with which to execute on the next generation. Rather than waiting, as we did in the baby boom, for the promotions, the next generation of leaders are being identified and funded today. This is the objective that the speculative bubble and venture capital inflows are designed to meet. The market is telling the old school leaders that they have failed. It is giving the next group the opportunity to redesign through policy, acquisition and leadership by example.

It's a refreshing change.

- John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.


(October 07, 1999)
  • CareerCentral found another $20M from investors. The firm represents a major move in the right direction. We just hope that they get their pricing model right before this batch of money runs out. That means (if it wasn't clear) that CareerCentral offers a very cost-effective (bargain basement pricing) alternative for Research tasks in a number of hot markets.
  • In a related story, Career Central has launched two new IT Recruitment sites. While quiet (compared to the public companies) the firm is building an impressive array of network alliances.
  • The Works (one of the better names in the business) is aggressively joining the job portal field. They've selected Excalibur as a key partner
  • From the "Who is a recruiter anyhow" department....MacMillan has opened what it calls a complete online community for IT professionals. The Informit website rubs the noses of Recruiters in the fact that "content" really makes a difference.
  • Three Sides To Every Story...Arbitron, the traditional media measurement company, has gone into the business of reassuring old school executives that the media should not be threatened by the web. Read their (not supposed to be) humorous analyses. Executives at silk slipper search firms (and other slow to the party management recruiting firms) will find solace in the silliness.
  • The Secretary is The Boss... OfficeTeam warns candidates of the unsurprising fact that the administrative assistant has a big voice in Recruitment decisions.
  • Counting Jobs...the Jobtrak Index tracks the hottest fields for college graduates and whether these fields are growing or slowing. In September, there was a 22% increase (from the prior year) in the number of jobs for college grads. Talk about a labor shortage in a time of growth.
  • The Stories We Could Tell....WebVan (the exciting web grocery company funded in part by Knight Ridder) had to postpone its IPO for violation of the quiet period. It's an important lesson to understand if an IPO is in your future.

- John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.


(October 06, 1999) Today, the question facing any recruiter is "how to attract" the "right candidates". The two pieces, attraction and qualification have vastly differing dimensions. The "right candidate" component is best thought of as a filtering process. It follows attraction. Issues of competence, cultural fit, chemistry, character and credentials (oooh, that looks like it could be a book called The Five "C"s) become meaningful only after the attraction is accomplished.

So what is attraction all about?

Our growing team (more about that soon) now includes an incredibly bright and accomplished clinical social worker who is investigating the relationship between brain chemistry and retention as one part of her job. She is clear about one thing. Motivation for staying in a job varies by person over a number of variables. Therefore, the motivation for leaving stretches across those same issues. They range from phases of emotional maturity to purely physical needs, from intellectual challenge to security. If you are trying to attract new employees, these motivational issues are central.

On another level, attraction might be best seen as the opposite of conventional marketing. In other words, the most important part of attraction is being the kind of company that your target candidates would like to work in. It's a good deal harder than purchasing a marketing/advertising campaign. It involves a kind of corporate introspection that is difficult to routinely muster. Figuring out how to organize a routine evaluation and improvement process will sound like a mind-numbing exercise in futility for a lot of our audience. Nonetheless, the central component of attraction involves internal housecleaning in advance of the Recruitment pitch. Saying "we want to be the kind of place that you want to work" is a start.

Attraction involves creating magnetism. The simple idea is acquiring the right reputation and momentum so that candidates will say "I want to work there". On the web, it translates into building a buzz about your website (or advertisements) that inspire, motivate and compel potential candidates to offer you the opportunity to qualify and "close" them. At this level, the candidate's involvement is completely voluntary. It is most clearly driven by your ability to create a reason for taking the process forward.

Components of developing a good attraction process include strong copy editing for job advertisements (never call them postings), a clear sense of the kinds of people you want and a realistic understanding of their needs and desires (from the most obvious to the most impolite). It is unusual to find a company that has clearly considered these questions in advance.

In the beginning of our historical labor shortage (it really is going to last generations), the tables have turned. Placing the candidate first in the equation is more than a modest change. It involves the inverse of the set of skills that made for great recruiting just yesterday.

- John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

Talent Auctions

(October 05, 1999) We must be a dozen conversations into the question. "Why", our clients ask, "aren't the Talent Auctions prospering. You keep saying that they will be an important part of the equation. But, all we see is fluff. No one is really doing all of their hiring through the auction process."

"In fact", they say, "the more we think about it, the less professional an auction seems. Are people really going to to use such a risky process to solve critical staffing problems?" The answer is a multileveled perspective.

First of all, like Electronic Recruiting on Job Boards, Talent Auctions will never be a complete replacement for anything. But, much like the impact factories had on blacksmithing, the new tool will have far reaching importance. Ultimately, there will be an ecology of Recruiting and Staffing tools used for a variety of purposes Job Boards and Auctions, which are more similar than dissimilar, are just the hammer and wrench of an evolving kit.

Second, the evolution of the Auction form is nothing short of astonishing. In the 90 days (93 actually) since the formal announcement of Monster's Flagship Auction, over 60 additional competitors have joined the fray. It took the job board business nearly a year to reach that size. (You could say that Auctions are growing 4 times as fast as Job Boards did, but that would be a tiny bit misleading.) Whatever the growth factor, job boards are clearly taking off at a faster pace than their progenitors.

Third, the startup process for a new approach is always a bit rough. We recall the folks who were certain that job boards weren't long for the world. A blip on the radar, they said. These days we count many of them as clients and many more as regular readers. Knowing that our crystal ball is often a bit hazy (maybe it's the San Francisco Fog), we understand that good management means viewing new techniques with appropriate suspicion. It's often quite prudent to let someone else be the first to incorporate a new approach.

We can't overstate, however, the opportunity that exists for early adopters. Typically, candidates adopt new job hunting techniques (particularly passive techniques) faster than employers and third party firms. That means that in the early days of a new way of doing things, there is always an imbalance. When Job Boards began doing business, there were many more candidates than openings as is the case in today's talent auction market. Early adopters (who were willing to endure the vagaries) reaped huge rewards. We know more than a few Recruiters who radicalized their companies (or made their fortunes and retired) in 1995 and 1996. They were happy, frankly, to see the rest of the world wait for the approach to prove itself.

Fourth, like most tools, auctions are better at some things than others. Any circumstance that involves competitive bidding already is an auction of sorts. The competitive bidding for labor at contract renegotiation is a sort of tip of the iceberg. In many places were easy to articulate services are involved, auctions make sense. They quickly and effectively establish supply and price points. In spot labor shortages, auctions will be invaluable.

In the short term, the utility of auctions as a way of acquiring help will be inversely proportional to the importance of the function. The less important, the more likely that direct effective establishment of the market price point is critical. Once there are inroads at this level, then auctions will be useful in direct proportion to the labor shortage.

Like most physical auction houses, screening and credentialling of the merchandise is a critical (and still missing) factor. Until the Talent Auctions make a move in this direction (and the liability questions are staggering), progress will continue to be a slow going thing. We remain convinced that, over a five year horizon, Auctions will become critical. By two years into the trendline, the buzz will be strong. By year two, all of the Temp firms and contract agencies will be in the game. By year five, most HR Departments will have operating auctions and auctioneers.

Few CEOs will ever be hired this way.

- John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

Death Of The Resume (from the vaults)

(October 04, 1999) We've been asking people some simple questions recently.
  • Have You Recently Prepared A Resume?
  • How Long Did It Take?
  • Was There Any Pleasure Involved?
  • When Do You Plan To Do It Again?
In general, anyone who has recently created a resume felt like they were forced to do so as a part of the job hunt. It took from one day to two weeks to accomplish. No one liked doing it. Almost everyone would rather not do it again.


Resumes are a baby boom era invention. They require a massive effort and a change in focus. The only people who enjoy creating them seem to found small businesses devoted to the subject. They obscure more than they disclose. They seem to require a kind of behavior that resembles outright lying.

Have you ever seen a resume that said..."In my last assignment, I screwed up the following things...Here's what I learned?" It very rarely happens. It's more likely that a resume will describe the accomplishment of an entire team instead of the accomplishments of an individual.

Resumes make their creators feel inadequate. The conventional wisdom says (roughly) "Get it all on one page; Tailor it to each opportunity; Emphasize Managerial Behavior; Show that you took responsibility; Provide evidence of problem solving skills." Most people, however, don't spend their time analyzing their track records in terms of how it will look on their Resume. People who do make lousy employees for the most part.

We're tempted to think that the Resume was designed as a tool to create entry barriers on a market that featured an overabundance of workers and a scarcity of jobs. Because it forces people to characterize themselves in ways that are unnatural, almost no one feels really good about their Resume. No one wants to do it again.

In a labor market characterized by the need for speed, the Resume is an obvious target for reengineering. Given the flawed information that a standard resume contains and the pain it generates, we're expecting to see relatively rapid changes as the software required to manage non-resume profiles gets better.

In the 100 days since we published this piece on the Death of Resumes, we've had the privilege of being exposed to at least a dozen systems that aim to solve the problem. Unfortunately, they are all worse than a resume. Instead of clearly addressing the problem (Resumes create friction in the hiring process and candidates hate them), they impose newer more uncertain structures.

In the parlance, they are all "lexicon" driven. A lexicon is an intellectual structure (like an outline) that lists related skills and job titles. A complex undertaking with no certainty in the results, lexicon development creates an arcane system that job hunters have to try to fit themselves into.

More promising, we think, are the three or four systems we've seen that emphasize validated cultural fit modeling. It is possible, to a high degree of accuracy, to predict the likelihood that a candidate will fit in a particular culture. The systems, which often operate like a Rorschach test (picking through images), are very useful in a shortage environment. If you can't get the skill set you need, the next best thing is someone who will fit in.

The cultural fit model has the side benefit of allowing job boards to develop full scale HR consulting solutions. They'll need to keep that growth vector open.

- John Sumser, © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

Contacting Us
Call, fax, write, email. We'd love to talk about your project.

All material on this site is © 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 by IBN: interbiznet.com
(The Internet Business Network), PO Box 2474, Mill Valley, CA 94941
Send comments to colleen@interbiznet.com

interbiznet this week
(thru October 10, 1999)
1st Steps In The Job Hunt
     - Excuses
     - Success & Failure
     - From The Pros
     - Screen Game
     - Shortage


  • interbiznet Listings
         - Associations
         - ATS Companies
         - Public Companies
  • interbiznet Trends (New)
         - Bugler
           Daily Industry News

         - ERNIE
           ERN in Email

         ANNUAL REPORTS:      

  • Electronic Recruiting
         Index (ERI)
         - 2002 ERI
         - 2001 ERI
         - 2000 ERI
         - 1999 ERI
         - 1997 ERI
         - 1996 ERI
         - Report Pricing


  • Integrated Employment
          Branding Presentation
  • 2003 Trends Whitepaper
  • interbiznet Listings
  • interbiznet Trends
  • interbiznet Bookclub
  • Top 100 E-Recruiters
  • Presentations
         - Recruiting Then/Now
  • Recruiter's Toolkit
  • Seminar In A Box
  • ERN Archives
  • 1st Steps In The Hunt


  • Our Rate Card
  • Demographics

    Last Week's ERN

    October 03, 1999
  • Recruiter's Dream
  • 1-Jobs.com
  • Recruit USA
  • Free Tracking
  • Wet Feet

    ERN Archives

    Past Issues
    Recruiting Seminars
    About interbiznet
    interbiznet publications
    Coming Soon: Tour This Site

    Stocks We Watch
    Public Companies in
    Electronic Recruiting

    Central Newspapers
    Dow Jones
    General Electric

    Knight Ridder
    New York Times
    Restrac (Web Hire)
    Student Advantage
    Top Jobs On The Net
    US Search Co
    Washington Post

    Pending IPOs

    - None

    Public Staffing Cos

    AHL Services
    Alternative Resources
    American Consolidated
    Analysts Int'l
    Career Horizons
    Computer Horizons
    Computer Task Grp
    Consolidated Tech Grp
    Data Processing Resources
    Employee Solutions
    General Employment
    GTS Duratek
    Hall Kinion
    IT Staffing
    Kelly Services
    National Technical
    National TechTeam
    On Assignment
    Outsource Int'l
    Right Management
    Robert Half
    SOS Staffing
    Staff Builders
    Western Staff
    Winston Resources
    Work Int'l