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The Top 100 Recruiters as Defined by our research for the 1999 Electronic Recruiting Index


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    Success and Failure

    January 08, 1999

    Your life is not charmed.

    While Murphy's Law was not designed with you specifically in mind, some days it sure seems like it. Temporary setbacks are just that - temporary. Employees realize all too well that their Employees (or Employees to be) are subject to human frailties.

    All Jobs involve trial and error. No one enjoys failure. Well, almost no one. I've had a few co-workers that took a perverse pleasure in screwing things up at work. What Employers are dying for are Employees that care about 'getting it right', even if the first attempts fail. In effect, successive failures lead to success.

    A few good habits will lead you in that direction:

    • Be flexible in both your Jobhunt and your new Job. Do more than the minimum requirements and don't leap at the chance to say 'That's no my Job!' Be open-minded about where your talents may be applied. Interpersonal & communications skills are needed by almost every Employer in some facet of their business.
    • Maintain a positive attitude. How many bitter Job applicants will impress a prospective Employer enough through sheer ability to get the Job? Not many. Employers would rather train someone with the right attitude than tolerate a bad one.
    • Ignore the BS that Career Counselors will shove down your throat, such as 'These are challenges, not problems.' If you're out of work, it's more than likely a problem, and will soon be a serious one. Problem-solving in the #1 ability Employers want their Employees to have. You'll be hired when you convince your prospective Employer that you can help solve their problems.
    • Don't sit on your laurels. I don't care what kind of fancy degree you have in your hand, you're going to get laid off some day. It may be because your CEO spent too much time at the track, decided to bail out with overpriced stock options, miscalculated the target market, or whatever. Things change, and what's not staying the same is Job security. Learn new skills, update your current ones, and look out for the complacency that leads some to show up for work 'just to get their paycheck'.
    • Finally, develop your personal & social relationships. Work on your hobbies, community projects, and renew friendships that lapsed because of other obligations. Work can become all consuming. This may be the perfect time to establish more balanced priorities in your life.


    -Mark Poppen


    January 06, 1999

    I have a deep suspicion when it comes to the Department of Labor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Years ago I followed their advice and upgraded my skills with a Paralegal Degree, based on their predictions of an upcoming shortage of Legal Assistants. After I graduated I started meeting unemployed Paralegals everywhere I went. They were working at grocery stores, gas stations, retail shops, and at fast food joints.

    They seemed to be working everywhere except at Law firms as Paralegals. And it wasn't entirely by choice, as their current occupations were not particularly rewarding. Simply put, I wasn't the only one who had read about the upcoming shortage in Legal Assistants. Paralegal schools were spitting out diploma grasping graduates at a frenetic pace, and Law firms couldn't cope with the surplus.

    Government Statistics and predictions can be very useful, but take them with a grain of salt. They tend to miss a lot of activity in the underground economy and lag reality by a year or two. Many Economists suggest that the real Unemployment rate is roughly twice that posted by the Department of Labor, due to people who are neither counted, or discounted as 'frustrated workers who have given up on their Jobsearch'.

    Despite these disclaimers, the Department of Labor is still one of the primary sources of information about the future of work in this country. Labor Secretary Robert Reich recently summed up some of the changes he sees in the workforce in the new millennium.

    "First, the real competition is over talent. Second, if you want to attract and keep talent, you have to pay for it. And third, if you want talent to work for your organization with the enthusiasm that comes with ownership, then you have to trade equity for it.

    "Talented people want to be part of something that they can believe in, something that confers meaning on their work and on their lives - something that involves a mission. In a knowledge-based economy, the new coin of the realm is learning. Want to build a business that can outlive its first good idea? Create a culture that values learning. Want to build a career that allows you to grow into new responsibilities? Maintain your hunger to learn - and join an organization where you'll be given the chance to learn continuously.

    "It's a proposition that fast companies have already figured out: Talented people join up in order to learn. Learn more now, earn more in the future. But again, money is only part of the story. Talented people also want intellectual challenge: They like being explorers on the frontiers of the knowledge economy. And as apprentices have known for centuries, it's easiest to learn on the job - by working directly with people who can teach you and who are committed to the same goals you are.

    "Very simply, if work isn't fun, it won't attract the best talent. The lesson is so obvious that it's easily forgotten: Friendship and camaraderie are basic adhesives of the human spirit."

    Workers with sought after skills are more like free agents than supplicants begging for their next paycheck. If you haven't developed some of these skills, get them. If you have the opportunity at work to learn them, do it. If you already have some of them, then use your time during Job Interviews to question your prospective Employer: Do they understand quality of life issues that are important to you? Do they help you upgrade your skills or retrain you at your request?

    The best Job for you may be the third offer you get after an additional month on searching. If possible, use all the financial resources available to you to get competitive bids for your services. If you don't, you may end up in an unsatisfactory relationship that does little good for either you or your Employer.


    -Mark Poppen

    New Year's Resolutions

    January 04, 1999

    Welcome to a new year of Jobhunting!

    My experiences with Jobhunting using the Internet have been fun, but frustrating. It seems that general searches for Jobs often lead to hours of floundering around without retrieving any useful, hard data. I've had the most luck by finding a few 'hubs', Jobhunting sites that serve as a base from which to make limited forays onto the Net.

    Most of the people I talk to have bookmarked a group of these sites as starting points for their searches, and I have mentioned them several times before (for example: Riley's, Career Mosaic, Job-hunt, Yahoo!, Career Resource Center, What Color is Your Parachute, etc). As I find useful sites worth adding to your list, I will review them and let you know their strengths and weaknesses.

    Following the tradition of making New Year's Resolutions, here are a few for 1st Steps in the Hunt in 1999:

    • Lead Jobhunters to useful sites on and off the Net that serve as a hub for Jobhunting information and Jobs.
    • Provide a forum for Jobhunters to share their Jobhunting stories, whether they are successes or horror stories.
    • Provide a niche for Career Counselors and Human Resource Managers to advise Jobhunters about what works (and doesn't) in getting an Employer to make you an offer you can't refuse.
    • Share detailed examples of my personal Jobsearch, from identification of skills & goals, to posting my Resume, and on through Interviewing and Salary negotiation.
    • And last but not least, to give Jobhunters a sense of perspective about Jobhunting, reminding them that they are more than their Job, or their Jobhunt.

    I welcome your input to this site, and hope to create an environment where Jobhunters and career changers can share their experiences and knowledge about the search for meaningful work. One's vocation should be a calling to service in work that you love, and I hope to play at least a small part in assisting people to achieve their calling. And your experiences may help others as well - please email comments to me at


    -Mark Poppen


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