THE TECHNACIOUS RECRUITER NEWSLETTER

November 15, 2005   view past issues

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Feature: The Smart Consumer’s Dilemma

Employment Web-sites have been the greatest advance in the field of recruiting since the creation of the resume. That may sound like hyperbole, but it’s not. In the fifteen years since their first appearance on the World Wide Web, job boards and career portals have connected more organizations to more talent more efficiently than any other single medium in existence. Both employers and recruiters now consider these sites a critical component of their sourcing and recruiting strategy. They are not a replacement for traditional methods, of course, but they are an essential addition to them. As a consequence, the employment Web-site industry is now recognized as one of the most vibrant segments of the e-commerce marketplace.

And there’s the rub. The success of job boards and career portals has attracted a crowd. With virtually no barrier to entry, more than 40,000 sites have opened their doors online, and additional sites launch all of the time. Today, employment Web-sites are operated by:

  • stand-alone companies,
  • newspapers and magazines,
  • professional associations and societies,
  • college and university placement centers and alumni organizations,
  • radio stations, and
  • affinity groups.
  • This diversity of choice is both a benefit and a dilemma. It’s a benefit because robust choice enables you to focus your sourcing and branding strategies on those sites that are most likely to reach the specific talent cohort you want to recruit. It’s a dilemma because there is no easy way to know which sites offer the best combination of capabilities and which deliver best on the capabilities they say they have. In effect, you can’t capture the benefits if you can’t resolve the dilemma.

    Think of it this way: the benefits of choice represent potential; they are what sites say they can do. To win the War for the Best Talent, however, we need to know reality-what they actually do. We have to identify the sites that produce what they proclaim. Said another way, the key to using online employment Web-sites effectively is to be a smart consumer.

    How do you become a smart consumer of employment sites? By educating yourself in two dimensions:

    Design. First, it’s important to acquire the information that will enable you to determine the which, what, where, who, and how of alternative job boards and career portals. Which sites should be considered for a specific requirement, what are their services, where are the services delivered geographically, who do they reach, and how do they reach them. The answers to these questions might include the following data elements:

  • The site’s traffic, expressed in unique visitors/month:
  • The demographics of the site’s visitors (e.g., what are their skills and skill levels);
  • The site’s capabilities, including whether it offers a job database, a resume database, and the kinds of features that attract passive prospects (e.g., a job agent and confidentiality protection in the resume database); and
  • The site’s content, including the range, quality and uniqueness of the information that is provided for those who are looking for a job (i.e., active job seekers) and those who aren’t (i.e., the passive prospects we’d really like to recruit).
  • Operation. Next, it’s important to acquire the information that will enable you to gauge each site’s ability to deliver the design features it says it has. In other words, what is a site’s actual performance and what are the standards by which it operates as a business? These factors determine the reality of a site’s capabilities and thus the likelihood that it will actually help you. They are the answers to such questions as:

  • Does the site provide accurate data about its performance (e.g., the traffic it attracts and the number of resumes in its database);
  • Does the site deliver the capabilities it claims to have according to the standards expected of a reputable e-commerce operation (e.g., if a site says that it collects the resumes in its resume database directly from candidates-not by using programs that copy resumes posted elsewhere-that is what it actually does;
  • and

  • Does the site fully disclose what will happen to individual information that is provided to the site (e.g., if the site sells the contact information it acquires through on-site registration, it informs individuals that it does so up front).
  • Historically, employers and recruiters have been able to acquire research data (from published guides) to determine what sites are designed to do. To assess the operation of those sites, however, they have had to rely on experience-their own and that of their colleagues. While that perspective remains helpful, there is now an additional way to gauge a site’s performance. I recently launched a trade organization for job boards and career portals and the companies that serve and support them. Called the International Association of Employment Web Sites (IAEWS), its mission is to help these sites better articulate their value proposition to you and to help you make the best use of their resources.

    Every site that joins the Association commits to upholding the highest standards of integrity whenever:

  • reporting performance data to the public;
  • representing its capabilities to prospective users of those services; and/or
  • setting its policies for the disposition of information acquired from visitors to its site.
  • The presence (or absence) of the Association’s logo is now one more way that you can evaluate and differentiate employment Web-sites. It’s clearly not yet the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval,” but that’s what we intend it to become.

    The IAEWS was launched on November 1, 2005, so it is still very early in its development. Already, however, some of the best known employment sites in the industry have signed on, and more are doing so every day. Eventually, I hope it will be both a “Who’s Who” of the online employment industry and a reference point you can count on for resolving the smart consumer’s dilemma.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    P.S. Please tell your friends and colleagues about WEDDLE’s newsletter. They’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness and benefit from your recommendation.


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    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    Associated Builders and Contractors launched a new Web-site designed to connect transitioning U.S. veterans with construction contractors seeking skilled new hires. Called VeteransBuildAmerica.org, the site offers both a job board and a resume database. Members of the association can post jobs for free, while non-members pay “a small fee.”

    Mercer released the results of its survey of compensation among HR practitioners and managers in 2005. If the findings are correct, they describe a disappointing development among the leaders of the HR profession. If you’ve been reading my newsletter and columns for any length of time, you know that I often rail about CEOs who take care of themselves first. These pseudo-leaders give themselves obscene pay packages and perquisites and ask the rest of us to do more with less. Well, now, it appears that HR executives have climbed on board the gravy train. According to Mercer, the median salary increase for HR staffers in 2005 will be about 4%; the high will be 7.6% for compensation and benefits managers and the low will be 0.4% for senior compensation analysts. The results aren’t much better even when individual performance is factored in. The average pay increase for top performers will be just 4.9%, while the increase for the weakest performers will be 1% or less. Top HR executives in contrast will see their salary increase by 15.8%, a whopping 4 times higher than the median for the people who work for them. The survey covered organizations with fewer than 1,000 employees as well as organizations with 10,000 or more employees, so this pay gap between the top and everyone else is apparently occurring throughout the workplace. It also doesn’t say much for leadership by example.

    TrueCareers announced the results of its most recent survey of workers. It discovered that work-life balance is fast becoming “the impossible dream.” The majority of respondents reported that they are spending more time in the office than at home these days. Over a third (35%) said that worries at work have caused them to sacrifice some of their personal life. Yet, over half (54%) also said that their employers encourage them to have a life outside of the office. Whether the imbalance is self-imposed or caused by employers, however, the net effect is the same: Damaged morale, physical and mental burnout, and ultimately, lower productivity. What should we do about it? Consider making work-life balance a part of the appraisal of one’s performance (because eventually it will affect it). Said another way, don’t let maintaining balance be a voluntary benchmark. Instead, make it one of the competencies required for advancement … because promoting people who lack such balance can be the equivalent of setting them and your organization up for failure.

    The United States Army has its hands full these days meeting recruiting requirements for its Active, Reserve and National Guard components. That may be why it is adopting some of the practices that have long been available to recruiters on the Web, but have, to date at least, seldom been adopted. For example, consider the workload in the Army’s recruiting unit: it must access 80,000 new soldiers every year. That’s a big requirement by anyone’s standards, and it’s made even more difficult by the mounting casualty figures in Afghanistan and Iraq. Young men and women won’t simply go to the Army’s Web-site or a local recruiting station and sign up. Like top prospects anywhere, they have a lot of questions and want a lot of information before they’ll commit. So, what’s the Army doing? It invites visitors into chat rooms on its Web-site where they can get direct answers to their specific questions. Sure, it takes an additional commitment of staff to handle the dialogue, but in the face of a difficult recruiting challenge-whether it’s a war on distant shores or a War for the Best Talent-making a personal contact with potential candidates is a powerful and appropriate strategy. It’s what you and I, in the private sector, call building a relationship.

    Workforce Management reported the results of a recent member poll. It asked “How would you describe the hiring practices at your organization?” It learned that most believe the “Brownie factor” is alive and well where they work. That’s the name I’ve given to organizations that hire people more for who they know than for what they can do. Over one-third of the respondents (39%) said people were “sometimes” or “often” hired by their employers if they know the right person. What should you do with this finding? First, hope that your organization isn’t consciously among the 39%; second, make sure that it isn’t unconsciously among that group. Where does that happen most often? In your employee referral program. Despite clear guidelines to the contrary, all too often these programs slip into employment vehicles for friends and family. Employees refer the people they know best, not those who can best do the job. So, audit your employee referral program to make sure that it’s delivering the quality talent your organization needs to succeed (whether its dealing with a hurricane or with competition in the global marketplace).


    Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Insite … how well do you know the Web’s 40,000+ job boards?

    1. Your Boston-based company is gearing up for the Holiday season and needs another apparel merchandiser fast. Which of the following sites would help you fashion a successful sourcing strategy?

  • AllRetailJobs.com
  • ApparelWorks.com
  • SnagaJob.com
  • BostonWorks.com
  • 2. Your real estate firm is always looking for new building managers. Which of the following sites would help you maintain a visible brand among the best candidate pools?

  • CareerBuider.com
  • NationJob.com
  • HotJobs.com
  • RESjobs.com
  • 3. Your HR Department has just lost its HRIS specialist. Where could you go online to find timely and accurate information about prospective candidates?

  • HRISjobs.com
  • HRIS.com
  • HRIS.net
  • HRIS.org
  • (answers below)

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2005/6 Guides and Directories

    WITI4Hire

    http://www.witi.com

    Women in Technology International

    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes – All

    Distribution of jobs: National – USA

    Fee to post a job: $150-250/posting

    Posting period: 60 days

    Can posting be linked to your site: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    Number of resumes: 5,520

    Source of resumes: Direct from individuals

    Top occupations among resumes: Information Systems, Management, Sales & Marketing

    Other services for employers: Banner advertising.

    Answers to Site Insite

    1. All but ApparelWorks.com, the site of a software vendor.

    2. All but RESjobs.com, the site of Recruitment Enhancement Services, a recruitment outsourcing company.

    3. Only HRISjobs.com; HRIS.com is the site of an Internet service provider, HRIS.net is a site advertising a specific HR information system, and HRIS.org is the site of a company that installs HR information systems.


    Support Our Sponsor: ZoomInfo

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of ZoomInfo.

    Better Information Means Better Candidate Placement-Try ZoomInfo

    “The ROI on ZoomInfo is evident from the number of successful placements we have made as a direct result of using the tool.”

    Tristaff

    Learn how Tristaff, a premier recruiting firm since 1972, uses ZoomInfo to both find and research candidates for successful placements. Benefits to Tristaff and you:

  • Locate superior passive candidates
  • Quickly find candidate background information
  • Develop new business by targeting decision makers
  • ZoomInfo is an intelligent search engine that finds, extracts and summarizes online information on more than 27 million people and 2 million companies.

    Download the case study today