Preparation of WEDDLE’s 2007 Books is Underway!
Well, here it is … a new year … and we at WEDDLE’s are launching our preparations for our 2007 books: We will be publishing:
For information about the 2005/6 version of these publications, please click here.
As many of you know, WEDDLE’s books are read by employers, recruiters and job seekers worldwide. In fact, the American Staffing Association has called our annual publications the “Zagat of the online employment industry.” As a consequence, they can provide your site with local, regional, national and global visibility at absolutely no cost. And, they can provide that spotlight this year because our 2007 Guides and Directory will be released to bookstores in October of 2006.
How can you make sure your site appears in one or more of these books? We select sites for inclusion based on their capabilities and performance, as indicated by the information they provide to us. The more complete the information, the better the chances that a site will be selected.
Every site that returns a fully completed questionnaire will be included in WEDDLE’s 2007 Directory of Employment-Related Sites on the Internet. It’s the address book of the global online employment industry. In addition, 350 sites will be selected to appear in WEDDLE’s 2007 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet. Sold in Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores and on Amazon.com, it is the gold standard of job board guides.
If your site was selected for inclusion in the 2005/6 Guide
You will receive an e-mail message from us with the data collection questionnaire that you submitted last year. This questionnaire must be updated in order for your site to be considered for inclusion in our 2007 Guide. For guidelines on specific data fields, please see the Notes below. If you would like the questionnaire to be sent to someone other than you, please send a message to that effect to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your site is new to WEDDLE’s or was not selected for inclusion in our 2005/6 Guide
We collect site data using a specially formatted questionnaire; it’s available by clicking here. The questionnaire and the Notes below indicate what data should be included in each field.
In order to meet our publication deadline, please return your completed questionnaire(s) to WEDDLE’s at email@example.com not later than February 15, 2006.
I know there are many other activities competing for your attention and priority. Nevertheless, completing a WEDDLE’s questionnaire is a relatively small investment of time-we estimate it takes about 15 minutes-for a potentially huge return in enhanced visibility and credibility. I hope you will agree and see that your sites are included in our 2007 books.
Notes for WEDDLE’s 2007 Data Collection Questionnaire
The following guidelines refer to specific data fields on the questionnaire.
Four of the data fields must be completed (for new sites) or updated (for 2005/6 Guide sites) to qualify for inclusion in the Guide. These fields are:
Top salary levels of jobs: (Choose any two):
Source of postings: (Choose no more than two):
Fee to view resumes: (Choose only one):
How acquired: (Choose no more than two):
Who can post a resume: (Choose only one):
The Challenges and Opportunities of the Online Employment Industry in 2006
It doesn’t matter whether you operate an employment site as a full time business, as an adjunct to a print publication, or as a benefit for your association’s members. If you offer a job database, a resume database, a networking listserv and/or even just career and job search information on your site, your organization is a member of the online employment industry. Therefore, its success-the industry’s ability to overcome its challenges and capitalize on its opportunities-will reflect on your organization and, to one extent or another, impact on your organization’s success.
So what are the challenges and the opportunities facing the online employment industry (and you, its members) in 2006? Here’s my take:
Inaccurate sourcing data from applicant tracking systems. The online employment industry is rich with options. There are at least 40,000 job boards and career portals now in operation, and more launch every day. A growing number of employers and recruiters recognize the advantage this diversity offers in waging and winning the War for the Best Talent. As a consequence, more of them are using more sites to reach more talent than ever before. Unfortunately, however, their efforts are being undermined by their applicant tracking systems. The functionality provided by these systems to identify the sources of candidates flowing into their databases is often so rudimentary (e.g., simple drop down windows that require the candidate to remember where they first became aware of an opening) as to be useless or worse. As a result, they misidentify the true source(s) of the best talent and, therefore, effectively preclude an organization from making smart advertising investments.
Continued under-funding of recruitment. Corporate leaders have somehow gotten it into their heads that they can simultaneously wage a war (the War for the Best Talent) and cut the budget (in terms of both headcount and financial resources) of the war fighters. All they have to do is look around them to realize how nonsensical that notion is. In the real world, you can’t achieve victory on the cheap; it requires a substantial and sustained investment. In the War for the Best Talent, that means investing both to (a) prepare the battlefield (i.e., promoting an organization’s employment brand to top talent) and (b) conduct tactical operations (i.e., writing recruitment ads that are so compelling they will convince even passive prospects to apply). That’s not a particularly hard concept to grasp, but unfortunately, those responsible for articulating it to corporate leaders and check signers have not been able to do so effectively.
Vertical search. Using a crawler or spider to collect job postings from corporate Web-sites and/or job boards arrived with great fanfare over the past year. From the coverage in the press and in the blogosphere, you’d think this capability had reordered the rules of commerce and sounded the death knell of for-fee job posting. Why, pundits asked, would employers and recruiters continue to pay to post their openings when one or more vertical search sites would do so for free. While I believe that such a threat is way over blown-after all, having your sales manager opening listed as one of 7,235,823 other ads for salespeople is hardly an advantage when you’re trying to reach top talent-I do think vertical search can be a problem in those markets where heavy discounting has broken out among both online and traditional providers of recruitment advertising. Said another way, the more a market perceives job postings as a commodity, the greater the downward pressure on pricing.
Pundit pillorying. Online employment sites have taken a public beating over the past year. Critical statements have appeared in the media, one after another after another, without an effective response from the industry. Consider this recent example: “Job boards-which formed an industry consortium in 2006 to adopt a common set of requirements and format-as well as staffing agencies and others just weren’t as effective as in the past, having lost much of their market share in the employment process.” Note the lack of data to back up the assertion, but hey, we’re in the information era, not the truth era, so people can say whatever they want, right? The authors go on: “In the case of the major job boards, their quality suffered as a result of their attempts to extract more money or, as in the debacles of ’04 and ’06, their being caught selling the data they collected.” Now, admittedly, this little dig appeared in an article about the future of recruiting, but its assertions about our industry-its ineffectiveness, bad business tactics and even dishonesty-are harmful to each and all of us in the present.
C-level concern about the quality of talent being recruited. A number of recent surveys (e.g., Accenture, The Conference Board) have shown an unusually high level of discontent with recruiting results among corporate executives. What’s the source of the angst? As corporate Boards of Directors put more and more pressure on executives to meet or exceed business targets (thanks to shareholder activism, media attention and new financial reporting requirements), those executives worry that they don’t have the talent they need inside the organization to succeed. This threat to their own personal security may make them more receptive than ever before to sound business plans that call for resourcing (with larger budgets and staff) a more capable and proactive recruiting function. Our clients in the HR Department will still have to make a persuasive case-and we should be more capable and proactive about helping them in that regard-but there has probably never been a better time to argue for increased spending on recruitment advertising.
Continued poor performance of corporate Career sites. As readers of my newsletter for recruiters know, I believe that corporate Web-sites represent one of the most over-hyped, under-performing investments in modern corporate history. In WEDDLE’s annual poll of job seekers (which is now entering its tenth year), these sites have dropped from first to fourth place in terms of job seekers’ perception of their helpfulness. They now rank behind both general purpose and career specific employment Web-sites and career research sites. In other words, corporate career sites may have the potential to revolutionize corporate recruiting, but they consistently underwhelm with their results. This situation can be an advantage to employment Web-sites, but only if we meet two standards:
In other words, our value proposition has to be so compelling to employers that they will take some of the money they are now investing in their corporate Career areas and invest it with us, instead.
Continued satisfaction of the customer. WEDDLE’s surveys have consistently shown that employment Web-sites have earned and retain the confidence of both job seekers and employers/recruiters. In our 2005 findings, for example:
Of course, as in any business, we’re only as good as our last job posting or resume database search, so we will have to continue to meet or exceed our customer’s expectations if we want to see these findings replicated in 2006.
The creation of a trade organization. Online recruiting is now over 10 years old. The industry has established itself as a bona fide resource both in individual job search and in organizational recruiting. Now, it’s up to us to sustain and build on that position. Without clearly articulated standards of performance and best practices, there’s no way for well managed sites to differentiate themselves from the posers on the Web (which are, unfortunately, growing in number). Without a united front, each and all of us are subject to potentially harmful government regulations and the negative impacts of poor performance in adjacent industries (e.g., the misidentification of candidate sources by applicant tracking systems). That’s why the timing is right for us to establish a trade organization that will serve and support our interests, our goals, our success. Yes, it costs a little money to become a member, but the investment is modest given the looming challenges and genuine opportunities facing our industry. For more information about the Association, please click here.
There you have it. Are there other issues I could have noted? Absolutely. The soon-to-be-implemented Federal definition of an online candidate and the continuing search for effective ways to reach passive prospects are two that come to mind. My list isn’t meant to be exhaustive, but rather to provide some food for thought as you lay your plans for 2006 and beyond. I hope it’s helpful.
Thanks for reading,
P.S. This newsletter is a free publication for the leaders and staff of employment Web-sites. Please encourage your colleagues and your friends at other sites to subscribe.
2006 User’s Choice Award Winners Named
We are pleased to announce the winners of WEDDLE’s 2006 User’s Choice Awards. These awards are the only recognition in the online employment industry determined by the job seekers and recruiters who actually use our sites. While admitting to some bias, we think it is the highest accolade an employment Web-site can receive. For more information about the awards, please click here.
WEDDLE’s 2006 User’s Choice Award Winners
America’s Job Bank
Best Jobs USA
If your site is not currently listed on WEDDLE’s online ballot and you would like it to be, please notify Peter Weddle at firstname.lastname@example.org.