Sunday, November 14, 2004
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
If your referral programs don't spread from person to person, it isn't viral
Just sat through a Yahoo! Resumix webcast. Boooooring. "Viral Hiring: building an employee referral program that works". I suppose it was OK, but the amount of new stuff was small.
What kind of disease spreads to one person and dies? What sort of meme doesn't spread? Arrgggh!
The point of viral hiring is to find memes and behaviors that multiply. You want them spread through second order networks. Friends-of-friends, members of social and professional circles. You can do oodles more than traditional "pimp your friends" programs.
The Power of Schmooze. For example, Greg Narain is making sparkcards your employees hand out like business cards. Each plastic card has half the employee keeps. The other half their acquaintance takes away. The two halves share a common, unique URL. At that web page is a safe place for the two of them to share a little more information about themselves. Who will be the first to use sparkcards to improve dating, chamber of commerce mixers, professional associations, emergency first response - and employee referral?
Knock down Greg's door asking to sponsor this. Make sure that each of your workers' sparkcards is branded, and that your job listings show up for each respondent.
Honeypot the Blogosphere. Encourage your workers to blog outside the firewall. Most bloggers draw a small readership of friends and the likeminded. Many develop readership in the dozens or hundreds. A very few, the celebrities of the blogosphere, have readership in the thousands. If someone has expert knowledge, a curious mind, and the willingness to express themselves, give them the tools to express themselves. They will attract like-minded people, people who share a common interest. So if they blog about work, about their occupation, their craft, the technology, their industry, Google and Technorati will find them, and people who care will follow.
What can you do?
- Write a company polcy that gives employees permission to blog in public so long as they don't break the usual rules (no trade secrets, disclaim, etc.). Remove fear.
- Co-sponsor employee blogs ("brought to you in part by Acme") by reimbursing related costs, maybe $10-15/month/blog. Remove obstacles.
- Host blogs ("powered by Acme") on your own blog server. There are some great free or cheap blogging tools that your IT department could have up in an hour or two (a day or two in IT time). Sun and Microsoft have done this. Share your brand.
- Many bloggers run Google ads to offset their Internet costs; put job ads on weblogs at the same or better rates. Blog readers self select much more carefully than job seekers. People who read the PVRblog will be interested in TiVos and other personal video recorder technology. The eBay strategies blog will be read by coders interested in integration using eBay's programming interfaces. Same for the PayPal developers blog. This is niche advertising at its best. And cheapest. Exploit communities of interest.
- Give press credentials to bloggers. It worked for the DNC and GOP. It worked for the AdTech conference and countless others. Add some bloggers to your company's media relations list. As with reporters, be appropriate. If someone has a basketball blog, don't send them your new transmission lubricant news release. Create blog fodder, so bloggers can spread the word.
- RSSify your job listings. I won't explain RSS newsfeeds here beyond saying that they put a little file on your web site wrapping your job announcements in a little machine code. Then people using free newsreaders subscribe to updates to your RSS files. Get your job listings followed closely active job seekers and those who support them. If you have more than a dozen openings, be sure to create feeds for each geography and each occupational category. Deliver job listings direct to readers.
Monday, August 23, 2004
Monster.com could be takeover target, Barrons. $2 billion market capitalization, they might go for $3.5 at their 52 week high.
Old media defending turf? Knight-Ridder, Dow Jones defending employment advertising?
How about a customer buyout? Agencies have been Monster's biggest customers for years. Do Manpower or Adecco have the cash flow and market cap for a merger?
New media consolidating? Yahoo already bought HotJobs. MSN needs an injection of something with energy and a brand with charisma. AOL continues to debate whether to continue outsourcing their career channels (flexibility, best of breed) or to buy/build their own for better integration with the rest of an AOL broadband experience.
And then there's Google.
What might you see out of Monster/Google?
- Every job seeker gets a weblog.
- Tell your professional story.
- Narrate your job search.
- Keep it while you're employed, independent of your employer, building equity for your next search.
- Blogroll extras: employers you've visited, blogs of job seekers like you, jobs that might interest you.
- Your blogging reputation carries over to your job search.
- Links on a million weblogs to career profiles.
- Monster suggesting keywords and language from your weblogs.
- Every employer gets a weblog.
- Better branding, better user experience, fresh stuff.
- Job seekers can subscribe to their potential employers' RSS feeds.
Monster powered Orkut.
- Swarm job search. Forums around specific job searches, occupations, employers, industries. See what jobs your fellow chiropodists are looking at and what they're saying about them.
- Network candidate discovery. Find the candidate who's a friend of the fully employed candidate. Word of mouth in the social networking age.
- Every job seeker gets free email. Hidden from your employer. Text job ads informed by your subscriptions and searches.
Screen real estate is precious. Google's toolbar is about as ubiquitous as Yahoo!'s. Enterprise's using a Google search appliance for their intranets get extra bang from using a Google toolbar that knows to check both the appliance and the global Google server for answers.
Add the Monster button right next to the Blogger button.
- Let your surfing behavior inform Monster's job recommendations.
- Visit a site? JobMark™ it as a place of potential career interest. Or as a place to avoid.
- Build in "tell-a-friend" about a job.
- Flag specific job listings.
A search on lexicography shows me relevant sites. Featured links might include lexicograper jobs.
"Show free job listings from your field on your web site." Every site gets context appropriate job listings, paid as adverts to Monster/Google, royalties to the niche webmasters. Google has the infrastructure in place, plus hundreds of thousands of sitemasters.
Job (Ad) Enrichment.
Monster can add context to a job posting.
- Local news, especially anything mentioning the employer or its competitors.
- Blog posts.
- People who've identified themselves as current employees or alumni.
- Photos and other graphics related to the firm.
Yahoo might be better at this than Google.
- Lower cost of candidate aquisition.
- Better targeting (blogs) of job ads.
- Higher quality of referral and word of mouth.
- Cash flow. (not much, but growing)
- More advertising inventory (a quarter of all job searches flow through Monster).
- More parts of life served by Google.
- Relationships with big corporate ad and business buyers. (Google doesn't have strong enterprise products or strong distribution. Yet.)
Google says they want to help you find everything. Believe them.
And Why Not.
The cultures are literally a continent apart, even though search is at the heart of both.
- Google trusts in pagerank, the almost mystical results of emergent behavior when people link web pages to other pages.
- Monster believes in metadata, structured profiles, and filling out forms.
- Google: doing interesting and useful things leads to cash flow.
- Monster: cash up front.
- Google builds on common, everyday human behaviors, and makes them effortless. Horizontal applications.
- Monster aims hard at sucking value from the $60 billion labor market business. Verticalized market making.
Perhaps the clearest gap lies in how they think about people.
Google is humanistic. People are rich with complexity, always changing. They interact with one another and their cyberspaces in ways that serve them and that create meaning.
Contrast this with the HR model. In my experience (formerly global VP for strategy and technology of the world's largest staffing company), 98% of human resource organizations model people as widgets to be processed, inventory to be managed, cluttered incoherent masses to be manipulated. When HR systems work it is because of the systems and despite the humans. Monster strives to be different, but it is thoroughly infected - top to bottom - with the values and views of its paying customers, HR departments.
So Google and Monster should partner-up instead of merge.
Other notes on this subject:
Friday, January 09, 2004
Networking Web Sites:By Kris Maher From The Wall Street Journal Online Tina Mitiguy remained unemployed after exhausting most traditional job-search techniques earlier this year. Then she was invited by a friend to join LinkedIn.com, an online networking site. A few days later, a manager using the site spotted her online profile and contacted her about a job opening. The next week, she was hired. "I felt just incredibly fortunate at the time, because not only was it a job but a really good fit for my background," says Ms. Mitiguy, who is 31 years old. She joined RedMedic Inc., a San Jose, Calif., start-up that creates portable medical records for patients, as director of member services. The story is more remarkable when one considers that Ken Toren, the vice president of marketing for RedMedic who contacted Ms. Mitiguy, didn't post an ad anywhere for the job. Nor has he considered hiring a search firm to fill other positions at the company. So far, he has done all his sourcing on LinkedIn. "When you put an ad out, you find some good people," Mr. Toren says. "If you use a network like LinkedIn, it's a much more trusted environment." A growing number of Internet sites are weaving digital webs of people and enabling them to take the practice of personal networking to a new level that might be called hypernetworking. Sites such as Spoke.com, Tribe.net, Ryze.com, Friendster.com and LinkedIn.com are free and allow people to expand their networks exponentially in many cases. Some sites emphasize professional contacts, while others are more socially focused. Most sites, including LinkedIn, are open to all comers. In all cases, the sites present a tantalizing new arena for job seekers. "What we're really doing is creating new media to do the same thing we do when we meet at a cocktail party," says Gerry Crispin, a principal of CareerXroads, a recruiting-technology consulting company in Kendall Park, N.J. He believes the implications for job seekers could be profound as more people get comfortable using the sites and connecting with people they meet online through mutual acquaintances. The sites could be especially useful for job seekers who want to find contacts who work for a particular company or who are in a certain industry or profession, since users can typically search for people using a wide range of criteria. Many sites provide users with a kind of networking road map that shows them how many degrees of separation lie between them and a desired contact. Mr. Crispin advises job seekers who use the sites to be upfront about their intentions when asking a contact to introduce them to the next person in the chain. For instance, you might want to get a referral for a job opening from an employee at a company to boost your chances when you apply for the position. But he also cautions people to carefully read each site's privacy policies. "I think there are some privacy issues left unanswered," he says. Others stress that even though a quick search can reveal attractive potential contacts, you still need to be prepared to build long-term relationships. Laura Allen, co-founder of 15SecondPitch.com, a New York company that teaches networking skills, says many people have a mistrust of connections made strictly via e-mail. On Friendster, she is herself connected to 300,000 people through 17 contacts. "That's not very useful to me, because I'm not going to make contact with most of those people. They're too far removed," says Ms. Allen. She recommends meeting online contacts in person whenever possible. "They're more likely to pass on your information if you've met them face to face," she says. Networking groups that don't have as broad a reach but are more targeted can also supplement a burgeoning network. Some of these groups often have an online component, but they often also organize informal gatherings on a regular basis. Ms. Allen belongs to CareerChangeNetwork.com for people considering new career paths and Dinnergrrls.org, a networking group for women. Ultimately, even when using online sites, job seekers shouldn't let the rules of traditional networking fly out the window. Below are three top rules that job seekers need to keep in mind for any networking scenario: • Remember to say "thank you" to the person who provided an introduction for you and send an update of your progress. • Announce your intentions. Be clear about exactly how contacts can help you, and tell them what a potential benefit could be for them. A third party you end up helping, for example, might be grateful to your contact for making the introduction. • Build relationships before you need them. "Avoid 911 networking," says Diane Darling, president of Effective Networking Inc., a Boston networking-consulting firm. "If you need a job now, you need to rely on yesterday's relationships." In the end, a network with hundreds of names will still likely need to be whittled down, because you can sustain only a limited number of solid personal relationships. "All the technology in the world can't beat a personal referral," says Ms. Darling.
A New Job-Search Arena
Wednesday, August 27, 2003
ebig panel on community
Monday, August 25, 2003
I ran into Mason Wong on Ryze last week. Mason is the staffing manager for Advent Software. I asked him if he thought Ryze-like social software would find its way into the features of staffing solutions from companies like Hire.com. He wrote:
While the fundamental mission and functionality of Ryze is to expand an individual's network while employing a relatively narrow set of criteria in identifying new contacts, the fundamental mission of Hire and the functionality of its applications are to bring efficiencies to processes involving high volumes of people and heavy criteria sets in sourcing and selection. I, too, have wondered if the similarities between Ryze and Hire can ever be enough to bridge the differences so the two worlds could connect.
I could envision a highly progressive and online savvy recruiter, with a lot more available time than any actively working recruiters that I know, trying to maintain an online community of potential job candidates using a Ryze-like guest book style site as a supplement to a more traditional email newsletter subscription list, but this really is limited to the sourcing side of recruitment, which is only one part of the full recruitment process supported by Hire-like systems.
I must admit, I have mostly doubts about the value in linking up Ryze-like social services with Hire-like systems, especially because it has been my experience that to effectively use Ryze and to effectively use Hire applications, it takes a lot of time and focus for each. Without a clearly viable profit driven model behind such an effort, I don't expect many recruiters, much less hiring managers, diving into some sort of synergy between the two.
I agree with Mason's observations but I have a few other conclusions.
Imagine that, upon signing up at your career site, job seekers got a Ryze-like page. Even better, you get a weblog and news aggregator too. You can not only look for work, but easily subscribe to job listings as RSS feeds, mingle with other data mining software engineers, post about your new explorations in technology and work.
In other words, what happens if you make it easy for job seekers to build social capital?
A few guesses...
- Better Navigation. Social network features (like Technorati, blogrolls, ) make it easy locate clusters of related professionals. Job seekers are effectively answering in advance the question "Well, if you aren't available, do you know someone who is?"
- Pre-branding. The knowledge reflected in the blogs, wikis, and discussion forums becomes a way for your employees to become aware of potential candidates.
- Fresher Content. Bloggers tend to post frequently, hundreds of times more often than they update HR profiles or resumes. Contact information is up to date.
- Transparency and Conversation. It may take getting used to, but you'll start to get useful and frank feedback about the job seeking experience, the company's products, etc. Engagement that's ongoing, perhaps throughout a career.
- Career site as destination. To the degree your organization niches, your career site may be a magnet for people in related industry or occupational categories. Hang out with the other financial engineering leaders.
About your reservations, you're right for now. The positioning of the smart folks at Hire.com, and every other ATS/HCM solution, has been to automate HR bureaucracy. Their systems can save time, effort, and money in the day-to-day life of a recruiter.
This won't be enough. Skilled labor shortages will become more pronounced in the next 9-18 months. Recruiter workflow optimization, once executed, is yielding diminishing returns.
So where do you put your next staffing dollar? The inputs to the process: job seekers.
The world of manufacturing went through the same deep shift, widening from an internal focus to an external focus. From managing internal logistics to reaching outside the corporate boundary to the external supply chain. None of the new skills and practices, like MRP or quality circles, were abandoned. Attention widened to include a network of suppliers. And new practices emerged to better harmonize the internal and external.
When raw material is talent, the processes are more difficult than manufacturing lives with. The products are widely differentiated (people don't have SKUs). What they can do and where they fit changes day to day. The goods can't be moved when and where needed via UPS. And, unlike a can of soup, these goods have opinions and desires of their own.
So ATS and HCM vendors can expect pressure to serve this new focus. Employers like you will demand features that create value for candidates. Increasing a job seeker's social capital is just one type of value, one that Ryze supports.
So I see a future for Ryze's in HR.
- As extensions to the career relationship.
- As new tools for data mining.
- As personal branding tools.
- As a retention tool, binding workers to your intranet and extranet social networks.
After all, schmoozespace isn't so far from recruiting, is it?
I grew up on Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, especially The Pirates of Penzance. One of the funniest songs in the bunch is the When the Foeman Bares His Steel (MIDI File). Trying to encourage some rather frightened local constables to chase pirates, Mabel sings:
The police protest:
Go, ye heroes, go to glory,
Though you die in combat gory,
Ye shall live in song and story.
Go to immortality!Go to death, and go to slaughter;
Die, and every Cornish daughter
With her tears your grave shall water. Go, ye heroes, go and die!
Though to us it's evident,
These attentions are well meant,
Such expressions don't appear
Calculated men to cheer
Who are going to meet their fate
In a highly nervous state.
Edith and the girls, not listening, continue:
Go and do your best endeavour,
And before all links we sever,
We will say farewell for-ever.
Go to glory and the grave!
Go to glory and the grave!
For your foes are fierce and ruthless,
False, unmerciful, and truthless;
Young and tender, old and toothless,
All in vain their mercy crave.
Not exactly King Henry's rousing Saint Crispin's Day Speech.
Is your career site:
Consistent with the goals of its visitors?
Helping you listen and converse with them?
Producing the attitudes, expectations, and behavior you need?
Monday, August 11, 2003
Yesterday's Electronic Recruiting News was about Community. There are at least three or four decent books on the subject. I'm reading one now, Drew Banks' and Kim Daus' Customer.Community: Unleashing the Power of Your Customer Base (on Amazon). The underlying principle: there's value in having your customers talk with each other.
It's also true for your talent pool. As you read this, where you see the word "customer", substitute "potential employee".
First, the business case.
- Deeper customer loyalty
- Additional revenue streams
- Harnessing the collective voice of your customers
- Broader market reach through customer advocacy
- Focused product input
- Partnership development
- Peer-to-peer customer service
- Lower operational costs
- Easy start-up, low risk to terminate
Then the customer case. Customer communities can touch people at each rung on Maslows Hierarchy of human needs.
- Community performs a necessary and useful function for members.
- Members can identify each other and build relationships.
- Members have reputation based on their activity and the expressed opinions of others.
- The facilitators and members of the community assign management duties to each other, allowing the community to grow. Members agree that their behavior can be regulated according to shared or stated values.
- Members must be able to interact with each other, to share information and ideas.
- Community members can segment themselves according to specific interests or tasks. Members can relate to each other in small numbers.
- A synergistic environment helps members achieve their purpose.
- The community knows why it exists and who is outside and inside.
- Members must be able to build trust over time with other members and the community facilitators. Members know with whom they are dealing and that it is safe to do so.
- The community recognizes an exchange of value, from knowledge and ideas to goods and services. Members can easily indicate their preferences and opinions.
- The community has a recognizable character and members are aware of what other community members are doing.
- The community remembers what has happened and reacts and changes in response.
It takes work. But this soft stuff keeps communities healthy.
They have a few chapters on growing your community. And a few more on nuts and bolts implementation advice.
My favorite chapter: cashing in on your community. Explicit. Quantifiable.
But here's the thing (thanks for staying with me on this), their Ten Questions Before You Start:
- Is your customer base currently connected? How? What are your customers saying?
- Does your service or product or even your company image have inherent bonding possibilities? [that's bonding, not branding]
- Are you currently organized around the optimal customer experience?
- Which department is best suited to "own" your customer-community strategy, development, and implementation?
- At what level of commitment do you want to start?
- Would a customer-community orientation affect any other programs?
- What other key players do you need to line up?
- What is your first step?
- How will you communicate your customer-community plans?
- How will you determine success?
If Monster can do it (they're one of the case studies), so can you. Candidate communities can:
- change your cost structure,
- shorten cycle times, and
- improve talent pool quality,
- in good times and bad.
I'd love your comments on this.
Tuesday, August 05, 2003
I've been following two things very closely for many years: content syndication and labor markets. Last week RSSJobs was announced, bringing the two together. Here's my interview with Steve Rose who built RSSJobs.
What inspired or provoked you to create RSSJobs?
It was a combination of things. First was the frustration with my own job hunt. Like many IT professionals, I was unemployed for 6 months. When I did finally find a job, it was for half my previous pay, and in a environment I never would have considered otherwise. Even after starting that job, I was still job hunting. Every morning I was greeted with emails from Monster, and Dice, and several others with the results of my saved search agents. They were pretty useless. Monster only allowed 5 agents, and the emails only had up to 5 jobs per agent. I had to go to Monster's web site to see all the results. Then there was Dice. It gave me up to 50 jobs for each agent every day. Most of them were the same as the previous day's results! They were supposed to be just the new ones. I was spending all my morning time before work weeding through these, and I rarely had time to check any other sites that I didn't get emails from. Sites that didn't get updated every day went un-checked for weeks or months. Who knows how many potential jobs I missed out on because I didn't have time to check all the sites I wanted to check for updates.
Second was exposure to RSS. I started reading all my web based news using NetNewsWire earlier this year, and was amazed at how much easier it was to keep up. So I stared playing with the RSS format, creating some feeds for my own personal use, and I thought this would be useful for checking a local University's job board. I wrote a quick java servlet to parse the new job listing and return the results as RSS. It was so cool! Not long after that, I added Dice and Monster to the mix.
At this point, it was all just for my own use. About 2 weeks later, I went on a job interview, and when asked what kind of personal projects I had, I mentioned this and described the benefits of RSS. One of the developers interviewing me knew about RSS, and thought it was very good idea. He said I should market it. So I came up with a simple business plan, adapted my servlets to a subscription-based model, and built a web site around it.
How would you describe what RSSJobs does?
RSSJobs is simply a search agent for other job boards. It takes search parameters from the user, searches the job boards they want, and returns the results to them in RSS.
Who is it for?
Ideally, RSSJobs is for anyone looking for a job on the internet. It is well suited to individuals who have jobs, but want to keep their eyes open to other positions, and don't have the time to do an exhaustive search every day.
That being said, the average person out there doesn't know about RSS yet, and has a hard time understanding the benefits. It's a paradigm shift for most people, making adoption of RSS more difficult. Web browsers are comfortable, and people don't want to give them up, despite their limitations.
So at this point, I don't expect most job hunters out there to "get" the benefits of using RSSJobs, so I am not targeting them just yet. Right now I am focusing on those who are already using RSS. As RSS use becomes more widespread, the target audience will expand.
When did it go live?
The official live date was August 1, 2003. The site has been up for a few weeks, but only myself and a few friends knew about it.
What's your day job? What's your technical background?
I am a Software Engineer. As a Software Engineer, I have done a little bit of everything. My strongest language is Java, but I also work in C/C++, as well as various 4GL type languages. I've done application, database, web, and multimedia development, sometimes all on the same project.
What programming tools did you use to construct RSSJobs? What platform are you running the apps on?
It was developed using Java 1.4.1, and currently hosted on Mac OS X Server 10.2.
What version(s) of RSS do you produce?
What do you think of the Echo project? Will you be supporting the new syndication formats?
I don't know much about the Echo project, but I plan to closely follow the market for RSS content. If other formats gain popularity, I will consider supporting them as well.
Most of the job boards bar "reverse engineering" and other screen scraping, concerned over theft of data by rivals and disintermediation. How does your design work around or through these concerns?
I have considered this, and I don't expect there to be an issue. The site clearly states that the user is searching other job sites. The job listings from the various boards are accessed on demand, and nothing is cached by RSSJobs. There is no attempt to mask the origin of the content. If the user wants more information about the job, they are sent to the job board, where they can apply for the job if they like. Users should still register and upload their resumes to the job boards being searched for maximum efficiency.
I liken what RSSJobs does to a personal assistant or agent who does the research requested by a client, and presents the results. For example, say my friend doesn't have internet access, but wants to use Monster.com in his job search. He asks me to search for jobs for him. Is there anything wrong with me typing in his keywords, downloading the results, and putting a summary of the listings in an Excel spreadsheet on a floppy disk for my friend to look through? It seems perfectly reasonable to me. RSSJobs does essentially the same thing.
Many employers use HR information systems that output job listings in an HR-XML format for bulk uploading to Monster and most of the big job boards. What kind of information is lost between employer and candidate?
I have no idea.
What's on your wishlist for news reader features?
I would like to see an RSS Reader that could manage the items from an RSS feed as individual items. A user could archive specific items for viewing later after it is no longer included in the feed. Adding locally-stored comments to an item would be a nice feature too.
Is there anything employers could do to make your job easier when searching jobs.Acme.com?
Yes, when they post jobs, keep the content simple. No embedded HTML tags, or other things that RSSJobs has to filter to keep the XML valid.
Where do you think the other bottlenecks are in getting work to workers?
I think the biggest problem is getting the word out about available jobs. There are so many different ways jobs get announced, between Job Boards, classifieds, and company web sites, it is hard to keep track of them all. RSSJobs is trying to help with that.
Where do you see RSSJobs going?
For now, RSSJobs is just a part-time endeavor. If it helps people out, and provides enough revenue to cover the hosting costs, I will be happy. It will expand slowly, adding new features and more search sites on an ongoing basis. Ideally, I'd like to grow it large enough to become a full time job, and maybe even provide a few jobs as well. But this is not going to be another .com flame-out, trying to become too big too fast. I've been part of that already. If the demand for RSSjobs is there, it will grow to meet that demand. If not, no-one is going to loose money over it.
What kind of feedback have you been getting from new users? What have you been learning from the RSSJobs experience?
Surprisingly, I have received very little direct feedback about it. What I have received has been positive, even excited, with a few requests for features I have already considered for the future. But the loudest statement has also been the quietest one. People are using the site! The site is still in its early stages, and I don't want more volume than I can handle, so I haven't done much to promote it yet. The little bit I have done has drawn more traffic than I could have expected, and people are actually using the site as it was intended. that says everything.
What have I learned? I'm not sure I have learned anything yet. It is all happening so fast, and things have gone remarkably well, almost too well. It's when things go wrong, particularly very wrong, when you learn the most. I'm sure that will come. Hopefully sooner rather than later.
Wednesday, July 30, 2003
- Opaque Pictures. Hover your mouse over
pictures on the page (don't click). Did a little text show up next to your
mouse describing the picture? If not, -1.
- The descriptions are called "alt text". Browsers for the visually
impaired can read them aloud.
- The descriptions are called "alt text". Browsers for the visually impaired can read them aloud.
- Fixed Type. Look at the size of the text on
the page. Then use your browser to view the type bigger (In Internet Explorer:
View | Text Size | Largest). Did the type get bigger or stay the same? If the
- Let the viewer choose what size works best for them.
- Let the viewer choose what size works best for them.
- Additional Link Text. Put your mouse in your
browser's address block. Press the Tab key until a link is highlighted. Look
in the bottom left corner of your browser's status bar or see if text pops up
if your mouse hovers over links. Is the link described? If not, -1.
- Make it easier for the visually impaired to understand why they should
click on a link by describing it.
- Make it easier for the visually impaired to understand why they should click on a link by describing it.
- Invisible Eye Candy. Is there cute animation
or moving pictures? -1.
- The blind can't see the pretty pictures or flash animations, and those
with some attention deficits find movement impossibly distracting.
- The blind can't see the pretty pictures or flash animations, and those with some attention deficits find movement impossibly distracting.
- Buried Navigation. Is the main navigation
menu the first thing you Tab to on the page? If not, -1.
- Web pages are two dimensional but sound is linear. English language
browser software reads from upper left to upper right, block by block. Put
the main choices where users will first encounter them.
- Web pages are two dimensional but sound is linear. English language browser software reads from upper left to upper right, block by block. Put the main choices where users will first encounter them.
How did your career site home page score?
- 0. Perfect score! Send thank you notes to your CIO and webmaster.
- -1. Pretty good.
- -2. You have minor problems. Schedule an accessibility audit and makeover.
- -3. Ouch.
- -4. Run, don't walk. The tip of the iceberg. Your site undoubtedly is setting you up for litigation hell.
- -5. Escalate now. Call legal. Call your webmaster and her boss. Call me.
Monday, July 28, 2003
Thursday, July 24, 2003
Wednesday, July 23, 2003
I reported in May 2002 the OMB CTO had human capital on his agenda. He's making good on his Recruiting Portal promise.
Let's deconstruct it. [links are mine]
The Bush administration is overhauling the government's online recruiting and hiring process, promising federal managers they will get more job candidates to choose from and faster service in filling job vacancies beginning next year.
More, faster, cheaper. No mention of better. I guess when you're starving...
The plan is to create by Jan. 1 a central online marketplace for federal jobs and job candidates. Candidates will be able to easily search through all federal vacancies while federal hiring managers will be able to search a vast database of job candidates' resumes.
Monster, eat my dust. Job ad density will be the biggest in the world. A huge vortex sucking in precious job seeker time and attention.
To make this happen, however, agencies no longer will be able to post their own job announcements and accept resumes on their Web sites. After Jan. 1, that will be done only on the government's central jobs site, USAJOBS, managed by the Office of Personnel Management.
Absolute centralization? Has its problems:
- A single point of failure. Hope they commit to high levels of uptime, availability, security, backup, etc.
- Treats all job seekers and recruiters the same, although they're not.
- Chokes off innovation, starving agency HR budgets.
- Restricts competition for talent among agencies to what they can squeeze into OPM formats.
Federation (central and decentralized services working together) overcomes these limits.
OPM is overseeing the project, called Recruitment One-Stop, which is driven largely by the need to hire hundreds of thousands of employees to replace those retiring in the next 10 years. The recent economic slump has delayed many of those retirements temporarily and made the private sector a less attractive place to work, so agencies have a window of opportunity to improve how they attract and hire employees and recruit the next generation of workers.
They sure understand the problem. They appreciate it too, better than the private sector.
Under the new system, online job announcements will be posted only on the USAJOBS site, located at www.usajobs.opm.gov. Further, all the resumes applicants submit will be stored in the USAJOBS central database.
Centralization may cut costs and increase consistency of background checks, security clearances, and the like.
Agencies already post their vacancies on USAJOBS. But visitors to that site soon discover that they often have to link to a separate Web site maintained by the hiring agency to complete their applications, or print out applications to be mailed or faxed to the hiring agency.
Job candidates will be able to create and submit resumes for federal jobs only on the USAJOBS site and agencies will no longer be able to require candidates to create separate resumes on their own job sites.
Why not let job seekers apply where they want? You can always move the data.
Simpler Job Announcements
Another change concerns the job postings themselves. Currently, agencies do not follow common guidelines when writing job postings, so they vary widely.
Do agency needs vary too?
For instance, a comparison of recent openings for biologists at two agencies found one four-page announcement and one 10-page announcement posted on USAJOBS. The 10-page announcement, for a job at the National Institutes of Health, was filled with detailed legal notices and requirements for applying under various special hiring authorities. The four-page announcement, for a job at the Agriculture Department's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, appeared to meet all the legal requirements while providing more useful information than the NIH document on data that must be included in the application, and where the candidate could go for help.
Hmmm. Smells like competition: the ones with less bureaucracy reduce candidate transaction costs, and get more of the great candidates.
Under OPM's new procedures, agencies will follow standard, concise formats for advertising jobs. Legal requirements and other detailed information will be available through hyperlinks in the standard announcement, and the announcements will be written in plain language.
That would actually be refreshing. OK, so you level the playing field among Federal employers. Everyone has legal-boilerplate-free posts.
Shortening and simplifying announcements for vacant federal jobs is long overdue, many experts say.
"If you have these lengthy, boring, bureaucratic ads that no one responds to — only federal employees — then the longer it's going to take you to close the [skills] gap," said Marta Perez, associate director of OPM for human-capital leadership and merit system accountability.
True. Kinda like a "Job Form Simplification Act". Maybe. Are they really going to ask fewer questions up front? Defer details until a job seeker is more committed to a given job or department?
Federal chief human capital officers, who advise agency heads on personnel management issues, should make clear job announcements one of their priorities, said David Chu, undersecretary of personnel and readiness and chief human capital officer at the Defense Department.
"If we can't describe what we're asking the young person to do and we put the hurdles in his or her way . . . we should not be surprised that we don't do very well," Chu said. "The first step is how can we get past the legal barriers . . . so that these job announcements are something that excites a young person, rather than something that he or she has to plod through."
Oooh! That sounds like "Candidate As Customer"! Bravo, Mr. Chu!
According to an April report by the Merit Systems Protection Board, "Help Wanted: A Review of Federal Vacancy Announcements," agencies do a poor job of selling themselves to potential employees.
At least half of the announcements MSPB reviewed in a random sample were poorly written and made little or no attempt to sell the applicant on the job. Announcements too often were difficult to understand or use threatening or insulting language, which is likely to drive away applicants, MSPB found.
Not limited to government postings, unfortunately.
One advertisement for a General Schedule-2 laborer position threatened the applicant with jail time and fines if any false statements were made.
This is true. Scary, but true. Sensible people think twice before applying.
The best response may be to remove those risks, don't make it a crime to misstate your qualifications. Would this require new laws? Or can this be accomplished by executive order?
The second best strategy: be upfront about the rules, risks, and consequences. Explain them in terms applicants can appreciate before they ever contribute information to the system. Bring it up on occasion as they continue to share their biodata and experience.
But it reads like they're taking the low road, burying the disclaimer in standard boilerplate that nobody will read. Not citizen centered thinking.
"The attitude for a long time has been, ‘Well, we've got enough applicants. Why do we have to be nice to them?'" said Steve Nelson, director of the Merit Systems Protection Board's Office of Policy and Evaluation.
Although OPM will post job announcements online after Jan. 1, it will not be in the role of approving or vetting job announcements.
Maybe they can provide constructive criticism?
"The technology will make it easier to write an attractive announcement, but we will not be able to stop it if someone sneaks in bureaucratic language," said Norm Enger, e-government program director at the Office of Personnel Management.
That's good. You should own your own words.
OPM will also use education and training to persuade agencies to write job announcements that are easy to understand, Enger said.
Faster Resume Screening
A new resume database will also speed the recruitment process for agencies by screening out applicants who do not meet the basic qualifications for a position. For instance, a person applying for a position as a General Schedule-7 Border Patrol agent would be automatically disqualified if he or she answered no to any of the following questions: Are you a U.S. citizen? Are you younger than 37 years of age? Have you carried firearms in the course of duty?
Agencies will never see applicants who are automatically disqualified. Those applicants will instead be notified automatically through the USAJOBS Web site that they do not meet the basic criteria.
Wow. Hard knock-out criteria. Hope they're used well. Wouldn't it be rough if you had the perfect candidate except she is 36 now, but was going to be 37 by the time the position opened? And you never saw their paperwork?
Even though OPM is streamlining and consolidating the basic vacancy announcement, agencies still will be able to require applicants to submit additional information or forms specific to their individual requirements.
We have ways of making you talk.
More Choice for Managers
One of the revamped system's biggest benefits for hiring managers will be greater choice of job candidates. All job applicants will build and maintain resumes on a single Web site. This allows hiring managers to search the USAJOBS database for candidates who may be qualified for a particular opening — even if they did not apply for the job. The search engine will allow hiring managers to search by various categories, such as job title and place of residence, or they can do full-text searches of resumes, Enger said.
So if I work for one agency, and apply to others, my boss can see my inquiries. It also means that you are showing my paperwork to people I never authorized.
Not clear if job seekers can have more than one profile in the system, the better to market themselves.
Also not suggested is the ability to inquire or apply pseudonymously for part of the process.
"I see us using that database quite a bit when we are looking for people with sophisticated medical training," said Edward Sanchez, chief of human resource management services at the Veterans Affairs' Eastern Colorado health care system.
"We compete with more than 15 hospitals to hire medical specialists in the Denver area, so having a way to find specialists that have already shown an interest in working for the federal government would give us an advantage."
Convenient for employers, and for people who are used to having their CVs on public display.
Overwhelmed by Resumes
But streamlining the job-application process could have a downside. Some federal hiring experts say the shortened online application form will make it easier for people to apply for positions they are not qualified for.
Blame the candidate for improper guidance?
The Interior Department's National Wildlife Refuge System often receives hundreds of applications for entry-level positions even now, said Bill Hartwig, chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System. "Because entry-level positions don't have that many qualifications, it is hard to narrow down who you should interview," Hartwig said. "We are going to need some kind of help from OPM on figuring out how to select from so many qualified candidates."
Will OPM really be able to convey the sense of purpose, the commitment to preservation, shared by the cadre at the NWRS?
On the other hand, increasing the number of applicants coming through the door likely will improve the overall quality of candidates from which the agency can choose.
Numbers may rise, if the OPM site is attractive, but not average quality. Average quality will stay the same (assuming you're just getting more) or average quality will fall with volume (as the most competitive opt-out of a cattle call).
"If you make it easier to apply, the fact that you get more candidates generally will drive up the caliber of the candidate," said MSPB's Nelson. "If you get to pick from 50 or 500 people, you would think the people at the top of the list of 500 will be better than [those at the top of] the list of 50."
In this example, if you're hiring 5 people, you just slashed the chances of an applicant getting a job from 10% to 1%. Will this drive the quality of informed applicants up? Or down? Will this encourage careful choice of where to post? Or application spam?
In addition to overhauling how agencies recruit candidates, the administration has given managers a number of new hiring flexibilities that should help them bring qualified applicants on board faster than ever. These flexibilities include direct hiring authority and streamlined evaluation procedures.
Sounds good. Are the civil service protections in place to avoid things like corruption, discrimination, nepotism, etc.?
Also, along with rapid hiring, rapid firing (a 30-day bozo filter) may help correct mistakes.
Taken together, the recruitment and hiring reforms should improve an employment process criticized by many as unnecessarily bureaucratic, painfully slow and discouraging to individuals looking for their first government jobs.
"Oftentimes, what keeps people from applying for government jobs is our bureaucratic expectations and our bureaucratic processes that we've built" in front of job applicants, said Al Ressler, director of the National Academy of Public Administration's Center for Human Resources Management in Washington.
Bravo to OPM for paying attention to candidate experience. Can't you feel the goodwill and great intentions? Will OPM get a serious budget for user experience analysis? For R&D?
Privacy, Please. Since any manager can mine the resume bank, reasonable people will have some concerns. You don't want to be perceived as an intrusive Total Career Information Awareness (see TIA) carnivore more than a We're Competing With HotJobs system. OPM can put candidate "ownership" and control back into the system. Anonymize profiles until candidates approve the viewer. Enable block lists, so your boss and ex-boyfriend don't know about your career interests. Turn on features for expiration (if you haven't touched or updated your profile in 24 months, we're going to delete it) and withdrawal (as requested, we've deleted your profile completely). Notify job seekers who is looking at their profile. You're making it easier to apply. Make sure if feels safe, secure, and private too.
Commodity Workplaces? The Army, for one, is a very sophisticated
recruiting machine. They studied, refined, experimented, and honed their tools
and methods. But the OPM-only rule bars other organizations from
inventing and exploiting best online practices. Wouldn't the government be
better served with a compelling medical research career site sponsored by the
National Institute of Health? Isn't there more to working in forestry than can
be fit into application forms? Don't you want relationships with potential
workers through their whole careers, not just when they actively shop for work?
I urge each human capital chief to reaffirm their investment in local career sites. Leave the formal plumbing to OPM but take charge of the career conversation. Brand yourselves through your career sites, weblogs, chat rooms and mailing lists. Tell stories and share ideas that demonstrate your institutional values. OPM can give you a shallow mechanical filter. Your career site can change attitudes and behavior so the right people beat a path to your door.
Arrghh, Pirates of the Private Sector. It's nearly a zero sum labor market. With the Recruitment One-Stop initiative, government is set to shanghai talent from the private sector. While this isn't new, it will put more pressure than ever on business and other government agencies to fill vital positions. This may have political effects: congressmen asking why plants in their district are moving offshore and labor unions reinvigorated, for example.
Open up the jobs database. Follow the leads of Amazon, eBay, and Google. Open your engine to the public. Let programmers invent new ways of using your jobs database. You'll be delighted with the creative and useful things the Internet will produce.
Tuesday, July 22, 2003
You can tell that Bill is the kind of gent who plans ahead, who digs deep into his subject. He's using his tools (web, audio, brain) to interrogate labor market practioners and observers. An abundance of views, the better to see the whole picture. His interview bank is like going to a first rate staffing or recruiting conference from the comfort of your computer.
Monday, July 21, 2003
It's a matter of whether we're talking about IT enhancing productivity or competition. The telephone has made us able to get more done in a day. Has the phone continued to radically affect the competitive balance among companies? No. That's Nick's point. Some kinds of IT fall into that category. For example, e-mail. We all have it; we all use it. But it's not competition-changing, so overinvesting in it is not a great idea. The bases of competition revolve around other things.
[But] there are industries where technologies are fundamentally important. Dell has an IT business-process automation infrastructure that really works. If you don't have one of those, do you have a hope of competing in that industry? And even if you want to put one of those in place, there will be a really big difference in how successful you are vs. another company, because it's tough organizational change in a technology wrapper. We're not equally good at doing it. If we find ourselves competing in an industry where these kinds of systems are important, then IT matters like crazy.
Just as true for HR.
Especially true for staffing.
Everyone in your industry has automated the pernacky out of hiring workflow. The huge, strategic, promotion-worthy, sustainable competitive advantages will come from:
Better planning. An ounce of prevention. Alignment is everything. Early alignment is cheaper than fixing alignment. All poised to hire five warm and fuzzy relationship sales guys when you really need 500 ruthless telemarketers? Do you have a living, trustworthy workforce demand forecast? In small companies, five minutes with a quick and dirty spreadsheet each month can be plenty. In bigger outfits, you may need more formal updates, access to harder data, and a seat at the operations and strategy tables.
Better branding. The right messages to the right people in the right forms at the right times. If your brand messages are off just a hair, you are leaving budget on the table and polluting your candidate pipeline with misfits. How well do you know the psychological needs of your customer? Is your employment marketing communication program precision targeted? Are responses to each message measured and compared?
Better user experience. Inform, persuade, entertain, create value. What would a 10% boost in average candidate quality mean to you? How about 25%?
Your employment web site can do much better. Your career site is the first point of rich and meaningful contact. It is the proxy for your personal attention, standing in for you. Does your first impression further attract the people you need? Do job seekers feel like you're helping? Or do they perceive you and your site as a bureaucrat with a clipboard of job listings and a stack of application forms? (How would you know?) Do designs persuade people to participate at just the right level for your mutual interest? Are you getting a buzz just from meeting informed and enthusiastic interviewees? Are you measuring how well you meet your customer's needs? Do they know you care about them?
A few terms defined:
Better doesn't just mean improved. Better means Better Than Your Competition!
Job seeker, candidate, applicant. "Customer" puts you and everyone in staffing in a marketing frame of mind. Do you understand the customers you're fighting for better than others in your labor market? Are you communicating and serving those customers better than other choices?
The feelings, behavior and memories created by interacting with your web site. People have good and bad experiences. Bad experiences mean they leave, even if they are your perfect candidate. Are you creating not just good experiences, but experiences mind blowingly better than other employers?
Where should you put next HR dollar? Make your case for strategic corporate advantage. Plan and brand your career site. Make a Better Customer Experience. Every candidate touches it. Every future employee's expectations are shaped by it. You will get the best ROI by improving and aligning job seeker experience.Please write and tell me if I'm on the right track here. Thanks.
Thursday, July 17, 2003
Tuesday, July 08, 2003
Web Site AccessibilityAre you blowing away great candidates just because:
John Edwards's Web site was designed to be accessible to all visitors. You'll notice clear and logical navigation tools throughout the site. Information should be easy to find. The John Edwards for President Web site follows popular Web accessibility guidelines promoted by industry and the disability community.
Visitors with disabilities may notice special features throughout the site that help make information available in alternative forms. In many cases, this functionality makes reading easier with text visible in large sizes and high contrasts. If you use screen reader software, you will find that photographs, charts, and illustrations are accompanied by text descriptions. The organization of each Web page is presented in a logical reading order maintained when assistive technology is used.
Your input can help to improve accessibility. If you notice any Web site features that are difficult to use, please contact us.
- You don't have an accessible career site?
- You don't have a web accessibility policy?
- Your ATS system bakes in barriers?
- The job boards where you spend your ad budget, and make first impressions, are harsh to the handicapped?
- You don't share your accessibility policy with job seekers, missing the brand benefits?
Opportunity doesn't move you? How about fear of litigation?
Monday, June 30, 2003
- VP Staffing
- Privacy Officer
- Marketing Communications
- Applicant Tracking System Vendor
New laws, like California SB 1386 (in effect 1 July 2003), affect what data you collect, keep, how you use it, and who gets to to see it. We do all of that through our career site. Where do we stand? What's our plan?
- What laws and regulations apply to our pre-employment data now?
- What are coming soon?
- Which jurisdictions apply to our online staffing process?
- What data do we collect now?
- How are we protecting the data electronically? Physically? Procedurally? Is it enough?
- Does our responsibility start on web sites that collect information on our behalf, like job boards?
- Do we share information with contractors and business partners? How can we determine if they compliant? Is that a new condition of working with us?
- What can we do to both serve our recruiting goals while meeting job seeker needs for privacy?
- Will this change our data sharing policy within the organization? Across sister organizations?
- Do we have procedures and a mechanism for user notification? Have we tested the mechanism?
- How do we communicate our actions in a way consistent with our employment brand?
- How flexible is our ATS? How fast can changes be turned on?
- What is our data retention policy? Does it need updating?
- What is our risk exposure?
- What are the direct and indirect costs of compliance?
- What is the effect, positive or negative, on recruiting?
- What upside potential can we earn by being compliant sooner and better than other employers? Are there stricter standards worth bragging about to potential employees?
- What should we do to stay ahead of privacy compliance changes?
- Official California State Government site on SB 1386
- California Attorney General site on SB 1386 notifications
- Text of SB 1386
- Epic, privacy advocates.
- InfoWorld article: Leading the charge into privacy legislation
California Security Law Background: The
state passes a tough law regarding public disclosure of security breaches
after a hacker breaks in to a state employee database.
- Threat Focus, consulting firm. California SB 1386 mandates public disclosure of computer-security breaches in which confidential information of ANY California resident MAY have been compromised. The law covers every enterprise, public or private, doing business with California residents. Come July 1, 2003, those who fail to disclose that a security breach has occurred could be liable for civil damages or face class actions.
- "95 percent of people who use the Internet at home think they should have a legal right to know everything about the information that websites collect from them." CIO article. Annenberg news release (pdf) and the Americans and Online Privacy: The System is Broken report (pdf).
Use an Emblog Agenda to jump start your thinking on an important topic. For internal use only.
Thursday, June 26, 2003
Today's Deploy webinar is over. People didn't throw tomatoes (that I could see), the questions were sharp, and I had fun.
One caller asked what he should measure about his company's employment site. I said accessibility. But he clearly wanted operational measures. Here are a few.
Conversion and Abandonment Rates.
Is your abandonment rate 95-98%? Nearly everyone landing on your career home page would rather be somewhere else?
Then your home page is the first thing to fix. The perfect search is useless if nobody uses it. You have to give people reasons to stay, give hope that they can complete their mission for this visit.
Once you start measuring CR and AR, go deeper:
- Rate by source of referral.
- Rate by occupational category.
- Rate by browser version (you'll be surprised).
- Rate by geography (if you ask, IT should be able to tell you from which metro area people are connecting).
Pick a user goal. For instance "find out if there are jobs for people like me here." You can measure the time it takes. The effort, in clicks. The abandonment rate as people try and fail.
Experiment. Try a change, maybe a "we're hiring n of X" link on the front page. How does this change user behavior? Are some people clicking on it, instead of leaving? Can you cut the time people spend before making commitments? Shorten the distance from entry to goal?
Pick 10 goals that lead to candidate behaviors you want. (Choose wisely, please.) And measure goal accomplishment over time.
Most people connect to the net via dial-up, especially when looking for work from home or a library.
I just checked the career home page load times for 5 large US employers (2.8 million employees among them). 3 seconds is acceptable. 6 seconds is very slow. 9 seconds convinces a user your site is broken, provoking back-buttons or checking if the url is correct.
Over dial-up: 26, 20, 27, 26, and 14 seconds. Just for splash pages that don't let users do anything.
The same pages from your corporate office? 0,0,0,0,0.
Measure how fast every page on your site loads. Talk with your webmaster and ATS vendor about web site optimization. You can contract for reports that measure how fast your site loads, and how reliably, from different parts of the US or the world.
Make your site fast. Speed makes up for a multitude of sins, since users can afford the time to work around design problems.
Hope this helps.
I have butterflies.
Giving my first webinar today. New subject for me. New medium.
People can't see me and I can't see them, just the droning sound of my voice until Q&A.
I'm an old hand at stand-up presentos. Been a professional IT trainer. Hundreds of sessions, thousands of attendees. No rational reason for performance anxiety.
My audience: hiring managers.
The way you hire today (advertise on job boards so active job seekers fill out your forms) is broken.
The key is to change job seeker behavior.
The best place to do that is your company job site. Low cost. Access. Effective.
Good manners and respect are the keys to changing beliefs, attitudes, and behavior. Google on persuasive technology for technical details.
So your web site becomes a natural magnet for the people you're seeking (workforce demand forecasting, anyone?).
And a magnet that kindly drives off those whose employment needs won't be met.
Taking control of your company employment site is about wrestling your destiny back into your hands.
My commercial motive?
My firm, Candidate Voice, certifies employer sites from a job seeker's perspective.
The better to measure, analyze, and plan how well you serve or abuse job seekers.
Flat fee, hard numbers, actionable plan. Call me.
My personal motive?
I'm angry that the proxy for HR, the employment site, does such a rude and incompetent job that it would be fired if it was a human being.
But it isn't. After five years.
I'm angry that millions of job seekers are treated with disrespect.
So much so that youngsters think of job boards and career sites as time wasters.
That the same technology that opened up the world to companies is raising walls around them, making them cold and impersonal.
I'm frustrated that human resources has become less humane in tough times.
And more bureaucratic.
I believe that many staffing people got into HR to help people.
They must be frustrated as hell.
I'm bewildered that most HR people feel helpless to change things.
I'm angry that vendors think adding a browser cookie to bureaucratic workflow substitutes in any way for a human relationship.
I'm angrier that any HR pro would think so.
I'm angry at the agony perpetuated in labor markets by all the employers who optimize their internal workflow at the expense of 50 million U.S. job seekers every year.
With sites that are
That make job seekers ineffective.
That waste lifetimes of precious time and attention.
That are intrusive and one sided.
That demand all of your information and share none of theirs.
That don't treat job seekers like adults.
That don't behave with simple courtesies, like greetings, farewells, and thank yous.
Staffing pros are getting frustrated too. And angry. And afraid. And ambitious.
Motivated for change.
I'm hopeful that lessons from IT, and logistics, and marketing will be discovered and applied. Things that work.
I'm hopeful because 400 people signed up for my webinar.
In three hours.
Don't think about it, Phil.
Just do it.
Thanks for listening.
Monday, June 02, 2003
Pittsburgh is no longer a "steel city." Its largest employer is the University of Pittsburgh and its medical center.Duquesne University's Center for Competitive Workforce Development started the Pittsburgh International Communities Project. From a PittsburghLIVE.com article:
But like the rest of America, it still needs a steady infusion of immigrants.
However, immigrants go where other immigrants from their country have gone. And when European immigration stopped, Pittsburgh did not become a destination for immigrants from Latin America and Asia.
Americans who complain about immigration do not know what Pittsburgh knows: We still need immigrants. Always will.
A Duquesne University report released this summer says that as older people retire and fewer young ones are available to take their place, the region may face a shortage of as many as 125,000 workers within a decade, limiting growth and development. The shortage could reach 400,000 in 20 years.Good to read about policy makers taking the baby bust seriously. Does your employment site reach out to immigrant communities? If not, why not?
2500 UK Workers Sacked by Text MessageAren't you glad this isn't on your CV?
Australians like to believe we lead the world in all things related to technology, and at least in the bad business department, that seems to be the case.
The most recent example is the cowardly use of SMS text messages to sack staff. I have to wonder if the decision by failed UK personal injury claims litigator, The Accident Group (TAG), to sack its 2500 staff by mobile phone text message (SMS) was inspired by the February 18 sacking by SMS of Australian worker, John Eid. If that was the case, then TAG's directors may have thought that, unlike in the Eid case, no penalty would have to be paid for their actions.
"Its official, you no longer work for JNI Traffic Control and u have forfided any arrangements made," read the message sent to Eid by a director of the company.
Compare that to what TAG staff received in the early hours of the morning according to reports in the British press: "sorry folks im gutted 4 u good luck in ur future careers mike", read the SMS from TAG's regional manager.
TAG's collapse comes a year after the implosion of competitor, Claims Direct, which was attacked for its US chainsaw management style.
Wednesday, May 28, 2003
What happens when the pendulum swings the other way?
You regain the freedom to choose.
What do you get when the economy picks up? When that economic pendulum swings back? When it's safe to move again?
The attrition bomb. Career musical chairs. Released pent-up demand. An explosive frenzy of interviewing and job search.
Are you watching the pendulum swing? Are you ready for the attrition bomb?
Tuesday, May 27, 2003
Something that has been bothering me for a while (I guess this is a "rant") concerns the emphasis on recruiting MATERIALS. There is such an emphasis on presenting the company in a positive light, making their Internet materials look spiffy, attractive, sharp, etc. All this may well induce an applicant to accept a job offer. But what about once he or she is on the job? Do we put enough emphasis on having good bosses, interesting work, effective learning opportunities? And, if the Internet materials look too good, might this not be misleading to the job candidates?I think you're noticing the problem of integrity, being true to yourself. You know the 360 degree exercises that help you see yourself as others see you? Ideally, you can use that information to bring the two together.
Four minutes. Look at your career site. Contrast it with the stories insiders tell. Do you see gaps between image and reality?
I had a great conversation last week with Charles Helliwell, a London management consultant who performs Business Personality Audits. He compares the internal and external perceptions and does the consulting stuff you'd expect. This is a great way to drill down to systemic problems, to root causes. And a marvelous light to shine on your career brand.
I expect the Disney recruiting site to be all smiles, customer service, and continuous improvement. But a workplace where survival of the fittest is the rule, where everyone carries sharp knives and time not billed is wasted, that character should come through the career site. It will attract and repel exactly the right people.
So integrity matters. To the recruiter and the job seeker.
Welcome to the fray, Dr. Mike.
Why the difference? Could it be relative sector dependence on Internet recruiting? The high cost of job advertising? Perceived availability of workers using the web? (lagging reality?)
- 100% of companies in the Healthcare, Transportation, and Wholesale sectors
- 98% of companies in the Manufacturing sector
- 97% of companies in the Consumer sector
- 92% of companies in the High Tech sector
- 91% of companies in the Natural Resources, and Utilities sectors
- 90% of companies in the Financial sector
The Other Diversity. Also notable, three percent of the worldwide workforce live in countries not their own, mostly in their home region. The web can help with cross-border and multi-cultural recruiting. Missed opportunity: Most United States employer sites do nothing to recruit locally in multiple languages. Neither do they market to U.S. subcultures. This despite the ten percent of the legal workforce that speaks Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Chinese at home. Pepsi advertises on Telemundo. What's keeping you from speaking the languages your workforces speak?