Big Biller

Big Biller

For this month, I had the pleasure of reviewing the Big Biller applicant tracking system from Top Echelon. I was a member of this venerable organization for many years and my lack of participation at this time is in no way to be considered a lack of respect and admiration for this top flight recruiter network. I remember the days when all their resumes came in the mail, and then they introduced the MS/DOS database and sent us diskettes each week. We could even upload resumes and resume data sheets to the main system with a built in FTP program. Then came the first couple of Windows versions, which looked exactly like the DOS version, only more colorful. This was all leading up to their current offering, Big Biller.

You might ask why a review for a software product for a proprietary network. Answer … Big Biller is no longer just for the Top Echelon members; they are now offering the system on the open market. A first for them. This is strictly web-based. Nothing to install on your local system. Home or work … you can access your data at any time. I spent a couple of days on their system and here is what I came up with.

You log onto the main menu and see everything you need to begin your day right in front of you. From this screen you can Add, Find, Search, View and Email People, Companies and/or Jobs. Handy to have is the list of the last fifteen records you looked at.

I started with the People section of the database and tried my hand at adding a couple of new candidates. If you want to take advantage of the resume parsing feature you first browse for the resume on your hard drive, which pops a text copy of the resume into the new record, then, on clicking the parse feature, the new record is automatically populated with the contact information for that candidate as well. It is up to you to complete the rest of the record including, but not limited to, person type, employment, relocation, education, positions, compensation, skills … as much or little as you desire.

Please note I said “people” section and not “candidate” section. I like the way they have checkboxes on each record to denote the type of person you are entering. Candidate … Hiring Authority … Recruiter … just check the appropriate box. Many databases I have reviewed in the past require you to maintain separate databases for candidate contacts and hiring contacts. This has always been frustrating for me as on the occasion you have a hiring contact who happens to be your candidate as well (the audacity), you had to enter a new record for that contact. Two records for one person (one in the candidate section and one in the hiring authority section) in the same database? A big no-no in my book. Kind of defeats the whole purpose of having a relational database.

Another strong suit is the way they handle the search process. You can enter data until the cows come home but, unless you have a way to get it back out again … you are wasting your time. As an IT recruiter I am always hung up on how a database handles a candidate’s “skills.” This typically would be where I denote COBOL or UNIX or some other skill(s) the candidate has that I am going to search on at a later date. Enter text searching. A foolproof way to search for anything and everything. Big Biller allows you to text search your resume, comments, skills and any other bit of data you have entered. Don’t get me wrong; they still have fields that you can enter data into and search directly, but why take the extra time to enter all that when it is all in the resume already. I think this is a trend we’ll all see more and more. Less field searching and more text searching. It works fine for Google, Alta Vista and all the big Internet search engines and it works for recruiter databases as well.

Clicking on the Jobs section, I get a listing of all my open job orders. Adding a new order is easy. Enter the job title, company, contact, some type of job description and your done. Many fields for skills, industries, educational requirements, compensation, among others. If this is a new client where you do not have the company name in the database, it is easy to add on the fly. To add the job order contact, you click on that field and are presented with a list of contacts in that company. A new contact for that company is very easy to add on the fly as well. Searching your jobs is fairly straight forward as well. You can text search all your records or search specific comp, relocation or any other defined field.

Pulling everything together is easy as well. Getting search results is just the first step, you still need to get these people out to client sites, set up interviews and place them. On each person’s record is an activity button. Using the built-in email client, this is used to send a candidate’s resume to a client site, with a notation of the resume being sent automatically copied into the record. Using the same interface, you can track that submission through the rest of the placement process by logging interview and placement activity.

Enhanced communication is one of the keys to this software. You can communicate with whom you need to, when you need to, and keep a record of the entire correspondence. You can easily pull information directly from the database including both resumes and job orders, then send it to multiple recipients. You can also create groups, send emails to search results, and personalize the emails if you wish. Included is an excellent built-in planner where you can plan, track and view all activity available for you and other members of your firm.

They have an excellent and very competitive pricing plan which is $50 for first user and $10 additional for each additional user per month. This is one of the lowest monthly fees I have seen for this type of service. There is no setup fee and data conversion is a flat fee of $275.00 plus 2 cents per record for each database converted.

I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone seeking this type of service to check out the Big Biller software. My thanks to Mark Demaree, Vice President at Top Echelon Network, Inc., for his help in writing this review. Anyone with any questions or comments should contact Todd Bossler via telephone at (330) 455-1433 or email at You can also visit the Big Biller website at

Chris Forman AIRS CEO

Congratulations to Christian Forman, new CEO at AIRS, whom, I am proud to say, I have known for many years. From their press release:

Wilder, VTMarch 1, 2004 — AIRS, a global leader in recruitment training, tools and information, today announced that Chief Operating Officer Christian Forman has been named CEO, effective March 1, 2004. Forman has been tapped to lead the company’s worldwide expansion of its new human capital solutions, which include training and technologies for talent acquisition, hiring, mentorship and employee transition.

Forman joined AIRS in 1999, and has served as COO since 2002. According to outgoing CEO Michael Foster, “Chris has been instrumental in helping AIRS navigate the worst downturn in staffing history, and is responsible in large part for strengthening and repositioning the company for rapid growth in the next cycle.” Outgoing CEO Foster is leaving AIRS to focus on his responsibilities as a founding director of the Human Capital Institute, a new professional organization and think-tank for global talent leadership.

As Chief Operating Officer, Forman led product development of AIRS Oxygen, Atmosphere and Horizon technologies, as well as introducing new training and services. Oxygen, launched in late 2003, is a turn-key sourcing platform that helps recruiters post jobs, search resume banks and the Web, make contact with candidates and build talent pools. Atmosphere is AIRS Web-based mentorship and collaborative learning platform, slated for introduction in Q2, 2004. Horizon is a comprehensive career portal that allows employers to provide displaced workers with high value, step-by-step job search training, tools and assistance via the Web.

“Chris is an energetic and visionary leader, and AIRS is very fortunate to have him at the helm as we bring exciting new products into an improving marketplace.” says Foster, “I’m confident that as CEO, Chris will successfully grow AIRS brand, scale the company into new markets and provide even more exciting and useful solutions for our clients.”

Again…congratulations to Chris.

I came across this site at some point and wanted to make all aware. Anyone into passive candidate recruiting could probably make some use of this free service. is an Internet search engine that catalogs resume pages. They are a “page exchange” site, meaning that in order to get a batch of resumes, the site asks you to “feed” one of your resume pages to it. Just copy the url of any web-based resume you locate into the interface and once the software confirms you have put a resume in, you get back results (resumes) of other passive candidate in the database, per your search requests. For best results, have several resume pages ready to feed the site, as it sometimes disqualifies pages that you may enter (usually because the database already contains the page). Anyone interested in checking this out can visit their website at

Anyone involved in the once dead but reviving telecom industry should check out this site catering to that specialty. Although I have not used this service personally they claim to be the #1 Telecom job site on the Internet. They claim to have a database of over 125,000, telecommunications-specific, job-seeking candidates. Sounds like a good start to any telecom search. Anyone with any interest in this type of service can visit their website at The email I received also noted a free month if you sign up for two.

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eCruiter Connection

Looks like an excellent portal to the myriad of goods and services provided to the recruiting community. They offer a centralized listing that includes links to job and career sites, contact managers, ATS systems, resume parsing systems, payroll funding, data mining, recruiter websites, training, third-party screeners, testing and background checking, HR benefits and other categories as well. Anyone in the market for these types of products should use this site as a starting point. Visit their listings at

You wouldn’t know it by the website name but here is another site dedicated to the burgeoning and ever-growing health care recruiting marketplace. They cater to physicians, physician’s assistants, nurses, pharmacists and executives of all industries. You can post unlimited jobs and candidates (to split with other recruiting firms). The introductory price of $49.00 per month seems like a reasonable pricing plan. Anyone involved in this recruiting specialty should visit their website at


This month’s tip is graciously provided by David Carpe, the host of both and of a fairly new Yahoo Group catering to competitive intelligence. David is a true expert dedicated to human capital research and talks about “Google by Mail.”

“I’ve been bothered immensely by the challenge of storing specific searches of interest on various search engines, either forced to bookmark searches (tedious for organization), record queries (also tedious) and so spent a great deal of time looking over ‘web search by email.’

For those who don’t follow this, the basic idea behind hosts of such services (queries all run through volunteer servers), the idea was to deliver internet search to disparate geographies plagued by low quality internet access, zero browser access, and minimal access to email – so the summary goal: allow only email users to view search results via email without requiring a browser, or allow users to minimize required browser time (e.g. go to a specific site, versus searching and then viewing multiple results, etc.)

I’ve tested many of these – very many. If you’d like to research your own, check out any search engine and search for ‘web search by email’ (goes by multiple terms, from accmail to emailsearch etc.)

So far, the simplest and most effective one I’ve found is for Google Search by Email hosted by a company called ‘capeclear’ – to run a search, you simply put in your query in the subject line just as you would within a search bar (replete with all forms of syntax, etc) and send an email to:

The server will respond within a couple of minutes with summary search results and links. In this way, you can quickly archive the email, import to a folder (for any research, contact or organization) and easily retrieve and modify the subject line (e.g., modify, edit and forward back to the server again and again and again)

Certainly an interesting workaround to archiving results, though not for everybody.”

Mark E. Berger, CPC has been in permanent placement since 1979 and has been a partner in Berger/Nowlin, Inc. since 1997. Previously, he owned M. E. Berger & Associates, a permanent placement firm. He has been heavily involved in internet recruiting since 1996 and has successfully attained the AIRS CIR (Certified Internet Recruiter) designation. He is on the Board of Directors for the Missouri Assn. of Personnel Services and can be reached via email at


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