E-Recruiting, Competitive Advantage and Corporate Sluggishness

The e-recruiting world is exploding. Take a look at this very partial list of funding announcements, partnership agreements, new customers and new products that have been sent out over the past couple of weeks. If you ever had any doubt of the ubiquity of the Web as a recruiting force, this should put them to rest. Even Tom Peters has joined the fray and is adding his powerful voice. Tom Peters Forms alliance with Jobs.com to launch movement that SHOUTS “it’s the WORK that matters!” POWERHiring.com and Career Central Team Up for Expanded Services And Web Presence ROMAC eT Renamed kforce Consulting (Did you see the Superbowl commercial?) Mohr, Davidow Ventures Leads $9 Million Funding Round for WetFeet.com; WetFeet.com Aimed At Companies Looking to Reach Top Job Seekers PassportAccess Surpasses One Half Million Technical Resume Mark iSearch Powers CareerPath.com Past 1 Million Resumes; iPost Technology Helps Top Career Site Reach Milestone Personic Signs 39 New Customers in Q4 FirstLook.com Selects Hire.com to Power Its Online Recruiting; Leader in Online Marketing Transforms Their Recruiting Process WorkLife Solutions, Inc. Establishes Exclusive Content Partner Consortium for AltaVista Live! Careers – Channel CareerEngine, Inc. Partners With ASRI.com; Partnership with HR Specialist to Augment E-Recruiting – Network’s Recruitment Advertising Services Webhire to Provide Brainbench Testing to Speed its Online Recruiting Service Bernard Hodes Group and – recruitsoft.com to Offer Integrated Package of Recruiting Services – Over the Web TechOpps.com joins the ranks of Web sites that bring together job seekers and employers This will be the year when we begin to see some focus come to the Internet recruiting market. Most candidates are completely confused about how to find a job on the Internet. They go to Monster.com because they have heard of it, but don’t find the services they would really like. In my informal surveys of candidates, and in the testing I have done, few of the job boards offer anything more than a classified ad service to the candidate. Many candidates ask me where the added value is over the newspaper. I have been telling them to wait and see and now the fruit is ripening. Instead of more and more new firms reinventing what is already out there, we are already seeing a change in the Internet recruiting arena. The older broad-based job boards such as Monster.com will still be important for some types of jobs and for people and firms not too concerned with where a candidate is located. But, vertical job boards that focus on specific skill sets and geographies will be much more important. Many job boards will morph into job portals where applicants can find potential employers, potential jobs and get skill-assessment and other information; and where employers can get up-to-the-minute information about candidates and even see video clips of them – are going to prosper. Kforce is clearly making a splash in this direction and offers a wide array of services to candidates and organizations. They have done this through partnering and forming alliances with providers of a variety of services. This way they don’t have to reinvent everything. Brainbench specializes in testing candidates for technical skills is partnering with them. BrainBench has also formed an alliance with WebHire, which has an alliance with Yahoo. WebHire powers Yahoo Recruiter. Pretty soon it’s going to be almost impossible to keep track of the marriages. Is this a good trend? I think so. It provides candidates and companies with what they want — one stop shopping. Yet it also ensures variety and competition because the services are delivered via partnerships and alliances. I like this model a lot and think that it will produce vibrant and powerful portals. If customers don’t like or don’t use a particular service, then the portal owners can sever the relationship. If the portal doesn’t deliver the volume of candidates or the level of service promised, the providers can also sever their relationships. This should make these portals increasingly useful and effective. Recruiters, too, should be happier with these portals than with simple job boards. It allows them to locate better-screened and prepared candidates and it allows them to put some of the sourcing into the hands of hiring managers. It is only mindset that limits this. It has been said that access to capital is no longer a competitive advantage because almost anyone can raise money today. Neither is access to raw materials or equipment, which can be easily purchased from a variety of sources. Even technology can be bought or stolen. The only real competitive advantage lies with human capital – the people and their loyalty, creativity and skill that develop our products and provides our services. And these job boards, portals and other web-based tools are the door to these people. In many cases, the people using the web are ones who you would not have access to in any other way. The web is like a vein of gold and yet it is being only partially mined. I don’t see enough corporations doing enough mining. While I see candidates flocking to the job boards and portals, they are not being met with the same degree of enthusiasm on the corporate side. Many corporate managers don’t understand how quickly these tools will make a difference as to whether a company can find the strategic people power it needs or not. If a company relies heavily on traditional sourcing techniques and fails to understand and use these job boards, portals and other information and recruiting sources, they are missing out on a tool that will help them achieve competitive advantage – finding key people first before anyone else. Don’t let your own mindset or that of your management deter you from using the power of these tools to their fullest. This means having a great corporate recruiting web site as well as taking advantage of the growing wealth of services at your fingertips.

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Kevin Wheeler is a globally known speaker, author, futurist, and consultant in talent management, human capital acquisition and learning & development. He has founded a number of organizations including the Future of Talent Institute, Global Learning Resources, Inc. and the Australasian Talent Conference, Ltd. He hosts Future of Talent Retreats in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. He writes frequently on LinkedIn, is a columnist for ERE.net, keynotes, and speaks at conferences and events globally, and advises firms on talent strategy. He has authored two books and hundreds of articles and white papers. He has a new book on recruiting that will be out in late summer of 2016. Prior to his current work, he had a 20+year corporate career in several San Francisco area tech and financial service firms. He has also been on the faculty of San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco. He can be reached at kwheeler@futureoftalent.org.

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