In last week’s column I gave some of my predictions for the coming year. Whenever you write an article, it’s very difficult to mention every great product and every vendor that you may wish to discuss. Inadvertently last week, there were several excellent products and companies that were omitted from my column. I would very much like to tell you about these companies and urge you to take a look at them. Most of them are offering new ways of looking at tomorrow or are very, very good about doing today’s work. The first of these companies, which I briefly mentioned last week, is called FlipDog. It sits in a special place. Basically it is a career board, but it works in a very unusual way. Rather than solicit job openings from companies, it uses some very advanced technology to scrape job descriptions from corporate websites. By going out across the entire nation, and of course it can even do this globally, it can very quickly accumulate a large mass of open positions. Basically all the open positions that a company posts on its corporate websites are available to populate the FlipDog database. Candidates can search through this database for jobs based on geography, position, job title, or specific company. By collecting and communicating this information, FlipDog also provides a good picture of the demand side of the market for a given geography. For example, I did a quick search for Human Resources positions in the San Jose, California area and found more than 280 job openings. It looks like a good market for HR types! Look to FlipDog to add many additional services in the coming year. The job boards that survive this coming year will morph into tools that provide market data, add personalization, update candidates on changes in demand in given geographies and provide great results to corporate recruiters. Look at FlipDog as a survivor. Applicant tracking is a strange and evolving world. I am even afraid to define it, because it has so many permutations and variations. The “pure” applicant tracking systems ? those of a few years ago ? are backend tools to make the life of a recruiter easier. They have no candidate interface and are invisible to the candidate. Companies focused on this end of the market are probably a dying breed, as well, as other tools emerge (hire.com, for example) that supercede some of the need for these systems. <*SPONSORMESSAGE*> Many of the firms that produce these tools are migrating them to the web as Application Service Providers (ASP), and are adding on all sorts of bells and whistles. Most are adding candidate profilers and some are adding screening tools and even marketing tools to their products (e.g. Recruitsoft.com). Whether this is a successful strategy only you ? the purchasers ? know. Last week I mentioned a few systems that I think offer good value, but I missed PeopleClick, a system that is gaining ground everyday and seems to be well liked by its users. I have chatted with several recruiters who are now using this system and they are very happy. That is saying a lot in this space where complaints are more common than praise. Many of you commented on corporate websites. Many felt that recruiting websites were evolving in the right way and becoming more useful to candidates. Others felt that navigation around many corporate websites is still ambiguous and that it is hard to know what to do next or how to do it. There were also comments that the use of auto responders for acknowledging candidates’ resume submission has become trite and meaningless. I, too, continue to find most corporate websites boring, unexciting, and filled with bureaucratic jargon. I really wish that someone out there would create a website with the level of personalization that Lands End puts into its commercial site. Lands End has a website that truly understands personalization. If any of you have used their website to order clothing, I would like to hear about your experience. Could the same kind of experience be translated to recruiting? It will take this out-of-the-box thinking to get a competitive advantage out of the web site investment. Selling the “keepers” of the corporate web site is perhaps your biggest job for 2001! One person commented on the need for career brokers or talent agents instead of recruiters. I agree that this is where recruiting is evolving and that much more effort will be expended in coaching and guiding talented candidates to the “right” jobs. I will devote an entire column to this topic next year. Thanks again for a great year of ideas, feedback, comments and fun. I certainly enjoy writing these columns and hearing from all of you. I hope you enjoy reading them and find them at least a little useful in your busy daily lives. I will not have a column next week, but will be back in January. Have a great holiday and a Happy New Year!
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