The End of Job Boards!

Oh, brother – or, in the words of our almost-immortal editor, Paul Hawkinson – Hoo Boy! The end of something else in our industry. No, everyone, I cannot take credit for the title of this piece. I recently saw an article with this title on one of the recruiting blogs. Evidently, now the blogs will replace Monster, CareerBuilder, HotJobs, and all the rest of the national job services. I wish they would. These boards cost thousands of dollars per year. The blogs are free. That is, until some genius comes up with the idea of charging for them. Anyway . . . it was only a few years ago that was predicting the demise of the entire recruiting industry. Their service was going to replace every recruiter in the country, remember? I remember NOT biting my fingernails over that one. More recently, outsourcing and the Internet were going to replace all IT recruiters. Just a month or two ago, I read a piece by one of the leading business networking vendors saying that THEY were going to replace the recruiting industry. Last month, I read a post by a respected industry sage saying that retained search would replace contingency search (believe it or not, this statement caused a number of unprofessional responses). Long ago, it was predicted that the Internet would replace all newspaper employment ads.

Whew – it is becoming increasingly difficult for us all to keep track of what is staying and what is going.

I am so glad I am not one of the wise men who make these predictions, as they are always 100% wrong. I wish that long ago I had made a prediction that emailed résumés would replace paper mailed-in résumés, because since I started recruiting in 1979 the only thing that has bit the dust has been paper mailed-in résumés. I happen to know that index cards for candidates are still around. People still use paper daily planners. Don’t get me wrong – both blogs and business networking sites are new (relatively speaking) and great ways for all of us to look for candidates. I am always delighted when we all can add another source of hard-to-find candidates to our recruiting process.

Well, newspaper employment ads are still here, as are IT recruiters, as is the recruiting industry, as is everything else that was supposed to be replaced by something else Рexcept paper mailed-in r̩sum̩s.

AIRS Search Lab 3.0

The last time I sat through anything like this was years ago when I attended AIRS I and II. These classes have evolved over the years and have been combined into what is now known as AIRS Search Lab. This is a full-day program in a classroom setting that gives you the kind of quality information we have all come to expect from AIRS, one of the earliest proponents of Internet recruiting and sourcing and still the undisputed leader in the field. I was lucky enough to be invited to sit through a session and report this to The Fordyce Letter readership.

The day followed a logical progression. We started by learning about the three major search types Рone for senior executives, another for managers, and the last for specialized contributors Рand we learned how to build search plans for each type. We also learned about search techniques, including r̩sum̩ searches, people (names) searches, x-ray searches (searches inside websites), flip-searches (searches with results linked to websites), peel-backs, peer searches, and community searches.

We were given a thorough education on using search engines (including Boolean logic), directories, and meta-tools for gathering the information we wanted. I remember we learned a lot about AltaVista back in the AIRS I and II days, but now the search engines of choice were Google, Yahoo, and Live (MSN). We learned about the pluses and minuses of each and ran many searches for résumés on each one. We learned the best time to use the meta-search tools and also when not to use them.

We then learned the difference between profiles and résumés and started learning how to perform searches for non-résumé data. Instead of words such as “résumé,” “bio,” “cv,” or “homepage,” we were taught how to use people words like “employee,” “staff,” “alumni,” and others. We were able to use keywords with the people words to locate profiles of people we might be interested in contacting for our assignments.

One aspect of the AIRS training that has always been of great interest to me is the process behind the technique. Anyone can teach techniques. As a matter of fact, anyone can get techniques alone by going into the help sections of the search engines. What AIRS has been most famous for, in my opinion, is their ability to combine the technique with a process. Once you have the process down, the technique is easy. This was most apparent when we started learning about how to build your own professional network. We were taught how to use the communities, business networking sites, and discussion forums to actually become a part of the community from which you are trying to recruit – to start the process of building your professional network so you have a constant pipeline of qualified candidates to choose from the next time a hard-to-fill assignment arises. We were taught about specific communities to reach out to, learned about three of the most productive business-networking sites, and also learned how to cull names of qualified candidates from the discussion groups (one of the most underrated recruitment methods).

Peer searching is another great technique learned during the course of the day. “Find one and find them all.” We were taught how to research the name of a specific individual in the hope of locating information about other individuals with the same type of background. We were taught how to accomplish this task with the search and meta-search engines.

The day ended with some strategies for actually contacting the people we found. A name in a search engine results queue isn’t worth much unless we can turn that name into something more tangible, an actual contact. We learned a bit about actually locating contact information, communication techniques, contact strategies, and contact guidelines, and were even given some sample emails and phone messages.

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Our instructor for the day, Lisa Brusack, was just perfect for the job. Anyone could tell she was truly an expert in her field. Aside from her knowledge of the class information, she exhibited an enormous amount of patience with our group and delivered the vast amount of information that day in a way we could all easily understand and absorb, all with a big smile on her face all day long. One of the most personable trainers I have ever met.

I want to thank Chris Forman, CEO of AIRS, for his help in writing this review. Anyone looking for advanced training in the area of locating the names and résumés of passive candidates for their search assignments should take a closer look at this program. It is offered periodically in person in a number of cities around the USA but is offered as an online class as well. You can visit the AIRS website at for a full class description and also find a listing of dates and times when this training is available.

I recently received an email announcing a website for environmental, health, and safety positions. EHSCareers claims 6,000 EH&S professionals in their database and has an established network of over 70,000 EH&S professionals. I have not used this service myself nor do I know much about it other than the marketing email I received, but if you have a need for this type of candidate, they may be worth a look.


For this month’s tip I am going to steal a tip from Lisa at AIRS. Throughout the day we were given tidbits of information – not actually part of the class outline – that could be of help to us all. One of the sites mentioned was This is a site that has what they call “power tools for surfing.” These bookmarklets are mini programs that you can use to extract specialized data from a webpage (like when it was posted), navigate pages in new ways, modify page views, and really too many other items to mention. Best just to visit this site and see what would work for you. There are over 150 bookmarklets on this site, and they are all free to use. Visit

Mark E. Berger, CPC, AIRS CIR, has been in recruiting since 1979. He has been a partner in Ramsey Fox, Inc., an IT services firm, and its predecessor, M. E. Berger & Associates, since 1986. He has been heavily involved in Internet recruiting and is an expert on recruiting and sourcing products, services available on the Internet, and how these products add to the bottom line. Mark’s interests include successfully integrating both computer and Internet recruiting technology into a traditional recruiting environment. He has taken AIRS I and II training and has obtained the AIRS CIR designation. Mark is also on the board of directors for the Missouri Association of Personnel Services. He can be reached at His website is and we recommend that you visit it to see archives of his articles and information offerings exclusively for recruiters.

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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