Billing itself as a network of sites that includes over 700 highly targeted environments, About.com is about information. And, with a well-organized wealth of resources, it’s also about finding candidates. There are many ways to move about in About.com. From the homepage, you can begin your search in one of three ways: by entering a word or phrase in the “Find It Now” box, by choosing a letter from the alphabetical index, or by selecting a category from the main menu. All methods of searching return accurate, worthwhile information that can help you locate candidates. Entering “Accounting Industry” in the “Find It Now” box, for example, returns a listing of links to the About “Accounting Site.” The first item in the list is the link to the site’s homepage. Other key links are organized by subject matter and include topics like “Organizations,” “Training,” and “Associations/Certifications.” Choosing any one of these takes you into the corresponding section of the site. Selecting “Accounting Site” leads to a homepage with various categories under the heading “Subjects.” Among them are “Associations,” “Online Magazines,” and “Universities.” Clicking on each of these returns relevant links, many of which contain names of individuals who have the potential to become or lead you to candidates. Selecting “Associations,” for example, returns “American Accounting Association” where names can be found from among a list of officers, publications, and awards. Choosing “Association of Practicing CPAs” provides a list of CPAs practicing in the Washington, DC area. Using the alphabetical index at About.com may seem less direct, but it can provide some unexpected approaches to gathering information. For example, under the letter “H,” you’ll find a listing for “Health Care Industry,” which takes you to a site that includes categories like “Publications” and “Schools/Training,” places where you can search for health care professionals. Under the letter “H” there is also a link to the “Hartford, CT” site. Under “Subjects” at “Hartford,” you’ll find the category “Health Care” which, should you be recruiting for health care professionals in or around Hartford, could prove extremely valuable. About.com is about logic. One of its strengths is that information is available wherever and however you search for it. If you follow your thought process, you’re likely to find just what you’re looking for and then some. Using the main menu at About’s homepage will also get you where you want to go. It includes 36 categories, many of which can lead you in sometimes surprising ways to sources of information. But two of the most obvious categories to select when searching for candidates are “Industry” and “Jobs/Careers.” Choosing “Industry” will return a list of “Industry Topics,” among which are “Computer Industry” “Energy Industry,” and, again, “Health Care Industry.” Keep in mind that once you select an industry, you are entering an entire site with a list of subjects relevant to that industry. Selecting “Jobs/Careers” returns an extensive listing divided into categories that include “Business/Finance,” “Science/Technology,” and “Media/Arts.” Under “Business/Finance” you’ll find areas of specialization, including one called “Accounting,” which leads you back to the accounting site. Under “Science/Technology” is “Chemical Engineering.” Choosing it takes you to an industry-specific site where you’ll find a list of “Subjects.” Not only will you find “Education” and “Journals,” which are ideal places to look for candidates, but at “Chemical Engineering” there is also a category called “Mailing Lists.” Because each site at About.com is overseen by a guide, an individual who is an expert in his or her field, the information is very focused, not to mention accurate and current. The guide for the “Chemical Engineering” site is Bernhard Spang, Ph.D., a senior lecturer at the Institute of Thermodynamics of the University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg, Germany. Dr. Spang calls his site “a repository of the chemical engineering information scattered around the Web.” He also says, “I’ll keep you up-to-date with professional developments, new ideas, and trends in chemical engineering.” With people like Dr. Spang on the job at About.com, your job just got a little easier. In addition to being a valuable resource for finding potential candidates, About.com is a great place to get information regarding specific industries. It offers a convenient way to expand your knowledge about an area for which you’re recruiting. And when knowledge becomes power and potential candidates become placed candidates, then it’s about effective recruitment.
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