Monday, July 31, 2006

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

Are you ready for some football? I am, and it all starts today here in DC with the opening of Redskins training camp. My grandfather saw the very first Skins game in DC back in 1937 and was a season ticket holder up until they left RFK, my Dad has been an usher at RFK and FedEx Field for over 30 years, and I have been a die-hard fan for over 25 years myself. In other words, on Sundays in the Fall, I bleed burgundy and gold.

Coming off of a successful playoff year, the Redskins have another promising year ahead. They made several key free agent acquisitions (as they seem to do every year), but one of their most important acquisitions was bringing on Al Saunders to be the new Offensive Coordinator, taking over play-calling duties from Joe Gibbs. The story of how Al took this role was chronicled in a very interesting article in yesterday's Washington Post.

What is most interesting about the story to me is how hiring coaches in professsional sports parallels hiring in corporate America in many ways. There is no question that Al Saunders is highly qualified to be a head coach in the NFL, but it didn't happen this past off season primarily due to "...old-school networking, a reminder that in the tightly interconnected world of the NFL, acumen alone is rarely the final determinant." Hiring in the corporate world often operates in the same way, where candidates with qualifying skills and abilities are sometimes passed by due to politics, as well as real or perceived shortcomings in the intangibles that so often make or break an employment relationship.

Al was a great hire though, should make this offense sing this year with the talent he has (assuming they stay healthy). Along with Greg Williams and Joe Bugel, Joe Gibbs now has three former head coaches to rely upon to help run this team. Should be a great year. Hail to the Redskins!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Talent ROAR - Be There!

Shameless plug time...

On Thursday, September 21, WTPF will be hosting it's annual full-day HR conference, this year titled Talent ROAR (Recruitment, Orientation, Assimilation and Retention). This year's event, held at the very cool Gannett/USA Today HQ building, will include:

Don't miss this chance to schmooze with top HR and Recruiting professionals from across the DC area. Step back from your desk, take a break from the daily grind, come on out to network, be exposed to best practices, and maybe take home a few great ideas to implement at your company. You can register NOW by clicking here.

See you there!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Six Degrees From Dave

I just discovered via The Recruiting Animal that social networking/LinkedIn evangelist Dave Mendoza has joined the Recruiting Blogosphere. I enjoyed meeting Dave at the Spring ERExpo, and he has alot of great ideas around how to make social networking a key component of anyone's recruiting strategy. I'm sure that Dave would love for you to stop by and say hi!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Simply Hired Takes Resume Posting Vertical

I've been following the Job Board Aggregator trend for quite some time now, and have been particularly impressed with SimplyHired, especially through their partnership with LinkedIn. The ability to use the SimplyHired-LinkedIn partnership to connect with people in your network in companies that have jobs you have interest in is powerful stuff, and potentially offers great value to job seekers and employers alike.

SimplyHired has been quite aggressive in their moves of late. Their recent partnership with MySpace kind of reminds me of when companies would participate in job fairs on the beach at Spring Break. IMO, beer, bikinis and job search don't mix well, so it will be interesting to see if MySpace users (who are there for social-reasons) really see the new careers section as a viable way to find jobs. It does appear that job search results do bring up mostly entry-level, student-worker and part-time/seasonal jobs, which is certainly appropriate for the MySpace audience.

SimplyHired's most recent move however leaves me scratching my head even more. ResumePost will allow job seekers to upload their resume to multiple resume databases, including Monster, CareerBuilder, etc. Think about the implications. It will be easier than ever now for active job seekers to get their resume in front of more employers/recruiters (at least those who spend alot of time searching resume databases). The quantity of resumes in these databases should increase exponentially as a result. But, ahem, quantity does not equate to quality!

What I like most about the SimplyHired-LinkedIn partnership is that by connecting to jobs through a network, there is some level of accountability, there are endorsements, there is additional information about a candidate that a resume often does not provide. The focus is not on quantity, but rather on making quality connections. ResumePost focuses on quantity only, more resumes going into more resume databases to be found my more Recruiters. For those of us focused on quality, little value is offered here.

Maybe though, this is the mark of an entirely new trend. SimplyHired has now made it perfectly possible to move the Job Boards into 'back-office' status all together. Why go to multiple job boards to search jobs and post your resume when you can now do that all at one place? It will be interesting to see how SimplyHired markets this to the public-at-large. The MySpace link alone could generate heavy use, although I did not see a link yet to ResumePost from the MySpace Careers site.

It's been a busy summer for the new generation of online recruiting tools. If nothing else, it's exciting to see these new ideas evolve and challenge the traditional online recruiting world.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Blogs and Jobster in Today's Post

The Washington Post business section today offered up a few Blogging and Jobster related articles, including:
Portrait of a Blogger: Under 30 and Sociable - I don't doubt that a majority of bloggers are under the age of 30, but my guess would be that a majority of business and politics-focused bloggers are over 30.
Bloggers Beware - Actually from yesterday, 1st of two part series.
Blogged Out of a Job - 2nd part of series. Good advice, but a rather conservative view IMO.

Salary, Benefits and the View Out the Office Window - A nice overview on Jobster and what makes it unique in the Online Recruiting world. There is one thing though referenced in this article that I've seen referenced elsewhere that bothers me, and that's the analogy to MySpace. In this article, Leslie Walker refers to Jobster as "the MySpace of the workplace". First of all, I don't necessarily agree with the analogy. MySpace is primarily a wide-open social networking site that has a secondary function of offering job search capabilities via Simply Hired. Jobster is an online recruiting tool primarily with a somewhat controlled social networking environment as a secondary function.

Also, I don't know about you, but if I was Jobster, I wouldn't want the analogy in the first place. Yes, MySpace is the hottest thing on the Internet today, but it seems like every day there is another news report about the crazy things young people are doing there. I'm flipping around on the TV last night and come across O'Reilly on Fox interviewing someone about the foolish and risky behavior of some MySpace users. This is not a stigma that a growing company in the online recruiting business should want to be affiliated with in any way, shape or form IMHO.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


I'm writing this post as I'm listening to Jason Goldberg on Kennedy Info's Blogging 101 Webinar. This has been a huge past week at Jobster, launching the new version of the site, mentions in WSJ and CNN Headline News, and today, a major new venture capital investment.

Their aggressive and innovative is paying off in huge publicity, more clients, more traffic and now, $18M in new financing. Congrats to Jobster and keep wowing us...Now back to the Webinar...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Building a Bench

Last week, Dave Lefkow delivered a great article on ERE where he made the point through a baseball analogy that one cannot focus on hiring superstars alone. 'B' Players, as Dave referred to them, are also highly valuable and key contributors to any team, whether that team is in the world of business or athletics. I'd like to add on to Dave's baseball analogy with one of my own, and a timely one at that as the Lerners are preparing to take over ownership of the Washington Nationals and 'Paint The Town Red' this weekend.

Shortly before being announced as the new owners of The Nationals, the Lerner group did a very wise thing. They brought in a true 'baseball guy', one of the most successful baseball executives in the last 20 years, Stan Kasten. Stan Kasten was greatly responsible for building the Atlanta Braves franchise into one of the most successful in the sport. He attributed his success in building the franchise to ownership that was willing to invest the patience, time and resources into building a top-notch minor league system. In other words, he built the team from the ground up, and from everything he has said over the last couple of months, he plans on doing the exact same thing here in DC. Kasten's goal is long-term success, and his strategy is built upon the assumption that by expanding the talent pool at the entry-level, the right talent for the organization will make it through the funnel of natural attrition, and be long-term, strong performers for the organization. This is a strategy that is proven in the business world as well.

Companies like GE, Booz Allen, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car have grown their own talent in similar ways. These organizations have invested heavily in the college recruiting efforts and their efforts have paid off in their ability to grow and develop talent over the long term. They are willing to accept a certain level of attrition because they know that those who stay will thrive in the organization, and in many cases end up in leadership roles. Companies that have not focused on 'building the bench' too-often must rely on recruiting experienced talent, often overpriced, and not nearly as loyal over the long-term.

Another sports analogy is the Washington Redskins of a few years back compared to the New England Patriots. The Redskins owner, Dan Snyder, has always had a win-now attitude and has rarely valued stability or had the patience for building a team through the draft. Earlier this decade, Snyder spent huge sums of money bringing in overpriced talent such as Jeff George, Bruce Smith and Deion Sanders. The result was no team-chemistry and continued instability in the franchise. Meanwhile, up in New England, the Patriots franchise was building a dynasty, based largely on stable leadership and building the team from the draft.

Fortunately for us local DC sports fans, new ideas around leadership are making all the difference. Snyder brought back a true 'Level 5' leader in Joe Gibbs, and although the win-now attitude still exists, stability and patience (at least for now) seems to be in place with positive results. With Kasten running the Nationals, one cannot help but be optimistic. If he is only half as successful building this franchise as he was with the Braves, good years still lie ahead for the Nats.

I'll be there on Sunday with my son to celebrate this 're-birth' of a franchise. Hopefully the ownership and fans will be as patient as I plan to be over the next couple of years as the Nats are rebuilt into a long-term, successful team. Heck, after a lifetime of not having a baseball team in DC, I'm still just glad to sit in the stands of old RFK with a dog and a beer, watching a ball game with my boy.

* BTW, if you happen to be a baseball-loving HR executive, the Nats have a fantastic opportunity for you!

Monday, July 17, 2006

100>1M and Growing

This past week, I reached a milestone on LinkedIn, 100 1st Degree connections and 1,000,000+ connections out to the 3rd Degree. Of course, these are still lightweight numbers compared to many LinkedIn users, but I've been diligent and targeted (maybe even a bit cautious) so far in how I've grown my network, so reaching these milestones have felt like an accomplishment. In reviewing my virtual network on LinkedIn, I realize that I really do know and trust a vast majority of my 1st Degree connections, and am pretty comfortable in asking them to pass along an introduction for me.

I feel like I'm still just getting started with my use of LinkedIn however. The larger my network grows, the more reach I get to potential candidates from around the world and in all disciplines. I've made a couple hires, as well as a number of other good connections that may pay off in the future. Recently, I found a candidate there for a hard-to-fill job that's been open for months, and I expect to move forward with an offer this week. Every new job I have now, I'm searching my network to see who to reach out too, it's truly becoming one of the more powerful tools in my toolkit.

LinkedIn is often called a "social networking" tool, but the context here is truly business-related. Users who identify themselves as being open to being approached about 'career opportunities' are people who are waiting to be 'tapped on the shoulder'. Safeguards exist if someone doesn't want to be approached about that subject, and those who are not interested or not available anymore almost always respond to let you know. This is powerful stuff, bringing together people and career opportunities in a targeted and structured way that no other tool can.

LinkedIn has a way to go though, more people should broaden their profiles, it should be easier and more efficient to pass along introductions, and the public in general needs to be educated better as to how they can use a tool like this to make connections to jobs in companies through people they already know.

Next steps for my use of LinkedIn: Reaching out to more people outside of Recruiting/HR? Absolutely. Upgrading my membership? Possibly. I'd be curious to hear from anyone who has seen a marked improvement in their results from doing the upgrade. The free membership is great on it's own, and used to it's potential, can be a powerful tool for those of us in the trenches.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Arms Race Escalates in War For Talent

Before I start, here's my disclaimer: I like Jobster. I'm was honored to be asked to be on their Customer Advisory Board and they have been good to me. That's not why I like them though. I've been a Jobster fan since day one because they 'get it'. They are the most innovative force in Recruiting Technology, they have surrounded themselves with smart people, they listen to their client base, and they are fearless.

I first heard about Jobster in early 2005. When I witnessed their launch at the 2005 Spring ERExpo, it hit me like a ton of bricks. "This is it!" I thought, this is what I've been looking for! A way to easily and efficiently deliver job information to targeted audiences. This was a natural extension of our already successful employee referral program.

We signed up soon after and have had some success since, primarily as a vehicle to promote our Open House events. Several hires have been tracked back to candidates receiving information about these events from our employees via Jobster. Over time, we have grown our talent network and recently, they have helped us to wrap our jobs into the system. Admittedly, we do need to make more hires from this tool, the ROI isn't exactly there yet, but I'm preparing to do a few things that hopefully will kick things up a notch and engage alot more candidates.

I've offered my constructive criticism, and for the most part, they have listened. Most recently, in my ERE article, I suggested that they (and others) needed to do more to educate the public as to what these tools are and how they offer a 'better way'. Today's WSJ article was a nice first step. That article was timed very nicely to coincide with Jobster's new release today.

This has been their most innovative (and IMO risky) move yet. The upgrade they launched today makes the effort to tie together 'social networking' and job 'finding'. This is their first move to truly reach out to the public and engage them in the process. They are taking what is already happening online on blogs, message boards, and on websites such as, and asking people to provide information (hopefully honest and accurate information) about their employers (or former employers). As mentioned there is some risk involved, but there are also controls in place to protect employers from 'inappropriate' posts. How will traditionally conservative Corporate Communications and HR departments feel about this relatively 'open forum'? Time will tell.

What do I like about this? New media such as blogs are so popular today because they present information in a fresh, honest and open way, what Jobster presents as an 'insiders view'. This is information people want and need to help them make more informed decisions about their career moves. They are using tags to help connect people with similar interests. Overall, employers can use this new functionality to present themselves in a more interactive and engaging manner.

Will this work? Will the workforce latch on to this and see this as a better way to gain more information and make connections that will enhance their career prospects? Will some employers be too risk averse to participate in full? It will be fun to watch at the very least.

Jobster dropped a big bomb on the recruiting technology community today. What will the rest of that community do to keep up with these innovations? Don't know myself, but Jobster has undoubtedly raised the stakes. Kudos.

Interview on

It's been an interesting ride this past week since my article was published on ERE. I've been pinged by a number of vendors, introducing me to a few new tools that I look forward to learning more about. I've had positive feedback from some major vendors in this space as well.

Bill Vick (Big Biller, Linked-In Guru, Author and fellow blogger) saw the article and was kind enough to request an interview to explore the thoughts I expressed in my article further. I was honored of course to have that opportunity, and here it is, check it out at

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Recruiting Humor - Monty Python Style

Classic recruiting humor for a summer afternoon...

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming!

Actually, they are already here, along with thousands of other European students who come over to the States every year on four-month, J-1 work/travel visas. Those of you who have visited the Delmarva Shoreline over the past few years have undoubtedly noticed this. Years ago, it was a right-of-passage for college students and recently graduated high schoolers in the Mid-Atlantic to head off to Ocean City, MD, Rehoboth Beach, DE, and other neighboring resort beaches to work in the restaurants, amusement parks, hotels, etc.

In recent years however, business owners in these resort towns have had to look overseas more and more to staff their shops, bars and motels. This past weekend, an article in The Baltimore Sun highlighted the story of these young foreign students, and those who keep a watchful eye over them to make sure they get jobs and decent housing.

While on vacation last month, I spent a couple of evenings up on the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk, where Olga from the Ukraine sold me Ice Cream, where Nigel from Birmingham, England ran the kiddie boat ride, and where signs in Russian appealing directly to J-1 students were stapled to telephone poles. I got the sense from watching them that they were simply happy to be working in a resort town in America, even if just for a summer.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Story Behind the Story

A couple weeks back, while on vacation at Sea Colony in Bethany Beach, DE, I was deeply entrenched one evening in Thomas Friedman's best seller, The World Is Flat. In this book, Friedman eludes to how technology has helped to even the playing field on a global scale, essentially 'flattening' the global economy. This particular evening, I run across a passage where Friedman states, "Introducing new technology alone is never enough. The big spurts in productivity come when a new technology is combined with new ways of doing business." "Hmmm, very good point..." I thought, and read on.

A few minutes later, that quote popped back into my head. I had to go back and read it again. "Hmm, new technology, new ways of doing business, interesting...". It starts to get late and I'm thinking I should head off to bed, but I can't get this quote out of my head! It's 11:30PM and I can't sleep, my brain is racing, and DING! That's it! Friedman encapsulates in that quote why these new recruiting technologies have not been more broadly adopted by the general public yet. The technology was great, but very little has been so far to educate the public as to how these technologies were a new way of connecting with job opportunities.

I had to write something down, so I head back downstairs to the kitchen table with pen and paper in hand, and start writing. Two pages later, I'm thinking, "Hmmm, this could be more than just a blog post, ERE might have interest in this". Two days later, I send the article off to ERE, and thanks to the wisdom and guidance of Todd Rafael, the article was published today.

As I state in the article, I'm a recruiting technology geek, and have been so since early-on in my career. In the early part of this decade however, the technology which had grown so fast in the 90s, started to stagnate. I came to realize that to attract the best people to your company, you needed to do more than just rely on those who were finding you, or those who were putting themselves out on resume databases to be found. We needed a better way to identify and qualify passive candidates, a better way to deliver our jobs to targeted audiences. The War for Talent was heating up again and we were fighting with outdated weapons. Over the past two years, this technology has began to emerge, and I've been trying my best to keep up with it ever since.

I'm sold on the methodology of many of these tools, but they are all still secondary players in the market. Ask most people what they will do if they want to search for a job, they would probably say, "Go to a job board". This has been beaten into our heads for the past 10 years via Superbowl commercials, banner ads, etc. The new recruiting technologies are changing the paradigm of online recruiting for the better, but more people need to know about how these tools work, and how they can utilize them to take charge of their career growth. The paradigm will never change through viral marketing alone, more proactive steps need to happen.

That's what the article was about, and I've been encouraged today by hearing many positive comments in support of my opinion on this subject. I encourage these companies to reach out to various media sources to spread the word about what these tools are and how they work. A buzz needs to be built that this a better way for both sides, recruiters and candidates. In future posts, I plan on discussing why I think these tools offer a "better way", i.e. how they will be more effective weapons in the War For Talent.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Pop! That sound you just heard was the sound of the housing bubble bursting, cooling, deflating... I know the exactly when the needle made contact with that bubble too. It was the day after we put our house on the market in early May. That day, mortgage rates took a sharp increase, and houses in my neighborhood that were moving in 1-3 weeks up until then, are now not moving at all. We settle on our new house tomorrow and have yet to sell ours. Ugh!!!

For the past few years, the housing market in the DC area has been one of the hottest in the nation. Like many other housing markets, houses were moving in a matter of days, if not hours. Housing prices in this region shot through the roof as a result. The value of my current house has increased 150% in the 8 years since I bought it. There have been plenty of other single-family homes that have doubled or tripled in value as well.

All of this together has made the DC area one of the costliest (scroll to bottom) housing markets in the country, close behind markets in California and the NYC area. All of this has been great until now for those who were able to take advantage of it. But for those middle-income workers who have wanted to move to the DC area because of the hot job market here, that transition has been very difficult, if not for some, prohibitive.

In recent years, many people have sucked it up and made the move here, but i've also seen candidates from lower cost-of-living areas back out of the process because they could not afford housing similar to what they had before, and they were not willing to live out in the boonies with a horrific commute so that they could afford similar housing. Now that the market is starting to 'correct' itself, we are starting to see something that could be of even greater concern. Prices are still sky-high, and are unlikely to drop drastically, which will continue to make housing affordability in this area a problem.

So what are the implications for Recruiting? This slowdown is national in scale, so my concern is that for those who might of been considering relocating here, that they might be more cautious now out of concern for selling their own home in a reasonable period. Much of the hiring I do currently is local, but it certainly doesn't help if relocating candidates gets even harder than it is already.

It could be worse though I know. Interest rates are still half of what they were 20-25 years ago. My parents told me a couple weeks back that when we moved in 1980, that the house we moved from sat on the market for 6 months. Could be worse indeed. So, if you know of anyone in the market for a beautiful 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath townhome located just minutes from great dining, shopping, entertainment and I-270, please send them my way!