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February 2006
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April 2006

Local Website Evaluation: A new Category

How are you being served?  Technical staffing agencies exist to place Information Technology professionals with their clients.  They sort, filter, interview and judge your resumes in order to find the right people for their clients.

Do they understand who they are working with?  I'm starting a new category called St Louis Staffing Agencies where I will analyze the website of a local firm and make comments based entirely on what the website presents.  In other words, I won't be bringing my experience of a particular firm into review.

Feel free to make constructive suggestions in the comments, but idle gossip or anonymous comments will be deleted or edited.  If you truly want to leave a comment about a review office, leaving a traceable name and e-mail will keep your comment up (no profanity, please).  Hopefully, the company will contact if you if you have a valid complaint.  I'll be e-mailing them the results.


If you're searching for jobs in Missouri - you could start at Employment.com. This site lists job boards that focus exclusively on Missouri - but what about the companies that post positions on their websites, but never pay to have them advertised?

StlToday may have job listings, but is there a way to aggregate jobs from St Louis Companies that don't pay the newspaper?

Sure there is.  Now if I can just find a way to pay for the technology. 

The key is having a job site like that brings in a lot of traffic, but selling advertising on it is the strategy of a job board, not a consultant.

I wonder if the RCGA wold be interested.


Coffee Talk

So I'm surfing through St Louis sites and come across a blog (the St Louis Diatriber) pitching a new coffee shop.

The Diatriber is a member of the StlSyndicate, a network of blogsites in and about St Louis.  It's a great idea, and one that helps explain some of the strength behind blogging communities.

The Coffee Shop is called Six North, and it's located just West of Saint Louis University on 2 north Sarah.   While the website would have been better as a blog, there's still something to be said for WOM marketing in your local space.

(And it brings up the question of why everyone in St Louis is now selling Kaldi's coffee.)


How to Find a Job as an Executive

There's a networking event for mid and senior level executives in St Louis.

It's at 7 a.m. on April 20th at the Bulls and Bears Cafe, and its purpose is teaching managers how to find a new position.

I used to try to do a lot of that - counseling mid and senior level managers on how to use their contacts to find new positions.  When they were my clients, I couldn't place them, but I certainly could describe how I would go about getting a job.

Managers have a tendency to get siloed in their organization.  They don't get the opportunity to speak with prospective companies about employment, so they often are lost when it comes to looking for a new position.

This is a great idea - but I wonder what they talk about. I've run manager meetings - in fact I have one whose purpose is unsiloing (it's a new term) managers for just such occasions.  What I observed was that managers come in two kinds - the talkers and the delegators. 

Talkers are risk-takers by nature.  They say what they want because they have confidence they can weather any storm.  They prefer gregarious, outgoing meetings where excitement runs the day, and they are almost all entrepreneurial, even when embedded in large organizations.

Delegators are the backbone of the corporate world.  Delegators listen to the conversations going on around them and make decisions based on the best available evidence.  They don't speak a lot, but when they do, you'd better be listening.  They tend not to repeat themselves, and they're looking for people who can quietly and competently perform tasks they are assigned.

Delegators by far outnumber the talkers.  Corporations reward quiet competence over social gregariousness because the delegators don't put their necks on the line for foolish causes.

But in a networking environment, delegators are at a serious disadvantage.  10 delegators in a circle won't share important information, and they won't make the effort to get to know someone in a large social gathering.  They are used to listening and making decisions, not collaborating with equals to achieve a larger goal.  If you don't blow your own horn, no one is going to blow it for you.

For delegators, quiet lunches are better avenues.  Go to the larger events, but find a few people you might enjoy talking to and invite them for lunch.  In a smaller setting, you'll get the opportunity to share without significant risk, and if you select your lunch mate wisely, you may build a long-term relationship that brings benefits to both of you for the duration of your careers.

Click on the link - consider going - and maybe I'll see you there sometime.


Let's Play Find A Staffing Agency

Determing what staffing agency to use in your job search is not an easy one. 

That's a bland way to open a post, but one that is important to your career management, because staffing agencies rarely want to be found.

What I mean by that is recruiters don't just need more candidates - they need more candidates that fit the profiles of their clients.  What this means for the individual candidate is a harsh truth about employment in general - you don't find a recruiter - the recruiter finds you.

A recruiter is 90% focused on the hot searches for each day, and 10% interested in buiding long-term networks of potential candidates.  Building that community of candidates is a supplemental activity that smart recruiters know helps them in future searches.  The tighter a niche the recruiter works in, the more activity is put into building their pipeline.  With a wider niche, the value of pre-screening a candidate pool drops.

Which is why it's rare to find a staffing agency spending money advertising to the general public.  There is little value in driving general traffic to a staffing agency.  Most people are going to be disappointed that they aren't a match for current openings, so why invite the hassle?

So how do you go about finding a firm?  We could name the technical staffing agencies in St Louis as a a start.  There are hundreds that are out there, but here is a list of the ones I know.

Continue reading "Let's Play Find A Staffing Agency" »


St Louis User Groups

Some of the better known user groups in St louis.

.Net User Group - meets at Cityplace

Gateway Java User Group (vendor-neutral)

St Louis Java User Group (sponsored by OCI)

St Louis Unix User Group (pulled off the web)

There's also the Society for Technical Communication

and the

Gateway SigCHI- (Usability and User-Centered Design)

Don't forget  River City Professionals, a new kind of networking group. 

We'll review soon.  Drop a comment if you have a question. 


Recruiting Blog Manifesto

I just wrote about the future of the recruiting blogosphere on Recruiting.com.  This is what I was envisioning for local agencies.  So here's my open letter to third party recruiters:

Recruiting as an industry is on the verge of a tidalwave of change.  A talent shortage in IT staffing is colliding with Baby Boomer retirement to create the perfect storm for corporate employment.  I’m sure you’ve noticed the twin difficulties of less-than-perfect candidates amid more stringent demand from clients.   Talented candidates are increasingly difficult to find.  When found, clients are wary of hiring, often causing your hard-to-find candidate to take employment elsewhere. 

If you’re like my most staffing agencies, you’re so busy scrambling to fill job orders you often don’t have time to look ahead.  One of the reasons I left my last company was to explore the ways that recruiters could use new online tools to gain competitive advantage in a talent-hungry economy.

Hirevue – An online video service that allows you to record question and answer periods with hot candidates.  Good for contract recruiting, but great for retained and contingent search.  The hiring manager logs on to a session and watches high quality video of your candidate answering pre-screening questions.  The videos are performed with webcams in your office, and cost $30 an interview.  Imagine sitting in front of a manager and showing five pre-screened candidates answering his questions.  Would he prefer to use this service, or sift through resumes?

JobThread – a mini-job board that allows you to post all of your jobs for $50 a month – a current job referral tool you can send to current contractors and hot prospects.

Google Base – free job postings on Google.

Rss Feeds – I can show you how to post your jobs for free and put them on the computers of the best consultants out there.  They will get up each day, turn on their computers, and look at your agency's jobs scrolling across their screens.

Talent Communities – A candidate marketing campaign aimed at building a community of loyal contractors, Lindenberg enthusiasts, and skill-specific pipelines for long-term placement. 

Social Networking Sites – Utilize peer-to-peer marketing to search for top candidates confidentially. 
Split Boards – Place open job orders for independent recruiters to fill, find candidates for hard-to-fill positions – split the fees with national groups of recruiters.

Sourcing Candidates – Former recruiters expert at building calling lists of hot candidates.  They use their phone skills to provide you the list to recruit from.  Allow your recruiters to do the sorting and interviewing, and leave the list-building to an outsourced specialist. 

Most of these activities are easy to incorporate into daily recruiter and account manager activities.  The ideas are out there for you to find on your own, but if you need help navigating the maze of information, or better yet, someone to execute these plans for you, I’m offering consulting and advertising services to help you make more placements and make more money.

www.durbinmedia.com

Continue reading "Recruiting Blog Manifesto" »


Words from Weddle's

A lot of good information comes in the form of newsletters.  I'm a big fan, partly because I write one myself, and partly because it's a painfree way of getting information.

If you're a recruiter, you have a lot of choices.
Recruiting.com
Hireability
ERExchange.com

Dozens more that I subscribe to and Weddle's. 

Today's Weddle Article's talks about the purpose of the job interview.  One would think that the purpose of a job interview is for a company to hire an employee.   Weddle's disagrees, and so do I.

"he purpose of an interview�its reason for being conducted�is not to select a candidate. It is to minimize or eliminate the risk involved in bringing a new employee into an organization. The hiring decision exposes an employer to change�it introduces a worker who is unfamiliar to his coworkers into an environment that is unfamiliar to the worker. If an interview is effective, it will reduce the possibility that such change will be disruptive or harmful to the organization."

This meshes with conversations we've had on Recruiting.com that a job requisition is not a job order  - it's a tool for managing risk.  Personally, I tell candidates that the difference between human resources and a third party recruiter is the recruiter has a vested interest in getting the right person the job.  They get paid only when they are successful. For too many human resource departments, there is no incentive to get the job done right.

Let me explain what I mean by that.

A Human Resources recruiter doesn't have the final say over a hire.  They can only fill the pipeline - the manager has to clear it with interviews and decisions on whether or not to hire.  When a position is opened, a list of skills is written and the recruiter goes to work.

Continue reading "Words from Weddle's" »


The Exclusive Search

In every staffing company's training manual lies a question about exclusivity.

When in front of a hiring manager, a full decision maker, the account manager is supposed to say, "Can I have a 24 hour exclusive on this job?"  Theoretically, the account manager has a nestful of hungry recruiters back at the office chirping like baby sparrows for their next meal.  Given 24 hours - these recruiters can turn up several candidates that are ready to interview and be hired.

At least, that's the theory.  Most exclusive reqs went the way of the dodo, partly because of Vendor lists and partly because the urgency behind hiring has been replaced with wary managers not wanting to hire the wrong person, even as a contractor.

But what if there  was a way to get back that exclusivity?  What if there was a way to get a hiring manager to watch pre-screened interviews of your candidates on the initial visit?

There is.  Who will be the first agency in St Louis to utilize web-video interviews of your candidates in your recruiting efforts?

Hirevue.com.  Contact me and I'll walk you through a demo.