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March 2006
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May 2006

I've Been Tagged

Both Dennis Smith and the Canadian Headhunter decided to pass this meme on to me.  I had some erudite and imporant posts to write that could affect your company's ability to function past tomorrow, but clearly what television shows I watch are more important, and I'm sure that other news can wait.

1: Four Jobs I've Had:

Potato Peeler (Jason's Deli), Telephones Sales of Florida Vacations, Sock-Folder (Abercrombie & Fitch), Sledge-Hammer Driver (Tent Poles)

2 Four Movies I Can Watch Over and Over

Groundhog Day, Original Star Wars, Ocean's 11, GlenGarry Glenross

3: Four TV Shows I Love to Watch:
Battlestar Galactica, Thief, Ellen, Prison Break

4: Four Places I've Been on Vacation:
Vancouver B.C., Rome, Italy, Bellevue, NY, Lake Tahoe, CA

5:  Four Favorite Dishes:
Chipotle's Chicken Burrito, an "8" orange shallow bowl,  Tilapia with Smoked Chipotle Tabasco cooked by the Wife, Spider Sushi Roll

6: Four Places I'd Rather Be:
Retired in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Vacationing in Prague, In the vault counting my money, or in a vault counting your money.

7: Four Bloggers I'm Tagging:
Paul, Colin, Tony, Robert


Employee/Employer Branding

The St Louis Business Journal has a link up (courtesy of the Des Moines Journal) on the impact employees have on your marketing efforts.

Scott Clark asks if a company's image is tarnished by its employees.

Do you work hard to ensure your business portrays a polished, professional image? You may have a great location, an attractive well-lit building, and your advertising may also be very polished. However, the moment of truth is when a new customer calls on the phone or walks in the door.

This is known as first contact, the instant that customers initially connect with your employees. What they hear, see, and experience during first contact will profoundly shape their perception of your business.

This is nothing new to any business owner, but the concept of employer branding is one that isn't quite as easy to understand.

Everyone gets that the way employees treat customers affects company reputation.  But how many companies get that the way they treat their employees has a direct effect on their marketing?

Employer Branding is the use of your employment process to hire, attract and retain the best employees.  Positive Branding has a multiplier effect on your regular marketing, as stories about the way you treat employees merge with your multichannel marketing efforts.

Good employee relations also translate to higher and less volatile stock prices, or at least that's what Watson Wyatt discovered in a 2005 study.

According to the findings of the 2004/2005 Watson Wyatt WorkUSA® study, the financial performance of organizations with highly favorable employee attitudes is typically nearly four times better than the financial performance of companies with poor employee attitudes. Even more important, the study shows that organizations with highly favorable employee attitudes better withstand economic and other crises.


It makes sense that good employee relations leads to better work efforts and better reputations.  S how do you provide a kickstart to your latest efforts to make your company the employer of choice?

Well, you could start a blog for one. 

Check back soon for two white papers on how to start a recruiting blog, whether you are a corporate recruiter or a third-party staffing firm.



Website Evaluation: Preferred Resources

(This is a series of evaluations of St Louis Technical Staffing Websites.  Editorial policy is here.  Comments are the responsbility of their owners, but will be edited or deleted if they use profanity or are anonymous.  We're attempting to provide a spot for open, honest dialog and suggest improvements to the local sites).

Today's Website will be Preferred Resources.

1) Design and Configuration:  The website initally struck me as heavily text-based, an explanatory version of a website heavy on words and offering no chance for interaction.  That initial impression is a but unfair, as the site is exportable to a PDF, which serves as a brochure for clients.  I have to give that props, even if it does make the site like like an online brochure.

The layout is simple - the front page far too simple.  I wouldn't encourage a Flash piece, but the front landing page has always struck me as foolish.  The links allow good navigation of the page - that's a plus.  Specific information is also provided on health plans and dental, which is a positive step that allows for comparison.  That's important for candidates, and many companies just list that health insurance is available, without mentioning that it's high-deductible. 

2) Negatives:  The website is a placeholder, and does little to inspire confidence.  Testimonials from  pseudononymous candidates don't mean anything.  Too many people know these are made up.  There's also no sense of personality.  The biggest negative is this is a "blah" site.

3) Resume Submittal: The resume submittal form had some thought go into, but it lacks a compelling reason to use.  What will happen when a candidate submits their resume?  Can they expect a call?  Are they sure it went through?  Why should they submit a resume when they don't know anything about the company? 

4) Jobs: Job orders are generic - requiring no upkeep, but not giving any real information.

5) Client Information: The company lists their clients, which isn't a bad tactic to let candidates know who they work with.  Do they have permission to use the names of these companies on their website?  I'll give 10:1 odds the answer is no.

6) Personal Touch: They list the direct names of people to contact on the Contact Us page.  That's a big positive.  At least candidates have a name, a real person to connect to.   The copywriting is also more authentic than on many sites - it's not perfect grammar or corporate speak, which is to say it seems like a regular person telling candidates and clients why they should work together.  The question is whether it was intentional, or just bad copywriting.  They often sound the same.

7) Other services:  No information is provided to help a candidate.  No user groups, no news, no website links - just another place to send a resume if you're not particular about who you send it to. 

Grade:  D+

The site looks like generic website put in place because everyone is supposed to have a website.  Several small touches help liven that impression, namely the health insurance and the contact info.  The lack of up-to-date job info is a bad sign, and one is left wondering if the website actually drives any traffic to the company.   


Staffing Postings

If you are a recruiter in St Louis - or more accurately, if yoy work in the staffing business somewhere in the world and want access to hot recruiting positions nationwide, you ought to be subscribing to Brian Toland's Recruiting Jobs Newsletter.

Jason profiles it a Recruiting.com today. 

This is an impressive source for those who are looking for work in our industry - it's a little light in the Stl, but if you are considering moving.... - this is subscription only, but it's free.

-Jim


OCI looking for a recruiter

If you're a talented recruiter in the St Louis community, OCI is looking for someone to help them staff projects.  Below is the job listing, but let me suggest something at the bottom of the post.  If you're a hot shot recruiter, try finding out the name of the person who would be your boss and calling them.

Sending a resume, in my mind, is a second step.  A good recruiter uses the phone first, and then follows up.  This is important advice for both recruiters and salespeople.  Now, don't call in and embarass yourself - learning to be polite and follow process is still important - but if you do manage to get an interview - make sure you tell them who sent you. 

Technical Recruiter

OCI is seeking a dynamic and experienced Technical Recruiter to join our growing team! We have an immediate opening for the right individual.  Compensation is commensurate with experience. We offer excellent benefits and opportunities to become key players in a growing organization.  Successful senior technical recruiters are highly encouraged to apply. We are willing to develop the "right" junior recruiter, too! Visit their career page for additional company information.

Continue reading "OCI looking for a recruiter" »


Recruiting.com LinkSwap

I'm pitching a LinkSwap over at Recruiting.com.  The goal is to add 50 people who want to add 50 links to their technorati profiles, in order to raise the profile of the recruiting blogosphere.

If you write a blog that is related to employment, or you sell to the recruiting or HR worlds, you're eligible.

The link is here, and the comments are quite strong.

All we ask is you make one post with all of the links from other blogs, and each of those other blogs will do the same, swapping Links for publicity.

I'll write the post, you just copy and paste.

Send your url's to jim@recruiting.com to join, or go to Recruiting.com to argue whether or not this is blatant link-whoring (it is). 


AMA Marketing Luncheon: Blogging and Marketing

I was at the AMA Marketing Luncheon at Maggiano's with Franki today.  We listened to some bonafide questions from marketing people on what blogs were and what they could do.

I've got a write-up on the Durbin Media Group marketing blog, but I'll be sharing some of those lessons with the recruiting blogging community.  As bloggers, we have a tendency to think everyone gets what we do - and the truth is that to most people, a blog is still written by a 13 year old girl talking to her best friend.

There's still a big barrier to adoption - and it's all of our jobs to break it down.

In other news, it looks like I will be speaking at one of the Stl Web Developer meetings later in the year.  It might be May, it might be June, but I've already got material on a popular topic:

From Job Search to Promotion:  How Blogging Can Improve Your Career.


Working as a Recruiter from Home and On Your Own

Hireability is an independent network of recruiters that pools jobs and candidates without the overhead of a staffing agency.  If you're looking for part-time work, want to be out on your own, but can't start our own business, or work under a non-compete that restricts you from working in the local area, Hireability is for you.

They're looking for people to work with them.  That doesn't mean for them - you still work for yourself, but with them.

They use LinkedIn to post the position:

HireAbility has built an exciting new model for the staffing industry. Our team of experienced Staffing Agency, Corporate, Independent and Contract recruiters work together as a team to fill open positions. The staffing market is in full swing with increased demand for hiring across all major niche markets (IT, Accounting & Finanace, Sales, Marketing, HR, Legal, Manufacturing, Healthcare, Pharma, Retail, Engineering, etc.).

We are adding recruiters and account managers to our national network of 220+ members. You can choose to work on both sides of the full recruiting desk or decide to focus on only what you do best - sales or recruit. Established staffing agencies depend on us for serious recruiting horsepower while our independent recruiters look to us for a large selection of open positions to work on.

As part of the HireAbility recruiting network you will receive access to top notch industry trainers such as Danny Cahill & Lou Adler, leadership, a web-based ATS, unlimited job postings and cross-posting, access to over 500,000 resumes, a national team to provide recruiting support for your clients open job orders or plenty of open positions for you to recruit on, along with motivation, a complete back office to handle contract placement billing & collection, employer-of-record services and direct deposit for your contractor payroll.

Visit our website at www.hireability.com for more info or just give Andrew Stock a call @ 503-238-5488 to schedule some time to talk about the opportunity.

We are looking forward to hearing from you and to helping you achieve your production and income goals.

Continue reading "Working as a Recruiter from Home and On Your Own" »


Danger Quicksand Have A Nice Day

Change Someone's Life.  Encourage Them To Start A Blog. That's the message of David St Lawrence, a retired technology warrior with a weblog and a heart of gold.

I had the opportunity to speak with David, and he graciously sent me his book, Danger Quicksand Have a Nice Day, which he self-published as a guide to navigating the waters of corporate employment.

The book is written like a reference guide, with chapters that employ great content chunking in getting the point across.  David calls his book a "survival guide" not a philosophical treatise, and I want to share some personal thoughts on the book before I publish a larger review over at Recruiting.com.

The first three chapters of the book struck me as bitter.  21st Century Employment, Assessing Your Workplace, and Warning Signs come across like an angry man lashing out at the inanities and frustrations of corporate life.  If I had stopped right there, I would have concluded that David was  a Company Man, part of that Greatest Generation that believed that you worked hard and gave your loyalty and companies rewarded you with lifetime employment and a pension.  While reading those first three chapters, I thought he was bitterly lamenting the farce that modern employment is about anything but a social Darwinism gone awry.

That's what I would have thought, if I had stopped reading.  I would have been wrong.  The first three chapters, by necessity, define conditions where a person's career starts to head the wrong direction.  They represent accurate descriptions of dysfunctional workplaces, not a harangue against former employers and co-workers.  As I went through the book, the astounding realization hit me that David wasn't the one being bitter.  That bitterness was me, recognizing portions of my career where managers failed to live up to my expectations. 

What's great about this book is David really lays it out on the line as to why we're caught in those situations.  It's not that modern employment is full of jackals and the insane, it's that some workplaces develop bad habits that bring the worst out of people, and learning when to stay and when to go is a survival skill that is not taught or trained.

Starting a new job is a time of hope and optimism.  Far too often, the eventual reasons for our separation with a company are evident from the beginning, but masked in the hope of something better. 

Where Danger Quicksand Have A Nice Day stands apart is in the message David delivers.  There is hope.  You can control your career if you are willing to analyze it and accept the tradeoffs that come with every position.

Don't let me fool you - this book won't be easy for some people.  A sample comment is the sad fact that a willingness to move, taking the family out of the home and moving the kids out of their schools is an option many people don't take.  When you close yourself off from options, you're forced into tradeoffs you may not like.  As recruiters, we see this everyday when candidates in a bad position decide that commute, title, position, type of company, salary and work environment are all non-negotiable, and then find themselves unable to make a necessary change or find themselves unaware when layoffs appear at their door. 

The book says its not your fault, but it is your choice.

Most of all, I recommend the book to people in all stages of their career who feel like they are, well, drowning in quicksand.  The message of the book, in plain terms, is that you're not crazy, you're not alone, but you are responsible for making your own way in the world.

David St Lawrence is blogging his post-corporate adventures at Ripples
His book can be purchased for $19.95 (a few bucks more if you want if faster) at www.bentcrowpress.com.  If just might change your life.