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Weddle's Job Board Numbers

The newsletter from Weddle came along and had a nice surprise, new numbers on what it takes to get a job.  Before we throw aside everything we know to post a resume on a job board or the newspaper, let's  sit back and ask some questions.

31.2%  Answered an ad on a job board
10.6%  Sent their resume to the company
9.3%  Answered an ad in the newspaper
8.5%  Responded to a tip from a friend
6.8%  Were referred by an employee of the company
6.6%  Received a call from a headhunter
5.1%  Answered an ad posted on the company’s Web-site
4.9%  Attended a career fair
4.8%  Used networking at a business event
2.7%  Received a call from a staffing firm
2.7%  Responded to a tip from a family member

One of the problems with numbers is they are useful, but not definitive.  Reading these numbers would seem to indicate that the three best ways to get a job is apply to a job board, apply to a company site, or check the newspaper. 

That's not true.  All the study tells us is that people who visit Weddle's website and answered a poll found jobs this way.  Self-selecting polls are notoriously unreliable, as there is no scientific basis behind the selection, just people who had the time and the inclination to fill out a poll while at Weddle's site.

Don't get me wrong - everyone loves Weddle, but that doesn't mean the numbers he put out today have any significance to the employment world at large.

Some problems with the methodology that might occur.
1) Social network site users are probably not reading Weddle's to find job tips.
2) People who do not use the internet to find a job are not counted
3) Answering newspaper ads doesn't specify whether the ads or print or web.  Web newspaper ads are sometimes mistaken for job boards and vice versa.
4) Multiple answers are not allowed.  What if I applied for a job through a company website and then called my friend to push me through the interview process?
5) The length of time is not indicated.  How long ago did these people find their jobs.  1 year?  2?  5?  10?

I like what Weddle did with the information he received.  Job-seekers should use a multi-faced approach to their job-seeking.  My concern is this research is going to start showing up as "proof" supporting poor conclusions.  Take it for what it is - an internet poll. 

ht - CM Russell

The Power of Networking

Cool news today as two clients of mine, and Wetjello, are combining forces to add video to the employment world.  Steven Rothberg and Pete Altieri are making it happen, and it so happens I introduced the two to each other.

RecruiTV (that's Wetjello's employment video division) is going to be seen on

This is one of the benefits of building community with your blog.  Two companies working together can magnify their reach and combine their audience.  Would this have happened 10 years ago?  Probably not - but with the social networking on the internet, Pete, Steven, their clients, and entry-level jobseekers are going to benefit.

From the Press Release:'s strategic partnership with RecruiTV will allow employers to transform their text-only job posting ads on and the 11,000 niche career sites in its network into multimedia recruitment ads that will allow entry level job seekers to read about job openings but also to learn about the employer, its employees, and its culture through the sights and sounds made possible through video.

Anybody care to put a metric on the value of that relationship?

Recruiting Metrics? Pah.

Gretchen comes out with the big question of Metrics in blogging, and I think it's time to lay my own cards on the table. 

We've discussed blogging metrics before, and the question has been one of soft measures versus hard measures.  Does  traffic, "buzz,"  press mentions, and anecdotal stories count as good metrics, or should we be focused on employees hired, time-to-hire, and cost-to-hire?

First, let me just say that recruiting metrics are not reliable.  They're fun to talk about, they give executives a sense of security, and they allow recruiters to pitch the illusion that our job can be measured.

I'm not disagreeing with the principle of recruiting metrics.  The numbers do mean something.  I simpy refuse to believe that steps taken to improve measures like cost-per-hire are causal, rather than coincidental.  Improving cost-to-hire is not an exact science, and anyone pretending it is deluding themselves. 

Continue reading "Recruiting Metrics? Pah. " »

New Job Posting in St Louis

I almost forgot - the other day I had a job posting sent to me by ERE.

I like the Title.  Click on the link to go to the job.  Levi, Ray & Shoup is a consulting firm, if I remember correctly.   Their St Louis office is just down the road, not that  it helps most of  you to know it.

They're actually looking for recruiters in many places, not just St Louis. 


Hunting for a Technical Talent Hunter

Levi, Ray & Shoup, Inc.

St. Louis, MO


Power Outage Risk

We were lucky enough not to get hit by the power outages rolling St Louis this last week.  My sister was without power briefly, but my parents were without power for several days.

They survived, with nothing worse than a refrigerator of food spoiled, but the real question is how many people living paycheck to paycheck were affected by the power outage.

When the power's out, you can't work, which means no paycheck, no access to funds to pay bill (if you bank online), and a host of accelerating problems.

We work from home, but we're instantly mobile, which means we can head to a Panera, a Starbucks, even head out of town if we need to to keep the business going.  That's a good place to be, and it's also quite strange in that our security - the security to keep working, to pay our bills, to keep our business going, is actually greater from home than it is from work.

Loss of electricity over an area is by no means common, but one wonders how many natural disasters and random accidents have to happen before companies begin to plan for a mobile workforce of their own. 

Reasons to Start Blogging on Your Career Site.

From Duct Tape Marketing, Bill Balderaz reporting on the Word of Mouth Association conference.

76% of consumers don't believe advertisers.

68% of consumers believe the words of someone, "just like them"  (up from 22% in 2003.)

Source: WOMA pdf


Here's my pitch to every person who calls my company about blogging:

No one believes anything they read on a company website.  You know that the first place people look to find information on your company is your website.

Knowing this, Do you think the best way to approach jobseekers is to make them think you're lying to them?  That's what traditional careers sites do, and it's why they are always going around you to get to your managers.

Can you blame them?  If they have the perfect resume for a job, they have only a 10% chance of a human looking at it."

In case you're not clicking on the link, here's what C.M. Russell cites:


Sullivan tells of a study where researchers took a job opening and wrote 100 perfect resumes for that opening. Then the researchers added 10 percent more information to the resumes. Of those resumes, only 12 percent were picked up by the tracking system as qualified. This means that even if you are the perfect candidate, if you submit your resume blindly to a large company, there is almost a 90 percent chance that no human will ever see your resume.

Blogging is not the only solution, but it should be worrisome when no one believes what you're writing on that expensive corporate site.

BlogSwap Post and a Surprise

My latest BlogSwap Post is up at Steven Kempton's AsiaPacificHeadhunter.  It's a fun-filled adventure of sight and sound, coupled with instructions on what to do when an executive you call on for business wants you to find them a job.

And because I haven't posted it anywhere yet, I'll give you a sneak peek at tomorrow's Post.

I found another third party recruiting blog

BlogSwap: Transparency Rapleaf by John Sumser

BlogSwap:  Week 2:  The following is a guest post by John Sumser of Interbiznet News.  John is a fixure in the firmament that is the online employment world.  He's been writing daily since 1994.   His post today is about one of my favorite blogs topics, Transparency.

Begin post: 

Auren Hoffman, a long time player in our industry, recently launched a company called Rapleaf. The firm is an online reputation index. "Buyers" and "Sellers" are encouraged to rate each other for broader public consumption. Complete with blog and online social scene, Rapleaf is a logical extension of the trend towards deep transparency.

Auren, who has always had his fingers in projects like KarmaOne (a pioneering job referral system), is deeply persuaded that a collective Good-Housekeeping seal of approval will be a part of doing business online. We are certain that reputation management services will be a critical component of our lives. Think of it as a peer generated credit report or a community based guide to people.

Everyone has seen the reputation management information in Amazon's shops. It boils down to evaluations of a given vendor by their customers. Here are some other examples of reputation management systems (from Wikipedia):

  • Slashdot contains little original content, instead revolving around short reviews of content exterior to the site. "Karma" is Slashdot's name for reputation management. "Moderators" are able to vote on both reviews themselves and comments on those reviews in a system not too dissimilar from E2's. In a novel twist, votes are not merely "+1 point" or "-1 point"; moderators also attach one of a list of predefined labels, such as Flamebait or Informative.
  • Meatball is a wiki devoted to discussion of online communities, including wikis themselves; thus, it is a "metawiki". Its membership is not large. Meatball permits anonymous users, but relegates them to an inferior status: "If you choose not to introduce yourself, it's assumed you aren't here to participate in exchanging help, but just to 'hang out.'"
  • Everything2, like Wikipedia, is a general knowledge base. E2 manages user reputation strongly; one might say it is central to the project's paradigm. Each user's "writeup" carries its own score, or "vote" total. Users who read writeups are encouraged to vote on them; after voting, a user is shown the current score. There is a complicated system for totaling ratings and rewarding users whose writeups score highly; users who vote are also      rewarded.
  • eBay The feedback system on eBay asks each user to post his opinion (positive or negative) on the person with whom he      transacted. Every place a user's system handle ("ID") is displayed, his feedback is displayed with it.

Rapleaf is interesting because the rating system is independent of any particular platform. You might call it open source reputation management. Since buyers and sellers inhabit a vast array of sites and universes, the Rapleaf view appears to be platform independence. A single repository of reputation information (hmm, will they spider Amazon and the others?) is a marketplace that can facilitate other markets.

Transparency is the essence of 21st Century organization and management. The twin engines of technology and demographics make it clear that lots of heretofore unused, unneeded and unavailable information will become a part of our economic, social and commercial processes. The things you buy, use, think, inhabit, operate or otherwise consume will come wrapped in an information envelope that makes its history and legacy very apparent.

Rapleaf makes us wonder about the overall Labor Market. With all of the emphasis on employee background checking and screening, it's a real surprise that no meaningful alternative has yet emerged for employees. Right now, it is easy to imagine a Rapleaf dedicated solely to organizations and Recruiters (by name). Given the magnitude of the employment decision, the data flows are very one sided in the current market.

There are naysayers who think that companies will be able to continue to refuse to buy from services that rate them. (This is a common view of the risk associated with some of Jobster's community services.) Imagine if job hunters started to refuse to work for companies that insisted on background checks. Transparency is good on both ends of the spectrum. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Here's a Microsoft College Recruiting video.

You can reach John at

Continue reading "BlogSwap: Transparency Rapleaf by John Sumser" »

Are The Millenials Better Prepared for Interviewing?

The Post Dispach runs an article by Rebekah Tsadik with the headline, Expecting More, which reports on the difference between College Graduates today and those of yesteryear (say 1995).

Maybe it's because of financially generous parents or a result of VH-1 shows that glorify celebrity lifestyles, but many recent graduates enter the professional world demanding more than the baby boomer generation did.

Some experts, however, say those expectations are reasonable. Today's job seekers are better prepared for work than those in the past as they spend less time waiting tables and more time looking to seize opportunities.

The article is long on anecdotes and short on research, but it does an excellent job of profiling young people who are looking for work.  Some things I took from the article:

  1. Use the Internet.
  2. Don't rely solely on the internet.  The phone works too.
  3. Start planning and asking questions early.
  4. Don't be afraid to ask for what you're worth.  Learn what you are worth before asking.
  5. There is a lot of information out there - use it.

I give the PD a hard time quite often, and heaven knows I'm not easy on career columnists - but I found the article to be an excellent one to pass on to anyone looking for work.  We hear about MySpace and Facebook, but Rebekah doesn't go for the cheap thrill - it's just another tool to be aware of the benefits and the dangers.

There's a generation of people coming up who are learning to use new tools to gather information.  it wasn't around a decade ago, but companies not prepared for this new influx are going to have problems hiring the best and brightest.

And maybe the rest of us can learn something from how they approach the job search.

The New 1% Rule

There's a new rule out for how things get done, and it has all the potential of the 80/20 rule to wreak havoc in corporations where it is applied.

Introducing the 1% Rule.

It's an emerging rule of thumb that suggests that if you get a group of 100 people online then one will create content, 10 will "interact" with it (commenting or offering improvements) and the other 89 will just view it.

This is not a rule in the sense of equations written and tested against large populations, but in the case of Wikipedia, Digg, and other free use social networks, 1% of the people will do most of the work, 10% will edit it, and the rest will just be passive viewers.

I've covered the problems with trying to use rules of human productivity to change your business results.  I wrote this article at Hireability about passive candidates, but the intro is a good start. 

Part I:

In 1906, an economist named Pareto observed that 80 percent of Italy’s wealth was owned by 20 percent of its population. Behavioral scientists followed this line of reasoning over the years, and to their surprise found that in many areas of human endeavors, 20% of a group performed close to 80% of the work. The figures are not exactly 80/20 – but common enough that the 80/20 rule, or Pareto principle, thus came into existence as a law.

The 80/20 rule, as was later found, is a mathematical oddity that applies to all kinds of natural systems, not just human groups. Easily understood and accepted by those without a mathematics background, this rule has become the perfect justification for just about every occasion. Layoffs? Just following the 80/20 rule. Compensation plans weighted towards top producers? 80/20 rule. Bending the rules for certain clients? 80/20 rule! Managers have learned that the 80/20 rule can be used to justify and explain every occurrence in the corporate world – even if the basics of the mathematics are not understood, the idea of 80/20 is powerful enough to justify all kinds of decision making.

Business terms like the Pareto principle are dangerous because they are easily misunderstood and thus easily misapplied. Pervasive and all-explaining, they never quite explain why every method leads to the same 80/20 results. After all, if the Pareto were taken literally, you could fire 80% of your workforce and still maintain 80% of your most profitable revenue. No one has managed to do that yet.

This is the biggest problem we face with social networks.  We're excellent at defining them, but no one has learned how to create them.  The dynamics that create the 80/20 rule and the 1% rule are not subject to tampering.  But we try.

The rule is also not applicable everywhere.  It's what happens at Digg and Wikipedia, (and apparently Yahoo Groups) but that doesn't mean it translates to blogging or LinkedIn or website creation.  There is also the question of numbers - how many people have to be involved before the 1% rule kicks in?  Is it 100?  1000?  10,00,000?

Lots of people have weighed in on this.  Church of the Consumer, Buzz Machine, even the Businessweek Blogs.

There's just one problem - and Jason Calacanis is going to find this out when trying to buy that 1%.  If you alter the make-up of a social network, you alter the results.  Yes, he is going to get a few people to switch to Netscape to push stories.  He will claim that he is satisfied with the results.  But he will not be able to copy the success of the Digg model at Netscape without organically growing his user base.

My biggest concern is this - the number is not 1%.  It's approximately 1%.  In the case of Wikipedia, its' 1.8% creates 72% of the content.  It varies in other groups.  If we're not careful, we'll start to assume 1% is a hard and fast rule - and then we'll start to build business models around paying 1% of a group to do all of the work.

Managers will quote and misuses the 1% rule just as they now misuse the Pareto principle, the Tipping Point, and the LaGrangian Point