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September 2007
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November 2007

Things To Do In My Absence

I'm heading to NAPS this week in San Antonio to participate in a panel for Margaret Graziano of KeenHire.  Margaret is putting on an executive briefing Thursday morning from 7-8:30 that includes breakfast and an excellent panel of speakers (including Shally). Next week, I'm heading with Franki to the BlogWorldExpo to meet with other bloggers and build up our list of contacts for future programs, so blogging will be light.  If you want to guest post here and get the link, feel free to write me. In the meantime, check out these business and recruiting blogs from friends and clients.

or alternately, watch a little Flight of the Conchords. I'll be back November 13th. 

Visit for articles, news, and advice on Diversity recruiting.


Getting Service From Monopolies and Near-Monopolies

It turns out the AT&T website was down yesterday.  I talked with a very nice lady today (people are always nice when they are signing you up for something).  It worked out okay - I'm paying about $104 after taxes for phone, unlimited long distance, and DSL up to 3 megs, but I can't help but think I'm overpaying.  Charter never called me back, so I don't know what they would have charged.

And the sad part is I have to keep paying for Vonage, because I can't transfer that number to my new office.  Incompatible switches in Creve Coeur and Ladue.  So now I have to forward the Vonage phone  from the  home office to the office office.  Luckily, I can do that online.  Let me tell you something.  If the world made sense, AT&T would buy Vonage, scrap their website, and let you navigate your account like Vonage does.  I can change service plans, turn features like call forwarding and call waiting on and off, look at and pay my bill, download voicemails to play on the desktop, and forward referrals to a friend to make $25.  It's easy, simple, and if it weren't for the fact that the reliability is somewhat sketchy (rumor unchecked says it's because Charter slows down the Vonage packets), I'd never leave Vonage.

But it does, and I can't afford to miss phone calls or have my voice fade in and out when Franki's online.  So there it is.

I then went to the Ameren and Laclede websites (local electric and gas companies).  Ameren had a form online to fill out for service, but the form was broken.  I informed the nice lady on the phone that it was, but forget to tell her the phone numbers for Ameren aren't posted anywhere convenient to call in.

Laclede put me on hold for 8 minutes, so I hung up.

It's amazing how difficult it is to get companies to accept your money.  At least today, everyone was polite about it.

I'm Trying To Get To The AT&T Website To Buy DSL

The AT&T website is down.  I can't get to the site to buy DSL service.  It reminds me of the time that A&W was out of rootbeer.   We're moving to a new office in Ladue, and we need us some internet.

Anyone else nervous about my ability to get online?  Charter might be an option, but they don't know if they have service in Ladue.  No one has called me back. Originally, I talked to a Charter Rep in another state, but they said they couldn't help me, and someone local would call me back in 24-48 hours.  We're going on 96. hours.

We have Vonage, which we've been happy about, but too many people are complaining about VOIP (rumor has it that Charter slows down the Vonage packets) fading in and out when we're online.   So we were going to switch, but no one wants our business.

And so our internet access and phone bill is about to go up $30, without free long distance.  Do you know what really stinks?  With Vonage, I don't get phone calls from telemarketers.  No one has the number except my credit card companies (who call to offer stuff, but rarely).  The second I get a business line, salesmen are going to start calling thinking I need to buy a postage meter, or legal, or any of a dozen other things that a business our size simply can't use.  And we don't quality for the Do Not Call list.

A pox on all their houses.  And on Congress, for being such spineless twits to the telecom lobbyists.  You guys do know that we just stopped paying the Spanish American War tax on phone service, right?

Hiring Sourcers

I'm fascinated with the world of sourcing.  As an account manager for six years with various staffing firms, my experience with sourcing prior to 2005 was the filing cabinet in the back of the office with 10,000 manila folders and a phone sticky from spilling coffee with too much milk and sugar on it. Ah, good memories.

After getting involved with the online employment crowd, I noticed this particular discipline starting to get a lot of attention, and names started popping up again and again.  Shally Steckerl, Glenn Gutmacher, Maureen Sharib, Jim Stroud, and Dave Mendoza.  Who were these sourcers, and how exactly did they make money?  Were the technologically proficient versions of a reference librarian?  The human variant of the manufacturer's guides I'd used to such good effect in a previous sales jobs?  Or were they something new?  Were they some kind of protean recruiter evolving along a different path than the rest of us?  They researched, and we sold?

The jury's still out.  Most recruiters, whether they be corporate or third party, still consider sourcing as an essential part of a recruiter's job.  The idea of outsourcing is laughable, unless you count the "junior recruiters" who are hired to download resumes from Monster because the volume is too high.  But the tide is turning.  I promised that I would go through the Electronic Recruiting 101 booklet and let you see some of the nuggets of gold hidden.  Written by Shally, the book of course has a section on hiring Sourcers (p.94)

Hiring Sourcers Do's and Don't

  • Sourcers vs recruiters:
  • Sourcers aren't junior recruiters
  • Not all sourcers are created equally
  • One-to-many ratio
  • Where to go?

Shally covers each of these points in detail (though in telling you where to go, he pitches ERE and only ERE), and and then to make it really spicy, he shares how to compensate them.

The answer is highly.  Compensate them highly, but only if they're worth it, and if you can track their results to money saved.

by the way - I'll be on a panel with Shally next week.  We're speaking at an exclusive Executives only Briefing at the NAPS conference in San Antonio.  There's still room, the event is free, and we'd love to see you there.  Remember that you have to RSVP separately for this event by contacting Margaret Graziano <>

Jason Goldberg And Web 2.0

We know Jason's heading on to greener pastures, so let me pass on to you what I think Jason Goldberg's enduring legacy will be.

Jason will be known, and rightfully so, as the person who brought Web 2.0 to the corporate recruiting world.  I attended Jason's speech in St Louis last year.  It was the one and only time I met him.  His speech, while it was nothing new to me, was like a blast of lightning to the 80 some people in the room at the Westin in downtown St Louis.  They had never heard the things he brought to them.

Web 2.0?  Post and Pray?  Social Networking? Blogs?  Jason was bringing the gospel of the social media world to a group that was still struggling to write job descriptions for the local newspaper.  And in a Nixon going to China manner, I'm pretty sure there weren't many people that could have brought that message successfully to corporate HR departments.

Now, of course Jason hasn't actually left Jobster yet, but I do believe the company is in good shape, and we'll see the results of his work in the next few years.  Jobster was the darling of the blogs for a long while, and when they stumbled, Jason took the brunt of the criticism.  Some of it was fair, and some was not, but if Jason had not made Jobster the leader, none of the blogs would have bothered taking shots.

So good luck, Mr. Goldberg. Thank you for your time.

Full Disclosure:  I was technically a consultant for Jobster for a brief time in June 2006 when was sold, and currently am a minor stockholder in the company.

You Can Have My Social When You Pry It From My...

I've always been a bit of a rebel, or maybe it's just being contrary, but I can't stand it when company policies ask me for information that is irrelevant and personal.

Last night, I reminded the GIMA group that our first act as corporate recruiters is often asking a candidate to fill out an application with information they already provided to us from their resume.  This is a good employment practice? 

Of course not.  What's worse is I've seen applications that ask for Social Security Numbers, Credit Ratings, and references and salary information, before you've ever spoken to a real person. 

Gerry Crispin made me laugh out loud today with his suggestion.

Responding to the concerns that an increasing number of companies are asking prematurely for applicants' social security numbers the quote went something like- “either leave the application blank or, if you must include it, make it up”.

I applaud the notion, but I have to disagree. Sadly, there are many people in HR who would be very unhappy to see you come to them and ask them to change your Social Security number if you did get hired.  That may work for the superstar or the top executive, but your average employee is at the mercy of the rules.

Of course, those same rules are the ones that lead your employers to reconsider taking the job if offered.   Don't think the way you treat prospective employees doesn't have an effect on your acceptance rates.  The scary thought is that if you do subject your candidates to the zombie application process, the people who accept your offer are the ones that have already lost their willpower and dignity. It's not exactly the 21st century workforce you are looking for.

Gateway Interactive Marketing Association Event

I'm on a panel in just about hour discussing the state of interactive employment in St Louis for the GIMA (Gateway Interactive Marketing Assocation) at Maggiano's at 7.  If you're returning from the event, and want to know about, then you've come to the right place. is a local recruiting blog started in 2004 by Jim Durbin, who was then an account manager for a national technical staffing firm.  The blog has grown to over 4500 monthly unique visitors and 150 subscribers, and has been featured at staffing conferences across the country discussing the unique role of blogging and social media in online employment.

StlRecruiting exists to help local recruiters navigate the online world.  If you are a local recruiter, we'd love to interview you, talk about your company, and if we like you, even post a few jobs.  If we like you.

Jim Durbin and his wife, Franki, own Durbin Media Group, a social media marketing firm that specializes in blog consulting.  With clients on both coasts that represent Household names and exciting startups, Durbin Media Group is one of a handful of social media firms with real world experience and results-oriented marketing.

In addition to, Jim and Franki blog at (the marketing blog), LifeInAVentiCup (Franki's Lifestyle blog), and a series of local blogs like and

For more information, or to hire us, contact us here.

ERE Conference Tomorrow

I won't be at the conference tomorrow (and thank goodness, because I threw out my back earlier this week), but many bloggers will, including Rob Neelbauer of Job Matchbox.  I strongly recommend that companies seek out and meet people like Rob.

They really do drive news in the blogosphere, and in addition, they serve as fantastic contacts.  ERE showed its commitment to blogs a long time ago - shouldn't you be trying to figure out why David Manaster keeps his own?

Interviewing The Interviewer

I was watching Curb Your Enthusiasm last night, and Larry David was giving Leon some advice on how to win a job interview.  He said, you have to flip it on him.  You start out answering questions, but after a while, when you've given enough good answers, you have to, in more coarse terms, flip it on them.

Larry_david You become the interviewer.  Hilarious and uncomfortable humor aside, he's exactly right, at least for some kinds of jobs.  This is the one and only time I'll suggest taking advice from the man who brought you The Contest.

The truth is that in some interviews, you should flip the script. 

Certain jobs require, shall we say, a bit of ego, to be done correctly.  I don't mean arrogance, but rather the confidence that you know how to achieve results and the awareness of what you're worth.

This group includes, but is not limited to;

Salespeople, managers, marketers, technophiles, knowledge workers, consultants, and anyone who has a rare skill or one honed over time and in demand.

To get the most out of your interview, someone in high demand has to do as much interviewing as they do answering.  And a good interviewer is looking for just that.  You know that point when the manager stops, puts down their notes, and asks you if you have any questions?  She's not talking about the benefit plan at that point. She wants to know if you're the type of person she has to train, or the type of person that knows what needs to be done, and works with the manager to create an environment for success.

Find out more about Hispanic Recruiting at

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Recruiter Freakonomics

I'm reading a new book, Supercrunchers, and it reminds me of my Freakonomics post back from the days.  I'm going to recreate it, because it asks a very important question:  Is your Recruiter working for you?

Originally posted on in May 2006.

Freakonomics was a NYTimes bestseller, bringing economic tools to answer such great questions as why drug dealers live with their mothers, despite supposedly making so much money.

The book is really about dispelling myths by explaining how incentives drive us to act.  One of the examples is real estate agents.  Using some basic numbers, the book explains that a $300,000 house that sells yields a $4500 average commission for a real estate agent.  A $310,000 yields an average $4650 commission.  Thus the effort to hold out for the best price yields very little for the agent, but $10,000 for the seller.

Tracking the agents who sell their own homes, the book finds that the agents hold out for $10,000 more when it's their own home, but not so much when it's someone else's.  It's an example of simple math. Effort matched to reward.

Third Party Recruiters working for national firms are in much the same boat.  During a permanent placement,  we're fond of saying, "the more you make, the more we make," as recruiters are usually paid a percentage (20-33%) of the annual salary.  But Third Party Recruiters working inside don't make the full commission amount.  On a salary of $100,000, with a fee of $25,000, the recruiter receives half-credit, $12,500 which she then receives a percentage of - somewhere between 10-30% (depending on if they are commissioned or salaried).

St Louis Job Posting

COMSYS is hiring for a Senior J2EE developer in St Louis.  This is a 3-4 year project for a contractor.  That's right - 3-4 years. Contact COMSYS today for more information

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