Is it a new era or noblesse oblige?

August 16, 2013

In the last week, we have seen 2 major newspaper companies, The Boston Globe and The Washington Post, acquired by wealthy business people.  John Henry in the case of the Boston Globe and Jeff Bezos with The Washington Post.

The revenue declines, struggles to retain readers, and high cost structure of the print newspaper business have been well documented and I won’t go into them here. But in trying to turn around these businesses, there are not obvious examples to follow, so it’s a bit of a Brave New World.

Can these owners make money in the news business (I won’t call them “newspapers” anymore) with original news content, through a digital-only or “digital primary” business model? What areas of news or content will they try to dominate? How important is the brand? The Post has an incredible brand in politics, The Boston Globe does in local sports and local news, but there are so many more competing options for Globe readers these days.

Where will the revenue come from? Not from classifieds, not anymore, not even online. What Monster and Autotrader did to newspaper print classifieds, Indeed and Craigslist did to Monster and the online classified business. That toothpaste is out of the tube…

It would seem as though there should be revenue available through local search and buying intent, helping local small businesses reach large swaths of local consumers. News companies still have large groups of local consumers reaching their online properties, but they monetize this audience through banner advertising that is not targeted and has very low CPM.

One thing Bezos knows is personalization, and that is good for news companies because they do such a poor job of it today. As a fairly regular Boston.com reader, I get lots of banners and they are pretty generic. I almost never notice or click them.

Bezos is an amazing innovator. But how much of that can he push as an owner rather then CEO?

News organizations should be able to make this equation work- Local business relationships + local info + deep personalization = local commerce That business model agenda would help The Post, but not Amazon, since it competes with local merchants. So we’ll see how Bezos’ manages this conflict, or even if he views it as one.

With John Henry, he has proven to wring extra revenue out of the RedSox so we can expect he’ll try to do the same with the Globe. But owning the team, a cable channel and the major news company is a conflict in it’s own right. Maybe the play is with advertisers, to give them multiple channels. It will be interesting to see how the Globe and the Red Sox co-exist and also how NESN factors in.

Of course, all of this could simply be a case of noblesse oblige regarding  these news institutions.


Announcing Bullhorn Reach

February 11, 2011

I am very pleased to announce our latest innovation at Bullhorn, Bullhorn Reach. Reach helps recruiters leverage their social network connections and search engines to recruit talent and develop new client business. Even if you’re not a recruiter, if you do any hiring, you should check it out.

We have had some users in a private beta program testing it out and we are now opening the beta. You can sign up for a FREE account by clicking here. After you’ve signed up, we’ll ask you to spread the word. If you get three other people to sign up, we’ll expedite your account activation and you’re in. Don’t worry, everyone will get in but we’re adding people a bit at a time to make sure they have a great experience.

There are some pretty amazing features in there even if you’re not in a agency. The Articles function lets you publish interesting content out to all your social networks at once. Reach Radar provides you with insight into your social network

If you’re on the fence about signing up, here’s what a few early Bullhorn Reach beta users have to say:

“I love Bullhorn Reach” – Daren Pedley, Thornley Corporate Solutions Ltd. (UK)

“I LOVE this feature!!!!” – Roni from New York, on Reach Radar

“I am receiving several great candidates every day through Bullhorn Reach via Facebook and Twitter” – J.K. from rom New Jersey

“I received 4 job orders with Bullhorn Reach!” – Recruiter from Nevada


Social Recruiting is not BS

November 28, 2010

Last week, John Sumser called the use of social media in recruiting, “BS.”

The gist of Sumser’s argument is:
-You need a brand to be effective in social media
-You need to be viral to reach lots of people
-Social recruiting is really spamming social media sites with jobs

He concludes by saying, “There is little evidence that social recruiting, as currently practiced, actually yields meaningful results.”

I think Sumser’s argument is fairly specious. While he’s right that “as currently practiced” social recruiting can be spammy, he ignores the many success stories of both large and small companies while failing to relate social media to other types of recruitment media.

We do tend to hear mostly from larger companies succeeding with social media. According to John Campagnino, senior director of recruiting at Accenture, they are saving over $100,000 for a senior hire by using social media. He estimates that Accenture will make 40% of its hires in the next few years using social media. Home Depot has reduced its time-to-fill by almost 50% using LinkedIn.

These companies are huge players with successful, recognizable brands and viable recruiting strategies.  So why would we choose to ignore what they are doing well?

You don’t need to be a big brand or “viral” to be successful.
Social media recruiting is different because social media is different. How? The 2nd degree network referral effect – the next best thing to viral marketing. Facebook’s “Like” and “Share” buttons, Twitter’s “ReTweets” and LinkedIn’s “2nd degree introduction” features are truly revolutionary in their ability to spread content (i.e. jobs and candidate referrals) to second and third degree networks,  enabling you to get your message out to a much larger and more qualified audience—something job sites don’t allow. But more important than the breadth is the connection – social media enables a real-time two-way social connection between the sender and recipient.

Does all of this matter? Of course it does. Plenty of research shows that we are far more likely to purchase products and services based on the opinion of our friends and family. This is certainly true in recruiting—it’s why referrals are still the number one source of hire. Social media recruiting is a way to tap into the referral pool. In order to be successful, recruiters don’t need to produce viral content; they simply need to understand how to tap a few good referral points.

Recruiters need to go where the talent is. With over 500 million people on Facebook and more than 80 million using LinkedIn, social media sites represent an enormous talent pool. More important than pure reach, Facebook users spent almost 36% of their online time on the site (Source: Nielsen). A new report from job aggregator SimplyHired showed that over 60% of job seekers are using social media in their job search.

These figures are alarming, yes, and introduce a challenge for smaller firms looking to compete for talent.  And Sumser is right by saying there is time and complexity involved in making social media recruiting work.Thankfully, there are some good tools out there to help, tools like Jobvite, Jobs2Web, and the newly introduced Bullhorn Reach. I would suggest using one of these tools to support your efforts and listen to Glen Cathey, VP of Recruiting for KForce:

“Recruiting has always been social – interactions have primarily taken place in person and over the phone. Social media simply enables a third way to communicate: online.”

http://bit.ly/ggGpEp


Wikinomics in the Recruiting Industry

September 24, 2010

The breakthrough book Wikinomics demonstrates how changes in technology and demographics led companies to reach outside the boundaries of their traditional organizations. Much like eBay created a giant ecosystem of buyers and sellers and LinkedIn has created a huge group of professional networkers, businesses of all types are collaborating with partners to improve revenue and lower costs. This trend paired with the natural networking structure of the recruiting industry has me think that it’s only a matter of time before change of similar type and magnitude reaches our industry. Here are 5 core reasons:

Reach

How many people do you reach in a day? A week? A month? Whether you are running a full desk, strictly recruiting or bringing in new business, success requires you to constantly increase your reach. The proliferation of powerful sourcing technologies, bigger job boards, and social media channels mean that not only you, but your clients and competition have access to more candidates than ever before. The quality of your reach is vital.

So what if it wasn’t just you? What if you could tap into thousands of other recruiters who have direct access to millions of candidates? That’s Wikinomics.


Speed

Even if the right candidate is out there somewhere, alone it may take you a long time to source her and then of course there is the screening process.  In today’s competitive recruiting world, speed will make or break you.

What if you could collaborate with other firms to gain fast access to the most qualified candidates for your client’s open positions?  That’s Wikinomics.

Flexibility

Today’s uncertain economy makes it difficult for recruiting firms to discern when to hire new staff and which side of the business (recruiting or sales) should be staffed up first.  In 2006 we hired frenetically and in 2009, the reverse.

What if you could run your business with outside resources, accessing account managers and recruiters only as you need them? That’s Wikinomics.

Scalability

As more and more firms look to expand geographically, the cost to do so and risk associated with breaking into new territory is significant.

What if you could scale your business by leveraging the area’s local established recruiting professionals without having to commit to the hiring overhead costs? That’s Wikinomics.

Technology

In the past, it was difficult to work with other firms because of technical limitations. It was hard to find other firms, hard to know what they specialize in, hard to communicate, and hard to trust them. Online communications advancements bridge this gap.

What if collaboration could be supported by a technology that would enable you to connect and communicate, while improving confidentiality and ethical behavior? That’s Wikinomics.

The pervasive growth of Web technology has enabled huge advances in personal and business “mass collaboration.” All types of industries are seeing advances including telecom (Skype), biotechnology (human genome project), classifieds (eBay), content (Wikipedia), software (Linux, Firefox), and retailing (Amazon reviews).  Working with hundreds or even thousands of other recruiters will enable you to grow faster.

To help recruiting and staffing professionals succeed in this new reality, Bullhorn recently launched PowerFill, a network of recruiters supported by robust collaboration technology. Much like the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) helped transform the real-estate industry through firm-to-firm collaboration, PowerFill helps staffing firms collaborate to increase their revenue and bottom line.

To read the original post, click here: http://bit.ly/cxN06J


Tweet for Service

August 26, 2010

I had heard about companies (particularly Comcast) monitoring social media for customer or prospect complaints, but had never experienced it personally until this week.

Bank of America had canceled my debit/ATM card because a merchant had some kind of data breach. Unfortunately, they did not inform me of the cancellation, nor had they sent me a replacement card. So I called customer service to bitch and also tweeted about my crappy experience. Within an hour or so, I got a reply from BofA_Help via Twitter asking if they could assist. They requested that I DM them with my name and phone and they called me the next day (the original interaction was on a Sunday). Although I had already resolved the issue with the telephone customer service people the day before, the Twitter help people listened responsively and then sent me a gift card for my troubles.

If only the rest of Bank of America’s service was as responsive or as good.

(For their part, BofA claims that they informed me of the cancellation by mail and sent me a new card by mail. I did not receive either one. They could not explain why they do not inform a customer of a data breach or impending cancellation by email or phone.)


Introducing a professional network for recruiters

August 19, 2010

I am really excited today to announce the public Beta for PowerFill, a product that I helped to spearhead at Bullhorn. PowerFill is a network of hundreds of staffing and recruiting firms working together to fill jobs and place candidates. PowerFill network members use our new, rich collaboration tools to securely exchange information about jobs and candidates, messages, contracts and other information.

We created PowerFill to help staffing and recruiting professionals with one of the largest problems they face: low fill rates.

By collaborating with other firms in the network, PowerFill users can:

• Make more placements to improve their top and bottom line
• Improve customer satisfaction by increasing fill rates and covering more of their business
• Gain efficiency by using sales or recruiting resources from outside of their company. PowerFill lets you focus on what you do best.
• Take control of the customer by filling more of their clients’ orders, allowing for more exclusives and orders.

To see the entire announcement click here http://bit.ly/9gmatw or www.powerfill.com


My Take on the Monster / HotJobs deal

February 5, 2010

I don’t like the Monster’s just announced acquisition of HotJobs from Yahoo

The Street doesn’t like the deal- Monster stock was down 20% following the news.

Monster overpaid- Although they did not disclose HotJobs revenue, it is widely believed that Monster paid up to get the deal done. According to insiders with first-hand knowledge, Yahoo did not actively seek private equity bids for HotJobs because they believed they could get a better price from Monster. They’re almost certainly right.

Many of the employer customer and job seekers use both Monster and HotJobs. In other words, don’t think that 2+2 will equal 4 in this case. It’s probably more like 2.5 or 3.

Monster’s cash position is dwindling and could become precarious if a recovery doesn’t come soon and the company doesn’t start generating cash.

The deal may lead to increased traffic from Yahoo! but Yahoo! wasn’t a great producer of traffic for HotJobs. If they can’t/won’t produce traffic for an internally owned property, why is this going to work for a partner?

The deal doesn’t solve Monster’s issues. Monster faces dramatically increased competition from many places. The dollars spent on recruiting is not growing, so these competitors are eating into Monster’s (and CareerBuilder’s) core business.

  • Craigslist has decimated Monster’s “single job posting” business, most of which comes from SMBs. This deal doesn’t solve that entirely, although the addition of HotJob’s media partners could help that somewhat. Many SMBs still use newspaper classifieds for hiring because of entrenched relationships. However, the core problem is the fact that Craigslist is almost free or free, and Monster costs $400.
  • Social media- Monster doesn’t really have an answer to social media recruiting, most importantly LinkedIn. LinkedIn will do (reported) $200 million in revenue this year, most of it in recruiting. That is starting to get close to Monster’s $400 million domestic revenue run rate
  • Niche job boards- The web has become a collection of “individualized” media properties. In much the same way, niche job boards serve niche audiences very well. There are very good niche boards in high tech, health care, finance, sales, media, etc. In addition, many high traffic blogs with specific demographic audiences now offer job board functionality (like MediaBistro, for example)
  • Aggregators- Indeed and SimplyHired collect virtually all the jobs in one place, making it MUCH easier for job seekers.

Conclusion: While consolidation is probably a good thing in this fragmented industry, acquiring HotJobs just gets Monster more of what it already had. It’s only slightly additive and it doesn’t advance Monster’s strategic needs or defend Monster’s exposed flank.