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Optimism Growing, Startups Returning. Could Hiring Be Around the Corner?

by
John Zappe
Mar 16, 2010, 7:19 pm ET

Optimism returned to the recruiting community in November. That’s what my informal survey here in San Diego at ERE’s Expo tells me.

In conversations, people say things like, “We were told last year that we would start hiring again” or “I started seeing reqs from departments that I hadn’t heard from in a year.”

The vendors on the show floor are more specific: Business inquiries picked up noticeably by November.

After hearing three or four of these comments, I started my survey. An hour ago, Ethan Bloomfield, VP with JobTarget, said “the money started to show up” last summer. But it was November that he noticed “people had better moods.”

Chris Higbee with HireVue, the video interview service, said the recession was a big boost for his firm as companies cut recruitment travel. But by the end of the year, the business driver started becoming managing the expected hiring.

The exhibit hall and the conference attendance bear that out. A recruiter on the phone with a colleague who didn’t make the show was saying how crowded it was compared to last year. She’s right. Attendance is just over 700; at least 30 percent more than the 2009 Spring Expo. The showroom exhibit space is full; some exhibitors have set up in the main corridor.

There are at least three or four start ups prowling the halls. Talk about a change. The last conference I attended had zero start-ups and empty exhibitor spaces.

YouTern isn’t even yet online, but Joe Gagliano, the company’s CMO and an old friend, was here talking about the upcoming launch of the site aimed at connecting college interns with start-up companies.

No other company is focusing on that slice of the intern market, so there’s some opportunity there, especially for students who want to experience the energy of a start-up and maybe be a part of the next Google or Facebook.

Another startup that’s to launch March 22nd gave me a quick demo and if I wasn’t sworn to secrecy I’d been telling you to get in line now. The company name is a four letter word (not that one. Or that one either.), but you might just want to call it “Wow.”

It’s a social network tool — the words are being chosen here with care, because this is not a social network itself. It will help job seekers use social recruiting in a meaningful way. And once the site begins to get populated, it will make a difference to recruiters seeking Gen Yers.

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel regarding any threatened or pending litigation.

  1. Kristen Tom

    This is great news to hear! I hope this means that we will finally be out of this recession.

  2. Keith Halperin

    Very good indeed! Now all we need is some Positive Mental Attitide and *11.1M new jobs and we’ll be right back to where we were before the Great Recession.

    ;)

    Keith “Every day in every way, things are getting better and better!” Halperin

    *8.4M lost and 2.7M new entrants to the job market.

  3. Madeline Laurano

    Wow- over 700 attendees! great job ERE team!

  4. Evyenia Wilkins

    Optimism and a healthy startup crowd, very uplifting news. Along the same lines, the SF Chronicle recently reported that small firms (less than 20 people) are indeed hiring. Surprised to find out that they represent 18% of the workforce. (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/03/03/BUHJ1C9QO6.DTL)

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  6. Keith Halperin

    Evyenia:

    This is also good to hear. Small businesses are responsible for much of job creation. At the same time,i believe firms this small (<20 people) don't use all that many internal or contract recruiters…

    Cheers,

    Keith

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