Job Sites With a Clue Part 1 of 3

Dec 12, 1999

The latest estimates from NUA Surveys put the number of Internet users around the world at about 201 million. That’s a lot of people. In the US alone, there are more than 112 million. Think about what this means. Yes, it gives you potential access to more people than you’ll even need to hire. But, unless you understand the medium you’ll still trail behind. The Internet, by virtue of how it is accessed, is an individual experience. Each one of its millions of users, sits alone, in front of a computer monitor, isolated. Sometimes frustrated. Most often, able to communicate only through typewritten words. A solitary, potentially lonely experience to be sure. Think about the automated telephone systems in use today in many businesses across the US. You call with a question or a complaint. You listen to a pre-recorded menu offering several choices and try to guess which option will put you in touch with the person you need. You punch the appropriate number. You get queued into another pre-recorded message. A sub-menu this time. You listen, choose again, and the cycle spins on. When (if) you do reach a person, often it is within the wrong department, and you are transferred back to recorded hell. The same potential exists on the Web, too. Think about those sites you’ve encountered with no contact name, no phone number, no way to correspond with a real person. The sites whose pages refresh automatically and keep you from effectively using the back button. Do you stay long? Neither do people who are looking for new career opportunities. For the most part, we are social beings who thrive on human contact and exchange. We have the need to express our ideas, share our experiences, and understand that we are not alone. Yet many of us now live in areas where we don’t know our neighbors. We work in cubicles with walls so high we can’t see our co-workers. And we sit at computers, do our solitary work, and wonder at the malaise that besets us. Yes, there is a shortage of workers. But there is no shortage of people. If you had access to even 1/1000th of all the people on the ‘Net, you’d have plenty of applicants to choose from. So, why is it so hard to find them? Look at the job boards. They’re all the same. They post jobs. They run articles about skill development, career enhancement, dealing with subordinates and bosses. After a while, they all blur and it’s hard to figure out why yet another group of people thought creating yet another job site was a worthwhile use of their time. Then, look at the popularity of the newsgroups, of online games, even of email discussion lists. In each of those, the computer is the medium, but the participants are real. They are people interacting with other people. If job boards could recognize this need for interaction think what the results could be… There are a few job sites that understand. Yes, of course, they offer job postings. And resume databases. And the requisite career advice. But, they also offer the prospective candidate a reason to visit – virtual human contact. A place to interact, to theorize, share, talk, complain, congratulate, learn, express, and meet other human beings. Without that, the site is static, deadly, and, in essence, useless to the people you most want to attract. In the next two weeks, we’ll look at two particular job posting sites that understand the Internet medium – that understand people need contact – and use that understanding to create advantages for the recruiter. One is a pay posting site, the other is free.

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