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

Mar 16, 2010
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

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 part of a series called News & Trends.
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