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Recruitment News

txtAjob.ie Update

January 19th, 2010

Text a Job (txtAjob.ie) Jobs to your mobile phone.

I previously wrote a post about Ireland’s only free-to-advertise text alert job board txtAjob.ie (Text a Job).  They offer jobs to your mobile phone via text alerts.

In the piece I wrote before I remarked that a job seeker would be likely to receive lots of jobs that were not suitable for them.  This was because the categories were very broad.  I am delighted to report that this has been addressed in a significant manner.  They have added a further 22 categories, meaning that subscribers to a specific category will have less flotsam to contend with.  This is a very welcome development.

Of course, how relevant jobs are to the user will be highly significant when it comes to people retaining the service on their phones, so it makes good business sense.

TxtAjob have also stated that stale and repeated jobs will also be automatically removed.  This has been a problem for all the job boards.  As we entered the recession it got particularly bad, with fake job postings and multiple versions of the same job advertised.  This was often in an effort to make an agency look like they had more jobs than were actually available.  TxtAjob are actively removing any instances.  The other job board to tackle this was RecruitIreland.com, who moved to a credits system like Monster last year.

It would seem that txtAjob have gained quite a few agencies as advertisers, but also have companies advertising too.  I know that they have integrated with eRecruit to make job posting easier for agencies that use that service.

TxtAjob have also been advertising fairly heavily.  They are running campaigns on Newstalk and on FM104, where they are also sponsoring FM104’s job finder spot.

Competing in the job board market is not easy, and txtAjob seem to be doing a good job of it.  Since advertising jobs is free it makes sense to post jobs with them, particularly with the media coverage they are currently receiving.

Hotgirl69@gmail.com, if you want a job change your email address!

January 13th, 2010

Email addresses you should not use for job hunting

It is astounding how many people send in CV’s from email addresses that do them no favours what so ever.  I have no problem with anybody calling themselves hotgirl69@gmail.com, stud09@hotmail.com or mushroom.trev@ucd.ie, but I do not want to see it on a job application.  Yes It amuses me, it makes me laugh and it may even make me remember you.  The trouble is you really don’t want to be remembered for your decidedly dodgy email address.

How is a recruiter supposed to put you forward as a professional in your field when they know that you are willing to use an email address like the above to promote yourself.  Ireland is not quite the repressive Catholic Ireland it used to be, but alluding to sexual prowess, recreational drug taking or criminality is not clever.

It could perhaps be excused if it were not so simple to get a new email address that is more professional. trevor.sorbie@gmail.com is a lot better than mushroom.trev.

Now that that is off my chest, do I really have to go into making your profile private on facebook and cleaning up your Linkedin profile?  Good.  Oh, just one thing on facebook.  If, like me you are linked to Saddam Hussain, Salman Rushdie, Osama Bin Laden and George Bush, just because you though it was funny… be aware that you cannot make your friends private.  If you are looking for a job then ditch your less admirable, politically incorrect, or controversial friends.  You do not want somebody else getting your job just because you inadvertently offended your would be boss by linking to somebody they despise.

Irish Recruiters

January 7th, 2010

Declan Fitgeralds Hat Tip Award

Declan Fitzgerald, the Microsoft recruiter who started of the Irish Recruiters group on Linkedin decided to hold his own Recruitment Awards over the Christmas period.

Dubbed the Irish Recruiters Hat Tip awards, Declan asked for nominations from the pool of over 1,000 members of the Linkedin Group.

You can check out the results for yourself.

While there are several recruitment agencies and individuals mentioned in the awards, it is unfortunate that being the organiser, Declan could not be mentioned himself.

Declan is a massively keen social media exponent.  It is perhaps not surprising, since he is an in-house recruiter for Microsoft, that he is somewhat obsessed by technology – not that I can talk!  Thus the awards focuses solely on the use of technology and ability to adapt to technology by recruiters.

I don’t know of any other recruiter who has managed to grow a linkedin group so successfully.  In fact Declan’s impact on the recruitment industry was such that, after he organised his first conference for recruiters, there where whispers that he was trying to take over from the National Recruitment Federation.  This is absolutely not the case, but it is a strong indicator of the ground breaking work he was doing bringing Irish recruiters together.

The Irish Recruiters group came about at a time when the Irish Recruitment industry was just waking up to the potential of Social Media for Recruitment.  The first tentative steps were being made, and everybody was hungry for information on how to use it without time wasting.  Declan saw the opportunity and acted on it.

So Declan, here’s a hat tip back at you!

No news is good news

January 5th, 2010

Ok, so saying “no news is good news” is a lousy cop out for neglecting the posts on this blog.

The truth is that I have been spending more time on my seo blog.

Recruitment News had a nice Christmas.  Hope you did too.

In fairness though, there has not been a lot of news in recruitment over Christmas.  Another agency (which I had never heard of before) bit the dust.  There is some more news, but I’m saving it for later when I have a bit more time to write.  I’ll try and get around to it this evening.

I have also conducted a small experiment in blogging.  I’m sure you are all aware that it is necessary to keep blogging regularly in order to keep your blog at the top of the pile.

Well I decided to see just how often you need to blog, and how long it takes to regain lost places in the Google rankings.  It turns out that a newish blog like the SEO one lasts only about a week before slipping at least 4 places.  A more established blog will fare better.  It will still slip, but not as much or as fast.

It took me three posts on three successive days to regain my position.

The moral of the story…. my new years resolution is to blog daily.  I may not blog on every blog every day, but I won’t be leaving it for more than a few days between posts.

I have noticed during my surfing that many of you have corporate blogs.  Some of them have not been updated in months.  Why is that?  I’m not going to spend more than five minutes on this one.  Plus, once you get into the habit it gets easier.  Nominate somebody (or some people) to write your blog.  Schedule it.  Mary blogs on Mondays, Trevor on Tuesday, Charlene on Wednesdays etc.  Remember too that if you are using wordpress you do not have to publish the post straight away.  Sometimes, if I get into the swing of writing, I write several and only publish one on the day.  The rest I keep for another day.

As you will have seen from this and many other blogs, you do not have to stay on-topic all the time.  This post has very little to do with Recruitment News, but you will notice that I still managed to mention it!

I’ll be mentioning blogging in my next post too.  Here’s another blogging tip.  If you write several posts on the same/similar topics in succession, they tend to do better in the Google ranking stakes.

Happy new year to you all and happy blogging.

P.s. I am always looking for Recruitment News.  If you work for an agency and have any news (however small it may be) I have no problem plugging it here if I think it may be even vaguely interesting

Google Creates a PR nightmare

December 8th, 2009

The new Google SideWiki could potentially be a Public Relations nightmare for companies.  In most cases I suspect that management are not even aware of its existence, let alone it’s potential for harm.

The new sidebar pictured below works on the same principles as Wikipedia – thus the name.  While the site owners entry will be on top, it allows any registered Google user to write comments attached to your site.

Google Side-Wiki on Recruitment Agencies Ireland. A useful tool for web surfers or a potential PR disaster?

Did I just say anybody?  Yes I did.  Would you allow everybody in the world to write content on your site?  Not in a million years.  But now they can do just that.  In fact users can comment on every single page of your site.  They can have different comments on different pages.

The age old adage of word of mouth working better for bad news than good news holds true here.  Treat a customer badly and you may well pay the price.  Only instead of the customer bad mouthing you to just friends, family and colleagues, they can now (if they feel aggrieved enough) denounce your services to the world. On your very own website.

It doesn’t stop there either.  What about your competitors?  Do you trust them not to write disparaging comments about your company?  That would be bad enough anywhere, but to have those same comments attached to your own website would be highly embarrassing.

So what can you do about it?

  1. Get acquainted with Google Sidewiki. Get the Google toolbar.  To view a wiki entry for a web page, just click on the sidewiki button on the google toolbar.
  2. Get your own comments in first. A site owner (your google account must be associated with the website – webmaster tools validation) can make a wiki entry that will stay on top of all other comments.  This entry can be made to show up for all pages on the site.  This is particularly useful since most of us have dynamic websites.
  3. Make your own comments lengthy. Surfers are lazy.  We hate scrolling any more than we have to.  Do not put in just two lines in your own wiki entry.  Make it long enough to ensure scrolling is necessary.  Thus it takes effort to reach the other comments, leaving you more control over what people read.
  4. Subscribe to the comments RSS feed. This will not work in outlook, so you will have to use another RSS reader.  This should really be at number one in this list.  You need to know what people are saying about you.  By subscribing to the RSS feed you will know every time a new comment is posted. (As an aside here, I am assuming that you are also using Google Alerts to let you know every time your company is mentioned on the Web.)
  5. Submit a removal request. If you do become the victim of unwarranted abuse through sidewiki, then you can request that the comment be removed.  Think before doing this though.  A well handled response can sometimes work better from a PR point of view than having the comment deleted.  After all, if somebody has gone to the trouble of writing damaging material attached to your site, then when they find it deleted they could be encouraged to write the same information elsewhere.  Tackling it at source may be a better option.

It’s not all bad news though.  People can write nice things too.  It doesn’t have to be a PR nightmare.

Garda Strike Possible

December 7th, 2009

Will the army get the Garda Bikes if they have to take over from a striking police force?

It looks like it might be a job for the army!  The GRA (Garda Representatives Association) have announced that they will be balloting members about possible industrial action.  This comes despite the fact that Gardai are prevented from striking by law.

Some may fear anarchy, but we can rest assured that the army will be called in.  My only question… Will the Garda bikes be used by the army?

Seriously though, are we really going to end up with Soldiers taking to the street, giving tourists directions and issuing parking tickets?  I can see the countries criminal classes feelings being divided into two camps; those that would look forward to the crime spree, and those who would rather the law enforcement not have rpg’s and m16’s.

Web 2.0 Cloud computing in recruitment

November 27th, 2009

Got a headache with your servers.  Take one Cloud computing pill to relieve tension

Here is the thing.  You can have a server with your entire database on it.  You have to back it up, have redundancies in place, ensure it is physically secure, keep the hardware and software on it up to date, protect it from power outages or spikes.  It’s an expensive thing to run if it is done properly.

That is why, increasingly, recruitment agencies are turning to hosted software.  The company that provides your recruitment software keep the server.  They are responsible for backing it up, keeping it running smoothly, and keeping it up to date.

It runs over the internet.  This is cloud computing.  Your software and database are “out there” in the cloud that is the internet.  Obviously there is a server involved, but you don’t need to know about it.  All you have to do is log into your software.

The result.. no headaches.  Don’t have an IT team.  Not a problem. You pay to have somebody else worry about it.

The benefits:-

  1. Reduced staff (You can reduce your IT team)
  2. Lower cost desktops.  Your desktops will only need an internet connection.  They will not have to have any hefty, resource draining software running on them.  In other words, you don’t have to buy higher end machines.  You just need a good internet connection.
  3. Offices split over several locations do not need complicated VPN tunnels set up to communicate between several servers.  Again, all you need is an internet connection.
  4. Lower Maintenance bills for your hardware and software.  Computers need regular attention to keep running smoothly.  Using a cloud solution makes that someone elses problem.
  5. If your business burns down you can be up and running again as soon as you have a working PC and an internet connection.
  6. It is much harder for data theft to take place on your premises (nobody can plug a USB key into your server and download your database)
  7. Someone to shout at.  It’s nice to have somebody else to give out to if everything is not running entirely smoothly.  You will have a whole team of them to work on getting it right.

The Disadvantages:-

  1. The cost is higher from your provider (but this should still work out less expensive than having to upgrade your own server).  Have you virtualised your servers yet?  That will be done for you.
  2. Lack of control.  You give up some of the control you have over your systems.  In general you will be giving control to people who are better qualified to look after them anyway.
  3. High bandwidth requirements.  While you can be extremely portable (particularly if you use Voice over Internet for your telephony), the internet connections needed for each staff member and for voice calls will use up a considerable amount of bandwidth.  A 3 meg broadband connection may be ok for general occasional browsing, but you are likely to need considerably more.  If you are based in the center of one of our metropoli then this is not a problem (apart from the expense), but outside our major cities broadband speeds are still embarrassingly low and can’t cope.  Even where higher broadband speeds are offered. The actual speed often falls far short.
  4. Online security.  While it will be in the hands of your provider, by using online services security will never be as good as a closed system.  Then again, if you have a wireless network then your security is not great anyway.  If you have not upgraded your security from the Eircom default you can be hacked in under a minute!  Still, If you want total control over your security then you need to keep your servers under your own roof.
  5. You have no say in who your service provider hires.  If you hire your own IT personnel then you know what you are getting.  You can check references, look at their linkedin profiles, facebook and see who has recommended them.  You build a bond of trust and loyalty with your employees.  That is all out of your control with a cloud based recruitment system.

Ready to take a further plunge into Web 2.0?  Some of you have already!

Another recruitment agency in examinership case

November 24th, 2009

Friday will be a tough day for one recruitment agency.  They face a day in the high court for an examinership case.  It seems that winning a National Recruitemnt Federation award for one of the “Best in Sector” categories is not enough to save some agencies from the ravages of the recession.

It is a sign that competition in the Recruitment Industry is hotter than ever.  Obviously I don’t know the ins and outs of it all.  My personal view is that the particular agency had not placed enough emphasis into their online presence.  I know it is a pet topic of mine, but while advertising in national media is great, it no longer has the same effect as a good presence on Google.

Search engine optimisation is no longer a nice thing to do that has some beneficial effects on a business.  It is absolutely vital in a market as competitive as recruitment.  In fact, it is absolutely vital for all Irish business.

Here is a simple rule: If it appears above you in google get your name on it!

(Of course that is not always possible.  But where it is, and your competition are there….)

While some of the agencies that have floundered over the past year can be put down to bad management or sharp practices, to see a recruitment agency that has been recognised for good practice in trouble is unsettling.

Webshed would like to wish the agency in question luck over the coming months.

SEO for Jobs

November 23rd, 2009

Search Engine Optimisation is not some mystic science

We have all heard of search engine optimisation (SEO).  Recruitment agencies in general have more than a passing interest in ranking well.

In the past we have had to rely on job boards to advertise our jobs.  This was because jobs on our own sites do not rank as well.  What can we do to improve that?

There are a few things.  Unfortunately some of them require some effort on our parts.

  1. Write unique content.  Search engines love unique content.  Most of us use syndicating software to post our jobs.  We post them once and they get sent to multiple sites.  This saves us a ton of time and time is money.  There is a downside though.  In cases of duplicate content (the same text in various places) Search engine algorithms try to find the original source and rate that while giving less importance to other sites.  Since, in general, big job sites get crawled by search engines more regularly than recruiters websites the end result is that your job on a job board is given priority over your own site.  The solution: Rewrite the job description for your own site.  That means that more of your own site has unique content.  It means doing the job twice, but it’s worth it.
  2. Keywords:  Make sure you include terms that you think that people will use to look for that type of job.  “Tiler urgently required” will not have the same impact as “jobs for Tilers” or “Tiling Vacancies”.  Put keywords in both the title and the body of your job description.
  3. Interesting Meta Descriptions: The search results in google and other search engines show the page title followed by the contents of the description tag from the page (<meta name=’description’ content=’blah blah blah’ />).  If this is not filled out google uses content it gets from the page directly.  Don’t leave it up to google.  Sell your job with the description.  Use descriptive words that excite like “fantastic career opportunity”.
  4. Tags: Several job sites allow you to use tags.  (Jobshot.ie and all the associated sites do)  Use them.  Most sites make separate pages out of each tag.  If you are not using them, you are not showing up as well as someone who is using them.

Text A Job (txtajob.ie)

November 22nd, 2009

Youve subscribed to ringtones.  Now you can spend €30 a month on jobs

A new jobs website hit the market over the last few weeks.  The site is www.txtajob.ie.

Free job posting seems to be par for the course these days. (insert shameless plug for www.jobshot.ie and www.mynextjob.ie here)

Recruitment agencies can post their jobs to www.txtajob.ie for free.  It is the job seekers that pay for this service.

It costs €1 per text alert received by a job seeker (to a maximum of €30 per month). People who sign up for the text service only receive texts for the categories they sign up for.  This is about as targeted as it is possible to make a service like this without doing it manually every time a job is posted.

For instance, if I sign up for Healthcare/Medical jobs I will receive txt alerts for Pharmacists, Nurses, Medical Sales Reps etc.  I am unlikely to be all of these things.

I’m wondering how many job seekers are willing to spend €30 a month to get access to jobs.

Searching the website itself is straightforward enough.  When you get to the part where you would normally apply for the job though there is a sting attached.  It will cost you €1 euro to get the application details.

Given that most (if not all) of those same jobs are available free of charge to job seekers on multiple job boards, I’m really not sure if the convenience of having them delivered by text rather than RSS or email (many mobiles are now able to handle both)  is worth €30 a month.

It is certainly a bold move, Competition in the job site market huge.