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The ooops tips for job adverts Feb 2009

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 6:40pm Sunday 08 February 2009    Print Article

How often do you check the adverts you, or your consultants post to the job boards? What are they saying about your company and brand?

Ensure to post the correct job advert title

Spell check before posting

Watch your language

Remember to reinforce your points

If you use a "linkout" for the application form - make sure you have the specified the correct URL

Check to make sure that you have removed any Christmas promotions from the job advert template and 3rd party sites

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Interview with Paul Jacobs on the launch of TribeHQ

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 1:16pm Friday 06 February 2009    Print Article

Paul Jacobs and Tim de Jardine launched TribeHQ (we have covered TribeHQ previously) last month and I was keen to find out more about Paul and TribeHQ. For those of you who don’t know who he is have a look at his company as well as the Recruitment 2.0 community site You could say that Paul is the “go to” person and a leader in Online Recruitment and Employer Branding in New Zealand.

What is TribeHQ?

To a recruiter audience, TribeHQ is a next generation job board.  It brings social networking to job seeking.  Employers list a vacancy and directly target professionals in a specific occupational “tribe” (e.g. IT professionals, engineers, nurses, embalmers).  Tribe members are automatically presented with specific job vacancies, based on their career wishes, and can engage in conversation directly with employers.

Tell me about you, and your previous experience in the marketplace?

I studied Organisational Psychology which took me into a human resources career, working within a range of organisations and consultancies over the past 16 years.  I set up a talent sourcing business, Engage, three years ago. We work with employers and recruitment agencies on their branding and talent sourcing strategies, helping them to build talent communities and target active and passive jobseekers.  The internet has become a big part of our business and we see the value of emerging technologies and social media to attract, connect and engage with the jobseeker audience.

I became interested in recruitment technology after seeing the recruitment strategist Kevin Wheeler speak at an RCSA function eight or so years ago.  Kevin highlighted that it is better for an employer to be in the recruitment technology game and learn and adapt as they go, rather than to watch from the sidelines.  After that session I rang the e-recruitment vendor SnapHire and subsequently became a reseller and implementation partner.  This was a great experience, working with many of New Zealand’s leading employers, not only on the technical recruitment side but on the employer branding side too.  Last year I made the decision to become vendor-independent in the applicant tracking system space and develop a suite of social media recruitment-related products. 

Some of your readers may know me from NZ Recruitment 2.0 (now called Recruitment 2.0 Asia Pacific).  I established this community a couple of years ago for professionals interested in the evolution of recruitment.  It has been a great experience for me to grow a community of professionals and I hope it has added value to the membership base. We currently have about 320 members and welcome new members.

How did the idea come about?

I have always been a firm believer that just because we do things one way, it is not necessarily the best way of doing things.  There are infinite possibilities in nature and business.  This applies just as equally to the recruitment industry, where there has really been little questioning of approaches and methodologies – there needs to be more counter-intuitive thinking.  I‘ve talked with a lot of clients and industry associations about employer branding and they want to connect better with their members and/or jobseekers.  They use the term “conversation” frequently.  About a year ago I had a coffee with fellow rebel Tim de Jardine and we got talking about the concept of occupational tribalism and mashing this with recruitment.  We decided to build a social networking platform for different occupational groups, where members could connect, share ideas and learn from each other.  We explored a range of off-the-shelf and open source social networking options and found it hard to customise these to deliver the platform that we envisaged.  As a result, we decided to develop our own technology and not be restricted by someone else’s format and design.

What makes TribeHQ different in the marketplace?

TribeHQ brings cluster theory to recruitment.  The platform enables an employer to target a specific occupational group and engage with them.  It brings interactivity to recruitment advertising.  It is a major shift away from the directory-board approach, and reduces the noise and clutter inherent in existing job advertising.

What technology/web2.0 tools have you used in building TribeHQ?

We built the platform from scratch.  Last year we examined a number of open source social networking providers, but once we started using and customising their products we felt constrained, so realised the need to totally develop our own code.  This was a good realisation, as it made us develop something that was not limited by somebody else’s technology. 

Technology specifications:
  • Ruby on Rails
  • MySQL db backend
  • SSL security-enabled
  • Prototype JavaScript framework
  • Agile methodologies

What have been the biggest challenges in creating TribeHQ so far?

We have grand visions for TribeHQ, way beyond the beta version we have released.  It has not been easy at times to scale things back and choose simplicity over complexity.  We are conscious that we are introducing employers and recruiters to technology and processes that they may not be familiar with.  However, a lot of tribe members and jobseekers are already familiar with these social media features and we hope over time this gap will close.

Is the "global financial crisis" affecting your business?

No.  It doesn’t change the fundamentals of our offer.  In fact, many employers will be more focused on cost and return on their investment and we believe that’s where TribeHQ comes in.  We also believe that many tribe members will see the value of connecting with other tribe members and feeling a sense of kinship and support in this current economic climate.  Unlike many technology start-ups we have a clear commercial model in place.

What is the most important lesson in business you have learnt so far?
  • Trust yourself, make mistakes and learn from those mistakes.
  • Don’t listen to the doubters – pursue your own goals and vision.
  • Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you in the areas that aren’t your standout strengths.
  • Be open to changing direction or revising plans.

Plans for the next 12 months?
  • Keep developing the platform.  We will listen to the needs of our users and use their input to enhance their experience.
  • Attract tribe members and employers.
  • Expand the concept of TribeHQ into directions we had in mind from the get go.  We are keeping these under wraps at the moment, but the market will see these being rolled out during 2009 and beyond.  Our end goal is to provide bleeding edge and value adding services for employers.

If you were offered $100,000 by an investor, how would the money be spent?

We would invest the money in rolling out our other related projects more quickly.  We are open to hearing from investors.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
  • Understand your industry and your audiences.  Know your points of difference.
  • Protect your ideas and intellectual property.
  • Be tenacious.
  • Be prepared to take risks, but try to minimise the risks through sound business planning.
  • Determine how you will make money.
  • A great idea is nothing, until you actually deliver on it.
  • Stay positive.
  • Make full use of free support services that are set up to help businesses.  In our journey we found some of these were a lot better than the professional services firms that charged hefty fees.  Never be afraid to ask for and seek out help.

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RCSA website security will become an industry nightmare

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 3:48pm Thursday 05 February 2009    Print Article

We have uncovered various security errors with the new RCSA website within 5 minutes of playing with it. Originally set for release in Oct 2008, the question is now - when, if ever it is to be released? We reported on finding the test site back in Dec 2008 "Reminder to all... Do not put your test website online"

Unfortunately the RCSA has chosen to use Drupal CMS (Content Management System) to power their new website. Drupal is a widely used CMS, but prone to many security issues

I hope the RCSA can keep up with the security patches, as I do not feel my own membership data is safe.

The RCSA's aim "is to increase the profile and professionalism of the sector" but its ability to do so has been impeded by the information security on its own website. This security failure has not gone unnoticed within the industry and needs to be fixed immediately before it becomes another laughing stock like recent issues with Monster and the NSW Government Job Board.

Principle 4 of the National Privacy Principles (part of the Privacy Act), required an organisation to: "take reasonable steps to protect the personal information it holds from misuse and loss and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure".

This is also echoed in the RCSA's own Code of Conduct, which says "take reasonable steps to maintain the confidentiality and privacy of candidate, client and member information".

The current issues add weight to my stance that the RCSA does not understand technology and how it is used within the online recruitment industry. It could use some advice from its own members and suppliers, who are professional experts in these areas.

So what are these errors?
  • The server directory listings were left turned on, which allowed anyone to browse files, as well as data on the server (much like using Windows Explorer to navigate through files) this was occurring between Dec 2008 - Jan 2009
  • Drupal's config file that stores the sites FTP and Database details was left open and not CHMOD'd
  • The RCSA site has a "bridge" module which integrates the CMS with its backend CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Database to allow members to sign up/in and change their own details on the database.
  • This custom module was created by 3rd party developers for the RCSA and stupidly still contains the server FTP Username/Password as well as the RCSA's Database Username/Password
We have not used any penetration or hacking tools to access any files or data. All the information was freely available on their website.

The following publically available file shows the source code for the bridge module. Note: We have removed the usernames, passwords, and URLs needed to access information on the CMS and CRM.


What now?

The RCSA should be a leader for the industry on information security. It is an area where it should work with its members to prevent unauthorized access and help them protect themselves.
  • Immediately take down and remove the new site. Fix the security errors with the 3rd party developers
  • Immediately investigate a professional grade CMS which will be more robust and secure.
  • Immediately inform members about this issue and what data has been accessed, modified or deleted

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You are the dickhead

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 1:44pm Wednesday 04 February 2009    Print Article

Sometimes I ponder late at night thinking "Why are Recruiters given such a bad rap?" Ahh.. hang on, I think I just found out why. This job advert on Seek explains why - This is a fair dinkum opportunity to become our business partner not a franchisee and for you to be in control of your own income without having to deal with dickhead bosses, wanker unions or have to suffer bludging work mates. You will need background in HR, Recruitment, Sales or Training to succeed.

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What really grinds my gears

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 2:06pm Tuesday 03 February 2009    Print Article

You know what grinds my gears, scam job adverts, MLM (multi level marketing) roles, work from home jobs, "the secret", etc!

If your job board dose not verify ALL advertisers and approve the adverts they post online, you could expect to start seeing more and more fake advertisements popping up.

It's quite easy to create a fake advertiser on a job board. Create a fake email address on Google/Hotmail, enter an incorrect ABN and so forth. Redirect the job seeker back to your own site where they have to enter their personal details or purchase/buy something!

All “work from home” categories should be scraped from job boards as it’s not actually a job but more an business investment/opportunity.

Stop deceiving genuine job seekers!

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Using Google Analytics

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 11:19pm Monday 02 February 2009    Print Article

Google Analytics is a leading free service which is offered by Google. This service generates detailed statistics about the visitors to a website. The main highlight is that the product is aimed at marketers as opposed to IT nerds. Google Analytics can track visitors from all referrers such as search engines, job boards, display advertising, pay-per-click networks, email marketing and other digital media.

It can be integrated with AdWords. The users can review online campaigns by tracking landing page quality and conversions (goals). The goals include sales, lead generation, viewing a specific page and downloading of a particular file. Importantly, the goals can be monetized. By using Google Analytics, the marketers can determine which ads are performing and which are not. As a matter of fact, it provides the information to optimise or cull campaigns.

The main approach is to show high level dashboard type data for the casual user and more in-depth data further into the report set. With the help of analysis - poor performing pages can be identified using techniques including funnel visualization.

1. Visitors - Google Analytics can help track how many people visitor your site every hour, day, week, and month. This can be beneficial to track results of job searches, email marketing, press releases, promotions, etc. Being able to visualize how many people are using your site is a key part of determining the success of any Online Marketing strategy.

2. Geography - Whether your recruitment business is local, national or international, being able to track where visitors are coming from is very important. Analytics allows you to see where people are visiting sites from based on IP addresses.  Where are your visitors coming from? How effective are your recruitment campaigns?

3. Pages - Google Analytics also enables you to gage which pages of a site are the most popular by tracking how visitors use the site and by following their most popular paths to the site. This can also help track broken links on a site. If an increased bounce rate happens on certain pages, it may be a red flag that something is amiss.

4. Incoming Links - A key success factor for increasing search engine rankings is having multiple incoming links to your site. Analytics can help gage which referring/incoming links are the most valuable. Are there any sites linked to your website? Job board traffic link outs?

5. Keywords - Google Analytics lets you see which keywords are the most popular at driving traffic to your site. This feature is a good way to judge the effectiveness of your site's content. By tracking the most popular keywords, you can find out if your site is sending the right message. Eg Jobs in Melbourne, Accounting Jobs, Recruitment Jobs in Victoria

6. Bounce Rate - A bounce rate reveals how many times visitors exit your site from certain pages. Being able to see where visitors are exiting can help troubleshoot issues such as broken links, page errors, etc.

7. Entrance Rates - The entrance rates on Google Analytics help you to track where visitors are entering your site. If there are multiple incoming links to your site, such as to the job search page, newsletter, contact forms, or just the home page, the effectiveness of the content prompting visitors to click can be analyzed.

8. Goals - With the Goals feature, it is easy to track specific parts of your site. For example, if there is a application form that should be filled out for interested visitors, the path to the application form would be copied into the Goal tool. When a visitor follows that particular path, it is called a Goal-conversion. This is great for all important features of a site, such as job search, newsletter sign ups, promotional offers, etc.

9. AdWords - Another great feature about Google Analytics is that it works with Google AdWords. By syncing these programs together, you can track returns on investment down to the cent. Verify your traffic to eliminate click fraud!

10. Time - Google Analytics can also track how long people stay on the site and on each page. Being able to track length of stay is a great way to judge how interesting the content is for each page in comparison to the rest of the site.

How do you go about using Google Analytics?

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What is OpenID and how can we use it

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 11:37pm Sunday 01 February 2009    Print Article

OpenID is a decentralized, lightweight protocol for single sign-on and portable identity that is causing a massive transformation in today's internet. More than 25,000 Web sites currently accept OpenID, with double digit month over month growth. If you know of any recruitment sites that are accepting OpenID please let me know.

If I want to change my password for all of my social networking sites, I simply change my password once with my OpenID provider and it is reflected across all those sites! OpenID is well on the way to being the de facto standard for identifying yourself across the Internet. With that said, people are really starting to look hard at the next things we can do now that we know who everyone is.

For Users - Remember one username and password, not hundreds!

For Businesses - This means a lower cost of password and account management, while drawing new web traffic. OpenID lowers user frustration by letting users have control of their login.

For Programmers - OpenID is an open, decentralized, free framework for user-centric digital identity. OpenID takes advantage of already existing internet technology (URI, HTTP, SSL, Diffie-Hellman) and realizes that people are already creating identities for themselves whether it be at their blog, photo stream, profile page, etc. With OpenID you can easily transform one of these existing URIs into an account which can be used at sites which support OpenID logins.

Website Benefits
  • Increased conversion rates from “site visitors” to “registered users”
  • Reduced customer care cost and frustration with forgotten passwords
  • Accelerated adoption of “community” features
  • Limited password sharing issues
  • Facilitated single sign-on across multiple company and partner websites
User Benefits
  • Faster & easier registration and login
  • Reduced frustration from forgotten user name/password
  • Maintain personal data current at preferred sites
  • Minimize password security risks
More information here and

Who Owns Or Profits From OpenID? Nobody and no one. OpenID was created to meet a need that was seen in the internet community, and as such it's creators want that community to have full access to it.

Who Supports OpenID? At present there are over 10,000 websites that respond to this feature.

You can quickly see which internet sites are presently OpenID enabled by checking out the directories. The list of websites that are Open ID enabled is growing by the day, so check the directories often.

OpenID is already being supported by a number of sites and providers such as Google, PayPal, Wordpress, Myspace, IBM, BBC, Microsoft AOL, Blogger, Flickr, Technorati, Yahoo,

Getting an Open ID is fast and easy. Simply create an account with one of the following providers and manage all your accounts in one single account.


Full list is available here

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Qualifying your Salary in these Economic times

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 7:50pm Sunday 01 February 2009    Print Article

Are you worth more than you are currently paid? Of course everyone would say Yes, but how do you know? Do you compare with your friends/colleagues/industry benchmarks? I thought I would compile a list of reference sites with salary surveys details.

Times are tough at the moment, and forecasts are expecting it to get harder for Recruiters. Those in-house will need to prove they are worth the cost and the average Recruitment Consultant needs to meet/exceed their budget to earn commissions. Candidates will also need to think about what salary they are expecting and if they are worth it.

Here are a few reference sites for salary comparisons

Live Salary


Michael Page

HR Partners


Scott Recruitment


JobX / Payscale

Robert Walters



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Maximise the Value of Your Recruitment Database

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 2:24pm Friday 30 January 2009    Print Article

Recruitment Systems aims to make recruiters more effective through intuitive technology and great advice. Each week the recruiters and technology experts that make up their team and client-base will post some clear and simple tips to help you become a remarkable recruiter. I was recently quoted in the latest newsletter below on "Maximise the Value of Your Recruitment Database". You can sign up to the weekly free newsletter here

Working with recruiters across 20 countries, we have discovered that there is a lot of underutilised value in a recruiter's database. Effectively using your recruitment database is proven to lead to business growth. So we have compiled these 10 quick tips to help you maximise the value of your database.
  1. Keep your database onsite - in this uncertain economic climate you cannot afford to risk holding your data externally. Recently a US web-based professional photography hosting service closed down and 90% of their clients lost their very valuable intellectual property.
  2. Ask and record - ask the right questions to new candidates and clients and ensure this information is entered into your database completely and accurately.
  3. Garbage in, garbage out - all information management systems are only as good as the quality of information you enter into them.
  4. Segment and promote - a good Recruitment CRM will allow you to categorise your clients and candidates and then manage multi-channel promotions to engage or re-engage your existing contacts.
  5. Flag your “profit killers” - clients or candidates that waste your time should be flagged and avoided.
  6. Flag your platinum candidates - prioritise the candidates which you should stay into contact with over a longer period.
  7. Parse your CVs - To quickly and accurately process CVs, use a CV parsing system (such as CV Importer).
  8. Search your database first - ALWAYS check your database before posting to a job board. Search technologies such as ISYS make it very easy to find information but you will need to input sufficient information in the first place.
  9. Analyse your data - business intelligence applications can easily analyse your data and prepare reports to identify potential risks and new opportunities.
  10. Clean and update your data - Recruitment databases should be kept up-to-date and relevant. Recruiters will not value contact data if it is old and now inaccurate.

Thanks to Thomas Shaw, Ross Clennett and Jane Marshall for their contributions to these tips.

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In Plain English please

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 10:38pm Thursday 29 January 2009    Print Article

Sometimes it’s hard to explain technology using words. Many people enjoy watching short, interactive videos. I have stumbled across the makers of these videos a number of times, and I thought I would share their cool videos RSS, Social Networking, Social Media, Twitter and Phishing Scams in plain English.

RSS in Plain English

Social Networking in Plain English

Social Media in Plain English

Twitter in Plain English

Phishing Scams in Plain English

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