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Time Management - Tips to become more productive

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 4:56pm Wednesday 21 January 2009    Print Article

Those people, who are using their time management skills effectively are found to be more creative and better performers. Whenever I meet with a client, not only am I trying to establish a good rapport with the person but also evaluating their time management skills. Time management is the "foundation" to getting organised, and staying organised.

  • Every meeting does not need to happen nor does it need to be an hour long.
  • Do not automatically say yes to any use of time. Is this interruption going to lead to $payment?
  • Every email does not instantaneously need to be responded to or even read.
  • When someone wants to talk with you for "1 minute" do you just react and say "Yes?"
  • Schedule your diary calendar into blocks of productive time.
  • Block out time to find new opportunities (lead generation) and time to prospect them on the phone.
  • Block out appointment time for face-to-face sales calls.
  • Block out time for important strategy sessions (major accounts).
  • For high activity sales teams, focus sales time on being in front of prospects or fighting to be in front of them.
  • For major account sales team, focus sales time on planning, doing, and reviewing ... then start this cycle over.
For getting good results, prepare a list of tasks to be completed daily, separate them into important, urgent as well as wasting time categories and develop work schedules that enable you to complete the tasks in time. The key to managing your time effectively is to set up work schedules by having result oriented tips on time management.
  • Make a list of the tasks or activities, night before, that you want to perform tomorrow.
  • Convert big tasks into easy and small ones to divide the work.
  • Save all the important information at a place on your computer where you can find it easily, so that you don't have to waste your time while searching for the same. Bookmark in your Internet Explorer or save the address in a Notepad file.
  • Never postponed your work schedules unless there is valid reason.
  • Set timings for each task, may it be big or small.
  • Try to complete your task within the specific time.
  • Concentrate on your work to avoid mistakes and repetitions.
  • Do not waste your time on telephone calls while doing your work, unless you are learning something from that discussion. Leave it until the end of the day, or slower periods where you can give the other person on the phone your own time without distractions
  • Do not keep any work for tomorrow which is listed in that days work schedule as tomorrow never comes.
  • Learn to say "NO". Many times the activities that drain us are the ones in which we are participating in even though we do not want to be. Say No and find yourself with a lot more time on your hands.
  • Your success in life will not depend upon how many hours you have worked in life but how well you have utilised your time in life.
  • Separate the tasks to be completed immediately from the important tasks to insure that the goals at the top of the list are accomplished. This is critical. If we plan to do the most important task last, we run the risk of not getting the most important tasks done and frustrating ourselves! Ever had that "GAHH" feeling?
At times, some circumstances arise in our life, when we find that time is very precious. We are able to recover the money but not the time lost. Hence, it deserves respect and regard as it can create wonderful things. History shows that great inventions were made possible by those, who made the best use of time.

By following the above tips on time management, make sure that you develop a habit to automate routine tasks, so that you get more time to try additional strategies for growing your business. Ensure as far as possible that your time and energy is utilized on the high payoff tasks.

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Recruitment Directory sells

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 8:22pm Tuesday 20 January 2009    Print Article

Melbourne based company Recruitment Directory has sold the niche job board Local Council Jobs to Council Jobs for an undisclosed price.

Local Council Jobs was set up in August 2008 to cater for job posting in the Local Government sector across Australia and New Zealand. It has rapidly grown to become a leading provider of jobs and career advice relating to this sector.

For more information please download the Media Release

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Incorporating Web 2.0 into your Recruitment Strategy

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 11:25pm Monday 19 January 2009    Print Article

What is Web 2.0? Many recruiters are still confused as to what Web 2.0 really is and how they can incorporate it into their recruitment process. Yet once recruiters understand the new Web 2.0 world, they can leverage emerging social media tools and gain a competitive advantage in an increasingly competitive business world. So let's step back from a previous article I wrote on "Web 2.0 Recruitment Sites" and find out about the terms and application of these tools.

This is a short extract of what you will find me talking about at the upcoming Inspecht HR Futures Conference on 26th Feb 2009. Register now, don't miss out!

Read - Web 2.0 Recruitment Sites

Why is Web 2.0 Tools Important for Recruiters?

Many of the new social media tools can be leveraged by recruiters in order to aid in their recruitment efforts and gain a competitive advantage. For recruiters, Web 2.0 means an evolution in the way that information is transferred across the internet, a new virtual world where candidates are now more than ever, in control.

Understanding Web 2.0 can aid recruiters in providing these job seekers with the ultimate candidate experience and offer opportunities to engage them in completely new ways. You will also be able to leverage your experience in using these tools over your competitors.

Read - Corporate Social Networking Trends

But most recruiters are still only grasping the power of email marketing!

Read - Email Marketing Tips for Recruiters

Web 2.0 Terms
  • Blog - A web-based journal created by single or multiple writers. Blogs allow for interactive feedback and comments from readers. Eg
  • Wiki - A website created by a group of collaborative users. Wikis are constantly updated and edited by select users, keeping it fresh and up-to date with the latest information.
  • Instant Messaging (IM) - Real-time communication between two or more people.
  • Podcast - An audio file distributed over the internet. Podcasts can be downloaded onto portable media devices, for playback anywhere, anytime. Eg
  • RSS (Real Simple Syndication) - Allows subscribers to receive automatic updates whenever new website content is available. XML is a structured format of data.
  • Search Engine - Retrieves information based upon specified keywords, i.e. Google, Live, Yahoo
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization) - The process of increasing the website traffic produced from search engines.
  • Social Network Services (i.e. Facebook, MySpace, Ning, LinkedIn, Twitter) - Web based services that allow users to create online communities based upon shared interests and activities. They provide different methods for interaction including messaging, email, blogs, video, and discussion groups.
Read - Twitter and Recruitment

Read - Facebook Advertising - Part 1

Read - Facebook Advertising - Part 2

Applying Web 2.0 Tools to Your Recruitment Strategy

Recruitment blogs are a great way to interact with candidates and provide them with a sense of a company’s culture and work. Different companies can use recruitment blogs to fit their specific needs; whether to promote their brand or provide candidates with in-depth look into the jobs they may be applying for. Regardless, recruitment blogs add an element of humanity to the hiring process and allow recruiters to find candidates that are qualified and that fit within their company’s culture.

Another great tool that recruiters can utilize to engage candidates. By incorporating podcasts into your career site, candidates can easily and quickly gain a vast amount of information about your company, culture, and work. Whether it’s an audio or video clip of an interview, company facilities, people, or daily work tasks, offering information in this way allows candidates to experience your company, brand, and culture in a very real way.

Create a short video on why you should work with XYZ Agency/Employer?

Read - The difference between a Video Interview and Video Resume

Read - 2009 - Year of the Recruitment Videos

RSS allows users to keep up with their favorite website, receiving updates in a constant, automated, and organized manner. In this same way, you can apply RSS feed to you Career Center website. By subscribing to your feed, candidates can easily receive constant updates on new positions that fit their qualifications. RSS Job Alerts allow recruiters to stay constantly connected to candidates and ultimately reduce time-to fill costs and other expenses.

Read - Social Media Optimisation (SMO) Say What...?

In today’s Web 2.0 world, jobseekers look to the internet to search for jobs. Because of the increase in the use of search engines, recruiters can use best practices to improve search engine rankings, increase traffic to their career site, build their company’s brand, and expand their pool of talent. Include words such as Jobs, Careers, Recruitment, Career Opportunities, etc. on your page. Consider utilizing Meta description, title, and incorporating career opportunities on your webpage in order to improve search engine rankings.

Many search engines offer “suggestions” that allow you to see what terms jobseekers are searching for the most. Use this information to research terms associated with your brand and to identify new opportunities in job searches.

Use social networks as a sourcing tool to reach passive candidates and for hard to fill positions. These networks also allow recruiters to build a large and more diverse talent pool. In order to be effective, however, recruiters need to devote enough time to maintain their social networks.

Read - Integrated Social Media Solutions for Recruitment

Read - Bluetooth Marketing for Career Expos/Job Fairs

Read - Using SMS in Recruitment

Read - Recruitment Agency Websites

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Interview with Clayton Wehner from

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 4:57pm Monday 19 January 2009    Print Article

In this current economic climate, running an online job board is a hard gig. I spoke with Clayton Wehner, Managing Director of about his transformation from working in a Recruitment Agency to operating a geographical niche job board.

What is is a new niche online jobs board for the Canberra region, encompassing the Australian Capital Territory, Queanbeyan, southern New South Wales and the Illawarra region

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

I was previously the Chief Executive Officer of a Canberra IT recruitment company, Frontier Recruitment.  I found my way into the recruitment industry after a 12-year career in the Australian Army as an intelligence officer, and subsequently working as a public servant and consultant for various organisations in Canberra. I've also had quite a lot of experience working with the World Wide Web and I operate my own separate internet company, Blue Train Enterprises

How did the idea come about?

Whilst working at Frontier Recruitment, the management team got together and decided to launch a spin-off company that would operate a local jobs board for Canberra.

As a customer of the major jobs boards, we recognised that there was an opportunity to create an employment website that was more attentive to local advertisers’ needs and more focused on specific local conditions.  The big national online jobs boards focus principally on the major markets of Sydney and Melbourne and it seemed that they weren’t too interested in properly servicing the much smaller Canberra market.

Rather than build a new brand from scratch, we decided to approach a very successful localised real estate website in the Canberra region, to see if they were interested in partnering with us to launch a co-branded employment website. We had seen how successful AllHomes had been in the wake of competition from the majors (eg.  and we thought that we could do the same to jobs in Canberra. The agreement went ahead and was launched in mid-2008.

What makes different from other niche job boards?

I suppose the most obvious difference is the fact that most of the niche boards you hear about have chosen industry vertical niches (eg. accounting, IT), rather than geographic niches.

Geographic niches might not work everywhere, but we believe that Canberra is a bit unique and has peculiarities that are not found elsewhere in Australia.  For example, there are specific search criteria and conditions that apply for the Commonwealth Government public service, including the requirement for citizenship, security clearances and the unique APS levels and broad banding that are not found elsewhere. 

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

Our launch platform is a commercial off-the-shelf piece of software. We chose to go down this path because we wanted to get into the market quickly, rather than spending months and months developing a brand new platform.  The platform is quite good although we do want to improve some of its functionality over the coming 12 months.  Some of the improvements include an upgrade of graphical elements and the user interface, better RSS and ‘push’ notification technology, an upgraded e-mail alerts system, Google Maps integration, a featured advertisements capability and job ad templates.

So far we've used a variety of Web 2.0 tools in building We publish a blog at We have RSS feeds.  Our platform permits the publishing of online video by advertisers.  All of our content pages display the AddThis button, allowing visitors to tag and bookmark jobs using the major social networking websites including Facebook, Digg, MySpace, and Yahoo! Buzz. We also currently send out two e-mail newsletters, one for job seekers and one for advertisers, on a monthly basis.

We’re keen to further explore new technologies in the next 12 months - were very interested in content delivered to mobile devices such as the iPhone, the use of Twitter as a syndication tool for jobs, and the integration of online video in candidate profiles.

What have been the biggest challenges in creating so far?

The biggest challenge has been creating momentum and critical mass in a crowded market space. We haven't been helped by the current economic situation which has meant that many prospective advertisers have tightened their purse strings.  Most employers are engaging their tried and true methods for sourcing candidates - namely Seek and the newspaper - and they're not really willing to seriously entertain alternatives at this time.

By the same token, however, we haven't employed a sales force to actively sell advertising on  As an ex-recruitment company head, I'm fairly sceptical about direct advertising sellers for jobs boards.  I saw numerous jobs board companies come and go during my time at Frontier Recruitment - many of the salespeople damaged the brands that they were representing by their annoying pitches and their persistence.  I recall one such company had recruited an entire national sales force to take up the fight against the established jobs boards - needless to say that company lasted less than 12 months. 

Our business plan is less-intrusive – it is based more on longevity, establishing close and personal relationships with our clientele, and acting more like a consultant rather than a salesperson.  We’re a small business with low overheads, so we believe that this strategy will ensure that we are around for the long haul.

Plans for the next 12 months?

I think the next 12 months is going to be quite rocky for the economy, so we going to employ a fairly risk averse strategy to make sure that we are still kicking this time next year.  I am willing to bet that some small jobs boards around Australia will fall by the wayside in 2009, so it is a time for prudence. 

Our plan is to slowly improve the user interface and its functionality, whilst consolidating our existing advertiser base and slowly spreading the word among prospective new advertisers.  We believe that we've got some good points of difference when compared to our competitors and we’re planning to grow incrementally over time.  We’re particularly hopeful of increasing our government clientele in 2009.

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

After reading Seth Godin's famous book, Purple Cow, I'm more convinced than ever that ‘being remarkable’ is the key to success in this day and age – success won’t come about by spending thousands of dollars marketing an ‘OK’ product. So if we were offered $100,000 by an investor then we would spend the money enhancing the user interface and the functionality of, so that it became recognised as a leader among niche job boards.  This might even give us the opportunity to licence or franchise our product to others who seek to establish geographic niche job boards elsewhere.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?

There have been a number of lessons that I've learnt along the way - choose your partners wisely, don’t give away equity from the start, cash flow is king, mitigate your risks, to name but a few.  But I suspect that all entrepreneurs cite these as lessons learned!

I suppose one piece of advice that I would offer to other entrepreneurs is: focus on your customers and employees and be honest with them.  Lots of entrepreneurs have their head in the clouds and forget that the customers and employees are the lifeblood of their ventures. Some entrepeneurs are more intent on hobnobbing and wheeling and dealing to worry about those who constitute the real crux of their business. Without customers and employees, you’re nothing.

I believe that if you don’t spend time with customers and employees and listen to them, then your business is ultimately doomed to failure.  Perhaps even more importantly, fess up when you have made a mistake.  Being dishonest or evasive will have a hugely detrimental effect on your business down the track.

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Monitoring your business or competitors using Google Alerts

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 8:18pm Sunday 18 January 2009    Print Article

Google Alerts is a free service that sends search results directly to your email box or feed reader. Many people use Google Alerts to track keywords related to their business, their name, corporate identity or anything else that they might want to be notified of when a page using the keywords are spidered by Google. This kind of service is usually refered to as "Media Monitoring" and there are many different types of companies and products available in the market.

Google Alerts will send you e-mail when new entries are added to the top 10 to 50 search results (depending on the category of alert) for the specific search term you ask Google to monitor. Currently, Google provides 6 different Alert capabilities, and you'll probably find a need for all of them at some point.

Don't assume that a Google Alert is going to let you know about EVERYTHING on the web, because you won't have the time to personally review each entry in the search results. When was the last time you did a search that returned fewer than 1,000 search results? It will only let you know about specific things within the specific parameters described above.

What will a Google Alert do for you?

  • Businesses use Google Alerts to track competitors, potential customers, trademarks, copyrighted material, and many other things. Job seekers can find many uses also.
  • What's "out there" about you that a potential employer might find? Hopefully, you know what's there now. Set up Google Alerts for your name, and Google will let you know about new items that show up in the top search results on your name.
  • Interested in a specific employer or competitor? Set up a Google Alert for the business by name, and Google will let you know about new items in the top search results for that company.
  • Interested in a specific industry? Set up a Google Alert for the industry, and Google will let you know about new items in the top search results for the industry.
  • Wonder what your friends, former colleagues, current or former boss, etc. are up to? Set up a Google Alert for each of those names, and Google will let you know about new items that appear for them in the top search results.
You get the idea - track whatever is important to your job search and to your reputation. This is an amazing free monitoring resource that I use to access information about:
  • The industry I work in and trends in the market
  • My competition and marketing strategies they are implementing
  • Research about market trends in my clients industry
  • Reviewing the strength of my clients brand
  • Researching my clients competition
  • Accessing statistics to use in presentations, reports and articles
  • Identifying potential joint ventures and strategic alliances
  • Discovering new business tools
  • Research for my blog
  • Content for my clients
I recommend you try out Google Alerts for a few weeks just using your own name, business name and names of your key products to see what the buzz is all about.

There is a paid monitoring service called Buzz Numbers which offers a more compressive product covering a wider content mediums.

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From a Harvard Idea to the YouTube of Recruiting

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 5:53pm Sunday 18 January 2009    Print Article

From a student/teacher conversation at Harvard University about "identifying top talent" emerged an intelligent online video services company that believes it can change the face of the Recruiting 2.0 industry. I spoke with Dane Disimino from iViioo about the benefits for both candidates and recruiters/employers using videos in the recruitment process (Dane is featured in the product video below) Plus a special offer for friends and clients of Recruitment Directory.

What is iViioo?

We are a video technology company that empowers candidates and recruiters to find the best fit through our recently launched product iViioo Express.  Recruiters can get more interviews while saving time and money.  Look at the savings in travel alone.  It's a great time in our current downward economy for recruiters to find these candidates, and candidates can better show themselves through video - a picture is worth a thousand words.

How did it all begin?

iViioo has taken a very picturesque entrepreneurial journey deriving from a conversation at Harvard University between a student and a teacher. Psychology professor Dr. Myra S. White and one of her entrepreneurial students Vanessa were both interested in optimizing technology to identify talent within job candidates. 

Dr. White, is a behavioral science expert, in particular with candidate selection.  You can see her work in Behavior Science at Vanessa really went on to spread the idea which has emerged into utilizing a video platform to identify top candidates.  Meeting key teammates and investors as her career path has skyrocketed to the world's top companies, today's emergence of scalable video technology, and recruiting 2.0 have all paved the way for a team to be built around iViioo Inc. 

In short: iViioo is an intelligent online video services company.

What is your vision?

iViioo dreams to become the Youtube of the recruiting industry. Our brand will be synonymous with intelligent video interviews not only to individual recruiters and candidates but also within corporate, government, and university recruiting offices.  Candidates will love using iViioo because we're going to offer them feedback on how to improve their interviewing skills and give them free access.

Recruiters will love us because we want to liberate recruiters that are tied down by less intelligent screening options and wasted resources. We'll also be there for recruiters that are often on the go with mobile services becoming available in the future. Finally, we plan to help companies reach green targets by limiting travel and wasting unnecessary resources.

Recruiter Benefits

There is news that has added 15 million users in the past several months but also that Monsters earnings are declining because of budget restrictions in the industry. Sure this is simply supply and demand but we see a need for more cost efficient recruiting methods.  We need better ways to review candidates while finding the best match and video is the answer to that.  With iViioo Express, a recruiter can invite more candidates to record an unrehearsed video interview by simply sending them a link to an interview location. When the candidate finishes recording his or her unrehearsed video answers, the recruiter is notified. 

We want to emphasize that candidates cannot see the recruiters questions beforehand.  With this process, recruiters can scan more candidates videos using less resources. We like to say, "cut costs, not corners" and candidates can enjoy the ability to better present themselves. The cost-per-hire goes down, and recruiters can share the candidates videos with a team for collaborative reviews and ratings on a candidates skills.  With a telephone interview, a recruiter must either record the audio or take very good notes to share candidates skills easily with a team. 

What is the benefit for Candidates?

Candidates normally use resumes, post them on job sites, send them via email, and wait for responses.  With iViioo, a candidate is empowered to display the best performance of themselves as possible.  A text resume cannot demonstrate certain personal qualities like a video can.  And now that there is a growing pool of candidates globally, it is all the more important for candidates to differentiate themselves, as if they were a product in a package on a shelf.  And what's the best part is that we allow candidates to use iViioo for FREE.  Our goal is to not only match these candidates to the best employment opportunities, but also to provide them with feedback if they need it. 

If the candidate requests, we can provide him/her with a thorough analysis, as if we were recruiters because most of us have had a lot of experience in the job search process and are familiar with this routine. 

What is the benefit for organisations?

Companies using iViioo Enterprise will be able to manage their budget with no problem. By using iViioo, there's nothing to lose because of our free trial period. Also, our latest product iViioo Express was launched just in the past month and we have already been in discussions with Fortune 500's and companies across a variety of industries.  Companies will enjoy using iViioo - 40% savings can be expected.  These savings are achievable while also finding more top quality candidates to scan.

This inevitable technology will develop over time of course, but our team has come together with a vision for the future. We are thinking of solutions for recruiters on-the-go as we serve them through mobile technology options, companies meeting green targets as we serve them by reducing wasteful spending on travel, and HR software companies will be served as we work together to power their current solutions with our technology.

What do you offer?
  • iViioo Express - Recruiters easily set up interviews
  • Enterprise - End to end recruiting solution with video questionnaire to do better screening and process automation.  Candidates can use this tool for free to prepare for interviews.
  • Vmail - Video E-Mail Services. If recruiters have a question to ask they can use our Vmail services.

What are the technical features of iViioo?

iViioo uses Java, a video platform, Amazon server, flash, and our technology is very scalable.

What is your business model and differentiation?

  • FREE
  • Practice interview skills for free
  • Don't have to wait for scheduling
  • Flexible pricing and payment options available for corporate budgeting restrictions.
  • Unique web page for interviews, customizable
  • Security and Privacy Processing - for on the job candidates we have voice only available with options to hide your name

What offers would we like to mention?

Special offer for friends and clients of Recruitment Directory - if your clients or users sign up they get 2 months of unlimited interviews for free. Users should use the promotional code "AURecruitmentDirectory" Contact Dane for more information [email protected]

What opportunities do you see for the future of videos in recruitment?

Powering HR software is an opportunity. It's important for technology help effectively find top talent and candidates can better compete using our video services to promote themselves in a unique fashion. Also, with the downward economy, managers are being forced to make budget cut decisions. But iViioo can help to cut a budget without a decrease in return and value.  We feel we are here at just the right time.

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Facebook Ad Credits

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 3:32pm Saturday 17 January 2009    Print Article

Facebook have been nice enough to send through a number of advertising credits for friends and clients of Recruitment Directory. They have offered a $25 USD worth of advertising credits. Only new accounts created in the last 24 hours are eligible for the $25 USD offer. Enter coupon code: 6MYH-2RV3-2CE2-F63C or HPET-2FWW-4YEJ-X5K1 at checkout to redeem. Offer expires 31/3/2009. Please let me know if you are having any trouble with this offer.

Refer to previous Facebook advertising articles here

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Interview with Simon Appleton from Workcircle

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 7:07pm Friday 16 January 2009    Print Article

I first blogged about Workcircle in late Dec 2008 as they prepared to enter the Australian marketplace see related post here I spoke with Simon Appleton, CEO and Co-Founder of Workcircle to find out more information.

What is Workcircle? What do you have planned for the Australian market?

Workcircle is a vertical search engine for jobs or aggregator. We bring together job listings from as many sources as we can to give jobseekers an easy way to search across multiple job boards. All our listings are 'with permission' - we get the jobs from feeds rather than scraping, so the content is current.

We're in the early stages in Australia, but we intend to be one of the top destinations for job seekers. We've learnt a lot optimising our site in the UK and we'll be bringing that experience to Australia.

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

My business partner and I formed PlanetRecruit in 1999 (one of the UK's top job boards). We sold PlanetRecruit to The Hot Group in 2003, and developed Workcircle from around 2005. We're 'mature' entrepreneurs - we formed our first internet businesses in the early nineties and haven't stopped since.

What makes Workcircle different to other aggregation providers in the marketplace?

Two things differentiate Workcircle

1. We are an 'opt in' aggregator - all our jobs are sourced with permission, and we work closely with advertisers to ensure we only list current vacancies.

2. Secondly, our proprietary 'Massive Traffic Driving' (MTD) systems are unique in their ability to dynamically drive high volumes of jobseekers to our jobs. These systems automatically manage our online marketing - controlling over a million sponsored keywords and phrases on Google and other search engines. MTD refines our bidding, ad content and campaigns based on the current database of jobs we hold - making us very efficient at getting the right jobseekers to the right job.

What technology/web2.0 tools are used within Workcircle?

Workcircle's site is developed in-house and is based on the classic LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl).

We have distributed virtual team, and rely heavily on web 2.0 tools such as Google Apps and the 37 Signals suite of services.

What have been the biggest challenges in launching the Australian portal of Workcircle so far?

Getting the .au domain!

Is the "global financial crisis" affecting your business?

Things have slowed down - stats-wise, our UK business is running roughly as it was a year ago. Last year was atypical - we saw huge growth during the summer, and then a slump after. That said, we're one of the most cost-efficient ways to drive traffic to a job site, so we're seeing many sites shift budget to us to reduce their costs.

What is the most important lesson in business you have learnt so far?

Build a great team that can work without micromanagement, and strip out or outsource anything that isn't core.

Plans for the next 12 months?

More international expansion, plus launch some new services. We're oddly excited about 2009, which is refreshing, given the gloom we see every day.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?

Go for it! Listen to your gut, don't take on too much investment early on, and find good people.

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Interview with Mike Wilkinson from HooJano

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 12:25am Friday 16 January 2009    Print Article

HooJano is a new player in the referral marketplace which launched in partnership with MYOB earlier this week.  I spoke with CEO Mike Wilkinson about HooJano as well as asking his advice for other entrepreneurs

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

I’m a Digital Business Specialist with experience in the Recruitment industry. I spent the first 8 years of my career with various Advertising Agencies working in Account Management roles. I began my career in digital businesses at Fairfax online as Consumer Marketing Manager in 1999 when they had only around 30 staff, then took on the role of Marketing Director, MyCareer when that business moved its head office to Melbourne.

I left in 2002 and spent 3 years at News Ltd as National Marketing Manager for their classifieds businesses responsible for print and online. I then went to Sensis in 2004 and was Group Manager, Innovation and Strategy before I left to start up HooJano in April 2007.

What is HooJano?

HooJano (who-ja-know) is a "Reward for Referral Network" that solves the difficult problem of recruitment for small and medium businesses. HooJano is a game changer - a revolution rather than a one step evolution. It takes advantage of current internet technology and user trends to truly re-engineer the way recruitment needs can be serviced.

How did the idea come about?

Mike Giuffrida, CEO of had the idea in 2006 and it started with the question "Why isn’t there an eBay for recruitment?" This was driven by the frustration that the status quo seemed to be accepted in the Recruitment Services market. Seek had done a great job of modernising the delivery of classifieds advertising and set the tone for the market to follow. Yet, when you look at it, most of the benefits were driven from the nature of publishing online.

The value chain was still essentially advertising at one end as the volume based, low cost solution and recruitment at the other end the high cost full solution. New web techniques and the adoption by users of models such as online networking allow new solutions to leverage the connections all professionals have in the workplace.

He thought "Why can’t we create a system that enables all people with valuable contacts to compete for the right to connect and recommend them for vacant roles?" HooJano was born.

What makes HooJano different in the marketplace?

HooJano is a recruitment solution designed and built for the SME based on their needs. It gives back some control to that customer who can set the price they feel the placement is worth. On that basis and by opening the potential pool of candidates & engaging all people with contacts to compete (including professional recruiters), market based pricing will be achieved in a competitive scenario.

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

Staying focused and true to our vision - a lot of opportunities arise and sometimes one has to say “No. That would take us in a direction that isn't right for the business”.

These may be easy distribution opportunities that wouldn’t focus on our core audience or the opportunity to take on Investment provided we change core aspects. All decisions on these factors need to be made with a balance between a pragmatic approach to establishing the business and remaining focused on what you set out to achieve.

Plans for the next 12 months?
  • Stabilise and grow - We have a staged approach. Take a step forward, ensure the business is stable and coping and then move forward again.
  • Compete aggressively and raise additional funding.
  • Continually evolve the system to meet our users’ needs.

Is the "global financial crisis" affecting your business?

There's clearly an increased sense of risk aversion from potential partners and investors but good ideas tend to get a hearing and we've not felt any material impact on those fronts.

As for HooJano’s purpose, there’s been no negative effect despite the changing of the employment landscape

When candidates are scarce, our referrers act as "envoys” for the Hirer, finding candidates and selling the opportunity.
When candidates are plentiful the Referrer acts as a filter so the Hirer sees less but more suitable Candidates, reducing overheads.

What is the most important lesson in business you have learnt so far?

Be decisive and take action.  Doing something at 95% now is better than doing something in 6 months time that is 100% - you rarely get to 100% anyway. People who try to remove all risk sit paralysed. Over analysis is often just another way to defer a decision; particularly with digital products, you can always refine the core offer as you go.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?

The idea is in many ways the easy part. There are some practical tips that you have to consider to be able to function well;
  • Have a plan for raising capital (or not) from day one - You may choose to shoestring it but if you do, preferably do it on purpose.
  • Know your distribution and have a clear understanding of where you will source customers.
  • Speed and action is important but that doesn't mean you shouldn't think before you act.
But I think my biggest tip is: Don't be afraid to take on the “big boys". If you have a clear, compelling and differentiated proposition there will always be demand.  For many reasons it is incredibly difficult for established players to innovate.  For example:
  • Legacy production systems.
  • Customer migration with relative pricing and margins.
  • Even well established brands can work against them when the market turns. (Think how long it took for the market to accept that Holden could make a good small car)
  • A need to deliver short term (annual) targets often diverts resources from more strategic plays.
  • There is a natural inertia for them to compete on the battleground they understand.
If your offer is strong and you execute well, by the time they choose to or can react you’ll have built a position.

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Protecting Your Business Brand and Employment Issues

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 7:28pm Thursday 15 January 2009    Print Article

All businesses invest a lot of time and money to create a brand that appeals to their customers and sets them apart from competitors. As a business becomes more successful, the importance of taking steps to avoid brand exploitation from competitors increases. I am not an expert on legal issues and with the number of layoffs and redundancies in the marketplace, we have asked the experts at LawLive to help us on these topics.

Is Your Brand Protected?

The brand of your business is an example of intellectual property (IP), and can be one of your most valuable assets. Thus it is important to secure rights to the brand, and the confidential information which feeds the brand.

There is protection at statute and common law for some types of IP. Some forms include:

Trade marks - most organisations take the step of registering trade marks. Trade mark registration under the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth) is the strongest form of protection for a brand.

Copyright - protective measures available under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) protects original written works including webpage design and articles.

Restraint of trade - employment contracts can impose restraints on employees to prevent them from using sensitive business information in future employment.

Confidential information - the law of confidentiality helps protect trade secrets and confidential information from being exploited. Protection is limited to information that is genuinely "confidential" or "secret", such as client proposals, customer and price lists, and marketing strategies. It does not extend to know-how that an employee may develop in the course of employment. For that reason, it is useful to include express provisions in the contract of employment identifying and dealing with confidential information.

Can Employees Take Your Brand?

Firstly, it is useful to conduct systematic audits of the IP your business relies upon. You should identify IP and understand the ownership and licensing arrangements in place. Licensing arrangements can provide opportunities for expansion by granting rights to others to use your brand without giving up ownership. Furthermore, you can attach specific conditions on usage such as use on a non-exclusive basis or in a specific region only.

To retain ownership and prevent departing employees from taking your brand, you can enter into a restraint of trade agreement which could limit their freedom to work for a competitor or prevent them from setting up a competing business. However, care must be taken for enforceability of such a restraint depends on whether it meets the test of "reasonableness" in protecting the employer's legitimate business interests. In assessing this, the court will consider:
  • The geographical area of the restraint;
  • The time period of the restraint;
  • The scope of activities which are restrained.
In conclusion, the value of a business is intricately connected to the brand. LawLive provides templates for numerous Trade Mark License Agreements, Confidentiality Agreements and Employment Contracts. Drafting such documents can help avoid brand misrepresentation or theft of confidential information, help develop branding and employment strategies to protect market share and clients and provide opportunities for expansion through licensing.

LawLive helps you minimize your companies risks by getting all the legal documents your business requires. Cut down your legal costs by using LawLive's contracts & documents before seeing your Lawyer. All LawLive's contracts & documents are drafted by leading legal professionals, which ensures the professional quality of our contracts & documents.

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