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What I want in a jobs web site

Dear Reader,

It’s rare these days that slashdot has something that is compelling enough to make me read the comments. But this story really piqued my interest.

Part of it is selfish. Just last week I exchanged several emails with careerbuilder‘s auto-responder bot complaining about the fact that they sell my email address to companies looking to recruit me into selling insurance. It’s bad enough that these mails come in but I can usualy catch them with my spam filters, except when they come from careerbuilder.com and are formatted like legitimate offers. It’s hard to filter these out without tossing out my daily job postings.

This along with the proliferation of ‘YOU TOO CAN WORK FROM HOME’ posts that, because they mention computers, invariably get stuffed into my potential job lists are marginalizing careerbuilder.com just like monster.com did several years ago.

The story on /. really got me to thinking. I know these companies have to make money so I’m not opposed to the ads, even to them up selling services. But I fear that careerbuilder.com is losing their focus. Worse yet, I think that the C-level of careerbuilder.com might be steering the company in a new direction. They used to be the best place for people looking for a job to go to find one. Now they are becoming the best way for people who are trying to market to people looking for a job to find them. HUGE DIFFERENCE in focus.

Here’s what *I* want to see in a job service:

  • No ads from recruiters. Sorry guys, I’ve got several friends who are recruiters but my ideal job service is a place where companies can connect to job hunters. Call it disintermediationbut I feel that the average business owner or manager can do a better job of screening applicants than a recruiter.
  • No MLM, commission only, ‘Work from home with just your computer’, or envelope stuffing schemes. Please guys. If I’m reading your site, it’s for one reason. I want a job. I don’t want an ‘opportunity to make six figures’. I want a real job. Some place where I can apply my hard-earned skills to make the company a better place.
  • No Spam from your ‘associates’. Your associates are bottom feeders. Don’t make me block you from my server. I know you need to make money too. You sell the job ads, you sell ads on the job ads, you sell services to me like resume writing, etc. I’m fine with all of that. But I don’t want an insurance company contacting me saying that they ‘saw my resume on your site and just know I’m a perfect fit.’ (Hell, it’s obvious from their email that they never ever saw my resume.)
  • TAGS. C’mon guys, get with the program. We can tag blog posts, pictures and emails these days. Let employers tag their jobs. Let me tag my resume. To paraphrase Fletch “It’s all tags these days”.
  • RSS Feed. Don’t make me go to your site every morning just to see what’s new. Let me subscribe to a feed. I’m must more likely to care if I see that there is a job tagged with my city name or keyword. give me feeds for industry, tag, geographical area. You get bonus points if I can create a custom RSS feed with everything I’m looking for in one feed. (Nashville Director of IT jobs for companies who use Open Source technologies. Companies developing web properties. Companies with at least 25 employees.) it’s not that hard. You already send me an email every morning with what you think are my best bets. How about letting me tell you what my best bets are and you send me those via RSS within an hour of it being posted.
  • Standardized resume format. If all you guys would get together and agree on a DTD for a resume, I’m sure some enterprising Developer 2.0 would build a site where I could go and enter my resume once. then when I’m signing up for your site, I don’t have to enter all that information yet again. An added bonus is that you could ask your job posters if they want a completed job application in the format they use. Since there’s a finite number of forms out there, it wouldn’t take too much effort to create a PDF on the fly in the format the company wanted. That’s what we call a ‘value added service’ as opposed to selling me a ‘premium listing‘ or those cute little charm bracelet icons to put next to my listing.
  • Salary requirements. Force companies to put a salary range in. Let’s not waste either of our time here. I know what I need to make, they know what they can afford to pay. If those two numbers aren’t in the same ballpark then why bother talking? It’s just one more piece of information that will help me find the exact job I’m looking for.
  • Job scoring and moderation. Everybody loves to pick on slashdot and in some cases (like when I do it) they deserve it. But they pioneered the concept of moderation and meta moderation. let the users of the service moderate the posts. Write it into the contract with your posters that people will see their ad and if they are posting irrelevant, mis-tagged or just plain scam posts, they will get quickly moderated out of existence. Use common sense when doing this. Don’t open the system to abuse just because someone or some group does not like a potential employer. But if enough people say that a job is junk, maybe you should have someone take a look at it. Since you sold the ad, you may not be able to simply remove it, but have a category called scam or junk. Put it there. That way if there actually is anyone out there looking to get scammed, you’ve got the premium listings.

Craigslist understands most of this. Sadly, outside of the Bay Area I don’t see a lot of support for it. When I was a hiring manager in the Bay Area, I posted on craigslist, dice and careerbuilder. Same ad, same day. I got 75 responses from craigslist, 3 from careerbuilder and 1 from dice. really, the only thing craigslist is missing is some of the formal structure features. But I don’t see them adding that because it breaks their model in other areas.

Until next time,
(l)(k)(bunny)
=C=

Roles in the Blogosphere – Part 2

Dear Reader,

Welcome to Part 2 of “Roles in the Blogosphere”. If you missed part 1 then I suggest you read it first. Not that it will help you understand part 2 any better but it counts as a page view in my stats. (Sue me, I’m a stats whore)

In part 1 we talked about the first type of blogger, the Author. It helps (at least it helps me) to thing of this as a Totem Pole. Authors are at the very top of the pole and hold a revered place. Not because of what they write (because honestly some of it is just junk) but because they do write. (and amongst the junk there are a few great blogs.)

Directly under Authors are the Librarians. Librarians are those bloggers who do not write a lot of original new content but collect others writings on a specific topic. Again, playing to my strengths here and working with what I know, two good Librarian sites out there for technology are www.mashable.com and www.ajaxian.com.

There are several good blogs I read on a daily basis that don’t create much new content but they do gather a lot of good content together in one place. I thought about calling this pattern newspapers but since I hate my local newspaper I felt it degrading to the Librarians. (Besides, when I think of Librarians I think of Marion The Librarian in The Music Man. C’mon, who can hate Shirley Jones?)

Librarians serve an important purpose for blog readers because they strap on the hip-waders and slough through the muck that is the blogosphere looking for those rare gems of insight amongst all the floaters. They harvest the gems that they find, catalog them, and present them for us. This is the first attribute of a Librarian, a librarian is a blog scavenger. A better description might be that a Librarian knows where to look for stories both good and bad.

Like Authors, Librarians always have a theme. Unlike an Author, a pure Librarian will never stray from their theme. Given the diverse writing styles and approaches of the Authors who write the content they collect, the theme is what gives the Librarian’s blog cohesion. This is the second attribute of a Librarian; a Librarian always has a theme.

In addition to collecting and cataloging the news for us, they add value to the news. Sometimes it’s in the form of an opinion. Sometimes it is in the form of an object review; Pete Cashmore does a great job of this. Sometimes the value added is that stories from disparate sources there brought together so that the reader can make a connection. Adding value to news is what separates Librarians from classes we will see farther down the Totem Pole. This is the third attribute, Librarians add value to the news they collect.

Finally a Librarian is impartial. As I touched on in the previous point, a Librarian will give you an objective look at whatever they are cataloguing. Sometimes you read a Librarian’s blog so you don’t have to check every new toy or widget out. They have done it and you trust their opinion. Other times you will read it because they don’t opine but list the values and problems with any given item. (Toy, widget, services, etc.) This is the fourth attribute of a Librarian; a Librarian is impartial.

That is all for now. Join us next time for Part 3.

Until next time,
(l)(k)(bunny)

=C=

Web 2.0 Stock Report

Dear Reader,

In meatspace we have stock brokers to tell us where to put out money and where not to. Here in the blogosphere, we have no such guidance. Since nature hates a vacuum like a Republican hates a social program, I am throwing myself into the void. Alexadex is the new market for trading web properties. I am hanging out my shingle as the first Web 2.0 financial adviser. [Small Print: I am not a financial adviser. This has nothing to do with real money. If you base a financial decision on this information then you have bigger problems than just being out that much money.]

As your adviser, the first thing I am going to do (after I make sure you have enough money left in your account to invest after paying my high-but-well-worth-it fees) is to setup a couple of indexes. Not because I know what they are or because they are particularly meaningful. I set them up because you never hear the guys on Fox News on Saturday talk without referring to this index or that index. Since those guys get paid to talk about this stuff, I figure my only chance of making it big in Web 2.0 stock advice is to setup my own index.

With that having been said, I’ve setup a new page on my blog. (look near the top of the page, it’s the link cleverly disguised as “Web 2.0 Index Funds”) On this page, I will daily update the 2 indexes I have created to track. Periodically, I will comment here in the main body of the blog on the goings on.

Because Web 2.0 is such a new area and real research is just way to damn hard to do, I’ve decided that the 2 index I will track and make calls on are “The TechCrunch Index” and the “Mashable Index”. (Ticker symbols “TCI” and “MI” respectively.)

Since I’ve already dissed on Pete once today and I’m treading on thin ice here I need to address these to fine gentlemen privately for a second; the rest of you skip the next paragraph.

Guys, I’m not making fun of you…really. It’s just that yours are the 2 forward looking blogs I respect and read daily. I respect you both and you both know what you are talking about.

Ok, enough butt-snorkeling, the rest of you can start reading again. Here are the rules I’ve come up with. I started by reading each blog carefully. By reading I of course mean scanning the posts for links. Each blog, for the most part, talked about a new Web 2.0 property. I picked the first 7 that each talked about favorably. (Why 7? Because I read Pete’s first and he had more articles than Michael did on the front page.)

Then I ran them against alexadex to get their current price as of tonight. This will be the starting base line. Then just to make it look official, I pretended that each fund purchased 10 shares of each stock.

New properties will be added each day that a positive entry is made on either blog. Properties will be sold when they lose 1/2 of their initial purchase value.

Other rules will be added as I think of them. As always, the judges decision is final.
I’ll track this until I can either automate it and add it to my BlogBling collection of plugins or I get bored with it. (For the record, the latter is more likely to happen)

So there, there’s the first Web 2.0 Stock Report. You can check the fund page for the actual stats but the totals are:

TCI      $33,530.00
MI        $17,530.00

TCI is off to a considerable lead due in large part to the mention technorati.com. This is the Index Fund version of slashdot’s karma-whoring. But hey, the rules are imperfect.

Stay tuned for further updates.

Until next time,
(l)(k)(bunny)
=C=

Outfoxed – Today’s meme

Dear Reader,

I’m shocked! Today I open my daily del.icio.us list (as I do every morning, click in FireFox, Open in tabs) to see what is going on in the world.  I notice that Pete Cashmore is dissing on FireFox. Ok, well, I’ve spoken to Pete a couple of times. I won’t claim to know him but I know he’s pretty technically savvy. So I’m concerned. Maybe he’s just having a bad day because he can’t get FireFox to work on his machine. Worse yet, he seems bent saying bad things about FireFox just because he can’t make it work. Pete, buddy, bubala, It’s not the Fox’s problem that you can’t handle the intricacies of a modern browser.

But this blog isn’t about Pete.  It seems he is just picking up on the meme of the day (week?) Others too are showing their technical ineptitude by dissing on the Fox for what are obviously limitations of their own. Gees guys, get with the program, don’t be such whiny babies.  The about:config page has a couple hundred options all neatly arranged in a single list for you to scroll up and down in till you find the exact option you are looking for. Talk about light weight, this is the holy grail (Sangrail?) of light-weight admin interfaces. No fancy buttons checkboxes or even help files. Just options for miles. How much more lightweight do you want to get?

Yes, IE7 is on it’s way out, just because they release it doesn’t make it good. IE has managed to rip off the cool features of FireFox but not it’s coolness. Yes, they do it faster, cleaner and lighter, so what? Ok, so they have more developers working longer hours to get the product out, they don’t heave heart. FireFox is loved by “all who use it on a daily basis and talk nice about it”. FireFox is the underdog, it’s expected to lose the browser wars. But FireFox has heart! (Maybe that’s what’s taking up so damn much memory on my machine…it’s got to put it’s heart somewhere.)

Until next time,
(l)(k)(bunny)
=C=

Need a Flash/Actionscript PROGRAMMER

Dear Reader,

I know this is a long-shot because I know both of you that read this. I am in need of a Flash/Actionscript programmer. The project I have in mind requires someone with more of a programmer bent than a designer.

If you think you’ve got the chops to handle this interesting project and you would like to be part of your very own Web 2.0 startup then drop me a line @ cal@calevans.com.

Until next time,
(l)(k)(bunny)

=C=