Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Check out our new Video

July 31, 2008

Trovix has released a new video to help build awareness. I think it’s pretty cool.


Older Folks Staying on the Job

July 22, 2008

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is always a great place for a read when you want good news.  Today’s good news is a piece they’ve done on older workers in the workforce

Most impressive is that there are now 1.1 million people over 75 working. That’s almost double from a decade ago.

A few points of note.

One is that the number of workers over 65 is growing much faster than the workforce in general, and this has been a long term trend.  (Pre-baby boom retirement.)  Although the negative spin might be that they can’t afford to retire, I think the positive spin is that they can’t afford to retire. As people live longer, the idea of a 20 or 30 year retirement should seem ridiculous.  Especially for people who are physically and mentally strong.  If you can’t afford to play 36 holes of golf a day, maybe you should get a job.

More importantly, I suspect that 65 is the new 50.  Jobs are less physically demanding, and work places are more fun.  Being valued in the workplace makes people feel good about themselves.  Being unemployed and looking forward to years of day time television broadcasting must be a drag. 

Net net, I think it’s a good thing that people can and are working longer.

The Vertical Search Blender

July 17, 2008

I think someone needs to invent a new category of web site, because “vertical search” seems to be getting a bit crowded.  The Mercury News just did a write up on Center’d.  Center’d is described as a vertical search site at the beginning of the article, so I was interested in what vertical they were searching on.   But later, the article described the business as a mash up of Evite, Yelp, and social networking.  Which is a lot like what it looked like when I went there.  So what’s the vertical?

Center’d looks like it could be a pretty cool site, and I hope they do well. But they aren’t vertical search.

Zillow, also described as vertical search, is another good example. The cool thing about Zillow is that they tell you what your house is worth.  But that’s content generation, not search.

I think what’s going on is that Google is so successful that everyone wants to be the Google of something.  It’s like a Hollywood movie Pitch.  In Hollywood, you say “I wanna make ‘Raiders of the Lost Arc’ meets ‘High School Musical.'” In Silicon Valley, you say “We’re goona be like the Google of on-line pet food sales.”  These days, the first line of the pitch is always Google. 

The funny thing for Trovix is that we really are a search company, and we have really incredible search.  Most of the companies in today’s “vertical search” category don’t even do search.

Google for Job Search

July 14, 2008

According to Doug Berg, people ran more than 100 million job related searches on Google in June. The average month has 124 million searches.

Let’s have fun with math.  If each search took 30 seconds, that means on average, people spend more than one million hours a month job searching with Google. Ouch!  Talk about a tough way to spend your time.  When you do the kinds of searches he describes, like “Nursing Jobs New York,” you unlikely to get a job that’s even close to what you want. Yet 14,800 people ran that exact search. 

Are these people really job hunting? I think so.  33,100 people searched for “Construction jobs California,” but only 390 people searched for “construction jobs America.” If some people were looking for economic statistics, the America searches would be more common.  As it is, you’d think California is also too big to get the right results. But people don’t get that.

What this tells me is that a whole lot of people don’t really know how to use search tools like Google, and don’t really know how to job search.  Or maybe, they’re just so used to really crummy results when they search, that they’re happy with the kind things Google comes up with. 

Either way, a million hours seems like a lot of time to spend being disappointed.

A tip ‘o the hat to Bounty Jobs

July 10, 2008

Bounty Jobs just announced a raise of $12.5 million. Good for them.  They act as a broker between recruiting agencies and employers. I’ve used them, and the thing I liked most was that they helped me keep my recruiters in line, and also shut them off when they weren’t performing.  It’s a lot cleaner than working directly with agencies. 

There is a ton of money flowing into the recruiting space right now. I think the investment community has figured out that you can make a lot of money if you can help connect people with jobs.  Some of the investments seem totally nuts to me, while others are just crazy.  But Bounty Jobs is one investment that I’ll bet is going to pay off.

More Great News for Beautiful People

July 3, 2008

The world can’t shower enough love on the beautiful.  Check this out.  A congressman from New York has proposed creating a special visa category for fashion models so that they won’t have to compete with smelly ugly software engineers for the right to strut their stuff in the U.S. of A.  Sadly, he only wants to allow 1000 of them in each year, so there won’t be enough to go around.

Still, I think it’s important to recognize that what this country really needs is more thin women. 

Wait. Hang on. That’s not right. What this country really needs is a highly educated workforce with technical skills that can keep American companies ahead of the curve technologically.   

Here’s the visa I would propose: the “Welcome You Bright Shiny New Tax Payer” Visa.  If you can get a sponsored job that pays at least $100K a year, and you pay your income taxes and stay out of trouble for 5 years, you get a green card.  And it doesn’t even matter if you aren’t a super-model.

On Babies and Work

July 1, 2008

The New York Times Magazine had an interesting article about the global baby bust.  The birth rate in very many countries is below the replacement rate. That means we’ll see shrinking, aging populations for decades to come.  It’s a global phenomenon.  (Perhaps everyone in the world figured out that diaper changing, sleeplessness and Barney aren’t as fun as booze, cash, and freedom.  At least the education system is working.)  

One theory in the article linked the number of babies being born to the openness of the job market.  More babies get born in countries where people are free to change jobs, or enter and leave the workforce.  That makes a ton of sense.

A lot of the labor markets in Europe are disastrous.  In some countries, getting a full time job can take years.  The problem is, once you’re hired, you can’t be fired.  So companies will do anything to avoid the risk of a bad hire, including hiring nobody. Even if they could hire only good people, when the economy tanks, a company with too many employees is doomed. So they hire for the worst case economy, which means fewer jobs.   

There is a certain irony that, in an attempt to make people feel safer about their jobs, some countries have made people feel so insecure that they won’t even have children.  I’m just glad that I live in a country where a service like can actually help people find the right jobs for them, and where even people with jobs can be thinking about their next best move. 

The Job Hunting News Cycle

June 25, 2008

Is there a word in the news business for those inane stories that get run year after year? For Thanksgiving, send a crew to film the crowd at the airport.  First snow? Cameras to the pass, and advice about carrying chains.  This time of year there are hundreds of articles with advice for new grads seeking their first jobs.  

Some of the advice is likely good stuff.  People say you should write a cover letter, proof read your resume, and my favorite: pick a mature ring tone.  

Are these tips necessary?  Are the people who don’t spell check their resumes out there reading career advice columns?  Is telling someone to pick the right ring tone missing the opportunity to tell them to turn off the phone for the job interview? 

More importantly, if the advice given to people with big red flags is “hide the big red flag,” doesn’t that make it harder for employers to identify the non-idiots?  “Be yourself” is a perennial tip for job hunters, but it’s always number 5 after “take out the nose ring” or “don’t make sex jokes.”  Maybe we’d all be better off if the advice was just be yourself, and don’t show up on time if you don’t feel like it. 

Zappos to Misergonists: Get Off the Bus!

June 18, 2008

Zappos was in the news for paying people to leave.  The twist is that they aren’t failing. 

Normally, a company that has to downsize offers incentives for employees to leave. The best take the plan, because they don’t want to work for a loser. The company ends up with the people who can’t get hired elsewhere.  AKA: the Dregs. The tailspin accelerates.  No one can figure out why the company is filled with no-ops because anyone with the business sense to see the problem bailed at the first chance.

But Zappos is growing like a weed and they’re paying $1500 for people to take a hike. (Up from $1000 because too few people were going for the cash.)  It works because a good job is worth a lot more than $1500.  If you’re happy, you’ll stay put.  And if you’re unhappy, they want you gone. 

There’s nothing worse than an unhappy coworker hating their job all day, and raining on everyone else’s parade.  So good for Zappos for making the world a better place for unhappy and happy people alike. 

Good News for Good Looking People!

June 16, 2008

The ERE is reporting on the new thing: “Speed Recruiting.” It’s a lot like speed dating, but for hiring people.  (Here’s the link.)   I’m unimpressed.  Do we really need to make recruiting more superficial? 

Speed dating works because there are only two questions: Do I want to snuggle her? and Does she want to snuggle me?  (Sorry about the language, but it’s a family oriented blog.) One of those questions answers itself if you’re single and she’s hot.  The other one gets answered when she checks a box next to your name.   Is that how we should screen employees? 

The problem with speed dating for candidates is that speed dating works because you already know what you’re looking for.  In speed dating, people get eliminated for being the wrong religion, or too fat, or too old, or not rich enough.  In some recruiting environments, the same filters get applied. But that’s not the typical HR strategy. 

When you’re growing a company, who you hire matters.  Snap judgements can be disasterous. A hiring manager with tunnel vision won’t ever be challenged on his assumptions about what it takes to do the job.  With the ever increasing diversity of the workforce, speed recruiting allows someone to churn through great candidates while looking for a needle in a haystack.  It’s a huge waste time and money even before the lawsuit gets filed.

The other problem is that the kind of person who gets picked a lot in speed dating will also do well in speed recruiting.  Shouldn’t recruiters be pushing for better than that? 

If I were hiring, I’d rather sit down with 5 truly well qualified people than the 25 walk-ons who are willing to be treated like cattle. 

If I were job hunting, I’d want to know that the hiring manager actually read my resume before I sat down.  But if I can’t get that, I hope they at least have a swim-suit competition.  Because then when I get the offer, I’ll feel even better about all the sit-ups I do.