I just got back from 48 hours in Orlando, FL where I attended the TA Tech Congress. TA Tech is the rebranded organization formerly known as the IAEWS (association of employment websites) run by Peter Weddle and his son Pete. TA Tech members represent all facets of the talent acquisition industry from ATS vendors to Job boards and more. It was my first visit to the Congress since I sold my main job board business back in 2012.
On the plane ride home I wrote down some of my takeaways and memories from a whirlwind 48 hour trip.
It was great to be back in my element again. Seeing familiar faces and getting to just ‘talk shop’ was a welcome respite for this industry veteran. I was able to speak at length with many of you but 48 hours still wasn’t enough time to reach everyone on my list. So if we didn’t get a chance to catch up you can still find me at some other events coming up such as RecruitDC in May, possibly SHRM in June and definitely HR Tech in Chicago in the fall.
I was reminded once again of the camaraderie we all share as an industry. By 8:30pm Sunday night, there was still a small group of us left at the closing cocktail party…the bartenders had left, the lights were dimmed, and the conversation was still ongoing. Finally huger got the best of us. Myself, Matt Lucas from JobMonkey and the ladies (Amy, Emma, Lauren and Carol) from JobsinLogistics/TopUSA headed to the BlueZoo for a late dinner.
What followed was just great conversation. Matt opined on the story of how JobMonkey got started when, after high school, he set off with a couple buddies for Alaska with no plan and little money to chase the idea of working on a fishing boat. That led to a book and eventually a website. It was a fascinating story. I’ll actually be interviewing Matt for my RecTech podcast so he can retell the tale for you.
We reminisced and learned from each other which is the best part about coming to conferences like this. Special thanks to Amy Noah for picking up the check. Much appreciated!
So what else what else do I remember? Well…
A few sessions stood out. The ones about the Gig Economy led by Todd Goldstein, the Next Big Idea led by Jonathan Duarte and the Star Wars panel led by the Yoda himself, Ethan Bloomfield.
Everyone is curious how the gig economy will affect our industry and the country as a whole. In the group I sat in on, the consensus was that more sites and services will spring up to support and empower the new generation of gig workers. Some in the crowd said part time jobs have always been around but its clear that the trend is only going to continue upward. I wonder if “gigs” are becoming the new entry level job?
Is there a next big idea about to hit the talent acquisition space? I see a lot of incremental evolution happening but it may be good to pay attention to things like VR (virtual reality) and chat bots. VR is probably going to take the form of virtual job simulations for training. Chat bots like what Facebook just announced may also have a place. Imagine a job seeker going to an employer site and interacting with a virtual recruiter” to help answer questions about their jobs or what its like to work there.
One of the main questions posed in this session was how is the move to programmatic ad buying is affecting the industry. Is it a good idea that we are all buying and selling traffic to each other? If you think about it from a job seeker perspective jobs are now ubiquitous. They are everywhere. So with jobs being a commodity how will your site stand out?
* Jobs2Careers: love the team they sent. Have been working with Francis, Nick, Michael and Shelly for a short time now. They bring a great attitude to sales and client service.
* I ran into Kara Duncan (former Indeed Sales rep) from JobCase . She described JobCase as their own social network of hourly workers. Based in Boston, Kara says they are building a great community for entry level workers and helping them find the right company. The more community you can build into your site the better. Giving job seekers a reason to come back beyond just jobs is an important feature.
* Cindy Songne of Hodes mentioned to me how their clients are sending them email lists of their ‘best employees’ and using that list on Facebook ads to drive clicks from people that match the demographic. Sounds rather interesting.
* Two new job board software vendors caught my eye. Talenetic and Jobarto. Keith Potts, who co-founded Jobserve has launched a new platform called Talenetic. He showed me a preview of the highly customizable platform to serve jobs. They seem to also have spent a lot of time engineering the SEO aspect by helping new customers find the long tail of keywords for their market. Their most recent client in the U.S. is the Seattle Times job section. Monthly costs after a setup fee will cost approx $1,200.
Kyle Westhorpe‘s Jobarto, which I previewed prior to the conference has a big emphasis on email marketing and SMS which is built right into the platform. Think what it would be like to have Mailchimp-like functionality built into your job board and you can imagine how awesome that would be. Monthly fees will be around $1,500 according to Kyle. Jobarto is nearing the end of its Beta. The name represents the ‘art of jobs’.
* Converasation Driver – The Gutin brothers of WebScribble have teamed up with Ethan Bloomfield and launched their new sales calling service. It looks to getting some early traction and definitely has strong potential in almost any company with an outbound sales team.
* Great to reconnect with Todd Goldstein of TopResume. I’m going to become an affiliate on some of my career properties on a pay per lead basis. If you need to monetize your job seekers further consider giving him a call.
* Shoutout to peeps like Patrick Gutierrez of ZipRecruiter who it turns out, lives in the town next to me in CT. Roy Mauer and Tony Lee from SHRM who I had yet to meet in person. Peter Zollman of The AIM Group, Alan Carniol of Interview Success Formula, Renee from Droit, Suresh from Pomato, Chand from ITJobCafe, and Marceij from Grupa Pracuj in Poland were among the others it was great to meet in real life. Reconnecting with the snarky Steve Marsden from ZipRecruiter, and my fellow consultant, Jeff Dickey-Chasins was also great.
* The alliances room was popular because lets face it, we all just want to network. Hope that continues next year. The only hiccup was that some people forgot they had a scheduled meeting (including me a few times). Being able to see who is coming is a must have for any conference in my opinion.
What I’m Up To
Recruiting News You Can Use
In addition to my consulting activities I am busy launching new sites and tools for the online recruiting industry. I wouldn’t be the mad scientist if I wasn’t still experimenting. Earlier this year I launched RecruitingHeadlines.com, a news aggregator that compiles and organizes the headlines from major news sites and blogs that cover recruiting, HR and job boards. If you subscribe you’ll get an email each evening with all the days headlines from over 50 different sources. It’s one of those daily reads that will keep you informed and up-to-date. I also write some original content and the site accepts guest posts, so if you want a free back-link considering contributing your advice of 500 words or more.
Top 1,000 Job Boards
I’ve spent the past year collecting and organizing the best job boards into my own directory. Its available as a PDF download for twenty bucks. I break down job boards into 3 categories by country, by niche and by US state. Its most focused on US sites but there are at least a few hundred country sites listed. I am continually updating the list each month. Buy it here.
Lead Gen for Job Boards and HR Tech vendors
My latest project, still under development will be a web site to help recruiters find discounts and special offers from job boards, HR tech vendors, recruiting events and more. Think ‘Groupon for Recruiters’. I expect to launch it in May so stay tuned to this blog for further updates. Be sure to get on my email list.
That’s a wrap. Until next time, I remain…
PS…here’s some pics.