Posted by: Michael Hennessy | March 24, 2009

SmashFly Launches it’s Second Life Office!

We’ve officially launched our SmashFly virtual office in second life! You can visit us in second life here …it will teleport you right to our building. I’ll be in the office monday-friday, so stop in and say hello…we’d love to talk to you about our recruitment marketing solution and show you how you can use it.

So why did we do this? Isn’t second life dead? There’s a few reasons.

1. At SmashFly, we have a remote workforce, and so just like IBM & Cisco use Second Life for meetings and internal conferences, we see some real applicability to hold internal SmashFly meetings at our office. We have the ability to stream media, present powerpoint presentations, have audio AND video support, and in general have yet another place to share this information. Having this hosted in second life offers us huge cost savings.

2. 3-d worlds are cutting edge technology in many ways.  Second Life initially got a tremendous amount of press & buzz…people talking about it being the next 3-d web, etc. As is true of new technology, the buzz was over the top and the reality was that second life wasn’t ready for that. Then came the press bashing …second life being a vast wasteland and useless, etc…not living up to the hype.  The pendulum swung 180 degrees in the other direction. The reality is somewhere in the middle. Second life DOES offer some very compelling experiences and has a lot of potential, but it’s still in the infancy of what 3D worlds/environments can offer. But, we believe they will continue to grow, as social networking and business collides, a 3-d world offers a tremendous amount of potential to both companies and users. We believe that convergence is going to accelerate in the next 2-5 years.

3. We are contantly researching new places for companies to market their jobs. Is second life a good place for you to market your job? Probably not, but just think of second life as another destination, another social networking type of site where people meet and communities are being built. They have over 10 million “registered” users, but at any given time, there are 60,000-80,000 people actively online. The demographic of these people, however,  could be EXACTLY who you are trying to reach. We want to find out the best way for companies to reach those technically savvy people.

In many ways this is a pure R&D exercise for us…3-D worlds are still in the infancy and are definitley not mainstream yet…but we think that is going to change as more companies get involved, technology evolves, and being immersed in a 3-d world is as easy as navigating to your facebook or linked page. It’ll happen.

Check out a couple pictures of our office below and drop in if you have a second life.

office1

office2

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Posted by: Michael Hennessy | March 20, 2009

Your Sixth Sense…

In the spirit of blogging about “Cool stuff”…it doesn’t get much better! The MIT Media Lab showing once again why they are the premier technology school in the country.

Check out this demo of the “Sixth Sense” they demo’d at the TED conference.

Although extremely early in development…it immediately sets your brain racing on a zillion applications of this type of technology. I can’t help but think this technology is something my son, almost 1 year old now, will be using as a teenager…and what a strange, different and hopefully better world that will be.

The speed of technological innovation seems to grow as each year goes by.

Posted by: Michael Hennessy | March 15, 2009

How the recruitment industry could learn from the Newspaper crisis

Everyone is aware of the crisis the Newspaper industry is going through…just as everyone knows about how the music industry has been going through a similar crisis….technology is shifting the ground beneath their feet and rendering their traditional business models obsolete, with no clear answer how to re-invent themselves.

I came across this blog entry by Clay Shirky entitled Newspapers and Thnking the Unthinkable . Clay does a great job in explaining how, even though the Newspapers saw the Internet coming way ahead of time, their internal mindset was unable or unwilling to acknowledge the transformation that was going to take place,  destroying the publishing industry as they knew it. As he says, it was the “unthinkable”.  And so they spent their time trying to think through how their business model, as it existed could get a “internet” facelift…but still fundamentally have the same busines. Yet, it’s clear now, even with Newspapers still around, that the model is forevever going to be changed, and what will emerge to fill the void is still an unknown. We don’t know exactly what the publishing industry will look like 10 years from now, but we have some good ideas, and it’s radically different than what exists today.

When looking at the recruiting space, I have the same sense, albeit not as dramatic as the Newspaper business, of the shifting ground beneath the feet of companies and how they recruit and which business models will become obsolete in the coming years.

The industry went through a major revolution  with the emergence of the internet.  How and where companies advertised their openings shifted from newspapers to on line job boards like Monster.  For the next 5-10 years, job boards and online recruiting has become, for most companies, the single most effective way of recruiting new talent. Staffing firms have continued to provide value-added services, but for savvy companies who understood technology and how to recruit using the new online tools, they could save a tremendous amount of money tapping directly into these new resources.

But, it now seems like their is another shift occurring, more subtle than the first, but potentially with the same overall impact in the long run.  As was true with the Newspaper business…it’s the small shifts which, at first glance, don’t seem to pose any real threat to the established players that end up fundamentally changing the game . For example, when craigslist was first launched, no-one could have  guessed the eventual impact it would have on newspapers and newspaper ads.

In the recruiting space, these same small shifts have been occurring for a while. For example, the introduction of SimplyHired and Indeed as vertical job search engines a few years back was not seen as any real threat to the major job boards. But as we’ve been measuring the traffic and effectiveness of these sites versus the major job boards, I can tell you they are making serious inroads. And the business model here changes the game.  Companies can get ALL their job ads on these sites for FREE…as opposed to that single job posted for $400 to a job board. As these sites grow in popularity, and companies can measure the traffic they get from a free listing versus their Monster listing…recruitment dollars will be adjusted, and it’s inevitable, those job boards will need to re-invent themselves.

But those vertical search engines were just the first cracks in the dominance of job boards. You now have companies like Jobs2Web and OptiJob who offer companies SEO (Search Engine Optimization) solutions so that candidates using search engines like Google & Yahoo can easily find their jobs direclty. These SEO companies are in the early stages, but they represent yet another shift in what’s happening.

And of course we can’t forget to mention the impact social network sites like Facebook or LinkedIn have on the recruiting space…in addition to tools like Twitter.  A new level of connectedness and the ability for companies to freely and much more easily reach those people they are looking to recruit is bringing down the walled gardens. Without a doubt, job boards, like Newspapers, are going to be around for the forseeable future, but their influence and impact in a companies recruiting strategy is  going to decline over the coming years, giving way to the new recruitment business models that technology is helping to launch at a faster and faster clip.

The companies who recognize the “Unthinkable” will be well positioned for the future.

Posted by: Michael Hennessy | March 10, 2009

My first Phish concert and Brand loyalty

I just got back from an 11 hour return trip from Hampton, VA where I witnessed my first Phish concert. Wow….that was an experience! My wife happens to be an avid Phish fan, she’s been to 35 (now 36) Phish concerts dating back to her college years…and when I heard they had come out of retirement for a three day show in Hampton, VA I knew it would be the perfect gift for her.

My exposure to Phish’s music had been very limited…a  few songs my wife played for me…but that’s about it. I knew right away that it wasn’t really my cup of tea, but I could recognize that these guys were talented musicians..and so I was definitely excited to see them live. I also knew that Phish fans were SERIOUS  fans. At the same time, Phish has never garnered much commercial appeal…they never got a song on the charts. What struck me as interesting about that is that even though Phish had never had a single commercial ” hit”, most people, or at least many people KNOW of Phish as a band. Basically, Phish is famous in a lot of ways because of it’s amazing fan base.

While attending this concert at a venue that only seated 13,000 people (they could have sold our 100,000 seat arenas), I experienced a band that was performing not for the money, or to become famous, but for the joy of playing the music they loved, with a group of dedicated fans who loved it as much, if not more, than they did. I don’t think i’ve ever been to a concert where the fans where as appreciative of the band. Phish caters to its fans like few others.

Afterwards I kept thinking about this…how much the fans connected with Phish as a band and how successfull the band had become, because they were true to their music and true to their fans.

My thoughts then shifted to SmashFly and the parallel I saw with our own business strategy and how it seems to resonate with our clients. Since we  spend no money on marketing, prospects either find out about us via word-of-mouth, or from stumbling across our site. And when they finally see what we’ve built and then talk with one of our existing customers …the word spreads a bit further…and the buzz gets a bit louder. This in turn allows us to spend 100% of our energy on one thing…building the best possible product for our loyal customers. We know that if we stay true to helping companies solve their recruitment marketing challenges, we’ll continue to grow a small, but fiercly loyal customer base that will allow us to continue doing what we love.

And if all goes well, in a few years time…even though your company may not use SmashFly or have a need for a sophisticated recruitment marketing solution, you’ll be well aware of the name and the loyal customer base it has.

Posted by: Michael Hennessy | March 4, 2009

Inspiration for next generation UX

Some of my blog entries will just be about stuff I think is cool. This is one of those posts.

I came across this concept video of what the future might hold for next generation systems and user experience(ux=user experience)..very interesting. I found the digital newspaper especially interesting….enjoy

Posted by: Michael Hennessy | March 2, 2009

“The Cloud Is The New Dotcom”

I came across this article entitled “The Cloud is The New DotCom” , and thought it was interesting that this specific technology shift is starting to get noticed by main stream media. Per the article, they still confuse SaaS and cloud computing…just like many people confused the “Web 2.0” term….but still, there is some traction out there.

We’ve decided to build our web commercial technology with direct integration with the Amazon cloud services. We’ve enabled companies to have unlimited data storage and an easy way to publish their commercials to a global content delivery network…things that just weren’t possible a few years back.  We believe cloud computing is the next frontier for how companies build applications for the future….and we’re right at the forefront of leveraging this technology in our current and future recruitment marketing platform.

Exciting times!

Posted by: Michael Hennessy | February 13, 2009

What role will job boards play in 2009?

For 2009, I’ve decided to add a new category to my blog called “Brainstorming”. Most of 2008 focused on blog entries related to SmashFly, and on our WildFire Talent marketing platform.

But these are strange times, and I think 2009 will be a strange year when it comes to recruitment strategies and best practices. The posts will be formatted as general thoughts, questions….basically thinking out loud as it relates to the world of recruitment technology and what interesting things are happening. The goal will be to simply spure thinking, formulate new ideas, and maybe even new solutions. As I’ve found many times…simply writing something down helps crystalize the thought or idea.

As a first thought & Blog entry , something that’s been on my mind is, how will job boards fair in this very tough economony where companies are downsizing, layoffs are plentifull and budgets are frozen? When there are more available candidates then ever looking for work. It seems to me, in situations like these, companies could significantly reduce their budgets when looking at job board spending. Free resources such as Indeed, SimplyHired, and Oodle are becoming more popular, and with a glut of candidates to choose from, a company could really save some money if they are one of the few still hiring.

My sense is that companies are cutting their budgets, and job boards will be affected just like everyone else…maybe more so. But the timing of this economic downturn, combined with the rise of social networking sites such as Facebook, Linked-In, Twitter and others could fundamentally change the job board landscape in it’s dominance as a core recruitment tool. I know some will argue that job boards don’t play a major role in their recruitment today…but I would argue those are the exceptions, not the rule.

This economic crisis could hold some hidden opportunities for companies who have relied soley on job boards as their major source of new talent. With more candidates available then ever before, and a slew of new and exciting free resources to connect with those candidates, companies may start to make fundamentall shifts in how they recruit the talent of tomorrow. It will be interesting to see if companies decide to try new recruitment strategies in this environment, or simply cut back on their job board campaigns, only to pick up where they left off once things start to rebound.

Posted by: Michael Hennessy | February 4, 2009

Are you a Taleo client wanting more from your job distribution solution?

Then we have a webinar for you!  We’re going to be holding 2 upcoming webinars focused on existing Vurv and Taleo clients that are not only looking for more from their job distribution solution, but looking for new, innovative ways to reach candidates through an integrated talent marketing solution and their Taleo system.

This webinar is exclusively for Vurv & Taleo Enterprise clients, however, if you’re interested in having us produce a webinar focused on your existing ATS/Talent Management solution, send us an email at info@smashfly.com . Based on demand, we will hold similar webinars for other TMS solutions. Please do not register for this webinar unless you are an existing Vurv or Taleo customer…we will be basing invites on your registered email address.

SmashFly | KRT Marketing

Looking for more from your Job Posting Distributor?

Special Webinar for Taleo Customers

This co-hosted 60-minute session will provide an introduction and demo of SmashFly’s Talent Marketing platform, which includes:

  • Enterprise-level job posting distribution
  • CRM / Email campaign management
  • Google keyword campaign management
  • Flash-based Web commercial technology
  • Strategic media buying services with proven cost savings
  • Complete job posting and campaign tracking/analysis
  • Demo of Taleo integration

Learn how you can purchase, execute and measure all of your recruitment campaigns from a single integrated platform.

Register

 

Webinar Dates

Tuesday, February 24th
2:00 pm (EST) / 11:00 am (PST)

Thursday, February 26th
11:30 am (EST) / 8:30 am (PST)

Register »   

 

Posted by: Michael Hennessy | February 2, 2009

SmashFly & KRT Marketing form strategic partnership

I’m excited to announce a new partnership with KRT Marketing that will enable SmashFly to offer our clients a new service/benefit. Clients will now have access to SmashFly’s Media Buying Division, which offers end-to-end job board management services, including strategic media planning, contract negotiations, program administration and tracking/analysis. 

We not only take the administrative burden of dealing with all of the job boards off your team’s plate, but can also help you put together a more strategic and cost effective media plan (with proven cost savings of 25-40%).  Plus, as a recognized Ad Agency, our commissions are paid by the job boards, not the client, making this a FREE SERVICE to your company.

We are continuing to define a new recruitment category we refer to as “Talent Marketing”. With this partnership, you can now purchase, execute and measure all your talent marketing campaigns from a single platform from within your existing web based ATS system (such as taleo, kenexa, etc). That’s pretty cool.

Posted by: Michael Hennessy | January 29, 2009

Get your dream job

I came across this article on CNN Money entitled “Get Your Dream Job” where they asked 5 Fortune 100 companies why they are hiring in this climate and what different types of things they look for.

The articles discusses Edward Jones, SRA International, CH2M Hill, Booz Allen and NetApp.
A quick, light read…nothing earth shattering in their answers…but there was a few pieces of info I thought were interesting.

From Edward Jones, they are quoted as saying about their hires  “They are what’s called `passive jobseekers.’ We prefer them because they have had to give something up to pursue this. Someone who is unemployed and looking for a job probably would not succeed here” . That’s a pretty powerful statement in relation to how they go about hiring people. It would disqualify job boards as a source of candidates…which is interesting. I think other companies feel the same, but the obvious obstacle becomes, “how do we reach those passive candidates”..which never gets answered, and so the easy thing is to contineu to rely on those sources which target active candidates.

Another interesting piece of info which is not surprising but worth thinking about from SRA International is “About half of our new hires are referrals from current employees. So we’re already pretty sure they will fit in here”. Again, everyone knows that a lot, if not a majority of hires come from employee referrals. As SRA mentions, they already know these candidates will most likely fit in with their culture.

So, if this is pretty much the rule for most companies and not the exception….does your current recruitment advertising budget and recruitment strategy accrurately reflect this reality? Are you spending the right amount of your recruiting budget to foster these types of employee referrals? Or, are you spending 80-90% of your recruiting budget on job boards and other services, and maybe a token amount to an employee referral campaign.

These are the kinds of questions companies need to be thinking about in these difficult economic times. “How do I maximize my recruitment budget to deliver the best quality candidates?” . And the  follow up question to that would be “How do I KNOW that i’m improving my recruitment advertising spend?” 

You can guess where i’m going with this….how about leveraging a talent marketing platform that enables you to automitcally run referral campaigns AND measure the effectiveness of these campaigns versus the other talent marketing activities you are using?

Only when you measure something can you improve it. In this economic climate, it’s more important than ever to start measuring your talent marketing activities so that you can save money, and drive better quality candidates to your site.

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