Archive for the ‘Friends’ Category

It’s been a whirlwind since the highly successful Dallas Roadshow Last week. The RecruiterGuy offers a great recap.

Here are the materials:

– John Sumser’s Introduction and Presentation (Spiky and Flat)
– Jeff Kaye’s Presentation: Next Level Strategy for a Next Level Workplace
– Hank Stringer’s materials from Excellence in Search Relationships
– Dennis Smith’s delightful package Social Recruiting


(January 30, 2008) The nice thing about an idea like the Recruiting Roadshow™ is that it seems to inspire lots of help. Our sponsors enjoy giving back to the community, knowing that their investment in education will deliver significant returns. They are generally willing to bet that they are investing in the right thing.

Then we have amazing friends like Matt Martone of Yahoo HotJobs.

Without prompting, Matt has pulled together the Recruiting Roadshow logo Challenge. He’s offering $100 to anyone who generates a logo that we pick to use on this site.The Details are here.  Thanks, Matt

John Sumser. – © 2008 Two Color Hat, Inc. Santa Rosa, CA

(January 18, 2008) Jason Davis and are the first charter sponsors for the entire 2008 Recruiting Roadshow™ series.  They join Don Ramer and Arbita, the first underwriters as pivotal financial and logistical supporters.

In a move that simultaneously validates his encouragement of ongoing professional education and the development of professional online community, Jason Davis will provide financial support, at the sponsorship level for the Recruiting Roadshow. As a part of the arrangement, participants in Roadshow events will be given opportunities to join the community at is now the official online community of the Recruiting Roadshow™. With nearly 1,000 members, is the fastest growing online network for recruiters around the planet. The network is built on the Ning platform and includes a variety of methods for interaction and collaboration between Recruiters.

Jason Davis, who founded, is a serial entrepreneur and long time Recruiter. Currently, Jason wears several hats. He keeps his fingers in the Recruiting game making a placement here and there. He specializes in the acquisition and sale of Recruiting-related domain names. He is the charismatic heart of the community. He is worrking long and hard on behalf of The Fordyce Letter ( as well.

The man is everywhere.

Wherever Jason lands, things start happening. At his best organizing a party, he has single-handedly built the Recruiting Industry’s very own Charity Poker tour. One thing is for sure. Things are going to get really interesting now that Jason is involved. Thank you, Jason. Your support and generosity will provide a profound foundation for the Recruiting Roadshow™.

John Sumser. – © 2008 Two Color Hat, Inc. Santa Rosa, CA

(January 10, 2008) Yesterday, Don Ramer made a very substantial commitment to the success of the Recruiting Roadshow™. Arbita, his highly successful Minneapolis company has stepped up in several significant ways.

If you’ve been following the story of the Recruiting Roadshow™ from the beginning, you’ll recall that Ramer and Arbita have been buying lunch all the way along. As our first sponsor, they’ve been in on the planning and execution of the Roadshow since before there was a Roadshow. Don has always been there with a word of encouragement or just the right bit of financial support.

Now, however, that commitment is becoming major league.

We’ve organized the Roadshow so that it’s sort of like Public Broadcasting. Free to the audience and supported by Underwriters, Sponsors and Friends. Each of those groupings involves specific resource commitments. (Let me know, by the way, if you’re interested in becoming a supporter.)

Ramer has agreed to be an underwriter for all of the events in 2008. The deal includes an array of other bits of logistics and technical support. Don and his team give us the foundation necessary to really grow the Recruiting Roadshow™ in 2008.

Thank you.

John Sumser. – © 2008 Two Color Hat, Inc. Santa Rosa, CA

(January 07, 2008) The commoditization of friendship is just the next step in the development of prime real estate on the word wide web. Do you remember when ‘community’ meant a place with buildings and people or at least a sense of belonging? Can you recall talent pipelines full of people not data?

Language has not kept pace with the changes that come from and through technology.  The relentless marketing machine dumbs down experience in order to standardize terminology. It’s how strip mining works in cyberspace.

You might trace it back to the Clintons. Remember “Friends of Bill”? That was the term of endearment for the world’s largest (at the time) political Rolodex. Friends of Bill paid small fortunes to attend  Renaissance Weekends. Being a friend, in theis context, was more important than actually knowing Mr. Clinton.

Recently, I asked a fellow who I’ve met a couple of times, swapped email with a couple of times and am generally aware of in the industry to be my friend on Facebook.

He said:

Hey John,are we “friends” ?i know we “know” of each other virtually … but i was actually going to try and limit my facebook to people I actually converse with 1:1
wanna start that ?

I replied

I went to bed wondering about the same thing last night. I really value words/concepts like friend, network and community. They are getting sliced really thin. Community means mailing list. Network means database. Friend means record.I don’t particularly like it.Have you noticed, though, that there’s an interesting new category? I think of it as people who are aware of each other and should be friends?

If we needed to talk to each other, we just would. No intermediaries or networking required.

That’s what I meant when I sent you the invite on Facebook. We’ve known of each other a long time and would most likely pick up the phone if the other called. The difference is as simple as I’m responding to your concern rather than going “okay” and hitting the enter button.

That may be too thinly sliced for your tastes.

If I’m beyond your cutline, that makes perfect sense to me.

However you decide, it might be interesting for us to have a deeper conversation about the implications and limits of friendship online in various settings.

Is one setting different from another in Profound ways? (Can you have 89 Million connections on Linked in and 3 friends on Facebook with a straight face? Why?

Do the differences in setting make a difference in Recruiting technique, reach or research results?

Like that.

Thanks for provoking my thinking another notch and good luck.

What do you think?

John Sumser. – © 2008 Two Color Hat, Inc. Santa Rosa, CA

(January 04, 2008) Research tool vs connection tool. That’s  the difference between Zoom Info and other social software services, I think. I’m learning a lot about Zoom. That makes my experiments with Facebook all the more interesting.Somewhere in my web reading yesterday, I noticed one of those quotes that gets me going. Roughly, “Experts say that 40% of your hiring should be through referral networks.” I’m not sure that I have any idea what that means. As usual, the experts went unnamed.

A network involves people who you can call to get things arranged. A network is a potentially collaborative web of connections and recommendations. A network is made of people with whom you have connection.

Facebook manages to give the feeling of intimacy and respect in a way that I have not seen in other online communities or social software toolsets. Somehow, the protocols of offline friendship are maintained and the feeling of closeness is fungible.

(I should note that my children are a little less than perfectly happy about my entre. I understand this to be a reflection of the dynamic I am trying to describe. Facebook manages to create a sense of home-iness. It cements networks with a feeling of immediacy.)

There are several interesting applications available to prospective employees. Steven Rothberg’s has a number of applications including a search interface and a flow of the latest internships.

Ageneral search on the word “jobs” produces an enormous windfall of opportunity.

I am planning to get to know the Jobster application over the weekend.I

John Sumser. – © 2008 Two Color Hat, Inc. Santa Rosa, CA



(December 31, 2007) I am back from a wonderful week of holiday activities. After a long session in the recording studio with family and friends, we all went to see some lively Gospel music in a remote roadhouse on Christmas eve. The whole group was drenched with sweat from all that dancing by the end of the evening. Two days of listening to the ocean crash below my window in Gualala, CA (on the Mendocino Coast) was the perfect frosting on a holiday cake.

I guess it was all about ears, feet and happiness. Listening, dancing and loving. It was a delicious end to a year of good old fashioned hard work. It was the perfect sweet ending to the first phase of building a new foundation.

The year began with a change in office space, the second in as many years. interbiznet, the company I founded many years ago, stretched to hold me in place. It was growing one way and I was headed in another direction. After a dozen or so years, I wanted a refresher course in the fundamentals of recruiting and the recruiting industry. Ultimately, I sold the company and no longer write for interbiznet.

I owe a great deal to Jason Goldberg and miss his disruptive presence already. Jason hired me to be the editor of last May. You might recall that it was a turbulent and noisy transition. Jason never flinched. His way of managing my role was to remain completely hands-off. That allowed to evolve into a simpler traffic generator than it had been. These days, the site gets about 50% more traffic than it did last spring.

I am looking forward to getting to know his replacement, Jeff Seely.

When Jason Davis (my predecessor and the founder of left, the difference was palpable. Jason is a master of web community development and online political intrigue. He is now ramping up a tremendous thing at the website. We speak regularly and he remains the best online community developer in our industry.

Over the course of the year, I have found Michael Kelleman’s work on the website to be inspirational. Michael (or Animal as he prefers) is the coordinator and host of one of our industry’s two great entertainment nodes. I religiously scan his RSS feed (the stories on the right hand side of the page). Michael has the pulse and direction of the industry in his hairy palm. He has assembled a great team of content producers.

Jim Stroud is other source of infotainment in our space. (Don’t miss his late breaking interview with John Sumser.) Jim is an all around nice guy. That makes him the perfect complement to Michael’s on stage persona. With his newly redesigned site, Jim is poised for real growth in 2008.

Joel Cheesman, aka Cheezhead, hit his stride in 2007. With the exception of some weird hang-up with Jobster and Jason Goldberg, Joel (maybe it’s just too many Js), Cheesman continued to set new ground for the industry. Cheezhead xtra routinely delivers smart commentary from the industry’s talking heads. Joel is on his way to becoming a publishing powerhouse.

With absolutely no prodding, Shally Steckerl became a major promoter of the Recruiting Roadshow. He has been really generous with his time and help.

Speaking of the Recruiting Roadshow, the Las Vegas event will definitely be held on the 27th of February. More to come.

See you in 2008.

John Sumser. – © 2007 Two Color Hat, Inc. Santa Rosa, CA

(December 21, 2007) There are a lot of people to thank for this past year. Starting and building the momentum of the Recruiting Roadshow took a lot of effort from a lot of people. Shifting from my comfortable home at interbiznet took support and energy. Bearing up under the new scrutiny at took some patience and the muffling of two layers of duct tape.
A number of good friends fed me with a straws (through the tape) at the difficult times. It’s good to have and build friendship as a part of making a living. My work is colored by the people who nourish me with their stories about the recruiting world, their ideas about what it could be like and their hopes for bigger and better times.  
I’ve always been fortunate to have relationships with people who start companies. As an entrepreneur who thinks about strategy, it seems pretty normal to inhabit a world that mostly includes other leaders who build businesses for a living.
Over the years, I have seen a thousand good tricks for making things happen. This year, though, I may have been shown the ultimate trick. 
Steven Rothberg, you may know, is the hard working founder of Very, very few people in our industry work as hard or as persistently as Steven. Through sheer tenacity, he built CollegeRecruiter into the powerhouse it is today. Steven spoke at both the Dallas and Atlanta Recruiting Roadshows.
Somewhere along the line, Steven sent me a wonderful had written Thank You note. It was short, sweet and very thoughtful. I was astonished by the way it changed my perception.

As far as I can remember, it was the first time ever that I had received one. Writing thank you notes is part of the conventional wisdom about doing business. I assumed that it was theory from people with no experience until I got Steven’s note.

As you can see, I remember the note very clearly almost six months later.

Steven got me started. I’ve been following his lead and hand writing Thank You notes. What’s amazing is the effect it has on me.

Thank you, Steven.

John Sumser. – © 2007 Two Color Hat, Inc. Santa Rosa, CA

Martin Snyder, whose company Main Sequence Technologies (PC Recruiter), was one of the sponsors of the Dallas Recruiting Roadshow, makes a number of key points in his latest piece.

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John Sumser's Recruiting Roadshow

As usual, talking with Hank Stringer was a joy. Founder of (now part of Authoria) and itzbig (the incremental, bilateral matching system), Hank is having a temporary tour of life as a disabled person. With broken heel, transportation trolley cart, laptop and zeal, Hank is going to be doing the networking exercise at the Dallas Recruiting Roadshow. (Have you seen the video?)

Hank and I share the view that the depth of the relationship between a recruiter and a candidate is going to expand. Hiring decisions are getting harder and more expensive (the labor shortage). The risk of a bad hire is growing (the economic environment). Where it was once possible to use the spaghetti test to see if a candidate made a good employee, the consequences of failure rule that approach out. (The spaghetti test is roughly “throw it against the wall and see if it sticks”.)

While most of the industry is focused on driving cost and cycle time out of the recruiting process, there is a separate phenomenon in the labor market.

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