Become a recruiter for your friends

(Sorry long post.)

Today I was emailed about a new job referral tool in the Australian marketplace, Hoojano in semi private beta. As far as I can tell has stayed under the radar of almost everyone, a Google search yields 38 results. OnRec blog have covered it in a limited fashion, along with James Christian Ladd. The site is a referral service allowing you to refer your friends for roles and if the employee hires your get paid a bonus.

I spoke with Mike Willkinson from Hoojano today about the site and their plans.

Firstly the site is in a “friends and family” beta, probably almost an alpha to be honest. The current T&C’s are interim until the bugs are working out of both the system and the service. The site will be in this beta stage for about 6 weeks during which time Hoojano will not be taking their 20% commission as an incentive to get people & advertisers to use the service. Mike also mentioned that payments are currently being handled one on one through a manual process, basically Hoojano are making direct contact with all advertisers to ensure that are fully aware of the T&Cs and how the service works.

Like with all beta sites it’s missing things but there is potential.

I signed up and started playing with the service and initially was going to dismiss the site as yet another referral tool. Yes we have some cool AJAX technology but on the surface nothing revolutionary. But I then discovered the “import your contacts” function.

Cool, I’m curious.

Initially this just makes it easier to select a contact and refer the job to them.

But wait there was more, steak knives no. But still more. You can edit each contact on the site, update their desired salary, skills, keywords and education. Build meta profiles on your contacts to help automatically match them to jobs in the system.

From this new data the site will automatically start matching your contacts against jobs in the database, called the Head to Head feature, I love the way it works. You can pick a contact and automatically jobs that suit them will be found in the system. Even better the site will email you with new jobs that match your contact’s skills.

If you find a job you think fits your contact you refer them to the job. Then sit back and wait for the money to roll in. Well ok, they actually have to be hired for the money to flow but you get the idea.

Bingo I can now run my own little recruitment company connecting my contacts with jobs, a social network recruitment brokerage service. The best part is I get paid for this activity! (Laurel Papworth are you paying attention?)

For people with valuable contact lists this could significantly change the way recruitment take place in Australia!

User, or Registered Member as they are called, can directly apply for jobs, so this is not just a referral service but also seems to act like a traditional job board. It is not clear on how the bonus payments work in this scenario.

Some of the improvements I would like to see:

  • Clear information about how payments will be made, following the beta, as mentioned this is still in the works but some information up front or in the FAQs would be good.
  • Are there or will there be escrow services with regard to employers so as a refer so I know that I will get paid.
  • What is the privacy protection for referrers and candidates, over time the data in this system will be very valuable.
  • Information on how does the site comply with Australian privacy principles. The privacy policy refers to the principles but it is not clear enough how the moving parts work.
  • The basic job search capabilities are a bit limited, and confusing.
  • It needs an easier way to manager my contacts, the UI is difficult to navigate but looks good. Form over function?
  • Following on the contacts UI is a bit slow to respond to command, with my average sized data set how will it performance for people with large contact bases.
  • Linking my contact to a service like Plaxo, LinkedIn and other professional social networks.
  • Allowing me to export my contacts, cause once I have updated the site with all this very rich meta data about my friends why can’t I take it with me? This would also allow me to update the meta data of my contacts quickly and re-import to update the data.
  • The site will need lots more jobs to get traction, Mike, assured me this will come and right now they are focused on building the site and learning how it will be used.
  • Some of the above items could be covered in the very long T&C’s section, which also still seems in development, but I have to say is too confusing for my simple mind.
  • Finally a blog to connect with the community.

Overall Hoojano is a very cool start and worth a serious look.

Learning and YouTube

A couple of days ago I came across an article in the Australian IT about how a leading Australian university, Macquarie University, is starting to look at using YouTube to deliver lectures.

Very interesting idea.

Macquarie has been making lectures available for download to students for about 3 years now, so a move to video is not surprising.  However such a move is not without possible issues:-

Placing videos of lectures on YouTube is something the varsity is working on but two issues need to be resolved beforehand.

“We can’t just point the camera at the lecturer and upload the lesson. The back of a lecturer’s head isn’t necessarily the thing you want to be watching … we have to be more creative.

“There’s also the question of copyright for when the lecturer shows a video as part of the lecture … it’s fine for us to show that on campus but we have to be careful if it’s on the internet and if someone downloads it,” Mr Hole said.

It will be interesting to watch where this goes.

(Disclosure: I happen to work for Nortel, mentioned at the end of the article but have nothing to do with this deal or any other deal. As it happens I only noticed the Nortel reference after I started writing this post.)

Reader numbers mean a rethink

When I setup my blog several years ago I decided to use FeedBurner to manage my RSS feed (http://feeds.feedburner.com/myhrblog). There were several reasons for this decision the top two were portability and statistics. When I moved my blog to WordPress a good couple of years ago I kept my FeedBurner feed and put a link to it on the sidebar. However WordPress still automatically created it’s own feed, http://www.specht.com.au/michael/feed/ which since browsers have become to recoginse RSS feeds in the HTML meant that a number of people started to subscribe to the WordPress feed. Subscribing to the WordPress feed is not bad, it’s the same content, but I was missing the statistics.

My reader numbers, according to FeedBurner, for the last year or so have been stable at about 240-250 readers. Not a huge number but given the lack of focus the blog has had, I was quite happy.

Last week I found a new WordPress plugin, Feedburner FeedSmith, that redirects requests to the standard WordPress feed back to my FeedBurner feed. I installed it thinking I would finally get a better understanding of reader numbers.

My reaction. Wow.

It seems there are a few more of you than 240, closer to 500.

Firstly, thanks! I am very grateful to you for finding space in your RSS Reader for me and my blog. Of all of the blogs out there, for 500 people to subscribe to this one blows me away.

This also got me thinking, given there are more readers than I thought I probably should double my effort on each blog post.

101 Links about HR

Today I received an email directing me to a new list called “The HR Bible: 100 Articles Every Human Resources Pro Should Read“. Given at one point had grand plans of building a one stop shop of this information, I had to look.

An initial scan over the titles provided we with a sense of excitement, all these good topics in one place, like:

  • Six Tips for Developing Your Employees
  • How to Find Great Part-Time Employees
  • HR Outsourcing Basics
  • Ten Ways to Attract and Retain Great Employees
  • Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
  • Top Ten Recruiting Tips: Ten Tips for Successful Employee Recruiting

I read through some of the article which were quite good, however not all of them are relevant to all sizes of employers or countries. For example the article on “How To Fire An Employee“, which comes from wikiHowTo which will also teach you How to Win a Street Fight, could quite easily lead you to a lawsuit in some countries.

Other than some items not being suitable everywhere the list is a good starting point for ideas and research.

I know the my title says 101 links, but the post only has 100 links so where is the missing link? The one on how to win a street fight, cause some days being in HR is like a street fight :-).