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Colin Kingsbury

Colin is the President and Co-Founder of ClearCompany. In addition to leading the innovation of the award-winning ClearCompany Talent Management platform, he is also an Alaska-trained seaplane pilot, and writes for several Boston-area publications.
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Recent Posts

Getting on the Applicant Tracking Treadmill

Posted by Colin Kingsbury

Feb 18, 2008 11:51:00 AM

As the end of January quickly approaches a lot of us start thinking about those new years resolutions... Moises over at the Sourcing Corner asks whether there is some sort of corporate fitness program out there to get businesses into shape:

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Topics: Recruiting, Tips

HRMDirect appoints Django Bliss as CTO

Posted by Colin Kingsbury

Jan 29, 2008 11:29:00 AM

The official press release is here. We first met Django in early December when we started looking for a senior-level developer to add to our technical team here in Boston.

When we learned that Django was the original founder of HireAbility, one of the more innovative recruitment echnology companies in the space, we realized we had found someone a lot more valuable. The past month had seen some of our most rapid growth to date, and a continued steady increase in the size of the average new client. Django offered a unique combination of industry experience, deep technical knowledge, and a large helping of enthusiasm for the culture and lifestyle that goes along with a rapid-growth technology business.

One of the great strengths smaller companies have is their ability to match capability with opportunity in recruiting. Large companies flush with cash *should* be able to do this better, but only a special few actually do. When you're trying to fill a square hole, it's can be hard to build a case for an extraordinary round peg, and it's often impossible to do it quickly.

Fortunately, this was one of those times when we were able to bring the stars into necessary alignment, and the result is a mutually exciting opportunity. We have always known that 2008 would be a big year for HRMDirect, but now we look forward to it being truly extraordinary.
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And This Time We Mean It!

Posted by Colin Kingsbury

Jan 23, 2008 12:06:00 PM

Amitai Givertz blogged this ZDNet post by David Berlind on Recruiting.com today predicting how social networks will put an end to the third-party recruiter once and for all. Berlind says,
If you're a professional recruiter (particularly one that works for a recruiting/headhunting firm), then it's probably time to start thinking about a career change. The reason? Once money starts talking, the mob of Internet users-cum-recruiters will be impossible to compete against.
His story is based on a single email from a recruiter-turned-CTO who blasted his contact list with an offer of $6000 if you found him someone to take a job and keep it for 90 days. Berlind follows this with a story of how he successfully disintermediated his recruiting department by successfully hiring one person off a Craigslist post and, "So successful was my first ad that I have another one up there right now."

As the old saying goes, "the plural of anecdote is not 'data.'" It's an easy pot shot to take, but anyone pressed to constantly come up with new material is going to occasionally commit the sin of extrapolating a couple of stories into a trend.

This isn't to say markets never experience dramatic change. Most of us can remember when the normal way to buy airline tickets was through a travel agent. The end of commissions forced agencies to find new revenue streams from other services like cruises and more detailed vacation planning. Zillow, an HRMDirectclient, is providing consumers with access to data about real estate that was only available to brokers until just a few years ago. Houses aren't the same as cars, but until the past 5-10 years, invoice prices on cars were closely-guarded secrets; knowing the price the dealer paid could save you thousands. Now they're given away on dozens of sites to lure buyers to provide contact info.

Recruiting is partially an information business and companies like ZoomInfo (also an HRMDirect client) are making it easier than ever to find people whose resumes aren't in Monster's database. This space is very hot and between search engines like ZoomInfo and opt-in networks like LinkedIn, my sense is that the simple act of finding a name is going to become just as much of a commodity as buying an airline ticket or finding the dealer price of a Chevrolet is today. But even this will take time--name sourcers can make good money now because too many recruiters can't do their own research, and that problem will actually get worse before it goes away.

What Berlind is really railing against are recruiters who don't recruit. Whether in the HR department or at a large staffing firm, there seems to be no shortage of folks who seem to get paid to carry job descriptions from the managers to the job boards, and then carry the resultant resumes back over. My sense is that this is nothing more remarkable than a cyclical trend we've seen many times before that has little or nothing to do with new technologies. 

In the late 90s, a sizable chunk of the economy (here in Boston, anyway) seemed to be made up of IT recruiters who knew nothing about IT or recruiting placing software engineers who knew just as little about engineering or software. By 2002, the only folks left standing in either space were those who went in knowing what they were doing or learned really fast. So in the end you can really restate Berlind's lede as "people who don't do their jobs will probably get canned sooner or later." 
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Save a Tree, Buy an ATS

Posted by Colin Kingsbury

Nov 19, 2007 1:11:00 PM

I had a doctor's appointment this morning and when I went in, his desk was covered in stacks of manila folders. "I see you use the same organizational system I do," I said. As it turned out, a few months ago they decided to convert to all-electronic records, and because they elected to do the data entry themselves, it was taking a lot longer and costing a lot more than they initially expected. The other problem was that since it was a home-grown system built by the hospital's IT department, "everything needs to be done @#$-backwards," as my doctor put it. 

This reminded me of how much paper is still involved in the recruiting process for many companies. Next to finance, HR is probably the leading killer of trees in an organization, from application forms, to background checks, and new hire paperwork. While converting to an electronic process can hurt a little at the start, the payoff isn't just greener for the environment, it also leads to easily-quantified cost reductions and efficiency gains.

  • Online application forms: HRM can turn your paper form into an electronic one, and you'll be able to collect applications online and access all of your candidate records from any PC with a web browser.
  • Pre-employment screeningApplicants can complete online skill and behavioral tests as they apply, helping you to improve performance and reduce turnover by up to 20% annually.
  • Compliance: Automatically survey and track a full suite of EEO and OFCCP compliance statistics, and generate reports with a single click.
  • Permanent candidate database: Next time you hire, start with your own database that costs nothing to search.

These are just a few of the ways that online recruiting can improve your bottom line, and clear off the top of your desk. But the most important feature that we offer is knowledgeable service, which is included in all subscriptions at no additional cost.

In contrast to older ATS vendors accustomed to working with large clients, HRMDirect's account managers spend most of their time with organizations with anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand employees, and are used to the unique challenges companies of this size face in transitioning to a paperless process. To find out more, check our online price sheet or click to talk to our sales team
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Let the Good Times Roll

Posted by Colin Kingsbury

Nov 7, 2007 4:52:00 AM

A friend asked the other day why I haven't been blogging much and the simple answer is that we've just been too busy growing here. Last week we signed our 104th client, Quality Bicycle Products in Minneapolis, and we've been busy as all get-up with implementations from a scorching Q3, including a number of clients switching to us from name-brand competitors. Rapid growth can be painful at the best of times, but it's the kind of pain that makes you stronger.

We Hired!
Last week we added another member to the Client Service team here. Stephen Bass, a 2004 BU graduate with a CS degree and a solid support background, applied to a job we had posted on Craigslist, and within 5 days he was hired. Stephen impressed us as someone who could grow with the business and we're very happy to have him. It's a great market but Stephen quickly realized that the opportunity to be part of an organization like ours was special, and we salute his good judgment!

As the hiring manager and recruiter for the position, I have to say that I have no idea how people fill positions without an ATS. Well, I do have an idea, but it's got to be incredibly annoying to have to sit there and manually sort candidates into piles, send individual emails to everybody, and go digging through Outlook or a spreadsheet to look up a phone number. There's a saying that you should eat your own dogfood, and I though it tasted like filet mignon.

This was the second position we filled through Craigslist, and once again the results were great. I've defended Monster against charges of irrelevance more than once (I can see how many jobs our clients fill through them) but in this case I don't know what the extra $400 would have gotten us.

That was fun, let's do it again!
Now we're hiring for a Web Application Architect, and we're really looking for someone who is super-jazzed about the idea of joining a small and very dynamic company like HRMDirect. This is another great opportunity which has every potential to scale with the business. 

As an experiment, I decided to post this position on TechCrunch's CrunchBoard. TechCrunch is probably one of the best sites for keeping up on the latest hot and wild startups, and attracts an audience of enthusiastic nerds with a business orientation. I've always been impressed by the level of intelligence in the comments on posts. At $200 it's not cheap, but TC has a very specific audience, and I'm interested to see if it delivers. 

With close to three years and over a hundred clients under our belt, we're a long way from the stab-in-the-dark nature of many of the startups featured on TechCrunch, but we're still young, vibrant, and full of spots on the org chart marked TBD. At some point, even working in a sexy consumer-facing company is going to involve its share of ditch-digging, and the more heavily-funded a startup is, the more likely that working there is going to be just like working at a large established company, minus the job security. For a great egghead with entrepreneurial aspirations, this place is like an MBA in Real World Business, with a full-ride scholarship and a great stipend.
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