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The Fordyce Letter

Straight Talk for the Recruiting Profession

John Zappe

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John is the Editor of The Fordyce Letter and a contributing editor to its sister publication, ERE.net. He was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. As one of the earliest online leaders, he learned recruiting by sourcing and hiring web developers and content producers before most people knew what the internet was. He worked with dozens of recruiting leaders and agency owners in building online employment sites and selling job postings. Besides writing for ERE, John provides content support and social media services to agencies and small businesses. And when he's not doing either, he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility events.

Articles by John Zappe

Industry News, The Business of Recruiting

“The Headhuntress” Airs Tonight on Bravo


Bravo is airing a one-hour special tonight that may do for executive headhunting what Simon Cowell did for talent shows.

In the space of 60 minutes (commercials included), Wendy Doulton dispenses such bits of advice to her six-figure job candidates as “You need to lose the cleavage,” and “You make me feel like taking a nap.”

Born in the U.S., educated in London, Doulton’s blunt, unvarnished advice is delivered, in a clipped British accent. “A résumé should be like a skirt,” she declares. “Long enough to cover the basics, but short enough to keep them interested.”

Industry News

Good News and Bad News: Unemployment Is Down, But Job Growth Is Short of Estimates


The unemployment rate nudged down, but new jobs in October fell short of what economists expected, according to numbers released this morning by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Economists were expecting at least 100,000 new jobs to have been created last month. Instead, the numbers show only 80,000 new non-farm jobs, all of them coming from the private sector. Government at every level cut a total of 24,000 positions, continuing a trend that began mid-2008 at the state and local levels.

The New York Times described the increase as “mediocre,” and said the report offers little guidance about the direction of the U.S. employment outlook.

Despite the minor drop in the unemployment rate — from the 9.1 percent where it’s been since July, to 9.0 percent — the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics said the total number of unemployed barely changed. In October, there were 13.9 million Americans out of work. In October, the number was almost 14 million.

Industry News

Greenhaven Partners Purchases Kennedy OnRec Conference Business


The OnRec and Kennedy conferences, operated jointly as “The Recruiting Conference,” which just ended today in Chicago, have been acquired by an investment group led by two brothers who previously owned Kennedy Information.

Greenhaven Partners bought the annual conference and RecruitingTrends.com, the online successor to the venerable Kennedy Information print newsletter of the same name. The price was not disclosed.

The conference and the website were owned by Tarsus Group, a publicly held U.K.-based international business-to-business media and conference firm. Tarsus bought OnRec several years ago, just as it was beginning to hold its first North American conference. OnRec was founded in the United Kingdom, and has a strong presence there with its website, print magazine, and conferences. OnRec’s UK assets were not part of the sale.

Industry News

110,000 Jobs In October, According to ADP Report


More private sector jobs than expected were created in the U.S. last month. However, it was barely enough to ward off the doomsayers predicting a double-dip recession.

Payroll processor and HR services company ADP, and its partner, Macroeconomic Advisers, said 110,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in October. That was more than the 100,000 average expected by economists. The monthly report released yesterday also revised to 116,000 the number of new jobs added in September. Originally, ADP reported 91,000 jobs were created.

The report helped move stocks into positive territory today, after two days of global meltdown over the Greek decision to send its bailout plan to a referendum. It also offered more evidence that the U.S. may not be headed into another downturn, even if the recovery is sluggish.

Industry News

Slight Jobs Increase In September; Not Enough For Much to Change


The U.S. Department of Labor issued one of its better jobs reports this morning, showing job growth in September was better than what economists expected, and revising upward its zero growth August numbers. The monthly employment report also showed improvement in hourly earnings large enough to offset the loss in August.

American non-farm payrolls grew by 103,000 jobs last month and by 57,000 jobs in August. The Labor Department also revised up its July jobs numbers from 85,000 to 127,000. Economists predicted September’s number would come in closer to 60,000.

Certainly a positive, the numbers weren’t enough to make a dent in the ranks of the unemployed, leaving the unemployment rate at 9.1 percent. It has hovered there since April.

A big part of the September increase in the jobs count was due to the return to work of some 45,000 Verizon employees who were on strike in August. Even so, the jobs report showed the private sector added 92,000 after accounting for the returning strikers.

Job growth was strongest in healthcare, which added 44,000 positions; construction grew by 26,000; and, retailers added 13,600. The professional and technical category increased by 48,000 jobs, fueled largely by increases in IT, management, accounting, and technical services. Staffing and related services added almost 24,000 jobs.

Government was the biggest loser as it has been for months, shedding 34,000 jobs in September, while manufacturing cut 13,000 positions.

The report showed little appetite in the private sector for aggressive hiring.

Industry News

Jon Stewart Pokes Fun at LinkedIn’s Town Hall with the President


The President came to California earlier this week to do a little fundraising and hold a jobs town hall meeting.

Neither of those were particularly noteworthy except that the townhaller was hosted by LinkedIn in Silicon Valley, with 80,000 people watching a live feed of the event.

During the hour-long meeting, Obama pitched his jobs bill, and fielded a variety of questions, most dealing with his plans to boost the economy, with others expressing concern about the future of Social Security and Medicare.

From a recruiting view, what was particularly interesting was the significance of the event for LinkedIn. If anyone had any lingering doubt that the business networking site was laser-focused on recruiting, the town hall meeting swept that away.

The White House hand-picked LinkedIn to host the jobs forum, at which the company’s CEO Jeff Weiner moderated. In a post-event interview, Weiner said, “We’re first and foremost very appreciative to the President and to the White House for recognizing the platform as a way to get the word out there.”

The San Francisco Chronicle‘s report on the event quoted a public relations consultant who called it “a coup of enormous value to the company and its brand.”

After Tuesday night’s bit by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, that value may be just a bit less enormous. I won’t spoil the clip for you, but Ill tell you it’s hysterical, particularly the part about how LinkedIn “helps” people find jobs. Enjoy.

Industry News

The $447 Billion Jobs and Tax Cut Plan and Some Thoughts From Recruiters


In broad strokes, last night President Obama outlined a $447 billion plan to bolster the economy and create new jobs.

Over half the cost comes from tax cuts for workers and small businesses. The balance is in spending on infrastructure repairs and improvements, especially to schools; at least 35,000 of them, the President said to a joint session of Congress. (The full text of his speech is here.)

He proposed a $4,000 tax credit for hiring long-term unemployed workers, and other credits for hiring veterans. He called for extending unemployment benefits and providing money to states to pay teachers, rather than lay them off.

Editor's Corner

Live Life and Love What You Do

love by Andreanna Moya Photography

Welcome to Labor Day and the last day of summer.

Yes, I know. Astronomically, summer won’t end for another 18 days. But, I’m talking symbolically, not scientifically. And in that context, the U.S. Labor Day marks a transition from summer white to fall brown. It’s when kids go back to school, and the pace of the office quickens as workers return from vacation.

Once a day of parades and political speeches praising American workers, which still occur here and there across the country, Labor Day is now a time to head for the beach or the park, fire up the barbecue, and kick back.

In the spirit of years past, however, I present you some inspirational words on life and work in the 21st century, from two of the most widely seen commencement addresses ever delivered.

Industry News

Job Growth for August: Goose Egg


Job growth was a wash in August, with the U.S. economy adding 17,000 private, nonfarm sector jobs, but losing the same number of government jobs. That leaves the unemployment rate at 9.1 percent, according to the monthly job numbers released by the U.S. Labor Department this morning.

It was the weakest report since last September, when the nation lost 29,000 jobs. Few economists expected August to show much strength, but all but the most pessimistic expected some growth.

Industry News

ADP Report: Private Sector Jobs Continued Slow Growth in August


If you subscribe to the notion that any growth in jobs is good, then today’s report from ADP will be encouraging. The payroll processor said 91,000 new private sector jobs were created in August.

That’s still less than the 100,000 economists were expecting, and it’s about a third of what the U.S. needs each month to bring down the unemployment rate. The company, and Macroeconomic Advisers, its partner in the monthly report, also adjusted downward its July estimate to 109,000 from the original 114,000.

In ever-so-cautious language, the report says that the slow job growth in August is “at a pace below what would be consistent with a stable unemployment rate.” That means that should the trend continue, unemployment may rise.

Economists expect that when the official employment numbers are released Friday by the U.S. Department of Labor, they’ll show the 9.1 percent unemployment rate unchanged. New jobs are expected to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 75,000 (Bloomberg News) to 80,000 (Dow Jones Newswires).