Is good recruiting that hard?

Lately I have found myself looking for a career opportunity (ok, a job), and I am astounded at how poorly high technology firms recruit new employees. They seem to assume that employees will flock to them and they need do nothing more than post an opening on a job board. Most do not acknowledge resume submissions in any way whatsoever. Given the current job market they can get away with it, but that will not always be the case.

I currently live in Waterloo, Canada, a small community of high technology companies, mostly spun off from the University of Waterloo. There is a ready supply of cheap labor in graduating students, which these companies avail themselves of. It becomes a bit more difficult when hiring more senior folks – though they recruit in similar fashion. They post a job on a board. You fill out a complex profile that requires you to re-enter everything that is already carefully crafted in your resume. Then you wait. Even the tried and true method of networking doesn’t help much.

I’ve got a fair bit of specific domain expertise in different areas but I’ve been told by at least one local company that “we can hire a student to do the same job for much less”. Of course the student would have no real world experience but that did not seem to be a concern.

I found out yesterday from the local technology advocacy organization, Communitech, that there are apparently 1,000 job openings in my town (population 102,300) and the HR people just can’t find people to fill them. Yet I know many folks who can’t find a position. One person suggested that it was not lack of candidates, but lack of inexpensive candidates, something that I have seen personally. Regardless of that, it seems that there ought to be a way to get these people together.

And if you’re looking for somebody with Marketing, Product Management, Business Development, Sales, and Development background, with success in opening new vertical markets, please feel free to contact me…

Where are the leaders?

I was reading the book Leaders by Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus and it occurred to me. Where have all the leaders gone?

It seems that all of the great leaders I can think of are no longer with us. There are some people in the world who exhibit that sort of quality, but there are few who provide the kind of inspiration that a JFK, Churchill, Gandhi, or Martin Luther King might invoke. There are precious few company CEOs that I might include on that list as well.

Are we just devoid of leadership, or am I expecting too much? Can anyone suggest a leader that inspires people on that scale? I think that the world is in need of leadership – not politics or management – but vision and and the ability to unite us in a common goal, for a common good.

I had difficulty naming even a few real leaders. Give it a try.

Take back the web.

I’ve commented on Firefox several times now. I’ve used it very happily for over a year and it just keeps improving. And no, nobody is paying me to say this. I’ve also noticed that lots of folks I talk to are using it as well, and I’m converting more than a few too.

Even still, I was surprised when my Dad told me the other day that he used Firefox as well. He is in his 70s – though he doesn’t look it (in case he’s reading this) – so I guess I didn’t expect him to be using alternative software. But he is.

So if you haven’t tried it, but you have recently felt the need to “take back the web”, you can click in the upper corner of this page to get your very own copy of Firefox. I believe in promoting the software that I use. And tell your friends; you’ll be doing them a favor.

Recording from the Radio.

When I was a kid I used to record songs from my transistor radio. This did not seem to be a problem, and nobody complained that I was breaking the law. It was personal use – fair use I suppose – and I wasn’t selling them.

Fast forward to 2004, and people recording from digital satellite radio. Suddenly this is a copyright infringement problem. According to this article in the Washington Post (free registration required), indicates that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is now concerned about recording of digital radio broadcasts. They have even suggested the use of a digital broadcast flag to the FCC so that they can limit what my recording equipment can do.

So what changed? Is it the fact that copying is easier? That the quality is better? Or that I might not buy the CD?

I am not pirating music. I merely want to do as I have always done – record the occasional song from the radio. What is different now?