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The Play.com Phenomenon

After the much trumpeted Christmas success of the online shopping website Play.com, even the most ardently techno-phobic business owner would now have to concede that love it or hate it, the online market is here to stay. Especially in retail.

 

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And little wonder really. Many of us aren’t the least bit surprised. If a business process can be simplified, made more efficient, reliable and more cost effective to boot, it only stands to reason that it should be the massive success that Play, Ryanair and other sites have become and deserve to be. Yet “online” remains a hard sell, with many local companies preferring to stick to what they know, even if their competitors are moving with the times and profiting handsomely as a result. The number of small local companies without even as much as a company web page remains astonishing.

 

Any local manager considering moving some of their processes online or looking at setting up a new company website may like to contact Midlandjobs for some free advice. We’ve been through it all – a couple of times at this stage. And for all of the benefits of going online, there’s no shortage of pitfalls for the uninitiated – a small amount of advice goes a very long way. The sooner you get started, the sooner you reap the rewards. We can be reached anytime at info@midlandjobs.ie and we’re happy to help.

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Online Recruitment Conference London 08

There was an impressive variety of both speakers and delegates at the Onrec conference in the QE 2 centre Westminster earlier this week. Whether they came from Europe, The UK or the US however, the main issue on people’s minds remains unchanged – the war for talent.

 

A number of the speakers alluded to it throughout the day; Online recruitment guru Peter Weddle said that from 1993 to 2000 it was a war for any talent – “the first qualified person with a pulse”, is how he put it. From 2000 to 2008 however it has become a war for the best talent.

 

After lunch Felix Wetzel Marketing Director of Jobsite said the last 10 years were about speed while the next 10 years will be about relevance.  [Any recruiter who has had 100’s of irrelevant cv’s from cyberspace pumped into their inbox can certainly relate to that imperative.]

 

The day finished with a panel of speakers debating such issues as the importance of social networking and second life in online recruitment. The jury remains out on these and I would say neither are likely to benefit midlands recruiters at this stage. Most significantly of all however was that even as the competition is hotting up in the sector with the advent of aggregators and portals, the regional job-board certainly has it’s place in the minds of the UK experts. And they certainly know their subject. Food for thought…

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New to the Midlands ?? – Here are some local job-seeker resources

If you’re looking for some good local printed listings of jobs, here are the main ones – Tullamore Tribune, Westmeath Examiner (Mullingar), Westmeath Independent (Athlone), Offaly Independent, Offaly Express (includes jobs in Laois), Westmeath Topic, Longford News, the Mullingar / Athlone Advertiser. Also National papers including Irish Independent on Thursdays, Irish Times on Fridays and Sunday Indpendent.

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Employers: Tech-check your business

The enterprise boards currently have an excellent service on offer for companies who wish to assess their use of IT. Information and communications technology is developing at such a fast pace that it is difficult for companies to keep up with the pace of change – you might find that there are infinitely quicker, easier and more cost effective ways of doing things than the practices you currently have in place. The advisor is an independent person and the whole thing only takes a day at most. Well worth looking into. Contact Westmeath CEB, Aileen McGrath 044 9349222 or email bic@westmeath-enterprise.ie and Offaly CEB, Margaret O’Farrell 057 9352971 or email margaret@offalyceb.ie.

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Editorial for this weeks Mullingar Advertiser

In his keynote speech to the Midlands Gateway Chamber ball last Friday night in Mullingar, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary seemed less than concerned about the so-called “economic downturn”. He holds the view that over the past ten years, some people made money in their businesses without being especially good at what they do. [He may have used his trademark, slightly more colourful language to express himself, but that was essentially his point]. He looks forward now to a new more challenging era in business when only the most efficient and competitive business practices will come through.

Online services such as jobs websites offer small local companies a chance to cut their recruitment costs without compromising on their expansion plans. Midlandjobs.ie is a jobs website which focuses exclusively on jobs in the Midland counties of Westmeath, Offaly, Longford and Laois. The business which is based in Mullingar is a member of the EWN. They offer local employers the simplest, easiest and most cost effective way to get up and running in the latest online recruitment practices – exactly the kind of formula that O’Leary might have been referring to in his speech.

Any additional online presence is good for a business as it gives them greater exposure to being found by potential customers as well as by local job-seekers in search engines such as Google and Careerjet. For more information on getting your job vacancies listed online quickly and cost effectively, see www.midlandjobs.ie/client, or call Tom on 044 9331338.

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Employers: There’s a down-turn in the market so it should be easier to find new staff, right? Wrong…

All the signs are that the extra fluidity in the recruitment scene these days is confined to just a couple of sectors. In other areas the negative sentiment has simply caused people to sit tight. Not as many people who currently have jobs are looking to move at all but are preferring to build up service with their existing employers. [Which is no bad thing]. Therefore if your company is expanding and needs extra staff you could be surprised how few interested candidates there are, or at least ones which match your person specification.

Really, it’s “as you were” out there to all intents and purposes. Recruiters still need plenty of notice if you’re seeking new staff. Ok you could be lucky, but the advice is to allow plenty of lead time for your recruitment deadlines as always ie. not a lot has really changed there. Cover all bases and list your job vacancies in as many places as your budget will allow, both online and offline, particularly for the more technical positions.

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Employers: Request us to list your jobs in Facebook marketplace

At no extra cost we can list your job on the Social Networking site Facebook. This saves you the hassle of having to do it. While their Marketplace facility doesn’t seem to categorise jobs by location (only by employment sector), any entries we make on your behalf will provide jobseekers with a link back to the Midlandjobs.ie site – eliminating any confusion regarding the location of jobs before they send you their cv.

If you already use Facebook or are thinking of registering with it, have a look at this sample job we are currently running for a Software QA Tester

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Employers – Don’t listen to the meeja; do your own research

As you sit down to work out what your staffing requirements will be for this year, don’t be swayed by all the negative talk on the airwaves these days. For sure there will be a certain correction in activity levels. But it will be just that “a correction”, not a catastrophe. It will be more of a “readjustment” which in one sense has been almost needed to free up some of the bottle-necks of the past few years.

Perhaps you might believe that there are serious problems whenever the day comes that employer’s inboxes are full of cv’s from workers who have all been made redundant. However that day is nowhere close right now, click here for proof. In fact I doubt there will ever be a return to those levels of mismanagement of Ireland inc. In other words be prepared for the worst by all means, but if this year turns out to be better than is being predicted and you still need the same or higher levels of staff in 2008/2009, don’t say you weren’t warned.

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Avoid the hiring pit-falls

A guide for new companies with limited recruitment experience. Here are a few of the pit-falls to watch out for:

  1. Not allowing enough time: It can take roughly 6 weeks for all advertising, interviewing and then a notice period for the successful candidate’s current employer. (It can take a lot longer if it’s a specialized or technical job).

  2. Publicity: Don’t presume suitably qualified candidates will come flocking to your door. Put the word out through both traditional press and online media and do it in good time. Include local agencies in your search if your budget allows and certainly contact them if you’re getting closer to your deadline.

  3. Paper doesn’t refuse ink: Prepare well for your interview questioning. While it doesn’t need to be an interrogation session, some cv’s can be spiced up – you’ve got to tactfully tease out fact from fiction.

  4. Candidate handling: Treat all candidates as though they are valued regardless of how irrelevant their application seems. New opportunities may arise for them in the future. Also it’s nicer to be nice and it’s better for your PR. Modern forward-thinking companies have all this down to a fine art.

  5. Prepare an adequate job description: This is now always essential for almost any job as it will set out the very purpose of the role. It should be referred to early and often during the selection process and it should contain a catch-all phrase such as “and any other relevant duties as required by Management”. Thinking this through properly now can save you so much time, hassle and money in the long run.

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Lies, damn lies and statistics

A recent analysis of online registrations onto the Midlandjobs database show that small but definite trends are starting to emerge.

Tullamore was selected as the location of choice amongst job-seekers – 51% of all candidates registered expressed an interest in hearing about jobs based in the town.

Athlone was the second choice at 42% and Mullingar third at 41% of the total no. of candidates saying it was one of their preferred places to work. (Longford and Portlaoise showed 23% and 22% respectively). 

On the employer side however Tullamore only accounts for 12% of the total no. of companies registered with the site, with Athlone holding the greatest no. – 23% of the total and Mullingar just behind at 22% of the total.

So what do these numbers tell us if anything?

Possibly it’s saying that Tullamore is seen as a nice place to live and work. It could be saying that Tullamore is more commutable from the other main midlands towns than anywhere else with other towns of growing population within striking distance such as Birr, Portlaoise, Edenderry, Clara etc.

The strongest likelihood however is that Tullamore has a greater concentration of people commuting to Dublin city to work every day. People who are anxious to find more local work. And who can blame them as the dreary dark days of September loom again.