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Social Media – LinkedIn – Lets Not Ruin a Good Thing – Etiquette

Social media business networking sites are a big thing here at the Origin Forward office every consultant who joins our company is immediately told of the benefits of Social Media and how it can be used to build your candidate pool of passive candidates and also to identify potential clients. It’s fair to say that the Social Media sites, such as LinkedIn, Xing, Viadeo, Naymz, Ryze and the list goes on, have had a big effect on the recruitment market as a whole.

The king of the business network sites in the UK is definitely LinkedIn and like all good things that arise word has spread quickly across the recruitment world about the potential a networking tool like LinkedIn can do for your business. The result is a swarm of recruiters joining LinkedIn approaching candidates on a mass scale, joining groups with the sole aim of advertising  at the same time trying to build a network. To some people it has now got so bad that the feeling is that there are now more recruiters than candidates on LinkedIn. Sometimes I’ve tried putting in a search for a candidate and the first 2 pages are filled with recruiter profiles. I’ve also heard people stating that for every recruiter there are only 4 candidates. Well that’s not true the official statistic is that there 91 candidates for every recruiter but how long it stays that way nobody knows. But at those ratios I still think LinkedIn is a great tool for attracting passive candidates.

The primary reason for writing this LinkedIn article is not tell of the benefits of LinkedIn but because I have recently read a number of comments from candidates angry and upset about the behaviour of recruiters on LinkedIn.

Heres a snippet of the article I read from Jessica the link to the whole article is at the bottom of this blog post. “….In the past week I have had several people I do not know try to connect with me on LinkedIn and on the invitation they put an untrue connection. Meaning, they said we worked together at ABC company and I never worked there or we’re affiliated through XYZ organization and I’ve never even heard of the organization. People, it is NOT OK to lie about how you know someone just to gain a connection on LinkedIn…”

So the bottom line is Recruiters lets not ruin a good thing as when one recruiter does something wrong the person effected tends to tar the whole industry with the same brush. So what can we do, I have written a list of rules which I think all recruiters should follow when using LinkedIn.

(1)    Don’t send invitations to people you do not know

(2)    If you’re not going to follow rule number one, at least when you invite that person don’t send the standard invitation, write some blurb about why you want to connect and who you are so the connectee can choose whether they would like to link with you or not.

(3)    Do not lie to get an additional connection, if you’ve never worked with a person before do not say you have. If a relationship is built on a lie you will get found out and that connection will probably disconnect with you.

(4)    Do not join groups with the sole aim of advertising jobs, try to add some value to the group

(5)    If you do not believe in rule 4, then at least post your jobs in the jobs section, not the discussion section. LinkedIn have given you a section in the groups to post jobs, why not use it?

(6)    Don’t send messages asking people to invite you, the fact is if you have to do this you have been banned from sending invites which means you’ve probably been using LinkedIn in the wrong way anyway and are probably not a connection worth having.

(7)    Don’t get all your recommendations from your colleagues, having your colleagues recommend you are a good thing, but having only your colleagues recommend you means nothing. If I recommend you will you recommend me, we can all see it, nobody cares.

I’ll leave it at that if we all follow the above rules we can at least keep our candidates happy which will make for happier head hunting for years to come.

On another note I saw a great funny video about LinkedIn last week, it is done from the candidates perspective and I think there is an element of truth to the whole comedy. I’ve always thought if a candidate is not looking for a job what does LinkedIn actually do for them?

Enjoy the video below. Link to Jessicas article and another article on LinkedIn Etiquette are below.

http://greatresumesfast.wordpress.com/2009/11/19/a-big-linkedin-no-no/

http://greatresumesfast.wordpress.com/2009/11/05/linkedin-invitation-etiquette/

Linked In… To What?

Vodpod videos no longer available.
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Oracle Mergers and Re-Positioning Creates Lay-offs & Redundancies

As a niche sector Recruitment Company that specialises in recruiting Oracle Professionals globally anything that happens with Oracle can dramatically affect the fortunes of our own company. When Oracle does well inadvertently we will do well and vice versa. So the news that Oracle may be planning another round of redundancies is not something we enjoy reading.

So apparently last weekend the guys at ZDNet got whiff that Oracle could be passing through another round of redundancies which could be amount to as much as 20% or 3000 staff from its consulting arm. There’s a wide array of speculation as to how many people will be or could be made redundant but the truth is nobody knows and when the guys at ZDNet tried to get some answers they got a nice “no comment” from the guys at Oracle.

What I would say is at Origin Forward we speak to Oracle Consultants around world all day every day because that’s what Oracle recruitment specialists do speak to Oracle Delivery Managers, Project Managers, Engagement Directors, Subject Matter Experts to Internal Recruiters etc. and a few of the Oracle guys we speak to have been letting off murmurings that Oracle as well as downsizing their consulting practice may be moving out of the Primary Systems Integration field all together and instead will now only work as a Secondary Contingency Integrator and parachute consultants in when the Primary Integrators cannot find the consultants in the said areas to implement.

This rumour and it is a rumour or speculation coincides with another point the guys at ZDNet mentioned which is about the pressure or the influence Wall Street has over Oracle. The repercussions of this is that Oracle are keeping a close eye on their P&L account and also a strategy which is primary concerned with maximising and maintaining margin. It’s not unusual to hear Oracle charging over £1,000 a day for some of their consultants and in todays market this probably is not sustainable especially as end-clients are getting clued up and the internet and changes in global communication makes finding alternative integrators that much easier.

Taking a snippet from Dennis Howlett from ZDNet, he says “…You can’t keep chasing margin at the expense of the two most important communities (customers and implementation consultants) and expect the business will go on producing stellar results forever and a day. It’s neither logical nor possible without something blowing up along the way.

While this layoff may be significant, it is too early to tell how customers will be impacted. My guess is there will be short term disruption that Oracle will paper over by parachuting Oracle Aces in where needed…”

Couldn’t have put it better and when you combine these issues with the fact that Oracle have recently had one of the most aggressive acquisition strategies ever seen in the IT market it is easy to see how there could be duplication of roles and skills throughout the organisation and redundancies and layoffs are a fact of life and were always going to happen.

It will be interesting to see what happens in the future and how the post recession Systems Integration delivery market will look. In the Oracle Retail market in particular there has already been some notable casualties and also a number of new delivery organisations arising from the ashes.

The bottom line is the market will look remarkably different post recession and if the market becomes more fragmented which it looks like it will do, the need for specialist recruitment intermediaries will be greater in the future.

David Howlett ZD Net Article: http://blogs.zdnet.com/Howlett/?p=1527

Other articles and blogs on the same subject:

http://www.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idUSTRE5615EX20090702

http://layoffblog.com/2008/12/18/rumor-oracle-major-layoffs-are-to-come-in-january-2009/

http://fscavo.blogspot.com/search?q=oracle+layoffs

Global War for Talent in a Recession!

There’s a war going on right but do you know which side you are on? It’s not your ordinary war either so you can forget about sergeants, missiles and choppers and climb out your bunkers. This war is a global corporate and region war. The War for Talent!

According to a yearlong study conducted by McKinsey Co., the most important corporate resource over the next 20 years will be talent. It’s also the resource in shortest supply.

Now it may seem strange to be talking about the War for Talent in the midst of a recession but this recession in the grander scheme of things is likely to be a short term phenomenon and in the long-term in the Oracle IT sector there is still going to be the need for professionals on a large scale.

37% of IT professionals have admitted that once the recession is over they will be seeking a move, so what are current employers doing to make sure that when the recession is over that they will be able to keep hold of their staff?

War for Talent

In an attempt to deal with this problem before it arises, the European Union recently approved the Blue Card program, which is basically the same as the US Green Card System. The Blue Card (named for the colour of the EU’s flag) will allow skilled foreign workers to work and live anywhere in the EU’s 27 member countries.

55% of highly skilled immigrants head for the United States and only 5% to Europe. With the Blue Card, the EU hopes to dramatically change this imbalance.

So the European market is set for increased worker competition and when you combine the Blue Card system with the Intra-company transfer system which allows workers into the country without going through the same checks under immigration rules you can see how the competition for jobs and for talent in the future is going to be critical.

Unfortunately, the Intra-company transfer system has had the side effect of generating a number of dodgy companies from abroad claiming that they are consultancies but in effect are supplying workers in an agency format and paying those workers about 50% of what the standard rate of pay is for the type of work that they are doing. Also these companies will then hold on to a workers work permit restricting their ability to work elsewhere.

In the long-term this piece of legislation would have been beneficial to business as they would’ve still been able to find, “difficult to find”, talent to deliver their projects however with the unforeseen recession upon us the short-term effect is now over competition for jobs which is artificially driving down contractor rates.

This is probably what free trade and free movement of labour is all about and I am sure most Oracle IT professionals know it’s fair game if there’s someone out there who can do the job better then they can for cheaper. But with these companies masquerading as consultancies now supplying Oracle IT workers at stupidly low prices for consultants who only got into the country because of a loop hole in legislation I expect for some professionals this is a bitter pill to swallow.

This is in effect a similar scenario to where you are trying to sell your own car and a thief steals a car that is exactly the same model as your own car and puts their car on the market at half the price of your car. Leaving you with a choice of either to drop the asking price for your car or do not sell your car. This is the exact situation that certain contractors are experiencing here in Europe and especially within the UK.

Narrowing down this issue even more I know of one particular consultancy that is delivering a project to a central government operation in the UK. Now in attempt to drive costs down and maximise their profit margin, they have outsourced the Oracle Financials part of this implementation to another so called consultancy. This so called consultancy has no history of delivering projects but can get their hands on resources and transfer them internally to the UK and will then supply Oracle Financials Functional Consultants for an all inclusive rate of £210 per day. This is at a time when your average Oracle Financials Functional Consultant would normally expect around £500 per day. Even if the current consultants wanted to drop their rate by £200 per day to say £300 per day which many of them wouldn’t. They would still cost £90 per day more and that is even before the agency has included it’s margin. I can assure you this is horrible and has led to many uncomfortable conversations.

Hopefully this gets resolved and the government does something to cover up these loop holes. There are plenty of excellent Oracle professionals all over the world and if things are done right the global war for talent can be a win-win situation for everyone.

The Recruitment Unconference – Future of Recruitment

Yesterday Origins management attended the first unconference event ever to happen in the UK called the Recruitment unconference. Set-up and organised by social media guru Bill Boorman this event was populated with a who’s who list of social media and recruitment.

If you’re not familiar with an unconference it’s basically an event that is the total opposite to what we would associate with a standard conference. Basically there are no slide shows, presentations, set agendas or anything of the sort. Principally what happens are speakers hold sessions in areas where they are perceived to be experts and rather than just feeding you information and the listeners becoming disinterested they encourage debate and interaction and any particular session can go in a number of directions and realistically it is up to you to get what you want out of the session.

First of all the venue for the event was the Barclays Tower in Canary Wharf, if Carlsberg made buildings they probably would have made this, probably the best building in the UK. It was an excellent venue for an unconference with the pod areas being perfect for what an unconference is all about.

So what did we learn? The 3 areas we went to were:

  • Sourceology – Finding the Impossible with Katharine Robinson and Geoff Webb
  • Blogging for business with Andy Headworth
  • Making recruitment technology work for you with Alastair Cartwright & Alex Strang

The only session we didn’t get to go to that we were interested in was:

  • Building a desk in a niche market with Jacqui Steadman – I just couldn’t find this track anywhere.

I don’t want to go in to touch much detail as firstly what we learnt is what is going to give us our competitive advantage over our competitors and secondly I learnt so much that to tell you everything I’d have to write a novel. But if I had to take once thing back from each track it would be.

  • Sourceology – The UK is way behind the US in actual sourcing, we have resourcers in the UK, in the US they have Sourcers whom are experts in finding information by any means necessary. They specialise in getting information and could easily obtain or create an organisation chart for any company in world and I mean any company or generate niche sector candidate lists and the techniques that they use for this are unbelievable.
  • Blogging for Business – When the top 100 recruitment blogs in the world were ranked only one blog made it there from the UK, Andy Headworths, Sirona Says . His knowledge and understanding of what makes a blog work is unbelievable. His 3 main tips for a blog of any sort corporate or personal was simple know your audience, know what the purpose of your blog is for and lastly know what you aim to achieve.
  • Making Recruitment Technology work for you – Where will recruitment go from here? Everyone agreed that following a recession there is always a change in the recruitment market. We just couldn’t agree on what changes. We now have the next generation of CRM/ATS recruitment systems, SEO specialists, Job Aggregators with tools at a fraction of the cost of job boards we even discussed the death of the job board as we know it. Some of the ideas getting thrown around could really shake up the recruitment market in the next few years so it will be interesting to see what happens. Not forgetting to mention the rise of internal recruiters and HR and the fall of generalist recruitment.

I could go on all day about the conference and all the topics covered, the networking opportunities were excellent and people who are subject matter experts in their fields were at hand to give information which on another day could’ve cost you £100 an hour. The only disappointment was not finding Jacqui Steadman. Maybe next time.

Bring the next event on Bill

Origin Forward Picks Trisys ASP

As the Origin Forward brand continues to move from strength to strength in our market, today we are pleased to announce that we have purchased a new recruitment software package developed by Trisys.

The team here at Origin are pleased to begin our relationship with Trisys who are a market leading CRM software development company. The decision to choose Trisys was not an easy one as the recruitment software market happens to be very competitive with a number of players all offering a product which in essence does the same thing. However after trying and sitting through demonstrations of over 10 separate recruitment software products sometimes trialling some systems even twice we felt Trisys was overall the best package in the market and the right company for Origin Forward to partner with.

Why Trisys?

Firstly, the ease of use of the package is unbelievable, it has a highly intuitive GUI, which is very user-friendly and the benefit of this is that it will enable new consultants with recruitment experience to come in to our organisation and use the system almost instantly and will therefore be able to hit the ground running.

Trisys Db also offers excellent searching facilities (Boolean Search); the system tracks all productivity;  is fully integrated with outlook; people records are fully customisable; integrates well with VOIP solutions; offers middle-office and back-office integration; excellent reporting facilities and when the sales representative  left us with the system on our own to trial it out it allowed us to get used to how the system worked.

When we look back a lot of the other systems offered everything I mentioned above as well but our conclusion was they didn’t work as well and overall package and feel of their competitors seemed to be missing something.

Our view is that Trisys is an absolutely fantastic product and we are surprised that we had not heard of them before we began our search. It must be one of the recruitment industry’s best kept secrets. We have chosen to go with the SaaS solution to maintain efficiency and allow us to upscale and/or downscale depending on the needs of the business. We are looking forward to the increased productivity the system is guaranteed to bring as well and the abundance of reporting information which will allow us to make better informed business decisions.

A word of advice to other recruitment organisations seeking to buy software before you start trialling new recruitment software databases, first you must know and have a clearly defined process of how recruitment works within your business and how your consultants work.

The last thing you want is to pick a system that doesn’t work the way your consultants work and then you’re faced with the problem of having to change your recruitment methods to get the best out of the system which can also have the effect of slowing your consultants down. This could have the effect of consultants boycotting your system, which can lead to conversations not being logged or e-mails not being saved and overall a poorer service to your candidates and clients. I think this is a key point as your recruitment methods are what set you apart from your competition.

We’re looking forward to rolling out Trisys across the organisation. Next on the agenda is moving to more spacious offices.

Oracle Retail Market Recovery

Most contractors will tell you that in the past 12 months the contract market has taken a battering. As end clients have down-sized their teams or delayed projects this has recently led to a temporary excess in talent in the market which has had the knock-on effect of driving down rates for contractors by as much as 33%.

Well the good news is that the worst days seem to be behind us. That is if we are to believe this recession is a “V” type recession and not a “W” type recession.

According to Apsco, Association of Professional Staffing Companies, The US staffing market will resume growth by 2010, following an unprecedented 26% fall in turnover in a single year (from a turnover of $126 billion in 2008 to $93 billion in 2009). However, the long term outlook for the US staffing industry is highly positive, APSCo delegates were told, with growth of 18.9% forecast from 2006-16, significantly above the average growth rate of 10.4% for all sectors of the economy.

Combine the above press release with the research in the UK from KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) whom found “marginal increases” in appointments in August. Things are looking positive for professional jobseekers across the globe. However, before contractors go and add 50% to your current daily rate and jump back into the job market pleading your worth. The research also added that it was too early to say whether the encouraging figures signalled an end to the recession.

The good news is that with France, Germany and Japan recently officially announcing the end to their recessions. There is a definite feeling that employers are beginning to have more confidence in their hiring plans and committing to their recruitment and growth plans. In the UK for example, Britain’s employers are reporting improved recruitment plans for the first time in three years, offering a “glimmer of hope” to jobseekers that next year promises to be a good year for contractors.

Also at Origin Forward our recruitment team has seen a 33% increase in job orders in the past month alone in the Oracle Retail global market. With opportunities arising in both the permanent and contract markets in countries across the globe from the UAE, United States, Netherlands, South Africa, India, Australia, China as well as the UK and Ireland.

The global recession has effected the Oracle Retail market hugely in the past 12 months. The Oracle Retail product is such a niche product with a limited amount of professionals and it is quite common for professionals in this market to work and bounce between continents from one project to the next.

However the past 12 months(2008/2009) have been slow in comparison to 2006 and we have seen a number of seasoned professionals move from the contract market after failing to secure a new contract to permanent roles for the security of permanent work in these uncertain times.

Also 2009 has also seen key system integrators who were or have been key players in the Oracle Retail market over the past 5 or so years, who were capable of delivering a complete Oracle Retail solution, completly downsizing their Oracle Retail practice and personnel. This has paved the way in the past year for smaller boutique consultancies offering specialisms in specific modules only and new larger consultancies entering the market who have not previously delivered Oracle Retail projects. It will definately be an interesting Oracle Retail climate next year and I envisage alot more partnerships between Primary System Integrators and smaller boutique consultancies who have the expertise and experience.

The bottom line is with the economy looking odds on for a recovery projects can go ahead, employers can begin to recruit with confidence and contractors who are not in the niche areas of Oracle Retail and Oracle eBusiness in general can also look forward to a return to post recession rates.

Also employers who converted contractors to permanent staff may face a battle to keep on to their staff as more opportunities arise in the market and their staff begin to get itchy feet knowing they could be earning twice as much in a contract role.

Lets hope 2010 is a good year.

Recruitment Cartels

Recruitment Cartels

The story which caught the eye of the Origin office last week was that of the Office of Fair Trading fining 6 recruitment companies a combined total of £39.27 million for price-fixing. With leading recruitment organisation Hays being fined a staggering amount of £30,359,129 for its part in the cartel.

The companies had formed a group called “The Construction Recruitment Forum” after  Parc UK, who were operating a managed service on behalf of a client, had placed downward pressure on the allied recruiters’ margins.

To think the result is a fine in this region, serves as a warning for other recruitment companies who are looking to artificially keep prices high.

However, we can’t help thinking that this fine seems a little over excessive and the fact that 2 of the 8 recruitment companies got off completely scott free for giving information against their own cartel beggars disbelief especially when you take in to account the recruitment companies that revealed the activities of the cartel were actually the worst offenders in the cartel and would’ve been fined more than the £30 million Hays were fined.

The crazy world we live in. To be honest we cannot see why Parc needed the other recruitment companies in the first place, if those companies chose not to work with Parc then Parc should have filled their vacancies without them.

A recruitment company has the choice to work with the clients they want to work with and not work with the companies they do not want to work with. If a particular client does not want to pay for the service you are delivering then you both have the option of walking away or doing business.

What surprises me is that Parc can offer a managed service solution but not have the manpower or expertise to deliver on their solution and needed the help of external parties. We are however commenting with the limited facts we have available  so as is often the case the information released is not the full picture.

Price-Fixing however is an unforgivable business act, which distorts competition and always results in the end customer losing out. The outcome of this episode is a lose lose situation for all parties involved, the recruitment companies, the managed service provider, the end client and the candidates who didn’t get the opportunity which isn’t exactly what our industry needs now or ever.

Which brings us to our last point, even though this all happened in the construction industry, don’t you wonder if something similar could be going on in the IT industry?

We’re under the same pricing pressures and providing a similar service. Lets hope not and if there were after the fines seen in last weeks incident they probably broke up their cartels rather quickly.

Lastly, a note to the accountant at Hays who has got the unenviable take of balancing their books.


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Origin Forward Solutions is leading Oracle recruitment company. We resource Oracle ERP and Oracle Business Intelligence professionals for projects across the world. This blog is to give an insight into the recruitment world, the oracle market and any other factor that impacts the prior. Enjoy reading the blog and don't be shy to leave comments

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