On Inventing Online Job Tour™ and how it evolved

Online Job Tour™ is my company’s signature product around which Promo Web Innovations has built tools to support our Health Care client employers and maximize their recruiting efforts to reach today’s online jobseekers.

When I invented Online Job Tour in 2001, less than 20 million people in the world had a high-speed Internet connection. I envisioned that number would explode and create not only a new “virtual world” culture offering many “web solutions” to our lives, but it would also change how jobseekers look for, and research their career changes and options.

  • From 38 million in May of 2003 when I filed for its patent, today there are 1.5 Billion (yes, that’s a “B”) users of broadband Internet.

Online Job Tour is first web-based recruitment system and that provides a holistic picture of a job opportunity, offering jobseekers information needed to intelligently assess a career and life in the client’s community. Unlike prior conventional online attempts to use the Internet for recruitment, Promo Web does not merely provide a short classified ad with a few links to other websites for a jobseeker or candidate to hunt for relevant information. Instead, Promo Web lays out key features of a job opportunity and life in a community, including personally featuring individuals and organizations, in a logically organized self-contained web presentation. What would otherwise require a candidate many hours of research and a personal visit to a job’s location to determine is now packaged neatly and virtually by the Promo Web product in an easy to follow web presentation. Samples of Online Job Tour can be found on our website at onlinejobtour.com

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People often ask me how I came to invent this revolutionary tool, and if you’re interested I thought it would be an appropriate early blog entry because a lot of what I write about is specific to the subject of recruiting today’s online jobseekers.

On January 6, 2000 my father died in transplant surgery aftercare as the result of a mistake made during a routine procedure. Called a “blind insertion” to remove fluid build-up in his chest area, a major artery was punctured and he bled to death internally. My dad’s passing was hard on our family. Before then, I had left a successful sales career where I had been my company’s top national producer every year I had been with them, held all the noteworthy sales records, and sought another professional challenge. I had been a consultant and sales trainer and was enjoying it, and the freedom that came with being able to choose my assignments.

I had been introduced to the staffing industry via a consulting project with Robert Half International, a publically-traded accounting staffing company where I learned about the business. Within six months after that assignment I became a medical recruiter.

In founding Healthcare Recruiters of Florida, Inc. my mission was to first learn what I could about the permanent placement recruiting business in health care, and the needs and challenges of employers. Basically, the big picture goal was to recruit for medical employers the best possible professionals – I focused on cardiology and oncology placements – physician placements as well as unusual stuff, from double-fellowship trained doctors to medical physicists for Cancer Centers. I wanted to play my small role in helping employers recruit not just a position, but fill it with the best possible candidates. I did my best to form relationships where I felt the employer client shared my mutual interest in not just filling the job, but excelling.

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Fundamental problems with how recruiting was/is set up for employers and jobseekers:

Almost immediately I noticed that most of the hospital recruiters themselves – even the physician recruiters, had no professional sales skills – they were the hospital’s former employees, or someone’s spouse with experience in a public job of some kind, and some had marketing backgrounds. Professionally untrained people doing the same job over and over, while they eventually filled most of their jobs, had bad habits on top of bad habits, and didn’t have a frame of reference to measure their results – sales terms such as “closing percentages,” measuring the times it takes to fill positions, pre-qualifying questions that help to shorten decisionmaking timelines, were not a part of their work.

What I also found interesting is the recruiters did little recruiting of candidates, but instead relied on third party recruiters like me to source candidates for them, pre-qualify them, and actually help to close the candidates.

On the other side, the jobseekers were clearly befuddled – facing many challenges and anxieties about making career changes.

About this time – about 2000-2001, after getting jobseekers on the phone and trying to give them a “verbal pitch” of the job, I saw the Internet as a possible way to help me improve the way I could represent the jobs I was selling and also deliver the information I knew jobseekers needed to know – not just about the employer, but relocating involves many lifestyle factors. I decided to put together these “stat sheets” on the employer with not just the hospital’s information and features, but also information on the clients’ service area – that became more and more comprehensive. With my technology background I knew a lot of people as well as website designers. I felt that the Internet was going to grow a lot (particularly high-speed Internet, which allowed for fast downloads of content but also digital photos and images, etc.) and it would be a better way to deliver the details of the jobs I was representing directly to prospect jobseekers.

Two friends of mine who were website designers helped me place my “presentations” onto websites. They became more elaborate presentations focused in traditional “jobseeker categories” (the subjects jobseekers of all sorts generally need to know in order to make career decisions).

With my sales background and as an advocate for my clients, I understood the advantage of creating a presentation which maximized the marketability of my clients – and because my clients’ own recruiters didn’t have much sales training, the presentation was important to help to offset their limitations.

Another interesting thing was happening was that jobseekers themselves were outpacing employer recruiters with their use of the Internet, which was becoming a big problem.

I started to see that what I was doing might one day be a “bridge” to not just connect employers and jobseekers, but offset these many limitations inherent in the “manual” recruiting process.

Fast Internet connection speed struck my curiosity:

At the time the Internet had passed 100 million users, but I was more interested in the burgeoning broadband connection growth – I was convinced that the faster download speed would allow for immediate viewing of rich content (pictures/images/video/music) and much more robust presentations.

  • There were only about 20-25 million users of broadband Internet which had connection speed faster than 56k modems (remember those days?). I envisioned a day when everyone would have full-bore, high-speed Internet access.

How I went about making the early Online Job Tours, or “Web brochures:”

In 2001 the goal was not just to provide a “recruitment presentation” but also to have them emulate the onsite visit experience – I began to see the advantages of using the Internet not just to “bring the onsite visit to the jobseeker,” but my sales experience was such that I knew the “Sales 101” importance of getting your prospect to take a “test drive” of the product you are selling them.
In order for me to obtain the kind of content necessary for me to create the web-presentations I wanted to make – which included particularly photos and testimonials from employers as well as people in the community regarding the jobseeker-needed content I wanted to feature, my own onsite visit was necessary.

  • Thank heaven that at this time digital photography was becoming popular – I was not a photographer. The first full-content Online Job Tour I created was with a simple, rather bulky 3.0 megapixel camera that had a very small zoom lens.

Although I was working on a contingency basis, which meant that I was not paid unless one of my candidates was placed by my clients, in a couple cases I had their trust and believed that I was their principal recruiter source, so I took a chance and with my own money I traveled to the clients to take the photos needed to create a more elaborate website presentation.

The goal on my trips was to pretend that I was the physician on the actual interview visit and I structured my questions to profile the people I met around the kinds of questions a physician jobseeker would ask them (by this time I had been recruiting doctors so I knew what they and their spouses wanted to know) – I met hospital administrators and employees, physicians, and then I went out into the community featuring and meeting people and business leaders, schools, country club directors, community theater directors, the mayor, the hospital board chairman – I even interviewed high school seniors about growing up in the area.

After getting tons of this information and hundreds of photos (video would come later!) I came back to my home and sorted it all out and then started to “tell the unique story” of the client and its relationship with its service area around the features of the career position I was representing.

My friends and I then put it all on a URL and I got back on the phone and started cold-call recruiting jobseeker prospects – whenever I got someone interested in my verbal “pitch” over the phone and peaked their curiosity about having a “web-based” presentation to email to them, I sent the “online job tour presentation/web brochure.”

Reactions from Jobseekers and Results overwhelming & growing the invention:

I experienced many “Eureka!” moments, based on the overwhelmingly positive response.

The proof was that I was filling positions and getting letters and emails from both sides encouraging me to grow my idea.

Over a six month stretch in 2002 I made placements equaling more than $230,000 and I decided to leave the recruiting business and start Promo Web Innovations with the full-time focus on building upon this “recruitment website presentation” invention.

Since founding Promo Web® Innovations I filed for a US Patent on the invention and we have tested a model template of Online Job Tour with 17 hospitals across 15 states – clearly the clients who committed to using it have experienced tremendous results. While staying true to the original design of the invention, we have grown the product considerably as web design and development tools have grown.

We produced a Promo Web Micro presentation prototype for smart phones in fall of 2006, and the movement of videotape to digital (much like cameras went digital) led to embellishing the Online Job Tour.

Software Development:

With the long-range goal being for the product to be simple but powerful and for corporations, there has been a focus on keeping a core design that can be remade via a software program. I am currently taking to a number of organizations/programmers with the goal to have a template design tool available by 2010 which will allow for efficient large-scale deployment for a large company for multiple affiliates.

Employers Must Adjust – Jobseekers have moved to the Internet with a broadband connection and Online Job Tour is a proactive tool and web solution for both sides.

All jobseekers are online now. Continuing to recruit while being blind to them loses time, effort, money, and candidates. Today and in this poor economy, the smarter companies no longer judge their recruiting success merely by whether they eventually fill open physician and staff jobs.

  • Closing percentages, saving third party recruiter fees, hiring the better candidates, making a better long-term fit which lessens turnover, saving wasted interview/site visits, and filling openings faster – these all dramatically influence the budget and quality of care provided.

The Online Job Tour invention has proven to make the recruiting process more efficient and our test-clients are more competitive, and their jobs are easier – with staff recruiters still without professional sales training and many who do not use advanced technology tools, it is a “bridge” to jobseekers who are wireless and many who “live online.”

Here we are in 2009 with tech-savvy jobseekers and particularly larger corporations who have not adapted well to their target market and how the Internet’s growth of broadband created a “virtual lifestyle” for the emerging jobseekers.

We are excited to be able to “open this compelling new door” for our client employers to “reach” today’s jobseekers in our unique way with Online Job Tour!

To contact me directly, email me at carlbrickman@yahoo.com. I am also on Facebook. Learn more about my work at http://www.onlinejobtour.com

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