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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on May 24, 2000. All rights reserved.
IT Talent Hunt: Can E-Video Help?
Nothing’s worse, says Larry Steinhouse, than hiring
a programmer with qualifications that don’t match up to the resume.
Only by speaking with the programmer can the hiring company discern
what the person’s true capabilities are. In other words, can he or
she "talk the talk?"
Because interviewers from the human resource departments generally
don’t have the technical background to conduct this interview, the
prospective job candidate often gets a round robin of two or three
interviews before the Information Technology (IT) supervisor discovers
whether the candidate is really qualified.
What a waste of time, says Steinhouse. He hopes to apply for
a patent on a concept that he believes will revise the technology
recruiting industry. His "First Interview" program has a split
screen, and while scrolling down the resume, the prospective employer
is also listening to the candidate’s voice.
Instead of trying to sell the software, Steinhouse’s firm, Independence
Systems, is using it for marketing its own job candidates. When a
candidate records a video and audio interview in the company’s studio,
this interview can be distributed by CD or on the web via Real Player
A big national firm, KForce (formerly Source EDP), also has what it
calls 60-second "skillmercials," also using Real Player. KForce’s
branch at 3 Independence Way does not currently offer these audiovisual
interviews, but they are available in New York (212-883-7300) and
at another New Jersey office. The candidates sit down before the camera
and tell about themselves and their skills.
"Attaching multimedia to files on the Internet is not unique,"
notes Alan Berger, chief marketing officer for Opus 360, the parent
company for Freeagent.com, a website that aggregates independent contractors
and provides them with an opportunity to market themselves. "We
also have the capabilities for our `free agents,’ who fill out E-portfolios,
to attach multimedia clips — audio clips, video clips — to
their electronic resumes."
One possible downside to any of these systems is that
the hiring company usually needs to download Real Player software.
When more online hiring includes a voice element, this requirement
may seem less onerous. And Steinhouse has plans to offer a second
platform, Microsoft Media Player, which is more likely to be already
But modem speed can also be a problem. "If we were a standard
placement agency, this probably wouldn’t work," says Steinhouse,
noting that his IT client companies have cable modems or T-1 lines.
Another potential barrier to wide usage is that many hiring companies
like to rely on the personnel agency to deliver only the best qualified
candidates. Why make the first cut yourself when you can get the employment
agency to do this job for you?
It’s a matter of saving time, says Steinhouse. The hiring company
often picks two or three candidates from a pile of resumes. By the
time all the schedules get juggled, it could be two weeks before those
interviews take place. With "First Interview" that interview
can take place immediately.
"It’s also the human factor. When you are looking at a video of
a real human being, you are more likely to say yes, I’ll schedule
the interview," says Steinhouse. "With the First Interview
process, you know within 60 seconds if you want to pursue a face-to-face
interview, and that is where the real time savings is."
Steinhouse grew up in Brooklyn and East Brunswick, where his father
was a salesman for Donnelly publishing (and is now a stock broker)
and his mother was in sales. He studied electronics at Middlesex County
College and worked placing IT people for three other companies but
incorporated his own business last year. The firm started out last
summer as a home-based business and has grown to six office employees.
In addition to recruiting, the firm also does web development, technical
placement on a permanent and temporary basis, and consulting.
"Talking the talk is important," says Steinhouse. Before the
recording is made, this company would conduct coaching sessions —
discussing what is pertinent to the job and having the applicant talk
about their previous experience. "Our goal is to do multiple takes,
and we believe that we, not the candidate, are the best people to
decide which to use."
He is also thinking about letting people record an interview for a
fee of $200 and post it on his server. "They would have a URL
and password that they can give to any employer. But if we are the
ones to get them hired, we would refund double their money."
"Ten years ago I saw a resume with a picture on it. I bet those
resumes went to the top of the pile," says Steinhouse. "I
saw what Windows 2000 could do, sat at my chair and wrote down the
idea on the back of a business card. Then we built it. With First
Interview, you get to see the person and they tell you a story about
Predicts Steinhouse: "Companies outside the IT space may not be
ready for this now, but our method is an example of how HR will do
business in the future, probably within the next five years."
Road, Suite 205, Princeton Junction 08550. Larry Steinhouse, CEO.
609-275-9800; fax, 609-716-0453. Website: www.indy-systems.com.
A gentler, kinder workplace is also a smarter workplace,
says Anne Pauker, and a more productive one. Her consulting firm,
she says, helps companies create human resources policies that will
help them in a way that is innovative, values the individual, and
is built on integrity.
It also has desktop tools that help managers implement those traits
easily and in the context of their jobs.
She asks what kind of relationships you want to have with your customers
and suppliers. "Now figure out how to do business with your employees
in the same way."
Everybody agrees the customer is always right, but how many employers
honestly feel the employee is always right? Almost everyone wants
to do the best job they can to make customers as satisfied as they
can be, but how many would do that for their workers? If they did,
says Pauker, "There would be a higher rate of employee commitment
and more innovation would result." How?
their work life.
in their lives. "If there is a richness and a purpose to the job
they do, they will desire to do better."
generally by skills and knowledge acquisition. "If the employer
doesn’t support learning and decision making, the employee’s value
diminishes when they are with you rather than being enhanced."
policy and practice development and implementation, benchmarking,
"business case" models for HR practices, training, and executive
coaching. She graduated from the State University of New York at Binghamton
in 1977 and has an MBA from New York Institute of Technology. When
she was director of affirmative action compliance programs for the
state of New York, she worked with more than 40 agencies.
As corporate vice president of employee relations for Continental
Insurance, she pioneered in bringing actors to the executive classroom
and produced "The Power of Diversity," later marketed as an
eight-part video series.
She founded the Pauker Consulting Group in 1995 and moved it from
North Jersey to Cranbury Road in Princeton Junction last month, and
the reason why she moved is a happy story indeed. The mother of three
school-age daughters, she is now the bride of Charles Kreitzberg,
the founder of Cognetics Inc. on Everett Drive, also known as the
Internet innovator who pioneered in HTML language (U.S. 1, June 30,
1999). She met Kreitzberg when she tried to find someone to help her
with her software package.
"I needed a software company, and I talked to 20 companies and
not a single one could help me. I knew Doug Chrisman at Cognetics,"
says Pauker. "He said he couldn’t help me, but if anyone could,
it would be Charlie. In two days they had 90 percent of it done. Three
months later he asked me out. That was February, and we were married
The resulting web-based tool set, called the Intranet Coach, supports
the delivery of human resource processes including flexible work arrangements
and performance management. "It helps the manager and the employee
to have better discussions about the employee’s performance," she
says. "It prepares for the conversation by linking goals to the
employee’s career objectives."
The manager and the employee can each look up the performance appraisal
process and the form being used, and they can take training modules
that tell them how to prepare for the meeting.
"It’s to level the playing field," says Pauker. "Or help
someone find out what to do from there." The same information
can surely be found in company files, but any of a dozen obstacles
can get in the way of meaningful preparation.
Managers should get input from the worker before sitting down to write
a performance appraisal, and then should get input on how employees
see the performance. "After the manager writes up the appraisal,
there has to be a close of the feedback loop," says Pauker.
The software doesn’t just offer a place to click to "look up the
policy," but it teaches. And it has a decision-making algorithm.
It costs in the six figures, including consulting and implementation,
for Fortune 500 companies interested in using an intranet as a human
Only certain very responsible managers will want this package. "I’ve
been very blessed," says Pauker. "Let’s face it, not every
employer is going to hire me. I am very concerned about treating employees
as responsible adults that contribute to the success of your company,
not as if they have to earn your respect. Most of the time they will
rise to the occasion."
— Barbara Fox
Princeton Junction 08550. Anne M. Pauker, president. 609-750-9080;
fax, 609-275-7064. Home page: www.paukergroup.com.
Our job is to save the hiring manager from having to
do any first screenings at all," says James Radvany, president
of Source One Personnel. His firm does temporary and permanent placement
in accounting, information technology, human resources, administrative,
and light industrial. The corporate headquarters expanded earlier
this month from 1,700 to 5,000 square feet in a move from Franklin
Corner Road to Princess Road.
Both Radvany’s parents worked at Katzenbach School for the Deaf, and
he is fluent in American Sign Language. Such a background, he realizes,
may have contributed to his having good "people skills." "Accounting
helped me start and run my business, but I am more of a people person,"
He went to Susquehanna University, Class of 1982, and after a stint
as a CPA manager at Coopers & Lybrand, he moved to the personnel business.
In 1995 he formed Source One and has 22 employees at this location
plus several branches, including one on Princeton Pike. It has nearly
800 workers on temporary billing.
When it comes to those first interviews, Radvany thinks his company
should tell the hiring manager, "`Here are the candidates. See
these candidates.’ If we do the proper screening we make the life
of the hiring manager easier."
08648. James Radvany CPA, president. 609-895-9700; fax, 609-895-0577.
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