Boom and Gloom: The Technology Downturn

3D rendering of a female robot looking sad and crying against a dark background.

While employment booms across industries, with employers adding even more jobs than anticipated in April – 28,000 above the Dow Jones estimate – the tech sector is showing serious signs of a downturn. Industry upswing stars include leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing.

So why is tech tanking?

Obviously, there are no prizes for anybody who has the correct answer. Lockdowns led to increasing numbers of consumers spending their time and their money online. The online world provided not only the best escape from a dreadful reality, but also a practical way to answer fundamental needs, like getting the shopping done.

Of course, that’s the simple version. Lockdowns affected everything, including the broader interests and investments of companies. Here we’ll look at companies that are either all out tech, or heavily invested enough at a core-offering level to be included.

The Great Resignation has left employers trying to find the best strategies to attract and retain new talent—often by throwing money at the problem—while tech is tightening its belt and layoffs in the industry are fast becoming an alarming trend.

Let’s take a look.

Business woman sits at her desk in a bright office, wearing a Virtual Reality headset with her hands up, touching thin air.
“This looks great! But I can’t find my keyboard.”

Metaverse Crashing to Earth?

Issues in the real world appear to have come full circle and kicked the metaverse in the purse, right where it hurts. On May 4th, Insider revealed a Meta internal memo stating that Facebook is freezing hiring and scaling back new talent acquisition across the company. Citing “challenges” that caused it to “miss revenue targets”.

Facebook’s global head of recruiting, Miranda Kalinowski, said—in a separate memo—that the company’s engineering team would be the first among those impacted. Facebook did freeze hiring at the beginning of the pandemic, but this was a sensible move, designed to give the company time to adjust and put new processes in place for health-aware onboarding.

This latest hiring freeze, on the other hand, is all about “our business needs and in light of the expense guidance given for this earnings period”—helped along by its Reality Labs division losing $2.9 billion in the first quarter.

Curse of the metaverse? Or barely a bump in the road? Speaking of which…

Man with a mobile phone watches as his Uber driver arrives.
“I can’t believe they still have to use real drivers.”

Uber Hiring U-turn

Uber is to slam the brakes on hiring after a “seismic shift” in investor sentiment, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi announced to employees in an email obtained by CNBC. Uber also plans to cut back on marketing and incentives spend. From this point forward, “We will be even more hardcore about costs across the board.”

He continued: “We have made a ton of progress in terms of profitability, setting a target for $5 billion in Adjusted EBITDA in 2024, but the goalposts have changed. Now it’s about free cash flow. We can and should get there fast.” Just like their drivers.

During the pandemic, Uber leaned heavily on its food delivery service Eats. After the lifting of COVID restrictions, revenue for Uber rose to 6.9 billion in the first quarter. The downside? A $5.9 billion loss during the COVID period, due to a slump in its equity investments.

Either way, Uber says: “We will be deliberate about when and where we add headcount.”

Animation showing Robin Hood in forest, holding bow loaded with arrow.
“Is it aim and fire or fire and aim? Tsk.”

Robinhood’s Aim

The original Robin Hood (Kevin Costner to you), was knocked spectacularly off balance at least once in his career. Likewise, retail brokerage Robinhood has announced it’s cutting 9% of a reported total of 3,800 employees. Shares fell more than 5% in extended trading after the announcement.

Rapid expansion last year somehow led to “duplicate roles and job functions”. Unfortunately, two heads were apparently not better than one and “these reductions to Robinhood’s staff is the right decision to improve efficiency, increase our velocity, and ensure that we are responsive to the changing needs of our customers,” according to CEO Vlad Tenev.

He added: “While the decision to undertake this action wasn’t easy, it is a deliberate step to ensure we are able to continue delivering on our strategic goals and furthering our mission to democratize finance.”

Woman using an indoor exercise bike with digital montior.
“I wish they’d make a real bike with a TV attached.”

Peloton in a Spin

Unable to bear the idea of running to stand still, Peloton cut around 20% of its corporate workforce – an estimated 2,800 people – and replaced its CEO, hoping a new lean look will impress investors and rejig its business for some muscular growth in the near future.

The announcement, which came earlier this month, followed rumors that the company could soon become the target of a takeover. However, the makeover news quelled much of that excitement, if not all of it. Many feel that Peloton will not escape that fate.

No matter how fast they peddle. Sorry, pedal. 

A Wall Street darling during the pandemic, the news in response to the announcement came with headlines like: “The Rise and Fall of Peloton” and phrases like “crash and burn”.

Still – no pain, no gain.

Terrible puns about the indoor-exercise success story aside, Barry McCarthy, former chief financial officer of Netflix and Spotify, is now the new president and CEO, while founder and former CEO, John Foley, is executive chairman of the board.

Most of the news since the announcement has been an exercise in things not working out: big borrowing, price slashing, stalled product production, and falling stocks – if people in high places are sweating right now, they appear determined to take the strain.

Peloton is going downhill, according to many key observers, but everybody remains fascinated by those spinning wheels. And they could get back in shape.

A male and female model step out of a limousine onto a red carpet.
“Vanity, vanity, all is… Ohh, nice dress!”

Cameo Yells “Cut!”

Cameo became a star after coming up with the novel idea of letting people pay their favorite actors, artists, athletes and celebrities to send them personalized video greetings. A crazy idea that hit big with the public, the company was valued at around $1 billion last year after gaining the attention of investors such as Amazon, Google, and UTA.

This month, it announced it was cutting approximately 25% of its workforce—87 members of staff in real terms, announcing a need to “right-size” the business after a pandemic-related reversal of fortunes.

Hit the reverse button back to 2020 and we see Cameo claiming the generation of around $100 million in gross revenue—4.5 times up on the previous year. Unfortunately, one-season-only shooting stars include high-flyers such as chief product officer, Nundu Janakiram, SVP of marketing, Emily Boschwitz, and chief technology officer, Rob Post.

Co-Founder and CEO, Steven Galanis, told Variety: “To support both fan and talent demand during the pandemic lockdowns, Cameo’s headcount exploded from just over 100 to nearly 400. We hired a lot of people quickly, and market conditions have rapidly changed since then. Accordingly, we have right-sized the business to best reflect the new realities.”

Some of the biggest stars in the world have found themselves on the cutting room floor, so this shouldn’t be the end of the story for anybody’s career. NEXT!

Contrasts and Questions

Contrasting the above with the rest of the economy is startling. In the world outside tech, employers are eagerly seeking new ways to attract and retain talent. The Great Resignation/Great Reshuffle continues to have a massive impact across industries: rising labor costs, inflation, and resignations are leaving hiring teams everywhere struggling to find their feet on continuously shifting ground.

Of the industry upswing stars highlighted at the start of this article, leisure and hospitality has had the biggest bounce back success, with job growth at 78,000. Does this signal that people are returning to their pre-pandemic habits, or that more people are learning to appreciate the “get up, get out there” lifestyle more than they did before it became prohibited? 

The tech industry skyrocketed during the pandemic and other industries suffered, so now the tables are turning. This is clear, so the real question is: How does it all balance out? If the issue can be readily identified, the tech industry can steer its way back to normalcy, right?

This isn’t Boom and Bust, it’s Boom and Gloom.

Or is it? 

Facing the Future vs. Facing Forward

As is often pointed out, tech industry trends are notoriously hard to track and analyze, because the business models are so specific to what they do and offer. Having said that, Ned Davis Research’s Veneta Dimitrova did analyze available data, including reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and concluded: “There doesn’t seem to be any leading tendency from that industry for overall employment growth.”

Then there’s inflation and the tightening of purse strings across the country. Amazon takes a hit in that respect. Back to the metaverse and we need to factor in Apple’s iPhone privacy changes, which impacted ad targeting—a potential $10 billion revenue hit—which is not to be sniffed at by anybody in this universe or, indeed, the metaverse.

If it was easy, we’d all be visionaries and business leaders, right?

Still, this places hiring teams in a bizarre world where everything is shifting with relentless speed, realities are either red hot or stone cold depending on needs, and each reality poses its own set of problems to be solved.

Ultimately, hiring managers with good recruiters on hand are always in a strong position. As mentioned in other articles, using experienced recruiters as talent advisors at the planning stages, rather than internal vendors to be issued tasks after the fact, could prove a winning strategy moving forward.

Of course, that depends on which direction you think forward is.

Good move, Netflix.”

Recruiters, The Great Resignation, and the Hiring (R)evolution

Open notebook on desk next to coffee, with the words "I Quit" written in lipstick and followed by a kiss mark.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” – Charles Dickens wasn’t thinking about 21st century recruitment when he wrote that famous line, but it’s a sentiment that fits like the perfect candidate.

And its retention rate is looking great.

Recruiter salaries, adjusted for inflation, had jumped 14% by the end of 2021 from the year before, according to Revelio Labs. High demand for jobs, driven by the pre-pandemic “job hopping” trend, soon joined by the “great resignation”, has greatly increased the need for talented recruiters and, at the same time, put them under tremendous strain.

How recruiters have coped with the seismic disruptions to our working lives over the last two years is anybody’s guess: Resilience? Ability to adapt? The famously focused mindset of the “fast on your feet” professional? Zero choice? (Other than to join the great resignation themselves?)

Either way, they weathered the storm courageously and have possibly created new opportunities in their own careers as a result. Well deserved, if it happens.

A collage of diverse people, all shown as smiling headshots, representing the challenge recruiters face when filling jobs.
So I’ll go with… erm. Hiring was never easy and recruiters are (hopefully) evolving.

Turmoil and Talent

The labor market, to be blunt, is in turmoil, and recruiters would be increasingly useful as professional advisors, or project managers, within hiring teams, from the earliest stages of hiring considerations.

Today’s recruiter certainly needs to advise companies on how to attract and keep talent. Established, growing and ongoing hiring and retention issues have created a gap in the market, with recruiters being the best qualified to fill it.

Questions arising around talent optimization internally, and the talent market externally, are the long-term stomping ground of recruiters. Why look elsewhere for answers? Instead of handing down requirement orders to be fulfilled, fulfilling recruiter potential by making them part of the initial discussions on requirements for roles, profiles, etc., could lead to great results.

Recruiters are your perfect fit talent advisor candidate. Own it.

Getting On Top of “Under Pressure”

The sheer pressure of skyrocketing competitiveness for talent, soaring hiring demand, and the need to adapt to – and adopt new ways to meet – new attitudes to employment expectations from candidates has been shocking in its power. To gain the upper hand, talent acquisition leaders have found themselves in a leading business position, central to selling the company brand, attracting the best talent, and increasing fast decreasing retention rates among companies.

The Ongoing State of Retention Rates

SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management), published a report in 2021 stating that over 40% of American workers are either actively seeking a new job, or have plans to do so. There’s no need to point out how staggering this number is, and probably no surprise to state that the number doubled from 2019.

BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), states that 4 million people quit their jobs in July 2021. Resignations had peaked at 2.7% in both June and July 2021 — with a new record set for available jobs in the US at the close of July – 10.9 million.

In February 2022, 4.4 million people quit their jobs, but new hires moved up to 6.7 million, according to BLS, all of which only continues the new reality of “The Great Reshuffle”. There were an estimated 1.8 jobs for every unemployed person in February.

Choices, choices.

Reasons, Recruitment and Results

According to SHRM’s report, the top reasons given for leaving jobs by employees were:

  • Better compensation
  • Work-life balance
  • Improved benefits
  • Career advancement
  • Career change

The list indicates, at least in the top four, that employees were becoming unhappy in their jobs and seeing better opportunities elsewhere. The final item appears to imply a general feeling of restlessness; a need for change in a quickly changing world. After all, if the world is disrupted to the point where daily routines are battered or shattered, why cling to the same spot?

Why be tossed aimlessly around when you can leap in any direction by dint of will? 

It’s also possible that the first four in the list were heavily influenced by exactly the same feelings that gave rise to the final entry, which could sensibly raise the question: What seismic shift is coming down the pike next?

Outside of the finance industry, corporations have enjoyed their best profits for decades, so there is the opportunity to increase salaries and benefits to attract talent and gain long-term growth from the investment; but, like any investment, the question is: Will it pay off?

It appears so far that higher wages and better benefits aren’t attracting enough unemployed workers back into the workplace. Ironically, as this happens, the result is the offering of even greater pay, more offers of increased benefits, and so on.

And while the increased offers don’t appear to be getting those on the sidelines back into work, the result, for short-term survival, is more work loaded onto the shoulders of those still bothering to show up – until they can’t take it any more, leave, then find themselves being offered more money, more benefits, for jobs they’ve learned to hate.

Little wonder that manager burnout was bad and getting worse late into 2021.

A female contortionist types on a laptop on the floor, while doing a backbend that places her feet on the laptop in front of her.
Flexibility is everything… training not provided.

Flexibility Is Stability

The “throw money at it” problem-solution technique aside, many smart recruiters are becoming increasingly attuned to what candidates want – a shift in attitudes from candidates becoming a sharp shift in focus from the recruiter. Some are studying where people are leaving in high numbers, with a view to building relationships in those spaces.

Whatever is top of mind for that hard to get candidate tops the list for hiring and retention. What is top of mind for forward-thinking recruiters is candidate/employee experience, not checklists of demands skillfully completed.

And it’s entirely possible that flexibility rather than finance will be the winning card. In that sense, employers and employees may have common ground. The sharp rise in remote work in the first quarter of 2022 may indicate that employers, absent a crystal ball, want the most stable environment possible for long-term growth; and employees seem to want the same.

Flexibility is the new stability. Or the closest thing we have.

The Evolution of Hiring

Not surprisingly, many are now predicting that 2022 will get harder, not easier, with remote work choices and remote interviews making job change more accessible than it’s ever been, at least for those who still wish to work – meaning competition for jobs will continue to increase.

And organizing, hiring, training, encouraging and retaining talent in a remote world raises a lot of questions, and presents a lot of issues, in and of itself.

Just because the initial sense of urgency starts to die down as recruiters scramble successfully to adapt, doesn’t mean the recruiter’s job will become easier as a result.

It won’t – but what it should do is evolve.

Remote Control: Cat-In-The-Lap Productivity, Hiring and Retention

A young woman is working on a laptop at home near the window with her cat is sitting on her lap.

Updated content.

The Ladders Q1 2022 Quarterly Remote Work Report, released on April 04, shows that the predicted rise from 18% jobs permanently remote in Q4 2021 to 25% by the end of Q4 2022 was blown out of the water by a stunning increase, leaving us at 24 percent in Q1 2022 – meaning that the number of full-time jobs available remotely has nearly tripled in the past year.

And that means a lot more adapting for recruiters already besieged by the seismic shifts in the way we all live and work.  Of course, there’s nothing normal about the “new normal” – but adapting correctly can mean thriving rather than surviving.

In a world very different from the one we inhabit today, the reasons for remote hiring were often based in business decisions grounded in:

  • required skills being scarce in the business area
  • desired avoidance of the logistics relocation demands
  • demanding the best expert talent without relocation limitations

In today’s pandemic-disrupted world, COVID has remained the key influencer. Companies forced to take part in the remote work experiment found that they could indeed adapt and thrive, and may now consider the remote arrangement the most stable environment for long-term growth. After all, who really knows what’s going to happen next?

85% of managers predicted that having teams with remote workers would become the “new normal” in 2021 and beyond. In one sense, they were right; in another, they had underestimated the scale of the changes underfoot. The need to be conservative in our thinking has led to a lot of underestimation of how entrenched remote work is quickly becoming.

Image shows person sitting on the floor with laptop.
Remote work has become an international experiment for business.

And with the bottom line always in mind, items like productivity increases from remote workers – along with lower overheads – led to record profits for many companies across industries.

In early March 2020, in the face of growing concerns about COVID-19 and increasingly loud whispers about lockdowns, Ladders founder and then CEO, Marc Cenedella, brought two things to the Ladders table : leadership and his laptop. The table itself was in his kitchen.

This happened after he ordered an “experiment” to evaluate how the company would cope if obliged to work remotely under potential lockdowns. Online meetings were brushed up on or practiced, then everybody went their own ways, hoping to stay connected.

At the time, the move was so surprising that The Washington Post interviewed him and wrote an article: “This New York CEO put his company in a simulated coronavirus lockdown”. The proactive move meant that Ladders didn’t miss a beat when the lockdowns hit.

Remote working worked out surprisingly quickly – for us and for those who followed us. Make no mistake, then, remote hiring is here to stay – throughout 2022 and beyond.

We speak from experience.

Remote Hiring: Social Distance & Success

A potential remote candidate for your company is likely to know nothing about you, what you do, how you do it, or the kind of talented people you choose to help you do it well.

Except for your online presence. 

The value of your company website and social media presence has gone up.

So how is your careers page looking? Does it reflect your company culture? Does it show the team and have cool short stories about remote working with the company?

Image shows a laptop showing a business website.
Does your website have all the insight it needs for candidates?

How about a bunch of faux TV screens thrown onto the page? Photos of team members in each, along with names and titles beneath? And all with little lines interconnecting them?

As each is clicked, a video of that team member opens and they talk about the company, culture, working remotely, and how its all done effectively and enjoyably?

Too cute?

Fair enough. Your page should at least give a sense of the team, the culture, and how remote working functions. This is all critical information for a potential new hire. Especially as it establishes critical structures in an informal, even fun way.

Cat-In-The-Lap Productivity

The idea of remote work runs seamlessly with the thought of flexible hours. Do a bit here. Do a bit there. I work best late at night or under a tight deadline, anyway. The cat needs attention.

Image shows a person at a laptop with a cat in lap, watching the work.
Remote work: Cats are taking center stage in many companies in 2022.

Hence the structures mentioned above. Hence the need for a strong website and social media presence that promotes your culture and remote work ethics and habits.

Answer this: What is the work-life balance of your remote employees?

Timelines and deadlines, video meetings, schedules, fun video get-togethers, informal meeting requests, cat-in-the-lap five-minutestandups”, online happy hours — it all matters.

Make potential flexibility and necessary availability known from the get-go.

Are time zone issues connected to the position? Regions that must be catered to by your new team member? Timelines that must be followed? Deadlines met? Meetings attended on a regular basis?

All nailed down? Then smile as those on-camera cats jump around.

Sourcing & Establishing Career Success

Appearing in directories dedicated to remote careers is a good idea for sourcing needs. High-ranking roundups of companies that hire remote workers are a good place to be seen.

Your social media presence could get inroads in remote working communities on Facebook, for example. 

Here at Ladders, we have a remote work only job search feature for our $100K+ professionals, which lists all relevant jobs for remote experts. Once they start a search, the option appears.

So targeting for high-level remote experts is easy.

A yellow sticker on a laptop says: Work remotely.
At Ladders, targeting based on recruiter needs is a specialty.

Targeting & Training

Still, targeting for talent may need to be followed with training for remote productivity.

Screen for compatibility with your company: Compatible OS, software: product management, internal communication tools, etc., high-speed connection and so on.

Decide the value of the candidate: What investments in hardware, software, upgrades — and training would be required? It’s much harder for a remote worker to learn as they go.

Touching Base in Cyberspace

And if you haven’t upgraded your website and social media for remote hiring, or have opted for a low key approach, consider the following:

Video interviews with candidates — in which team members talk through the culture and the structures mentioned above.

Easy investment, long term payoff.

A person watches a training video on a laptop.
Online interviews, onboarding and training are strongly advised.

Another employment element whose value has skyrocketed is competencies.

Competencies cannot be trained into people; and cannot be viewed and assessed in-house, so assessing core competencies is critical. A short list includes:

  • self-discipline
  • organizational abilities
  • communication abilities
  • collaboration abilities
  • time management abilities
Four people share a "cloud" thought that is empty.
Team work, yes. Guess work, no. Testing is better!

Don’t Guess, Test!

And that’s why pre-employment testing has recently become far more important for employers.  Also, trial employment periods are an option used by many companies before committing to a new remote worker.

But always ensure one thing.

Once onboard, your new employee is part of a remote team in which robust internal communication happens throughout each working day, including video meetings.

Your company’s unique usage of the OS’s and communications software has been second-nature from (pretty much) day one. And she soon feels a personal, dynamic working relationship with each team member.

It’s what we couldn’t resist calling Remote Control.

Promoted Job Posts and Why They Work

Image showing a huge advertising screen in a public place.

Before we get into job post promotion, let’s think about what promotion means:

pro·​mo·​tion | \ prə-ˈmō-shən

1 : the act or fact of being raised in position or rank: PREFERMENT

2 : the act of furthering the growth or development of something

Although the Merriam-Webster dictionary is unconnected to Ladders, we have to hand it to them for inadvertently describing Ladders’ job post promotion so well.

Everybody loves a promotion.

Promotion says Status. Achievement. Special. Important. Desirable. Someone or something promoted moves up in the hierarchy, bathed in a spotlight.

What’s not to like?

A job post promotion with Ladders is no different.

Let’s break that down into facts and figures.

Promoted Job Posts – Facts & Figures

More Job Views 

Promoted jobs feature at the top of search results related to the role, resulting in over 

15x more views than a non-promoted post.

A single role can be promoted for up to 8 weeks, ensuring a high level of attention from relevant candidates among our pool of

9 million users.

More Job Applies 

Cutting through the noise with fine targeting to experts ensures that the busiest, most in-demand candidates see your post first. 

On average, promoted job posts attract

8x more applicants than non-promoted job posts.

Faster Candidate Hires 

Members and recruiters provide custom compensation information, to ensure a job match and cut down on wasted time.

Promoted job posts are shown only to candidates that match the specific role, ensuring that your applies are coming from qualified candidates with relevant experience.

Job Candidates Who Count

Yes, the internet made job applications super simple and life for busy recruiters anything but.

Also, in a downturn, the number of enthusiastic amateurs competing with qualified experts can create endless sifting and sorting of applications.

And ATS systems can only do so much to help.

Back to Ladders and its members

9 million users pre-assessed and targeted as active or passive job seekers to answer recruiter long term or short term needs.

15 years’ experience on average — no enthusiastic amateurs targeted, just professionals.

 92% with a bachelors degree; 45% with a master’s degree — educated and proactive.

44 high-end candidates on average response — a recruiter shortlist based on success.

$154K median member income — expertise meets achievement meets results.

24 hours — post and promote fast for optimized turnaround and high-end expertise.

And like any job post targeted directly through Ladders, the recruiter promoted post appears on site as a highlighted Easy Apply — an added attraction for busy professionals.

Promoted job posts also offer the additional option of linking the post direct to the company page, for added ease in controlling and processing applications.

Creating an XML job feed for synchronized efficiency and less heavy-lifting is also an easy option.

With an XML feed, each time a new job post is added to your system, it’ll be automatically added to Ladders, too, for flawless targeting of high-end candidates.

And when it closes, the post will be automatically removed. Easy.

Recruiting Results — Targeted Job Post Options

Of all recruiter marketing tactics, promoting highly targeted jobs to an audience of experts in a downturn makes the most sense all round.

Ladders Promoted Job Posts are just one more reason to use Ladders Recruiter to find your next $100K-$500K+ hire fast.

Still, Ladders also helps well-educated, ambitious up-and-comers, so if you’re targeting young talent in the $80K-$100K range, Ladders is an ideal option.

Give your critical roles a promotion and just watch them work for you.

After all, encouraging hard work and expertise is always an ROI winner.

How to Write a Job Title That Works

Image showing newspaper cuttings of several job titles in a pile.

Writing job titles that work is easy, right?

So imagine the following scene at a social gathering:

“What do you do for a living?”
“I’m an upwardly mobile vision technician.”
“Oh, wow! That sounds amazing! What does it mean?”
“I clean windows.”

Many years ago, the above job title was created as a joke by a witty guy on a UK dating show.

Today, equally silly (and functionally useless), job titles can be found on resumes, job posting sites, and pretty much anywhere else in the careers space and elsewhere.

Here’s a short list of real examples. Let’s see if you can guess the jobs they describe (answers at the bottom):

  1. Chief Chatter
  2. Wizard of Light Bulb Moments
  3. Dream Alchemist
  4. Part-Time Czar
  5. Grand Master of Underlings

As described in Write a Job Description in 6 Easy Steps, there are various key reasons why writing job titles like this isn’t a good idea.

While it could be argued that inflicting one of the above titles onto an expert’s professional resume is an act of cruelty, the downside for recruiters is more ominous. 

Here’s the key question: How many job seekers would be likely to type in one of the above examples while conducting a job search? 

The answer is nada. None. Zip. Zero. So in an effort to be colorful, you’ve made yourself invisible. Therefore, a generic job title will result in more targeted job applicants.

The irony is palpable. 

Some would argue that writing job titles like support a company’s brand image. That’s fine, but it would be difficult to lose an argument based on the following:

  1. Job titles should be helpful to those seeing and hearing them
  2. There’s a time and a place for everything
  3. Enforced jollity starts to grate on people after a while

Aside from stopping job posts being invisible to many job seekers, the down-to-earth approach to job titles achieves two additional objectives:

  1. Describe the area of expertise required
  2. Indicate the hierarchical level within the department/company

And since a professional is expected to put their job title onto their resume, the previous point about “cruelty” should be properly considered.

Because that “cruelty” affects recruiters, too.

Recruiters need to be able to see relevant information at-a-glance when initially working through a slew of resumes, looking for key information that says:

“This is well put together, answers our post, and merits a closer look.” 

In the current downturn, it’s also likely that many recruiters are besieged by enthusiastic hopefuls as well as qualified experts to fill many available positions.

Making this point even more important for anybody tasked with creating a shortlist of good resumes.

A colorful title often gives little to no indication of what the area of expertise is, or what relation it bears to the previous and/or following positions.

This can cause a warning light to go off in a recruiter’s mind as the resume is initially scanned.

The only solution for the recruiter is to either pass on it and look for safer material, or dedicate time to studying why the bizarre and seemingly illogical entry was entered in the first place.

As for lesser offensive titles, it should also be pointed out that an expert in their field is not a “Rockstar” unless they have achieved one of the following:

  1. Fame as a successful singer or performer of rock music
  2. Celebrity status; particularly in inspiring fanatical admiration

When creating job titles, recruiters and others involved in the process should ideally heed the following three points:

  1. Think about what you need, what level you need it to be, and describe it clearly
  2. Help your colleagues process stacks of resumes without unnecessary blockers
  3. Don’t attempt to create job titles when feeling giddy

Additionally, the guy on the dating show lost.

Answers: a. Call Center Manager; b. Marketing Director; c. Head of Creative; d. Assistant Manager; e. Deputy Manager. See complete list.

XML Job Post Management. As Easy As ABC?

Image showing person at a computer looking at an job application page.

“Synchronize watches and move out!”

We’ve all heard that line, or something like it, in a movie. XML job post management doesn’t usually require groups of anxiously determined people, bent over their watches, before scooting determinedly off in different directions.

But the job management stakes are high for millions, including you.

Whether you love or hate action movies, your career is about action and results. You are tasked with making things happen in a world where the stakes are high and the plot thickens with every technological twist.

It should be classified as sci-fi, but it’s real.

Your plot saw a huge twist with the advent of the internet. Suddenly it was easy to get job posts out there; and just as easy for enthusiastic amateurs to apply for any job — as easy as ABC, in fact — on the off-chance they might get a result. Making management tough.

Then came the downturn.

Targeting your jobs at the qualified experts you want to fill your candidate pool is key. Avoiding the enthusiastic amateurs who use technology to their career advantage is more important now than it ever was.

So what’s the solution? Technology!

ABC vs. XML

XML (eXtensible Markup Language), is designed to turn the ABC ease of online job applications in your favor. By enabling you to manage your job posts in a fast and efficient manner, you can target talent and control results with synchronized efficiency.

But it’s still about how the hero of the movie goes about it.

Advances in technology turned the phrase Post-and-Pray into Spray-and-Pray. XML job post management does offer huge advantages in terms of high quality distribution across the net.

An XML job feed connects your jobs to job aggregators and optimizes the process for formatting, consistency, and so on. Online search optimization is also easy enough and covers various areas:

  • Use keyword sensitive job titles
  • Maximize keyword density
  • Mention the nearest metro area in location
  • Allow aggregators to pull from your careers page

It all helps to get you out there, like the ATS solution helps you process the results.

So the secret sauce lies in fine targeting.

Ladders’ XML Job Feed

Let’s give Ladders a part in this movie.

As a company dedicated to $100K-$500K+ professionals, with an average of 15+ years of experience, a bachelor’s degree pool that stands at 89% and a Master’s degree pool that stands at 36% across industries, we answer specific needs by design.

With an XML job post management feed, each time a new $100K+ job is added to your system, it’ll be automatically added to Ladders, too, for flawless targeting of high-end candidates. And when it closes, the post will be automatically removed.

Automated targeting combined with flawless synchronization.

If interested, you can learn about our XML feed guide. After your development team has created the feed, you can submit it to us at the address provided and you’re good.

Staying up with the times doesn’t get you ahead. Smart choices based on specific needs still spells success. That will never change.

So what’s the next evolution of the phrases Post-and-Pray and Spray-and-Pray?

Automate-and-Celebrate? Get-Wise-and-Synchronise? 

Aim-and-Hit? (Recommended)

In the movies, the hero makes the call, so we’ll leave it with you.

ATS Applicant Tracking and Employee Turnover

Keyboard showing a Tracking System button for Job Application Tracking.

ATS Applicant Tracking Systems matter because time and money are the bottom line.

In the recruiter space, employee turnover and hiring applicants are the two big dollar drains.

Sourcing, processing, interviewing and hiring — when done right — is the answer to both.

Enter Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).

Still, that first step to automated assistance isn’t easy. In a world of continuously evolving technical possibilities, the acronym ATS means different things to different people.

Even today, most would likely describe an ATS as something to aggregate and manage resumes, with basic applicant tracking stemming from that benefit. 

Depending on how much you’re willing to spend (more later) — the best ATS’s can help organize and automate:

  • Management of job requisition
  • Posts on job search sites
  • Application forms
  • Candidate search
  • Templates for candidate emails
  • Interview alerts
  • Recruiting metrics reports
  • Background checks
  • Candidate information verification
  • Creation and delegation of tasks
  • Collaboration
  • Duplicate candidate alerts/prevention
  • Personalized outreach
  • Advertising
  • Social media posting

And more.

Connecting your existing ATS to Ladders would ensure timely and highly accurate job delivery, track candidates and posts all the way to hire, and sync candidate data with your system for flawless management. 

Investing in Success

While most ATS’s are cloud based, there are vendors who provide on-prem hosting.

On-prem will require an upfront payment (perpetual licensing), while cloud-based hosting comes with a monthly or yearly subscription. 

A company looking into this kind of investment can usually expect three pricing models:

Pay per User — based on the number of users granted administrative access.

Pay per Position — based on number of open job requisitions each month.

Pay per Module – based on unified HR solutions rather than best-of-breed.

The Keyword Is Candidate

Of course, there’s nothing like the ability to write a job description that works.

And key words do play a big part in that. The right key words — informed by a clear description of who is wanted to do what — get your job description found by people hunting for those jobs.

And that in turn is informed by some useful XML job post management.

On the ATS side, keywords are used to reject resumes that don’t contain them, and approve those that do.

How effective that is in separating enthusiastic amateurs from qualified experts is up for debate, particularly in a downturn, where ambition and enthusiasm can meet desperation.

And all in a world where technology has made applying for a job very easy to do.

So to the bottom line: The better you target your candidates in the first place, the more time and money you’re likely to save.

Targeting Talent – Tech & the Human Touch

Let’s say, for example, that you have a $100K-$500K+ job opening. You decide to create an XML job feed with Ladders.

Now your high-end job is being targeted directly at $100K-$500K+ professionals, with keyword targeting directing it to the experts required within that field and range.

When you close the job on your end, it automatically closes on Ladders, too.

Leaving your ATS with far less of the heavy-lifting to do in the initial stages, and you with far less of the heavy-lifting to do during the following stages.

Sometimes your easiest investments can get you the best results. It really boils down to knowing who and what you want, then taking the smartest route to it.

And the human touch remains a key differentiator, especially when technology works with it.

An example of this comes with the challenge of moving forward with a shortlist of candidates, with a view to successful interviews and long term retention.

Ladders ThirdPage™, for example, combines technology with member interaction to collect key interview questions.

20 million questions answered so far.

This enables recruiters to gain key knowledge about an individual before sending an email or picking up a phone.

Knowledge is power. And answering the bottom line will always be less about technology than it is about intelligent choices.

Recruiter Outreach: That Personal Quality

Image saying Targeting with icons and images showing various methods.

In some circles, the term spray-and-pray covers recruiter outreach to potential job candidates in a wide variety of situations.

Essentially it’s a potentially reputation-damaging spam campaign (to the majority of recipients), in the hope of netting a couple of good prospects.

In other circles, it covers sending a job post to as many job aggregation sites as possible. The ATS system is then depended on to help sort applications that are increasingly easy to send — and which multiply in a downturn.

We’ll deal with outreach here, but in both cases the problem can be solved with just a couple of easy upfront investments.

Outreach Personalization

If there’s one thing most recruiters have going for them its personality. Gregarious, fast on their feet, discerning, and always easy to talk to.

Pride in these strengths is the first step to investing a little time into the resources that are almost always at your disposal.

Personalization of approach is about personal style.

Imagine the difference between receiving a generic email and one that greets you with an upbeat reference to some achievement you’ve earned. Something you and the sender have in common.

Or any personal reference — probably pulled in a matter of seconds from a social media profile.

It might be a professional connection, a shared school, hobby or virtually anything that stands out. That message says: “I’m reaching out because you made a genuine impression.”

This includes the subject line, to win that initial open.

Using the person’s name (obvious), along with current company, some achievement, or anything else that shows you know them, is potent:

John, your work at {{company}} has gained attention.

This small effort is the best investment a recruiter can make.

In fact it can be the antithesis of the foot-in-the-door technique. It triggers Dr. Robert B. Cialdini’s groundbreaking 6 Principles of Influence:

Reciprocity — the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit.

Your recipient feels complimented. You are clearly writing a personal message. You know something about her. And you are impressed enough to reach out.

The recipient knows you did your homework. You spelled the name right. Heck, you’ve probably been showing the profile around, with various important heads nodding and smiling as they stared at it.

Your recipient is now warm inside and feels you deserve time and effort.

And what was the cost?

In another instance, you could quickly discover that a qualified expert out there is actually connected to somebody who works at your company.

You would know what to do next, right?

Because a personal email from that person would go a long way to getting a result.

Ladders as a Quality Example

Hey, if you don’t blow your own trumpet, right?

Imagine you’re tasked with a high-end position. It’s important and lands between a $400K-$500K salary range.

You bring Ladders into the picture for targeted $100K-$500K+ professionals, with resumes that spell out “expertise” “experience” and “highly qualified” at every step.

And you use Ladders Experts and pull some interesting profiles. 

Great, but results are key. So how do you optimize personalization?

Easy — make yourself invisible.

You pick any personalized talking points you’ve discovered. You draft an email. Then you talk to a key hiring manager about putting her name and picture with it.

Back to another principle of persuasion — authority.

Now the personalized correspondence, with personal touches, comes from the authority figure. 

Instant compliment. Instant personalized experience.

Your win is your smart thinking — your strategy.

Every small investment of time and effort pays back in a potentially major way.

And every smart thing you do that isn’t spray-and-pray protects your reputation and your company’s reputation.

Also, any extra effort you put into areas such as networking and relationship building will reward you with great ROI. 

Ladders makes it easy for its recruiters to create their own member profiles on Ladders, for example, and encourages them to do that. So here’s our recommended mantra:

Personalization is productivity. Results earn rewards.

Job Expertise & Engagement

So taking a few minutes to find a personal way to connect is an easy investment. Approaching through a relevant connection or a hiring manager is a smart tactic when applied properly.

As is knowing your target’s field.

A little research into the field you’re recruiting for is always a good idea. Maybe there are upheavals or new innovations there that people are talking about, or worried about.

However, acting like you too are an expert is going too far. Maybe you’re aware of something via friend in the field, for example.

Your target now feels you respect him as a professional.

Maybe certain approaches don’t work well with certain professionals: being overtly positive and upbeat with journalists or PR people could lead to guardedness and mistrust, for example.

We shouldn’t indulge in stereotypes, but we should respect the kind of work performed and the culture that goes with it. It can shape the way professionals respond.

Cold-calling is a thing of the past. Personalization is everything.

Small investments do gain great rewards

And when good people, who you very quickly built something of a relationship with, don’t work out for a position, make sure you keep their details and throw them a friendly line for others.

Because relationship building is as personal as it gets.

Quality Job Candidates for Hiring Teams

Image shows a recruiter picking a digital job candidate from a screen.

Tough times for job candidates demand targeted solutions for recruiters.

Calm over chaos. Calculation over confusion. Strategy over stress.

Spray-and-Pray for yesterday. Aim-and-Hit for today and every day.

Easily said, right?

So let’s look at a sourcing resource for recruiters.

One that’s designed to cut out time-wasting job candidates. And attract talent that matters.

Talent with enthusiasm, experience, and expertise.

Full Access to Experts


An ATS system is essentially technology’s answer to a problem it created.

That’s because the internet made job applications super simple.

In a downturn, eagerness to get ahead can heavily outweigh expertise.

And your ATS can only do so much.

Consequently, surfing, sifting and sorting becomes the daily grind.

And it’s a sloppy solution to a growing problem.

However, talent attraction by fine-targeting combines technology with strategy.

This encourages high-end results — with a full access advantage.

Additionally, it’s easy.

Which doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with eagerness or enthusiasm.

Combine them with experience and expertise and you have the perfect job candidate package.

For example, a professional full access job candidate package like this:

7 million users pre-assessed and targeted as active or passive $100K-$500K+ job seekers. Answering recruiter long term or short term needs.

15 years’ experience on average — no enthusiastic amateurs targeted, just professionals.

 92% with a bachelor’s degree; 45% with a master’s degree. Educated and proactive.

$154K median member income — expertise meets achievement meets results.

360 million Ladders News opens per year — high-end engagement from experts.

On the other hand, you could be targeting up-and-coming professionals in the $80K-$100K range.

This need is also answered in Ladders’ rarified space.

Big Date With Big Data


Knowledge is power.

So access to big data is collated to cover a specific candidate area. And targeted to answer detailed recruiter job needs. Providing a powerhouse solution.

Let’s unpack that.

A Full Access License from Ladders enables a deep data dive for recruiters:

Unlimited search — the complete Ladders database of professional experts.

Unlimited job posts — targeted to the high-end experts who fit your needs.

Unlimited resume downloads — search-and-save, contact info, and desired salary.

Third Page™ data — 20 million answers to key interview questions from members.

Advanced search – fine-targeting with Boolean search options (and support).

Resume Preview — fast assessments with a resume preview in search results.

ATS connectivity — optimized processing management and fast job delivery.

XML connectivity — easy, automated job post management across systems.

Email alerts — inbox backup, suggested candidates based on saved searches and more.

Success Management — easy access to live support across all recruiter needs.

Tap2Call on mobile — one-tap dialing for busy recruiters who are on the move.

Candidates, Careers & Craft


Spray-and-Pray is history.

The new normal means evolving with the times.

So rather than placing all bets on technology, technology is incorporated into a focused strategy.

Big data is broken down based on needs, then targeted.

Optimization enhances productivity.

Time saved equals gains.

Technology and strategy combine for fine-targeting. Fast results. And great outcomes.

And quality selection equals retention.

Expert candidates are matched to careers based on your craft, honed for efficiency.

Aim-and-Hit is the future — and, of course, that started already.

Ready to turn this downturn around?