Archive for August, 2006

Candy floss and hip hop – a visit to the Coca-Cola Careers Expo

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

I have just come back from a visit to the 2006 Careers Expo at the Queens Wharf Events Centre in Wellington, which is on today and tomorrow. Gosh I wish I had visited an event like this when I was at school; it makes you realise the range of career, education and on-the-job learning options that’s out there. This type of event goes a long way in helping school kids and Gen Ys make an informed decision about their future.

The first thing I saw was the big army tank outside the venue, with a group of boys clambering all over it. Looked like fun. Once inside I was lost in a wave of school uniforms. I looked very out of place in my dark suit. I was then handed a flier with the words “Want a career in a hot sexy industry?” Is this a flier promoting HR or recruitment careers I wondered? Alas no, as I read on I learnt that “…hospitality is where it’s at!” I was then offered a chocolate brownie and a Golden Slumber non-alcoholic cocktail. This was the first of many assaults on my taste buds from a number of exhibitors. In the distance I saw a very popular stand – what’s the attraction I thought? Hip hop music was blaring – and it was pulling in the crowd like moths to a flame. The surrounding stands were conspicuously quiet. Is playing loud music of any genre a marketing masterstroke and a way to attract conference delegates next time you exhibit at an expo? Perhaps. Another option is to offer candy floss – the stand offering free candy floss was extremely popular.

The stands where you could interact with real-life career practitioners were popular, whether they were police officers, customs officers, defence personnel, firefighters, airline cabin crew, builders, hairdressers, or retail people. The New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants stand was popular – its posters and brochures alone, which looked fresh and surprisingly quite hip, were drawing in the crowd – check out their well put together website The 95-page Navy Careers Volume 1, with its magazine style, also stood out to me as an informative and professionally put together read. I look forward to reading volume 2.

What I noticed was a real hunger from the expo’s visitors to get the most out of the event. The information seminars on topics like medicine, professional engineering, law, architecture and the very practical student finances, were also well attended. All the exhibitors looked approachable, though some were more proactive than others in engaging with passers by. I have entered a range of competitions and look forward to winning an iPod or Xbox 360.

Maybe there is a market for a careers expo targeted at people mid-career – we do have transferrable skills you know!

Paul Jacobs

Trade Me Jobs vs Seek - the gloves are off!

Thursday, August 10th, 2006

trademe banner

It’s very interesting times indeed and I can’t wait to see how this plays out. On Tuesday morning Trade Me, New Zealand’s most frequently visited website, matched up against Seek, New Zealand’s leading jobsite. Isn’t competition great! For me, it conjures up visions of watching Kapa o Pango before the All Blacks kick off and then listening to the dulcet tones of Waltzing Matilda. Sam Morgan has already come out and said that Trade Me doesn’t enter markets to be number two. Will we see David Kirk once again hold high the winner’s cup? Will the significantly lower prices for posting a vacancy with Trade Me Jobs and a captive kiwi audience win the day? Will Seek start selling couches, hand bags, cars, property etc? Do employers and recruiters prefer the extra bells and whistles that Seek offers (at a price)? So many variables! But first an early progress score:

Seek NZ:__________17,686 job listings
Trade Me jobs:______2,487 job listings

Initial impressions:

  • My initial impression of Trade Me Jobs is its apparent simplicity and integration with the wider Trade Me site. In some ways I was expecting more and I was really hoping that they would offer job auctions. I think some of the new job boards over the past year or so have been too difficult and complex for users. The old KISS principle set by Seek and now followed by Trade Me Jobs is probably always the winner.
  • It looks like Trade Me Jobs is less interested in building up a jobseeker pool. Seek, on the other hand, encourages jobseekers to register or apply through its site in the first instance. When I have attempted to circumvent this in the past by getting the candidate to apply via a web link to a corporate vacancy page, for example, I have always come up against resistance and have even on occasion had to fork out more money. A yellow card! Thank you Trade Me Jobs for providing an alternative!
  • The browse categories and many fields on both Seek and Trade Me Jobs are extremely similar, but I personally favour the consistent, clean, less fancy template approach that Trade Me Jobs offers. Easy-to-add logos and pics are the way to go.
  • Price is going to be a major consideration (up to $49 on Trade Me Jobs for a standard 30 day listing) - do people want to pay up to three times more for a Seek listing?

I have heard that some recruitment agencies are waiting to use up their Seek job packs before shifting their business to Trade Me Jobs. I think the customer will decide who wins this battle - and actually the customer will ultimately win the war. I look forward to updating the progress score as time goes by.

Paul Jacobs