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  • Accolo’s John Younger Speaks about Life as an Entrepreneur

    July 29, 2009
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    Learn what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur – and the trials and tribulations of realizing your vision.

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  • SF Chronicle’s Three Questions to John Younger, CEO

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    CEO, John Younger, interviewed by SF Chronicle on July 19, 2009

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  • Accolo Names Ray Rike as VP of Sales and Marketing

    July 7, 2009
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    “We are lucky to have his proven experience, energy and ability to drive results at Accolo.”

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  • Catch the Recruiting Technology Wave

    June 15, 2009
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    “The combination of John’s passion, enthusiasm and knowledge will ensure delegates are in for a high octane, thought provoking session.”

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  • Tapping the talent pool … without drowning in resumes.

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    Despite the massive layoffs dominating the headlines, plenty of companies are still hiring. But doing one’s part to lower the unemployment rate can present some challenges. Just ask Raising Cane’s, a chain of 80 fast-food restaurants that booked sales of about $140 million in a single year. The Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based company, which has 3,500 employees, recently decided to open another office in Dallas. To staff it, Clay Dover, the company’s president, needed to hire 32 people, including a receptionist and a human resources manager. Dover’s first step was to post the positions on major online job boards such as Monster and CareerBuilder.com to tap that talent pool. He also bought ads in The Dallas Morning News and on local radio stations. Within days, the company had received more than 10,000 resumes, so many that Dover wound up hiring a local recruiting firm to help him screen and interview the applicants.

    “We wanted to find the very best people, so we cast as wide a net as we possibly could,” says Dover, who ended up paying the recruiter a six-figure fee. “But it didn’t take us long to realize that we wouldn’t be able to handle it alone.”

    Unfortunately, not every business has the deep pockets to enlist a recruiter to sift through all those thousands of resumes. Here are some tips and tools that do-it-yourselfers can use to take advantage of the employer’s market without getting buried under a stack of resumes.

    TAP YOUR INDUSTRY TALENT POOL

    Using online job boards that target a particular industry or city is an easy way to reduce the number of applicants that are either unqualified or too far away. Jobing.com, for example, maintains 41 city-specific job sites in 19 states, and Beyond.com hosts more than 15,000 industry-specific communities in which employers can post jobs and view resumes. SnagAJob.com’s niche is hourly jobs. Many job boards now let companies create automated e-mail responses and draft prescreening questions that help whittle down the number of resumes. Eggsprout.com, a Seattle job board, uses an algorithm to recommend candidates, similar to the way Amazon.com recommends books based on past purchases. No matter where you post openings, try to clearly specify a job’s requirements. That way, says Shawn Boyer, CEO of SnagAJob, “you set the candidate’s expectations, and you won’t get as inundated with applicants.”

    GO FOR A KNOCKOUT

    Not so long ago, only big companies could afford applicant tracking software, which makes life easier by compiling candidates into a searchable database. Today, however, there are many inexpensive options for small and midsize companies. Web-based programs from Taleo, NuView Systems, and HireMojo, for example, are designed to accept resumes and automate much of the screening process. NuView, which costs about $6 to $15 per month per user, can instantly ask candidates questions when they submit a resume, such as, “What is your level of education?” Certain answers can be set up as “knockouts,” says Shafiq Lokhandwala, the company’s CEO, meaning that if a candidate doesn’t give the desired answer, the software will send an e-mail that all but says, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

    SCORE YOUR TALENT POOL

    One popular way of screening candidates is to test skills early in the application process. There are online tests that assess an applicant’s typing speed, proficiency at QuickBooks accounting, or even ability to sell over the phone. Companies such as PreVisor and Kenexa offer close to 1,000 online assessments, with prices ranging from a couple of bucks to $50 a test. By evaluating your talent pool in this manner, you can greatly reduce the time it takes you to go through all of the resumes.

    EMPLOYEE REFERRAL PROGRAMS

    Tapping friends and employees for recommendations is a time-honored hiring approach, and social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and MySpace have made it easier than ever to mine company contacts. Some employers, like Kevin Mercuri, president of Propheta Communications, a public relations firm in New York City, are turning exclusively to their social networks to fill open positions. Mercuri, who stopped running ads on Craigslist after being inundated with resumes, now announces job openings through LinkedIn. “I get people vouching for each applicant, so I don’t have to spend hours sorting through resumes,” he says.

    USE VIDEO RECORDINGS TO SLIM DOWN YOUR TALENT POOL

    Too many interviews, too little time? Have candidates interview themselves first. InterviewStream, a company based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, records online video interviews for about $30 to $60 a pop. It works like this: The candidate receives an e-mail invitation with a link. When he or she clicks on the link, a video pops up with an interviewer who asks prerecorded questions chosen by the company. The candidate’s answers are captured via webcam. Employers have the option of allowing candidates to review and rerecord their answers. Hiring managers can go through the videos at their convenience.

    A similar service, VoiceScreener, from HarQen, a Milwaukee-based start-up, conducts automated phone interviews. Employers prerecord questions, and candidates are given about three minutes to answer. The audio responses are compiled online. Hiring managers can listen to them, make notes, and share therewith others. VoiceScreener is still in free beta testing, but Kelly Fitzsimmons, HarQen’s CEO, plans to charge a monthly fee. “We’ve made it easier for employers to evaluate personality instead of just a piece of paper,” she says.

    Need an administrative assistant? 
    
    Prepare to be deluged. According to the job-listings site Beyond.com, these
    professions saw the largest increases in resume postings in the past year. 
    
    CLERICAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE     182.69%
    CUSTOMER SERVICE                 90.56%
    LEGAL SERVICES                   61.06%
    HUMAN RESOURCES                  41.78%
    MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS         30.15% 
    
    Note: Table made from bar graph.
  • Keiretsu Forum to Launch Newest Angel Investment Chapter in New York City on March 31.

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    The nation’s largest angel investor group, Keiretsu Forum, is set to take wing in New York City on March 31 with the launch of a New York/Tri-state chapter. The new chapter’s inaugural meeting will take place March 31 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Midtown Manhattan office of law firm Duane Morris LLP (see also Keiretsu Forum).

    Keiretsu Forum, founded in 2000, has 750 members in 17 chapters on three continents. Members invest in a broad range of opportunities including technology, life sciences, real estate, media, entertainment and other industry sectors with high growth potential. Individual members decide on their own which companies to back and provide early stage capital in the range of $250k to $2m.

    “Membership in Keiretsu Forum offers investors the opportunity to qualify and invest in emerging businesses, high quality and diverse deal flow and a collaborative business and social experience. In addition, we devote attention to philanthropic endeavors,” says Keiretsu founder and CEO Randy Williams. “We look forward to welcoming the New York community with the launch of our Northeast Corridor chapters.”

    Larry Chaityn, a senior partner at consulting firm, True North Global Partners will serve as co-president of the new chapter.

    “By launching Keiretsu Forum in the New York/Tri-state area, we will support the expansion of East Coast entrepreneurs and new businesses, as well as provide the opportunity for area angel investors to see companies that have presented at other chapters worldwide,” said Chaityn.

    The March 31 kick-off event will include: an overview of Keiretsu Forum; featured speaker Jack Devine, a 35-year veteran of the CIA; and presentations from the following entrepreneurs of early stage companies: Brian Ruby, CEO, Carbon Nanoprobes; John Younger, CEO, Accolo; Ed Alfke, CEO, Signalink; and David Light, CEO, PakSense.

    Admission is by invitation only and all attendees must be accredited investors. Interested investors should contact Keiretsu Forum New York Co-President Membership Director Todd Foulks at tfoulks@keiretsuforum.com.

    Keiretsu Forum welcomes inquiries from potential angel investors interested in joining any of the 17 chapters worldwide as well as from new companies who wish to be considered for investment. Details are at www.keiretsuforum.com

    Keywords: Keiretsu Forum.

    This article was prepared by Science Letter editors from staff and other reports. Copyright 2009, Science Letter via NewsRx.com.

  • Corporate executioners sharing the pain of job cuts.

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    One personnel manager wakes in despair at 4am, worried about the employees in her company. Another boss has to remind himself to eat right and exercise so that he can handle the stress. A third says he has had tears in his eyes for months.

    They are the bearers of bad news, the Grim Reapers, the corporate executioners, the office hatchet men. They’re the ones whose job is to tell employees they have been laid off. And these days, they’re miserable, too.

    “It takes a huge amount of energy to ensure I don’t get emotional,” said Wendy Mahle, the human resources manager at Sunrise-based Perfumania, which just laid off 95 employees because it is moving its headquarters to New York’s Long Island.

    “If I started crying, that wouldn’t help anybody.”

    US employers slashed 651,000 jobs in February, even more than analysts expected. When the monthly numbers come out, the focus is on the newly unemployed. Less attention is paid to the stress levels of those delivering the news. And they want it known they aren’t all cold-hearted, script-reading drones who don’t care about the people they are cutting loose.

    Marty Flaska of Hoist Liftruck in Bedford Park, Illinois, was the kind of company owner who befriended his employees. For years, he would joke on the factory floor with the machinists and welders. Now the smile is gone.

    His company, which makes forklifts, has gone from 330 employees six months ago to 79. Flaska has given pink slips to each laid-off employee, often to people whose children he has seen grow from toddlers to teens.

    “I had tears in my eyes for months on end,” said Flaska, 48. “Some of these people have worked for me for 16 years, 17 years, 18 years.”

    Bill Holmes, human resources chief for the athletic shoe manufacturer Reebok in Canton, Massachusetts, said weeks of preparation preceded the day of layoffs. Holmes, 46, said he tried to be ready by eating and sleeping right and getting his exercise.

    His job, he said, was to make sure employees knew why they were being laid off and what the company was offering in severance and assistance in finding a new job.

    “It’s a very tricky dynamic,” Holmes said. “There’s pride for the professionalism with which you do your job. There’s profound sadness based upon what it is that you had to do.”

    During the layoff meeting, Holmes listens to the employee and says he is “firm and clear” about why and how the decision was made. What he doesn’t do: Utter hollow phrases like, “I know how you feel.” Reactions from workers include shock, denial, anger and sadness, and Holmes braces himself for the question everyone asks: “Why me?” Mass layoffs of the sort undertaken at Reebok can be easier for employees to take because they seem less personal, he said.

    For John Younger, chief executive of Accolo, a recruitment outsourcing company based in the San Francisco suburb of Larkspur, the decision to lay off a dozen of the company’s 54 employees came after a dreadful fourth quarter that saw clients stop hiring.

    “It was gut-wrenching,” Younger said. Employees were called into a room and told they would be called out one by one. Those who got the call were given the bad news individually.

    “This way the person could get their stuff, we could have the heart-to-heart, we could give them that kind of respect,” Younger said. One of the people he let go was second in seniority to Younger. “I was tearing up more than he was,” Younger said. “He was like, `It’s okay. I’ll be okay’.”

    Mahle, the 49-year-old vice-president of human resources at Perfumania, said she woke up in the middle of the night, and had also stopped eating lunch. When she did eat, it was usually something bad for her, like a chocolate bar. She couldn’t relax at home because she was usually working on her laptop or worrying.

    “If this were three years ago, I would have said that a lot of these folks were going to have new jobs before their severance package ran out,” Mahle said. “But this year, in this economy?”

    Employees understand that it has been tough for her, too, Mahle said.

    “It’s not like I’m being treated like I’m a hatchet lady,” she said. “People have actually come up and hugged me. They say, `I’m sorry you have to do this’.” _AP

  • Managers who deliver bad news are stressed, too

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    By TAMARA LUSH The Associated Press One personnel manager wakes in despair at 4 a.m., worried about the employees in her company. Another boss has to remind himself to eat right and exercise so that he can handle the stress. A third says he has had tears in his eyes for months.

    They are the bearers of bad news, the Grim Reapers, the corporate executioners, the office hatchet men. They’re the ones whose job is to tell employees they have been laid off. And these days, they’re miserable, too. “It takes a huge amount of energy to ensure I don’t get emotional,” said Wendy Mahle, the human resources manager at Sunrise-based Perfumania, which just laid off 95 employees because it is moving its headquarters to New York’s Long Island. “If I started crying, that wouldn’t help anybody.” American employers slashed 651,000 jobs in February, even more than analysts expected. When the monthly numbers come out, the focus is on the newly unemployed. Less attention is paid to the stress levels of those delivering the news. And they want it known they aren’t all cold-hearted, script-reading drones who don’t care about the people they are cutting loose. Marty Flaska of Hoist Liftruck in Bedford Park was the kind of company owner who befriended his employees. For years, he would joke on the factory floor with the machinists and welders. Now the smile is gone, the small talk rare. His company, which makes forklifts, has gone from 330 employees six months ago to 79 now. Flaska has personally given pink slips to each laid-off employee, often to people whose children he has seen grow from toddlers to teens. “I had tears in my eyes for months on end,” said Flaska, 48. “Some of these people have worked for me for 16 years, 17 years, 18 years.” Bill Holmes, human resources chief for the athletic shoe manufacturer Reebok in Canton, Mass., said weeks of preparation precede the day of layoffs. Holmes, 46, said he tries to be mentally and physically ready by eating and sleeping right and getting his exercise. His job, he said, is to make sure employees know why they are being laid off and what the company is offering in severance and assistance in finding a new job. “It’s a very tricky dynamic,” Holmes said. “There’s pride for the professionalism with which you do your job. There’s profound sadness based upon what it is that you had to do.” During the layoff meeting, Holmes listens to the employee and says he is “firm and clear” about why and how the decision was made. What he doesn’t do: utter hollow phrases like, “I know how you feel.” Reactions from workers include shock, denial, anger and sadness, and Holmes braces himself for the question everyone asks: “Why me?” Mass layoffs of the sort undertaken at Reebok can be easier for employees to take because they seem less personal, he said. For John Younger, chief executive of Accolo, a recruitment outsourcing company based in the San Francisco suburb of Larkspur, the decision to lay off a dozen of the company’s 54 employees came after a dreadful fourth quarter that saw clients stop hiring. “It was gut-wrenching,” Younger said. Employees were called into a room and told they would be called out one by one. Those who got the call were given the bad news individually. “This way the person could get their stuff, we could have the heart-to-heart, we could give them that kind of respect,” Younger said. One of the people he let go was second in seniority to Younger. “I was tearing up more than he was,” Younger said. “He was like, `It’s OK. I’ll be OK.”‘ Mahle, the 49-year-old vice president of human resources at Perfumania, said she wakes up in the middle of the night, and has also stopped eating lunch. When she does eat, it is usually something bad for her, like a chocolate bar. She can’t relax at home because she is usually working on her laptop computer, or worrying. “If this were three years ago, I would have said that a lot of these folks were going to have new jobs before their severance package ran out,” Mahle said. “But this year, in this economy?” Employees understand that it has been tough for her, too, Mahle said. “It’s not like I’m being treated like I’m a hatchet lady,” she said. “People have actually come up and hugged me. They say, ‘I’m sorry you have to do this.”‘

  • Demandbase Launches Automated Solution to Turn Web Traffic into Sales Leads.

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    Demandbase, a leading provider of B2B customer acquisition solutions, announced the general availability of Demandbase ProfessionalO, a new software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering that enables sales and marketing professionals to better identify, reach, and convert new business. With Demandbase Professional, users will be able to utilize a new breed of B2B Web analytics to improve marketing and sales performance and turn anonymous web traffic into new sales leads. Demandbase Professional can help improve the number of B2B leads generated from a website by up to 300 percent through analytics, filtering and routing functionality that turns an anonymous website visitor into a qualified sales prospect. Demandbase Professional customers are able to identify the highest potential businesses that visit their Web sites, summarize visitor interests, and immediately access the most accurate and responsive contacts for sales or marketing follow up. The service is made possible through technology that matches web traffic to unique business offices, and then dynamically identifies the most appropriate people for follow-up from a database of more than five million business contacts. Demandbase Professional also features a new breed of B2B web analytics that allow marketing professionals to identify the business traffic within their target market and segment their traffic by company size, industry, or market sector. These detailed analytics provide marketers with powerful information to better measure marketing effectiveness by specific campaign, web page, or source.

    oBusinesses today invest heavily in driving traffic to their websites, spending a large portion of their budgets on paid search initiatives but only getting value from the less than 5 percent of visitors that convert,o said Chris Golec, CEO of Demandbase. oDemandbase Professional provides all of the tools necessary to capture the other 95+ percent of website visitors and creates an entirely new source of rich, readily convertible leads for B2B marketing and sales.o

    More than 25 customers, across multiple industries, have already subscribed to a pre-release of Demandbase Professional including Accolo, Esria, Jigsaw, Shore Consulting and University of North Carolina.

    oDemandbase gives us a way to identify and monetize the traffic we are generating from our search marketing campaigns, SEO, email, blogs, and other online marketing programs,o said Ian Shannon, Marketing Manager from Accolo, a provider of enterprise-class recruiting solutions for small and mid-size companies. oThe real difficulty in our online marketing efforts is separating our websiteEs business traffic from individuals looking for their next great job opportunity. The new service has made an immediate and measurable impact on our marketing efforts by giving us better visibility into our business traffic and providing us with a means to turn website visitors into new customers.o

    Demandbase Professional is fully integrated with the Demandbase CentralO lead generation platform, providing access to millions of validated business contacts, and the Demandbase StreamO desktop web traffic monitoring service, which provides real-time visibility into businesses visiting a website. All business contacts have been cleansed, validated, and organized according to the userEs unique preferences. Data comes from many of the worldEs largest sources including D&B, Jigsaw, Hoovers, LexisNexis, and AccuData.

    Key functionality of Demandbase Professional includes: Daily Lead Report u The Daily Lead Report shows all businesses within the customerEs target market that visited the website on the previous day. A summary of the previous dayEs activity, including a list of the best business contacts for sales and marketing follow up with, complete with contact details, is automatically delivered as a CSV file via email daily that can easily be imported into CRM or Marketing Automation systems or routed to the appropriate team for follow-up. WebLeadsO u The most relevant business contacts, or WebLeads, are presented within the Demandbase Professional application for follow-up. Business contacts include full name, title, company, industry, address, phone, and in most cases, email address. For each business, WebLeads includes the date, number of visits and pages viewed for each visit. B2B Web Analytics u Demandbase Professional provides a new breed of B2B web analytics to improve marketing and sales performance. Detailed trend reports on web traffic are displayed in an easy-to-read graphical format, revealing trends around percentage of traffic from business demographics such as specific industries or company sizes. Trends may be viewed by day, week or month. Profile Matching and Filtering u Create custom profiles defined by industry, geography and company size, then run reports detailing those visitors who match the profile, as well as the percentage of your traffic that meets the profile criteria both daily and over time. Trend Analysis u Track trends by industry, geography, company size, and target vs. non-target visitors. Trend analysis helps you measure the effectiveness of your sales and marketing campaigns, adapt to fluctuations in demand and build historical views of web traffic. Lead Routing u Easily build custom routing rules that specify which leads are routed to various individuals or groups for follow-up. For example, all West Coast leads may be automatically routed to a western territory sales representative, or auto industry leads may be routed to an industry marketing manager.

    All Demandbase products are delivered on demand, and require no hardware or software deployment so customers can get up and running in just minutes. Demandbase Professional is offered as a subscription service; pricing starts at just a few hundred dollars per month and increases based on the volume of website traffic and the number of leads generated. Companies can sign-up for a 30 day Free Trial at www.demandbase.com/freetrial . About Demandbase Demandbase is a leading provider of B2B customer acquisition solutions that enable sales and marketing professionals to better identify, reach, and convert new business. Delivered on demand through software as a service, Demandbase solutions combine the ability to identify website visitors from target businesses with an integrated database of high-quality, validated business contacts and a new breed of B2B web analytics to improve marketing and sales performance. In use at more than 1,000 companies, Demandbase helps generate more sales opportunities and drive new business. Founded in 2006, Demandbase is headquartered in San Francisco, California, and funded by Adobe Systems (NASDAQ:ADBE), Altos Ventures and Sigma Partners. For more information, please visit www.demandbase.com.

    Keywords: Technology, Data Management, Networks, Software, Communications, Marketing, Internet, Advertising, Marketing, Software, Technology, Web Traffic, World Wide Web, Demandbase.

    This article was prepared by Internet Weekly News editors from staff and other reports. Copyright 2009, Internet Weekly News via VerticalNews.com.

  • Sustainable Business Strategies and Solutions Will be Discussed at the Green Enterprise Unconference.

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    Forum One Networks, a strategy and research group specializing in communities of practice, announces advisors, sponsors and attendee companies of the Green Enterprise Unconference, which takes place in Mountain View, California on Wednesday, December 3, 2008 (see also Forum One Networks).

    “Our participant list includes senior staff from Google, Yahoo, Accolo, Positive Impact Partner, Planning for Sustainable Communities, and Goodwill Industries” says Bill Johnston, chief community officer of Forum One Networks. “It’s the perfect opportunity for sustainability professionals to network, exchange ideas, and discuss best practices to effect positive change in the enterprise.

    Advisors for the Unconference span multiple sectors, and include, Autodesk, Random House, GreenIT, and Green MBA at Dominican University of California.

    Representatives from Organic Living TV, a national PBS and commercially syndicated television series that reaches over 34 million homes each week, will be filming at the unconference and the event will be featured in the show.

    To register for the Green Enterprise Unconference, or for more information, please go to: http://www.forumonenetworks.com/green .

    The Green Enterprise Unconference is sponsored by SolutionSet and partnered with Sustainable Silicon Valley.

    For information about being considered for the advisory board of the Green Enterprise Unconference, or for information on sponsorship or partnership opportunities, please contact Bill Johnston: bjohnston@forumone.com .

    Keywords: Forum One Networks.

    This article was prepared by Science Letter editors from staff and other reports. Copyright 2008, Science Letter via NewsRx.com.