- The Washington Times - Monday, June 26, 2000

The search for qualified executives with technological and marketing experience necessary to compete is getting harder as more companies jumped into cyberspace.

Reston-based HireStrategy.com hopes its new Web site will helps its clients attract the few candidates that can help them succeed.

"Sites, like Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com have thousands of listings and applications, but only fill, I understand, less than 1 percent of the jobs posted to their site," said Paul Villella, president and CEO HireStrategy.com. "Our goal is to fill 70 to 80 percent of all jobs listed with HireStrategy.com. We need an objected source for this type of info."

All fees for HireStrategy.com are paid by the client employers and the service is free to job seekers. The pricing model has been based on the length and depth of services required by the client.

The company business model departs from other recruitment services. The biggest difference, according to Mr. Villella, is that HireStrategy.com focuses more on customer relations than transactions.

"A transaction-oriented company gets a lot of jobs and candidates, batches them together and sees what sticks on paper," Mr. Villella said. "Our team of counselors works with our employer clients to build a high-level relationship, working to understand their business and culture and then to be able to deliver employees at the mid to executive management level. It is more than filling a job order."

HireStrategy.com was created to combine cyberspace and physical storefronts. While the Web site attracts people looking for jobs in electronic commerce, HireStrategy.com delivers its core service using the human touch, a phone call.

By clicking on the Web site's Customer Service icon, users provide a phone number and then get a call back from a HireStrategy.com counselor. The counselor then interviews job seekers matching their skills and interests with available jobs.

The site offers articles on how to get plugged into the growing Internet company market, and it encourages visitors to submit their resume regardless of present job status.

HireStrategy hopes to establish a physical footprint by linking up with affiliate recruitment offices located around the country.

Mr. Villella said that recruitment offices can take advantage

of HireStrategy's three-step process that begins with HireStart, a service to help start-up companies find key executives and technological people by creating a staffing blueprint.

"We found that companies value this blueprint because it maps their business plan with the resource, timing and expected compensation requirements that they need to know in order for them to manage their expectations and the expectations of their investors," Mr. Villella said.

Another service, HireSearch, helps companies entering a second round of financing prior to their initial public offering, find new people to deploy the company strategy.

Finally, HireResource is designed to help mature companies expand their electronic capacity. All the while, HireStrategy.com continues to help fill senior and executive positions while working with internal staff in order to reduce their clients' dependence on outside recruiters.

As HireStrategy.com expands, a future revenue resource will be in the licensing of this technology for use by client companies.

Site of the week: HIRESTRATEGY.COM

Site address: www.hirestrategy.com

Recommended user group: Those looking for work and those looking for workers.

What's to like? It is impossible not to notice the various components designed to bring Web surfers, or potential applicants, back for a return visit. The segment "Career Strategy" provides free counseling, development tools, training and certification information, news articles on how to move up in a field, earn more money and find the right job.

Other features include a link to compensation calculators and the Web encyclopedia (www.webopedia.com), a place to search for definitions of Internet lingo and business terms such as "B2B," a term used more and more frequently that stands for "Business to Business."

Of interest to business owners will be the "Entrepreneur Center," located within the "New Economy" segment of the site. This includes information from start-up basics and costs to how acquire financing. The site also offers help developing a business plan.

Training and certification is offered by Brainbench.com (www.brainbench.com) and, for individuals in the Washington area, there is information on free training and seminars hosted by Microsoft's Mid-Atlantic division.

What's not to like? According to Mr. Villella, the low annual salary for positions HireStrategy.com fills averages $85,000 with many positions in the $150,000 to $200,000 per year range. The service this group offers is vastly different from other job search engines, but the look does not reflect this difference.

A corporate Web site's front page serves the same purposes as a company brochure. It's goal is to entice the user to look deeper, turn a page or click an icon, to find out more information and ultimately use that company's service or buy their product.

While the HireStrategy.com Web site is technically sound and easy to navigate, I found nothing to tell me that this site will fulfill the needs of employers or job seekers, that it focuses on emerging electronic companies or companies with a competitive Web site presence.

The site does offer information about companies under the folder tab HireSolution, but for some reason this tab does not appear until after the front page.

Plenty of Links to go around: Enhancing this site's "stickiness" are its links to community organizations designed to assist electronic entrepreneurs and new business.

• Netpreneur.org found at (www.netpreneur.org) is a nonprofit organization created to advance Greater Washington's entrepreneurs.

• The new Media Society (www.newmediasociety.org) focuses on the business and marketing aspects of new media, concentrating on the Internet.

• Have an interesting site? Write to Joseph Szadkowski at the Business Browser, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002; call 202/636-3016; or e-mail ([email protected]).

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