I love the Super Bowl. I love it for the party with friends, the buffalo wings, the beer, the fact that the best in their profession get the spotlight, and I even love the game. The whole event is an American Institution. But the workaholic in me loves it as well. Our industry has a real history with the Super Bowl. Monster.com was launched into the national spotlight with Super Bowl ads. One of the great business risks and successes in history in any industry. Careerbuilder had some fantastic ads in subsequent years. Remember the Chimps....."I work with a bunch of animals". I don't know that they were all that successful, but they were hilarious. Our industry was going through a huge change when the Monster ads first hit the scene. It is clear that with Social Networking, Web 2.0, and other technology that our industry is going through another huge advance. It will be very interesting for me to see what industry ads and exposure we see on Sunday.
While we have this big shift in a positive direction, we also have undoubtedly the most challenging environment for the recruiting industry ever. Somebody told me the other day that they lost a lot more money in stocks in the 2000 - 20001 tech bubble burst than they have in this downturn. That may be true, but back then it was far easier to find clients with hiring needs than it is now. We had an uptick in new positions this week. Some clients are seeing their way clear to moving forward and making key hires. However, there are still A TON of companies that are frozen by fear and uncertainty and appear to be nowhere near moving forward with hires. Current conditions are incredibly challenging for all business in America (and around the world), not just recruiting.
Those of us working with clients in various industries and hunting for new clients need to be flexible and find the strong clients and the strong industries where hiring is needed and confidence is strong enough to move forward. The Super Bowl ads for other industries should give us some indication of who can see their way to moving forward and who can't. Regular prime time and weekend advertising should be an indicator as well, but the Super Bowl is special. Will there be a lot of auto ads? Is the bailout money and current policy giving them confidence that they will survive? If not, that's not a good sign for them and all of their suppliers. What other industries have the cash to advertise and the ability to succeed in the current climate? The workaholic in me is always looking for clues. The Super Bowl spotlights that a little more and adds a little more fun to the mix.
So enjoy the Super Bowl. Listen to the stories of industries that friends and their associates are in and if there are RIFs or things are stable. Watch the ads, keep an eye out for clues. Keep the work hat partially on but, most of all, enjoy the event and all that goes with it.
Todd Kmiec & Associates
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