Offshore research – how to make it win for you

It was 3 year ago when I was first contacted by an offshore research firm in India. 

Several of my sole-operator clients loved our software tools, but they did not have the manpower to make effective use of the powerful technology.  Our clients hired the offshore firm to run the software for them.   As it helped with client retention, I worked out a deal to train the offshore researchers.  My relationship was still with my client and I was able to observe and learn from afar.  Offshore research can pay huge dividends, but it can also cost you if you don’t what you are getting yourself into.  Here are some rules of thumb that I learned from success and failures.

1. Offshore research is a service, not a technology offering.  It’s not about efficiency or cost savings, it’s about relationship.  The offshore firm should have service, service and service in their DNA.  

2. Don’t treat people like a number.  This sounds like common sense, the golden rule, etc.  However, somehow the terms “offshore” or “remote” has a tendency to depersonalize the relationship.  Don’t let that happen.

3. Use their real name.  If one of your offshore contacts name is Rajaranan,  don’t call him Joe, Bob, or Peter.  Call centers started this protocol of giving foreign workers western names. This may work for a call centers, but it is a poor idea for someone you work with on a long term basis.  Use their real name, insist on it, you might butcher it, but they will respect you more than if you call then Jimmy.

4.  Beware of the over-emphasis on “dedicated” researcher.   Want to know a dirty secret?   Offshore firms are absolutely notorious for placing 2 workers on 3 accounts.  When I learned about this, I was livid.  Plain and simple, this is dishonest, and corrupt.  If the price is too good to be true, you’ve got a 2 for 3 situation.

5.  Have a plan.  If you cannot articulate what your current process is.  It will be hard for a researcher to achieve any level of success. 

6.  Make time.  In the recruitment arena, an offshore researcher will take about 15 minutes per day of your time to manage them.  Sometimes more and sometimes less. Be prepared.

7. Beware of metered results.  If you are getting 8-10 resumes per day, every day…something is wrong.  When I was a recruiter, some days I would get nothing and some days I would get a windfall of candidates.   Wake up and smell the appeasement.  This is usually a symptom of firms that do the 2 for 3 trick. Don’t except it, call them on it.

8.  Undergo a process audit.  Before connecting a new client with a remote researcher, Broadlook performs a technology and process audit.  This has been critical for our clients to understand what their current processes are, and what resources they have to accomplish their goals. 

 9.  Have defined timelines for each task and a weekly schedule outlining what they should do and when.  This is more important at the beginning stages.

10. Know how to do their job.  This will give you insight into how long repetitive tasks will take and will allow you should budget for them. 

11.  Host onsite.  With todays technology there is no reason for research to be done on a terminal thousands of miles away.  Set up an in-house research station and give them remote access to it.   You can use logmein for free to accomplish this.

12.  Watch them work.  Requires in-house research station, but wow, you can really tell something about someone’s efficiency by watching them work for an hour.

13.  Work with several firms.  When I compared results of one firm against another, I was surprised.  All firms are not equal.

14.  Get a referral.  If you need recruitment research done, don’t use a firm that does offshore mapping services.  Most firms will take any business they can get.  Make sure you are picking a firm that specialized.

15. Check certifications, training and tenure.  Insist on a researcher with at least six months of experience.  If you have multiple researchers, it is ok to have a new person as long as the team lead is a veteran.  All researchers I work with go through Broadlook’s certification program.

Donato Diorio is a leading authority on Internet Research.  Donato is the Founder & CEO with Broadlook Technologies, a firm that “Leverages the Internet” for recruitment, sales and marketing research. Thousand of companies worldwide use Broadlook’s recruiting software.

Building your own data silo – a growing trend

Massive online databases vs. individually siloed data…lets take a look.

There is a movement going on, right now.  Companies are starting to abandon large subscription databases and building their own silos of data.  Why?

Lets first examine the general trend of technology.  When a new technology first gets introduced, it tends to be (1) more complex, (2) more expensive and (3) centralized.  Job Boards for example. First there were the large boards like headhunder and Monster.com, next niche job boards, and then large corporate job boards.  Now even small recruiting firms post their own job postings on their own web sites.   The trend once a technology matures is (1) less complex (2) less expensive and (3) ubiquitous and decentralized.  Less complex because the technology is streamlined and reengineered and less expensive and decentralized due to technology improvements and economies of scale.

Watching this trend has been one of my hobbies, it’s universal like the 80-20 rule.  It’s time to give it a name.  Expensive-Niche-Decentralized or E-N-D. 

An entire series of technologies that follow the END trend.  Web based CRM is also starting to follow this curve.   Salesforce.com = the early days of monster.com.  In the last few years, many new CRM’s specific to vertical markets have sprung up.  Recently there is a movement to self-hosted web based CRM.  SugarCRM is open source and Microsoft CRM can be hosted in-house.   CRM, even web-based, is decentralizing.

Ignoring this trend is eqivilant to putting your head in the sand regarding Moore’s law, Kryder’s law, or Nielsen’s law.

What are the variables that will cause data siloing to follow END?

Continue reading Building your own data silo – a growing trend

Broadlook Diver integrated with Google Desktop Search

Quick post today.  We recently completed testing on Broadlook DIVER with support for Google Desktop Search.  You can now use Diver to search the web for contacts AND, leveraging Google Desktop Search, you can now search files, emails, and documents on your computer and network.  

The Diver integration allows you to actually do something with the information found by Google.  Most recruiters have 1000’s of resumes sitting around on their hard drive.  Let Google Desktop Search index them, and Diver extract them.   I’m looking for final phase testers.  First 5 Diver users to call me, get a week headstart on the rest.  Press release will be later in the week.  Search gurus…start your engines.

The INC 500 (2006) – A dead list…and why

Most lists are just plain dead.  I waited until December before posting this blog.  Back in Jan 2007, I went to inc.com to review the INC 500 list from 2006.  What I found astonished me.  About 25% of the companies listed did not have a website.  I fired up one of Broadlook’s skunk works tools (Grinder) and quickly found out …that out of 500 companies, I could find a website for 496 of them.  This was right after the list went online.   Keep in mind that the INC list is high-touch. Each company gets interviewed..the works.  Yet at the time of publication, the most important piece of information to learn about a company, the website URL was missing.

Fast forward to Dec 2007:  I just checked:  The list has not been updated.  The list is dead.  Dead. Dead. Dead.

This is why real-time data is soooo important.  If you work with data from online directories, expect it to be dead too.  

Breathelife into a dead list.  Using Broadlook tools Eclipse to pull the list in seconds and Grinder to fill in the missing URL’s, I now have a living, breathing list.  I can run this list through Profiler and get 5, 10, 50 or 100’s of contacts per company.   These names are not going to be found in online databases.  Strategic advantage, all from a dead list.

For those of you who have Broadlook’s Eclipse, I’ve included the “enhanced” INC 500 list at the end of the post, with the missing URL’s filled in.  You can capture it with the “Get table” command in about 5 seconds.

Continue reading The INC 500 (2006) – A dead list…and why