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Dot-jobs Gets First Use as Katrina Job Board

September 26, 2005
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Just days after Hurricane Katrina left much of the Gulf Coast flooded and uninhabitable, the nation’s job boards began to offer free listings to companies willing to hire workers left unemployed by the disaster. Within a matter of weeks, so many hurricane job sites have sprung up that it has created a chaotic situation for employer and job seeker alike, prompting one of the largest job boards to call for a coordinated plan in the event of future disasters.

Monster’s Maria Battaglia says the company will “reach out to our brethren” in the coming weeks to consider how “to unify efforts in future disasters.” Battaglia, vice president of marketing and communication for Monster, says there was no coordination among the job sites in part because the decision to do something to help Katrina evacuees was spontaneous, and in part because no one had previously considered providing this kind of aid in a disaster.

She calls Monster’s own relief site “a labor of love.” While the immediate focus is on offering jobs and making résumés available to employers at no charge, Battaglia says Monster will be developing a database of volunteers who can be called upon in future disasters. Volunteers will be able to list their skills in the way job seekers now list qualifications. When relief agencies need particular skills, they’ll be able to dip into the database to find volunteers who have them.

CareerBuilder, which snagged a dot-jobs address, katrina.jobs, for its own relief site, has talked with Monster about coordinating efforts and was “open to the possibility of having discussions,” a company spokeswoman says.

Owned by three of the country’s largest media groups, CareerBuilder decided to launch its job site shortly after the extent of the hurricane’s devastation became known. “Everybody had this feeling we were in a unique situation--that we were uniquely placed to help (displaced workers) find jobs,” said Richard Castellini, vice president of consumer marketing.

Katrina.jobs marks the first use of the new domain as well as the first bending of the rules by Employ Media, which manages the dot-jobs registry for sponsor the Society for Human Resource Management.

When the dot-jobs address was created, the rules that were approved permitted only a company’s own jobs to be posted to the site. Starbucks.jobs would list jobs at the coffee company, and Monster.jobs would list jobs working for Monster. Only the company’s own name could be used in the address.

Recruitment consultant Gerry Crispin says he doesn't like the idea that out of the thousands of commercial job boards, Employ Media decided to give the katrina.jobs address to one job board. “There are about a dozen different ways this could have been done,” he says. “They (Employ Media) picked about the worst possible way. It breaks the rules before we even get started. So now, what are they going to do next time?”

Thomas Embrescia, CEO of Employ Media, understands the criticism, but is unmoved. “From a humanitarian standpoint it made sense (to issue the address). We made no money on it. They (CareerBuilder) don’t own it. I would make the same decision again.”

However, Embrescia says he will ask the recruitment community and the job boards to help come up with guidelines for the future. “I don’t believe anyone ever thought about this before. I don’t know of anyone who anticipated this kind of need. But now we do, so let’s get everyone together and look at how this will work.”

--John Zappe

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