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Management and Leadership

AllianceQ: This Résumé Pool Is Getting Deep

In a potential blow to headhunters and a boost to managers seeking to slash recruiting costs, 35 large companies have begun pooling job candidates through a consortium known as AllianceQ. Those passed over by one company are invited to submit their résumés to the AllianceQ database. Member businesses, including Best Buy (BBY), Allstate (ALL), and Bayer (BAYRY), can tap into the pool, cutting out search firms and job boards. "It's a no-brainer," says Phil Hendrickson, a recruiting manager at member company Starbucks (SBUX). AllianceQ was formed by QuietAgent, the Chicago-based software firm behind the database. It now has 300,000 résumés and is adding 27,000 a month. Those numbers should increase starting July 15, when AllianceQ opens its doors to all companies. For big member companies, which QuietAgent hopes will top out at 100, access to the database will remain free. By mid-2010, all other users will have to pay $35 a hire.

Member companies say AllianceQ doesn't yet host enough candidates to replace other resources. But they do like offering more than a flat rejection. "A lot of places you apply, it's thank you and goodbye," says Amy Borrell, who manages staffing at New Orleans-based utility Entergy (ETR). "This is a little more of a soft landing."

Care About Karma? Avoid Ad Hype in India

How can businesses avoid bad karma in India? Don't overpromise to Indian consumers. That's the advice from a team of business school professors in a new study. They say multinationals too often recycle Western ads in India, complete with hyperbolic claims about product quality or performance.

Puffery like that may fly in other countries, where it's often discounted by a skeptical public, but not in India. The reason, says the study, has to do with karma itself. Many Indians believe that a person's conduct today decides his reward or punishment in the future, and that the same notion should guide companies. One result: Indian consumers think people—and companies—will be less likely to stretch the truth, says Praveen K. Kopalle, a professor at Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business and study co-author. "They're more likely to believe the ads they see," he says. In research using ads for a fictional tire company, Kopalle found Indian consumers more willing to trust product claims than those in the West and in China.

Ads in India should depict products realistically, he says: "Do not overstate your claims."

This LinkedIn Feature Could Be Treacherous

Thinking of writing a recommendation for that star employee to round out her LinkedIn profile? Think again.

A feature on the social networking site that allows users to write flattering posts about others' work has become a popular way to shower praise on professional contacts—and to draw accolades for oneself. But employment lawyers warn that managers who do this for their own reports should be careful. Wayne Pinkstone, a partner at Fisher & Phillips in Philadelphia, says that if official performance reviews strike a different tone, the LinkedIn recommendation could be used by plaintiffs' lawyers in discrimination or termination cases that put an employee's performance at issue. "I suspect that over the next couple of years we're going to see lawyers mining these social networking sites for evidence to support their claims," Pinkstone says.

While Pinkstone doesn't suggest a blanket prohibition, he says managers should make sure any LinkedIn recommendations match up with what's said in HR-sanctioned reviews.

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