e-view: Out-of-work dotcom experts worth a risk

raft of dotcom refugees are available and could bring a new verve and vigour to
your company, says Gerry O’Keefe. So why are UK employers ignoring them?

demise of dotcom businesses is leading to a flood of extremely talented senior
executives on to the job market. But this talent is in danger of being ignored
by established companies which tend to stigmatise them as unstable failures.

of them have CVs and blue-chip experience you would kill for, but they have
been turned from superstars to pariahs in only 12 months. There is a real
opportunity for the more enlightened, traditional companies to recruit some of
the best people from the new economy, but the market is being quite harsh on

the corporate level, major companies have been prepared to take on the best the
dotcom sector has to offer. One only has to consider current rumours about
Amazon and Wal-Mart and the acquisitions of Buy.com by John Lewis, Jungle by
GUS and Streetsonline by Kingfisher to recognise that. So why not adopt a
similar strategy at the personal recruitment level?

concerned that UK plcs may be in danger of reverting to type. For a spell we
almost had a US attitude to risk-taking and entrepreneurship. Now traditional
employers are suspicious of someone who has tried and failed. Some may have had
three jobs in 18 months and that is seen as a sign of instability. But they
have been on a steep learning curve and have got an awful lot to offer.

can understand major companies believing that former "dotcommers"
will never readjust to the less free-wheeling style of conventionally run
businesses. Certainly the dotcommers have to recognise that they should adjust
their style, tone down their all-conquering, macho approach and reduce their
growth and budget expectations.

if you can harness their energy, enthusiasm and enterprise, rather than stifle
it, they could inject important new ideas, dynamism and vigour into your
business. Ignore them at your peril.

O’Keefe is a consultant at global executive search firm Boyden

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