Dear Editor,Many vacancy advertisements in the local media seem to ignore some basic criteria of cost effective advertising such as the need to catch the attention of potential candidates and to attract a sufficient number of applicants to facilitate a competitive selection process.Newspaper advertising is undoubtedly the most popular but is not the only method for achieving such objectives; trade journals, radio, TV, in-house and word-of-mouth come readily to mind; and, in today’s fast-paced, ubiquitous, electronic communication, we cannot ignore the cost-free Social Media as perhaps the best means of getting our messages across. Newspaper ads are expensive and must therefore be properly used to achieve cost-benefit effectiveness.A review of all the Vacancy ads appearing in all the local newspapers last Sunday reveals many ‘malpractices’.For example: using the routine ‘clerical’ or ‘defensive’ approach by replicating details from the Job Descriptions and regurgitating the Job Specifications instead of studiously internalising and smartly projecting the essential aspects of the job and applying some ‘marketing’ techniques/approaches to sell it.In this context, it must be realised that people who are happy and challenged in their current positions do not normally ‘look out’ for vacancy ads, yet these are the very people who should be targeted in any serious ad; hence the need for the ‘marketing’ vs the ‘bureaucratic’ approach. (Notwithstanding, it must also be cautioned that the essential focus of an ad must not be lost in verbiage that is confusing; there is a clear example of such confusion in a lengthy ad appearing in last Sunday’s Chronicle where a major corporation confused the search for ‘a person’ to market an asset with ‘the asset’ itself!.Another trend from the review of last Sunday’s ads is the insensitivity to ‘balance’ in that ads for routine clerical functions were given the high prominence and costly space typically reserved for relatively senior professionals heading up major organisational functions. Another major corporation, guilty of this remiss, has been repeating the said ad all of this week.A rather offensive practice is to include at the bottom of ads a note to the effect that “only shortlisted applications will be acknowledged”! What is the purpose or value of such an insulting, off-putting, note? I can think of no better way to deter good applications. It cannot be that the cost or burden of acknowledging all applications is a factor in this e-mail age.It is also worth noting that sometimes (for example for confidentiality/or to avoid undue speculations) it might be better to use a professional ‘head-hunter’ or for the HR Manager and other senior executives to assume the role of typical head hunters instead of always adopting the conventional recruitment processes.Yours truly,Nowrang Persaud
NEW YORK Like many college students, Andrew Favreau finds shopping for textbooks to be a challenge. “Most people don’t think about it, but the cost of textbooks is huge,” said Favreau, 26, who is studying part time for a master’s in business administration at DePaul University in Chicago. While most families factor rising costs for tuition and room and board into their college budgets, they often overlook the increasingly hefty bill for books. The College Board, which tracks college pricing trends, estimates that students spend about $940 a year on books and supplies. “An absolute best-seller – and there are few – would sell 40,000 editions a year,” he said. Teachers have options At the same time, some textbooks are “incredibly expensive to produce,” especially math and science texts that require frequent revisions. Hildebrand also pointed out that it is professors who decide which textbooks they want their students to use – and that they often have a lot of options. “Take introductory psychology, a very popular course,” Hildebrand said. “There are currently 216 different introductory psychology books on sale, and prices at retail range from $22.50 to $125.” Still, he said, publishers were trying to respond to calls for lower-cost texts, producing some in black-and-white instead of color, offering split texts – half now, half later – for some courses, even customizing compilations for some professors. Jennifer Libertowski, spokeswoman for the National Association of College Stores, a trade group of campus bookstores based in Oberlin, Ohio, said a recent study found students were buying about a quarter of their textbooks online, with the bulk still from bookstores. Comparing prices Students still worry that books ordered from the Internet won’t arrive ahead of the start of school, she said. But a bigger reason to buy from a brick-and-mortar store is that if a student drops a course, “the local store will take the books back, with a receipt of course.” Libertowski said a major contributor to cost was the “bundling” of scholastic material – a textbook plus a study guide, a CD, a passcode to a Web site. This trend, however, can cut into the resale value because some bookstores may be hesitant to take the textbook back if they can’t replace the other materials separately, she said. Some students also are shopping for textbooks on price comparison sites such as www.bestbookbuys.com, which is operated by Best Web Buys of La Ca ada. Sugi Sorensen, vice president of engineering, said shoppers can “get prices from the 23 stores we search.” Among the offerings are lower-cost, overseas editions, he said. Heidi O’Connor, 20, who will be a senior this fall at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, said it wasn’t unusual for undergraduates to spend $1,000 a year for books, “and for my friends in law school and medical school, it’s even worse.” Advance planning While she does shop at the campus bookstore and local bookstores, she and her friends also use “as many channels as possible,” including the marketplace section of the social networking sites Facebook and Craigslist.org. “What really gets students angry is the buyback problem,” O’Connor said. Campus bookstores often will buy back books for just pennies on the dollar, especially if they’re not sure the text is going to be used in subsequent semesters. Her advice to incoming freshmen: “Hammer out your classes, then be a pest if you have to figure out what books you need. E-mail the professor to make sure. It’s your education; you’re paying for it.” With more time, O’Connor said, students have a better chance of getting lower-cost texts. “The earlier you can buy, the better because the inventory of used books tends to go pretty fast,” she said. “Or if you want to order online, you have time for the books to get there.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! To hold costs down, students who once shopped for texts only at the campus bookstore are casting wider nets, searching for new and used textbooks at online bookstores, seeking out student book exchanges, investing in e-books, sharing books with fellow students – even borrowing books from public libraries. Favreau, who works in marketing and public relations, said he’s been willing to invest in some business school textbooks “because I’ll likely revisit them or use them during the course of my career.” He said he’s saved money by buying used texts at www.amazon.com, eBay Inc.’s www.half.com and other online booksellers. He’s also turned to the Internet to resell the books he doesn’t want to keep – and, he said, got more cash than he would have selling through a campus or local bookstore. Last semester, for example, he needed a book on information systems management that retails for about $150 new. He bought it used online for $84.99 and resold it for $59.99. Amazon.com currently sells used editions of the book for $73. Bruce Hildebrand, executive director for higher education with the New York-based Association of American Publishers, said textbooks are more expensive than other books in part because most have small press runs.