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(Editor’s Note: This is the next in a series of guest blog posts about contract staffing, courtesy of Top Echelon Contracting, the recruiter’s back-office solution.  Similar posts will appear in future issues of The Pinnacle Newsletter Blog.)

Debbie FledderjohannThe Department of Labor (DOL) has released some new mobile and Internet Browser apps designed to help employees, but recruiters may find a couple of them helpful when negotiating pay rates.

These new apps are the product of online and mobile development contests that the DOL launched in July.  The “Labor Wage Statistics” and the “Occupation Wage Data” mobile apps both allow you to find salaries based on occupation, industry, and location right from your Android smartphone.

These apps do not appear to be available on the iPhone at this time.

A similar app for your Internet Browser called “Where are the Jobs?” allows you to not only look up salaries for specific occupations, but also see the top states for those occupations and the average number of jobs each state has in that area.  The OES Map Web app also provides wage and job information by occupation and state.

As a benchmark to begin negotiations for contractor hourly pay rates, you can divide the average annual salary for a comparable direct position by 2,080 hours (approximately one year) to get the hourly rate.

We’ve saved you some of the work by providing a free Salary-to-Hourly Conversion Table that you can download.


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Recruiters are always looking for an edge, especially when it comes to being found on the World Wide Web.

Top Echelon Network Preferred Member recruiter Jim Strickland of BioSource International appears to have found a way to do just that for his firm—using the power of the search engine Google.  Specifically, Strickland conducted some research regarding “Google Places,” and discovered that he could list his recruiting firm for free.  Not only that, but he could also upload pictures and videos for free, as well. This is a great form of SEO for recruiters.

Jim Strickland“Google has pretty much taken the place of the Yellow Pages,” said Strickland. “They’re giving small businesses the opportunity to be on the first page of Google.”

The way it works is this.  Google is able to detect in which part of the country (or world) a user is conducting their Internet search.  When that user types in a certain phrase, such as “recruiting firm,” Google will return recruiting firms within that user’s geographic region first.  If your firm is listed in “Google Places,” you can receive preferential positioning on the results page.

“You can get a premier spot on the first page, whether you’re branding your company, you just want to be found, or both,” said Strickland.  “It’s all free from Google.  There are some SEO tactics you can use to get you on the first page, though, as opposed to the second or third page.”

According to Strickland, there are only seven premier spots on the first page for those businesses that register with “Google Places,” and there are certain steps you can take in order to make sure that you’re one of those seven.  These steps represent an investment of time and energy, but Strickland is more than satisfied with the results that he’s received.

“This gives the small guy an edge,” said Strickland, “especially recruiting firms that market locally for candidates.”

The good news is that most recruiting firm owners are unaware that such free resources exist.  As a result, they’re not taking advantage of them.  Owners who research and employ this resource will gain a decided advantage when it comes to search engine optimization and their ability to drive local visitors to their recruiting website.

According to Strickland’s estimates, it took him 60 days to get on the first page of the search results and 90 days to get to the top of the list.

Strickland provides free information to recruiters about this resource, but he’s also available as a consultant for those recruiters who want to delve deeper into it and maximize the benefits that it can provide for their firm’s website.

“It’s just a geeky thing that I enjoy doing,” said Strickland.  “I love that side of recruiting.”

You can contact Strickland at (910) 452-1855 or via email at