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WADE DANIELS Staff Reporter Futurestep Inc., an Internet-based recruiting firm in Sherman Oaks, announced an alliance with the Wall Street Journal that will lead to a far higher profile for the 1-month-old venture. Launched in May, Futurestep specializes in the recruitment of mid-level managers, and until now the service was only available via its Web site (www.futurestep.com). But under the terms of a deal announced June 8, the Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition will include the service in a job-search portion of its well-trafficked Web site, www.wsj.com. “Futurestep is rolling out to become a global service,” said Susanne Wedemeyer Losch, who is head of Futurestep’s marketing and sales department. “The alliance gives us high visibility.” Futurestep operates by attracting job applicants to register online, free of charge, on its site. The company’s revenues come from corporate clients that pay a fee for Futurestep’s services. Job applicants answer an online questionnaire designed to determine qualifications, career experience and preferred organizational culture. The profiles are held in Futurestep’s database, which matches appropriate candidates with openings at client companies. The candidates are then called to meet with a Futurestep staffer, who records a video interview of up to an hour for the client to view. Since Futurestep was launched on May 1, it has obtained only 12 corporate clients, the names of which company officials declined to reveal. Until late June, the slated end of its test period, Futurestep intends to accept clients solely in Southern California, which is the only place where Futurestep staff is set up to handle the interviewing of job candidates. The company is establishing offices in several major cities around the nation and plans to begin operating nationally by the end of the year, and then internationally within 12 months. Despite the shortage of corporate clients, by early June some 18,000 job seekers from around the world had registered with Futurestep, said Man Jit Singh, Futurestep’s president and chief executive. “It’s important to build up a critical mass of applicants in order to be credible to clients,” said Singh. He said the large number of job applicants came about largely as a result of the full-page ads Futurestep placed in early June in the Wall Street Journal’s U.S, European and Asian print editions. The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition agreed to ally with Futurestep in order to provide another recruitment resource to its readers and advertisers, said Tony Lee, editor in chief of the edition’s Careers section. “Futurestep is different from other recruitment Web sites,” Lee said. “It is highly organized to analyze and match applicants to jobs.” Other job-recruitment sites are problematic because they don’t have an effective way of discarding resumes from people who are no longer in the job market, Lee said. Futurestep, he noted, keeps tabs on which applicants are available. Ultimately, he said, Futurestep’s online approach to recruiting can significantly reduce the time it takes a corporation to find a mid-level manager to one month, instead of the usual three or more. No money is changing hands between the two companies in the Futurestep/Wall Street Journal alliance. However, Lee said that as a result of the partnership, Futurestep has launched a paid advertising campaign in the print and interactive editions of the Wall Street Journal, which is owned by Dow Jones & Co. He declined to say whether Futurestep was given any breaks on pricing, or how ad much space Futurestep is purchasing. Los Angeles-based executive recruiter Korn/Ferry International is a co-founder of Futurestep, as well as its majority owner. The Pasadena Internet business incubator Idealab! is the other co-founder and a part owner, and some members of the Futurestep management own stakes as well. Futurestep employs about 25 people at its Sherman Oaks office, though it may need to move to larger offices some time this year as the staff grows, Losch said, and could potentially leave the Valley for another part of Los Angeles. Within three years, Losch said Futurestep expects its revenues to surpass those of Korn/Ferry, which totaled $313 million for the fiscal year ended April 30, 1998. Korn/Ferry, which specializes in recruiting top-level executives, founded Futurestep in response to frequent requests from its corporate clients around the world for help in recruiting mid-level managers. “There is now a trend to outsource for recruitment of mid-level mangers as well as upper-level executives,” Losch said.

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