March 2001
Volume 43 Number 3
 

Website of the Month: Scoring One for the Environment -- Water Website Recruits Online, www.water-marketplace.com
by Ronald Y. Perez, WC&P Senior Editor   Pages: 

In the past, this space in the magazine has been devoted to water-related websites geared toward the small water treatment dealer, independent professionals within the industry, associations and regulatory agencies and even investment opportunities from water companies both large and small. And, like predicting the next stock to skyrocket on Wall Street, the emphasis invariably gets placed on topping the so-called "most comprehensive" water site that came before. Seemingly on cue, we've been introduced to another site, which hopes to lay claim to the crown of such water sites.

Tabbed as "the leading online supplier database for professionals in the water, waste and environment sectors," www.water-marketplace.com provides links to companies as sources to provide answers on a multitude of water-related recruitment issues. It also offers training courses, software and posts an updated classified section for those seeking employees or employment. As one can see, there's much to explore at this site. For this review, we'll concentrate on the more appealing and unique components of www.water- marketplace.com.

Beyond flashy
Lately, many sites -- as we're well aware -- greet visitors with a flash page that's high on graphics and glitzy colors and only serves as a frivolous pause in our workday or an awkward delay in seeking the information we really need or want. I'm happy to report that no such concern is necessary here. At the homepage, not even a slight mention introducing the site is presented. OK, so maybe you’re looking for an "About Us" button. Nice try. It’s not going to happen. Instead, you're met with various categories with random numbers behind them. Curious, I thought maybe these were special code numbers only the web designers knew about, or perhaps the number of hits on each of the topics. Not quite. The numbers represent the total of international companies posted under each topic. The next thing that strikes me is that there are actually 4,742 "Consultancy Services" out there!

Hesitant to enter such a grandiose category, I steer toward less-congested waters. I spot something manageable like "Health & Safety" with only 101 entries. Of course, I have failed to mention that each category has two sub-categories listed, breaking it down even further for you. Anyway, "Health & Safety" pops up and I scan the first 30 entries. Twenty-eight happen to be based in the United Kingdom, so now I’m feeling a vibe here. Either this site has its origins in the UK or 90 percent of the health-conscious world lives in England. After pondering the point, I select the former explanation.

Each company also has a link. I choose #9 because the company’s name is Square Root Limited and, well, that has a catchy ring to it. Never should anyone say I don’t think things through scientifically. Clicking on Square Root brings me what I expected -- a mailing address, fax and phone numbers, email addresses and a contact name with a company title. Plus, I'm given "additional details" on specific services supplied by Square Root. Sorry, math aficionados, I find it hard to believe that "hand arm vibration assessments" will help you determine the square root of 7,744. (It’s 88, by the way.)

In all, 23 main categories are listed alphabetically. We won’t list them all here, but suffice it to say no stone goes unturned here with regard to the water industry. Some of the more notable include Certification, Liquid Monitoring Testing & Measurement, Training, Wastewater Treatment and Water Treatment.

Beneath the surface
Before you start to believe the site is solely composed of only a broad list of categories and nothing else, think again. At the left of the home page is a "newsroom" button that promises "this week’s water, waste, environment bulletin." With weekly updates, the site doesn’t skimp on this feature. And it shows. News is divided into four geographical locations -- U.K., Europe, North America and the rest of the world. On this particular occasion, 30 water-related stories -- many with an environmental slant -- are accessible. Each item carries a one-sentence description. The full story can be viewed by clicking on the headline. At the end of the story, links to companies or topics mentioned in the article are available. Sources for the stories are also provided. As an added bonus, visitors can receive news updates via email by registering with the service.

As stated before, www.water-marketplace.com has a "job center" feature that allows both prospective employers and employees to scan the site for possible openings or applicants. The button can be found by scanning under the newsroom button at the left of the home page. It’s titled "environmental job centre." Once there, you're presented with current "Hot Jobs." Thirteen positions are posted in this instance with everything from an "environmental sales consultant" to a "contract hydraulic modeller." Looking down the list, one in particular grabs my attention -- "SHE Advisor." Naturally, I click on it. I am greeted with the message, "Access to this part of the...website is restricted to registered users only."

Flummoxed, I scroll down and see "Jobs Offered" and "Jobs Wanted." Also supplied are recruitment agencies. An "info pack" offers articles and links to career-related issues. If there's one main cog of this site, this would be it. Job seekers in this arena are a small, select group to begin with and the site recognizes that fact, using numerous resources such as a technology database, software guide, a "powersearch" among other tools to assist qualified applicants to find something in their field of expertise. On the other hand, companies are compelled to use this site as a valuable resource in finding that "perfect fit" for their operation.

Specialized services
The remaining portion of the site reviewed here falls under "other specialised (sic) searches." These include "Information/documents," "Products & Services," "Training courses," "Software" and "Events." Each deserves a brief description.

"Information/documents" gives visitors a search engine (as a great service to any visitor, search boxes are found everywhere on the site including near the bottom of the home page) that allows only specific information from pertinent websites. Type in a word and the websites come to you. "Products and Services" provides access to the site’s technology database. With the help of another search engine, visitors can obtain information by category or company (over 100 are listed).

Open 24 hours a day, "Training courses" lets visitors search for specific courses in numerous types of disciplines. It’s also broken down by company provider. The good news is that some of the course information is available to be downloaded for free. The "Software" button basically allows you to compare offerings from various companies along with their contact information. Finally, "Events" provides a schedule of programs, conferences and expos that deal directly with water and environmentally-related topics. Though it displays the present month through 2003, only the majority of 2001 and July and September 2002 are accessible. Still, a noteworthy resource.

Conclusion
Keeping in mind that this review only scratched the surface of this website (the interactive capabilities and companies’ listings weren’t discussed), it’s impressive in its own right. Whether you’re looking to change careers or a membrane system, this site has a wealth of information. It’s technical when it needs to be, but maintains a maneuverable ease about itself. If you find yourself lost within the verbiage, it can shift you to the right spot. Environmentally sound with a technical approach, water-marketplace.com has taken the task of one-stop news and recruiting to the next level. At least until the next big website appears around the corner.

www.water-marketplace.com

Résumé: Presentation is plain but effective. As we move further into the meat of the product, the deluge of topics makes it sound long-winded. Then again, better too much information than not enough.

Qualifications: Obviously, the background is there and the site has been doing this awhile. They’ve done their homework and it shows.

Experience: Judging from their contacts within the industry and the many links to other sites, environmental and otherwise, the knowledge is being put to good use. If a particular position isn’t posted, I'm sure they can find it.

Interview: If the site were a prospective employee, it would get a third interview. It seems to have all the right answers to every question.

Final evaluation: Stuck looking for the right water-related job? Can’t seem to find just the right employee? This site opens your business’ doors to the world. Bonus points if you’re in the environmental field.