Making temping into a job for life

Venetia Thompson meets a father of three who pioneered the Web's first end-to-end recruitment service

Venetia Thompson meets a father of three who pioneered the Web's first end-to-end recruitment service

Gerald Morgan has no time for hobbies. As chief technical officer for and a father of three small children, hobbies will have to wait until his Web site and projects come to fruition. is the first end-to-end recruitment service on the Internet. Profiles, offers, acceptances, timesheets, paying and billing are Web-enabled and are backed by a call centre in Jersey and local agents. Morgan insists the site is "more complex than a permanent jobs board".

He has overall responsibility for the Web site. "Initially, this meant selecting appropriate partners, designing architecture and sourcing hardware, software, bandwidth and hosting. Like the other execs, I enjoy being hands-on and will happily dive into code, or monitor flashing lights!"

Chris Leonard, the CEO, and Morgan met in October 1999. The business was started a month later, got funding the following January and launched on 13 April 2000. Morgan states it was important to be first in the industry, as things move so quickly. A thousand temps had also pre-registered on the micro-site before the main one was released.

High-end Compaq and Dell servers host the back-end databases, running Bond Adapt, a recruitment system. The front-end is NT4, running IIS4 and Cold Fusion Enterprise, using an MS SQL7 cluster to store local data. Languages are evolving into a J2EE route, using Allaire's JRUN. XML is also becoming important, "as we have to 'deep-link' into our customers' business processes, and interact with exchanges".

The host company maintains the site and developers make enhancements.

The site is successful in two ways. Hits and page impressions have met expectations "but are much less important than getting the right temp into the right job". Recognition is also important. The site is in the Sunday Times e-league and the 15-to-watch list.

Morgan's best moment was the initial response. Before seeing what the site could do, temps had been saying "What a great idea" and "why has no-one done this before?"

The worst moment was shortly before launch when time was running out to transfer the pre-registered temps to the production system. Morgan did a 19-hour stint to transform and import the data - "but we made it in the end!"

He still works on the Web site. "I am keeping an eye on it daily."

Name: Gerald Morgan

Age: 33

Qualifications: BTec Computer Science.

IT skills: HTML, ASP, CF, SQL, database design, MS and Novell TCP/IP networking, project management, business requirements to specifications and technical complexes in English.

Hobbies: too busy for them

Favourite pub: Bakers bar, Southend

Favourite book: Interesting Times, Terry Pratchett

Morgan on Morgan: technology, evangelist, Essex

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