Should I Take The Job? Finding The Job That Fits.

Square Peg Few things will give you a sense of greater pride (and momentary euphoria) than receiving a job offer from a hiring company. Not only does it make you feel valued and “wanted”, but in a shaky economy like the one we continue to experience, it provides welcome relief to anyone that has had to cope with being unemployed. While there are times that we (as grown-ups) must take a job we know we don’t love, in order to pay the bills, there are other times when it makes sense to do your homework and ensure that the company will be a good fit. Too often we have heard stories of recent graduates taking the first job that was offered to them, only to be disappointed  and frustrated with the job after a few months. According to a recent Bullhorn report 46% of new hires leave within 18 months!

The problem is that when interviewing, applicants have little interaction with a company beyond the HR department and perhaps 1-2 meetings with the person who will serve as your “boss”. This tells you nothing about your colleagues or work environment. To really understand the job you may be accepting, you have to dig deeper, ask questions and look at the following:

1. Company’s Reputation & Leadership – Before you even walk in the door, you should have done your homework on the company and have a firm understanding of their business, overall market, products, leadership and financials. On paper they should be a company that you would be proud to represent, and be poised for continued growth & innovation. And don’t forget to check out the Executive Team. They are vital to the company’s long-term prospects, and you want to make sure you have smart, savvy people at the helm of each department, especially your own.

2. Company Culture: Too often prospective applicants get wade-down considering their potential salary & benefits, when what they should be focused on is the company’s overall environment and culture. It’s very easy to use the visual cues around you to get a sense of how the office behaves, starting with the reception you receive at the front desk. What is his/her tone?  Are you made to feel welcome? Look around the office…is it formal or casual? Do people work in a bullpen environment or individuals offices? What’s the dress? Is there a pool table and slide in the middle of the room? What’s the male to female ratio..young to old? Work is done in many different ways, and it’s important for you to know in which kind you will thrive.

3. Work Expectations - Before accepting any jobs it’s vital to understand your own role in the company and that you can meet the expectations that they have for you. This not only includes any set goals or deliverables, but other job requirements such as “standard” office hours”, out-of-town travel, working from home & weekends, TPS reports, and managing others…all of which can impact your work experience.

4. Salary & Benefits: Of course salary & benefits are key to accepting (and staying at) any job. We want a great place to work, but need to be paid what we are worth and what will pay the bills. Increasingly companies are going beyond salary and health benefits to include other perks to attract and retain talent, such as child care, free food, even chair massages, but really comes down to what benefit you derive.

With all the social networking going around, it’s easier than ever to do your homework. Find friends through LinkedIn that are connected to any company you are considering, as well as Glassdoor which will give you an “inside” look at various jobs & companies, including your connections through Facebook. Go get the job that’s right for you.

TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinteresttumblrGoogle+Email

Scrub Your Profile Clean!

Ralphie-Soap Last week we wrote about the need for job seekers to clean up their social profile as part of their ongoing job search. Based on whose survey you follow, employers are increasingly scoping you out online as part of their initial vetting process. It’s estimated that 50-73% of all employers use social media as a hiring tool, but I would guess that number is closer to 100%… I mean in this day and age, who is not going to “Google” someone they are considering hiring?
According to a recent Jobvite survey:

What you post or Tweet can have positive or negative impact on what recruiters think of you. Four out of five recruiters liked to see memberships and affiliations with professional organizations on a candidate’s profile, and another 66% react positively when a profile mentions volunteerism efforts. On the other hand, references to illicit drugs, posts of a sexual nature, and mentions of alcohol consumption were likely to be viewed negatively by 78%, 67%, and 47% of recruiters. Interestingly enough, poor grammar and spelling mistakes are worse social networking sins than writing about your latest binge-drinking adventure: 54% of recruiters had a negative reaction to grammar and spelling mistakes, compared to 47% of recruiters negative reaction to alcohol references.

While most people keep their LinkedIn (& Hourly) profiles professional in tone, Facebook and Twitter have a tendency to include more personal information, and as a result need to be monitored by anyone thinking about looking for a job. Problem is who can remember what you wrote last year that might be considered questionable? Or worse yet, what someone else posted to your wall? This is the reason we were thrilled to find out about a new service called Simplewash that will in their words “help you with the transition from ‘21st birthday’ to ‘Business Causal’ with SimpleWash™. Wash away all those dirty jokes and beer talk, those late night snapshots, those forgotten “likes.” Keep track of all the dirt and grime that attaches to your internet identity and make you STAY FRESH.”  The service is simple. Just log in using your  Facebook or Twitter accounts, and Simplewash will return a list of questionable posts, photos, fan pages and liked links that might be questionable, with the offending item highlighted in green. It will then provide you with links back to the original post to do with it what you will.

While my own profile came back clean, it is funny to see the number of time things like “wine”, “xx”(hugs) and my favorite expletives were referenced.Simplewash

Another service helping in the fight to protect your online image is Reppler. More of a personal reputation defender, Reppler continuously monitors your online image across different social networks and analyzes your content to give you a sense of how others might perceive you, as well as alerts you to any privacy and security risks you have

reppler

With tools like these, there's no reason not to be on top of your social profile. Get cleaning!

TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinteresttumblrGoogle+Email

They’re Just Not That Into You. Why You’re Not Getting The Interview.

interview-hes-just-not-that-into-you-justin-long1200 resumes sent out and not a single interview? We hear it constantly, both in person at the job fairs we attend, as well as through the site by new members who have come to us, frustrated with the process of finding work. While part of this stems from the current economy and issue of having too many job seekers applying to too few jobs, some of it is the result of common missteps made by job applicants. Here are some of the most glaring ones we see at Hourly on a regular basis, and solutions for getting it fixed.

The job doesn’t (really) exist – Otherwise known as the phantom job post. While there are no rules governing employers, many companies will require that their HR departments list all open  jobs on their site or a career board for a period of time to ensure that hiring process appears to be fair (transparent), and protects them from potential lawsuits or audits. In truth it’s estimated that over 50% of the jobs listed by large-scale organizations are filled internally or on a casual basis, through existing networks, making it impossible to get a fair shake and tell good from bad.

Solution: Given how often a single job is reposted, if you find one that interests you on an aggregated job board the best thing to do is to go directly to the company’s own website to see if the job exists there and see what additional information you can get such as when it was posted, and any internal contacts.

Your application is #501 in their inbox –  We’ve all heard the early bird gets the worm, but for the HR manager who receives in excess of 500+ applications a single job post, timing is critical. While most jobs are posted for 30 days, to get the attention of any hiring manager, you really need to have your application in the first three days a jobs is posted. After that, it does not matter how qualified you may be, they have likely started the process, and your resume is now sitting at the bottom of a pile. 

Solution: Be sure to set alerts on those companies or positions that interest you most so that you will receive a notification of any new jobs the minute they are posted. On Hourly we tackle this two ways, by directly alerting our users or any new posts, as well as having their (matched) profile appear to employers once a job has been posted, ensuring a connection is made.

Mistakes abound - There is simply no faster way to have your application deleted or tossed in the trash than to have a resume and cover letter that is full of grammatical and spelling mistakes. One mistake can happen, two communicates a lack of focus & professionalism, anything beyond that and your sunk.

Solution: Have a friend (who was an English major) or better yet invest in the service of a resume expert (at least once) and them review your resume from soup to nuts. This includes spelling and grammar, but also the context and key words. Even the format you use has an impact on how your information is communicated to employers, so take some time to get it right.

Your social footprint is a mess - Based on a CareerBuilder study, it’s estimated that two out of  five companies now use social-networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter to screen potential candidates (other services like Reppler put it at 91%). While some companies are reluctant to look into a candidate’s social media history out of fear of anything that could be deemed discriminatory i.e. religion, race, gender, health and lifestyle; other companies are looking to these sites for social cues and final litmus test before offering the job. What are they looking for? According to a Corporate Executive Board study, 44% of recruiters said that trashing an employer on social media is enough to land an applicant in the reject pile, 30% said inappropriate language, while 17% said excessive personal information (drinking, drugs, sex, etc.) See how Reppler’s breaks it down

Solution: Clean it up and lock it down. Beyond your resume, what an employer sees & reads about you online is their first impression of who you are, so take the time to ensure that what you are projecting to the world, casts you in the best light. Even typos here make an impression. As for those personal rants or photos of you at Burning Man, keep ‘em to yourself or to a very restricted group.

Your experience/skills don’t match the job description - We recently heard a statistics that 50% of online job applicants apply to positions that do not match their skill set. It is one thing to aim high or want to transition into a new career, but if you don’t have the skills or experience listed in the job post as being “required”, forget it. Increasingly people use electronic applications as a means to feel busy sending in applications to available jobs and in the end you are doing yourself and the recruiter a huge disservice.

Solution: Don’t send the application unless you are serious about a job and have the credentials to actually be considered. If it a job that you think you could tackle or grow into (perhaps they are asking for 8 years of experience and you have 5), then make sure to address mismatch in your cover letter and explain what you bring to the table and why you can do the job, despite this disparity.

Your resume is not keyword optimized - You’ve got the skills, the experience, the references, the kick-ass resume…but you are still not getting the call –blame the Applicant Tracking Systems aka ATS.  While these systems have been put in place as a means of aiding HR professionals weed through the endless applications they receive to find “the right fit”, they are in their very nature inherently flawed. In fact it’s estimated that 75% of job seekers don’t make the cut due the way in which their resume is formatted or key words & phrases used to describe their experience. Read more tips from CIO.com & ComeRecommend on this topic

Solution: Review the original job listing and make sure that your resume reflects specific keywords used, as well as any common industry terms and jargon (phrases). Forget fancy graphics and photos and instead make sure that your “Work Experience” is formatted in such a way that it will be parsed correctly, i.e. Employer’s name, followed by your title, followed by the dates you held that title, in that order. This is the same system we use at Hourly to convert our member’s profile data into resumes that can use elsewhere and has shown great success in getting candidates through the door.

TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinteresttumblrGoogle+Email

Unemployment..As Explained By Abbott & Costello

MBDMEHA-EC002 Like all people living in the digital age, on occasion my father will email me a story, article (or slightly off-color joke) that grabs his attention. Being an investment advisor for 45+ yrs, most of the pieces he sends are on economic or political policy, often times to drive home a point recently “discussed” round the chopping block, but when he sent me this one I had to laugh. For years we’ve been debating the US employment numbers and their value (or lack thereof) and this fictitious exchange between Abbott & Costello just nails it.

Modeled off the old “Who’s On First” sketch, this is the (unconfirmed) brain child of Mark Grant and what he imagines to be a conversation between the IMF’s Abbott and the ECB’s Costello on unemployment. Tell us what you think!

Costello: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America.

Abbott: Good subject. Terrible times. It’s 7.8%.

Costello: That many people are out of work?

Abbott: No, that’s 14.7%.

Costello: You just said 7.8%.

Abbott: 7.8% unemployed.

Costello: Right 7.8% out of work.

Abbott: No, that’s 14.7%.

Costello: OK, so it’s 14.7% unemployed.

Abbott: No, that’s 7.8%.

CostelloWait a minute. Is it 7.8% or 14.7%?

Abbott: 7.8% are unemployed. 14.7% are out of work.

Costello: If you are out of work, you are unemployed.

Abbott: No, Congress said you can’t count the “out of work” as the unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.

CostelloBut they are out of work!!!

Abbott: No, you miss his point.

Costello: What point?

Abbott: Someone who doesn’t look for work can’t be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn’t be fair.

Costello: To whom?

Abbott: The unemployed.

Costello: But all of them are out of work.

Abbott: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work. Those who are out of work gave up looking and if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.

Costello: So if you’re off the unemployment roles, that would count as less unemployment?

Abbott: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!

Costello: The unemployment just goes down because you don’t look for work?

Abbott: Absolutely it goes down. That’s how they get it to 7.8%. Otherwise it would be 14.7%. Our government doesn’t want you to read about 14.7% unemployment.

Costello: That would be tough on those running for reelection.

Abbott: Absolutely.

Costello: Wait, I got a question for you. That means there are two ways to bring down the unemployment number?

Abbott: Two ways is correct.

Costello: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?

Abbott: Correct.

Costello: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?

Abbott: Bingo.

Costello: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to have people stop looking for work.

Abbott: Now you’re thinking like an economist.

Costello: I don’t even know what the hell I just said!

Abbott: Now you’re thinking like Congress.

TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinteresttumblrGoogle+Email

Is Working In An Office Passé? Marissa Mayer’s New Directive

come_together

Last Friday we all got our first glimpse at an internal memo from the HR Department at Yahoo, first released by Kara Swisher from AllThingsD, that informed all current employees that beginning in June, they must “be present” in one of the Yahoos offices, as opposed to having the flexibility to work remotely. The rational for this move is, as stated below, to create a more collaborative environment and renewed culture that comes from working alongside your peers. Not surprisingly this directive ruffled a few feathers among the ranks at Yahoo, however we were surprised to see the sweeping backlash in the media and blogosphere.

As a working mother and youngest Fortune 500 CEO, many have come to view Ms. Mayer’s actions as running contrary to the future of work which allows for greater flexibility and the ability to connect with colleagues remotely. To many this move  by Yahoo represents a step backwards and even worse, undermines some of the great strides made by working parents. What do we think???

We think flexibility is a fabulous thing. It demonstrates trust in your employees and a culture that appreciates that we are all trying to balance work & life, irregardless whether we have families. Work no longer ends at 5PM, and as a result work can happen anywhere…and at any time.  That said, before you can have this flexibility you must have a team, a strong one, who understands how to work together. This is what Ms. Mayer is trying to achieve. Since day one she has been tasked with taking a dying company and turn it around. To make it like Google, and for her to do that properly she has to give it a new identify and culture. This can not happen with everyone blowing in the wind. She needs them to come together and assess their strengths, make new hires/acquisitions, even let some people go, all in an effort to get back on course and start the building process anew.

I love the flexibility of working in my PJ’s, but also understand the benefit of being able to interact with my colleagues face-to-face. To be able to share ideas as a group, and be challenged by new concepts, especially by people in departments that have nothing to do with my own. Steve Jobs understood this and even took it so far as to have only two bathrooms at Pixar Studios. According to Jonah Lehrer, the author of Imagine: How Creativity Works, he did this so that there was a forced meeting space .  

“…He wanted there to be mixing. He knew that the human friction makes the sparks, and that when you’re talking about a creative endeavor that requires people from different cultures to come together, you have to force them to mix; that our natural tendency is to stay isolated, to talk to people who are just like us, who speak our private languages, who understand our problems. But that’s a big mistake. And so his design was to force people to come together even if it was just going to be in the bathroom.”

And Jobs in not alone, according to the NYT Zappos not only reduced their square footage per employee to force a sense of togetherness, but made it so that all employees must enter & enter through one door “to maximize serendipitous encounters,” said Zach Ware, who oversees campus development at the company.”  And Google & Facebook, “do allow people to work remotely on a case-by-case basis. But both companies also strongly stress in-person collaboration.”

Productivity might have to be sacrificed a little in the short term, but working for a company means doing so as a team, and once that’s been returned to Yahoo, no doubt so will more flexible situations!! Marissa Mayer is after all a technologist at heart (getting her masters from Stanford in artificial intelligence) and now a working mother. She get’s it..but first just needs to get in there and kick a little ass.

What do you think? Take our poll.

Read other commentary on the topic:
Back to the Stone Age? New Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer Bans Working From Home – Forbes
Why Marissa Mayer Told Remote Employees To Work In An Office … Or Quit – Business Insider
Mayer’s Work-From-Home Ban Is The Exact Opposite Of What CEOs Should Be Doing – Huffington Post

YAHOO! PROPRIETARY AND CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION — DO NOT FORWARD

Yahoos,
Over the past few months, we have introduced a number of great benefits and tools to make us more productive, efficient and fun. With the introduction of initiatives like FYI, Goals and PB&J, we want everyone to participate in our culture and contribute to the positive momentum. From Sunnyvale to Santa Monica, Bangalore to Beijing — I think we can all feel the energy and buzz in our offices.
To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices. Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings. Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.
Beginning in June, we’re asking all employees with work-from-home arrangements to work in Yahoo! offices. If this impacts you, your management has already been in touch with next steps. And, for the rest of us who occasionally have to stay home for the cable guy, please use your best judgment in the spirit of collaboration. Being a Yahoo isn’t just about your day-to-day job, it is about the interactions and experiences that are only possible in our offices.
Thanks to all of you, we’ve already made remarkable progress as a company — and the best is yet to come.
Jackie

TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinteresttumblrGoogle+Email