This is more or less a newsletter for job seekers like myself. I try to find good job search strategies, bad job search strategies, pure BS and job related articles every week. So far I’ve never run short. Please pass this around. I’m not doing this for any reason other than the desire to help and communicate with other job seekers. If you have any good links or stories, especially stories please comment. If you want the story private, just put that in the comment and I will trash it and not let it post.
Mike Rowe hits on something important, again. If you can, contribute to the work ethic scholarships. It’s important.
I left my hotel room this morning to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, and saw part of a man standing in the hallway. His feet were on a ladder. The rest of him was somewhere in the ceiling.
I introduced myself, and asked what he doing. Along with satisfying my natural curiosity, it seemed a good way to delay my appointment with gravity, which I was in no hurry to keep. His name is Corey Mundle, and like many who work in tight spaces, and he recognized me, and we quickly got to talking.
“Well Mike, here’s the problem,” he said. “My pipe has a crack in it, and now my hot water is leaking into my laundry room. I’ve got to turn off my water, replace my old pipe, and get my new one installed before my customers notice there’s a problem.”
I asked if he needed a hand, and he told me the job wasn’t dirty enough. We laughed, and Corey asked if he could have a quick photo. I said sure, assuming he’d return the favor. He asked why I wanted a photo of him, and I said it was because I liked his choice of pronouns.
“I like the way you talk about your work,” I said. “It’s not, ‘the’ hot water, it’s ‘MY’ hot water. It’s not, ‘the’ laundry room, it’s ‘MY’ laundry room. It’s not ‘a’ new pipe, it’s ‘MY’ new pipe. Most people don’t talk like that about their work. Most people don’t own it.”
Corey shrugged and said, “This is not ‘a’ job; this is ‘MY’ job. I’m glad to have it, and I take pride in every thing I do.”
He didn’t know it, but Corey’s words made my job a little easier that day. Because three hours later, when I was trying to work up the courage to leap out of a perfectly good airplane, I wasn’t thinking about pulling the ripcord on the parachute – I was thinking about pulling MY ripcord. On MY parachute.
there is no substitute.
PS. We’re raising money for the next round of Work Ethic Scholarships, which means I’m auctioning off more of my C.R.A.P. Latest video is here. http://www.ebay.com/itm/-/261957906822… It’s weird, but potentially interesting to those of you with an affection for, (or a suspicion of,) collectible dolls…
PPS The Hampton Inn of Spring Lake North Carolina is superior to many 5-star hotels. I’m not even kidding, and I’m not getting paid to brag on them. The staff is excellent, the room are enormous, Pavan the GM lives on the premises, and Vanessa and Mrs. Liz will make you feel like family. Check ‘em out if you’re ever near Ft. Bragg.
PPPS Many thanks to Cisco, and all of you who tweeted your fingers off two weeks ago. Thanks to your relentless button pushing, we raised an additional $20,000, and got a lot more kids to this years Skills USA event. Awesome. More on that later.
On why should you boost a job seeker?
It’s simple, what goes around, comes around. Do you really want that pissed off person you just rejected for trivial reasons spreading that experience all over social media? Or worse, having that experience go viral?
A “dispatch from the job wars.” recruiters gone wild:
DISPATCH FROM THE JOB WARS. . . .
So. . .left office on time today, booted up phone (no cell phones allowed in building, and entire facility has multiple guarded perimeters, so leave it off and charging in the car while working inside. . . )
Find a voicemail on it, started about 10 or so seconds into the pitch (obviously a recording that started as soon as VM answered. . .) inviting me to an interview session at a local hotel.
For a grocery chain.
They listed a name and a number, and asked me to call with questions. So I called. And asked, what, specifically were they looking for, in Senior Information Security professionals.
OF COURSE they weren’t looking for IT types, they were trying to man a brand-new grocery store, and would I still be interested ?
“Sure”, I answered, “. . .as long as you can meet my compensation requirements. . .”
“OH, we offer great packages. Managers start at $15.50 an hour. . .”
“But the benefits. . .”
“Excuse me, but why would I leave a profession I’m quite successful at, at far higher pay. . .. and by the way, how did you get my name and number ?”
“Uh, it doesn’t say, but the footer says ‘Monster.com. . . ”
Effing Monster. Despite deleting every bit of data in my profile, and marking my profile inactive and do not contact. . . they STILL sell my data.
Bastards. . .
I’m almost tempted to download “Pokemon Go”, and put a lure in the middle of their Job Fair. . . .
What to notice at a job interview.
Reading the “vibes” can be crucial. Also look for things like empty lobbies and fading paint. That could be a clue as to how little the company is doing.
How to deal with long term unemployment.
Good stuff here. The bet thing to do is find something to do. Especially if it pays some money. I’ve experimented with learning C programming, worked at a hardware store, sold stuff on Ebay and created a store there and started this blog.
Yes, employers don’t seem to have a clue.
HR executives have a special term for this 6:1 market advantage when they’re trying to fill jobs today: They call it a “talent shortage.”
Gimme a break.
Human resources executives run around in their corporate offices with their eyes closed, throwing billions of dollars at applicant tracking systems (ATSes) and job boards like Taleo, Monster.com and LinkedIn, and they pretend no one can see they are dancing in circles buck naked. HR keeps talking about a talent shortage, but the only talent shortage is in the HR offices. HR executives need to learn how to match up the 3.9 million vacancies with some of the 25 million under-employed.
What’s going on? The economy is certainly one factor, but businesses, the media and the federal government continue to ignore the structural problems in our employment system. I’ll tell you what I think the main problems are.
Companies Don’t Hire Anymore
Employers don’t do their own hiring, and that’s the number one problem. They outsource their competitive edge (recruiting and hiring) to third parties like Taleo, Kenexa, LinkedIn, Monster.com and CareerBuilder. Monster and LinkedIn alone sucked almost $2 billion out of the employment system in 2012. These vendors offer little more than trivial technologies and cheap string-search routines masquerading as “algorithms” for finding “hidden talent” and “matching people to jobs.”
HR executives are spending billions on those systems, so why are almost 4 million jobs vacant? Because these vendors sell databases — not recruiting, not headhunting, not jobs, not hires and not matchmaking.
Somewhere, right now, the chairman of the board of some corporation is pounding the podium at a shareholders’ meeting, exclaiming, “People are our most important asset!”
Meanwhile, HR executives are funding programs that mingle their companies’ most important assets in databases shared with all their competitors via a handful of applicant tracking systems that can’t get the job done.
Heads-up to boards of directors: Where is your competitive edge? Take control of your hiring again, like it matters!
Employers Don’t Know How to Recruit
Here’s how human resources departments across America “recruit.” They put impossible mixes of keywords about jobs into a computer. They press a button and pay billions of dollars for a chance that Prince Charming will materialize on their computer displays. When the prince fails to appear, they double their bets and keep gambling. (Last year, companies polled said just 1.3 percent of their hires came from Monster.com and 1.2 percent from CareerBuilder. See “Is LinkedIn Cheating Employers and Job Seekers Alike?”)
Meanwhile, in the real world, over 25 million people, many of them immensely talented and capable of quickly learning how to do new jobs, are ready to work.
Employers need to get away from their desks, remove the ATS straps from around their necks, and go outside to actually find, meet, recruit, cajole, seduce and convince good workers to come work for them.
The Employment System Vendors Are Lying
The big job boards and the ATSes tell employers that sophisticated database technology will find the perfect hire.
- “Don’t settle for teaching a good worker anything about doing a job. Hire only the perfect fit!”
- “We make that possible when you use more keywords for a job!”
- “The database handles it all!”
When matches fail to appear, these vendors blame “the talent shortage” and contend that job seekers lack the specific skills employers need.
Except that’s a lie. Job descriptions heavily larded with keywords make it virtually impossible to find acceptable candidates. Wharton researcher Peter Cappelli tells about an employer that got 25,000 applicants for a routine engineering position. The ATS rejected every single one of them. Every day that an impossible job requisition remains unfilled, the employment system vendors make more money while companies keep advertising for the perfect hires.
Millions of jobs are vacant, thanks to the empty promises of algorithms. Ignoring the role of the systems behind this failure is a costly mistake.
If the U.S. Congress wants answers about the jobs crisis, it should launch an investigation into the workings of America’s employment system infrastructure, which is effectively controlled by a handful of companies.
Employers Have No Business Plan
Employers claim job applicants lack the requisite skills and talents for today’s jobs. But in “Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs,” Peter Cappelli reports that they are wrong. The quality of the American worker pool has not diminished. Rather, American companies:
- Don’t want to pay market value to hire the right workers.
- Don’t want to train talented workers to do a new job.
- Are content to keep using ATSes that don’t get the job done.
Cappelli points out that employers believe they save money when they leave jobs vacant because their accounting systems track the cost of having workers on the payroll, but they fail to track the cost of leaving work undone. Employers run the numbers, and they seem to come up with junk profitability: Fewer Employees = Lower Costs = Higher Profits.
Employers who believe this are misguided or downright foolish. They should stop regarding workers as a cost, start treating them as investments and ensure that each worker pays off in higher profits.
Employers should get a business plan and make their employment systems accountable.
America Counts Jobs, Not Profitable Work
The federal government tracks the number of people who have jobs and the number of vacant jobs. But tallying jobs to assess the economy is like counting chickens before they hatch. The federal government has no idea which jobs or which work is actually profitable and contributing to a healthy economy.
It’s no secret that the weekly employment figures are questionable and misleading. The definitions of jobs and “who is employed” are so manipulated that no one knows what is going on.
It’s time to re-think how companies find and pay people to do work that produces profit. A better indicator of economic success would be the measure of how profitable all the work in America actually is — and how much profit is left behind on the table each month when work is left undone.
People Must Stop Begging for Jobs
It’s time for people to stop thinking about jobs, and high time to start thinking about how — and where — they can create profit.
For example, if I run a company, I’ll hire you to do work — if it pays off more than what I pay you to do it. Today, few employers know which jobs actually pay off. That’s why you need to know how to walk into a manager’s office and demonstrate, hands down, how you will contribute profit to the manager’s business. That’s right: Be smarter than the manager about his own business. Stop begging for jobs. Start offering profit.
If you can’t do that, you have no business applying for any job, in any company. In the book “Fearless Job Hunting: The Interview — Be The Profitable Hire” (available in the Ask The Headhunter Bookstore), I explain it like this:
A good employer wants to see what you can do. If he doesn’t ask, help him out and show him. It’ll turn your interview into a working meeting where you both roll up your sleeves, and during which the employer can do a direct assessment of your worth to his business. Here’s how to say it: “Please lay out a live problem you’d want me to handle if you hired me. I’ll do my best to show you how I’d do the work so it will pay off for both of us.”
Think you can generate lots of profit without working for someone else? Then bet your future on your plan, and start your own business.
What Is Going On
Here’s the simple truth: Unemployment is made in America by employers who have given up control over their competitive edge — recruiting and hiring — to a handful of database jockeys who are funded by HR executives, who in turn have no idea how to recruit or hire themselves.
American ingenuity starts with the individual who has an idea, blossoms with a plan that will produce profit — for yourself and your boss and your customer — and results in more money for everybody.
So to be truly competitive, American employers must themselves do the hard work of identifying, attracting, recruiting, hiring and further training workers who can ride a fast learning curve without falling off. Outsourcing these critical tasks dulls a company’s competitive edge.
Business leaders, the media and the government must revisit their assumptions that automated employment systems are the answer and that the problem is with American workers. Until the structural problems with these systems are addressed, those 3.9 million vacant jobs point to the harsh truth that American employers are a leading cause of unemployment.
This problem has apparently been going on for a long time.
29% of Small businesses can’t fill jobs?
Maybe they need to improve communications.
The best interview question ever?
My answer is; hire me and we will find out. There’s no way to figure how what a good job is until you know what the job actually is. You cannot know exactly what the details and tasks are for a job before you do it.
It’s a hard search to find work that only you can do and even harder to find a market.
Seen on facebook:
“. . . and after you’ve painstakingly re-entered your details into our multi-form application database, our dumb-as-hammers HR keyword sniffer will reject your application entirely—ignoring your years of experience, your project pedigree, your in-depth expertise in your field—because you forgot to put the term ‘synergize’ into box 53. Thank you for your interest in our monolithic corporate bureaucracy. Have a nice day.”
One can always dream.
But the reality is that more than likely you will have to take the job in your nightmares, or that it will be wrecked by forces beyond your control.
Yet more Mike Rowe.
Ten things companies do to kill employee motivation.
It all comes down to a lack of communication and involvement. I’ve been there and the worst thing that can happen is for an employee to feel out of the loop.
Don’t they understand that the day is inevitably going to come that they will be over forty too.
Companies should be prepared to invest in people rather than stock buy backs.
How did the US get to this point?
AGEISM my friends!! As I stated before I literally spend at least ( and I mean at a minimum 6 hours a day) hours on end writing and applying to jobs that are in alignment with my skills. Let me do some quick calculations. 6 hours a day for past 3 months 2 days (94 days) thats 564 Hours. And what did I get for my hard work. 1 phone call from a recruiter in Connecticut that wanted to give me a job in Kansas city for about half of my last salary. Now no offense to any citizens of Kansas, but that would mean relocating (did I tell you they wont pay for relo). My wife wont go because she wont leave our family ( my daughter just had baby #3 and she is beautiful) and I sure don’t blame her for not wanting to go. But what am I supposed to do? I keep plugging away trying to find a job here in Phoenix but not one phone call. As I was talking to the recruiter for the Kansas job he said something that makes me want to scream. Something that makes me want to call Obama, Hillary, Trump and all the CEO’s of any company. His statement was profound: “YOU ARE OVER 50, YOU BASICALLY HAVE NOTHING TO OFFER, YOUR RESUME WILL NEVER EVEN MAKE IT TO THE DESK OF THE HIRING MANAGER. HONESTLY NO ONE WANTS TO HIRE ANYONE OVER 50.”
So there you have it. The answer to why all of my time has just been wasted. Am I just supposed to accept this? I am not going down to Walmart and applying for a “Greeter” job just yet.
I helped build the semiconductor industry. Mark Facebook said that “no one over 30 should be working in high tech, only young people are smart” Seriously you can look it up. I cant wait until the day comes when Mark “facebook” is released from his own company due to age ( I assume that should be about anytime now, since he is close to 30). I cant wait for the day that he says goodbye to all the things he has worked so hard for. I cant wait until he has to pack up his things and move away from his family just to survive the last few years before he can collect a mere pittance of retirement (of course we know that will never happen, he has money and can make stupid statements like that)
Reality is: I am over 50, I have an abundance of knowledge and I am healthy, honest, trustworthy, I have values, integrity and a dream, or at least I did. I will work hard and never complain. I will be a role model and mentor. At least thats what I thought. My life as I knew it is gone and all because someone thinks that age makes you stupid and ignorant. I am very proud of my accomplishments, I am also very disappointed in an industry that I gave so much to threw me to the curb with no remorse.
Someone out there must have a place for someone like me?????
If you are desperate, the temptation to do stupid stuff can be overwhelming.
Try to be smart. Desperate people do stupid things. There is a LOT of desperation out there, created by the very people who are generating the policies both in the government and corporations that have created the current mess. At a time when hiring should be quick and easy, it’s become dysfunctional and unworkable. Then you have massive layoffs of people who may have worked in the same place for decades and you wonder why there’s so much desperation and craziness.
Liz Ryan again: Ten things to never reveal until you have the job.
1. How many other employers you’re talking with, or which ones
2. How much you earned at your last job (or your current job)
3. How desperate your financial situation is
4. How perfectly the job meets your lifestyle needs
5. How easy or difficult your job search has been
6. What you’re doing for money during your job search
7. How assiduously (or not) you’re pursuing your job search
8. Promising opportunities that disappeared or disappointed you during your job search
9. How much you prefer one employer over others you’re interviewing with
10. How badly you want the job
Why you should always take the interview off-script.
Also, those template interviews aren’t much fun anyway.
A useful book?
I haven’t checked it out myself, so I don’t know
Liz again. Five ways employers screen the best hires.
Your letter is a wonderful example of how a word like “trust” can be twisted around and distorted to mean the opposite of what “trust” really means. You asked for my honest opinion and you will get it. You can’t use “trust” as a weapon and accuse a person who has personal boundaries of having an insufficient trust level.
That is ludicrous. People don’t trust complete strangers, for good reason, and they particularly don’t trust corporations they’ve had no past dealings with. Why would they? We would no longer be talking about trust, but rather talking about naivete or desperation if we expected people to trust you with their private financial information on the strength of no relationship at all.
You say that you need applicants to trust you enough to give up their private, personal financial information, but it is not trust that inspires that disclosure, but fear. You don’t want them to trust you — you actually want them to fear you, and sadly, many of them do.
Trust is a two-way street, Georgia! You are the HR Manager for the company, and one of its most significant cultural leaders.
You don’t trust yourself and your applicants enough to publish the salary ranges for your open positions. If you had more trust in yourself and the talented people you are marketing to, you would be happy to publish a salary range in every job ad.
That would save your time and your job applicants’ time, but you are afraid to have the conversation that says “Our salary range is $50-$70K for this job, and we’re going to offer you $62,000.” That is the real problem — your fear of having difficult conversations….
In addition to the loathsome practice of demanding a job-seeker’s salary details, here are four other ways that fear-based employers weed out the best candidates:
- They reject any job applicant with a twisting path and a non-standard career history. If the candidate has an employment gap on his or resume, the recruiter recoils and wonders “What nefarious deeds was this person up to during this gap? If they weren’t sitting at a desk typing on a keyboard, they could only have been up to no good!”
- They bristle or panic if a job applicant gives a creative or unexpected answer to any job interview question. They don’t want non-standard answers. They can’t handle whimsy or extrapolation. They don’t want to see inside the job-seeker’s brain. They don’t want to be challenged intellectually, themselves. They want a job interview to be a clerical exercise!
- They freak out if a job-seeker has requirements of their own. They can’t deal with it if a job applicant can’t meet with them exactly when they want to meet. They think that a job-seeker with a mind or his or her own is a threat to their cozy life in the corporate burrow. They don’t want job-seekers to have any demands, requirements or penetrating questions. They don’t want to step out of any box, no matter how tiny.
- Finally, they strive to hire the most cookie-cutter candidate they can find, the person with few opinions and comfortable, well-accepted opinions at that. They work to find the candidate who begs for the job most convincingly and swears allegiance to the company before he or she is even hired. They love to hire people like that, because then they don’t have to think about those people again. They only have to give them a badge and put them on the payroll, and then go right back to sleep.
It almost always comes down to fear. What they never seem to ask themselves is; is fear how I want my business to be? I’ve been there and working in those places is not fun.
The Job Stuff Series.
Job Stuff 44.
Job Stuff 43.
Job Stuff 42.
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