…more misguided (… Stupid) advice

So this week some job search guru goes on LinkedIn and writes an article about how interviewing and hiring authorities have an obligation to give you feedback about your interview with them… The guy goes on and on about how hiring authorities should and ought to give you feedback on the interview you had with them and how if you keep calling them, the good ones realize their obligation and will give you feedback…

Hokum… Garbage… BS… Laughable… Like what planet are you living on?… It’s obviously clear that this guy has never spent much time finding people jobs… It’s totally misleading to tell people that they’re going to get feedback from an interviewing or hiring authority more than, maybe once out of 15 times…

This guy goes on and on about how good managers, interviewers and hiring authorities should and will give you honest feedback  about your interview…DON’T BUY ONE WORD OF IT… I don’t know what this guy is smoking or where he dreamed this idea up… But the truth is 99.99% of all of the people you will interview with, unless they are really interested in hiring you and are incredibly nice,  are NOT going to give you any feedback about you or your interviewing…

Should they be willing to give you feedback? … Yes!… Will they tell you that they will?… Yes! Do they know it’s courteous to do that?… Yes!… Will they do it?… NO!!! is it rude?… Yes!…  Is it discourteous?! …Yes!… But, are they going to do it?…NO!

It’s not a matter that they are intentionally mean, or insincere, or rude… They are simply unintentionally mean, insincere, and rude… So you ask “how can people be that way?”… Really easy… They just are! You notice me writing about ‘spiritual beings acting human?’… Well, this is a manifestation of spiritual beings acting human…

So, you may ask for feedback from folks you’ve interviewed… Just plain don’t expect it… If you get it, you are blessed… but just don’t expect it. Don’t waste your time wondering why, hoping, wishing, begging, wondering, speculating… Just accept the fact that you’re not going to get it, quit cursing the darkness and move on to the next opportunity…

Having done this for more than 40 years the only reason I can imagine that people will be, at best, inconsiderate is because they are so busy and so wrapped up in their own lives that giving you feedback on your performance in an interview is just  not a high priority to them… Ironically,  when they become a candidate and go to look for a job they can’t believe that interviewing and hiring authorities are so rude…

So, quit losing any emotion over this and move on…

… boomer women have left the workforce

Up until recently, more baby boomer women than men had been in the workforce… the current employment participation rate for adult men is 77.8% and for women it’s only 58.5%… Why?… How does it affect the economy? There are 1 million fewer women between the ages of 45 and 60 in the workplace today  than there were in 2009. The impact on the economy is obvious because there are 1 million fewer people earning money to move around in the economy. Here are the major reasons our society is experiencing this phenomenon. More women these days are having children when they are older. Many of them began their career, married later than previous generations and started having families later. At the “prime” age for earning… 45 to 55, many of these women still have children in a home that need to be cared for.  Even if they had children at a young age there “young adult” children,, being the lowest percentage of working Americans in the workforce …are moving home and often, these mothers  feel compelled to be at home with their adult children. A woman with children  who plans on going back to work when the children are still young  are faced with a very high cost of childcare.  Often the cost of the childcare outweighs a salary. In fact the cost of childcare is the single largest expense for families in almost half of the US and is growing, outweighing the cost of food and housing. So, faced with the cost of childcare, it might be more economical for a woman to stay home rather than work outside the home and pay for child care. The elderly are living longer these days and when their health fails it is logical for their female daughters to stay home and care for them. The average age of unpaid, adult family caregivers, according to the Family Caregiver Alliance is 48 years old…In the sweet spot of a person’s prime professional earnings age range. And making matters worse,  when these women do come back into the workforce after a three or four year period of time, their skills are perceived to be more outdated than with men. This must be because of the perceived jobs and skills that are associated with women. The truth is that there are no more deterioration of skills with out of work women then there are with out of work men. Next week: … How these women can get back into the workplace.

…Teaching folks how to get a job

I’m firmly convinced that the majority of people that are out of work and claim they are looking for a job really aren’t… When you look on the Internet about “how to find a job,” 90% of the stuff you see talks about how to craft a resume and how to send a resume to a company…Sending a resume is NOT Looking for a job… It just isn’t… On top of the entitlement attitude of “where’s my job?…can you email it to me?” People really don’t do all of the things they need to do to get a job… To get a job, you gotta get interviews… Face-to-face interviews… those are absolutely the only things that matter… and then you have to do a lot of it… It’s gonna take, on average, 16 interviews to get a job offer… even if you don’t like that job offer… In the last blog post I wrote, I explained how many calls and how many presentations of yourself it’s going to take to get one person that might listen to you and how many of those it’s going to take in order to get somebody interested in you and how many of those it’s going to take to get somebody to interview you… I can’t change the stats… your effort to get interviews is going to take one hell of a lot of work… And then you have to sell yourself, really, really hard… most people just plain don’t interview very well… they don’t sell themselves… they say stupid stuff… they don’t ask for feedback… they don’t ask for the job… so they don’t get hired… 60% of the people who were hired are hired through personal contacts… relatives, friends, acquaintances, present and previous peers… Everyone knows at least 200 people… Remember there are 7.4 million business establishments in the United States with an average of 15.4 people working in them… and every one of them needs help… every one of them!… If one person made an offer to one business that they could show that business how to make them more money or save them more money and really did it,  7.4 million people could go to work tomorrow… Pretty simple!

… change the attitudes towards work in getting a job

Unfortunately, our country has developed a societal attitude that work is a right not a privilege… We all need to develop more of an immigrant attitude… I really don’t need to describe that in detail, because we all know what an immigrant attitude is… Secondly we need to communicate that it’s going to be very, very, very, very hard to find a job… It isn’t something you simply sign up for like you do with all the other entitlements… Along the same line ,people have to realize that they may have to take a pay cut and start out in a lower position than they had before in order to get their foot back in the door… We then need to prepare people for the emotional strain that looking for a job is… I’m always amazed that people don’t expect how psychologically difficult it’s going be to find a job… Engage in talking to someone who’s been out of work for more than a year and you can hear the tension in their voice and almost feel the depleted spirit… People need to be aware that the competition for a job is phenomenal… There are at least 8 to 10 very well-qualified candidates for every job and just because people think they are qualified doesn’t mean they are going to get hired or that the hiring authority thinks they are qualified …Looking for a job successfully is a sheer numbers thing… Most people don’t try hard enough to get enough interviews, which is the first mistake… Then, when they don’t get a job right away, they give up way too easily, quit way too soon and then claim they can’t find a job… They claim that there are just “no jobs out there” it takes an average of 16 interviews to get a job… it takes talking to 10 hiring authorities to get one interview… and it takes 100 calls to speak with one hiring authority… In short, it is very diligent, hard work with tons of rejection and refusal… And lastly in this list is to quit cursing the darkness… Complaining bitching and moaning about the way things are does absolutely no good…

…So what we do about all this

So, it’s really easy to criticize… Anybody can sit here and write/complain about entitlements, child care, peoples attitude, climate change, the war In the Middle East, etc… so here are my humble solutions to the problem: As with many government entitlements, they start out with good intentions and devolve to the downside of Gladwell’s inverted U… I’m a product of the 60′s and, at the time was a great believer in LBJ’s Great Society… like many liberals we all thought “helping the poor” is a necessary idea…but the consequences have been. disasterous.. I remember working in “projects” when I was a freshman in college at St. Louis University in 1965, thinking that it was so wonderful that the government was building 15 and 20 story “projects” for people who really couldn’t afford them… 10 years later they were tearing them down because they deteriorated beyond repair… and we are now in our second, and the third generation of people who expect the government programs to take care of them… The idea, for instance of unemployment insurance for people while they are looking for a job seems reasonable to most people, especially those who are gainfully employed… it appears to be the empathetic thing to do… the key is while someone is looking for a job… it turns out, as Gladwell would site, that unemployment insurance prolongs unemployment… the number of unemployed people who find jobs within 90 days after their unemployment expires is staggering… unemployment insurance becomes a hindrance rather than a help.. so the first thing we should do is decrease the amount and the time people receive unemployment… you would be shocked at the number of people who tell me that they don’t want to go on an interview because they can make more money on unemployment than working the job I present to them… not good.  Instead of “unemployment” benefits the government should give tax credits to companies for hiring people who have been out of work for more than six months or a year… get rid of the word “benefit ” and describe unemployment as the “tax” it is and make it clear to people who receive “unemployment insurance” they are really receiving “other people’s money”…A novel idea would be to “assign” one working person to sponsor another individual who is receiving unemployment insurance and make it mandatory that the recipient of the unemployment insurance report to their “sponsor” every week when they receive unemployment as to what they are doing to get a job… to make it even more personal we could assign a “sponsor” for this who paying into the system about the same amount that the recipient is receiving… as though the employed person is personally “sponsoring” the unemployed one and is demanding accountability More next week………….

… other issues that discourage people from looking for and taking a job

Some of these are practical and some are social issues… some of them drive me nuts because they ring with “entitlements”… others are simply facts of life…

The cost of child care is too high… the cost of childcare is the single largest expense for families in almost half of the states in the nation and has been growing steadily, outweighing cost of food and housing… the cost of child care can surpass that of in-state tuition at four-year public colleges in 31 states… unfortunately the largest demographic hit is single mothers… the National Institutes of Health says that low income single mothers with young childcare challenges can be a significant barrier to even finding a job… it’s not a uncommon for child care to absorb one quarter of what the mothers earn

People don’t want to or can’t commute ….in a recent poll by MRINetwork 75% of almost 600 people said “they would turn down a job offer because of the long commute”…

Maintaining your place in the benefits system is a full-time, arduous job… government programs have become very strict about who receive benefits… even though the numbers of people receiving government benefits is staggering, people have to spend a lot of time actually working with the programs to stay in the parameters… government offices are packed every day in this country… they require appointments, paperwork, filing, re-filing and re-qualifying, literally standing in line all day for unemployment, Social Security insurance, disability and food assistance programs are daunting… trying to keep up with this challenge and then go out to job hunt takes a super effort, zapping a person’s energy and attitude.

Feeling stigmatized by potential employers… study after study has shown that resumes of people who are out of work for 27 weeks or more are automatically eliminated… in a recent study, 5000 identical resumes except for the fact that half reflected being unemployed for more than 27 weeks were sent to prospective employers…not one  of the candidates out of work for more than 27 weeks were invited to interview… So the concern for being stigmatized is real.

next week: solutions

… Some of the reasons why people get discouraged about working

We’ve created an interesting approach to finding a job in this country… in the guise of “safety nets” we have created a society where individuals feel that they should be able to find a job exactly like you want easily and on their terms… there seems to be a level of “I want job, but, I’m not gonna…”

People don’t want to take a pay cut. 40% of Americans who have seen long-term unemployment benefits have previously earned between $30,000 and $75,000 a year. They are considered “poor.” The vast majority of these people will not consider interviewing for a job at less money than what they were earning before even though they’ve been out of work for a long period of time… they will claim “I really don’t want us to”… once they pass up one or two opportunities, they feel compelled to pass up other ones that aren’t as good as the first one or two they were presented with…

Amazingly enough, 69% of Americans surveyed in 2013 by the Allegis Group stated that they would not take a job with the company would have any “bad reputation, even if they were unemployed”… and here is a phenomenally ironic twist, 33% of this group said that the only thing that would change their mind about a company’s “reputation” would be if they received a 50% increase in their previous page. It appears that a bad reputation is “relative” to the money people are paying … go figure! It’s hard to decide what a “bad reputation” means

Many people, often unemployed for long periods of time, try to find the “perfect” fit in finding a job… many have lost so much confidence in themselves they are afraid to accept any kind of job… because of low self-esteem ,they even quit job hunting altogether… a great many job seekers fall prey to the confusion of activity with productivity and spend their time sending resumes over the Internet… this is a really quick way to become discouraged… they hear nothing from the people they send their resumes to and become very discouraged very fast… unfortunately if you Google the search phrase “how do people find jobs?” The vast majority of articles and answers center around online job search of some sort… in other words people are encouraged to seek a job “online”…

next week, more discouraging facts and attitudes

..why people don’t want to work

entitlements often pay more than having a job… the idea that entitlements actually help people find a job… especially unemployment insurance… is dubious… economists at the National Bureau of Economic Research reported in 2013 that unemployment was worse in places which benefits… It seems that the longer people are on unemployment, it is an incentive not to get a job…

We present job Opportunities to unemployed candidates all the time and often hear, “I can make more than that on unemployment… so I’m not going on the interview”… one study found that there were 101 million people participating in at least one of the 15 food programs offered by the Department of Agriculture and there were only 97 million people working in full-time jobs…. You read it right, the number of Americans receiving government benefits outnumbers those with full-time jobs

The new Affordable Care Act has this same kind of perverse twist affecting the labor market… the CBO states that means tested subsidies,  Obamacare phases out  incomes rise and that some people will choose to stay poor and either accept lesser jobs than they might be capable of or get out of the workforce completely… disincentive to become unemployed or cut back on time or in exchange for healthcare subsidies will cost 2.3 million jobs by 2021… the intent to help people is a deterrent to work … it encourages those on this subsidy to “stay poor.”

There is a “attitude” of entitlement that, “there just ought to be a job for everyone and they should be easy to get”… the promise of a regulated economic equality, rather than the promise of equal opportunity to jobs leads people to think that looking for a job should be no harder than simply asking “where is my job?” and then expecting it to miraculously show up or have someone give it to them in the same way they do their healthcare… their unemployment… and their food stamps… the attitude of entitlement promotes the idea that getting a job is a “right” and should be easy to do…

Next week will talk about some of the reasons that people get discouraged about the job market

…the Willis Report

I’ve been on the Gerri Willis show, the Willis Report on FoxBusiness every other week for the past couple of months… it’s really fun and exciting…She always had some very interesting topics…

Yesterday the topic was the recent survey done by Harris poll of 1500 unemployed adult Americans… the major headline was that 47% of these people say that they have completely given up looking for a job…Gerri’s questions were… what’s your reaction to thiswhy are people giving up so easily and,… should the American taxpayers be paying for this group …???

There are more than 4 million people in the United States in this boat… people believe that there are actually no jobs out there… they believe the unemployment compensation is helping them… and overall they blame the economy…

According to the latest data, it takes the average person 17 weeks… about four months to either find a job or stop looking for one… the Council of Economic Advisers has found that a person being unemployed for five weeks or less has a 31% chance of getting a job… once they’ve been unemployed between 27 and 52 weeks, those odds drop to 12%… and what happens once your unemployed for more than a year… your odds drop to 9%… 34% of these people are men between the ages of 25 to 54 and 29% are women of the same age… 18% are young workers under 25… 15% are workers on the cost of the traditional retirement age between 55 and 64 years old… and the remaining 4% are people who are 65 years or older but would still like to work

Over the next two or three weeks I’m going to share with you the reasons I see… from in the trenches… of why people have such a hard time finding a job and why they don’t go to work

The First Reason is that looking for a job as well as losing your job is the fourth most emotional thing that people do…next to death of a spouse, death of a child, death of a parent, coupled with divorce, the fourth most emotional thing that people do is look for a job… they are just plain scared…

For most people this fear leads to massive action and they get up off their duff and really try hard to look for a job… and, if they do it within the first five weeks of being laid off they have a 31% chance of doing that… however, because of fear, lots of people decide to take a little time off, accept severance and do nothing for a while, take a vacation, go back to school… they do anything except what they ought to do which is look for a job

The second thing they do is to apply for entitlements offered by the government…. this is a well-intentioned social policy but it has done nothing but enabled a whole bunch of people to not only become dependent upon the government but become disincented to finding a job…

Malcolm Gladwell, in his book, David and Goliath speaks about the inverted U theory regarding social policies that start out as a “good thing” but wind up making things worse… unemployment insurance, disability insurance, food stamps and many other programs instituted to “help” unemployed people actually provide them an incentive to not find a job.

People can often collect more money from unemployment insurance, food stamps,  disability insurance and other government programs than they can by finding a job… economists at the national Bureau of economic research reported that unemployment was worse in places with generous benefits… the new Affordable Care Act has the same kind of perverse to twist affecting the labor market….the CBO states that means tested subsidies for Obama care phase out as income rises and that some people would choose to stay poorer and either accept lesser jobs than they might be capable of or get out of the workforce completely… this incentive to become unemployed or cut back on time worked in exchange for healthcare subsidies will cost 2.3 million jobs by 2021… the intent to “help” is a deterrent to work and encourages those on this subsidy to “stay poor”

Government programs designed to help the unemployed has a tendency to keep them employed… more next week

…good for Ken… a little luck and a little skill

Ken interviewed for a first line managers job… his background is pretty perfect but unfortunately he was flat… no enthusiasm or fire in the belly… he came  in third, even though his experience and background were better than the other candidates who interviewed…

The most impressive candidate was invited back and did a great job in the second interview in front of a group of people and looked like he was going to the offer… but a “backdoor” reference by the  VP wasn’t good at all he was quickly eliminated…

The second candidate wasn’t stellar in her initial interview but they brought her back… unfortunately, even though her skills were solid, she was so serious and tense in a group interview..( that is the problem I have with group interviews… I hate them…they are unfair to a candidate and to  a company… but, obviously I don’t write the rules)… bottom line was she choked and wasn’t the same effervescent, friendly, engaging candidate that the hiring authority initially interviewed… she bombed and just plain didn’t connect with them… so she was out…

In spite of Ken’s Initial interview flatness, he followed up with the hiring authority, etc… the initial interviewing authority wasn’t wild about bringing him back, but it was better than starting all over so, as with the rest of the candidates, he sent information for Ken to use in making a presentation to the group and invited him back for a group interview…

Ken prepared well… went to Starbucks and got a vinti “black eye,” drinking it before the interview … hiring authority said that he did great and they are now checking his references… it all looks good for Ken

a little luck and a little skill never hurt anyone