Category Archives: World of Work

Google Gives HR Something New To Worry About

SideWiki Google

When Dr. John Sullivan said last week that employers have lost control of their brand, he likely wasn’t thinking of Sidewiki. Why should he? When the article was published Monday Sidewiki was not even three weeks old; Google launched it on Sept. 23rd.

But Sidewiki’s potential for deconstructing a brand is enormous. Unlike all the networking sites, Twitter posts, and job board forums where the disaffected go to vent their anger, Sidewiki makes it possible to post these comments directly to your site.

Just imagine the mischief a disgruntled job seeker or employee can wreak by posting their story directly to your site. Side by side with your video of happy employees talking about the fun and interesting work they do is a post — or multiple posts — from current and former workers denouncing your message as bogus.

If Sidewiki were to catch on and gain even a percentage of the users that Twitter has, the impact is easy enough to see.

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Original Source: John Zappe

Recession Wire Interview: The Confidence Game


I was recently interviewed by for an article about confidence in interviewing. This is a great topic due to the amount of layoffs and the need for people to find work. When layoffs and job loss occur, coupled with no one calling you back after submitting your resume to dozens of job opportunities. Your confidence can take a visible hit, which can inadvertently undermine your job interview opportunities.


The Confidence Game

Mark Twain once wrote that the only things required for success are ignorance and confidence. If we humbly assume a good measure of the former, then the only thing needed for a successful job search is confidence.

Simplistic? Perhaps. But for those of us who awake each morning to face yet another day of launching resumes into the ethers and throwing ourselves at the mercy of old cronies or long-lost college cohorts who just might provide that magical, silver-bullet nexus of our LinkedIn fantasies, it can be difficult to crank up the old confidence meter to the appropriate level of chipperness. Each non-returned inquiry and “we’re not hiring right now” response is one more pinprick in the life raft of our confidence.

But let’s get real—sinking beneath the waves simply isn’t an option. That means we must meet each pinhole in the raft with a fresh wad of Double Bubble, chewed vigorously and confidently. Sure, you can hide in the closet now and then, shut the door, cover your mouth with an unused business suit and let out a primal scream or two. But then shake off the dust bunnies and get back in the living room.

“Everything you do, say, or write is a reflection of your confidence,” says Nick Reddin, business development manager for Manpower, one of the largest employment services companies in the world. “Your resume, cover letter, hand shake, telephone demeanor—everything should project that you are ready to take on the position you are applying for.”

In his position at Manpower, Reddin talks with hundreds of prospective candidates, both as an employment advisor and on behalf of employers. He says his instincts can tell when a candidate is been through the grinder and is starting to feel defeated.

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What are the Most Prestigious Jobs? – 2009 Survey

Every year at this time, The Harris Poll asks whether an occupation can be considered to have very great prestige or hardly any prestige at all. This year there are some changes as well as some stability in what occupations are considered prestigious and what ones are not.

These are some of the results of a nationwide telephone survey conducted by Harris Interactive among 1,010 U.S. adults between July 8 and 13, 2008.

Most Prestigious Occupations

The occupations at the top of the list are:

 Firefighter (62% say “very great prestige”),

 Scientist (57%),

 Doctor (56%),

 Nurse (54%),

 Teacher (51%), and

 Military officer (51%).

Least Prestigious Occupations

Looking at the other side of the list, only 15% or fewer adults regard the following occupations as having very great prestige:

 Real estate agent/broker (5%),

 Accountant (11%),

 Stock broker (13%),

 Actor (15%).

Substantial majorities of adults (from 65% to 80%) believe that these occupations have “hardly any” or only “some” prestige. Additionally, several occupations are regarded as “very prestigious” by more people this year than they were last year:

 Business executive, up six points to 23%,

 Military office, up five points to 51%, and

 Firefighter, up five points to 62%.

However, even with this improvement, business executives are still near the bottom of the list with 62% of Americans saying they have only some prestige or hardly any prestige at all. Two occupations lost four or more points since last year:

 Farmers, down five points to 36%,

 Accountant, down four points to 11%.

Prestigious Jobs Chart 2009

Click picture to enlarge.

So what do you think? Did the survey get it right?

Perfecting the Art of Employee Feedback


Below is from an article I recently wrote for the Des Moines Business Record about the importance and methods of employee feedback. This is a crucial topic especially during these times when companies are having to survive with less employees. Perfecting the art of feedback is what will keep those stretched employees engaged, motivated and productive.


Feedback is an interesting topic for a variety of reasons. I believe feedback is incredibly important when it comes to shaping your staff into your A team.

I love what former Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry once said: “A coach makes people do what they don’t want to do to become what they want to be.” Though I am not a fan of the Cowboys, I have always been a fan of Tom Landry, and that quotation contains some of the best simple wisdom ever dispensed.

In most companies, I have noticed there is a philosophy along the lines of “feedback is a gift,” which is usually said right before they criticize you. Or they may say, “I have some constructive criticism I would like to share with you.” Who’s kidding whom? Criticism is still criticism.

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Does the World Need More Engineers?


“Imagine what life would be like without pollution controls to preserve the environment, life-saving medical equipment, or low-cost building materials for fighting global poverty. All this takes engineering,” states the National Academy of Engineering’s Web site for high-school girls and the adults in their lives.

Engineering is vital to problem solving and, as a career, offers an opportunity to make a real difference in the world. Using stories of real women and student peers engaging in these activities, the program encourages more young women to enter the field in all its varieties, such as civil, aeronautic, biomedical, environmental, industrial, and computer engineering.

Resources for counselors, teachers, parents, and adult engineers are also available at the site. “In very real and concrete ways, women that become engineers save lives, prevent disease, reduce poverty, and protect our planet,” it states. “Dream Big. Love what you do.

Bonus Click: Become an engineer.” for middle-school girls.

7 Questions You Must Ask Before Firing


Faced with a firing, managers are typically upset and uncomfortable. They want to just “get it over with.” Stop right there. Slow them down, and ask these 7 questions first. Otherwise, you’re likely headed for an expensive lawsuit.

Here are the 7 questions BLR experts recommend you ask before any termination. If your answer to any of these questions rings a worrisome note, review the situation carefully before making a termination decision.

1. Have you followed your own policies?

Most organizations have a discipline policy that covers termination. Check your policy to be sure that you have followed it, especially if your policy calls for “progressive discipline” or suggests that employees are fired only for cause.

Policies generally reserve the right to skip steps in the progressive discipline system and fire immediately for certain offenses such as stealing or violence. However, you should exercise this right with caution.

2. Is there a contract or other guarantee?

If the employee in question has a written employment contract, you will probably be bound by its terms. Even in the absence of written contracts, many courts have found that certain documents, such as employee handbooks or offer letters, can create implied employment contracts. For example, your policy or handbook might inadvertently:

  • “Guarantee” a job as long as work is satisfactory.
  • Require arbitration or other alternate dispute resolution approaches.
  • Mandate progressive discipline.

3. Is there a union agreement?

If the employee in question is covered by a union contract, you must determine whether this termination would be contrary to union contract provisions.

Furthermore, if the employee has been involved in union organizing, you must weigh whether the offense for which the employee is to be terminated could be considered “concerted activity” or whether the termination could be considered retaliation for union activity.

4. Have you been consistent?

Consistency is an important part of fair treatment. If you have consistently terminated others for the same offense for which you want to terminate this employee, you are probably going to be all right. If, however, you have never terminated a white male for a certain offense, and now you intend to terminate a black male for that offense, you could be on thin ice.

5. Could this firing be viewed as discriminatory?

Could the employee claim that he or she was fired not for the reason the organization claims, but because of discrimination? (“You fired me because I am [old, black, Muslim, gay, disabled, etc.], not because I broke a rule.”)

6. Could this firing be viewed as retaliatory?

Could the employee claim that he or she was fired for performing a protected activity? For example, making a complaint to a government agency, making accusations of sexual harassment, or making a workers’ compensation claim? If so, look at the situation carefully.

7. Is the employee pregnant?

In general, treat pregnant women the same way you treat any employee with a disability. You may not fire a woman because she is pregnant.

Have some pre-firing questions that you think should be added?

Walking Wounded: Instructions for Working when Salaries are Cut

Veriatas Logo

The link below is to my recent article for Veritas Magazine called Walking Wounded: Instructions for Working when Salaries are Cut. I think this is a very important topic that I wanted to address in a fair amount of detail as it is affecting so many people in the workforce.

What should our attitude be?

What should our effort look like? 

Ultimately who are we really working for?

Walking Wounded: Instructions for Working when Salaries are Cut