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November 24, 2015 / Molly Moseley

Programmatic buying for recruitment [live webinar]

LinkUpProgrammaticBuying_Webinar_Email_V3_FinalKC (1)Recruitment advertising has evolved greatly in recent years. From pay-to-post to performance-based, advertising solutions for recruitment are getting more sophisticated, more accurate and arguably more successful.

Programmatic recruitment advertising is a great example of how the industry is making strides to leverage technology to streamline and optimize the recruitment ad buying process and attract quality candidates at a lower cost.

Programmatic buying encompasses an array of technologies to automate the buying and placement of job openings on a predetermined network of job-related websites, on a pay-per-click or pay-per-app basis. It maximizes targeting efficiency by continually optimizing placements for the highest conversion rate at the job level.

Interested in learning more about how programmatic recruitment advertising can help you hire better? Register for LinkUp’s live webinar Dec. 8th at 1pm CST, featuring a panel of industry experts who will discuss how it works and what the future looks like for this exciting recruiting technology. Register here or download our white paper today.

November 24, 2015 / Stephanie Anderson

Have you thanked a colleague today? 10 simple ways to show gratitude at work

shutterstock_337004078Football, the parade, playtime with the kids, that glorious turkey dinner and perhaps a nap — what’s not to like about Thanksgiving? Gratitude, of course, is the foundation of the holiday, and it’s important to remember everything you’re thankful for this year. Yes, that means your co-workers, too.

Before you laugh out loud and spill your eggnog everywhere, take a moment to think about it: You spend a third of your day with these people. For many of us that equates to more time than we spend with our spouses or kids. Good co-workers humanize the daily grind, make stressful weeks easier and can turn into true friends.

Not everyone you work with is going to be your best bud, but your co-workers are still a big part of your life. With that in mind, I think it’s time to bring a little thanks into the workplace. And no, the “thanks” used sign off at the end of an email doesn’t count.

Here are 10 simple ways to embrace the Thanksgiving spirit and show gratitude at work:

1. Speak up at a meeting
Did someone help you meet a tough deadline? Did a co-worker step in when you had to leave early? Did a colleague assist in a perfect client presentation? If someone helped you when you needed it most, bring it up at a team meeting. This public acknowledgement shows your true appreciation.

2. Email the supervisor
Don’t have a good opportunity to speak up at a group meeting? No problem. Take two minutes and email your supervisor to state how much you appreciate your co-worker’s assistance. Kudos to the people in charge count for a lot.

3. Scratch someone’s back
Not literally of course! Rather, when a co-worker helps you out, return the favor in a timely fashion. Not sure what she needs help with? Pick up a project that you knows she dreads, even if that means spending an hour filing paperwork.

4. Write a thank you card
In the age of emails and instant messages, a handwritten thank you card shows sincere gratitude. The words don’t need to be lengthy or particularly elegant, but the message should be personalized to acknowledge the situation and convey your sincere appreciation.

5. Grab an extra cup of joe
When you’re at the coffee shop getting your favorite caffeinated beverage, grab an extra latte for your co-worker. A steaming hot cup is the perfect morning pick-me-up, plus it comes with a side of gratitude that will help brighten the whole day.

6. Take him to lunch
Treating someone to lunch is the perfect way to say gracias. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but make sure you go somewhere your co-worker genuinely enjoys (i.e. no burger joint for a vegetarian). Take a break, eat good grub and enjoy the company.

7. Write a LinkedIn recommendation
Go to your co-worker’s LinkedIn profile, hover your mouse over the arrow next to the blue “send a message” button, and you’ll notice the recommendation option. Then, write why you feel this person should be recommended and she will be notified so she can put it on her profile — a lasting gesture to show your thanks.

8. Recommend them for workplace opportunities
When a colleague gains your trust and consistently steps up to the plate to help you out, thank him by recommending him for advanced opportunities at work. That means when your supervisor is looking to form a team to work on an exciting new project, you throw his name into the hat for consideration and note why.

9. Be a sounding board
Your undivided attention is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to show your gratitude to co-workers. If they need to vent about a tough day or brainstorm about a new client, be there to listen.

10. Give a straightforward compliment
A good old-fashioned face-to-face compliment goes a long ways these days. Be specific about why you appreciate working alongside your colleague. Do you love how detail-oriented she is? Do you appreciate his creativity? Did you meet your deadline because of her help? Acknowledge it and give a hardy “Thank you!”

November 16, 2015 / Molly Moseley

Paris, Beirut and beyond: Our thoughts are with you


CC Image by Wei-Duan Woo, Flickr

It seemed like a typical Friday afternoon. Most people were powering through the last couple hours of the day while anticipating the possibilities of the weekend. Then the news hit about Paris and time suddenly stood still.

The acts of senseless violence left us stunned and speechless. While the events in Paris can feel light-years away from our office here in Minneapolis, the shock felt all too familiar. It was not so long ago that our entire country was reeling from the tragedy of 9/11.

Terrorism is too close for comfort no matter where you live. Shortly after we learned about the Paris attacks, another news story emerged: a double suicide bombing in Beirut, Lebanon. While this area is more volatile than Paris, it was the city’s worst attack in over two decades. Terrorism is a constant and moving threat and we sincerely appreciate all of the service members, law enforcement and first responders who keep us safe at home and overseas.

For LinkUp’s blog posts we like considering current events and how they relate to our industry, but there are times when there just isn’t an appropriate post. This is one of those cases. We simply want to acknowledge the tragedy and offer our heartfelt support.

Our sympathies go out to the victims in France, Beirut and beyond. Our hearts are with the friends and family of the victims, who undoubtedly will struggle to move forward. We hope for swift justice and ultimately peace.

November 13, 2015 / Molly Moseley

Are we addicted to being busy?

shutterstock_262331879Do you work long hours? Are you busy morning, noon and night? Do you shortchange yourself on sleep in order to squeeze in a few extra emails?

Congratulations! You’re busier than ever, and you’re not alone. Americans are working longer days, retiring later in life and proactively choosing to skip vacations — paid vacation time! — in order to clock more hours at work.

What’s most surprising is that many of us choose to be this way. Our culture tells us that being busy is a sign of success. If you’re busy, you’re doing well. If you’re not busy, though, something must be wrong.

Being busy all the time comes at a cost. Health, happiness and work-life balance are the typical victims. The most ironic part of it all is that busy workers are not necessarily the most productive workers. We pack our days full and end up stressed out and inefficient.

If you’d rather strive for productivity over busyness while cutting stress out of your work days, here are five ways to find the sweet spot you desire:

1. Schedule for efficiency
Work smarter, not harder, by maximizing your schedule. Create dedicated periods of time throughout your day for particular tasks. A basic example: rather than answering each email as it comes in, dedicate periods during the morning and afternoon specifically for email. That leaves time open during the remainder of the day to work on projects and give other activities your full attention.

2. Don’t be afraid to say no
Many people think saying no to a requested work task will make them seem like they aren’t a team player. But being able to manage your time and saying no to projects you can’t dedicate 100 percent to is a smart career choice. Would you rather complete two top-quality projects this week or rush through five? If you’re worried your boss will balk, try to explain how much time you need for other projects so he/she can understand, or at the very least bring in some additional help to get everything done.

3. Track stressors
For two weeks, keep a journal of activities, people and things that cause you stress. Once you identify stressors, you can try to eliminate them from your life as much as possible. For the things you can’t eliminate, find healthy ways to deal with them. For example, move that hectic morning meeting to the afternoon, partner with positive people who enhance your productivity or take a walk during the lunch hour.

4. Recharge
Everyone is guilty of working through breaks in order to get things done. While tempting, this strategy typically backfires. Short breaks increase focus, according to ScienceDaily. The brain needs time to rest and recharge, so by denying yourself your much-needed rest, you’re actually decreasing your productivity, not to mention you’ll be pretty crabby by the day’s end. So take a break, eat a healthy snack and rest that mental muscle.

5. Establish boundaries
Technology has dramatically changed how most of us work. While it may make parts of our jobs easier, it also connects us to work 24/7. It’s important to establish boundaries before work-life balance becomes nonexistent. Make rules for yourself and follow them; for example, don’t check email after 6 p.m. and never answer your phone during meal times.

November 11, 2015 / Stephanie Anderson

5 tips to find a career coach worthy of your investment

shutterstock_197496365Do you feel you’ve hit a plateau at your job? Do you want a new position at a prestigious company? Do you want a different career altogether? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, a career coach might be the key to your success.

Hiring a career coach is a growing trend among professionals, and it’s not just for executives, either. People from all different points in their career are actively looking to career coaching for help. From providing basic insight into best practices for resumes and cover letters, to offering complex job strategy and guidance on changing industries, career coaching can be a worthwhile investment.

But just like any investment you make, it’s not something that should be done without conducting adequate research. After all, anyone can deem himself or herself a “career coach,” but that doesn’t mean they’ll be effective at helping you achieve your goals. These five steps will help guide you to a coach that can really help make a difference.

Step 1: Define your objective
Write down what you want to get out of your partnership with a career coach. Knowing your goals and expectations helps direct you toward the right coach. Sharing this information with coaches also helps them vet you to ensure that what you want is indeed something they can actually help you achieve.

Step 2: Seek out coaches who match your needs
Just because a coach comes with accolades galore doesn’t mean he’s a good match for you. If his expertise doesn’t align with your needs, you’ll be disappointed. Someone who specializes in job searches would not necessarily be good at advising you on becoming a business owner.

Step 3: Research candidates
Reach out to your network for referrals, but don’t limit your options to only those others have used. Explore a variety of coaches and research their credentials. A good coach will have a stellar online presence, remain active in the industry by writing articles or giving presentations at events, have several years experience and plenty of recommendations.

Step 4: Leverage services and research pricing
Specialized services like Coach Connect from Muse can save you time and money, helping you find the right coach for your needs at the right price, too.

“Working with a career coach to plan your job search or do a resume review can really accelerate the process and get results. In launching Coach Connect, we selected the best coaches at different price points to help our users take that next step or get that dream job,” says Alex Cavoulacos, founder, COO and head of product at The Muse.

Step 5: Discuss your coach’s expectations
You’ve already communicated your objectives to your coach; now it’s time for your coach to discuss her expectations. A successful partnership goes both ways, and a coach can’t help you if you’re not an active participant. They may have expectations about communication and activity requirements, so discuss everything up-front to prevent surprises.

November 3, 2015 / Toby Dayton

The Glass Is Half Empty; October NFP To Disappoint (Again)

With the Fed’s entirely appropriate decision to hold tight on rates coming out of their October meeting, attention is now focused intently on the December meeting and debates are raging as to what the Fed should do and what the Fed will do. Unfortunately, due to mounting pressure from some increasingly vocal pockets on Wall Street, inflation chicken-littles, and the crazies in the Hell-No caucus, among others, the risk is growing that what the Fed should do isn’t what they will do. What a shame that would be.

As Steven Rattner wrote in a great op-ed piece in the Times, economic growth is anemic, inflation is non-existent, job growth is tepid at best, and wages have been stuck in neutral, seemingly forever. Specifically on the jobs front, the last two jobs reports from the Labor Department were a disappointing shock to all but a few economists on Wall Street, and average monthly job gains this year have dropped 24% from last year.


NFP 2014-2015


Admittedly, discerning a clear signal in the cacophony of noisy data these days is exceedingly difficult, as we’ve pointed out numerous times over the past few months, but if nothing else, the pea-soup fog that has descended over economic data these days should give further ammunition to those who are wisely advocating for no action until evidence is clear that action needs to be taken.

Luckily, October’s jobs report which comes out on Friday will put yet another nail (hopefully the last) in the coffin of the idea that the Fed should raise rates this year. Based on the continued declines we have seen in new and total job openings in LinkUp’s job search engine (which indexes 3.3 million jobs from 50,000 companies every day) since July, we are forecasting that only 75,000 jobs were created last month.

As the chart below indicates, new and total job openings have declined steadily since July, averaging -8.4% over that period.


Monthly LinkUp ∆ 2015


The drop in new job listings in our search engine in Q3 was particularly dramatic, with an average decline of 12.4%.


New Job Openings By Month By Year 2010-2015


Given the assumption that the best indicator of a new job being added to the U.S. economy is when an employer posts a job opening on their corporate website (real job, real company, no scams or fraud, no job board pollution, updated daily, no duplicates, no headhunters, etc.), it is not surprising that the declines we’ve seen in new and total job openings over the past few months have shown up in weak jobs reports for August and September. In fact, it is more than likely that both those reports will be revised downward further on Friday.


2015 NFP Track Record Through Oct


But because nothing of substance is ever easy, especially as it relates to predicting the future, and even more specifically as it relates to the current economic environment, October’s jobs data from LinkUp stands as a bit of a curveball. In October, new job openings by state rose 9% and total job openings rose 2% from September. It is important to note, however, that for every month in our forecasting model, we use a paired-month methodology which allows us to account for the fact that we are always adding new companies to our index. As a result, we always get 2 data points for every month, which is why the numbers below do not match the LinkUp data in the 2nd chart above.


Jobs By State Oct 2015


Looking at jobs by category, our data for October shows similar gains in new and total job openings.


Jobs By Category Oct 2015


The other curveball for October’s non-farm payroll report is seasonality which obviously has a major impact on hiring as the chart below clearly indicates. Looking at the percentage change in new job openings from month to month in our job search engine between 2010 and 2015, labor demand is strongest in Q1 and Q2 and tapers off dramatically in Q3 and Q4. But over the past 5 years, October has been the one bright month in an otherwise bleak stretch of months with declines in new job openings.


Seasonality in New Job Openings


Drilling into the retail sector, the primary driver of seasonal hiring, this year’s data paints a pretty horrific picture. New retail job openings on LinkUp shot up dramatically in June, continuing a 3-year trend of stronger retail labor demand occurring earlier in the year (October in 2012, June-September in 2013, May in 2014). But as economic conditions started to weaken substantially as the summer progressed, new retail job openings declined precipitously and have stayed rather subdued for the past few months.


New Retail Jobs by Month 2012-2015


The decline in new retail job openings mirrors what has happened across the entire U.S. economy over the past few months, as shown below in LinkUp’s Jobs Duration report. Every month, we analyze all the job openings that have rolled off our site over the past 6 months (presumably because they were filled with a hire) to determine hiring velocity as indicated by the length of time that those jobs were on our site.

Between October of last year and June of this year, the average job duration rose from 40 to 49 days as employers found it harder to fill openings in a tightening labor market. In July and especially in August, however, job duration fell back down to 42 days as employers quickly removed job listings they no longer intended to fill as the economy slowed dramatically. Since then, hiring velocity has slowed considerably, with job duration jumping to 55 days in October.


Oct 2015 jobs duration report (2)


So just like virtually every data point one might look at for glimpses of clarity, the ‘truth’ is entirely dependent on one’s perspective and the timeframe one applies to the analysis. Should we be encouraged by the long-term growth trend of new and total job openings on LinkUp, or alarmed at the precipitous decline since June?


New & Total Jobs 2011-2015


We’re going with the glass half-empty position with a forecast of a net gain of only 75,000 jobs in October.


Oct 2015 NFP Forecast


Of course we’ll be cheering for a much higher number, but if Friday’s report turns out to be as grim as we think it is likely to be, perhaps the only positive outcome would be the silencing of those calling for a December rate hike.

November 2, 2015 / Stephanie Anderson

Programmatic advertising: a recruitment game changer


Long gone are the days of hanging a help wanted sign in a window to secure a hire. Today recruiters and HR professionals live in a technology and data-driven world. Employers want to find candidates fast and at a low cost, and are demanding data and intelligence on their recruiting efforts.

One of the biggest game-changer in the digital recruiting space in recent years has been programmatic recruitment advertising

Programmatic recruitment ad buying encompasses an array of technologies to automate the buying and placement of job openings on a predetermined network of job-related websites on a Price-Per-Click (PPC) or Price-Per-Apply basis (PPA). Programmatic ad buying maximizes targeting efficiency by continually optimizing placements for the highest conversion rate at the job level.

It is designed to streamline the recruitment advertising placement process, and bring down the cost per hire. In our latest white paper we provide an introduction to programmatic advertising, best practices and explore the future of this recruiting revolution. Download our white paper today! 

October 28, 2015 / Stephanie Anderson

Job search resulting in more tricks than treats? How to turn it around

shutterstock_112331054Has your once dreamy job search turned into a nightmare reminiscent of a classic Halloween flick? If you feel like you’re running around more than a werewolf during a full moon, it’s time to stop the madness. These 10 job search tricks are guaranteed to provide only treats by refreshing your job search fast.

1. Beware of burnout
A job search is a lot of work and if you’re feeling burnt out, carve out time for a break. Most people check job postings and apply daily, but that can be overwhelming. Consider designating one day a week to take it easy.

2. Have fang-tastic focus
If you’re applying a lot and never hearing back, it’s time to refocus. You may be applying for the wrong jobs. Are you qualified for the position? Is your resume compelling? Are you using eye-catching verbs and phrases?

3. Avoid a hauntingly disorganized schedule
If you’re searching for a job full-time, it’s easy for days to blend together. Keep on top of the job hunt by scheduling time for your search on your calendar. A few hours a day is a great way to maintain focus.

4. Don’t be the invisible man (or woman)
If you’re looking for a job, you need to maintain a compelling LinkedIn profile. It’s virtually a given that employers will look to see if you have one these days. If not, you may as well be a ghost. For a stalled job search, refresh your intro and put up a fresh head shot.

5. Forget fright and follow-up
If you just apply and cross your fingers, you’ll be waiting for a long time. Proper etiquette is to send an original thank you (yes, email is OK!). Then, if you haven’t heard back after the designated time has passed, show initiative and follow up.

6. Cackle with your network
Cast a spell on your professional network by boosting your engagement on LinkedIn and by attending industry events in your city. If you’re as invisible as a ghost, so too will be your network’s ability to help you find a job.

7. Conjure keywords
Even if you dislike recruitment software as much as you do the boogeyman, it’s reality. To get past filters and eventually capture the eye of someone in HR, inject industry keywords into your resume and cover letter where they fit naturally.

8. Avoid the moonlight
While it may be mere hocus pocus, some claim that submitting applications and interviewing early in the morning helps candidates stand out. The rationale is that people are bright eyed and bushy tailed earlier in the day so you can more easily make a lasting impression.

9. Mystify with personality
Being polished and prepared does not mean being boring. Many candidates memorize answers, know all the correct terms and have every skill listed on the job app, but they play it too safe and come off as staged and insincere. Be confident and let your personality shine a bit.

10. Howl less, listen more
It’s easy to get so focused on conveying the right message and giving the correct impression that you forget to listen. And one-sided conversations are a red flag to employers. For more effective interviews, remember conversation is an art and being a good listener is just as important as being a good speaker.

October 21, 2015 / Molly Moseley

Female executives, primary parents and the myth of having it all

CC Image by Datuna Otfinowski, Flickr

In a time when women are openly encouraged to “lean in” and glass ceilings are shattered more frequently than ever before, it might seem that having it all has never been more achievable. Yet having a happy family and a thriving career is no easy task, and female executives are struggling to reach what society deems the holy grail of success.

As any parent knows, raising a child is a full-time job. Being a primary parent means managing schedules, tracking homework and attending countless lessons, games and PTO meetings. Add to that the responsibilities of a job in the C-suite, where a 40-hour week would be considered light, and you’ll understand why female executives with kiddos are feeling stretched so thin.

Yes, I’d argue that having it all is downright impossible.

It’s a given that each parent must dedicate a certain amount of their time in order to raise their children. If a mother decides to stay home, perhaps she takes on 80 percent of those child-raising tasks. If both parents work, however, maybe they try to split the responsibilities evenly. Moms have historically focused their efforts on homemaking instead of on their careers, and the growing population of stay-at-home fathers is a game changer.

The number of fathers who are at home with their children has nearly doubled since 1989, according to the Pew Research Center. Fathers represent a growing share of all at-home parents — 16 percent in 2012. As more women strive for executive positions, will this number increase? I hope so, because 16 percent is still astonishingly low, especially when you consider that, of this group, 35 percent of stay-at-home dads are home due to illness or disability rather than to specifically to care for their home or family.

One thing that most successful men and women can agree on is that they wouldn’t be where they are today without incredible support. Whether it’s dad staying home or working part-time in order to take on the primary parenting role, or grandparents, friends and nannies stepping in to make complex schedules work, it truly takes a village to raise children and be a successful female executive today.

It’s important to note that while these leading ladies are handing off some parental responsibilities, they don’t love their children any less. Some people may quickly assume they value their job over their family, but if we would never think that of a man in a leading role, why are we tempted to think it about woman?

It’s OK to be career focused, to let your partner handle the majority of parental duties, and still be emotionally connected to your kids. Men have been doing this for decades! In fact, children provide a great reason for female execs to work even harder to break stereotypes and prove you can do whatever you put your mind to. They’re watching everything we do, after all.

Bottom line: no one can have it all, but there are ways to make it all work. The sooner we accept that each family has its own approach to success, the better our communities will be and the more female executives we’ll see in the board room.

October 15, 2015 / Molly Moseley

‘Yelp for people’ app won’t be of any use to HR



We’ve all read reviews online about restaurants, hotels and movies, but what if you could read unbiased positive and negative reviews on people as well?

According to a Sept. 30th Washington Post article, this was the concept behind the app called Peeple. It turns out, however, that people were not too pleased with the idea. In fact, after a fair amount of Internet outrage, Peeple’s social media sites have been shut down, leaving behind only a sparse landing page.

What appears to have happened is that the public outcry caused the app’s founder Julia Cordray to reconsider some of the not-so-great original features — such as a 48-hour waiting period before negative comments would go live, and the lack of an opt-out feature. Cordray has now stated via LinkedIn that the app will be only for positive reviews and will 100 percent require users to opt-in.

While I have no idea what this app will look like when it launches in November, I do know it will be of little use to those of us in HR and recruiting. It won’t work, and here’s why:

Humans are not businesses/things: To take a person and allow him or her to be rated as you would an object is just not right. Would you be happy to know you got a 2-star review on a 5-star scale? No. Human nature is complex; quantifying a person’s worth is not simple and therefore the app would not provide helpful insight to HR folks.

Positive-only reviews lack insight: If what Cordray says is true and the app will be for positive-only reviews, I can at least applaud her effort to spread some love in the world. However, HR people researching potential hires won’t likely visit the site because they’ll already know what they are going to find: only shining reviews.

Credibility of reviewers: The information presented on Peeple will be only as good as the source. I doubt HR experts will put a lot of trust in the people creating these posts. Honestly, how do we know those posts aren’t simply manipulated by the candidate in question, or that candidate’s close and helpful friends?

Meaning of zero reviews: If Peeple really takes off (which we are doubting after this PR crisis), what does it mean if someone doesn’t have any reviews? Does that mean HR should assume that this person is generally thought of poorly? There’s too much uncertainty to make this assumption, or any assumption for that matter.

Legality issues: While the concept of Peeple is still very new, HR experts are wondering about the legal implications of assessing a candidate based on a website like this. Would using Peeple be considered any different from assessing an applicant based on a reference? The answer is vague, so the legal risk is too great.

Peeple appears to be the unavoidable result of our increasing dependence on all things social and online. However, for HR and recruiting gurus, it’s simply not useful.

What do you guys think of Peeple? Yea or nay?