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April 27, 2016 / Stephanie Anderson

Prince’s impact beyond the music: Life lessons from a legend

Steve Quinlan / Shutterstock.com

Steve Quinlan / Shutterstock.com

When I first heard last week that Prince had died, I thought it was a joke. I assumed it was another one of those celebrity rumors. Unfortunately, the truth was quickly confirmed — another legend was gone too young.

Prince was beloved worldwide, but among Minnesotans he was a hometown hero. Born and raised in Minneapolis, he always had a soft spot for the Twin Cities. No matter how much his popularity grew, he called Minnesota home. We will always love him for that loyalty.

A night out in Minneapolis was always made a bit more magical with the prospect of a Prince sighting. He was known to jump on stage for impromptu concerts at small venues throughout the cities. He also supported Minnesota sports and communities more than any other celebrity. Although he had a private jet, the rumored last photo of Prince shows him riding his bike to Paisley Park, his home studio in Chanhassen.

No one will disagree that Prince was a complex man with many layers. Even if you weren’t a fan of his music, there are many reasons to be a fan of the man. The lessons he left behind can help guide everyone toward being a better person.

1. Be authentic
Be true to yourself. It’s something we’ve been told over and over again, and Prince was the perfect example. From the start, he embraced his unique rhythm and didn’t care what others thought. He did it so well, it made him the epitome of cool.

2. Respect others
If you’re going to be true to yourself, you have to let others do the same. Prince blurred many lines and influenced the communities near his home. He treated women as equal, often collaborating with and promoting female artists. His iconic symbol is even a unique blend of the male and female symbols.

3. Be generous
Prince was a generous philanthropist and most of us didn’t know it until he died. He gave millions to many different charities and in return he simply asked organizations not to say anything about it. He teaches us that giving is an important part of life and something that we should do without expecting anything in return.

4. Own your craft
Prince had a stage presence that couldn’t be ignored, but he also had the talent to back it up. A master lyricist. A brilliant guitarist. A visionary artist. He was always practicing and improving. What’s more, he seemed to only get better with age. No matter your talent or profession, perfecting your craft should never have an end date.

5. Embrace your roots
The world was Prince’s oyster. He could have lived and built his studio anywhere. He chose Minnesota. In numerous interviews people asked him about this, perplexed why someone like him would stay. My favorite Prince response: “I like the cold weather, it keeps the bad people away.” Of course it was more than just that — his roots were here and he never forgot it. And we are all better off thanks to that decision.

April 20, 2016 / Molly Moseley

HR takeaways from North Carolina’s controversial transgender laws

shutterstock_392752957North Carolina has made headlines recently after it announced a law that blocks local governments from passing anti-discrimination rules to protect gay and transgender people. This hot-button issue has everyone talking and backlash has been extensive.

Disney has vowed to cease any filming in the state. Musicians have cancelled shows in protest, including Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr. Businesses have stopped expansion plans in the state, like PayPal canceling plans to open a global operations center in Charlotte. Politicians are speaking out, including Minnesota’s own Governor Mark Dayton, who has banned non-essential business travel by state employees to North Carolina.

After great criticism, North Carolina’s governor modified the law, although much of it is still intact. According to United Press International, “McCrory used his executive order to try to peel back some of the effects of the law just 20 days after signing it. His order would prevent state workers from being fired for being gay or transgender. He also said he wants legislation that would give workers the right to sue for discrimination.”

This is a charged issue, and it certainly has interesting implications for employers and HR. Personal feelings aside, how can businesses support employees on both sides of the issue, prevent discrimination and stay politically neutral?

Beth Zoller, a legal editor with XpertHR, brings up a good point, saying that while this state law blocks local governments from passing anti-discrimination rules, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission makes it clear discrimination will not be tolerated.

“Even though North Carolina employers may be free to do as they wish under state law, it is wise for such employers to establish strict policies prohibiting discrimination, harassment and retaliation against LGBT individuals and make sure that such individuals do not suffer unequal treatment in the workplace,” says Zoller. “Otherwise, an employer may face an anti-discrimination claim under federal law.”

In regard to the controversial rule that employees must use the bathroom assigned to the gender noted on their birth certificated, Zoller says, “Employers should permit all employees, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, to use the restroom corresponding with their full-time gender identity and presentation, and provide all employees with access to restrooms that are safe, sanitary, convenient and dignified or face fines under OSHA.”

An employer is bound to have employees on both sides of this issue and the goal is to ensure that no one feels uncomfortable. One idea that Zoller offers is to allow workers uncomfortable with transitioning or transgender employees to use separate restroom facilities, such as a unisex single-occupant restroom. “The burden should be on the non-transgender individual to use a separate facility, otherwise the employer may risk a discrimination claim,” Zoller says.

While the laws are specific to North Carolina, these types of issues are affecting employers worldwide. What can other U.S. businesses learn from this?

“Whenever there is a divisive issue in the news that affects the workplace, your first priority is to make sure it doesn’t tear your team apart,” says Greg Harris, the president and CEO of Quantum Workplace. “To do that you need an environment that supports inclusion and provides everybody with an appropriate and safe way to report any discrimination they may encounter.”

My opinion is that it’s best to err on the side of caution and meet a higher standard. Always maintain open conversation with employees and ensure everyone feels safe. Understanding and inclusion today will positively affect your business for years down the road.

April 13, 2016 / Molly Moseley

Are your diversity efforts just lip service?

While no one will argue against the importance of diversity in the workplace, it too often receives lip service from executives who do little to make it a permanent thread in the company’s fabric. Diversity is considered nice but not essential when there are bigger fish to fry, such as benchmark analysis and sales growth.

What if I told you diversity is more than just a nicety? For numbers-minded folks, research shows a diverse workforce influences profits dramatically. McKinsey research shows that companies in the top quarter for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have higher financial returns. Some noteworthy stats:

  • Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
  • Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
  • In the United States, there is a linear relationship between racial and ethnic diversity and better financial performance. For every 10 percent increase in racial and ethnic diversity on the senior-executive team, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rise 0.8 percent.

This really shouldn’t shock anyone. A diverse workforce brings together people from many different backgrounds, allowing them to collaborate and generate ideas more effectively. For international companies, diversity provides an indisputable business edge when working with different cultures across the globe. Even for businesses that only function within the U.S., diversity fuels innovation while reflecting the melting pot that is our nation.

Diversity is also incredibly important from a recruiting standpoint. Hiring a diverse workforce not only means access to bigger talent pools, but also the opportunity to define what the company stands for — which helps attract top talent. For example, millennials — who soon will make up the majority of the workforce — consider diversity an important value, but it must be authentic.

To go beyond the lip-service phase to authentically instill diversity into the workplace, you must be intentional. Keep in mind, diversity isn’t just race and gender — it’s also seeking employees with different backgrounds, ideas and ways of thinking. Here are a few things organizations can do to encourage diversity:

1. Companies must take a long-term strategic approach to embrace diversity. The best way to achieve this is to put someone in charge of these efforts and hold them accountable. Evaluate progresses at least once a year.

2. Beware of forcing diversity because it will backfire. Diversity isn’t a quota to be met — it’s something that must fit into every aspect of day-to-day operations.

3. Leaders must embrace diversity for it to become a permanent part of the company’s makeup. If it starts at the top, it will trickle down. Consider executive training programs if necessary.

4. For recruiting, utilize diverse sources to attract diverse talent. If one source is providing you with cookie-cutter candidates, experiment elsewhere to find untapped markets.

5. Demonstrate your commitment to diversity by joining organizations such as www.nshmba.org and www.nbmbaa.org. By actively participating in groups like these, you’ll gain knowledge while building your company’s reputation.

April 6, 2016 / Stephanie Anderson

Simple methods for surviving the applicant tracking system

shutterstock_358256684It can feel cumbersome and repetitive, driving even the most patient job hunter up the wall. The applicant tracking system (ATS)  is a commonplace tool used by employers to feature accept applications and manage the recruiting process.

Last week we wrote about how employers can optimize ATS processes. Today we focus on the applicants themselves. The use of ATS is only going to grow, so it’s in your best interest to align your job hunt appropriately.

A visit to any job-seeker discussion board will offer loads of theories on how to beat the ATS robots. You’ll probably find your fair share of rants and expletives, too. If you’re getting to an ATS boiling point, it’s important to keep your cool and power forward. Remember, you can’t get the job you don’t apply for.

While there are numerous strategies to give yourself an edge against an ATS, here are five of the simplest tried-and-true methods to help you beat the bot and get your resume in front of human eyes.

1. Mimic the job description
How do you know what keywords the ATS is flagging? You don’t. But you can bet that the terms used in the job description will probably be included in the must-have list. Use them verbatim in your resume to ensure yours gets pulled. For more ideas, visit the company’s website and social media pages.

2. Use standard headings
ATS parses your information into buckets by searching your resume’s headers. That means it’s looking for standard phrasing and organization of your information. Resist the temptation to rename your education or work experience section to something more flowery, otherwise it might get skipped over completely.

3. Limit formatting
Fancy formatting can cause ATS havoc. While pretty on the eyes, complex fonts, graphics or photos don’t translate well to these software systems. It’s best to keep it simple, and if you want to convey your creative side, do so by including a link to your portfolio site for a recruiter to see at a later date.

4. Write out acronyms
Acronyms are all around us. Some companies have acronyms for names, and academic acronyms are everywhere, too. Technology acronyms can often feel like a different language. It’s hard to know what the ATS is looking for, so to decrease the chance of error, write out any phrase and then put the acronym in parenthesis.

5. Don’t sweat the length
While you shouldn’t produce a short novel, the length of your resume is not much of a concern to an ATS. In fact, a slightly longer resume offers more space to express your accomplishments and include those golden keywords. So if you’re tipping the two-page mark, don’t fret. You’re OK.

What other advice have you uncovered for beating the ATS? What have been your positive or negative experiences with this widely used approach for filtering applicants?

March 30, 2016 / Toby Dayton

March NFP Of Just 100,000 Jobs Will Be Well Below Consensus Estimates

It may have always been the case, but increasingly these days it seems as if we are in an era of enormous questions with monumental import. Along a spectrum moving from alarming to horrifying to cataclysmic, those questions would include the following: Can Donald Trump really capture the GOP nomination, and if so, what will arise from the bloody GOP carnage following the most gratifying electoral rout in American history? Can ISIS be obliterated and, related, what is the likelihood of more regular terrorism events in the west and around the world? Has climate change progressed beyond the point of no return, resulting in the ultimate demise of the planet?

How’s that for a happy spring?

It’s no wonder that in the face of such terrifying chaos, we’ve seen shocking increases in opiate addiction and, just as anesthetizing, the rise of binge-devouring epically-awesome serial television. And speaking of the latter, I’d add a few additional questions such as….will John Snow return in Season 6 (yes, of course), is R+L=J correct (seems likely), and will there ever again be a character anywhere in all of fiction as gloriously perfect as Tyrion Lannister (never)?

A little more mundane, perhaps, but no less uncertain are the endless questions swirling around the U.S. economy as Q1 comes to a close. How strong are the fundamentals underlying the economy? How long will oil prices stay so low and what impact will protracted low prices have on the economy? How long can we expect to remain sufficiently immune to persistent global weakness? How sustainable is solid consumer confidence and how far can a resilient consumer carry the U.S. economy? Is the inflation bogey-man anywhere to be found? Lastly, and most crucially, are the mysteries and vagaries surrounding the U.S. labor market.

As has been the case for nearly a decade now, all these questions coalesce into a single question – how far will the Fed raise interest rates this year? In explaining the recent decision to slow the projected path of rate increases laid out in December, Fed Chair Janet Yellen stated Tuesday that, “Given the risks to the outlook, I consider it appropriate for the committee to proceed cautiously in adjusting policy.” She further added that, “The major thing that’s changed between December and March that affects the baseline outlook is a slightly weaker projected pace of global growth. Global developments pose ongoing risks.”

But as the WSJ pointed out this morning, Yellen’s speech before the Economic Club of New York contrasts with other Fed officials who have a more positive outlook. Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart stated last week that, “there is sufficient momentum evidenced by the economic data to justify a further step at one of the coming meetings, possibly as early as the meeting scheduled for the end of April.” San Francisco Fed President John Williams stated that, “I don’t see a looming global crisis. If we see inflation continuing to consistently pick up, that would argue for a slightly steeper path for [monetary] policy.” And yet Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan urged Fed policy makers to “be patient and cautious.” WTF?!?!

Similar to trying to get a handle on GOP insanity or trying to predict Game of Thrones plot lines, it all boils down to the basic reality that no one, including the Fed, has any idea how fast interest rates will climb this year. And while my crystal ball is no less cloudy than anyone else’s, I can provide some insights into the U.S. labor market, what we see for Friday’s jobs numbers for March, and what our outlook is for job growth in the 2nd quarter.

Based on the declines in new and total job openings seen in our job search engine in January, we are forecasting a net gain of just 100,000 jobs for Friday’s non-farm payroll (NFP) report for March.


NFP Forecast March 2016


That is well below consensus estimates of a net gain of 202,000 jobs among economists surveyed by Bloomberg.




If we are correct, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t adjust numbers for January or February (a highly unlikely scenario), then job gains for Q1 would come in at just over 500,000, similar to what we’ve seen in the 1st quarter for the past few years.


LinkUp monthly & NFP qtrly March 2016


But based on very strong gains in new job openings and a modest increase in total job openings in February, combined with solid job opening numbers for March, we are predicting strong job growth in Q2.


LinkUp new Total Mix March 2016


For new readers of this blog, LinkUp is a highly unique job search engine in that we only index jobs from company websites. Updated daily, our search engine indexes approximately 3 million job openings from 50,000 company websites around the country and around the world. There are no duplicate listings because we only pull in job openings from a single source – the employer’s website itself. And most importantly, we do not aggregate job listings from job boards or other ‘pay-to-post’ sources, so we completely eliminate job board pollution (scams, fraud, lead-gen, identity theft, phishing, money-mule, resume pooling, etc.).

As a result of our vastly differentiated approach to the online jobs space, we deliver a phenomenal user experience to job seekers and an industry-leading value proposition to our employer advertisers. Our unique approach also results in the largest, highest quality labor market dataset in the industry which we’ve been able to effectively leverage to make accurate job forecast for the past 5+ years.

So while I couldn’t even begin to imagine what the outcome of the gong show in Cleveland in July will be, nor whether or not Daenerys Targaryen will reclaim the throne in Westeros, we remain confident that Friday’s numbers will come in below consensus, the Fed will hold interest rates steady in April, and job growth in Q2 will be quite strong.



Because Friday is the 1st of the month, we do not yet have final job openings data for March. We will publish our March job openings data early next week along with an updated forecast for Q2 job growth and perhaps some additional commentary on Friday’s numbers.

March 29, 2016 / Molly Moseley

Is your ATS a secret weapon or achilles heel?

HR software has revolutionized the recruiting process, helping save time, money and headaches associated with vetting qualified candidates. Research shows approximately 60 percent of companies use some form of applicant tracking system (ATS). The larger the company, the more likely they use an ATS, with data revealing 75 percent of big companies use this software to review and rank resumes.

The message is clear: ATS is here to stay.

But not every problem is solved so easily. Cumbersome application processes leave many candidates frustrated and confused, and this probably is not the first impression you want to make on future employees. From having to enter duplicate information repeatedly to wondering whether information ever reaches a human being’s eye, the ATS is often the bane of the job hunter’s world.

And that’s just from the applicant’s perspective. Legacy systems and clunky code can leave more work for the HR department. To make matters worse, a sub-par system might keep you from recognizing otherwise incredible talent and you wouldn’t even know it (and they’ll go right to your competition to work).

The good news, fortunately, is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Savvy HR folks are embracing these key considerations to ensure they get all the information they need from talent so they can create a seamless application process from start to finish:

Ease of use: The ATS should be easy for HR to use. If it’s taking extra time or causing confusion, it’s not a worthwhile investment. It also should be easy for applicants to use. Make sure the interface is simple to navigate and isn’t a maze to complete. Conduct user tests if necessary.

Training and support: When researching different ATS options, what training and on-boarding does the company provide? Furthermore, what ongoing support is available when glitches and hurdles arise? You want to have experts on reserve if things go awry.

Mobile compatibility: A whopping 40 percent of job seekers use their mobile devices to search and apply for jobs. Make sure the ATS process looks as good on an iPhone as it does on a PC.

Streamlined processes: Make sure the ATS works with plug-ins like LinkedIn Apply, where applicants can automatically fill in time-consuming personal information. It also should have the ability to integrate well with social media.

Website integration: The ATS must work with your own unique career site that offers customized job postings and reporting. It also should seamlessly integrate with job boards and talent communities so you can pull in candidates from a variety of sources.

Respect: Give candidates proper information about their next steps throughout the entire application process. For applicants who are out of the running, make sure you can turn off the instant email notifications sent to them. Automatic rejections from computer software are sure to leave a bitter aftertaste.

Posting closures: The ATS should alert you when you have adequate applicants so you can take next steps. Make sure to take down job postings so people no longer spend time needlessly applying.

These considerations are some heavy hitters, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. What other advice do you have for HR execs looking to maximize their ATS?

March 23, 2016 / Stephanie Anderson

The future is freelance: pros and cons of going independent

How many people do you know who work as freelancers or consultants? That number is likely higher than it was just a decade ago. The freelance economy is booming and it won’t stop anytime soon. In fact, more than 40 percent of the American workforce will be independent workers by 2020, according to an Intuit study.

Thanks to a multitude of technology options, freelancing has never been easier, even when working for companies on the other side of the world. You can fully equip your home office or grab your laptop and head to one of the many co-working spaces flourishing in major cities across the country. The options are virtually endless for the savvy independent worker.

Demand is also a big reason why more people are freelancing, as companies are increasingly looking to freelancers to fill talent gaps. They choose freelancers for their expertise and fresh perspective, and they come without a long-term commitment or the cost of a permanent hire. There is particular growth in demand for executive freelancers. Great for startups and SMBs, companies can get tenured talent and stay within budget.

Whether you’re fresh out of college or a seasoned C-suite executive, there are many considerations to weigh before jumping fully into the freelance pool. It’s important to look at the main pros and cons of freelancing so you can decide what’s best for your career.

Pro: Because you can offer your services without the overhead a firm would typically charge clients, you can often make more independently.

Con: You can also make less. You must be a great self-manager and be able to sell yourself to clients so you can keep contracts coming in regularly. You also must deal with accounting activities, such as filing taxes and funding your health-care expenses.

Pro: One of the main reasons people freelance is for the flexibility. Younger generations don’t want the job constraints they saw their parents struggling with. Older generations who aren’t quite ready to retire find freelancing a great way to put professional skills to use without the demands of a full-time gig.

Con: While having a flexible work arrangement might seem attractive, it’s not for everyone. Some people function better in a traditional work atmosphere and struggle to be as productive as independent workers.

Pro: You can choose who you work with, and that can help bring deeper meaning to your job. Similarly, if you start freelancing and don’t like a client, you can “fire” them by either ending the contract early or not renewing when it’s up.

Con: The businesses hiring you can be equally selective. Furthermore, if they don’t feel you’re fulfilling the need adequately, they can let you go at any time, which means an instant end to any income (and potentially a mark on your professional reputation).

Of course this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more things to think about, including some comical thoughts like working in your PJs as noted by The Onion. What other big considerations should professionals think about before making the transition to freelance?

March 17, 2016 / Molly Moseley

Boomers to iGen: Expert insight for job search across generations

At no other time in U.S. history has the American workforce varied so greatly in age as it does today. In fact, it’s not unheard of for an 18-year-old to work next to someone pushing 70 — and sometimes those two people might even be competing for the same job.

People are living longer and working longer, which means the range of applicant ages can be huge. Four generations are currently in the workforce, and generally speaking, each has its strengths and weaknesses. We reached out to several industry experts to learn more about the differentiating qualities across generations and how they can influence your job search.

1. Baby boomers (1946-1964)

  • Must keep up with technological changes
  • Focus on experience as a differentiator
  • Embrace change and keep an open mind

“Baby boomers bring experience, wisdom and a no-BS approach to the job search,” says Gabrielle Jackson Bosché, a generational engagement strategist at The Millennial Solutions. “They know what they like, and what they don’t like. But many of them are starting a new career after reaching retirement, or are searching for more ways to help them eventually retire.”

“Experience is often the key strength for this group,” adds Michelle Merritt, president and CEO of Merrfeld Resumes and Coaching. “Leveraging not only on-the-job experience but also life experience and wisdom can be a great benefit. The key to leveraging that experience is being confident without being overbearing or closed off to new ideas.”

She advises: “It’s important to show how you are open to new ideas and how you’ve been proactive in learning about new technologies or systems in your field. Actively pursuing the cutting edge in your industry will show your willingness to learn and innovate effectively and efficiently.”

2. Gen X (1965-1976)

  • Enjoys independence and autonomy
  • Offers valuable experience that is often under-advertised
  • Desires flexibility and perks in addition to pay — a negotiating opportunity

“Gen X’ers are excellent at delivering on expectations once hired because they tend to under-advertise their skills, however, they may not convey enough confidence in an interview,” says Elizabeth Becker of PROTECH. “They may get frustrated in a job search because they’re looking at positions that actually aren’t at a high enough level for their skills. Experience is often more valuable than education in the current market saturated by degrees, and Gen X’ers without a degree should highlight their experience and not worry about the diploma they don’t have.”

“Generation X is looking for independence and autonomy in a job,” Bosché says. “Many have young kids or middle schoolers. As the latchkey generation, they prioritize time with family and being as present as possible in the lives of their family. Flexibility is key for this generation who will be expecting time to go to soccer games, doctor appointments and family vacations. They are not in the career-building phase of their life; they are looking for stability and predictability. This doesn’t mean they aren’t hard workers! This generation loves checklists and would prefer to work alone to get things done right.”

3. Millennials/Gen Y (1977 – 1995)

  • Need reality check of mismanaged expectations
  • Reputation as job jumpers
  • Must focus on job loyalty and developing skills long term

“[Gen Y is] innovative with a willingness to try new things,” says Merritt. “[They have] an understanding of the shift in the American economy because they’re the ones driving the shift from mortgages to dining experiences. GenY would rather have a nice dinner and live in a small apartment than have a mortgage on a fancy house in the suburbs. Understanding and articulating how this impacts the business world and customers can be a great asset for Gen Y.”

“Millennials tend to have great confidence in interviewing, often overestimating their skills in certain areas,” adds Becker. “If they’ve taken a college course in a specific area or have a year of working experience, they’ll rank themselves as an expert or very good when older generations with 10 years of experience might only say they’re average with the same skills. This confidence is very helpful in landing a position, but we see some turnover due to the millennial not being able to deliver on the high expectations they set.”

4. iGen/Gen Z (1996 or later)

  • Extremely tech savvy
  • Must shed reputation that they can’t connect without technology
  • Many may become entrepreneurs

“iGen/Gen Z are just starting to enter their first jobs,” Bosché says. “They have no expectations of what reality is, but are bringing their smart devices along with them for the ride. They are the true digital natives, and can’t imagine the thought of not being constantly connected. This makes them ideal brand ambassadors, as each of them have 2.3 social media accounts.”

This tech savviness has a downfall, she says. “It is also challenging attempting to get through to a generation that would rather be on Snapchat than serving customers. This generation has to get over the stereotype of being disconnected, put down their phone and show their employer they are in it for real.”

“IGen/Gen Z’ers are just starting to enter the job market and will have the toughest time due to high student debts and limited career opportunities,” adds Becker. “I expect many IGen/Gen Z’ers will be forced into entrepreneurship out of necessity.”

A true melting pot: The multi-generational workplace

“Millennials and Gen Z represent talent, while baby boomers represent skill,” says Lynda Spiegel, founder of Rising Star Resumes. “A younger cohort brings fresh ideas, but the older colleagues have the expertise to bring those ideas to fruition. The benefits of a multi-generational workplace can only be realized when each generation gets over itself to appreciate what the others bring to the table.”

March 8, 2016 / Molly Moseley

Employee resignations: counter offer or say good bye?

You’re a manager and a valued employee walks into your office with a piece of paper in hand, asking for a moment to chat. As you’re handed a resignation letter, your heart sinks. Afterward, you immediately meet with HR to share the news and start an all-too common conversation: Should the company extend a counteroffer?

A lot of factors must be considered when determining whether you want to fight to keep an employee from leaving. Counteroffers can be the carrot that gets great talent to stay, but offering one can set a dangerous precedent, too. Before making an offer, it’s important to take an in-depth look at what the employee brings to the company.

Some questions to start with:

  • Is the employee in good standing?
  • What value does the employee bring to the table?
  • Does the employee have potential and leadership ability?
  • Does the employee fit the company culture?
  • Would the employee’s job be difficult to fill?

Then consider the resigning employee’s perspective, why are they leaving? If the job isn’t a good match or if there is a lack of career-advancement opportunities, consider whether the company would be willing to move the employee to a new department, pay for training or provide a promotion. If she is leaving to move across the country to be closer to family, you’d be hard-pressed to keep her (unless you can provide a transfer or allow telecommuting).

If pay is the reason for the move, you may be able to influence her to stay with additional compensation and benefits. In doing so, you could retain talent and maintain productivity. This eliminates the cost of finding and training a new hire, or worse, experiencing a bad hire, which can cost up to five times that person’s annual salary, according to a study by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM).

Though keep in mind, a financial counteroffer in itself may not be enough to maintain employee satisfaction. More than 50 percent of employees who accept counteroffers change companies within 24 months anyway, according to a Pittsburgh staffing firm survey.

In the more extreme cases, if you believe the employee is disgruntled or has been unhappy for quite sometime, it may be best to let them go. Even if you do decide to make a counteroffer she can’t refuse, it may only serve as a band-aid on the bigger issue. In the end, you just might be delaying the inevitable. Do seek to understand if the issue unique to the employee or indicative of a broader issue that could lead other valuable employees to resign as well.

Ultimately, if your big-picture vision doesn’t align with the employee’s vision, it might be time to say goodbye.

What’s the best solution? Keep employees satisfied so they don’t resign and you don’t have to think about counteroffers at all. To do so, maintain open lines of communication to ensure employees are happy. Use performance reviews to identify areas of growth and offer options. When you keep your ears tuned and your eyes open, it’s pretty easy to notice when good employees are starting to feel dissatisfied.

March 3, 2016 / Toby Dayton

LinkUp Forecasting Decent Job Gains In February

Literally speechless after the results in the GOP race on Super Tuesday, I couldn’t possibly write a coherent blog post. As a result, I’ll simply post charts and graphs of our jobs data for tomorrow’s NFP report for February with minimal commentary.

In February, new and total job postings were essentially flat from January.

Jobs By State Feb 2016


New and total job growth numbers by category were similarly uneventful.


Jobs By Category Feb 2016


In 6 of the past 8 months, job listings on LinkUp have declined from the previous month (and October of last year was barely positive). The month-over-month declines seen in our job search engine (which only indexes jobs from company websites and currently includes approximately 3 million jobs from 50,000 companies) were clearly indicative of weakening labor demand that became increasingly apparent in the latter half of 2015.


LinkUp Job Gains 2015


And because a job opening is the most accurate indicator of a new job being added to the U.S. economy, our data is highly correlated to job growth in future periods.


LinkUp v NFP


The lag time between when a job post appears on LinkUp and when that job shows up in the BLS NFP data ranges between 30-60 days, and we can measure that ‘lag’ using our job duration data. Since August, LinkUp’s Job Duration has risen from 42 days to 56 days in February, indicating declining velocity in hiring across the country.


Job Duration Feb 2016


With the steady increase in Job Duration over the past few months, climbing to nearly 60 days in February, we are basing our February NFP forecast on our December data. With December’s job gains on LinkUp, net job growth in the U.S. in February should come in above BLS numbers for January at 215,000 jobs in February.


Feb 2016 NFP


Our forecast for February is slightly above consensus estimates of roughly 195,000 jobs.




Let’s hope our forecast is as accurate as the forecasts around a Trump drubbing in November.