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October 7, 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?

October 1, 2015 / Toby Dayton

It’s Deja Vu All Over Again. When Can We Get Back To Planet Earth?

Exactly 2 years ago to the day, amidst my Breaking Bad binge-fest, I wrote the following as the lead-in to our September jobs forecast

Like Walter White’s descent into apocalyptic madness, it is hard to imagine that things could get any more lunatic, dysfunctional, or destructive in Washington these days. The crazies in the House, under the leadership of Ted Cruz, aka Heisenberg, have taken over the asylum and are hell-bent on dragging the country along on their suicidal death wish. And the worst part of the insanity that characterizes the Republican party these days is the fact that their utterly anti-democratic, anarchic obstinance could not only destroy an already fragile economic recovery in the U.S., but also stop dead in its tracks a nascent global recovery.

Given the events of the past few months, and particularly in the past few weeks, it turns out that things in the asylum have, in fact, gotten much, much worse. Ted Cruz is now running for President, the crazies have eliminated John Boehner (the least demented among the deranged), and once again, the inmates in the psych ward are threatening to shut down the government despite the fact that 60% of Americans insist that any budget deal must include funding for Planned Parenthood.

Far worse than Christopher Walken in Annie Hall, who confesses to Woody Allen that he often has an impulse while driving at night to turn the car into the oncoming traffic – “I can anticipate the explosion, the shattering glass, the flames, rising out of the flowing gasoline…” – the terrifying lunatics that today constitute the Republican party are determined, one way or another, to decimate the U.S. economy by holding it hostage for their own political agenda.

And just like October of 2013, we are teetering once again on the brink of recession as a weakening U.S. economy is increasingly unable to remain immune to a seriously sick global economy. Over the past few months, economic indicators have turned from decent to perfectly mixed to slightly negative. Unfortunately, tomorrow’s jobs numbers are going to be far worse than expected, pushing things even further into the decidedly negative category.

Based on steep declines in new and total job openings in LinkUp’s job search engine in August, we are forecasting that the U.S. economy added a net gain of only 75,000 jobs in September.

LinkUp NFP Forecast SEP 2015

Just as troubling is the fact that our initial data for September isn’t much better. With new and total jobs declining at a blended rate of -3.4% during the month, it’s likely that job growth in October is likely to be equally as anemic as September.

LinkUp’s state by state data paints a similarly bleak picture.

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 3.16.52 PM

And while total jobs by category rose slightly during the month, new job listings fell 2%.

Jobs by Category SEP 2015

While one could rightly argue that larger global forces such as China, the dollar, and Europe are far more responsible for potentially expediting a recession than the G.O.P., there is no doubt that Republicans have obstinately refused, at every turn, to strengthen and extend the recovery, invest in our future, or help sensibly manage the nation’s affairs. As Krugman so eloquently points out, it says everything you need to know about The G.O.P. these days that Donald Trump is more sensible on economics than any Republican candidate for President. How terrifying.

Were it only possible to get up and walk out of the room like  Woody Allen, who says to Christopher Walken after the latter’s confession about his suicidal tendencies, “Right. Well I have to go now Duane, because I’m due back on the planet Earth.”

woody allen annie hall



September 30, 2015 / Stephanie Anderson

Why recruiters don’t call you back

shutterstock_137194466It’s said that silence is golden, but job seekers overwhelmingly disagree. That’s because few things are more frustrating than spending time and effort applying for an open position only to sit around and get zero response.

Did the application not go through? Are you no longer being considered? Was there a technical glitch? These are the questions that can test even the most patient of job seekers.

If you’re sick of the radio silence, we can help. Here are the top 7 reasons job seekers don’t hear back after applying for a job and tips for how you can avoid them.

1. The job is filled: Tons of job listings online are old, expired or filled. This frustrating occurrence is often due to pay-to-post job listings which remain online until they expire and are not actively pulled when a position fills.

How to avoid this: Pay close attention to the date a job was posted. The longer the job has been opened, the more likely it has been filled. Call the company directly to verify if it’s a dated position.

2. The job is a scam: Scam job listings are everywhere and tough to spot. No only a waste of time, job scams are also dangerous. Scammers use online job applications to phish unsuspecting candidates’ personal information. Some staffing agencies will host job listings that look as though they are the actual company. They gather applicant information to bring to these employers for payment, while the job seeker has no idea they didn’t apply with the actual company. Note: there are plenty of great staffing companies, but beware of the bad ones.

How to avoid this: Apply directly on the company’s website which can be verified by the URL. If you use LinkUp to search for jobs, you can apply confidently because all the listings come from employers’ websites and the job listings lead you directly to the employer’s website to apply.

3. You’re not qualified: Many recruiters note upwards of half of resumes submitted for a given job do not meet the minimum requirements. If you’re not qualified for a position, it’s likely ATS computer algorithms will weed out your application before someone ever spends time looking at it.

How to avoid this: Save time and your sanity by only applying to jobs for which you’re qualified.

4. You don’t strategically use keywords: A job description should be your guide when creating a resume and cover letter. If you use different keywords than what is in the description, you may be dismissed. Even if you are saying essentially the same thing, using different terminology can confuse recruiters and ATS software.

How to avoid this: Use industry standard terminology and sprinkle words in the job listing throughout your application.

5. You didn’t stand out: Up to 80 percent of jobs are landed via networking; you can’t just simply apply and anticipate a reply anymore. You have to go the extra mile these days.

How to avoid this: Leverage your professional network and use it to your advantage. Connect with existing employees and take special care to ensure your resume and cover letter make you shine.

6. Your resume contradicts your online profiles: Social media is a powerful tool for job seekers and recruiters. In fact, 97 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn as a recruiting tool, according to a Bullhorn survey. If your resume doesn’t match what your social media profiles state, you’ll be instantly dismissed. The best case is recruiters will think you lack attention to detail; worst case is they’ll think you’re a liar … both reasons for no response.

How to avoid this: Check all social media accounts to ensure your information matches perfectly.

 7. You’re not the best candidate: Though the job market has improved remarkably over the past year, there is still fierce competition in many industries. Sometimes you haven’t heard back because you’re simply not the best match for the position.

How to avoid this: Whether you’re currently employed or not, always strive to improve your skills, experience and portfolio of professional work.

September 24, 2015 / Molly Moseley

Tremendous growth inspires LinkUp’s move to downtown Minneapolis

Adios, Suburbs! Although it’s been fun, it’s time for a new adventure in the big city. Yep, after 15 years on the outskirts of Minneapolis, LinkUp and parent company JobDig moved downtown, and the entire crew couldn’t be more excited.

After carefully considering various real estate hot spots, our team decided the vibrant Warehouse District was the perfect fit for us. Its one-of-a-kind buildings, central location and many awesome eateries within walking distance are just a few of the reasons we love the area.

This fall we are settling into our 7,000 square feet home on the top floor of the Kickernick Building. Located at First Avenue and Fifth Street, the location is easy to access and central to all that makes the Twin Cities great. Overlooking the amazing skyline, the new space is incredible and the feeling of the city is simply electric.

Office1  Office3  Office2  Office5  Office4  Office6

The office size is a big step up from the previous 4,500-sq. ft. location in St. Louis Park. A necessary size upgrade thanks to the tremendous growth we’ve experienced in the past few years. What’s more, we don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon, as we anticipate plenty more growth in the future. Stay tuned for LinkUp to aggressively hire in 2016 and beyond!

“We are really excited to be moving downtown. It’s been a phenomenal period of growth for our business, and moving into a new location in the Warehouse District represents a great next chapter for the company,” said LinkUp President and CEO Toby Dayton.

As a company that promotes a very collaborative work environment, the space has been designed with employees in mind. The new office features an open floor plan with beautiful high ceilings, ergonomic stand-up desks and large windows with breathtaking views of downtown Minneapolis. Of course, the new espresso machine is also an employee favorite. The Sherman Group, which owns the building, recently started lobby renovations to reclaim the structure’s historic brick-and-timber construction, giving the entire building a unique personality.

“As we considered what kind of space we wanted, a central location with the right feel was key. Our new office space has tons of character and is a fun and open space that will greatly support our culture,” said Chief Financial Officer Dianne Austgen.

The office construction and move were both an all hands on deck effort. Anyone who has moved a business to a new location knows it’s a lot of work. In the end, however, it’s been worth it because the dynamic new space aligns perfectly with LinkUp’s personality and future ambitions.

And while the move has been a little hectic, we can always rely on our new motorized scooter to blow off some steam. Watch out!

Photos by Katie Mueller Photography.

September 15, 2015 / Stephanie Anderson

Job hunter pet peeves: Bad recruiter habits you hate

shutterstock_289437032In last week’s post we addressed the top pet peeves of recruiters. There were tons of great responses, but we noticed a strong theme. Many of them came from job seekers who noted that recruiters aren’t perfect either — just like the rest of us.

In today’s post, we want to highlight the woes of job seekers, as many are at their wit’s end with recruiters and the bad habits they’ve developed. Here are the most popular pet peeves that drive job seekers crazy, pulled directly from your comments about recruiters:

No follow-up

The #1 sin (IMHO) committed by recruiters: no follow-up from the recruiter after the candidate has taken the time to complete the interview when the employer is not moving forward with that candidate,” says Financial Controller James Skinner. “I guess no contact is a clear sign you weren’t chosen, but a phone call from the recruiter with a formal update and reasons given by their client (if any) is the bare minimum of etiquette in my opinion. And not two weeks later.

Too focused on money

“What I dislike, I mean really dislike, are recruiters who ask you to submit salary expectations along with your CV,” says Research Director Ross Armstrong. “If I were to walk into an interview and the first thing out of my mouth is ‘What does this job pay?’ the recruiter would — and quite rightly so — rule me out immediately for being far [more] interested in money than in the job itself, or helping the company, or being a good corporate citizen, etc. Now let’s reverse it. When a prospective employer is asking for my salary expectations, then that says to me all the company cares about is how much I’m going to cost them.”


“Rude recruiting. I’ve had it all. Pushy recruiters trying to get you to sign as quick as you can so they can move on to the next body. Repeated calls without leaving messages (I received three empty calls from the same person in under 25 minutes already today). Recruiters treating me rudely if I choose not to take the position they’re selling, whether it’s in the initial call or after the interview,” says contract Software Engineer Roy Grimm.
Too self-centered
Associate Chetana Venkataramana notes that some recruiters seem to be focused only on what’s in it for them. “Recruiters who work more for the hiring company than for the candidate and have [minimal] follow-through skills,” says Venkataramana. “I want something akin to a talent agent: my interests are yours. Your interests shouldn’t be about how many resumes you can send the hiring company, hopefully one lands, and you get your commission.” Now to be fair to recruiters, they are employed by the company, not you. It’s unrealistic to expect a recruiter to prioritize you over the folks providing their paycheck and measuring their success. Job seekers will be most successful when they keep in mind that the recruiters loyalties lie with their employer. If you’re looking for a talent agent, you are going to need to pay for it.

Lack of preparedness
It’s not just job candidates who are ill-prepared at times; Solutions Architect Daniel McAloon has dealt with recruiters with the same flaw. “Recruiters who spend the first 10 minutes of the interview reading your resume because they haven’t bothered to even learn your name until you’re sitting in front of them (holding your pen and wearing your suit), waiting for them to start the thing they called you to set up,” are what irks McAloon.

Contact about unrelated jobs
“Back when I was looking for work, I always ‘loved’ it when I would get a call for a position and the job was unrelated to my resume or anything I was looking for,” says Senior Mechanical Engineer Roger Horn. “They somehow picked up one keyword that was totally unrelated to anything I was looking for or they were as well. Do yourself a favor and stop wasting time and actually review a resume per the job description!”

Applicant tracking systems

Operations Research Leader Jonathan Shoemaker voices his distaste for applicant tracking systems. “The ATS we have been forced to use over the years [doesn’t] give any discernible feedback to the candidate,” he says. “On paper I love what [an] ATS is supposed to do, however it flops worse than a fish outta water in practice.”
Have points to add?
What other bad recruiter habits have you experienced? While there are many amazing recruiters out there, what are some of the stories you have heard or gone through as a job seeker that make you shake your head?

September 10, 2015 / Molly Moseley

Recruiter pet peeves: Top 10 pitfalls that drive them crazy

shutterstock_308967977Recruiters see their fair share of ill-prepared job seekers who make countless inexcusable mistakes. From the people who dress way too casual for an interview (no, board shorts and cutoffs aren’t okay) to those who show up way too early for an interview (two hours just isn’t necessary), they’ve seen it all.

Beyond the interview no-shows, what really grinds their gears? Job seekers beware: here are 10 pet peeves that drive recruiters up a wall. What other annoyances can you add to this list, all you recruiters out there?

1. Spelling errors
Spelling errors on resumes and cover letters are perhaps the most common offense. To avoid these mistakes, use spell check, read your words out loud and have a second person edit your documents. Corporate recruiter John W. has seen the title Manager spelled “Manger” on a number of resumes. (Clearly, attention to detail wasn’t one of the past job requirements.)

2. No company knowledge
Spending time prior to an interview learning a bit about a company is a must. With the Internet right there in the palm of a job seeker’s hand, it’s easy to learn about brands, products and recent news. Talent acquisition manager Denise C.’s biggest pet peeve is when she asks the question, “What do you know about our company?” and she gets the deer-in-the-headlights look. Worse yet is when the candidate turns the question around and asks what she can tell them instead.

3. Rude responses
Courtney R., a talent acquisition manager, detests when candidates respond inappropriately after being told they are no longer being considered for a given role. Remember, if you learn you’re not getting an offer, say thank you and be grateful. Furthermore, you never know when you’ll talk to a recruiter again; chances are good that they’ll remember your rude response.

4. Generic resume titles
Human resource guru Jessica A. notes that far too often candidates simply title their resume as “resume” rather than using their name. “Do you know how many files titled ‘resume’ I have in my downloads?” she asks. Remember to add your first and last name to ensure you don’t get lost in the clutter.

5. Missing information
Talent development manager Candy W. finds that far too many candidates call and leave her a phone message inquiring about a position, but fail to leave their name or contact info for a return call. Or if they do, they mumble and do not speak clearly. Make a good impression by being enthusiastic, professional and thorough when leaving phone messages.

6. Ignoring directions
Remember: what is on a job ad isn’t a suggestion. Vice president Melanie F. says, “When the job ad says ‘no phone calls please,’ don’t call to follow up on the status of your application. Recruiters like candidates who can follow directions!”

7. Empty-handed interviews
Strategic recruitment consultant Lori R.’s big pet peeve is when candidates come empty handed to an interview, without a pen, paper or any intention to take notes. Candidates should make a good impression by coming prepared and at least looking like they’re interested enough to jot a few things down.

8. College ignorance is not bliss
“They [students] have taken ‘unpreparedness’ to a new level,” says director of talent acquisition Derek C. “They show up dressed as though they just left the gym, greasy hair and flip flops, and they give you the line about not knowing there was a career fair today. But they still want to chat. Then when they have some interest in the role you have open, they whip out a resume on good paper. I always say, ‘I thought you didn’t know there was a career fair’, and sheepishly they will reply that they went to the on-campus print center to get their resume.

9. Wrong resume objective
Lindsey K., who works in HR, dislikes when a candidate’s resume objective statement says something completely unrelated to the job he or she applied for.  “If your resume says you want to be a shop mechanic, why did you just waste your time and mine applying for our sales opening?” she says.

10. Asking for directions
“My pet peeve is when candidates ask for specific directions or where they should park when they come for an interview,” says talent director Jennifer T. “We provide detailed information in our reminder emails and we are always open to helping our candidates have a great experience, but it makes me wonder how resourceful, capable and technologically competent the person is if they can’t find their way to an interview!”

For more pitfalls to avoid in interviews, check out our blog post The bad, the ugly and the bizarre things people do in interviews.

September 9, 2015 / admin

Plan, Plan, Plan: How to Simplify Your Job Relocation

Guest post by Jonathan Deesing,​ Relocation Expert at iMove.

shutterstock_146335769Make Your Job Relocation Simple and Painless 

Moving can breathe new life into your career, but getting from your current location to your new job takes a lot of work. The keys to a successful move are careful planning, smart research, and a positive attitude. Minimize your stress with these tips to simplify the relocation process.

Get to Know Your New Town

You’ll be working in this place and making it your home, so start doing research online to become familiar with the area. Check out the local housing market and read local blogs to get a sense for why people love living there.

If you have the chance to visit before relocating, check out your new office and the surrounding area. Take a stroll and find what could become your favorite coffee shop, market, or gym. Pick up local magazines and newspapers (or start reading them online) to get a feel for your new area’s culture and nightlife.

Pick the Best Neighborhood

Proximity to your new job is important, but there are plenty of other things to consider when looking for the perfect neighborhood. Look up crime statistics to find the safest neighborhoods. If you have children, investigate local schools and options for after-school care. It will be easier to focus on your new role when you know your kids will be in good hands.

Decide if you’d rather live in the suburbs or in the city center. If it’s important to you to be able to walk or bike to work, restaurants, parks, and other amenities, look for easy access and test out the commute or public transportation to make sure your target neighborhood is conveniently located.

Identify Professional Resources

Make sure you have access to the resources you need to excel professionally in your new city. Consider networking options, continuing education offerings, and professional organizations you should join. Start with the local Chamber of Commerce to find business resources.

Before the move, check out LinkedIn for local professional groups in your area and start making connections with others in your industry. These connections can be one of the best ways to find referrals for everything from a great tailor to the best place to hang out after a tough day at the office.

Organize the Move

Research options for moving, including the pros and cons of hiring professional movers versus handling the move yourself. Consider cost, time, and effort: if you have a tight timeline, it can be worth the extra cost to hire out. Your first impression in the new office shouldn’t be one of you frazzled and sleep-deprived from the move.

Depending on your resources and timeline you may also consider using packing services from a moving company as well. Be sure to time everything to arrive when you do to avoid racking up storage charges.

Don’t Forget the Little Things

As you gear up to hit the road, take care of the little details to make your move as painless as possible. You don’t want to be distracted by the minutiae of moving when you’re trying to settle in and dazzle your new boss. Schedule your current utilities, Internet, and television service turned off at your current place and turned on in your new place when you arrive.

Forward your mail to your new address and inform credit cards, banks, and magazines of the change. Other things to consider include transferring prescriptions to a new pharmacy and getting referrals for health care professionals in your new city — including a vet for Fido.

This new phase of your career is exciting and full of promise. When you prepare properly and plan your move, you’ll have more time to enjoy the process and gear up to wow the office on your first day.

Jonathan Deesing is a relocation expert who writes for imove.com. When he’s not popping bubblewrap you can find him playing with puppies or baking cinnamon raisin bread. 

September 2, 2015 / Toby Dayton

Amidst An Abundance Of Uncertainty, The U.S. Labor Market Is Flashing Some Serious Warning Signs

Like Alice in Wonderland, it’s exceedingly difficult to make any sense of the world of late as it turns upside down on what seems to be a daily basis. Between Trump’s poll numbers, China’s epic meltdown, off-the-charts cop killing (both ways), raging forest fires out west, Hillary’s inability to get her campaign going, and record-setting market gyrations to name just a few examples, each day is filled with headlines that increasingly magnify the sense of chaos and insanity. It’s gotten so crazy that the Pope is forgiving abortions and the Mets are winning the NL East.

On the economic front, things are equally as schizophrenic, as I pointed out ad nauseam in our July jobs forecast blog post. Unfortunately, our jobs data from August has only added to the confusion, and after days of stewing over the numbers, I am no closer to making sense of them than I was on Tuesday night. So with time running out to get our forecast in to Bloomberg, I am left having to cut short our analysis, abbreviate my write-up, and essentially flip a coin as to what August’s NFP payroll number will be on Friday.

So here’s the quick summary of the data:

2015 NFP Data Through July

After huge gains in new and total job openings in our job search engine (which includes 3.3 million jobs updated daily from 50,000 company websites which means that the jobs are always current, with no duplicates or job board pollution) in May and June, particularly new job openings which jumped 26% in June, new job openings have plummeted in July and August. With typically a 30-60 day lag in the amount of time it takes for changes in job openings to be reflected in actual payroll numbers, the question is whether August’s NFP report will rise sharply due to June’s jump in new job openings or drop precipitously as a result of the decline in new job openings in July.

LinkUp Data in 2015

To try to get some insight into which data point might prove prescient, we can look at our monthly Jobs Duration data which measures how long job openings were in our search engine before they rolled off, presumably because they were filled with a new hire.

Job Duration - Aug 2015

As the chart above shows, 4 million jobs rolled off LinkUp over the past 6 months, and those jobs were on the site for an average of 42 days. That average duration is down from 49 days just 2 months ago. So for 9 months between last October and this past June, the velocity of hiring across the country slowed considerably (as evidenced by an average job duration which rose from 41 to 49 days) as the labor market tightened and employers found it increasingly difficult to fill openings. Since then, however, job duration has fallen again, quite dramatically, in fact.

But the key question is whether companies are once again filling positions quickly or simply removing openings that they no longer intend to fill. Perhaps the most telling data point in the chart above is the 1.8 million jobs that rolled off LinkUp between March and August that were in our search engine for less than 15 days. That’s a massive 50% increase from the same statistic in June, indicating that a huge percentage of the 2 million new job listings that appeared on LinkUp in May and June disappeared within 2 weeks.

To get a sense of how massive the jump in new jobs in Q2 actually was, as well as how quickly it came back down, compare new job volatility in May and June to the 5% average increase in new job listings for those 2 months over the past 6 years.

New jobs in 2015 v 6 yr ave

As an aside, the chart also perfectly depicts seasonal hiring trends over the course of a calendar year. As the blue line indicates, employers post a ton of new job openings in January and taper off the rate of new job openings until a slight uptick in the spring. New job openings are typically down in the summer, rise slightly with another hiring push each fall, followed by a complete dearth of new postings in the 4th quarter.

But back to that huge, anomalous, short-term spike in new job postings in May and June…

While it could very easily be the case that those job openings disappeared because they were filled by new hires, it could also just as easily be the case that employers took down the openings in a bit of a panic because they were spooked by (take your pick): China, a rising dollar & shrinking exports, sluggish global growth, growing wage pressure (which is most assuredly occurring despite the lack of visibility of it being so in any government data), falling consumer confidence, and the uncertainty about when the Fed might increase rates and how the economy and the markets might react, not just in the U.S. but also around the world.

So if those new job openings were filled with new jobs, Fridays’ jobs report could come in as high as a net gain of 335,000 in August. But if all those new job openings were quickly removed due to growing uncertainty and perhaps even pessimism about what might be in store for the rest of the year, then Friday’s jobs report could be as low as a net gain of just 115,000 jobs in August. That’s a fairly large gap, especially given the relative consistency of monthly job gains through the first 7 months of the year which also points to a 3rd possibility which is some combination of both factors which would result in a perfectly bland but not discouraging jobs report of around 225,000 jobs.

The only remaining data point is our job listings data from August. Last month, new job listings fell 2% while total job openings rose 3%. As with the deluge of dichotomous data discussed last month, it’s difficult to determine whether to be discouraged by the decline in new job openings or delighted by the growth in total job openings.

Jobs by State Aug 2015

In terms of jobs by category, the data is nearly identical, with new job listings dropping 2% and total job listings rising 3%.

Jobs by Category Aug 2015

While our ‘raw’ data for August from the 2 charts above is somewhat inconclusive, our paired-month methodology and 50/50 blended mix of the change in new and total job openings that we use for our forecasts results in a decline of 9.6% in August.

August 2015 NFP Forecast

And while Friday’s jobs report could easily surprise to the upside with a 300K+ number (reflecting the increase in LinkUp’s job listings in June), it is a virtual certainty that the declines we’ve seen in new job openings on LinkUp over the past 2 months will eventually be reflected in a continuation of declining net job growth this fall. So if for no other reason than to anchor myself to the only bit of certainty I can even faintly discern in the chaos that is the economy these days, I am forecasting a net gain of just 135,000 jobs for August, a rather dismal number for Friday’s jobs report. The declines we expect might not happen until later this fall, but the labor market is most definitely flashing some serious warning signs.

September 2, 2015 / Stephanie Anderson

How not to offend your network: LinkedIn commenting etiquette

shutterstock_119635396Being an active member of LinkedIn means posting, commenting and engaging with your network and experts in your industry. Simply read and share posts, make comments and contribute to the conversation. You don’t even necessarily have to agree with a post, counterpoints and lively discussion are fantastic ways to engage with a professional community.

But at what point does healthy dialogue turn unprofessional or even downright nasty?

I’ve seen my fair share of offensive comments while reading through LinkedIn posts. This is somewhat surprising given the lack of anonymity on LinkedIn. Whatever you post will be plastered for your entire network to see, oftentimes with your head shot right next to it.

Here are a few examples we were surprised to find on LinkedIn lately:

1. As of today the article I had a baby and cancer when I worked Amazon, here’s my story has had more than 400,000 views. Of the 1,300 comments it generated, Mr. Aleem’s may be one of the least productive. Arguably sexist, his comment is likely to have offended a good portion of the readers, and the responses from Apurva and Johann, though maybe justified, are not necessarily professional either. There was a lot of great dialogue on this article, Mr. Aleem’s input not included.

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2. In the article The key to success is friendship the author he shares how integral friendship has been to his career. Too bad Mr. Fortinberry could only respond with a most unfriendly reply. I can’t imagine a scenario where it’s acceptable to call someone an idot on a professional networking site. Disagree, absolutely. Insult, never.

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3. Even our own posts from the LinkUp blog  receive unsavory comments from time to time. My colleague Molly Moseley recently wrote the post Does unlimited parental leave actually mean less time off?  It’s clear Mr. Kidney disagrees with my colleague’s point of view which is fine, but he takes it to such a negative place in recommending she be ignored. I fail to see how interviewing her has anything to do with a healthy discussion on maternity leave in our society.

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To reiterate, we know that not everyone agrees. In fact, we love a good insightful discussion. Differing opinions can create really good conversation and even inspire innovation. But there is a difference between constructive disagreement and being just plain rude.

Whether you are a fresh college graduate or seasoned professional, make sure you put your best foot forward in your posts by heeding these basic rules of engagement for commenting on LinkedIn:

Rule 1: Speak up and don’t be shy. It’s great to have an open dialogue and interesting to hear different points of view, but keep comments respectful and insightful. Help to move a conversation forward, not shut it down.

Rule 2: Avoid personal attacks on the author and/or other commenters. Keep your focus on the topic being discussed, not the person who is discussing them.

Rule 3: Your mom was right: If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. Remember, your network sees what you post in their feeds, and it’s a small world. Unruly commenting could negatively impact your future job search or advancement at your current company.

Rule 4: Take the high road. If someone is posting negative and/or inappropriate comments, don’t lower yourself to their level. Name calling is never professional.

Rule 5: Take extra care with topics in politics, gender discrimination and cultural discrimination. You don’t necessarily need to avoid these topics altogether, but maintaining professionalism when addressing them can be a bit trickier.

Rule 6: Don’t spam or comment on a completely unrelated topic. This is not the place to sell something or announce that you’re seeking new employment. You add no value to the conversation and come off as selfish. The best way to sell yourself is by demonstrating your knowledge.

So give it to me straight! What do you think about commenting on LinkedIn? Where do YOU draw the line between being professional and being a pest?

August 26, 2015 / Molly Moseley

Want to create a toxic work environment? Just mimic what Amazon does

Emails at midnight requiring a response. Employees encouraged to criticize and undermine colleagues. Virtually everyone is losing it and crying at their desks. For most of us, this describes our nightmare employer. But for thousands of people who work for Amazon, this is reality.

Or so a recent New York Times article leads us to think.

The minute the story was published, everyone was talking about the horrific claims of how our beloved online retailer seemingly steals the souls of every person who works there. Could it all be true? Are a few bad eggs complaining without just cause, or is management failing to address major issues? The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.

Businesses both big and small can learn from the bad press by taking a step back to evaluate their corporate culture and decide what’s working and what’s not. By regularly asking some important questions, improvements can be made to help boost employee engagement and satisfaction, and therefore, productivity and retention.

1. Is there adequate work-life balance?

The Times article claims Amazon employees often work 80 or more hours a week. Clearly few other things exist beside work and sleep when those are the hours you’re expected to clock.

While people may understand work is a priority, it’s not their only priority. Work-life balance is a must for attracting and retaining quality workers. In fact, 52 percent of people have turned down a job due to work-life balance concerns, according to an Accenture survey. Additionally, the survey found work-life balance topped employees’ definition of success, ahead of money.

2. Is the culture attracting the right employees?

Every business has a unique culture. For example, what you’ll find at a conservative financial institution won’t likely be the same as a small advertising start-up. The culture is a reflection of the brand and it should represent the qualities you want to see in employees. If everything aligns, it can be one of the best ways to attract the right people for the right jobs.

In Amazon’s case, there appears to be a major disconnect between the culture and the brand image. Are some employees coming to the company expecting one thing and experiencing another? It’s possible, and high turnover rates will follow.

3. What are people saying and how is it affecting the company’s reputation?

In business, few things are more valuable than reputation. Reputation opens doors and closes deals. It also influences who will be the lifeblood of a company and work there. Want unbiased insight into what employees think about working at your company? Look online, company review sites and social media are fantastic resources.

Amazon’s Glassdoor rating isn’t as stark as the Times report would have us think it. At 3.4 out of 5 stars (based on 5.9K reviews), the company ranks average, neither particularly high nor low. Still, their PR team is definitely in crisis mode, and our bet is that they are working extra hard to recover from the media blow. This won’t be the last we hear of this story.