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July 2, 2015 / Stephanie Anderson

Millennials vs. baby boomers: Who makes a better employee?

A millennial and a baby boomer show up for a job interview for a highly technical, high-responsibility position. The boomer arrives 5 minutes early carrying a briefcase filled with glossy brochures, printouts and examples of his work experience – and an impressive resume . The millennial is right on time, carrying a laptop. He has prepared a digital presentation of not only what he’s done at the one job he’s had before this, but also what he believes he could bring to the company and position if you give him the job

shutterstock_145156630Who do you hire?

Your answer might depend on the skills the job requires, but it also may be influenced by what you believe about workers from each generation. Do you ascribe to the view that millennials are lazy and entitled? Or that they’re all tech wizards and masters of digital communications? Do you believe baby boomers have a stronger work ethic than other generations? Or that they are so entrenched in old ways of doing things that they lack the flexibility to adapt to an ever-changing business world?

The frustrating thing is, all those beliefs are true … and not. Certain strengths and deficiencies are emblematic of each generation, and the skills, personality and capabilities of individuals within generations can vary greatly. When you’re weighing one candidate’s value over another, his or her generation is only one factor to consider. Still, age group can provide you with valuable insights – as any marketer knows.

Plenty of research indicates that certain characteristics seem to appear more common in certain generations. What’s more, the social, economic and historical events that occurred during the generation’s formative years seem to drive those characteristics. Consider these facts and implications about boomers and millennials.

Baby boomers:

  • The oldest baby boomers came of age during a period of social unrest, exploration and profound change. They are more likely to be nonconformists, independent thinkers, and highly aware of social issues and politics.
  • They may be approaching retirement age, but boomers aren’t all eager to retire. Many saw the dot.com bust and the Great Recession wipe out their retirement savings. In an AARP survey, 63 percent said they will work at least part-time during their retirement, and 5 percent say they don’t intend to ever retire.
  • They believe in the American dream, and they’re willing to be aggressive in their pursuit of it. This can make them highly motivated workers.

Millennials:

  • Millennials have never lived in a world without digital communication, and many of them have been using the Internet and social media all their lives. This makes them highly comfortable with technology and more likely to embrace new technological developments.
  • Many millennials had divorced parents. They’ve lived through the impact of an unbalanced home life, and they’re likely to place great emphasis on the importance of maintaining a work-life balance.
  • They’ve grown up in the most racially, ethnically and culturally diverse America ever. Millennials are likely to work well with people of many different backgrounds, and they tend to be good team players.

In the end, there’s likely no right or wrong answer to the question of who’s a better worker, a millennial or a boomer. As an employer, it’s important for you to understand where each worker is coming from, what skills and experience he or she brings to a job, and how to manage each individual toward the greatest level of quality and productivity he’s capable of.

July 1, 2015 / Toby Dayton

An Epic Few Weeks For Human Dignity & Great News Will Continue With Outstanding Jobs Numbers Tomorrow

What an epic week for human dignity. Between the Supreme Court’s rulings on same-sex marriage and the Affordable Care Act, combined with confederate flags becoming more and more obsolete and President Obama’s plan to significantly expand eligibility for overtime pay, the headlines have been filled with one incredible story after another. And lest anyone thinks things couldn’t possibly get any better, wait until tomorrow’s jobs report for June.

Based on the strong gains in new and total job openings on LinkUp’s job search engine in May (which rose 15% and 7% respectively), we are forecasting a net gain of 350,000 jobs in June – well above Bloomberg’s consensus forecast of 234,000 jobs.

NFP_2015.07.01

Even more encouraging is the fact that new and total listings in our job search engine (which includes 3.2 million unique job openings indexed directly from 50,000 company websites) rose 25% and 11% respectively in June, numbers that indicate rather convincingly that the labor market should continue barreling ahead at a robust clip for at least the next month or two, if not longer.

LinkUp's June 2015 NFP Forecast

In June, gains in new and total job openings on LinkUp were spread across the entire country (WTF, Alaska?), with almost every state reporting huge double-digit increase in new job openings.

Jobs By State June 2015

Jobs by category saw similar gains in the aggregate, although the variability between categories was much more pronounced.

Jobs By Category June 2015

Of particular note is the incredible growth of new job listings in the retail sector which exploded from 99,000 new openings in May to 224,000 new openings in June, an increase of 127%. Science/Pharma/Biotech and Healthcare also saw considerable increases, but the skyrocketing labor demand in retail is remarkable. (Perhaps we’ll see even better retail sales numbers in Q4 ’15 than we did in Q4 ’14 – numbers we accurately predicted based on retail job growth we started seeing last April).

Total Retail Jobs On LinkUp June 2015

 

So happy 4th of July. Tomorrow’s jobs report should make the hot dogs taste even better and the fireworks even brighter.

paperDog

June 24, 2015 / Stephanie Anderson

Small details pay off big in job search

shutterstock_259242638Have you ever had to fold a t-shirt into a perfect six-inch square? Though it sounds ridiculous, precision in t-shirt folding was one of the biggest things that stuck with me in Air Force Basic Training. Not because I think it’s important to have organized laundry, but because of the lesson behind it. Details matter. They matter when putting together the engine of an aircraft and they matter in your job search.

Employers today can receive upwards of 50 applications per job opening. All things equal, it’s the details that can give you an edge over your competition. Make sure you’re giving proper attention to the following aspects of your search:

Your email provider. You probably won’t lose a job opportunity if your email ends in AOL.com, but in some business sectors that email address won’t help you, either. Older providers like AOL, Yahoo and Hotmail carry – fairly or not – certain associations that could lead hiring managers to assume you are less tech-savvy or of an older generation. Gmail is both generic and advanced enough to get the job done without making you stand out for the wrong reasons. And it’s free. Plus, Google is perceived as the leader in the tech space, so leveraging their produt can make you look more technologically progressive by association.

Your email signature. The signature you use to end your email should make an impression that’s professional yet compelling. Be succinct and include the essentials: your full name, your current title if employed or your profession/industry if you’re unemployed, your contact numbers, and link to your LinkedIn profile (and maybe Twitter, but NOT Facebook).

A printed business card. Yes, they’re still relevant. Whether you’re currently employed or between jobs, create a branded card that you can hand out for networking or during interviews. It should include the basics – name, address, contact numbers, email address, etc. – as well as a “title” that describes your professional skills. Professional yet personalized cards will leave an impression. Here at LinkUp we love the cards from Moo.com.

Professional-sounding voicemail. Imagine this scenario – the HR manager you’ve been hounding for an interview finally calls back. And your voicemail says “Hey, this is Joe. You know what to do after the beep.” In the background, the HR manager hears your kids screaming, the TV playing and the dog barking. You’ll be lucky if he/she leaves any message at all. Your voicemail should be professional, delivered in your clearest, most authoritative speaking voice, and recorded without background noise.

Update your LinkedIn tagline. Many hiring managers review a candidate’s social media profiles, so make a good impression. Take advantage of the branding opportunity a LinkedIn tagline presents. It should be concise yet descriptive, compelling but not cheesy. For example, the words “unemployed,” “out of work” or “seeking new opportunities” smack of desperation and should never appear in your LinkedIn tagline. Exective recruiter Pete Leibman blogs about LinkedIn headlines and offers a great formula to help make yours professional, accurate and engaging. Check out his LinkedIn blog.

Write a great thank you. After the interview, a thank you note is a must. It’s okay to send an email – just make sure you get names right and don’t misspell anything. If you’ll be sending a written note, choose notecards in a light, neutral color, printed on good quality card stock. They should either be blank, or simply have “thank you” imprinted on the front in a professional-looking font like Helvetica or Times New Roman. Hand write your personal thanks neatly inside.

Prep your social profiles. Even if you’re trying to keep your personal social media separate from your professional social media activities, some crossover is inevitable. Make sure your security settings limit who can view your personal social media activities, especially if you’ve been known to post things that may not play well in a professional setting. Don’t forget that even if someone can’t view the content you post, they’ll likely still be able to see your profile image, so choose one that says “pro” and not “party animal.” While you’re job-hunting, avoid posting anything that could be embarrassing. And don’t forget to keep your professional social media profiles up to date.

While I no longer fold my t-shirts into six inch squares, I do strive to pay attention to the details in life, especially in a job search.

June 17, 2015 / Molly Moseley

Fibbing on an application: Minor infraction or grounds for dismissal?

Anthony Quintano/NBC/Reuters/Landov

It’s amazing how something that starts out seemingly small and private – a fib on a job application – can escalate into an issue or event that ignites a national dialogue. That certainly seems to be the case for Rachel Dolezal – the now-former head of the Spokane, Washington, NAACP. Reports claim that Dolezal gave a false answer about her race on at least one job application, although it was for a police department position and not the NAACP.

While Dolezal’s apparent fabrications about her racial identity have sparked a fresh national debate over race in our country, the story also raises some interesting questions for employers. Dolezal apparently falsely answered an application question that she was not legally obligated to answer at all: What is your race? The employer – not to mention a lot of other people – was led to think Dolezal is African American when her heritage is, in fact, Caucasian. In some ways the amount of dialogue and scope of attention feels similar to that of the Brian Williams lying-scandal, though the depth and sensitivity of this debate is far greater.

Was her answer less than honest? Certainly (her white parents say she’s white, not African-American). A bit odd? Yes, again (Dolezal still says she identifies herself as African American). Illegal? Probably not. Justification for termination? The jury’s out on that one.

“Ms. Dolezal hasn’t really committed a crime by definition,” says attorney Yvette Carmon Davis of Carmon Publishing and Entertainment in San Diego, California. Carmon Davis, who identifies herself as African American, practiced law for more than 30 years. “But contractually, she probably has put herself in the position to be terminated, and may have violated some local or administrative prohibitions against just generally being untruthful on some kinds of applications and disclosures.”

On most job applications, it’s up to the applicant’s discretion whether to answer a race question at all. And of course, employers aren’t supposed to consider race when making hiring decisions. However, applications often include a standard statement that says providing false information could get you fired, if you’re hired and the employer later discovers your deceit. Terminating an employee for any reason can expose an employer to legal action, yet the situation becomes very sticky indeed when questions of race are involved.

If you find out an employee lied about his or her race on their job application, what should you do? Do you simply live with the disappointment of knowing you hired someone of questionable character and less credibility than you’d thought? Or do you fire them for being dishonest?

Dan Kalish, managing partner of HKM Employment Attorneys LLP, offers insight into the complexities of the question:

“It is almost impossible to tell what race someone is just by appearance,” Kalish says. “Accordingly, if an employer accuses an employee about lying, and the accusation is wrong, the employer could face a discrimination lawsuit or hostile work environment claim.”

What’s more, Kalish points out, unless an employee admits to the lie, terminating an employee because you believe he or she lied about race could lead to legal liability for the employer. Don’t forget, Dolezal didn’t admit to lying, her parents “outed” her as Caucasian. And the NAACP didn’t terminate her, she resigned.

Simply suspecting an applicant lied about race and questioning him or her about it could expose an employer to ramifications, Kalish says. “Even if the employer suspects that an applicant lied, questions to the employee could, by itself, create a hostile work environment.”

Still, it’s understandable that an employer would want to address any falsehood on a job application, and perhaps especially a lie that relates to such a volatile issue as race identity.

“This is definitely an issue of character,” Carmon Davis says of Dolezal’s case. “According to her employer, it wasn’t necessary for her to be black to get and keep her job. So the question becomes: Why? Why did she do it? Motive is meaningful. If she had to be white to get the job, the hue and cry would have been off the charts. If she had to be black to get the job, some would still protest.”

Even the most sensitive, open-minded employer might feel impelled to act when discovering a trusted employee has deceived them. While Dolezal’s case seems singular for a number of reasons, she’s certainly not the first person to have fibbed on a job application. What would you do if you found yourself in the NAACP’s shoes?

Kalish advises caution. “Employers should be very careful while treading in these very dangerous waters.”

 

June 10, 2015 / Molly Moseley

Horse sense: 8 things we can all learn from American Pharoah

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CC Image by Diana Robinson, Flickr

Have you heard the quote “A horse never runs so fast as when he has other horses to catch up and outpace”? You may have no idea who first said it, but if you’ve ever been in the market for a job – or had to interview candidates applying for a job – you probably get the sentiment behind it: a competitive spirit leads to success. That spirit certainly worked for American Pharoah, the first horse in nearly 40 years to win the Triple Crown.

When he won the Belmont Stakes, the last leg of the Triple Crown, American Pharoah demonstrated the kind of tenacity and skill that you need to succeed in business, whether you’re the one doing the hiring or you’re the interviewee. The value of competition isn’t the only thing we can learn from him, however. Let’s take a look at eight inspiring lessons both job-seekers and employers alike can take away from American Pharoah’s victory.

1. Be persistent. Bob Baffert, American Pharoah’s trainer, came close to winning the Triple Crown three times before. Jockey Victor Espinoza also nearly won horse racing’s most-coveted crown three times on other horses before finally riding to victory on American Pharoah. He is the first jockey in history to enter the last leg of the Triple Crown with a third opportunity to win it, and, at 43, is the oldest jockey to ever win the award. Imagine how differently the 2015 race would have played out if either man had been less persistent?

2. There can be perfection in imperfection. He’s a beautiful horse, but American Pharoah isn’t perfect. His name is actually misspelled. The correct spelling should be “pharaoh.” But the horse’s accomplishments are so impressive and memorable that he’s made the name his own, and turned that imperfection into part of his unique appeal.

3. Embrace differences. While the other horses running in the Belmont tore down the track with their long, luxurious tails flying behind them, you might have noticed something different about American Pharoah’s tail. Or, maybe not since he moved so quickly! He’s actually missing a piece of his tail. Another horse bit it off and his owners refused suggestions that he should wear a hairpiece to make him look more like the other horses. His stubbier tail is just one more quality that makes American Pharoah stand out from the crowd, even when he’s standing still!

4. Don’t give up because of one setback. If American Pharoah had done that, he’d never have won any races. The only race he ever lost was his very first one. If you give up after a single failure – or even three or more – what you’re really giving up is the opportunity to win the next time. Success is only possible if you run the race.

5. Don’t let distractions make you lose your focus. The roar of the crowd, the sounds of the other horses and their jockeys – it can all be distracting for a thoroughbred. American Pharoah doesn’t give in to distractions. Instead, he wears special earplugs to help him stay focused. Blinders are a common accessory in thoroughbred horse racing. Do what you have to in order to screen out distractions and maintain your focus on your goals.

6. Seize opportunities to build your personal brand identity. The name, the tail, the winning record – they’re all part of American Pharoah’s brand. In the wake of his record-making win, American Pharoah memorabilia is everywhere, and it not only adds to the overall earnings of his owners, every T-shirt and other item of kitsch further builds the horse’s unique brand. Whether you’re looking for a job or looking to hire great people, you want to create and communicate a memorable identity.

7. Always remember to give back. Just when you think American Pharoah’s story can’t get any more inspiring, it does. Although he was entitled to 10% of American Pharoah’s Triple Crown winnings, jockey Victor Espinoza decided to donate his cut to City of Hope, a charity that funds children’s cancer research. Espinoza’s big-hearted pledge was not only a great thing to do, it further cemented his and American Pharoah’s places in American hearts. Americans appreciate generosity, plus it’s good for your soul!

8. Learn your own strength and ride it to victory. In the end, horses may race because of their competitive spirit, but they win because they don’t know losing is an option. Imagine what you can accomplish if you know your own strengths, and race toward the finish line with all the passion and focus of a Triple Crown winner.

 

June 4, 2015 / Stephanie Anderson

What to do when your dream job turns out to be a nightmare

You’ve finally arrived. You’ve landed in the job you always wanted – interesting work, good pay and benefits, great co-workers and a top-name company. It’s the job you’ve always dreamed of … and you HATE it.

It’s not an uncommon problem. Just like personal relationships, professional ones can fail to work out for many reasons. Perhaps the job didn’t turn out to be what you expected, or your employer didn’t effectively communicate what the job was really about when you interviewed. Sometimes unexpected life changes or personal circumstances can make you feel stifled in a job. And sometimes, you just can’t tell what a job is really going to be like until you’re actually doing it.

So what do you do when your dream job turns into a nightmare?

First, do a time check.

The first several months of any job can be overwhelming, even if you’re confident you can do the work. Have you given yourself enough time to get over that trial phase and settle in? If you’ve been in a job for only a few months, giving it a bit longer may make all the difference. A little more time could help you feel more comfortable and confident this job is the right one for you.

Talk it out with someone you trust.

If you’ve been in the job longer than that breaking-in phase and you still hate it, then it may be time to seek perspective from a trusted advisor or mentor. Sometimes, we build up issues in our heads, allowing manageable circumstances to evolve into something that looks much more serious. A conversation with an unbiased outsider may give you the insight you need to put everything in perspective – and see that things really aren’t unbearable.

Figure out what’s not working for you.

If you’ve given the job your best effort for a reasonable amount of time and you’re still not happy, try to figure out why the job isn’t feeling like a good fit. Is it the people or company? Do your job tasks not match your skill set? Does the work bore you or is it too difficult? Understanding the root cause of the issue can help you decide what to do next. Having trouble defining the problem? Consider journaling each day, and write down what you like and what you dislike. This can help you organize your thoughts.

Decide if you can – or should – try to salvage the situation.

Even if you have really good reasons for not liking your job, you still may be able to turn things around. Will a frank discussion with your boss and human resources help resolve your main issues? Might it be possible to make changes to your tasks or work day that would solve the problem? Is there another job within the company that may be a better fit for you? Could some workplace counseling help you improve relations with co-workers? If you think improvement might be possible, you have to decide if it’s worth it to stay and try to work things out. Will you be better off with this job, or better without it?

If it really is time to go …

… look for a new job and THEN quit. Yes, we’ve all heard the arguments in favor of pursuing your passion, but you need to be practical as well. Even if you hate the job, it’s still giving you a paycheck and benefits that you probably need in order to stay afloat financially. Plus, you want to avoid employment gaps that could blemish your resume.

Take the time to look back at your list of pros and cons, as well as your daily journal. Conduct a post-mortem to ensure you really understand what went wrong so you can avoid getting into a similar situation at your next job. It may help to write yourself a “statement of purpose” that defines what you want in a job and what your career objectives are. Use that statement to evaluate the suitability of future jobs you apply for.

Finally, as you’re making your way toward the exit, do it gracefully. While you’re looking for another job, continue to give your best at your current one; it’s the professional thing to do. Resist the temptation to slack off, and burn no bridges behind you. People do still check references, and word gets around within an industry. You want to ensure you leave behind an impression of goodwill and professionalism. Besides, you never know if some day that same company will have an opening for a job that’s a much better fit for you.

June 1, 2015 / Toby Dayton

LinkUp Forecasting Weak Jobs Report For May But Strong Gains In June

Game of Thrones always seems to be top of mind this time of year and as season 5 starts to wrap up, this year is proving, once again, to be no different. Even as some plot lines diverge from A Dance with Dragons, the show has been as wildly entertaining as the books, and this season (perhaps the best yet) keeps getting better and better. As Jason Hirschhorn put it perfectly this morning in his daily rantrave:// “GAME OF THRONES upped the ante last night.” (As an aside, by the way, REDEF has very quickly become a daily must-read). Between the shifting alliances in Westeros and across the Narrow Seas, the epic battles north and south of the Wall, and the political machinations in King’s Landing and elsewhere, not to mention the phenomenal characters, dialogue, story lines, and scenery, Game of Thrones might be one of fiction’s greatest roller coaster rides ever.

With similar twists and turns and equal uncertainty as to how it all might turn out, the roller coaster that is the current U.S. economy has been, of late, as thrilling and terrifying as anything we’ve seen from George R.R. Martin and HBO. With far greater consequences and far less entertainment value, the economy today is characterized, on one hand, by a flood of liquidity, record highs in the equity markets (with insane, beyond-bubble valuations in tech), low inflation, decent monthly job gains, and a healthy real estate market. But mystifyingly enough, the economy has also been beset by contracting GDP in Q1, non-existent wage growth and a somewhat disappointing labor market, mixed signals in consumer and business sentiment, mixed challenges from a strong dollar, and mild to severe weakness around the globe. And through it all, the debates rage on as to when the Fed will begin raising rates. Needless to say, the odds of forecasting where we’ll be at the end of the summer, let alone the end of this year, are about as good as trying to predict who will be alive at the end of Martin’s epic saga. And unfortunately, based on LinkUp’s jobs data from April and May, it looks like we’re in for further drama in the near future.

As a quick reminder (or as background for those that might be new to this blog), LinkUp is a job search engine that only indexes jobs from company websites. Unlike every other job site on the web that either accepts pay-to-post job ads or aggregates jobs from other pay-to-post jobs sites, LinkUp only lists job openings that are sourced directly from company websites. At the moment, our job search engine includes 3.1 million jobs indexed from 50,000 company sites in the U.S. and around the world. Because our index is updated daily, the jobs on LinkUp are always current, and there are no duplicate listings because we only index jobs from a single source – the employer’s website itself (and we do not include any jobs from staffing firms, headhunters, search firms, or temp firms). Perhaps most importantly, we have eliminated all of the garbage that pollutes virtually every job site on the web – “job” postings that include fraud, lead-gen, scams, identity-theft, phishing jobs, and money-mule listings, to name just a few.

As a result of all these factors, we offer job seekers the largest, highest-quality search engine of job openings available on the web. This, in turn, translates into the strongest value proposition in the market for our employer advertisers (high quality candidates at the lowest cost) who sponsor their openings and pay us, on a per-click basis, for candidates we send to their website. It’s also those very same factors that also provide us with an entirely unique data set of jobs that we have been able to successfully leverage to accurately predict job growth in future periods (see Bloomberg 2013/2014 NFP rankings here. See also Deutsche Bank’s market research report ‘Macro and Micro JobEnomics’ which finds that “accounting and quant factors based on [LinkUp’s] job posting data set provide incremental and uncorrelated alpha. As investment managers are continually in search of new and distinct sources of alpha, we think it’s worthwhile to investigate [LinkUp’s] job posting dataset as a differentiated source of stock specific and macro alpha.”)

In April, new job listings on LinkUp declined by 7% and total job listings increased by less than 3%, continuing the downward trend seen in LinkUp’s data since the beginning of the year.

New & Total jobs on LinkUp Jan-Apr

Given the sound assumption that the best indicator of a future job being added to the U.S. economy is when an employer posts an opening on their company career portal, it’s that downward trend seen first in LinkUp’s new and total job listings that later translated into sluggish job growth so far this year, at least through the first quarter.

Jobs By Qtr 2011-2015 (Apr)

Even after adding the decent job gains in April, the labor market is still pacing behind the last 3 years and stands just barely ahead of levels last seen in 2011.

Job Growth Through April 2011-2015

And with the 1.7% drop in the blended average of new and total job openings on LinkUp in April, we are forecasting that only 185,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in May, moderately lower than the consensus estimate of a net gain of 225,000 jobs.

May 2015 Jobs Forecast

But as the chart above indicates, however, new job listings on LinkUp rose sharply in May, and total job listings showed steady gains from April as well, pointing to much stronger job growth in June. Looking at the data on a state by state level, new and total job listings rose in 47 states, falling only in Connecticut, Hawaii, and North Dakota (total jobs also fell in Rhode Island).

Jobs By State May 2015

Similarly, both new and total job openings rose in almost every job category.

Jobs By Category May 2015

Not surprisingly given the see-saw job market, the increase we’ve seen over the past 5 months in our jobs duration data can be interpreted in two different ways.

Job Duration - May 2015

Each month, we take all of the jobs that have rolled off the site in the previous 6 months (presumably because they were filled with a new hire), and calculate the average number of days that those jobs were in our search engine. Last year, LinkUp’s job duration dropped from 51 days last April to 41 days last October, coinciding with strong job gains and increased ‘velocity’ in the pace of hiring that we witnessed for most of 2014. But since that time, job duration has climbed back up to about 48 days, where it has essentially stayed for the entire year. This increase in job duration reflects either a growing challenge that employers face in trying to find a sufficient number of job applicants to fill their openings or a slowdown in the pace of hiring (or some combination of the two). Either way, in any event, the elevated job duration we’ve seen for the past 5 months is undoubtedly having a negative impact on non-farm payrolls. How much exactly is anyone’s guess – and therein lies yet one more challenge in trying to determine where the labor market might be headed.

The U.S. labor market is either in solid shape and approaching full employment with 43 consecutive months of job gains or it’s faltering yet again, having never truly lived up to the hype given the nation’s stagnant wages, historically low labor-force participation rate, rising income inequality, and until quite recently, seemingly intractable long-term unemployment. And as if that didn’t present enough confusion, I could throw in demographics and retiring baby-boomers, the supposed skills-gap, and dire warnings of entire swaths of the economy that will soon be eliminated by seismic shifts in one industry or another or else replaced by robots and/or software. Like essentially every story arc in Game of Thrones, confusion and uncertainty abound, with little to no clarity whatsoever as to how this will all play out in the end.

I’m not sure which of the three I’d prefer least – being the Mother of Dragons, sitting on the Iron Throne, or serving as the Chair of the Federal Reserve.

paperDog

 

May 27, 2015 / admin

Millennials want to love their city as much as their job

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

CC Image by Millennials Jam Workshop, Flickr

It’s no secret that Millennials (the generation spanning from 20 to the early 30’s) are about to take over the world. Or at least the American workforce. According to Jamie Gutfreund, of the Intelligence Group, there will be around 86 million Millennials in the workplace by 2020. With those kinds of numbers, it’s no wonder companies are spending so much time trying to figure out the secret to attracting – and keeping – this most pervasive of generations.

Location is the hidden benefit no one talks about

We’ve heard (ad nauseam) that this generation wants to make a difference in the world and that they’re lusting after the elusive work-life balance. But what we don’t seem to hear enough of is how where they live is just as important as what they do. Even with reports of talented workers from the Millennial generation threatening to leave jobs they love because they hate where they live, no one seems to really get it.

The bottom line is that Millennials expect a lot from their employers, and part of that is location. One of the reasons 74 percent of Millennials want the freedom of a flexible work schedule is because they want to do more in a day than punch in and punch out. They want their work to serve their life, rather than living to serve their work.

Part of that means being able to break up your day with a peaceful hike in the mountains, an early-morning surf, or a much-needed afternoon catnap. What Millennials know is that having control over their time and output makes them better, smarter workers. What companies fear is that nothing will get done unless people are chained to their desks. And maybe if you live in a place where there really is nothing better to do than go to work, it doesn’t matter. But Millennials disagree.

Location is becoming a huge piece of overall life satisfaction and if companies want to remain competitive, as the Millennial workplace invasion continues, they need to start capitalizing on that. Benefits, flexibility, a fully-stocked break room fridge, and perks like pet insurance or weekly massages are still attractive – but if you’re offering them in a city with a terrible housing market or exorbitant rent prices, top candidates might not want to stick around.

Recruiters need to start taking more into account than their standard benefit package. To lure the best talent from the Millennial generation, companies must tout the value of their location and highlight why living there will be awesome.

How to make location part of your recruiting package

A great place to start is by partnering with the local Chamber of Commerce or Visitor’s Bureau. If you don’t even know why your city is great, how can you be expected to sell it to someone else? Find out everything you can about business trends, cost of living, local attractions, quality of schools, and the abundance of green space. Even if you’re not a weekend warrior, learn about the outdoor recreation that’s nearby so you can let that avid rock climber know that they’ll have ample opportunity to indulge their passion.

Learn about the best neighborhoods for people at different stages of life. Many Millennials are single or married without kids – find out the best places for singletons to call home as well as the safest family-friendly neighborhoods. Research which areas of town are up-and-coming, as many Millennials are attracted to an area with history that’s making a comeback. The more you can help your candidate envision their life in your town, the better chance you’ll have of snagging them before someone else does.

But location isn’t just about the regional landscape and local amenities. Even if your town doesn’t seem glamorous, it might have a great housing market or a huge sense of civic pride. Look into opportunities for your company to partner with local non-profits or community organizations. With 64 percent of Millennials wanting to make the world a better place, the mere fact that your company offers a way to do that can be a big plus.

Millennials want to love the work they do, the people they work with, and the place they call home. It’s a tall order, but smart companies that want the best workers competing for a spot at their table, need to start paying attention. Lauding the praises of your location may be the new ace in the hole for savvy recruiters.

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.

May 27, 2015 / Molly Moseley

4 tips for a parent-friendly company culture

Nearly 97 percent of married couples with children have at least one employed parent, and 60 percent have both parents working, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That means the American workforce is full of working parents. Hiring parents is unavoidable, but it can also be highly beneficial. Parents can make outstanding employees for a number of reasons.

Last week we talked about the impact being a parent can have on job hunters, and explored scenarios in which parental experience could be an asset in a job interview. This week, let’s look at the other side of the equation. It makes good business sense for employers to hire folks with kids, but also to provide the support and flexibility they need to be both good employees and good parents.

First, let’s consider why parents make great employees. For starters, the financial well-being of their families is riding on their jobs, so parents have a vested interest in doing their best. They also tend to be loyal to companies that treat them well, wanting to avoid the frequent job-changes that can undermine a family’s stability. And, as we explained in last week’s post, parenthood can help people develop skills that are highly useful in the workplace – including organizational skills, flexibility, compassion and patience.

Our question to you is, once you’ve hired one of these great working parents, are you doing enough to keep them? Your employees with children are working for more than just a paycheck and benefits. They’re striving to create a stable, secure life for their families, and companies that help them do that are more likely to earn their loyalty and best work.

The good news is your company can meet its business goals while creating a parent-friendly culture – one that provides employees with children the support they need to excel at work. Here are four steps companies can take to retain and support parents:

Leverage technology

With the right technology, an employee working from a home office can be just as effective as one working in a cubicle down the hall from your office. And more than one parent has fired off a work email or two on his or her smartphone while sitting in the bleachers during their child’s ballgame. Use software and hardware to allow workers with kids to access important work-related documents and tools from anywhere. LinkUp provides our employees with the tech tools they need to work remotely whenever they need to. The move ensures they can take care of personal matters while also fulfilling their work obligations.

Practice time and location flexibility

Establishing policies that allow parents to work from home at least some hours a week, or to arrange their work schedules around childcare needs, can help them worry less about balancing home and work obligations and spend more time getting their jobs done. LinkUp, for example, allows our employees to manage their schedules to accommodate children’s appointments, illnesses and activities.

Be forward-thinking with leave and benefits

While at least six weeks of paid or unpaid maternity leave are common at most companies, consider expanding your leave policy to encompass fathers and new adoptive parents. When you’re crafting benefits packages aimed at attracting top employees, keep in mind parent-friendly options like wellness programs, health club memberships, childcare support, identity theft protection for families, free health clinics and access to personal finance advisors.

Realign your company’s culture and mindset

Even though there may be more parents in your workforce than non-parents, bias against parents can occur in any corporate environment. Encourage the mindset among management that results – not hours – are the objective. As long as employees are meeting their work goals they should be able to take a few hours off for family obligations without repercussions. Trust employees to manage their time wisely.

How does your company support employees with children? What advantages have you found in hiring parents, and how do you help keep them happy and working hard?

May 19, 2015 / Stephanie Anderson

Admit or deny? When playing the parent card can help in a job interview

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Job interviews are all about selling yourself. Highlighting the skills and experience you’ve gained in your career that make you a great fit for your desired job. But what about the skills and experience you have gained outside the office, specifically from raising children? Are those fair game in an interview, or could simply mentioning your parental status backfire?

It’s illegal for an employer to discriminate against a candidate simply because he or she has children, (or is pregnant) but technically there’s no law that says the interviewer can’t ask the question.

Because human beings conduct interviews, it’s inevitable that some will come to the table with preconceived ideas about how being a parent can affect someone’s job performance. Interviewers may make assumptions about parents; such as they’ll need more time off to care for sick kids, attend parent-teacher conferences or school events. They may also assume a parent will have less time and energy to dedicate to their career, and less flexibility to work outside the typical 9-to-5 work day. Stay-at-home moms and dads returning to the workforce may also be unfairly tagged as having rusty skills or less knowledge of industry trends.

Worries over those perceptions often may make parents decide to keep mum about having kids – and that’s unfortunate. Yes, parenting requires a significant time commitment, but it’s also an incredible skill-building experience. One of the toughest jobs in the world – raising an actual human being – can help a person develop a wealth of skills that translate well to their professional lives.

To keep kids alive and thriving requires the organizational skills of a super computer, the negotiating prowess of a diplomat, and the stamina of a decathlete! It teaches you empathy, how to multitask, be flexible, prioritize and manage sometimes difficult personalities (aka toddlers and teenagers). Plus, parents have a vested interest in keeping their employers happy; they have mouths to feed and mortgages to pay – a lot is riding on their work. What employer wouldn’t want a candidate with those qualities?

Ultimately, you are the only person who can decide if playing the “parent card” will benefit or work against you. However, here at LinkUp we believe there are three times when it is advantageous to mention you are a parent in an interview:

1. If you’re a stay-at-home parent headed back to work.

The time you spent at home with your little ones was a wonderful bonding experience, but it also left an employment gap on your resume that might raise questions for a potential employer. Here sharing you have children is a no brainer. It explains the employment gap, and allows you to speak to your excitement for re-joining workforce.

2. Your parenting experience is more relevant than your professional experience.

Interviewers can ask some tough questions, and sometimes your experience as a parent will be a better answer to a question than your work experience. Leverage those previously mentioned parenting skills when they provide a stronger interview response than actual work experience, or when you lack relevant work experience.Remember, however, to do so sparingly. While parenting skills can absolutely be applicable to office jobs, employers will likely place greater weight on formal office experience.

3. When you want to work for a family-friendly company.

If disclosing that you are a parent is going to dissuade an employer from hiring you, do you really want to work for them anyway? A growing number of companies put a great deal of emphasis on work-life balance, and supporting parents is a key plank in their platforms. In fact, these companies may view candidates with children as more rounded individuals who will fit well with the organization’s culture. I would go so far as to seek out these employers, because your kids aren’t going away any time soon – at least until college – and working for a company that doesn’t respect your parental responsibilities may create more stress than it’s worth.

What’s your take? Have you mentioned your kids in an interview situation, and if so, what was the outcome? I know I feel strongly that I want to work for a business supportive to parents, and wouldn’t hesitate to disclose. I love working, but I love being a mom even more. I’m forever thankful for the skills my two little ladies have taught me that i could never learn behind a desk.