Why You Should Never Apply for a Job Again (As presented at Lee Hecht Harrison Webex – June 29th)

Why You Should Never Apply for a Job Again
Developing a Personal Brand Strategy and Digital Footprint

By: Mark A. Leon – Recruiterpoet

Presented for ProNet Charlotte and Lee Hecht Harrison

This presentation provides insight on developing a personal brand strategy and career marketing plan.
Along with this, an outline of social media tools are provided to assist in successful implementation of your plan.

Presentation Link:

http://www.slideshare.net/markalex222/why-you-should-never-apply-for-a-job

Original Quotes Testing the Strength of the Human Spirit and Love

“In a time of unparalleled uncertainty, risk is the greatest weapon in the pursuit of ultimate success”

“The most unmemorable failures became the most unforgettable accomplishments”

“Happiness is accepting that you can be alone”

“The heart is a sin covered by layers of protective innocence and a mask of undiscovered knowledge”

“Love is but a sacred vow between two hearts”

“The worst state of being is being in love”

“Love is an unexplainable act of foolishness”

“To expose the emotional hold on man’s heart is the ultimate vulnerability”

“The stars shine above as the world lay to rest with the thoughts of dreams dancing in their heads”

“Once in a lifetime, a special someone comes along and from that moment on, the world is a better place to live”

Looking for work? Unemployed need not apply (What are your thoughts?) – Part II – The Comments are in!!

The article released by CNN and Money.com has stirred quite a bit of sentiment. As a follow up to this blog, we would like to provide actual feedback/comments provided by readers on this piece of journalism. The comments are candid. While some are well structured, others are driven by emotion but what is clear, is that this is a topic that affects many from coast to coast.

Thank you to all the readers that have followed this story and the blog and for providing such insightful commentary.

Actual reader comments:

“What are my thoughts, I think it’s a pathetic practice. The job market will never recover as long as this continues and a lot of lives are being destroyed because employers don’t want to even look at anyone unemployed. I just hope enough people know of this trend and if not, we need to make it known. And that tax break is doing no good.”

“The article hits the nail on the head. Arbitrarily eliminating the unemployed limits your potential at finding the best candidate for a position. There are plenty of downsizings that pay no heed to performance. People can be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. I recently got a call from a recruiter with an opportunity and he said they were looking for candidates with a job already. My response was I don’t believe that is a culture that I would want to work in.”

“If you were in good economic times and wanted to weed out potential low performers (with a small risk of also eliminating some good talent), then it would be an understandable strategy perhaps. However in the current economy, not all unemployed are low performers. It’s very sad and alarming to see that such practices are going on at this time. Even though most firms are not actively hiring, some smart firms never stop “scouting” for potential talent”

“Because I’m on LinkedIn, I’m regularly contacted by Recruiters/Staffing Services/Head Hunters who are looking for people who want to quit their current job and go to work for another company. This kind of annoys me. There are plenty of people who are unemployed who can benefit from their services, but they instead contact me while I’m at work. I think they should focus on people who really need their services and not the ones who only quit because they want more money or are dissatisfied with their current employment. If I ever decide to or need to look for different employment opportunities, I’ll look them up.”

“I am shocked that companies would be doing this in these times. They are only hurting themselves in the long run. By not hiring people who are unemployed they are keeping the unemployment rate high and leaving less consumers on the market to buy whatever product they are trying to sell.”

“Maybe the government should charge the companies that refuse to consider the unemployed, to pay for all the unemployment benefits extensions!”

“One of the commitments Hewitt Associates makes is to review each and every applicant. Our emphasis is on the skill set and domain fit. Having the right technical and soft skills will win over the hiring business, not whether you are working or not working. There are unique circumstances around all work place reductions.”

“Thanks for posting this and the link to the article. As an HR Professional, it makes me a little sad. This type of misguided effort to control applicant flow feeds the stereotype of the heartless and ‘Evil HR Director’”

“One thought. This very disconcerting. Hopefully the article is only a microcosm of the true marketplace as the media tends to do.”

“There is no bad team, just a bad leader. I found this out very early in my career when I worked at MCI. We possibly had almost every nation represented within our group and it was refreshing to work with individuals with different backgrounds and different cultures. To exclude an individual from employment because of stereotyping or profiling just goes to show how narrow minded we have become within our own culture of the US as a ‘melting pot’”

“This article isn’t stating anything new that hasn’t been said by hiring managers for many many years. I have heard it in the past and I am sure I will hear it in the future with the thought process being that the good people don’t get laid off. This is one more reason that simply submitting your resume and hoping for the best is the wrong approach. You have to push hard at networking, developing relationships, and educating the hiring public how and why you can be a valued added benefit to their organization. If you accept this article as truth and allow it to discourage you, then you have already lost the fight. As you all already know the job search is a difficult and challenging process, but if you don’t unquestionably believe in yourself then how can you expect anyone else to do so…..

“I found this to be true in some cases with out of state recruiters and some misguided hiring managers and companies. It’s alarming and yes can be discouraging.”

“Just from personal experience, I can tell you that the screening of individuals is more thorough for the simple fact that we are dealing with a competitors market. I have encountered disqualifications from jobs more times than I want to recall but I choose to believe that it is because another candidate was a better overall fit for the position. The unfortunate part of the process is that some times people see something on paper and they choose to stereotype the person and eliminate them from the process. It is easy to do (for some) because it reduces the time they have to commit to the screening.”

“I’ve seen myself eliminated not because of achievements, but because of dates on a resume.”

“A woman I know who is a ‘Brazen Marketer’ just landed her perfect fit job after eighteen months of being unemployed. And she did it by leveraging the Placement Agency hired to fill the position.
How it happened for her is a story you have to hear. But first, I want to add my input in response to this column that Mark posted on Friday.

Recruiters have a job to do and they probably believe that by placing only those currently employed candidates, they are fulfilling their role in the way the company/client wants to be serviced. Why shouldn’t the company/recruiter take the road well traveled and consider only those candidates who have value assigned to them from the mere circumstance that they are currently earning a paycheck?

Most of us get it that jobs from Main Street to Wall Street disappeared forever, and as the recession continues and as more and more companies cave in or have to pinch everything to survive, new people become unemployed every day.

The stigma that all who lose their jobs do so because they are considered second rate talent is becoming an urban myth, but not quick enough for the universal work place to get it. That many who do lose their jobs are in fact sub-par talents perpetuates the myth. Also, we have the ‘damaged goods’ stigma of the unemployed to consider: employers don’t want to deal with the psyche of someone who lost their job and has been out of work for any length of time, much less someone with a long gap in between jobs.

So what are we as individuals and community to do? Hold another job fair? Keep sending resumes to job board postings hoping that an invitation to the interview will follow?
If you are among the unemployed who read this article, put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter/hiring manager of the company. What would have to happen to change your thinking about this; that is, to view unemployed candidates as ‘ready’ and to open up the interview process to include them?

What if someone that had clout walked your resume into the hands of the recruiter/HR Manager/Hiring Manger and delivered the message that you were the best fit for this job and requested that you be invited in for the interview?

This is what it takes. I don’t know of another path that is as effective.
But the how-to is the gotcha. The work to get this kind of ACCESS is a process and it is hard work. It takes putting down the fear and committing to end the struggle, once and for all.

There are four ProNet peers who made the commitment to become choice seekers, not job seekers and who are experiencing unemployment differently and are landing their perfect fit jobs as a result. There are scores of other choice seekers who can share their successes with you. If you want to be in touch with these folks, especially to hear the story about the Brazen Marketer that I mentioned above, connect with me through LinkedIn and I will be happy to make the introductions. Unemployment at the rate we see in Charlotte is a community issue and it’s going to take community to solve it.

Raising awareness that you can overcome this external circumstance, is the first step. Believing that you can is the next right step.”

“With the large number of applicants for a position, this is one of many ways to winnow the field. Even if they eventually hire an employed person, that person’s former position will need to be filled. Best to ignore stories like this and focus on your own job search. And even if you’ve had this experience, do you really want to work for a company that short-sighted?”

“Over the last two and a half years, the employment market has changed dramatically–from Employee-driven to Employer-driven. When the unemployment rate was at 4% (considered full-employment by economists), a company could post a job on websites, advertise, and get few, if any, responses. No good recruiter would present someone whose resume he pulled off of a job board, because everyone knew the job boards were filled with the “unhappy, the unqualifed, and the unemployed” (for good reason). As Mark Hovind, of JobBait says, “All you had to do to get a job was fog a mirror.”

When the big picture changes, the smartest people recognize it first, while others keep doing what worked in yesterday’s market. As a partner of both a recruiting firm and a job search coaching firm, I witness this on all sides. The smart companies quickly realized that with the national unemployment rate at 10% (12% in Charlotte and much higher in some cities) they had the opportunity to hire some great people who were dislocated by structural unemployment. They started calling us to keep an eye out for those people, even though they had no posted job openings.

The best of the unemployed often saw the writing on the wall and started reaching out to their networks or getting job search coaching before they even lost their jobs. Others, lived on unemployment benefits and/or severance packages and waited for the economy to get better. Some took vacations before they started looking for new employment. They counted on a short, shallow recession and a quick bounceback in job growth.

HR people are now swamped with resumes, as many as 34,000 a month, in one instance. To make matters worse, HR people are often the first to lose their jobs in a recession, so many of them are doing the work of two or more people. Given these circumstances, using computers and untrained people to sort on simple criteria may not be the best choice, but it is really their only choice. I’m happy to say that I have never met a heartless or evil HR professional. Most of them entered the profession because they like people.

I would like to believe that few companies would be short-sighted enough to hire an unemployed person over a better candidate who is employed in order to save 6.2% of the employee’s wages for the rest of the year. If a company hires someone who is unemployed, they probably would have hired them anyway. If they hire someone who is already employed, they don’t get the tax break, but the employee’s old employer has to replace him, so there are the same number of jobs, with or without the tax break. In effect, this is a waste of taxpayer dollars that does nothing but increase the budget deficit.

If you would be an asset to a company, it’s your job to get face-to-face with someone and persuade them that you are one of the great opportunities this market has made available to them. Otherwise, your resume could sit in databases until we reach full employment once again. Right now, economists don’t see that happening in the foreseeable future.

If you don’t know how to sell yourself as an asset to a company, get help. If you can’t afford to hire a private coach, you should avail yourself of every service that ProNet offers. If you’re not part of one of their Job Search Teams, you’re missing a big opportunity, and you’re certainly not doing everything you could be doing to find a job. In 2009, employers hired 4 million people a month, 40,00 at $100,000 level or above. In 2010, hiring is down, but there’s still a great deal of hiring going on. There’s no reason why you can’t be part of it.”

“Employers doing this must think the world will continue to accept this type of thought. There are many more potential employees than companies. Hope they recognize this.”

“This is one of the craziest things I’ve heard lately – that somehow being unemployed makes you unemployable, especially in this sour economy. Fact is, the unemployed may be some of your best candidates for a job, as they are in the best position to appreciate employment. Also, many of us have gone for more training/schooling in this situation, so we are more prepared than ever to become great employees. Unemployed need not apply – what a bunch of BS.”

“I saw a snippet on CNN this evening about the subject. How many more obstacles can employers erect? If it weren’t so absurd, you might think it was a conspiracy.”

“Employers doing this must think the world will continue to accept this type of thought. There are many more potential employees than companies. Hope they recognize this.”

“Yes … Unfortunately, there is a bias that is attached to the unemployed. There may be many but one that comes to mind is the idea that if you are unemployed, then you were the least productive of the group and therefore were the most expendable. This social stigma can be at the other end of the scale for reasons of one’s release. Not fitting into company culture may be one that I believe many people go through and thusly are not a part of the “pack”. Point is, if someone is reviewing your resume and have not been unemployed themselves then they are going to have a hard time understanding your circumstance and are more likely to hiring someone that is already in the “mold”. Good luck to all those that are searching for the next step”

“Given that high-caliber candidates who have savings will hold out for a good job rather than scar their resume – my answer is this is unequivocally dumb!”

“All freshers are unemployed in one sense and will surely have a gap in their CVs because

1. Hard to get into companies at first place.
2. So called recession !
3. No company experience !
4. Multiple problems if you are outside of your country of origin and many more.

I do not know, which particular sector it is applicable for…

But now situations are making me to realize may be I am in wrong field and at wrong place.

I think sometime it is wise to compromise with your interest and chose the career which is on high demand and hardly get affected by these external factors (like medical doctor of something)”

“My question to these recruiters would be why would someone who is already employed be looking for employment somewhere else in this troubled economy?
Is this future employee about to get fired?
Does this future employee has an attitude issue and does not get along with superiors and/or coworkers?
Eventually the economy will turn around and people who are unemployed now due to no fault of their own will remember these companies. At the end of the day it will be their loss. Eventually recruiters like that will be laid off for doing such a bad job. What goes around comes around.”

“I find it interesting that the ones who write this stuff and many of those who respond are people who are currently employed. Anyone who has been continuously employed over the last two to three years has no concept of what is going on out there for those of us who are unemployed. The rules have radically changed from previous years and in other down times. Now, evidently, unemployed equals undesirable. In my particular case, I did not cause my last company to go out of business, yet I am being punished for it by being out of work right now. I cannot even get an interview, let alone a job offer. After twenty two months, my savings is gone, my 401K is history, and I am close to losing my house if nothing changes soon. Networking does not work, applying in person or online is a waste of time, and asking for help from recruiters gets no replies. Other than continuing to try and look for work and not show your personal bitterness and cynicism, there are not too many other options available right now.”

“Just another symptom of how deranged the job market is. If you’re unemployed, it must be YOUR fault because: 1) you’re not talented enough, 2) your resume doesn’t “pop”, 3) you don’t “market” yourself properly, 4) you don’t “network” correctly, and of course, 5) the company that laid you off is infallible and 6) the hiring manager who ignores you is never, ever wrong. So, if you don’t have a job already, we don’t want to talk to you.
Everyone is disposable. What a hideous paradigm. Well, as Bob Marley once sang, “A hungry man is an angry man.” Beware, big business.”

“I think we have to start publicizing companies and recruiters who do this and make sure it turns into a public relations disaster for them. It makes me sick to think that such a stupid mentality exists among employers.”

“Richard and Jack are right on it from my experience. The last job fair I was at, folks were presuming I was a 2010 grad, and when they realized from my talk and my resume that I graduated in 2008, (great timing, let me tell ya,) suddenly they had zero interest. Of COURSE only a totally dysfunctional human being who must have some really deep-seeded issues would still be unemployed. Friggin’ Wal-Mart won’t even hire me because I have a degree, but without actual experience, no one else will, either.”

“This situation is so totally true. I have read other articles about companies not wanting to hire the unemployed and I have been experiencing it personally. I think what a lot of companies are waiting for is for when the job market picks up, they will basically be trading employees from other companies because I also read that people that haven’t lost their jobs are just waiting for the opportunity to leave their current position. I think this mindset is disgraceful and I do believe that at least when people make this practice public in some way, they be brought to the attention of the public. I do also believe that what goes around, comes around, but hopefully for the millions of currently unemployed, it won’t be too late for us. I am just so disgusted and with good reason.
I try to convey that to people that I know, and they still come across with the reaction that I must be doing something wrong, it can’t be that bad. And I have had many recruiters tell me that unless every spec. of an employer’s requirements are met, you are out. Where are all these perfect people that fit every single requirement of job posts?”

“UNEMPLOYED NEED NOT APPLY.
O.K. I won’t. When an employer posts a job ad, this, like any other publication that they release is a reflection on them. Just because a company may have their reasons for not hiring unemployed workers(I would have no idea what that would be, I’ve met some top notch people that are unemployed right know) they should not show the whole world their mindset when it comes to this. Much like when we post something on Linked In or twitter, etc. it is available for anyone to read and is a reflection on you
I have made a list of target companies that I would like to spend a large part of my life with. I do not need to go after the ads that say ‘unemployed need not apply’. When you see an ad like that, does this company appeal to you?
Ignoring the unemployed comment, If the company in question does have qualities you like, why shouldn’t you go after the job! Rules are sometimes made to be broken, and in this economy if someone tells me don’t go after that job, but I want that job, I’m going to go for it! “

“I applied for a local job the other day, through the state listing that told me that I’m 100% qualified for the requirements. They gave a large earnings window & of course it was well below former earnings, but I selected the highest amount they offered. It would’ve satisfied my earning needs enough to keep a roof over my head, since it’s only 7 miles away. My cover letter was great, being enthusiastic about my experience & potential to help them & explained what I’ve been doing as a consultant by volunteering for business during my recent gap of unemployment. Got a response saying they’re impressed with my qualifications, but would prefer to keep looking at other candidates.

So, my guess is that there are lots of perfect candidates available & they’d like to hire the cheapest one they can find. I’m getting 2 to 4 interview-inquiry telephone calls a day, along with email responses to my posted resume, networking & applying to several new openings every day, including weekends. But when qualified, the offers are unrealistic & would cost me to build & contribute to the success of their business. Companies want to expand with sales growth, but don’t have the budgets required to do it without riding on the backs of employees that must pay their own way by having an existing book of business. Consider low salaries for salesmen & that many vehicle travel expense reimbursement programs are 1/4 of what it actually costs to do the job or completely non-existent…I’m ahead of the game just by declining their sorry offers.

You won’t see me in the unemployment line as Congress has abandoned everyone & done away with the Extension Tier Levels since May 28th. There is no such thing as up to 99 weeks or the $25 extra anymore, once your account’s depleted. This was due to pressure from anti-deficit folks that are outraged over government spending.

Now the media says things are improving with more jobs created, but that’s an outright lie, as those were only temporary summer jobs for parks & recreation or the Census Bureau. Folks haven’t given up looking, they’re just being smarter about it or more likely, limited by lack of resources. Many unemployed are not being counted as such & have fallen off the grid.

I like a good challenge, am grateful for what I have & really appreciate the folks that trust in my work. Know that I’m doing all that I can think of & have confidence in myself, trust in my future & truly believe that God hates a quitter. So I will keep on this crazy ride that only seems to build compassion in my heart for the millions of others that are experiencing it right along side me.

If I don’t get a job soon, then in all likelihood, my next employer is going to have to front me some money, just so I can function financially enough to do the job….That’s why they don’t want the unemployed.”

“I just got out of a 6 month job search, I can’t say that being unemployed was ever an impediment to any of the jobs I applied for.”

“I’m going to change my LinkedIn profile and update my resume when I complete this post. I recently returned to work but did not update my profile as I wanted to remain “available” if something better came along.”

“If this is becoming a trend, obviously they have not keep up the news regarding unemployment.
How many millions are unemployed due to plant closures, etc.( in my case the Owner replace the management team salaried and hourly with family) so everybody was a POOR PERFORMING EMPLOYEE I don’t think so.
Unemployed need not apply! This should be considered discrimination. What world are they living in? “

“This is definitely happening, and there is no way of knowing if it applies to any job you apply for because it can definitely remain behind the scenes within the talent acquisition department or with an external recruiter.

I think it’s a shame. I am one of those people, and I am also connected to, and know many people with outstanding backgrounds and experience, and references to boot, who did not ask to lose their job. Many were also high paid employees, which ultimately lends a significant financial credit to the balance sheet of the business. Anyone in business should know and understand that. When a business needs to substantially reduce expenses and add cash to its balance sheet, cuts are made from the top. Many were part of downsizing that happened when the economy took a dive and the business had to make some tough decisions to remain afloat.

What has truly happened to our society, personally and professionally? What happened to treating people like people? What happened to this nation in protecting the American dream; the desire of our forefathers to create one nation, one people, and to serve America with respect and dignity. This process is neither respectful nor dignified. It’s self-serving and self-absorbing to make any kind of assumptions of someone’s experience, dedication and commitment as a professional simply because they don’t have a job. Imagine if the tables were turned on some of those top executives or HR people who have this mindset? Imagine if they were given a pink slip, only to be tossed into the unemployed world with someone making assumptions.about their ability, or lack thereof, or that they must be failed performers if they no longer are working.

We need to get America back to work. We need to do this as a nation, as a society to bring about change that is good for all who live here. We need to start being human again and start looking at people as something other than a manufactured idealistic machine who is perfect to the core with no flaws or visible defects.

I am independently consulting today to stay active and focused. For someone to tell me that I can’t possibly be any good if I am out of work is a CROCK! For 30 years I have been one of the most committed and dedicated performers and I have enough references to back it up, not only from my last organization, but from many, many clients and professionals who know me well! It’s not about the job or job responsibilities. It’s about the person and who they are. I am what I am and will always be. Any company who wants to lay claim to what they don’t know about me is THEIR LOSS not mine, and I am sure that goes for millions of others in the same shoes. My parents always taught me: What goes around comes around. How you treat others is how you will be treated. I teach my children the same and hope it sinks in.

As organizations, people and professionals, it’s up to each of us to choose what we want to get based on what we are willing to give, and how we want to be treated will be a direct reflection of how we treat others.”

“I too read this article and frankly I was appalled that companies are engaging in such a practice. This practice may be legal for now but it will not surprise me to see it made illegal in the near future at the federal level because it is a form of discrimination in employment. Even if that doesn’t happen I think the word will quickly spread as to which companies are or even perceived to be engaging in this practice and that by itself will generate a lot of negative publicity for those companies as well as adversely affect their bottom lines.”

“I was appalled too, because I’m currently unemployed and having a lot of frustration concerning finding suitable employment. Any company that does this to any job candidate should have serious problems put upon them such as having their federal taxes tripled immediately, then I’m sure that practice would stop right away, and unemployed people wouldn’t be discriminated against like that. Something has to happen that hurts a company’s bottom line before some of them finally realize that ethics and integrity applies equally to them as it does to employees and job candidates. It would be a refreshing change”

“It is sad commentary, but in this economy, recruiters may be faced with thousands of responses to a posting for a single position. Most of us understand that time/workload dilemma. Sometimes, based on real or perceived constraints, recruiters might do a first sort to reduce that volume based on constructs (such as employed/unemployed) that are invalid predictors of future performance. While it sure seems like a poor practice, the unemployed are not a protected group, so it is not inherently illegal. Now, if some lawyer out there can make a disparate impact claim in a particular case”

“It should be illegal, it’s like we are back in the 40’s where “Irish need not apply” was very common.”

“I am a recent college grad; though I am not unemployed I am underemployed. No company that can offer a career path will hire a recent grad with only a few years of experience when there are people unemployed with a decade of experience that the company does not have to train. On the other hand lower end jobs that do not require much training will not hire recent grads because they feel that the grad will not stay with their company long-term. Thus, If you have no experience its hard to come by now.”

“It’s a shame that companies can’t see past their own self interest.”

“While exploring your career options, maybe it’s time to think about becoming self-employed. There are many business opportunities available, the key is finding the one that is right for you. Since building a legitimate business takes time, now I have the time to do that while I’m still looking for a job to pay my current bills. My hope and belief is that maybe I won’t have to go back to the 9 to 5 rat race, but even if I do find the perfect job I plan to continue building my Plan B because I don’t ever want to be put in this position again. After reading this article, I find an additional benefit – it helps fill the gap so that I can answer that I am “currently employed”

“The world is full of shallow, mediocre and totally without vision or core values individuals and entities. When an organization commitment to the world is to only look for steeling human capital from other firms or organization, then you have to wonder; what are their core values, do they respect their workforce or is it a mean to an end, a similar category to acquisition of raw materials and overhead. With that type of mind set, how long are they going to last and what type of people are running these organizations.
We all know that nothing last forever, as such; this current situation will also not last forever. Companies that give back to society and support human value and dignity will reap rewards of attracting loyalty and greatness from those they hire and support , others will lose talent and the ability to retain valuable workforce to these companies when the economy is stable. So the poor attitude, visionless and undignified message to society is a display of short term thinking, this, will have its repercussion soon enough. Remember the quote: what goes around comes around.”

Survey takes a post-recession snapshot of benefits trends

Written by: Lydell C. Bridgeford (Provided by Employee Benefits News)

The recession created some long-term trends that will continue in a post-recession economy, such as increased productivity and workers’ appreciation of employee benefits.

According to MetLife’s eighth annual “Employee Benefits Trends Study,” a weak economy also influenced how employers viewed their benefits programs.

When asked to list their three most important benefits objectives, 53% of employers reported controlling heath and welfare benefits costs, 47% said retaining employees, while 42% cited increasing employee productivity.

For the first time since 2006, controlling benefit costs edged out employee retention as the top concern facing employers. Using benefits to retain talent dropped, in part, because of a weak job market.

Against a background of shrinking profit margins and an ailing economy, companies had to realign their benefits objectives to reduce costs and increase productivity, says Bill Raczko, senior vice president of marketing of U.S. business at MetLife.

Benefits satisfaction increases

Companies, especially ones with more than 1,000 employees, give their best efforts to maintain their benefits package and were more likely to reduce salaries than benefits. For example, 18% of large employers reduced benefits and 19% reduced or suspended 401(k) matching contributions.

However, 75% of big employers scaled back on salaries or increased the length of time between raises, according to the survey.

“Employers kept an eye on their long-term objectives,” even though bottom-line pressures called for them to demand more from their benefit programs,” Raczko notes.

Still, employee satisfaction with their benefits increased during the recession. “Employees have increasingly come to value their benefits, and we have seen benefits satisfaction rise over the past few years,” he says. For example, 42% of employees currently note they are highly satisfied with their benefits, compared with 37% a year ago.

Employee benefits are becoming more of a financial safety net for workers. The 2009 economic challenges resulted in 68% of employees feeling a heightened sense of job insecurity, a leveling off in the quality of their work, an uptick in their work assignments, and more distractions at work because of financial concerns.

Yet, nearly 37% of employees admit that because of the benefits they receive at work, they worry less about unexpected health and financial issues, the MetLife report notes. The number jumps to 66% for those workers who report they are very satisfied with their employers’ benefits.

The results from the MetLife trend study represents 1,503 interviews with benefits decision-makers at companies with staff sizes of at least two employees. It was conducted during the fourth quarter of 2009. The employee portion of the survey involved 1,305 interviews with full-time employees.

Job satisfaction tied to benefits

Meanwhile, the relationship between benefits satisfaction and job satisfaction is paramount. For example, group A believes that their employer does an effective job of communicating their benefits, while group B believes that their employer does not do an effective job in communicating their benefits.

“What surprised us in the report were the overwhelming differences in the opinions between the two groups on their benefits satisfaction, job satisfaction and loyalty to their employers,” Raczko says.

Of employees who are highly satisfied with their benefits, 81% said they were satisfied with their jobs, while among workers who are not satisfied with their benefits, only 23% said they were satisfied with their jobs.

The data also show that job satisfaction is linked to benefits coverage. In cases where employers reduced benefits or matching contributions or shifted costs, workers reported lower satisfaction levels, compared to employees at companies where benefits stayed intact.

Communication

Employers can earn an immediate return on their benefit investment with increased attention to benefits communication. “We have complied compelling evidence that benefits value is created through benefits communications,” Raczko says.

There is this schism, however, on how employees and employers perceive the power of benefits in driving employee loyalty. The good news for employers is that employees value benefits more than employers realize. Employers routinely underestimate just how compelling their own benefits programs are.

“Benefits communication creates greater benefits awareness and greater benefits understanding level, which creates higher job satisfaction and loyalty – all the reasons why employers offer benefits in the first place,” Raczko asserts.

In the survey report, MetLife analysts observe that “employers face new or reprioritized challenges to control benefits costs, increase productivity and keep a watchful eye on retention.”

The report continues: “Their efforts to address these challenges must live in the context of employees’ higher expectations for benefits, as well as evidence of the continuing importance of benefits as a contributor to both job satisfaction and loyalty.”

Some employers have failed to invest in benefits communication because they were preoccupied with other benefits issues during the recession. They were focused on evaluating plan designs, making decisions around defined benefit plans, looking at some challenges workers face with retirement and trying to get their hands around health care reform.

In 2008, 52% of employers reported that their company was loyal to its employees, while 40% of workers felt the same. This gap widened in 2009, with 57% of employers citing the company is loyal to its workers, while 39% employees said the same.

“The message that carriers need to re-emphasize to plan sponsors is that your employees want to get the most out their benefits plans,” observes Raczko.

Employees want to make smart decisions to protect themselves and their families. Through benefits, employers can enable workers to do these things at basically a low cost. “That is the return on your benefits investment,” he adds.

Among other notable conclusions from the study:

* Nearly two-thirds (65%) of employees who assess their medical health as fair or poor say they live paycheck-to-paycheck, compared to 43% of people in good or better health.

* Over half (54%) of employees report that the economic events of the past 12 months have made them realize that they need to more actively manage saving for retirement.

* Forty-two percent of employees are interested in their employer providing access to retirement planning seminars, yet only 35% of employers currently offer these.

* More than one-third (34%) of employees who assess their medical health as fair or poor anticipate that their financial situation will deteriorate in the next six months, compared to only 12% of people in good or better health.

Let’s Blog About It! The Future of Blogging in the Social Media Toolkit (Featured on HCI.org)

Featured on HCI.org / Written by Mark A. Leon – Recruiterpoet

From time to time I will be introducing guest bloggers from Hewitt Associates in order to get a fresh perspective on various topics. This week, I have the pleasure of introducing Mark Leon, currently a sourcing consultant at Hewitt Associates and a blogger in his own right. You can find out more about Mark here, http://www.google.com/profiles/markalex222.

“The influence of blogging is overall a very positive force in the media.” – Garrett M. Graff, editor-at-large, Washingtonian.com

In April 2010, Michael Stelzner, executive editor at Social Media Examiner put forward “2010 Social Media Marketing Industry Report.” According to his research, the top four social media tools are Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and blogs.

*Provided by Social Media Marketing Report 2010

The research shows that 67% of corporate respondents indicate an increased utilization of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Linkedin and blogs. Most companies (81%) indicate they will step-up funding and resources to focus on blogs.

Blogging is a form of social responsibility from the corporation to its readers. It is a means of communicating personalized company information and viewpoints, soliciting feedback and using the interactive exchange as a means to define products and services. The meaningful transfer of information and feedback is a public acknowledgement of the commitment a company has to its customers, vendors and talent community.
Unlike other means of social media, blogging connects personally to the reader by providing personality to content and articulates the creative forces that set companies apart. It also provides the personality that potential candidates seek when they are trying to align themselves with a strong cultural fit.

What is the formula for successful implementation?

Develop a defined marketing plan that defines content, format, audience, outreach plan and communication
Distinguish who will be the voice of the blog
Determine a blogging platform that will maximize the reach of the site and design the layout
Begin with strong, engrossing content that will stimulate discussion and bring awareness to the message. As the blog grows, keep content fresh and use feedback from readers to continually re-invent the blog

As an inexpensive means of connecting with your community blogging has the potential to connect and create long term communities in a corporate environment that is being reshaped to place more value on personal networks. Following are excerpts from interviews with three industry professionals who have incorporated blogging into their social media toolbox to drive positive ROI.

Amybeth Hale, Editor at ERE.net and blogger on ResearchGoddess.com
We had a chance to catch up with Amybeth Hale fresh off of her presentation at the Social Recruiting Summit in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Amybeth, launched her blog in 2006 (http://www.researchgoddess.com/) and through its evolution, Amybeth has been at the forefront of the blogging movement. Initially launched to remain in contact with research clients and drive content to her landing page, Research Goddess now provides content around social media, vendor/product support, sourcing research, campus relations and employment brand. The personal brand Research Goddess is also promoted through Facebook and Twitter.

Amybeth writes three blog posts per week on a consistent schedule. Until 2007, there were fewer than 100 subscribers. Today, ResearchGoddess.com boasts over 450 subscribers and approximately 150 to 200 hits per day from 41 different countries.

Though she doesn’t use the blog to promote career opportunities, she did indicate a few industry professionals whose blogs focus on career opportunities and career development. If done strategically, it is valuable for the talent acquisition community to make a place for blogs in their social media toolkit.

“Many recruiters are using every social media tool to vomit their jobs all over the place. They just throw it out there and see what sticks,” says Amybeth, in reference to an unfocused social media strategy.
When asked about the timeline for a new blogger to gain a reputation, the response was simple:

“Good content is a key factor. If you write well and add value to the community, people will pick you up through Google reference.”

Amybeth feels it takes about two years to grow a subscription base and maintain repeat visitors. She suggests focusing on organic growth versus digging deep in the wallet and purchasing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools.

Ben Gotkin, national recruiting director at McGladrey and founder of recruitDC
Ben Gotkin has had his social media strategy in place for two years at McGladrey. The blog was the first piece and cornerstone of their plan. A Linkedin Talent Community page, Twitter, Facebook and You Tube are the other four components actively in place.

The blog entitled Success Starts Here (http://mcgladreycareers.blogspot.com) focuses on recognition and achievement. The intent of the blog was to create an “online brochure” and a way to bring awareness to those in the industry. The blog approach is a way to “push back the layers to get an insider perspective on the company and a means of celebrating success.’”

As Ben explained, “a lot of companies have great stories to tell. They are doing a lot in the community and should be recognized.”

Through various SEO platforms and tools, the site has yielded 4,000 to 6,000 views per month. With the added value of Google reference, email campaigns, Twitter, Facebook and print media, Ben and his team have targeted the key members of the industry to share their message. Links to the blog will also be included in the new on-boarding process that is soon to be launched.

The target outreach is two to three blog posts per week from associates, interns and leadership. Though HR analytics/metrics play a critical role in effectively monitoring and adjusting the strategy, McGladrey also relies on new associate surveys to gather information on how social media assisted in their career transition into the organization.

Ben expressed that a successful blog initiative is based on strong content. Prior to launch, there were four-to-six well developed blogs to take them into this new media. It took four plus months to create a foundation and now candidates, associates and clients are educated on the true inner workings of McGladrey.

Mark A. Leon, talent acquisition specialist at Hewitt Associates
In late September, 2009, Mark Leon launched the Recruiterpoet blog (https://recruiterpoet.wordpress.com). The key topic areas are health management, defined benefit, defined contribution, change management, leadership, diversity/inclusion, personal brand strategy, social media, talent acquisition, M&A and rewards/recognition.

Through a grass roots marketing campaign via Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Google/Yahoo Groups, presentations and email campaigns, the site saw traffic for the first five months at approximately 550 hits per month to a current subscription base of 50 and traffic of 5000 hits per month. The personal brand Recruiterpoet has translated to Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook to maintain the brand awareness.

“The goal is to raise awareness of opportunities and technology/process enhancements, bring an internal and personal perspective to the table and help industry professionals help each other. Engaging in dialogue and providing key insight has helped create a community of readers that hopefully will continue to grow,” explained Mark.

What can blogs do for an organization?
Define Culture – A blog provides not only content put a personalized perspective on the internal workings of an organization and helps shape how associates view their relationship with the company.

Drive Traffic – Whether it is organic or SEO tools are used, the goal is to drive traffic to the blog. More importantly to drive traffic to the other corporate communication web outlets (corporate website, talent community groups, supplier pages, products and services).

Provide a feeling of ownership – A blog takes dedication and time to maintain strong and consistent content. By partnering with associates, interns, co-ops, leadership and clients, a blog gives others a chance to share their message and embrace the partnership they share with the company.

Supply analytics/metrics – With key tools to measure where traffic is coming from, who is referencing and unique versus repeat readers, forecasts can be made on how effective the tools is and what adjustments are necessary to continue to maximize exposure.

Create an extension of the blogger or company – Like any social media tool, the goal is to relay a message. Blogging can be short or long, detailed or personal, but at the end of the day, it is communicating a message from the blogger to the audience.

Blogging is difficult. It is time consuming. It must capture the audience with interesting commentary and it must communicate a message or valuable content. Though it does not come with ease or immediacy, it has the potential to have a long term affect on readers. Blogging has the capability to be the most successful social media tool to bring an outsider into the doors of the corporate world and send them on a tour as an insider.

http://www.hci.org/lib/let-s-blog-about-it-future-blogging-social-media-toolkit

Looking for work? Unemployed need not apply (What are your thoughts?)

Provided by CNNMoney.com
Written by: Chris Isidore, senior writer

The last thing someone who is unemployed needs to be told is that they shouldn’t even apply for the limited number of job openings that are available. But some companies and recruiters are doing just that.

Employment experts say they believe companies are increasingly interested only in applicants who already have a job.

“I think it is more prevalent than it used to be,” said Rich Thompson, vice president of learning and performance for Adecco Group North America, the world’s largest staffing firm. “I don’t have hard numbers, but three out of the last four conversations I’ve had about openings, this requirement was brought up.”

Some job postings include restrictions such as “unemployed candidates will not be considered” or “must be currently employed.” Those explicit limitations have occasionally been removed from listings when an employer or recruiter is questioned by the media though.

That’s what happened with numerous listings for grocery store managers throughout the Southeast posted by a South Carolina recruiter, Latro Consulting.

After CNNMoney called seeking comments on the listings last week, the restriction against unemployed candidates being considered came down. Latro Consulting refused to comment when contacted.

Sony Ericsson, a global phone manufacturer that was hiring for a new Georgia facility, also removed a similar restriction after local reporters wrote about it. According to reports, a Sony Ericsson spokesperson said that a mistake had been made.

But even if companies don’t spell out in a job listing that they won’t consider someone who currently doesn’t have a job, experts said that unemployed applicants are typically ruled out right off the bat.

“Most executive recruiters won’t look at a candidate unless they have a job, even if they don’t like to admit to it,” said Lisa Chenofsky Singer, a human resources consultant from Millburn, NJ, specializing in media and publishing jobs.

She said when she proposes candidates for openings, the first question she is often asked by a recruiter is if they currently have a job. If the answer is no, she’s typically told the unemployed candidate won’t be interviewed.

“They think you must have been laid off for performance issues,” she said, adding that this is a “myth” in a time of high unemployment.

It is not against the law for companies to exclude the unemployed when trying to fill positions, but Judy Conti, a lobbyist for the National Employment Law Project, said the practice is a bad one.

“Making that kind of automatic cut is senseless; you could be missing out on the best person of all,” she said. “There are millions of people who are unemployed through no fault of their own. If an employer feels that the best qualified are the ones already working, they have no appreciation of the crisis we’re in right now.”

Conti added that firms that hire unemployed job seekers could also benefit from a recently-passed tax break that essentially exempts them from paying the 6.2% of the new hire’s wages in Social Security taxes for the rest of this year.

Thompson said he also thinks ruling out the unemployed is a bad idea. But he said that part of the problem is that recruiters and human resource departments are being overwhelmed with applications for any job opening that is posted. So they’re looking for any short-cuts to get the list of applicants to consider down to a more manageable size.

“It’s a tough process to determine which unemployed applicants were laid off even though they brought value to their company and which ones had performance issues,” he said. “I understand the notion. But there’s the top x percent of unemployed candidates who are very viable and very valuable. You just have to do the work to find them.”

Full Article Link:

http://money.cnn.com/2010/06/16/news/economy/unemployed_need_not_apply/index.htm