Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I received some great email comments regarding the post on Behavioral Interviewing, and have decided to keep this ongoing by posting, every month, a different set of Behavioral Questions for you to practice. With the Holidays upcoming, you may want to leverage some of your downtime by thinking about these. Answering tough questions for the first time in the actual interview is unwise, so answer here first.
You can also run your answers by us and our readers by posting in the comments section.
The first step in Career Transition is Self Assessment. These Behavioral Questions target this specific area. Have at it!
- Can you recall a time when you were less than pleased with your performance?
- Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.
- Give a specific occasion in which you conformed to a policy with which you did not agree.
- Give an example of an important goal that you had set in the past and talk about your success in reaching it.
- If there is one area you've always wanted to improve upon, what would that be?
- In what ways are you trying to improve yourself?
- Tell us about a time when you had to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to get a job done.
- What do you consider to be your professional strengths? Give me a specific example using this attribute in the workplace.
- What goal have you set for yourself that you have successfully achieved?
- What was the most useful criticism you ever received?
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
"Validation" is a fable about the magic of free parking.
Starring TJ Thyne & Vicki Davis. Writer/Director/Composer - Kurt Kuenne. Winner - Best Narrative Short, Cleveland Int'l Film Festival, Winner - Jury Award, Gen Art Chicago Film Festival, Winner - Audience Award, Hawaii Int'l Film Festival, Winner - Best Short Comedy, Breckenridge Festival of Film, Winner - Crystal Heart Award, Best Short Film & Audience Award, Heartland Film Festival, Winner - Christopher & Dana Reeve Audience Award, Williamstown Film Festival, Winner - Best Comedy, Dam Short Film Festival, Winner - Best Short Film, Sedona Int'l Film Festival.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
I am so inspired by this project, and I hope you will be too.
If you'd like to help the Lemonade project, you can contribute here. Your donation will go to legal fees, distribution costs, and screening expenses. Again, nothing is expected. But every bit matters. Thank you.
About Lemonade, the Movie:
More than 130,000 advertising professionals have lost their jobs in this Great Recession. Lemonade is about what happens when people who were once paid to be creative in advertising are forced to be creative with their own lives.
DETROIT UPDATE: 11/13/09
News from Eric Proulx:
As Todd Gilleland of Cola Creative describes it, no one in Detroit leaves their homes anymore. No one socializes or attends Red Wings or Pistons games. It's an entire population trying to figure out how to survive.
As for distribution of the film, there's still no official news to report. But if you happen to be in Miami next week, there is a pre-screening at Books and Books next Tuesday, November 17. You can register at www.adfedmiami.com.
If you are in Boston/Cambridge area, please support the movie's Premiere.
Monday, 11/30 7:00 PM, premiere for movie Lemonade at the Brattle Theater Cambridge, MA
In addition to the movie, creator Eric Proulx is writing a book as well. Here is his call for submissions:
"Lemonade, the book will assemble a collection of essays from people telling stories of reinvention in their own words. Only this time, I don't want to limit it to the advertising industry. Imagine all the inspirational personal triumphs that arose after the auto industry crash. Think of all the school teachers, engineers, and finance professionals who have found their life's work thanks to being downsized. Those of us in advertising provide just one, very sheltered viewpoint of what's possible in unemployment.
If you lost your job but found your calling, Eric wants to hear from you:
"You can submit a simple abstract of your experience, or an entire 1k - 3k word essay. (I want this to be more about the quality of your story and less about the quality of the writing. If your story is inspiring enough, we'll get it written.)
Here are the general guidelines for your submission:
- It can be a 1-paragraph abstract, 3000-word essay, or anything in between. But is has to communicate your inspirational post-layoff story.
- The submission must be an original, unpublished work.
- There's no submission fee or cash prize. This is simply a forum to tell your story and inspire others who need to hear it.
- All entries become the property of Please Feed The Animals and Fighting Monk, Inc (the legal entity for my business).
- I want to be ambitious about getting this completed. So all submissions must be received by November 30.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
ALERT JOB SEARCHERS: Research just got a whole lot easier for free!
I've told you never to approach a company without a firm understanding of why you're approaching them, based upon extensive research you conduct on your target companies.
Toward that aim, we've used a variety of free and proprietary databases, but the best ones are very expensive. Not anymore.
Tracked.com launched today, and I am impressed. In the past, I was a buyer of information services, and I have reviewed hundreds of companies who offer less than this at premium prices.
From company breaking news, extensive bios, and customized watchlists, Tracked goes one step further than "old school" databases, and makes it social; profiles, 140 character messages, connections, groups and more.
Go get an account - understand they are in Beta, and will be improving and adding features as they go forward, and at times the server may slow a bit, but jump in now. Visit the "Tour" link for great walk-throughs, and their youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/RakedInsights is chock-full of good demos.
Next, Connect to me @ http://www.tracked.com/user/OPCGal to start your connection list.
Then research your target list! Using Tracked.com in combination with other search tools will absolutely prove valuable to you in your job search and interviews.
A note to users regarding record accuracy: ALL research databases are only as good as the information that is confirmed by principals in the company, and data is generally updated on a rotating basis. Ideally, data should not be modified based upon anything other than a company authorized principal confirming the modification. All databases - Hoovers, OneSource, D&B, etc. will have inaccuracies even in their premium pay subscriptions - it's the nature of the beast as people move on to new roles & companies and it may take a bit for the updates to be confirmed, so double-check, and expect occasional discrepancies.
from Miles Lennon of Tracked.com: "We spend many cycles on creating new ways to curate data both algorithmically and manually. Although we're striving for near-perfect accuracy, we understand that sometimes incorrectly reported data will hit the site. That is the nature of the beast, but it's one of the many reasons this project is so intellectually stimulating."
And, folks, this company just launched and I heard from the support team immediately! Within ten minutes of my inquiry, I had a response. Outstanding!
I'm a fan! Can you tell?
Friday, October 9, 2009
As seen on Twitter: "RT @mozami OH: Sure, President Obamas got a Nobel. But did he get a Google Wave invite?"
I've been experimenting with Google Wave for about 3 hours now. I like it, but then I like waves. Sine, sound, standing, and now Google.
To start with the basics, the default view has two main panes, with a simple menu on the far left of the two panes. For my screen-shot below, I'm only showing the two main panes.
When creating a wave, you either invite only specific Google wave users to join, or you make it public.
- To make a wave private for only a select group of users, create a wave and select only specific people from your contact list.
- To make a wave public, you add firstname.lastname@example.org to your contacts, and then add that contact to the wave.
By viewing with:public, all waves appear.
Once I open a specific wave, it will appear on the right-hand side of my view, next to my main in-box pane. I can re-size these panes to suit my view.
If I leave a wave and return later, I can then see the number of new responses indicated by a green icon, and when I open the wave, I hit the SHIFT key on my keyboard to forward to any new messages I haven't read.
I can join in, read, drag other waves into a wave, and a wealth of other actions I'll cover in another post.
To focus in on a specific interest, subject, or group, I narrow my search terms. In my last example, I used search term with:public Charleston, SC.
In this way I found local folks, and a wealth of helpful advice. Thank you Calvin Webster!
Tomorrow, I'm going to experiment with adding Blogger and Twitter Robots, and next week I'll be real-time collaborating on a paper via Google Wave with a very talented CTO (more on that later).
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Well, I received my Googlewave invite about an hour ago, stumbled around for 15 minutes, and then broke down and read some of the massive help material.
I gotta' tell ya', so far I like it. I conducted a quick search and found a group of 61 users in my local city, added them to my contacts, and had a great chat with Calvin D. Webster II of http://thinksea.info/blog/. Calvin is also coordinating Charleston's first BarCamp. http://www.barcampchs.org/ Cool guy.
I'll post screenshots tomorrow with some quick navigation tips. I will say for the record, it's easier to navigate and use than I first thought it would be.
Nice job Google. Now let's see what we can do with it. email@example.com
Friday, October 2, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Related to the below data, if you are in transition, you have to think like an independent contractor.
The way you secure work today is by establishing yourself as an expert and developing opportunities to solve problems in your area of expertise with other folks in the same situation. Crowdsolve. That is the bottom-line.
Make sure you understand Social Media tools as well; build your brand via your Google Profile, a blog, Twitter, LinkedIn and tools like VisualCV.
If you say none of these things are for you or don't relate to you, you will struggle in the current highly competitive climate.
MASS LAYOFFS -- AUGUST 2009
Employers took 2,690 mass layoff actions in August that resulted in the separation of 259,307 workers, seasonally adjusted, as measured by new filings for unemployment insurance benefits during the month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Each action involved at least 50 persons from a single employer. The number of mass layoff events in August increased by 533 from the prior month, and the number of associated initial claims increased by 52,516. Over the year, the number of mass layoff events increased by 803, and associated initial claims increased by 70,356. Year-to-date mass layoff events (21,184) and initial claims (2,162,202) both recorded program highs through August. In August, 900 mass layoff events were reported in the manufacturing sector, seasonally adjusted, resulting in 93,892 initial claims. Over the month, the number of manufacturing events increased by 279, and associated initial claims increased by 21,626. (See table 1.)
During the 21 months from December 2007 through August 2009, the total number of mass layoff events (seasonally adjusted) was 44,669, and the number of initial claims filed (seasonally adjusted) in those events was 4,556,636. (December 2007 was the start of a recession as designated by the National Bureau of Economic Research.)
The national unemployment rate was 9.7 percent in August 2009, seasonally adjusted, up from 9.4 per-cent the prior month and up from 6.2 percent a year earlier. In August, total nonfarm payroll employment decreased by 216,000 over the month and by 5,830,000 from a year earlier.
Industry Distribution (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
The number of mass layoff events in August was 1,428 on a not seasonally adjusted basis; the number of associated initial claims was 125,024. (See table 2.) Average weekly layoff events rose from 285 in August 2008 to 357 in August 2009, and average weekly initial claims increased from 28,000 to 31,256. Seven of the 19 major industry sectors reported program highs in terms of average weekly initial claimants for the month of August: construction; wholesale trade; retail trade; management of companies and enterprises; educational services; arts, entertainment, and recreation; and accommodation and food services. (Average weekly analysis mitigates the effect of differing lengths of months. See the Technical Note.)
The manufacturing sector accounted for 31 percent of all mass layoff events and 33 percent of initial claims filed in August 2009. A year earlier, manufacturing made up 29 percent of events and 37 percent of initial claims. Within manufacturing, transportation equipment comprised the largest number of aver-age weekly claims (2,269) despite experiencing the largest decrease in average weekly initial claims over the year (-1,688) among three-digit NAICS industries. (See table 3.) The administrative and waste services sector accounted for 14 percent of mass layoff events and 12 percent of initial claims, down from 15 and 14 percent, respectively, the previous August. Construction accounted for 11 percent of events and 10 percent of initial claims, an increase from 10 percent of events and 7 percent of claims in August 2008.
Of the 10 detailed industries with the largest number of mass layoff initial claims, 3 reached a series high for August: motorcycle, bicycle, and parts manufacturing; warehouse clubs and supercenters; and casino hotels. The industry with the largest number of initial claims was temporary help services (6,721). (See table A.)
Table A. Industries with the largest number of mass layoff initial claims in August 2009
Geographic Distribution (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
Among the 4 census regions, the West registered the highest number of initial claims in August due to mass layoffs (36,897), followed by the Midwest (32,197) and the South (29,486). (See table 5.) Average weekly initial claims associated with mass layoffs increased over the year in 3 of the 4 regions, with the Northeast experiencing the largest increase (+2,064). In 2009, the Northeast reported its highest August level of average weekly initial claims (6,611) in program history.
Of the 9 geographic divisions, the Pacific (30,781) had the highest number of initial claims due to mass layoffs in August, followed by the East North Central (25,962) and the Middle Atlantic (23,491). (See table 5.) Seven of the 9 divisions experienced over-the-year increases in average weekly initial claims, led by the Middle Atlantic (+1,786). This year, the Middle Atlantic, Mountain, and South Atlantic divisions reached program highs for August in terms of average weekly initial claims.
California recorded the highest number of average weekly initial claims in August, with 6,521, even though it had the largest over-the-year decrease in average weekly claims (-704). The over-the-year decrease was largely due to a drop in claims from the administrative and support services industry. The states with the next highest number of average weekly initial claims were New York (2,851), Pennsylvania (2,481), and Florida (1,949). Thirty states and the District of Columbia experienced over-the-year increases in average weekly initial claims, led by Pennsylvania, New York, and Illinois. In 2009, eight states reached program highs in average weekly initial claims for the month of August: Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin.
The monthly data series in this release cover mass layoffs of 50 or more workers beginning in a given month, regardless of the duration of the layoffs. For private nonfarm establishments, information on the length of the layoff is obtained later and issued in a quarterly release that reports on mass layoffs lasting more than 30 days (referred to as "extended mass layoffs"). The quarterly release provides more inform-at ion on the industry classification and location of the establishment and on the demographics of the laid-off workers. Because monthly figures include short-term layoffs of 30 days or less, the sum of the figures for the 3 months in a quarter will be higher than the quarterly figure for mass layoffs of more than 30 days. (See table 4.) See the Technical Note for more detailed definitions.
Mass Layoffs in September 2009 is scheduled to be released on Thursday, October 22, 2009, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).
Metropolitan area over-the-year unemployment rate increases, August 2009
For the eighth consecutive month, all of the nation's 372 metropolitan areas had over-the-year unemployment rate increases. The largest jobless rate increase from August 2008 to August 2009 was reported in Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Michigan (+7.9 percentage points), followed by Muskegon-Norton Shores, Michigan (+7.0 points).
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
My friend and a co-collaborator Steve Jandrell of CandidAdvisors (I consult to CandidAdvisors) has introduced me to Belbin Team Roles. Steve is certified in administering the Belbin, and we used it so we might collaborate more effectively.
Well, I loved it and encourage you to consider a Belbin workshop for your team. While I am promoting this for a partner, I have been through it as well, and have seen how utilizing the knowledge gained about self-perception can impact a team's achievement.
The Belbin was developed by Dr. Meredith Belbin and his team who conducted research at Henley Management College in the UK over a period of nine years and studied the behavior of managers from all over the world. Their book, Management Teams - Why They Succeed or Fail was cited by the Financial Times as one of the top fifty business books of all time.
Steve has developed a workshop around the Belbin, and you can read more at CandidAdvisors
Friday, August 28, 2009
Is a typo on a paper-based resume worse than a typo on the web?
I'm active on LinkedIn. I like it. Occasionally, while reading someone’s profile, I'll notice a typo. Common ones I see are “employement” and “developement.” I generally drop a quick note to the profile owner and mention it. I usually receive a nice thank you in return.
I think I'm more forgiving when I see these web-based profile typos than when I see the typo committed to paper.
Yesterday however, I was reading a web-based news story from a major news outlet and shuddered when I read the word "suspisions" in the body of the story.
While I understand the web-typo - we move fast, type directly into a CMS, read something so many times it looks correct - there are certain instances where I feel it's unacceptable, and that's for the job seeker (and for the major news outlet, but that's another blog post).
As I've said before, during a job search, every piece of information you put out for public view is the first example of your work product.
For me, a typo shows a lack of thoroughness, and I'm not alone in that point of view.
It only takes a moment to type your information into Word or some other application that allows spell-checking and review. Dictionaries, both web-based and old-school, are readily available. I personally use Firefox as my browser, and have selected Check Spelling as I type (under “Options,” I love this feature).
So I was wondering: What are other people’s tolerances for the dreaded typo? I created a poll on LinkedIn to find out, and frankly, I was surprised at how forgiving certain demographics of responders are. Tips to avoid typos are at the end:
The Poll: 63 Responders
By OCCUPATION: HR folks were more forgiving than I would have assumed, but just barely. The most forgiving group were Operations folks, the most unforgiving Product:
By COMPANY SIZE: Small and Enterprise-level companies were the most flexible, Medium-size the least:
BY JOB TITLE: If you're interviewing with the Owner or C-Suite level of a company, you are more likely to be forgiven than if you are speaking to Management. The C-Suite is also more likely to let you know you have an error:
By GENDER: There ya' go. Pretty straightforward with men being a little bit more flexible (but not much):
Last, the OVERALL: DON'T have a typo; you may still receive contact; about a 25% chance you may be notified, and people do appreciate being told they have a typo, but if such a small percentage is telling, how do you know?
That's the point, don't wait to be told.
How to Avoid the dreaded typo whether you are job searching or not:
- Start your document, blog post, VisualCV, Google profile etc. in Word or a like application. Check your Document Review settings - make sure you do not have options set to ignore words in Caps or other terms. Spell- and Grammar-check.
- Do not automatically accept word processor suggestions: Somewhere, out there today, is a major proposal that has the word "seamy" where "seamlessly" should have been. Really changed the meaning of the paragraph.
- Copy your text into Notepad to strip underlying formatting & HTML that may create issues if you are pasting into a CMS.
- Copy and paste using a Browser that has a spell-check option.
- Used web-based resources if you are in doubt of spelling or meaning of a word. http://www.wordcentral.com/ from Miriam-Webster is a good, free tool. There are many others.
- Have an objective party review whenever possible, or set the work aside for at least a couple of hours so you may review it with "fresh" eyes.
Did you find a typo in this post? Let me know, would ya'? OPCGal on Twitter
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Video courtesy of http://www.businessinsider.com
Henry Blodget CEO & Editor-in-Chief of The Business Insider, in a short interview with Kevin P. Ryan, one of Silicon Alley's most well known Internet entrepreneurs. Mr. Ryan has started six New York-based businesses - Silicon Alley Insider, Gilt Groupe, Music Nation, Panther Express, ShopWiki and 10gen in the past two years. He presently serves as chairman and CEO of AlleyCorp.
Prior to AlleyCorp, he was first president then later became CEO of DoubleClick. There, he was instrumental in building the company from a 20-person startup to a global leader with over 1500 employees. Silicon Alley Reporter voted DoubleClick "New York Company of the Year" and Kevin was named one of the "50 Most Influential Business People" by Crain's New York Business.
A great Outplacement and Career Transition partner can certainly help any CEO in this situation as well.
Helping employees transition with dignity is a huge part of preserving your company's brand in down times, especially if you wish to re-engage transitioned talent at some point in the future.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Situation 1: I was standing in a check-out line at the grocery. The person behind me had a six-pack of a carbonated adult beverage. One can from the six-pack chose to make its escape, experienced a little thing called gravity, hit the ground, burst open and sprayed the back of my legs (and a lovely new pair of sandals I might add). The cashier called for a mop. The holder of the now five-pack issued an expletive. No one said "Oh excuse me" or "pardon me" or "sorry about your legs now smelling like a brew-house."
Situation 2: 45 minute commuter flight from Charleston to Atlanta. My head was smacked twice by luggage - once going in the overhead, once coming out. I do not have an overly large head. I am 5'1" inches tall. I am not an easy target. I also understand that these things happen, but would an "excuse me" kill you?
Situation 3: Same flight. De-plane time. Man three rows behind me grabs luggage and lunges in front of other folks who are attempting to exit in a polite, row-by-row manner. The plane is not late, we are 3 minutes early. He crushes the foot of a gentleman attempting to stand and exit. He does not slow down or acknowledge his victim. I look at crushed-foot man sympathetically.
Situation 4: Line in airport restroom. 70-something woman in front of me mowed down by 30-something woman exiting stall with cell-phone glued to ear who does not slow down, but rather glares at 70-something woman for having the audacity to occupy space. I apologize loudly on behalf of all persons who are offended by rude behavior. Cell-phone woman rolls her eyes and click-clacks away.
From the people who dead-stop to chat at the bottom of the escalator to those whose entire private lives are broadcast via their overly loud public cell-phone conversations I say STOP!
Simple civility is called for. Are we so preoccupied with our own self-importance that we have forgotten we occupy this Earth with other humans? Have we become so used to inferior service in the marketplace that we undervalue our own service interactions with others?
Let me tell you this: I was once cut off in traffic by someone who then glared at me and saluted in the traditional one-finger manner. Twenty minutes later she walked into my office for an interview. She did not get the job.
Do me a favor please? Practice civility each day. Hold a door, step out of the way, lower your voice, be aware of your surroundings and respect other people's space. Say "excuse me" "thank you" "please".
And stop hitting my head with your luggage. Please?
Thursday, July 23, 2009
While in Atlanta on business this week, I mused with Bill Frech and Steve Jandrell of CandidAdvisors (candidadvisors.com - disclosure - I am also a member of their consulting team), that I had seen a repetitive bit of SPAM on Twitter announcing "Make $180 a day the easy way! I can show you how!" and how tired and frustrated I was that these leeches continue to prey on the recently downsized.
The too sad truth is that many recently downsized, severanced, gotta' roll my 401k over transitioned employees in this very tight job market are perfect targets for thieves, scammers and the pitiful, dishonest, manipulative bottom-feeders of the Web/Franchise/Affiliate/Whatever Marketing world.
Am I being harsh on these Marketers? Yes, yes I am, and I make no apologies.
I have run two businesses folks, and it's a wonderful thing to create a vision, a quality standard, a deliverable, and a customer base that trusts you. It takes work, focus, and a whole bunch of other stuff, but what it does not take is giving a stranger $x dollars to show you how they made millions with some passive Twitter/Facebook/Pyramid party.
The likelihood of your retiring on your yacht as a result of your $x dollar investment is equal to that emailing Dr/Barrister/Representative from Nairobi/Nigeria/Wherever who wants to send you $4.6 million from a long lost relative if only you'll pay the handling fees out of the initial (bad) check they send you. It ain't gonna' happen.
Please understand as well, that many of these folks who look so nice, have such nice bios, have pictures of their kids as their Twitter Avatars are robots - automated feeds owned by one person with many, many "spoof" accounts made up to fit your fantasy - your demographic profile - of what a trusted person looks and sounds like.
If I can tell you one thing, it is Please invest your time in your job search in investing in YOURSELF.
At the end of this month at his annual appreciation dinner, my pal Paul Zaio is having a speaker from the FBI present a talk on security and scams. Here's a bit from the FBI's website on this subject - specifically for Job-Seekers:
Here are a few of the most common work-at-home scams.
- Advance-fee: Starting a home-based business is easy! Just invest a few hundred dollars in inventory, set-up, and training materials, they say. Of course, if and when the materials do come, they are totally worthless…and you’re stuck with the bill.
- Counterfeit check-facilitated "mystery shopper:" You’re sent a hefty check and asked to deposit it into your bank account, then withdraw funds to shop and check out the service of local stores and wire transfer companies. You keep a small amount of the money for your “work,” but then, as instructed, mail or wire the rest to your “employer.” Sound good? One problem: the initial check was phony, and by the time your bank notifies you, your money is long gone and you’re on the hook for the counterfeit check.
- Pyramid schemes: You’re hired as a “distributor” and shell out big bucks for promotional materials and product inventories with little value (like get-rich quick pamphlets). You’re promised money for recruiting more distributors, so you talk friends and family into participating. The scheme grows exponentially but then falls apart—the only ones who make a profit are the criminals who started it.
- Unknowing involvement in criminal activity: Criminals—often located overseas—sometimes use unwitting victims to advance their operations, steal and launder money, and maintain anonymity. For example, they may “hire" you as a U.S.-based agent to receive and re-ship checks, merchandise, and solicitations to other potential victims…without you realizing it’s all a ruse that leaves no trail back to the crooks.
What can you do to avoid being scammed? We recommend you practice safe surfing by taking the following steps:
- THINK TWICE about telling all on your online résumé. Do you really need to provide detailed personal information? Consider posting your résumé more anonymously…with an e-mail address as your primary contact point.
- NEVER provide a potential employer with your bank account or credit card information, a scan of your driver’s license or other ID, or a detailed physical description of yourself. That’s just asking for trouble.
- NEVER pay upfront for any job opportunity (they’re supposed to be paying you!) and never forward, transfer, or wire money to a prospective employer.
- BE WARY of job listings with misspellings, grammatical mistakes, and terms such as “money transfers,” “wiring funds,” “package-forwarding,” and “import/export specialist.” Those are big clues that something is amiss.
Illinois Secretary of State - Get Rich Quick Employment Scams
FBI: Cybertheft Division
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Recently, my friend Paul Zaio and I were discussing the financial impact of job loss and career transition, and I asked Paul what the number one piece of advice he would giveto a professional in transition. Well, Paul has ten points of advice that we'll cover in this two-part series, and I hope Paul will contribute more often.
A little about Paul: Paul J. Zaio, CFS is a 17-year professional in the financial industry. He specializes in working with those who want to protect their principal and ensure that their money lasts a lifetime. He resides in Mount Pleasant, S.C., is a member of the LPL Directors Club, and teaches financial education at universities and corporations, and is a genuinely nice guy.
10 Financial Questions & Answers for Job Changers - Part 1 - One through Six
Getting you started on the next chapter of your life.
What’s the purpose of this blog posting?
Changing careers is a decision that deserves almost as much attention as starting a family, buying a home or retirement. Career changes can have a profound effect on both your finances and your lifestyle. That’s why it’s so important to approach a job change with three things: knowledge, goals, and a plan.
• Knowledge. In an era of forms and paperwork, changing jobs has become increasingly complex. There are many available options in regards to compensation and benefits, but many pitfalls as well. Knowledge of these is crucial to ensure getting the most out of both your job and future retirement.
• Goals. Changing jobs is not just about a new place of employment. It’s about living comfortably and well, about fulfilling your dreams and building a legacy. The successful job hunter sets goals that are designed to fulfill these objectives.
• Plan. Application of knowledge and reaching goals means having a plan. This report is designed to be the first step in creating that plan.
Below are ten of the most common and important questions you can ask regarding a job change – specifically in regards to how it will affect your retirement savings.
The accompanying questions are designed to be quick, helpful references to you as you begin readying yourself for new employment.
What do I do with it?
Some will use this as a handy reference from which they can always draw. Still others may use this as a kind of jumping off point – once knowing the kinds of questions to ask, they can then begin researching the answers with greater attention and thoroughness.
Finally, many people find that subjects such as 401(k)’s and IRA rollovers are easiest to manage with the help of an expert financial professional, someone who can advise them on everything from the proper investments to retirement planning to managing their existing assets. The choices are limited only by your own imagination.
A quick glossary of terms:
IRA – An Individual Retirement Account is a retirement plan that provides tax advantages for retirement savings. There are several different types, that may be either employer or self-provided.
401(k) – A retirement plan in which an employee chooses to have a portion of his wages deferred directly into a 401(k) account. The money in this account is usually tax-deferred, and most employers will provide a number of investment options that provide an opportunity for the employee to augment his savings.
Roll-over – A tax-free reinvestment or transfer from one retirement plan to another. For example, to transfer assets from a 401(k) to an IRA. Many employees, upon changing jobs, transfer the money from their previous employer’s retirement account to one provided by their new employer.
10 Questions & Answers for Job Changers - Part 1 Questions One through Six
1) What financial preparations should I make before changing my job or if I feel a layoff is imminent?
1. Stay up-to-date. Even if you aren’t actively seeking new employment, it pays to stay on top of your resume and talents. It’s the best way to both seize a sudden opportunity, and ensure your ability to bounce back swiftly should you suddenly need new employment.
2. Review vesting schedules. Double-check your retirement plans at your current job. Are you vested? If not, how much longer before you are? How much will the benefit be? This ensures that you leave your job at the right time – in other words, not a few months before you become fully vested. Knowing the right time to change jobs can guard you from the perils of a hasty decision – and potentially save you thousands of dollars.
3. Build a rainy-day account. Having cash set aside to help through your transition (no matter how smooth that transition may be) is a good idea, since you may go for sometime without a paycheck. In addition, that extra margin of safety can be a lifeline should your job be unexpectedly downsized. The last thing you want to do is find yourself unprepared and have to rely on high-interest credit cards to keep you afloat.
4. Educate yourself on finances. This report is a good first step, but one of the best things a job-changer (or pre-retiree) can do is continually educate themselves on finances. For example, research the best options for your IRA. Many people make the mistake of cashing out of their retirement plan when they leave their job. This creates a significant tax burden, and really sets your retirement savings back. It’s also unnecessary. When you move your money to an IRA, you control when and how much you take out because you now have direct ownership. It will also allow you to continue delaying taxes. Learning simple (but essential) facts like these are the best investments.
2) What about early retirement? How do I know if that’s an option?
The advantages of an early retirement are obvious. However, the financial challenges are significant, and should be carefully considered when pondering early retirement. The earlier you retire means the longer you must live off an income that does not come from a steady paycheck. Social Security is helpful but often not enough to provide the desired lifestyle. Early retirement means increased reliance on pensions and retirement savings. Thus, the only way to know if early retirement is right for you is to take a long, hard look at the numbers. Is your portfolio large enough to provide for 15, 20, 30 years of unemployment?
A person’s needs will vary, but do you know what your needs are? How much will your dreams cost? To find out, your best bet is to run a retirement budget alongside a tax-and-income projection with the help of a financial professional.
3) When can I start withdrawing money from my IRA?
The normal age at which you can begin distributions is 59 ½.
4) How do I handle a severance packages?
First you must decide how to receive your severance package, should you be offered a choice. If you would like to immediately invest your money, taking a lump sum is advisable. However, because severance pay is usually taxable, spreading out your package into multiple payouts make taxation easier to handle.
Balancing immediate needs versus your overall goals is also important. Paying bills or eliminating debt may be a necessity when receiving your severance, however it’s never a good idea to spend the entire amount. Allocate the minimum you need into your checking account, and the rest into conservative investments that will give you a higher return than a simple checking account. This balance will help you both use and grow your money should you seek a different job.
5) What are my options for the money that is in my 401(k) or other pension?
Usually there are four broad choices, each with different advantages and disadvantages:
- A. Leave it invested in what the company offers
- B. Annuitize and receive an income for life
- C. Withdraw the account balance, potentially pay a 10%penalty on top of taxes, and then invest the funds
- D. Roll over to an IRA or other pension fund, paying no penalty, and continue to defer the income tax.
An IRA offers the possibility of higher returns and increasing income potential. The account can be rolled over tax-deferred to a surviving spouse with the remaining balance distributed to beneficiaries at the death of the spouse.
End of Part 1. Part 2 Monday June 21st. Have a question for Paul? Leave a comment and he'll respond and as always, our thanks.
To learn more or contact Paul Zaio:
Paul Zaio, CFS, RIS
LPL Registered Principal / LPL Branch Manager
Securities offered through LPL Financial
A Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC
1156 Bowman Road, Ste 200—Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
Toll free: 888-277-0095
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Friday, May 15, 2009
Recently-introduced legislation would require employers to provide Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification (WARN) Act notices to employees in the event of mass layoffs that occur at more than one worksite, and would double the penalties for violations.
The Alert Laid off Employees in Reasonable Time (ALERT) Act (H.R. 2077), introduced by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill) and co-sponsored by four others, expands the current WARN requirement that employers provide 60 days’ notice of an impending mass layoff affecting either 500 employees or 33 percent of the workforce impacting at least 50 employees at one particular worksite.
The ALERT Act would amend the definition of “mass layoff” to cover an employment loss of this size not just at a single site, but for a single employer at more than one worksite. The bill also increases penalties for employers that order a plant closing or mass layoff in violation of the WARN Act by providing for double back pay for each day of violation.
Specifically, the ALERT Act would amend the WARN Act by including as a definition of “mass layoff” a reduction in force which:
(C) results in an employment loss for a single employer at more than 1 site of employment during any 30-day period for--
(i)(I) at least 33 percent of the employees of the employer (excluding any part-time employees); and
(II) at least 50 employees (excluding any part-time employees); or
(ii) at least 500 employees (excluding any part-time employees).
Additionally, the new bill would require employers to award employees double the amount of back pay as a penalty for violating the provisions of the WARN Act.
Alert Laid off Employees in Reasonable Time Act 4/23/2009--Introduced.
To amend the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act to require notifications under that Act for mass layoffs that occur at more than one site of an employer and to increase penalties for violation of the Act.
H.R. 2077: 111th Congress
This is a bill in the U.S. Congress originating in the House of Representatives ("H.R."). A bill must be passed by both the House and Senate and then be signed by the President before it becomes law.
Bill numbers restart from 1 every two years. Each two-year cycle is called a session of Congress. This bill was created in the 111th Congress, in 2009-2010.
The titles of bills are written by the bill's sponsor and are a part of the legislation itself.
Alert Laid Off Employees in Reasonable Time Act - Amends the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN ACT) to require an employer to give 60-day written notice to employees and to appropriate state and local government officials before ordering a mass layoff that results in an employment loss for a single employer at more than one site of employment during a 30-day period for: (1) at least 33% of the employees (excluding part-time employees); and (2) at least 50 or 500 employees (excluding part-time employees).
Makes an employer who violates such notice requirements liable to each aggrieved employee for double the back pay (under current law, only the back pay) for each day of the violation for up to 60 days.
The bill has been referred to the House Education and Labor Committee
Alert Laid off Employees in Reasonable Time Act (Introduced in House)
HR 2077 IH
H. R. 2077
To amend the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act to require notifications under that Act for mass layoffs that occur at more than one site of an employer and to increase penalties for violation of the Act.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
April 23, 2009
Mr. GUTIERREZ (for himself, Mrs. NAPOLITANO, Mr. LIPINSKI, Mr. GRIJALVA, and Mr. ROTHMAN of New Jersey) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Education and Labor
To amend the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act to require notifications under that Act for mass layoffs that occur at more than one site of an employer and to increase penalties for violation of the Act.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
This Act may be cited as the `Alert Laid off Employees in Reasonable Time Act'.
SEC. 2. MASS LAYOFFS OF A SINGLE EMPLOYER AT MULTIPLE SITES.
- (a) In General- Section 2(a)(3) of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (29 U.S.C. 2101(a)(3)) is amended--
(1) in subparagraph (B)(ii) by inserting `or' after the semicolon; and
(2) by adding at the end the following:
`(C) results in an employment loss for a single employer at more than 1 site of employment during any 30-day period for--
`(i)(I) at least 33 percent of the employees of the employer (excluding any part-time employees); and
`(II) at least 50 employees (excluding any part-time employees); or
`(ii) at least 500 employees (excluding any part-time employees);'.
(b) Conforming Amendment- Section 3(a)(2) of such Act (29 U.S.C. 2102(a)(2)) is amended by striking `to the State' and inserting `in the case of a plant closing or mass layoff described in section 2(a)(3)(B), to the State'.
SEC. 3. INCREASED PENALTIES.
- Section 5(a)(1)(A) of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (29 U.S.C. 2104(a)(1)(A)) is amended by striking `back pay' and inserting `two times the amount of back pay'.
Rep. Luis Gutiérrez [D-IL]
Cosponsors [as of 2009-05-07]
Rep. Grace Napolitano [D-CA]
Rep. Jim Costa [D-CA]
Rep. Raul Grijalva [D-AZ]
Rep. Daniel Lipinski [D-IL]
Rep. Rosa DeLauro [D-CT]
Rep. Steven Rothman [D-NJ]
Rep. Janice Schakowsky [D-IL]
Rep. Marcy Kaptur [D-OH]
Rep. Betty Sutton [D-OH]
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Recently, in working with corporate-sponsored outplacement candidates to prep them for various interviews, we focused on the subject of Behavioral Interviewing, its importance, and how to prepare.
Behavioral interviewing is a style of interviewing that was developed in the 1970's by industrial psychologists. Behavioral interviewing asserts that "the most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance in a similar situation." Currently, most organizations are using behavioral interviewing to some degree.
Unlike traditional interviews, which include such questions as:
Tell me about yourself.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Why are you interested in working for us?
Behavioral Interviewing poses questions like these:
Tell me about a time you disappointed a client or your supervisor.
Tell me about a situation you really exceeded expectations.
Tell me about a work environment that you didn’t enjoy.
Behavioral interviewing emphasizes past performance and behaviors. As a consequence, candidates unprepared for behavioral interviewing will not fare well; simply practicing the list of common interview questions no longer works.
To start in the reverse and address Preparation is appropriate here. We put our clients through a good deal of brain work; from the very first conversation, we use a variety of methods suitable to the individual candidate to pull information from them regarding how they did their jobs in their unique fashion, always working to establish articulate, quantifiable contribution in every instance.
I contacted an expert or two, and together we present the following, with 7 specific areas to practice at the end:Many interviewers typically start with a behavioral question, like “Tell me about a time you had conflicting priorities. How did you handle that situation?” If a candidate says they never have them, that’s a red flag. Even someone who is perfectly organized will have personal conflicts that come up during their time at work.
Once a candidate tells the interviewer the situation and explains how they handled it, there will be a follow up question or two, such as:
“Were all the people involved completely happy with how you ended up prioritizing your work?”
“If you could do it again, would you prioritize those items the same way?”
How do you answer the question "Give me an example of a time you've failed?"
This is always a tough question for interviewees. The first time you reflect on this, on anything, should not be in the high-stress environment of an interview. Think about this and all possible questions beforehand, write down your answers, but don't get too rigid to adhering to your script. For this question specifically, remember you don't have to immediately relate the last most devastating failure in your life - don't aggravate a fresh wound. Rather, go to an instance you've had time to reflect upon.
One expert we consulted advises:"First, if you tell me you've never failed, I know that's not true. Sometimes you have to fail, so tell the story of what you learned. Tell the recruiter what you would have done differently in order to avoid that situation in the future. Be honest, and know that some employers want people who take risks. Those people do fail from time to time, and often learn the most highly valued skills and lessons.
What are the examples of behavioral based sales questions?
While your resume may list that you achieved your former employer's "President's Club" six times, you do have to explain the "how" of it.
Here are examples of questions we gathered for Sales Interviews, and in preparation for a Sales interview, be ready for drill down, follow-up questions like:
The Recruiter may ask “Tell me about a time you really exceeded your client’s expectations and closed a great deal”
The follow up questions will likely be:
How long did it take you to close this deal?
How long is your average sales cycle?
Another hot button topic most sales people avoid: “Do you get your sales reports done on time?” Recruiters know it’s an area that most sales people procrastinate, so they ask!
Can you be Over Prepared?
We encourage our candidates to remember that an interview is a conversation between two professionals about a common interest, subject, and passion. I recently had a candidate get thrown by the question "Give us two instances of success you've experienced." The candidate has many, many instances, all outlined clearly on his resume, however, he only practiced one aloud to that specific question. He was both over- and under-prepared. You're going to go "off-script" so know who you are, take a deep breath, relax and tell your story.
Do your homework, but be genuine.
"Just tell the truth," states one expert, "I'll get to it one way or another through follow-up questions, but being prepared is key. I know it’s not comfortable, but ask a friend to interview you. Or find questions on the internet and answer them out loud, then scratch that answer and give another. Be prepared for the detailed follow up questions. I remind candidates that they are an expert in what they are discussing – themselves! It’s easier to think of it that way and can often ease nervousness.
How much research on your potential employer is enough - or too much?
Recruiters value that you have done your research and have a true interest and passion for the role, citing that you know the recruiter loves dogs or the color green is just plain creepy.
"Don't stalk the recruiter or "over-share". It comes off as disingenuous. Talk about what interests you based upon your research, but keep it relevant to the position and your potential for contribution. Although there is a plethora of information about your Recruiter and Hiring Manager on the internet, be careful what you reference during your conversation. Not everyone is prepared to discuss personal information to a candidate, so take their lead. If they keep it strictly professional, you should as well. What would be appropriate is to ask why they chose to work for that organization and what they like and dislike about it.
Just one piece of advice?
Ask questions! Sounds simple – but you would be surprised how many candidates don’t. Even if you ask everyone you speak with at the same company the identical 4 questions, its great information. You can evaluate how each person’s answer differs and if there are any concerns that you might have from their answers. And for you sales people out there – are you asking for the job or closing?
We further provide the below list of 7 key Behavioral Interview question areas for you to review. Good luck, and remember: be yourself, be honest, and be prepared!
1: Decision Making and Problem Solving
Give me an example of a time when you had to keep from speaking or making a decision because you did not have enough information.
Give me an example of a time when you had to be quick in coming to a decision.
Tell me about a time you had to work with a group or client that was challenging. How did you overcome it?
Tell me about a time you had difficulty getting others to accept your ideas? What was your approach? Did it work?
Give me an example of a time when you went above and beyond the call of duty.
Describe a specific situation when you were able to have a positive influence on the action of others.
Tell me about a situation when you had to speak up (be assertive) in order to get a point across that was important to you.
Have you ever had to "sell" an idea to your co-workers or group? How did you do it? Did they "buy" it?
5: Interpersonal Skills
What have you done in the past to contribute toward a teamwork environment?
Describe a recent unpopular decision you made and what the result was.
6: Planning and Organization
Tell me about a time you had conflicting priorities. How did you manage them?
What do you do when your schedule is suddenly interrupted? Give an example.
7: Other Behavioral Questions
Give a specific example of a policy you conformed to with which you did not agree.
Give me an example of an important goal which you had set in the past and tell me about your success in reaching it.
Describe an instance when you had to think on your feet to extricate yourself from a difficult situation.
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Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I was thrilled to partner with VisualCV to conduct a webinar on Using Social Media in Job Search, and April’s webinar was exceptionally well-received. Here are some comments and a link to the presentation:
"...wanted to tell you how EXCELLENT I thought the webinar was yesterday. It was my first one and SO valuable. I was and am thrilled over the amount of valuable information. I wrote pages full of notes."
"After viewing the CV all I can say is WOW! What a difference a VisualCV can make.
This technology makes a paper resume obsolete. I have seenmany resumes in my past when I had to do recruiting and this type of resume would clearly give a candidate who uses this a serious advantage. Again, Thank You for your help and VisualCV has a new fan."
"I took your webinar last Tuesday and thoroughly enjoyed it. I cannot begin to tell you how much I learned, especially about Visual CV and Twitter. I am going through a career transition and so these tools are very important to me in my job search. Thank you for the presentation last Tuesday."
"Just had a chance to listen to VisualCV webinar. Outstanding info thanks for sharing!"
"You were absolutely wonderful! I really enjoyed it and I'm working on my VisualCV right now! "
"I just wanted to take another minute and thank you for the help you gave me. Not many people in your position would reach out to a college student the way you did. This may be something you do regularly, but I'm not used to it so it's refreshing to see the professionals of today doing what they can to groom the professionals of tomorrow....Once again, thank you for everything, I promise to pay it forward."
"Thanks to Pierce (from VisualCV) for hosting and Karen Masullo for delivering an insightful webinar with VisualCV earlier today "
"I just finished listening to an awesome presentation by Karen Masullo and I'm working on my SEO, VisualCV and Twitter."
"The session was best hour I've spend in a long, long time. Pure 100% value."
VIEW WEBINAR HERE
Monday, April 6, 2009
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Effective 5/21/2009, employers are required by law to verify employment eligibility of all federal contractor and sub-contractor employees. Some states also require participation in certain situations. All other public & private employers are encouraged to use E-Verify voluntarily What is Electronic Form I-9? What are the benefits of the Electronic Form I-9 service? How do I begin using these services? Upon the posting of a completed report to the online ordering system, you will be provided with an option to utilize the Electronic Form I-9 service directly from the ‘Results’ screen. Simply click the ‘I-9’ button and it will take you directly to the Electronic Form I-9 site. The employee’s information (name, SSN, etc) will be pre-populated into the I-9 to save time and reduce data entry. (You must receive completed background verification reports through our online system in order to use this service.)
Electronic Form I-9 and E-Verify Services
First Sun Partner, The Facet Group, is pleased to announce the offering of Electronic Form I-9 and E-Verify Services through alliance partner, Form I-9 Compliance.
What is E-Verify?
E-Verify is a Web-based system that electronically verifies the employment eligibility of newly hired employees through Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security databases. Effective May 21, 2009, federal contractors and subcontractors will be required to begin using the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ E-Verify system to verify their employees’ eligibility to legally work in the United States.
Who may use E-Verify?
Federal contractors and sub-contractors are required to use E-verify. In addition, more than a dozen states also require or strongly encourage E-Verify on certain employees. All other public and private sector employers may use the system voluntarily. The Facet Group recommends that you use E-verify on ALL newly hired employees to keep your hiring process consistent and compliant.
Employers who currently employ federal contractors or sub-contractors are required to verify all of those existing contract employees, as well as all newly hired contract employees going forward. All other employers may verify newly hired employees only; you cannot use E-Verify on existing employees unless they are federal contractors or sub-contractors.
What is included in your E-Verify service?
Our check uses the federal E-Verify program to electronically query DHS and SSA databases and verify new employees’ U.S. work eligibility. The query result confirms whether the social security number submitted belongs to an individual who is legally permitted to work in the U.S. Enhanced capabilities include email alerts and reports that help track and monitor tentative non-confirmations.
What are the benefits of the E-verify service?
How do I begin using these services?
Contact Phil Brattin, at the Facet Group, or simply fill out the required Registration Form & User Agreement as well as the Memorandum of Understanding with our Alliance Partner. You must also display the required E-Verify and Right to Work notices where employment applicants can see them. (The Facet Group will provide you with these notices.) Please see: http://facetgroup.com/background.html
How do I order these services on a newly hired employee?
Upon the posting of a completed report to our online ordering system, you will be provided with an option to utilize the E-Verify service directly from the ‘Results’ screen. Simply click the ‘EVP’ button and it will take you directly to the E-Verify site. The employee’s information (name, SSN, etc) will be pre-populated into the E-Verify screen to save time and reduce data entry. (You must receive completed background verification reports through our online system in order to use this service.)
What is the cost for these services?
-- For newly hired employees, the cost to use E-Verify is $5.00 per person.
-- For existing employees (federal contractors and sub-contractors), please contact our office for information & pricing.
-- To set up additional client locations: 0-5 locations: no charge; 6+ locations: $50 per location.
This service provides a comprehensive error-detecting electronic Form I-9 solution that virtually eliminates processing errors and simplifies the document completion process.
What is included in your Electronic Form I-9 service?
Simply fill out the required Registration Form & User Agreement.
How do I order these services on a newly hired employee?
Contact Phil Brattin, at the Facet Group.
What is the cost for these services?
-- The cost to use Electronic Form I-9 is $5.00 per person.
-- To have your existing I-9 forms and supporting documents scanned and stored in our system, please contact our office for pricing information.
-- To set up additional client locations: 0-5 locations: no charge; 6+ locations: $50 per location
What is Electronic Form I-9?
What are the benefits of the Electronic Form I-9 service?
How do I begin using these services?
Upon the posting of a completed report to the online ordering system, you will be provided with an option to utilize the Electronic Form I-9 service directly from the ‘Results’ screen. Simply click the ‘I-9’ button and it will take you directly to the Electronic Form I-9 site. The employee’s information (name, SSN, etc) will be pre-populated into the I-9 to save time and reduce data entry. (You must receive completed background verification reports through our online system in order to use this service.)