Experiences in hiring the long-term unemployed

If you’re even half as interested in employment statistics as I am, you’ve no doubt seen variations of the effects of long-term unemployment on one’s job search. None of the studies I’ve seen though were as clear cut as the conclusions drawn in this one. While discriminatory hiring practices are quite unfortunate and I’m sure some VERY qualified candidates are being looked over because of them, let me offer a differing perspective based on one of my hiring experiences.

At a previous firm I was promoted to Director of HR and placed in charge of hiring and firing. While this wasn’t a role I had specifcally sought out, I looked forward to the new responsibilities and challenges that came along with it. A couple of months later I had made two great hires, and things were running smoothly. One of my hires, as it turns out, was quite the superstar and was promoted quickly, prompting the need to replace him. Because we were in the midst of a recession and unemployment was unusally high, our firm decided to forgo the costs of using recruiters and to turn to the good ol’ job boards for our next team member. we-are-hiringAs you might expect, we were inundated with resumes and thus had many to choose from. As with any position there were the minimum requirements and the preferred skills, those things we’d love to see on a resume but could do without for the right candidate. After resumes had been screened and we started bringing people in, I soon realized there was no perfect candidate. Continue reading

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Professional Emancipation

It’s been a year since I last posted, and so much has changed in the world. We’ve had battles over the fiscal cliff, companies cutting hours over the healthcare mandateroller-coaster unemployment, and uncertainty in the financial markets…basically, more of the same that we’ve been dealing with for the past few years. So, if there was ever a time to re-examine one’s ideas about work/career/employment, that time is now.

As much as I’m a fan of start-ups and turning fresh, new ideas into realities, I think the most important thing for people today is not necessarily to start their own business, but to renew their minds when it comes to how they view themselves in terms of their livelihoods. I touched on it very briefly in my post ‘Think Like You Own the Place,’ but the general idea is this: Business owners will do what’s in the best interest of their shareholders, including hiring, firing, downsizing, and outsourcing. Since these last three options are generally not in your best interest as Joe Employee, it is best to always have your skills sharpened and network ready, as you will most certainly need them should the axe fall. Most important, however, is your mindset. If you get comfortable at your firm and have outdated employment ideas (like, “I’m too much of a star” or ”the company will certainly take care of me”) you will have a much tougher time dealing with any kind of negative news at the office.

I will be writing at length about this topic, but first I want to give you an idea of where I’m going. The first step in renewing your mind is to realize that the idea of aspiring to work for a company with great perks, benefits, etc. is a fairly recent development. Careerealism calls it “Professional Emancipation,” and posted an infographic that perfectly depicts what I’m talking about. It appears as though, especially here in America, we’ve gone from people who settled and took care of ourselves to people who are desperately looking for someone else to ensure our survival. My friends, we can no longer afford to think this way. Mull it over…more to come!


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Bootstrapping done right

I am incredibly inspired by my wife Courtney these days. I never thought I’d say this, but she is the biggest motivation in my life. Let me explain.

If you’re interested in starting a business and have done any research on the Internet, you’ve no doubt come across the “wantraprenuer” which is basically a wanna-be entrepreneur. This is someone who constantly says they want to start a business but never does due to the plethora of excuses in their repertoire. “I don’t have the time, money, etc.” they say. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking on those people because I’ve been one myself–and living in New York makes launching a startup even more difficult. In addition to the standard filing fees charged by every state, NY now makes it a requirement that every new business get “published” in a number of reputable publications, which costs $1,500-2,000. Add that to the higher than average cost of living in the Big Apple and you’ve got a convenient case for “wantreprenuership.”

To my wife though, these issues are unimportant. Continue reading

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Lessons from the best AND worst businesses

I love reading success stories! Nothing gets me motivated like hearing how someone overcame the odds and reached their dreams, and my favorites are stories where the entrepreneur shares some little-known or counter-intuitive knowledge with the reader. One piece of advice that I’ve been reminded of a lot lately is this: learn what you can from those who are succeeding, and learn what you can from those who are failing. It’s obvious why we’d want to glean some insights from someone who’s business is booming…but what could we possibly learn from a business owner who is on the verge of going belly up? Quite a bit actually! Continue reading

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Remember the Sharks

If you own your own company and have never seen the show “Shark Tank,” I highly recommend watching it. The premise is simple: five self-made multi-millionaires called the “sharks” sit in room, and one by one, small business owners come in attempting to get the sharks to invest in their businesses. Now, these sharks are quite intelligent, and after only a few minutes of questioning the small biz owners are either tossed out or leave with a new business partner and the funding they requested.

Aside from being entertaining, the show is also quite informative. Continue reading

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A great article for creative start-ups

While I always enjoy the opportunity to encourage others, lately I was thinking that I needed to write an informative, “How to actually start a business” post. Luckily, I recently stumbled upon this article which gives a summary of things to think about when striking out on your own. Although it’s geared mainly to creative startups, the advice here is applicable to pretty much any business.

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