Imagine you had the opportunity to spend 10 minutes in a job before you even applied, interviewed or accepted the position.
What if there was a formula (or crystal ball) that would tell you up front whether or not it was the right job for you, so you could avoid taking the job and finding yourself six months later saying “uh oh, why did I do this?!” (but, if you are like most people, you’d probably keep the job to avoid dealing with the frustration and negativity of another search.)
If you are like me and the thousands of CEOs and business owners that I have talked to over the years who are frustrated at their inability to find and hire the right people, I hope you’ll take a moment to consider the full impact of disengaged employees on your business and our economy.
According to Gallup, 18% of the workforce in America is actively disengaged at their jobs; another 49% are considered ‘not engaged.’ People stay in jobs they dislike for a variety of reasons – apathy, fear of finding another job, etc – but regardless of the reason, their lack of commitment at work comes at a heavy cost to your company. Estimates from Gallup indicate these employees cost American businesses between $292 and $355 billion annually in lost productivity.
Seizing America’s 'Sputnik Moment' through the Jobs Market
In his State of the Union address before the 112th Congress and the American people, President Obama outlined his plan for the future, calling for greater bipartisan cooperation to tackle the biggest issues facing the country. “Sustaining the American Dream has never been about standing pat. It has required each generation to sacrifice, and struggle, and meet the demands of a new age,” Obama said, “We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time. We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.”
“We’re becoming shabbier by the year.” – Paul Krugman, New York Times
“The light at the end of the tunnel is dim at best.” – Fareed Zakaria, Time
“The United States is in the caboose of the global economic love-train.” – Jim Cramer, CNBC
America is in trouble. Despite a record setting Holiday spending spree and a resurgent stock market, the unemployment rate in the U.S. remains stubbornly high – officially 9.4% but much higher for many regions, demographics and sectors – and Americans are decisively pessimistic about their future. According to the Pew Research Center, a mere 30% of Americans believe the U.S. is headed in the right direction; comparatively, 45% of Indians, 50% of Brazilians, and 87% of Chinese are optimistic about their countries’ outlook. Less than half of Americans believe their children will have a higher living standard than they do; in fact, social mobility in the U.S. – a critical ingredient of the “American dream” – is now among the lowest in the rich world.
What Job Seekers Can Take Away from the Final Boardroom Interview on ‘The Apprentice’
Despite a rather lackluster group of contestants* on the tenth season on NBC’s ‘The Apprentice’, Clint and Brandy had definitely earned their seats in the boardroom at Trump Tower for the final interview. As Donald Trump said himself before announcing his decision, “You’re both outstanding; you both deserve to be here.” Yet the stark difference between Clint and Brandy’s responses to Mr. Trump’s final question – and the underlying approach to job interviews that each answer demonstrated – provides a very useful case study for anyone looking to bolster their own interviewing strategy.
Why Networking is a Bad Strategy for Finding Your Next Job
If you’re unemployed (or underemployed), your job search should be at least 30-40 hours per week – responding to ads (low value return, but necessary), resume and cover letter customization and work, networking, networking, networking (did I mention “networking”?) – Careerealism.com
There is no disputing the fact that networking can help land you a new job. Indeed, the majority of workers have found jobs by relying on their networks; and the importance of networking, we are told, is of critical importance to any job search. It is constantly promoted by ‘jobs experts’ – including all its social media variants, i.e. ‘Tweet Your Way to Your Next Job’ or ‘Slam-Dunk Networking With Twitter’ – and universities sell the idea to prospective students (the idea being that if you go to a better, more expensive school you will have better networking opportunities).
Last month, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report – a publication of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – released the results of a 2006-2008 survey that found nearly 1 in 10 Americans suffers from clinical depression. Besides the alarming uptick in the number of people reporting depression – a similar study conducted in 2001-2002 reported 6.6% of the population as depressed – one of the key findings of the survey is the causal linkage between unemployment and depression; just 6% of people with jobs reported symptoms of depression, compared to an alarming 21% of unemployed people.
On October 11th, three economists – Peter Diamond of MIT, Dale Mortensen of Northwestern and Christopher Pissarides of the London School of Economics – were awarded the Nobel Prize for their research and insight into how people find jobs. Despite the divergence of opinion over the solution to America’s stubbornly high unemployment rate, their research in the 1970s and 1980s has provided the now widely-accepted conceptual view of the labor market as a mechanism for pairing people with jobs, where the matching cannot take place instantaneously (and some level of unemployment is inevitable).
However, you need to earn a living and are good at math and so you understand it makes sense to be an accountant. But if you love the theatre and music and performing, you should think about being an accountant for a company in the arts and entertainment industry.
Don’t be a waitress, unless you are really into the restaurant industry.
My daughter is good at drawing, singing, acting and playing musical instruments. She is also a whiz at math. So, there is nothing wrong with her crunching numbers for her paycheck. Just be sure to be near a theatre at night because at night she can work on the shows too.
Job seekers cannot find the right jobs. Companies cannot find the right people. People in the wrong jobs are a society wide dilemma, having far greater implications than just unhappiness or boredom in a job. People waking day after day to the wrong jobs can affect their productivity, mental health, physical health, family life, relationships and marriage. For companies, the wrong people, in the wrong positions, making wrong decisions is the number one reason the companies fail.
This is a powerful and urgently needed report: it explores why people cannot find the jobs they truly want, what has gone wrong with the job search as it is known today and how our society needs to radically change the way we look for jobs.
Most of our career paths are chosen from either our first job out of school or from influence by a family member or friend. Rarely have we gotten the chance to actually choose our career paths – the path has usually chosen us. When looking for a new job, traditional tools such as the resume and networking offer more of the same path for the job seeker. The job seeker only shares what they have done before, leaving them with no option but to pursue the same jobs, whether they want to or not. The only decision makers that will respond to traditional tools such as the resume are those that are looking for people with a history of having the experience posted in the position needed by the company, which is why job seekers’ path is chosen for them over and over.