Category Archives: News

What’s happening to Obama Care?

President Obama’s signature legislation will go down in history as his signing into law what has become known as the Affordable Care Act. This was done to bring on board all those who don’t have health insurance, and to make the health system a more simplified arena for all.

Why are things still so wrong?

Six years into his presidency, and there are major criticisms of ObamaCare.

What’s happening to Obama Care?
What’s happening to Obama Care?

1. Millions of Americans Stand to Lose Their Health Insurance. The president emphatically told everyone “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” Not exactly true. More and more middle-class people will see their health coverage not get extended, and they will have to join the ACA.

2. An individual mandate system means that ALL Americans are mandated to have health insurance. It has been argued that this goes against everything free America stands for.

3. Health Care Coverage Will Change No Matter What. Even if you continue to get your health care insurance through your employer, they will have to conform to new federal benefit standards, like it or not. These upgrades will cost more; hence, higher premiums for you.

4. Health Care Costs Have Increased. Now, while you may not be able to see your favorite doctor anymore, the costs of office visits, lab tests, procedures, prescriptions, and everything else is increasing. Monthly premiums have also increased as well as yearly deductibles, which mean you pay out of pocket until that threshold has been met.

Other problems have been identified by critics of the Act, such as who pays for what, procedures that are not paid for and once were, who makes the medical decisions and no savings seen for the majority of American middle-class families.

This landmark legislation is also the first of its kind. Obama has begun the process of trying to bring an equitable form of health care to all Americans, and it is still going to take some time to iron out the wrinkles and get it right.

Candidates: Be Aggressive in Your Job Search

I speak with many candidates each day, and I am surprised how passive that the candidates are in the job search. When looking for a new job, most of them think only to contact a recruiter or search various job posting sites. While I recommend all of these steps, I also mention to the candidates that they need to take a more aggressive stance to their search. One cannot just follow these passive steps, then sit back and expect to get job screening calls from the recruiter or a company.

Candidates: Be Aggressive in Your Job Search
Candidates: Be Aggressive in Your Job Search

My recommendation to candidates is to treat your job search just like a sale person would treat sales prospecting. Here are a few recommendations:

1. Develop a list of your “target” companies; either local or nationwide. These companies may be competitors to your current or past companies or companies that you feel could use someone with your skills and experience.
2. Once you compile your target list, then search LinkedIn and look at profiles of people who could be potential hiring managers for someone with your skills and experience.
3. Craft a cover letter that is fairly specific for each company and potential hiring manager and send the letter in a LinkedIn Inmail. You should also attach your resume in LinkedIn Inmail.

My thought is that any potential hiring manager who receives such an Inmail would be very flattered and, in more cases than not, reach out to have an initial conversation. Worst case if there is no current opening, this overture will result in a good future contact and potential networking source.

In short, I feel that candidates would be pleasantly surprised to see how much more traction that they get on their searches.

How to Discharge an Employee Gracefully

Having to let an employee go has got to be one of life’s most distasteful chores. Especially, if it’s not on the employee’s radar; no one wants to make another person’s life more difficult.

However, there are times when you must fire someone or let them go. If you want to do it right, then read through this article. There are ways to discharge an employee gracefully.

How to Discharge an Employee Gracefully
How to Discharge an Employee Gracefully

Have a Little Empathy

Think about what this will do for this employee once they are told the company no longer needs their services. It doesn’t matter if the person is being let go due to poor performance or from downsizing; their reactions will vary, from anger to embarrassment to showing fear all in the same moment. Don’t make a difficult situation harder than it has to be.

Schedule Time for Laying Off

Be sure you have all of your paperwork in front of you, when you are terminating an employee. There may be questions from the person being let go, and it’s always good if you have the answer right there. If you have a layoff coming down the line, let people know the truth, as soon as possible.

Let Them Down Easy

For some people you are laying off or terminating, you may be able to offer assistance or resources concerning filing for unemployment or what to do about health insurance. Trying to make a termination a little better, can often result in a world of difference for the person being let go.

Be a Gentle Listener

Finally, let the person being let go react to what’s happening. There may be a range of emotions, but it’s your job not to counter with any rhetoric; just provide a listening ear, and guide them to thinking about new opportunities outside the door.

5 Steps to Reduce Employee Turnovers

Companies usually experience difficulty retaining employees for the long term. Gone are the days where you stay with a job until retirement. As baby boomers begin to retire, many places of business are looking to reduce their turnover costs.

Here are 5 steps to help you do this.

5 Steps to Reduce Employee Turnovers
5 Steps to Reduce Employee Turnovers

1. Hire the right people. This may seem like a no-brainer, but nepotism and who-knows-who may still rule the day in many businesses. Ensure that people you hire are right for your company and their future goals. Be clear about job descriptions; it will only benefit you and the new hire.

2. Have a company that is employee-friendly. Employees are your most valuable asset; when there is a chance to include them in decisions, do so. Also, encourage an open-door policy, and mean it. Employees want to know that their voices are heard, and make a difference. Lastly, reward and recognize employee’s who deserve it.

3. Your business should be monetized as one. Develop base pay scales, and also, variable rate pay scales as well as long-term incentives for compensation, bonuses and financial plans your employee’s can join over time. There should be standard vacation and insurance packages, not a hit-or-miss policy.

4. Possibly consider alternative work schedules. Can some employees benefit from working at home or four days per week instead of five? Are there incentives to working in your company? Trips or events, tickets to sporting venues, etc? A happy workplace is one in which more people are likely to stick around.

5. Fire people who do not or will not fit in. It’s unfortunate and inevitable that not everyone will be the right fit for your company. You will know when this happens, so be sure to let them down easily, but weed out those who are pulling you and your goals down.

Engaging Applicants in Your Company’s Resume Database

A company generally receives many resumes (both solicited and unsolicited) from applicants who want to work for that company. In many cases, the applicants’ resumes are stored in the company’s applicant tracking system. Hopefully, the company’s internal recruiters are continually mining the ATS database as they receive openings to fill. Maybe your applicant tracking system has a search agent function that automatically attaches potential applicants’ resumes in the database to open requisitions.

Engaging Applicants in Your Company’s Resume Database
Engaging Applicants in Your Company’s Resume Database

Another great way to engage your applicants as well as build your company’s employment brand is through the use of an e-newsletter. The content of the e-newsletter should contain stories of new product or service releases, real-life stories of what life is like at your company told by your employees (both new hires as well as long-term), as well as a link that directs the e-newsletter readers to current job openings at your company. The e-newsletter should be sent out on a monthly basis; at a minimum, once a quarter.

The e-newsletter should be send via a system that permits you to track statistics such as any bounces (because of bad email addresses) tracks if the e-newsletter was opened and what stories or links were read. This data will help you to refine your content for future newsletters. Each e-newsletter should be archived so it can be accessed via your company’s main web site (preferably in your Careers section).

The use of an e-newsletter should not only improve the quantity but also the quality of resumes that your company receives. It is certainly well-worth the effort.

10 questions you should not ask perspective employees while interviewing

Interviewing perspective employees is an important part of the hiring process. In today’s world interviewing requires a balance between obtaining information and building rapport while avoiding potentially litigious questions.

Here are examples of direct questions not to ask while interviewing a candidate. Specific questions are grouped by topic and do have alternative ways of getting legitimate information.

10 questions you should not ask perspective employees while interviewing
10 questions you should not ask perspective employees while interviewing

Religion. Questions about religion should be avoided. Do not ask a candidate what religion they practice of what religious holidays they observe.

Nationality. Questions about nationality are difficult because knowing whether or not a person has the right to work is your responsibility as an employer so rather than asking, “Are you a US citizen?” or “What nationality are you?” simply ask, “Do you have the right to work in the US?”

Age. Do not ask a person their age or how long they plan to work until retirement.

Gender. Leave gender assumptions out of your questions altogether.

Family Status. Do not ask questions about marital status and whether or not the person has, or plans to have, children.

Health. Do not ask if a person smokes or drinks or takes drugs. Do not ask if they’ve had any recent illnesses or operations. Also, do not ask how many sick days taken at the last job.

Physical abilities. Do not ask if the person has any disabilities. Do not ask about weight or height.

Military Service. Do not ask if a person has an honorary discharge from the military or whether or not they are in the National Guard or the Reserves.

Residence. Do not ask a person if they live nearby or how far they would have to commute to get to work.

Arrest Record. Do not ask if a person whether or not they have been arrested.

Selling a Candidate On Joining Your Company

With the unemployment rate virtually zero for hard-to-fill roles such as developers, software engineers, and certain other technical roles, it has been much more important for the interview teams to sell candidates on the positive aspects of your company. While it is still extremely important to make sure that a comprehensive assessment of the candidate is completed, for those candidates who your company is very interested in, it is equally as important to sell them on the advantages of joining your company.

Selling a Candidate On Joining Your Company
Selling a Candidate On Joining Your Company

Money and benefits are important, but candidates are generally more interested in working with a company that is doing “neat stuff”. Your interviewers need to be trained to act as “salespeople” for your company and relate all the neat technical projects that are being worked on. This is especially true when you can have a technical employee interviewing a technical candidate. They will be able to relate on a technical level as to what is going on.

Another idea is to place testimonials on your company’s web site from current employees on their work and projects. These testimonials would be able to highlight what life is like at your company and more details on specifics on the work and projects. Also, the testimonials can note how management treats the employees and any other perks that the company offers.

Knowing that good candidates are always in demand, it usually winds up that the company that is able to hires these candidates, does the best job of explaining the positive aspects of employment.

How to Deal with Office Politics Intelligently

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” Aristotle

Office politics are a reality – positive or negative, they happen. Handling them successfully is often challenging and requires learning how to get what you want in the world of work without compromising others in the process.

How to Deal with Office Politics Intelligently
How to Deal with Office Politics Intelligently

The first step in successful office politicking is figuring out things like: who really influences what happens; who is respected; who champions/mentors others; who has the purse strings; who makes things happen? Organizational charts rarely reflect reality in terms of power.

After understanding the official power structure study the informal, social networks. This requires asking yourself another set of questions like: What groups and cliques exist; who has the most trouble getting along with others; who are the manipulators and power brokers; who gets along with whom?

If you are part of an organization then you are also a part of that organization’s politics, and successfully navigating within your organization necessitates that you build your own network. Keys to building a successful network are:

    1. Getting to know politically powerful people.
    2. Associating with people across the organization including peers, bosses, and executives.
    3. Building relationships with those who have informal power.
    4. Basing your relationships on trust and respect – avoid empty flattery.
    5. Being friendly and respectful with everyone – avoid aligning yourself with any one group.
    6. Being part of multiple networks thus keeping yourself informed about what’s going on within the entire organization.
    7. Avoiding gossip and character assassination, alliances tend to change, make it your policy to either speak well of people or not to speak about them at all.

Remember, this is your livelihood, and a professional attitude is critical.

How to Become Successful

“Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

How to Become Successful
How to Become Successful

A lot has been said and written about being successful and much of it makes the assumption that there is a universal definition of success. The first thing to do when thinking about success is to define what that word means to you. That definition may change over time or within given situations, but it is important to understand what spells success for you.

Whatever your definition, success requires the ability to recognize one’s mistakes and to learn from them. It also demands a willingness to fail. Failure signifies action and brings success closer, whereas never attempting ensures failure. Recognize risks, and realize that progress – and success – requires taking action even when there are risks.

Success is also about balance.

One can be tremendously successful in one aspect of life and not so in many other areas. When pursuing a specific goal often attention becomes focused almost entirely on that goal and the rest of life is neglected. That’s understandable . . . for there is sometimes conflict between succeeding and maintaining balance. Handling and influencing those conflicts is a key factor in success.

Know how to get along with people.

This too, is a key ingredient to success. Being able to listen to others and to really hear them, encouraging others and celebrating their successes builds trust and cooperation, something every robustly successful person exhibits.

Being successful requires working hard, so it is wise to do things that engage and challenge you. Take on things that you are ready and willing to devote vast amounts of time and effort to doing. And most importantly . . . actively pursue your dreams. For as Eleanor Roosevelt said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Questions you should ask the Hiring Managers before start recruiting

You like to think you’re good at placing top talent. Job descriptions come across your desk all day long, and it’s up to you to figure out, in a flash, all about this particular person whose name and skill-sets are on the page in front of you.

A job description is a wonderful tool but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Having a direct conversation with your hiring manager will often uncover many hidden skills or talents unforeseen up to this point.

Questions you should ask the Hiring Managers before start recruiting
Questions you should ask the Hiring Managers

Here are 5 ways to dig deeper when asking your hiring manager all about the skills and experience of candidates whom you are seeking to place.

1. Does the position require any special traits, such as working with challenging personalities? What about advanced language skills, or advanced computer skills?
2. Will the chosen candidate need to be willing to commit to hours beyond the traditional 9-5? Are occasional weekends or holidays also something to be considered?
3. Will your candidate be required to work well with a team as opposed to being a solo flier?
4. Will there be opportunities for this candidate to do presentations or have to speak in front of groups that, perhaps, they are not anticipating?
5. Is there any other additional information that we need to glean from the hiring manager that will get this candidate hired?

Often what you see on a resume is not the entire story. If there are issues or concerns that should be addressed before an interview commences, then these questions should be asked and answered beforehand.

These types of recruitment methods are key to successful job placement. Hiring managers are waiting for their recruiters to ask them directly all of the questions that never appear on a job description. There are hidden gems that when found out will only lead to successful placement of your candidates.