Feature: Be a Good Consumer

Feature: Be a Good Consumer

Feature: Be a Good Consumer

One of the most important aspects of a successful job search is good consumer behavior. You have to shop smart for an employer. Now, I know that’s easier said than done, but it’s worth the effort. Why? Because research shows that the number one reason a person doesn’t work out when he or she joins a new organization is not that they can’t do the work. It’s that they don’t fit in. Their personality and values do not align with the culture and values of the employer. If that happens to you, you can’t do your best work, and when you don’t do your best work, your job security is at risk.

So, how do you shop smart for an employer? Simple. You take exactly the same steps you use when shopping for a product or service, but you take them in a different way. For example, when you’re looking to purchase a new car, you:

  • research the range of makes and models that are within your budget;
  • winnow this universe of possibilities down to a smaller number of alternatives that you can investigate in depth;
  • collect information about each of those alternatives from their manufacturer and other sources;
  • compare the alternatives one to another using the information you’ve collected;
  • select an even smaller set of finalists that best seem to meet your needs;
  • test drive the finalists to confirm their manufacturers’ claims by evaluating the reality of the driving experience each provides;
  • determine the single best car for you given your financial situation, driving needs and personal preferences.
  • When you shop for an employer, you take the same steps, but perform them differently. The changes you must make are relatively straightforward. To determine which employer is best for you, you must:

  • research the range of organizations that offer employment opportunities in your field;
  • winnow this universe of possibilities down to a smaller number of alternatives that you can investigate in depth;
  • collect information on each about those alternatives from the employer and other sources;
  • compare the alternatives one to another using the information you’ve collected;
  • select an even smaller set of finalists that best seem to meet your needs;
  • test drive the finalists to confirm the employers’ claims by evaluating the reality of the workday experience each provides;
  • determine the single best job for you given your financial situation, career objectives and personal preferences.
  • Given their familiarity from car, TV and cell phone shopping, I suspect that all of these tasks seem reasonable. There is, however, a problem. One of the steps cannot be accomplished as described. As you may have noticed, test driving an employer is simply not a feasible course of action. Except in rare situations, such as internships and temp-to-perm staffing assignments, employers do not permit prospective hires to sample their workday experience. Yet, confirming a vendor’s claims-whether the vendor is selling tires or offering you a job-is a critical component of good consumerism.

    What should you do? I suggest you adopt a surrogate. Use the employer’s recruiting process to evaluate its employment culture and values. The way it treats candidates is almost always an accurate gauge of the way it treats employees, so you can use your experience as an applicant to assess the way it will treat you once you are hired.

    From the moment you are first contacted through your various interactions with recruiters and other employees to the final outcome (positive or otherwise), look at the organization’s:

  • operating standards (e.g., its commitment to open and complete communications, its willingness to listen to individuals and answer their questions);
  • norms of behavior (e.g., the level of respect it shows for workers, the courtesy it expects from individuals during their interactions with others);
  • institutional values (e.g., its recognition of the role and value of individual contributions, its commitment to and support for quality work); and
  • caliber of leadership (e.g., the vision with which the organization is guided, the resources that are provided to enhance the candidate’s experience).
  • While most of us are familiar with a structured decision-making process and use it effectively to make important product or service decisions, far fewer of us do so when making critical career decisions. And unfortunately, bad career decisions have lasting consequences. Accepting a job with the wrong employer not only causes you to under-perform and thus risk termination, but it short circuits your search for the right job-a dream position with the best employer for you. In effect, you set yourself up for short term failure and deny yourself the prospect of long term success.

    So, remember your basic rule of consumerism: Caveat Emptor. Buyer beware. The next time you look for a new or better job, shop smart. Select the employer that will enable you to do your best work.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    P.S. Remember what you learned in kindergarten: It’s nice to share. Don’t keep WEDDLE’s to yourself. If you like our newsletter, please tell your friends and colleagues about it. They’ll appreciate your thinking of them. And, we will too!

    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    The Fordyce Letter, one of the leading publications for staffing firms and employment agencies, published an article on “cyber slamming” or one individual’s publication on the Internet of defamatory statements about another individual. Posted on Web-site discussion boards and in chat rooms, such statements can be made anonymously and without verification, yet they are often taken as true and accurate. When they aren’t-when they’re false and/or malicious-they can undermine a person’s candidacy for a specific job and even damage their career over the long term. Many employers will make an effort to ensure they get the facts straight, but others won’t so it’s very important that you take steps to protect yourself. What can you do? The Fordyce Letter (with some commentary from me) suggests:

  • vigilance (for example, you might plug your name into a browser from time-to-time to see what comes back; if you find anything posted that is false or inaccurate, you can ask the site where the statement appears to delete it or, at the very least, post your own correct and accurate version);
  • and

  • being proactive (using a service such as that provided by ReputationDefender.com).
  • Manpower surveyed 36,629 employers across 27 countries to determine the ten jobs they are having the most difficulty filling in 2007. In rank order, these positions are:

  • Sales representative
  • Skilled manual trades
  • Technician
  • Engineer
  • Accounting/Finance staff
  • Laborer
  • Production operator
  • Driver
  • Manager/executive
  • Machinist/machine operator.
  • If you’re qualified in one of these fields and unhappy in your current position, there are plenty of other opportunities out there for you. And, if you’re in transition and having a hard time finding a new or better job, you might want to consider moving into one of these occupations. Before you take the leap, however, visit the U.S. Department of Labor Web-site and research the skills and knowledge required for a successful career and the compensation you are likely to earn once on-the-job.

    The Nasdaq Stock Market launched a new recruiting site that connects individuals with public companies seeking new members of their Boards of Directors. Called Board Recruiting, the site enables you to:

  • Discover new Board opportunities;
  • Precisely define your interests based on a company’s market cap, industry, and geography;
  • Upload a personal profile, manage your privacy settings and control who contacts you.
  • Although the site is new and still unproven in terms of its ability to attract Board opportunities, it is virtually unique among job boards. So, if you think you may have the requisite experience and expertise to serve on a company’s Board of Directors, it may be worth a shot.

    Prevention magazine offered some tips on how to fight off the inevitable, immobilizing slump that seems to capture just about all of us at some point each workday. Interestingly, the solution (at least, according to the magazine) debunks some conventional wisdom. First, ditch the mid-morning coffee break. It’s better to get your caffeine later in the day when your body has built up six or so hours of adenosine, a sleep-inducing chemical. Second, don’t try to get more sleep. Instead, get up at the same time each day and “bathe yourself in light.” The body performs best if it gets 30 minutes of light first thing in the morning. Finally, forget about eating carbs or what you and I call spaghetti or linguini for lunch. Yes, they’re a quick source of energy, but they can actually turn into an “energy drain” if you consume too many.

    WEDDLE’s announced the availability of its special primer on the secrets of conducting a successful job search using the Internet. There are literally hundreds of techniques for finding a new or better job online, but many are inefficient and ineffective. How can you make sure you use the best of the Web?

  • First, you have to figure out which techniques work best.
  • And second, you have to know how to put them to work for you.
  • WEDDLE’s WIZNotes: Finding a Job on the Web provides exactly that information and helps you chart a course to success on the Internet! It’s a complete online job search campaign in a book. It covers everything you need-from using job agents and uncovering interview questions in advance to finding new and former contacts through online networking-to put the Internet to work for you. The book is short and to the point. It’s written for busy people who don’t have time to waste, but want to know-and use-the secrets to success in an online job search. To learn more and order WIZNotes: Finding a Job on the Web, please click on the appropriate link to your left or call 317.916.9424. Order today!

    Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guides and Directories

    There are 40,000 job boards now in operation in North America and an equal number operating elsewhere around the world. The key to a successful job search online, therefore, is knowing where to find and how to select the sites that will work best for you. WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide identifies 350 of the top sites worldwide and provides the information you need to determine which job boards will connect you with the openings that might just be your dream job. For example:

    LatPro

    http://www.latpro.com

    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes-All

    Distribution of jobs: International-USA, Latin America

    Number of jobs: 40,000+

    Salary levels of jobs: Most are $76-150K/year

    Offer a job agent: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    How long are resumes stored: Indefinitely

    Restrictions on who can post: None

    Other services for job seekers: Discussion forum for e-networking, Assessment instruments, Career information, Links to other sites with job search/career resources

    Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: Yes

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