• News You Can Use

    How New Hires Land Jobs

    Job boards and search engines are out; referrals and company career Web pages are in—at least for two-thirds of recent hires.

    A new report by talent management software firm SilkRoad examined data from over 700 clients—from Fortune 500 companies to small firms—covering a wide swath of fields. The firms posted more than 222,000 jobs and received 9.3 million applicants, leading to 94,000 hires.

    The research revealed that 63 percent of those hired gained their positions through "internal sources," defined as personal referrals, company websites, and internal recruiting.

    The remaining one-third of new hires found their positions through external means. About 85 percent of those used job search engines. A small percentage landed positions through more traditional means such as print ads and campus recruiting.

    Discussion: What are some research tools you can use to learn more about a firm in which you are interested? How can you show your professionalism and maturity in a job search? What are some ways to begin networking while you are still in college?

    Source: Ladika, S. (2012, April 9). Study: Internal sites, referrals key to finding new hires. Workforce. Retrieved from www.workforce.com

    Stop Annoying Your Co-Workers!

    Irritating behavior in the workplace can hurt productivity and cause friction. To avoid being disliked, experts offer the following advice.

    1. Don't "suck up" to the boss. This includes "helpfully" pointing out a colleague's errors or taking more credit than you deserve on a project.

    2. Avoid negativity. Gossip is a major turn off and reflects poorly on the gossiper. Other negative behaviors include interrupting others, ignoring or discounting ideas, and complaining.

    3. Clean up after yourself. Leaving your mess, especially in communal areas, is no way to improve your popularity.

    4. Observe cubicle etiquette. Bringing foods with strong odors to your workspace and making obtrusive noise (including using a loud voice) are top offenders that cause disharmony in the workplace.

    Discussion: How might you approach someone whose loud voice affects your ability to do your job? Why does gossiping reflect poorly on the instigator? Why are good listening skills so important in the workplace?

    Source: Mantell, R. (2012, April 21). Why co-workers don't like you. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from wsj.com.

    Wake Up Time Influences Problem Solving Ability

    Early birds who bound out of bed eager to fly into their day do better at "insight"-based problem solving tasks in the evening, according to a study by Michigan State University researchers.

    The study asked 428 self-identified morning people to perform jobs at different times during the day. Results showed that early risers performed tasks that required original thinking (labeled "insight-based" problem solving) better in the evening.

    The reason for this seemingly incongruous correlation is that solving problems requires overcoming an impasse, which is best done by approaching the situation from a different perspective. During "prime time," people are more likely to latch onto the first idea that pops into the mind. However, during perceived less optimal times, individuals allow a freer flow of ideas, which leads to better problem solving. The study's author explains that when the brain is "on," it screens irrelevant information. But that's not the best way to be creative.

    The study also found that night owls performed insight-based thinking better in their off time, i.e. the morning.

    Discussion: What sorts of tasks are performed best with precise, concentrated thinking? Why does problem solving require a different approach than say, data entry? When do you do your best creative thinking?

    Source: McGregor, J. (2012, March 9). The best time of day to get creative. Washington Post. Retrieved from www.washingtopost.com/blogs

    Salary Negotiations in a Recession? Yes!

    Waiting for better times to negotiate a salary is a mistake that will affect more than current earnings.

    Linda Babcock, an economics professor at Carnegie Mellon University, explains that all future raises and retirement contributions are generally a percentage of the initial salary. In other words, the lower the starting salary, the lower the future salary.

    To negotiate the best salary from the onset, career management experts advise avoiding salary discussion early in the interview process. Be vague, they say. Nor should you accept an offer on the spot; instead, take time to prioritize the importance of vacation time, hours, job description in addition to salary before agreeing to compensation.

    Experts recommend talking to people within the organization or in similar ones to help define a good salary for the particular position. Then, when negotiating, always ask for more than you want. If the prospective employer demurs, ask how close to your number he or she can go. Agreeing to an amount that is between your asking price and their offer is a fair settling point.

    Discussion: How can you find a salary range for a particular job before entering the negotiating process? What phrases can you come up with in advance to avoid having to accept an offer on the spot? If the prospective employer refuses to budge on a salary offer, what answers can you prepare?

    Source: Korkki, P. (2011, May 21). Talk about pay today, or suffer tomorrow. New York Times. Retrieved from www.nytimes.com

    Top 10 Secrets to Finding a Job

    A business owner and father of a recent college graduate offers these pointers for landing a job in a difficult economy.

    1. Review your résumé again. And again. And again.

    2. Arrive at an interview on time. Actually, be there a few minutes early—and look awake.

    3. Dress appropriately. Wear the right clothing for the position and firm.

    4. Research the company. Do your homework as if landing the job depended on it—because it does.

    5. Treat an internship, even unpaid, as if it were the job of your dreams. Internships often lead to job offers.

    6. Target companies you want to work for. Don't just look at job postings.

    7. Use experiences you've gained in school, at previous jobs, or while volunteering to illustrate your problem solving abilities. Weave them into your résumé.

    8. Ask questions during the interview. If you don't, you'll look uninterested.

    9. Don't blurt during an interview. Think before you speak.

    10. Stay in touch even if you don't land the job. If you were in the running, the company liked you.

    Discussion: Why do you suppose the author's first piece of advice is to avoid misspellings and other errors on a résumé? How can you learn appropriate attire for a job interview? What research methods can help you learn more about an organization?

    Source: Goltz, J. (2011, December 21). 10 things job applicants should know. New York Times. Retrieved from www.nytimes.com