Discrimination Against Unemployed: Fact or Fiction

Posted: May 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Career Transition Networking, Job Search Networking | Comments Off on Discrimination Against Unemployed: Fact or Fiction

I often pop on to Linked In to answer questions from job seekers and other professionals alike on a variety of career coaching, job search and networking topics. This week when I logged on to Linked In to answer questions I saw a response from a professional that prompted me to ask “Is there hiring discrimination against the unemployed?” The original question posted was “What’s the most interesting question you’ve been asked in an interview?”

Here’s the exact answer that I read on Linked In:

“How come you’ve been out of work so long?” upon seeing a four-month unemployment gap that straddled the Holiday season, when I was at my last job for over 14 years. I am working now, but I found out the hard way that the latest hiring trend in Corporate America is “Unemployed Need Not Apply”. – Joseph Koptik via Linked In

Unemployed Discrimination: The case for fiction

Joseph’s case does seem extreme. He was out of work a mere 4 months, and over the holidays which basically span 2 months, after 14 years of consistent employment. Then again, was he possibly too sensitive to a question that a hiring manager or internal recruiter was asking because they were either interested in the answer or simply doing their job? Is the unemployed need not apply a real phenomenon or is it a case of overly sensitive candidates?  Being unemployment definitely strikes at one’s confidence, and ego, so to be taken to task and asked specifically what you’ve been doing for the past 4, 6, or in some cases, 14 months is a tough question. Switch shoes though, if you were on the other side of the table, would you want to know what the candidate had been doing since he’d left Company XYZ 4 months ago – other than celebrating the holidays?

Unemployed Discrimination: The case for fact

Everyone knows there are two sides to each story and that’s certainly case here. In December I had coffee with an Executive Vice President of a Fortune 100 company that I have great respect for, both the company and this particular executive. During our coffee meeting, we spoke about the hiring trends and he had just had a meeting where several of his key manager had expressed their concerns about hiring unemployed professionals because of the adverse demeanor they were bringing to the organization. After the meeting, they made an “unofficial” decision on hiring unemployed people. They would forego hiring unemployed candidates based on the negative impacts to the organization’s culture and environment. While this was an “unofficial” decision made by the organization, I can understand it, and have to say this is a case when a few bad apples spoil the bunch for what are millions of great professionals.

But I’m Unemployed…What Can I Do?

Keep your spirits, confidence and chin up. Your attitude and demeanor will overcome even the organizations with this type of philosophy. How? In a job market where 80% of jobs are found through networking, landing a new job is going to happen through a focused job search strategy rather than applying online. Remember that people hire people. When you meet the right person that finds value in your skill set, they will champion your hiring in their organization and focus on your value and skills rather than a gap in employment. (Tip: Be ready to explain the gap without defensive language.)

Career Coaching Return On Investment: Does It Exist?

Posted: May 17th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Career Coach, Career Transition Networking | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Career Coaching Return On Investment: Does It Exist?

As a professional career coach for over a decade, I make it my business to study the trends of the “employment” business. If that sounds odd to you, you’re not alone, in fact my parents are with you. Until I became a published author last year, my parents had such a hard time explaining what I did, much less understanding it, that my mom would regularly as  how my job search was going!  (Don’t tell them but I have a job…that I love, as a career coach.)

Career Coaching: Does It Work?
Yes. Did you expect me to tell you otherwise? On a serious note, it does work and in a variety of ways. According to a study conducted by Metrix Global , the ROI of executive career coaching exceeding 500%, excluding “significant intangible benefits”.  In other words, for every $1 you pay out, you receive (or save, which is the same thing) $5 in return for that investment.  If that sounds high to you, I thought so too which is why I did an investigation of my own.

Of the clients I’ve career coached specific to resume and Linked In essentials, here is the ROI they have experienced:

  • 81% have landed interviews and moved on to the second phase of the hiring process
  • 19% landed new jobs with an average increase in base salary of 14.5%
  • 8% landed new jobs with equal base salary compensation
  • 99% used the new market-focused job search tools created for their search to achieve these results

Intangible Benefits

Career Coaching ROIIf money was everything in life, I would never have become a career coach or published author. The intangible benefits are what get keep us happy, strong, committed and smiling on days when life seems bleak or when – as a struggling entrepreneur you’re eating the same dinner three times a week.  These are the intangibles. Study after study, from the Society of Human Resources Management to the International Coaching Federation and Metrix Global, prove that intangibles benefits rank higher to individuals than increased compensation. In two of these studies, survey’s respondents cited:

  • 52% increase in self-confidence
  • 60% increase in personal and work productivity
  • 53% increase in career satisfaction

Coaching ROI Exists, Now What?

Now that you know career coaching generates a 500% ROI for your financial investment, increases your self-confidence by 52% and career satisfaction by 53%, what’s next? That question is for you to answer. Are you ready for an executive career coaching? Do you want to change careers? Is it time to get inspired and engage a professional career coach?  Wherever you find yourself, know that the best results come by creating a clearly defined coachable goal and connecting with the right career coach from day one.


Life Lessons From Uncle Joe

Posted: May 2nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Career Coach, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Life Lessons From Uncle Joe

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 8:32a.m. my mobile phone rang. When I looked down I thought “Aunt Marilyn, what does she want now?” (Sorry, Aunt Marilyn.) My family knows that from 7am to 7p.m. I’m focused on work and usually hit the IGNORE button on my phone when they call. Something told me to hit the ANSWER button. I’m glad I did.

“Your Uncle Joe passed away this morning.” she whispered so softly I could barely hear it.

“What? That’s not possible.” I responded with tears already streaming down my face. It was possible and it had happened. My life would never be the same.

Growing Up with Uncle Joe (on the ranch)
My Uncle Joe was like a dad to me. I spent my summers on the ranch playing in the pool as he trained the horses on the track that was directly alongside it. My Aunt Joan would bake brownies for my sister and I and I’d make sure to bring her fresh lemonade outside during the day. I’d help out feeding carrots to the horses in the front pastures.

Grape Nut and Fruit Loops Mornings
When I grew up and moved back to Chicago five years ago, realizing how cold it was here, I began spending months back on the ranch with them during the Winter. Christmases and New Year’s Day celebrations were spent alongside my Uncle Joe. Each morning I’d wake up to head to my c’office bouncing out of my wing of the ranch to say “Good morning, Grape Nut” to which he responded, “Good morning, Fruit Loops.” and off I’d go until supper time (2p.m.).

So you see, the call I got on Wednesday at 8:32a.m. broke my heart and shattered the world I’ve come to know and love. Who am I without my Grape Nut? I’m still his Fruit Loops, that’s who I am.

Uncle Joe’s 5 Life Lessons

  1. Do What You Love | Uncle Joe (aka Joseph W. Nero Sr.) was an International Award-Winning Harness Racer, Breeder, Driver and Trainer that, alongside his Standardbred beauty Fly Fly Solly took home the Invitational in IL, NJ and NY leaving behind a 43 year legacy in the world of Harness Racing.
  2. Love With All Your Heart | In each picture of him you can see the love and adoration he has for his wife, children, grandchildren, family – and of course his horses. He loved greatly.
  3. Family Comes First | One of twelve siblings, he was the father of six, grandfather to sixteen and great-grandfather to ten; most of all he smiled more than any man I’ve ever seen when one of his family members walked in the room.
  4. It’s Never Too Late to Start Over | My Aunt Joan and Uncle Joe were each other’s second spouses and on October 9th of this year they will be celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary; he in spirit and she in life. Now that’s a testimony to making marriage last, even if you have to find the right “one” the second time around.
  5. Never Give Up | Despite a close call two years ago and a tough disease, he smiled, laughed, loved and lived everyday to it’s fullest.

When you’re ready to throw in the towel on your career search or recent endeavor, take a lesson from Uncle Joe and think to yourself, life is truly a gift. Instead of giving up, go for a walk, take a deep breath and think of the lessons he has shared with all of us.

Goodbye Grape Nut; you’ve taken a piece of me with you yet you’ve given me so much more of you.