Job Loss, Dangerous To Your Health?

While the reasons that job loss can endanger your health vary and there’s controversy about the causes, the facts are indisputable. You need to take better care of yourself and work hard to stay in good shape when you are under stress,  regardless of the reason.

According to a recent blog post by Interns Over 40, a paper published last year by Kate W. Strully, a sociology professor at the State University of New York at Albany, states that people who lose a job experience 83 percent greater chance of suffering stress-related health problems. Such problems include diabetes, arthritis or psychiatric issues.

Job Loss Can It Kill You is an excellent article for employers and employees. Awareness and preventive actions are the first steps toward lessening the chance that a job loss will have unintended consequences. The site page is that hosts this article is rather a mess, but scroll down to the little guy with a thermometer in his mouth and you’ll find the article.

A Case for Eliminating Annual Reviews

An article in DVM360.com makes an excellent case for eliminating annual reviews. Author, Michael Riegger, presents excellent reasons for handling the entire process more immediately and more efficiently. One of the most important reasons to the businesses is that it saves money in the long run. It’s a no-brainer that more satisfied employees, better production, and less turnover save money. There’s nothing in Riegger’s article that doesn’t apply to any business in any industry.

This is an idea that’s time has come. Like a lot of  “we’ve always done it that way” or “we have to do it that way for … reasons”, there comes a time when change is beneficial and necessary. Employees in large companies often go their entire first year of employment without having any idea what their goals  are or how their performance is being measured, right up until they have their first review. How does this help the company or the employee?

Small businesses are often in a position to implement such changes more easily. In addition, small businesses feel improvements more quickly. Yes, it’s necessary to keep records and document counseling. However, it doesn’t take any longer to do it now than it does to write a note, file it, and try to figure it out months later, after the incorrect behavior becomes ingrained. Riegger’s idea is timely and right on.

Meanwhile, since this idea may not get widespread implementation in the near future, employees need to be encouraged to ask for feedback and take constructive criticism with an open mind.  Improving the working conditions benefits everyone. Therefore, encourage your employees to be an active  part of the team and take time to give carefully considered advice when you first notice a problem.

It’s time to nix employee reviews

Interview Tips for Older Workers

Today, I’m adding a couple of quick interview tips to help you get through that holiday job search.

Interview Tips

Older workers, who are going back to work, may not know that many interview questions that used to be routine are now illegal. This also applies to job applicants of any age. Don’t volunteer information about family, age, or health. If those questions come up, it can be awkward because you know you probably won’t get the job if you tell the interviewer his questions are illegal. You can handle it several ways. You may nicely respond that you prefer not to discuss information that’s unrelated to the job. If you are not comfortable doing that, use a friendly, positive tone and say, “I’m sure I won’t have any problem meeting your expectations”, or “I’m totally prepared to devote my time to my job”.

Resume Distribution Services

Don’t blast resumes to hundreds of companies that may not have an opening for someone with your skills. I’m sure there may be a success story someplace from someone doing that, but there are a lot more failures. A simple delete is all it takes, and your resume is never seen. You usually waste time and money paying for that type of service.

Do video and high-tech resumes work?

It seems that the only people who say high-tech resumes with videos, slide shows, and dancing elephants work are the people who produce them.  Of course, there are exceptions for people in specific industries where those things are common.  You know who you are. For the rest of the world, these techniques can spell disaster.

There are strict standards in most HR departments. One big issue is age. Nothing can reveal age as quickly as a photo. All HR departments and hiring managers guard against possible discrimination challenges for race, age, obesity, physical disability, and more. In some cases, an interviewee is automatically disqualified for voluntarily providing that type of information. This is a good example of why you need to be aware of the laws and understand that you may not help yourself by divulging additional information.

What do you think happens when the video shows a person with black skin, white hair, too many pounds, or children screaming in the background? All can be factors in discrimination.  It’s even worse if you happen to be the person who lost your hair at 25 or who has an MBA and looks twelve-years-old. Don’t stack the deck against yourself people. In many professions, you will have one or more phone interviews before an on-site interview. The missing hair and the youthful look will be a lot less important by the time the search has narrowed the list to the last few candidates and you are among the top prospects.

Business owners also need to be cognizant of the risks of these new resumes. Don’t accept them without talking to your attorney or an HR professional. Too much information up front can cost a hefty price later. There are job seekers out there who look for opportunities to sue unsuspecting employers.

Another point to consider is the time it takes to review video and multi-media resumes, along with the potential for incompatible formats. There are hundreds of applicants for every job. If your resume takes extra time, it’s likely to get bypassed, instead of getting extra attention. If the resume goes to a small business that uses a Mac and you send a resume in an incompatible PC format, it will never be seen. If you must show off your skills, don’t include personal video of yourself. If you must display your accomplishments in slide shows, include the information on your written resume too.

Because so many employers run searches to check out prospective employees on Google and social media sites, I don’t recommend posting non-professional photos of yourself. You can’t hide all of the information that’s out there if you’re active in social media, which is a good reason not to have party photos or anything questionable online. Everyone knows you have a personal life and photos of you hiking with your dog or camping are fine.

I realize everyone expects a photo of a business owner, but business owners usually aren’t searching for a job. Photos really do add that personal touch that makes you seem more accessible. Still, if you are searching for a job, think like the employer. You can look human without giving away information that it’s illegal for them to obtain before hiring, and worse, information that may get you disqualified simply because you revealed too much too soon.