Should you Commute?

pexels-photo-1031698Millions commute (sometimes long distances) to jobs. For instance: I live in Buffalo, Minnesota, 30 miles from Minneapolis. It’s called a “bedroom community,” “outer ring suburb,” or “collar community,” as many commute to the Twin Cities.

Commuting can be tough-high traffic, takes hours and lots of gas. Some CAN’T drive or don’t like it. Expand your mind. Learn your strengths. Look for companies closer to home. See where acquaintances work to ride share, or check out employers who give a 4 longer-day option. Some home-based positions pay well. Certain jobs formerly 100% onsite now offer flexibility to work from home in some capacity. If you can find something down the street, sneakers or a bike can replace  a car.

For instance; 3 of my neighbors work at home at least part-time. One is a Relationship Manager for a corporate insurance company. She worked onsite for 10 years. But in the last few, company executives let her work at home at least 4 days monthly, because lower commuting stress has increased job satisfaction, and thus performance. She’s now at the core of high client satisfaction and millions of dollars in profits.

Most openings aren’t published on job boards. We shine at numerous types of positions. Learn your strengths. Look to places you drive by each day and never notice, are in industrial parks, etc.–factories, production facilities, construction companies, plumbers, electricians, manufacturers, retail for corporate clients–type places. There are millions, and they employ marketers, sales reps, customer and client service specialists, IT experts, finance professionals, office administrators, buyers, and more. Look around, find them, check their websites, and make calls. See if there’s a fitting opening—it often doesn’t need to match past experience.

Many of my past clients found local jobs that perfectly fit their needs, desires, and high salary requirements. A few with a medical condition that wouldn’t interfere with their work ability but affected driving had feared Social Security may be their only option. They were thrilled to get jobs nearby that paid a ton more than Disability.

Some folks don’t mind commuting, and it doesn’t negatively affect their lives. Do what works for you. Just note: if you aren’t a fan of driving long distances, see if there are other options.

Good luck job seeking,

Beth Husom, GCDF

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Let things go

demonstrator-154201__340People have definite opinions regarding politicians, social issues, laws, change and more. It’s easy to see contrasts via media and in conversations. There are many opportunities to support different views and beliefs, and some get really involved. They seem to be getting meaner and people can feel a lack of control.

People may argue with those who feel differently. Some don’t let problems negatively affect days and don’t internalize issues. However, it’s common to feel mentally angry and even physically suffer when dealing with problems and negative situations. People may have trouble focusing on other aspects of life. This could make a job search tough. Even while searching for a protester stock photo for this blog post I even found myself getting irritated, and I can normally brush these things off. But some signs people held were so strong and mean against others.

If you get angry over issues or are in negative situations, it may be time to be a little selfish. Turn off the TV. Ignore negative social media or take a Facebook break; at minimum block those who regularly post disagreeing items. Don’t try to improve the universe. When possible, fix what brings you down or causes you to lose focus. Maybe find counseling if you’re struggling. Changes aren’t always easy but can help.

Instead of filling days with negativity, disagreements or problems, spend time finding great companies, making contacts, building relationships, discovering your strengths and pairing them with possible positions or job types that fit well. Ensure your resume and LinkedIn profile are top notch.

I don’t mean you should pretend things are perfect. I believe we are here to use our talents to be kind and help others. This in turn helps our self esteem and improves our life–look for a future blog on this. But while job searching, focus on the positive whenever possible. When we have a great job and are in a stable life environment, we are better equipped to deal with negative and tough life situations.

Good luck job hunting,

Beth Husom, GCDF

A happy employee

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I’ve had health issues for many years and am no stranger to medical facilities. A few years ago while in the hospital, a neighbor threw an extensive holy fit, screaming, swearing, calling the nurses horrid names. After trying to calm him down for some time, it sounded like he was removed by security. One second later, a nurse stepped in my room with a big smile on her face, checked my vitals, asked if I was comfortable, needed anything, or she could help in any way. I recognized her voice from next door.

I asked how she could be so nice seconds after being screamed at and called a *##**”#* for almost an hour. She said I had nothing to do with the angry patient; she was hired to care for people who need help. I didn’t deserve  his fallout. The smile never left her face.

This nurse is the epitome of a great employee. You may hate your job. Or, you could be unemployed and struggling. Home or health could be rough. I am sorry for that, and pray things turn around. In the meantime, remember this nurse. Problems shouldn’t boil over to other aspects of life. If your manager sucks, you’re paid peons, and are expected to be a superstar, put on the cape. Treat your customers with excellence. After a crappy day at work, help your neighbor; love on your partner and kids. Be kind to the world.

At the same time; don’t sit around accepting poor treatment but improve your situation. Respect yourself. If you aren’t supported by management, your organization treats employees poorly, they offer sub-par service or products, etc., and you don’t see things changing for the better—LOOK, LOOK, LOOK, and then MOVE, MOVE, MOVE—on. It’s an employee’s market right now. Also, make (sometimes tough) personal decisions that help, especially if you have kids. When you take care of their parent, you better care for them. Remember; we can’t eliminate problems out of our control, but our words and actions can often make them seem better or worse.

Good luck job hunting,

Beth Husom, GCDF

Caspar the Job Seeker

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In the past few blogs, I’ve chatted catfishing. Another term becoming common in the employment realm is “Ghosting.” Ghosting is defined as “Suddenly ending a relationship without communication or explanation.” I have studied it extensively—here’s a short overview and a couple examples of Ghosting.

One recruiter lined up 10 interviews for Customer Service Reps at an awesome company. Only 4 showed up for interviews. Despite many contact attempts, neither the recruiter nor company ever heard from the other 6 candidates.

Several large corporations say people regularly accept jobs and fail to show for the first day of work, no reason given. Companies share some employees don’t formally quit, but simply leave and never return. Bosses realize they’ve quit only after a series of unsuccessful attempts to contact them.

A restaurant manager overbooks entry-level interviews, knowing 50% won’t show. Even after they pass the drug screen, are officially hired, fill out paperwork, set a schedule and start date, she makes reminder calls, knowing it’s not guaranteed her new employee will show, even when chatting a few hours before.

Ghosting occurs more often among the younger generation, but happens across all industries, job levels, and ages. A recruiter spoke of a candidate for a high-level federal engineering position. She aced multiple interviews, a technical test and nabbed top-secret security clearance. Hiring managers wanted her, and the recruiter tried to make an offer. Over 3 weeks, she ignored over 2 dozen emails, texts, voicemails, and snail mail letters. Finally the recruiter gave up; 6 weeks later, the ghost engineer responded to say she took a different job. She never apologized.

What’s happening? Some speculate since companies and recruiters have historically ignored applicants, candidates are now returning the favor. With the strong economy people may receive multiple offers. I agree with many who speculate our digital anonymous world is key to ghosting. People apply online. They communicate online. Robots read resumes before a person lays eyes on them. With IM, emails and texting, people are less practiced in difficult conversations. Employers and employees have weaker relationships. It’s easier for some to disappear than deal with tough situations. Someone may ghost their job because they are uncomfortable talking with a boss about a problem. And, in today’s culture, many consider “No response” to be a response.

Ghosting comes back to bite people, so always be respectful and communicate. Don’t accept jobs if you’re not serious about taking them. Inform recruiters or companies if you need to drop out of the hiring process at any place—interviews, tests, screenings, after accepting, etc. Always tell bosses if you quit. It’s best to give 2 weeks’ notice, but at least tell them if you won’t return.

Let Caspar continue to hold the reputation for being the “friendly ghost.”  Ghosting leaves a bad impression that often goes beyond the current situation. Who knows? At some point, you may want a different job at the same company, want to use the same recruiter, or may connect with someone at an interview or job that would have led to a great opportunity elsewhere in the future. Email if you don’t want to speak with someone. Many hiring managers say ghost-candidates who didn’t show for interviews, return calls, or come for their first day of work-re-applied a few months later, and were “shocked” their previous (in)action negatively affected their current ability to land a new job. But know: it does.

Good luck job hunting,

Beth Husom, GCDF

Scamming Job Seekers

imagesCelebrating the Minnesota Fishing Opener last Saturday, a friend caught a huge catfish off our dock. He was glad for the instant dinner. However, fishing for online catfishes requires more than a pole and a minnow. Not catching one has a negative effect that goes way beyond the need to find an alternate supper.

I’ve blogged about catfish recruiters and companies. Let’s switch focus onto catfishing job seekers, and follow it up with blog on ghosting job seekers. Catfishes pretend to be something they are not online. Ghosts end relationships by suddenly withdrawing communication without explanation.

Job seekers catfish a few different ways; fluff resumes, create false social media profiles, and create fake reimages (18)ference pages. They do this alone or conspire with others, using friends or family as fake references or have someone interview for them.

Virtual or remote interviews and jobs are particularly vulnerable. However, catfishing candidates can successfully pass through recruiters, phone screens, and in-person interviews. Some do their homework well.

Companies and recruiters are getting smarter and catch many before hiring them. But indsome catfishes sneak through. And who knows? Maybe some end up killing the job. But in the end, in my research, something usually slips. The situations cause repercussions down the line, often that go far beyond losing that job.

I have a terrible memory (due to a combination of aging, motherhood, busy-ness, and past concussions). I wouldn’t be able to keep lies straight. And catfishing is a lie. It’s unethical. Don’t try to be something else. Get hired under true pretenses, do a great job, and you will soar. Maybe not tomorrow, but in today’s economy, it won’t take long. And NEVER “help” someone else catfish to get a job. You aren’t helping. In fact, the numbers of people this harms can be far reaching, and includes them, yourself, your families, potential recruiters, hiring managers, and even organizations as a whole.

Good luck job hunting,

Beth Husom, GCDF

Hired under false pretenses

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In the last blog post, I wrote about fake recruiters. “Catfishing” is when someone pretends to be someone else online to get something they want. Today, we’ll chat fake jobs. Scammers are endlessly creative, so there are many ways they entice new employees, and many reasons why they do. Real organizations may want to get awesome people for crappy jobs. They publish fake job descriptions on hiring websites, knowing people need incomes, so they’ll fill a need for a time.

For example: someone was hired for an Admissions Counselor position at a private university, to “guide and help students, answer questions, work closely with parents, build relationships, etc.” However: on their first day they were led to a storage room, handed a phone, sales script, long list of phone numbers and told to start making calls. They were a Cold Caller. Unfortunately, this type of event happens to new hires of many backgrounds in all types of organizations.

Blogs aren’t 20 pages, so I’ll condense: If you may have been catfished, stay calm. Give it a little time. Initial days can be different. Remember companies may have unanticipated situations, different immediate needs, changes, new regulations, projects, products, and a zillion other items that throw employees into altered short or long term roles. Keep an open mind. I’ve known people who actually like their duties. Learn, grow, and pursue a similar job elsewhere a little ways down the line. Talk with management about the differences in promises and actuality. Often hiring managers differ from actual managers. Maybe there was miscommunication or misunderstanding. This especially happens in large organizations.

If after this you determine you have been officially catfished, you can leave a new job shortly after hire. It’s usually best to give 2 weeks’ notice. The exception–never do anything that hurts someone, is illegal, or violates your beliefs or integrity. If you’re absolutely miserable in a toxic situation, you can tell your boss today’s your last day. But always do this in a respectable manner. Try not to worry if you need immediate income. Right now, companies are desperate for employees and temp firms are swamped. Get something short term while you conduct a smart job search.

Report illegal items to the proper authorities. Don’t add that the job to your resume. You can choose whether or not to  mention it in an interview, but be respectable. Maintain professionalism 100% of the time, even with the company.  Be honest, but remember the old newspaper slogan: “Just the facts, maam.” It may not be easy or seem fair. But trust me: it will pay off in the end. Only discuss employment issues with your therapist, family, or close friends—not social media.

How do you keep from being catfished for a new job? Research. Check out ratings, products and services, and their customer base. Contact current employees and ask questions. Hesitate when offered something on the spot. If it seems too good to be true, it may be. Try to interview in-person and sit down with the people you’ll work under. Tour the facility, and ideally job shadow. Don’t make permanent major changes, like relocating, until you test the job. Use your gut.

Good luck job seeking,

Beth Husom, GCDF

 

The Catfish Job Recruiter

*The next couple of my blogs will be based on catfishing–fake jobs, recruiters, applicants, and their enemies*

1_jzywu6_Mr-Q77vNpwOa4ngRecently, I watched MTV’s Catfish; it was interesting, so when Dr. Phil had a show on the same topic, I watched and was mesmerized.  The Urban Dictionary defines catfish as “someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.” It’s expanded to employment, since much recruitment, applying, interviews and more is done online. Today, we’ll chat fake recruiters. Later blogs will focus on companies, job seekers, and revenge seekers.

Fake “Recruiters” scam people to get personal information. In this way, they can steal information, money, and identities. Fake recruiting can be a smart scam. Catfish “recruiters” normally impersonate legitimate people at real companies. Everything appears trustworthy—a real company with a real website, the person’s name and photo  in the employee directory. The “recruiter” links to a LinkedIn profile that seems to match. But it’s a trick. Their victims are talking to a scammer.

How do catfish recruiters find victims? LinkedIn is a legitimate recruitment site, so millions of LinkedIn participants post resumes; even those not actively job seeking. Catfish recruiters often offer work-from-home positions from a company based in a different state, indicating they may be expanding their employee base to a national level.

I read an intriguing article by Josh Hendrickson at How-to-Geek, https://www.howtogeek.com/410387/scam-alert-fake-job-recruiters-tried-to-catfish-us-here%E2%80%99s-what-happened/, and encourage you to do the same. How-to-Geek employees knew someone contacted by a recruitment scammer. They created a fake job seeker profile and contacted the scammer, to see if they could find how recruitment catfishing would play out. It worked. To make a long story short, they found the catfish recruiter was in Nigeria who tried to get their social security number, bank account information, cell phone data, and more. They attempted to get the How-to-Geek people to send them high buck personal property, such as a cell phone. There are MANY things catfish recruiters try, and many items they want.

When recruited online, be smart. If contacted, speak to someone via phone, video chat, and if possible, have a personal interview at the company. Review open positions at their company website to see if they are the same for one(s) for which you’re being recruited. Think of the offer; is it too good to be true? Call the company’s mainline. Ask to speak with the recruiter this way, and speak with additional employees. Review the “recruiter” on all components of social media and the company website. Google search them.  Find personal information and ask them questions on both themselves and the company. Get contracts before giving personal info. Only mail items to the company itself.

It’s important to remember, these legitimate companies and true company recruiters are also victims. If you feel you have been scammed, get as much information you can, contact the company and let them know.

This is a long blog. I could write a ton more, but am signing out. Be safe and watch for future blogs on this topic.

Good luck job seeking,

Beth Husom, GCDF