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What Getting a Job and Car Insurance Have in Common

If you’ve ever switched jobs, you know it can be hard – really hard. I’m not talking about getting the same job at a new company. Switching from one type of job to another can feel impossible.

Have you ever been on a job interview and started to wonder if the hiring manager was simply checking off boxes? This can be tough when you don’t perfectly fit into a box, but you know you’d do a great job.

If you’ve ever thought this was happening, you’d likely be right. I’ve often wondered why it is that hiring managers use such a basic way to measure a candidate’s abilities. They simply look to see if a candidate has done a particular task before – not how skilled they are at it.

The problem is, if we’re being honest, there aren’t many great ways to measure candidates. Measuring potential candidate success is tricky and time consuming.

So, many hiring mangers do the only thing that makes sense. They look for someone who (on paper) looks like someone else. They look for someone with the same background as those who have worked well in the past. They look for what typically works.

This is a similar method that car insurance companies use when they sell you car insurance. They look at how likely “you” are to get into an accident. But, they don’t know you. So, they look at how likely someone like you is to get into an accident. Insurance companies look at factors including age, gender, marital status, and car make and model (among other things).

Insurance companies are trying to reduce their risk overall. They want to insure people who have the lowest average risk of failure.

That’s the same thing many corporations are trying to do when they hire. They’re trying to minimize their likelihood of failure. On average, they want new hires to do well.

So, what can you do if you don’t fit into the box? What can you do when you know you’d be good at a job, but you don’t meet the typical profile of someone in the job? There are multiple routes to consider. Some people opt to go back to school for an additional degree, or to get a certification of some kind.

But, if you know the education is not necessary, you may want to consider another route. Look for opportunities to get involved in a small way in the new field you’re interested in. You might take on an extra project at work, or volunteer for this type of work at a non-profit in your community. Network with those in the field you’re interested in.

And, look for an open minded hiring manager. They’re out there. It takes a bit longer to find them. The more jobs you interview for, the more likely you are to find someone who will give you a chance, despite your non-traditional background.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

What will you be relocating when you move?

When it comes to job interviews, there are certain questions that are off limits. Not only are they a faux pas, they are against the law.

One illegal question is around a person’s family status. Employers are not allowed to ask a candidate if they are married. They are also not allowed to ask whether or not the person has children.

The reasons behind these rules are simple. There’s room for unequal treatment between those with children and spouses and those without. Honestly, the judgement can go both ways. One employer may prefer someone with no children who is (in theory) able to work long hours. Another employer may prefer someone with children because it (in theory) indicates that the person is stable and unlikely to switch jobs quickly. Someone with a house and kids has to put food on the table, even when they’re unhappy.

Most people know these questions aren’t allowed. But, many employers ask anyway. So, how can an employer manage to ask such an obviously illegal question? Well, it’s easier than you might think.

Very often, they work it into a question about relocation. The question should be, “Are you willing to relocate to our city for this opportunity?” The answer should be, “Yes, I am willing to relocate to your city.” The creative version of this question is, “When it comes to relocation, what do you need to relocate? Will you be relocating with a spouse and children?”

Sneaky, right?

Phrased in this way, the question almost sounds necessary. But, why? Why does it matter if someone has to relocate their children? It doesn’t. Perhaps this may impact when the person is available to relocate. But, if this is a concern, the new question might be, “Are you available to relocate by July 15th?” This answers the employer’s question without stepping over the line.

Sometimes, an employer will justify this question by saying they’re trying to get to know the candidate better. Maybe they are. But, there’s also a possibility that the answer to the question (whatever it is) may create some level of bias against the candidate.

This is why this question is not allowed – to prevent bias and to keep the playing field level. Whether or not a person has children or a spouse, the most important thing is that they show up on time and that they do a great job. People can succeed or fail at this, regardless of their family status.

If you’re a hiring manager, take note. Your candidates do notice when you ask illegal questions. Just because they answer them doesn’t mean they aren’t paying attention.

If you’re a job seeker, you’re not alone. These questions are asked more than anyone would like to admit. There isn’t a perfect answer to uncomfortable questions. But, pay attention to the way you felt when you were asked. It may be an indication of what’s ahead.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

Seeking: Digital Natives

I’ve noticed something on job postings lately. Companies are seeking “digital natives.” “Digital native” is used on digital marketing jobs. My corporate career is as a digital marketer. These words are often used on job postings for anything from a search engine optimization manager to a vice president of digital marketing.

This term makes sense at first. But, the definition of a digital native, according to Dictionary.com, is “a person born or brought up during the age of digital technology and therefore familiar with computers and the internet from an early age.”

Those who are turning forty this year probably started to use the internet around 1995, when they were sophomores in high school – if they were lucky. That was in the time of the dial up modem and America Online. Their parents were ahead of the game to have a home computer then. In all likelihood, they really began to use computers when they went to college.

It should be noted that I’m omitting early Mac computers and things like Atari for the purposes of this column. I’m talking about the real deal internet.

Digital natives had the internet in elementary school or middle school. Wikipedia says digital natives “are often used to describe the digital gap in terms of the ability of technological use among people born from the 1980 onward and those born before.”

By this definition, a digital native would be thirty-eight years old or younger today. Let that soak in. A job description that specifically requests that someone is thirty-eight years old or less.

Why does this happen? I don’t have the answer for you. I’d like to know this myself. I thought that the idea of a job posting was to hire someone with a certain skillset rather than a certain age.

I also heard this rumor that discriminating on the basis of age when hiring is not allowed. In fact, I think there may be something called the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

Yet, despite this, if you search for the term “digital native” (in quotes) on any of the job websites, you’ll find many, many job postings looking for them. A quick search today landed me on a Senior Producer role. The second sentence of the job posting reads, “We want you on the team if you are an experienced digital native with experience in news and politics and are looking to bring your combined expertise to be a leader on MSNBC.com.”

We should be hiring based on skill, not age. The idea that anyone over thirty-eight is unable to work in the digital world is sad and just plain wrong. The phrase “digital native” sounds stylish, but if you’re writing job descriptions, think about what this really means. In what other context would it be okay to say, “If you’re under thirty-nine, please apply”?

Ask for the skills you want in a candidate, not their age.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

Below Average Recruiter Seeks Above Average Talent

There’s a dirty little secret in the job search world. It is so common that it’s often becoming the norm. If you are a human resources leader or a hiring manager, this column is for you. There is someone on your recruiting team that isn’t doing their job and you probably don’t even know it.

Before you get angry, hear me out. What I’m about to say in no way applies to every recruiter. Some recruiters are amazing. They connect deserving candidates with bosses who need their help. It’s a win-win on all sides.

Now, let’s talk about what’s happening with the not so great recruiters. Let me describe the typical candidate experience. The job seeker applies online. The recruiter finds their resume and asks them to schedule a meeting. The first meeting is a screening call. The recruiter emails the candidate the same day or the day before and asks them for a time to talk. Sometimes, the recruiter only offers one time. If the candidate is unavailable at a particular time, the recruiter may ghost the candidate.

Let’s assume the candidate and the recruiter schedule a meeting. The candidate cancels their plans to take the call. They study. They practice. They prepare to put their best foot forward! They sneak away to somewhere quiet to take the call.

Then, they wait. And, they wait and they wait. And, then they wait some more. The recruiter calls late, very late. I’m not talking about five minutes late. I’m talking about thirty minutes, sixty minutes, and over two hours late. I have observed this pattern in about 70 percent of recruiter screening calls lately.

If the candidate does not wait, they lose the job interview. But, they are forced to miss all of their commitments and to hide out for an unknown amount of time. When the recruiter calls, the candidate must pretend not to be bothered. If they don’t have time to meet, the recruiter will gladly move on to someone else in their stack of resumes. Without fail, the recruiter will say, “I’m sorry. My last meeting ran long.” As a recruiter, a top skill should be managing a personal schedule. And, if things were reversed, would the job seeker be considered if they were sixty minutes late?

Many recruiters are also not prepared for the screening call. They have not reviewed the candidate’s resume. Sometimes, they believe they’re calling about a completely different job in a completely different department. Oops!

How does this happen you may wonder? Well, as a job seeker, you will never get a job offer if you are the complainer. And, companies very rarely ever ask for feedback on interviews. So, there’s no feedback loop. At the end of the day, as long as a warm body eventually fills the job posting, the company is happy. But, are they really getting the best candidate? This is quite doubtful.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

Salary Laws: Are they helping?

I hope you’ve heard the exciting news! Many states and some cities have updated their hiring laws. In many places, employers can no longer ask your current salary. And, in some, the laws are even more specific. In California, if a candidate asks for the salary range for a job, the company is required to provide it.

These changes are being put into place to help even the playing field on pay. It’s excellent news all around. First, even people in locations not covered by the new laws are benefiting. Some companies are adopting these changes corporate wide.

Not asking how much you make can help in two ways. If you’re currently underpaid for any reason, your future salary won’t be based on your past salary. This means that you can make more and be paid fairly more quickly. And, if you’re looking to downgrade your career for any reason (or just change to a different path that pays less), you won’t have the employer asking why you want to take a pay cut. You won’t be dropped just for making too much money. (And, yes, this really happens.)

Employers do still typically ask how much you want to be paid. But, you can find information about pay on sites like Glassdoor.com that will help you to answer this question when it comes up. (And, it does come up in the very first screening call, so be prepared with an answer!)

But, this is what I’m wondering. I have seen a number of cases lately where the company (in a regulated state) is choosing to operate in the old fashioned way. They’re still asking salary history and they’re refusing to provide a salary range when asked. This seems especially prevalent when a recruiter is helping to place for a position in a state where the recruiter doesn’t reside. They don’t seem to be up to date on the laws in other states.

So, what’s a job seeker to do? This is such a hard question and honestly not one I have a clear answer to at this point. You can (and should) push back on this question if you feel comfortable. But, be aware, you will catch more flies with honey. Telling the recruiter that they’re breaking laws by asking you certain questions is likely not the way to get a job offer.

That’s the problem with these great new laws. As a job seeker, your goal is to land a job. It’s not to change the world. If you take the time to stand up for this issue, you could very likely lose the job opportunity. But, on the flip side, if job seekers stay quiet on this issue, it’s never going to change.

If you have encountered this issue, I’d love to hear from you and how you handled it. It’s an important and sticky issue that we are all working through today.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

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