Even It Up!

Shifting the balance for jobseekers

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This blog is longer active

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Quick post to let you know that this blog is no longer active. You can still post comments and respond to others, but comments are moderated and might be approved in a timely fashion, because I simply don’t check them that often now.

I am happy to keep the blog, though, because it provides information for Jobseekers and insight into the mechanations of the recruitment industry. I may (one day) even turn it into a book.

Until that time, happy reading.

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Written by evenitup

December 6, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

No questions asked

with one comment

Stephen Conroy proves that at the top end of town, things are very different. No answering selection criteria, panel interview, or psychological profiling for this role. No hoop jumping in any way, shape or form!

The thing about this appointment is that it was publicised as being a rather dodgy process, which is not dissimilar to the way many organisations hire.

Many government departments go so far as to “go through the hiring motions” because they have a specific candidate in mind they they want to employee.

The questions then becomes: which is the more unethical process?

clipped from www.smh.com.au

You’re hired: plum jobs with no hard questions

THE former Labor MP Mike Kaiser was far from being the only senior staff member of the national broadband network hired without the position being advertised or a candidate shortlist compiled, it has emerged.

As the opposition labelled the appointment of Mr Kaiser the result of a ”corrupted process”, new information revealed that others had been given the inside running on lucrative senior roles.

The man who made the appointment, NBN Co’s chief executive, Mike Quigley (who himself earns $1.95 million a year), said the rush to start the $43 billion network meant it relied on using referrals – bypassing the advertising of positions – for the appointment of 40 per cent of its 112 staff.

”The process was not dissimilar to what we’ve used for many other employees,” Mr Quigley said of Mr Kaiser’s selection.

  blog it

Written by evenitup

February 22, 2010 at 7:34 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

What is Seek playing at?

with 11 comments

Seek are clearly launching some sort of campaign… we clicked on the link in the ad, but were redirected to a “cliffhanger” page.   However, we do find it interesting – and a tad hypocritical – that given the focus on scam, fake and bogus job ads (and Seek’s protestations that they do everything in their power to ensure it doesn’t happen – see  Even It Up! Forums and Seek’s CIO’s input), that Seek would actually have “fictitious ads” in their advertising campaign.

And it ‘s a shame the job is a sham, because here we were thinking that Diane Lee from Even It Up! had found her perfect job!

You can view the ad (and link) here.  What do you think?

Written by evenitup

October 8, 2009 at 6:44 pm

It’s about the people, stupid!

with 4 comments

Even It Up! gets quite a bit of criticism from recruiters.  Surely not, we hear our supporters say; how can this be?  The criticism comes from two main areas 1) we aren’t recruiters and 2) we’re too negative.

Before we address these criticisms, how about we get back to basics?  How about we think about the purpose of recruitment: what it’s actually for.   We’ll go to our friend the internet for this, and offer a selection of definitions for your perusal.

Definition #1 (from Business Dictionary) Recruitment is the process of identifying and hiring best-qualified candidate (from within or outside of an organisation) for a job vacancy, in a most timely and cost effective manner.

Definition #2 (from BNet) the activity of employing workers to fill vacancies or enrolling new members. Employment recruitment is composed of several stages: verifying that a vacancy exists; drawing up a job specification; finding candidates; selecting them by interviewing and other means such as conducting a psychometric test; and making a job offer. Effective recruitment is important in achieving high organizational performance and minimizing labor turnover. Employees may be recruited either externally or internally.

Definition #3 (from eHow) Recruitment and selection refers to the chain and sequence of activities pertaining to recruitment and selection of employable candidates and job seekers for an organization. Every enterprise, business, start-up and entrepreneurial firm has some well-defined employment and recruitment policies and hiring procedures. The HR department of large organizations, businesses government offices and multilateral organizations are generally vested with the responsibilities of employee recruitment and selection.

If we collate these definitions, it would be fair to say that recruitment is about the processes and systems that ensure the organisation puts the best possible person into a vacant job position so that the organisation is able to perform at optimum level.

There are three parts to this equation.  Firstly, there have to be the “best possible people” who can be recruited; secondly, there have to be vacant jobs that require filling; and thirdly organisations have optimum processes and systems in place in order to do the recruiting.

From a jobseeker’s point of view there is generally some work required on their part to ensure they are “the best” and can seamlessly integrate with the organisation’s recruitment systems and process.  The onus is usually on the jobseeker to acquire the necessary skills (communication, computer etc.), qualifications (degrees, diplomas, trade certificates etc.) and experience (work, volunteering etc.) to ensure they can meet the organisation’s requirements.   Often the jobseeker will keep “skilling up” to improve their career prospects and keep being “the best”.  The jobseeker, therefore, fulfills their part of the recruitment bargain*.

So, from an organisation’s perspective, it should be a very simple process to ensure that the best possible person wins the vacant position.  If only that were true, because the organisation, in its efforts to minimise risk** puts barriers and obstacles in the jobseeker’s way (and anyone who reads this blog and has visited the Even It Up! website knows very well what these are.  If you are new, here is an example).  The organisation, in effect, is not fulfilling their part of the bargain! And, interestingly, this is projected onto the the jobseeker,  who is then seen to have “failed” in some way.

Now: to get back to address our critics.  We are not recruiters, but we have been a part of the recruitment process.  We have collected the necessary skills, qualifications and experience.  We have jumped through all the hoops you require us to.  And still we come up short.  We are too this, or not enough of that … you get the picture.  And it’s not a case of sour grapes.  We have applied for roles, not won them, and can still speak highly of the organisation involved (sadly, not many!).  Treating jobseekers fairly and respectfully is a wonderful (and strategically clever) way to manage your brand.

And it’s the very fact that we’ve had recruitment “done to us” that entitles Even It Up! to be negative.  And we are not going to change this position in a hurry because recruitment is broken, and it needs to be fixed.  And by that we don’t  mean just getting rid of all those awful recruitment companies who operate on an old school sales model, rather than a knowledge economy talent model.

We need organisations to fulfill their part of the bargain and make it easy to actually hire the best person for the job.  Not the person who will argue the least, or has the WASP surname, or who is the easiest to manage, or is the youngest and therefore most likely to stay, or who the panel chair would like to bonk, or who kisses up to the recruitment consultant.  We expect our organisations to actually be diverse and live up to the promise of employer branding, not simply talk about it using empty rhetoric.

There is a wonderful old saying that can be directly applied to recruitment: you can put as many candles as you like into a pile of crap and it still doesn’t make it a birthday cake.  Our being positive about recruitment won’t make it so.  It’s only by saying that it is broken that we can truly think about how it can be fixed.

* One thing that recruiters hate more than anything else is jobseekers applying for jobs where they don’t have the skills, knowledge or experience, or conversely, too much of it.  It throws the process into chaos!  The internet has highlighted this “deficiency” and many recruiters complain about being swamped by online applications from people who they consider unsuitable.

** Many organisations are risk averse and perceive (and treat) recruitment as a  major risk management operation.

Gen Y: will work for free!

with 2 comments

The founder of Even It Up! (Diane Lee) teaches part-time at Tafe.  She has noticed a disturbing trend among Generation Y: they are working for free.

Example #1 – Jonah*

Jonah had found a job in a restaurant.  The owner wanted him to work for  a “trial period” for a week before making a decision as to whether to hire him.

Example #2 – Chelsea

Chelsea wanted to break into the graphic design industry, and a friend of  her family’s (who had a graphic design business)  gave her a number of projects to work on (with strict deadlines) as “work experience”.

Example #3 – Brenton

Brenton was keen to get an apprenticeship, so was working for a week as a “trial” before being “formally” offered work.  The potential employer was a friend of the family.

In all cases, Diane advised them that being asked to work for free was, in fact, illegal.  Interestingly, they said they didn’t know (we are pretty sure, though, that their “employers” did!).  More interesting, though, was that these young people  felt they had no option, with their rationale being:

  • If I want the job, then I have to do it…
  • It’s a friend of the family, so I feel obligated…
  • It’s only for a few days, and then I get a job at the end…

Even It Up! can only assume that there are thousands of young people being taken advantage of in a similar way.   And it will continue because of the power differential.  We doubt that any young person will risk possible employment (in this tough job climate) by telling a potential boss that what they are asking them to do is illegal.

* Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals

Written by evenitup

September 24, 2009 at 7:14 pm

Ability: A New Form of Job Discrimination?

with 10 comments

The post Even It Up! wrote the other day about our experience with Edge Recruitment and their feedback on our application has been niggling at us.  It’s not that they were defensive about their processes (who wouldn’t be under the circumstances?) or they accused us of chasing work as consultants (isn’t that how work is sometimes won?).  What bothered us was the overt discrimination against skills, experience and qualifications of the applicant, and that we had dared apply for a  lower-paid position (although salary wasn’t stipulated in the ad).  Is what we experienced a form of ability discrimination?

It’s interesting, because the rhetoric around qualifications (certainly from schools, universities and the majority of employers) is that they are instrumental to (and even crucial in) gaining work.  Certainly, we have all been led to believe this over the years (if we didn’t, why would we spend thousands on our education – both vocational and academic)?  But what if it just isn’t true?  What if having qualifications is as detrimental to finding work as not having them?

If you participate in Even It Up! Forums, you know that this is not a new phenomenon.  Other jobseekers have also experienced the prejudice and suspicion that comes with being overqualified for positions they may apply for.  The recruiter (direct employer or recruitment consultant) often perceives that:

  • the jobseeker will walk (and quickly) once they find another position more “suitable” to their qualifications and pay expectations
  • they may expect (and demand) more money once they are in the role
  • they may be more “difficult” to manage and not be as pliable as someone who has less experience/qualifications.

While there may be an element of truth to the above assertions, it is not always the case.  Jobseekers apply for roles they are clearly overqualified for for a number of reasons:

From our perspective, the issues are: why should jobseekers have to justify themselves for seeking out work they are overqualified for? Aren’t employers being narrow-minded and short-sighted for not embracing the clear skillset that these sorts of jobseekers will bring to the role (and the organisation as a whole)?

And so the questions become: what sort of organisation are you? Are you an organisation that will embrace the various skillsets of jobseekers that apply for your roles?  Or are you an organisation that is suspicious and judgmental of anyone who applies for a role that (on the surface) they may be either overqualified or underqualified for?

And how willing are you to take the time to find out why before discarding “unsuitable” applications?

Written by evenitup

September 9, 2009 at 5:32 pm

Social media and job hunting: do you make these 4 mistakes?

with 6 comments

In a recent post about the Fair Work Act 2009, Even It Up! talked briefly about social media and the legalities around whether employers can use what they find online to aid the hiring decision.  Simply put: they can’t.  It is illegal to do so.  But as with many things in this world, it’s only illegal if you get caught!  Savvy employers will find other legal ways to refuse to offer a job to someone, for example:

  • you are overqualified
  • you are underqualified
  • you don’t have enough experience
  • you don’t have the right sort of experience for the role
  • you may not be a good cultural fit
  • they have decided to put all hiring on hold
  • the position has been given to a redeployee
  • an internal applicant won the role.

etc. etc.  There is nothing in what has been said above to indicate that a prospective employer went onto your Facebook/Twitter/MySpace page and did not like what they saw.  And whether josbeekers like it or not, employers can and probably will.  It’s naive to think otherwise. So, in the interest of protecting your personal brand (particularly aimed at Generation Y* jobseekers) here are some tips to help you:

1. Be careful what you write in your status updates.

We live in an era where we can talk about what we are doing and what we are thinking 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week.  But that doesn’t mean that we should.  Diane Lee  is on Facebook and was recently appalled at a homophobic, pornographic, and really unsavoury status update that was written by a Gen Y ex-student, and promptly removed the update (and all future updates from this person) from the Newsfeed (she is also considering  de-Friending the person involved).  The question then becomes: would you employ (or recommend) this person knowing  this is how/what they think?

One could argue that while our privacy needs to be protected (and should be), social media offers a transparency that allows employers to really see what a person is like.  It transcends interviews and reference checks.  And, from an employer’s perspective wouldn’t it be better to have evidence that someone thought (given thought is widely understood to be an indicator/predictor of behaviour) in discriminatory ways?  Could it be argued that social media is an extension of the vicarious liability laws?  Isn’t being aware of a person’s potential to be behave inappropriately heading off a lawsuit?  Isn’t it better to manage the brand of the organisation before the hire is made?  Not easy questions to answer…

2. Be careful what photos you upload

Ditto above, but the catch here is that other people can also upload photos of you.  You need to ensure that if you are tagged (in Facebook, for example)  and you don’t like the photo, you remove the tag immediately.  And you can set your privacy settings so that you can’t be tagged by other people.  If you are uploading photos a) be careful what you upload b) to where and c) who can view them.  Also, if you are the one uploading photos of other people, have some consideration for how they will be perceived.

3. Tweak your privacy settings

Most social media sites allow you to tweak your privacy settings.  If you are concerned about who is viewing your profile, make sure you adjust your settings to private (or similar).  But as demonstrated in the first tip, you still need to ensure that you are thinking big picture.  If you aren’t sure about a post or update, ask yourself if you would be happy if a) it was splashed across the front page of a major newspaper/TV news show or b) whether you would be happy for the CEO of <insert company where dream job is located here> read your post. If the answer to both is negative, err on the side of caution, and just don’t.

4. Google yourself

There are a number of sites where you can check  to see what is your online presence is (and Thomas Shaw from The Recruitment Directory listed a number of sites in his response to the Fair Work post). One of the easiest ways is to put your name in inverted commas and Google yourself.  For example the search for “diane lee” comes up with this. And this is just the Australia search. It’s worthwhile doing just to check what’s out there, and Even It Up! encourages  all jobseekers to Google themsleves. If there’s nothing there (or your name, but it’s not you), it’s time to build an online presence; if your online presence is less than rose-smelling, you need to move quickly to clean it up.

Work/life encroachment

The argument is: work is work and home is home, and what people do in their own time does not affect their ability to the do the job.  This argument loses strength when we consider how much work impacts (and encroaches on) our personal lives.  Hands up who has a work mobile or email where they are encouraged – nay, expected! – to answer/attend to 24/7?  Thought so.  How many of you bring work home?  Thought so there, too.  How many of you think about work, even if you are on holidays (and feel guilty because we aren’t working)?  Yep.  There’s another one!  And how many of you missed a special event because of something you “had to do for work”? And yet we still naively think that work and our personal lives can be kept separate.  The internet has enabled the demarcation to blur.  Social media is just fuzzying up things even more, and the law is trying (and probably failing) to keep up.

The point of this post is to make readers aware.  Josbeekers (of all generations!) really should be proactively managing their online presence to ensure that they are squeaky clean.  After all, you never know who is looking.

*If you are interested, more info about Generation Y is available here.

Written by evenitup

July 31, 2009 at 11:17 am