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The latest news, trends and information to help you with your recruiting efforts.

Posted November 09, 2010 by

Lamest Excuses for Calling in Sick (pun intended)

The work break is taking on a new meaning with workers forgoing just a few minutes away from their desks, in favor of, whole days away from the office to recharge their batteries. CareerBuilder’s annual survey on absenteeism shows 29 percent of workers have played hooky from the office at least once this year, calling in sick when they were well. Twenty-seven percent of employers think they are seeing an increase in bogus sick excuses from employees due to continued stress and burnout caused by the weak economy.

While the majority of employers said they believe their workers when they say they’re feeling under the weather, 29 percent reported they have checked up on an employee who called in sick and 16 percent said they have fired a worker for missing work without a proven excuse. Of the employers who checked up on an employee, 70 percent said they required the employee to show them a doctor’s note. While half called the employee at home, 18 percent had another worker call the employee and 15percent drove by the employee’s house or apartment.

“Six-in-ten employers we surveyed said they let their team members use sick days for mental health days,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “If you need to take some time away from the office, the best way not to cause yourself more stress is to be open and honest with your manager.”

“Just not feeling like going to work” is the number one reason why workers said they call off sick with made-up excuses followed by “just needing to relax” and “catching up on sleep.” Other reasons included doctor’s appointments, needing to run personal errands, and plans with family and friends.

When asked to share the most unusual excuses employees gave for missing work, employers offered the following real-life examples:

1. Employee said a chicken attacked his mom.
2. Employee’s finger was stuck in a bowling ball.
3. Employee had a hair transplant gone bad.
4. Employee fell asleep as his desk while working and hit his head, causing a neck injury.
5. Employee said a cow broke into her house and she had to wait for the insurance man.
6. Employee’s girlfriend threw a Sit n Spin through his living room window.
7. Employee’s foot was caught in the garbage disposal.
8. Employee called in sick from a bar at 5:00 p.m. the night before.
9. Employee said he wasn’t feeling too clever that day.
10. Employee had to mow the lawn to avoid a lawsuit from the home owner’s association
11. Employee called in the day after Thanksgiving because she burned her mouth on a pumpkin pie.
12. Employee was in a boat on Lake Erie and ran out of gas and the coast guard towed him to the Canadian side.

Posted October 01, 2010 by

It’s Officially an Old Wive’s Tale: Fantasy Football is Not Hurting the Economy

John ChallengerWith three weeks of the NFL season in the books, the big question is whether fantasy football leagues are sapping the nation’s workplace productivity. According to human resource professionals from around the country, the answer is a resounding NO.

In a survey by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., the majority of respondents said fantasy football had little to no impact on productivity. Ranking the level of distraction on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being no noticeable impact, nearly 70 percent said four or lower. Less than eight percent of respondents said the level of distraction rated a 7 or 8 and none of the respondents felt the phenomenon deserved a 9 or 10.

“Other surveys show that people are indeed managing their fantasy teams from work. However, what we are hearing from the human resources community is that this is not at all affecting the level of output workers are expected to deliver,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

The Challenger survey found that about one in five employers block access to sports and fantasy football websites. However, many simply look the other way with nearly half (46.2 percent) saying they do not care if employees spend part of their workday on fantasy football, as long as the quality and quantity of output does not decline. About 22 percent said they merely ask workers to limit fantasy football and other personal activities to lunch and other break times.

“It is difficult for companies to take a hard-line stance against fantasy football. The internet technology that helped fuel the rapid growth of fantasy football participation and makes it possible to manage teams from one’s desk also makes it possible for employees to attend to work duties during their personal time,” said Challenger.

Fantasy football is becoming so popular it may be difficult for employers to stop it, even if they wanted to. A 2008 study by the Fantasy Sports Trade Association estimated that 27.1 million Americans participate in fantasy sports, with 75 percent of those or roughly 20.3 million playing fantasy football. That was up from 17 million fantasy sports participants and 13.6 million fantasy football players estimated by the Association just a couple of years prior.

Meanwhile, other studies from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association indicate that fantasy sports participants spend about three to four hours on the Internet per week, with nearly 1.2 hours of that time at the office. “Managers should only crack down on those whose work is clearly suffering from the added distraction. An across-the-board ban on all fantasy football or sports websites could backfire in the form of reduced morale and loyalty. The result could be far worse than the loss of productivity caused by 10 to 20 minutes of team management each day,” said Challenger. “Companies that not only allow workers to indulge in fantasy football, but actually encourage it by organizing a company leagues are likely to see significant benefits in morale as well as productivity,” Challenger said. “In the long run, this may lead to increased employee retention.”

A 2006 Ipsos Survey, 40 percent of respondents said fantasy sports participation was a positive influence in the workplace. Another 40 percent said it increases camaraderie among employees. One in five said their involvement in fantasy sports enabled them to make a valuable business contact.

Despite these impressive figures, less than eight percent of the Challenger survey participants said their companies “embrace” fantasy football participation as a morale-boosting activity and none of the employers represented officially organized leagues.

The Challenger survey was conducted online among approximately 100 respondents from the end of August through late-September. Interestingly, about 65 percent of those polled said they participate in fantasy football leagues, either with co-workers, friends outside of work or both.

Posted September 27, 2010 by

Worst Resume Mistakes

With 14.9 million people unemployed in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the pressure to get resumes in the “yes” pile is immense. Nearly half (48 percent) of human resource managers surveyed reported they typically review 25 applications or less for open positions. Thirty-eight percent said, on average, they spend less than a minute reviewing a resume; 18 percent spend less than 30 seconds.

One of the biggest mistakes job seekers make that can take them out of the running is a lack of customization. Seventy-nine percent of human resource managers said they pay more attention to resumes that are tailored to their open positions.

When asked for the most memorable missteps they encountered when going through resumes, human resource managers and hiring managers reported the following:

  • Candidate put God down as a reference (no phone number).
  • Candidate listed her hobby as alligator watching.
  • Candidate claimed to be a direct descendant of the Vikings.
  • Candidate’s email address had “lovesbeer” in it.
  • Candidate listed “Master of Time and Universe” under his experience.
  • Candidate started off the application with “Do you want a tiger?”
  • Candidate specifically pointed out that he was not a gypsy.
  • Candidate’s condition for accepting the position was being allowed to bring his pet monkey to the workplace.
  • Candidate pointed out, “I’ll have your job in five years.”
  • Candidate sent a 24-page resume for a 5-year career.
  • Candidate put a picture of her cat on top of her resume.
  • Candidate declared himself the LeBron James of table games.
  • Candidate sent a video trying to hypnotize the HR manager into hiring him.

“While it’s important to stand out from the crowd, job seekers need to make sure their resumes catch hiring managers’ eyes for the right reasons,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “Job seekers need to communicate their relevant experience and utilize keywords from the job posting, while customizing their resume for each and every position. Focus on what you can bring to the table right from the get go.”

Haefner offers the following tips to get you started on your road to resume success:

  • Quantify your experience – Have you helped increase client business, made significant sales or increased team productivity? Make every effort possible to quantify these experiences so you can show employers how you’ve positively affected bottom lines in the past – and how you can hit the ground running at their organization.
  • Keep it professional – While it sometimes can be helpful to include personal achievements on your resume, leave off information that is too personal. Instead, focus on items that are business-related, such as volunteer work or membership in professional organizations. Also, make sure you leave emoticons, inappropriate e-mail addresses and cutesy fonts off your final product.
  • Make it easy to read – Avoid using large blocks of text. Use bullets to break up text and make it easy for hiring managers to zero in on important points. Avoid using ornate fonts that may cause formatting issues when sharing electronically.