Thursday, July 26, 2012

How BeKnown App Will Make Facebook Work for You has just launched a new professional networking app for Facebook users: BeKnown. BeKnown lets you identify and connect with friends and professional contacts from multiple sources to grow your professional network, enhance your online professional identity and discover new jobs.    

BeKnown allows users to build a professional network on Facebook -- the world's largest and most active social network-- while keeping personal and work-related contacts and content completely separated. BeKnown brings together the 700 million Facebook users and the 97 percent of Fortune 500 companies that use Monster to find candidates.

If you're on Facebook, you can now use BeKnown to:

  • Create professional networks within a professional environment created by Monster -- without ever leaving Facebook. (No more need to switch back and forth between sites.)
  • Easily invite contacts from other social networks to expand your BeKnown network beyond your existing Facebook friends. You can add contacts to BeKnown without having to become their Facebook friends.
  • Keep social activity with friends and family separate from work-related activity with professional contacts.
  • See Monster's millions of job postings -- and see who among your professional contacts on BeKnown is connected to the companies you're interested in.
  • Connect professional networking to Monster’s job search and browse tools and import your Monster or LinkedIn profile to BeKnown from within the app.
BeKnown Invites

Joining BeKnown is easy -- the app guides you through a quick set-up process. You can opt to use your Facebook profile information and/or pull information from other networking sites and your Monster profile.

To invite contacts to join you on BeKnown, click on the Network tab and then on the Invite Friends button. You'll see there that you can invite contacts from your Twitter account, Gmail address book and Yahoo! Mail address book -- just click one of the icons and follow the instructions to grant BeKnown access to those accounts. (No one will be contacted without your permission -- you choose the contacts you want to invite.)

To invite contacts from a platform or program that doesn’t allow access to contacts, export those contacts as a CSV file. Here are the steps:
  1. Export Your Connections As a CSV File: In LinkedIn, for example, go to the address-book export page, choose Microsoft Outlook (CSV file) from the Export drop-down menu, enter the security code and click on Export. This creates a new CSV file containing all your contacts’ information.

    Similarly, Microsoft Outlook and other programs let you export contacts to a CSV file.

    If you receive an error message during upload, you may need to reformat your CSV file. Learn more about CSV files here.
  2. Import Those Connections into Your Gmail or Yahoo! Mail Account: In Gmail, click on Contacts, choose Import from the More Actions drop-down menu, click on Browse or Choose File, and then choose the CSV file you created in the first step. Finish by clicking on Import.

    In Yahoo! Mail, click on Contacts, click on the Import Contacts button and choose Others from the Source menu. Then select "A desktop email program" -- this will allow you to choose your CSV file.

    If you don't have a Yahoo or Gmail account, you can create one for free.
  3. Access the Contacts from BeKnown: Now that you've added contacts to Gmail or Yahoo! mail, follow the instructions in BeKnown for inviting those contacts to joun your BeKnown network. 

By Charles Purdy, Monster Senior Editor

Build Your Brand

Eight Essential Steps
1. Identify the primary "product" (service, resource, special ability, etc.) you have to offer others.
2. Identify your core values. What really matters to you?
3. Identify your passions. What things or ideas do you love?
4. Identify your talents. What have you always been recognized for (particularly as a kid)? What do you do better than most other people? What skills do people seem to notice in you?
5. From your hopefully long list of talents and qualities, choose the top five, the ones you do best and enjoy doing the most.
6. Weave the items on all your lists into a statement of your specialty. What are you particularly gifted at delivering?
7. Write a paragraph emphasizing your specialty and your five key talents, weaving in your most important values, passions and skills.
8. Now add a tag line to your brand.
The Tag Line Tells Your Story
A coach I know who consults by phone -- primarily helping six-figure earners work their way even further up the corporate ladder -- goes by this tag line: "A coach for successful people to help them be even more successful." A senior project manager working in the crossfire between the marketing group and packaging designers at a stressful manufacturing facility has developed this tag line: "An efficient problem solver who understands and enjoys both the creativity of designers and the practicality of marketers." My tag line for my counseling and coaching practice is this: "The permissionary -- a visionary realist to help you discover and manifest your dreams.
A tag line's shorthand helps other people remember a key point about you. At the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts chapter of the NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners) breakfast meetings, every member and guest stands up and introduces herself via her tag line, or verbal business card. In this organization, the women remember each other's tag lines as easily as their names, and after each month's meeting, hundreds of ripples go out about each of the women attending and what she has to offer. And it works for entrepreneurs and employees alike.
Get the Word Out
Once you've worked over your tag line and the other items on the list for a few days or weeks, it's time to take them public with someone you trust. Keeping them secret is a sure way to never act on them.
The road to career disappointment is littered with lists, dreams and goals never shared with anyone. So get your "brand me" musings out into the light of day to solicit support and constructive criticism from someone else. And you could be a brand advisor for that person in return. And it would be even better is you could get four or five women together regularly to encourage and critique each other's branding strategies and activities.
Creating and building your unique brand is an organic and ongoing process. So consider yourself and your career a work in progress, and reach out to get and give as much help as possible as your brand shifts and matures across the expanse of your career.
By Barbara Reinhold, Monster Contributing Writer

The Right Way to Resign

After you've landed a new job, the excitement of starting something new may be accompanied by anxiety and guilt over leaving the familiar and perhaps some good friends, too. Even if you're leaving mostly enemies behind, it's still a good idea to leave your job in good standing.
Corporate alumni associations are sprouting up all over the Fortune 500, at companies including GE, Procter & Gamble and Yum! Brands, and it's in your best interest to be a part of these burgeoning professional networks. In fact, if you handle your transition properly, your former employers may even view your ascension elsewhere as a PR asset.
"Whatever the circumstances are around your departure, keep your mind on the big picture and don't do anything that could come back to haunt you," says career coach Deborah Brown-Volkman.
She recommends three steps for wrapping things up at your old job and departing with a pat on the back from your boss.
Write Down Everything You Do and How It Gets Done
Forget job descriptions. They rarely tell us precisely what an individual does day-to-day or reveal the "It's not really my job, but I kind of do it anyway" responsibilities that grace any worker's plate each week. Also, in an age of zero redundancy at many companies, you cannot rely on even your supervisor to understand what you do and how you do it.
"Often a boss feels like, 'I don't know what this person does -- I only know she can't leave!'" Brown-Volkman says.
So, do your boss and colleagues right by creating an exhaustive list of everything you handle, along with detailed instructions on how to handle it. Your coworkers will appreciate you for having this thorough document -- and for having done so much during your tenure.
Remain Until You Train the New You
Two weeks' notice may be the minimum an employer requests, but most companies will appreciate a more lengthy lead-time so you can help train your replacement. If you do so, your boss will be indebted to you. You're also sending a message that you want your former coworkers and employer to succeed.
"It's hard to give a lot of notice because your next employer may be waiting anxiously for you to start, and many people want to take a week off between jobs," Brown-Volkman says. However, she urges departing workers to spend "as much time as you can with your replacement or colleagues who will be temporarily handling your workload. Train them so they've got it down cold."
Also, tap your own network for a potential replacement. You may even be eligible for a finder's fee if you refer the right person for the job.
Wish Everyone Well When You Leave
Brown-Volkman advises giving all your coworkers a heartfelt farewell and offering them a few words of encouragement and appreciation. "Even if you don't like someone, bury the hatchet," she says. "It takes a big person to do that, but you never know when you'll meet this individual again."
Also, she points out that former coworkers are the best candidates to join your professional network. "You will always have common ground with these folks," she says. "They're easy to stay in touch with. There will always be some bit of news or gossip you can bond over, and that makes it less awkward to pick up the phone and chat."
All of this is for the future -- the big picture, she adds. "You could end up working for some of these people," she says. "You may need a favor. You just don't know, so make sure you leave on the best possible terms."
By Caroline Levchuck

The Ins and Outs of Exit Interviews

How to Exit Like a Pro and Keep Good References

Here's how to handle an exit interview and leave on a positive note.
Ask for Anonymity
You'll feel more comfortable discussing management styles or communication issues if you know that your interviewer will not mention your name when sharing feedback with management. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) considers anonymous exit interviews a best practice, because it ensures honest, open communication.
"If I were the employee, I would ask and make sure you like the answer before you give out comments," Deb Keary, director of human resources at SHRM.
Hannah Seligson, author of New Girl on the Job: Advice from the Trenchessays that unless you have it in writing that what you say at an exit interview is confidential, assume that it is not. "Don't just assume things will be kept confidential," she says. "Put it in writing."
Anticipate the Important Questions
Chances are you will be asked why you are leaving and what (if anything) would have persuaded you to stay. "They want a candid answer," Keary says. "HR hates turnover, and they hate to lose good people. You should anticipate and give an honest answer."
Keary adds that employees leave for any number of reasons: They were offered more money or more career growth, they wanted to change industries, or simply needed a new environment. You probably already know your reason, so think of a diplomatic way to explain it without pointing fingers.
Offer Constructive Solutions
Maybe you didn't work well with your manager or took the fall for an error that wasn't your fault. "If blame was misappropriated to you because of leadership or communication issues, an exit interview can be a good time to clear that up," notes Seligson. "However, make sure it doesn't sound like you are pointing fingers, or that could come off sounding too victimized."
HR departments appreciate recommendations instead of rants. "I hope you're not leaving angry, but if you are, it's better to talk in generalities," Keary says. "For instance, 'My department's management could use some guidance in interpersonal relations.' They can't do much with 'So-and-so is a witch.' Offer suggestions to help. I'd be in the recommending mode rather than the taking-it-out-on-HR mode."
When HR departments hear the same comments about certain departments, they get the gist without you spelling it out. And by taking the high road instead of bad-mouthing a boss or coworker, you'll be better positioned for a reference later on.
By By Susan Johnston

Laid Off? Don't Leave Without These Five Things

These days, if you find yourself being shepherded into a conference room with your coworkers, you might expect a pink slip -- not an impromptu pizza party. You may feel blindsided (not to mention angry, a little sick and panicked), but you must fight through the momentary confusion to get your bearings and take action immediately. 
"During a layoff meeting, adrenaline is racing through your body," says Liz Ryan, a thought leader on the changing workplace. "People lose their minds. So, first, take five minutes to gather your thoughts. Sit down. Ask for a cup of coffee."

Then, follow these five steps to make sure you're leaving the building with your dignity -- and everything you need to land on your feet.
Don't Leave Without Your Contacts
If you don't have a backup of your contacts at home, the very first thing to do is to get your contacts, says Ryan. "If you're in the conference room and being seen out the door, you obviously can't," she says. "But if they let you go back to your desk and sit down -- and most companies will let you do that today -- save your contacts. If there's someone hovering, just say, 'Look, I'm just downloading my Outlook contacts.'"
Your contacts are paramount to jump-starting your new job search. "You want to write to each of your contacts and let them know that you've been laid off and give them a paragraph about what you're looking for," Ryan says. Your network will immediately start looking for work for you -- while you're distracted dealing with other tasks.
Don't Leave Without a Layoff Letter
"Get something in writing about this termination before you leave the premises," says Ryan, a former human resources executive. Unemployment is not retroactive, so you should go to your local unemployment officewithin 48 hours, and having such a letter will help.
"If you walk in with something in writing from your former employer saying that you were laid off and you worked there from this date to that date, it will speed up the processing of your check," she says. And because most unemployment checks aren't as much as regular wages, it's important to bring in as much money as possible as quickly as possible.
Don't Leave Without Your Last Paycheck
"It's imperative that you get your last paycheck," Ryan says. "That is a legal requirement, and people can go through hell chasing it down if they leave without it. If you ask for it, they must give it to you. If they can't hand you a live check, ask for a written statement."
Also, make sure you're paid for any time off you're entitled to, such as accrued vacation or sick days. "If you're getting severance and an HR person tells you it will be three weeks or three months, get that in writing, too," Ryan says. Be sure to ask about any bonuses or pay increases that may not have gone through. "There is no harm in asking," she adds.
Don't Leave Without Your COBRA Information
Make sure you get your COBRA information from HR before you leave, Ryan says. "You should receive a written document that indicates that your insurance will end on a certain date," she says. You don't have to panic about pricy COBRA payments immediately as you have 45 days to retroactively enroll, but you'll need the registration materials and you must know your termination date. "COBRA is expensive, but if you don't have another place to turn, do it until you find your next job," Ryan says.
Don't Leave Without a Recommendation
"This is situational and depends on whom you know, but if you're in the conference room and your boss is saying, 'Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry. This layoff is because our new product line isn't selling the way we thought it would,' then you should immediately ask, 'Can I use you as a reference?'" Ryan says.
Your boss will likely agree -- so Ryan suggests taking it a step further by asking, "Will you write me a letter of recommendation right now?" Ask your supervisor to detail your strong performance in your position and mention that your departure is because of the company's financial position." She also suggests asking for an endorsement on LinkedIn and accepting whatever additional help you're offered.
"I'm a big advocate for employees, so when I've had to lay someone off, I've written that person a new resume," Ryan says. "You should tap into whatever the company has available. If you leave with all of these things, you have to give yourself a huge pat on the back."

By Caroline M.L. Potter 

Make Any Job Less Stressful

Consider these tips for recognizing and managing work stress:
Become Mindful
"The most important thing [you] can do is have awareness of both what's causing the stress and how you're responding to it," says Dr. Steven Rolfe, principal of the Boswell Group, a business consultancy in New York City.
Focus on your stress response and pinpoint causes:
  • What activities, duties or people leave you feeling drained?
  • What or who causes your neck pain, headaches or racing heartbeat?
  • What tasks or situations do you avoid?
  • How do you talk to yourself about your stress? What stories do you tell?
Take Control
While you probably can't control layoffs or reorganizations, there are things you can control -- and you should focus on those, says Diane Lang, a health and wellness counselor in New York City.
"I had a client who couldn't leave her job at the moment because she was a single parent," she said. "So we made a list of everything she could control and worked on the list."
Such a list might include focusing on improving your own job performance and setting short- and long-term goals for changing jobs.
"Don't hold your breath" is a cliche for a reason. When people are stressed, they literally forget to breathe, says Jeffrey Brantley, director of mindfulness-based stress reduction at Duke University's Center for Integrative Medicine and a co-author of Five Good Minutes at Work: 100 Mindfulness Practices to Help You Relieve Stress and Bring Your Best to Work.
Even taking a few minutes to breathe deeply can calm your body's stress-spurred flight-or-fight response.
First Things First
"You cannot get control of your stress without getting control of yourself physically," says Karissa Thacker, a Delaware-based management psychologist.
So go back to basics:
  • Sleep. Your body may need more rest to deal with the stress.
  • Avoid excess. "Stress is a physiological phenomenon that is immediately increased by lots of sugar or alcohol, which stress the system," says Thacker.
  • Move your body. You don't have to train for a marathon. Even taking the dog for a walk will help clear your mind.
Change Your Pattern
Try this: Talk to someone at work you haven't visited in awhile. Go out to lunch if you usually eat at your desk. Introduce yourself to someone new. Do something to interrupt the usual cycle of stress and anxiety.
"Humans are routinized creatures," Thacker says. "Upset the routine, and you will also unfreeze the thought and emotional patterns that are keeping you constantly worked up."

By By Heather Boerner

10 Excuses for Missing Work

We've all been there. It's a beautiful day, and you can't bear the thought of going into work. So you call in with some excuse about feeling ill, but you know in your bones that your boss doesn't buy it.    
The feeling-ill excuse is a short-term solution that won't win you any fans at the office -- someone else will have to pick up the slack, or you'll miss deadlines. And it won't help your career any. Here are 10 excuses -- five smart and five not-so-smart -- to help you save face and your sanity.
Smart Excuses 
  • I've Earned It: No one can argue with performance. Come in two or three hours early -- or stay late -- for a week or two. Then negotiate a day off in advance. "Really work when you're there, so you'll be able to feel good about taking time off," says Andrea Nierenberg, president of The Nierenberg Group, a management consulting and personal marketing practice.
  • I'm Playing Golf with a Client: For this one to work, you've got to have a job that requires you tomeet and court current and prospective clients. Neil Simpkins, an account executive at Oxford Communications, has used this one successfully. One note of caution: Meet the client; don't just say you did.
  • I Have a Doctor's Appointment: This excuse will get you out of work for a half-day or so. Make the appointment first thing in the morning or late in the day, say around 3 p.m. You can leave the office by 2:30 p.m. and get home (hopefully) by 4 p.m. The shortened day will help you recharge, especially if you schedule it on a Friday afternoon.
  • I Have Cramps: Before you dismiss this one, think about it: Who can argue? "It's such an embarrassing topic that nobody will ever challenge it," says Jennifer Newman, vice president of Lippe Taylor Public Relations. She has used this excuse -- and had it used on her -- successfully. "It's one of those things that men honestly have no clue about, and women can sympathize with,." One important point: Don't use this one if you're a man. It'll never work.
  • I'm Working from Home: This is an excellent way to give yourself a break if your company allows it. Although you'll need to do some work at home, you can generally get away with a shortened day. And you'll eliminate your commuting time. 
Not-So-Smart Excuses 
  • There's a Death in the Family: Don't ever use this excuse if it's not true. Your employer will lose all trust in you. "I had an employee whose mother died -- twice," says David Wear, a Virginia PR executive. "He also had the misfortune of losing all his grandparents -- 12 of them -- during a two-year period."
  • I'm Too Sleepy: When she was a manager at IBM, Marilynn Mobley heard it all. This one still makes her laugh: The employee apparently took Tylenol 3 with codeine instead of a vitamin, because the bottles looked alike.
  • I Can't Get My Car Out of the Garage: This is another one that Mobley didn't buy. An employee said that a power failure was preventing him from opening his power-operated garage door. "I reminded him that there's a pull chain on it for just such cases," she says.
  • I Can't Find My Polling Place: Mary Dale Walters, a communications specialist at CCH, couldn't believe this one. A former employee needed an entire day to figure out where she had to go to vote in the presidential election.
  • I Have a Personal Emergency: This one is so vague that it rarely works. It could mean anything from fatigue to an appointment with your hairdresser, and your boss knows it.
Don't lie, no matter which excuse you use. "I'm not a believer in playing hooky, because it always comes back to you," Nierenberg says. "Don't lie to your boss, your supervisor or your clients. You're guaranteed they will be the ones you'll run into while you're walking down the street in your jeans."

By By Michele Marrinan, Monster Contributing Writer

Tips for Working Mothers

Fulfilling the role of Mom while also holding down a job can be dizzying. But with a little planning and family cooperation, moms can make routine tasks easier, get family members involved and helping instead of asking for things, and reduce everyone's stress level. Try these tips out.   
Teach Cleanup
Do you clean up toys, hang up coats, stow shoes, pick up laundry and make beds? Then stop it right now. These are things even 3-year-olds can do. When you come home, ask politely for everyone to hang up their coats and put away their gloves. Explain to kids that dirty clothes go in the hamper and clean clothes go back in the drawers. Show them how to neaten their beds. Resist the urge to fix or fold after they are done. After all, they're learning and helping, so don't discourage them or make them feel they did an inadequate job.
Delegate Chores
Ask your kids/spouse to help you. At mealtimes, small children can set the table, older ones can serve drinks and everyone can help bring plates to the table. Teach kids to clear the table, how to get their own cereal and how to load the dishwasher. Have children take out the trash, teach them to use the laundry machines and have them put their own clean clothes away. Grant points or make a sticker chart as rewards to show your kids how much you appreciate their help.
Plan Your Morning
Mornings will go more smoothly if you do some things the night before. Pack lunches (or have kids make their own), lay out clothes, ensure homework is done, pack backpacks and check the calendar for after-school plans. Teach kids to get themselves ready in the morning by putting up a wall chart that lists "brush teeth," "make bed," "get dressed," "eat breakfast" and whatever else they need to do.
Schedule Quiet Time
Have each family member spend a few minutes alone when everyone gets home. This gives you all time to calm down and regroup before getting dinner ready and discussing the day.
Plan a Work Schedule
Don't let work pressures eat into your family time. If you often work late, talk to your boss or coworkers and figure out a way to leave at 5 p.m. on certain days. Cooperate with your spouse to make sure you're prepared if one of you must work late. This way, your family will know certain days are family dinner days or one-parent nights, and they will learn to cherish those times together.
Plan Meals Ahead
Make only one shopping trip per week to buy ingredients. Get a cookbook that contains easy-to-prepare recipes. Double a recipe and freeze half for another meal. When you're making a salad, make double and save half for the next night. Keep lasagnas or other one-dish meals in the freezer for nights when you don't feel like cooking. Designate your most hectic night as order-out night and get pizza or Chinese food. Have the kids make dinner one night a week if they are old enough.
Schedule Quality Family Time
Strive to have a family dinner as frequently as possible. Plan a family movie night once a week. Plan a group outing for the weekend. Take the whole family to a child's sporting event.
Make Time for Yourself
Moms tend to put themselves last on the list, but regenerating your own inner strength and peace will go a long way toward giving you the energy you need to be a mom. So take care of yourself: Go to the gym, visit a museum, meet a friend for coffee, join a book club or work on your hobby. Make a deal with your spouse allowing each of you one night a week to do your own thing.
Be a Couple
Get a babysitter once every two weeks, or whatever is feasible, and go out together. It doesn't have to be fancy. Even a trip to the bookstore will help the two of you remember what it's like to be adults together.

By Alyson Preston, Monster Contributing Writer

Five Reasons to Leave the Office Behind When You're on Vacation

Your vacation plans are set. You’re ready to go and ready to get away from theoffice. The problem is you don’t ever really leave the office behind. If you’re like most of us, you feel the need to stay connected to your workplace even when you’re on vacation. Truth be told, you’re more likely to leave your wallet at home than your BlackBerry when taking vacations.   

Recently, a client of ours who is a VP at a Fortune 100 company arrived in Paris to start his honeymoon. On his first day, he couldn’t find his BlackBerry and realized that he had left it in a cab that morning. His first reaction was, “Oh, my God! What am I going to do?” Then a strange thought occurred to him. Maybe this was a good thing. After all, he was on his honeymoon. Two weeks later, he was back at work and vowed never to be held hostage to the office during vacation getaways. Sure, he had to catch up on a backlog of work, but it was still better than work intruding on his holiday.

For those of you thinking, “OK, but I have my own business” or “Yeah, but I have a lot of responsibility,” this VP was running a $3 billion division.

Here’s why it’s a good thing to disengage from the office when you’re on vacation:

1. Disengaging Can Be Better for Business

When you take the time to clear your mind of business issues, you gain a better perspective on them when you return to the office. It’s similar to someone who takes a job in a new industry and brings a fresh perspective, which can be incredibly valuable. Relaxing helps your subconscious come up with creativesolutions. By not thinking about work, your mind will have the ability to look at old issues in new ways.

2. Subordinates Can Step Up

Remember the first time you had to make a decision while your boss was away? Without your boss as a safety net, you experienced more growth than you would have otherwise. Whether you have direct reports or are part of a cross-functional effort, you give others the opportunity to take the reins if you don’t work while you’re on vacation. This hands-off approach benefits everyone.

3. People Will Respect Your Time More

We all do it -- take calls from coworkers when we’re on vacation. The problem is that these calls disrupt your vacation and aren’t fair to you -- especially if the issue in question could have been handled before you left or can wait until you get back.

4. You’ll Have a Better Time

When you go on vacation and know the office won’t contact you, you can enjoy yourself more. Have another margarita -- no one’s going to pick your brain about anything important today.

5. Your Family Will Appreciate It

Your spouse and children want and deserve your undivided attention when you’re on a family vacation. They can tell when you’re thinking about the office, and know that they’re playing second fiddle to your job.

Remember the adage, “No one on their deathbed ever said, ‘I wish I’d spent more time at the office.” Don’t wait until then to have this revelation. Use your vacation as it was intended. You, your coworkers and your family will all reap the benefits.

By Gladys Stone & Fred Whelan, Monster Contributing Writers

Five Negotiating No-Nos

While it's difficult to make definitive statements about what to do and what not to do in every negotiation situation, you should be aware of some definitive pitfalls before entering the negotiation process. Here are five of the most common no-nos.
1. Initiating Negotiations Too Soon
Timing is important here. The appropriate time to negotiate is when a formal job offer has been made. If the offer meets your needs, by all means accept it. It's a mistake to negotiate just for the sake of negotiating, but don't assume you can't negotiate at all. There's nothing wrong with asking for time to consider the offer or outright asking if the offer is negotiable.
2. Negotiating Only Salary
While money is the most frequently negotiated piece of the compensation package, it's not the only one. It's also true that many employers have benefits such as vacation time and health insurance coverage that are established by company policy and are therefore not negotiable.
But other parts of the package may be negotiable. They include signing bonuses, unpaid leave, relocation expensesflextimeseverance and predetermined timeframes for salary reviews.
In the end, it's important to maintain some salary flexibility until you've seen the whole package, including benefits. For instance, the job you're seeking may have a built-in profit-sharing plan, a great company-funded health insurance program, or a bonus or incentive program -- all of which have real dollar value.
3. Mistrusting the System
Many job seekers operate under the assumption that employers will, without exception, try to lowball them, no matter how well-qualified they are for a position. While there are employers who pay employees below industry standard, you should never enter a negotiation with a them-versus-me mentality. And don't assume that just because you've researched a job's market value, you'll get an offer within that range. While market averages are good barometers of pay averages, they're just that -- averages.
The fact is, many companies have a predetermined budget for every position and have pay ranges and benefit packages based on their established compensation hierarchies. An offer may boil down to a take-it-or-leave-it proposition, only because that's all the budget allows for the position, not because the employer is trying to take advantage of you.
4. Assuming Your Degree Entitles You to a Higher Starting Salary
Increasingly, having advanced education is nothing more than a threshold requirement that enables prospective employers to narrow the pool of applicants to a manageable size. If you have relatively little real-world work experience, your degree may keep you in the running, but it won't entitle you to a higher salary.
Also, don't assume your degree is all you have to offer the employer. Having significant work experience will probably carry more weight than a degree alone. There's a major difference between job-performance potential, which a degree can suggest, and past job performance, which indicates previous work experience and achievements.
5. Believing Every Negotiation Will End in Your Favor
No matter what you bring to the negotiating table, it's naive to assume you'll always get what you want. Negotiating isn't a win-lose proposition; it's a compromise, and you should expect that going into discussions. Very few of us are in such demand that we can write our own tickets. That doesn't mean you should settle for any offer that comes your way, but sometimes an agreement won't be reached. And accepting a job just for the sake of a paycheck could lead to mutual dissatisfaction. Ultimately, it could be better for you to turn down the job offer and continue your job search.

By By Paul W. Barada, Monster Salary and Negotiation Expert

5 HR Policies to Build a Woman-Friendly Enterprise

Author: Tony Mira,Founder at Ajuba
Ajuba Solutions, a provider of revenue cycle outsourcing services to healthcare systems in the US is a pioneer in this vertical has placed itself in the list of top providers from India with over 1900 employees currently.
At present, 47 % of Ajuba’s workforce comprises of women, which is one of the highest in the industry, bearing testimony to their efforts at having created an employer brand that is perceived by potential as well as existing women employees as highly women-friendly.
Tony Mira, Group CEO and founder, Ajuba Solutions India Pvt Ltd, shares with, the Top 5 HR Policies  that worked for their women-force:

Women’s Forum Shakti: This forum connects all women employees and encourages them to come up with problems that they face at work and suggest ideas to improve the work environment. The core team drives many initiatives for the women employees at Ajuba.
Gynecologist on Call: A qualified Gynecologist has been engaged especially for women employees at the health center of Ajuba called “Svasth Center”. The Gynecologist provides consultation as well as counseling regarding contraception, pregnancy, diet and fitness for all women employees.
Women’s Lounge: A special lounge has been created in all the three facilities of Ajuba that offers a space to pregnant or unwell women employees for resting and relaxing.
Flexi work hours: Taking into consideration the needs of employees who are also working mothers, Ajuba helps the women employees transition slowly back to work after their maternity leave by flexi work hours depending on their work and personal preferences.
Programs focused on women: Ajuba conducts special programs for women employees consistently, to contribute to their holistic development. Some of the recent programs include self-defense program and breast and cervical cancer awareness programs. Each of these programs are developed exceptionally with utmost quality.

11 Ways to Find Women-Friendly Employers

Trying to find a company that will meet your changing needs as a woman? According to experts, you need to investigate how the organization supports its workers, particularly its female workforce.
Jan Shubert, associate director for Babson College's Center for Women in Leadership, suggests you investigate "anything that helps you get a picture of how they look at and value women."
Shubert and other experts say the clearest picture will emerge as you research corporate culture, company leadership, and policies and programs aimed at promoting women, respecting workers and their individual rights, and providing family support.
So how do you obtain the information you need to evaluate these areas? Start your detective work with these 11 strategies:
1. Look for Blue Ribbons
Many companies that recognize women's work issues get recognized. Catalyst, a nonprofit that researches, consults and educates on workplace gender issues, recognizes pioneering companies. For starters, Julie Nugent, senior associate of Catalyst's research and model workplace initiatives, advises women to take full advantage of the organization's Web site. The National Association for Female Executives' (NAFE's) Top 30 Companies for Executive Women and Working Mother magazine's 100 Best Companies lists are also great resources.
2. Scan the Web for Who Came in Last
"You can do this by searching on phrases like ‘gender discrimination' and ‘lawsuit,' or ‘sexual harassment' and ‘settlement' to see companies against whom suits have been filed or with which settlements have been reached," advises Susan Colantuono, CEO of Leading Women, a Rhode Island-based firm offering leadership education for women.
3. Find Out Who's Running the Show
"Take a look at their leadership," says Nugent. "Are there any women? Are there diverse individuals on their site? Do companies have diversity on their agenda, and is it plainly important to them?"
Shubert advises women to scan annual reports and company Web sites to count the number of women in upper-level management. Is it a boys' club, or is it inclusive? Is it diverse? More top-level women usually means a better environment for all women.
Also consider who your boss will be. You can work for the most women-friendly company in the industry, but if your boss does not embrace the company's espoused values and is unwilling to acknowledge individual needs, that potential job may not work for you. So pay attention during the interview process. Look around your boss's office or cubicle. Is there a sign that your boss has a life outside work and respects others? Ask her what she is most proud of. If she says, "the time I got everyone to pull an all-nighter to get a job done," take note.
4. Evaluate Programs and Policies
"A company's policies around what kind of packages they provide speak to their values," explains Deborah Cutler-Ortiz, director of national programs and policy for Wider Opportunities for Women, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit that trains women for better paying jobs. "When you're talking about no benefits, no nothing, you're communicating how you value your employees."
Again, awards, reports and Web sites are excellent research tools. Shubert recommends reviewing the criteria Catalyst, NAFE and Working Mother use to judge companies for their lists. See which policies are most important to you and base your search accordingly. Programs that typically matter to women most are those that affect promotionwork-life balance and pay equity.
5. Rate the Space
Does the physical office space look gender-neutral? Shubert recalls once visiting a company with the women's bathroom a hiking distance from the executive offices. When you visit a potential employer, take note: Do you see women? Are you introduced to women during the interview? If so, what are their positions and do you get a sense of how long they've been with the company? Retention rates are an important gauge of worker satisfaction.
6. Interview Them
Don't be shy about discussing gender. "It's completely appropriate for a woman to ask the questions that will impact her own career and career growth," says Nugent. And when you ask questions, consider: "Does it feel like an open culture where things are shared and the process is clear?" she says.
Poor or veiled communication indicates an unfriendly manager or work setting. This is also the chance for you to evaluate the hiring manager. Look for signs that she is gender-neutral. "Your first and foremost concern as a good leader is the development of talented people," says Shubert.
7. Go to Lunch
In the advanced interview stage, ask to go to lunch with a would-be colleague. Shubert explains this is where you can ask questions about how women fit into the work environment. You also can get a better indication of whether employees feel the company is a good place to work and whether workers feel valued.
8. Turn on the Tube and Flip through Magazines
If a company advertises, see if it recognizes the importance of the female consumer, suggests Shubert. Women affect the majority of purchases in the US, and not acknowledging this fact signals that a company isn't aware of the importance of women to its success.
9. Rank the Industry
Catalyst's Web site lists studies by industry. Here you can get a sense of which are friendly by evaluating the industries big players, says Nugent. But, adds Cutler-Ortiz, don't dismiss industries that aren't yet women-friendly as they generally pay higher wages. Look for standouts and unionized companies to get the best pay and the best setting.
10. Make Some Phone Calls
"Have a robust network of women colleagues who can tell you what it's like to work in a particular company or who can connect you with a woman who can," says Colantuono. And if you can't find someone connected to your prospective employer, try to connect with someone in the industry who can speak about industry practices. Companies will often benchmark their policies against industry practices as a whole.
11. Consult Your Intuition
If your instinct is telling you something's not right in a company, listen to it. That prospective employer should not only value women but value and respect all workers and their rights. If the employer's emphasis seems to be on input rather output, or face time rather than results, beware.
"Don't ever treat any one piece of the puzzle as the big picture," says Shubert. "Trust your tummy. If it doesn't feel like a good fit for you, keep looking."

By Susan Aaron, Monster Learning Coach

2012 Strategic Road Map for Employee Performance Management

Many organizations find that their existing pay-for-performance process doesn't work well. It doesn't improve performance, and demotivates workers. This road map shows how to leverage social computing to breathe new life into these programs.


Key Findings

  • Many organizations do not believe they have a good pay-for-performance process. In fact, many find these programs do not increase performance.
  • Many workers find traditional performance reviews unfair and demotivating.
  • Many managers and executives are not good at providing workers with high-quality, consistent and timely performance feedback.
  • Social recognition programs and solutions can help improve worker motivation and performance, while decreasing reliance solely on manager and executive feedback.


  • Test a social recognition program alongside your existing pay-for-performance process.
  • Quantify any improvement in performance from social recognition, compared with your existing pay-for-performance process.
  • Adjust your investments in social recognition and traditional pay for performance programs based on results.
  • Continue to adjust the balance between programs annually, as business needs change.

Future State

Formal performance reviews are not likely to go away anytime soon. They provide a needed checkpoint for making compensation and staffing decisions, and to mitigate risks from litigation (and in some cases, as in the U.S. healthcare industry, are required by regulations). However, leading organizations will start to move toward more bottom-up feedback, recognition and rewards. This will likely manifest itself in the shifting of budgets from traditional, top-down-determined, annual merit increases and incentive compensation to bottom-up, event-specific and more frequent rewards.
In addition, parts of traditional talent management activities effectively become crowdsourced. For example, managers and executives will be able to see the frequency, type and magnitude of feedback for each individual employee. More importantly, senior executives can use this data to see if manager performance decisions align with what coworkers indicate through their actions. Taken even further, if properly designed, the feedback, recognition and rewards can be used to identify high-potential, high-performance individuals for succession planning, and as an input into promotion decisions (for example, Symantec has compared the results from its 9-box grid against data from its recognition program, and found strong alignment).

Current State

Most organizations larger than 100 employees have some sort of performance appraisal process that drives an annual merit increase and/or an incentive compensation reward. In an ideal world, merit increases and incentive compensation would be driven by performance ratings from the performance appraisal. In the U.S., approximately 85% of organizations say they have a pay-for-performance program or culture (see the WorldatWork survey). However, the reality is that the traditional pay-for-performance program is problematic in many ways:
  • Organizations that say they do it don't think they do it particularly well. The 2010 Study on the State of Performance Management by Sibson Consulting and WorldatWork (see theWorldatWork survey), a professional association, found that more than half of the respondents (58%) gave their organizations' performance management system a grade of C or below.
  • There is evidence that pay for performance does not actually lead to increased performance. In the same Sibson WorldatWork study, only 47% of respondents felt their performance management system helped the organization achieve its strategic objectives.
  • Employees do not view the process as fair, and frequently find it demotivating. In the "Psychological Bulletin," Avraham Kluger and Angelo DeNisi published a meta-analysis of 607 studies of performance evaluations (see "Psychological Bulletin") that concluded that at least 30% of performance reviews ended up in decreased employee performance (see"Psychology Today").
  • Not every manager is a good manager. In the Sibson WorldatWork study, respondents (63%) felt that managers' lack of courage to have difficult performance discussions was the top challenge in performance management. Managers do not do a good job of providing feedback to employees, frequently don't do it in a timely fashion and are inconsistent in how they reward employees (which has led to other processes like calibration to avoid grade inflation and inconsistent grading).

Gap Analysis and Interdependencies

Blending more frequent co-worker feedback, recognition and rewards with traditional pay-for-performance processes overcomes many of the challenges:
  • There is more transparency in social recognition and rewards. The specific reason for the feedback and recognition is tied directly to the reward. Also, everyone can see the cause and effect. This improves the perception of fairness, and allows workers to have more of a voice.
  • Initial anecdotal evidence (case examples include organizations such as DHL, Deloitte Canada and Dow Chemical) shows that giving workers more control over recognition and rewards is motivating.
  • Recognition and rewards are not as dependent on the quality of the manager. Many other data points are generated through social recognition and rewards that can form a value check and balance with an individual manager's opinion.

Higher Priority

  • Test a social recognition program alongside your existing pay-for-performance process. Ensure that you get broad participation (from workers, managers and executives), and look out for workers trying to "game" the system.
  • Quantify the impact of the social recognition program on business performance and employee engagement.

Medium Priority

  • Adjust the social recognition program based on the results in the test. Expand the program as appropriate.
  • Adjust the investment mix between the social recognition program and your existing pay-for-performance program based on comparing the impact on business outcomes and employee engagement.

Lower Priority

  • Because business needs and the macroeconomic environment will change, continue to adjust the relative investments in social recognition and traditional pay for performance annually.

Are Fewer Employers Using Employment Background Checks?

The big takeaway that SHRM and other industry writers have chosen to highlight is that the use of pre-employment background screening has declined since their last survey was conducted in 2010. In the 2012 survey, 14 percent of respondents say that they never perform criminal background checks compared to 7 percent in 2010.
This finding is particularly puzzling and runs counter to what we are seeing in the marketplace.

Key findings

In fact, I often tell clients and prospects the key difference in screening between the time we started the company in 1999 and now is that we used to walk into meetings convincing employers that they should have a background screening program.
Now, we simply ask what they are currently doing and how we can make it better. I haven’t had a conversation with a mid to large sized organization that doesn’t perform an employment background check prior to hire in years.
When I looked at the survey demographics, I noticed that 24 perent of all respondents worked for organizations with 99 or less employees. I’m not sure what the demographics were in 2010, but perhaps that might help explain the findings. In fact, the study notes that only 48 percent of organizations at this size conduct background checks.
Here are SHRM’s other key findings:
  • 69 percent of employers say that they conduct criminal background checks on all job candidates, 18 percent on select candidates, and 14 percent say they don’t perform them at all.
  • 62 percent of employers conduct a background check after a contingent offer, 32 percent after a job interview, and only 4 percent before an interview.
  • 52 percent conduct criminal background checks to reduce negligent hiring concerns, while 49 percent do so to ensure a safe work environment.
  • 96 percent say that they are influenced not to hire convicted violent felons, and 74 percent say they are influenced by non-violent felony convictions.
  • 58 percent of organizations allow job candidates to explain the results of their background check before a decision is made, and 27% percent allow them to explain after a decision is made.