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Hiring ‘blacklists’: Do they exist?

In this tough labor market, it’s challenging enough to get a job, even with the right experience and a spotless employment record. So what happens if you left a company on bad terms? Or you got caught in a white lie during an interview? Could that land you on a company’s no-hire list or “blacklist”?

According to Fred Cooper, managing partner at Compass HR Consulting, “in the case of labor relations law, it is unfair labor practice to discriminate against — blacklist — employees who encourage or discourage acts of support for a labor organization, and one does not want the Department of Labor investigating an allegation of an unfair labor practice.”

But that doesn’t mean recruitment firms or companies don’t have some form of a do-not-hire list. “Most employers maintain records of employees that are not eligible for re-hire,” says John Millikin, clinical professor of management at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business and former vice president of human resources at Motorola. “This is usually because they have been terminated for cause. These would be difficult to appeal unless there were new facts that were not evident at the time the adverse action was taken.”

What could land you on the list
Cooper says there are a variety of infringements that could land someone on an informal no-hire list, including:

  • Former employees leaving under less than acceptable circumstances.
  • Job seekers who have applied numerous times to the same company, but for different jobs and using résumés that tell conflicting stories about their skills, abilities, education, etc.
  • Candidates who were interviewed previously and failed background or reference checks.
  • Applicants who gave such poor interviews that the time spent was considered a waste of time.

Word-of-mouth can wound
Judi Perkins, career coach and founder of Find the Perfect Job, says that it’s also possible to get on a no-hire list of a company you haven’t worked at or applied to. “Underground references as I call them — off-the-record ones — can be equally damaging,” Perkins says. “People who know each other through professional associations, relationships between a company and a vendor, and small industries where everyone knows each other can be instrumental in [causing] further damage to a candidate. For instance, candidate A may have interviewed at Company A and been ‘blacklisted.’ Thanks to word of mouth, they’re now ‘blacklisted’ at Companies B, C, D and E as well.”

Can you repair the damage?
With the current state of the economy and the number of potential applicants for each vacancy, unless it is a ‘low inventory/high demand’ type of job needing to be filled, and a former employee has the experience, education, training and skills needed, employers can be quite selective in deciding who to interview, and ultimately, who gets a company ID badge,” Cooper notes.

Yet Cooper says there are some circumstances when you can get a second chance. “If the former or prospective new employee has turned their life around, learned from their mistakes, has matured and can somehow demonstrate a virtually ‘new person’ is now asking for another chance, perhaps that second chance will be given … the former employee can demonstrate they are not today the same person that left under less-than-favorable circumstances ‘yesterday.’”


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CareerBuilder survey reveals just how well workers know their CEO

There are some high-profile companies — Facebook, for example — with such highly visible CEOs that you don’t have to work there to know who runs the place. But if you couldn’t pick your own CEO out of a line up, don’t worry, because you’re not alone.

A new CareerBuilder survey of more than 7,000 full-time workers reveals that while 60 percent of workers have met their CEO, many — 21 percent — don’t even know what he or she looks like. By industry, workers in business services, sales and manufacturing are most likely to have met their respective CEOs, while a majority of workers in information technology, financial services and retail say they have not met their organization’s top leaders.

Location matters
Depending on where you live, you may be better able to recognize your CEO if you are in an elevator together. Workers from the Midwest and South are least likely to know what their CEO looks like, followed by the West and East:

  • Midwest — 23 percent
  • South — 23 percent
  • West — 19 percent
  • East — 18 percent

According to the survey, workers’ awareness of the C-suite falls off significantly after the CEO. Just 35 percent of workers can name all of the C-level officers at their organization, while an additional 21 percent can only name some C-level officers.    

“Leadership from the C-suite can be a difficult balance. The CEO and, in some cases, other senior leaders are the face of the company both internally and externally. Meaning, they need to find a level of accessibility that allows them to connect with employees, while on the other hand, dedicate the necessary time for building relationships with outside stakeholders,” says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “Employees realize their top leaders can’t know everyone on a first name basis, but they do expect their leaders to be a public symbol that embodies the organization’s values.”

Get to know the CEO
Depending on the size of your company, your level or the visibility of your executives, you may never become besties with the C-suite. Yet, there are ways you can take matters into your own hands:

  • Do your research: Go to your company’s website and see if there’s an “About Us” or “Executive Bios” section. Bookmark the page — chances are if there are bios, there are pictures that go along with them.
  • Speak up: If you’re at a meeting with the CEO, no matter what the size, introduce yourself. Even if you just say your name, title and what you work on, the CEO will appreciate your assertiveness and will more likely than not remember your name, or at least your face. And by having a brief conversation, it’ll help you remember him or her, too.
  • Make a suggestion: If you think your company’s executives could do a better job of getting in front of employees, don’t be afraid to say so. Most companies offer confidential employee surveys, so that’s one good place to make the recommendation.
  • Volunteer: Offer to work on a high-profile client project or volunteer to help with the company’s philanthropy initiative. This will give you more visibility within the company and, chances are, more interaction with the C-level.


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6 tips for becoming an irreplaceable employee

By Lori Michelle Ryan, JIST Publishing

As the nation, the economy and businesses continue to heal from the recession, job security is more important than ever to most workers. Employees can preserve job security by ensuring they are irreplaceable to their companies, says Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D., in his new book, “150 Best Jobs for a Secure Future.”

“Sometimes jobs are threatened by short-term or local events,” Shatkin says. “More commonly, jobs are threatened because a particular business gets into trouble even though the economy may be in good shape. … [but] even a prosperous business may need to lay off workers. Whatever the reason for the layoffs, you may be able to hang onto your job if you’re irreplaceable. You need to be so vital to the business that it can’t go on without you.”

Here are six of Shatkin’s tips for becoming an irreplaceable worker:

1. “Focus on the core mission of the business. Many businesses diversify and serve several functions, but usually there’s a central mission that makes money and determines whether the business will succeed or fail. Identify that central function and play a role in it. Identify the skills the business needs for future development of this function and acquire them.”

2. “Accept change. Better yet, be a part of it. Keep abreast of new business methods, especially for handling communication and information, and find ways to use them in your work. The attitude ‘We’ve always done it this way’ will not advance the organization’s mission.”

3. “Be exceptionally productive. This doesn’t necessarily mean working longer hours. It’s more important to find a task or role you can handle that goes beyond your job description. Here again, skills are important because they are the key to productivity. If you have any time and energy to spare, volunteer to take over a small task that unburdens your manager or a co-worker; this both broadens your skill set and showcases your productivity. Don’t catch yourself saying, ‘That’s not my job.’”

4. “Be visible. In many businesses, the person whose office is next to the boss’s tends to get the best performance appraisals. If you don’t have that office, find ways to make your accomplishments known; don’t wait for performance-appraisal season.”

5. “Acquire a mentor. Find someone who really knows the business, be helpful, and ask a lot of very specific questions, including questions about how to improve your work. Give public credit to the mentor for the advice you get.”

6. “Be pleasant. Be someone customers like to deal with. Find ways to say positive things about your co-workers and promote their accomplishments. Back-stabbing may seem like a way to get ahead, but it can hurt you in the long run. Abrasiveness or whining may make you stand out, but for the wrong reasons. If you really can’t get along with some people in your work group, try to be transferred to one where you’ll fit in better.”

Lori Michelle Ryan is the marketing communications specialist at JIST Publishing, America’s Career Publisher. In this role, she helps job seekers, career changers, students and working professionals develop the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the job market and world of work.


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‘Needless networking’: How and why to stay connected when you’re already employed

By Robert Half International

Unless you’re updating your “Business Cards through the Ages” diorama or have a compulsive desire to buy lunch for other people, networking when you already have a good job can seem unnecessary. After all, what do you stand to gain from it?

Plenty, actually. For starters, “needless” networking keeps your connections — and your networking muscles — in good shape for when you do need help finding a new opportunity. Getting in touch only when you’re scrambling for a job won’t endear you to your contacts, whether or not they’re willing to help.

The quality of that help will suffer, too. For example, a former colleague who needs to be reminded who you are, isn’t likely to provide a sterling reference. Your current situation gives you a much better chance to invest the time it takes to let fruitful relationships develop naturally.  

Staying connected also keeps you aware of career possibilities about which you wouldn’t otherwise know. It can even help you keep your current role fresh by exposing you to new perspectives about your work.

Perhaps best of all, the security of your position affords you a chance to learn to network in ways you genuinely enjoy. Networking can actually be fun when there’s no pressure to find an immediate job lead or have someone recommend you.

Don’t over-rely on online tools
Pressed for time, many workers count on online tools for most of their networking. A week’s worth of networking efforts might consist of accepting a few LinkedIn invitations and posting a career-oriented tweet or two. In just a few minutes, you can feel like you’ve kept your network in shape.

But if you haven’t talked to someone in a while — and especially if you’ve never met offline — you’re on the inside track to oblivion. Most people’s online networks include dozens of six-degree contacts such as That Woman I Met at the Convention or The Guy Who Pitched Me His Services Two Years Ago. If your contacts place you in one of these vague categories, it’s a very short walk to I Have No Idea Who That Person Is.

Social networks are indispensable, but they alone don’t constitute a network that will nurture your career. In terms of establishing a memorable impression you can build on, old-fashioned methods delivers better results. That’s why you should use online tools as a prelude, not a replacement, to face-to-face conversations.

If geography or other factors make that impossible, find ways to establish a connection that sets you apart from the crowd. For example, if you know someone in a particular field or industry, keep an eye out for relevant news stories or other links you might send her way.

Do what you like
Another obstacle to networking for many employed professionals is a lack of motivation. In the absence of an urgent need for new opportunities, the best way to ensure you’ll keep making connections is to identify and pursue networking activities you actually enjoy.

If you tend to have a good time at functions designed expressly to facilitate professional connections, attend them. But don’t limit yourself to these events. Meeting someone in a less-formal context — e.g., through a community organization, softball team or hiking group – often creates a more lasting bond than a quick exchange of business cards does.

Don’t assume that such connections won’t yield concrete benefits for your career. You never know how a certain contact might be able to assist you down the road. Of course, you’ll meet some people at these unconventional networking events who will have no effect on your career, but that’s also true of even the most narrowly specialized industry event.

Find ways to help others
One of the most rewarding ways to approach networking is to consider what you can do for others. When you’re employed, living up to that standard becomes much easier. Orient yourself toward introductions you can make, opportunities you can identify and recommendations you can provide.

Doing an unasked favor for someone has the welcome side effect of making them want to help you in return. Another side effect: The more you assist others, the more genuine interest you’re likely to take in their goals and careers. Who knows? You might even stop thinking of networking as something you have to do.

Robert Half International is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm with a global network of more than 350 offices worldwide. For more information about our professional services, visit For additional career advice, view our career bloopers video series at or follow us on Twitter at


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Signs your job is taking over your life

Most workers have to clock in overtime at some point (or multiple points) in their careers, and they do so for a variety of reasons. It could be because of a big project with a tight deadline, the desire to make time-and-a-half or the nature of the job. Others work long hours just because they are workaholics. Yet if you’re finding yourself working late into the evening most nights, you may be harming your health.

According to a British study – which looked at more than 2,000 middle-aged British workers for an average of nearly six years – found that employees who work at least 11 hours per day were up to 2.43 times more likely to experience depression when compared to those who worked between seven and eight hours a day.

Warning signs

Andrea Ballard, HR consultant and career coach, says the following signs mean your job may be taking over your life:

  • A whole week goes by and you have no conversation or contact with anyone who isn’t related to a work issue or errand (e.g., pizza delivery guy and dry cleaner).
  • You spend zero time outdoors in nature except for your commute to work or other work-related events.
  • You can’t remember the last time you worked out, took an exercise class or even took a walk.
  • You dread vacations, since it just means you’ll have to work even more before you depart or when you come back to get caught up. You may even cancel vacations, just to avoid getting behind.

What you can do about it

  • Aim for balance. “When you work too much, it can throw your entire personal life out of whack too,” says Nicole Williams, CEO and founder of WORKS by Nicole Williams. “Now is the time to be an advocate for yourself and your needs. Drink lots of water, get enough sleep, make an effort to eat healthy foods and squeeze in some exercise.”
  • Take a break. “Take a midday break,” says Brenda Della Casa, author of “Cinderella Was a Liar.” “If you can’t take a full hour to sit in the sun or take a walk, schedule two 15-minute breaks where you go out of the office to do something completely unrelated to the office. Call a friend, listen to your iPod or browse a bookstore.”
  • Put the phone down. Karen Southall Watts, consultant and career coach, encourages workers to put themselves on a “data diet.” “You do not need to be wired — i.e. connected to your job and the whole world every second,” Southall stresses. “Check email in batches. Ask colleagues to limit texting to essential messages only. Schedule your social media time. Let co-workers know that you intend to focus and devote total attention to important projects, because this will create a higher-quality output.”
  • Speak up. “Work/life balance must be more than a buzz word,” says Tiffani Murray, career coach at and author of “Stuck on Stupid: A Guide for Today’s Professional Stuck in a Rut.” “Your manager or leadership in your organization should be supportive of creating a balanced work environment for you.” Murray says that if you aren’t getting the support from your boss, speak with someone in human resources to discuss how you can get a better handle on your workload and work hours.



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Laser Technology Used in Military Aircraft Inspections

Laser ultrasonic testing (UT) systems provider PaR Systems’ LaserUT product has been used to perform nondestructive inspections (NDIs) on more than 35, 000 parts produced by Joint Strike Fighter military aircraft vendors and suppliers, including U.S. aerospace and defense company Lockheed Martin.


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What employers think of gaps in your work history

When the recession began, the question that popped up repeatedly was, “Can I find a job in this economy?” Then, for those fortunate enough to be offered a position, the question often became, “Should I take a job even if it’s a step down from my last role?”

Both of these questions weighed heavily on workers. Not just because they were worried about making enough money to cover their bills – though they surely were – but also because these quandaries could potentially damage their long-term career goals. Job seekers want to make a strong first impression with employers, and a résumé with an employment gap or a work history that shows a step back isn’t going to do that. Or at least that’s what most job seekers fear.

 A new CareerBuilder survey found that 85 percent of employers consider themselves more understanding of gaps in your work history since the recession began. Also promising is that 94 percent of employers wouldn’t think less of candidates who, during the recession, took lower positions than their previous ones.

Making the best of the situation
No matter how positive your attitude, you know that being unemployed is frustrating. When you can’t find the job you want, or any job at all, you feel discouraged. Employers know that. When you’re writing a cover letter or going in for an interview, they don’t expect you to pretend unemployment has been a walk in the park. But they don’t want you to complain, either. As cliché as it sounds, this is when they want to see that you’ve made the most of a bad situation.

What do employers want to see?

Surveyed employers cited the following activities as the best ways to expand and strengthen skill sets:

  • Take a temporary or contract position – 79 percent
  • Take a class – 61 percent
  • Volunteer – 60 percent
  • Start your own business – 28 percent
  • Start a professional blog – 11 percent

The common thread among each of these suggestions is initiative from the job seeker. The economy might prevent you from having your ideal job, but you can still find a way to stay current with industry trends and keep your skills current.

Job seekers are often prepared for tricky interview questions, but one not-so-tricky one they sometimes forget to prepare for is, “What have you been doing since your last job?” Employers don’t want to hear you say, “Nothing.” Look at their list of recommendations and figure out what steps you can take so that your résumé answers that question for them.


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Companies hiring this week

Spring has finally arrived! While many parts of the country have been enjoying warmer than average temperatures, others are still feeling a chill in the air. No matter where you live – if you’re still in your winter coat or you’ve already pulled the summer clothes out of hibernation – a new season is a great time to refresh your job search.

To help, take a look at the below 10 companies that are hiring this week:

1. BHP Billiton
Oil and gas
Sample job titles: Financial analyst, geologist, petroleum engineers

2. The Chickasaw Nation Division of Commerce
Industry: Gaming/hospitality/service
Sample job titles: Gift shop clerk, administrative assistant, dentist, cook, security office, golf course manager, HR manager, Kronos IT manager

3. General Mills
Industry: Retail
Sample job titles: Retail sales, IT, analyst, manufacturing

4. Heartland Payment Systems
Industry: Financial products and services
Sample job titles:
Outside sales executive, software engineers

5. MedStar Health
Industry: Health care
Sample job titles: Pharmacy technician, HRIS analyst

6. Nielsen
Business services
Sample job titles: Analyst, associate client manager, client manager, engineer, project manager

7. Orkin
Industry: Pest control
Sample job titles: Pest control technician, sales inspectors, account managers, business to business sales

8. Rockwell Automation
Industry: Industrial automation and controls
Sample job titles: Design engineer, application engineer, hardware/firmware engineer, sales engineer, field support engineer, quality manager, senior financial analyst, production supervisor

9. Westfield Insurance
Industry: Insurance
Sample job titles: Graduate development program, intern, compliance officer, risk control

10. Zachry
Industry: Energy
Sample job titles: Welder, pipe fitter, crane operator, electrician


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4 resources for veterans entering the civilian workforce

Men and women who have served our country possess qualities and skills that are of great value to employers, including a strong work ethic, leadership and problem solving. Yet many veterans struggle with finding employment in the civilian world. According to, as of October 2011, more than 850,000 veterans were unemployed. In addition, the jobless rate for post-9/11 veterans was 12.1 percent — well above the national average.

There is some encouraging news: A recent CareerBuilder survey found that 20 percent of employers are actively recruiting U.S. veterans to work for their organizations, and 14 percent are actively recruiting members of the National Guard. Yet, with more than 1 million service members projected to leave the military between 2011 and 2016, where can soon-to-be and current military veterans turn? What resources are available to help them prepare for, seek and secure employment?

Here are four such resources, all with the goal of helping our nation’s heroes succeed in the civilian workforce:

1. matches employers with veterans looking to return to the workforce. The website, powered by CareerBuilder, provides a variety of resources for veterans, including a job-search engine, a tool for discovering how one’s military skills translate to the civilian world, and career advice.

2. Veteran Entrepreneurial Transfer Inc. ( According to the website,’s mission “is to teach veterans how to become entrepreneurs and to assist them in accelerating their veteran-owned innovations.” The organization, which receives backing from the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs, turns veterans into entrepreneurs by helping them start their own businesses. Veterans are connected with the financing needed to get their venture off the ground and business volunteers and mentors who provide advice, guidance and support.

3. American Freedom Foundation Inc.: The American Freedom Foundation provides grants to organizations that support military veterans, including those related to employment. The Foundation has a special focus on aiding wounded or disabled veterans and their families, as well as the children of those killed in action. One of the most prominent ways the American Freedom Foundation raises money is through its American Freedom Festivals.

4. America Wants You: The recently launched site, AWY, brings together the private sector and corporate America to find job opportunities for men and women who have served in the U.S. military. CareerBuilder powers the job-search engine, which is free for both veterans and companies. Thousands of jobs are available in a variety of fields, including sales, customer service and information technology management, at companies across the U.S.

“AWY is one site with one well-defined mission; simply put, AWY is designed to get our veterans back to work,” says John Pike, CEO of AWY and a veteran himself. “Whether you have completed your service or are soon to do so, sites like AWY and all the others help in making a difficult transition a little bit easier.”

For veterans beginning the job-search process, Pike says they should arm themselves with as much information as possible via sites like AWY. They should also assess their skills — what they’ve done and what they’ve learned — and determine how these skills are transferable to the mainstream American workforce. “And finally, don’t just look for a job, look for an opportunity to use your skills to grow within an area where you can advance and prosper.”                                                                                        

To learn more about America Wants You, watch the below video featuring Chris O’Donnell discussing the importance of helping veterans in our current job market:


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6 fields that offer the most job security

By Lori Michelle Ryan, JIST Publishing

During tough economic times, workers experience multiple levels of stress related to layoffs, furloughs, pay cuts and a myriad of other issues. Most employees just want to ensure their jobs are secure. In his new book, “150 Best Jobs for a Secure Future,” Laurence Shatkin details the most secure occupations and fields: computer systems design, educational services, government, health care, repair and maintenance and utilities.

“During economic downturns, these fields tend not to shed workers as much as other fields do, and the overall outlook for employment in these fields is good to excellent,” Shatkin says.

Here is additional information about the six most secure fields and the most secure job in each, according to Shatkin:

1. Computer systems design
“Workers in this career field design computer and information systems, develop custom software programs and manage computer facilities. They also may perform various other functions, such as software installation and disaster recovery. They generally work on a contract basis. They may assist an organization with a particular project or program, such as setting up a secure website or establishing a marketplace online, or they may handle ongoing activities, such as management of an onsite data center or help desk.”

Software developers, systems software
Annual earnings: $92,130
Percent growth: 57.4
Annual openings: 6,120

2. Educational services
“Education is an important part of life. The amount and type of education that individuals receive are a major influence on both the types of jobs they are able to hold and their earnings. Lifelong learning is important in acquiring new knowledge and upgrading one’s skills, particularly in this age of rapid technological and economic changes. The educational services field includes a variety of institutions that offer academic education, career and technical instruction and other education and training to millions of students each year.”

Administrative services managers
Annual earnings: $74,970
Percent growth: 19.3
Annual openings: 3,430

3. Government
“The federal government’s essential duties include defending the U.S. from foreign aggression, representing U.S. interests abroad, creating and enforcing national laws and regulations and administering domestic programs and agencies. State and local governments provide their constituents with vital services that may not be available otherwise, such as transportation, public safety, health care, education, utilities and courts. Many of these governmental services cannot easily be privatized and are needed no matter how the economy fluctuates.”

Social scientists and related workers
Annual earnings: $76,120
Percent growth: 19.3
Annual openings: 860

4. Health care
“Combining medical technology and the human touch, the health-care field diagnoses, treats and administers care around the clock, responding to the needs of millions of people — from newborns to the terminally ill. Because it meets a lifelong need, and the demand for health care is increasing rapidly, this is one of the most secure career fields.”

Physicians and surgeons
Annual earnings: $153,970
Percent growth: 26
Annual openings: 29,480

5. Repair and maintenance
“It’s a fact of life that machines and electronic equipment sometimes break down and need to be restored to working order. Routine maintenance services, such as changing the oil in your automobile, often can prevent breakdowns and keep equipment running efficiently. This work provides the livelihood for workers in the repair and maintenance field.”

Industrial machinery mechanics
Annual earnings: $40,140
Percent growth: 19.1
Annual openings: 650

6. Utilities
“The utilities field includes companies that generate, transmit and distribute electrical power; distribute natural gas; treat and distribute fresh water; and treat wastewater … The utilities field is unique in that urban areas with many inhabitants generally have relatively few utility companies. Also unlike most industries, the utilities field imports and exports only a small portion of its product. Because of the essential nature of the product and the relative lack of competition, this field has more security than most.”

Electrical and electronics repairers, powerhouse, substation and relay
Annual earnings: $66,270
Percent growth: 10.3
Annual openings: 410

Lori Michelle Ryan is the marketing communications specialist at JIST Publishing, America’s Career Publisher. In this role, she helps job seekers, career changers, students and working professionals develop the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the job market and world of work.


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