Interviews, Job Offers and Promotions Archives

Did You Read about Glassdoor.com . . .?

Published on February 12th, 2019 by Alan L. Sklover

Sklover Working Wisdom glass door

Wall Street Journal Analysis: “Companies Game Glassdoor Rankings”

According to a recently published report by The Wall Street Journal, there’s good reason to doubt the credibility of Glassdoor employer rankings that so many employees use to decide which employers to work for.

“Glassdoor’s company ratings,” including their annual ‘Best Places to Work’ awards, “are a powerful weapon in job recruiting, giving companies an incentive to inflate them.”

Some employers admit pressuring their employees to post rave reviews; some employers admit only “suggesting” they do so.

While Glassdoor claims that it tries hard to limit companies from “ballot stuffing” their Glassdoor reviews, it remains an undeniable fact that the “real” customers of Glassdoor are employers, who advertise on the site, and who can even, for an additional fee, have Glassdoor refuse to place ads for job openings from their competitors. Glassdoor also charges employers to customize their pages and promote their open positions.

Like other “ratings” websites, like Yelp and TripAdvisor, Glassdoor suffers from the gross conflict of interest at the very heart of its business model: the rated employers are Glassdoor’s best clients. As the old saying goes, “No one bites the hand that feeds them.” Some employers pay Glassdoor as much as tens of thousands of dollars each and every month.

A mathematical probability analysis performed for the Wall Street Journal by statisticians at Columbia University and the University of Washington found it nearly impossible to explain significant “spikes” of votes and ratings changes at Glassdoor over short periods of time . . . especially in October of each year, just before Glassdoor calculates its annual rankings.

In the summer of 2018, one employer, Guaranteed Rate, Inc., had a poor rating of 2.6 stars out of 5.0. After its CEO, Victor Ciardelli, instructed his team to tell his employees to flood Glassdoor with positive reviews, its Glassdoor ranking jumped from a dismal 2.6 to a delightful 4.1.

Employers LinkedIn and Anthem Health have admitted they “encourage” their employees to submit positive rankings. Five star reviews of employers have almost doubled over the past five years.

A message to all working people who consider Glassdoor’s rankings when making employment and career decisions: consider other ways to make those decisions, and consider any Glassdoor ranking suspect, at best.

Bad data “in” leads only to bad decisions “out.” Know the Difference. That’s part of both our job and our joy at SkloverWorkingWisdom.com™

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Have a ‘Pre-Existing Creation?’ Protect it in Interviews and Job Offers

Published on November 7th, 2018 by Alan L. Sklover

 
“Create with the heart; build with the mind.”

– Criss Jami

ACTUAL CASE HISTORIES: Adelisa, 38, had a rock-solid resume as an Analytics Design Specialist, having been employed by a list of impressive hedge fund employers. She was an expert in assisting Quantitative Analysts design software and algorithms to better predict investment performance. Her experience, skills and industry relations were such that she received recruitment inquiries almost weekly. For a few years, she was on her own as an independent contractor, but was now a mother of two young girls, and had become far more interested in the comfort afforded by a weekly paycheck.

One inquiry she received from a large hedge fund intrigued her so much that she entered into serious talks with them for a senior executive position that included very substantial compensation, great working flexibility and significant job security.

I had worked with Adelisa several times before, each time she climbed the “career ladder.” When she contacted me this time, she had already received a “standard” employment contract from her potential employer. I noticed right away that it was heavily laden with many detailed provisions intended to protect the employer from employees “stealing” creations, inventions, proprietary information and trade secrets. The entire employment agreement consisted of 8 pages, 4 of which were devoted to the subject of protecting the employer’s intellectual property.

Adelisa had the “mirror image” concern. That is, over the course of several years, on her own time she had developed what she referred to as her “Golden Goose,” which was a computer program she had created entirely by herself, years ago, while working as an independent contractor. As best I can explain it (they didn’t teach this stuff in law school), it was “an algorithmic-based platform that could ‘carry’ various data packages to test predictive capacities.” Adelisa said it was actually based on “digital intuition,” and was a type of artificial intelligence.

Her “mirror image” concern was how she could use her “Golden Goose” on the job, yet not lose any of her rights in and to it. The draft employment agreement, like most, provided that anything and everything she might use to do her work for this employer would automatically be deemed the employer’s sole property. She asked if we could help her respond to that language, in order to protect her “Golden Goose.”

It was an interesting project, and the results were well worth it. First, her new job went very well, and her compensation was very significant. And, when, years later, she eventually departed from the company for “greener pastures,” there were no disputes, no claims, and no threats regarding her “Golden Goose,” which was precisely her goal. Mission accomplished.

LESSON TO LEARN: With few exceptions, everything in life – and that includes work life – can be “navigated and negotiated” in wise ways. Taking care, when entering into new work relations, to try to prevent problems from arising in the future, is the wisest of wise ways, and always worth the effort.

In two ways, employees often lose their rights in their pre-existing creations: (1) law (the “Work for Hire” rule), and (2) by agreements they are asked to sign (often called “Assignment Agreements). In this blog post, we address both, and the ways prospective employees can and should protect their “pre-existing creations” in the context of interviewing and job offers.

As a few examples, they include software, works of art, written materials, musical compositions, visual and audio presentations, and inventions. By law, they are materials that can be (a) copyrighted, (b) trademarked and/or (c) patented. By means of self-help – our favorite topic for employees – they can take steps that can protect themselves, and might be just as good, or better.

While each employee’s “pre-existing creations” are unique, and each employment dynamic is unique, there are some generalized observations we can share to assist in the process of protecting employees’ “pre-existing creations.”

As the quote above reminds us, “Create with the heart; build with the mind.” I would simply add, “And then protect what you create as best you can.”

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Here are 12 pointers for employees in Adelisa’s “shoes.” This list is not exhaustive, but it does cover most of the critical points most employees need to understand:
Read the rest of this blog post »

Two (or More) Job Opportunities? – 18 Elements of Comparison – [Part 2 of 2]

Published on June 19th, 2018 by Alan L. Sklover

Difficult Choices

 
“It’s not hard to make decisions
when you know what your values are.”

– Roy E. Disney

NOTE: This is Part 2 of 2 of this Newsletter. We have divided it in half due to its considerable length, befitting its importance to so many employees. Last week we presented Elements of Job Opportunity Comparison 1 through 9; This week we present Elements of Job Opportunity Comparison 10 through 18. (Click here if you want to review our First Installment before reviewing this one.)

ACTUAL CASE HISTORY: Danielle, a senior marketing executive, was quite unhappy in her job. Her employer’s management was extremely dysfunctional. Sales were soft for many reasons, and, of course, much of it was blamed on her and her team. With 21 years experience, she knew her team was running on all cylinders, but even great marketing can’t undo an outdated product, an insufficient marketing budget, and almost daily interference with marketing decisions imposed by the CEO’s wife.

Without her reaching out, she was contacted by a recruiter with a very intriguing opportunity, with (a) better salary, (b) but lower bonus opportunity, (c) greater retirement benefits, but (d) later retirement age, (e) a new, exciting product line to market, but (f) a small marketing budget that gave her limited discretion. The position also came with a three year contract, but it required relocation to a city she’d never before even visited. A confusing list of advantages and disadvantages, positives and negatives.

To say it was a hard choice to make would be an understatement. Danielle knew the positives and negatives of her “bird in the hand,” but didn’t know what she would experience with the “two in the bush.”

Working with Danielle was one of my favorite client experiences. It involved first identifying, and then weighing, her personal values, career planning, life goals and difficult choices.

In the end, she made the move to the new job, and fortunately has never looked back. In hindsight, it was surely the better choice, but as they say, “Hindsight is 20-20 vision; the harder ‘sight’ is ‘insight.’”

These days many people face this dilemma, as company after company seeks to improve its human capital, expand, or just “see what is out there.” If you are in this situation, or if you receive two job offers, the decision between or among your available job opportunities might be a difficult one. Even if you find the decision an easy one to make . . . are you sure you considered all of the factors that are wise to take into account?

LESSON TO LEARN: Depending on your personal preferences, brand and skillset, as well as whether we are in “good” or “bad” economic times, it may seem that job opportunities are depressingly scarce or wonderfully abundant. Whether job opportunities are scarce or abundant, employees often have occasion to decide between (i) leaving their jobs for other offered positions, or (ii) making a choice between two or more new positions offered to them at one time. It is common that comparison of two jobs, or two job offers, can be a difficult thing to do. It is often an “apples vs. oranges” comparison, and can get quite confusing. And, so, we offer you the same list that we offer our clients to make these difficult “apples vs. oranges” comparisons.

The list we offer below has another, somewhat unintended, advantage: It may remind you of one or more job opportunity components of comparison that you had simply not even thought about. Like a checklist of sorts, it may bring to the surface of your consciousness something that had been lurking in your mind, heart and soul, that had not yet come to the surface of your awareness.

For those facing the need to make a choice between “take this job or take that one,” below is what our clients have found to be the most important elements needed to compare, and a simple way of doing so. It is not scientific, it is not foolproof, but most of my clients who have used it reported back to me that it was extremely helpful. Hopefully, it will be for you, as well.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: When you need to compare two or more employment opportunities – whether it’s a choice between two different offers, or remaining in your present job, or accepting a new offer – you need to make your decision wisely, prudently and carefully. For that reason below we present these common elements of job opportunity comparison as a “tried-and-true” method of doing so.
Read the rest of this blog post »

Two (or More) Job Opportunities? – 18 Elements of Comparison – [Part 1 of 2]

Published on June 12th, 2018 by Alan L. Sklover

Difficult Choices

 
“It’s not hard to make decisions
when you know what your values are.”

– Roy E. Disney

NOTE: This Newsletter is of considerable length, befitting its importance to so many. For this reason we are presenting it in two installments, this first including Elements of Comparison 1 through 9, the second including Elements of Comparison 10 through 18. The second installment will be published next week. “Stay Tuned.”

ACTUAL CASE HISTORY: Danielle, a senior marketing executive, was quite unhappy in her job. Her employer’s management was extremely dysfunctional. Sales were soft for many reasons, and, of course, much of it was blamed on her and her team. With 21 years experience, she knew her team was running on all cylinders, but even great marketing can’t undo an outdated product, an insufficient marketing budget, and almost daily interference with marketing decisions imposed by the CEO’s wife.

Without her reaching out, she was contacted by a recruiter with a very intriguing opportunity, with (a) better salary, (b) but lower bonus opportunity, (c) greater retirement benefits, but (d) later retirement age, (e) a new, exciting product line to market, but (f) a small marketing budget that gave her limited discretion. The position also came with a three year contract, but it required relocation to a city she’d never before even visited. A confusing list of advantages and disadvantages, positives and negatives.

To say it was a hard choice to make would be an understatement. Danielle knew the positives and negatives of her “bird in the hand,” but didn’t know what she would experience with the “two in the bush.”

Working with Danielle was one of my favorite client experiences. It involved first identifying, and then weighing, her personal values, career planning, life goals and difficult choices.

In the end, she made the move to the new job, and fortunately has never looked back. In hindsight, it was surely the better choice, but as they say, “Hindsight is 20-20 vision; the harder ‘sight’ is ‘insight.’”

These days many people face this dilemma, as company after company seeks to improve its human capital, expand, or just “see what is out there.” If you are in this situation, or if you receive two job offers, the decision between or among your available job opportunities might be a difficult one. Even if you find the decision an easy one to make . . . are you sure you considered all of the factors that are wise to take into account?

LESSON TO LEARN: Depending on your personal preferences, brand and skillset, as well as whether we are in “good” or “bad” economic times, it may seem that job opportunities are depressingly scarce or wonderfully abundant. Whether job opportunities are scarce or abundant, employees often have occasion to decide between (i) leaving their jobs for other offered positions, or (ii) making a choice between two or more new positions offered to them at one time. It is common that comparison of two jobs, or two job offers, can be a difficult thing to do. It is often an “apples vs. oranges” comparison, and can get quite confusing. And, so, we offer you the same list that we offer our clients to make these difficult “apples vs. oranges” comparisons.

The list we offer below has another, somewhat unintended, advantage: It may remind you of one or more job opportunity components of comparison that you had simply not even thought about. Like a checklist of sorts, it may bring to the surface of your consciousness something that had been lurking in your mind, heart and soul, that had not yet come to the surface of your awareness.

For those facing the need to make a choice between “take this job or take that one,” below is what our clients have found to be the most important elements needed to compare, and a simple way of doing so. It is not scientific, it is not foolproof, but most of my clients who have used it reported back to me that it was extremely helpful. Hopefully, it will be for you, as well.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: When you need to compare two or more employment opportunities – whether it’s a choice between two different offers, or remaining in your present job, or accepting a new offer – you need to make your decision wisely, prudently and carefully. For that reason below we present these common elements of job opportunity comparison as a “tried-and-true” method of doing so.
Read the rest of this blog post »

Cancer, Job Applicants & the Law – Eight Most Common Questions Answered

Published on April 3rd, 2018 by Alan L. Sklover

 
“Whoever said winning isn’t everything
wasn’t fighting cancer.”

– Author Unknown

ACTUAL CASE HISTORY: Theresa, 48, an experienced Architectural Draftswoman, was seeking to return to the workforce after not working for four years. After hearing of a job opening at a large architectural firm for which she seemed perfectly suited, Theresa submitted her resume, and she was soon asked to come for an interview.

Theresa responded quickly, and after two interviews that went extremely well, she was told that the partner in charge of hiring for the job was her only remaining step. Unfortunately, that interview was unusual for its focus, from the first moment to the last, on her reasons for being out of the workforce for four years.

After several rather penetrating questions about the reasons for her being out of work for four years, Theresa felt she had no choice but to share what she did not want to share: that she had been battling ovarian cancer, and now, for the first time in years, felt strong enough to commit to full-time work. “Finally,” she thought to herself, “that’s out of the way. Maybe now we can talk about ‘what really matters,’ namely the position’s responsibilities and the corporate culture.”

Her interviewer apparently thought differently, and simply proceeded to ask her if she was certain she had the energy to do the job, what medicines and treatments continued, and – pointedly – what was her prognosis. As Theresa complied, with each additional question, she was less and less certain that she wanted to work for this firm.

Not surprisingly, Theresa did not get an offer for the job.

LESSON TO LEARN: Any person who is struggling with cancer, or who has done so in the past, knows what it means to fight for your life. Those who are fighting cancer surely have a lot on their “plate.” Those who are battling the disease, or who have done so in the past, AND who are seeking work, have more on their “plate” than most people can imagine. This newsletter is intended to lighten that burden by providing information about how the law provides some protections for them, and for those who care for them.

Disability Law, In General: The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA” for short), is the federal law that protects those with disabilities from discrimination in employment based on their disability. The ADA defines “disability” as (a) an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, or (b) a record or history of having a substantially limiting impairment, or (c) being perceived by others as having a disability. The ADA covers employment by private employers with 15 or more employees, as well as state and local government employers (Section 501 of The Rehabilitation Act provides similar protections for federal employees).

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (“EEOC” for short) is the federal agency that enforces the provisions of the ADA. With certain different limitations, definitions, and procedures, most states, and even many cities, have their own laws, ordinances and agencies that provide additional protections to employees with disabilities, or who are perceived to have an impairment.

Cancer and Disability Law: The ADA was amended in 2008 to protect job applicants who are battling cancer, or who have done so in the past, from discrimination on that basis. Unique among diseases, cancer is now presumed to be a disability, giving cancer victims more protection from discrimination than are those who suffer from many other diseases.

Unfortunately, despite increasing understanding of the burdens of having cancer, people with cancer still experience barriers to equal job opportunities due to interviewers’, supervisors’ and colleagues’ misperceptions about their ability to work during and after cancer treatment. Even when the prognosis for recovery is excellent, some employers presume that a person diagnosed with cancer will be unable to perform their work duties, will take frequent and long absences from work, will be unable to focus on their duties, and may not survive very long.

Perception of Disability: Although many people don’t know it, you do not need to be disabled in order to be protected by the Disability Laws, which also protect job applicants who are “perceived to be disabled.” So, if for any reason a job interviewer “perceives” you to be disabled, then the prohibition against disability discrimination protects you, too.

Like Theresa in the Case History above, you may not have cancer or any other disability, but nonetheless your interviewer believes you may not be able to work occasional overtime, or if he or she believes you may call in sick a lot, and does not hire you for this reason, the law is on your side, regardless of the fact that, in fact, you have no disability.

[This newsletter is dedicated to the memories of Emil, 66, a friend of 55 years, and Krysten, 40, a close friend of several years, both of whom over the past year have fought the good fight against cancer, but who did not, in the end, prevail.]

EIGHT MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS, AND THEIR ANSWERS:
Read the rest of this blog post »


Alan L. Sklover

Alan L. Sklover

Employment Attorney
and Career Strategist
for over 35 years

Job Security and Career Success now depend on knowing how to navigate and negotiate to gain the most for your skills, time and efforts. Learn the trade secrets and 'uncommon common sense' of Attorney Alan L. Sklover, the leading authority on "Negotiating for Yourself at Work™".

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