Turning Downtime Into Job Offers

Bob Larson, CPC

Career Report

May 2018— Issue 219

Turning Downtime Into Job Offers

If there’s one thing that most unemployed job seekers have in abundance, it is time. And yet many of them misuse it. According to an article in The New York Times, that’s because in the post-layoff life it can be easy to put off completing activities and projects. Unlike when you’re working, no one will come after you if you don’t finish them.

But having a structured schedule can change all of that, turning downtime into productive time and helping to improve one’s chances of finding a job.

Without a structured schedule, the article pointed out, it can be very easy to go to the gym, have a leisurely lunch, take a nap, and watch some TV before dinner. Or you may engage in a whirlwind of e-mail messages, Googling, calling and appointment-making, only to realize that very little of it got you closer to finding a job.

“Having no structure is the biggest enemy to being organized and being focused,” said Julie Morgenstern, a productivity consultant in New York and author of “Time Management From the Inside Out.” According to Morgenstern, job seekers should create specific work hours and a time map along with mini deadlines, she said. Like many other experts, she recommends treating job hunting like a full-time job.

Kimberly Bishop, chief executive of a career management and leadership services firm in New York, added that looking for a job involves so many steps that trying to define and prioritize them can be overwhelming. “I don’t think that there’s ever a time that the job search process is easy,” Bishop said. Because it is not something people tend to do on a regular basis, few are truly skilled at it, she said, but “being prepared and having a plan and a process brings confidence.”

To begin, Bishop told the newspaper, set aside a physical space for job hunting and devote from several days to a week solely to laying the groundwork for your search, she said. Too often, Bishop said, people fling themselves into making appointments and arranging interviews before they even have their résumés updated or know what kinds of jobs they should realistically seek.

Prepare résumés, write sample cover letters, assemble your references, and put together samples of your work, she recommended. Compile an inventory of your skills, accomplishments and honors – Bishop calls this a “success folder” – ready to be shown or recounted during interviews.

“Once the job hunt gets started, it’s so easy to become overwhelmed with just the management and organization of paperwork,” Bishop said. So create files, either paper or computer ones, to keep track of where you have applied and where you have had interviews.

After this initial preparation it’s time to get started in earnest, the article pointed out. Morgenstern suggests dividing the day into three compartments: preparation and research, meetings, and follow-up. “Mixing it up” this way can stop you from obsessing about things and from being paralyzed by perfectionism.

Bishop echoed this sentiment, saying it is dangerous to spend too much time on any one thing. Some people spend all of their time in front of the computer sending unproductive e-mail messages and applying for jobs for which they aren’t qualified. Other people spend all day at networking meetings and informational interviews without doing the concrete work that leads to an actual application or an interview.

In the article, Morgenstern suggested this sample day of varied activities: From 9 to 11, do background research on companies that you will be applying to or interviewing with. Research unconventional industries that may fit with your skills. Take an online career assessment test. Generate a list of contacts for networking purposes. Look up networking organizations.

Between 11 and 2 or 3, you might meet with a friend or former colleagues or a career counselor for lunch or coffee. Try to schedule a meeting every day, or five meetings a week. “These benchmarks keep you from becoming complacent or depressed,” and keep you connected with the outside world, Morgenstern said.

Then go home and do follow-up work, she said. Send a thank-you e-mail message to the person you had lunch or coffee with and forward any articles or leads that you may have mentioned. Send thank-you notes that day. Do not put that off, she added.

End every day by planning the next one, plus the two days after, Morgenstern said. This “three-day arc” puts your job search in context and enables you to pace yourself. “People are energized by getting things done,” she said. “Energy then begets more energy and more productivity” and that begets confidence. Then, she said, when you’re calling people on the phone or meeting with them, you radiate confidence and increase your chances of being hired.”


Finally we have experienced some warm spring weather and the job market continues to warm and at times even over heat.  We have been experiencing challenges in finding great talent in several niches.  Client plans for hiring continues to increase and the unemployment numbers remain in record low territory.

So this remains a good time for job seekers and hopefully wages will see an increase for all in the near future.

We do see job descriptions being restructured as the nature of productive work continues to adjust to innovative market conditions.

As always we thank everyone for their support as we celebrated our 38th anniversary bringing the “Best Staffing Options” to employers and job-seekers.


Bob Larson, CPC
Bob Larson, CPC


Career Report

May 2016

 Feature Story


Picture this: your client company has an open pay policy — where salary bands and compensation of individuals are visible throughout the organization.  Such a proposition may be a heart-stopping notion but, according a Monster.com article, recruiters and other staffing professionals would be wise to ponder the challenges and opportunities posed by pay transparency.

Why? Among other things, the article pointed out, it provides a means to overcome a job candidate’s potential doubts, fears, and objections around compensation during the job offer process.

Elements of open pay, a widespread practice among government entities, have recently gained momentum as a legal requirement for many private-sector firms. About a dozen states, including California and New York, adopted laws in 2015 that strengthen workers’ rights to: ask their employees about compensation, discuss pay with coworkers, and disclose their salary to others.

The primary goal of these laws intends to advance pay equality. Indeed, these state measures typically expand on longstanding Federal protections for pay rights.

Indeed, companies that choose a fully open pay policy — giving every employee access to everyone else’s salary — remain rare. Still, this phenomenon may potentially become a growing trend, especially if more upstarts follow the lead of tech firms like New York-based SumAll, a data analytics company and San Francisco-based Buffer, a web-based platform that helps share social media content.

What does all this mean for recruiters selling opportunities to candidates who may see salary transparency as an ill-considered scheme?  Here, according to the Monster.com article, are some top considerations, from the mouths of open-pay experts and practitioners:

Putting chips on the table can avoid wasting everyone’s time. With open pay, compensation is typically addressed toward the beginning of the recruitment process. This means candidates can quickly learn whether a job is worth going after, says compensation consultant Jim Brennan.

“Candidates no longer have to wonder what’s real and what isn’t,” says Brennan. And hiring managers, HR people and compensation specialists may no longer have to suffer through a series of candidacies that may well result in a stalemate or counteroffer ping-pong match.

Known salary bands can make negotiation more straightforward. “Open pay lowers the stress level in the hiring process,” says Dane Atkinson, CEO of SumAll, the 28-employee firm founded in 2011. At SumAll, a team comes up with the salary offer by comparing their appraisal of the candidate’s potential with the performance of current employees and then looks for an approximate match.

An open-pay search may increase the recruiter’s workload. Open pay is not all good for recruiters. With transparency, no manager can expect a company to make an exception to its internally published pay bands for an exceptional candidate; and recruiters can’t eliminate applicants who have been underpaid — mostly women and members of minority groups.

“Pay transparency is bad for recruiters and good for candidates,” says Brennan. “It’s much easier for recruiters to use prior pay as a proxy; with open pay, recruiters may have to work harder and do more research.”

Transparent pay can reduce inequities among demographic groups. With salary out in the open, unfair pay practices tend to quickly diminish — an objective that sometimes eludes even those employers that make serious efforts to treat equally all workers’ requests for raises.

A system weighted toward equity is doubly important for aforementioned women and minorities, who often tend to be weaker salary negotiators, according to studies cited by a Penn State Law Review article. Thus, open pay can be a great selling point to candidates who are members of protected classes.

Open comp companies can speak fluently about pay for performance. When each of your employees knows what everyone is paid, it requires some transparency about compensation differences among people doing similar work.

“You can think of open pay as a call to action to organizations to communicate about how comp is derived and how it links to performance,” says Salary.com CEO Kent Plunkett. “The biggest problem I see with open pay is how you feel if you’re in the bottom third” of the pay band.

Open pay can exemplify a transparent company culture.  “Pay transparency is an opportunity for a company to communicate culture and employer brand,” says Plunkett. Open-pay companies are likely skilled in communicating their culture to recruiters and the candidates they source.

Transparent pay can reassure candidates about working for a smaller employer. Candidates may have heard horror stories from friends who went to work for an exciting small company but become mired in a low to middling pay range. Visibility into your client’s open-pay structure may help overcome such objections.

“At companies with fewer than 50 workers, it’s more likely that employees will feel that pay is not systematic and open pay can mute this concern,” says Plunkett.

Openness makes compensation systems more self-correcting. Open-pay systems tend to keep themselves honest. “Once you publish a pay rate, it becomes consistent, because there’s pressure to keep it so,” says Brennan. And pay transparency makes it harder for executives to create exceptions.

Transparency tends to help employees keep up with market pay rates. “Open pay brings vitality to the whole talent acquisition process,” says Brennan.

Clearly, the article pointed out, with company-wide visibility into pay data, changes in compensation can quickly sweep through a given employment classification, helping to boost employee morale as inequity is addressed, Brennan believes. Another possible benefit of open pay: while labor costs may tend to be higher in the short term, they will be lowered in the long term due to reduced employee attrition.


“April Showers they Bring May Flowers” we are not sure of this east coast weather but we are super pleased to report that May has brought a new blossom of job orders.  Segments that are getting warmer for the hot summer are scientific, pharma, marketing, sales and information technologies.   Shortages have appear and top talent competition continues to heat up.  Hot times are on the horizon for the job-seeker.

We are also pleased to report that our infrastructure improvements continue to assist our clients in stream lining the talent acquisition cycle.  If you would like to learn more give Bob Larson, CPC a call 201-556-2887 or email him at larson@jobsbl.com.