Category Archives: 1. The Scoop

Ghosting a Hirer Will Haunt You… The Art of Self Promotion… Writing Lessons from Jeff Bezos

Ghosting a Hirer Will Haunt You

In an era where breaking up via text message is common, many find having to deliver bad news in a professional context terrifying. But while avoiding the unpleasant task of telling an employer you are not accepting a job offer may sound like a good idea, it isn’t.

The situation is so rampant that Lindsey Pollak, a consultant who addresses multigenerational issues in the workplace, was asked to teach college students attending recruiting events how to politely turn down an offer.

Pollak warns that “ghosting” an employer can have lasting repercussions despite the reason. Whether job seekers are waiting to hear about another offer, considering a counter offer at a current job, or just plain avoiding the potential future employer out of embarrassment, ghosting in a professional context will very likely come back to haunt them.

The rejected recruiter can harbor negative feelings about candidates or become aware of lies they told to wriggle out of the offer. The job seekers’ unwillingness to be honest with the employer can tarnish their reputation, especially in industries where professional communities share information.

The best advice for job candidates is to be up front during negotiations. They should show enthusiasm for the position but tell the interviewer about any factors that may affect their decision to accept a job.

From The Wall Street Journal

The Art of Self Promotion

Many individuals find discussing themselves distressing, but being able to talk about professional accomplishments is key to a successful career. Experts offer advice that will help even the most modest workers make sure their good work is noticed.

Track accomplishments. A written record of daily or weekly activities can be a helpful reminder of specific accomplishments that can be brought up at a later time.

Compile data.Employers respond to numbers. Quantifying accomplishments can help an employer evaluate an employee’s worth.

Pick the right time to promote yourself. The time and place to discuss accomplishments is not during a company meeting. However, one-on-ones with a supervisor and yearly reviews are times to demonstrate one’s value.

Be honest about expertise. While no one likes a braggart, modesty is not much better. An honest appraisal of one’s worth is integral to self-promotion.

Discuss team dynamics. Detailing an individual contribution to a team project is a good way to demonstrate value to an employer.

Experts warn that self-promotion, though warranted, should be modulated. Downplaying other team members’ contributions and taking credit unfairly is always a poor strategy.


Writing Lessons from Jeff Bezos  

The richest man in the world doesn’t rely on public relations staff or attorneys when communicating to his shareholders. Instead, Jeff Bezos uses his own highly developed writing skills, unlike many CEOs who rely on others to convey both good and bad news to stakeholders.

Bezos has been writing Amazon’s annual letters that address shareholders’ concerns and company news since 1997. Jean-Louis Gassée, a blogger for the tech industry blogging platform Monday Morning, says Bezos’s communication gifts are apparent in these letters as the Amazon chief is “writing well, affirmatively, with grace, and not infrequent humor.”

In fact, Bezos takes writing—the painstaking process of writing—to heart. He has come to believe that a written document is superior to a PowerPoint presentation when he addresses his shareholders.

“We write narratively structured six-page memos […] the great memos are written and re-written, shared with colleagues who are asked to improve the work, set aside for a couple of days, and then edited again with a fresh mind. They simply can’t be done in a day or two,” Bezos writes.

Bezos’ letters to shareholders show his profound understanding of his business. One year, he wrote about Amazon’s engineering feats, unafraid to use technical terms to explain a process in detail. Still, as a savvy writer, Bezos also appealed to his readers’ needs before their eyes were “glazing over” by reminding them that those very engineering accomplishments were responsible for increasing Amazon’s bottom line.

Drafting, rewriting, editing, and audience awareness are Bezos’ secret to good writing—a refrain that is likely familiar to business communication students.





Employers Favor Men (But Not Why You Think)…  Advice from the Career Trenches… Chill Out—It’s Good for You 

Employers Favor Men (But Not Why You Think)

Gender discrimination is not a result of prejudice, according to Harvard researchers. Instead, gender bias occurs because men have the perception that members of their own gender will perform better.

In When Gender Discrimination Is Not About Gender, Harvard Business School researchers and a Stanford economics professor documented plenty of evidence that discrimination against women exists. However, that discrimination is not a result of animus or gender stereotypes, they found.

The study sample was broken into 100 job seekers (whose genders were hidden) and 800 hirers. The job seekers completed quizzes on sports and math, on which the men performed slightly higher, answering on average one more question correctly than the females. Even that marginal difference caused the hirers to be much more likely to hire a candidate from the male group, not knowing they were choosing a man.

From this result, the researchers concluded that prejudice against women wasn’t the culprit for favoring men over women when hiring. Instead, these potential employers were choosing candidates they thought came from higher performing groups.

From HBS Working Knowledge

 Advice from the Career Trenches

The course of true love (or career paths) never did run smooth, to paraphrase Shakespeare. But a few young workers share their zig-zag routes to career satisfaction.

Alicia Winkle started in a sales job after college that earned her a good salary but left her hungry for meaning. She quit sales and took any job she could find in the mental-health field. Today she has a full roster of patients she helps on Talkspace, an app that links therapists with patients for online talk therapy.

Naomi Granger spent 12 years as a public accountant before she launched her own business providing financial advice to cannabis startups. Now she’s a happy camper.

Jordan Olson always loved cheerleading, but after college, he worked as an auditor for an accounting firm. Dissatisfied, he brought his tremendous work ethic to Varsity Spirit, a firm that sells cheerleading and dance apparel.

From The Wall Street Journal

Chill Out—It’s Good for You

We live in a culture that doesn’t value sitting still, but excessive busyness can lead to negative effects on mental health, productivity, and well-being.

In fact, idleness brings many benefits. One of the positive effects of doing nothing is daydreaming, which stokes creativity. Similarly, idleness provides time to recharge and therefore improve productivity. Finally, putting a stop to a cycle of busyness can help solve problems because that break allows an individual to look at matters from a different angle.

Below are a few tips to promote mindful idleness.

  • Reserve time to do nothing and let the mind wander
  • Be unapologetic about doing nothing
  • Keep devices out of reach

 From The New York Times



New Grads Seek More than Salary…  Be More Savvy about Online Privacy… Yes, You Must Answer E-mails

New Grads Seek More than Salary

Although 2019 college graduates are earning only slightly more than their 2018 counterparts (and 20% more than those graduating in 2009), they’re not displeased about their pay. Why? Because they want something from a job that money just can’t buy—purpose.

Millennials and Gen Z want to make a difference as much as make a living, so an employer’s culture and the opportunity to grow and learn can supersede salary demands, says a college recruiter from Korn Ferry, a management consultant firm that conducted an analysis of 300,000 entry-level jobs.

Ally Van Duren of Korn Ferry says younger workers prefer a workplace that fosters collaboration with peers across various segments of an organization. She also says that many believe employers should provide them with special training and mentoring on the job.

For the younger generations entering or already in the workforce and who prefer to enjoy the people they work with and the work itself, salary is simply secondary.

From The Wall Street Journal

 Be More Savvy about Online Privacy

Research from the Society for Human Resource Management indicates that nearly half of all organizations use social media or online searches to screen candidates as well as to check up on current employees. What’s more, those searches lead to negative consequences all too often.

These five social media privacy suggestions can help workers and job seekers alike display themselves at their best.

  1. Educate yourself about an employer’s privacy policies. The onus is on potential and current employees to learn about a company’s policies.
  2. Omit coworkers and superiors on private social media. Create a professional social media account; save personal accounts for trusted friends only.
  3. Assume all internet activity on public wi-fi is hackable. Take measures to ensure privacy. Avoid “free” VPN or PPTP protocol.
  4. Remove questionable material posted in the past. Employers don’t care if it happened two minutes or two years ago—they don’t want to see employees in compromising situations.
  5. Pay attention to privacy settings.Always adjust default settings to reveal only information appropriate for the world to see.


Yes, You Must Answer E-mails

It’s digital snobbery to leave e-mails unanswered, just like not meeting the eyes of an acquaintance when seeing him in a hall, says organizational psychologist Dr. Adam Grant.

Grant, writing in The New York Times, says ignoring messages is code for “this e-mail isn’t important to me now.” Research is showing that managers slow to deal with e-mails are less effective because they are perceived as lacking conscientiousness.

Some caveats apply. Recipients of e-mails from strangers asking favors should not feel compelled to respond, Grant says. Nor should employees feel they must answer e-mails after work hours or weekends.

Still, says Grant, ignoring e-mails entirely is a big no-no. Doing so shows you’re disorganized or worse, don’t care.

From The New York Times