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Monday, September 22, 2014

Interview preparation tips for successive interviews

Multiple interviews allow employers to thoroughly review job candidates; the process often means they also have plenty of qualified applicants. This gives employers the advantage in the hiring process and can lead to extensive, and even wasted, time and effort on the part of career candidates.

Job interview tips
Each successive interview has different objectives
Applicants engaged with this process are faced with a potentially daunting process with no guarantee of a job; this can also be expensive and lead to frustration. Job candidates seeking to survive multiple job and panel interviews benefit from a sound job hunting strategy.


The goal of multiple interviews is to test candidate endurance in addition to suitability for the job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the total number of employee turnovers in February 2012 was 4.09 million on hires of 4.39 million. Since it costs money to initiate a new hiring process and train new employees, avoiding turnover rates as high as the BLS statistics makes sense for businesses. To avoid failing this process self-screening to determine if the job is really a good fit saves time and energy to focus on applications that make sense.


Multiple interviews are much better managed when prepared for in advance. This means knowing industry related questions and answers, job descriptions, employee names and backgrounds, and typical qualifications needed for specific jobs. For example, the Loyala University Law School  Office of Career Services recommends asking for interviewer business cards before the interview starts to assist with name recall. Being properly prepared also helps narrow down what interviewers expect from applicants, and helps ensure interviewee competitiveness in the screening procedure.


Presenting oneself at an interview is important for all parties involved. The presentation involves arriving on time, correspondence before and after the interview, what is said in the interview and how one conducts themselves during the interview process. NYDaily News suggests being natural and utilizing information gained from previous interviews to demonstrate familiarity with the company. Properly completing  paperwork neatly, legibly and without typos is also helpful to the overall presentation at multiple interviews.


Being professional involves more than just good presentation, it also involves being timely, honest and organized according to the Connecticut Department of Labor. Although ideally multiple interviews serve as gateways for careers that cater to aspects of individuality, that is not always a reality. When this happens, professionalism  enables candidates to answer interview questions in a way that effectively distances  job conduct from one's personal goals, opinions and beliefs.

Image license: Merlin2525/OpenClipart; US-PD

Financial news: September 22, 2014

Bloomberg: Global economic recovery has faltered since February
NYT: Hedge funds are inappropriate for many retirement system funds
ZH: The Texas teacher retirement system reduced hedge fund exposure to 8%
MW: Higher dollar valuations pressure multinational company earnings
AP: Year-over-year carbon emissions rose 2.3% or 778 million tons in 2013
CNBC: Demographic trends indicate a shrinking U.S. tax base
CNN: Too much economic growth is bad for stocks due to rising interest rates
Fox: Fitch's credit rating for the U.S. remains triple A per recent affirmation
Reuters: Over 74% of Air France pilot voters agreed to extend strike
BI: Ukraine's yr-over-yr exports are down 19% as economy flirts with collapse
BBC: EU needs ↑ consumer demand for economic lift per U.S. Treasury Secretary

Sunday, September 21, 2014

How actual couples manage money secrets using real life communication

Money secrets are not uncommon. According to MSNBC, a survey of 23,000 people found 37 percent of men, and 56 percent of women keep money secrets. In a separate study by Smart Money, 36 percent of men were found to keep money secrets and 40 percent of women did. These money secrets come in many forms. For example, Dr. Regina Barreca of Psychology Today says even seemingly minor non-disclosure of financial information is deceitful and potentially harmful to a relationship.

Finance for couples
Money secrets can lead to bigger lies later on
Numerous reasons account for why people keep money secrets. Keeping money secrets is a way some people deal with differences of opinion and how others hide money problems. However, according to Judith Sills, a psychotherapist on Oprah, money secrets are harmful to relationships because they bury or avoid issues that could get bigger; they also  indicate a lack of trust or mutual understanding. Even though one partner thinks he or she is protecting the other from worry, or that a financial matter is a non-issue, it is still often something that should be dealt with together.

Fear of consequences or not knowing how to solve a money matter is not a valid reason to keep money secrets. Instead, the issues should be discussed maturely and reasonably using a “Money Huddle” according to the Money Couple. Moreover, using this technique helps keep other aspects of a relationship sane by airing out money concerns. If carried out correctly money huddles can also help prevent money issues from becoming overblown in addition to helping overcome the money barrier to a more functional relationship.

Being informed about how to talk about money is beneficial to the outcome of financial discussions.  According to research conducted by the Star Tribune, discussing money matters early in a relationship is a good idea. Aleksandra Todorova of Smart Money concurs and states a balanced approach is a good premise with which to approach financial discussions. For example, in matters of spending it is suggested that a budget be the primary focus, and not so much what each individual purchases with their share of the budget. 

After becoming informed about how to talk about money secrets, a way to deal with them is to develop a financial system. For instance, according to WebMd, a reference couple who developed a money method prior to getting married were still doing well as a couple six years later. They used multiple accounts that individualized and jointly distributed money in addition to discussing large money issues together. This approach also confirms the above recommendations of the Money Couple, Dr. Judith Sills and Dr. Regine Barreca.

Image: PDPics; US-PD

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Ideas to help employers adapt to changing attitudes about marijuana

By Rebecca Short

The legality behind firing someone for testing positive for marijuana has been called into question recently because, Colorado and Washington both passed state laws declaring recreational pot legal.

Now that marijuana use is legal in these two states, companies are being faced with a new challenge. If an employee tests positive for marijuana at a zero-tolerance company in one of these two states, is it still lawful to terminate them? The Supreme Court recently ruled that it is, but maybe there could be amendments made by the employers in an attempt to compromise.

Fit the policy to the job

The basic, standard five-panel drug test used by most employers screens for marijuana, cocaine, phencyclidine (PCP), amphetamines and opiates. This panel looks for meth, speed, heroin, crack cocaine, ecstasy and angel dust, to name a few by their street names. One reason companies opt for the zero-tolerance policy is to avoid legal issues. If they adopt an all or nothing policy, legally speaking, it is clear-cut and not open for debate. However, thanks to the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington, the one-size-fits-all policy would appear to no longer stand. So, what to do from here?

No one would dispute that a significant reason these drug and alcohol policies exist is to protect the safety of other employees and clients in the workplace. How dangerous is the task at hand? Who and how many people would be affected if any accident occurred? Those operating heavy machinery are cautioned not even to take cold medicine if it makes them drowsy! It is no accident semi-truck drivers and airplane pilots are screened consistently; their jobs put them in positions where if anything goes wrong, it could cost some people their lives.

Zero-tolerance policies exist in these types of jobs for that reason. Come to work under the influence, people could die. So then what? What about all those people who take buses and trains to work and sit passively at desks or computer consoles during the day? Well, the truth is, alternatives to automatic termination are already in place. Many companies employ a warning system, which could lead to an eventual termination if an employee’s behaviors are not modified satisfactorily. Others choose to remove and suspend an employee from duty immediately pending a follow-up drug test and probationary period. Some use a variation of the two methods, depending on the infraction.

Hold out for alternative testing options

Maybe the real question should be “How do we incorporate legal recreational marijuana into our existing policies?” Any behavior that affects job performance usually leads to termination if it happens frequently enough. Drug use is not the only culprit. Alcohol and excessive illness or tardiness are also reasons. Scientists are developing a test similar to a Breathalyzer for detecting marijuana in real time. The main issue with testing for marijuana is it metabolizes significantly more slowly than alcohol, so if a person used the drug at any point in the past 30 days, the test could come back positive. That is even if the individual never came to work under the influence. If and when this test becomes available, it will be easier to separate actual recreational use of the drug from a more abusive use.

Forego random drug testing altogether

Human Resources departments recommend that one way to avoid legal troubles is to forgo random drug testing once an individual is hired by a company. Routine screenings for those working in high-risk environments are usually accepted, and they are also built into company policy. It would be in everyone’s better interest to only order a drug test if there is reason to believe an employee’s sobriety is compromised while at work. 

If recreational marijuana is legal off the clock and it is not affecting performance on the clock, then maybe we should do as the folks from Amsterdam do. Get rid of the marijuana element of the drug test in states where it is legal, but keep a stricter policy for those substances that are still 100 percent illegal.


About the author: Rebecca Short is the human resources director for her company and has to deal with setting policies on drug use and screening applicants. To help her with screening these applicants, she requires a reliable lab, and has found such a lab by going to http://www.workfloworlando.com. You can learn more about Rebecca by going to Google+.

Image: A7nubis; "Marijuana plantation"; GFDL, CC BY-SA 3.0