A Note On Being "Well-Liked"

The idea that an employee needs to be liked by his employer is echoed far and wide by career counselors and executive advisors. It is not to say, that your superior must be your “buddy” or even someone with whom you would invite over to your home. Rather, when we say, “make sure you are well-liked,” we’re suggesting that you put some of the following into practice:

1) Be polite and responsive to your employers’ requests. Obviously, you should be practicing good manners in the work place. A “good morning” or “how are you” does, in fact, go a long way. Additionally, when you are asked to complete assignments, or even asked to take on a special project, you do it in a timely, polite manner.

2) You do not need to come right out and ask if you are well-liked. In addition to being “well-liked,” Challenger advises that you make sure you have adequate “face time” with your employer – make sure they know who you are and what you are contributing to the company. Therefore, it’s not a bad idea to schedule 10 minutes or so every six months to discuss your workload and performance with your boss – not to be confused with already scheduled performance reviews – this would be more of an informal discussion. Let your employers know what you are doing.

3) In several industries, having projects determines whether or not you keep your job (i.e. manufacturing, engineering, advertising, direct sales, etc.) In addition to getting that face time, let your employer know that you are interested in going above and beyond. This is not sucking up, it is taking an active interest in advancing not only your career, but also the interests of the company.

These tips should aid job seekers, and those who already have positions in addressing career moves. Thanks!

Colleen Madden

Research Consultant


Dressing The Part: Proper Attire Aids In Job Hunt

This will not land you that job.

Even as the recession slows hiring, many industries continue to fill positions in anticipation of the coming recovery. With the unemployment rate at 9.4 percent in May and hiring managers seeing a plethora of talent from which to choose, job-seekers are realizing the importance of the first impression.  Potential employers will consider only the best, most professional candidates for the job, and the candidate’s wardrobe is key to landing the position.

During the tech boom in the early 2000s, young talent flooded the job market, demanding individuality.  Companies were forced to adapt to less traditional styles of workplace dress and in some cases, abandon dress codes all together in order to retain the talent they needed.

While tattoos, piercings and other forms of body art are typically accepted in the workplace now, hiring managers can be pickier as a growing talent pool competes for fewer jobs.

A younger generation brought on the wave of dress code alternatives.  However, during this recession, older workers have seen considerable job gains, whether through postponing or coming out of retirement, and many may feel work is no place for casual wear.  We may see the workplace standard swing back to ultra-professional.

In any event, it is always a good idea to dress professionally for an interview.  Even despite employers embracing and promoting diversity in all its forms, during an interview, you do not want to stand out because of ripped jeans or skin-tight clothing.

Moreover, there are definitely certain industries where more conservative standards of appearance persist.  We may never see tattoos on bankers, lawyers, accountants or the clergy.  However, areas such as advertising, marketing, sales and technology are more inclined to be ahead of the curve and more accepting of new fashion and lifestyle trends.

While a growing number of companies may be abandoning traditional dress codes, many job seekers donning body art say they are not quite feeling the love.  A Vault.com survey found that 76 percent and 81 percent of respondents respectively say visible tattoos and piercings other than in the ears are unprofessional.  Another 42 percent of managers said their opinion would be lowered by a person’s visible body art.

Most tattoos are hidden, but some are prominently displayed on people’s hands, lower arms and necks.  Body piercings can be anywhere.  As a job seeker, you have to judge whether the employer you are interviewing with is going to be accepting of your body art.  If that is not the case, and that is where you really want to work, then you will have to make an effort to conceal your tattoos and take out your piercings.

The best way to determine if body art is acceptable is by asking someone at the company, preferably not the person you are to meet.  However, if you know someone else at the company or if you have established rapport with another employee, you can ask that person.

Challenger offered some additional advice on issues that could come up for young job seekers steeped in the latest fashion and youth-oriented trends:

Tattoos: Show them off, unless they are offensive, in which case you should plan on concealing it in the interview and even after getting the job.  The other time you would want to conceal your tattoos is if you know that a certain employer would frown upon such decorations.

Piercings: Beware! With increased security at many corporate offices, too much bling could set off metal detectors.  You do not want to be late to the interview because you were forced to remove 12 body piercings at the security desk.  In addition to the security issue, too many piercings might be a distraction for the interviewer and could hurt your chances.  Also, it would be prudent to remove tongue and lip piercings, as these often make it difficult for others to understand what you are saying.

Baggy Clothing: Avoid blue jeans, unless it is how everyone else in the office dresses.  It is possible to look presentable in loose-fitting khakis and a button-down shirt.  For the interview, refrain from wearing pants that ride below the waistline (often showing off one’s undergarments or bare body).

Wild hair: Streaks of blue, green or fire-engine red will not scare off most hiring authorities, but a Mohawk or hairdo resembling a bird’s nest might.

Cell phones: Cell phones have no place in the job interview.  They should be turned off and stashed away in a bag or briefcase.  Imagine being in the middle of answering an interview question and your personalized ring tone featuring the latest hip-hop anthem interrupts.  Even on vibrate, a cell phone going off can be a major distraction in the interview.

Portable Music Players: Although it seems that everyone has them attached to their pocket, purse or hip, keep the iPods at home.  If co-workers see you with ear buds in your ears all day long, they will assume you are not listening, and possibly not working very hard.

Dress For The Job You Want: The old adage is still true today.  Upper management will be likelier to recognize you if you begin to dress and groom yourself professionally.  They may see it as taking initiative or acting as a role model for the office.

4-Day Work Weeks And Transportation Costs

And here it is!

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Our Boss On Today!

This month, our firm released a report on the effects of high gas costs on the workplace: what employers are doing to help, how employees are changing their behavior, etc. Our survey found that 57 percent of employers offer some type of program designed to alleviate increased commuting costs, the most popular of which is a condensed work-week, giving workers a day off from transportation costs. Our boss CEO John Challenger is talking about the report on the Today Show tomorrow morning, and we here at Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. couldn’t be more excited.

This report, of course, is not the only one our researchers issue. Each month, we release a job cut report, detailing the number of layoffs companies have announced in that particular month. It stands as a useful indicator on our economic conditions and is often cited in reputable media sources, such as the New York Times, Associated Press and Reuters among others. We have recently, and not all-together surprisingly seen an upward trend in the number of layoffs employers have announced, mostly concentrated in the automotive, retail, transportation and the very hard-hit financial sectors. In May, for instance, we recorded 103,522 job cuts versus some 70,000 in May 2007.

So watch as our CEO John Challenger appears on the Today Show June 5 at 7:40am to discuss this report.

John has made various other appearances on CNBC, Bloomberg TV, Wall Street Journal Radio, etc., all equally exciting. But the Today Show is always nice, and in the first hour too!

Here’s a recent clip from Bloomberg TV

And another…