Your résumé is what gives a prospective employer the first impression. It can be your ticket into the company. If your résumé looks just like any other one that the recruiter comes across on a daily basis, it is likely that it will be ignored. Give your résumé a few customizations and avoid some mistakes. This will help your résumé not only stand out but also give a lasting impression.
Do’s and Don’ts of Résumé Writing
If you are looking to start a career or someone who plans to switch jobs, these 12 steps will make your résumé catch the recruiter’s attention:
1. Spelling and Grammatical Mistakes
Spelling, grammatical or punctuation errors on a résumé are the worst. Not paying attention to your commas, periods, and spellings could send out a message that you lack attention to detail.
Some of the most common mistakes that people make in their résumés are the usage of inconsistent tenses, subject-verb agreement, poor use of apostrophes, and misspelled homophones.
Also, when it comes to numbers, use digits and not words. Words not only take longer to read but also occupy more space. Digits are easy to spot and also tend to catch the recruiter’s attention while they’re skimming through your résumé.
Ps – Run a Grammarly check on your resume to ensure that there aren’t any grammatical errors.
Do not exaggerate. Ever. If you have contributed a major part in a particular project, don’t say that you lead the project. There have been instances where the candidate has been almost selected and then rejected due to exaggerating.
Once such instance is, the candidate that the HR wanted to hire has listed a Bachelor’s degree on her résumé. When they ran a background check, it was discovered that she had never actually received her degree certificate. Even though she had completed all of the credits she was denied the degree due to outstanding library fines. Instead, if the candidate had written something like, “completed all 130 credits towards a Bachelor’s degree in <course name>”, that would have matched the check done by the employer, and she would have got the job.
Always customize your résumé for each company that you are applying for. It might be tempting to just make one generic résumé and send it out to all the companies that you’re applying to, but that’s not going to help. What you need is a customized résumé to fit different roles that you’re applying to. Make sure that your résumé has the keywords and key qualities that are required for the particular position.
These days most résumés are reviewed electronically before a human sees them. So if your résumé doesn’t have the keywords that match the job, it may not pass the electronic screening. If you’re really interested in getting the job, you would definitely be willing to put in the effort to customize your résumé and change the highlights for each role.
You could also go a step further and give it an outstanding creative bend. If there’s too much information that is important and can’t be eliminated, make it an infographic so it’s easy on the eyes.
4. Stuffing Keywords and Cramming Information
While it is important for your résumé to have the keywords for the job so it passes the electronic screening, remember that the one who’s actually going to call you and hire you is a real human being. Don’t stuff your résumé with keywords, let it be easy to read and understand. Speaking about it being easy to read, use a font that’s easy on the eye and a size that won’t make the HR strain their eyes. A résumé in small font could irritate the HR and make them view your profile from a more critical angle.
5. Discard the Objective, Replace it with a Professional Summary
If your résumé still has an objective like “find an entry-level position in sales” at the top, scrap it right away. Some recruiters say that the biggest mistake that a candidate can make while applying for a job is to write an objective. Instead of telling the recruiter that you want a job, show them why you’d be apt for the role. Write a professional summary that resonates who you are as a professional and the skill sets that you have to offer. Think of the professional summary as an introduction to yourself that gives a brief insight into your professional life. It should catch the recruiter’s interest and entice him/her to read your whole résumé.
However, some recruiters say that an objective is required when you are making a huge career change. Say you’re making a shift from marketing to PR, then you could give a clear explanation that you’re transitioning roles and have the necessary transferable skills.
6. Beware of Giving Yourself a Title
Sometimes you tend to perform the responsibilities of another designation even though you don’t have the title. In such situations, you need to be careful and not go ahead and claim for yourself a designation that hasn’t been formally given to you. There was an incident where the HR came across the profile of a candidate who did not list a title but whose responsibilities corresponded to those of a director of development. During the background check, it was discovered that the director had left and she had taken over the role but without the title. She took the right move by leaving out the title. Had she mentioned the title, when the background check was run, there would’ve been a mismatch with the title.
While you’re being wary of not giving yourself a title, be careful not to undermine yourself due to the lack of a title. Use smart ways to grab the recruiter’s attention with your responsibilities and accomplishments that you earned, but make sure that you’re speaking the truth and not going overboard. The candidate could have used a powerful line like, “development team of one, in charge of $250k fundraising target”.
7. Show, Don’t Tell
If you claim that you know something in your résumé, follow it up with an example of when you used it. For example, you say that you have stated management as one of your skills/responsibilities, go on to specify the size of the team, scope of the project, and the size of the budget (if it had a budget). Or if you have listed HTML programming, list the job at which you used it substantively. You don’t need to give a paragraph long description. Save the long description for the interview. A one-line description that conveys the specifics of the project should do. And if you can’t think of an example to substantiate your skill, it might be best to leave it out. The hiring manager would prefer skills that have evidence.
8. Include Personal Accomplishments & Volunteer Work
If you have done something cool in your personal life that could imply that you have a certain technical or soft skill, put it on your résumé. Winning a chess championship could imply that you are good at strategizing. If you like adventure sports and participate in them from time-to-time or participate in debates, you can add that as well. Certain personal accomplishments indicate rare qualities and skills that are sought after by hiring managers.
When it comes to non-work experience like volunteering, you can include it in your résumé if it has taken up a significant amount of your time or has nurtured certain skills that are suitable for the job role. You can also include side projects, temp gigs, or pro bono work so that your résumé adds can have personality.
9. Add Social Media Links
Most people send out their résumé as a standalone document. Add your professional social media links to it. You could add your LinkedIn profile, blog, or personal website’s URL. The best part about adding the link to your LinkedIn profile is that the recruiter can check the skills that you have listed and also see who has endorsed which ones. Plus, there’s no upper limit on stating your professional experience on LinkedIn, unlike your résumé. Personal websites and blogs also give the hiring manager deeper insights into you. Adding social media links could also give an impression of being transparent.
10. Use Powerful Verbs & Avoid Negative Words
Words like ‘handled’, ‘led’, ‘managed’ have been used way too often in résumés that they seem to have lost their power. When describing your work, switch to powerful verbs like ‘administered’, ‘charted’, ‘initiated’, ‘maximized’ and ‘consolidated’. They make you look competent and confident as well.
Also, be careful not to use words that have negative tones even if you’re using them to describe a positive situation. Using phrases like “solved a floor-wide communication problem” or “met aggressive targets” could make the recruiter view you with a dim perspective. You could rephrase the previous lines into something like “proposed solution to make communication on the floor easier and quicker” or “delivered ambitious sales volume”.
11. Highlight & Personality
While you’re busy enhancing your résumé and making it look good and enticing for the recruiter to read, don’t lose focus on the content. Unless you’re a designer, then you really need to focus on the design as your résumé itself would portray your design skills.
Ensure that you highlight the right information. Highlighting for the sake of highlighting won’t make your most important/relevant achievements stand out. Also don’t highlight too much, make sure that the design is easy on the reader’s eyes and can be read easily.
Though it is quite inviting to add multiple roles at one company, you mustn’t do it. Highlighting the different roles at one company tells a lot about whether you were promoted at that company or if you were comfortable with transitioning your role. You need to make your qualities and skills stand out without compromising on the appeal of your résumé.
12. Delete the Extras
Omit anything unnecessary. Extra words, school achievements (not if you’re a fresher), irrelevant non-work experiences, and anything that doesn’t really need to be put there. Excess of random information or redundant information dilutes the impact of the important points in the recruiter’s mind.
Also, be careful to not mention volunteering work with controversial groups or organizations. For example, you volunteered to fundraise for a politician, it might be best to leave it out. If you volunteered for a Democrat but the interviewer is Republican, it might create unnecessary dislike or an opinion that isn’t very favorable. Another point to keep in mind is that although it is illegal to discriminate against a candidate because of their age, gender, marital status, religion, race, color, or national origin, it doesn’t mean that such things don’t happen subconsciously. Avoid leaving traces of such details on your résumé.
When updating your résumé or writing a new one, make sure to keep these points in mind. Once you’re done editing it and adding the final touches, read through it with a fresh mind. Check whether you’ve missed out on any of the above points. You can also go through our article on helpful interview tips to help you prepare for that interview call.
If you’d like additional tips, you can interact with people in similar situations or experts in this field on our Community Forums. You can also clarify queries regarding unemployment insurance.
Just like how employers have expectations from their employees, in the same way, workers have expectations from their organization. As the younger generations reach the working age and start working in companies, there are certain expectations that they feel are important for a healthy work life. The younger generations are not willing to spend their youth working in an environment that they do not like or spend years working in a job that does not offer any growth.
Here are 10 things that workers want from their employers:
These days, just a fat paycheck and the usual bonuses don’t satisfy employees. These days the management cannot be the only ones who know how everyday activities in the company contribute towards the company’s goals. Even employees want to know the purpose of the work that they do on an everyday basis. Employees like to see the impact they can make in a company and then achieve it through their hard work.
Employees want jobs that have meaning and give them a sense of purpose. This generation likes to work for companies that are socially responsible and impact the society in a positive way. 50% of Millennials would be willing to compromise on their pay for a job that matches their own values. The percentage is likely to be higher for Generation Z. This means that employers must make the employees aware of how their work influences the organization’s progress, especially the younger generation.
Workers like to feel appreciated for the hard work that they put in. They work many hours all week long and undergo a lot of stress. All they want in return is to be shown some appreciation or an acknowledgment for hard work.
When employees don’t feel appreciated at work, it tends to severely affect the company’s productivity and revenue. There are plenty of ways to show appreciation, however, the simplest are quite often the most effective. As a manager, a simple way would be to compliment your employees telling them why you’d like them to work on a particular task before delegating it to them.
To foster a sense of purpose in your workers, it is essential to create a set of clearly-defined goals from time to time. The goals that are set need to be measurable and obtainable. Setting unachievable goals could have the opposite effect and make your workers give up even before they begin to work towards them and could further reduce their morale. Hence, it is extremely important to set goals that are attainable.
For example, if you are setting a goal for the sales team, you will need to set the number of deals that the team is required to close in an expected time period for a fixed dollar amount.
Sympathy with Personal Issues
Employees want their bosses to treat them like humans and be sympathetic towards their personal issues. Dealing with personal issues is bad enough, telling your boss about it becomes all the more difficult, but getting an insensitive or curt response aggravates the situation all the more. Employees need to be treated with compassion. As a manager, when an employee who has personal issues approaches you, put yourselves in his/her shoes and think how you would like to be treated.
Employees want to have a sense of belonging in their organization. Many employees have the fear of losing their job. It is vital to be honest with your employees from the beginning and not let their fears get the better of them. However, it doesn’t need to be done if an employee has repeatedly offended the company and is going to be fired due to his/her wrong doings. If employees are not reassured about their job stability, the staff will resign and switch to a different company instead.
While a sense of purpose is important, money is essential to survive. Surveys indicate that the number one thing for employees about a job is salary. Everyone wants to be paid for what they’re worth. In order to have bright and skilled talent, employers who can afford to pay should just do that. It could be a pay raise or a periodic performance-based bonus, but it retains resourceful talent.
Opportunities for Growth
Employees want to learn, grow, get promoted and advance in their careers. In a poll conducted by Gallup, 87% Millennials said development is important in a job. When employees are satisfied with the career development opportunities that are available in a company, the likelihood of them to remain with their employer is high.
Nobody wants to do the same work for years and not be given a chance to acquire new skills, grow and advance in their career. There isn’t something that’s much worse than joining an organization and realizing that there is no room for growth. It is important for employers to provide employees with opportunities for advancement and skill set development.
Good Working Environment
Workers spend the majority of their day at their place of employment. They expect to be treated with respect and to be given adequate equipment that’s required to do the tasks delegated to them. Basic features like a desk, working computer, hygienic toilet facilities, kitchen, stationery, etc must be provided. The lack of basic features can cause inconvenience and create a negative atmosphere at work leading to employees leaving the company. The employers need to ensure that the work environment is happy, energetic, interesting and fun.
Some surveys report that, apart from salary, workers look for work-life balance while choosing whether to take a new job or leave their current job. The more time employers demand from their employees, the less time they have for social gatherings, hobbies, and learning new skills. Working extra hours creates resentment and risks an employee’s health.
Employees want flexible work schedules and telework options that accommodate their personal goals like attending yoga classes or learning a foreign language.
Employees want to be given equal opportunity and be treated fairly at their workplace. If one employee receives special treatment, it’s bound to create friction in the team. Whether the inequality is in terms of a better shift, more money, or an undeserved promotion, preferential treatment by an employer can destroy the team spirit and cause demotivation among the team members. If “who you know” becomes a reason behind the preferred treatment, it critically affects the employees’ morale.
For companies to recruit and retain dynamic, skilled and loyal workers in the organization, it is highly essential for them to meet the expectations of such employees. Workers these days are aware of their worth and if their current employer doesn’t recognize it, they will start looking out for another employer who will. It is highly essential for employers to show their workers that they value them by meeting their expectations. If you have young talent in your organization, here are some strategies to help you retain them.
New York Governor revealed in his FY 2019 budget proposal that the state’s free tuition program would be extended to illegal immigrant students. According to a briefing book, Cuomo’s plan “includes legislation to implement the DREAM Act, opening the door of higher education to thousands of New Yorkers.”
The briefing states that illegal immigrants have been accepted for in-state tuition at the State University of New York (SUNY) and the City University of New York (CUNY) since 2002, however, but explains that each year, “many talented students who graduate from New York high schools remain unable to fulfill their potential simply because they cannot afford the tuition and lack of access to tuition assistance to help pay for school.”
In 2017, Governor Cuomo launched a program to make tuition free-of-charge at SUNY and CUNY. The option is available during the 2018-2019 school year to resident students whose family income is not above $110,000. This year, according to his FY ‘19 budget briefing, he’s taking it a stride forward by extending free education under his “Excelsior Scholarship Program” to students who illegally reside in the country.
The DREAM Act declares that an investment in young immigrants’ futures is an investment in New York’s future. It further states that the act will give undocumented students access to the new Excelsior Scholarship, the Tuition Assistance Program as well as other state-administered scholarship. It was during the Executive Budget Address, where Cuomo announced his record of restoring fiscal discipline while simultaneously achieving historic progressive accomplishments and strengthening middle-class New Yorkers.
A Summary of the Legislation in FY ‘18
On April 12, 2017, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had signed a bill into law on providing free tuition to students who attend the state’s public colleges and universities. New York became the first state to offer free four-year college to students. The funds for the program would be exclusively for tuition purpose, and students would still need to acquire other resources to pay for room, board, and other indirect fees. The program only covers tuition fees which are not covered by other grants. Students whose family income limit is less than $100,000 per year would be eligible for the grant if they enroll full-time at any community college or public university within the state.
Republicans in the New York Senate successfully lobbied to force students to live an work in the state for as many years as they received aid. On failing to do so, the grant would be turned into a loan. Moreover, one-third of students in New York public universities enroll part-time whereas only students who enroll full-time are eligible for the grant.
The program’s 30-credit requirement which was criticized by some was said to be a research-proven strategy to raise GPAs, improve retention rates and ultimately boost the college completion in the state.
Other States That Offer Free Tuition
Since 2015, states like Oregon, Rhode Island, Montana, Minnesota, Kentucky, Arkansas, Nevada and West Virginia have enacted legislation for a promise program. However, New York with its Excelsior Scholarship Program still remains the only state to offer last-dollar assistance to students at the four-year level.
Have you attended an interview which you thought you owned but then didn’t get a call offering you the job? You probably prepared tirelessly for that interview and knew everything that you needed to know about the company and possessed all the skills for the role. You would have also known the answers to every question asked and were confident throughout. Here are 5 blunders that could cost a perfectly suitable candidate to lose out on a great job role.
Interview Mistakes That Could Cost You The Job
Here are some interview mistakes that candidates make without realizing that could make you miss out on the opportunity.
Plenty of interview candidates make this mistake that makes an instant black mark on their profile. Most interviewers don’t share their concerns about candidates during the interview as there are other candidates lined up in the lobby battling it out for the job. This gives you reason to take matters into your own hands to pinpoint what exactly it was that was missing in your application and address them on your own.
There’s a minute difference between answering a concern addressed by your interviewer and highlighting a weakness. The longer you take to explain yourself, the more suspicious you sound. If you’re in a situation where you’ve been out of a job for a while, lost a job or left a job, you need to work on an answer that is brief and confident. If you sound like you’re trying to justify yourself or you give out excess information, you are likely to create room for more questions. Frame your answer in a short and succinct manner. There’s nothing worse than sounding nervous, bitter, unsure or unprepared while addressing a delicate matter.
For example, let’s say your company decided to restructure or downsize and you lost your job in the bargain. When your interviewer asks you why you decided to leave your previous company, you could say something like this, “It turned out to be a blessing when my previous company decided to restructure as it gave me the chance to refocus on the career path I’d like to take and I’m really glad to be here with you for this very reason.” Voila! In one sentence, you addressed the concern and shone the spotlight on the opportunity at hand.
2. Trying to be everything
While it is important to showcase traits of being a quick learner and a self-initiator, don’t go overboard with it. It’s important to keep in mind that the company is hiring for a specific role. If the job requires you to perform a task that requires a certain skill for which you don’t have much experience with, it’s best to be transparent.
For instance, the interviewer tells you, “We require our new hire to be familiar with digital marketing,” and he/she looks at you as if to ask you if that’s something you’re comfortable with, it’s ideal to be honest. You could probably say something like this, “I do not possess rich experience with digital marketing. However, I’m a quick learner and would be truly excited to deepen my knowledge of that in this position.”
3. Leading the interview
Keep in mind, they called you in, and it isn’t the other way round. Make sure you allow your interviewer to lead. Don’t try to get too paly and begin to ask personal questions. While it’s admirable to be warm and approachable, it doesn’t always work in your favor. It can sometimes even backfire, 17% of hiring managers consider asking personal questions during an interview to count against you. While it is a positive to ask some questions about at the end of the interview (or in between, only if they open up the window), it’s very important to keep in mind that they’re in the pilot’s seat.
4. Lacking warmth
A lot of candidates who walk into interviews seem so professional and polished that they lack the basic warmth that’s required to connect. You’d be surprised to hear that 38% of hiring managers have dismissed potential candidates due to their unwillingness to smile.
Interviewers often come across candidates who are so clean and perfect that they can’t connect with them. While being professional is highly sought, it is also important to remember to be human. Interviewers want candidates who can connect with the organization, gel with the workers, and bring results.
If you think that you might fall into this category, you could prepare a statement that sounds something like, “the reason this opportunity and company strikes a personal chord with me is…” Tell your interviewer what it is about the role and company that you really like. Make sure it sounds natural and not contrived. If it sounds staged, your answer is either too long or you haven’t practiced enough. Make sure you look your interviewer in the eye when you say this to them.
Just like most social groups, nobody likes sitting with someone who has anything negative to say. 49% of hiring managers stated speaking negatively about a co-worker or former boss as one of the top mistakes they observe during interviews. Don’t badmouth and no matter what don’t tell your interviewer that you hated your previous job, even if you did. Instead, approach the subject from an angle of gratitude. Talk about what you learned from the job, the exposure you received with the company, and that you’re moving out now because you’re ready to grow further.
It all bottles down to your ability to stand out from the other candidates and how well you handled yourself during the interview. To land the job, it’s necessary to be personable, professional, and be able to sell yourself in a simple and concise way.
Keep in mind what not to do at your next interview and you will notice the results. You might also find our article on helpful interview tips useful for your next interview. We wish you good luck from fileunemployment.org!
Since the past 8 years, employers have been struggling to retain young employees for a period longer than 2 years. A 2015 College Graduate Employment Study at Accenture Strategy found that 49% (nearly half) of the 2015 graduates consider themselves to be underemployed or working in a job that does not require a college degree. There has been a steady increase in this number, from 46% in 2014 and 41% of the graduates surveyed in 2013.
With the increasing trend in the number of young employees quitting their jobs and seeking employment elsewhere, employers have been struggling to retain young talent in their organizations. Some of the proven ways to retain young talent involve adapting the work environment to suit the likings of new graduates. Here are five proven tips from companies that have found ways to keep up with the evolving workplace landscape.
5 Key Measures for Employers to Retain Young Talent
1. Training, opportunities & growth
The newest graduates in the workforce expect to learn more and develop their skills constantly. In a survey, 77% of the graduates stated that they expect their employer to provide training in their first job, whereas only half of them said they got it. According to another survey, by Deloitte in 2016, two-thirds of millennials are expected to leave their job by 2020. From the workers who wanted to leave their jobs within the next two years, a population of more than 70% stated the reason to be lack of leadership development. The youngest employees should not be blamed entirely for jumping jobs after working for a short tenure.
This also implies that, for companies, offering long-term development opportunities can give you an edge over the competition and helps you retain fresh young talent. It is highly essential to provide training to young graduates who join the company. The culture of development needs to be imbibed at every level in the company’s hierarchy.
2. Constant feedback
The age-old annual and semi-annual review meetings don’t appeal to the Millennials. They need feedback constantly. If they’ve done well, they like to be appreciated when they complete their task. If there’s scope to improve, they like quick feedback so that they can take corrective measures at the earliest.
A survey conducted on 1,000 Millennials showed that over 60% of them want to hear from their managers at least once a day. With a greater amount of communication, employees feel more cared for, learn more and are encouraged to engage in their work better. Unlike the older generations who preferred a hands-off approach, millennials like constant feedback.
3. Get rid of the 9-5 timings
Among the many millennial-minded initiatives, Donovan from PwC says that the most important initiative at the company was to create flexibility within the workplace. In a firmwide analysis of millennials at the company, 95% of the respondents said that they considered work-life balance to be extremely important to them. Over 25% of the young workers also said that they were disappointed by the amount of balance they were able to maintain. The younger generation values a good balance in their work and personal life.
In response to the survey, the higher management began to ask the managers how they would like to help their team members work the hours that suit them. This top-down decision paired with a firmwide contest to submit flexibility plans reformed the company’s culture. Employees at PwC now have the flexibility to work from home when they don’t have client meetings and are allowed to slip out of office for an hour to attend a class during a workday.
4. Purpose beyond the assigned task
Young employees love to serve a ‘sense of purpose’. Deloitte surveys have found that, for six in every 10 millennials, this sense of purpose played a role in them accepting their current job offer. Nearly half the people have declined to work on assignments that go against their values. Millennials and Gen Z employees perform well in environments where their work has a clear purpose that contributes to the organization and the society as well. The Federal Government pegs young workers with their purpose. 80% of the young employees in the federal government say that they can see their contributions to the agencies’ goals and 86% say that the work they do is important. The companies that don’t serve an innately motivating mission have the freedom to give young employees a sense of control coupled with purpose by demystifying bureaucracy and increasing transparency. By providing their employees with an ‘insider’, they can give their workers a higher sense of responsibility.
5. Fun work environment
The newest college graduates in the workforce prioritize work culture over their compensation. If the work environment has a positive social atmosphere and factors growth, young employees don’t mind getting a lower salary. New college graduates prefer drawing a lower salary when compared to working in a place that is less fun. Employers who delegate challenging work to their entry-level employees and additionally create an enjoyable environment at work have a competitive advantage.
Companies tend to regard new graduates’ desires at the workplace as impractical based on their limited work experience. By doing that, they miss out on some of the most talented young workers of the class of recent graduates. While college students show an immense amount of enthusiasm to enter and adapt to a competitive labor market, it’s time for employers to level up and show that they are just as capable of adapting by adopting a flexible work environment.
Silicon Valley’s wealth of perks like free food, nap rooms, pet-friendly policies, etc, has raised the bar for many companies. However, these luxuries are often taken as the obvious benefits of a general culture of care that appeals to millennials. The latest graduates are driven by how well their team works together, how supported and appreciated they feel. A family like work culture that is supportive and encourages growth is what attracts young employees the most.
Adopting these 5 strategies has changed the dynamics in many companies and has increased the employee retention rate of young talent. Make sure your company’s policies evolve with time.
Are you a recent graduate who’s looking for a job? Have you been looking for a change of jobs to upgrade your skill set? Or have you left your previous job and now in search of employment? Regardless of the category you fall under, these interview tips will come in handy for the next interview you attend.
11 Helpful Interview Tips
These interview tips don’t require much of your time or effort. Use these tips while preparing for the interview as well as on the day of the interview to effortlessly get through interviews.
1. Prepare to Ace the Basics
There are a few questions that are inevitably asked at every job interview. Make a note of these questions and prepare answers for each one of them. You can also write down your answers and then say it out loud to know how impressive it sounds.
Here are some of the most common questions asked in interviews:
Q: Tell me about yourself
A: My name is <first name>. I did my elementary school at <school name> Elementary and then went to <school name> school. After graduating from high school, I went to <university name> University to pursue my interests in <name the field of study>. I then took up a job as a <role name> at <company name>. After working there for <xx> months/years, I moved jobs and took up a role as <role name> at <company name.
Q: Why do you want to join this company?
A: I’ve taken as much as I could at my previous/current role and company and grown as an individual and a professional, now I want to learn more. I’m aware of this company’s work environment, the opportunities it presents to its employees, and how it inculcates growth. This is the reason why I want to join this company.
Q: What are the skills that you possess that set you apart from the crowd?
A: I am extremely patient, a quality that is not very common these days. My patience helps avoid misunderstandings, helps calm situations, and take level-headed decisions at all times.
Q: Name a few of your strengths. Narrate past experiences to support them.
A: I’m a team player, confident, and have good communication skills.
Once a teammate was burdened with a lot of work that was due by the end of the day. I took up a sizable portion of her tasks and also requested our teammates to join in and help her. We helped her finish the task on time.
Q: What do you consider to be your greatest weakness?
A: I find it hard to meet very high targets.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years I want to be heading the <team name> of the company.
There are some more questions that could be asked in an interview
Q: Why are you leaving your current job?
People’s reasons to move jobs vary. Here are answers to some of the most common questions.
A: I moved from <area name> to <area name> a couple of months back because I bought a new home. I’ve been finding the commute a little too hectic. So I’ve been looking for a place that’s closer to home.
I’ve grown to the maximum potential that my current/previous employer could offer me. I’m looking for an environment that is more challenging and where I can learn more.
I was working in <city name> and my spouse got transferred here. Since we were moving here, I had to leave my previous job.
Q: Why does this role interest you?
A: In this role I see myself utilizing all the skills that I already possess and see the scope to implement my newly acquired skills (from a course that I just completed).
Q: Describe your work style.
A: Structured and Fast: I begin my day by spending the first 5 minutes planning it out. Then I make a list of tasks that I need to complete and allot time for each one of them. Only once I’m done with my tasks, I take a break. I come back from my break and review my work with my manager.
What are your requirements in terms of salary?
I’m looking at a 30% increase in my salary which is within the industry standards.
Would you like to add anything that we didn’t cover?
I’d like to tell you that I have 4 children, one of whom will be going to university this year.
Is there anything you would like to ask us?
I’d like to know to whom I would be reporting to and what my daily tasks would be.
Make sure that all your answers remain under one minute. Don’t ramble, keep your answers concise and articulate. This will give your interviewer the impression that your answer is well thought through.
2. Research about the company
Regardless of how new/old the company is, it’s always good to know about the company before attending an interview. It not only shows the interviewer that you are interested in the job but it also helps you understand what the work life in the company is like.
Run a search on the company and see what it’s known for. Read about the company, its products, and the team on sites like glassdoor.com, vault.com, and indeed.com. If the company has a blog, read through the posts, it’ll give you a feel of the company. See if the company has been featured in the press, who are its competitors, what its sec filings are (if it is a public company; you can do this on sec.com). You can also look up the company on LinkedIn and check to see if you have any mutual connections. Talk to them and find out what the work culture is like and if there’s anything that you should know before interviewing.
3. Don’t Underdress or Overdress
You’ve always heard, “there’s no such thing as overdressing for an interview”. Overdressing for an interview could give out the impression that you don’t understand the culture at the workplace. That’s why it’s important to research a little about the company. Before attending the interview, figure out the dress code, and go one notch more formal.
If the people in the company dress in casuals like jeans and T-shirt, wear a blazer with flats. And if it’s flats-and-a-blazer kind of place, dress in business casuals. Just make sure to go one step more formal than the dress code.
4. Keep it Conversational
While attending an interview, keep it conversational. It’s not a test. It’s just one person trying to find a match for an open role. Don’t let your answers sound like speeches. Avoid speech patterns and buzzwords. When you hear the question, flip the question over in your mind, it’s okay to think out loud as you do so. You can flip the conversation back to your interviewer by asking him/her if they think the same. Interact with your interviewer, don’t let it be the same old boring question-answer-question-answer. Your interviewer is someone getting by another workday, break the monotony and make it fun for him/her.
Make sure to not go overboard or lead the conversation astray or come off as someone who’s overconfident.
5. Run a Social Media Check
Check your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any other social media handles to check what kind of posts you’ve made. Interviewers often scan their prospective employee’s social media profiles. If there are sexist, racist or any other kind of memes or comments or embarrassing pictures that you’ve posted that could put you in a negative light with the interviewer, take them off.
You can also google your full name to see what content pops up.
6. Use the Products & Services
Interviewers like it when the candidate they’re interviewing is prepared. Use the product/service of the company. Get a feel of what the company’s into. Companies are always happy to receive constructive feedback.
7. Arrive at the Venue Early and Prepared
Reach the venue on time if not early. Download directions to the venue and anticipate traffic delays in advance. You don’t want to get to the interview late or sweating and panting. Don’t get to the venue too early, reaching 5 to 10 minutes in advance is ideal. Turn off your phone before your interview begins. You don’t want it buzzing or ringing during the interview.
8. Take Mock Interviews
Practice for your interview with your friends or family. If one of them has experience with interviewing employees, even better. These practice or mock interviews will give you a greater level of confidence and also provide you with the chance to experiment with different answers and hear how you sound. Ask for feedback on your answers, what could be avoided, and body language. Request the mock interviewer to ask you a few offbeat questions so you know how well you can think on our feet.
9. Checklist of the Documents
Make sure to carry 5 or 6 copies of the required documents on the day of your interview. The required documents include:
List of references (include each person’s title, company, and contact information such as phone number and email ID)
Samples of your work like writings, design layouts, etc. (Be sure to not give out any confidential information about your current employer)
After providing the employer with your professional references, contact the references and give them a heads up on the company and the job position.
10. Schedule for the Right Window
The best time to interview, according to Glassdoor, is at 10:30 AM on Tuesday. On Mondays, employees are usually gearing up for the week, while on Fridays they are preparing to wind down for the weekend. The same principle applies to the first and last slots of the day. The interviewer has other responsibilities beyond hiring. Similarly, it’s best to avoid the slot just before noon as your interviewer could be too hungry to concentrate; or the slot immediately after lunch as they could be in a food coma.
However, in circumstances where the decision needs to be made quickly, it’s best to pick the earliest slot available. Decisions are often guided to those options that are presented first when there are immediate requirements.
11. Prepare for the Unexpected
When faced with the unexpected at an interview, remind yourself that this is an interview and not an actual situation. Keep your cool, take your time before you answer. Don’t feel pressured to answer quickly and say the first thing that pops up in your mind. Some interviewers ask questions that help them understand the personality of the candidate. Some such questions are:
Tell me about someone you admire.
How many people are flying in the US right now?
If you were a boss, what kind of people would you hire?
What bothers you most about other people.
Tell me about a colleague that you really got along with.
Use these tips for your next interview and be sure to notice the difference in your performance. We wish you all the luck in your next interview.
You can gain additional tips by interacting with people in similar situations or experts in the field at our Community Forums if you have any queries regarding unemployment insurance.
Unemployment Insurance (UI) fraud includes collecting UI benefits that are based on providing false, unreported, or misreported information while filing a claim. Anyone who is filing a claim, reopening a claim, or certifying for UI benefits is legally responsible to make sure that they follow the requirements that are set by the law of the state that they reside in. UI fraud can occur in more than one form, it could range from intended criminal activity to someone providing incomplete or inaccurate data that results in receiving UI benefits.
What Happens When You Falsely Claim Unemployment Benefits?
Falsely claiming UI benefits is considered to be Unemployment fraud and can lead to serious penalties and consequences. The penalties can range from monetary fines, penalty weeks of unemployment to serving a prison term.
Irrespective of whether the person commits unemployment benefits intentionally, unknowingly, or even if it is a clerical error, the amount needs to be repaid to the state’s labor office. The labor office sends the concerned person a benefits overpayment notice that contains the details of how much unemployment benefits they owe the state. The details for repayment differ from one state to the other. If the person does not repay the money in time or set up a payment plan, the debt is transferred to a collection agency and may also show on one’s credit card report.
Certain states assess penalty weeks to people who indicate an intention to defraud the unemployment insurance plan. Penalty weeks refer to the weeks of unemployment benefits that the person may qualify for at any given point in future but will not be receiving it as a punishment for over collecting the benefits in the past. This system differs from benefits repayment in numerous cases. In penalty weeks, the person first pays back what he/she has fraudulently collected and then serves several weeks of unemployment without payment.
In a case where the state labor department has discovered that a person has intentionally set out to defraud the unemployment program, he/she can face a criminal prosecution for it. In such a situation, the case goes to criminal court where a judge reviews the evidence of the case against the accused to establish whether he/she is guilty of the intent of UI fraud. If the judge finds the crime to be severe and warrants it, the person may be assessed a monetary fine. The fine does not include repaying the overdrawn benefits, and it to be paid to the court.
In the severest cases of UI fraud, the person guilty needs to serve prison time. This is usually given to those who exhibit numerous counts of fraud or defraud the state of large amounts through benefits received from illegal ways. The period of prison time differs according to the state law and the preceding judge’s discretion. The jail time usually varies from one year and can go upto five years as well.
Cases Where People Have Been Caught with Unemployment Insurance Fraud
Unemployment Insurance fraud seldom goes unnoticed. They can be identified through a number of ways. Some of them include:
New employers hire reports
Quality Control Audits
Public tips by internet, telephone or mail
Claim Center Referrals
Cross-matches with some government records
Other investigative efforts
Mentioned below are a few cases of UI fraud along with the verdicts of the presiding judges.
Unemployment Insurance Fraud in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Three individuals, Kenneth Dixon, Jamela Washington, and Natika Washington were convicted following a 5-day jury trial in Ann Arbor. The charges were related to identity theft, it involved fraudulently claiming unemployment benefits.
The defendants were charged with the use of counterfeit access devices, theft of government money, identity theft, and conspiracy to commit those offenses. The evidence presented at trial determined that between October 2009 until April 2012, the accused were systematically involved in a conspiracy to obtain the personal information of unsuspecting victims, and then used that information to submit fraudulent online claims for unemployment compensation benefits.
The guilty verdicts of the three individuals were the cumulation of an expansive investigation into a conspiracy that victimized individuals by stealing their identities and defrauded the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency of more than $400,000. All three guilty individuals were sentenced to serve 10 years of federal prison time in September 2017.
Indiana Unemployment Insurance Fraud Case
William Hicks, 45, of Indiana was charged with unemployment fraud after which he pleaded guilty. The department discovered that Hicks was working and receiving wages while claiming unemployment insurance benefits through the agency records.
Hicks was sentenced to two years of probation in addition to repaying the benefits that were fraudulently claimed. The amount of falsely claimed benefits exceeded $38,000.
Unemployment Insurance Fraud Case, Miami
An Indiana Department of Workforce Development (IDWD) employee began to investigate Joseph Meier and found evidence that he was claiming unemployment insurance benefits while he was working and receiving wages.
39-year old Meier was ordered to pay back $12,607, to the state after he pleaded guilty of unemployment insurance fraud. Meier was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to repay the amount of benefits claimed along with 8% of interest per annum for the benefits that were fraudulently collected.
Unemployment Insurance Benefits Fraud in Michigan City & Indiana
Leo Wilson, 51 of Michigan City was sentenced to 2 years of probation and ordered to repay the department $22,836.50 for the benefits that he had fraudulently collected.
Sherry Beoughter, 46, of Valparaiso was sentenced to 545 days of probation and ordered to repay $13,334.10 for the benefits that she fraudulently collected.
The IDWD’s unemployment insurance fraud investigation task force identified the pair. The force examines claims of individuals who provide false, misreported, or unreported information on purpose in order to fraudulently avail benefits.
Unemployment Insurance Fraud Case, Iowa
A Williamsburg man was convicted of unemployment fraud and was ordered to serve a 100 day jail term for defrauding Iowa’s unemployment insurance program. Paul Meade, 55, had been convicted of fraudulent practice in third degree.
Meade said that he filed for unemployment insurance benefits between December 27, 2015 and June 25, 2016. All through the period, Meade was being paid by Whirlpool Corp.
Meade pleaded guilty to the charge on July 20, 2017. The state department states that Meade collected $10,747 worth of benefits during the 6-month period. It also announced that he would have to repay $12,359.05 to the state; which includes more than $1,600 as penalty.
Tips to Avoid Unemployment Insurance Fraud
The best way to avoid committing UI fraud is to first understand what must not be done and what needs to be done. Sometimes people are unaware that they are falsely claiming for benefits.
Here are some tips to follow to avoid committing unemployment insurance fraud:
Always report your employment before you make a claim. Employment includes cash jobs, self-employment, commission, 1099 or temporary
Do not misrepresent information or make a false statement to increase or receive benefits
Always report your work refusals
Do not fabricate job searches. Conduct enough work research
Always report a work separation
Do not use another individual’s identity (name and/or social security number) to file for insurance payments
Always report other types of reimbursements such as Worker’s Compensation payments
You must report it if you are incapable and not available to work (for example, sickness, injured, living abroad, etc)
Do not help someone else file a fraudulent insurance claim
What Can You Do If You’ve Unknowingly Committed UI Fraud?
Whether you commit UI fraud unknowingly or intentionally, you need to pay back all the benefits that you have collected. The payment may also include a penalty that could go up to 50% of that sum. In most cases, it may also include getting disqualified from receiving future benefits. In severe cases where the amount withdrawn is too high, the person may also face fines or look at prison time. However, the policies that oversee unemployment insurance fraud vary from state to state.
If you have committed unemployment insurance fraud by mistake, it’s best to notify the department of labor and offer to repay the amount collected. UI fraud hardly ever goes unnoticed. You will definitely have to repay the amount that you have overdrawn, you might also have to pay a small fine. But it’s most likely to not be more severe that than.
If you are currently unemployed and on the lookout for jobs, keep your optimism levels high. Search for jobs endlessly and attend as many interviews as you can. Good times are always ahead and the most important thing to stay hopeful and search endlessly. You can also visit Community Forums to interact with peers and professionals to seek guidance during this time.
Long term unemployment is a perennial policy concern for several reasons. First, it tends to have detrimental effects on the individuals involved. Workers’ human capital (whether actual or perceived by employers) may deteriorate during a spell of unemployment, and the time devoted to job search typically declines. Both factors imply that the chances of getting employed may increase thereby reducing the time period used up for job search.
More generally, long-term unemployment adversely affects people’s mental and physical well being and it is one of the most significant causes of poverty for their households. Second, insofar as the long-term unemployed become gradually detached from the labor market, they play a reduced role in the competition for jobs. This means that unemployment is less effective in curbing wage pressure, potentially leading to even further increases in unemployment and its persistence (Machin and Manning, 1999). These and related considerations have motivated a wide variety of policies to address the problem of long-term unemployment.
Policy interventions combine elements of ‘stick’ and ‘carrot’. They involve job search requirements and sanctions to promote sufficient search effort; or direct assistance to the unemployed, including help with their job search process and training provision. In addition, governments may provide wage subsidies to firms that hire the long-term unemployed. A number of social experiments in the United States provide evidence on the effects of job search assistance and stricter search requirements. The combination of these two policies often leads to a reduction in the time spent on unemployment benefits. At the same time, this does not necessarily mean that everyone coming off benefits is being employed in a new job (Card et al, 2010).
The US evidence on the effects of training programmes for welfare recipients and employment subsidies is, at best, mixed. The overarching conclusion is that these programmes – at least in the short term – are often ineffective at improving the re-employment chances of the unemployed and in several cases would not pass a cost-benefit test.
Statistical Reflection of the Long Term Unemployment Issue in the US
In January 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the December 2016 jobs report. The new numbers demonstrated a positive sign towards a reduction of unemployment, with employers reporting net job growth of 2, 30, 000 for the month.
However, one disturbing aspect of the report should be the relatively high rate of long-term unemployment. While the percentage of jobless workers unemployed 27 weeks and longer has been trending downward in recent years, it is still exceptionally high by historical standards and has shown no signs of improvement in the last 6 months. Even more disturbing is the relatively high rate of “extreme” long-term unemployment, the condition of being unemployed one year or longer. The figure below shows extreme long-term unemployment as a percentage of total unemployment from May 1977 to present. Currently, as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, there are over 2.1 million Americans who have been out of work over the past 18 months.
It is noteworthy that in both 2015 and 2016, the average duration of unemployment was 16.3 weeks; as of last month, i.e. December 2016 the average unemployment spell was around 40 percent longer at 27.6 weeks. And because most of the long-term unemployed are no longer eligible for unemployment insurance, they have to get by without any public support.
Collective Approach to Seeking a Solution for Long Term Unemployment
In May 2013, a Joint Economic Committee was constituted by the US Congress to come up with solutions to tackle the menace of long term unemployment and also suggest remedies through collective participation of employers and employees. The Committee came up with a list of guidelines which are still in the process of being implemented right from the grass-root level to the national level.
The guidelines were meant to provide employment to long-term unemployed people aged between 25-60 (which includes people seeking temporary positions even after retirement from the full time job) including returning war veterans who are not allowed to take up any positions in government offices as well as the armed forces, after retirement. Some of the major points in the guidelines were:
Providing incentives for private-sector employers to hire veterans and the young, including extending or expanding tax credits.
Streamlining the process of obtaining certifications and occupational licenses.
Furthering higher education opportunities for young early-career and mid-career professionals.
Building upon existing programs to ensure that both young persons and returning veterans can obtain the training required for jobs in growing industries.
Ensuring that returning veterans have the assistance they need in transitioning from active duty to the civilian workplace.
It remains to be seen now whether the above guidelines are implemented effectively over the next 5-6 years to do away with the issue of long term unemployment.
Finding Solutions to Long Term Unemployment at an Individual Level
Some of the major steps that have been taken across the world to tackle long term unemployment effectively may also be used in the USA by the Department of Labor as well as the central think-tank to tackle this issue. Some of those remedial measures are:
Counselling the long term unemployed aged between 25-45 by orienting them to change the professional avenue they may have been involved in, earlier. For example, orientation to switch over from a job that involves physical labor to one that involves more of skilled mental labor.
The Department of Labor and the Departments of Training and Skill Development need to organize long term training programmes at economical rates to help the unemployed population develop hard and soft skills for different types of jobs. This will increase options at the time of job search at an individual level.
Education at all levels including the undergraduate and postgraduate levels should ensure inclusion of practical training programmes best suited for a particular profession through long term engagements such as research projects, internships etc.
Individual psychiatric counseling should be provided through both the public and private health care system to keep the unemployed population motivated for long periods and to guard against the cons of long term job search and its effects on a person’s mental and physical health.
Every state should prepare a list of their unemployed population and make special efforts to place the right people in the right jobs by dividing the existing population and creating a talent pool for various kinds of organizations. This will ensure people with the right kind of educational background (in case of freshers) and the right kind of work experience (in case of those with work experience) walking into the right organizations best suited to the needs of both the employers and the potential employees.
The Department of Labor should reach out and tie up with recruitment consultant agencies to notify the unemployed about vacancies in government jobs more often. Currently, the agencies only notify about vacancies mostly in the private sector which limits the options for the unemployed.
Identity theft and identity fraud are terms used to refer to all types of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person’s personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain. Unlike fingerprints, which are unique and cannot be given to someone else for their use, personal data especially Social Security number, bank account or credit card number, telephone calling card number, and other valuable identifying data can be used, if they fall into the wrong hands.
In the United States and Canada, for example, many people have reported that unauthorized persons have taken funds out of their bank or financial accounts, or, in the worst cases, taken over their identities altogether, incurring huge debts and committing crimes while using the victim’s names.
In many cases, a victim’s losses may include not only out-of-pocket financial losses but substantial additional financial costs associated with trying to restore his reputation in the community and correcting the erroneous information for which the criminal is responsible.
Rise and impact of identity theft on businesses and individuals
According to the reports of the US Department of Justice released in 2010, an average of 193 federal cases of cyber crimes was prosecuted by the Department of Justice. The US Sentencing Commission is in the process of bringing out its annual report of 2016 which will reflect the number of victims of Cyber Crimes between 2015 and 2016.
Americans have been victims and suffered harm as a result of the theft of their identity in the last twelve months. Furthermore, the agency also released a commission report detailing its identity theft program since its inception. The survey found that within a period of one year, 2.28 million consumers discovered that new accounts had been opened and other fraudulent activities such as renting an apartment or home, obtaining medical care or employment, had been committed in their name.
In those cases, the victims were categorized as follows: 2.28% Existing Credit Card Account Fraud, 1.15% Existing Non-Credit Cards Accounts Fraud, and 0.83% new accounts and other Fraud, with a mean fraud loss of $ 5,803 per victim. Existing Credit Card Accounts fraud is the least costly classification, while New Accounts and other Frauds with a mean loss of $ 12,646 is the most serious category. Existing Non-Credit Card Accounts fraud, which includes existing credit and saving accounts, is the mid-range classification with a mean loss of $ 9.912.
Nature of Information under threat in identity theft cases
In the cyberspace, identity thieves are looking for sensitive personal information, and there are many pieces of information that could be utilized. Some of the most common are:
Social Security Numbers (SSN): This number was created to keep an accurate record of earnings and pay retirement benefits on those earnings.
Date of Birth (DOB): Date of birth, in conjunction with other pieces of information, can be used in many ways to compromise a person’s identity.
Current and Previous Addresses and Phone Numbers: Both can be used in cybercrime and identity theft to enable an offender to assume the identity of the victim or to obtain more information thereabout.
Current and Previous Employment Information: Such information can be used to jeopardize the victim’s identity.
Financial Account Information: This includes checking and savings accounts, credit cards, debit cards, and financial planning information. Such information is a rich source for an identity thief to commit financial cybercrimes.
Mother’s Maiden Name: In many instances, the maiden name of the victim’s mother may be used as the password for financial accounts and is easily available through public record information.
Other Personal Information: This includes passwords, passcodes, email addresses as well as photos. Such information could be utilized to obtain access to other sensitive information or to facilitate total or partial identity theft.
Tackling the Menace of Identity Theft: Technological Perspectives
Anyone who is concerned with the possibility of identity theft should adopt techniques designed to stop these kinds of crimes before they happen. A great deal of information about identity theft prevention is available from trustworthy sources, such as state attorneys general offices, the United States Department of Justice, and local consumer protection agencies.
Among the most effective strategies to avoid becoming a victim include conducting regularly scheduled credit report reviews, using online passwords that are unique and difficult to guess, shredding financial documents before throwing them away, and sending and receiving mail using a secure mailbox.
Taking the recommended precautions is no guarantee against identity theft, however. One of the best ways for people to minimize the loss in the event they are victimized is to learn to recognize the signs that a crime has occurred. Unfamiliar entries on credit reports are a strong indication of identity theft. Other signs include bills arriving in the mail addressed to someone else, a sudden increase in pre-approved credit offers, and unexpected telephone calls from debt collectors. It is important to quickly follow up on such occurrences to determine their cause. Those who suspect an identity crime is being committed should immediately report the incident to the appropriate credit agencies and law enforcement officials.
Prevention and Regulation of Identity Theft: Legal Perspectives
Identity theft is generally tackled and regulated in the US through the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act, 1988. It has been able to achieve four main objectives:
It made identity theft a separate crime against the individual whose identity was stolen and credit destroyed. Previously, victims had been defined solely by financial loss and often the emphasis was on banks and other financial institutions, rather than on individuals.
It established the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as the Federal Government’s one central point of contact for reporting instances of identity theft by creating the Identity Theft Data Clearing House.
It increased criminal penalties for identity theft and fraud. Specifically, the crime now carries a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment and substantial fines.
It closed legal loopholes, which previously had made it a crime to produce or possess false identity documents but not to steal another person’s personal information.
Identity theft, therefore, remains a big threat for individuals and businesses in the 21st century which can be prevented effectively by taking the precautionary measures mentioned above. However, the perspective of law enforcement to prevent identity theft still remains a grey area as the US Department of Justice has struggled in the last 15 years to adopt counter-measures to tackle this issue. All measures adopted so far have been reactive rather than proactive. Thus, it remains to be seen what measures are adopted in the next 20 years to deal with this menace both from the technological and legal perspectives.
Wondering if you can get fired for posting something on Facebook and other social media?
The majority of people believe that the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which prohibits the government from abridging freedom of speech, protects their right to say anything they want, online or off. This is true when it comes to the government. Within limits, the government may not tell us what we can say or what we can’t. But there is no such restriction that applies to Private Employers.
In short, yes, you can be fired for what you post on social media like Facebook or any other site. However, there are certain laws that limit the extent of an employer’s right to fire or discipline employees for what they post online.
Limitations to an Employer’s Right to Fire an Employee over Social Media Posts
Luckily private employers can’t discipline or fire employees for anything that they dislike on their employee’s social media. There are laws that limit an employer’s right to discipline or fire employees for the content that they post online. The restrictions, however, are dependent on what it is that is written about.
Protected Concerted Activities: The National Labor Relations Act that governs the relationship between the company’s management and unions, protects the rights of employees to communicate with each other about the terms and conditions of their employment. This right is subject to whether the workplace is unionized or not. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the federal agency that imposes the Act, in recent times, has displayed a special interest in enforcing this right against employers who discipline their employees for the content they post online.
A group of employees who make comments about the working conditions or criticize the management on social media may be found to be protected concerted activity. The employees may not be disciplined or fired for this.
Political Messages: A select few states protect their employees from discipline on the basis of their political beliefs and activities. In such states, if an employee is disciplined or fired for expressing political views online, he/she may have a legal claim against the employer.
Off-duty Posts: Few states forbid employers from disciplining employees for what they do in their personal time. This is as long as those activities are legal. In states like these, an employee may be protected from discipline for online posts.
Retaliation: There are a number of federal and state laws that protect employees from retaliation due to reporting certain types of problems (harassment, discrimination, unsafe working conditions, etc,). If an employer takes action against an employee who reports a problem online, that could constitute illegal retaliation.
What’s Okay for You to Post, Like or Share
An employer cannot fire an employee for venting on social media. Employees are allowed to vent. If they post about finding it difficult to work or how they find the work environment unpleasant, they can’t be fired for that.
The government protects workers’ rights to talk about where they work even if it is insulting and harsh. Whether it is work hours, pay, assignments, dress code, or tough supervisors, it’s illegal for an employee to be fired on these grounds.
What’s Not Okay to Like, Share or Post
The NLRB upholds firing that is based on posts that damage a company, trivialize their products and services, reveal trade secrets or financial information. Posts that encourage subordination as well are not protected.
Employees can be fired for posting information about customers or clients. Employees are not protected against homophobic, racist, sexist posts or posts that discriminate against religion. The NLRB does not protect employees against posts that are not related to working conditions. For example, posts ridiculing the way the boss or a co-worker looks, speaks or dresses are not protected.
Incidents where people have got fired for what they posted on Facebook
Here are some incidents from the past where workers have gotten fired for posting on social media:
1. “First day at work. Omg (oh my God)!! So dull!!”
Kimberly Swann was fired for posting about her job on the first day of work. Three weeks later, the message made its way to the upper management, and she was fired.
2. “Does anyone know where I can find a very discrete hitman? Yes, it’s been that kind of day.”
Gloria Gadsden, a professor of East Stroudsburg University got fired for posting a status a few days after the Feb 12 shooting at the University of Alabama.
3. “S__! Anyone know how to pass a drug test in 24 hours?”
A prospective employee at a company who was supposed to pass a drug test and a physical test posted this, after which the offer was withdrawn.
4. A guy once made a post talking about wanting to go home and play The Sims so he could create the telecommunication store that he worked at in the game and then slowly kill off all the customers. The post was made while he was working on a late night shift. He later got fired for it.
Now that you know what is safe and what is not safe to comment, like or post on Facebook and other social media, you can fight for your rights if falsely accused. Employers often scan their prospective candidates’ Facebook profiles to get a glimpse of their personality before hiring. If you have any sexist or racist comments on Facebook, it’s best to delete them before you head for an interview.