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Archives: March 2012

Layoffs At Maxim

You’d think that a magazine full of half-naked ladies would be hard to kill, but Maxim’s layoffs yesterday say otherwise.

The lad mag laid off just under half of the staffs of the editorial, web and photo teams–there had been 13 staffers there, and six jobs were cut, TechCrunch reports.

Maxim’s format is actually more vulnerable than most, TechCrunch says. “Its format of short, punchy 1-page and half-page features is being cannibalized by humor websites like BuzzFeed and Cracked[...]” while porn is basically free online now. Its web presence, TechCrunch says, has little to differentiate itself from other men’s interest sites.

Senior editor Seth Porges is one of the staffers confirmed to have gotten pink-slipped

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What are the Happiest Jobs?

If you had to rate whether or not a job was happy, what factors would you include?

Forbes highlighted a study conducted by CareerBliss that attempts to identify the 20 happiest jobs in America using ten factors that range from boss/co-worker relationships, resources, salary, and environment, to corporate culture, day-to-day tasks, and growth path. From February 2011 to January 202, CareerBliss analyzed more than 100,400 reviews from employees that rated these factors.

The happiest job in America? Software quality assurance engineer.

Jobs that made the top five are executive chef, property manager, bank teller, and warehouse manager. Others included in the top 10 are customer service reps, administrative assistants, and accountants, jobs that aren’t typically associated with happiness.  Interestingly enough, human resources manager is ranked number nine. No media-specific jobs made the list. The study excluded executive-level positions.

“Many of the happiest jobs have some component with working with people,” CareerBliss’ chief executive, Heidi Golledge told Forbes. “Folks who work with others tend to rate their happiness higher on our site.”

Golledge added, “We have also noticed that happiness definitely does not align with pay, and once someone’s basic needs are met, the additional money on the job is a nice perk but is not what drives employee happiness.”

See the entire list.

Cubes: Take a Behind-the-Scenes Tour of The Knot

In this episode of “Cubes,” we tour the offices of XO Group Inc., the media company best known for every bride-to-be’s favorite site, The Knot.

The XO Group’s brand-new space in lower Manhattan boasts a fashion runway, a bar with a kegerator, a giant projection screen for playing Xbox Kinect, and a staircase inspired by the ones found in Apple stores. Oh, and it has really good feng shui.

For more mediabistroTV videos, check out our YouTube channel, and be sure to follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

Interested in working at XO Group? Check out their postings on the Mediabistro job board.

Some Employers are Discriminating Against the Unemployed

Ken Hawkins

It becomes a catch-22. You’re looking for a job because you’re out of work, but you’re not being hired because you’re out of work and have been for a long time.

NPR recently looked at a growing trend of employers who discriminate against the long-term unemployed, despite the fact that the recession has spurred a number of people who have been out of work for longer than usual. Some companies are mentioning in hiring ads that the unemployed need not apply.

One HR professional said that his employer doesn’t consider candidates who have been out of work for more than six months.

To help combat this, several states — California, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Tennessee — are considering legislation that would prevent companies from discrimination against the unemployed. Fines would most likely be assessed.

But this is easier said than done. This type of discrimination could be hard to prove, save for the blatant kind found in hiring ads.

And as we know, there are many factors that go into a hiring decision.  As NPR points out, some employers want to see that applicants performed some sort of work during stretches of unemployment, even volunteering.

What’s the unemployed to do in all of this? HR professionals encourage the unemployed to remain active.

Dear Job Applicants: You Only Have 6 Seconds

WikiThreads

Six seconds. According to a new study from TheLadders, that is how much time recruiters spend reviewing a resume for fit.

Remember when it was four to five minutes?

The study used a scientific technique called  “eye tracking” that assesses eye movement then records and analyzes where and how long a person focuses when digesting information or completing activities. The study gauged the behavior of thirty recruiters as they reviewed online resumes and candidate profiles over a 10-week period.

What does this mean for job applicants? Keep it simple.

“If you have a photo online they are going to fixate on that photo; same thing with video resumes,” Will Evans, the head of user experience at TheLadders told MSNBC. “It could be problematic.”

Credentials still trump design. “Recruiters are focused on the most important information: what titles you held; the companies you worked at, the fact that you have a degree,” Evans added.

Although, as MSNBC notes, this doesn’t mean you have to discard your  infographic-looking resume. Just keep two — the straightforward resume that you use for applying and the more creative one that you can provide interviewers.

How (Not) To Reject Job Applicants

photologue_np

What’s the proper way to reject job applicants? Canned email? Personal response?

How about a long list of 42 application do’s and dont’s?

That’s what one employer did. According to Gawker, the head of a technology news site decided to send a rather lengthy rejection letter to more than 900 applicants, bcc’d thankfully.

In addition to a thorough explanation of which candidates were and weren’t selected, and why, the letter than provides 42 bulleted application tips, such as “Do be a badass” and “Don’t send Squidoo links.”

One of the rejected job applicants forwarded the email to Gawker and commented, ”I don’t find it helpful. I just find it arrogant.”

Here’s an excerpt from the email:

• Do keep it short and sweet.
Tell me a little bit about yourself— where you’ve written before and a few sentences on why you are awesome. Short and sweet.

• Don’t describe yourself as zany, crazy, or wild.
Zany is not high on the lists of attributes we’re looking for. I don’t imagine it’s high on the list of many companies, this side of birthday clown agencies.

Read more

NYT Contract Negotiations ‘Slightly Less Offensive’

The Newspaper Guild of New York says that the latest proposal from New York Times management is “slightly less offensive” but still retains a number of key provisions the Guild is unhappy about: frozen pension accruals, cuts to severance pay, and overtime paid on a weekly basis rather than a daily basis.

The paper’s current contract with its newsroom expired in 2011 and negotiations have been continuing since then.

The management did mention pay raises, though: a raise for this year (2012) of one percent upon contract ratification and a one-percent bonus in 2013.

“Guild members are angry over huge executive severance packages, alleged secret bonus plans and secret pension plans for top managers,” guild president Bill O’Meara said in a memo. “That’s against a backdrop of recent news of more than 400,000 paid digital subscribers, and paying off Carlos Slim. The picture for The Times has gotten a lot brighter – yet the people who produce the product are being treated poorly. This is not a time to have a fight with the people you need the most.”

The Times is also offering a 3 percent 401(k) contribution for employees with less than 10 years of service and a 5 percent contribution for those with more than 10 years. Guild actuaries (yes, those exist) say, though, that the Times needs to kick in a 12 percent contribution to match the loss of the pension, which is (we think) unheard of.

The guild meets Thursday to formulate a counterproposal.

Jim Romenesko has the memo.

ESPN Now Allowing Staffers to Wear Hoodies on Twitter

On Friday, according to Journal-isms, ESPN banned employees from posting photos of themselves wearing hoodies as an act of support for Trayvon Martin, the teenager whose murder has received national media attention.

“We completely understand the strong feelings involved,” ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz originally told Journal-isms. “Our decision is in keeping with our long-standing policy for ESPN content [PDF]. There are other avenues for our people to represent issues outside of sports beyond ESPN Twitter feeds.”

On Sunday, however, ESPN reversed its ban, reports Journal-isms. ”It’s a tragic situation that has led to much thoughtful discussion throughout the company,” Krulewitz told Journal-isms via email. “As a result, in this circumstance, we have decided to allow this particular expression of human sympathy.”

Even the most comprehensive social media policies can’t account for the real world.

Decrease in Compensation for CEOs

It’s hard out here for CEOs. According to preliminary results from a new study by The Wall Street Journal and Hay Group: “Despite fairly significant gains in companies’ profit and revenue, total direct compensation for 65 CEOs in place at least two years rose just 1.4% last year.”

This figure is down from an 11% in 2010. Reasoning for the CEO compensation decline is that pay is being more directly tied to performance. Whereas before, “directors would often overlook missed targets and award big bonuses anyway.” Now, however, investors and the Securities and Exchange Commission aren’t looking the other way.

These preliminary results are drawn from a survey of 75 companies with annual revenue greater than $5.9 billion. A larger report of 300 companies is slated to be conducted this spring.

Here’s an example:

Athletic-gear maker Nike Inc. posted a 10% increase in revenue and a 12% rise in net income in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2011. But the company missed three-year targets for revenue and per-share earnings that had been set in 2008, so CEO Mark Parker received a smaller bonus, driving his total compensation down 5.8%, to $12.7 million.

Fair?

What Editors Would Have Done Differently

If these editors had a time machine and could tell their past selves about the present, more journalists might be employed right now. Or not – if they’d messed with the past it’s probably equally likely that Skynet would be running our lives or resurrected dinosaurs would have eaten all humans.

But that’s not the point this Nieman Reports piece is trying to make (as much as we’re sure they love dinosaurs as much as we do)–actually, Nieman asked six former editors what they’d do differently if they were back in charge at their old papers.

The answers may surprise you, ranging from hiring more investigative reporters (Ronnie Agnew, former editor of The Clarion-Ledger) to using amateur photos from readers (Mike Pride, former editor of the Concord Monitor). That’s quite a difference.

Skip Perez, former editor of The Ledger in Lakeland, Fla., had a different take: it’s not about what to cover or how to cover it, it’s about preventing burnout. “But my sense is that almost everyone is overlooking the “people piece,” meaning the newsroom staffers who should care deeply about the quality of their work and feel good about it every day…How might newsrooms recapture that essential spirit, short of hiring a managing editor for psychotherapy?…a commitment to staff training is essential. Training budgets are among the first to be eliminated when money gets tight. But the right kind of training will boost morale and reward the news organization with dedicated staffers itching to tackle groundbreaking assignments. And those who are given training opportunities will gladly share their experiences and ideas with colleagues at a meeting or brown bag lunch.”

Now that’s a revolutionary idea.

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