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Media Jobs Monthly Newsletter

October 13, 2010
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Questions and answers. So much of recruiting and HR in general is based on common situations that have no clear solutions.

For example, was it ever fair (or legal) to use a credit check to deny employment? With unemployment staying put for yet another month (the worst job loss statistics in quite a while), and the real estate market still in the dumps, many people's credit standing has taken a beating. But the question of whether a FICO score indicates performance may be moot as several states, and now Congress, are turning to legislation to prohibit the use of credit checks in most all hiring situations.

Then, there's the credit one gets for completing an MBA at a prestigious university. If you're hiring C-level executives, a recent study suggests that CEOs who attended top colleges and MBA programs have virtually the same job performance as those from other schools or those who never attended college.

So what really matters? Well, A&E Chief Abbe Raven, goes with her gut -- literally -- as she says that eating meals with a candidate is crucial. That could be a lot of lunches for those of you who have many positions to fill, but it begs the question if there is value in slowing down the recruitment process even when everyone is chomping at the bit.

This question is one of the more interesting ones: What do you do when another company's attorney says, "Stop stealing our employees!"? Fordyce outlines a nice but firm reply you can crib from. (One hint: Don't fire back with "You're either a client or a source!") However, if you happen to be the target of such a poaching, it's very likely that your next offer could come from a company in another city or state. Should you stay or should you go? Our experts weigh in on the relocation dilemma.

There are many more questions, but at the end of the day, there remains a big one we all contemplate at some point: Would I rather work for myself?

I know my editors must be taking all this to heart, because how else would they have found this rather funny answer to unfunny office jokes?

Bill Conneely,
Director, Strategy

Employment Falls by 95,000 (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Even as private employment edged up, government employment fell by 159,000, dragging down the employment figures for the month of September. The unemployment rate remained constant at 9.6 percent, the agency reported.

Comparing Recessions: Job Recovery (
As judged by the percentage of total jobs shed in the recession, the current one (oh, wait, it's "over" now, isn't it?) is one of the worst. The 1981 recession only shed 3 percent of workforce levels, whereas the "current" recession's lost up to 6 percent of its available jobs. View the startling chart at the Economix blog.

Curbing Credit Checks (HRE Online)
It's already illegal in some states to check a candidate's credit history, and it may soon be illegal nationwide. How will this affect recruiting, and is it a good thing?

CEO Education: Irrelevant? (HRE Online)
"You've narrowed a CEO search down to two choices. One has an MBA from Harvard University; the other went to a state school. Whom do you choose? A new study says it doesn't really matter."

How Abbe Raven, A&E Chief, Hires ( Office)
Raven goes with her gut: "To me, it's all about who they are as a person, their chemistry, their charisma and their gravitas." And, she says, eating meals with a candidate is utterly crucial. It tells her, she says, how respectful the jobseeker is and who s/he really is.

Why You Might Want To Hire Slow (
Hiring slowly -- taking your time -- is sometimes necessary, even if the hiring manager's chomping at the bit. You might want to go slow if you're looking for someone "fun to work with," for example, because "fun" is something that can be faked in interviews, says consultant Stephen Balzac.

How to Respond When They Say, "Stop Stealing Our Employees!" (The Fordyce Letter)
"Your premise that we're stealing your people is based on two fallacies," you might say to the irate manager who's mad that you're "poaching." "First, no recruiter can "steal" someone who doesn't want to be 'stolen.' Second, they're not 'your people.' They're intelligent, career-minded, free agents who will make up their minds after careful reflection about their futures. Perhaps you should be using your management time in positive ways to reduce employee turnover."

Agency or Solo? (
Would you rather work for an agency or for yourself? Agencies, according to an Australian recruiter, are actively seeking more employees. Yet, with so many infrastructures available for the would-be solo practitioner, why would you work in an agency setting? That's the question du jour at Read the discussion and join in.

Not A Workplace Environment You Want (MediaJobsDaily)
Think your work environment sucks? At least you don't work at Tribune Co., which has apparently turned into a frat house since Sam Zell took over. Peruse the new employee handbook, which includes the lines: "You might hear a joke that you don't consider funny. That is because a loose, fun, nonlinear atmosphere is important to the creative process....This should be understood, should not be a surprise and not considered harassment."

Relocating for Your Career (
In today's economy, even recruiters and HR professionals can find themselves out of work. But what if that dream position is located in another state, or worse, halfway across the country? Here, three media vets share their own relocation stories and reveal when it's the right time to pack up for a paycheck.

--Compiled by Rachel Kaufman, editor,

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