The Desk

July 15, 2017

Evaluating Character

There are candidates who present themselves and proclaim that they have a passion about a particular cause that makes them uniquely qualified because of the insights that passion caused them to discover. For the most part, this is a very real facet of gaining knowledge and expertise. It supplements knowledge of the primary discipline that, in turn, creates the ability to forecast consequences of one act compared with another on future outcomes.

Sometimes the interview will aid in discovering the candidate’s growing interest in their passion and how it’s applicable to the work they seek. Some will be insightful and bring this interest into the conversation at some strategic time. Caution needs to be used if the added awareness and qualification for the position is couched on this passion and not direct experience.

Sometimes this “passion” is fleeting; it exists only for the sake of gaining a better position over the competition. One sign of a fleeting passion is the inability to have a detailed conversation about it as it relates to the position, the work, the overall direction of the company and its target. Or there may be detailed knowledge. The false passion is more like a moving target as discussion of it evolves in relation to the position – or anything else. Scrutiny comes into play to discern whether the knowledge is tantamount to merely parroting marketplace rhetoric. One with real passion will be able to offer unique insights; they have ideas that are more than the typical hyperbole.

We all have biases of one type or another. It’s important to be aware of them and to admit to them so that those biases can be put aside when making critical decisions, especially about hiring qualified talent. That’s why evaluating a candidate who professes a special interest that makes them more qualified than others needs special care.

Melania Trump’s passion about children, especially abused children, became a matter for closer scrutiny and an example of necessary care when evaluating a candidate. Because of her association with an unpopular, high-profile figure (not to mention some very public gaffes), she does not have the usual adoring audience. In fact, her background shows behavior that’s been quite the opposite of the reaction that is usually expected of someone in her position.

We look at the woman who is noted as having a favorable university education. A rare quality is that she speaks seven foreign languages. She is noted as having a strong interest in art, architecture, and design. On paper, it’s expected that she would be the one making decisions about her destiny and being very outspoken in that area. Yet, the public gaffes that follow and haunt her show she has poor discretion and depends on others to do her speech writing.

She has declared FLOTUS causes that are vogue since the late days of the campaign only to abandon one for something else that seems to be taking public attention by storm and then abandoning that cause as well. Does this FLOTUS have a cause, a passion?

There is a consistency in her behavior. Using recent audio clips of statements she’s made, we find she is noted for her defense of her controversial husband with the averment, “while her husband is fair and treats everyone equally, he will ‘punch back ten times harder’ if he is attacked.” Perhaps that defense was pulled from a statement her husband made a year earlier.

Those who speculated about her refusal to move into the White House in January. She made a campaign declaration that she wears the color of the place where she lives. Many thought that meant she eagerly looked forward living in the White House. After hearing one fabricated-sounding excuse after another for keeping her distance from her husband’s new domicile for five months, speculation rose that she may be suffering from abuse and wanted to keep the distance for whatever reason could be manufactured.

In May, the President and his wife took their first official trip outside of the United States. In the initial days of the trip, the relationship showed strain. It wasn’t until the flight that brought the couple home to the White House that the tension dissipated. Uncharacteristic of previous behavior, she seemed animated and happy, even in the presence of her husband. That was also the day when Melania’s interest in fostering her FLOTUS cause was announced, care for children of abuse.

Attention to children of abuse seems like a legitimate cause. The speculation about the atmosphere in the First Family home points to the possibility that this is the cause that will endure. However, the reasoning for her absence from the home evaporated when it was reported that she had Secret Service escort her son to and from school while she stayed in the Trump Tower penthouse alone. Yet she seemed to blossom when in the company of abused children in foreign countries.

The legitimacy of her cause to support abuse victims also wears thin when we hear that campaign support of her husband repeated in speeches after the inauguration and as more damaging headlines emerge about the leadership abilities of her husband. “. . . he will ‘punch back ten times harder’ if he is attacked.” Has Melania developed Stockholm Syndrome and it’s being evidenced by way of this repeated statement in his defense?

This candidate is stellar on paper. But once the background investigation begins, the visage falls apart. Perhaps the abused children cause is yet another cause du jour.

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March 2, 2017

Terms of Art: Multitasking

Multitasking gone wrong

Multitasking gone wrong

The job ad called for someone who know how to multitask. The interviewee said they’re an expert at multitasking. In actuality, they were probably talking about being hyperactive and distracted while doing multiple things that are not in any way related to the other. What they’re actually talking about is double (or even triple) scheduling several tasks that aren’t related and then getting burnout because the person’s attention is being simultaneously pulled in many directions. Guess who’s going to drop the ball. Guess who’ll get blamed for the mess that results.

Terms start out meaning one thing. They’re an evolution of the language we use. Eventually the term becomes accepted and used without having a sense of what it actually means. It just gets used at an increasing rate and in more places until it’s just a more sophisticated sounding term that people assume means one thing. But in actual practice, what the person is thinking it means is a totally different situation.

In a business sense, you might think of multitasking as similar to supply chain management or SCM. SCM is a large scale multitasking endeavor. It involves more of the picture and more points of reference to track and manage. It involves managing and coordinating different parts of a process so that the entire thing comes together at the same time. This is very important when you have schedules that need to be kept. The degree to which the project is well organized and orchestrated indicates there will be few glitches.

Still in a business sense, a prime example of multitasking would be in the kitchen of a restaurant (or even a fast food establishment). You start with preparing the tools in order to cook the food. Then you begin the food preparation while the stove (or oven) is heating. Maybe it’s the pot or skillet that needs to hold the food. No matter. While those are in process, it’s time to cut, peel, dice the items that will go into the cooking container. Likewise, the food that needs the longest duration for cooking will be the first into the container. Meanwhile, whatever utensils that were used and are no longer necessary for the preparation can be washed and stored as the dish continues to cook. All the items for the plate are being processed to reach the plate at the same and with the same temperature.

In a domestic setting, it’s entirely possible to start washing a load of laundry while another load dries. Since neither of those activities need to be monitored, it’s possible to start the dishwasher as well as vacuum (or sweep) the floor. The machines are minding the long duration, automated activities while the one task that requires human management is done.

So when you’re talking about multitasking (or any other jargon of the day), make certain you know the proper definition of what you’re doing and discussing. To do otherwise may bring you to the end of a conversation filled with misunderstandings and disappointments. Make certain you’re both talking about the same thing and that you understand the concepts behind the definition.

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June 30, 2016

Troubled Landscape: Generations

So much of the time the typical comments heard about the new work force is in relation to generations that are post Baby Boom. There are comparisons. There are complaints. There are acknowledgements of positive attributes. There are concerns about the pressures they are already beginning to endure and sympathy for their conditions. There is awareness that they are deferring many of the usual inroads into adult life.

The majority of the complaints are with regard to whether the younger workforce is actually qualified to manage the needed tasks in a responsible way. Indeed, there are many instances wherein the complaints are justified. Quality of service and quality of workmanship is missing. The customer winds up needing to explain the concepts to the one doing the serving when the situation should be the reverse.

But the stream of soft, dewy faces continues to bombard the large and small silver screens. The older faces that either bear white hair or none at all become more faint and then drop out of view. Finally, a storyteller (read scriptwriter) allows us to be part of the scene being painted and we begin to see the cycle of life happening whereas we thought we were standing in a timeless environment. We are aging; it is time for the younger, newer to prepare to over the positions we once occupied. Our roles need to change.

At one time, we considered the younger generation as self absorbed and like a petulant child that demands what has yet to be earned. In a more reflective moment, we realize the Millennials are mimicking what we ourselves did some 40 to 50 years ago. We considered ourselves quite sophisticated and adult. We knew everything and were exquisite. We deserved not only what we had but had earned (and were entitled to) even more. Not only that, today’s Millennials and every generation before them feels their compensation should be much higher so that there is the ability to put their foot out of the nest in order to create their own.

And there’s the difficulty. The compensation seems misaligned in many instances. Not only that. There seems to be too little money available to be paid to the growing numbers of those who would like to be employed. Compounding that situation is the fact that inflation continues while the dollar’s buying power continues to shrink. That phenomenon is not merely because of inflation. It is also impacted by the fact that we now live in a global economy. It is simply good business to manufacture as cheaply as possible in order to sell at the highest possible markup and reap the best profit for the efforts to get to market with quality product or service.

And then there’s the issue of quality service – and training. In the rush to fill the orders and seats that are needed to create delivery, there’s something that’s being overlooked or given short shrift. It’s a precious asset. Few appreciate just how valuable it is. It’s called training. It’s sibling is mentoring. Good training will bring about quality service. Good training (and quality practice) will bring about quality product. And good mentoring will provide the insights not available in the textbook. That mentoring will also be the barometer of when the next plateau of development needs to be approached.

There's a mixture of generations working as one entity today

Previous roles are changed as life cycles evolve.

The difficulty with this easy-to-read picture is that the workforce is now a collage of generations. Some are just commencing Life. Others are in reboot mode because their previous industry collapsed or because they were downsized and cut out in order to cut costs. Difficult as it may be, there are many who are willing to subsume their ego and thoughts about their previous status in order to be included in the numbers who are employed and actually earning a living rather than being supported by government stipends or the kindnesses of strangers and family. Everyone is going through the spin cycle in order to come out still fresh and sparkly and equipped to produce because of the quality of knowledge, skill, education, experiences, and eagerness to be all they can be – and to help the business get there.

Today’s world of work is a difficult landscape.

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May 4, 2016

Interests and Hobbies for Distinction

Filed under: Hiring,Job Search,Recruiting — Yvonne LaRose @ 3:38 PM
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An article recently came to my attention. The recommendations were dubious. Then an opportunity to share the knowledge with a group of recruiters arose. The group shared my reservations. The recommendation was to include one’s interests and hobbies on the resume and profile in order to distinguish special skills and stand out among the competition. The article proposed that the interests and hobbies would indicate particular strengths and abilities that can be used as indicia of success in the job that needs to be filled. dreamstimefree_14073429

The group of recruiters voiced opinions on the matter:

  • “I don’t normally pay attention to that section.”
  • It doesn’t really have any relevance to the job that’s on my desk
  • “I don’t use it.”

Job seekers are looking for whatever they can use to set themselves apart in a positive way. No doubt they will read that same article and believe that the advice applies to all job searches of whatever type and all manner of positions. After a lot of research in order to re-locate the correct article, one rose to the surface that made some distinguishing points about using hobbies and interests. They are helpful when the position is in a more esoteric area that requires unique skills that indicate traits such as perseverance, attention to detail, impervious to high levels of stress.

But what about the company that needs to fill a vacancy for a position in a special needs school? The person who knows and is able to use sign language may list that as a language skill and hobby in light of the fact that they do volunteer work at the John Tracy Clinic.

When we speak of job search, there’s an automatic default to ideas about jobs in the office. However, there are many types of jobs in different industries. A person could have a strong interest in health and medicine but they don’t want to be involved in working on people. There are also animals that require similar services. What about forestry as an option. Or that same person simply doesn’t want to be involved in health services but has a strong interest and keen skills in computers and programming. Perhaps their path to success is in the health sciences arena at a hospital or health facility.

So the candidate loves DIY projects. Could that mean they’re good a analysis, have strong concentration and focus skills, and are good at interpreting diagrams? Maybe there’s a niche for them in some form of construction or machine work.

The world of work is becoming increasingly complicated in regard to qualifying for a position and simply getting in the door. Occupations that you wouldn’t think of as requiring a resume now use that tool as part of the entry point. Do hobbies and extracurricular activities have a place and purpose on the resume or application? At times, they do. But they need to be used strategically if they are used at all. Sometimes they can become the bullet that shot the high school cheerleader who is applying for a mid-level management position in the foot. She’s remembered decades after leaving her application but not for the reasons she intended.

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October 9, 2015

Not the Right Time

Filed under: Hiring,Job Search,Networking — Yvonne LaRose @ 3:21 PM
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The email header read, “The State of Screening.” It’s an article about screening applicants with a criminal background. But just looking at the words of the header brings to mind the many different types of screening situations that arise in the employment as well as social fields – situations that have nothing to do with a criminal background. And the words also bring to mind the various attempts to be included in something. In the past, having a criminal background meant not getting hired; it meant learning how to deal with rejection and how to overcome it.

Excluded from access, but why?

Excluded from access, but why?

The New Millennial form of rejection and saying “no” has taken a new form. It’s also a new bend in the exclusion (even discrimination) formula on how to do it without it seeming to be so.

Tell the one seeking admission to the venue, or opportunity, that it’s reached the maximum number of participants (no quota was ever stated) and the next time the opportunity will be available again will be in 9-12 months. That’s a good way to make them go away and keep quiet. In fact, with that much of a window to the next admission phase, the person will no doubt have forgotten about the opportunity or will have found a better substitute. Some are diligent and will show up for the next opportunity. There’s a remedy for that similar to the old fashioned way of handling the rejection.

A variation on this form of exclusion is to tell the aspirant that the opportunity was just concluded. Again, the next opportunity to become part of the situation will be in 6-12 months.

The pattern used to be prerequisites that needed to be satisfied before admission was granted. The prerequisites can be a great as performing some task or as minor as paying an admission fee that is slightly outside of the expected capabilities of the one seeking admission. Or there are materials that are required before there can be inclusion. Do we know the purpose and use of the materials? Ask about those things. Typically, there will be no response – just dead silence. The underlying message is, “We don’t want you. The requirements are merely shams in order to exclude you. We thought you understood that we don’t want you among us. Your being dense only proves that you don’t belong.”

Some of the old pattern still survives. If the aspirant wants to climb in the environment (and has somehow managed to get in) and has produced useful content that demonstrates their value and insightfulness, simply store it in a remote location where few, if any, are likely to find it. In the alternative, simply delete it on the basis that there have been changes and it no longer has congruence with the rest of the venue.

All of these are also part and parcel of the unanswered phone message or email; the lack of response to the application; the MIA acknowledgement of a submission.

And, of course, when the new window opens (6 to 12 months later), there’s no notice of the event. Meanwhile, many others who also had an interest seem to have been able to enter the venue much sooner (within one month or less) than the protracted waiting period for the excluded one.

Access is also used as a means of exclusion. Those who are confined to wheelchairs and cannot enter a building via stairs are also subtly removed from the pool of participants. The situation is aggravated by virtue of the fact that there is no elevator nor incline. Yes, there are other forms of apparatus that can substitute for the elevator and incline. Crutches or a walking cane are just two alternatives. But why create the barriers to something that’s supposed to be open to all who want to be members of the venue? It sends a message, not a very favorable one, that the person is unqualified or incompetent in some way and therefore does not deserve to be included.

There are other examples of exclusion. An example is when things that are suggested as desirable for a special event or consideration. Content is submitted but there are some faults that result in it not being used; maybe next time. But the rejection becomes chronic. It isn’t isolated to the first, single rejection but becomes the constant for anything and everything proffered. It’s enough to be a discouragement to the faint of heart. They will become disappointed, even dejected, and eventually will go away.  Those who are naive to the dynamic will conclude that they are inferior in every way and opt for either sublimated existence through drugs or alternative lifestyle or escape the discomfort through suicide.

One positive from this exercise in futility is that each rejection can result in fine tuning the content, whether personal or physical. That results in practice that leads to perfection and could mean that it will be accepted in a better place that will display the content to the advantage of the piece and its creator.

Will the one who originally rejected the content be displeased? No. They won’t even pay attention. Meanwhile, the one who was rejected has come to the conclusion that they are not the one who is unqualified – it’s the venue that has the problem and it isn’t a healthy place.

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November 2, 2014

Do the Research

Entrances is a 360 networking forum on LinkedIn. It’s for an exchange of information and for networking with others in order to develop new connections and awareness of new opportunities. The purpose is to gain better insights about another part of the employment sector other than your own space so that better choices are made based in feedback from the other players. One goal is developing relationships that can lead to referrals.

Entrances-Faces of the workplace

Entrances – Making sound choices based on informed networking

While it isn’t a forum for political speech, there are a series of videos running that are produced by ColorofChange.org based on their #IfTheySpeakForMe theme . They show by various examples of what ensues if others make choices for you because you didn’t do your research; instead, you were passive and took whatever you got. In this weekend before midterm elections, the videos emphasize the importance of doing good research before embarking on an endeavor or entering into relationships.

With those compelling ColorofChange messages are scenarios of hair care dictated by a stranger and being hijacked in a taxi. Those are similar to taking on employment with a client or employer you haven’t researched.

I encourage you to do the research this weekend that will help you make the right choice for you in the voting booth. Remember to vote. Exercise your rights.

Who Is This

That being said, remember to do some research, ask meaningful questions, about where your livelihood is or will be. Find out who the potential employer is. Determine whether the recruiter is the right one for you. What does the recruiter want in terms of a “qualified candidate” and how can the resume writer or the career coach help you them reach your goals. Maybe they simply are not the right fit. Maybe their philosophies are (and never will be) in consonance with your own ethics or beliefs in good practices. Consider the video wherein the hairstyle of several women is determined by a total stranger who contravenes the women’s wishes and relationship with their hairdresser.

We’ve talked about hair in Entrances from the perspective of what is accepted by the other side of the employment desk. It was intended to look at the various styles, colors, whether it constituted good grooming, and whether hairstyle is a valid hiring criteria. A few interesting views were expressed.

Making Impressions

Has someone impressed you with their words? What did they do to make that impression? How reliable are they? Would you be willing to refer them to something that may be a good match for what they have to offer?

Bottom Line

Which is the more important emphasis? Know who the employer is. Know their product or service before going on the interview or taking them on as a client. Recruiters are held liable for the misdeeds of their clients. It is a recruiter’s duty to guide a client along the more ethical path if they are erring in their decisions or execution of their business practices. But it’s imperative to know all of these things before getting involved or else having a delicate but compelling reason for taking a different, better path to open the right door and make better entrances.

September 8, 2014

The Minimum Wage Push

It was May 23 that I said we need to increase the minimum wage and that it would happen. By June 1 I was back on the increase minimum wage soapbox. The Federal Congress didn’t seem to want to listen to me. A few weeks later, they said “no” to increasing the minimum wage. Ah, but that was June and July. This is November.

It seems as though more than just dear George are listening to the populace. Among the election revelations was that several additional states voted to increase the minimum wage. It appears the federal government will adopt a resolution to increase the minimum wage.

This minimum wage increase issue is still being fought tooth and nail. Commentary on this morning’s news brought out the fact that for each 10 percent increase in wage there will be an accompanying 2 percent decrease in number of jobs available. The spokes person advocated for retaining the minimum wage. The logic is that it provides a great bottom-line entry-level wage for new workers. It is not fair to increase the wage and then cause minorities and especially minority youth to lose their opportunities at gaining work experience at entry-level wages. Unfortunately, the spokes person did not take into consideration that there are veteran workers who still slave at minimum wage and work three and four jobs at that wage in order to support them selves and their families.

What’s interesting about the conservative argument is that it so profoundly and adversely affects the minority communities. Imagine having someone from any one of those communities turn to you and say they cannot escape from the blight in which they live because they are force to live on minimum earnings, if that. Additionally, they foresee that business in their community will die out because “you can’t buy anything if you don’t have anything to buy it with.” No discretionary income means no spending on entertainment. It means hold the standard low for learning and achievement. It means kill the potential for qualified skilled workers. It means the American Dream will become welfare and less than meager existence. Sloth.

Yes, adjustments will have to be made because of raising the minimum wage. No doubt the cost of goods will be increased in order to absorb some of the cost. The increase will be so marginal compared with the opportunity value of the wage increase that those affected by price increases will hardly complain. In fact, they’ll rejoice at the fact that they are able to purchase and enjoy.

Salary increases are not the means of retaining good personnel. But good, livable wages are the way to attract willing workers who are interested in doing a good job. And those livable wages are a means of saying “thank you” to those who are willing to do their part in contributing to Domestic Product.

[Republished from The Desk (on Recruiter.com), Trends and Forecasts, November 9, 2006]

February 25, 2014

Seniors Employer Finder

One feature of many job boards is to help a candidate search for the right types of jobs and to help them focus on jobs available in their area. Not many of them offer a specialty feature such as employers who are actively seeking those over 50. For that matter, not any of the ones I’ve seen offer special features or highlight opportunities for those with disabilities. But I digress.

I have found what appears to be a great job board and search engine that targets the over 50 demographic. It came in the form of an AARP email that talked about finding a job with better benefits. Then the web page talked about job search for those over 50 and best employers for that age range. And then the Nirvana Moment. It provided a link to the Best Employers Job Search Tool. There’s also a list compiled by AARP in association with Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) called the Best Employers for Workers Over 50 awards program. Since I found this resource in the Summer of last year, what I can do is send you to the 2013 Best Employers list.

It is “a biennial program that was started in 2001 and recognizes employers with exemplary practices for recruiting and retaining mature workers.” The award winner was How each employer was selected is worth a read. After learning that they submitted an application to be included in the list, the question that comes to mind is how many knew about this opportunity. And the next thing to ponder is (given that the usual response rate to surveys and calls to action is about 10%) how many actually participated in being considered. And yet another thing to think about is whether the list of candidates is growing in its existence and the extent or rate of the growth.

Some of the criteria for selection looks at whether the employer has “set outstanding examples through programs that help them retain, retrain, engage and recruit the older workers who will be increasingly crucial to their success and the success of the U.S. economy over the coming decade.” It’s so glad to know that seniors are valued for the long run. Another intersting criteria for making the list is innovative ways of attracting and retaining senior workers.

This is not some local yokel award. The search has expanded to include international companies. And they get into considering the more creative ways of not only attracting but also retaining these valued, seasoned workers. Many have the tendency to consider older workers not as viable for positions as the younger generations. It has been found that assumption is a myth that definitely needs to be dispelled.

It’s entirely possible to simply build a page of links. It’s much wiser to provide you with some of the more meaningful ones on this topic and allow you to explore in order to come up with some of your own ideas about how to show your appreciation of and keep your older workers.

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The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop, and Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today

 

July 23, 2012

Qualified and Disabled

QUESTION:

After making formal application for an advertised opportunity, I was invited to interview. When the interviewer saw that I am blind and use a wheelchair, she exclaimed that she could not see how I would be of benefit to that company [in light of my disabilities].

I got the job but I would like to know what to do the next time I interview and face a similar negative attitude.

ANSWER:

I’m glad that this sounds as though the outcome was positive. It shows that you demonstrated some excellent skills and ability to do the job. Congratulations. It also sounds as though you did a very good job of creating a sense of credibility for yourself through doing well during the interview. Possibly, you said empowering things that you did not even realize you were saying.

In answering your question, let me start then by discussing the most essential presentation during an interview.

  • your skills and qualifications for the opportunity
  • quantifiable evidence of how you are qualified
  • how those skills and qualifications will help the business function as well or better with you in the position.

You already pointed out that you were early for the appointment. That is good. It shows that you appreciate timeliness and that worked in your favor. No doubt, you took with you two extra copies of your resume so that they were ready in case your interviewer did not have it on top of her desk and you had one for yourself to pull out and discuss with them. You demonstrated being well prepared and skill in foreseeing and making contingency plans for unforseen circumstances. You showed diplomacy and tact.

The focus should not be on your shortcomings nor your disability (please note that those are two different things) but on you, how and why you are qualified. Discuss your direct, on-the-job experience that relates to the new opportunity. Discuss how well you performed in your last situation and how your input was beneficial to the customer and the company. If there were things or situations that were done better because of your involvement, talk about them.

Your speech should be cordial, business-like and professional. It should be at a good volume – not loud nor apologetic. Make certain your voice does not sound whiney – don’t be a martyr nor a cry baby. You are a strong, intelligent professional person. Show that in your deportment and presentation.

Finally (for this writing), openly discuss your disabilities. However, do not apologize for them. Discuss how adaptive you are to many situations and in short order so that you have several approaches to situations. These are not disabilities; they are opportunities for new ways of doing things. They are abilities that others do not have. Sometimes being in a chair makes you better suited for doing certain things better or more easily than others. Having low vision or no vision affords you with still other advantages. Point them out.

And having a disability is not the same as not being able. It is merely a different way of handling life and business situations. Two of your fellow South Africans have discussed coming into meaningful contributions to business and society by realizing how those “disabilities” proved to be assets and empowerment. Likewise, they point out how that South Africa’s (as well as India’s) relatively recent affirmative action legislation has created new legal bases for opening doors.

Although it positively states that those with disabilities are entitled to vie for opportunities, there is still a long way to go as far as making that new legislation meaningful for there is still the critical element of educating employers about the opportunities that are available to them through using all of the diverse population – diverse in age, sex, race and abilities. Likewise, there is still the matter of educating employers about the fact that employing those with “disabilities” is not a costly proposition and does not mean extraordinary expense to include that segment of candidates in the considered roster of candidates and personnel.

You did well and it appears you did so without realizing you did so. Focus on how you will be an asset to the company and will save money, enhance the business opportunities, have abilities that your co-workers may not have because of the issues that others see as shortcomings. Affirmatively show how you are qualified and “disabled.”

About the Author:

Yvonne LaRose was a Disabilities Accommodation Provider in the Bay Area of California from 1993 to 1997 as well as one of the founding members of Bay Area Disabilities Coalition (BADC). In addition, she was a news reader for Broadcast Services for the Blind (BSB) (a private band radio station based in the Rose Resnick Lighthouse for the Blind that reaches 13,000 listeners in 13 counties) from 1993 to 1997. From BSB, she produced and hosted her bi-weekly radio features and newscast, “Legally Speaking” from 1994 to 1996.

Originally published December 25, 2001

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August 12, 2010

Effects on Perception of Quality

There’s a thought that’s been plaguing me for several weeks now. Unfortunately, there’s not been a lot of time to research it in light of the other things that require completion before moving on to a new challenge. However, it is an issue that really does require unbiased study and then action.

The matter is whether those who graduate from historically black universities and colleges are perceived as having a better than average (general population, not ethnic population) education and therefore bring to the bargaining table above average skills and knowledge.

From my understanding of Post-Civil War America, freedmen (and women) had few educational resources available to them. Education was the key to actualizing the benefits of being free and leading a powerfully productive life. There is an argument that the first teachers were (and still are) marginally qualified compared to their White counterparts. But our nation has as one of its cornerstones the promise of free basic education for all. Those who founded the Black universities were essentially educated people who had struggled to excel in the environs of universities where their acceptance was tantamount to Shannon Faulkner’s at the Citadel. But many graduated with distinction.

Here we are in the 21st Century, more than 150 years later. The color of one’s skin still dictates one’s the first impact acceptance of one’s abilities and professionalism. Sometimes, actually many times, even with meaningful conversation and above average diction and vocabulary, the overall condescending treatment still cancels opportunities and relegates the potential human capital (and business solution) to the recesses of the arena and then exclusion.

Again, there’s been scant time to actually research some of the information that would form the answer to this question. It’s worth discussing from many perspectives: the recruiter, the job candidate and job seeker, management at all levels, educators and students, and ultimately our global neighbors. How is a person who has been educated (or seeks education) at an historically Black university or college perceived? Are they seen as the person of color who presents with some of the best qualities available? Are they still viewed as marginal? Does where they were educated even matter?

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