Kinsa Group Blog

Unemployment Discrimination in the Food & Beverage Industry – It happens more often (and more quickly) than you might think

October 22nd, 2012

How long do you have before being unemployed starts negatively impacting your ability to find a food & beverage job?

Try one month.

A new research article suggests that employers think less of unemployed job candidates – no matter how briefly they’ve been out of work, and regardless of whether they’ve quit or been laid off.

The article, titled “The Psychological Stigma of Unemployment: When Joblessness leads to Being Jobless,” cites several experiments that found bias against the jobless, virtually from the outset of unemployment.  For example, in one study, co-author Geoffrey C. Ho and his team asked 47 experienced HR professionals to review résumés that were identical in all ways, with a single exception:  half said the candidate was currently employed and half said the person had been out of work for a month.

The “currently employed” candidate received better marks for competence and hireability.

The harsh reality?  Unemployment discrimination is a troubling trend in hiring.  Despite numerous EEO laws and safeguards, some employers exclude qualified food & beverage job candidates from consideration, simply because of their employment status.  To these hiring managers, requiring that a candidate be gainfully employed is just “smart business” – helping them to control the flood of applications and to filter out “damaged goods” before spending valuable time and resources on screening and interviewing.

But if you’ve been unemployed for an extended period and are trying to find work, it’s hard to see the logic in a practice like this.

Now is a time to stay strong.  If you’re unemployed and looking for work, here is some sound advice for beating unemployment discrimination – before it beats you:

  • Forgive yourself – and move on.  Losing a job is nothing unusual, especially these days.  Mergers, cost-cutting measures and total shutdowns have forced countless people out of their jobs over the past few years.  Whatever your reason for being unemployed, you need a positive mindset to tackle what may be a tough job search.  The best thing you can do is forgive yourself for being out of work, and then move on.
  • If you’ve only been out of work for a short time (a few weeks or months), invest a lot of time and energy into networking and informational interviews.  This will help you get past the initial human resources screening that would eliminate you from consideration.
  • Ignore the verbiage in job posts that suggests an employer intends to discriminate based on recent employment status.  Just because the discriminatory language is present in a job listing doesn’t mean you have to adhere to the request!  If your job skills and experience are a good fit for the posting, by all means apply for that position – regardless of your employment situation.
  • Consider adjusting your résumé.  If you’ve been out of work for awhile, you may want to switch from a chronological to functional résumé format.  This will allow you to lead with your skills and qualifications, outside the context of your employment history.  You may also want to omit dates from your employment history section.  Once your skills have an employer’s attention, he can inquire about the dates.
  • Solidify references from previous employer(s).  When you’re unemployed, a strong endorsement from an employer – even one who let you go – may outweigh the length of your unemployment.
  • Work as an interim contract professional.  It’s easiest to find a job while you’re working, so stack the deck in your favor.  Beyond merely changing your employment status, working as an interim contract professional for Kinsa can help you earn extra income, avoid gaps on your résumé and keep your spirits up.  Additionally, while you’re working, Kinsa can actively search for direct positions that match your skills, experience and interests.

“We’re Sorry, You’re Too Qualified for This Position” – Whether applying for a process engineer or a quality assurance manager position, the concern is the same

September 24th, 2012

Does being overqualified for a food & beverage position mean that you’ll be disqualified from consideration?

Not if you handle the interview right.

True, many employers are reluctant to hire overqualified candidates.  Recruiters fear that an overqualified employee will be dissatisfied, demand more money, expect fast promotion or even jump ship.

As a job seeker, you need to recognize these concerns and effectively address them if you want to get the offer.  Use these tips to handle an employer’s concern that your qualifications outstrip the available position:

Realize that nobody is a “perfect” match.  Reassure yourself with the fact that a recruiter rarely (if ever) finds a candidate who is an exact match for the position in terms of both skills and experience.  Most finalists are either too heavy or too light in some aspect of their qualifications.

Never misrepresent yourself.  Even if you’ve managed to gloss over your depth of experience in your résumé, it will come out in the interview.  So never try to sell yourself short.  If you do, you may be perceived as dishonest and therefore rejected, or you may wind up with a job in which you’re extremely frustrated by the lack of challenge.  At the end of the day, honesty is always your best policy.

Prepare answers to common interview questions.  If you’re overqualified, you will likely be asked a question similar to one of the following.  Make sure you’re prepared to respond effectively and allay a prospective employer’s concerns.

  • How will you stay motivated in a job that doesn’t make use of many of your qualifications?  If the hiring manager is worried that the available position won’t stimulate you enough, sell yourself – not your abilities.  Explain that you can never be overqualified in your enthusiasm, your desire to mentor or your quest for knowledge.
  • It’s not likely that you will be offered a promotion any time soon.  Is this okay with you?  Obviously, you don’t want to convey the impression that you’ll gladly languish in a position ad infinitum.  Instead, say something like: “I’m eager to learn as much as I can about your organization while carrying out my daily responsibilities.  While I understand that a promotion is not likely in the short-term, I’m confident that if company circumstances change, you will offer further opportunities to me.”
  • I’m concerned about your willingness to stay here long-term.  Won’t you become bored or frustrated?  If a recruiter seems concerned that you’ll leave for greener pastures, demonstrate your proven track record of loyalty.  Offer examples of how you found opportunities for growth, even in positions you held for several years.

Look harder for positions that better match your experience level.  Choose your opportunities carefully!  As a job seeker, you owe it to yourself to critically evaluate the merit of any position for which you may be overqualified.  Consider:

  • Would you truly be happy in this role for an extended period of time?
  • Is the compensation range adequate to meet your financial needs and desired standard of living?
  • Does the position fit into your long-range career development plans?

Make sure you don’t continue down the interviewing path too long – only to realize that you want a higher level job than what the employer is offering.  If you do, you may wind up burning a valuable bridge.

As national food & beverage recruiters, Kinsa works with top employers from coast to coast.  We can help you find a professional, executive or C-level food & beverage position that is ideal for your experience level and specialization:

• Executive Management

General Management

• Sales

Marketing

Operations & Plant Production Management

Research & Development

• Food Science

Quality Assurance 

Food Safety

• Human Resources

• Engineering

Maintenance

Supply Chain and Purchasing

Warehouse Management

• Finance & Accounting

When it Comes to Work/Life Issues, Men and Women are More Alike than Different

August 9th, 2011

Men and women are different in many ways.  But when it comes to work/life balance issues, they apparently share several of the same concerns.

Results from a WorldatWork fall 2010 research study conflict with a previously wide-held assumption about the differences between men and women – namely, that male identity is rooted in work, while women place a higher priority on personal/family life.

Watch the video.

Summary of Study Findings

The Global Study on Men and Work-Life Integration, conducted in November and December 2010, surveyed more than 2,300 men and women working in organizations with 500 or more employees.   The international study focused on how organizations can eliminate stereotypes and barriers that prevent men from using work/life offerings, as well as what prevents organizational leaders (who are often men) from supporting the use of those offerings.

Here is a brief summary of the study findings:

  • Work and Personal Identity – Identification with work is much stronger in emerging markets/countries than in developed ones.
  • Managing Work and Family Life – Finding time for family is especially challenging for men; however, both men and women seek more personal time for exercise and hobbies.  For both sexes, flexible work arrangements dominate the list of most valuable options for finding a healthy work/life balance.
  • Financial Stress – Not surprisingly, financial stress is a top (if not the top) work/life issue across country and gender.  To ease this stress, employers can: increase employee assistance programs; offer financial counseling programs; be as transparent as possible about corporate finances and job security.
  • Leadership Attitudes – Business leaders around the world embrace the importance of work/life balance and have programs and policies in place to facilitate it.  These efforts, however, are often ineffective because managers still believe that the “ideal worker” is an employee with few personal commitments.  In fact, half of managers in emerging markets, and four in 10 managers in developed markets, believe that the most productive employees are those with few personal commitments.

According to Kathie Lingle, WLCP, executive director of WorldatWork’s Alliance for Work-Life Progress, “Working men and women around the world seek the same holy grail: success in both their work and family lives.  The assumption that male identity is rooted in work and not family is a major impediment to the effective integration of employees’ work and family lives.”

For over 25 years, Kinsa Group has delivered highly qualified professionals and senior-to-executive level management candidates to food & beverage employers nationwide.  Visit our website to learn more about our recruiting and assessment services for the food & beverage industry.

Using Social Media to Drive Your Business

May 2nd, 2011

Here are a few interesting statistics for you, from a February 2011 press release issued by small-business social network MerchantCircle:

  • Facebook is becoming an increasingly popular way for merchants to market their business, with 70 percent using the social network for marketing, up from 50 percent one year ago.
  • Facebook has now surpassed Google (66 percent) as the most widely used marketing method amongst local merchants, and is almost tied with Google search (40 percent) as one of their top three most effective marketing methods, with 37 percent rating Facebook as one of their most effective tools.

Whether you’re one of the millions of today’s social media junkies, or you consider them to be the world’s biggest waste of time, social media are having a huge impact – on individuals, and of course, on organizations.

Regardless of your personal preferences, your business needs a proactive social media strategy.  Why?  Doing nothing is akin to management by abdication.  It’s a guaranteed recipe for gossip, disinformation, lack of innovation, loss of talent and even loss of competitive advantage.

If you’re still new to the world of social media, or struggle to use it effectively, here are some ways to use resources like LinkedIn and Facebook to keep your company strong and healthy:

Focus your efforts. Create a system to make sure your social media activities align with your business objectives (e.g., If you use LinkedIn for client prospecting, develop and formalize a company-wide strategy and list of accepted practices.)  Likewise, resist the urge to join every available network.  Do your homework up-front to determine which sites are likely to be the most beneficial for your business.  Otherwise, these sites can wind up being a tremendous waste of time and effort.

Position yourself (and your company) as an expert. Whatever your area of specialization, you can use online networking to showcase your talent and expertise:

  • Be a leader, not a follower. Develop thought leadership in the food & beverage industry by posting articles that identify trends, cite the latest research and are generally ahead of the curve.  Timely, relevant information is extremely valuable to your clients, prospects and other contacts.
  • Attract top talent. True professionals stay on top of their fields by constantly seeking out new information.  Become a trusted source they turn to.  Write and post articles about the topics most important to these individuals, and you’ll attract the top performers you need.
  • Answer a question in your field to attain expert status within your network. If you’re selected as providing the best answer to a particular problem, it will show up on your LinkedIn profile.  Providing answers is also a great way to strike up an online conversation with a new contact and begin building a relationship.

Draw traffic to your website and blog. Link these to your LinkedIn and Facebook profiles and reference them in your tweets to get more people reading about you and your company.  If you adjust your LinkedIn settings, it will automatically send a notice reminding your contacts to come see what’s new.

Expand your networks. Networking is the number one way small businesses find employees, suppliers and strategic partners.  Make it easy for others to connect with you.  If you haven’t already, place links to all your social media accounts prominently on your website and blog to encourage more people to friend you, follow you or join your network.

Get active and stay active. You may get some minimal value from passive participation, but you have to be at least moderately involved on a site to derive any real business value.  So don’t be a social media couch potato.  Focus on growing your network.  Post.  Blog.  Refer.  Recommend.  Follow-up.  The more effort you put into your social media activities, the greater the results you’ll see.

Kinsa uses a number of social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, to strengthen our business relationships and recruit the nation’s top food & beverage professionals and executives.  How are you using social media to drive your business?  We’d love to know.  Please leave your comments below.

Make Balance a Priority

March 28th, 2011

Smart work/life balance tips to reduce stress and give you more time

Meetings.  Soccer practice.  Long hours.  Project deadlines.  Yard work.

Given all the responsibilities you have both on the job and at home, you may feel that a healthy work/life balance is unrealistic right now:  spending more time at work may cause you to miss out on a rewarding personal life; but effectively managing the challenges of your personal life (such as coping with an aging parent or marital stress) may make concentrating on your job difficult.

So how do you strike a balance?  Implement just three or four of these ideas to make a measurable difference in your life.  They will help you lower your stress level, free-up more time, and put you on the path to a healthier work/life balance.

Drop unnecessary activities. Make a list of what really matters to you.  You may find out that you’re devoting too much time to activities that aren’t a real priority.  If at all possible, drop commitments and pursuits that don’t make the top five on your list of priorities.  Doing so will greatly focus your efforts and simplify your life.

Realize that time is often more valuable than money. The time you spend away from meaningful relationships in your life is time you can never get back.  With this in mind, consider hiring a lawn maintenance service, a handyman, or a babysitter (but always have a contingency plan in place).

Get enough sleep. Few things are as stressful and potentially dangerous as working when you’re sleep deprived.  Aside from feeling awful, you’re also more likely to make costly mistakes and be less productive.  So while you may be tempted to burn the midnight oil, it makes more sense to hit the sack and tackle your work with a fresh pair of eyes in the morning.

Plan fun and relaxation. Given the frenetic pace of our lives, nurturing ourselves just doesn’t happen by accident – but it’s still an essential part of maintaining a balanced life.  So set aside space in your weekly calendar for activities that are fun and relaxing to you.  Plan what you’re going to do and make necessary arrangements – reservations, childcare, etc. – to ensure you’ll be able to keep your commitment.

Use e-mail effectively. Use e-mail, as opposed to voicemail, to send detailed messages.  Try to respond to your incoming messages in groups – just a few times a day.  This way, you will interrupt your train of thought less frequently and stay more focused.

Learn to say “No.” Whether it’s a co-worker asking you to spearhead an extra project, or your child’s teacher asking you to be the head room parent, remember that’s okay to respectfully say “No.”  Once you quit doing things out of guilt or a false sense of obligation, you’ll make more room in your life for activities that are meaningful and important to you.

Exercise your options. Find out if your employer offers flex hours, a compressed workweek, job-sharing or telecommuting for your role.  These options may afford you greater flexibility to alleviate stress and free-up more of your time.

Master software packages. Learn the tips associated with the software packages you use most frequently.  They can increase your productivity.

Organize. If your insides are churning, create order outside.  Some people find that cleaning, organizing and reducing clutter actually reduce stress – both at home and at work.

Get a system. Develop a routine for tackling recurring tasks both at home and work.  If you drive by the dry cleaners and grocery store on your way to and from work, make a habit of bringing your shopping list and dry cleaning with you to take care of those stops en route.

Ask for help. Are you overwhelmed because you don’t have the support or tools you need to get your work done?  If so, don’t be a hero.  Approach your boss or loved ones and ask for the help you need to be more productive at work or at home.

Lighten up. Don’t take everything so seriously.  Nobody and nothing is ever perfect, so drop your shoulders and learn to laugh!

Budget-Friendly Holiday Gift Ideas

December 6th, 2010

‘Tis the season to give gifts once again.  And if you’re like most people, this year you’ll be sticking to a budget.  But don’t let spending limits cramp your gift-giving style.  You can still buy some pretty great presents for under $20, if you put your thinking cap on. 

So if you can’t bear to purchase another boring necktie or nasty fruitcake, never fear.  Break out of the gift box with these creative ideas that won’t break the bank.

For the wine lover

  • Bottle of wine and pair of decorative or seasonal wineglasses
  • Guidebook for pairing wine with food
  • Set of decorative wineglass charms

For the outdoorsman

  • Camping chair
  • Heavy duty flashlight and batteries
  • Insulated soft-side lunch cooler

For the gardener

  • Planter for window or porch rail
  • High-end gardening gloves
  • Canvas gardening tool organizer

For the cook

  • Assortment of gourmet spices
  • Specialty cookbook
  • Salt and pepper mills

For the new home owner

  • Serving dish that complements kitchen décor
  • Coffee table book related to something he enjoys
  • Coordinating set of picture frames

For the book lover

  • Decorative book mark, personal reading light and batteries
  • Bestseller about a topic near and dear to the recipient’s heart
  • Cozy microfleece throw blanket

For the chauffeur (translation: any mom with kids)

  • Car organizer
  • Car wash and vacuum coupon
  • Safety hammer to break auto glass and cut seatbelt

For the cheese lover

  • Cheese grater and a block of favorite cheese (be sure to include a “cheesy” sentiment like: “To a GRATE friend!”)
  • High-end cheese slicer
  • A block of favorite cheese, box of gourmet crackers, bunch of grapes and cheese knife in an inexpensive basket

For the homebody

  • Extra large and fluffy bath towel
  • Indoor/outdoor electric thermometer
  • Current issues of 3 favorite magazines tied with a decorative bow

For the technology lover

  • LED Binary clock
  • Cordless optical notebook mouse (choose a fun color)
  • Digital scrapbook software

Happy holiday shopping from Kinsa Group, specializing in recruiting and assessment for the food & beverage industry for over 25 years.

Unconventional Job Search Tactics for Food & Beverage Industry Professionals

October 18th, 2010

What would you do to get the job you want?

These days, I’m seeing more and more news stories about the lengths people are going to in order to get hired.  Here are just a few:

  • Walking the city streets while wearing a sandwich board that lists your professional credentials;
  • Renting billboard space to promote yourself;
  • “Selling” yourself on eBay.

While these extreme job search tactics have certainly helped individuals stand out in a crowded job market, they’re more like “stunts” than strategies.  As a result, they’ll quickly lose their novelty and ultimately their effectiveness.

Here are a few fresh ideas for getting noticed by employers, which may prove more practical for your professional job search needs:

  • Create a business card that serves as a résumé.  They’re much easier to carry around and pass out than a full-sized résumé, especially at a networking or professional association event.  On the card, you can provide the URLs for your LinkedIn page, professional website and/or online portfolio, so recipients can find out more about you.
  • Start a professional blog.  If you’re a strong writer, and if you’re disciplined enough to make frequent updates, a blog can greatly enhance your job search efforts.  You can use your blog to showcase your in-depth professional knowledge, and demonstrate that you stay on-top of trends and news impacting the food & beverage industry.  A blog is also a great way to share what you do with potential employers and develop a strong personal brand.
  • Create a video résumé.  While not a substitute for a traditional résumé, a video résumé can be beneficial to food & beverage professionals seeking jobs that require sales, training or other presentations.  If you perform well in front of a camera, and if you have access to good production facilities (believe me, you don’t want to use your webcam for this one), your video résumé can showcase your communication, articulation and presentation skills.

Unconventional tactics not your style?

Then try a proven job search strategy that’s worked for savvy food & beverage professionals for over 25 years – contact the Kinsa Group today or search professional and executive food & beverage industry positions nationwide.

Five Ways Recruiting Services Can Simplify Your Job

September 29th, 2010

With unemployment near record highs, you may question the benefit of recruiting services.  If job applicants are plentiful, can recruiting and assessment services really help you?

In a word, yes.  Here are just a few of the ways recruiting services can simplify your job and help both you and your company be more successful:

  • Save Time.  Posting jobs, screening résumés, scheduling and conducting initial interviews, testing and reference checking are extremely time-consuming activities – especially when candidates are abundant.  Use a recruiting service to eliminate both the time and cost associated with these processes.
    Some recruiting services, such as Kinsa’s Choice Search Option, allow you to pick and choose the portions of a full-search process without paying a full-search fee.
  • Increase Focus. Use the extra hours you gain (by offloading time-consuming recruiting activities) to focus on other key HR priorities or revenue-generating activities.
  • Access Top Candidates. The market may be flooded with job seekers, but are they people you really want to hire?  Recruitment specialists are experts at sourcing the best talent.  They use extensive candidate networks, internal and national databases, intensive assessments, direct recruiting techniques and referral sources to identify individuals – even highly desirable “passive” candidates – with the skills, experience and personality traits to succeed in your organization.
  • Shorten Your Time-to-Hire. Because recruiting services maintain such robust candidate databases, they can dramatically reduce the time it would take to find the right person on your own.  In Kinsa’s case, our specialization in recruiting food & beverage industry professionals makes us better prepared to rapidly pinpoint potential candidates with the food & beverage experience you require.
  • Reduce Your Hiring Risks. Our tough job market has caused a rise in résumé fraud, as desperate job seekers feel compelled to stretch the truth in order to get hired.  Unfortunately, the employer pays the price, when a new hire who has misrepresented himself has to be replaced.
    Recruiting and assessment services reduce the risk of a bad hire in two ways.  First, the referred candidate is thoroughly screened, interviewed, tested, background and reference checked to verify skills, experience and work history.  Additionally, most recruiting services guarantee the quality of their direct placements for several months – and will find you a replacement if you’re not satisfied.

Ensure Hiring Success with Kinsa’s Recruiting and Assessment Services

From Retained Searches, to Contingent Recruiting and Choice Search Options, we provide flexible access to the talented food & beverage industry professionals your organization needs.  Ensure the success of your next hire – contact Kinsa today.

Two Key Reasons to Follow the BLS Monthly Situation

August 16th, 2010

Ever feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information coming at you each day?

With the barrage of data pouring in from newspapers, TV, the internet, social media, RSS feeds, e-mails, voicemails and good-old-fashioned face-to-face meetings, finding the critical information you need amidst all the “white noise” can be exhausting.

Take the BLS Monthly Employment Situation, for example.  It contains monthly employment estimates for over 1,000 industries from its Current Employment Statistics program.  However, the changes in these overall employment levels tend to be delayed in the monthly labor reports – making it a lagging indicator of economic trends.

Sound like a lot of white noise?

Not entirely.  Temporary help employment numbers, which are part of the monthly BLS report, are generally considered to be a coincident indicator for overall employment.  This means that changes in temporary help employment tend to forecast subsequent changes in overall employment and coincide with changes in economic activity.  Why?  Many companies, including food and beverage industry firms, use temporary staffing as a means to quickly adjust their operations to meet fluctuating demands for their products and services.

Here’s how to stay on top of employment trends with temporary help data in the BLS report:

  1. Go to the BLS Current Employment Statistics home page.
  2. Then select either the HTML or PDF version of the “Employment Situation Summary.”
  3. Data for temporary help services can be found in Table B-1 (page 30 of the report’s PDF version).

The BLS CES can also help you key in on highly specific industry employment numbers.  Custom data views are available for various food and beverage industry segments (food packaging, food and beverage distribution, food and beverage manufacturing, food and beverage processing, etc.) based on NAICS codes:

  1. Follow this link to Create Customized Tables.
  2. Select the data you wish to view, the industry super sector, and the industry.  For quick access to food and beverage industry NAICS codes, visit NAICScodes.com.
  3. Select either “Seasonally Adjusted” or “Not Seasonally Adjusted” or both (Seasonally adjusted data will remove any changes in employment related to normal seasonal hiring or layoffs, thereby recording current trends or irregularities.).
  4. Select “Get Data” to retrieve the selected information.

Kinsa Group is poised to help you manage your specialized food and beverage recruitment needs as the economy slowly improves.  Serving companies throughout the United States for over 25 years, we can deliver the highly qualified professional and senior-to-executive level management candidates through our unique food & beverage recruiting process.

Give Your Recruiting Firm Feedback to Get Better Results

August 10th, 2010

Help your recruiting service service help you.

Continuous improvement should be a goal of any business relationship – your relationship with your recruiting company is no exception.  Help your recruiting service deliver better results by providing them with frequent, measurable feedback.  By letting them know what they’re doing right, as well as how they can improve, you can make your recruiting even more efficient and cost-effective.

Ask internal staff who interact with your recruiting firm during the hiring process to periodically fill out a simple report card.  It can evaluate quality of fills, ease of working with the recruiting specialist, timeliness of service, etc.  Then, share the feedback with your recruiting firm.  They will use the information to identify opportunities for improvement, to further customize the service they deliver, and to make your job as easy as possible.

Here are a few sample questions to consider:

The Recruiting Firm

  1. How well does the recruiting firm understand the food & beverage processing industry?
  2. How valuable is the recruiting specialist during the initial phases of the search (e.g., position specification, determining a salary range, developing a recruiting strategy, etc.)?
  3. How well does the recruiting firm meet your expectations?
  4. How would you rate the recruiting firm’s service, as compared to other firms you’ve used?
  5. How would you rate your recruiting specialist (service, industry knowledge, professionalism, etc.)?

The Candidates

  1. How well do the candidates referred fit the requirements of the available position?
  2. How well qualified are the candidates to work in the food and beverage industry?
  3. How would you rate the candidates’ attitudes (i.e., willingness to accept the position offered, professionalism, etc.)?
  4. How would you rate the interview-to-hire ratio (number of candidates referred to find the right individual)?

How well are we doing?

Kinsa Group specialists are experts in recruiting for the food & beverage industry.  Our goal is to provide you with the “ideal match” – talent who optimally fits your company’s philosophy and culture.  We want to know what we’re doing right and where we can improve.  Please contact us with your feedback, so we can deliver even better results for your organization.


Copyright © 2009 by Kinsa Group. All rights reserved.