By Yiren Lu
After decades of copycat culture, Chinese tech companies like Tencent, Alibaba, and ByteDance, maker of TikTok, are now out-innovating Western ones in mobile payments, ecommerce, and livestreaming.
Today China is 1.4 billion strivers, many of whom juxtapose within themselves tradition and modernity, freedom and duty, obeisance and hustle. The hand of the state is the ever present guiding force. It manages this striving, swaying the direction of industry and prescribing a set of public virtues and narratives.
Huang spent seven years in Paris getting a master’s and PhD in history. One day over lunch, he told me that Chinese society could be divided into three groups—the top 15 percent, the next 30 percent, and the bottom 55 percent, i.e., the masses. Each of these groups understood their respective role—the top groups were to be the “brain” of the country; the bottom, the “body.” In his opinion, this partitioning of responsibilities meant that, unlike in the US, where we are governed by the majority, China’s decisions reflected the thinking of the smartest people and were made in the country’s long-term interest. When I asked whether this meant the top 15 percent would make decisions that benefited only themselves, he seemed unmoved. After all, further enrichment at the top could only happen if the masses were fed, entertained, and sufficiently wealthy to drive domestic consumption.
Software engineer Yiren Lu is a second-generation Chinese American who suggests American entrepreneurs may not have the stomach for honest self-examination that their Chinese counterparts do. Is it possible that China is kicking our ass, and that its secret weapon is the willingness of its leaders to predicate their success on the economic success of the masses? Is this a trade-off Americans once embraced in our own way, and did we redefine freedom to be selfish, self-absorbed and willing to throw others under the bus to get and keep “what’s rightfully ours?”?
Will China kick our ass because they’re better at working “one for all?” Are we too simplistic in discounting China’s successes as the results of crooked dealings and unfair practices? Do you see hints of truth in Lu’s story about China’s economic turnaround and technological (and possibly social) ascendance? What freedoms would you trade for economic success? Can you use any of Lu’s “findings” in your own career?
Why Women Don’t Apply for Jobs Unless They’re 100% Qualified
Source: Harvard Business Review
By Tara Sophia Mohr
You’ve probably heard the following statistic: Men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them. The finding comes from a Hewlett Packard internal report. I was skeptical, because the times I had decided not to apply for a job because I didn’t meet all the qualifications, faith in myself wasn’t exactly the issue. I suspected I wasn’t alone. So I surveyed over a thousand men and women.
People who weren’t applying believed they needed the qualifications not to do the job well, but to be hired in the first place. They thought that the required qualifications were…well, required qualifications. They didn’t see the hiring process as one where advocacy, relationships, or a creative approach to framing one’s expertise could overcome not having the skills and experiences outlined in the job qualifications.
What held them back from applying was not a mistaken perception about themselves, but a mistaken perception about the hiring process.
This article is an oldie but goodie (from 2014) about being qualified for a job — and it’s very relevant today! The hidden message in Mohr’s article is that women and men miss great job opportunities because the “job qualification requirements” scare them off. That is, they have the wrong perception about how hiring decisions are made. Read the article to understand why you should reach farther than the job ad says you should!
Do you under-apply for jobs because the “requirements” say you’re not qualified? How do you know whether you should apply? How do you handle jobs that are a stretch for you?
Two Reasons Why HR Stinks (and How to Fix It)
By Suzanne Lucas
An acquaintance just got her first job after being a stay-at-home mom for many years. She’s a recruiter. Salary? $10 an hour.
Take that in for a minute.
She could make more money working fast food, yet a company is trusting her to be part of finding the best possible candidates for their company, and they only value her work at $10 an hour.
That’s problem number one. Inexperienced and untrained people recruiting for you will offer a less than great candidate experience. A less than great recruiting experience puts off good candidates and reinforces the notion that HR doesn’t know what they are doing.
Those recruiters in the HR department of the company where you want to work — those officious people who control whether you get interviewed for that job you want… they get paid what?? Wait’ll you read what Suzanne Lucas says about their bosses in the HR department.
Now do you get it? Now, how much do you guess the last recruiter you spoke with gets paid?
A Startup Is Selling Referrals for Jobs at Facebook, Google, and Amazon
Source: OneZero on Medium
By Seth King
If you’re looking for a job at a tech company like Facebook, Amazon, or Google, you’re probably also looking for a referral. Just buy one. Rooftop Slushie, a website created by the makers of the anonymous tech forum Blind, has facilitated more than 11,000 referral purchases since launching last year, Daniel Kim, the site’s product manager, told OneZero.
Candidates fill out a form listing their desired companies and the amount they are willing to pay per referral — usually between $20 and $50, according to Kim — and upload their resume. Verified employees at the listed companies, known as “vendors” on Rooftop Slushie, can view their resume and asking price, then decide whether or not to accept their offer. Facebook and Google referrals, according to Kim, are the biggest sellers.
After purchasing a referral, candidates will often receive a confirmation email with the next steps from their desired company. If candidates don’t receive a referral from the vendor, they can email Rooftop Slushie for a refund.
When asked if selling referrals for a small fee was an ethical concern, [one] vendor quickly dismissed the notion. “Whether or not a candidate gets a job is beyond my control,” he said. “There is no silver bullet to making it through the recruitment process. It’s really a coaching platform.”
What do we know about a company when its employees will openly take bribes for referrals to their boss about a job? We know Amazon, Google, Facebook and other employers have lost control of recruiting and hiring. When an online pop-up store can charge $50 for “referrals” to a company’s recruiter, you know one thing: that company’s HR department is running a numbers game. Stay away from HR, especially if you have to ante up to submit your resume. (See also 10 reasons your company’s HR can’t fill jobs.)
Is this practice ethical? Would you pay Rooftop Slushie to bribe somebody for referrals to a recruiter? What does this “business model” tell us about America’s Employment System? Most important, how does this really affect your ability to get a job?
Poker and the Psychology of Uncertainty
The game has plenty to teach about making decisions with the cards we’ve been dealt–on and off the table.
By Maria Konnikova
Outside the realm of games, accurate probabilistic thinking is a rare skill. The betting in poker forces you to pay attention. If you keep following your hunches instead of the mathematics of the thing, you’re doomed. Sure, you might get lucky a time or two. But eventually, variance will catch up with you.
When Chicago economists Steven Levitt and Thomas Miles looked at live play and compared the ROI, or return on investment, for two groups of players at the 2010 WSOP [World Series of Poker], they found that recreational players lost, on average, over 15 percent of their buy-ins (roughly $400), while professionals won over 30 percent (roughly $1,200). Poker isn’t just about calibrating the strength of your beliefs. It’s also about becoming comfortable with the fact that there’s no such thing as a sure thing — ever. You will never have all the information you want, and you will have to act all the same. Leave your certainty at the door.
In many ways, poker is the skilled endeavor. The job market is the gamble. How did my job talk go? Where did I go to college? To grad school? Did I rub someone the wrong way in an interview? These details, all subject to a big dose of chance, can make or break me. At the table, I play how I play. And I rise or fall on my own merits.
I think job seekers are so consumed by job applications and accustomed to losing that they actually forget they’re gambling with real money! This Wired article explains why it’s smarter to play the job market like a professional poker player. This means boosting your odds by applying sound probabilistic thinking. This means stop betting on every job posting!
Is job hunting a crap-shoot? Who or what controls your odds of winning a job? Maria Konnikova hints at how to apply poker skills to job hunting. Okay, let’s deal some good ideas of our own! How can we actually improve our probabilities of success?
Choosing your target companies, with Nick Corcodilos
Source: Mac Prichard’s “Find Your Dream Job”
If you’re job hunting, it’s likely because you ended up in the wrong job, to begin with. How do you ensure that it doesn’t happen again? You stop applying for jobs, says Find Your Dream Job guest Nick Corcodilos.
Instead, you go after specific companies. And because every company needs profitability, you need to show hiring managers how you can increase their bottom line or save on costs. Nick also suggests learning enough about the company that you can show them how your specific skills apply to their specific needs.
Many thanks to Mac Prichard for his hospitality and for having me as a guest on his top-rated career podcast. Mac asked good, insightful questions and I did my best not to slip up! Hope you’ll have a listen. We can discuss your questions and comments below! Hope you enjoy this podcast!
How to Respond to “Take It or Leave It”
Source: Harvard Business Review
By Anyi Ma, Yu Yang and Krishna Savani
Have you ever heard one of these statements in the midst of a negotiation?
“That’s the best I can do. Take it or leave it.” Or, “I simply can’t make any more concessions. Sorry.”
Lots of negotiators use soft ultimatums like these to elicit concessions from the other party, and research shows that they are often successful in doing so. So what can you do when you are at the receiving end of such ultimatums? How can you persist to obtain a better deal for yourself?
Our research identified a surprisingly straightforward way to successfully navigate ultimatums: think about all the choices that you and your negotiation partner have in the negotiation. Or as we think of it, adopt a choice mindset.
Negotiators in a choice mindset received better outcomes in the end. Indeed, we found that the choice mindset improved negotiation outcomes in a wide variety of contexts, such as buying a used car, negotiating a job offer, and negotiating a B2B sale.
You get a job offer. You try to negotiate it. They tell you they can’t or won’t. Take it or leave it. I usually advise a candidate to accept an offer if it’s within a few bucks of what they want. Don’t negotiate for its own sake or “because they expect you to.” But if you really think you’re worth more, never fold when the other guy gives you an ultimatum. This surprising research offers a sanguine strategy to get what you want. What I love about this method is that no salary survey data is required to make your case, and “integrative negotiations” can be a win-win.
Do you fold when the employer tells you the job offer is not negotiable? Or do you engage anyway? How do you go about it? What works for you? Did you ever blow it by going too far? Do you agree that “integrative negotiations” are possible when negotiating a job offer?
Facebook workers get remote work option-but it could come with a pay cut
By Timothy B. Lee
“We’re going to be the most forward-leaning company on remote work at our scale,” Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in a Thursday livestream to employees. “I think that it’s quite possible that over the next five to 10 years, about 50 percent of our people could be working remotely.”
Some Facebook employees will be eligible to request remote work status and relocate to another metropolitan area. They might do this to be closer to family or to move to a city with a lower cost of living. But this option comes with a catch.
“Our policy here has been for years — is already — that [compensation] varies by location,” Zuckerberg said. “We pay a market rate, and that varies by location. We’re going to continue that principle here.” In other words, a Bay Area engineer who chooses to relocate to Omaha or Birmingham would take a pay cut.
Zuckerberg said, “we’re going to need everyone to tell us where you’re working from now.” He added that “we’ll basically adjust salary to your location at that point.”
Zuckerberg says that Facebook is “mostly going to rely on the honor code for this” — but not entirely. Facebook will check IP addresses to help detect people who lie about where they’re living.
“There will unfortunately have to be severe ramifications for people who are not honest about this,” Zuckerberg said. One reason for that, he said, is that Facebook needs to know where its employees live for tax purposes.
Leave it to Silicon Valley’s greediest CEO to boost profits by leveraging COVID-19 to induce up to half his employees to move out of the Bay Area so he can cut their salaries. Hey — that’s how I read it. If about 50% of Zuck’s workers go remote, FB will effectively cut up to 50% of its payroll, using what he calls “the honor code.” Do ya think Zuck sends lower Facebook stock dividends to investors in Greybull, Wyoming because their cost of living is lower than his?
Is an engineer that lives in Silicon Valley worth less when they move to Biloxi? How about if they get hired while living in Altoona? Should FB employees with fat mortgages and Lamborghinis get paid more because their cost of living is higher? Did you know that “offshoring jobs” to save money includes moving them to Texarkana? How would you negotiate your compensation deal if you got an offer from Facebook?
Emotion AI researchers say overblown claims give their work a bad name
A lack of government regulation isn’t just bad for consumers. It’s bad for the field, too.
Source: MIT Technology Review
By Angela Chen and Karen Hao
Perhaps you’ve heard of AI conducting interviews. Or maybe you’ve been interviewed by one yourself. Companies like HireVue claim their software can analyze video interviews to figure out a candidate’s “employability score.” These assessments could have a big effect on a candidate’s future. But many of these promises are unsupported by scientific consensus. There are no strong, peer-reviewed studies proving that analyzing body posture or facial expressions can help pick the best workers. The hype worries the researchers. Many agree that their work–which uses various methods (like analyzing micro-expressions or voice) to discern and interpret human expressions–is being co-opted and used in commercial applications that have a shaky basis in science.
An Illinois law regulating AI analysis of job interview videos went into effect in January, and the Federal Trade Commission has been asked to investigate HireVue (though there’s no word on whether it intends to do so).
Meredith Whittaker, a research scientist at NYU and co-director of AI Now, emphasizes the difference between research and commercialization.”We are particularly calling out the unregulated, unvalidated, scientifically unfounded deployment of commercial affect recognition technologies. Commercialization is hurting people right now.” (HireVue did not respond to a request for comment.)
We’ve torn down and examined the video interview before, and HireVue’s version in particular. We keep doing it because it just keeps getting worse. Now, during the time of COVID-19, you’re going to have to do video interviews — no getting around that. But what kind of video interview you subject yourself to is another matter.
If an employer wants to meet over Zoom or Webex, that’s one thing. But if they want you to record a robo-interview video so that an A.I. (artificial intelligence) algorithm can then “analyze” your expressions, tone and body language to judge your “employability,” you need to hit the PAUSE button. The researchers behind this technology say it’s bogus to use it for job interviews and are calling for consumer protections. Maybe you should tell the employer that MIT says so. Then offer to do a Zoom meeting, maybe without video.
Are you willing to be judged by algorithms that A.I. researchers say should not be commercialized for job interviews? How do you say NO? What does it mean that MIT Technology Review, and possibly the Federal Trade Commission, are taking on this $25 billion industry? And what do leading HR executives who rely on HireVue and other such systems have to say about all this?
I clung to the middle class as I aged. The pandemic pulled me under
Source: The Washington Post
By Ray Suarez
An eye blink ago, I was anchoring a nightly program for the cable news network Al Jazeera America. Before that, I had long tenures with “PBS NewsHour” and NPR. When I read warnings that workers could face sudden and catastrophic losses of income in their final years of employment, I was empathetic but concluded it could never happen to me. Then the wheels came off.
After Al Jazeera pulled the plug on its young network, I shoved down the rising panic, kept one eye on my bank balance as I started freelancing, and kept the other eye out for the next big thing. Like hundreds of thousands of men in their early 60s across the country, I had to get used to the idea that the marketplace might have already decided I was “done.”
“What’s this about? Corporate greed. Greed has a lot to do with it,” says Nick Corcodilos, the author of the Ask the Headhunter blog and an employment consultant.
Six years ago respected news correspondent Ray Suarez interviewed me on the fledgling Al Jazeera America network about why good people can’t find jobs. Ray’s stellar career included years at PBS NewsHour and NPR. He’s a 60+ old white guy with a lot of talent. Is corporate greed killing off the well-paid professionals that help make corporate America rich? That’s what I think.
Are companies wise to eliminate their most experienced and costly older workers? It certainly saves them money. Does it actually pay off? Share your own stories — but what I’d really like is your analysis about whether this is good for business and the economy. (In this highly charged time of partisan politics, I ask that we avoid partisan politics in our discussion — there’s plenty to say and debate about how this affects business, the economy, and workers. Let’s try to stick to that. Thanks for your cooperation.)