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Apple joins list of US companies pledging to end hiring discrimination against long-term unemployed

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 
Apple is among some of the largest companies in America who have agreed to a new program from President Barack Obama pledging to avoid discrimination against job candidates who have been out of the workforce for an extended period.

Obama
President Obama shown with an iPad 2 in 2011. Photo via The White House


About 300 businesses have agreed to support the program, the White House says. Major corporations joining Apple in supporting the president's initiative include Walmart, Ford and General Motors, according to The New York Times.

In all, 21 of America's 50 largest companies, and 47 of the top 200 are said to support the push for overhauled hiring practices. Obama has cited long-term unemployed citizens as one of the largest issues currently facing the U.S. jobs market.

Chief executives from a number of companies that have agreed to help Obama's efforts will appear with the president on Friday. Not listed among those expected to appear is Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Employers have promised that they will not automatically rule out potential job candidates simply because the person has been out of work for an extended period of time. The federal government will also agree to the pledge for its own hiring policies through an executive order to be signed by the president.
post #2 of 53

Hear hear! <toast>

post #3 of 53
Just because they say that they won't discriminate doesn't mean that they won't. People in HR have a mindset that will be difficult to break. After all, if YOU were given a choice between someone who's employed vs someone who hasn't worked for a few years, who would YOU choose?

qualification: if both candidates qualify for the job.
Edited by JCC - 1/31/14 at 8:47am
post #4 of 53
Originally Posted by JCC View Post
After all, if YOU were given a choice between someone who's employed vs someone who hasn't worked for a few years, who would YOU choose?

 

The one who can do the job best.

post #5 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCC View Post

Just because they say that they won't discriminate doesn't mean that they won't. People in HR have a mindset that will be difficult to break. After all, if YOU were given a choice between someone who's employed vs someone who hasn't worked for a few years, who would YOU choose?

But that's not really a good criteria -- for example, I was out of work for a few months many years ago and I spent those months brushing up on new skills. I didn't apply for any jobs during that time.  At the end, I was able to find a job using those new skills.  If I had applied for that job right after the previous job, I would not have been qualified for it and most likely would not have gotten it.

 

My point is that just because someone has been unemployed doesn't mean they've been standing still.  You have to dig in deeper than simply looking at some dates on a résumé.

 

Perhaps these HR people are doing a service here -- do you really want to work somewhere with people who are shallow enough to only look at some dates on a résumé and make a hiring decision without asking a few questions over the phone or email first?

post #6 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCC View Post

Just because they say that they won't discriminate doesn't mean that they won't. People in HR have a mindset that will be difficult to break. After all, if YOU were given a choice between someone who's employed vs someone who hasn't worked for a few years, who would YOU choose?

 

I would look at both candidates qualifications. Somebody being out of work for a while really doesn't mean very much. Both candidates are going to have to be trained in some way for the new position. Moreover, it might be possible the unemployed person is going to be hungry and loyal. 

post #7 of 53
Is Apple's joining the list of US companies pledging to end hiring discrimination against long-term unemployed the same as a politician saying "the buck stops with me" or "I'm responsible." or "Hold me accountable." Okay, what precisely does that mean? For Apple, how will a long term unemployed candidate know that if rejected for a position it was because a lack of experience in what Apple was looking for or whatever versus being unemployed for a while? For a politician that 'takes respoinsibility', outside of facing the next election that could be a few years down the road, what consequential 'punishment' is meted out?!

To me this is all garbage, just feel good words.

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post #8 of 53

That's kind of the problem. I would hire the person who I thought would do the job best, was trainable (many companies do not want to have to train anyone), understood company loyalty (there's a tough one). Once when flying back from San Francisco I asked the passenger sitting next to me what his job was. He said he worked in HR. Then I asked him, "Do you ever lay awake at night wondering when YOU will get the pink slip?" He sighed and said "Yes."

 

Lots of HR people I have been around seem to have tunnel vision and no imagination. They either abide by the so-called rules or make them up as they go along. I asked another HR person about "we'll keep your resume on file" tactics. I suggested they are filed and almost immediately forgotten about. He said it was true UNLESS right there at that time the candidate with a resume could fill a job that had JUST become open. It's more about expediency than it ever was about qualifications.

 

One more thing, this corporate insanity about everyone having at least an AA degree is absurd. It should depend on the job being applied for. One person told me that a big aluminum company required an AA degree to work in maintenance areas such as painting. I asked, "Why don't you give them a reading test to see if they can understand what they need to know about painting?" He sat there dumbstruck with no answer. I went to college with guys who graduated and I wouldn't hire many of them at the various companies I ran because they just weren't fit. I had some great employees for years and not one of them, to my knowledge, had a 4 year degree. People CAN rise to the occasion. The Federal government hasn't been in a regular hiring phase for years so I don't know WHAT effect this proposal will really have.

post #9 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCC View Post

Just because they say that they won't discriminate doesn't mean that they won't. People in HR have a mindset that will be difficult to break. After all, if YOU were given a choice between someone who's employed vs someone who hasn't worked for a few years, who would YOU choose?

I would hire a gay latino/black/asian woman cross so I could fulfill my diversity requirements. What better way to build an economy than to build companies with a priority on diversity rather than qualifications?

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post #10 of 53
Sounds like another very easily ignored anti-discrimination pledge.
post #11 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by GadgetCanadaV2 View Post
 
I would hire a gay latino/black/asian woman cross so I could fulfill my diversity requirements. What better way to build an economy than to build companies with a priority on diversity rather than qualifications?

That is ridiculous. That might be a nice characteristic for a society but companies need qualified employees to be profitable. Best way to have diversified qualified employees is through quality public education.

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post #12 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by GadgetCanadaV2 View Post
 

I would hire a gay latino/black/asian woman cross so I could fulfill my diversity requirements. What better way to build an economy than to build companies with a priority on diversity rather than qualifications?

And that's why you're an employee, not a boss/owner. Very different priorities.

post #13 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

The one who can do the job best.

The one who can do the best job is almost always the person who's currently employed and not someone with rusty skills. So what's your point? The fact of the matter is unless you expressly require a quota for those who are long term unemployed, this pledge is less than worthless as the status quo is the status quo.

post #14 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmileyDude View Post
 

But that's not really a good criteria -- for example, I was out of work for a few months many years ago and I spent those months brushing up on new skills. I didn't apply for any jobs during that time.  At the end, I was able to find a job using those new skills.  If I had applied for that job right after the previous job, I would not have been qualified for it and most likely would not have gotten it.

 

My point is that just because someone has been unemployed doesn't mean they've been standing still.  You have to dig in deeper than simply looking at some dates on a résumé.

 

Perhaps these HR people are doing a service here -- do you really want to work somewhere with people who are shallow enough to only look at some dates on a résumé and make a hiring decision without asking a few questions over the phone or email first?

The problem is that most of these large companies do exactly that because all of the pre-screens are done by software.  No one bothers to take the time to closely look closely anymore at the pre-screen. Dig deeper my bu$$...


Edited by JCC - 1/31/14 at 8:48am
post #15 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

The one who can do the job best.

 

Well, temper that with the fact that I can likely hire the unemployed candidate for less money. If I get similar interview results from my team, I'll look next at how much each one will cost me, and when they'll be available. 

post #16 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCC View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

The one who can do the job best.

The one who can do the best job is almost always the person who's currently employed and not someone with rusty skills. 

For once I agree with Tallest. Let's say I have a professional position to fill in my firm. Should I choose a mom who has a college degree but has been out of the work force raising children for several years, or someone who does not have a degree but has been steadily working? I would choose the one who can do the job best.

 

There are just too many variables in play to say "almost always".

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post #17 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by GadgetCanadaV2 View Post
 

I would hire a gay latino/black/asian woman cross so I could fulfill my diversity requirements. What better way to build an economy than to build companies with a priority on diversity rather than qualifications?

That's absurd.   Diversity and qualifications are not distinct characteristics and having a diverse team can improve company performance because there's a better understanding of more aspects of any market.    As just one small example, back in the MadMen days when there were few women working in advertising agencies in meaningful roles, men thought they could determine what women wanted.    

 

Your statement indicates an assumption that it's not possible to find qualified gay, latino, black, asian, or female candidates.   That's just an excuse for racism, sexism, anti-semitism, agism, etc.    Yep, just keep hiring white, blue-eyed, male WASPs who are members of the "old boys club" and see if you can survive in a diverse world.  

 

And most companies who I've worked for sucked at hiring anyway, especially if HR had a huge role, so if they were using their own definition of what "qualified" meant, it wasn't very successful anyway.     

post #18 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 

For once I agree with Tallest. Let's say I have a professional position to fill in my firm. Should I choose a mom who has a college degree but has been out of the work force raising children for several years, or someone who does not have a degree but has been steadily working? I would choose the one who can do the job best.

 

There are just too many variables in play to say "almost always".

 

Again, it's almost never that kind of choice given to HR.  The software prescreen will always turn up people with similar qualifications, often you're choosing between subtle differences between the candidates.  And if one candidate has been unemployed for a long time that's automatically tossed by HR. Like I said, why bother when there are plenty of employed ones to chose from?

 

There are literally hundreds of candidates that apply for most openings.  You're saying that an employer has to chose between a mom with a college degree vs one without? I don't think so...

post #19 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCC View Post
 
There are literally hundreds of candidates that apply for most openings.  You're saying that an employer has to chose between a mom with a college degree vs one without? I don't think so...

I'm just saying there are reasons someone might be out of the workforce for an extended time other than being unable to find a job. It also really depends on the type of job that is being applied for. Certainly a position in IT would require up to date computer skills however a job in something like public relations might focus more on language and personality characteristics. 

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post #20 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post

That's absurd.   Diversity and qualifications are not distinct characteristics and having a diverse team can improve company performance because there's a better understanding of more aspects of any market.    As just one small example, back in the MadMen days when there were few women working in advertising agencies in meaningful roles, men thought they could determine what women wanted.    

Your statement indicates an assumption that it's not possible to find qualified gay, latino, black, asian, or female candidates.   That's just an excuse for racism, sexism, anti-semitism, agism, etc.    Yep, just keep hiring white, blue-eyed, male WASPs who are members of the "old boys club" and see if you can survive in a diverse world.  

And most companies who I've worked for sucked at hiring anyway, especially if HR had a huge role, so if they were using their own definition of what "qualified" meant, it wasn't very successful anyway.     

I agree, and I'd bet the bank that a minority chose the music for these commercials.
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post #21 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 

I'm just saying there are reasons someone might be out of the workforce for an extended time other than being unable to find a job. It also really depends on the type of job that is being applied for. Certainly a position in IT would require up to date computer skills however a job in something like public relations might focus more on language and personality characteristics. 

I understand what you're saying but for the Fortune 500 companies the positions they have are extremely competitive.  What you're describing are the retail, etc. lower end positions.  Fortune 500 companies which Apple is clearly one of, requires skills up the wazoo and have typically shun those who don't have current, top-notch skills and those who have been out of the workforce for an extended period no matter the reason. I just don't see a way around this unless the gov't mandates a quota.

post #22 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by GadgetCanadaV2 View Post

I would hire a gay latino/black/asian woman cross so I could fulfill my diversity requirements.
.....in a wheelchair.

For everyone else, lighten up. Am I the only one that took this as tongue in cheek?
post #23 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 

For once I agree with Tallest. Let's say I have a professional position to fill in my firm. Should I choose a mom who has a college degree but has been out of the work force raising children for several years, or someone who does not have a degree but has been steadily working? I would choose the one who can do the job best.

There are too few employers who think the way you do. It's simpler to just use a check off list; credentialism is so much easier than actually evaluating a potential employee's ability to do a job.

post #24 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 

I'm just saying there are reasons someone might be out of the workforce for an extended time other than being unable to find a job. It also really depends on the type of job that is being applied for. Certainly a position in IT would require up to date computer skills however a job in something like public relations might focus more on language and personality characteristics. 

One reason someone might be "out of the workforce" would be trying to start up and run your own business, and it doesn't work out for whatever reasons.

post #25 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCC View Post

Just because they say that they won't discriminate doesn't mean that they won't. People in HR have a mindset that will be difficult to break. After all, if YOU were given a choice between someone who's employed vs someone who hasn't worked for a few years, who would YOU choose?

qualification: if both candidates qualify for the job.

 

I don't consider "employment status" as a criteria to begin with, period. I look for qualifications and a good fit, first and foremost. 

 

That said, if both qualified I would absolutely lean toward hiring the person qualified but unemployed. Why? Well....

 

One, it brings relief to someone qualified and needing income. Why pass over someone who needs a job to give it to someone who already has one?? It makes no sense at all without a very good reason! 

 

Two, I'm not poaching someone from a potentially critical position at another company "just because" and especially if I have a perfectly good candidate really needing the position, and....

 

Three, I'd rather hire someone who actually wants and needs the position. Someone who I might depend on to be more appreciative and loyal? It sure isn't that person jumping ship from a perfectly good job, now is it.

 

 

Of course, I would first double check qualifications to see that I'm getting the best overall fit. But I'm against being a "home wrecker" in practice as a businessman...

 

I create companies that are loyal to their employees, and nurture employee loyalty as well. I'm really not interested in dealing with a completely mercenary workforce.


Edited by tribalogical - 1/31/14 at 11:26am
post #26 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCC View Post
 

The one who can do the best job is almost always the person who's currently employed and not someone with rusty skills. 

I've been running companies for over 25 years. That statement of yours is absolute hogwash born of ignorance. Sorry, I just had to say it.

post #27 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by tribalogical View Post
 

 

I don't consider "employment status" as a criteria to begin with, period. I look for qualifications and a good fit, first and foremost. 

 

That said, if both qualified I would absolutely lean toward hiring the person qualified but unemployed. Why? Well....

 

One, it brings relief to someone qualified and needing income. Why pass over someone who needs a job to give it to someone who already has one?? It makes no sense at all without a very good reason! 

 

Two, I'm not poaching someone from a potentially critical position at another company "just because" and especially if I have a perfectly good candidate really needing the position, and....

 

Three, I'd rather hire someone who actually wants and needs the position. Someone who I might depend on to be more appreciative and loyal? It sure isn't that person jumping ship from a perfectly good job, now is it.

 

 

Of course, I would first double check qualifications to see that I'm getting the best overall fit. But I'm against being a "home wrecker" in practice as a businessman...

 

I create companies that are loyal to their employees, and nurture employee loyalty as well. I'm really not interested in dealing with a completely mercenary workforce.

Unfortunately, you're the exception, not the rule. Generally speaking we only have mercenary forces now.  That's why Fortune 500 will layoff thousands at a time without a blink of an eye and employees wouldn't think twice about taking a job at your competitor's business.

 

That's also why the 20 somethings now all have spotty employment histories where they don't stay too long at any one place.  It's the new world order.  Get use to it.  In another generation, this will be codified into our culture.

 

It like me hating HipHop. To me it's not music. Too bad because it's the sound of times. Get use to it.

 

The times, they are a changing....

post #28 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
 

 

Well, temper that with the fact that I can likely hire the unemployed candidate for less money. If I get similar interview results from my team, I'll look next at how much each one will cost me, and when they'll be available. 

 

Well, and there's a company I wouldn't pin my loyalties on. psh!

 

I'm seeing such screwed up priorities in this thread, I'm pretty sure not many of you commenting here have actually built and run companies before.

 

I would hire the unemployed person if they qualified, were a good fit, brought something extra, and I'd pay them according to the value they bring to the company. Every position needs a range, and you vary it based on their competency, experience and skill. Give them room to grow, make it worthwhile to both sides...  the "boss" that hires me 'on the cheap' by leveraging my desperation? I'm going to be looking elsewhere sooner than later....

 

Ethics matter. Treating other human beings with dignity matters. Good companies thrive because of that, not in spite of it.  Just saying.

post #29 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCC View Post
 

Unfortunately, you're the exception, not the rule. Generally speaking we only have mercenary forces now.  That's why Fortune 500 will layoff thousands at a time without a blink of an eye and employees wouldn't think twice about taking a job at your competitor's business.

 

That's also why the 20 somethings now all have spotty employment histories where they don't stay too long at any one place.  It's the new world order.  Get use to it.  In another generation, this will be codified into our culture.

 

It like me hating HipHop. To me it's not music. Too bad because it's the sound of times. Get use to it.

 

The times, they are a changing....

 

It's a very "American" perspective.

 

Are you well traveled? I've spent half my adult life living abroad (12 years of it in Tokyo, where I built and ran two different companies). I can say with assurance that the attitude toward labor is quite different elsewhere. The US is definitely having a negative effect on that culture in some places, but for the most part, labor is viewed quite differently. Much more value is placed in the worker, and the worker provides much greater loyalty (in part because conditionally, why would they want to job hop? They've got a good situation).

 

This isn't remotely "universal" of course, just not as twisted as the internal "world view" of USA...

post #30 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by tribalogical View Post
 

 

Well, and there's a company I wouldn't pin my loyalties on. psh!

 

I'm seeing such screwed up priorities in this thread, I'm pretty sure not many of you commenting here have actually built and run companies before.

 

I would hire the unemployed person if they qualified, were a good fit, brought something extra, and I'd pay them according to the value they bring to the company. Every position needs a range, and you vary it based on their competency, experience and skill. Give them room to grow, make it worthwhile to both sides...  the "boss" that hires me 'on the cheap' by leveraging my desperation? I'm going to be looking elsewhere sooner than later....

 

Ethics matter. Treating other human beings with dignity matters. Good companies thrive because of that, not in spite of it.  Just saying.

 

Wait, are you telling me that you hire employees and don't negotiate on salary? Are you saying that you just took whatever offer your current employer made?

 

A position has a salary band. In the interview process, I try to get an idea of salary requirements from the candidate. An employed candidate is going to come in MUCH higher than an unemployed candidate. So, I compare salary requirements with the pay band, and make an offer. I am fair, but I'm not going to speculate on what a given candidate would be asking for if they currently held this position with a competitor. On the other side, I'm not going to be successful in hiring anyone if they don't feel they are being fairly compensated.

 

If I get a bargain on an employee, then they hit it out of the park, I get to make them happy by raising their competitive salary through promotions or corrective merit increases.

post #31 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by tribalogical View Post
 

 

It's a very "American" perspective.

 

Are you well traveled? I've spent half my adult life living abroad (12 years of it in Tokyo, where I built and ran two different companies). I can say with assurance that the attitude toward labor is quite different elsewhere. The US is definitely having a negative effect on that culture in some places, but for the most part, labor is viewed quite differently. Much more value is placed in the worker, and the worker provides much greater loyalty (in part because conditionally, why would they want to job hop? They've got a good situation).

 

This isn't remotely "universal" of course, just not as twisted as the internal "world view" of USA...

You're right that this is mostly an American trend but I can see it spreading elsewhere such as Spain where most of the young are unemployed and probably not loyal to the companies that wouldn't hire them when they were desperate.

 

I was referring to the U.S. as this thread is about America and Obama's plan to jumpstart the economy and probably should have been more precise in saying a new American order, but who uses those terms anyway?

post #32 of 53
Training. That is a myth. I speak as a Mechanical Engineering/Computer Science double B.S. who is a NeXT/Apple alumnus who never saw a goddamn ounce of `training.'

Though the corporation yearly cited my value to the company including world-class training, there was never a single bit of it.

Professional Services had me training new hires to duplicate how I manage clients via the phone, email and processing their issues. Coming from Engineering they were thrilled to have me.

Engineering didn't bring me up to speed on processes. They showed how they manage their projects and assigned you what they wanted you to work on.

Training includes advanced education, programming seminars, time to invest in your programming skills, etc.

That is all on your own. They offer it and always have. It's just a matter of fitting it into your workflow, already time dedicated to other projects.

So no, Training is myth at every corporation I've worked in.

Education is vital to landing the job, period.

Seeing trends on skills requested are vital in targeting what you need to get noticed and expected to show results. Ultimately, training becomes `time dedicated to independent learning' outside of work that you later add to your resume.

Once inside the Emerald City your ability to network and work with your peers is what cements your tenure.
post #33 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by GadgetCanadaV2 View Post
 

I would hire a gay latino/black/asian woman cross so I could fulfill my diversity requirements. What better way to build an economy than to build companies with a priority on diversity rather than qualifications?

A qualified person of any of the persuasions you mentioned would tell you to stuff it. He/she would rather get a job based on merit rather than your perception of them being *diverse*.

post #34 of 53

Big companies use policies and procedures everywhere, as others have said, they even use software to screen resumes. It's the only way to manage the sheer volume. 

 

But a small businessman with 5 employees will look you in the eye and actually engage his brain, taking the whole picture in to account. Long term unemployed who are nevertheless conscientious and decent people, but have just fallen on hard times, their best bet is to apply for work at a small company. 

 

I think one problem these days is, a lot of small companies keep getting bought up by the big companies.

post #35 of 53

What's the point of this pledge for any company that relies heavily on technical interviews during the hiring process. If someone can program really well, they will crush the interview regardless of whether they were previously employed. If the candidate clearly cannot program, he wouldn't get hired even if the company were blind to the candidate's employment history.

post #36 of 53

Any word on their pledge to hire applicants that are 30 and older? No? Yeah, didn't think. We old timers just don't fit that young, hip corporate image you're trying to sell.

post #37 of 53
"please hire the people that have been living off unemployment for 99 weeks because that evil congress won't let me keep printing up money to extended those benefits indefinitely, or at least until the next election"
post #38 of 53

Time to get the government out of the business of entitlements, so people will not be incentivized to turn to the government for handouts...  Then you would have more people remaining in the workforce and less "long-term unemployed".

post #39 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCC View Post

And that's why you're an employee, not a boss/owner. Very different priorities.
Pretty sure he was being sarcastic.
post #40 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post

Time to get the government out of the business of entitlements, so people will not be incentivized to turn to the government for handouts...  Then you would have more people remaining in the workforce and less "long-term unemployed".
Please tell us where this secret document is that says the majority of long term unemployed are in that condition by choice. Also, please share with us the giant list of job openings with actual living wages that will put all those unemployed to work.
Ah, no you see, you can't. Despite a major recovery in profitability for many industries, opening up hiring would create a demand by the employers thus driving up wages. Can't have that now, can we. It would undo all the work since the Reagan administration to drive down wages, destroy the middle class and bring us back to the 1910s.
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