The Sword - March 2011

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

In This Issue:
How to Reignite Burnt-out Employees,
8 Questions Never to Ask During an Interview,
Meet Our Candidates,
According to Our Clients,
2010's Most Unusual Excuses for Missing Work

How to Reignite Burnt-out Employees

There are two ways an employee can quit a job. The first is physically, which is easily solved by hiring a replacement. The second way, which is harder to solve, is to mentally quit. Unlike replacing an employee that has physically quit, you can’t simply replace the employee. And unless employers act quickly to identify and manage employees that have “checked out”, it could cost the organization.  Below are 5 signs your employees have mentally quit their job.

1. Evidence of a “whatever” attitude.

2. Minimal contribution that produces a mediocre level of performance. The employee puts in just enough effort to get the job done.

3. Absenteeism. The employee uses up all their vacation, sick days or paid time off on a regular basis.

4. Loss of enthusiasm. The employee once was a motivated contributor, but now contributes little to nothing.

5. Little or no interest in the future. Whatever your discussion, the employee is only interested in the here and now.

One of the first things employers can do to save a burnt out workforce is to give some control back to employees, with flex time options such as reduced or nontraditional hours or telecommuting. Another thing employers can do is listen to employees. They are the best ones to let you know what would help them become reengaged in their work. And be sure to follow through with any suggestions they give you.

The Gallup Organization recently reported that at the end of 2009, more than 25 million people were actively disengaged with their jobs, costing U.S. employers $416 billion in lost productivity. If you notice signs an employee is starting to burn out, talk to them about what would help reignite their flame, or they could start costing your company.

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8 Questions Never to Ask During an Interview

During an interview, questions about personal topics are not only in poor taste, but can be illegal to ask. These types of questions are considered discriminatory and should be avoided  when interviewing potential employees.

1. How old are you? The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), protects those that are 40 or older from being passed over for a position in favor of someone younger. You are allowed to ask only if someone is over 18, to determine if they are eligible to perform a job.

2. Are you married? You might be tempted to ask this question to determine if a relationship could have a negative impact on performance, but it is prohibited.

3. Are you a U.S. citizen? The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) ensures citizenship and immigration status cannot be used against a potential employee. Employers have to wait until after a job has been offered to require a worker to submit documentation. It is acceptable for an employer to ask if a candidate is authorized to work in the U.S.

4. Do you have any disabilities? The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 requires employers to accommodate disabilities unless it can be proven that it would cause expense or difficulty to do so. Employers also are not allowed to ask about past illnesses or operations.

5. Do you take drugs, smoke or drink? While you cannot ask this question directly, it is acceptable to ask if someone has ever violated past company policies regarding the use of alcohol or tobacco. You can inquire about illegal drug use, but not prescriptions medications.

6. What religion do you practice? Religious beliefs are always a sensitive subject and strictly off limits for interviewers.  Employers are also required to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs in regards to dress policy and flexible scheduling.

7. What is your race? Employers are only allowed to ask an employee to reveal their race on a voluntary basis for affirmative action purposes.

8. Are you pregnant? While employers might have concerns about an employee taking time off work due to a pregnancy, The Pregnancy Discrimination Act states that an employer cannot refuse to hire someone because of pregnancy or a pregnancy related condition.

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Meet Our Candidates

The battle for talent in the workplace can be fierce.  It doesn't have to be if you know where to look. Below is a preview of actual Orion International candidates and the valuable skills and experience they possess.

Candidate # 1

• Over nineteen years in managing service operations

• Supervised up to 100 Field Electricians

• As Lead Electrician for the Predictive Maintenance Program covering 21 submarines, oversaw the completion of several projects including the overhaul, collection, and review of various electrical machinery to determine overall condition

Candidate # 2

• Responsible for the maintenance and installation of HF, UHF, VHF, and FM communication systems and air traffic control systems

• Responsible for the maintenance and installation of tactical radars (AN-TPN 18A), fixed based radars (AN-FPN 40), ground control approach facilities (AN-TSQ 71B, AN-FSQ 84), fixed based air traffic control towers, tactical terminal communication systems (TTCS), fixed based non-directional beacons (ND200 Dual Transmit, T-1428/FRN), tactical beacons (V1,V2), Digital Voice Recording System (DVRS) and all communication systems (radio racks and power supplies) for each system

• Troubleshot, repaired, and maintained complex and regular electronic and electromechanical systems associated with radar and ground to air communication systems

• Repaired analog and digital computers from circuit board to component level


Candidate # 3

• Responsible for overseeing and managing the Nuclear Mechanical, Electrical, and Auxiliary Mechanical departments

• Extensive experience and judgment used to plan and accomplish goals while leading and directing the work of others conducting research into nuclear energy systems

• Engineering Project Leader with expertise in project management of large scale projects

• As Diving Officer, responsible for calculation of import list and trim changes, determination of diving compensation for initial dives after extensive import periods, and the training of the Ship Control Party

Candidate # 4

• Supervised, monitored, and operated the entire electrical distribution system aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower

• Supervised the maintenance of electrical distribution, switchboards, generators and auxiliary system motors/controllers associated with an 500 MW reactor plant

• Inspected quality of work on vital equipment essential for ships' operation

• Broad experience as a nuclear electrician associated with ship repair, conversion, maintenance, radiological controls, testing, and technical work documents

Candidate # 5

• Achieved certification as “Navy Nuclear Engineer” from the U.S. Department of Energy (Naval Reactors)

• Directly responsible for operation and maintenance of all nuclear and non-nuclear mechanical systems, electrical power generation and propulsion turbines onboard a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier

• Managed divisions of over thirty technicians; served as Training Officer of a 200+ personnel department



According to Our Clients

"Brian Smith and Orion International provided a superior group of potential candidates for multiple job postings. Their access to a great talent pool of junior officers leaving military duty provided a broad base of options for our company. With many qualified candidates we were able to select the best, placing them quickly in our corporation.

I will use Orion International and Brian Smith to find qualified employees again."

– Larry Brede, EnergySolutions

2010's Most Unusual Excuses for Missing Work

Take a look at some of the most unusual excuses for missing work from Careerbuilder’s 2010 survey.

“A cow broke into my house and I have to wait for the insurance man.”

“A chicken attacked my mom.

“My finger is stuck in a bowling ball.”

“My hair transplant has gone bad.”

“My girlfriend threw a Sit ‘n Spin through my living room window.”

“My foot is caught in the garbage disposal.”

“I’m not feeling too clever today.”

“I burned my mouth on a pumpkin pie.

“I was in a boat on Lake Erie and ran out of gas and the coast guard towed me to the Canadian side.”

“I have to mow the lawn to avoid a lawsuit from the home owner’s association.”

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