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    Play For Work

    December 22, 1998

    Do you enjoy playing video games? Employers are learning that there's more than one way to skin a cat. For several years now, Employers have been struggling with how to make a quantum jump in their hiring process. One bad hire can cost them literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in PR damage to the firm, lowered worker attitude & morale, and loss of team productivity.

    So Employers realized that the screening process really needed some different approaches. Now you can find company websites that elicit information from prospective Employees by way of interactive games. Good at flight simulator? Some businesses other than PC gamemakers are interested in your nascent abilities.

    Companies as diverse as Banker's Trust, Frito-Lay, Bechtel, and Ford Motor have developed games that test worker's Job abilities in a game environment. Some of these games have been adapted to replace boring lectures on health & safety issues, while others have been used to infuse product data into otherwise uninterested Employees. And now these 'fun games' are available to Hiring Managers to test candidate aptitude for the particular Job at hand. Some of the games are even targeted at the dwindling portion of the Labor Pool that didn't grow up with Space Invaders and Donkey Kong - versions of Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune are also available to test your knowledge/aptitude about a company.

    One version is modeled after SimCity and is for telecommunication workers. Another is for potential restaurant Employees, and covers the basics for food/beverage prep and delivery. And still another prepares oil refinery workers for life on an oilrig. Games are a way of successfully introducing business content to Employees, whereas former methods (meetings, presentations, lectures, handouts) have seen only limited enthusiasm and widespread failure.

    Whether you're a member of the Nintendo generation, or a Jeopardy fan, work (and applying for work) may become a lot more fun, and a shade more interesting. Unless you weren't very good at games, that is.


    -Mark Poppen

    Holiday Shopping

    December 21, 1998

    December means many things to many people. For some, it is a joyous occasion to celebrate time with friends and family. Most workers have more vacation time in December than in any other month. For others, it is a time of deep depression and suicidal thoughts, when one's sense of aloneness in the world is heightened by scenes of other's togetherness.

    December is also one of the best times to find work. Despite the escalating rounds of Job layoffs in the news, Employers are often desperate for help during the Holidays. You know about some of the retail Jobs that become available this time of the year (it's the height of their seasonal business), but they are only the tip of the iceberg. All the extra time off that Employees take during the next three weeks leaves Employers (across the broad spectrum of Job categories) woefully understaffed.

    One place to start looking this time of year is The Internet Job Source. It has a long list of jobs at America's largest employers, including many Fortune 500 companies, high-tech firms, and State, County, and Federal government employers. Another useful web reference source is BigBook. It is a directory of 11 Million US Businesses. It's great for tracking down the phone number of your target companies. Keep yourself updated on changes in the Job marketplace by reading articles in

    As Employees cash in on sick time and stored vacation days, hiring managers get caught in a bind in trying to adequately staff projects and production lines. Dec 15 to Jan 15 may be the best time of the year to catch on with a firm, even if you are only a temporary employee. The best way for Employers to discover your talents and work ethic is to see them in action. Even if the hiring budget is frozen at your target firm, getting your foot in the door is one key to securing full-time Employment there. And many firms will finalize their Hiring budgets during this period - make yourself a part of that equation.

    So while you're out there doing your Holiday shopping, don't forget to put a few 'decent paying Jobs' on your Holiday list. And then aggressively go after them.



    -Mark Poppen


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