College students can earn more than a grade for their papers by entering the second-annual Essays in Economics competition, sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. The Fed will award a $1,000 prize to the student whose paper most clearly and persuasively analyzes a topic using economic theories or concepts. Last year's $1,000 prize was awarded to Jaime Ventura, a student at Bowling Green State University, for "Money Demand and Inflation in Peru, 1979-91." Entrants must be juniors or seniors enrolled at a Fourth Federal Reserve District college or university during the 2000-2001 academic year. Submissions must be 2,000 to 3,000 words and can include papers written previously for class projects as well as those prepared specifically for the competition. The competition opens May 1 and closes July 6. The winner will be announced July 27.
Behavior tests during job interviews are on the rise due to the lack of managerial and sales candidates in the job market, according to Management Recruiters of Cleveland-Central in Shaker Heights. Called Behavioral Interviewing, the technique seeks to evaluate everything about a candidate through assessment of specific actions or behaviors in given circumstances or jobs.
"It's actually very effective," says Mary Hardy, general manager of Management Recruiters. "Candidates who are prepared to answer questions in the appropriate way have an advantage over candidates who are blindsided."
Behavioral Interviewing usually includes the following:
- The interviews start with a statement that the interviewer will be looking for specific instances from real situations in an answer to his or her question.
- The questions begin with words to the effect of "tell me about a specific situation in which you ..."
- When the candidate wanders toward generalities, the interviewer will often coax the candidate back to specific examples, asking for the names of people, their titles and concrete details.
Before the interview, candidates should try to think of the skills they will need for the job and recall specific instances where they used those skills at previous jobs, Hardy says.
Weed Man grows
Phil Fogarty and Bob Ottley, American subfranchisers of Weed Man lawn-care company, awarded seven franchise territories to local businesses. Weed Man is Canada's largest lawn-care based company, North America's second largest and the fastest growing in the United States. Fogarty, who owns Euclid-based Crowley's, acquired Weed Man franchise rights in Lake County. The other territories went to Eastside Landscaping Inc. of Cleveland Heights and Hemlock Landscapes Inc. of Cleveland.
Find the trouble
A troubled employee is every employer's worst nightmare. While not every problem is foreseeable or avoidable, employers can take specific lawful steps to manage problems at their earliest stages, beginning with identifying red flags during the hiring process, says Sarah A. Kelly, a labor and employment attorney with Cozen and O'Connor in Philadelphia. Kelly offers a few tips to help employers weed out potentially disruptive employees in the hiring process:
- Design your application to gain a full picture of the applicant's educational and work history, including asking lawful questions about criminal convictions.
- Be sure that more than one management representative interviews the candidate, and reviews the application during the process.
- Consider background checks. Detailed background checks performed by an outside agency can be valuable for some jobs, but be aware that a candidate must give written permission in advance of such a background check, in accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
No recount needed
Paul C. Feingold was appointed president of Myers College, succeeding Arnold G. Tew, who retired April 1. Tew had been president since 1996. Feingold joined Myers College in 1997 and was promoted to executive vice president last year. Upon his arrival in Cleveland, Feingold was chosen to participate in Leadership Cleveland, the respected executive development forum of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association.
While at Myers, Feingold led the development of the school's first MBA program in 1999. Also that year, he started the country's first executive bachelor of science in business administration degree, tailored to seasoned entrepreneurs and corporate managers who desired a business degree, but could never fit it into their schedules.
While 67 percent of employees say they are very committed to their employer, only 38 percent feel the employer returns the commitment, according to a survey by Wirthlin Worldwide, an opinion research and consulting firm in McLean, Va. This gap has increased by 11 percentage points since 1998. The gap is even greater among employees who have experienced a merger or downsizing (35 percent and 33 percent).
Also, employees who are very satisfied with their company's communications are much more committed to their company, about 87 percent. The key to letting employees know they're valued is through communication.
"Successful internal communications need to translate to the employee 'what this means to me.'" says Carol Gstalder, senior vice president at Wirthlin Worldwide. "Combined with consistent, effective, and responsive leadership behavior, employees should be empowered to improve their performance, increase customer satisfaction, and enhance company success, allowing them to share in those benefits."