Tag Archives: employer

Is Your Employer Really Matching Your Charitable Gifts?

I’m a big giver. Whenever a friend, family member or colleague is asking for support, I try my best to participate in some way. Typically, it’s through monetary donations, and I am happy to do it. It helps a cause that is close to someone, is tax deductible, and sometimes, companies match your donation, doubling your gift. However, in my experience, that last part wasn’t always the case.

One of my employers was huge on giving back. They were always touting corporate social responsibility and encouraging us to help and give back to others. One of the ways they did this was through corporate matching gifts. What are matching gifts you ask? They’re extensions of corporate philanthropy by which companies support employee’s charitable giving to a wide range of non-profits.

Every time my husband or I were asked to make a donation, I was pretty psyched that it would be doubled by my employer. It was free (and more!) money for so many well-deserving charities. There was definitely some extra leg work I had to do, like fill out some basic information and get a tax ID number for the cause I was supporting, but it was a small price to pay for free money in my opinion. It was only later that I found out my company wasn’t really matching any of my donations.

I did some investigating after a charity I was closely affiliated with told me they had no record of my company matched donations. I figured it must have been a mistake or maybe just slipped through the cracks, but sadly, it wasn’t. Turns out, every donation I made while on the company’s payroll was never matched. How could that have happened?

Well, apparently there was never really a formal process for matching donations at my company because, unfortunately, not a lot of people took advantage of the program, even though it was highly promoted. So while I kept submitting matches, no one was really doing anything about it. Thankfully, I had saved all the forms I filled out, was able to resubmit them, and the charities I donated to finally received my matching gifts.

If your company offers a matching gift program, take the extra steps to participate. It’s FREE money to support great causes and goes a long way. But, do your due diligence and make sure you receive documentation that your corporate matches were actually made. And if you’re company who matches gifts, first, kudos to you! More companies should be like you. Just ensure you have a streamlined process in place so everyone wins.

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The Curse of the Internal Candidate

Have you ever been the internal candidate? You know who I’m talking about…the employee who is in line for a promotion or moving on the next level at their company. It’s really great for staff morale when companies promote from within; it shows a sense of loyalty and commitment to employees, but it really sucks for the folks that are applying for those same jobs and have no idea the gig has already been promised to someone else.

I completely understand hiring someone from the inside for a new position. They likely have more knowledge on the product, client or brand; they know the style of the company, office and its co-workers; and they’ve probably already been doing something similar to the job at hand for a period of time. It’s great when a corporation moves an assistant to a managerial position. Not only does it show their faith in the candidate, but it lets other employees know they can move up the ladder too.

Now on to us job seekers. It’s so unfair when we apply for a job and get called  to an interview when the job has already been given to another person. As you’re sitting there interviewing, the office manager is ordering new business cards for Johnny Appleseed, who accepted the position two weeks ago. I don’t understand the laws behind posting jobs that have been filled and I certainly don’t think it’s right to put unemployed people through the hassle and disappointment of an interview.

It takes work to interview, much less apply. You prepare, you prep, you research. You write a cover letter, sign up for the company’s job posting/HR portal, divulge your salary history.  You also take time out of your day, maybe find a babysitter for your kids, spend money on public transportation or gas. Either way, you are making an effort and the people interviewing you know all too well that Johnny starts next week and they’re just killing time with you because they have to.

I wish there was a way that companies could just let job hunters know which positions are truly available to them and which are not. It’s a waste of time for HR, recruiters and those of us looking for work. Why put anyone through the hassle of applying, let alone interviewing, when there is no hope for them? Don’t we have enough hopelessness in the job market already? There is zero reason for posting a job that is already promised to someone else. Perhaps a new law, clause or disclaimer can be created on these postings to save everyone some time, energy and frustration. Maybe something like, “Please note – this job has already been awarded to an internal candidate.” Point blank.

How Can I Apply for a Job Online When Your Site Doesn’t Work?

I have been applying for jobs for the last few months. It’s not a fun process. Sometimes I do it through a job site such as Hotjobs, Careerbuilder, Monster; the “Big Three” as we call them here in my household. Other times, there is a direct email address where I can send my resume and cover letter directly to the employer and/or their human resources department. Finally, there is the online site in which companies make you use their online employment portal to apply for job. Sometimes you cannot even get an interview even when someone wants to meet with you without going through this type of system. I hate online employment portals. Here’s why…

I’ve read what I need to apply for said job. I have the qualifications and materials needed to move forward in the application process. I go through the 25 steps it takes to sign up, sign in and register with the company in order to apply. Nine times out of 10, I have to fill out my job history and also paste or attach my resume. I think this is a waste of time because if you are going to read my resume, why am I spending all this time filling in boxes that you can read on the database anyway. I usually have to attach or paste something or I cannot move forward with the application, so why reiterate my entire job history? In addition, sometimes I am asked for samples of my work, but I am only permitted to attach one document…my resume. Make sense? Doesn’t to me either.

I can recite my resume and past job experience by heart. I have filled it out so many times on sites such as these. I understand they may be helpful to human resource professionals by weeding out those of us who don’t exactly match the job description. But does anyone even read what is written on those sites? Or what about how it says this will be helpful in matching you with other opportunities that come along? None of this ever happens. Who knows, maybe this is all true and I am just a pessimist. 

The reason I am writing this piece is not so much because I have to do double the work to apply for jobs on an online portal. I am writing it because I get frustrated when these sites don’t work. I have spent countless hours signing up on these types of sites, from the NJ Department of Labor to large and small corporations throughout the U.S. to job listing sites such as the ones I mentioned above. The problem is, you spend all this time filling in boxes and information and when you get to the end, it doesn’t take. Messages like, “Your request cannot be processed,” or “Invalid submission,” things that don’t make any sense to you because you were careful to fill out everything just as your were supposed to. All the formatting and character counting, it doesn’t stick or take and you’re back at square one by no fault of your own. You can press “back” on your computer, you can call a human resources specialist at a company (but at that point, you are hoping to just get their email and send your resume directly!) or throw your hands up in frustration and give up. I have done all three!

It’s hard enough to find a job in this economy. Even when it wasn’t so bad, it’s still not fun looking for a new job. But to add insult to injury, those of us looking for new gigs are left with wasted time and a failed chance at applying for a job that we might be the perfect fit for. I ask, employers, please make sure your online application sites work. Listen to the messages we leave on your voicemail about it. You are probably losing out on some really great, talented applicants because your systems don’t work properly. And that is a great shame for us all.