Category Archives: Uncategorized

Not All Latinos Salsa

From the annals of Yolo County Court in California comes this astonishing anecdote. According to court records, it seems some leaders at a local Target store compiled a tip sheet aimed at helping supervisors manage Latino employees effectively. The tip sheet entitled, “Organization Effectiveness, Employee and Labor Relations Multi-Cultural Tips,” included some interesting advice for managing Latino employees. Here’s a few of those gems:

a. Food: not everyone eats tacos and burritos;
b. Music: not everyone dances to salsa;
c. Dress: not everyone wears a sombrero;
d. Mexicans (lower education level, some may be undocumented);
e. Cubans (Political refugees, legal status, higher education level); and
f. They may say ‘OK, OK’ and pretend to understand, when they do not, just to save face.

I must give them credit for item b, indeed I am a terrible Salsa dancer.

I realize this was probably a few rogue supervisors attempting to provide a cultural resource for their managers; however, it once again proves the point that organizations, even those as well known and well managed as Target, can still miss the “cultural train.”

Latinos’ Unequal Opportunity

The Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance shares an update on how changes to the Higher Education Act (HEA) can negatively impact low income students including Latinos and African Americans. Rising college costs, decreasing completion rates, shifting enrollment rates, and fewer Bachelor degrees could be the long-term outcomes of redesigning federal need-based grant aid; an escalation of inequality of opportunity. The Advisory Committee’s 2010 counseled Congress against making changes:

In particular, the 2010 report cautioned that the steady erosion in the purchasing power of Pell Grants must be reversed if any progress is to be made in ensuring equal educational opportunity and success in higher education. Without such increases, inequality in access and completion will steadily worsen – as will inequality in national income.

Looking for Extroverts via Social Media

Most recruiters will tell you they check applicant social media profiles to either confirm or find contradictions on their resumes. But what does social media activity also tell recruiters about candidate personalities?   An interesting study from North Carolina University regarding prospective employees and social media sheds some light about what employers can learn from applicant social media postings. After examining the social media activity of 175 job applicants, the results are surprising. From the study abstract:

Participant self-reported social media content related to (a) photos and text-based references to alcohol and drug use and (b) criticisms of superiors and peers (so-called “badmouthing” behavior) were compared to traditional personality assessments. Results indicated that extraverted candidates were prone to postings related to alcohol and drugs. Those low in agreeableness were particularly likely to engage in online badmouthing behaviors. Evidence concerning the relationships between conscientiousness and the outcomes of interest was mixed.

Re-Defining Education

Earlier today I was interviewed by a local business magazine about workforce and education trends and their impact on recruitment. We had an interesting conversation regarding developments in employment and higher education, and how they will impact the future workforce. One point I made was about educational institutions that focus on developing the types of specific skills employers need – and pay well. Coincidently, Matthew Iglesias has a great blog post today about “education” and how we should perhaps look at it differently in this new era:

An idea I wanted to introduce into this, however, is that we shouldn’t be so blithe about identifying formal education with “skills”—it’s possible for the economy to change in ways that simply start rewarding a different set of skills than the ones colleges teach.

Searching for Latino Identity

Carlos Lozada of the Washington Post provides an interesting essay about who is considered Latino. Debates surrounding the growth of U.S. Latinos, immigration reform, and other social cultural issues seem to have redefined Latino identity along many lines. If you’re Latino, you can identify:

Besides, others play identity politics for me. I’m Hispanic when census forms and my children’s birth certificate documents nudge me to choose. I’m Hispanic when junk mail arrives at my house trumpeting special offers for my Irish American wife and ofertas especiales for me. I’m Hispanic when the Jehovah’s Witnesses come knocking on my door with a pitch for salvation ready in Spanish. I’m Hispanic in America because people I don’t know have decided that is what I am.

Mr. Lozada accurately identifies a unifying issue for Latinos regardless of cultural background:

When the political debates over immigration turn ugly, when talk of self-deportation and racial-profiling laws and anchor babies permeates campaigns, the distinctions and nuances seem to dissipate.

Mass Media’s Failure

Don’t believe most everything you read about Latinos in the mass media. Latino Decisions tells us why:

A common negative stereotype of Latinos is that they are criminals and gang members.  This stereotype is attributed to some extent by perceptions that some are here illegally and also to their participation in crime and gangs which is perpetuated by the mass media


It Takes More than “Smarts”

Based on this report by NBER, Matty Yglesias nails why even smart kids coming from low-income households are “screwed” by the college admissions process:

The problem really does seem to quite literally be that most low-income kids and their families are not well-informed about the situation. They don’t know personally what kind of SAT or ACT scores are good enough to go to a selective college, they don’t know which selective colleges are appropriate for someone with their test scores to apply to, they don’t know the strategic logic of “safety schools” and “reaches”, they don’t know about need-blind admissions policies, and they don’t have any social acquaintances who can inform this. Isn’t this what school guidance counselors are supposed to be for? Indeed it is! But they’re seemingly not doing a very good job, nor are the recruiting arms of selective schools.

Social Recruiting & Mobile: Most Employers Still Not Getting It

When it comes to implementing an effective multichannel college recruiting strategy, employers are still well behind the expectations of tech-savvy college graduates. According to this study by Potential Park:

Today’s graduates are miles ahead of the employers in using career websites, social and professional networks as well as in their open mindset for smartphone usage. They expect employers to follow them and to pave their personal way to the right, fulfilling career – they go online for the perfect match.

U.S. Latinos: Monolothic, No. Diverse, Si.

Brown University provides a demographic snapshot of U.S. Latinos in a recent report. The study entitled, “Hispanics in the United States: Not Only Mexicans,” (I don’t really care for the title) shares some interesting trends including the significant growth of Central and South American Latinos. Mexican ancestry or immigrants still represent 60% of U.S. Latinos but that number has decreased over the last decade with the influx of Central and South American immigrants. The report also shares good comparative educational data.