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Daily Archives: April 21st, 2009

YouTube video:
by Greg Sandoval

If you were interviewing people for a job, what would you do if a young female candidate began openly flirting with you, or if another said the reason he liked his former job was the “lack of responsibility?” How about if one job seeker said she relocated to the area so her husband could pursue a career as a Sasquatch hunter? (See video below). (click on this link and then onto the youtube video.)

After seeing a YouTube video of people doing these things in job interviews I thought it was a put on. But after making some phone calls to the guy who operates, and one of the people interviewed, I learned that I was wrong, or at least partially wrong.

Steiner Skipsness, the man who produced the videos, works in search-engine marketing. He says he has nothing to do with job placement or head hunting. He swears his clips are not a YouTube prank. He initially started filming job seekers–without their knowledge–to offer insight into good and bad interview techniques, he said.

It was only after he saw that some people were capable of bizarre behavior during interviews did he turn the clips into reality TV for the Web.

“This is what people want,” said Skipsness, 27. “This is just like Borat,” referring to the fictional character created by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, who films unwitting people reacting to his character’s outrageous behavior.

In the videos, did Skipsness ever stretch the truth?

The woman in the video who said her husband hunts Bigfoot is named Kelly Lusnia. In a phone interview, Lusnia confirmed her husband moved to Seattle to become a volunteer expedition leader for Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, a group dedicated to studying “the Bigfoot phenomenon.” A BFRO worker also confirmed Lusnia’s husband worked there.

Lusnia said that she sensed during the phony job interview that something was amiss. The office was barren and the man who posed as the interviewer poured what she assumed was liquor from a metal flask into his coffee. When I asked Skipsness whether he attempted to spook candidates into doing something funny, he said just that once.

“The original idea was to give pure interview advice,” Skipsness said. “We only thought later to add a hook, something funny. We did the flask thing to get the deer-in-the-headlights look from her. But we stopped when she told us about Bigfoot. That was 100 times funnier than what we could have come up with and we stopped.”

(Credit: Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization)But Skipsness also acknowledged editing some quotes out of context on at least one of the other interviews. Won’t this send some of the people he covertly videotaped running to their lawyers? Skipsness said he obtained waivers from everybody taped.

Lusnia said the waiver she signed mentioned nothing about hidden cameras or being part of an Internet dos-and-don’t video. What she was really upset about, however, was that her interview response was under the heading “Don’t mention your spouse’s job.”

“How would that be a ‘don’t?'” asked Lusnia, 25, who is now in graduate school. “Everyone I talk to finds my husband’s job interesting.”

Tim Colebatch
April 20, 2009

OLDER workers have continued to stream into the workforce in the past year even as jobs grow more scarce and unemployment rises sharply among the young, figures show.

Data released by the Bureau of Statistics show that while people aged under 25 lost 91,500 full-time jobs in the year to February, people over 50 added 104,000 full-time jobs.

More unexpectedly, while the number of under-25s who were unemployed or out of the workforce shot up by 129,000 over the year, the number of over-50s unemployed, retired or taking time out shrank by 3000.

That means more older people went back to work over the year — no doubt largely because plunging sharemarket values and interest rates have slashed their life savings and/or retirement income streams.

By February 2009, 30 per cent of men aged 65 to 69 were working, and 58 per cent of those aged 60 to 64. Employment rates were much lower for women, but even so, 14 per cent of women aged 65 to 69 were in work, and 38 per cent of those in their early 60s.

While unemployment rose by 187,000 over the year, the figures show just over half of that was concentrated among the young.

Unemployment rose to 17.7 per cent among those aged 15 to 19, 8.8 per cent among those 20 to 24, and 6.6 per cent among those 25 to 29 — but was 3 to 4 per cent among age groups between 45 and 64. The data came as figures show:

? The number of Australians travelling on domestic flights has declined year on year for the first time in six years, as aviation falls victim to corporate and household spending cuts.

Passenger numbers declined 5.3 per cent, from 3.88 million in February 2008, to 3.68 million a year later. The sharpest falls were in flights to or from Cairns (down 8.8 per cent), the Gold Coast (8.5), Sydney (7.1) and Melbourne (6.5). Qantas this week announced plans to cut up to 1750 jobs.

? Export prices fell 4.6 per cent in the March quarter, as the Australian dollar regained strength and global prices plunged for food and processed minerals, and import prices fell 2.8 per cent, due to falling oil prices.

Economists told Reuters that this week’s figures would show the inflation rate down to 2.8 per cent, with consumer prices up 0.5 per cent in the March quarter.

Jamie Freed
April 21, 2009

NEARLY one in five Rio Tinto investors has voted against the company’s remuneration report in a revolt by Australian shareholders at the mining giant’s annual meeting in Sydney.

In the latest example of investor angst after a tumultuous year, high-profile director and Melbourne business luminary Sir Rod Eddington was returned to the Rio board despite 63 per cent of Australian shareholders voting against him. His position was assured by support from investors in Britain and China.

But new chairman Jan du Plessis promised to reach out to shareholders as a vote approaches on a proposed $US19.5 billion ($A27.5 billion) investment in the world’s third-largest mining company by Chinalco. Mr du Plessis, who will meet a group of shareholders in London next month, said he was committed to the deal.

“I will go out of my way to find out what people really think and what people really feel,” he said, after he was elected chairman, succeeding Paul Skinner.

The 400 or so mostly retail investors at the meeting could barely contain their anger over the miner’s debt-fuelled purchase of Alcan, its refusal to engage with merger proposals from BHP Billiton and its decision to turn to Chinalco to help it out of its financial quandry.

The tone of the meeting was in stark contrast to Rio’s annual meeting in Brisbane last year, when a generally satisfied bunch of shareholders had plenty of praise for their board and not one suggested the board engage with BHP.

Since then, metal prices have plunged and the Alcan purchase has weighed on the company like an albatross.

But despite shareholder outrage over the Chinalco deal, Rio did not make clear how any of the objections would lead to a change of the terms or the board’s recommendation.

From the investor reaction to date, it seems there is a chance of the proposal being voted down. Such a vote would cause serious problems for Rio, which has already signed a binding deal with Chinalco.

“For the moment, the deal is as it stands,” Mr du Plessis said. “We are waiting for the (Foreign Investment Review Board) process to complete itself. We are listening to shareholders and at the end of that we will put a package of proposals to shareholders to consider at that time.”

As shareholders vented their anger yesterday, the outgoing chairman, Paul Skinner, appeared to tacitly admit for the first time that the 3.4-shares-for-1 bid from BHP — once deemed by chief executive Tom Albanese to be “ballparks” away from fair value — would not significantly undervalue Rio in today’s market.

“Against the background of commodity and financial markets as they stood during the currency of that offer, the view of this board was that the value of our interest in any potential combination was not adequately recognised,” Mr Skinner said. “We now live in a different world, in a different state. The relative values all look different for a whole set of reasons.”

Mr Skinner also noted that, in a shareholder vote at the time, 97 per cent had supported the Alcan purchase.

The negative comments about the Chinalco deal and the board’s previous decisions — along with 19 per cent of the register voting against the remuneration report — show Rio shareholders are no longer as trusting. One shareholder asked Mr Skinner if the Chinalco deal could in time look as foolish as the decision to buy Alcan at the top of the market.

“There are no guarantees in this world,” Mr Skinner quipped. “Life would be a lot simpler if there were.”