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October 2012

October 31, 2021

Can personality tests really tell if you're right for the job?

Your handshake may play a role at a job interview. But a personality test that can tell a prospective employers what's behind that handshake is likely far more important, the Wall Street Journal suggests.

Most major companies employ some sort of testing to help assess job applicants for conscientiousness, extroversion or any other traits that may be useful in forging a successful career. 

But job seekers should expect even closer scrutiny, given today's tight job market, experts warn.

"There are two issues: Is the person the best fit, ideally, to the pool of other candidates — and how likely are they going to succeed at the job?" explains John Fennig, a licensed psychologist and managing partner of DRI Consulting.

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Couple beats out 500 others for the chance to wed at Ikea

Lynne Klanbida and Chad Martin are two Aussies, and they’re in love.

400px-Ikea_logo_svgLike many young couples, the pair had to plan for their wedding, and like many young couples, the pair balked at the expense. In Australia, the average nuptials cost more than $35,000.

So the Martins-to-be instead reached all the way to Sweden for help.

They joined a contest, beat out 500 entrants, and will now get a paid-for wedding at their favourite store: Ikea.

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October 30, 2021

India's first Starbucks is causing line-ups out the door

At this point, what would it take for you to get excited over Starbucks?

300px-Starbucks_Corporation_Logo_2011_svgCertainly, it may be your preferred coffee shop (though, try saying you’re going to Starbucks to a nose-turned “buy local” snob and see how that goes), but it’s no longer quite that oasis in the desert.

There are now more than 830 Starbucks locations in Canada, all across the country.

But Starbucks, though it’s been around for more than four decades, still gets people riled up. Like in India, where the coffee giant’s just opened its first store.

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October 29, 2021

Hey, singles have it rough with money issues, too: report

In a world of romance and money, bad things tend to happen when the two meet.

1327384_goodbye_cruel_worldI won’t link to a rundown of the most expensive celebrity divorces here or anything – secretly, you want me to, don’t you? – though it’s easy to draw your own conclusions. Money leads to tension, which leads to conflict, which leads to sayonara, hubby.

Though while fiscal squabbles are all but guaranteed when two people shack up, are married folk really the ones that have it worst when it comes to money?

Could singles, for instance, have even more challenges with cash than those with dependents?

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Are online customer reviews really that reliable?

Many consumers rely on customer review sites like Yelp for advice on where to find the best dry cleaners or restaurants. But are the reviews reliable?

YelpSmall business owners have long accusing Yelp of filtering out positive reviews about their firms and therefore skewing the rating system against them.

They also claim that an unrealistic and unreliable algorithm causes honest companies to be ranked lower than they actually deserve.

It's a big deal since researchers have determined that each ratings star added on a Yelp review translates into anywhere from a 5 percent to 9 percent boost on revenues.

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October 25, 2021

Benefits picture cloudy when it comes to human rights

One employer tried to cut off an employee’s disability benefits, arguing they had a mental illness and not a physical one. Another didn’t want to provide benefits for a female employee on pregnancy leave.

In both cases, the employer was found to be discriminating against the employees based the Ontario Human Rights Code, explains Maria Kotsopoulos of Blaney McMurtry LLP. Sometimes though, the circumstances are less clear.

For example, denying group life insurance coverage to someone who's likely to travel to locations that are considered dangerous by Foreign Affairs is likely discrimanatory, she tells Smallbizadvisor. It might adversely affect those who were born or have family in these countries.

So too, in all likelihood, is bumping employees over 65 off benefits plans or failing to offer disability benefits to recent older employees even though younger hires would be still eligible.

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Women earn less than men even right out of school: report

One of today’s more intriguing economic storylines concerns the wage gap between genders, which we’ve covered plenty on this site.

432220_optimismAnd if we’ve established anything, it’s that women almost always get a rawer pay deal than men. This is without question.

Though the notion often comes with several rationalizations. For instance, people contend women aren’t paid as much as men on the whole simply because they reach executive roles in far fewer numbers than their male counterparts.

This is correct – the world’s CEOs are overwhelmingly male – but it also conceals a further point: women aren’t only paid less than men late in their careers, when many males are climbing the corporate ladder, but right out of the gate, too.

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October 24, 2021

What it costs Kate Middleton to look like Kate Middleton

Kate Middleton is the envy of every woman, unless of course you’ve got a thing for privacy and, you know, sunbathing topless in the south of France.

In any case, the woman much of the world knew nothing about before 2010 has become the A-lister of A-listers in the two years since.

And what the Duchess of Cambridge has also become is a fashion and style icon. One day, she steps out in coral-coloured jeans, the next stores can’t keep them in stock.

But don’t worry if you can’t emulate Kate’s style. After all, few could afford it.

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Is sporting a dramatic tattoo really such a job stopper?

Tattoos, once the domain of sailors and gang members, are an everyday choice for many young Canadians and, in some circles at least, not really a big deal. 

But, upon entering the job market, some are coming to realize that their tats could end up costing them a job opportunity.

“Sporting a “sleeve”, an arm full of tattoos, or a scorpion across your neck, may work in some office environments but the majority of corporate cultures still frown on tattoos and piercings,” says corporate etiquette coach Diane Gottsman.

“When a college student or young adult is interviewing for a job, a tattoo can make an unfavorable impression, even if the impression is not verbalized,” she adds.

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October 23, 2021

Catholic high schoolers earn more than any other grads: report

When I daydream about striking it rich, winning one of those hulking, monstrous Powerball-like lotto payouts, I often take great pains to insist how normal I’d stay.

Despite my newfound riches – make that newfound fake riches – one of my favourite refrains is how I’d still avoid sending my children – er, make that fake children – to a private school.

It’s a sweeping stereotype I’ve got in my head (that private school students coming from a family of means have a higher sense of entitlement), but one I’d want to avoid at all costs.

Perhaps, though, the notion is wrong. By a new study, it isn’t private school grads that are destined to earn the most money in their careers, but rather alumni of another type of education.

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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...