How To Ruin Your Reputation with Email Templates

The Retro Lounge Podcast Series

This episode of The Recruiters Lounge originally aired on MAY 19, 2008. And this was the original description…

Ask The Headhunter‘s Nick Corcodilos has an axe to grind with The Ladders and (OWCH!) was that blade sharp! Jim Stroud and Karen Mattonen debate how and when to use Email Templates when prospecting passive candidates. The lessons learn might save you from a PR nightmare like the one caused by Nick “The Axe Grinder.” Plus, Jim takes a second to pump up his new book – Resume Forensics. (“Resume Forensics” by Jim Stroud is still available on

Plus a special shout out to:

HR Voice Summit 3-Day Online Event | May 19 – 21

Cyberstalking Is On The Rise

With so many people sheltered in place, thanks to Covid-19, people with nothing to do are doing more cyberstalking. I’ll tell you more about that, the traditional and the new ways cyberstalking is happening and what you can do about it. Stay tuned.


Hi, I’m Jim Stroud and this is my podcast.

Do you know what cyberstalking is? You probably do but just in case you do not, I will define it this way. Cyberstalking is using online technology to embarrass, threaten, or harass someone. And with so many people sheltered in place, thanks to Covid-19, people with nothing to do are doing more cyberstalking. I’ll tell you more about that, the traditional and the new ways cyberstalking is happening and what you can do about it. Stay tuned.

I stumbled across an interesting article from the UK based website – The Telegraph. Essentially, the articles citied how charities were reporting that cyberstalking was on the rise during the Covid-19 lockdown, when more people were online and vulnerable to hacking. Listen to this quote.

Stalkers are exploiting social media and new apps like House party to record a 26 per cent increase in harassment of victims during lockdown, say charities and police.

They warn that the proportion of victims being targeted online has risen to 70 per cent as their stalkers exploit security flaws in the apps either to directly pursue them or install tracking or surveillance devices onto their phones.

Veritas Justice, a Sussex-based charity supporting victims of stalking, said that the increasing time that people were spending online cooped up in lockdown had helped fuel the 26 per cent rise in requests for help or new callers in the past six weeks.

Claudia Miles, co-director of Veritas Justice, said House party, a social conferencing app popularised by lockdown, had been cited by victims, as had a new feature on Snapchat for  friends of friends to join a group as well as even games consoles….

Another UK website, The Guardian, reported on the same trend too. Here is a quote from one of their articles.

Stalking support services and police forces have recorded a surge in perpetrators turning to online tactics to harass their victims during the coronavirus lockdown. Paladin, a national stalking advocacy service, and the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, which runs the stalking helpline, reported a surge in cyberstalking involving social media, messaging apps and emails in the first four weeks of the lockdown.

Both of the quotes were from articles posted in the first week of May 2020. If you were to do a keyword search on cyberstalking on Google News or DuckDuckGo, my favorite search engine, you will see what I am looking at now; a whole lot of drama.

Cyberstalking is not on the decline by any means, in fact some of the methods have gone mainstream. Have you heard of the MTV show – Catfishing? {Play part of the clip} Catfishing occurs on social media sites when online stalkers create fake user profiles and approach their victims as a friend of a friend or expressing romantic interest. To look more like a real person, cyberstalkers sometimes copy the profiles of existing users, impersonating their identities.

Now is that the only way people tend to cyberstalk?  Oh, no. There are methods a plenty. Here are some quotes from NordVPN detailing various methods.

Some of the ways cyberstalkers track their victims are:

Monitoring location check-ins on social media

If you’re adding location check-ins to your Facebook and Instagram posts, you’re making it super easy for a cyber stalker to track you by simply scrolling through your social media profiles. When combined together, location-tagged posts can indicate your behavior patterns quite accurately.

Visiting you virtually via Google Maps Street View

If a cyberstalker discovers their victim’s home address, all they have to do is open Google Maps and type it in. By using Street View, they can see exactly how your home looks without even stepping into your neighborhood and drawing attention. Cyberstalkers can also virtually research your environment, surrounding houses, cameras, and alleys, to get a sense about the neighbors.

Hijacking your webcam

Hijacking a computer’s webcam is one of the creepiest methods cyberstalkers use to invade their victims’ privacy. Creepers would try to trick you into downloading and installing a malware-infected file that would grant them access to your webcam.

Installing stalkerware

Another increasingly popular and menacing way perpetrators keep tabs on their victims is by using stalkerware. This is any type of legitimate software or spyware that can be used to monitor someone’s activities through their device. It can track your location, make audio recordings, and enable access to your texts and browsing history.

Looking at geotags to track your location

Internet stalkers love geotags – and for a good reason. Every digital picture you take may contain geotags, which are pieces of metadata revealing where and when the photo was taken.

Now these tactics for cyberstalking are probably familiar to you. Perhaps you have seen them on TV or in a movie or been the unfortunate recipient of them. Well, if these were not bad enough, there are new ways cyberstalkers are tracking their victims. I’ll share those with you, after this.

The Weinberger Divorce and Family Law Group posted an article recently called – 4 New Ways Abusers Are Cyberstalking In 2020 — And What You Can Do To Protect Yourself. I will link to it from my website I highly recommend reading the full article. For now, a few quotes.

New Cyberstalking Tool: Your Car

Everything these days is connected to some kind of smartphone app, including many newer model cars that offer owners the opportunity to check on their vehicle any time via a PC, smartphone, or tablet. For example, if you buy a new Acura, the manufacturer touts that “your vehicle’s vital statistics are easily accessed, GPS tracking and ‘find my Acura’ are available, and diagnostics can be run on command, all from your fingertips via a series of apps.” Most car manufacturers, including Buick and General Motors, BMW, Honda, Cadillac, Chrysler, Volvo, Mercedes and Land Rover offer similar apps.

How you can protect yourself:  If you know or strongly suspect that your car is connected to an app that is being used abusively as a tool of stalking, report this activity to the police. You can make a report to the police and they may be able to help you obtain app store records to see if any such app was ever placed on the abuser’s phone and the amount of use the app has had. As part of any restraining order issued, deleting any such app may be part of the order.

Upwards of 30% of stalking cases involve GPS tracking. If you have an older car, ask a skilled mechanic to check your car over for small GPS trackers that can be affixed almost anywhere on a car.

New Cyberstalking Tool: Smart Gadgets

High tech doorbells, garage door openers, thermostats, streaming music devices, fitness trackers, refrigerators, and even internet-enabled toys — any device or gadget that can be operated remotely through apps can be used as a tool of surveillance, stalking and harassment.

How to protect yourself: Most gadgets can be disabled through reset buttons and/or changing a home’s Wi-Fi password. Before you bring a new smart gadget into your home, read up on cyber security and what you need to do to keep your gadget safe from interference. Save the box and information booklet in case you need any serial numbers and can refer to the instruction manual to correctly program the gadget for extra security.

And this next tip is specific for people in a divorce situation…

New Cyberstalking Tool: Smartphones Given to Kids

Your ex has been combative with you over paying child support, which is why you are surprised to find out that your child has been given a shiny new iPhone. Your ex says the smartphone is a way to more easily “stay in touch” with your child’s everyday life. This could be the truth, or the smartphone may be a “hiding in plain sight” tracking tool.

Don’t ignore red flags. If there is a tracking app or spyware on the phone, the phone could spike really high data usage, as it’s fairly common for such apps to use GPS and roaming data to monitor the phone’s location and ping back to the app. Does the phone’s battery run down a lot quicker than it should, and stay warm even when idle? Does the phone screen remain lit when you try to turn the screen off, or light up when you’re not doing anything? Do other apps on the phone run slower than expected? Are unfamiliar applications running in the background? Does it take forever to shut down? Are you running into ex more unexpectedly than usual when you are out with your child? All of these could be warning signs that your child’s new phone is actually a tracking device.

How to protect yourself:  As a quick fix, turn the phone’s cell data off when your child is not using it; this will disable most apps on the phone. When in doubt, you can also simply give the smartphone back and provide alternate means of communication, such as a set time to Skype using your computer. Or you can provide a “dumb phone” that only has the most basic phone and text functions.

That article I quoted has even more tips like that. I’m going to link to it and add even more resources on my blog concerning this issue because there is a lot more to be said. In the interim, while you are doing all you can to protect yourself from the Covid-19  Coronavirus, don’t forget there are other security measures you should be considering.


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iPhone tips for Remote Workers

Have you ever been in-the-zone while working when suddenly your phone rings? You want to keep working but you also want to know who it is. Do you stop your flow to pick up your phone and check? With this productivity hack, you won’t have to.

In this fifth episode of Productivity Hacks for Remote Workers, Jim Stroud shares a tip for iPhone users on how to assign different ringtones to different contacts so you’ll know who’s calling without even having to look.

TRL: Having Fun with H1-B Visas

The Retro Lounge Podcast Series

The original description from April 10, 2007 is listed below.

Jim Stroud and (the long-lost) Karen Mattonen discuss the changes happening at and H-1B visas. Has Karen found a loophole in the system?)

0:30 – A word from our sponsor – Bountyjobs
1:40 – And now a word from another sponsor – WorkGiant
3:40 – The long lost Karen Mattonen has returned
4:00 – I was in India training recruiters how to source
4:50 – International man of mystery
5:20 – Karen has been very busy and putting people on edge
6:05 – Karen is going solo?
7:20 – Okay, here’s twenty dollars
7:37 – John Sumser is the new sherriff at
8:17 – John’s website was (and always has been) required reading
8:45 – John Sumser is the reason Karen Mattonen does not blog today!
10:33 – Whatever John says (tends to) comes true?
10:55 – H-1B Visas all gone in a day
11:26 – Karen explains a loophole (?) cap exemptions
13:26 – New bill in the house regarding H-1B issues (and Karen says its so needed)
14:31 – Its a matter of national security
16:10 – Americans are pretending to be foreign nationals with H-1B visas, so they can work? (Wow!) Too funny…
17:48 – Aren’t companies supposed to hire Americans first anyway?
18:48 – Million-dollar payoff for a foreign national who was ripped off by a staffing agency?
20:30 – Feel the love
21:28 – Being aware of the law makes you a better recruiter
22:00 – Bye-bye

Should college education be free?

Due to the Coronavirus, college education has ceased in some places and gone exclusively online in others. From a dollars and cents perspective, why pay full price for something when you are not getting the full value? Students are demanding refunds or at the least, partial repayments. Colleges are refusing, citing ongoing expenses as the reason why. This brings to mind a recurring debate;  should college education be tuition free? I debate it. | Courtesy of Proactive Talent (


Hi, I’m Jim Stroud and this is my podcast.

The Coronavirus has made the world stand still, if only for a little while. But life must go on and when it does, what will it look like? I’ve been wondering that myself lately as I try to view the world of my daughter who’s enrolled in college. She, like so many other college students, are in a bit of a quandry. College education has ceased in some places and gone exclusively online in others. From a dollars and cents perspective, why pay full price for something when you are not getting the full value? If you are the parent of a college student, no doubt you know what I mean. And as all this is happening, an old debate comes to mind, should college education be free? Some people say that free education is the future of college education. I’m going to share both sides of that argument after this message from my sponsor.

{Sponsor: Proactive Talent}

There is a ranging debate going on right now over big tuition refunds. Students want their money back or at least, some of it. On the other side, colleges say that the transition to online classes has not changed their regular expenses. The website Quartz wrote a long article about it and here are some quotes reflecting both arguments. First, the student viewpoint…

The coronavirus pandemic has sent students at residential colleges careening back to their families’ homes. And they want their money back.

“Zoom university is not worth 50k a year,” one New York University student declared in a petition for a partial tuition refund that has so far accumulated more than 11,600 signatures.

The NYU appeal is just one among a wave of petitions and lawsuits demanding partial refunds for the spring semester, as students argue that the costs of their education don’t reflect the switch to online classes. Meanwhile, students and parents looking ahead to the possibility that online learning will continue into the fall semester are wondering whether they’ll get their money’s worth from tuition—a question that’s gained urgency as record US unemployment levels force families to reevaluate their spending.

It’s perfectly logical that students are up in arms about tuition. In the US, the average sticker price at a private college is $36,801 per year, while in-state rates for public universities average $10,116 a year. These amounts are meant to reflect the value of what’s being taught, but also students’ ability to experience in-person interactions with their professors and peers, not to mention things like evening programming and extracurricular activities. And research suggests that students tend to learn less from online classes than they do in face-to-face courses.

And now, let’s hear the issue from the vantage point of college institutions.

“When we had to shift to online education, that shift saved us not one penny in salary costs,” says David Feldman, a professor of economics at The College of William & Mary and co-author of the 2010 book Why Does College Cost So Much?

Faculty salaries and benefits account for nearly a third of expenses at US research schools, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Amid the pandemic, professors are still teaching the same courses, and their workloads have actually gone up as they’ve rushed to convert their classes to new online formats. Administrative and other non-teaching staff, who make up more than half of college and university employees, are still working too, with many mental-health counselors, admissions officers, and the like shifting their jobs to an online format.

Meanwhile, Feldman says, colleges are spending more money to invest in technology that will allow students and faculty to meet online, and IT workers are putting in overtime to help faculty navigate online-learning tools.

As for the dorms, classrooms, gyms, and other facilities sitting empty, colleges still have to maintain the buildings and their campuses in order to have them ready for students when they do eventually open their doors again.

When I read that article, it reminded me of the free college debate. I heard it several times over the years, most recently from Bernie Sanders when he was running for President.   I’ve heard students argue for it as well but, when I do, their arguments were far from convincing. The leader of the million student march Keely Mullen debated the issue with Fox personality Keely Mullen back in 2012 and this was part of the exchange.  As I said, not very convincing.

I can see the issue from both sides and will lay out arguments for free education and arguments against free education, after this.


I wish I could take credit for the extensive research behind these arguments, but truth be told, I discovered them on the website I will now repeat some of what I read there, arguments pro and con to free college tuition and end it with what I think.  First, the PRO arguments…

PRO-ARGUMENT #1: Tuition-free college will help decrease crippling student debt. If tuition is free, students will take on significantly fewer student loans. Student loan debt in the United States exceeds $1.5 trillion. 44.2 million Americans have student loan debt, and 10.7% of those borrowers are in default. [1][2] The average 2016 graduate owed $37,172 in college loans. [2] Student loan debt has risen 130% since 2008, and public college costs have risen 213% between 1987 and 2017. [1][4] Students are coming out of college already buried under a mountain of debt before they have a chance to start their careers. [5]

PRO-ARGUMENT #2: The US economy and society has benefited from tuition-free college in the past. Nearly half of all college students in 1947 were military veterans, thanks to President Roosevelt signing the GI Bill in 1944 to ensure military servicemembers, veterans, and their dependents could attend college tuition-free. The GI Bill allowed 2.2 million veterans to earn a college education, and another 5.6 million to receive vocational training, all of which helped expand the middle class. [7][8][9] An estimated 40% of those veterans would not have been able to attend college otherwise. GI Bill recipients generated an extra $35.6 billion over 35 years and an extra $12.8 billion in tax revenue, resulting in a return of $6.90 for every dollar spent. [10]

PRO-ARGUMENT #3: Everyone deserves the opportunity to get a college education.
 Jamie Merisotis, President and CEO of the Lumina Foundation, stated, “A dramatic increase in the number of Americans with college credentials is absolutely essential for our economic, social and cultural development as a country.” [15] The rapid rise of tuition has limited access to higher education, which is essential in today’s workforce: three-quarters of the fastest-growing occupations now call for education beyond high school, according to the US Department of Education. [29] College graduates earn $570,000 more than a high school graduate over a lifetime, on average, and they have lower unemployment rates. [16] [17] Students from low- and moderate-income families are unable to afford as many as 95% of American colleges. [30]

And now, arguments against free college education

CON-ARGUMENT #1: Tuition-free college is not free college and students will still have large debts. Tuition is only one expense college students have to pay and accounts for 39.5% of total average college costs. [22] On average, in-state tuition at a public college costs $10,230 for each year. Fees, room, and board for on-campus housing are another $11,140. [23] Books and supplies are another $1,240, transportation adds $1,160, and other expenses cost another $2,120. Without tuition, college still costs an average of $15,660 per year. [22]

CON-ARGUMENT #2: Taxpayers would spend billions to subsidize tuition, while other college costs remained high. The estimated cost of Bernie Sanders’ free college program is $47 billion per year, and has states paying 33% of the cost, or $15.5 billion. [25] According to David H. Feldman, PhD, and Robert B. Archibald, PhD, both Professors of Economics at William & Mary College, “This will require tax increases, or it will force states to move existing resources into higher education and away from other state priorities like health care, prisons, roads and K-12 education.” [26]

CON-ARGUMENT #3: Tuition-free college will decrease completion rates, leaving students without the benefits of a full college education and degree. Jack A. Chambless, Economics Professor at Valencia College, said that with a free college program, “Potentially millions of young people who have no business attending college would waste their time — and taxpayer dollars — seeking degrees they will not obtain… Free tuition would dupe young people into a sense of belonging, only to find that their work ethic, intelligence and aptitude are not up to the rigors of advanced education.” [34]

Regarding that last argument… wow!  But, what do I think? Should college be free? Honestly, I think that’s the wrong question. I think the debate should be not if college should be free but, do we really need college to succeed? For so long, we have repeated the mantra that all students MUST go to college and without it, their chances at financial success decreases exponentially. I don’t think that’s true. From what I have seen, many people are being educated for work that will soon be done by machines. So, they will eventually graduate with HUGE student loan debt and be unable to find a job. I think it is high time, past time, that we as a society should promote trade education and apprenticeships. And I am happy to say, I am not the only one who thinks that way.

Listen to this clip from Andrew Yang as he discussed this issue of education with Joe Rogan.  Well said, gentlemen. Well, said.


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