DeVaughn Narratives

Creating digital stories that resonate and inspire

Is Corporate Reputation Important?

Corporate Reputation ManagementAccording to Tamara Gillis, author of the  IABC  Handbook of Organizational Communication, the term corporate reputation refers to how positively, or negatively, a company or similar institution is perceived by its key stakeholders. Corporate reputation, which is considered a soft or intrinsic concept, is important because it affects the efficiency and effectiveness of the way a company operates. Additionally, a good organizational reputation can increase competitive advantage because customers will be more loyal and may influence other potential customers by word of mouth. While some organizations place this intrinsic concept on the back burner to more critical matters, other businesses consider organizational reputation to be of great importance. This is especially true if their business is in the financial, legal, or medical arenas. These sectors proactively try and build their image and good will.

All organizations have the responsibility to operate in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations. Organizations must also have an economic and ethical responsibility. To enhance organizational reputation, a company’s level of corporate social responsibility can increase competitive advantage and attract customers.

Having a good organizational reputation has many benefits. Some of these benefits include but are not limited to: being able to attract and retain talent, being able to charge premium prices for products and services, being able to weather bad times, being able to attract investors, increasing market share, and gaining more favorable media coverage.

One thing is for sure, there is a high cost to pay for an organization losing their reputation, the good standing among stakeholders. Past experience has shown that a badly handled crisis can taint or potentially ruin a company such as the Exxon Valdez, BP, Arthur Andersen, and Enron incidents. A smaller organization could be devastated by loss of reputation. Conversely, the skillful handling of a major issue or crisis can maintain a good reputation. As history has shown, rebuilding a reputation is not easy and takes a lot of time. It is my belief that repairing a reputation is often harder than building reputation.

There are several measures that organizations can do to safeguard their reputation. Media and reputation perception audits should be conducted regularly. In addition, organizations need to frequently monitor the Internet for what is being said about them, their competitors and industry.

One of the most effective strategies for protecting corporate reputation is creating an early warning system that detects and tracks potential threats, and provides response-related policies and procedures, before the threat matures into a full-blown crisis. Giving in to the natural tendency to believe that a potential problem will dissipate over time has proven to be a fatal mistake for far too many companies. As the Internet has shown us, company crises live forever and are nearly impossible to erase.

Regularly and consistently communicating internally the importance of corporate reputation, and the company’s commitment to protecting it, is also important in ensuring that a positive reputation remains a priority for all employees and a core feature of the corporate culture.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays.

Sure, there’s the common favorite, Christmas.

And, of course, you’ve got your birthday.

For me, Thanksgiving is about coming home. Families traveling miles just to be together and break a little bread…and turkey, dressing, yams, cranberries, and mashed potatoes, and gravy.

I love the intoxicating aromas of Thanksgiving. The turkey roasting in the oven, and the apple pie baking. The smell of cloves and cinnamon.

Nothing tops that night in the dining room—over-stuffed with family, sitting on mismatched chairs—as we swap stories, share memories, toast those who came before us and pass dishes infused with even more love than butter.

The food itself doesn’t matter so much to me. It’s the traditions, the pride, the care people put into making it.

The entire purpose of the holiday is just a gathering of family and friends to celebrate all the blessings in our lives. When we look around the table at our loved ones, we have so much for which to be thankful. So let’s give thanks not just on Thanksgiving, but every day that we can connect with another human being. Once you feel the true joy of connecting with a fellow member of the human race you might start to realize just how precious life is.

May the bounty of the season fill your hearts and homes. I hope you and your families have an amazing Thanksgiving.

 

How to Decide if a Job Offer is Right for You

Job Offer - Accept or Decline

Accept or Decline: How to Decide if a Job Offer is Right for You

After weeks (or maybe months) of job searching, you’ve become a pro at finding the names of hiring managers, writing personalized cover letters, and, of course, mastering the interview process. And then it happens: You’ve just been offered the job.

Congratulations! That was the hard part, right? Maybe not. On two separate occasions, I had multiple job offers so determining whether to accept a job can be just as challenging.

In today’s economy, many workers spend five years or less in a job. Being able to evaluate whether a prospective job offer is a good fit for your immediate and long-term professional goals is critical.

Ultimately, I have either turned down great jobs or accepted the wrong job for a myriad of reasons – some good, some bad. When evaluating a job offer, you need to keep the following in mind:

Research the company and the position.

During the interview process, ask questions about the company’s future direction and its corporate culture to assess whether working there will be a good fit for your professional goals. If you’re on the fence after receiving the offer, you may want some time to think it over then go with your gut. If you have a bad gut feeling about a job offer, you shouldn’t ignore it.

Be realistic about your prospects.

If you know you are a final round candidate for multiple jobs at once, you’ve got some flexibility when it comes to making a decision. However, if you only have one offer on the table, it can be difficult to compare with other possibilities. If you’ve been out of work for a while, you may not be in a position to hold out for a better offer that may never come.

There is no “dream” or “perfect” position.

No job will ever be perfect. Whether it’s an annoying co-worker or a long commute, there’s a downside to just about every job. As objectively as possible, weigh the pros and cons of accepting this new position. If the salary is not as high as you were expecting, will you be learning a new, valuable skill or significantly expanding your professional contact base that could offset a lower salary? If the commute is longer than you want, are there opportunities for telecommuting or flexible hours? Talk to the hiring manager about how you can shape the job to better match your professional and personal needs.

Never take a job out of desperation.

I know all too well about taking a job out of desperation just to get back to work. If you do end up in the wrong place and want to leave again fairly quickly, you’ll now have a pattern that makes you look like a job hopper. It also means you could end up in a job that you’re not good at and get fired from. Then you’re unemployed, with a firing to explain, and an unhelpful reference from your most recent employer. That’s inflicting a lot of damage on yourself just to get out of a bad job a little more quickly.

You need to be wary of “rose-tinted spectacles” you might wear if you are unemployed or have been searching for a long time. Instead of talking yourself into something, you may want to explore other alternatives like accepting the job for a short-term period, while you look elsewhere. If that’s not possible and you really need the job, know the risks. Many people underestimate the impact of switching jobs and what it does to your client relationships, network, and prospects.

Whether it’s a mismatch in company culture or lack of professional challenge, don’t be afraid to walk away from a job offer that just doesn’t fit your needs. If you feel like you’re taking a job out of desperation, you may resent the position and ultimately underperform. As stated above, this could damage your industry reputation and hurt your candidacy for future positions. It’s better to be honest with the hiring manager about why you are declining the position than accept a job that ultimately will make you – and everyone around you – miserable.

There is a downside to this. The honest truth is there are times when you’ll have to take any job you can get, even if you know it’s a bad fit. Maybe your house is about to be foreclosed on, you can’t make rent, or you have a family depending on you for income. There will be times when finding ANY job is a priority over the PERFECT job.

Have you ever walked away from a job offer?

Are Business Cards Dead?

Are Business Cards Dead?

Business cards date back to the 17th century when they were used to announce the arrival of a distinguished guest to the keepers of an estate. Although a networking event isn’t exactly the announcement of your arrival in an elegant horse-drawn carriage, a business card can still work in your favor.

Many people have mixed feelings about business cards. Some people contend business cards are dead with the younger and tech-savvy generation preferring to exchange information on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn. They claim business cards are the last vestiges of the era of paper and print.

I maintain those people are wrong.

Business Card with QR CodeContrary to popular belief, research has shown that the business card is far from waning. Business cards may be small, but their impact is huge. A business card plays an important part in making a lasting impression upon those you do business with. In fact, business cards are evolving in style and design and catering to the needs of entrepreneurs. Research has also shown that a large majority of people still hand out business cards and people on the receiving end still find them useful.

Despite living in a digital world, business cards can be critical to the development of your business. These small but effective tools that are often handed to customers and prospects can be a highly personalized form of marketing. A well-organized and aesthetically appealing business card can make a better impression than any website address or social media account, which can easily be lost in translation.

Reasons Why You Should Have a Business Card

They Create a Solid First Impression

Business cards should be part of your self-introduction. These eye-catching 3.5 x 2 inch pieces of heavy-duty paper contain all the vital contact information needed to capture your prospect’s attention and help you remain in their memories well after your initial meeting. Today, contacts also expect business cards. They can enhance your credibility and legitimacy and give your prospect a better sense of your professionalism.

They’re Direct Marketing Tools

No other form of marketing is more effective than face-to-face communication coupled with a handshake. Business cards can go wherever you go, making them an essential marketing tool that can facilitate the process of establishing and maintaining new clients for future business opportunities. You never know when you’ll run into a potentially valuable prospect, so you should always be prepared. By keeping a stack of business cards on-hand, you’ll always be ready to market you or your business when the opportunity arises.

They Help Build a Brand

Business cards are a simple way to establish your brand, which in turn makes either you or your business more easily recognized. A successful card should contain your company’s logo, advertising slogan and necessary contact information, including a phone number, website address and email where you can be easily reached. Remember that just because your business card is made from paper doesn’t mean it can’t also be tech savvy. Many business owners now use QR codes on their cards that can be scanned by a smartphone to direct customers to the business’s website or social media page.

They’re Budget-Friendly

One of the biggest advantages of a business card is its affordability. Businesses can print business cards for less than it costs to produce other types of marketing materials, such as commercials, press kits, and product samples. When the price is so low and can be easily fit into any business budget, why not always keep business cards on hand? A business card is an excellent way for a business to gain momentum with an attention-getting design.

One of the worst mistakes a business owner can make is to misjudge the importance of a quality business card to brand identity and business development. It can act as your first impression and directly reflect how potential prospects and customers look at your business. While there’s no denying online marketing has become a popular tool for business professionals, traditional marketing still remains strong.

What Information Should Go On a Business Card?

Business cards serve many purposes, but their primary purpose is to tell what you do and give the recipient a way to contact you. Don’t leave off the information the recipient needs most.

At the very least a name and contact method (address or phone number) should go into a business card design. As for where to put this information, there are hundreds of possible arrangements, but there are a few commonly accepted guidelines for where to place the essential information.

Other information is optional but as a minimum, the business card design should usually contain:

• Individual’s Name and/or Business Name: Whether using a horizontal or vertical arrangement, the person’s name or the business name are usually the most prominent text item on the card. It is usually placed in the center or upper half of the card and emphasized with a larger or bolder font.

• Individual’s Title or some other descriptive text to indicate what the person does if it’s not obvious from the business name.

•  A way (preferably multiple ways) to contact the person such as phone, fax, email, web page, mailing address, street address, etc. This information is usually placed in the lower half of the card (left, right, or centered). The preferred method of contact (such as phone number or email) is often emphasized with a larger size, bolder font, or more prominent placement.

Other information to keep in mind when designing your business card may include:

Slogan:

Taglines are always important for business cards. As the space provided is small you require filling in important details. Taglines can always attract people.

Simplicity:

Keep your card simple to make it look clean and organized. A simple business card design will have more space for you to fill in important details. Always try using both sides of the card so that the information doesn’t look cluttered and/or disorganized. Make your card look attractive and unique.

Image:

Images are very powerful. Anything that is visual appears more attractive. Your goal should be making your card more aesthetically pleasing. The image should represent your company well. The image should be such that your clients remember your card for its aesthetics.

Company Logo:

Always place the company’s logo in a prominent area so that it is visible and clear. The logo represents your company; hence giving importance to the logo can you gain potential clients. The logo should create a positive impression about your business.

Unique:

Always try to create a business card that is unique and that stands out. You can opt for designs that use varied shapes for your card. You can fill in your card with colors Boring Business Cardbecause the traditional white may look boring. Your ultimate aim should be making your card look attractive and unique.

Always remember your business card is the face of your business.

Like it or not, business cards are here to stay.

Do you carry business cards? Why or why not? Share your thoughts.

The Misconception About Being “Downsized” or “Let Go”

The Misconception About Being “Downsized” or “Let Go”

In the last four years, my career has taken some unexpected turns. First, the hospital where I worked for years needed to become as lean as possible given that the healthcare industry was undergoing major changes. The uncertainty of how healthcare reform would affect our industry, including how hospitals would be paid for their services, called for conservative measures. Our department, along with many others, was streamlined in anticipation of this trend. I was “downsized” or “let go” as were many others in the organization. I was out of work for seven months.

After I lost my job, I went through an outplacement agency. Unbeknownst to me, the outplacement agency sent my resume to an outpatient facility dedicated to treating patients with opioid addiction and substance abuse. One of the job responsibilities was to detox patients for their inability to pay. I was so worried about never getting hired again that I felt I had to take the job. At the time, I was in school pursuing a degree in communications, so eight months later I decided to leave the job to pursue other possibilities within my chosen career field.

I was so happy to receive a job offer where I would be gaining experience in my chosen field. During my interview, I was informed that the company was going through a rebranding and a Board restructure. Six months later, it happened again. I was let go, along with many others, as part of the restructuring process.

It took me 11 months to find my next job. During that time, I focused my efforts on doing an internship in marketing and communications and taking classes to enhance my current degree.

Once again, worried about never getting hired, I took the first job offer. The company was not quite the right fit for my long-term goals and there were no opportunities for advancement. After six months, I left for what I thought was a better opportunity.

“Let Go” Not Once, Not Twice…But

DownsizedTwo weeks after I was lured away from a secure job, I was informed by my new employer that the company had been sold and my job eliminated. I was devastated.

I’ve now been looking for work for seven months.

After the first two layoffs, I was confident that my long time excellent work reputation and continuing determination to find the right position would serve me well.

Millions of people have been let go.

Today, it’s the norm for employers to regularly restructure to keep their staff lean and mean. Layoffs are never going away.

From what I have seen, companies are hiring more contract workers. Contractors are here to stay. Why? Essentially, companies no longer feel they have the ability to offer long-term, full-time jobs. Full-time employees are very expensive, or many companies have implemented hiring freezes; however, they still need experienced people to perform the work. Also, contractors can cost less in terms of fully loaded costs as companies are not required to pay for benefits like vacations, sick leave, or medical insurance. Even if the contractors are higher priced on an hourly basis, it might be less expensive for the company to hire them for a project or limited time.

I feel that stable employment may be a thing of the past. Furthermore, as long as employers have the power with the “at will” state law to terminate employment, there will always be many unjustifiably terminated employees.

Job Search Strategies

Job Search Strategies

Job SearchIt may be surprising to learn that executive-level job seekers face the same challenges as the average job applicant. Implementing the correct search strategy could mean the difference between landing a dream position and remaining in your current role.

Whether you are actively searching for a management position or just want to keep your options open for future opportunities, the job market has become more competitive in recent years. Many companies have pared down their staff and are no longer willing to dedicate limited financial resources to candidates with high salary expectations. Other companies are retaining Baby Boomer employees longer and, therefore, have limited available for outside applicants.

In addition, technology has changed the methods that recruiters and hiring managers use to locate talent, which could limit a technically challenged candidate’s chances of being hired.

Social Media Strategy

With over 500 million users, LinkedIn is the largest job networking site on the internet. Career-minded individuals used to need to attend networking and conference events to gather business cards and develop relationships with industry experts. Now, professionals can accomplish a significant amount of networking through LinkedIn without ever having to leave the office.

A comprehensive, searchable LinkedIn profile can increase a candidate’s online presence, add to his or her credibility and reputation, and reach recruiters and hiring managers. In fact, recruiters regularly browse LinkedIn using specific criteria designed to locate relevant key words, education, company, industry, position, title location, skills and much more.

If you don’t already have one, you can create a LinkedIn profile for free. If you already have a profile, ensure that it is comprehensive, meaning you have completed every section and utilized keywords that recruiters may be search for. LinkedIn even tracks profiles for completion and provides suggestions for improvement.

There are a few general rules regarding professional LinkedIn profiles:

Social Media Strategy

  • A professional photo is a must. Profiles with photos are viewed more often than those without.
  • Content should be professional.
  • Active participation in group forums and discussion threads is just as important as maintaining a profile and reaching out to your connections.

Networking

Although social media is important, it is not the “be all, end all” of networking strategies. My professors and bosses have always stressed the importance of networking, and I couldn’t agree with them more. The old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” holds a lot of truth. No matter what level you are in your career, it is always important to attend industry conferences, networking events, alumni gatherings, and trade shows to stay relevant and discover and maintain connections. Networking in person provides people the opportunity to cultivate relationships that were started via social media.

Another benefit of networking is that job seekers can secure interviews and gain a leg up on the competition. Employers prefer to hire based on referrals or recommendations which people in your network can provide. In fact, many job seekers have landed their current position through a personal or professional referral as opposed to completing an application or submitting a resume.

Have You Seen My Blog?

When you see the word “blogging” you should see a flashing sign that reads, “easy marketing opportunity.” Blogging may sound intimidating but maintaining a blog is less involved than you think. Posting once or twice a month depending on the material is enough to maintain an online presence. The key is to stick to a schedule and maintain consistency. A blog can show hiring managers that your wealth or knowledge would be a great addition to their company while also displaying your personality.

Creating a Brand

Think of companies like Apple, Rolex or Nike. These names are recognizable and appealing to consumers around the globe because of their great branding efforts. Apple always has the newest, user-friendly technology products while Rolex’s quality, elegant products are unmatched. Staying current with industry trends, Nike has established a timeless brand through merging sports and fitness interests. Just like these labels, you can create a personal brand that differentiates yourself from the competition.

For example, what are your specialties, talents, and achievements? personal brand benefitsYour brand should demonstrate who you are, what you have done, what your strengths are, and how you can help a company solve a problem. These are your selling points so this information should be consistent on your resume, blog, and LinkedIn profile.

 

Attitude Counts

attitude countsA candidate’s skills, achievements, and networking efforts matter, but so does attitude. Hiring managers indicate that a candidate’s enthusiasm for acquiring new skills and learning on the job can play a crucial role in their hiring decision. Companies want to know that a candidate will not have a “know it all” attitude. Also, many recruiters are concerned that Baby Boomers have already “checked out” and are looking toward retirement in a few years, which may dissuade them from hiring an older professional in favor of a younger one. Baby Boomer candidates search for long-term positions should be sure to convey their company loyalty and enthusiasm for continued work.

In conclusion, many candidates have realized that the job search is tougher than ever. But with the right attitude, brand, social media strategy, and networking efforts, any candidate can succeed in securing a better job opportunity.

Essential WordPress Plugins

Essential WordPress Plugins

The people behind WordPress realized their software couldn’t include every feature its users wanted. So they decided to keep the platform simple, stable, and secure. Instead of building extras into the core program, developers designed features called plugins.

Today you’ll find upwards of 49,000 WordPress plugins, mostly free of charge. The plugin system lets you equip your site with only the features you want.

Useful for solving a variety of different problems and merely simplifying the website management process, check out these fantastic plugins. You’ll be glad you did.

WordPress Plugins that are Essential

Jetpack

Jetpack is a master plugin that provides a wide range of features from security to user retention to content. You can customize your site, add themes, manage content, implement secure logins, analyze the performance, and know the user retention with just this powerful plugin. You can install Jetpack as a single plugin and enable each of the features individually.

Akismet

Akismet is one of the most popular and most preferred WordPress plugins used to secure your website from spam comments. It is completely different from other types of plugins used to prevent spamming. Akismet is actually a web-based service which uses their own system to scan comments on your website.

Broken Link Checker

Google doesn’t like to stumble upon broken links on your site. This must-have plugin scours your website looking for broken links, missing images, and redirects. It checks your pages, pages, posts, and even comments then notifies you in the Dashboard or by email.

Wordfence

This must-have plugin helps keep your site safe and secure. It keeps track of everything that’s happening on your site, and alerts you whenever anything suspicious takes place. In short, this is the most complete security plugin as it protects your WordPress site from being compromised.

W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache is one of finest WordPress plugins out there. Site performance is crucial to ranking higher on Google. If a site loads faster, visitors are more likely to stick around.

W3 Total Cache enables caching on your website and makes sure that your website loads faster. Static resources such as theme files, configuration files, etc. are compressed and loaded faster than usual, providing you the necessary juice for better user experience.

Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO (formerly known as WordPress SEO by Yoast) is one of the most popular WordPress plugins. This heavy hitter allows you to optimize your WordPress site for search engines.

It not only helps you add meta tags, it optimizes your site as a whole. Click here for a complete step-by-step guide on how to install and setup WordPress SEO by Yoast.

Google XML Sitemaps

Google XML Sitemaps is the original sitemap generator plugin for WordPress. This will make the search engines’ preferred list for finding and indexing Web pages. Not only does it send out your sitemaps to all of the major search engines, it notifies them of updates every time you change, add, or remove a page or post. Simply one of the best plugins to use for creating sitemaps for your website along with the SEO Yoast.

Contact Form 7

Contact forms provide a neat, clean, and simple to use interface that enables your site’s readership to contact you. It lets you insert multiple forms and works with the Captcha feature to help screen out spam mailings.

This is the most popular of the contact form plugins with over 30 million downloads. If you are planning to create a basic contact form, then this plugin is the right choice.

Google Analytics for WordPress

Google Analytics lets you manage the user involvement on the pages. You can know the number of real-time visitors, traffic source, and many other parameters determining the popularity of your page. You will need to be registered with Google Analytics to use this plugin. It installs the tracking code on your WP website and summarizes how people are using it without the need to log into your Google account.

Breadcrumb NavXT

This plugin generates breadcrumbs for each of your pages. Breadcrumbs are the links you sometimes see just above the content.

The majority of the users do not land on your website directly. It is either through some search engine results, links in ads, or some other indirect resources. So, BreadcrumbNavXT helps the user to explore the entire website other than the current page.

NextGEN Gallery

Having over 15+ million downloads, this is my choice for handling and displaying images. With NextGEN, you can easily create slideshows and add all kinds of effects.

Conclusion

WordPress comes with unlimited plugins to help you extend the functionality of your website. You have seen a sampling of the thousands of essential plugins available today. As you can see from my list above, I’ve omitted a couple of important plugins for e-commerce and social media.

There are more specific plugins depending on the purpose of your site. Keep in mind what’s best for one website might not be a good choice for another site. Before choosing a plugin, make sure that you spend time researching and reading the plugin description to learn if it does what you need it to do.

And remember, if there is a need, chances are, there’s a plugin.

Types of Interviews

Interviews

Types of Interviews

Employers conduct different types of job interviews, but each has the same goal. They wish to assess how well a potential applicant fits the position.

In many interviews, employers combine several types of interviews to evaluate competencies for the job.

Most people think of the typical one-on-one selection interview when they think of an interview, but there are many kinds of interviews. This article categorizes several types of job interviews. Knowing what type of interview you will be having will help in your preparation. Remember! The more information you gather before interviewing for a job, the better you are able to prepare effectively.

Types of Interviews:             Interview Types

  • Phone Interview
  • One-on-one Interview
  • Group Interview
  • Team Interview
  • Behavioral Interview
  • Speed Interviewing
  • Campus and Job Fair Interview
  • Informational Interview
  • Screening Interview
  • Mealtime Interview

Phone Interview: An increasing number of organizations are choosing to use the phone interviewing method to screen candidates before calling them for the actual interview. The main thought behind conducting a phone interview is to allow the company to verify the basic details of the applicant while also scrutinizing his/her basic English speaking skills, enthusiasm for the job and also do a check on the details you have mentioned in your resume.

Be prepared for the interview and always have a copy of your resume and information about the company right in front of you while you talk to the interviewer. Arrange a time when you can speak freely without distractions such as children or pets. Unlike an in person interview, you can have notes in front of you. Take advantage by setting up information sheets about the company and your interview. Organize your notes in bulleted points and prepare answers to commonly asked interview questions. Know your salary requirements as many prospective employers begin the dialogue with this question.

One-on-One Interview: The most common interview type of interview is the one-on-one (or face-to-face). This interview is traditionally conducted by a direct supervisor and if often the last step in a series of interviews. The interviewer may or may not be experienced in conducting interviews and, depending on personality and experience, the interview may be directive following a clear agenda, or non-directive relying on you to lead the discussion as you answer open-ended questions. You will likely be asked a variety of interview questions, so be familiar with all of the different types of questions so that you can adjust your answers appropriately. It is important to be thoroughly prepared – know the job and know yourself.

Group Interview: In a group interview, several candidates for a position are interviewed simultaneously. Candidates may also be asked to solve a problem together which allows interviewers to assess candidates’ skills in action. Regardless of how you may feel about any member of the group, treat everyone with respect, and avoid power struggles, which make you appear uncooperative. Be aware that all interactions are being observed; don’t let down your guard or lose your perspective.

Team or Panel Interview: In this type of interview you alone are being interviewed by a panel of several employees of the company offering employment. The key to success in a panel interview is to interact with each member of the panel. Team or panel interviews are designed to reduce individual interviewer bias. One member of the panel may ask all of the questions or individual panel member may take turns. Make eye contact with the person asking the questions, but also to give every member on the panel your attention, regardless if they ask any questions at all – treat them all with equal importance. Be prepared to extend more energy in this setting, as you need to be alert and responding to more people.

Behavioral Interview: In this type of interview, you will be asked questions about how you acted in a specific situation. Behavioral interviewing is an interviewing technique in which the questions asked (and the answers received) assist the interviewer in making predictions about a candidate’s future performance based on his/her actual past behaviors. Questions might include: Describe a situation where you had to resolve a conflict or describe a situation where you were not successful in resolving a problem. Here the interviewer is looking for evidence of responsibility and the ability to learn from mistakes.

Speed Interviewing: During my college coursework, the company where I was working was going through a major restructuring and regrettably I lost my job. I went to speak with the career counselors at my school who invited me to attend speed interviewing.

One of the latest techniques to hit the job market is the speed interview.  The method, much like speed dating, allows both the interviewee and hiring company to assess the potential match of candidate to corporation. It also exposes the applicant to a large number of hiring companies in a short timeframe, thereby maximizing the chance of finding a job.

Speed interview sessions are usually held during career fairs or during college recruitment events such as career days. 

Depending on the size of the event, the number of participating companies can range from a dozen recruiters to over 100.  Hiring companies can expect to interview over 100 job candidates in a single day.

The total length of the interview will only be 5 to 15 minutes in length, and candidates can expect the interview questions to be challenging. 

First impressions do count, especially when it comes to speed interviews. Job candidates have a short amount of time to make a great impression. When interviewing, dress professionally, have a firm handshake, be polite, prepare your elevator speech, bring copies of your resume and writing instruments, and research the companies attending the session.

Campus and Job Fair Interviews: Campus interviews are a form of screening interview. They are shorter, usually one-on-one interviews and are designed to allow a recruiter to see a large number of applicants on a single trip. Most college and university career placement offices have procedures for scheduling these interviews, which are typically with larger, corporate employers. Follow the procedures established by the placement office or job fair sponsor, or you might miss out! Campus recruiters are trained interviewers. You should prepare for your interview thoroughly. A recruiter is looking for the candidate who is alert and well-presented and who comes to the interview with knowledge about the company. Your placement office can help you gain this information. If you are successful at the interview, you may be asked to an onsite interview at the company. Don’t forget to write your thank you note. It might help you stand out from the rest of the crowd.

Informational Interviews: When I was looking to transition from an Executive Assistant into marketing, I coordinated several informational interviews. These interviews are not about employee selection at all. An informational interview is an informal conversation with someone working in an area that interests you who will give you information and advice. Remember! It is not a job interview, and the objective is not to find job openings. Resist the urge to ask about open positions.

You may feel awkward scheduling an appointment with someone you don’t know about their work. However, I have found that most people actually enjoy taking a few moments out of their day to reflect on their professional life and to give advice to someone with an interest in their field.

When scheduling an informational interview, allow 20-30 minutes tops.

When sending your request, veer away from contacting human resources employees, since their standard answer will be to send a resume. Your best option would be to find someone within the role you’re hoping to fill, or one-step above that, who is close to a hiring manager.

When sending your request, make sure to be clear and concise about your motivation. The biggest mistake people make at this stage is not customizing what they say.

Following is a brief script that I used when scheduling my informational interviews:

“I am writing to introduce myself and ask about your willingness to meet with me to discuss careers in the marketing/communications industry. Recently, I graduated with a degree in Corporate Communications from Notre Dame of Maryland University and have been working as a Marketing and Communications intern with the Alzheimer’s Association. I am writing to seek information about career opportunities in this field.

I would like to emphasize that I would simply welcome any career advice or information you can offer me as I explore my options.

If you are able to spare the time, I would like to meet with you briefly (approximately 20 minutes) to learn more about your career and the industry. I am available on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays.  If these days are not a viable option for you, I can rearrange my schedule accordingly.

Thank you for your consideration.”

Screening Interview: The first phase of an interview can be termed as a general interview or even as screening interview. The main purpose of this type of interview is to segregate the suitable and non-suitable candidates. Those who are selected move to the next round of interviews. Screening interviews are shorter in length and are usually performed by a member of the Human Resources Department.

Mealtime Interview: Sometimes an interview will take place over lunch or dinner, or a series of interviews will lunch. Dining with your interviewer is a great opportunity to develop a more comfortable relationship. BEWARE! You are still on an interview. Do not forget this! Resist the urge to become overly familiar with the interviewer. Remain professional, and remember your table manners: no elbows on the table and don’t speak with your mouth full. Other something in the mid-price range on the menu, but nothing messy, like spaghetti. Avoid alcohol, and don’t smoke. Your host will almost always pay the bill. Let them.

In conclusion, companies carry out many different types of interviews. Knowing what type of interview to expect will help you properly prepare. A group interview will be very different from a phone interview or one-on-one interview.

Going Green: Pantone’s Color of the Year

Going Green: Pantone’s Color of the Year

There’s nothing like a new year to inspire a fresh start! Each year the Pantone Color Institute announces a new color that sets the trends in fashion, décor, and interior design. Pantone’s team from around the world typically spends the year studying trends in fashion, consumer products, social media, film, and technology. It looks for influences that best describe the current mood of society and picks a color to reflect those elements.

The color green has officially earned the green light from Pantone, and has been named its Color of the Year for 2017. Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2017 was recently revealed to be a bright shade of yellowish-green called Greenery.

Greenery 2017 Pantone Color of the Year
The choice of the 2017 color is symbolic. As explained by Pantone, it is an attempt to reflect the mood of today’s consumers, who are more than ever in search of revitalization and rejuvenation.

A refreshing and revitalizing shade, Greenery is emblematic of new beginnings.

Greenery is a fresh and zesty shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew. This bright, yet natural, shade is illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of nature, and invokes a sense of growth and renewal.

Incorporating Greenery Into Your Home

There are many different shades of green. Greenery is vibrant and verdant and characterizes the first signs of life that appear in spring. Pantone notes, “Greenery is nature’s neutral.” It’s a lively hue that channels energy, health, nature, renewal, and growth. Decorating with Greenery is sure to breathe life into any room.

antone Greenery Decorating

Pantone Greenery Decorating

Greenery Tapestry

pantone-greenery-pillows

 

Greenery Elsewhere

In the automotive world, Mercedes unveiled a green car for 2018.

Green Mercedes Benz

There’s no doubt about it: Pantone chose a favorite this year with Greenery. It has the potential to breathe life into existing rooms; bring harmony and balance into a home; and lead trends in the fashion, art, and automotive industries, all of which will make it one of the more popular choices for Color of the Year.

Four Ways to Stand Out and Grow Your Business

Four Ways to Stand Out and Grow Your Business

Creating a successful business is about so much more than creating a website and selling your wares. Here are four ways to stand out and grow your business.

Four Ways to Grow Your Business

Creating a Great Culture – Whether you are a Fortune 1000 company or a two person company it’s never too early to decide the kind of culture you want to create and determine what your culture stands for. For example, Whole Foods Market started from the humblest beginnings by two unique individuals, John Mackey and Rene Lawson Hardy, and as they grew they hired those that fit their culture. Whole Foods Market’s culture is a critical factor in the firm’s success. A company’s culture influences every aspect of its business. Whole Foods Market shows that its culture is a major contributor to the brand’s strength. The firm has become popular not just because of its quality products, but also because of its culture. When you focus on your culture, you create a strong foundation of values, beliefs, and expectations that cause you to stand out in the marketplace that will ultimately allow you to grow your business.

Showing Your Customers You Care – Customer appreciation is a lost art. But smart businesses know that showing customers how much they genuinely care is an opportunity to win people over for life. A little personalization goes a long way. I feel that the most successful companies find unique ways to show their customers they care about them. “You want to go where everybody knows your name,” is the theme song from the popular 1980’s TV sitcom Cheers. After a warm welcome, Jonathan from Central Asia, a popular neighborhood Chinese takeout restaurant, not only knows my name but he knows exactly what I want. Fifteen minutes later, I head for the door a happy customer. On the rare occasion when my meal is not to my liking, Central Asia will pick up the cost the next time I order. My hair stylist at Facets of Hair will accommodate my hectic schedule even if it means opening the shop on Sunday morning. When you show your customers you care, the news will spread and you will gain a competitive advantage.

Leading with Optimism – Optimism is a competitive advantage and is an essential ingredient of innovation. Optimists raise the aspirations of people to achieve their individual best by focusing on innovation, problem solving and creative failures. Research has shown that positive emotions actually fuel creativity and enhance your reasoning skills thus creating more successful results. It’s the optimists who believe that success is not impossible and will take the actions necessary to grow your business. At AOL, optimism is a part of the culture while negative thinking is actively discouraged. AOL’s CEO Tim Armstrong for example doesn’t allow loser talk.

Pursuing Excellence – To succeed in the marketplace, companies must embrace a competitive strategy. It takes excellence to make a company work, and it involves putting quality into everything you do. It is clear that those who pursue excellence and share this attitude will stand above the competition.

Do you have any stories that you’d like to share of companies that show their customers how they care?

Email Marketing Best Practices

Back-to-Basics: E-mail Marketing Best Practices

email marketing

What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is an essential tool for business and comes in many shapes and forms. It occurs when a company sends a message to a group of people through electronic email. Most commonly through advertisements, requests for business, or sales or donation solicitation, any email communication is considered email marketing if it helps to build customer loyalty, trust in a product or company or brand recognition. Basically, it’s every email you send to (potential) customers with the hope of gaining or continuing their business. Email marketing is an efficient way to stay connected with your clients while also promoting your business.

Why is Email Marketing Effective?

There are two reasons why email marketing is effective. First, email is permission-based. The people on your email list have given you the go-ahead to send them messages. Second, it’s easy, effective, and inexpensive. Email marketing allows business owners to reach a large number of consumers at a rate of pennies per message. For small-business owners on a budget, this makes it a better choice than traditional marketing channels like TV, radio, or direct mail.

Best Practices Guide

Sometimes we forget the basics—the most important things of all. But don’t worry, this handy guide is designed to act as your email marketing checklist.

Write Compelling Subject Lines
A good subject line should contain no more than 30-50 characters. It should also create a sense of urgency and give the readers some indication of what to expect once they open the email.

Keep the Main Message and Call-to-Action Above the Fold
If your main call-to-action falls below the fold, then a large percent of your recipients won’t see your message.

Fonts
Use basic cross platform fonts such as Arial, Verdana, Georgia and Times New Roman.

Keep it Short and Sweet
Emails need to be short and sweet. However, you will want to invest in quality content. How long will users read your email before leaving? The answer to this question is—not very long. You will have less than one minute to capture your reader’s attention.

Tone of Voice
The tone of voice should be friendly and enthusiastic and not too aggressive or sales focused. Your email should make your audience fond of your products. You’re telling them something other people won’t hear.

Make it Visual
If your email contains all text, it could become boring. Illustrations and pictures can make your email look aesthetically pleasing to read and will enhance your storytelling.

Flash or Java Script
Elements that require Flash or Java Script should be avoided in emails as these technologies are not supported by email clients. If motion is needed in an email, a .gif is probably best.

Mobile Matters
A large percentage of marketing emails are opened on mobile devices. The best way to drive email engagement on mobile devices is to use responsive email templates. A responsive template will respond to the device that it’s read on. For example, if you read an email on your cell phone, a responsive theme will automatically resize the font, images, and layout to fit the smaller screen.

Test, Test, Test
Most importantly, before you send your email, test, test, test. And, be sure to test on different devices. Create an account to send an email to yourself so you can preview your test before you hit the send button. You will want to do this in conjunction with services such as Litmus. Litmus is a powerful email testing tool that allows marketers to see exactly how clients will view their emails prior to sending their email.

Conclusion

In conclusion, email marketing is an excellent way to reach your audience. You can communicate with those clients that really want to be informed about your products or your company. And, it’s an inexpensive but effective marketing tactic that keeps your audience coming back to your site.

 

 

 

 

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