Monthly Archives: October 2013

Poll Summary Results: Managing Millennials

Millenial_Poll_SummaryIn our most recent poll, we asked how you think Millennial employees want to be managed. The results showed that Millennial employees are positively impacting the business world.

With more than 45% of the votes, the most popular answer was, “with the freedom and flexibility to do their work on their own terms – as long as deadlines are met and with high-quality results,” followed by “with a critical role in building the company’s innovative edge and the freedom to take full advantage of their tech-savvy and forward-thinking personality.”

Coming in at 18.3%, “through constant praise; this is the generation that grew up with trophies and awards for everything” placed third in the poll.

Another 4.92% of respondents believe, “Millennial employees need to be managed like all the other employees, because special treatment isn’t awarded to anyone else.”

For more insight on Millenials and other generations in the workforce, check out these articles:
•    It’s Awesome Being a Millennial Job Seeker
•    Baby Boomers – a Chance at a Second Career After Retirement
•    Generations and the Job Search: Who’s Having a Harder Time?
•    4 Reasons To Recruit, Hire and Retain Mature Employees

How to Avoid Communication Shutdown

Communication_Shutdown_webFor the past week, our government has been “shutdown.” Both the Democratic and Republican parties are blaming each other for different reasons. Although there is no simple conclusion, we can learn from this. We have all seen where poor communication can lead, so here are three tips for better workplace communication.

Active Listening
One of the most important components of communication is listening. After all, it’s impossible to give an intelligent response if you didn’t understand what the person was saying in the first place. Pay attention to the person’s body language as well as their words, and resist the urge to interrupt or plan what you are going to say next while they are speaking. Once your co-worker has finished his or her statement, you will be able to formulate an appropriate response and will have a better understanding of the idea he or she is attempting to communicate.

Ask, Don’t Assume
All too often, people stereotype each other and assume the worst intentions rather than asking how they can meet in the middle. Each party thinks it’s the other person’s problem when the responsibility is really mutual. If you need help or have a question just ask, don’t assume anything.

Always Follow Up
Never assume that an electronic message has been received. Digital information can be lost in transmission or accidentally deleted by the person receiving it. Make a habit of regularly following up on important communications. Whether you’ve just had a meeting or an interview, remember to always follow up to keep communication flowing with your coworkers.

If you have would like to share some helpful tips on workplace communication, please do so in the comment section below.

Three Things to Know About the Health Insurance Marketplace

Healthcare_Options_webNow that the Health Insurance Marketplace has opened, you may wonder how it applies to you and what actions you need to take. With all the conflicting information swirling around, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But, don’t let that keep you from getting educated and making the best insurance decision for you and your family.
A good place to begin your research is by visiting This site has an abundance of information, so here are the top three things you need to know.

How You Qualify
Anyone can purchase their health insurance through the marketplace. Those who are currently uninsured will be matched with the best type of plan based on their household size and income. These range from standard private insurance and reduced-cost private insurance to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Even if you’re eligible for health insurance through your employer, you can purchase your own insurance through the marketplace if you choose to.

How To Enroll
To purchase a plan, or even to shop for the best rate, you first have to determine if your state operates its own marketplace or if it has deferred to the federal government. You can find out by obtaining your state information from the federal marketplace. Once you’re at the right marketplace, you can proceed with the enrollment process. Some specific information is required in the application, so you will want to ensure you’ve gathered all the necessary documents before you begin. If you need help, you can contact trained local organizations or get assistance directly from marketplace representatives.

When Coverage Begins
If you enroll by Dec. 15, 2013, coverage can start as early as Jan. 1, 2014. However, open enrollment closes on March 31, 2014, and most people without health insurance after that point will be penalized and charged a fee. The fee will start at $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, or 1% of your family income, whichever is more, and continue to grow each year.

Don’t let confusion or a lack of knowledge keep you from understanding your insurance options. With the deadline only five months away, you need to begin your decision process now so you’re not too late and faced with penalty fees.

Three Tips for a Video Interview

3_Tips_Video_interview_webAs more and more companies become comfortable with technology, video interviewing is becoming more common in the recruiting process for many employers. Video interviews allow you to have an in-person connection without meeting face-to-face. Technology is making many aspects of our lives easier than ever before, even the job search and interview processes. So how do you ensure you’re ready for a video interview? Here are three tips to make a great first impression.

1.    Prepare Yourself

Preparation is key to success in any interview. Prepare yourself by researching the company you’re applying for. You need to gather as much information as you can about the job you are applying for and the company you’re interviewing with. Advance preparation will not only help you determine the right questions to ask, but it will also show you’re taking the interview seriously. The more you know, the more direct your answers will be. Remember to speak clearly and with confidence.

2.    Posture Matters
Your body language indicates how focused and interested you are in a conversation, so be aware of how you carry yourself at all times. Always face the interviewer and remember to keep body movement minimal. The more movement there is, the more distractions there may be.

3.    The Camera is Your Best Friend
Keeping eye contact with the camera is very important. Looking away from the camera may cause the people on the other end to wonder what you’re looking at and it will seem as if you’re not interested. Although looking around may help you gather your thoughts, do your best to look forward and remain engaged. Make sure your camera is placed at eye level and a couple feet away from your face. The objective is to present yourself from your shoulders up.

It seems obvious, but do everything in your power to make the video interview as professional as possible. Like any technology, video chatting can have some technical hiccups. Speak slowly and clearly, because sometimes there may be a delay in the audio transfer. Remember to smile, be confident, and prepare to ace your interview. Always follow up and let the interviewer know you are thankful for their time and consideration.

Do you have any additional tips on how to prepare for a video interview?  Share them in the comments section below.

Transform the Dreaded Employee Review

Employee_Review_Oct2013What emotions do you associate with your employee review? Fear? Anxiety? Stress? Anticipation? The thought of an annual performance evaluation can trigger a wide-range of negative responses, but it doesn’t have to.
You can transform this once-dreaded experience into a productive conversation between you and your boss. It’s really all about how you approach it. So, before your next evaluation, try these four tips to improve your employee review.

Check Your Attitude

The number one way to ensure you have a lousy review is to have a bad attitude about it. Instead, think about why you’re having an evaluation in the first place and all the positives that could come from it. This is your chance to meet one-on-one with your boss and talk about you, how you’re performing, and what you could improve on. These types of conversations are how you’re going to grow as a person and become more successful in your career.

Clarify Expectations
Before the day of your review, make sure you know exactly how your boss wants you to prepare. Some companies have paperwork that everyone is required to fill out, while managers may have their own specific forms for employees to use as well. Finding all of this out up front will help ensure you and your boss start off the review on the same page, and it can also help alleviate any anxiety about what will be discussed.

Reflect Back
As you prepare, take some time to think through the past year. If you keep a running to-do list or project sheet, scroll back through it and think about the major tasks you accomplished. Take note of the projects or tasks that you really enjoyed and disliked, the major things you did right and wrong, and anything you would change if you could. It’s also a good idea to review any paperwork or notes you have from your last performance review so you can highlight areas of improvement or goals that you met.

Think Ahead
You also want to reflect on the year ahead. Make a list of any professional, personal, or workplace goals you’d like to accomplish. If you want a promotion, make a note to ask what you need to do to get one. Consider ways you could increase your knowledge or expand your expertise. And think about any specific things you’d like to see change over the next 12 months. Also, as you prepare, consider how you can help make your review a dialogue instead of a monologue so you can get the most benefit out of it.
You don’t have to dread your next performance review. Take matters into your own hands and do your part to ensure it’s a positive experience for you and your boss. Plus, being prepared for your employee review will not only make you look good, it will also go a long way to building your manager’s trust in you.
What ways have you found to help make your employee review a more productive experience? Share your thoughts below.

5 Surprising Things Not to Say in an Interview

Keeping SecretsThere is no doubt job interviews are stressful. Between the interview preparation, trying to wow the interviewer, and managing your employment situation, your plate is full. But with all you are trying to remember “to do” have you thought about what “not to do?” Here are five things to never say in an interview.

1.    I don’t know how to use computers.
Maybe you don’t feel comfortable with computers but with technology taking hold of all facets of our life, it’s time to have some level of comfort with it. Even if you are looking for a job that may not require computer skills, you may have to use one for a specific task, for example filling out your timecard. Explain what you can do, whether it’s play games online, send email, or Skype with your family, share your experiences with computers. If you don’t have a computer at home visit your local library. They may have free classes that will help you get familiar with computers. You never want to lie about your abilities, and they may not be looking for a computer whiz, just someone who has familiarity with computers.

2.    I bet I could learn how to do that.
Hiring employees is time intensive and costly. Employers want to be as certain as possible about your work ethic and ability to do the job and get up and running quickly. Be familiar with the job description and share transferable skills and related experiences that would make it quick and easy for you to perform the task required. Choose your words carefully and demonstrate your confidence.

3.    I’m so busy.
Everyone has a life outside of work, but what’s most important during an interview is how well you would be able to perform the job at hand. Telling too much about your family responsibilities, hobbies, or other jobs may lead a prospective employer to believe that your ability to work will not be consistent.

4.    What I really want to do is _____.
You’re here for a job, and the interviewer doesn’t want to hear your dream job is something different. Show your appreciation and enthusiasm for the opportunity. There may not be a direct career path for you, but focus on what you can learn and gain from the job opportunity.

5.    I just couldn’t stand ______.
There isn’t anything to be gained from being negative. It’s fine to be honest about tasks you don’t enjoy but don’t exaggerate the situation. It’s good to let them know you understand there are good and not so good aspects to every job. In addition, it’s unprofessional to talk negatively about people and companies from your past. Focus on your future and what you’ve learned in the past, but keep it clean, positive, and brief.

Take time to prepare before your interview. Understanding the job description, the company information, and how your experiences and abilities make you right for the job will help keep your conversation on track. It’s natural to be nervous, but don’t rush your conversation. Choose your words carefully and remain focused, it’s okay to pause and collect your thoughts.

How do you ensure a successful interview conversation? Share your tips in the comments section below.