Tag Archives: interviews

Avoid Cultural Gaffes When Dealing in International Business

avoiding_cultural_gaffes_webWith technology at our fingertips, studying international business, taking internships abroad, and learning about today’s global marketplace is easier than ever. Ensuring you know how to recognize and respect business dealings of other countries is an important part of the process, so check out this post from guest blogger Heide Brandes.

Knowing business etiquette for foreign meetings can help make you a job search star.

When the Executive Director of Foreign Affairs for Taiwan presented his business card to me, I took it with both hands, studying the feel of the paper, the type of font, and the spelling of his name.

When I passed my card to him, he did the same. In Taiwan, and many Asian countries, the presentation of one’s business card is a serious event. It deserves respect and the time it takes to really look at the card and study it. Why?

It’s just considered good business. In America, we tend to slide our cards in a casual way across a board room table to everyone present, but that habit would be considered rude and even insulting in other countries.

Luckily, I looked up the business etiquette standards for Taiwan before my trip, so when the opportunity arose, I was able to honor my business associate by behaving appropriately.

In international business, first impressions are vital. To put a foreign partner at ease, you must avoid cultural gaffes, build trust, and know the customs concerning business wear, body language, handshakes, and more.

Clients thousands of miles away are easily reached in today’s society through video messaging, the internet, and email. So, knowing how to conduct yourself in other cultures is vital to having business success. Not only do you have the chance to impress foreign clients and your boss, you can also make yourself stand out on a global scale.

Do Your Homework
In some Asian countries, holding eye contact for too long is considered impolite or aggressive. On the other hand, Canadian businessmen emphasize eye contact as a way of showing respect and interest in what the other person is saying.

The best way to know what’s acceptable and what’s not is by doing your homework.

The acceptable business etiquette for any country can be found on the internet and in travel books, so it’s easy to educate yourself on the common practices. For example, if you are traveling to India, it’s good to know that ordering beef at a business lunch is considered rude since cows are sacred animals in that country.

Never be late to a meeting with Canadian business executives, as they value punctuality. And when dealing with the Japanese, let them initiate a handshake first because sometimes handshakes are not acceptable.

Set Your Ego Aside
In the U.S., Americans take pride in our strengths and our individuality. Holding heads high and portraying confident body language shows one is a capable and successful business person.

But in Japan, for instance, it is common practice to divert your eyes when dealing with a business partner in a higher position than you are. In business dealings, showing respect can mean the difference between a contract or a failure.

Admit Ignorance or “The Power of Apology”
If you do commit a cultural gaffe while dealing with foreign clients, apologize quickly and make it clear that you were unaware of your mistake.

Like you, foreign clients are on unfamiliar ground when doing business outside their home country. Apologize quickly and sincerely if you make a mistake and ask your client what the proper etiquette is, giving him or her the chance to explain.

The Importance of Food
In many societies, food is a ritual. With business dealings, the same theory applies. If you are invited to a lunch or formal dinner with foreign colleagues, brush up on the local dinner table manners. For instance, never put your chopsticks upright in rice, as it is reminiscent of incense sticks burned at a funeral in many Asian countries.

While eating with your hands is acceptable in India, it’s strictly taboo in other cultures. In France, politeness dictates that you rest your hands on the table instead of your lap.

Never Assume
Every society has its rules and quirks. It’s important to know or at least attempt to know the different customs of the clients you deal with in order to maintain a level of professionalism in your career.

How about you? Share your stories – both good and embarrassing – about dealing with foreign clients in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Are You a Job Search Zombie? Bring Your Job Search Back to Life

jobsearch_zombie_webThe fifth season debut of The Walking Dead has everyone talking, showing that the popularity of all things zombie is not going away anytime soon. And with Halloween right around the corner, the undead will be a popular choice for anyone dressing up for a costume party or a night of trick or treating.

Here are three job search lessons you can learn from the undead, and three reasons you want your efforts to find work to be full of life and anything other than zombie-like.

What Zombies Can Teach You

1. Move in packs
While zombies can be managed fairly easily one on one, when they arrive in large groups, they can use their numbers to have a greater impact. And when you utilize your network of friends and family, you’ll start to see a big difference in the life of your job search.

2. Never be satisfied
The undead just can’t seem to get enough, and neither should you. If you recently found a great job you’d like to apply for, t’s now time to put in the hard work of researching the company and developing your resume and cover letter to fit the specifics of the job description.

Maybe you just wrapped up a solid job interview and are ready to get back home and sit lifelessly on the couch. Resist the urge to zone out, and start writing your thank you note to those who you interviewed you. It will likely put you one step ahead of your competition.

3. No pain, no gain
How many times have we seen survivors of the zombie apocalypse make the mistake of attacking a zombie somewhere other than their brain? It’s well-known rule that a body-blow does nothing but slow down “walkers.”

Treat your job search the same way. Getting a “no” is bound to happen, and you’ll likely get several of them before you finally get a job offer. Don’t let the disappointment of not getting a job kill your job search. Susan P. Joyce of the Work Coach Café blog believes that a job rejection can be a move in the right direction. “Try to think of every rejection as bringing you one step closer to that better job that is waiting for you, just around the corner.”

Lessons for Keeping Your Search Alive

1. Zombies don’t require vital systems to survive
The undead are exactly that: dead. Other than the desire to feed on those lucky enough to be alive, they don’t have brain activity or a beating heart. Your search will take every part of you to be successful. When you put your knowledge, talent, and connections to work, you’ll have a great chance at finding your next job.

2. They have limited mobility
In most zombie apocalypse stories, the undead move very slowly and with a limp. If your most recent job search efforts sound anything like that, it’s time to change up what you’re doing.

Check out one of these five great job preparation interview apps available on most smart phones, or begin volunteering with a local charity and you’ll start to see your job search move much faster.

3. The undead don’t think critically
How many zombies have you seen walking around checking their Facebook or LinkedIn to see what‘s going on with their friends? Zero would be our guess. Put your healthy and functioning brain to work and think about the ways you can use technology to your advantage during your job search.

Avoid being a mindless, wandering job search zombie and use some job search tools you may not have thought about yet.

What else can the characteristics of zombies teach us about a job search? Let us know in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

5 Great Apps To Help You Prepare For An Interview

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“There’s an app for that!” is an iconic Apple Inc. slogan, one of several companies capitalizing off of the trend of desktops being replaced by mobile devices. According to a five year report by “Flurry,” a leading producer of app analytics, consumers now spend two hours and 42 minutes a day on their phone, with 80% of that being used for apps and only 20% for internet search.

This increase in phone usage means the need for apps continually increases as well. From documenting every second of your life to maximizing your next selfie, there truly is an app for everything. Among those millions of apps are actually some very useful tools for job seekers. So which of them can help you land that next job? Below you’ll find five apps that are sure to make an impact on your interview preparation.

Glassdoor
Knowing your audience is very important in many facets of life, and it can definitely be a winning factor in an interview. Glassdoor calls themselves the world’s most transparent career community. It is a largely crowd sourced online resource that connects you with company information, employee reviews, salary information, and job descriptions. This knowledge can be helpful in giving you a deeper understanding of the companies that you are applying with.

Interview Prep Questions
Once you get in the door of an employer, it’s not always smooth sailing. Some hiring managers will ask you tough questions that could rock your boat if you aren’t prepared. This quick-flip app displays questions similar to flash cards and lets you get familiar with frequently asked questions so you can give solid, confident answers.

MonsterInterviews
A simple app by career search company Monster. This app has multiple tools to help you prepare with sample interview questions, company research tools, and last minute tips to keep you calm and collected on the interview big day. Another unique function it provides is a post-interview calendar option. With this you can set reminders for follow up calls and save important notes that you can reference if you get called in for a second interview.

Google Maps
Although not directly related to the actual interview, knowing where to go for your interview can relieve one more stressor and help keep you focused on the task at hand. I speak from experience – getting lost and calling the employer for directions doesn’t help put your best foot forward.

How-to-tie-a-tie
An integral part of getting your next job is dressing the part. And, anyone who wears ties in their day-to-day lives will tell you the knot in your tie is very important in how you present yourself. So if you aren’t familiar with tying a tie, this app can definitely help top off your appearance with a top-notch knot.

Not everything can be solved with your digital companion, but when job hunting you can never have too much support. Regardless of how you prepare, be sure to research and prepare for the tough questions. Most importantly, be sure to stand tall, stay confident, and present yourself like you are their next most valuable employee. If you know of other apps that are complementary to the interview preparation be sure, to let us know in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Know When To Go – Job Change

Know when to go_May2014Everyone has moments when they wonder if it’s time to make a change and find a new job. But, if you find yourself constantly thinking of leaving your job and wishing you worked somewhere else, you probably need to do a little soul-searching. It may be time to try something new, or you may just have unrealistic expectations of your job.

Making a job change can be a great career move, but it’s not something you should take lightly. In order to know when to go, you need to take an honest look at your situation. Understanding your reasons for leaving will not only help you make a wise decision, but also ensure your future success wherever you work.

How’s Your Attitude?
There is no such thing as a stress-free job. Even the most passionate professionals can find themselves frustrated and stressed out. So don’t make a quick decision to change jobs when you’re emotional. Take the time to uncover if you are just stressed or have burned out. Also, see if making a conscious effort to have a positive attitude for a few weeks changes your perspective.

Are You Running Away From Someone?
Toxic coworkers or managers can ruin any job. However, there will always be difficult people in the workplace you don’t get along with. If you want to change jobs to get away from someone, consider if you’re dealing with a true toxic relationship or if it’s just a matter of personality difference. And, to be fair, you should also reflect on if you’ve played a part in creating the negative relationship and if there is a way you can turn things around.

Have You Maximized Your Current Job?
A lack of career development opportunities is a legitimate reason for leaving a job. However, it’s easy to mistakenly assume you’ve outgrown your current job and employer. Think through all your job responsibilities – have you mastered them all? If so, are there other skills you could learn in your department or in other departments? Sometimes lateral moves at your current workplace can offer the challenge and development you’re looking for, without the uncertainty and hassle associated with a new employer. This is also the time to decide if you want to be a job-hopper or a job-shopper.

Before you make the transition into job-hunting mode, take the time to consider why you want to change jobs. If you decide to leave, then you’ll already know some of the key things you’re looking for in a new job. And, if you decide to stay, you’ll know how to improve and be happy in your current job.

How do you know when to go? What do you look at when you’re considering changing jobs? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below.

How to Find Your Breakthrough

breakthrough_April2014Have you ever dreamed of having a great job, owning a company, or being a millionaire someday? Although we all want the best that life has to offer, our dreams won’t become a reality without hard work and unwavering determination, it doesn’t happen randomly or by accident. So, here are a few tips to help you along the way to your breakthrough.

We All Have to Start Somewhere

Steve Jobs is a perfect example of how hard work pays off, and his life story reminds us that we all have to start somewhere. After graduating high school, Jobs enrolled in college but dropped out right after his first semester. Throughout his life, Jobs struggled in school. But, he didn’t let that stop him from founding one of the world’s most innovative companies, Apple. Steve Jobs believed that every obstacle you encounter in life will prepare you for the future, and every aspect of the struggles we face will somehow help out down the road. His mindset was one of determination and grit. “Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards,” Jobs said. “So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

Know What You’re Good At

Before you get your foot in the door at a company and start trekking down your career path, you’ve got to know where you want to go and what you’re good at. So, how do you make your dreams of having a great job become reality? You’ve got to be intentional about your job choices. If you want to do website design, search for entry level jobs in an IT role. Whatever field you’re interested in, look for jobs where you can learn skills in that specific trade. Try to get the most out of each job by looking through a learning opportunity lens. Remember to know where you’re going and have an end goal in mind.

Don’t Give Up

At the end of the day most people are looking for that big break that will make them successful in their career, job search, and life, but most times it’s the first step that leads to the breakthrough. All you’ve got to do is work to reprogram your brain to become more positive, in order to gain a competitive edge at work and in the job search process. Don’t look at a job as a dead end, focus on what you can gain and experience to take away. Even negative or stressful situations can teach you. Take this lesson and apply it to any area of your life where you need a break-through or positive change. Don’t just wait for situations to change, begin today by taking empowered actions to bring the breakthrough you’ve needed.

Hard Work Pays Off

Zig Ziglar once said, “There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.” This means we have to work to gain experience and the knowledge over the course of a career. And, even when you arrive at that dream job and achieve success, you have to continue to work hard. Honestly, big breaks don’t just happen; people make them happen through, hard work, determination, networking, courage, and passion.

How have you made changes and seen a breakthrough in your job search or at work? Let us know in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Four Tricks to Learn to Land the Interview

four_tricks_to_learn_March2014Without the right guidance, filling out applications, sending your resume to numerous people, and searching for jobs online, can seem impossible. But we want to help make that process easier for you. So here are four tricks to learn how to land an interview.

Have a Strong Tailored Resume and Powerful Cover Letter
Make sure your resume is specifically tailored and relevant to the position you’re applying for. And don’t skip the cover letter. This is your chance to tell the hiring manager exactly who you are and what you have to offer. A cover letter can say what a resume can’t, so include specific examples of instances where you have excelled, use this avenue to craft a picture of your expertise you want the prospective employer to know.

Follow Up
Communication is the key to landing a job interview. After you’ve sent in your resume and cover letter, follow up by sending an email to say thank you for their consideration, confirm that they’ve received your resume and cover letter, and ask where they are in the hiring process. Communicating with your potential employer will reiterate your interest and show them you’re serious about the job opportunity.

Don’t Forget to Be Yourself
Make sure everything you’ve provided is accurate and uniquely you. Although you may have received help with writing your cover letter or resume, be sure that every bit of information you share is truthful and allows your personality to shine through.

Network and Research
Get to know people who work where you want to work. It’s important to network with experts in the field you want to be in, so don’t be afraid to reach out and develop relationships with them. Begin by looking online and using social media networks to learn more about the company and industry you want to work in. Facebook Graph Search is a great tool to see if any of your Facebook friends work at the specific company or industry you want to work in.

Another way to learn more about your potential employer is by following them on Twitter and LinkedIn or by liking their company’s page on Facebook. Put your best foot forward by being active on their social media networks. Believe it or not, most recruiters, human resource directors, and hiring managers scan over candidates’ social media profiles before they begin the hiring process. So, remember to keep your social media sites clean and professional.

Have you recently landed a job interview? What are some tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments section below!

Look! Interview Tips

Look_Interview_Tips_Feb2014
Have you ever wondered what goes through the hiring manager’s mind when you’re in an interview? Wouldn’t it be nice to know what they were thinking, what they want to hear from you, or what they want to see on your resume? We asked a few hiring managers to share their insight on interview musts and they shared these top four interview tips.

Have Professionalism
The employer you’re interviewing with has goals to grow and brand a company. It’s important to understand that how you present yourself in your personal life may not match the image of the organization, so remember to put your best foot forward. Dress appropriately for the job for which you are interviewing. If you’re not sure, it’s a good idea to ask the interviewer about the dress code. Additionally, there is so much more to professionalism than just dressing the part. Integrity and a good work ethic are also very important attributes to possess and can take you a long way in the hiring process. So make sure you can show these attributes to your interviewer and be ready to share good examples of those traits.

Have a Typo-Free Resume
Job seekers often trust their own eyes to proof and edit their resumes. If no one else reviews your resume, there could be typos that you missed. Find a friend who is great at spelling and grammar or someone that you respect professionally to review and critique your resume before your job hunt, and especially before an interview. If the interview process boils down to three people with the same qualifications and your resume is the only one with a typo, you’re making it easy for an interviewer to choose another candidate.

Have Interest in the Job and the Company
Jennifer Anderson, the hiring manager and vice president of Marketing and Communications at Express Employment Professionals, said, “Often I ask a job seeker to describe to me the ideal job and more times than not the answers come back with something completely unrelated to the job they are seeking. For example, someone may interview for a Marketing Coordinator’s position, but when they describe the ideal job, they want to be a stay at home mother and work from a home office.” So it’s important for the interviewee to understand not only the qualifications of the job they are applying for but also what it is they really want to do with their life and career.

Have a Commitment for More than One Year
Longevity is one of the top qualities employers look for in new hires. Most employers will spend the first six to nine months training you to do a job. Not only will they have invested their time and shared their knowledge, the company has been paying you a salary during your training period. Do your best to learn all you can during training and commit to making the most of your job for a couple of years. Anderson encourages people to let the interviewer know that you’re reliable, you’ll give it your best, and you plan on sticking with the company to help it grow.

After job searching for what seemed like forever, editing your resume, and applying at numerous businesses, it’s time to prepare for an interview. What are some interview tips you’d like to share with us? Let us know in the comments section below.