J Patrick + Associates Blog

Tell Your Story To Get the Job

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Mon, Feb 10, 2020 @ 03:27 PM

The key to getting the job

When it comes to a job interview, what’s the one thing that differentiates you from all the other applicants with the same skill set, certifications and level of experience? The answer is simple: You, of course.

You know what you have to offer a prospective employer, and so do the people who know you. However, the hiring manager at your next interview only knows where you’ve been. In order to stand out from the crowd of other candidates, you need to be prepared to tell your story in a compelling and eloquent manner.

Knowing how to tell your story is what can turn an interview into an offer.

How to Tell Your Story to Get the Job

Connections Move People

Think back for a moment to the last five movies you saw, or books you read. Which stories stuck with you the most? Science fiction, true crime, romance, and fairy tales - no matter where your tastes lie, all good stories have one thing in common; the main characters feel like fully realized people with whom we come to care about them. We don’t even have to have anything in common with them, but their basic struggles feel familiar. Stories succeed when we can see something of ourselves on the screen or on the pages.

And while an interview is hopefully nothing like your favorite novel, it is your best and perhaps only opportunity to make a meaningful connection with a potential employer.

How Do You Use Storytelling In An Interview?

Prospective employers want to see how you think, how your experiences have made you smarter, sharper, and more efficient. Your resume only tells them where you’ve been, it’s up to you to fill in the heart of the story.  

Get Comfortable With Yourself

Come up with 5 words to describe yourself. Be honest and take your time with this exercise, do not just write down the first things that come to mind. Think back on the challenges you’ve faced and what attributes got you through.

Then ask two trusted friends or coworkers to come up with 5 words to describe you.

Do their words match yours? Or, are they wildly different? If so, drill-down and try to see what you might be missing, how your picture of yourself differs from the one others have of you.

Note: You may not necessarily use this in an interview, but knowing your strengths and how they’ve served you in the past is an important first step in defining your story.

Create A Narrative

Build a timeline of both your accomplishments and challenges, successes and failures. Then stand back and try to understand how one event led to the next. How did you wind up as a sales engineer when you started your career as a support guy? What happy accidents or perceived losses led to you where you are today?

You may be hesitant to share the pitfalls that befell you, but understanding how they all fit together frees you up to present your story in a cohesive and engaging manner. Remember, you want to make certain that you are seen as a resilient and thoughtful employee, one who is resourceful and always thinking.

Know Your Audience

Do your research on the company and your interviewer. Understanding who you are talking to, their management style, their values and interests helps you tailor your story. Read their LinkedIn profiles and/or blog posts, or turn to the recruiter or mutual contact to understand more about who you’re meeting with.  

Highlight An Achievement

Without making yourself sound like a superhero, relay how you were able to meet a situation head-on and work through to a successful conclusion. Draw on examples both large and small - how you handle daily problems can be as telling as major issues.

Listen To The Stories Others Are Telling

Listen to your interviewer and try to figure out where you fit into the story of the company, where your strengths can help, where past experiences can shed light on a particular problem they are facing. Being open and perceptive to the story of the company and then dovetailing the solutions you can provide makes you a candidate worth remembering.

Bonus Tip: Always Remain Perceptive

Do not iterate lists or stick too close to your idea of how the conversation should go. Be prepared to dial back or change your narrative to fit the reaction of the person sitting across from you.

When you take the time to understand how to present yourself so that others can see who you are, how you work and what value, you are far more likely to make a lasting impression. Leaving an interviewer with the sense that they got to know YOU is key to getting either to the next level of the interview process or better yet, landing an offer.


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Tags: Job Search

8 Tips For Acing A Phone Interview

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Fri, Feb 07, 2020 @ 02:06 PM

8 Tips for Acing a Phone Interview

When J. Patrick & Associates first opened 25 years ago, the vast majority of interviews we set up for our clients were face-to-face meetings, based on a resume and our recommendation. Phone interviews were rare and arranged primarily for remote candidates. Well, times have changed, and today more and more of our clients require a phone interview regardless of the candidates’ apparent qualifications.

Make no mistake about it, a strong resume is still of prime importance, but hiring managers have taken to the phone interview as the first point of contact. Certainly, there are obvious considerations of time and money saved, but phone interviews lower the threshold for the hiring manager. Fifteen minutes on the phone with a candidate is a far more expeditious way to answer some basic questions about a candidate’s suitability and appeal than having to sit through a longer meeting.

And while you might think an interview is an interview, knowing that there are some key differences between a phone interview and one held face-to-face can mean the difference between failing to get to the next step and landing an offer.

The phone interview is your first and best opportunity to make a good impression. Follow these 8 pro-tips to ensure it’s not your last.

8 Tips for Acing a Phone Interview

Just as you do your homework in advance of an in-person interview, you must do your due diligence for a phone call. Be careful of falling into the mindset that a phone interview is somehow less important or just a necessary hurdle you have to get past to get to the real thing.

1. Do Your Homework

Research the company and the interviewer. Understanding what their strengths are and what challenges they might be facing are key to presenting yourself as a necessary addition to their company.

2. Make Notes Ahead of time

One great advantage of a phone interview is that you can use a “cheat-sheet” to refer to. Always have the necessary and vital statistics on the company close at hand so that you are prepared when asked what you know about the company.

Also be certain to print your resume, cover letter and any other supporting material you want to present and keep them close at hand. You don’t want to have to go digging for anything while on the phone, nor hem and haw as you try to remember why you left a previous position. Don’t make your interviewer feel that your attention is not 100% focused on the conversation.

Write out your questions ahead of time so that you can be sure to get the answers you need. Remember too that interviews are as much an opportunity for you to find out if the company is a good fit for you as it is for the hiring manager.

3. Clear Your Calendar

Assuming you have a scheduled interview be certain to allow yourself 10-15 minutes in advance of the call to prepare and clear your head of other business.

If you don’t have the advantage of scheduled time and the call comes in when you are not prepared to focus on it, you can always allow the call to go to voice mail - it’s unlikely it would be held against you. The better option, however, would be to say something like, “I’m not at my desk at the moment, when would be a good time for me to call you back?”

4. Dress the Part

It might sound counter-intuitive, but doing a phone interview from home in your sweats does not give you the best advantage. While no one might be able to see you except your cat, dog or pet fish, how you dress has a direct influence on how you feel. 

While you want to be comfortable and not on edge, watch your posture and body language. Your interviewer may not be able to see you but they will be able to pick up on subtle hints when you’re not fully engaged or energized.

5. Clear the Distractions

Thirty minutes or more before your call check that your cell signal is strong and even and/or that your Skype connection is stable. You might also want to disable call waiting and other features that might break up the flow of your conversation.

Put the dog somewhere else, send the kids out of the house and close the windows. There’s nothing more frustrating than loud, extraneous noises on the other end of the phone. It’s best to find as quiet and contained an environment as possible for the phone call. If your home is not a viable option, see if you can’t borrow some office space from a friend or perhaps book time a short session in a co-working space.

6. Listen First/Talk Second

Once the call comes in, answer with your name - it’s a small thing but can go a long way to showing the interviewer you are professional.

Be certain to listen attentively - even though they can’t see you, we’ve all experienced that sensation that the person on the other end of the phone is not quite with us. Let them know you are actively engaged in listening - a few well placed “I see’s,”’ go a long way to create a bond during a phone conversation.

Unlike a face-to-face interview where you have the benefit of body language and other non-verbal communication, it’s wise to wait a beat (a count of 2 or 3) before answering a question just in case your interviewer has not finished with their question. There’s nothing worse than interrupting or speaking on top of someone, especially in an interview.

The one advantage of not having physical cues during a phone interview is that it keeps the distractions down, you can make your pitch free from the very human instinct to constantly interpret visual clues.

7. Speak with Distinction 

Speaking on the phone requires slightly different inflections and an alteration in tempo. Slow down and articulate.

If you have a very low voice, you may want to try speaking at a slightly higher pitch - it will help with relay a better sense of engagement and avoid miscommunication.

Pro-Tip Not all HR and hiring managers do well on the phone. Some might ramble or be distracted themselves. If this is the case, use the opportunity to show them that you’ve done your homework and can keep the conversation focused on what you can offer the company.

8. End On A Positive Note

Thank your interviewer for their time and the information they’ve provided. If you’re interested in the position make certain to let them know that. Saying something like, “I’m very interested in all that I’ve heard and am confident I could add value to your company,” is a clear, professional message of your intent.

Send a thank-you note via email within the same business day to once again thank them for their time, reiterating your interest in the position and reaffirming the value you bring to the position.

As in any interview once it is over the next thing you have to do is let it go. As long as you were prepared, thorough, professional and personable, then you’ve done everything you can within your control. The rest is out of your hands, so change out of those work clothes, put your sweats on and let the dog back into the house.


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Tags: Job Search, Job Interviews

Numbers Talk: Why You Must Use Social Media in Your Job Search

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Thu, Feb 06, 2020 @ 03:13 PM

Numbers Talk_

You have read so many articles like “14 Ways to Use Twitter to Land a Job” or “8 Ways to Get Recruiters to Find You on LinkedIn.” You may have read many of ours giving this type of premier advice…but here is the million-dollar question…

Are you doing it? Any of It? Even a little bit of it?

Only You know the answer to that…

I have to believe you do not need any more convincing as to why you must use social media in your job search…but in case you do here are some numbers to consider.

Social recruiting is on the rise.

The use of social media to find candidates in recent years has only increased as recruiters learn how to maneuver it. And guess what…it’s not going anywhere.

According to a recent Jobvite study, 73 percent of recruiters have already hired someone using social media. Furthermore, 93 percent of recruiters will look at a candidate’s social media profiles before making a decision.

In fact, recruiters are now taking social media profiles more seriously. According to the study, 55 percent of recruiters changed their minds about a candidate based on something they had on their social media profile. (This is why it’s imperative that you be careful about what you post on social media.)

If that’s not enough to convince you, consider this: 73% of recruiters plan to invest even more in social recruiting. It’s working for them, and as such, you should consider getting in on the game.

Social Networking Sites by the numbers.

LinkedIn is a recruiter’s top choice for finding candidates with 94% of them utilizing it. Facebook is in second place with 66 percent of them using it to find candidates.

Below you’ll find a breakdown of which social media platforms recruiters have already used to hire candidates:

  • 79% of recruiters have hired someone using LinkedIn
  • 26% of recruiters have hired someone using Facebook
  • 14% of recruiters hired someone using Twitter

This means that social media isn’t a fad. Social hiring is happening right now as we speak.

What recruiters do on Social Media Sites.

On Facebook, recruiters tend to focus on the employer brand (59%), post jobs (48%) and generate employee referrals (51%). While Twitter isn’t as widely used, recruiters are still using it for much of the same. In other words, if you’re not active on either of these networks you’re missing out on about half of the job opportunities available to you.

Of course, LinkedIn is the recruiter goldmine with 95 percent of them using it to search for and contact candidates. They also use it to keep tabs on potential candidates for future openings.

Social media as a means of getting referrals.

Another Jobvite study found that 55 percent of referrals get hired faster than candidates from company career sites. The rise of social media has made it easier than ever to create contacts and build relationships with referrals.

Numbers don’t lie. If you’re not on social media then you’re missing out on major job opportunities. You can download our free eBook to help set yourself up for social media success.


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Tags: Recruiter Tips, Social Media, Job Search, Career Strategies

16 Super Easy Actions to Take After a Networking Event

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Fri, Jan 31, 2020 @ 02:39 PM

16 Actions to Take After a Networking Event

Let me ask you: Have you ever attended a networking event, met a new contact, enjoyed a really interesting conversation, exchanged business cards or contact information, and then… never followed through with reaching out to them after-the-fact, despite your best intentions? Is that you? Whether you are seeking a new job opportunity, career advancement, or growing a business, intentional and effective networking follow-up will help you succeed.

According to a study done by ICims, more than 27% of external hires in America are from referrals. In fact, it’s the top external source of hires today.

According to the New York Times, 65% of new business comes from referrals. A Nielsen Study cited clients are four times more likely to buy when being referred from someone they know and trust.

So we know why we network, but what do you do to follow up after a networking event? After all, it’s what you do AFTER the event that matters, as that is where the real work begins!  

16 Easy Actions to Take After a Networking Event

1) Google your new contact

You would be amazed at what you can find by Googling a person. You can find additional information to help you with reasons to connect—or to NOT connect. This info can help with all steps on this list. 

2) Write down some notes

Shortly after the event – same day, if possible – make some notes on what happened, record your thoughts and create a list of actions to implement. 

3) Compose an email

Write an email indicating that you enjoyed meeting them and why it makes sense to continue the connection or further the relationship. 

4) Begin a dialogue

You’ll want to stay in touch, if no need to meet again—start by asking them what they thought of the event via email. 

5) Connect on Social Media

Send your new contact a LinkedIn invitation including a note that you enjoyed meeting at the event where you met. Follow them on Twitter, which can provide real time data to improve the content of your communication. If you see a personal connection outside of work and/or it makes sense, connect on Facebook. 

6) Offer a Phone Date

Via email, suggest a 15-minute phone call, but sure to clarify the purpose of the call and how it can benefit you both to do so. 

7) Even better!

Here’s a novel idea… just call the person. Let them know that you enjoyed meeting them and would like to keep the conversation going. Ask if they prefer to schedule a phone chat or coffee meeting as a follow-up. 

8) Meet face to face

Propose a face-to-face meeting over coffee right out of the gate with contacts that have the most potential, who interest you most, or simply where it makes sense. Show interest in what they do and who they are. 

9) What NOT to do

Do not automatically add them to any email list you may have! Instead, send an email asking if they would like to join your email list since you thought, based on your conversation, the content may be of interest. Don’t spam! 

10) Add their info to your contact management system

A contact made today, may not bring you business today, but that person may be the resource you needed (or needed you) for a situation in the future. 

11) Look to influence

See how you can introduce two people who can help each other and ask to make that introduction… it’s good karma, as you are always remembered as the person who made the introduction. 

12) Say ‘thank you’

Thank the host of the event. This is a great way to start a connection that you did not have before. 

13) Reach out within two days

Ideally, make contact within 48 hours, but don’t fail to reach out if it is later than that time frame. I have reached out 6 months after the initial meeting and have it turn out well—but this is not recommended at all!! 

14) Seek out influence

Look for people who can influence your business or job search—not just give you business or hire you. Influencers are more impactful than direct clients or hiring managers, since they introduce many opportunities.

15) Look for collaborators

Search for collaborators and joint venture partners. The best way to grow is by collaborating with others.

16) Send them something

Sending an article or book reference in an email or snail mail, relevant to something you discussed will show that you listened to the conversation.

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Tags: Networking

The Best Hire: How To Increase Employee Retention

Posted by Nicholas Stearns on Tue, Jan 28, 2020 @ 10:13 AM

The Best Hire

We know that many workers, especially in IT, might change jobs every 2-3 years. This is great for them, they get to chase higher salaries and better titles. But on the other end of the equation, employees who last for longer periods of time provide more value to their company. Improving your ability to retain your talent is a must in today’s competitive market.

Here are 7 tips on how to increase your employee retention rate.

Better Screening

The road to retention begins when you make the first contact with a candidate. Your HR department and the hiring managers need to be looking not only for skills and abilities but also for signs that potential hires will be a good fit. Assess your interview processes and make certain that you are screening properly. You’re not only interviewing for skills and experience, but also for cultural fit. 

Employees that are comfortable with the company norms are more likely to be with you for the long run and provide more value.  

Clear On-boarding

Once you’ve gotten your new hire, the next step is making sure their first experience in your organization is a positive one. The on-boarding process needs to be well thought out and clear. It should be employee-centric, focusing on getting the new hire comfortable and quickly acclimated to the workplace. Be certain to conduct periodic reviews of the process to make certain you’re meeting the needs of the current workforce.

Offer Unique Perks

Look to go beyond the mandatory perks such as insurance, or the standard ones like parking. Business models that allow for flexibility appeal more to today’s workers. Allowing for remote work, equity compensation, or gym memberships and other perks let your employees know you value them and want them to be happy.

Seek Employee Referrals

Implementing an employee referral program is a great way to increase employee engagement. It shows employees that you value their ideas and that you want to invest in their networks. It keeps employees engaged, increases morale, and moreover, has been shown to increase retention.

Provide A Roadmap

While not all roads to the top follow the same route, there does tend to be a proven path. Provide your employees with a roadmap they can use to work towards those opportunities. Make opportunities available for further training, extended certifications, even attendance at seminars and conferences is a way to invest in their growth. When your team understands what they need to get to the next level, they’ll be more motivated and willing to take on the extra work.

It Starts At The Top

Management is your best first line of defense. We think of training managers for specific responsibilities, and sometimes forget how important they are for keeping morale up. Always remember, employees don't quit jobs, they quit managers. Sensitivity training is one thing, but the ability to keep employees engaged and feeling recognized is just as important.

There’s Always Room For Improvement

Track your effectiveness. How well have you done in the past, and how well are you doing now? And most importantly, where do you want to get to? Take the time to survey your employees. Listening to long-time employees is a great way to understand what you’ve been doing right. Don't forget to speak with those who are on their way out the door, it can help you understand where you need improvement.

Working to increase retention might require some additional resources or time, but the benefits of higher retention rates have a direct effect on your bottom line.

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7 Clues the Interview Didn’t Go as Planned

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Fri, Jan 24, 2020 @ 04:43 PM
7 CluesThe most difficult part of the job search for many is the dreaded interview. Interviews are designed to test applicants to see if they will be a good fit for the company. After an interview, it is normal to spend time waiting for a phone call as you hope to land that next job. However, if you pay attention to a few details, you can probably already tell if you have shot at the job or not. Knowing when an interview didn’t go as planned is just as important as feeling good when you know it went great. This allows you to stop the waiting game and keep going with your search so you can land a job that will be a great fit for you much more quickly.

7 Clues the Interview Didn't Go As Planned

1. The interview is cut short.

Many companies will give you at least an estimate of how long to expect your interview to last. Based on how it goes during the interview, it could go longer or much shorter. If it seems to run much shorter than you expected, chances are they decided at the beginning that you are not a right fit for the position and chose to end it early to not waste both their time and yours.

2. The interviewer seems distracted.

If during the course of the interview the conversation doesn’t seem to go well or if the interviewer appears distracted or uninterested in what you have to say, this could mean that you haven’t made a good impression or at least they have quickly decided that you do not fit well with their company or position.

3. You only get asked the easy questions.

So many people dread interviews because of those tough questions that require you really to think and think quickly. If over the course of the interview you only get asked about your work history or easy questions about yourself, this could actually be a bad sign. If an interviewer is truly interested in you they will pitch the hard questions to try to learn even more about you and how you would handle some of the most difficult situations on the job.

4. They don’t try to sell you on the company or position.

If a company likes what you have to offer and is truly interested in adding you to their roster, they will spend time during the interview trying to sell the company to you. As much as you might want a job offer, they want to be sure you will say yes to the offer. If during your interview there is very little mentioned about all the great things going on in the business, chances are they aren’t considering you for a position so they feel no need to sell the company to you.

5. You aren’t asked when you are available to start.

If a company really wants to add you to their roster, they will want to know when you can start. When hiring a new employee there are many things that need to happen in order for the company to prepare for your arrival. If they don’t care when you can begin working for them there is a good chance they don’t intend on hiring you at all.

6. Salary isn’t brought up during the interview process.

If a company is truly interested in you and they believe you will be a good fit for their business, one of the first things they will want to find out is if they can afford you. If salary is not brought up or if the interviewer seems to have an issue with salary expectations, it could be a sign that ultimately it doesn’t matter to them because you are not being considered for the position.

7. The interview ends without talking about the next steps in the process.

Most companies require much more than just one single interview before you are hired. After that initial interview, most companies will want to schedule a follow-up interview or at the very least check your references. If after your first interview there is no mention of what the next steps are, there is a good chance you aren’t getting the job.

All of the signs we have discussed can help you determine how well you did in your interview. If all signs point to a bad interview, do not despair. Bad interviews do not mean you are a bad candidate, just a bad fit for that company. Remember, interviews are designed to help both the company and you determine if the job is a good fit for both parties. If it’s not and you believe the interview did not go well, brush yourself off and be thankful for the opportunity and keep searching until you find that perfect job.

Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer


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Tags: Job Search, Job Interviews

What Gets Enterprise Sales-Leaders Excited These Days?  - Part 1

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Thu, Jan 23, 2020 @ 04:43 PM

What Gets Sales Leaders Excited_

Hiring managers and candidates alike know that recruiting and retaining an A-level sales team is key to the success of any company offering an enterprise solution. No matter how compelling the product, without top performers on your team, success is going to be elusive. Every company wants them, and yet, not every company can get them.

Certainly, considerations such as compensation, company culture, the degree to which a company is willing to invest in training, ongoing learning and career development all carry weight with candidates. But what we find is that these are not necessarily the factors that drive top talent to leave one position to take another.

What does it take to attract top Enterprise sales talent?

In a word: Pre-IPO. Well funded start-ups that have not yet gone public are enormously enticing to our sales candidates right now. And while there are risks associated with moving to a new/unknown entity, the rewards can be enormous. That is if you’re moving to the right company.

So, what is the right company?

Well, of course, that answer is going to be different for every candidate, but driven to get involved with what could be the next great technological leap, here’s what top sales leaders are thinking about when considering a new position: 

Disruptive Technologies with an Achievable Plan.

A disruptive technology is one that either displaces an existing technology or introduces a ground-breaking product that opens up a new industry. It’s exciting, it’s cutting-edge and it’s potentially important. You won’t find better salespeople than those who are looking to be engaged with the product they’re selling, who need to feel that they are helping to build something new, innovative and/or helpful. And truly, what salesperson worth their salt doesn’t want to be selling the world’s next great technological breakthrough?

But above and beyond the technology itself, savvy salespeople are considering the marketplace for this product. How corded is it? Are there too many players, is the company engaged in a red ocean or a blue ocean strategy?


A top salesperson got where they are based on the value of their relationships and the depth of their network. There’s no point in making a move where you can’t carry those relationships forward with you. It’s not enough to only believe in the product you’re selling, it’s vital to consider if it’s one you can sell to a marketplace/customer base you know well. How well will you be able to leverage your existing network?  And, more importantly, does this new product solve a real problem for your current customers?

Top-Level Management.

When it comes to startups, who are just as important as what. Top management leaders who’ve scaled a company before, who have the knowledge, experience and following to build a successful company are nearly as important as the technology itself. Savvy salespeople look to the management team as a good barometer for potential success. They’re looking for managers they not only they feel they can work with, but who have a track record of success and can move the company toward profit and beyond.

It’s also important to remember that more people cite a lack of faith in, or conflict with, their manager as the number one reason for leaving a position. And while you can’t know how you’ll get on with a manager, doing due diligence about the people you’ll be reporting to is a key consideration to make.


Look, salespeople know a worthwhile lead when they see it, and they can also recognize a dead-end long before it comes into view. Yes, there has to be a belief in the technology and an investment in the worth it adds to the business, or society at large, but more than that, there has to be the potential for a high return.

Always consider who is involved. Is this a purely VC backed venture, or PE? Where are they in their funding? While getting into a company while they are still in series A funding might promise higher returns later on, we are currently finding that the majority of our sales candidates are interested in series C or beyond. This may be attributable to the fact that the first quarter of 2016 has seen the lowest number of companies going public, or it may be that they are looking to move only to companies that are further along in their development. Either way, the real potential has to be there for a company to attract top sales talent.

Getting in on the ground floor of a disruptive technology ensures that a salesperson is both challenged, engaged and invested in the company’s success. The only gamble, of course, is whether the tech will catch on or not. If they’ve judged well and have gone where the smart money is sitting, they can expect to find themselves post-IPO in a very comfortable position, and their reputation as a sales leader greatly enhanced.

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Tags: enterprise, HR and Hiring, Career Strategies, Career Path

How To: Advice You Need to Know That Will Help in Your First Job

Posted by Nicholas Stearns on Fri, Jan 17, 2020 @ 03:09 PM

You’ve gone through the whole hiring process. You sent in your resume, got a call, went to the in-person interview, and finally got hired. Now, the hard part starts. Perhaps you've had counseling at your college's career office from working professionals, but there several things you won't be taught in school. 


Top Tips to Help You Get Ready for work as a Recent College Grad

Be On-Time

College life isn’t exactly the hardest-hitting when it comes to punctuality. In a world where professors are busier than students, it wouldn’t be inconceivable for a class to start five to ten minutes late while the teacher gets everything set up. But that rule does not extend to you once you’re out in the workforce. In the office, 8:30 means 8:30. The laptop is on, the app is open, the pad is on the table and the pen is poised. You will be on time every day, even if you have to set five alarms to make certain you’re on time. Punctuality not only sends the message that you take your job seriously, but it also sets you up for a more productive day.


Follow the Dress Code

Students don’t dress well. Four years of sweats and hoodies don’t exactly ingrain a fashion sense into someone. So make sure you dress for your job. Your interview was a great time to do some recon work and see what the office’s tone is. While you certainly need to honor your own sense of style, the office is not the place to stand out. It may be the case that some offices require a suit every day, though many don’t. So watch what your boss is wearing, and go from there.


Separate Business from Personal Affairs

Water cooler discussion is all right. In fact, there are a number of reasons it’s encouraged. So feel free to talk about your life and experiences, and hear your colleagues’. But remember, there is a difference between what is and isn't acceptable to share. College is a place where boundaries are thin to non-existent. Boundaries are clear and should be well respected in the office. Not everyone wants or needs to know all the gory details of your encounters last Friday night. Save it for after work. Understanding how to comport yourself in the office is vital to your success. 


Communication is Key

Catching a bit of a theme here? Communication is one of the biggest complaints that companies have with recent graduates. Years of speaking with no one but other college students in a closed arena aren’t the most conducive to producing well-adjusted communication skills. Be ready to learn how to type an email, prepare a proper presentation, and even speak in a professional setting.


Learn to Think Critically

Most colleges are teaching graduates how to study and reiterate information, but critical thinking seems to have been abandoned by the wayside. Second, to communication skills is the complaint that college students don’t have this ability. They know where to find the information, they just don’t know what to do with it once they do. So be ready to face this problem head-on. Request a walkthrough on what you’re going to face every day, be it data analysis or writing a simple report.


Patience is a Virtue you should Develop

Of all the problems you may face, the biggest one will be your own impatience. You may see your career path laid out so clearly. You know where you want to get to, but remember a few speed bumps are to be expected, no one is perfect. You’re going to make mistakes, or at least we hope you will.

The best thing you can do is be open and ready to help solve problems and remain open to unexpected opportunities. A career is built step by step, keep your eyes and ears open and your nose to the grindstone.


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HIRING: How to Get the Perfect Organizational Fit

Posted by Nicholas Stearns on Thu, Jan 16, 2020 @ 05:43 PM

How To Get the Right Organizational Fit

What is the Most Important thing to Consider when Hiring?

The most important consideration when hiring is that the candidate is qualified for the job...  Right?

Not completely. Beyond that, you have to ask yourself, “How will this person fit into my company?” You certainly don’t want to hire someone who won’t feel comfortable coming into work every day. An unhappy employee that doesn’t fit in could pose difficulties to the rest of your team by changing your carefully maintained company atmosphere. Even if you're using all of your best hiring practices, you could be overlooking something.

5 Vital Considerations to Consider when Hiring the Perfect Candidate

1. Getting their message across

Every company has its norms, its customs and habits, and how your employees communicate is a vital part of company culture. How do your employees tend to talk to each other, or with managers? Do they email, instant message, call, make appointments in a calendar app, pass notes or face time? 

Take some time to examine how the potential hire communicates. Do they seem like a good personality fit, and is are they an effective communicator? Vast differences in communication and work styles can cause disruptions with others, and lead to problems with productivity. Make sure that you screen for these things before you pull the trigger on a new hire.

2. Level of Supervision

Management style is a fundamental aspect of company culture, and it’s important to note when considering a candidate. When one of your employees is undertaking a task, how often do you or another manager check in on them? How often do you offer assistance? And how much do you expect to be contacted for help?

It’s necessary for a candidate to understand how much they can reasonably expect to be managed. Make sure that your organization's preferred method is one that the candidate will thrive under.

3. Social Time

Do your employees take breaks together, or is it an ‘every man for himself’ situation? Neither is better than the other, but if a candidate isn’t a good match, it can make for an uncomfortable workplace. Go ahead and ask them what they're used to doing on their lunch break. Do they bring food, do they like to go out with co-workers, or do they order takeout with others? Checking on these traits can make the difference between a lifetime employee and a two-year hire.

4. The View From The Bottom

A big part of a company’s culture is what employees and managers define as winning, and how that’s achieved. Make sure you know what traits are highly valued in your company. If that’s the ability to work alone and come up with a perfect product, or to be an excellent team member, then you should test your candidate for these things. Asking about their work style (if they prefer to work alone, or in teams) can be a very good indication of whether or not they are a good match for your company.

5. Is your Office Space a Picture of Harmony?

How personalized is the office? Are there pictures of your team's success, or are you as spartan as can be? Do your employees heavily customize their space, or is everything there specifically utilitarian? Having an overall pleasant space and making sure that your current employees and potential hires have similar or complementary styles can help to create a unified atmosphere in the workplace.

Use What You’ve Learned

Now that you’ve examined your company’s traits, make sure you start looking for harmony right from the beginning with a new hire. In your interview:

  • Ask candidates how they preferred to communicate in their previous job.
  • Ask how they are accustomed to being managed, and if they are flexible in their style. 
  • Ask yourself if this candidate shares your company’s values.
  • Give your team a chance to meet them, get their feedback, and absolutely let it inform your judgment.

Remember, there’s a person behind that resume, and some candidates are adept at making themselves look good on paper. Dig a little deeper and get to know who they are.

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Tags: HR and Hiring, recruiting, Career Path

5 Tips to Succeed With a New Boss

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Fri, Jan 10, 2020 @ 03:38 PM
5 Tips to Succeed with a new boss

Change. It’s the only constant, especially in business. Co-workers come and go during your career, and so do bosses. And while it can be unsettling to have to adjust your work routine, rhythms and style to a new supervisor, it is, almost all too often these days, a necessary evil you very well may have to face. 

But rather than seeing it as an unnerving disruption that must be muddled through, try to look at it as an opportunity for growth and possible advancement. However, in order to do that, you must handle the transition well.


Here are 5 ways to help smooth the transition with a new boss.

1. Make An Appointment

Within a few days of your new supervisor’s arrival, book a short meeting with them; 10-15 minutes. Treat this meeting like a sales call, or an interview. Your goal is to find out who they are, how they like to work and how you can best be of help. Find out their priorities and adjust your mindset to match.

Mind you, this is not the time to suck up or jockey for position, but rather to get some of the essential facts in place. How do they prefer to communicate: email, IM, face-to-face? Are they looking for in-depth weekly reports, or on the fly updates? Letting them know you are willing to be flexible and work their way will help get the relationship off on the right foot.


2. Expect Change

Yup, it’s a constant...

You’re accustomed to your department running one way, and it’s tempting to think that it’s the only way it should be done. But when your old boss left, they took their procedures and processes with them. Don’t assume that things will continue to run the same way, and don’t cling to the past. You may not initially understand or appreciate your new boss’s way of working, but you have to be patient. Watch, listen and trust - there’s always another way to do things. Just because things have been done one way for as long as you can remember, doesn’t mean it’s the best way.


3. Share Your Knowledge

Remember; you might be facing changes in your department, but your new boss is facing a new job. Whether they came into this position through a promotion or as an outside hire, they have new responsibilities and a new boss of their own. They’re looking to establish themselves, and your job should be to aid them in getting them up to speed so they can get her priorities into action. Showing yourself to be a team player sends a powerful message, and puts you in a position for advancement further down the road.


4. Bring Solutions

Get your ideas on the table. Let your new supervisor know about your current projects and those that you’d like to get off the ground. While you can mention prior successes, old wins are history, all that matters now is how you can help the department move forward and grow.

Remember, this is not the time to look for personal advancement. Your job is to help the team, not yourself.


5. Plan for Problems

Even if you and the new boss hit it off from day one, there will be problems. Repeat that: There will be problems. But you want to make certain that molehills don’t have the chance to grow into anything larger, be proactive in reaching out to your new boss. Ask for weekly or bi-weekly check-ins that match their style. You don’t ever want to let assumptions take the place of open communication, especially in a relationship as important as this.

At the end of the day, your boss is the gatekeeper for future advancement. They can help you get where you want to go, or they can see to it that you fail. By helping them succeed in their new role, you’re investing in both a productive partnership as well as your own long-term goals. 

Embrace the change!


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Tags: Career Strategies, Career Path