Real-life advice from a real-life recruiter

Archive for May, 2014

Email Etiquette

Good Day Fellow Followers! Check out the following tips on email etiquette –from Laura Stack president of The Productivity Pro.

Use these suggestions as a starting point to create e-mail etiquette rules that will help your team stay efficient and professional.

1.) Be informal, not sloppy.

Your colleagues may use commonly accepted abbreviations in e-mail, but when communicating with external customers, everyone should follow standard writing protocol. Your e-mail message reflects you and your company, so traditional spelling, grammar, and punctuation rules apply.

2.) Keep messages brief and to the point.

Just because your writing is grammatically correct does not mean that it has to be long. Nothing is more frustrating than wading through an e-mail message that is twice as long as necessary. Concentrate on one subject per message whenever possible.

3.) Use sentence case.

USING ALL CAPITAL LETTERS LOOKS AS IF YOU’RE SHOUTING. Using all lowercase letters looks lazy. For emphasis, use asterisks or bold formatting to emphasize important words. Do not, however, use a lot of colors or graphics embedded in your message, because not everyone uses an e-mail program that can display them.

4.) Remember that your tone can’t be heard in e-mail.

Have you ever attempted sarcasm in an e-mail, and the recipient took it the wrong way? E-mail communication can’t convey the nuances of verbal communication. In an attempt to infer tone of voice, some people use emoticons, but use them sparingly so that you don’t appear unprofessional. Also, don’t assume that using a smiley will diffuse a difficult message.

5.) Summarize long discussions.

Scrolling through pages of replies to understand a discussion is annoying. Instead of continuing to forward a message string, take a minute to summarize it for your reader. You could even highlight or quote the relevant passage, then include your response. Some words of caution:

  • If you are forwarding or reposting a message you’ve received, do not change the wording.
  • If you want to repost to a group a message that you received individually, ask the author for permission first.
  • Give proper attribution.

 

 

Cat got your tongue?-What to say when you don’t know what to say

Like learning any new language, the language of assertive yet respectful communication takes practice. Many of us feel like a deer in headlights when someone says something insulting, hurtful, or presumptuous, and we have no comeback prepared.

So here are some ideas for you that I found from counsellor Andrea Watcher:

  • What makes you ask that?
  • What makes you say that?
  • I’ll have to get back to you on that.
  • I need to take some time and think about it.
  • That’s not going to work for me.
  • I wish I had said that differently. Can I get a do-over?
  • What do you want to have happen right now?
  • What do you need in order for this to feel complete?
  • That hurts.
  • I don’t necessarily need you to agree or understand what I am saying but I would really appreciate it if you would try to accept it.
  • It seems like from your response that I may not have communicated clearly or that you may have misunderstood what I said (or did) I would like to try again if you are up for it.
  • I know I agreed to do that, but I changed my mind. I’m very sorry.
  • I understand that’s how you feel. And this is how I feel.
  • It’s okay if we disagree.
  • What do you need from me right now?
  • It’s okay for you to be mad, but it’s not okay for you to be mean.
  • I am wondering if you would be willing to lower your voice because it is upsetting me
  • and I really want to hear what you have to say.
  • If you can’t lower your voice, I am going to have to take a break from this conversation even though I really do want to hear what you have to say.
  • I feel a lot of strong emotions over what you just said, and I don’t want to react harshly, so I would like to take some time before I respond.
  • I am curious: What is your intention in saying that?
  • I will totally take a look at that.
  • This feels awkward but I need to tell you that __________________.
  • I am making up a story about what you are thinking. Can I check it out with you and see if it’s true?
  • I want to hear what you have to say but the way you are saying it is scaring me.
  • What you have to say is important to me but it’s getting lost in the way you are saying it.
  • I am so sorry that I hurt your feelings. That was truly not my intention.
  • I have a request to make. If you can do it, that’s great and if you can’t, that’s fine too. I am just going to ask.
  • I know you love me and I don’t think you are intending to be hurtful, so I need to tell you that when you say ____________to me, it is very hurtful and I would so appreciate it if you would try to stop.
  • I would really appreciate it if you would stop commenting on my ______________.
  • I would really appreciate it if you would stop _____________________.
  • I am not sure what to do at this point because I have asked you to stop ___________ and you continue to do it, so something needs to change here.
  • I need to ask for a change in the way we talk or are with each other and I am hoping you are willing to hear me out.
  • I am not sure how to respond to that. Give me a minute if you would.

Keeping the Good Ones

Keeping the good ones!

While researching employee engagement, I came across an article written by author Jeana Quigley from the business.com blog.

Please read the following as I know you’ll find value in this one!

A company is only as good as the people it keeps. And lately there has been talk about talent shortages in business. However there is talent already sitting dormant on your team. Here are some tips for ways you can identify and tap into that talent and keep it right where you need it to be- with your company. Focus on:

Shining Stars

As a manager, you should be able to identify those who are performing not only up to par but going beyond. These employees are willing to learn something new and are constantly improving. It’s important to make note of and track this in employee records for future reference. While these employees are finding ways to improve on their own, you can also give them a chance to move or grow. If you don’t, they might look to another team.

Retaining the Best

Retaining employees with insatiable learning appetites is a huge priority, probably even more important than hiring new talent. After all, it saves you more time and money to keep a hard-working employee on the books than to go searching for someone who hopefully works out. You may feel you don’t have a ton of money to nurse these employees into all-stars, but the following several ideas require little to no extra budget:

  1. Job shadowing which allows employees to follow an employee in a different department or higher position. Employees can learn first-hand how a leadership position or position in another wing may help them move or grow within the company.
  2. Coaching which pairs a senior employee up with a less-experienced employee in an audit-like situation. The “coach” may offer up advice or guide the “coachee” to improve abilities.
  3. Mentoring which is similar to coaching but allows the professional relationship to go just a bit further. It is an ongoing process that includes continual learning, constant dialogue, and may even include challenges over a longer time period.

Promoting From Within

Most important is letting a high-potential employee move up when your company has an open position. Be sure to let hiring managers know which current employees could succeed in open positions. Looking outside the company for a position that could be filled with a capable, inside employee is akin to letting a perfectly thrown football slip through your fingers. Not only will the employee feel unappreciated and undervalued, but they may be discouraged and feel their hard work has gone unnoticed.

Stretching It Out

If you don’t have new job openings, why not give high-performing employees a title upgrade or some stretch assignments? Make sure to set boundary criteria to help them succeed but allow them to make mistakes. As long as they learn from these mistakes and correct the process for future opportunities, you will have a strong employee who is gaining valuable experience resolving difficult situations.

Letting each employee know his contribution is valued makes for a satisfied, happy team. Ensure your employees know the team needs their best efforts. Just as a company doesn’t need 20 CEOS, a football team doesn’t need 20 quarterbacks. If you want to win games, you have to have a good offense, defense, and special teams. Every role in a company is valuable, and every player wants to do his very best.

Follow up Steps after the Interview

Hello fellow followers, my name are Valerie James and I’m the recruiter for the Eat’n Park Restaurants. This week I came across an informative article by Ford Myers, the President of Career Potential- named “Follow up Steps after the Interview/Strategies to help you get the Offer”. After reading it I reminisced on a few times of when I was clueless as to what were the next steps in the interview process after I had interviewed with a company, it also reminded me of how I’ve grown since my earlier interview days.

Here are a few suggestions from Ford Myers article-“Follow up Steps after the Interview/Strategies to help you get the Offer”.

By engaging these follow-up strategies after the interview, I foresee you will improve your chances of getting more offers, and you will also feel more empowered and effective throughout the hiring process!

 

1. Set the stage for effective follow-up. The first strategy is to have a structured follow-up system in the first place (which most candidates do NOT). You should have a plan in place before you even get to the interview! This way, you’ll be able to “put the wheels in motion” immediately, and you won’t have to think about it! This step alone will relieve the pressure and decrease your anxiety. Plus, you’ll feel prepared, pro-active and more in control. Developing your follow-up strategy BEFORE the interview will even enhance your behavior DURING the interview.

 

2. Act more like a consultant than an applicant. When you’re at the interview, don’t spend all your time trying to “sell” yourself. Focus instead on asking intelligent, probing questions about the employer’s business needs, problems and concerns (like a good consultant would). These questions should be based on the preparation and study you’ve done beforehand. Write-down the interviewer’s answers, which will become the foundation for your follow-up steps. Whenever possible, give specific examples (Accomplishment Stories) from your work history that are directly relevant to the interviewer’s stated challenges.

3. Follow-up promptly and compellingly. Now that your interview is over, be sure to send your thank-you letters as soon as possible. These should be personalized to each individual (not generic), and must include specific references to each person with whom you met (something they said or contributed). Be sure your correspondence is as professional and clear as it can be, whether via e-mail or “snail mail.” If you promised to send the employer additional documents or information, do so promptly.

 

5. Use every follow-up contact as a chance to build your value. After the interview, carefully review your notes, which highlight the company’s most pressing needs, problems and challenges. Identify specific areas where you have successfully addressed similar issues in your career. In your thank-you letter, include brief synopses of these accomplishments, tying them directly to the company’s stated challenges (usually in a side-by-side chart format). You can even support your “claims” by sending the employer actual samples of your work. Most companies want employees who are true problem-solvers, so this will prove that “you have what it takes” and that you can bring your special value to this organization.

 

6. Be punctual and persistent. It shouldn’t even be necessary to mention this “strategy,” but some candidates sabotage their chances for the offer by arriving late to the interview, or by “dropping the ball” in the middle of the process. So, always call when you say you’re going to call and do what you say you’re going to do! Be meticulous in your business etiquette, which includes consistent, regular follow-ups by phone and e-mail. Be persistent in expressing your sincere interest in the opportunity, but don’t be a pest.

 

7. Accept rejection gracefully. Assuming you’ve done everything you can reasonably do to win the offer, you must accept whatever decision the employer makes. If you get the message (directly or indirectly) that the company is not interested in you, or if they actually reject you, then all you can do is move on. You can’t “force” the interviewer to make you an offer, no matter how “perfect” you may have thought the job was for you.

 

8. Turn defeat into victory. After being rejected, the first thing you should do (ironically) is to send a thank-you letter. You can really distinguish yourself from the other rejected applicants if you send this sort of polite, professional letter “after the fact.” Express your sincere appreciation for having been considered for the position, and wish the new employee every success. State that you would be happy to be considered for the position again, should the selected candidate not work-out for any reason. (You would be surprised how many times the “new hire” does NOT work-out). When the employer needs to find a quick replacement, there will be a high likelihood that YOU will be at the top of their list. In some cases, the employer may even be so impressed with your grace and professionalism, that they will offer you a different position at the company as soon as a vacancy occurs! If you genuinely liked the company, stay in touch with them over the long-term. Other opportunities will open-up, so make it easy for the employer to contact and eventually hire you.