5 changes to expect in the workplace after COVID-19
LinkedIn
Woman hands shown working from home on computer

As a result of the coronavirus, the workplace will never be the same. Even the word “workplace” suddenly seems obsolete, as the physical location in which we now work has merged with the places in which we eat, sleep, learn, exercise, and play.

The COVID-19 crisis has created the ultimate “burning platform”—an unexpected, overnight opportunity for people to see the impact of swift and meaningful change, and to witness the negative consequences of trying to ignore this aberration from everyday life. Within organizations, the virus has been driving significant change in how their employees operate with each other, as well as with clients, customers, and vendors.

Now that companies are shifting past their immediate response to the crisis, we’ve entered into a temporary “new normal.” However, what will the long-term impacts of our new normal be on the world of work? Winning organizations will be those that integrate and master digital work, community, and collaboration.

To succeed, companies need to begin planning now for five key shifts:

1. Full digital transformation, supported by a truly virtual workforce

Companies have quickly figured out how to serve their customers and clients remotely, and there’s no going back. From telemedicine in hospitals to remote learning for public schools and streaming fitness classes, every industry has accelerated its own digital transformation. As a result, the demand for highly skilled remote workers will continue to increase.

With a surge of candidates in the market, organizations should be preparing to recruit and integrate these key individuals into the organization quickly and seamlessly, so they can capitalize on the cost savings and broader access to rockstar talent.

2. Focus on outputs versus face time

Being the first one in the office and the last one to leave is no longer a measure of commitment and performance. In a post-COVID-19 world, employees will be measured on what gets done and the value of their work rather than on the individual tasks and the time it takes to get the work done.

Leaders must provide crisp, outcome-driven expectations so that their people can deliver on goals successfully. Motivating employees to perform will require modeling and measurement of their outputs and being clear on those metrics. Companies must level-set expectations for what drives organizational priorities and goals, rather than discrete tasks.

3. Respect for work-life blend

More than ever before, companies are recognizing that working “nine to five” is unsuited to the demands of a modern workforce. If leaders can place greater emphasis on flexibility for people to accomplish their best work—when and how it meets their personal needs (as well as the needs of the company)—they can reinforce the cultural shift of measuring staff based on performance, which can result in exponential benefits for the organization.

Organizations must remove stigma and support employees’ needs to make time for self-care–including exercise, meals, and family time. Policies and procedures need to reflect these shifts, and leaders must model a true work-life blend so that it becomes part of the company culture.

4. Stronger communications

Now that companies have gone fully virtual, individuals are communicating more efficiently and more frequently across a networked environment. To do this well, everyone, at every level, must make opportunities for dialogue by employing numerous channels.

Leaders can make communication easier for their people. They can remove roadblocks, create a governance structure that pushes decision-making out and down, and provide employees with the tools and training they need to empower them for ongoing communication and local decision-making. With traditional hierarchies gone, true leaders must step up to facilitate information flow across the organization.

5. Increased trust, transparency, and empathy

We are witnessing a revolution in leadership. In a recent leadership study of Fortune 500 executives and entrepreneurs, respondents cited behaviors such as humility and listening skills as essential qualities of great change leaders. And leadership experts such as Kim Scott and Brené Brown have long proselytized about the importance of candor and vulnerability. Now, leaders and employees must understand and support each other like never before. People are sharing more about their personal situations with colleagues, and as a result, they are creating an expectation of humanity, active listening, support, and connection.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

Tips for Leading a Strong and Diverse Team During a Pandemic
LinkedIn

By Mariano Garcia,
Civil Trial Attorney, Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley PA

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a healthcare and economic crisis across the country and around the globe. It has also posed some difficult questions for businesses and their workers, like law firms and their attorneys and staff.

There has been a wide range of issues stemming from the pandemic. As an employer with offices throughout Florida, we also have first-hand experience with some of the complications caused by the economic downturn. At the same time, we also understand how important it is to maintain a diverse and inclusive workplace. This is an essential part of our identity as a law firm, which we believe helps us better serve the people and businesses we represent.

Businesses, including law firms, must understand that employment-related and other decisions made now in response to the pandemic can have a long-term impact. They should be mindful of how those moves can affect their ability to recruit and retain a diverse and capable workforce.

Below are some essential tips for weathering COVID-19 without jeopardizing your team.

Keep Diversity in Mind When Considering Cutbacks.

Mariano Garcia
Mariano Garcia

The crisis has unfortunately forced some employers to trim their payrolls by cutting the headcount. Still, it is vital to retain a diverse and inclusive workforce during the pandemic and to be able to retain talent when economic conditions improve.

Company leaders can prioritize diversity by keeping it at top-of-mind when deciding whom to lay off and whom to keep on the job. They should ensure that such decisions are based on objective criteria rather than subjective factors that may make diverse employees more susceptible to the termination.

Leaders can also combat potential biases by being mindful of assignment creation, especially as many employees continue to work from home. Providing your diverse workforce with opportunities to work on important projects or tasks can go a long way in helping all to build confidence and experience on the job.

Understand That Everyone Has Different Personal Obligations

The pandemic, school closures, and the shift to telework can be incredibly stressful for working parents and people who are caring for the elderly or other family members.

It is crucial to acknowledge that everyone has different cultural and personal obligations, and it is especially important to show a commitment to working with employees during this time of anxiety and uncertainty. Allowing for flexible time off during the week and alternative scheduling arrangements can play a huge role in easing the burden for many employees.

Supplement In-Person Networking with Resources for Remote Profile Building

Although social distancing means many people are staying home, it does not mean that all career-building and networking opportunities need to be put on pause.

Law firms and other businesses should already be thinking about helping people bolster their online networking efforts. Tutorials on leveraging Linkedin, getting involved in webinars and other events, and participating in professional organizations can ultimately lead to maintaining and/or expanding contacts.

Internal marketing departments can play a crucial role in this training and development. It is also important to implement standards for tracking these efforts to ensure that they pay off in the long run.

Following the above tips can help all business leaders maintain a strong and diverse team of employees.

Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley PA is a Florida-based personal injury law firm that has represented thousands of clients with car accident, medical malpractice, brain injury and numerous other injury claims.

No, Elon Musk Is Not The Second Richest Person In The World — Here’s Why
LinkedIn
elon Musk is pictured speaking to an audience using a microphone

Thanks to Tesla’s roaring stock, Elon Musk’s net worth has nearly quadrupled during the Covid-19 pandemic, racing from $24.6 billion in mid-March to a current $126.8 billion by Forbes’ estimate. But despite this meteoric rise, the 49-year-old is not the world’s second-richest person yet.

Forbes currently has Musk in the No. 3 spot, behind Jeff Bezos, who reigns supreme at $182.6 billion, and French luxury goods tycoon Bernard Arnault, worth $140.6 billion. With the surge in the value of Tesla shares this week, Musk surpassed Bill Gates, who is now in fourth place, worth $119.4 billion.

Musk owns 21% of Tesla but has pledged more than half his stake as collateral for personal loans; Forbes applies a 25% discount to his shareholding to account for the loans. Musk’s net worth estimate includes $25 billion worth of options that he was awarded since May as part of a historic 12-tranche compensation plan.

Musk became eligible for the fourth tranche in late October after Tesla exceeded the cumulative EBITDA requirement, but Tesla has yet to confirm in public filings that it has certified the results. A representative for Musk did not reply to a request for comment from Forbes in time for publication. Until the receipt of the fourth tranche is confirmed, Forbes is only counting some 25 million options from the package towards Musk’s net worth.

Continue to Forbes to read the full article.

Meet Three Female STEM Leaders Disrupting The Food & Beverage Industry
LinkedIn
three women STEM leaders pictured in collage portrait

The number of female executives in the food and beverage industry is shockingly low, especially when compared to other industries. Only 16 percent of executives in food and beverage manufacturing are female, as opposed to 21 percent across all industries.

SōRSE Technology–the leading cannabis and CBD emulsion supplier for CPGs and other food, beverage, and topical manufacturers–has bucked this unfortunate trend with a strong female leadership presence.

Three of these powerful and innovative female STEM leaders who are disrupting the food and beverage industry are:

Donna Wamsley, pictured bottom, Director of Research and Analytics and expert flavorist. Ever wonder who designs food and drink flavors to hit those taste cells in just the right way? None other than one of only a few hundred flavorists in the world. Donna brings over 12 years of experience in the food and beverage industry. She can discuss what it’s like being one of the world’s few hundred flavorists, the qualities she looks for when analyzing ingredients, and 2020’s most popular flavor trends.

Michelle Sundquist, pictured right, Director of Innovation Product Design. At SōRSE, Michelle uses cutting-edge ingredient emulsification to develop products never thought possible. With over 20 years of expertise in the psychology behind food and beverage marketing, Michelle can give an in-depth look at launching high-quality foods and beverages, along with the techniques that bars, restaurants, and stores can use to make their drinks stand out in a crowded market.

Maribeth O’Connor, pictured left, VP of Medical Application, Business and Product Development. Maribeth brings over 30 years of experience to SōRSE and has experience working in business development and marketing for the University of Washington School of Medicine. She has also worked as a federal healthcare lobbyist for Group Health Cooperative. Maribeth is currently working in partnership with Pascal Biosciences and UW Sports Medicine in conducting research studies to validate proven cannabinoid therapies in cancer and osteoarthritis. She is also pursuing other research opportunities around the globe.

Donna, Michelle, and Maribeth are three of the amazing and hardworking women in their industry. They draw on their unique skillsets and experience from their colleagues at SōRSE and are breaking new ground in a nascent industry. They have, and continue to, contribute immensely to making the cannabis and CBD industry the success story that it is today and in the future. Finally, they are an inspiration to the women that will continue to populate the executive ranks.

To Build Less-Biased AI, Hire a More-Diverse Team
LinkedIn
A group of diverse engineers huddled around a project

By Michael Li

We’ve seen no shortage of scandals when it comes to AI. In 2016, Microsoft Tay, an AI bot built to learn in real time from social media content turned into a misogynist, racist troll within 24 hours of launch. 

A ProPublica report claimed that an algorithm — built by a private contractor — was more likely to rate black parole candidates as higher risk. A landmark U.S. government study reported that more than 200 facial recognition algorithms — comprising a majority in the industry — had a harder time distinguishing non-white faces. The bias in our human-built AI likely owes something to the lack of diversity in the humans who built them. After all, if none of the researchers building facial recognition systems are people of color, ensuring that non-white faces are properly distinguished may be a far lower priority.

Sources of Discrimination in the AI and Technology Fields

Technology has a remarkably non-diverse workforce. A 2019 study found that under 5.7% of Google employees were Latinx, and 3.3% were Black. Similarly low rates exist across the tech industry. And those numbers are hardly better outside the tech industry, with Latinx and Black employees making up just 7% and 9%, respectively, of STEM workers in the general economy. (They comprise 18.5% and 13.4%, respectively, of the U.S. population.) Data science is a special standout — by one estimate, it underrepresents women, Hispanics, and Blacks more than any other role in the tech industry. It may come as no surprise that a 2019 study by the non-profit Female Founders Faster Forward (F4) found that 95% of surveyed candidates reported facing discrimination in the workplace. With such a biased workforce, how can we expect our AI to fare any better?

Sources of bias in hiring abound. Some of this comes from AI. Amazon famously had to scrap its AI recruiting bot when the company discovered it was biased against women. And it’s not just tech titans: LinkedIn’s 2018 Global Recruiting Trends survey found that 64% of employers use AI and data in recruiting, including top employers like Target, Hilton, Cisco, PepsiCo, and Ikea. But we cannot entirely blame AI —­ there is a much deeper and more systemic source of hiring bias. An established field of academic research suggests that human resume screening is inherently biased. Using innovative field experiments, university researchers have shown that resume screeners discriminate on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, and age. Discrimination is so prevalent that minorities often actively whiten resumes (and are subsequently more successful in the job market). Scanning resumes, whether by computer or human, is an archaic practice best relegated to the dustbin of history. At best, it measures a candidate’s ability to tactfully boast about their accomplishments and, at worse, provides all the right ingredients for either intentional or unintentional discrimination. So how are companies overcoming this challenge?

A Musical Interlude

An unlikely parallel exists in — of all places — the field of classical music. In the 1970s and 1980s, historically male-dominated orchestras began changing their procedures for hiring. Auditions were conducted blind — placing a screen between the candidate and their judging committee so that the identity of the auditioner could not be discerned — only their music was being judged. The effects of this change were astounding: Harvard researchers found that women were passing 1.6 times more in blind auditions than in non-blind ones, and the number of female players in the orchestras increased by 20 to 30 percentage points. By focusing on the candidate’s performance (rather than irrelevant discriminatory attributes) companies can increase both diversity and quality of their new hires. Here’s how.

Continue on to Harvard Business Review to read the full article.

Ways to Organize Your Job Search
LinkedIn
Focused young African female college student working on a laptop on some stairs on campus preparing for an exam

 By Catherine Burns

When on the hunt for a job, it’s not uncommon to be applying for multiple opportunities at once. This is especially true for those of us just starting out in our careers. But multiple applications mean different resume versions, various cover letters and many, many different deadlines to keep track of. With so many moving parts at once, it’s easy to become disorganized.

But a disorderly job search process can lead to embarrassing mistakes, such as lost phone numbers, confused deadlines, and missed interviews. To help you avoid these downfalls, we’ve put together a few tips to help you keep your job search organized.

Step 1: Start with Your Career Goals

It’s easy to want to jump right in and begin filling out job applications. But before you do, take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Your career journey should start with a look at the direction in which you’re headed.

Though it may seem trivial to set aside time to organize your thoughts to clearly think through the career path you’d like to pursue, this is one of the most important steps to take. How are you supposed to start going anywhere if you don’t know where you want to go?

Reflect on what you’d like to do and why you feel that’s the right path for you. You might feel a little lost and be unsure about where you’re going, but at this stage in your life, that’s ok. Start by thinking about your long-term goals, as those don’t need to be overly specific. Where do you want to be ten years from now?

Then work backward from there down to five years, one year, and six months from now. Think through your personal goals in addition to your career and finances. Take your family, education, and anything else you value into consideration.

Step 2: Create a Schedule

After you’ve spent some time finding your direction and clearly thinking through your goals, it’s time to start building out a schedule. After all, to achieve the goals you now have in mind, you’ll need to set aside time to go after them.

The first step in this stage is to identify time you can set aside that’s dedicated to job searching. Find blocks of time within your schedule between classes, work, and any other responsibilities. Job searching is a time-consuming process and requires regular attention. So, aim to set aside at least two hours every day to fully focus on it.

Next, start building a schedule to complete certain tasks you know you need to get done. For instance, devote one hour to cleaning up your professional online profiles like LinkedIn. Devote another hour or two to preparing your resume. You should be able to fill up at least the first few days of your schedule, if not your first week, with tasks to complete.

Perhaps even more important than actually setting up this schedule is sticking to it. Let’s be honest here—activities like resume building and email sending are less than thrilling tasks. It can be easy to let these fall by the wayside and choose something a little more exciting to occupy your time. However, this will only put you behind and lead you down a path of disorganized job searching. Make sure you leave the time you set aside for job hunting devoid of any other activities.

Step 3: Minimize Your Job Applications

Looking for a job is more often than not a high-pressure situation, so you might be tempted to begin aimlessly applying for any open position you find. But even though applying for more jobs can make it feel like you’re increasing your chances, this is actually just a waste of your time—not to mention an easy way to become disorganized.

Remember that time you dedicated at the beginning of this process to think through your short-term and long-term goals? Here’s where that comes in handy. Start off by narrowing your search to only the jobs that align with those goals. Look out for the opportunities that will help you get to where you want to be.

Next, narrow your search down to only the openings that match the level of skill you have. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that your qualifications need to match up with those listed on the job description exactly. In fact, this will likely never be the case. Job descriptions should be more of a directional tool for whether or not you’re a potential fit for a role, so look for those where you match around 80 percent of the qualifications listed.

Step 4: Track Each Position You Apply For

Here’s where things can get especially messy. Applying for multiple positions at once leaves you with a lot of different things to manage. Make sure you’re keeping track of all of the different details as you go along.

One of the best ways to do this is to create a spreadsheet. This is an easy and effective way to help you keep track. Don’t worry about making anything too fancy. Just include basic information, such as:

  • Company name
  • Contact details: include the name, email, and phone number of your contact at the company. In most cases, this will be a hiring manager.
  • Date applied
  • Deadlines and interviews: deadlines for upcoming information the company asks for and scheduled interviews
  • Date followed up: date you followed up after an application submission or interview
  • Status of application: whether you’ve been rejected, are waiting to hear back, or have an interview scheduled

JibberJobber is an online job search organization tool that helps you keep track of what you’re working on. If you prefer working off of your phone or tablet, then there are tons of great apps available. Keep in mind, though, that setting up a system for tracking alone is not enough. You need to be diligent in updating your system each time you take a new action or receive an update from a potential employer.

There are so many different things to keep track of when job searching, that you can easily become overwhelmed and confused. But by following these few simple tips, you’ll be ready for a more organized and effective job hunt.

Source: Glassdoor

Laid off? Make the Most of This Time Professionally
LinkedIn
man working on online networkimg with tablet in his hands

Have you been laid off or furloughed during the pandemic? While your employment circumstances may feel ambiguous at this time, a number of sectors are adding jobs and anticipate continuing to expand hiring.

And although a layoff is a challenge and a setback, you can find ways to grow professionally during this time.

Whether you will return to your prior workplace with new knowledge, or impress at your next job interview, consider using some of this time to prepare for what’s next in your career.

Try some of these ideas:

  • Stay in touch with your employer. Many businesses only planned temporary layoffs and plan to re-open, or to re-open with adjusted business operations.
  • Refresh your resume and social media profiles. If you don’t have a profile on any social media source, create one—but take care to optimize for maximum effect. If you already have a profile, increase your visibility by sharing links, along with your comments, to relevant articles in your field or other sources.
  • Connect with people who lead in your field. Find a professional or industry association that leads in your sector. Reach out to join, attend virtual events, and qualify to access their job leads, if available. You can also establish connections through social media.
  • Get local help. Find resources and check out the online job search and other skill-building workshops and virtual job clubs sponsored by your local American Job Center.
  • Join job search meetups. Sponsored by an individual or organization, meetups often offer online or virtual opportunities to connect, network with other professionals, and learn about a topic. Find meetups in your area by entering the search term “Job search meetup” in your browser.
  • Develop personal marketing tools. Create an online portfolio or website that speaks to your competence and achievement in your field. This could include writing samples, presentations, curriculum, case studies, project plans, drawings, or other items that help tell your story.
  • Learn what’s new in your field. Read blogs and books in your field to build current knowledge, terminology, new techniques or skills, etc.
  • Write an article. If you have a topic you have some expertise in, now may be the perfect opportunity to take the time to write a blog or article for publication. You can try publishing on social media (for instance, learn how to publish articles on LinkedIn), in professional association publications, or in community newsletters, local media, or blogs.
  • Take online training. There is an abundance of free online training resources available, covering a wide variety of topics from basic math and software skills to foreign languages and philosophy.

If you need help finding the right training for you, or need assistance in paying for training, reach out to an American Job Center. They can help you figure out whether your training is eligible for a Pell grant or whether you are eligible for training assistance through a training and employment program like WIOA or another grant.

Source: blog.careeronestop.org

Miss the camaraderie of the office? Try one of these clever remote team-building ideas
LinkedIn
Woman on her laptop in a suit smiling

By Gwen Moran

It’s unlikely that your Thursday happy hour will return anytime soon, but these team-building activities have helped companies build stronger workplace relationships and strengthen culture.

Like many service companies, East End Yovth’s (the v is for “visionary”) team is working from home. The digital marketing agency prides itself on having created a diverse and inclusive team. Cofounder Kevin Poirier says that its multicultural environment improves everything from creativity and innovation to employee engagement and decision-making.

“Ultimately, we have had great success because we established a strong virtual company culture. Because of these platforms, we have seen a significant amount of camaraderie and unity in our team that has helped everyone cope in such an uncertain time,” Poirier says. Platforms such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Slack have become integral to his company’s operations.

Let’s face it: Many people who work from home miss the camaraderie of the workplace. And companies that recognize how important workplace relationships are have been experimenting with team-building tactics for far-flung workers—some of whom are moving even farther away from the office. East End Yovth and other organizations large and small have found some clever, effective ways to keep teams bonded and effective as they work remotely. Here are some of their ideas.

Recreate watercoolers

For East End Yovth, Slack has become a place for employees to share information about clients and projects, but also a place to communicate in real time. They like the Giphy function to share GIFs, which allows them to keep up the banter and “jib-jabs” of in-person office interactions. The team also uses Google Hangouts to connect and share work.

Another digital marketing agency, Amit Digital Marketing, created a separate Slack channel for colleagues to interact and share more personal information and photos. “[Team members] share the view from their window, pictures of their pets, or just talk about other random stuff,” says founder Amit Raj. Slack’s voice note feature “helps add that extra edge in terms of making everyone feel they have more human connection and interaction with others,” he says.

Have some fun

It may be tougher to go out for happy hour after work, but teams are still finding ways to have a few laughs together. East End Yovth has created “Whacky Wine Wednesdays,” where the team members grab their adult beverage of choice and hop on a Zoom call to play games that engage the creative side of their brains. Coworkers play interactive games such as Trivia Murder Party.

At multimedia company Mattress Battle, the team logs on to Skype to play “Storyline Building.” The team decides who will start and finish a storyline. The first person starts the story with an incomplete sentence. For example, “On my first day of work, I felt so nervous but excited at the same time. I was looking forward to . . .” The next person adds another incomplete sentence, and so on. “They develop a comprehensive and fascinating story in the end, which makes my team be more creative and be cooperative in collaborating,” says founder and CEO Mason Culligan. “It’s the oldest but most fun activity ever.”

Eat, drink, and get creative

Forget in-person “sip and paint” get-togethers. The team at Whiterock Locators, an online apartment location service, bought and shipped Bob Ross watercolor painting kits to employees, named for the late PBS painting star. The kits have a corresponding YouTube video, which the team streamed on Zoom during a virtual happy hour. “We all followed along painting, chatting, and sipping on our favorite adult beverage,” says chief operating officer Suzanne Pope. The team has also hosted “show and tell” sessions via Zoom, which lets employees share something meaningful or interesting about themselves.

Companies such as Delicious Experiences create interactive team-building activities around food and drink. “Rather than the same-old virtual happy hour, it lifts the team spirits to receive a fun package and engage in something that feels like our old life, or at least like our new life of virtual experiences,” says cofounder Inbal Baum. Events can be centered around cooking, baking, mixing special cocktails, or participating in wine, sake, whiskey, or other tastings. The company will customize the mix. Tea purveyor Mansa Tea hosts virtual tea tastings, shipping tea in advance of the event and then walking participants through brewing and appreciating the teas.

Meet their needs

Employees working from home have different challenges, experiences, and priorities. Tax compliance software company Avalara has developed a range of virtual activities that meet these needs. To help support parents, the company launched AvaKids Online, a series of fun, educational 30-minute virtual classes for kids. The company also partnered with the KrowdFit app and gave every employee a credit in the Fitbit store to purchase a Fitbit Inspire. The company has a virtual wellness community, and participants can earn rewards for participating. Avalara has also organized events for members of employee resource groups recognizing Juneteenth and Pride month.

For those who are more concerned about the company overall, the company hosts monthly executive “Ask Me Anything” sessions with C-suite executives.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

8 Proven Video Interview Tips to Help You Succeed
LinkedIn
woman on virtual job interview looking confident

If you landed yourself a video interview, congratulations! You’re almost there. Now it’s time to prepare for success and brush up on video interview tips so you can get closer to landing the job.

More companies are conducting online interviews these days. That’s because it can be really efficient, for both the candidate and the company.

Although it’s easy to write off an online interview as the same as an in-person interview, there are subtle differences in which to prepare.

Tips for a Successful Video Interview

Preparation

Having a video interview does not mean you shouldn’t take it seriously. Treat it as if you were interviewing in person. You should thoroughly research the company, its industry, its products, and its achievements so you’re prepared to discuss them during your interview. Additionally, the Internet has made it incredibly simple to familiarize yourself with your interviewer before you meet them virtually—HR professionals are generally very active on LinkedIn, and a quick Google search will shed some light on who you’re meeting. Also remember to prepare some questions to ask of the interviewer yourself when the time comes.

Punctuality

For an in-person interview, it’s courteous to show up approximately ten minutes early. This tip also applies to video interviews, except it’s for more than just showing that you’re a punctual person. You want to be early to your online interview because it may take you a while to log on. For example, if the company uses a video conferencing software you’ve never used, it might take some time to download the application. You’ll want to make sure you do all this beforehand so that you’re ready to go at your interview time. Being late for the interview, no matter what the reason, is not a good way to start a successful online interview.

Technology

It would be a letdown if you found out that your microphone or webcam didn’t work right before your interview. When preparing for your video interview, there are three main components to test:

  • Audio settings: Do your speakers and microphone work? Make sure you are coming across clear and loud with no static.
  • Camera settings: Is it too dark? Too light? Too distracting in the background? It’s best to sit in front of solid colored wall with plenty of light. This way, the interviewer will focus on you and not the decor behind you.
  • Internet connection: This is often overlooked, but it may be wise to ensure you’re plugged in with an Ethernet cable for a hard connection. Video conferencing may take up a lot of bandwidth and a spotty Wi-Fi connection may cause an overly lagged session.

You’ll also want to familiarize yourself with the software being used for the interview. Zoom, HireVue, GoToMeeting, Skype, and Google Hangouts are some common platforms. Consider signing up for a free trial, watch tutorial videos, or do whatever you have to do to familiarize yourself with the tool.

Environment/Setting

Choose your location very carefully. Be wary of places like coffee shops or coworking spaces, because you’ll want to avoid the sounds of coffee grinders and other people in the background. You also don’t want to interview in a place where there’s a lot of visual distractions, either. Try to find an area with a plain wall to use as your backdrop, and make sure that your lighting isn’t creating a glare or shadow.

The ideal setting for a video interview is a secluded room in which you can shut out any distractions. Avoid being near windows against busy streets, and make sure children and pets are out of the house or being supervised to be sure you’ll have a distraction-free environment.

Speak Slowly and Clearly

When using technology for a video interview, there can be delays or the microphone may not pick up your voice well. To prevent this from happening, take your time when speaking and enunciate your words. This will make sure that your interviewer can hear and understand you

Listen Carefully

Keep your mind from drifting off and focus on listening when the interviewer speaks. Pay close attention to what the interviewer is saying. Sometimes when you’re on a video job interview, it’s easy to accidentally cut someone off due to audio delays or from not paying attention to nonverbal cues. To avoid this, listen carefully to the interviewer and wait a few seconds before speaking to avoid cutting in.

Attire

Attire is one of the most frequently overlooked video interview tips. Even though an online interview usually means the interviewer won’t see anything from the waist down, it doesn’t mean you should only dress up the upper half of your body.

You may need to stand up to grab something in the middle of the interview, which would reveal your mismatched bottoms. Avoid this risk and wear interview clothes from head to toe. View yourself through your webcam to make sure your outfit looks professional on camera as well.

Body Language

Your body language in a video interview can convey a lot of things about who you are as a person. You can present a positive image by ensuring you’re sitting up straight with good posture. Place both feet on the ground, and avoid doing things like slouching or holding your head up with your hand. And always try to keep your hands in your lap to avoid distracting gesturing or fiddling.

It’s also important to pay attention to where you’re looking. Looking at the interviewer’s face on your computer screen means you’re not actually looking into the camera and making eye contact. Instead, look into the camera as often as possible, especially when you’re speaking. This will give your interviewer the sense that you’re engaged and not distracted by what’s happening on your screen.

While it may seem like a lot to remember, these video interview tips can help you adjust to the intricacies of interacting with a remote team. By following these tips for video interviewing, you can help ensure that you’re fully prepared and able to make the best impression possible.

This article was provided by FlexJobs, a job searching and career service that connects job seekers to flexible and remote work opportunities.

Starting From a Company of One
LinkedIn
Brian Geisel headshot

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has named Brian Geisel, CEO of Geisel Software, the Massachusetts Small Business Person of the Year for 2020.

Geisel Software is a custom software development company that specializes in the medical device and robotics industries and whose clients include FLIR Systems, Medica, iRobot, the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Carbon Black and more.

After spending years as an industry consultant, Geisel started the company out of a loft in 2011. By 2015, Geisel had added his first full-time employee and a couple of interns. In 2017, the company moved to a space in the Higgins Armory and sales started to take off.

Today the company occupies a large office space in the Worcester Business Center and employs a large staff of permanent employees, contractors, freelancers and interns. Sales have grown at 83 percent CAGR since 2017.

“I am honored to be recognized by the SBA and I am profoundly grateful to Massachusetts’s incredible support programs that have helped with so many aspects of growing our business,” commented Geisel. “And while the award says Small Business Person of the Year, it really reflects the commitment, hard word and exceptional talents of everyone at Geisel Software so I’m really excited for my team.”

Diversity in STEAM Magazine asked Geisel a few questions about his own journey in business:

Diversity in STEAM: What is your educational background?

Brian Geisel: My educational background is pretty non-traditional. I picked up a few books in junior high on computer programming and taught myself from there. By the time I graduated high school, I was considering entering the professional world. I went to Rochester Institute of Technology for one year, skipped to senior level computer science courses and then took the early retirement package. I feel strong that education is really important, but it may or may not come through traditional channels.

DISM: Why did you start your own company?

Geisel: I knew that no matter what I did, it would only ever be the work of one person so I started the company to scale. With a team, you have this multiplication effect like compound interest that gives you an opportunity to have a real, tangible positive impact on the world.

DISM: What has been your biggest challenge as a business owner?

Geisel: We founders tend to start companies out of our superpower — something we’re really great at. For me, that was writing software. Suddenly, you find that you need to be really good at running and growing a business and your old superpower can even become a liability. That becomes a tremendous challenge on many levels.

DISM: What advice would your give others who want to start their own business?

Geisel: Never let low self-confidence be your guide in starting a business. There are plenty of great reasons to start a business and plenty not to, but self-esteem should never be one of them. Do you want to know a secret? None of us knew going in that this would work. That’s the nature of business. You learn to embrace it. So, if you want to start something, get out of your own way and get going!

Geisel has been featured as a thought leader in Entrepreneur Magazine, Bloomberg Business, The BBC, Forbes and other major outlets. Outside of the office, he is passionate about helping others. He’s participated in many mission trips to Guatemala, Thailand and other locations to hand out food and supplies and assist with medical care.

Brian Geisel, CEO of Geisel Software, is named Massachusetts Small Business Person of the Year for 2020

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has named Brian Geisel, CEO of Geisel Software, the Massachusetts Small Business Person of the Year for 2020. Geisel Software is a custom software development company that specializes in the medical device and robotics industries and whose clients include FLIR Systems, Medica, iRobot, the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Carbon Black and more.

After spending years as an industry consultant, Geisel started the company out of a loft in 2011. By 2015, Geisel had added his first full-time employee and a couple of interns. In 2017, the company moved to a space in the Higgins Armory and sales started to take off.

Today the company occupies a large office space in the Worcester Business Center and employs a large staff of permanent employees, contractors, freelancers and interns. Sales have grown at 83 percent CAGR since 2017.

“I am honored to be recognized by the SBA and I am profoundly grateful to Massachusetts’s incredible support programs that have helped with so many aspects of growing our business,” commented Geisel. “And while the award says Small Business Person of the Year, it really reflects the commitment, hard word and exceptional talents of everyone at Geisel Software so I’m really excited for my team.”

Diversity in STEAM Magazine asked Geisel a few questions about his own journey in business:

Diversity in STEAM: What is your educational background?

Brian Geisel: My educational background is pretty non-traditional. I picked up a few books in junior high on computer programming and taught myself from there. By the time I graduated high school, I was considering entering the professional world. I went to Rochester Institute of Technology for one year, skipped to senior level computer science courses and then took the early retirement package. I feel strong that education is really important, but it may or may not come through traditional channels.

DISM: Why did you start your own company?

Geisel: I knew that no matter what I did, it would only ever be the work of one person so I started the company to scale. With a team, you have this multiplication effect like compound interest that gives you an opportunity to have a real, tangible positive impact on the world.

DISM: What has been your biggest challenge as a business owner?

Geisel: We founders tend to start companies out of our superpower — something we’re really great at. For me, that was writing software. Suddenly, you find that you need to be really good at running and growing a business and your old superpower can even become a liability. That becomes a tremendous challenge on many levels.

DISM: What advice would your give others who want to start their own business?

Geisel: Never let low self-confidence be your guide in starting a business. There are plenty of great reasons to start a business and plenty not to, but self-esteem should never be one of them. Do you want to know a secret? None of us knew going in that this would work. That’s the nature of business. You learn to embrace it. So, if you want to start something, get out of your own way and get going!

Geisel has been featured as a thought leader in Entrepreneur Magazine, Bloomberg Business, The BBC, Forbes and other major outlets. Outside of the office, he is passionate about helping others. He’s participated in many mission trips to Guatemala, Thailand and other locations to hand out food and supplies and assist with medical care.

Each year, the SBA recognizes the achievements of outstanding small business owners and entrepreneurs across the United States. All winners are invited to attend ceremonies in Washington, D.C., in May where they will be honored with their award and the 2020 National Small Business Person of the Year will be announced.

Your Guide to Economically Surviving COVID-19
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By Kathryn Porritt

The financial impacts of COVID-19 are yet to be fully seen, but small business owners and entrepreneurs across the world are already seeing major impacts to their businesses. Many are scared, wondering what options they have to economically survive this time.

There are ways for businesses to survive – a business can even thrive during an economic downturn. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small business with less than five employees or a large corporation with 50,000 employees. Economic thriving is possible, even amid COVID-19.

Here’s how owners can create economic thriving:

Lead with Authority

Now is the time for owners to lead with authority. This time of transition and transformation can be a positive, powerful one if leaders show up for themselves and their businesses. Both their employees and their audience will feed off of the energy they show up with and produce. So, owners need to be the powerful leader and spokesperson who shows up for their team.

Brainstorm Ideas

It’s a key time for business owners to brainstorm ideas, both with their niche audience and with other business owners. The creative ideas that this process produces will allow an owner to figure out how to creatively pivot and shift their offerings to meet the needs of their audience. These ideas will help them navigate the rough waters with more ease and come up with their most creative offerings.

Think Big

Unfortunately, when times of chaos and crisis hit, many business owners start to fall into the trap of a scarcity mindset. This is the exact opposite of what needs to happen. Instead, this is a prime time to really think big, and outside of the box. Owners need to take the time to get crystal clear on their business goals and re-outline the steps needed to achieve them.

Know the Message

A businesses’ message and attitude need to remain positive. The message of a business can cause a ripple effect, from top down, so it’s paramount that owners find gratitude in their business, its offerings, and for their audience market. What is the key message that the business wants to promote? And how is that creating a positive impact in the market the business serves?

Own the Position of Authority

Now is a business owners’ time to shine by owning their authority in the marketplace they serve. Don’t be shy! This is the time for them to show their audience and the public why they deserve to be a market leader.

Stay Connected

More than ever, it’s times like these that connection is paramount. Business owners need to be connected to their market, their audience, and also their friends and loved ones – so that they can rest and recharge. Technology makes it possible to connect in a variety of ways, so take advantage of it!

Business owners can now take up their position of authority, own their expertise and lead powerfully. The world is craving positive, insightful and creative leaders with engaging solutions. Business owners need to take a slight pause, step back, and realize the opportunities before them. Instead of caving to fear and market unrest, they need to be pushing forward toward their goals. Just because the way to reach a goal may have changed for the owner, doesn’t mean the goal itself has changed. And, above all else, owners need to remember to rest and take care of themselves, so that they can continue to lead from the front.

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