Keys to Making a Good First Impression Before The Interview Starts


A successful interview begins with making a great first impression, and that impression starts the minute you drive up to the property. A hiring manager is going to be just as interested in what you did in the waiting room, so they may enlist the help of others to get an overall feel of you. With this in mind, here are four keys to making sure that you make a good first impression before the interview even starts:

Arrive Early… But Not Too Early

One of the worst things you can do for an interview is to arrive late. It doesn’t matter what crazy thing happened to you on the way, a hiring manager is not going to look kindly upon having to wait. With this in mind, you want to leave early enough to allow for flat tires, traffic, or anything else that could unexpectedly delay you.

However, you don’t want arrive too early because that puts pressure on the hiring manager to rearrange their day to accommodate you. The secret is to leave early enough to allow yourself more than enough time to get there, then find a local coffee shop where you can relax, go over your notes and wait until you can arrive exactly five to 10 minutes early. Just be sure you are careful and avoid anything that could spill, stain or cause physical discomfort that will distract you during interview.

Stay Off Your Cell Phone

When you arrive at your interview five to 10 minutes early avoid the temptation to bring out your cellphone and read the latest Facebook gossip. You want to look focused and ready to go for your interview, not entangled in something on your phone. In fact, turn your phone off before you walk in the door, so you don’t have to worry about it ringing or buzzing during your interview.

Treat the Receptionist with Courtesy

It’s not just the hiring manager that you are trying to impress. It is anyone you come in contact with during your visit. Everyone that you talk to needs to be treated with respect, especially the receptionist. Hiring managers will typically ask receptionists their impression of a candidate. If you don’t smile, say thank you, and just generally be a respectful, nice person, it will come back to those who make the decisions.

Don’t Bring Food or Drinks In With You

Even if you do stop in to get a coffee before your interview, keep it in the car. Don’t bring any food, coffee, or other beverages in with you for your interview (even if it is just to throw it out). You want to look neat and focused when you are waiting. You can accept a glass or bottle of water, if they offer, but remember to drink it slowly and don’t spill.

How to Keep Your Company’s Keepers

Keeper Mugs

Talented, dedicated employees are the backbone of every organization. They are responsible for the quality of your products and services, and they play a direct role in customer loyalty and how you fare against your competitors. However, even the most devoted employees see the end of the year as a time to evaluate and plan for their future. If you want their future to be with your company, it’s vital that you make them feel valued, trusted and excited.

Here are three things you can do now to make sure “Find a new job” isn’t on their list of New Year’s resolutions:

  • Show You Care: Thank them in ways that honor their individual preferences. Do they crave the spotlight? Recognize them among their peers. Do they have a favorite hobby, restaurant or store? Get a gift card that shows you understand what is important to them. Do they need a bit of time to attend to family or personal matters? Our recent employee survey shows flexible scheduling is the single most craved perk, but most employers still aren’t offering it. Depending on your team or company culture, there are infinite ways to show their contributions did not go unnoticed – and won’t go unrewarded this year.
  • Make Them Feel Trusted: One of the best qualities employers can hope for in an employee is a sense of ownership – that “personal stake” in the company mentioned earlier. While mentoring and training are important, so is giving employees enough breathing room to get their job done, show initiative, and when appropriate, resolve challenges and issues. People in general respond positively when they feel trusted. Employees who feel that a task or project is truly their own will be more motivated to excel because it becomes ‘their baby’. Cultivating a workplace culture built on trust will have a strong foundation that will free and empower employees to build – and that’s something that benefits them, you and your company.
  • Keep Them Interested: Most employee surveys reveal that for many employees, a fulfilling career is often more important than pay. As an employer, it is crucial that you keep your staff engaged, challenged – and wanting to be there for what’s next. Set clear goals, create well-defined career paths, and encourage learning through mentorship, outside workshops, and even skill-sharing. Promote from within whenever possible, and reward your most dedicated and innovative employees so that both tenured and new team members can see that contributions are recognized and rewarded.

Interviewing Like a Pro – Zeroing In On What Excites You During A Job Interview


You typically won’t apply for a job you aren’t excited about. More specifically, there are going to be items in the job description that have piqued your interest. Maybe it’s the fact that you get to write in a specific type of style, or that you get to show off your expertise in a type of software. Companies understandably prefer a candidate who is going to be excited about what they do on a daily basis, you want to show your hiring managers what parts of the job description really stands out to you. When you are zeroing in on what excites you about a job, here are three things to consider:

Think of Specific Items from the Job Description That Will Show You Are a Great Fit for the Job

You may not have time to talk about everything that excites you about the job, so you want to make what you pick count. Try naming items that will show how you are a great fit for the job. For example:

“When I read the job description I was excited to learn that I would be working directly with vendors in the Baltimore area. Not only do I have more than five years’ experience working one-on-one with vendors, but I also am from the Baltimore area, so I know the area, and will have prior knowledge of a lot of the vendors we will be working with.”

If There is an Item From the Job Description That Excited You, Talk About How You Excelled in it at A Prior Job

There are going to be items on the job description that not only excite you, but that you know you are very good at. It’s always good idea to bring up said items in your job interview, talking about how you were able to expertly tackle them at your last employer. For example:

“One of the parts of the job that I am excited about is the fact that I am going to be using PowerPoint on a daily basis. At Worldwide Widgets, I had to give weekly PowerPoint presentations. In fact, I was the PowerPoint ‘go-to’ person in the building. If anyone had problems setting up slides or setting up the system, they would come to me.”

Adding Facts, Figures, And, If Possible, Manager Praise Will Add Validity to Your Answer

Facts, figures, and manager praise will add validity to any answer that you give during your interview. When you talk about items that excite you about a job, adding in these bits of information will make your answer pop. For example:

“When I read the job description, I was excited that I would be tackling the purchasing for your warehouse. At Widget World, I was able to cut spending by 17%, just by calling up vendors instead of going with the prices listed online. My manager said that I changed the way that they ran the department going forward.”

4 Things to Do in Q4 to Hire Strategically in 2016

Tuesday Post 2016

The fourth quarter begins this week, and with the holidays and loose ends to tie up by year-end, we might not have as much time to form a strong 2016 hiring strategy as we’d like.

Here’s how to start the foundation for a recruitment plan that sets you up for a successful year:

Mobilize Your Social Media: The better the candidates you attract, the better your chances of making good hires. We now shop using mobile phones and consult social media when making purchase decisions. It’s not that different for job seekers who look to these resources when searching for work – and deciding where to work. Social media recruiting has become so influential and even pervasive that for many companies, it is the foundation for their employer branding. If you haven’t yet, work on creating an online presence that will entice and engage job seekers, whether it’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Yelp, Glassdoor, or industry-specific sites.

Listen to Other Leaders: While hectic, the end of the year is often punctuated by lulls as many clients and vendors slow or even shut down for the holidays. Take this time to speak with the heads of your company’s various teams and departments to get a clear picture of what they will be needing, staff-wise, in 2016. Getting valuable feedback and seeing everyone’s hiring “wish lists” will allow you to plan farther ahead and prepare for contingencies such as employee turnover and other unknowns that may come up.

Learn from Baby Boomers: It’s been going on for over a decade and the rise gets steeper every year – the baby boomers are leaving the workplace despite the challenging economy. According to the Social Security Administration, this demographic comprises 33% of the workforce and 48% of our supervisors. While retiring will remain at a staggered rate, smart companies can benefit from proactively minimizing productivity and knowledge gaps by having their Baby Boomer staff mentor and train their newer colleagues.

Partner with an Expert: Partnering with a trusted staffing provider during the planning process and throughout the year can make your recruitment process more efficient and thorough. Most companies provide staffing guidance at no cost, and depending on your needs, can save you time and money – when you need to quickly fill productivity gaps, fill a very specialized position, or wish to pursue passive candidate.

Mrs. Janice Bryant Howroyd Inducted into the NBCA Hall of Fame


The Act-1 Group of Companies, a global business and human resources partner for Fortune 500 companies, is proud to announce that Mrs. Janice Bryant Howroyd, Founder and CEO, was inducted into the National Black College Alumni (NBCA) Hall of Fame Saturday night at the Legacy of Leaders awards luncheon held during the 30th Annual Alumni Hall of Fame weekend. Other honorees at the event included the Honorable David Dinkins, Dr. Robert Franklin, Reverend Otis Moss Jr., and Brigadier General Ciara Adams-Ender, among others.

The National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Foundation is dedicated to the growth and development of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) through programs that encourage education advancement and humanitarian involvement. Their efforts mirror Mrs. Bryant Howroyd’s commitment to support education and those who strive to transform their potential into achievement.

“Being included in the NBCA Hall of Fame is a tremendous honor,” said Mrs. Bryant Howroyd. “Education has played a pivotal role in my own life, and I firmly believe that the quickest way to change the world is to make education and opportunity readily available and accessible.”

In 1978, Mrs. Bryant Howroyd began Act-1 with a single desk and phone line in Beverly Hills, California. Since then, the company has grown into a multi-billion dollar enterprise with over 17,000 clients and 2,600 employees across 19 countries. A strong advocate for innovation, Mrs. Bryant Howroyd has mastered the art of blending technology, education and entrepreneurship with service. A sought-after speaker, lecturer and writer, she offers practical, motivating solutions that are rooted in her passion for mentoring and helping others. This passion is translated into everything that she does and forms the backbone of The Act-1 Group of Companies’ success.

Earlier this year, Mrs. Bryant Howroyd was ranked on Forbes’s 2015 list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women, and highlighted for her professional accomplishments on NBC’s TODAY Show as part of their “Summer of Secrets: Successful Women” series. During the interview with Jenna Bush Hager, Mrs. Bryant Howroyd discussed the business principles that contributed to her noteworthy accomplishment of becoming the first African-American woman to own a billion-dollar business.

Interviewing Like A Pro- How to Show You Can Stay Cool Under Pressure


Many hiring managers are looking for candidates who can handle pressure situations. They want those who are going to work through a problem in a cool and calm fashion. With this in mind, you may be asked how you handle pressure situations during an interview. As you prep for your interview, here are three ways to successfully show a hiring manager how you can stay cool under pressure:

Cite Examples of How You Have Worked In High Pressure Situations in The Past

When you are talking about how you can stay cool under pressure, it is important that you give examples of how you have done it in the past. Don’t just give hypotheticals of what you can do, back it up with a prior situation where you handled yourself with calm confidence. For example:

“At Widgets International, I constantly handled customer service situations that were unique and high-pressure. I remember one in particular where I had to locate an order that was incorrectly shipped to one of our biggest customer. Within five minutes, while the unhappy client was on the phone, I was able to backtrack the order, finding that it was sent to a nearby office. Not only did I fix the situation, but we also kept the client.”

If Possible, Insert Manager Comments Complimenting Your Work Strategy

If you have been able to work through high-pressure situations in the past, there is a good chance that you have been praised by former managers. When you are talking about your experience with stressful situations, quote former managers to back up what you have accomplished. For example:

“My Manager at Widget World called me ‘Mr. Calm’ because I stayed calm in situations that would overwhelm most of the people on our team. I always tried to get to the root of the issues and diffuse them before we started losing customers.”

Highlight Items from the Job Descriptions to Show How You Will Thrive In This Job

Hiring managers don’t just want to hear instances of how you were able to handle stressful situations in the past, they want to know how you will handle them in the position for which you are interviewing. With that in mind, highlight items from the job description to show how you will handle situations specific to the available job. For example:

“I thrive in high-pressure situations. I know that a good amount of this job is going to involve troubleshooting with customers and clients. Not only do I enjoy working through complex issues to the right solutions, but I also pride myself at offering great customer service so we keep the client after the situation is resolved.” 

Don’t Wait to Begin Your 2015 Holiday Hiring

Holiday Hiring

It may still feel like summer in some places, but Fall has officially begun – and seasonal hiring has started to heat up. Projections of a livelier shopping season and a tightening labor market could make for a challenging seasonal hiring experience for unprepared employers.

If your company typically ramps up hiring, or even just take on a few additional staff to cover employees taking holiday vacations, starting now can give you a significant advantage. Although you may not need to hire for a few more weeks or even months, getting the process started – from determining what positions you will need to fill, to writing job descriptions, to sending ‘feelers’ to your network of connections – can spell the difference between enjoying or dreading that “holiday rush.”

Here are three tips to ensure you find the kind of seasonal employees that don’t end up on your “Naughty List.”

  1. Start Early: It’s just like holiday shopping. The best picks typically get snapped up quickly, so don’t wait too long.
  1. Hire Ambitiously: Even if the jobs are short-term, hire the best people you can find. It’s always good to have choices and you may find yourself wanting to keep top performers on past the seasonal rush. If you come across an otherwise ‘overqualified’ candidate who meets (and probably exceeds) your requirements, consider them – they are bound to be star performers who will impress your clients and customers.
  1. Encourage Success: Whether they are seasonal, temporary, or contract workers, they are still professionals who will work for and represent your company. They will potentially interact with your team and even your clients or customers, so take the time to onboard them and then manage their performance based on clearly established goals and expectations.

Hiring for the holidays doesn’t have to be stressful. With some planning and timely action, you can give yourself the gift of a worry-free season that gives you and your team time to enjoy the holidays with family and friends.