Category Archives: 1. The Scoop

Are Your Students Too Familiar With You? Employers Try Texting for Beginning-Stage Interviews… You Know the Worst Filler Words?

Are Your Students Too Familiar With You?

Many professors are finding today’s students a bit too casual for comfort. From the automatic use of first names to carelessly written e-mails and text messages, students’ informal behavior has some instructors formally perturbed.

The overly nonchalant approach to the professor/student relationship may just be a symptom of a larger societal change toward informality. However, many professors believe the uptick of such conduct on campus is the result of students never being taught college classroom etiquette.

Instructors who advocate formality have their reasons. They say the use of titles is an important way to establish the authority and respect essential to the unique link between teacher and student. Addressing an instructor as professor, doctor, Mr. or Ms. also shows esteem for learning. Instructors likewise note that traditional classroom etiquette is good pedagogy. After all, part of the job of the instructor—especially those teaching business communication—is to correct sloppy or inappropriate prose.

To set the right tone with students, some instructors include specific parameters for student-teacher interactions on their syllabi and discuss proper classroom etiquette early in the semester.

–From The New York Times

Employers Try Texting for Beginning-Stage Interviews

Frustrated by millennials not picking up phone calls or ignoring e-mails, a number of employers are meeting the generation of new workers where they live—on their smartphones.

Using messaging apps such as Canvas or Jobr, firms are texting questions to potential employees to answer in lieu of conducting initial phone interviews or waiting for e-mail responses that never arrive. The practice allows recruiters to share the transcripts of responses to others within their organization and takes up less time than scheduling dozens or hundreds of phone calls.

Texting initial interviews gives candidates time to frame thoughtful responses rather than having to think on the spot. However, interview texting etiquette is still the Wild West. Should the applicant respond immediately? Use emojis? These nuances will likely be worked out as the practice becomes more widespread.

–From The Wall Street Journal

 You Know the Worst Filler Words?

We all use filler words—words or sounds like um and ah that mean nothing but can serve to fill in conversational holes. However, when speaking in professional contexts, filler words can make the speaker sound unprepared, nervous, or ill-spoken.

Increasingly, a new filler phrase is making its way into the lexicon, and it, you know, has some people, you know, pretty irritated. Saying you know instead of what is really meant not only sounds unprofessional, it’s confusing because much of the time, the listener does not know. Whether the speaker is a television analyst, job candidate, or business leader, the use of filler words dilutes a speaker’s message. Below are tips to help eliminate meaningless phrases from your speech.

Watch the pros. Ever notice how sports announcers report the action seamlessly? That’s because they think before they speak, and if they need a moment to gather their thoughts, they leave a pause instead of using a filler.

Record yourself. Observe yourself speaking for a few minutes to catch your own use of fillers. Consider including a friend while you watch to help pick up mannerisms you may miss.


What’s a Guy to Wear?? Finding a Mentor—An Essential Career Step… For Some Hirers, Algorithms Trump Résumés

What’s a Guy to Wear??

As the line between work and play blurs, the decision about what to wear to the office can become fraught, especially for men. Sure, wear jeans—but how faded? Office casual can be great—but does wearing pressed slacks make a guy overdressed?

For men in the workplace, everything from facial hair to colorful socks can speak volumes. And while a bad choice may not land a hipster in HR, it may impact his ability to move up in an organization. Below are some tips to avoid the pitfalls of wardrobe mishaps.

Replicate high-end looks. The advice to dress for the job you want still stands. However, many workers’ paychecks do not support buying at Barney’s. Instead, try emulating an expensive look by shopping at bargain stores like Nordstrom Rack and H&M.

Beware of sticking out. Overstepping with bold fashion statements such as a colorful polka dot tie or a large handlebar moustache may cause ridicule among coworkers and show a lack of judgment that could have long-lasting repercussions.

Ask when in doubt. If you notice your boss eying your scraggly beard—not in a good way—discuss it. Explain that you grew facial hair to appear older and gauge the boss’s reaction.

–From The Wall Street Journal

Finding a Mentor—An Essential Career Step

Perhaps the most important career move you can make as a new-hire is choosing a mentor to help you grow in your current position and broaden your skills for a lifelong career. Of course you want a mentor who understands organizational politics and is willing to share contacts, but good mentors offer even more. They should genuinely want to help others and click with a mentee’s personality.

Consider the following before asking someone to be your mentor.

Define your own objectives. Which skills do you want to work on, and who might be the right role model to help you do so?

Choose an inspirational mentor. Associate yourself with a mentor who can offer you a different perspective toward problem solving than your own. It’s the best way to grow.

Pick one…or two. A good mentor within an organization will know the ropes about that particular workplace. However, an individual outside the organization may provide a wider view of an industry as a whole. Some experts advise having several mentors to help you develop your work skills.

From SFGate

For Some Hirers, Algorithms Trump Résumés

To increase hiring pools, some employers are using algorithms rather than résumés. Global brand Unilever has been targeting potential new-hires by placing ads on Facebook and career-advice sites. People who click on the ads are redirected to applications for internships and entry-level jobs, which are pre-picked by scanning the applicant’s LinkedIn profile. When the applications are submitted, they are then scanned by an algorithm that eliminates half the pool.

Those who make the cut are next asked to play online games that assess skills such as recall and concentration, and the applicants who make it through the tests submit video interviews in which they respond to questions about how they would respond to job-related situations. Only after passing that hurdle does a face-to-face meeting come into play.

Users of the new recruitment method point to its merits, such as eliminating human biases and personal preferences. Although still in its initial stages, the strategy is being implemented for Unilever hiring across the globe.

–From Fox Business

Tips for Networking Novices… Recipe for Successful Teams… Recruiters’ Thumbs Ups (and Downs!) on LinkedIn Profiles

Tips for Networking Novices

Launching a career requires understanding how to network. The pointers below can help those new to the important career-building strategy.

  1. Be polite, humble, and professional. Listen rather than trying to impress more senior staff. Always thank people you meet when networking. To be taken seriously, adopt a professional persona and observe business etiquette.
  2. Work at the process. Networking is more than checking social media feeds. Get out into the world and make face-to-face connections. It takes time and energy, but it’s worth the investment.
  3. Ask questions. Network to learn by asking questions and paying attention to the answers. People will want to help you if you show your interest by listening closely to advice and demonstrating that you want to learn and grow.
  4. Act natural. Be yourself—but be your best If you are nervous and uncomfortable, you’ll make others around you feel awkward.
  5. Be patient. It takes time to build a professional network—and even more time for those connections to generate results.


Recipe for Successful Teams

  • Take a large dollop of tolerance for others’ perspectives
  • Add plenty of differing personality types
  • Mix well
  • Watch team excel

The need for smooth collaboration in the workplace is well documented, but recent data from Google parent Alphabet Inc. seems to have homed in on a recipe for success.

One of the ingredients identified was placing people motivated by the same values together, since teams with members who have differing goals may end up pulling the group in opposite directions.

Another characteristic for successful teams was engagement. This refers to all team members participating, i.e. everyone speaks, everyone listens, and everyone does so in equal parts. It also means that each team member speaks to every other team member.

Diversity was another important quality for successful teams. Combining introverts with extroverts and organizers with improvisers is a good way to make the best use of individual talents. Likewise, using a respectful tone of voice allows a free flow of divergent ideas.

Finally, winning teams are goal driven—each team member sets individual goals, and all individual goals point toward completion of the overall objective for the project.

From The Wall Street Journal

Recruiters’ Thumbs Ups (and Downs!) on LinkedIn Profiles

A LinkedIn profile has become as important as a résumé. To make it entice rather than repel recruiters, follow these tips.

Complete the entire profile. Include work experience, education, and accomplishments, making sure to keep the information updated. Anything less leaves a bad impression, according an expert from the recruitment firm Korn Ferry.

Use a professional photo. Selfies don’t cut it and make your profile appear as if you didn’t care enough to make yourself look professional. Evaluate the photo choice using Photofeeler or Snappr.

Be specific. Sync dates of employment, job titles, and other facts with your résumé to demonstrate truthfulness and your ability to be detail oriented.

Write a professional headline. Name your industry and job in your headline so it will appear with your name if a recruiter performs a Google search on you.