How to Beat Your Nerves During a Job Interview

By Corey Hastings

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Despite how prepared you may be, for some of us the pre-job interview jitters are inevitable. When they kick in, it can be hard to keep calm. Instead of focusing on the task ahead, your brain plays tricks, shifting your focus to sweaty palms and a tense jaw. So how do you combat the rising anxiety?

To nail the interview, you must be just as prepared to deal with your nerves as you are to discuss your resume. The first step? Understanding that nerves are a natural response to big events. Remember, you’re not alone! It’s safe to assume that almost everyone has experienced similar pre-interview nerves. Once you’ve accepted that nerves happen, follow the 4 steps below and you’ll say sayonara to those jitters for good.

Plan and practice

Practice makes perfect, right? The best way to crush your anxiety is to be fully prepared for your interview, and this includes staging a faux-interview to ensure you have all your ducks in a row. Be sure you have the job description almost memorized, prepare a list of answers to questions you might be asked, and make sure you’ve done as much research about the company as you can. Then, rehearse each of these points so you know exactly what tone you want to present.

It also helps to plan out what you’re going to wear as doing this the day-of will only heighten your jitters. Be sure you have the exact address plugged into your GPS, and keep the phone number of your contact handy incase anything extraneous comes up.

Arrive early

Traffic, Google Map errors, parking, oh my! There are a lot of things that might get you into trouble if you’re running late to a job interview, so leave early to give yourself a buffer. Once you’ve successfully paid your parking meter and checked in with the concierge, you’ll have time to sit back, relax and visualize a successful interview ahead. And remember to always accept a glass of water if offered.

Think of it as a conversation

Instead of thinking of it as “the big interview,” think of it as a simple conversation. By doing so, you’ll be able to take some of that built up pressure off your shoulders. Remember, you were chosen to come in for a reason. If you’re accurately represented in all the material you’ve sent over prior (hopefully you are!), then you have nothing to hide. As you prepare for the interview, remind yourself that this is just a conversation between two people who are working to get to know one another. You’ll notice a flow and rapport start to establish, which will help ease your mind and allow you to better focus.

Don’t forget your manners

Nerves can often make us forget even the simplest of things, like manners. But no one wants to hire a rude employee, even if it isn’t intentional. To some it may seem trivial, but saying “please” and “thank you” will go a long way. And don’t forget to follow up your interview with a thank you email or note, this extra dash of courtesy will also act as a reminder to the interviewee of your conversation.

Ready to start interviewing? Submit your resume to SS&C today.

3 Employee Morale Busters that Disrupt Productivity

By Corey Hastings

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Ask any successful business owner the importance of workplace morale and they’re sure to highlight its place on their list of priorities. The attitude employees display throughout their workday can make or break a company’s success. According to the world’s leading positivity psychologist and NYT best selling author Shawn Anchor, “Your brain works significantly better at positive than at negative, neutral or stressed. Every single business and educational outcome improves when we start at positive rather than waiting for a future success. Sales improve 37% cross-industry, productivity by 31%.”

Morale can be difficult to maintain. So what can you do to keep spirits high and productivity soaring? Start with ridding your workplace of the 3 employee morale busters we’ve outlined below. Once you’ve established a clear path for positivity, you’ll see a meaningful boost in morale and an overall higher quality of work.

1. Placing blame and singling out

It’s inevitable that mistakes get made. It will only work against you to blame an employee when they slip up. Bosses or managers often have trouble accepting responsibility for mistakes and end up singling subordinates out, creating a timid and fearful environment. No matter what, avoid laying into the supposed culprit. Despite how bad of a mistake was made, take a deep breath and try to understand why it happened, how it can be resolved, and how it can be prevented in the future.

2. Poor communication and unclear goals

To further avoid mistakes being made, you must be completely clear about your expectations. Properly communicating your goals and what’s needed from each task will help you avoid frustrated employees who don’t exactly know what they’re working towards. While self-starters make strong employees, no one should be asked to operate with vague to no guidance. Make sure to allot time in your day to explain and clarify with a positive and helpful tone. By doing so, your employees will accept your guidance and leadership and learn to operate more productively, thus freeing up more time for you to focus on your own tasks.

3. Lack of trust and micromanaging

Lack of trust often leads to micromanaging, and almost nothing is as demoralizing than managing your employees’ every step. They were hired for a reason, so once you’ve properly and clearly communicated what you need from them, trust in their abilities and let them take the reigns. As hard as it may be, let your employees finish their assignments unencumbered. Remember to always encourage them to ask questions when they arise, and keep your office door open for anything they need that might come up. Let them understand that coming to you won’t incur negative repercussions. This is how employees will learn exactly what it is you want, making them more apt to complete tasks faster and better in the long run.

The Cost of a Bad Hire

By Corey Hastings

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Time, effort, energy, and money – All the precious things you invest in hiring can come crashing down with one bad hire. Though no one intends to make a bad hire, the reality is that it happens. And it will cost you in many more ways than one.

Taking time to understand your miscalculations is the first step to ensure you don’t get caught with the wrong employee again. We’ve compiled the costs, financially and beyond, that you incur when a bad hire is made to help you understand how to avoid similar mistakes in the future.

Loss of productivity & retention

In a survey conducted by CareerBuilder.com, 41% of companies worldwide said they lost worker productivity with a bad hire. A mis-hire can result in not only a loss of productivity for their specific department, but can negatively impact the productivity of the company as a whole. Whether they’re in a leadership role or not, a bad hire will bring the morale of the whole team down if they can’t properly execute responsibilities, or don’t fit in with your specific culture.

With the negative impact on their work environment, great employees may leave due to a bad hire. Establishing a thriving company culture is vital to any company’s success, and is highly dependent on the camaraderie and work ethic amongst employees. If a new employee is bringing the team down, jaded employees will seek other opportunities, resulting in turnover and potential jeopardization of your reputation.

To ensure you’re bringing on the right hire, know your team and how they operate, inside and out. Include them in your initial conversation about the open position’s required roles and responsibilities, and bring this knowledge to the conversation when interviewing. If you’re transparent and honest about what you’re looking for, the right candidate will do the same. By managing expectations up front, you’ll have less room for error.

Financial losses

The financial losses of hiring a bad employee are, quite honestly, staggering. The amount of factors that a bad hire impacts, direct and indirect, add up to more than you may believe.

Direct factors, including hiring costs, compensation, and severance are obvious losses. But indirect factors you may not have accounted for can add up. These indirect factors can include support costs, like office space, expenses, and the HR department’s time. The cost of poor performance, including poor execution, missed opportunities and potential lawsuits, are also on the table, as well as the cost of potential turnover due to low company morale.

According to research conducted by SS&C’s Joe Vona, Sr., the net average of the bad hire can result in a loss of up to 14.6 times the base compensation.

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The next time you’re in a rush to hire, take a step back and look at all the factors that affect the numbers. While your decision may be urgent, you’ll save more than just money by taking the proper time and effort you need to find the best candidate for the job.

Looking to make your next great hire? Let us help.

 

4 Habits of Successful People

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No matter how lucky a person may seem, those who succeed weren’t born in a hot air balloon, floating to the top of their industry without so much as lifting a finger. Successful people invest the proper amount of energy into setting themselves up for the accomplishments they achieve. They work hard for their visions, and they plan for their futures. Below, find 4 habits of successful people, and how you can incorporate similar traits into your daily life.

1. They’re self-starters

Success starts with taking initiative. If you’re waiting for someone else to tell you want to do, when to do it and how to do it, you may be waiting forever. To truly advance in your career, strive to be a self-starter who creates success, not one who hopes success comes knocking.

Steve Jobs or Oprah Winfrey didn’t achieve success overnight. The most accomplished businesspeople of our time took their ideas and implemented hard-work, drive and focus to develop their visions. And while they certainly had an equally hard-working team by their side, their personal perseverance never faltered.

2. They minimize distractions

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – oh my! If you’re easily distracted, you’re not alone. But those who can find the will to close those browser tabs and hunker down with their top priorities are those who will come out on top.

Social networks may seem like an easy distraction, but emails can serve as an even bigger interruption. Instead of responding to every email as soon as you hear your mailbox ding, designate certain times throughout your day to respond. With the burden of constant response out of your mind, you’ll be able to properly divert your time to the tasks at hand, just be sure to turn your email notifications off for a few hours.

3. They plan their day

Speaking of distractions, it’s easy to lose sight of your responsibilities without a plan. Successful people take time at the top of each day to prioritize the day’s tasks. Without proper organization, you’ll steer more and more off course as the hours tick by. Make it a habit to formulate a plan for your day.

4. They stay active

It’s a fact – if you’re stressed, you’re unproductive. Some days, stress seems inevitable. But by staying active throughout your day, you can relieve the tension. Take it from the American Heart Association, who notes that, “Physical activity can relieve tension, anxiety, and anger.” The next time you’re feeling stressed, put down your pen, shut your laptop and head out for a lunchtime walk, or even a brief 10 minute stroll. With the temporary shift in environment and fresh air, your stress will dissipate, allowing you to refocus. And while this may seem difficult, we suggest leave your phone at the office. To fully embrace yourself in mindful activity, we recommend fully disconnecting…if only for a few minutes.

How to Succeed Pre, During and Post Job Interview

By Corey Hastings

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Picture this: you’ve made it through the first round of the job search process – your stand-out resume was selected and you’ve been called in for an interview. While congratulations are in order, it’s also time to start planning out how you’re going to stick the landing and secure the job.

Focusing on the interview itself is a good first step, but sometimes pre-interview preparation and post-interview follow up can go by the wayside. Below, we’ve put together a guide on how you can impress your interviewer and land the job pre, during and post job interview.

Before the Interview

If we could sum up your pre-interview experience in one word it would be: preparation! You can never be too prepared for a job interview, and the more you know about a company the more you’ll impress your interviewer.

Preparation should include:

  • Familiarizing yourself with the company’s website. Don’t just skim their home page, dig deep into the industry and the goals of the organization. Discover who they work and partner with, what services and products they provide, and any top company members listed.
  • Google the company and read about any recent projects, awards or press releases.
  • Check the company’s social networks like Linkedin and Twitter and get a feel for their voice and how they connect with their community.
  • Based on your research, prepare a list of questions about anything that you may want further information about.
  • Prepare a brief introduction about yourself and your experience that you can share with the interviewer when they ask you to tell them a bit about yourself.

It’s always good to bring an extra copy of your resume to show you’re fully prepared, and make sure you give yourself plenty of time to arrive. There’s nothing worse than being late to a job interview!

During the Interview

Confidence is key during your interview. While arrogance can get you in trouble, it’s good to remember that you were most likely chosen from a large pool of candidates to come in and further impress the interviewer. So be proud of your accomplishments, maintain eye contact, and tout those skills!

Once prompted, dive into the brief pitch that you’ve prepared about yourself, and be ready to answer any questions they have about your resume and your past experience. If tough subjects come up, like weaknesses or reasons for leaving past jobs, be truthful, but remain positive. Show them you’re a team player, an active participant in furthering the advancement of the company, and are ready and willing to deliver results and get things done.

And don’t forget to ask the questions you’ve prepared. This will show them you’ve done your research and you’re invested in the company and the position.

After the Interview

Congrats – you survived! Shake off all of those interview jitters and pat yourself on the back. And then hop back on your computer, because the interview doesn’t end when you walk out the door.

Prepare a concise but detailed thank you email to each person you met with during your interview. This will act not only as a reminder of your conversation, but position you as a thoughtful candidate who is serious about landing the job.

If you’ve provided references, be sure to let them know that you’ve done so. This will act as a heads up and courtesy to your contacts, and help them prepare how best to discuss your past experience and skills.

Are You Getting Paid What You’re Worth in the AV Industry?

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Do you work in AV and want to see how your salary measures up? We’ve got you covered.

Below, find the median annual salaries for professionals in the AV industry, along with the most popular skills for each position, via PayScale.com.

AV Equipment Technician

Median Annual Salaries: $40,772

Top Skills: Audiovisual Systems, Electronic Troubleshooting, Video Editing

AV Technician

Median Annual Salaries: $41,395

Top Skills: Audiovisual Systems, Systems Troubleshooting, Video Editing, Customer Service, Audiovisual Hardware

AV Supervisor

Median Annual Salaries: $50,869

Top Skills: Audiovisual Systems, Project Management, Video Editing

AV Specialist

Median Annual Salaries: $52,280

Top Skills: Audiovisual Systems, Audiovisual Hardware, Video Editing, Electronic Troubleshooting, Project Management

Operations Manager

Median Annual Salaries: $60,572

Top Skills: Operations Management, Leadership, People Management, Project Management, Customer Service

Sales Engineer

Median Annual Salaries: $70,961

Top Skills: Sales Engineering, Technical Sales, Customer Relationship Management, Project Management, Engineering Design

Technical Director

Median Annual Salaries: $102,043

Top Skills: Project Management, People Management, Operations Manager, Engineering Design, Microsoft Office

*Salary Data and Top Skills from PayScale.com.

Recruiter Feature: Chris Nakiso is Dedicated to Finding the Right Match

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Meet Chris Nakiso, Regional Recruiter at SS&C!

Nakiso, a CSUN grad and basketball player, thrives on competition on and off the court. Nakiso is highly driven and tenacious, and has been with SS&C for 3 years, with 7 years total experience in the recruiting industry.

Can you tell us about an awesome job match you’ve made lately?

Recently, I worked on a placement for the president of a company I have done a lot of work with. We have developed a good relationship, and he reached out to me to find him a New York sales executive. These roles can be challenging to find, but having a connection with a potential candidate gives you a lot of momentum.

The gal I ended up placing was someone I had to reach out to persistently in hopes of hiring. After a few phone calls, we kind of hit it off and as I started telling her more and more, she ended up becoming the perfect hire. The company couldn’t have gotten a better candidate: perfect culture fit, 20+ years of experience, and completely understood the product. A recruiter can really be an added value. I think the fact that she landed at a company that was growing and she was willing and understood how to help them build and grow – it all came full circle. And I know I made that match happen.

What one tip would you share with aspiring recruiters?

You gotta love what you do. If you’re just starting, you don’t have to have all the experience in the world initially. Like my mom always told me, “Nobody cares about how much you know until they know how much you care.”

What is your favorite part of being a recruiter?

The best part is that recruiting is like solving a puzzle, some jobs are more complex and some are more simple. It’s always great when you send a resume and a hire happens. But when you are able to pull something out of nothing and aid in making it happen – you take down what the client needs, what they’re looking for, and then vise versa by taking what candidates are looking for and want and merge them together – that’s what makes this job cool.

What makes working at SS&C unique?

A lot of companies work hard but don’t have fun doing it. At SS&C, everyone works extremely hard and everyone has a lot of fun doing it. That’s an environment for me. It can get stressful, but people want to be happy and comfortable at work, especially in those trying times, and thats what we have.

How NOT to Handle Stress at Work

By Corey Hastings

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Stress in the workplace is inevitable. When emails pile up and meetings run late, stress can take hold, and it can be hard to let go. Handling stress the wrong way can lead to even more problems down the line, and only serves to make things harder.

Here are a 3 of the worst ways to handle stress, and a few tips for how you can better deal with it.

 1. Ignoring the Problem

Avoiding stress is one of the most counterproductive ways to tackle your problems. By sweeping issues under the rug, you’re only forcing them to grow and cause additional stress in the long run.

Instead, take a long, hard look at what exactly is stressing you out, and tackle it head on. Are deadlines always a source of contention? Create a timeline and stick to it. Is a distracting coworker diverting all of your attention? Calmly and respectfully let them know how it’s affecting your work. By being honest with yourself and your work, you will be able to reduce the amount of time you spend stressing about difficult issues.

2. Avoiding Responsibility

We all have responsibilities at work. Some tasks are more important than others, but eventually those less important assignments will pile up.

Instead of stressing out about a seemingly never-ending to-do list, take responsibility for your tasks by getting organized and creating a system of productivity that works for you. If you’re tech-savvy, research the latest app that will help you manage your tasks and time. If you’re more of a pencil-and-paper kind of worker, invest in an efficient task and date book. But the best advice we can give? Make sure tasks get done every day, and try not to focus on what didn’t get done. Even if you can only cross one thing off your list, remember that there is always tomorrow.

3. Complaining

Complaining doesn’t ever seem to help, but it’s a particularly bad idea when it comes to workplace stress. It only works to fuel your already aggravated fire, creating a slew of other problems; complaining can halt productivity and innovation, make things seem worse than they really are, and negatively impact coworkers.

Instead, embrace the idea that things don’t always go as planned, and shift your focus to how you can fix or resolve a situation. Be conscious of how you can best fight your initial reaction to complain, and be mindful of those around you who are on the receiving end.

Resume Tips: What a Recruiter Can See on Your Resume in 30 Seconds

By Corey Hastings

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Becoming a stand-out candidate and adopting the A-Player mentality are sure-fire ways to get hired. And while many tactics can help throughout the job search process, your resume is your first foot in the door. It has to speak to the person hiring.

A top recruiter can often know if you’re qualified for the job within 30 seconds of reading your resume. Certain attributes weigh stronger than others. So what should stand out?

Below, we’ve highlighted 3 important things a top recruiter can see upon first glance of your resume.

1. Stability

The first thing that stands out on a resume is job stability, a hot button that almost all recruiters can agree is integral in the hiring process. If a candidate changes jobs every 1-2 years or less, it’s a major red flag.

Stability says a lot about a candidate, which is why it’s such an important part of a resume. Long term job stability shows loyalty and career direction. It also helps give a look into a candidate’s personality. If there are constant job changes, this could mean the candidate gets disenchanted quickly, or behaviorally, they don’t get along with others for the long haul.

While there are certainly cases of companies going out of business, or just bad luck, generally a lack of stability is a warning sign recruiters prefer to avoid.

2. Accomplishments

When a recruiter does see long-term stability on a resume, they also want to see what accomplishments were achieved during that time frame. These accomplishments help validate job stability.

While it’s one thing to have been with a company for a long period of time, showcasing your track-record of achievements gives the recruiter a sense of how driven and talented you are. An exemplary employee can turn job duties into accomplishments.

When listing successes, don’t just describe what you did, but how well you did it. For example, if you’re in sales, list your sales volume per year and how many new accounts you’ve opened up. 

3. Goals or Objectives 

Including a goal or objective at the top of your resume is a common and suggested practice. But what that goal or objective says makes all the difference.

Ensuring your listed goal or objective lines up with your job stability and accomplishments is crucial. Often, recruiters will see an objective that seems impractical, one that doesn’t tie into the story the rest of a resume is telling.

Let’s take a sales professional for example. Say this candidate has listed their career objective as “Becoming a Vice President of Sales,” but they have changed jobs every 2 years and have no major accomplishments under their belt. This shows the recruiter that their experience and their objectives do not line up.

While it’s great to have long-term goals for your career, your resume should reflect appropriate goals for your experience level. If you’re still finding your footing in your industry, let your goals or objectives reflect that.  Alternatively, if you have the accomplishments and long-term stability to tout, let your goals or objectives be the first thing a recruiter sees.

How to Keep Your Employees Motivated

By Corey Hastings

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Picture this: It’s a new hire’s first day on the job – they’re eager, they’re excited, and they’re bustling with ideas to contribute to the team. Their energy is palpable, but will their enthusiasm last? Chances are, their work “honeymoon” phase will come to an end.

It’s no secret that employees can become overwhelmed, even bored, and this affects their productivity. To prevent disaster, establish a culture that focuses on employee happiness and offers incentives that drive motivation. This extends beyond the paycheck – along with a fair salary, employees need a workplace that caters to their personal needs and allows them to feel at home.

We’ve put together a list of ideas from some of our most successful clients on what works in keeping their employees motivated.

Incentives

The definition of incentive is, “a thing that motivates or encourages,” which is precisely why they’re a great idea to keep your employees productive. As an employer you’re probably aware of traditional employee perks – company outings, gym memberships, paid time off. But today’s companies are thinking outside the box, and it’s working.

Tech companies like Google, Salesforce and Airbnb are leading the way. Google not only offers free gourmet meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), but also allow all employees to bring their pets to work, which helps keep up energy and adds spontaneous bursts of joy throughout the day.

Salesforce offers the unique ability to take six days of paid volunteer time per year. They also give employees up to $1,000 to donate to their favorite charity.

Airbnb, an online apartment and home rental website, gives employees $2,000 per year to stay in any of their site listings around the world.

Offering fresh incentives that cater to your employees’ interests will give them something to work for, and something they can get excited about.

Celebrating Milestones

Nothing shows your appreciation for an employee better than celebrating their successes. From hitting sales goals to just showing up for work on Monday, it’s important to remind employees that you value them as a part of your team.

When employees hit certain milestones, whether they hit their numbers or land a new client, reward them. Your celebration could be a simple as a pizza party, or an acknowledgement and round of applause during an all-hands meeting. People love parties and praise, and these celebrations will act as a motivating factor for more and more employees to hit their goals, too.

We all know how easy it is to get “a case of the Mondays” after the weekend, which inevitably leads to a slow start to the week. Why not start off your week in the office with something employees can look forward to, like a Monday morning game or 30-minute donut and coffee party. Engaging with your team at the top of every week will give them something to look forward to on Monday mornings, and help jump-start their week.

Personal Touches

Supporting your team with incentives and celebrations is all fun and games, but with activities needs to come encouragement from bosses and managers. A personal touch goes a long way.

It’s important to let your employees know you’re engaged with their work, and can offer feedback to help them learn and grow. When an employee hands in an assignment or task, rather than just thanking them, take the time to outline what was great about the work, “Thank you, I appreciate how you’ve included supplemental research to prove your point, it shows you’ve gone the extra mile.” Or, if the work is in need, constructive criticism, “Thanks, great start, but can you show me how you got from point A to point b? Additional research would help interpret your work.”