By Ashley Cole, Training Coordinator
Knowing how to utilize moments of silence to your advantage is a skill. Unfortunately it does not always come naturally. Individuals can often be afraid of silence in the classroom, in a meeting, and even in life. That fearfulness can manifest itself in many different ways but is often verbalized with words such as “um” “right” “okay” and “you know” or questions like “does that make sense?” People may not even notice that these words are bubbling up. I have even witnessed entire groups of people distracted by the pure volume of these filler words. Not only can this undermine the message, but can undermine the credibility of the speaker.
We all have idiosyncrasies; they are a part of our nature and a part of what makes each of us a unique human being. While some are charming, others can be downright detrimental, and unless someone brings the latter to your attention they can have debilitating effects in both your personal and professional life. But accepting your shortcomings is often a direct challenge to your ego. In order to overcome such limitations, one must have the courage to live up to that challenge.
So, here is your test. The next time you give a presentation of facilitate a meeting; record yourself. Viewing this record can be a real dress down, which is precisely why it can be such a powerful tool. You may discover that you wring your hands, that you fidget, grimace or make vocalizations that you had never noticed before. This type of undeniable empirical evidence can help lead you to a breakthrough.
Remember: Discovering what your natural tendencies are is the first step in changing your behavior.
If you want to take it even further, seek out coaching opportunities. Find an ally in the room or in your organization. Ask for honest feedback. Listen to that feedback without judgment. Take it to heart.
You can use all of this knowledge the next time you step into the classroom or facilitate a meeting. Take a moment to notice your behavior as you speak. Maybe that you were about to say “um.” Take a moment to notice. Let that moment pass. Move on. You have just found your silence, and there is a chance that the entire room is hanging on your next words.
In the end, only you have the power to change your behavior. Find your silence and discover your voice.
by Andrea Zuretti, Recruitment Coordinator
We’ve all faced difficult choices in life- possibly none as difficult as the dilemma of the “Five Second Rule.” To eat something that has fallen on the ground or to make the tough choice to toss it in the trash. But until today, you probably thought that the “Five Second Rule” only applied to filthy food. Well, the “Five Second Rule” is also a good measuring stick for a first impression- especially when it comes to a job interview. You really only have a few moments to make a positive impact or, like lint-covered food picked up from the floor, you could get tossed in the trash. Well, maybe not tossed in yourself- but your resume and application certainly could.
Here are a few tips to make a positive first impression in a job interview within the first few seconds:
1) Mind your P’s and Q’s in the lobby while waiting for the interviewer. Refrain from putting your feet up, lounging back on the couch, and taking a quick snooze before your meeting. Don’t laugh, because it’s happened- just like everything else I will mention.
2) Make sure your attire is appropriate for the job for which you are interviewing. If you haven’t worn a suit in years and you plan on digging your old one out of the closet, please make sure it still fits (no high-waters!) and that it is clean and pressed. If you can’t present well with your attire for an interview, we will think that you might not be able to in front of clients or customers either.
3) Be on time! If you are five minutes late for the interview, we will think that you will be 5 minutes (or more) late for work every day.
4) If someone walks by while you’re waiting, don’t avoid eye contact and play on your iPhone. Say “Hello.” You never know who that person could be.
5) When the Interviewer comes to greet you in the lobby, be confident with your introduction of yourself. First and last name always! No limp handshakes and please, no sweaty palms if possible.
6) There will always be small talk when heading to the interview room- How’s the traffic coming in? How’s the weather outside? Be polite and try to relate to the interviewer in some way by engaging in conversation. No one wants to work with a boring person who never smiles!
7) Once you’ve finally made it to the interview room, make sure you have enough resumes and information for everyone involved in the interview process. Please make sure the resume is not pink and it should never be scented.
8) Organize everything ahead of time. I have seen portfolios and brief cases that look like a bomb went off inside. I will assume that your work space will look the same.
9) You will usually be offered some sort of beverage to make you feel more comfortable. Tea, coffee, water etc… If you are not interested, respectfully decline. If you do take the drink, please refrain from slurping and gulping throughout the interview.
10) Take a deep breath, and get ready to continue building on the positive impression you’ve begun to create in these first few seconds!
So, I know it’s a lot to remember and it all sounds like minute details but it really will help to build your brand even before you begin the interview! Please be super conscious of the decisions that you make, be prepared, and be confident. Remember that you only have a very short time to showcase what you could bring to that company and every second matters! No one wants to be thrown out like a bit of food that overstayed its welcome on the floor.
By Christina Prew, Intern at Triumvirate Environmental
Being the only Chemist Intern this past summer at Triumvirate Environmental was a very rewarding and positive experience. Not many 19 -year-old college students can say that they have suited up in Tyvek and used an air-purifying respirator to consolidate hazardous chemicals. Triumvirate certainly does not place interns at the bottom of the food chain, with the exception of some “all in good fun” teasing to the young and naïve. However, being included in every training program that was available to the full-time staff was fantastic. The 40-hour OSHA Hazardous Operations course was extremely helpful. I learned to work safely, and Triumvirate paid for the training, which was a great opportunity and resume builder.
Work wise, I generally performed the same type of tasks that any other Chemist did. Instead of running around getting coffee or making copies, I was in the field at sites such as Harvard and Children’s Hospital. As a very active kid, I enjoyed going to different places each day and doing different work. This variety made every day exciting and for the most part, unpredictable. Working over 40 hours a week and starting work at 6 or 7 AM definitely strengthened my work ethic and contributed to my increased maturity. The early hours definitely have their ups and downs, but it felt nice to feel such a sense of accomplishment by 12 PM when every other college kid was just rolling out of bed.
The best part of working at Triumvirate was by FAR the people. Everyone was so friendly, not to mention extremely patient and helpful. As an intern, I entered Triumvirate with no experience other than waiting tables, and of course only being half way done at UNH. Every person I worked with had no problem answering my endless amount of questions or teaching me something I did not know how to do. Being so young and inexperienced, I needed a lot of guidance and everyone was always eager to help. Also, I made some pretty good friends in the three short months I was there. I originally feared that the company may be very clique-oriented, but after the first day my doubts were gone, and I have never felt so welcomed by everyone.
I absolutely plan on returning to Triumvirate as soon as possible, whether on my winter break or next summer. I would recommend to anyone that has environmental concerns and wants to make a difference to join this company. I felt like every day I was improving the world in which we live in by educating companies about hazardous chemicals as well as disposing of them correctly. I wanted to make even a small difference in the environment and Triumvirate has definitely helped me to achieve this goal.
By Mike Spinale, Director of Human Resources & Training
The Receptionist. Also known as the gatekeeper; your first point of contact at a company, and also the company's first impression of you.
For some reason, some people treat the Receptionist differently than they might a manager or an executive in the company. But when you come in for an interview, the Receptionist has a lot more power than you might think they do.
Conventional wisdom tells us how important it is to make a good first impression, and the Receptionist is the first person at the company with which a candidate interacts. Moreover, they can be the key to your success! As a hiring manager, I ALWAYS ask our Receptionist what she thinks about a candidate she has met.
- come in demanding coffee,
- speak to her in a curt or rude manner that demonstrated an air of superiority?
- or did they treat her with respect, asking her how her day is going and making pleasant small talk with her?
The way someone interacts with her tells me a lot about the candidate and whether or not they would fit in with our culture, which is our #1 priority at Triumvirate Environmental. We have been consistently named as a best place to work serveral years in a row due to our employee-centric culture.
by Mike Spinale, PHR, Director of Human Resources and Training
When it comes to job search, the old adage “it’s all in who you know” can really ring true. According to the Massachusetts Department of Labor and Workforce Development, 60 percent of job seekers find jobs with the help of their friends or relatives.
From my perspective as an employer, I highly value employee referrals and recommendations. As long as there is some experience fit for a position, an employee referral is a pretty much guaranteed interview for that candidate.
It’s no doubt then that using your network, the people to whom you are connected, is arguably the most important tool in your job search. The best web site for this, and I one I use on a daily basis, is LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is the largest professional social networking site on the net and is perhaps the best way for you to organize all of your personal and professional connections. The website is a perfect match for job search – you can, (and should)
- ASK your closest connections for professional and personal recommendations
- SEARCH jobs on LinkedIn’s job board
- JOIN job search groups organized by geography, industry, or both
- "FOLLOW" companies you are interested in to learn more about them
But the most important component of the site is its ability to show you to whom you are connected at various levels. Call it “three degrees of separation”; if you’re interested in Company XYZ – you can use this tool to find out if anyone you’re connected to is connected to anyone at that company, and can request an introduction to them.
Let’s use my profile as an example. I am connected to 471 people directly (1st level). Between my connections, their connections (2nd level), and their connection’s connections (3rd level), so on and so forth, I have over 4 million people in my LinkedIn network! How about that? Who knew I was so well connected? If you’re trying to get an interview with Triumvirate Environmental, chances are you know somebody, who knows somebody, who may know me!
One tip – don’t go trying to randomly connect to anyone and everyone – just like a traditional employee referral program – the referral is really only valuable if someone actually knows you. Blindly connecting to random people diminishes the real worth of your network.
By Mike Spinale, PHR, Human Resources Manager
One of the most common questions I get asked when someone finds out I work in Human Resources is whether or not their resume really needs to be only one-page long. My answer? No, it doesn't.
Why do people think this? Certain books suggest it. Some career counselors swear it's the way it should be. The truth is, no self-respecting HR professional is going to look at a resume and say "Oh, this qualified candidate's resume is two pages...they're out!"
But there is a benefit to keeping your resume to one-page (or as few pages as possible)...the more concise you can be on your resume, the more likely the items you want to highlight will be read by the person reviewing it. Resume reviewers, in many cases, receive hundreds of resumes from job seekers; and to get through them all requires screening for key words and information that matches the requirements being sought. Only when the screener finds information of interest will they stop and read more. If they find nothing of interest on page one, they most likely won't turn to page two. If all the good stuff is on page two, it may never be seen!
So, what's important is not keeping your resume to one-page, but structuring your resume in such a way as to highlight the most relevant and important information about your qualifications and experiences by locating them as close to the top of the first page as possible. That's why you'll see many resumes begin with a "summary of qualifications" or a list of achievements. Just like a good book, if the beginning grabs the reader's attention, they will keep reading further.
By Mike Spinale, PHR, Human Resources Manager
Everyone knows the importance of making a good first impression. It’s why most people work hard to prepare for the first face-to-face meeting with a potential employer. They pull out their suit, iron their clothes, get the hair done, clip their nails, etc…all with the hope of leaving the hiring company with a positive feeling about your candidacy.
But the real first impression a candidate makes is over the phone. Most employers initially reach out to applicants through the phone. This may include a quick call to schedule an interview or an impromptu phone interview. A job seeker must survive this stage of the interview process to succeed in obtaining a position.
Here are some tips and tricks on how to handle the initial contact from a company:
• Speak with enthusiasm – Don’t speak like you just got out of bed…even if you did! From the moment you answer the call to a cheerful goodbye, showing your enthusiasm about the position and the company will energize the company representative about your candidacy.
• Know who’s calling – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called someone for an interview and they’ve said “Who is this again? I’m sorry I don’t recognize the name of your company…I’ve applied for so many jobs”. This tells me the job seeker has no real interest in my company and is just looking for a job.
• Find a quiet space – It’s completely appropriate to ask the caller if you can call them back from a private area, especially if you are at work. One time, I was speaking to someone who was at work in their cube. They kept getting interrupted and whispered in response to my questions. They left an impression alright. Also, be careful of TVs blaring, dogs barking, and children crying in the background.
• Get rid of ring back tones – While music is better to listen to than a ringing phone line, I would prefer not to listen to “My Humps” as I’m waiting to speak to a candidate for an accounting position.
• Professionalize your voicemail greeting – Sound pleasant and confident in the greeting that awaits your unanswered callers. Don’t sound meek, sluggish or stern. And please please please don’t record music from the radio.
Remember that your first, first impression will likely occur over the phone. While a phone interview alone won’t win you the job, it is absolutely the first step to getting the coveted interview.
From OneDayOneInternship.com: Posted by Willy Franzen on Wednesday, July 22, 2009
In the environmentalist's ideal world there would be no such thing as hazardous waste. Everything would be pure and natural and "green." Unfortunately, that will never happen (partially because every living thing is its own little hazardous waste factory). How we deal with this hazardous waste is what truly determines the future of our environment. Triumvirate Environmental has figured this out, and they've spent the last 21 years building a business that provides "turnkey environmental and hazardous waste management services to clients across four niche sectors; Education, Healthcare, Industrial, and Life Sciences." They're based in Somerville, MA with locations across New England, New York, and the Mid-Atlantic, and they also appear to be masters of social media.
Join the Triumvirate
I'm surprised that I hadn't heard of Triumvirate Environmental until today. They're totally on top of employment branding and social media use, so you'd think they'd be on my radar screen (I actually have an internship radar that gives me ideas for posts). This is impressive because they're doing a great job making hazardous waste management exciting for job/internship seekers and customers alike. Triumvirate Environmental has 9 blogs on topics that include The Environment, Environmental Careers, Higher Education, Healthcare, Industrial and Manufacturing, Life Sciences and BioPharma, Engineering Blogs, National and International Environmental News, and Social Media. It almost seems like too much, but if blog readers turn into customers, employees, or interns, then it's well worth it. Triumvirate is all over Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube as well.
Although I find Triumvirate's social media use impressive, I'm more impressed with their customer service philosophy, which is built off of their mission to "build the most productive, long-term, customer-intimate, environmental services firm by WOWing! each employee, and each customer, every day." It's all about WOWs! I've found that companies that treat their customers well, also treat their interns well, and the same can be said for companies that have Career blogs. That's why you should definitely check out Triumvirate's Career Center. Right now they have two unpaid Fall internships at their Somerville, MA office posted: Human Resources Intern and Marketing/Communications Intern. Additionally, Mark Campanale from Triumvirate recently tweeted that he's looking for Fall interns in SEO/Web Marketing. Triumvirate's interns are very active on the blogs, so you can even get an inside look at what it's like to intern at Triumvirate. You can apply for internships at Triumvirate online, but I'll bet that using social media to reach out to them may be a more effective way to get noticed.
How transparency in HR leads to hiring the right employees
By Mark Campanale, Marketing Manager and New Media Trainer
No phone calls please.
It is the swan song, the signature sign-off, of most job postings. To some extent, I totally understand; I work very close with our HR folks that receive more that 400 resumes a week for the 7-8 job openings we currently have. I could not imagine getting that many phone calls, never mind speaking to half of them. But what about the HR departments who don’t encourage any contact? Isn’t it human nature to want to know the status of the job or to be sure that your resume was received?
Which brings me to Triumvirate’s Career Center – a department that encourages open dialog between HR and potential hires. It may not always be via phone, but AnnMarie Blunda, HR Generalist & Mike Spinale, HR Manager are both bloggers that write on Triumvirate’s Career Center Blog; are available to speak with via Live Chat on our website; and are on LinkedIn as active members of several groups. Mike Spinale is also active on Twitter (You can follow him @MikeSpinale).
First, they blog. They blog about current HR topics, share professional development tips and review many career-oriented books, websites and other media.
They chat. Yep, both AnnMarie and Mike talk to potential hires from the Live Chat feature in the Career Center section of the website.
They interact: In the groups they belong to on LinkedIn, they join in the conversations and answer posted questions and have started to post some of their open positions through their profiles on LinkedIn and have found great new team members.
So, in essence, the Triumvirate Career Center exceeds expectations. Where other companies are hiding behind a job posting and a catch all e-mail, Mike and AnnMarie show their expertise, share their contact info and even their pictures! You can follow Triumvirate’s Career Center on Twitter @TriumvirateHR.
What other ways can an HR department be transparent in order to attract potential candidates?
By Ian Lanza, Life Sciences Operations Coordinator
Though I have really enjoyed my online educational experience and have learned a lot, there are some negatives or important considerations you should be aware of before making the plunge.
• Independence. Though professors and students respond well to phone calls and emails, online students must be self starters and disciplined enough to stay on track and problem solve on their own.
• Time Commitment. It has been my experience that I spend more time on school than my brick and mortar peers, because I have to read everything and take the little extra time to understand concepts and problems. My program also requires attendance five days a week. Though participation may not always be as long as a class period this is more frequent than most brick and mortar programs.
• Verbal Presentation Skills. Though my writing has greatly improved, other than the residencies, I do not get to practice public speaking and communicating face to face. This is one of the reasons a residency or a few on campus courses are valuable.
• Team Work. Team work is a plus and minus in online programs. I have greatly improved my team work and leadership skills through online team assignments. However, some teams just don’t work and can be very challenging to work with, especially given the online forum.
• Relationship Building. Again, this is a double edged sword with online programs. Commiserating, and battling through similar experience builds relationships and networks. However, the human moment can be elusive with online programs. This is why I place so much value on the residency and in-house courses. I also try to get together with peers in the area as much as possible.
I place a lot of value in education. The experience is providing me with valuable analytical and professional skills to open new career doors and increase professional opportunities. There are many factors and variables to consider when deciding between an online program and traditional education, as well as selecting a specific program. There are personal, professional, financial, and geographically variables that will influence your decision. The best piece of advice I was given during my search for a program came from my College Counselor; He said “Select the program that is the best fit for you, not what your peers say, your boss says or the Princeton Review says. If there is a program out there which fits your needs, it is important that you pursue it.”