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What to wear to a remote job interview

When going to a job interview, first impressions really count.  Now that a lot of interviews are going remote, many are forgetting that you are still about to make a first impression, and your appearance counts.

Dress with confidence and style; be polished and professional.

Here are some tips for you:

Find out what the dress code is

Ask what the dress code is when setting up the job interview.  This will give you a hint on what they are expecting, and also give you a glimpse of their culture too!

Be conservative with what you choose

If the job interview is at a formal office, dress the way you would on your first day, unless told otherwise. If it is a casual office, and jeans and t-shirts are worn, you should still do a more business variation of this to look put together and like you put in effort for the interview.

Wear clothes that fit

Don’t wear clothes that are too tight or too loose to the job interview. Both are inappropriate and will make you look less put together.

Wear clean clothes

Even over zoom, we can tell when your clothes are dirty, and it gives off the wrong first impression.

Be well groomed

The COVID restrictions have made it challenging for everyone to feel comfortable getting hair cuts, and heading to salons for regular appointments. This is not an excuse to show up to interviews a mess. Simply putting some effort into keeping your hair out of our face, and clean, will go a long way. Remember that your hands are often seen in the camera, so while you may not be getting your nails done, they could still be clean.

Dress for the job you want, not the job you have

You’ve likely heard this saying before. It’s important that you let go of your preconceived notions of the work that you are doing now, and focus on where you are looking to be in the future. Dress for the job you are applying for.

Feel comfortable adding your own personal style

Add a splash of colour or personality like a tie, scarf, or piece of jewelry. It’s OK to have personality. You want to be memorable and stand out from the other candidates and adding a little statement can help with that.  At the end of the day, you want them to hire you; the real you. So feel comfortable sharing a bit about who you are; we just recommend you don’t go overboard.

 

At the end of the day, remote interviews feel very similar to in person interviews, when you get going. The main thing is to feel confident, prepared and ready to what them with how well you align with the position they are hiring for.

Want to know more about about how to succeed in job interviews, check out these additional tips.

Good luck at your job interview!

Guest Blog: The New Customer Relationship

At Career Contacts, we are firm believers in #collaborationovercompetition and we have built our company on that premise. 

We are excited to feature Azzra Bardai, a customer success expert, who can provide some insight and tips for our growing list of clients on how to adapt and form the new customer relationship!

The current global health and economic pandemic has forced us to transform in a very short period of time. Conversations are shifting  to developing a return to work strategy focused on the path to recovery, but we must also continue to focus on our customer relationships. The shifts in social and business behaviours will impact all of us and the importance of building relationships with our customers is top priority. 

Customers are at the forefront of what we do, customers expectations were already on the rise pre-COVID and will continue to shift. Corporate social responsibility is driving a new standard for how we work with our customers and the value we deliver to our customers will need to be maximized.

Deepen your existing customer relationships and foster new ones

Now is the time to move away from the standard customer relationship and create a new standard. The new standard are relationships that span outside of business, where there is a true sense of authenticity, empathy and understanding of customers. The ultimate result, customers that give you reviews and referrals without you asking. 

Check in

Pick up the phone, send a text message or connect via social media (do you know what works best for your customers?), not just when you have an ask. Reach out with no business agenda but instead just to check in. Create the opportunity to gain an understanding as to how your customers have been affected by the pandemic in life and business. 

Think about the long term future 

The past few months have forced us to think about the short term future. How do we help our customers now but as we begin to shift back to think about their long term future, what have you considered for your customers? The continuation of postponing monthly recurring payments will still be in play. Be ahead of the curve and work with your finance department to determine what you can offer. 

Author: Azzra Bardai, Customer Success Expert

Experienced and results driven, Azzra acts as an advisor to customers throughout the onboarding cycle, driving value through effective engagement of platforms, and managing resolution of any technical issues. She prides herself on developing relationships with customers, keeping the best interests of stakeholders in mind, and acting as an internal advocate.

 

How are you creating value for your customers? You may have already implemented one or all of these best practices, but if you haven’t now more than ever is the time to be thinking about how to structure your organization to be customer-centric.

Want to get some more information on how to ensure customer success in your organization?
Feel free to reach out to us and we are happy to make some connections!

hiring@careercontacts.ca | 604-606-1831

10 Ways to Organize and Optimize for the Future of Work

As we entered a new year and a new decade, we as a global society were thrown into unprecedented times with the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. Employers are still reeling from adjusting to a work-from-home structure, an uncertain future and for some, complete shutdown and the letting go of valuable employees.

Coming out of all the turbulence, are countless new opportunities for organizations to uncover a new way of work.

One such opportunity is using this interim period to review and take inventory of processes, templates and other supporting and supplementary documents that are currently in place.

At Career Contacts, we continue to grow our team slowly, and strategically. Most recently, adding a Director of Partnerships, to support our clients in their need to create a new way of work – one that is organized, and optimized, for the future of work.

These reviews will allow organizations to identify the current state of affairs, and determine what gaps there are.

The next stage would be to implement the required changes and begin to create new tools as needed.

You know, all the things that we say we will do when we have time, when things slow down, when the high priority stuff clears? All that work that sat on the side of our desks? Here is the chance to get organized, optimized, and ready to gear up while we, as a collective, establish a new normal.

While we cannot deny the sheer upheaval that this pandemic has caused for us, we can take this slow down as a means of improving and bolstering our operations and the tools that support us day to day.

Here are ten steps that can get you and your team started today:

 

ONE – Take a second to reflect

Run through your day – what roadblocks do you come across, what stalls you, what issues do you face?

TW0 – Take stock

What processes, documents, templates do you have currently? As you take this inventory, it is amazing to see how many duplications, contradictions and cross functionality can be revealed.

THREE – Whiteboarding/brainstorming session

Virtually of course, gather key team members and stakeholders to discuss their experiences, what they feel is working and what is required to promote efficiency, supports positive workflow and any other innovations they have in mind. The people who are engaged with these artifacts daily are your greatest data points and will provide you with the most candid and valuable information.

FOUR – Planning and strategy session

Once you have determined what you need and what needs to be done, gather the troops to figure out timelines, approach, inter-dependencies, and assign specific tasks.

FIVE – Get to work

Have fun with this as you collectively develop, revise, rework and establish these processes and tools. It is your time to make things really work for you so throw yourself into it and see the evolution of the elements that make up your day to day.

SIX – Check-in

Research and experience shows that initiatives such as this can fall flat if the teams are not discussing the current state, any blockages, questions, issues, risks, inconsistencies that have arisen during this key revision and development time. Have the team collate once a week, preferably at the start, to outline the current state of their task, what is outstanding, and any other specifics. Not only will this drive progress but allow people the space and opportunity to collaborate and overcome any roadblocks that they have encountered.

SEVEN – Presentation for feedback

Once the specific process, template, tool etc., is complete, have the responsible team members present it to the larger group/managers/executives, depending on your organizational structure. This presentation should include some background, whether this was developed completely new or based on previous components, development methodology, its purpose and how to use. The second part of this is to allow for others to provide inputs and edits and ask clarification questions for refinement and moving towards finalization.

EIGHT – Editing and finalization

Post-presentation, the development team or resource will take the feedback and revisions provided by the team and implement the changes and complete a final read through and review to finalize.

NINE – Approval

Once the process/template/document/tool is complete, submit to the correct team member or department for final review and approval. Once approval is granted, place the completed piece in the correct folder, file, upload to SharePoint or wherever the appropriate knowledge management space is for your company.

TEN – Training

Depending on your organization’s structure or department hierarchy, to ensure that all team members are apprised of your new tool, it would be advantageous to host a virtual training session. Not only is it a chance for team members to connect, it ensures that everyone understands its purpose, usage and allows for a question and answer period.

This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but a starting point depending on how your teams and companies are structured. By equipping our HR Consulting division with a Director of Partnerships, we have added the ability to not only be a human resources business partner, but an overall addition to your senior management and leadership teams.

Needing some support in getting started?
Our team can assist in providing reviews, field any questions, have strategy calls or provide any clarification or advice as required.
Please feel free to reach out and we at Career Contacts would be happy to help.

 

Effectively Onboarding your Remote Teams

Our favorite part of onboarding is the feeling of knowing that you are welcoming someone new into your fold. Onboarding is going to look different as we begin to transition teams back into the workforce.

This transition will likely be slow, and many will begin with a remote onbaording process to reduce physical contact where possible.

Doing so remotely will never feel exactly the same, and we don’t believe that its necessary to pretend otherwise. We value our current onboarding programs that are onsite, but also know it’s important for companies to be given options as they pivot their businesses.

Instead, at Career Contacts we are inviting our clients to take on a new way of onboarding that reflects the new normal. We encourage you to look at incorporating some of these new ideas and as always, we are available to support with a more customized plan for your specific team!

  1. Be mindful of who is home

In this climate, we know that not only are your employees being forced to work from home right now, but their families are likely at home with them. Be mindful that your onboarding process respects their individual work environments at home.

Our team at Career Contacts is diverse. We recognize that everyone has a unique dynamic at home and want to be sure that they do not feel at a disadvantage for anything they can’t control.

  1. Don’t cram everything into the first few days

The easiest way to for someone to absorb a new environment is to do so slowly. Provide your new team members with small, easily digestible onboarding pieces. This will allow them to try out each piece slowly, provide any feedback and get support right away.

  1. Be available

The worst feeling is to feel like you’ve been thrown into the deep end and being unable to swim. Stay connected and available for your teams while they onboard. Ideally, you want to introduce them to 1-2 people a day, to allow them to have a few people to reach out to for support.

Introducing them to their co-workers early on will also allow them to feel like part of the team quickly.

At Career Contacts, we have several platforms that we use to stay connected. We ensure that our employees not only have access to the tools, but training on how to use the tools effectively.

  1. Vary the mediums

Get creative with how you disseminate all the new information to your new employees. Documentation is just one way. Try incorporating video calls, conference calls, pre-recorded videos, etc. This will also help break up the day and allow your teams to stay interested in the material they are being sent.

  1. Give them the tools to succeed

Every new employee should have access to what they need before they begin. This means that they feel completely supported and able to do their jobs. It is much better to start them a few days later with access to drives, technology, CRMs etc. than to give it out slowly and make people feel disconnected.

  1. Swag doesn’t have to be fancy

We know that larger organizations have the capacity to provide new employees with over the top welcome packages. While this is always a great feeling, smaller companies can’t always do this.

At Career Contacts, we have personalized cups and sweatshirts with our logo on it. It’s a small way for the team to feel connected. Get creative with how you give your teams swag; its more about feeling a sense of connection, than about the items themselves.

 

Wanting some support with your onboarding process? Our HR team is ready to support you!

Contact us today at hiring@careercontacts.ca or 604-606-1831

 

Effective Strategies to Offboarding Teams

 

Employee exit management (often referred to as offboarding), is an intentional process of separating an employee from their employer.

There are many ways to provide a proactive solution for temporary and permanent layoffs. Being proactive ensures that you have action items in place well before the employee is told they are no longer going to a part of your team.

Below are our top 5 things to consider when offboarding proactively:

  1. Be empathetic from start to finish

    1. You will see this threaded through all that we do. We believe whole heartedly that people will always give what they get. The better you treat them, at every stage of their career, the better they will leave your organization.
    2. A layoff is likely not expected or desired and therefore, can take some time to process. Be prepared to give them the time they need to be “ok” with your decision.

Ensuring your teams experience a graceful offboarding process will be paramount to the relationship you keep with your remaining employees and will be the basis on which your employee brand and culture stand on.

  1. Get constructive feedback

    1. Ensure that you give the employee the ability to share their thoughts on what worked, and what didn’t, during their time with you. It is often easier for this to be outsourced to ensure that you are getting honest feedback. A layoff can be a sensitive time for people, so ensure that you are giving them an opportunity to process, grieve the loss and manage their needs before asking for anything in return
  2. Ensure an effective hand-off

    1. Communication is your number one responsibility. Speak with the employee, speak with their supervisor and their teams, and be open and available to an ongoing conversation.
    2. If you are only eliminating part of the team, someone else will be picking up the pieces that are being left. Support your existing team by ensuring the laid off employee is properly and effectively handing off their work.
    3. Be mindful that this is a difficult time for them and let them determine the best way to do this.

Some ideas of ways to effectively facilitate a hand-off are:

  • An email with a list of outstanding tasks
  • A 1 on 1 meeting
  • A call setup between the employee and the team member
    1. If there is not the ability to effectively handoff, ensure that you have their contact information updated, should you need to reach them
  1. Celebrate your outgoing employees

    1. The Coronavirus has hit companies in unprecedented ways. Many of the layoffs taking place right now are not due to a company’s desire, but out of necessity. The teams that you are letting go are likely winners, and people that you hope will return to your business when the time comes.

Some great ways to show your appreciation and admiration for your outgoing teams are:

  • Thank you cards
  • A going away lunch
  • A break in the last day to hold a standup and personally thank them for their time and support
  • Provide them with a reference letter if they did a great job working for you
  1. Have a plan

    1. If you know that this is a temporary layoff, make sure to communicate that clearly
    2. If you know that there is likely no opportunity of them getting rehired, let them know
    3. Be honest, be transparent, be kind

 

The piece that we see forgotten the most is that while you are looking after the employees that are being laid off, it is easy to forget about the employees that remain.

There is no doubt that they are wondering if “they are next” so take the time to communicate with the remaining team let them know what you are planning.

Reaffirming your commitment to your existing teams will ensure you do not have to deal with additional, and unplanned attrition.

Allow for the remaining team to come forward with their concerns, their ideas, and their hopes.

Bring them in to the plan for the future so that they have a say in the future of their company.

Lastly, in order to ensure that you have completed all the necessary steps during the offboarding process, Career Contacts has created a robust offboarding checklist.

Interested in getting a copy of our offboarding Checklist? Email us at hiring@careercontacts.ca and we will send one over to you, at no cost!

 

The entire HR team at Career Contacts is dedicated to supporting our clients and our communities with FREE COVID related HR support. One of the most demanding requests we have received is for offboarding support.

 

Please feel free to reach out to our teams to see how we can support you today!

 

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