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Showing posts from July, 2013

Smile, Online Job Interviews Are Ruining Job Interviews

Oh, look at you getting ready for your job interview later today. Congratulations! It's an online interview, and so you can dress up from the waist up, sort of like a desk-bound news anchor pairing a Brooks Brothers shirt and tie with sweatpants from Target. Bonus. Too bad the interviewer probably won't like what he or she is seeing thanks to the video connection, or so says a new Canadian business school study. Go ahead and wear yesterday's stained, ironic t-shirt from the dirty clothes basket, since it just doesn't matter anymore, apparently. Researchers at McMaster's DeGroote School of Business in Hamilton, Ontario had a group of study participants conduct job interviews, and it turns out that the job applicants interviewed over a video connection were rated lower and -- here's the kicker! -- were not recommended for hire. But it doesn't stop there. The job applicants interviewed over webcam perceived the interviewer as unattractive, untrustworthy, unf…

Don't Look Now, But the Boss Can Read Your Text Messages

Do you somehow think that your mobile text messages are safe from the boss's prying eyes? Not anymore, thanks to emerging technologies. The race is on to create the perfect app for reading all of your workplace-related YOLOs, IDKs, OMGs, TTYLs and lazy misspellings! But are your fingers too big or is the typepad too small? It's the eternal question, right? Alas, we'll have to save this debate for another day, because we have a more important question to ponder: is teh boss going to tead youf text messafes? According to a Quartz article:While many companies have not begun to include text messages in their communications tools, many are recognizing its value. "It can improve communication and productivity," said Jim Patterson, a former Yammer executive and CEO of CoTap, which raised $5.5 million toward developing a business mobile messaging app. The first free version will be released in September with enhanced corporate mobile texting apps to follow. In 2010, t…

Is the Road To Workplace Success Paved With Grey Areas?

If you're always running from one meeting to another with barely any time to breathe, then LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner has a friendly suggestion: start padding your schedule with "grey areas" so that you can take a break here and there! Weiner refers to these moments as time "buffers" that are simply blocks of time to stop, think, reflect, ponder, think big picture, and maybe eat a salad at your desk. Weiner thinks that writing in a few daily grey areas is the ticket to workplace productivity and happiness. As he writes on LinkedIn:If you were to see my calendar, you'd probably notice a host of time slots greyed out but with no indication of what's going on. There is no problem with my Outlook or printer. The grey sections reflect "buffers," or time periods I've purposely kept clear of meetings. In aggregate, I schedule between 90 minutes and two hours of these buffers every day (broken down into 30- to 90-minute blocks). It's a system…

Survey Finds the Workplace Really Is Just Like High School

I blogged about it a year ago, but now there's statistical proof that your workplace really is just like high school. Yay? Make sure to save room on the senior benches for your cool junior co-worker from accounting! Harris Interactive surveyed nearly 3,000 U.S. employees on CareerBuilder's behalf, and 43% said that their office is full of high school-esque cliques. The vast majority (89%) of workers surveyed said that they're NOT intimidated by these office cliques, but (cough) they've had to "adapt" to their work environments. This means that they're eating foods they don't like; going to "happy hours" they don't want to go to; participating in activities they don't want to do; making fun of people at work and pretending not to like them; hitting the smoker's shed more often; and watching movies and teevee shows they don't like all that much just to fit in better at work. But other than bending to mind-numbing peer pressu…

Proper Etiquette For Online Lurking When You're the Boss

The CEO of Sears is denying accusations that he created a pseudonym on the company's internal social network and proceeded to argue with employees. Oh, geez. Whether or not the accusation is true, it raises a very 21st Century management question: What is proper workplace etiquette for online lurking when you're the boss? Well, for starters, we can safely say that it isn't a great idea to argue anonymously online with entry-level staff. The workplace isn't an episode of the non-existent spin-off Undercover Boss: Social Media Spy. Arguing online with employees doesn't buy leaders very much at the end of the day; it simply makes everyone hate coming to work. Company leaders should post under their real names and identities at all times. Let's keep it real, folks. Second, if you're in a management role, then please keep your social media comments thoughtful, professional and respectful. You're setting the example for employees. If an employee/internet t…

Six Ways To Know If You're A Know-It-All At Work

We can usually spot a know-it-all at work from a mile away, but what if we have turned into the know-it-all and we don't even realize it? It's human nature to relax on the job after we've been at it for awhile. The problem is, our knowledge grows over time as new co-workers come and go. The tenure gap can put you at risk of being viewed increasingly as an annoying know-it-all. Do newer co-workers look upset whenever you open your mouth? Are your gray-hair-in-residence ways making them see red? Oh, no. We'd better put this week's project on the back burner and work on you, stat! Here are six red flags that you might just be coming off as a little too much "in the know," if you know what I mean.1. You're constantly interrupting. Your co-worker is talking, but you can't help but cut him off at the pass to add your two cents. Or he's getting to the punchline as you stand there with your arm in the air yelling, "I know the answer! I know the …

The Top Ten Ways Employees Are Wasting Time At Work

A new study concludes that the average employee spends 88% of the work day actually working. This means that 12% of the average employee's work day is spent doing, ahem, "other things." What are these other things, exactly? Don't forget to do some online banking while you're reading this post! Speaking of online banking, it ranks as the number-one time waster among the employees surveyed. Here are the top ten ways employees are wasting time at work in order of descending time-wastiness:1. Online banking 2. Checking the weather 3. Checking personal emails 4. Reading news sites 5. Researching holidays 6. Paying the bills 7. Browsing clothes online 8. Checking social networks 9. Calling friends 10. Online clothes shopping The average employee completes an average of seven personal tasks on the job per day. In fact, the study finds nearly 20% of employees aren't finishing their work on time because they're too busy taking care of personal business. Anyone w…

That's Hot: How To Look Cool In High Pressure Systems

It's already 89 degrees at 10:30 a.m. but it "feels like" 114 degrees. It's gonna be a steamer in Washington, D.C.! If you're an employee working on the East Coast today*, then you're pretty much guaranteed to arrive at work pitted out with beads of sweat running down the back of your shirt and frizzy (or flat as a pancake) hair just in time for the most important meeting of the month. It was the non air-conditioned walk from the parking lot or train/bus stop that did you in, wasn't it? Yes, I know. Talk about feeling springtime fresh, right? Really, today is the type of day we would prefer to scroll through quickly like a "reply all" email so that we can get home and rinse off to stop feeling like yesterday's debatable leftovers. While a few of your co-workers may seem sartorially impervious to the heat, trust me: they feel just like you do. And by that, I mean one sweaty hot mess of an employee. Don't let the heat and humidity get y…

Working Hard Today? (Don't Worry, No One Else Is, Either)

It's mid-July in the Northern Hemisphere and if you're like most of us, then you're probably not getting very much done. Forget the Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms that we feel in January. This time of year, we're too busy suffering from Summer Affective Disorder to care, according to this article. Whether you prefer to call it "the other SAD" or "summer brain" or simply "summertime," it's here and it's hot and we'll have very little attention span until early September, when marketers and public relations reps start pumping out new products and surveys again. Not that any of this news comes as a surprise. We've known about our "summer lazy" working ways for quite awhile now. By the way, have you ever wondered why August is the only month without a major holiday? I was thinking about this yesterday while thinking about someone's August birthday party. Every other month has some sort of holiday theme t…

Forget Skills, How Can Employers Hire For Common Sense?

Common sense. It's what every employer wants in a new hire but has absolutely no idea how to measure. Let's make sense of this problem for the common man! Before you read any further, please be aware that no one can fully measure another person's sense of common sense. It simply cannot be done. The only way we can discover a co-worker's lack of common sense is when he or she does something incredibly stupid. The media's en-masse firing of on-staff fact-checkers as a cost-saving measure aside, employers will still try to assess common sense in job applicants by looking at their G.P.A., their college background, their past jobs, their references, their social media footprint, and their past job responsibilities -- all of which actually have very little to do with common sense. What is common sense, exactly? We bandy the term about the workplace through phrases ranging from "common-sense solutions" to "common-sense thinking." Akin to the tired te…

Is Your Smartphone Gradually Making You Less Assertive?

Your co-worker left her desk 20 minutes ago to "make a few copies," and you're starting to wonder what has happened to her. Is the copier broken? Is she trapped underneath something heavy? Is she down the street having a Fourth Meal at Taco Bell? If you're a smartphone user, which is pretty much all of us these days, then you're more likely to keep sitting there in silence wondering where she's gone. Two Harvard researchers throw a little bit of sunshine on an interesting workplace question: Are ever-smaller smartphones turning us into wimps? Quite possibly yes, say the researchers, who had a group of study participants complete a set of tasks on a range of devices (iPod Touch, iPad, MacBook Pro laptop, iMac desktop computer) for which they would get paid afterward. Before the study participants could receive payment for their labor, however, someone had to leave the room to fetch a few forms for them to sign. Ah, glorious paperwork. We've all been the…