Seven Ways to Impress a Potential Employer During a Job Interview

You’ve reworked your resume so it’s just right. You signed up for every job search site and networking group you could think of. A new pair of Florsheims and a freshly dry-cleaned suit sit in the bedroom closet.

You’ve been out pounding the pavement, applying for jobs with a single-minded focus you haven’t exhibited since that first-year trig exam in college. And it’s finally paid off. You just got a call from a potential employer who wants to meet with you in order to determine whether you’d be a good fit for their organization. So you may be thinking to yourself, now what? How do I close the deal? What can I say or do that will give me a leg up on the competition? These are all good questions. Here are seven distinct things you can do that will allow you to maximize your effectiveness in the hot seat.
 

Dress the Part

Your physical appearance is the very first thing a potential employer will notice. And not just the interviewer; but his boss, the receptionist, HR, co-workers and others who might be influential in the hiring decisions. Being fresh, clean, well-groomed and wrinkle-free show that you’re taking the interview seriously and gives the interviewer an idea of how you’ll look representing the company. In addition, it’s important to dress for the job you want, not the one you have or had. This lets them more clearly visualize you in the new role.
 

Greet the Host

Your physical appearance is only half the battle in making a good first impression. The other half is how you present yourself when greeting the interviewer. When she enters the waiting room to fetch you, be sure to stand up tall and straight. Don’t fidget or exude nervousness; confidence is paramount. Shake hands firmly, maintain eye contact and radiate a genuine smile. Also, be sure to pay attention to the interviewer’s name and job title when they offer it; you may need them later.
 

Know Your Resume

Nothing looks more unprofessional than not knowing the contents of your own resume. Be sure to thoroughly review it the night before or morning of so you can adequately address the interviewer’s questions regarding it. For those who have multiple versions of their resume, be sure to know which one you gave to the employer. You will typically be expected to bring a hard copy to the interview (yes, even in this digital age), so bring at least two – one for the interviewer and one for you to refer to as a shorthand.
 

Know Their Company

With the Internet being as easily accessible and navigable as it is nowadays, few excuses exist for not having at least a cursory knowledge of the organization with whom you’re interviewing. Do some background research and information-gathering the night before. Know the company’s stock and trade, awards, clients, key players and any claims to fame. Impress the interviewer with your knowledge and enthusiasm for what they do. Allow her to see your understanding of company philosophies and practices. Moreover, demonstrate an informed understanding of their industry and the specific position, if possible, as well.
 

Listen and Engage

Anxiety often causes people to talk too much. So make sure you’re calm and relaxed prior to starting the interview. Avoid being loquacious, which can create the perception that you’re nervous, unfocused and inattentive. Spend at least as much time listening as speaking. Respond to the interviewer’s questions with lucid, concise and relevant answers. Choose words carefully, ask questions and engage the interviewer with thoughtful dialog that propels the conversation forward.
 

Maintain Professional Conduct

Be conscious of your body language during the interview. Just as with the greeting, good posture, eye contact and a healthy smile go a long way. Avoid fidgeting with your hands by keeping them gently clasped together in front of you. Don’t fold or cross your arms either, as this comes across as antagonistic and aggressive. Nod as the interviewer is speaking to show you’re fully engaged. When responding, be careful not to say “um” or “uh” too often and refrain from using inerudite slang like “ain’t,” “yeah” and “nope.” Also, watch the interviewer’s body language and speech patterns to ensure she is reacting to you in a positive way; if not, make some adjustments to your own.
 

Have Passion and Positivity

Genuine passion for a job is a quality all employers universally seek in new hires because it begets hard work, high performance and lower turnover. Similarly, a positive attitude makes for a better workplace with less stress, eventually resulting in greater productivity. Show the interviewer through your knowledge, tone, inflection and body language that you possess a real excitement for the position and that you’re upbeat disposition will translate into more efficient man hours, significant attention to details and a team-oriented work environment.
 

Note: After the interview is over, exit the way you entered – with a firm handshake, eye contact and a confident smile. Always be gracious, even if you feel that it’s likely you won’t get the job. Follow up with a thank you letter or phone call a few days later. Habits like these and the ones above will eventually become your hallmark, demonstrating a commitment to professionalism that could ultimately make the difference between landing that job or losing out to the competition.

The Best Employee Holiday Gifts Under $20

Well, it’s that time of year again. Sleigh bells are ringing, mistletoe hangs from the doorframes, yuletide music blares from elevator speakers… and employers once more face the unenviable task of brainstorming affordable gift ideas for their workers. Yes, welcome to the holidays in corporate America. Assembling one-size-fits-all holiday gifts for a diverse cadre of underlings can be daunting in and of itself; but when coupled with the mad mid-December dash to close out jobs, pad yearly revenues and train a small army of seasonal temps, heck, it can become downright excruciating – an overwhelming burden that ultimately gets the proverbial axe and leaves you looking like Ebenezer Scrooge.

However, stressed-out bosses everywhere should breathe a little easier this year. Providing your employees with thoughtful gifts that won’t break the bank – a veritable necessity in this economy – is not as difficult as it might seem if one knows where to look. The Internet is flush with ideas for under $20 knickknacks that are perfectly suited for workplace gift-giving. (And many go even cheaper when bought in bulk.) Often times, something small and simple is the ideal way to show an employee how much you appreciate their service. So here are 10 such gift ideas culled from cyber-sphere wish lists, blogs and contributor news sites that will put the Santa back in your step…
 

Coffee Mugs

Coffee and tea drinkers alike will readily admit that their mugs are essential for combating morning enervation. Moreover, a mug’s unisex nature makes it practically universal and allows the bearer to express himself via its pictures and verbiage. Employers can purchase mugs that depict local sports teams, their city, the company itself or some other collective theme shared by those in the office. Even the caffeine-averse can use it as a flower vase or pen holder.
 

Chocolate

Really, who doesn’t like this? (Short of our allergic and lactose-intolerant friends.) Whether you crave the feel of childhood nostalgia, a rush of serotonin or a simple yet flavorful after-dinner snack, chocolate is almost always the answer. And major brands offer reasonable prices. One-pound candy boxes from See’s, white chocolate peppermint truffles from Godiva, and a festive tin of dark chocolate-covered pretzels from Crate and Barrel can all be had for less than a Jackson.
 

Books & DVDs

Got employees that yearn for adventure to new worlds and faraway lands? A good piece of literature or an engaging movie is the cheapest way to appeal to the swashbuckler, fortune-hunter or hopeless romantic in your office. Online retailers like Amazon or Barnes & Noble carry everything under the sun. Not a fan of fiction? Opt for a how-to book or a documentary that inspires positive workplace conduct. Buy hard copies for the old-schoolers; kindle versions and downloads for the techies.
 

Movie Tickets

The voluminous Hollywood machine with its bevy of genres, stories and stars means there’s always a film to see, whether you’re an avid cinephile, the once-a-year event-movie type, or somewhere in between. Sites like Wild About Movies offer discounted tickets to major theater chains around the country, making a pair of passes a cost-effective endeavor. Or go really cheap and get $3 discount vouchers for AMC’s concession stand in bundles of 50.
 

Retail Gift Certificates

Offices with a hopelessly diverse cast of characters who seldom agree on anything calls for a gift that provides choice. Enter the magnanimous gift certificate. Yes, this little piece of paper may advertise how generous or cheap you really are, but it also allows Betty in accounting to get her favorite candles, while Mike in legal can go full-on with a new pair of ankle socks. No agreement necessary. Just try to buy from a department store or one with a similarly large selection of goods.
 

Customized Ornaments

Looking for a gift that’s a bit more personal and still speaks to the merriment of the holidays? Try going a little outside the box with customized tree ornaments that feature your company logo, a picture of the entire staff, or a profound statement about the joys of being the office boss (wink, wink). Also, hanging Hanukkah decorations can be made for Jewish workers. Sites like Bronners and Zazzle.com can customize ornaments for as little as a few bucks per unit.
 

Gourmet Coffee

Here’s another option for those workers futilely mired in our caffeine-addicted culture. A 16-ounce bag usually retails for about $10 to $15, and can easily be found through a simple Google search. Coffee Wholesale USA carries a cache of rare whole bean blends, while Roastar will actually let you customize the bag. So spring for the organic Arabica or slow-roasted Hawaiian Kona, and reap the double benefit of employees who are both grateful for the gift and uber-alert on the job.
 

Wine

Employees who are 21 years of age or older will often appreciate a good bottle of Cab or Chianti. Most supermarket vintages are well under $20, with additional discounts offered at Ralph’s, for instance, when you purchase six or more bottles. Sparkling cider or non-alcoholic wines are suitable alternatives for non-drinkers or offices where alcohol may not be appropriate. For all others, get the real stuff and throw a bow on it. Just make sure they don’t drink it until they get home.
 

Practical Office Gear

One thing that everyone in the office has in common… is that they all work in the office. So why not get them something for their office? The sky’s the limit here. Desk calendars, paper weights, pen holders, picture frames and executive sticky note cases can be matched with an employee based on both taste and need. Online retailers like Baudville.com will even let you personalize it. Plus, this way, you know that your gift didn’t wind up in the back of their bedroom closet.
 

Mobile Applications

A few years ago, this wouldn’t even be possible. But now, in this tech-driven, smartphone-crazy world we live in, gifting an app to someone might just be the most app-licable, app-ropriate and app-reciated thing you could do for them. There are literally hundreds of thousands of apps available, so chances are you’ll find one that’s right for each person. Most app stores now offer functions that make it easy to choose, pay for and send an app as a gift. You’re welcome. No app-lause, please.

The Traditional Brick and Mortar Office is Shifting to the Revolutionary Virtual Office

Times are constantly changing, and we can decide whether we want to go along with these changes, or not. One of the major changes when it comes to the world of business is the fact that most of the smaller mom and pop shops that were once considered to be the backbone of the business world have slowly lost their place over the years due to the creation of big business companies, which were formed with a purpose of saving people money.

The next big change when it comes to the world of business is the move from the traditional brick and mortar business building to the world of getting what we need simply by going online and using the internet. Although the internet did give the ability for some of the smaller businesses to be able to stay a little more competitive with the bigger businesses, the number one goal for most people is to look for the best deals so they are able to save money.
 

Traditional Office vs. Virtual Office

When it comes to running a business, no matter whether that business is big or small, the costs of running a traditional office can get to be quite expensive. Of course, having an office is a necessary part of any business as this is where all the organizational components of running a business is done.

There are a number of associated overhead costs attached to a traditional office, which can add up rather quickly! Since one of the main goals of a business is to make a profit, the expenses associated with a traditional office can make quite a dent in the overall budget.

Therefore, many businesses, both big and small, are beginning to recognize the many, high expenses that are associated with using a traditional office, which is the reason for this current shift. This shift is showing that business owners are deciding to cut office overhead expenses by moving from using a traditional office to using a virtual office.
 

Virtual Office Benefits

Using a virtual office offers a number of great benefits that are designed to not only help a business with their organizational needs, it can save them a lot of time as well as money! When you decide to use a virtual office, you’re deciding to let a group of professionals handle your office needs, which not only helps you stay organized, those who do business with you will appreciate the professional presence that a virtual office allows. Global Business Centers can help you decide which virtual office package will best suit your particular needs, so be sure to contact them so you can join in on this revolutionary shift that can save you both time and money.

How to Form a Business for Less than $1,000

So you’re interested in starting your very own business yet have limited finances. What are your choices? Good news is that you have many choices. Although they will be limited due to your limited finances, rest assured that you will be able to form your very own business for less than a $1000. This may mean that you don’t get to have everything you want right away, but that’s okay. Once you get started and establish your business, you can then begin to use your profits to buy all the additional items you want for your business.

The following information is a short-list of the necessary business essentials that will help you get your business started.
 

Free

Although it will take a lot of time and hard work, doing a lot of tasks yourself will save you lots of money!

  • Write your own business plan by using a free business plan template.
  • Take advantage of free business services, such as training and counseling.
  • Advertise/market your business using a few of the oh-so-popular social media options currently available, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
     

Low-Cost

Although you can do a lot to form your business for free, the following are either essential or deemed important when it comes to forming your very own business.

Register your Business: Depending on the state you register your new business in will determine how much the registration fees will cost you. Costs start at around $100.

Create a Website: The internet is here to stay, making creating a website to go along with your business essential! Costs for a domain name and one year of website hosting starts at around $60.

Create a Logo: Hire a freelancer to create a catchy business logo. Instead of hiring a big company, try one of the more popular freelancing sites, such as UpWork or Guru. Costs start at around $50.

Business Licenses/Permits: The cost of a business license or permit is minimal, normally ranging in price anywhere from $10 to $100, dependent on your particular state.
 

A Few Helpful Tips

If you need to buy any business supplies, ask for a discount. Promise the supplier that you will give them your future business. Also, look into one of the many available programs available that assist startups, small businesses, and/or minority groups

Popular Questions about Start-up Companies–Before and After

Whether you’re either thinking about starting your very own company or have recently established a new company, you’ve taken the first (and very brave!) step towards making your business-related ideas come to life. Maybe you’re following a life-long dream, or maybe you like the idea of being your own boss, just know that when it comes to starting your own business there are a lot of aspects involved. Understanding these aspects will help you succeed!

Once a person starts entertaining the idea of starting up their very own company, their mind immediately begins to start thinking not only about all the steps that need to be taken to make this happen, but also the various details that need to be addressed that are required to make the business a success. Whether you already own your own company or are starting a new one, the questions you have will pertain to how you can turn your business into the successful entity you envision it to be.
 

Before

Before actually starting a company, you should take the time to ask yourself the following questions. These questions will help you to understand many of the aspects that come with starting a business, helping you to recognize as well as determine if you are indeed ready to start your very own business.

  • What kind of business do I want to create? Why? Do I need a business plan?
  • Who is my target market? What will I sell? Products? Services?
  • Who is the competition? How can I make my business unique?
  • Where will I establish this business? What’s my marketing plan?
  • How much money do I need? Will I need to borrow money?
  • Do I need help? Supplies? Insurance?
     

After

If you are a newly established business, you already have the answers to the above questions and now have a new set of questions that need answering.

Good to Know

If/when you decide to start your own company, there are a lot of resources available that can help you in every aspect of starting and managing your particular business.