Waiting Room Etiquette

How often do we find ourself in a situation where we are in a waiting room? The doctors, dentist, haircuts, car service, airport, professional interviews… Just to name a few!  Now how often do we find ourselves annoyed, or even offended, by the actions of others while sitting in these confined spaces?

waitingRoom_1424248cSensing our readers are nodding their heads and thinking back to the annoying gum chewer or the woman telling her husband a detailed grocery listed on the phone, we are going to explore the do’s and don’ts of the waiting room.

Remember:First impressions can only be made once.

From the moment one walks into a “waiting room” situation, they enter under the scrutiny of those already there. Depending on the situation, one might have to fill out paper work. DO: Take a pen if offered to fill out an application. DON’T: Dump out  your bag out trying to find one. DO: Step to the side or take a seat to fill out the paper work. DON’T: Stand in front of the window or desk and hold up the rest of the line.

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Was it raining out on your way to the interview or airport? Do you have a long commute on the train or bus? If you answered yes, you may be in rain boots or sneakers and need/want to change into heels or dress shoes before work, your interview, or long flight. DO: Go to the bathroom (ask for directions if needed) and change into your other shoes. DON’T: Take your shoes off in the lobby or back of the waiting room.

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The BIG dilemma: what to do when it comes time to take a seat. Running through everyone’s minds are the questions: “Where to sit? How to sit? Should I face the receptionist or not?” DO: Leave space between you and others (unless if there are no more open chairs of course). DON’T: Rearrange furniture to sit next to other people you are with. DO: Sit as if you are going into the most important meeting of your life. DON’T:  Slouch down, put your feet on another chair, or rest your eyes (even if for ‘just a minute’).

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Stomach grumbling? Hunger often seems to find us at the most inconvenient time. Have a snack in your bag? Should you reach for it? DO: Take a sip of water! Sometimes we confuse hunger with thirst and water is a good alternative to snacking in the waiting room. DON’T: Open the bag of Doritos or trail mix- you never know if someone has a food allergy. Also you do not want to put yourself in a situation where you will need to shake someone’s hand with Dorito cheese. DO: Grab a mint or wrapped candy if available. DON’T: Throw the wrapper back in the bowl (or worse back on the ground). If no trash can is visible, tuck the wrapper into your pocket or run to the bathroom to ditch the trash. DO: Leave your coffee in the car. Just like snacks, it is not acceptable in the waiting room. It may give off the wrong impression if the waiting room location also offers coffee but you brought your own!

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Now what? You’ve found a comfortable seat, but it is going to be at least another 30 minutes till you get called out of the waiting room. DO: Turn your phone on silent- no one wants to hear the beeping of your emails or cheering from a game. DON’T: Make a phone call in a space where everyone can listen in. If you must take a call, tell the receptionist and step outside or into the hallway. DO: Read! Whether it is your book or kindle or the magazine on the end table, reading stimulates the mind and can make time go by faster. DON’T: Bring inappropriate reading material (think Fifty Shades of Grey). DO: Make polite small chat if your ‘neighbor’ initiates it. DON’T: Ask others why they are there (especially in a doctors office or interview setting where the information could be seen as more personal).

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Lastly, use your common sense. If you see someone doing something that annoys you, do not follow suit. Follow the mantra of putting your best foot forward in all situations- do not allow your behavior in the waiting room to cause steps backward.

Comment with your favorite “worst” waiting room experiences or tips to survive the wait!

-K O’Leary

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Dream Summer Office

As an Employer, we often need to think about how to keep our employees engaged (and happy!) during the summer months. While most of them probably are daydreaming about the beach, we thought of some fun (and doable) ideas that can keep the office environment light and fun while enabling our employees to get work done.

(Make sure to click on the pictures to see where our “Pinspiration” came from!)

Summer Office Attire: From Memorial Day to Labor Day, many employers enact business casual office attire, but why not take this to the next level and have “Motivated Monday Theme Day”. The hot days of summer can make a suit feel like the most restricting clothing in your closet. Enabling your employees to “dress down” a bit (outfits one would wear to a nice dinner) can really affect their moods. This may help avoid the “Sunday blues” after a Cape weekend. Here are some of our ideas & why not let the most enthusiastic winner  (best dressed employee) get to come in late the following Monday by one hour!

Best Gingham &/or Madres attire
Nantucket Style – Vineyard Vines anyone?
Boating attire – Anchors to Sails!
Picnic day – Red & White only.

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Wellness Wednesdays: The summer is bathing suit season as we all know. Organize lunch bike rides, runs, Zumba, or yoga classes to inspire your employees to be fit and take a break from the long day at their desk!

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I Scream We All Scream for Ice Cream: Surprise your employees during their lunch break by bringing an ice cream truck to the office! Allowing employees to cool off and soak in some Vitamin D during their lunch break is definitely a good mid-day break- and also makes them feel like a kid again!

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Office Corn Hole: Order a customized corn hole board! This fun game- normally played on the beach or at a tailgate- could create some serious competition in the office on a Friday afternoon before the weekend. It also could be a great addition to an annual office cookout or cook-in?!

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Annual Company Cookout: If it is possible for your office, call for a half-day in the middle of the summer and organize a company cookout! It is a great way to celebrate everyone’s hard work all winter long and spend some time mingling with all of the company’s employees. Fun outdoor games such as tug-a-war or a potato sack race are a must have addition to the food and drinks!

Company CookoutsBeer Fridays: This is an activity many companies currently use, but during summer make it a Sangria Competition! Enjoying a glass of cool sangria (white or red) at close of business is a fun social way to end the day during the summer months. Encourage employees to bring their favorite to share!

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Would you be happy if your office implemented these ideas during the summer? Let us know! What are your favorite summer office traditions?

 -K.O’Leary

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Why To Act Like A Seven Year Old

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In Doug Richardson’s book Networking, Insider’s Strategies for Tapping the Hidden Market and Where Most Jobs Are, Richardson discusses the “seven year old rule of clarity”. What is this you might ask? He lays out plain and simple how people often miscommunicate their objectives when networking.  He encourages one to be clear and direct– like when talking to a seven year old. Being straightforward while describing YOU and what YOU do allows future networking contacts to remember YOU. This -for Richardson- is one way to ensure you can gain from a networking opportunity!

 This sparked B.O.S.S. to think of our best networking tips! Some new, some old.

  • Reaching out to a new contact via email? Remember: KISS (Keep It Short and Simple)! Just like Richardson’s advice about communicating your needs, when connecting with someone for the first time being direct and complimentary can go a long way.
  • When networking ensure that the conversation is NOT just about you but the person you are talking to. You must be able to offer value to others through utilizing your skill set or your new connection will soon turn to their other contacts.
  • Connecting with the RIGHT people is key- not the total number! What would be the benefit of 100 contacts knowing just your name? It would be more beneficial if 8 people in your network knew your true background and current goals. Take your time in building your professional relationships-It’s an art!
  • Follow up after contact with someone in your network, new or old. Saying thank you or arranging another time to meet can go a long way! Even if they could not help you this time, a quick follow up to say you appreciate their time may make you the first person they think about the next time an opportunity arises. Need help thinking of what to write after meeting a new contact? Try using this sample thank you note:

Dear _______,

It was a pleasure meeting with you yesterday at __Networking Event__. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with me about __________. I really appreciate learning more about you and your business. I certainly have gained valuable insight that will help me in the future with my career path. I look forward to staying in touch. Would you be interested in connecting through LinkedIn?  Here is a link to my profile: www.linkedin.com/in/deirdreparlon/ . If there is anything I can do for you, please reach out to me. I look forward to talking soon!

Sincerely,

Deirdre Parlon

  •  Do not limit yourself to just your industry. Get out of your comfort zone. Often people in your industry are your competition, which could create conflicts when networking. Plus you never know what new possibilities could result from these contacts!

Do you have any great networking tips that have or have not worked for you? Be sure to share them with us! Also visit our networking group www.businessconnects.net – We welcome you as a visitor any Thursday morning. Email Deirdre Parlon directly to dparlon@blackoakstaffingsolutions.com

-K&P O’Leary

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Monday Blues

The excitement of the weekend is coming to a close as everyone returns to their weekly routine. To keep in high spirits today try one of these pick-me-ups to boost your mood!

1. Go for a walk: Light exercise is known to boost endorphins, which triggers positive feelings and reduces stress. During your lunch break, take a quick walk down the street and soak in the Vitamin D (don’t forget your sun glasses!) Leave your cell phone on your desk.

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2. A glass of water:  According to WebMD, drinking plenty of water will reduce stress. How you may ask? It replenishes all of our organs to ensure that our bodies will run well all day long. Invest in a water bubbler or a fun new water bottle.

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3. Listen to your favorite song: Turn up the music on your way home from work or while searching for the job of your dreams and sing along to your choice of tunes whether its country, oldies, or today’s hits! (Click to enjoy some of our favorites!)

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4. Laugh:Knock Knock.. Who’s There? Ya… Ya who? WOW!… You sure are excited to see me! Beyond my corny joke, there is science behind how laughter can make everyone feel better.

images-25. Get a great nights sleep: Try not to sleep in too late by going to bed early and clocking 8-10 hours of a good nights rest.

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6. Pay it Forward: Do something nice for someone else. When was the last time you called your old Boss to see how he/she is doing? Or type that informal email introducing your friend and old colleague who you know can exchange business ideas?

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7. Positivity: Ask yourself WHAT CAN GO RIGHT? and maybe then you’ll have a better week?! Thinking positively has been proven to lead to benefitting all aspects of your life: mental, social, and physical health. High five to positivity!

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Try one (or all seven) of these great mood enhancers to bounce back from the long holiday weekend! What are your daily favorite pick-me-ups?

-K. O’Leary

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Recipe for Success in Preparing for an Interview!

images-1Just like preparing for an awesome new summer salad, one can follow this recipe in order to succeed during their upcoming interview. Either way if you are or are not preparing for an interview, be sure to check out our Pinterest recipe page for delicious new appetizer ideas http://www.pinterest.com/dparlon/fun-appetizers/  After reading this you could be the next “Iron Chef” of preparing for interviews!

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What You’ll Need:

  • The Internet
  • Your “Good Luck” Interview Outfit
  • Directions
  • Money
  • Pen & Folder
  • Copies of Your Resume
  • Questions for the Interview

How To Do It:

  1. After confirming your upcoming interview, turn to the Internet. “Google stalk” the company and interviewers you will be meeting with. (Check out their LinkedIn profiles). Practice on mine: http://linkd.in/TtQq9w
  2. Set out your outfit for the interview the night before. Wear something you are comfortable in and that is appropriate for the job in which you are applying.
  3. Print directions (via Mapquest or Google Maps) to the building and plan your route to make sure you arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your interview. Bring some extra money in case you need to pay for tolls on the road or a parking garage that only accepts cash.
  4. Pack a pen and folder to write down key information the interviewer is telling you. In the folder, place copies of your resume- make sure to print a few extra!
  5. Be prepared with questions to ask the interviewer. Impressionable questions could be “What does a typical day look like for the person in this position? What is the office culture like? What particular achievements would equate to success at this job?”
  6. Arrive early on the day of your interview and you will be all set to succeed in the interview!

Even if you prepare for anything, things can go wrong. Think about it: when cooking sometimes even Julia Child overcooked a meal or left out an ingredient. Chefs often prepare meals several times before they get it right. Maybe when trying something new a “chef” prepared the meal perfectly, but the “appetizer” was just ok. What can you do different next time? Think about the challenges you encountered and how to best overcome them. Adding a pinch of spice or a dash of salt can go a long way in altering your approach to an interview! If you need any extra help, do not be afraid to reach out to B.O.S.S. for more in-depth guidance in the interview process.

-K. O’Leary

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Job Promotion by Candy

 

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“About ninety percent of people who keep a candy bowl on their desks for people who visit their office or drop by are promoted.” This fact, cited in an article by Jessica Hernandez, is definitely one that causes you to pause and ask, “Excuse me?”

When most candidates seeking a job promotion think, “what do I need to do to stand out?” the first thing that comes to their mind is likely not to add a candy bowl to their desk. But it can make sense! If I were taking a break from work and casually strolling around the office, I would stop by the offices with the candy bowls… I thought hey- maybe that’s just me- but this statistic proves one wrong!

Placing a candy dish on your desk makes one’s office space seem more approachable. Co-workers will feel more apt to stop by and create an interesting conversation with you while (not so) sneakily grabbing a few M&M’s. The candy dish can be a way to strike up a discussion about a person’s key projects and accomplishments at work. It can also lead to great networking opportunities with employees you would not normally run into on a day-to-day basis.

Before going out right now to buy a dish and candy, some questions to ask:

  • Wrapped or unwrapped candy? Everyone needs to be mindful of the few “germ-a-phobs” in the office!
  • Does anyone have food allergies? Best bet- stick away from candy containing peanuts!

Other than that, B.O.S.S definitely thinks a candy bowl would be a good investment to everyone’s desk!

-K.O’Leary

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To Follow-up or Not To Follow-up?

Take this scenario: after a firm handshake, YOU (the candidate) walk down the hall, or are in the elevator thinking, “Wow I did a fantastic job—that interview went really well.” By the time YOU are at the car or T stop, you realize you neglected to ask about what the next steps were in their process. Panic sets in and you think: When will the interviewer get back to me by? You have now entered the unknown, drawn out game of waiting, waiting and waiting.

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What should one do if the interview is left open-ended? The following helpful hints can assist anyone in the “limbo” follow-up stage of the interview process.

  1. Close the Interview Correctly:

Before walking out of the interview, communicate and determine who will be taking the next step in the process. Do you need to send your references, writing sample, or that recommendation letter you spoke of? Or will you be hearing a decision from the company? In a week? Few days? Set expectations with the interviewer on when you will hear back from them.  This is okay and yes, professional!

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2.   Send a Thank You Note &/or Email

In sending a thank you note either hand written or via email, allows your name to be brought to an interviewer’s attention again right away. Thank you notes are musts that show the hiring manager that you are very interested in the job and appreciate the time they spent with you.

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3. Follow Up

If the hiring manager says they will get back to you by the end of the week and it is now Tuesday, it is perfectly okay to send a quick reminder note that you are eager to hear back about the job opportunity and do so tactfully. Take this as a chance to be able to offer any further supplementary qualifications and express a continued interest in working for the company.

There is always a “but…” and in this situation it is… “but am I bothering the Hiring Manager  by sending these follow-up emails or thank you notes?” Try to think like the Hiring Manager/Recruiter you engaged with for the position. What would you want done? Thank you notes and follow up emails can go a long way in helping you stand out, right?!

-K.O’Leary

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Coffee Break

Coffee: one of our favorite words and smells first thing in the morning.  We know we love it, we know we need it, but do we know all about it?? We compiled some facts for you to check out while you sip on that first (or second) cup this morning!!

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Coffee was first brought to North America in 1668 and just 2 years later, was first traded in BOSTON of all places.

Not all cups of coffee are packed with the same amount of caffeine:

CoffeeGood old fashioned coffee breaks actually have benefits!! Taking 20 minutes to enjoy a cup of coffee while chatting with coworkers is a great way to de-stress, bond and start the day with a good mood.

Coffee doesn’t just have to be in a hot cup!! We found these yummy recipes to wake you up, like these amazing Iced Coffee Popsicles!!

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From a health perspective, coffee (specifically caffeine) has been known to increase adrenaline levels as well as stimulate the nervous system, causing it to break down fat cells at a quicker rate! In addition, coffee drinkers have a 23-50% lower risk of getting Type II Diabetes.

Most of us know our long, complicated order at Starbucks, but do you really know what your drink means??

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-R.Mersiowsky

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Dressing for Success

Dress codes can often times be vague and confusing. While the days of women strictly in hose and ankle length petty coats are gone, we tend to err on the side of “professional and conservative”. Here are a few of our fashion guidelines:

  • Less is More: But only in the ways of grooming and makeup. For men, stick to clean shaven or tightly trimmed facial hair to avoid distraction and keep up with hygiene. For ladies, remember that this is an office, not a night club, so avoid the smokey eye.. we love THIS quick 3 minute makeup routine from Cupcakes & Cashmere.
  • Modesty Never Hurts: We know it’s 2014 and heels are higher, necklines are lower and skirts are shorter. While that could gain you a few good stares, it likely won’t do much in the way of respect.
  • When in Doubt, No: If you have to second guess whether your outfit is appropriate, chances are it isn’t.
  • Follow Protocol: Maybe your company has a “Casual Friday” or allows sandals in the summer. Consider your HR a back up style advisor if you need help.
  • Get Inspired: Professional and Conservative don’t need to mean Boring or Bland. We created THIS Pinterest board to inspire you. We also love blogs like Classy Cubicle and looking to celebs like Savannah Guthrie and Kate Middleton.

Remember that just because you see it in the streets doesn’t mean it is appropriate for the office. This means no Uggs, no yoga pants. If you struggle to walk in pumps, find a classy pair of flats to dress up your outfit! What is the dress code in your office?

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-R.Mersiowsky
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Timing is Everything

If you need a new job, chances are that you are applying all the time, no matter the month or season. But are you looking during the best time? Sending in your application when everyone else is? Here are our recommendations to finding a job at the right time.

Monday Blues

Mondays are the best time to look for new jobs, as companies will post new opportunities first thing on a Monday morning. You don’t want to be the 693rd applicant or the last applicant. Get ahead of the game.  Quartz News says that “at least 30% of Monday job applicants make it to the next stage in the hiring process” whereas on Saturdays, the number drops significantly to 14%. Here at B.O.S.S., when we sit down at our desk Monday morning and start looking through emails, we start with the most recent. Like most people, about 10 emails down, we get bored and start deleting the ones we think are junk. Get your application in between 6-9am; it shows you are productive and motivated. It also will be at the top of our inbox.

Tis the Season

While the hiring season differs for each industry, there are general seasons for applying. CNN says that for most companies, the fiscal year begins January 1, making the end of the year a great time to get your foot in the door with a company. Then in Spring, you want to get your application out there early on. Think about it: come May, a whole crowd of college graduates are entering the job force. They will be sending in their applications and you don’t want yours to get lost.  Whichever the job field, do your research. Whenever their busiest quarter is, you want to be a few months ahead of that to avoid getting lost in the rush. As a Staffing Firm, we find our busiest seasons tend to be fall and spring, when clients are looking for fresh employees to hire and bring new ideas to the table.

Social Media Hunting

Thanks to Media Bistro, we were able to compile a chart of what times are best to utilize each social media sites. Use these to your advantage, whether it is to look for open jobs or to make your social media footprint a little larger.

Apply

-R.Mersiowsky

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