Virtual Presentations, Meetings Require New Approaches for Success

While working remotely has become the new norm for many employers and employees, it's important to keep a strong communication base, especially with team meetings and presentations. Read this blog post from SHRM on various strategies to succeed in leading online meetings.


As more people work from home, many are being asked to take on tasks and use technologies with which they have only a passing familiarity, such as leading team meetings and presenting online rather than in person.

SHRM Online spoke with experts about the different strategies required to succeed in those scenarios, as well as how to use the features embedded in videoconferencing and Web conferencing platforms.

Presenting Online

Giving presentations online rather than in person requires thinking about how to design PowerPoint slides, keep remote audiences engaged when they're facing more distractions and troubleshoot technology snafus that arise in these situations.

Pick up the pace. Attention spans dwindle during virtual presentations. "That doesn't mean you need to cut the amount of your presentation content, but rather that you spread it over more slides so there is more frequent on-screen change for audiences," said Roger Courville, a Portland, Ore.-based speaker and trainer who teaches people how to communicate online and is the author of The Virtual Presenter's Handbook (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2009).

Be proactive in guiding audience attention. Presenters should assume that some people are multitasking during an online presentation, Courville said. "You have to ask what the audience is taking away if at times they only glance at what you're presenting," he said. "One thing you can do is make sure the titles on your slides are more descriptive and capture the main point of the slide."

Virtual presenters also should use their voices to guide viewer attention, said Andrew Dlugan, a communications and presentation skills trainer in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Don't rely only on slide pointers or annotation tools provided on Web conferencing platforms.

"What happens if some people aren't looking at their screens for a while?" he said. "A presenter might say something like 'What do you see below the picture of the woman on this slide?' or 'Look at the data on the right-hand portion of your slide.' "

Courville said presenters should monitor audience attention levels by checking whether people are actively participating on chat features or submitting questions during a moderated Q&A. Some Web conferencing platforms also have a feature called an attention indicator that detects the active application on audience members' screens. If a conference participant has switched to checking e-mail, for example, that tool would register the change. Courville said that while the tool shouldn't be used punitively, it can help presenters get a read on when attendees may be drifting away so they can switch tactics, such as by introducing an audience poll or a short Q&A.

Unnecessary flair can cause technical problems. The use of animation and complex transitions on slides might work well in person, but they can cause problems online, said Bethany Auck, founder and creative director of SlideRabbit, a presentation design and production company in Denver.

Web conferencing platforms handle slide upload and display differently, and experts say it's best to go simple when designing slides, keep file sizes low, and avoid the use of animations or complicated transition techniques between slides.

Consider slide contrast issues and viewer screen size. Assume that many will be viewing your online presentation from smaller laptop screens or even on mobile devices, said Ken Molay, president of Webinar Success, a Web conferencing training and consulting company in Cary, N.C. "Design your slides as if you're creating them for viewers in the back of a large auditorium," Molay said. "Use larger fonts and plenty of white space, and don't put things near the edges of your slides."

Keep in mind that you won't be able to see how your slides display on your audience's screens, and your viewers' computer settings for contrast, brightness and color may vary widely. "Remember that light colors can easily wash out online. Stick with high-contrast color designs, and avoid using subtle tone variations that can be difficult for virtual audiences to see," Molay said.

Leading Small-Group Virtual Meetings

Many of us have been conditioned to hold hourlong meetings, but experts say that standard should be reconsidered with today's new reality.

"One of the most powerful tools built into videoconferencing solutions is the instant meeting," Courville said. "You can easily set up virtual meetings and collaboration sessions in short blocks of time as needed. There are product development teams I know who hold 15-minute videoconferences every morning. The medium can be used as flexibly as a phone call."

Leaders, mute yourself when others are speaking. "Many of us use words like 'OK' or 'uh-huh' as confirmation that we're listening when others are speaking," Molay said. "But in an online meeting, especially if you're the leader or a person of higher authority, others often hear that and they stop talking, wondering if you wanted to interrupt to say something or even that they might have said something wrong. If you stay completely silent, it lets people complete their thoughts."

Not all technology platforms are created alike. If you haven't yet purchased a videoconferencing or Web conferencing platform (most major providers are offering discounts or free trial versions of products during the coronavirus outbreak), Molay said it's important to understand the differences between systems.

For example, the videoconferencing platform Zoom is among those that Molay said have a useful "push to talk" feature that is handy for small-group virtual meetings.

"Everyone enters the meeting in a default mute mode, but when they hold down the space bar, it opens up their microphone," he said. "It only stays open while it's pressed and people are speaking, like the old walkie-talkie."

Molay said the feature is good for group discussions in which everyone wants a chance to participate but a leader doesn't want all microphones open at once, since they're likely to pick up background noise when participants work from home.

You also may want to compare audience polling tools in different systems, Molay said. "Some only allow for a few response choices, while others offer more," he said. Many users will also likely want a polling feature that allows participants to select the best answer rather than all that apply, he said.

Question management tools—a helpful feature for more-structured and moderated Web conferences—also can vary by platform. These tools give session leaders a way to prioritize audience questions.

"If you have 100 people in a Web conference, you'll want a way to mark that certain questions might be a high priority to address on air versus a lower priority that you can follow up on later," Molay said. "Some platforms are better than others in how they allow you to reorder and organize questions."

He added that other key system features to evaluate are the number of participants allowed on video calls, ability to automatically record Web conferences for later viewing, and tools that allow you to easily edit recordings or create transcripts of online meetings.

Watch how you position yourself on webcam. Don't position yourself in front of bright windows, which will place you in shadows. Raise your laptop so the camera is at eye level or higher.

"Laptop webcams are sitting lower and often shoot straight up into your nostrils," Molay said. "That's not the best look for most people."

Troubleshooting Technical Problems

People will inevitably experience problems with video, audio transmission or other functions in virtual settings. "The first thing to do is isolate whether it's just that person having the issue or  everyone," Courville said. "In most cases it's just one person, but you usually don't want to stop the whole meeting or presentation just because one person is having a problem."

Molay said leaders can afford to spend only a limited amount of time trying to fix an individual's issues. "It's easy to focus on squeaky wheels in online settings, but you don't want to slow down 30 people to satisfy one person."

Meeting leaders also can mute and unmute participants on most platforms if people are having technical issues and bothering others, Courville said.

Auck, SlideRabbit's founder, said one tactic she uses when leading virtual presentations or workshops is to keep a second computer in view and log in as an attendee. "It won't account for all of the variables of people logging in remotely, but you'll have a tighter view of any lag in how your slides are advancing for viewers," she said.

Mike Fasciani, senior research director at research and advisory firm Gartner, said employees who reside in bandwidth-challenged areas can take steps such as turning off video and joining meetings using dial-in audio options while still seeing the content that's being shared through a browser.

Remote workers also can use their 4G-enabled smartphones rather than laptops or desktops in virtual meetings, he said. "Many video-meeting and workstream collaboration applications were built with a mobile-first design intent and so work as well as, if not better than, the desktop and Web client access," he said.

SOURCE: Zielinski, D. (30 March 2020) "Virtual Presentations, Meetings Require New Approaches for Success" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/technology/pages/virtual-presentations-meetings-require-new-approaches.aspx


Early-Career Employees Face the Pandemic

Although working remotely can sound enticing, it can also create an over-abundance of stress for those who are not prepared. Many employees have had to deal with events that affect the workplace, but many of the younger generation employees have not had to deal with a situation like what the coronavirus has brought into businesses across the nation. Read this blog post to learn more about helping employees face the coronavirus pandemic.


Last week, before we understood the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, I spoke with several Millennials. During our discussions, we very quickly transitioned from plans for classes and graduation to what-if questions about the coronavirus pandemic.

More than the questions, though, the body language of the Millennials struck me. It screamed, "Help me get through this—all of it!"

Most of the conversations ended with "I feel so much better now that I talked to you."

Truthfully, I didn't say a lot because I didn't know many of the answers. However, I offered a listening ear, and it made the young adults feel heard and enabled them to share their thoughts, fears and concerns.

I realized at this moment that the power of listening is real, especially during times of uncertainty and crisis. Upon reflection, I wondered what made the Millennials feel safe enough to be vulnerable in front of me, and I realized they saw me as a trusted source.

We have to remember that although we're focused on delivering results, working remotely, managing our family responsibilities and practicing social distancing, as more-experienced workers, we've been doing this (i.e., dealing with uncertainty) a lot longer than early-career employees.

A lot of us have lived and, more importantly, worked during difficult, uncertain times, such as the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, an economic recession, corporate layoffs, and the list goes on.

Each time we faced uncertainty, our tolerance for ambiguity improved, and we were reminded that we can get through this, albeit sometimes with scars.

The coronavirus outbreak may be the most significant uncertainty early-career employees have yet faced at work.

As a result, it is essential that organizations, and especially managers of early-career employees, do the following:

  1. Give employees a chance to vent. Listen more than you talk.
  2. Encourage them to ask questions.
  3. But when you don't know the answer to a question, admit that you don't know.
  4. Share concrete yet simple suggestions to encourage employees (e.g., practice self-care, turn off the news occasionally, go outside for fresh air).
  5. Ask for their input if you feel like that's the natural course of the conversation, but remember that sometimes, asking for ideas creates stress.
  6. Set clear expectations about work deadlines. If you can reduce uncertainty at work, it will help employees navigate other responsibilities.
  7. Communicate the amount of time you expect them to be online, and let them know when it's OK to get offline.
  8. Create fun, daily challenges (e.g., ask your team to share pictures from their favorite vacation spots).
  9. Continue meeting with employees one-on-one virtually, if possible. While it's helpful to have team meetings to ensure that projects and tasks are moving forward, during times of uncertainty, spending time with each of your employees is crucial.
  10. Encourage your employees to follow a routine.

Lastly, although it may sound cliché, remind employees that we will get through this—and remind them more than once.

SOURCE: Sutton, K. (23 March 2020) "Early-Career Employees Face the Pandemic" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/hr-topics/employee-relations/Pages/Early-Career-Employees-Face-the-Pandemic.aspx


How HR leaders can make remote work pain free

As employees begin to transfer from office desks to kitchen tables, their bodies will begin to experience pain that may be foreign. Due to several state governments creating laws about closing down businesses and emphasizing social distancing, working from the comfort of the home may become the new everyday norm. Read this blog post to learn helpful tips on how to stay healthy during this period.


In response to the COVID-19 crisis, workers around the world are leaving their office chairs and desks for couches and kitchen tables. As HR professionals work to keep employees healthy and productive while they're at home, back and neck pain from these ad-hoc arrangements will quickly become another challenge to tackle.

Back pain is extremely common — 80% of us will experience it in our lifetimes. Even under normal circumstances, research has found that back pain in the workplace can make it more difficult to focus and make decisions. And stress and anxiety can make the experience of pain even worse.

“Problems come up when you’re sitting in one position for too long slouched down, or with your back rounded forward,” says Jim White, exercise specialist at Fern Health, a company that provides digital musculoskeletal pain programs to employers. “This can overstretch the ligaments in your spine and put strain on your spinal discs, which protect your vertebrae from rubbing together.”

HR managers can help support employees working remotely by recommending how any workspace can be made safe and comfortable. White suggests the below tips, whether employees are working from their own home office or are making calls from the couch.

Check your posture. Posture alignment makes a big difference, White says. A daily posture checklist should include:

  • Align elbows and wrists. When sitting and typing, elbows should be at ninety degrees and aligned with the wrists. Shoulders should be relaxed and level.
  • Straighten up. There should be a straight line from the top of your head to your back. Don’t let the pelvis rotate forward – this creates a curve in your lower back that contributes to pain.
  • Check your chair. If you’re sitting in a chair that isn’t designed for an eight-hour workday, try placing a rolled-up towel behind your lower back. Living room couch your best option? Arrange pillows so your lower back is supported, and try not to sink in and slouch if your couch is particularly soft.
  • Keep the top of your computer screen at eye level. Positioning your computer too high or too low can contribute to neck and shoulder pain. If you’re sitting on the couch, put a pillow on your lap to raise the screen and protect your legs from your device’s heat.

Get a change of scenery (without leaving the house). Create your own “standing desk” by sending a few morning emails from the kitchen counter or a high dresser. And throughout the day, listen to your body. If your lower back feels stiff when you stand up, or if your feet or legs “fall asleep” while you’re sitting, these are signs that you’ve been in the same position for too long.

Continue to exercise. Without commuting or having access to the gym, it can be difficult to keep activity levels up – but it’s critical. Exercise increases blood flow to the muscles and is one of the best ways to combat pain, says White. Aerobic exercise can also help tackle anxiety, which makes pain worse.

Try simple stretches throughout the day. One perk from working from home is that employees most likely have more privacy and can take a quick break for a big stretch or even a few yoga poses. Try two or three of your favorite stretches from below and try to stretch every hour or so, White recommends. Just note that they may not be safe or tolerable for everyone.

  • Pec stretch: Stand in a doorway and place your forearms on each side of the doorframe. Push your chest forward slightly so you feel a stretch in your chest and between your shoulder blades. Hold for as long as is comfortable, up to 10 seconds. Repeat as tolerated, up to three times.
  • Child’s pose stretch: Start on a mat or towel on the floor on all fours. With your big toes touching, spread your knees apart and sit back onto your feet as best you can. Hinge at the waist and extend your arms in front of you or next to you. If you can, touch your forehead to the floor. Hold for up to 15 seconds.
  • Chair rotation: Sit sideways in a chair. Keeping your legs still, rotate your torso to the right and reach for the back of your chair with your hands. Hold your upper body there and hold for up to 10 seconds. Repeat on the other side, up to three times.

A comfortable workspace is critical to a productive day, especially in places that aren’t designed for the nine-to-five. During this chaotic time, HR leaders can provide guidance on creating a space that supports back and neck health, and helps employees avoid the added stress and distraction of being in pain.

SOURCE: Ryerson, N. (23 March 2020) "How HR leaders can make remote work pain free" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.employeebenefitadviser.com/opinion/how-hr-leaders-can-make-remote-work-pain-free


Mental Well-Being During a Quarantine

Maintaining Mental Well-Being During a Quarantine

In response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have recommended that individuals who may have been exposed to the disease self-quarantine at home for 14 days. In addition, public health officials are recommending that healthy individuals practice social distancing, staying at home to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Following the advice of public health officials can help stop the spread of COVID-19, but if you don’t take proper precautions, your mental well-being could suffer while you’re quarantining.

If you’re self-quarantining or practicing social distancing, keep the following tips in mind to maintain your mental well-being.

Maintain a Routine

One of the best things that you can do to preserve your mental well-being is to stick to a routine. For example, if you’re used to going to the gym before work, try to wake up early and get an at-home workout in before you go to work or start your workday from home. Maintaining as much normalcy as possible with your daily routine can help keep your mood as lifted as possible, and prevent boredom and distress from taking over.

If you have children that will be at home now, it’s also important to create a routine for them. Whether they are practicing virtual learning with their schools or if they will just be home, you should implement a structured schedule for them so they know what your expectations are. Try to limit as much screen time as possible and incorporate learning activities throughout the day.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

This suggestion goes hand-in-hand with sticking to a routine. While you’re at home, it can be easy to go to bed or sleep in later than you typically would. Breaking your normal sleep routine can have negative effects on your overall mental well-being, so you should try to stick to your typical schedule as much as possible.

Spend Time Outside

Unless health officials give you explicit instructions to stay in your home no matter what, try to get outside periodically throughout the day. This could involve going out in your backyard or taking a walk around the block, but shouldn’t include going to a park or other areas where large groups of people may be.

Being outside also helps to promote higher vitamin D levels, a vitamin the body makes when skin is directly exposed to the sun. Many people are deficient in vitamin D, so exercising outside can be a great way to correct that.

Leverage the Power of Technology

When in quarantine or self-isolation, it can be easy to feel lonely. Fortunately, advancements in technology have made it easy to connect with others without having to physically be in contact with them. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recommends reaching out to loved ones with technology to reduce feelings of loneliness and anxiety, and to supplement your social life while you’re quarantining or social distancing. If you’re feeling down, use video calling technology or social media to get in touch with friends and family.

Don’t Obsess Over the News

It can be easy to become overwhelmed by watching the news and reviewing the updates of the COVID-19 situation. While it’s important to be informed of the situation, you should not obsess over the news. For example, instead of monitoring the news all day from home, consider checking for updates once in the morning and once at night.

Practice Positivity and Gratitude

Taking five minutes a day to write down the things that you are grateful for has been proven to lower stress levels and can help you change your mindset from negative to positive. While you’re quarantining or social distancing, it’s important to build time into your routine to practice positivity or express gratitude to change your mindset on your situation and boost your mood.

Summary

Your mental well-being plays a huge role in your overall health and well-being, and it should be prioritized. These six suggestions may help you maintain your mental well-being during a quarantine, but shouldn’t be considered as medical advice.

If you have concerns about your mental well-being while you’re in quarantine, please contact your mental health professional or use SAMHSA’s National Helpline by calling 800-662-HELP (4357).


Viewpoint: What’s Your Company’s Emergency Remote-Work Plan?

While coronavirus (COVID-19) is disrupting the workplaces of many in various countries, it is imperative that the United States takes as many precautions as possible. Many workplaces have emergency plans into fruition for storms and unforeseen weather, but are there plans in place for a virus that is spreading quickly? Read this blog post to learn more.


This coronavirus (or COVID-19) has taken a more serious turn in the U.S. with warnings that it could very well impact how, when and where we work:

"Disruption to everyday life may be severe," Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, cautioned at a news conference. "Schools could be closed, mass public gatherings suspended, and businesses forced to have employees work remotely."

The global spread of the virus may be a moment that reveals whether employers are ready to respond rapidly to unexpected workplace changes. Business travel could decrease or come to a full stop. More employees may need to work outside of local "business hours" and use video conferencing to operate across time zones. And, if it gets bad enough, many could indeed be asked, or request, to work remotely.

Are organizations ready? Chances are probably not. But even for those open to rethinking how the work would get done, are they ready for the inevitable post-crisis question: "Why don't we do this all the time?"

How do you prepare your organization to not only flexibly respond to this potential disruption, but also to use it as an opportunity to reimagine work broadly? Here are five steps to get started:

Acknowledge the possibility that all or part of your workforce may need to work remotely.

Hoping and praying it doesn't happen, or simply ignoring it, is not a strategy. Neither is handing everyone a laptop and saying "Go work someplace else" on the day they expand wide-scale quarantines. Plan as if the only way to remain operational will be for as many employees as possible to work remotely. Gather a cross-functional team together now that includes business-line leaders, IT, HR, communications and facilities to start to plan for different scenarios and optimize execution, should circumstances require a rapid response.

Map out jobs and tasks that could be affected.

Note which roles and duties: 1) Can be done, even partially, without a physical presence in the workplace, 2) Cannot be done, even somewhat, outside of the physical office, and 3) Not sure.

Challenge any potentially inaccurate default assumptions about specific jobs you may have thought couldn't be done remotely. And for those in the "not sure" column, be willing to experiment. For example, for years, I've been told, "Administrative assistants can't work flexibly." And, for years, I've worked with teams of administrative assistants to prove that is not true. Yes, certain tasks they complete require physical presence, but those can be planned for. The majority of their tasks can happen effectively outside of the traditional model of work and benefit the business.

Audit available IT hardware and software, and close any gaps in access and adoption.

Assess the comfort level with specific applications, such as video conferencing and other collaboration/communication platforms. Where you find gaps, provide training and opportunities for practice before people need to use them. Real-time mastery is not optimal and is inefficient. Identify devices owned by the organization that people could use and clarify acceptable "bring your own" phone and laptop options. Determine if there are any data-security issues to consider and how best to address them beforehand.

Set up a communications protocol in advance.

This communications plan needs to outline: how to reach everybody (e.g., all contact information in one place, primary communication channels clarified — email, IM, Slack, etc.); how employees are expected to respond to customers; and how and when teams will coordinate and meet.

Identify ways to measure performance that could inform broader change.

After the flexible response period is over, this data will allow you to reflect on what worked, what didn't and why. The data will also prepare you in advance to answer the inevitable question once the crisis has passed, "Why don't we do this all the time?" Depending upon the outcomes, you may decide to continue certain aspects of the flexible response permanently. For example, perhaps you cut business travel by 25% and substitute video conferencing. You determine afterward that about 80% of those meetings were equally as effective virtually. Therefore, a 20% decrease in business travel will continue, but this time as part of the organization's sustainability strategy to cut carbon emissions.

Global health emergencies, like COVID-19, are scary, disruptive and confusing for everyone. And if you plan and nothing happens? Then, at minimum, you have an organized, flexible work disaster response ready the next time there's a challenge to operational continuity, which chances are, there will be.

SOURCE: Williams Yost, C. (10 March 2020) "Viewpoint: What’s Your Company’s Emergency Remote-Work Plan?" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/employee-relations/pages/viewpoint-whats-your-companys-emergency-remote-work-plan.aspx


Coronavirus: How Employers Around the Globe Are Responding

Employers are continuously looking out for the safety of their employees and customers. With the spread of COVID-19 becoming faster and more relevant, employers are putting in effect their emergency plans to continue providing safety measures for both employees and customers. Continue Reading this blog post to learn more.


Companies are scrambling to respond as the coronavirus, which causes the respiratory illness COVID-19, spreads around the world. During a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) webcast March 10, an official with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked employers to do all they can to slow the coronavirus.

SHRM Online has collected the following news reports that reflect the different ways in which organizations are reacting to protect their employees and their businesses.

Emergency Leave

Walmart to Allow Any Worker Concerned about Coronavirus to Stay Home 'Without Penalty'
Walmart is enacting an emergency leave policy for its 1.4 million hourly US workers that allows them to take time off without penalty if they fear the spread of a new virus. The nation's largest private employer said Tuesday that a worker at its store in Cynthiana, Ken., tested positive for the COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
(New York Post)

Colorado Will Require Paid Sick Leave for Certain Workers in Response to Coronavirus
The state of Colorado will soon require employers to offer paid sick days to hundreds of thousands of service and hospitality workers in response to the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Gov. Jared Polis announced the new policy on Tuesday morning as he declared a state of emergency.
(Colorado Public Radio)

Employee Relief Fund

Amazon Launches $25 Million Relief Fund for Delivery Drivers, Seasonal Employees Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
Amazon is launching a $25 million relief fund for delivery drivers and seasonal workers amid the coronavirus outbreak, it announced March 11.  The aim is to help employees "that are under financial distress during this challenging time," the company said. This includes Amazon Flex drivers and its network of delivery service partners, who handle last-mile package deliveries, as well as seasonal employees, who help the company manage variation in customer demand during peak periods and holidays. Amazon will allow these employees to apply for grants that are equal to up to two weeks of pay if they're diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.

(CNBC)

Coronavirus Testing

NYC's Hotel Workers Union to Offer Members Coronavirus Testing
The health insurance plan run by the city's powerful hotel workers union will soon offer more than 90,000 people tests for the coronavirus. About 40,000 workers and 50,000 of their relatives and union retirees are covered by the plan run by the New York Hotel Trades Council.
(New York Daily News)

Closures and Quarantines

Starbucks Closed a Seattle Store after 1st Case of Employee Diagnosed with Coronavirus
Starbucks temporarily closed a Reserve store location in downtown Seattle after an employee was diagnosed with COVID-19 and was quarantined March 6. This is the first case of coronavirus contracted by a Starbucks in-store employee. The company immediately closed the affected store, initiated a deep-clean procedure and sent home employees that had direct contact with the infected partner.
(Nation's Restaurant News)

'No-Contact' Food Delivery Offered

Gig Economy Companies from Uber to Lyft Take Action as Coronavirus Cases Grow
Uber and Lyft are planning to compensate drivers affected by the coronavirus for up to 14 days. Postmates and Instacart have unveiled "no-contact" food delivery. DoorDash is letting customers leave in-app instructions if they prefer orders left at the door. Amazon Flex, which taps independent contractors to make deliveries, doesn't have a policy to compensate drivers and is instead supporting on an "individual, case-by-case basis."
(CNBC)

Teleworking Promoted, Office Visits Restricted

Twitter Tells Employees to Work from Home as Tech Firms React to Coronavirus
Twitter on March 2 became the first major U.S. corporation to strongly encourage its employees to work from home to avoid spreading coronavirus.
(Los Angeles Times)

How IBM, Goldman Sachs, PwC and Others Are Responding to the Coronavirus Threat
IBM, which nearly three years ago ended remote work for some U.S. employees, said Feb. 27 it had asked workers in coronavirus-affected areas to work from home "wherever possible." The guidance was issued for IBM workers in China, Japan, South Korea and Italy. The company also restricted travel to some locations and canceled its in-person participation in the RSA Conference on cybersecurity in San Francisco.
(Washington Post)

Google Tells More than 100,000 North American Employees to Stay Home
Google is telling all of its North American employees to stay home until at least April 10, as the COVID-19 coronavirus spreads, CNBC reported March 10. On March 9, CNBC reported that the company blocked all external visitors from coming into some of its offices, including New York and the San Francisco Bay Area where its Silicon Valley headquarters are located.
(CNBC)

UBS Divvying Up Teams in Switzerland, Having Them Switch Off Teleworking
UBS, the Swiss bank headquartered in Zurich, has begun implementing a split-operations policy in Switzerland this week as part of its coronavirus response. The firm has already implemented a similar policy for its employees across the Asia Pacific region.
(News of the Day)

Cuomo Asks NY Businesses to Split Employee Shifts to Prevent Coronavirus Spread
The State of New York will ask businesses to consider having employees work two shifts and allowing telework, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a CNN interview.
(New York Post)

Domestic and Global Travel Restricted

Ford Bans Employee Travel on Coronavirus Fears
Ford Motor Company told employees March 3 that it is banning all non-essential air travel until at least March 27 because of concerns about the novel coronavirus. Ford had been restricting travel to and from China but has now extended the ban to all flights, both international and within the United States, out of concern for employees' health and safety. There may be exceptions, a Ford spokesperson said, but they will probably be rare.
(The Motley Fool)

Coronavirus Cancellations, Travel Bans
Google on March 3 called off its flagship developers conference, called I/O, which was scheduled for May in Mountain View, Calif. Last year, the three-day event drew 7,000 attendees. The company said it would look for ways to "evolve" the event, raising the possibility of livestreamed or remote sessions. Several other companies and organizations, including the World Bank and the IMF, said they would replace in-person gatherings and meetings with virtual ones.
(NPR)

Coronavirus Conference Gets Canceled Because of Coronavirus
The Council on Foreign Relations canceled a roundtable called "Doing Business Under Coronavirus" scheduled for Friday in New York due to the spread of the infection itself. CFR has also canceled other in-person conferences that were scheduled from March 11 to April 3.
(Bloomberg)

Airlines Cut More Flights, Execs Take Pay Cuts as Coronavirus Takes Toll on Flying
United CEO Oscar Munoz and president Scott Kirby will forgo their base salaries through at least June 30. United also said it was postponing "non-critical" projects requiring capital expenditures, got a $2 billion loan from a group of banks and expects to incur a first-quarter loss. Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said Monday in a message to employees that he would take a 10 percent pay cut and Delta said it is instituting a hiring freeze, taking some planes out of service and retiring older aircraft.
(Herald & Review)

Work Areas Disinfected

How Dallas-Area Restaurants Are Prepping Their Kitchens and Dining Rooms for Coronavirus
Extra hand sanitizer is only part of the effort. Some say food delivery is the next big answer. At one eatery, crews have started sanitizing credit-card pin pads, surface areas and both sides of all door handles more regularly. Like many restaurants, it has put out more hand-sanitizing dispensers and ordered touchless hand sanitizer dispensers to replace manual ones.
(The Dallas Morning News)

Nike Closed Its Worldwide HQ in Oregon for Deep-Cleaning after 1st U.S. Coronavirus Death
Nike announced March 1 it temporarily closed its corporate headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., in order to deep clean the campus following the first US death from COVID-19 the day prior. "While we have no information indicating any exposure to Nike employees, out of an abundance of caution, we are conducting a deep cleaning of campus," a Nike spokesperson told KGW, the Portland, Ore., NBC-affiliated station. "All WHQ buildings and facilities, including fitness centers, will be closed over the weekend."
(Business Insider)

Facebook Shuts London, Singapore Offices for 'Deep Cleaning' After Employee Diagnosed with Coronavirus
Facebook said March 6 it was shutting its London office and part of its Singapore base for "deep cleaning" after an employee in the Asian city state was diagnosed with coronavirus.
(The Economic Times)

SOURCE: Gurchiek, K. (12 March 2020) "Coronavirus: How Employers Around the Globe Are Responding" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-news/Pages/Coronavirus-How-Employers-Around-the-Globe-Are-Responding.aspx


5 ways hiring will feel more, not less, human in 2030

The interviewing process, the hiring process, and the process regarding paperwork are becoming easier with the help of technology. Although technology is creating a more efficient way to complete these processes, it may create a dehumanizing feeling. Read this blog post to learn more about keeping the human touch in the hiring process.


While 2030 may feel like something out of science fiction, recruiting will likely look more human than android. Trends such as using artificial intelligence and cloud technology to curate candidate analytics are on the horizon, experts said. But any new technological trend must be paired with a focus on onboarding, upskilling and reskilling current employees to compliment new talent that all require a human touch.

1. Talent acquisition agendas go strategic

EY Partner and the Americas Leader for People Advisory Services Kim Billeter told HR Dive that HR transformation and technology will be the cornerstone of any organizational transformation.

“HR is going to play a far more important role going forward in the overall visualization and disruption of an organization,” Billeter said.

A recruiter’s job — bringing new talent, and retaining and upscaling that talent — will drive the success of business transformation as a whole, not just the HR function, she said. Billeter helps clients understand how digital transformation includes both digital aspects and embracing human beings. A successful transformation will require hiring talent with hybrid skills, or hard and soft skills. In the coming years, Billeter said companies will use both internal and external recruiters in finding talent for specialty areas.

Recruitment will be “done largely by the internal teams and organizations,” but organizations will also incorporate external niche recruiters to find candidates with very specific skills, she said. For example, a company may have a D&I; executive-level position in the slate. To find the right candidate, they may use a specialty recruiting team to really focus on all aspects of the hiring agenda, Billeter explained.

Sourcing upfront to get niche or digital skills will become essential for recruiters. However, a lot of organizations are realizing that hiring talent with advanced or emerging digital skills can be costly, and they can’t hire them fast enough, Billeter said.

“So, we’re seeing more focus on upscaling and rescaling [existing employees] perhaps than just the puristic talent recruiting,” she said. That’s the “real value for organizations,” she added.

2. Curating candidate analytics happens in the cloud

There will be a focus on not only measuring a candidate’s technical skills but a candidate’s ability to align with a company’s culture, Billeter said.

“Quality-level metrics are a little harder to try to define as it relates to recruiting,” she said. But, “we’re seeing clients wanting to get to those candidate pools in a far more qualified way.”

That can be challenging, though.

“If a company’s strategy is in innovation, how can you measure if the candidate brings innovation?” Billeter said. “That’s where a lot of the next level thinking is coming. Curating a lot of that analytical data as it comes to really qualified candidates, and moving them in a very different way than we’ve done before.”

She said the companies that have been the most successful in implementing technology have done the hard work to “both standardize [and] understand the nuances of the processes.” But there aren’t a lot of organizations that know how to effectively utilize talent acquisition solutions or cloud HCM solutions, which provide methods intended to improve operations and cut expenses, Billeter said. Companies such as ADP are working to create a user-friendly workforce analytics platform intelligence to drill into a candidate’s potential.

One feature of ADP’s DataCloud platform is intelligent recruiting, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

“Organizations say they have a hard time sifting through resumes for candidate relevancy,” Imran Ahmed, director of product marketing at ADP DataCloud, told HR Dive.

The new Storyboard feature uses a combination of machine learning and predictive analytics, along with advice based on ADP’s experience in human resources, Ahmed said, comparing it to Google Analytics.

“Storyboard is the exact same scenario where we’re pushing [insight] to the front of the organization,” he said. “We pull all of this information from various sources of data that we put out, and we actually serve up these recommendations to provide guidance.”

The tool can provide a narrative about human resources business challenges, such as the aging workforce, he said. For example, he said you could find out which positions are retirement eligible and what impact the positions have on the organization — low, medium or high.

Companies can also mimic the profiles of talented past employees to curate desired qualifications for a position, he said. “You can drill down so deep in this information to actually find look-alike employees,” Ahmed said.

In regard to choosing and implementing cloud solutions, Billeter said it’s essential to first solidify the goal of an organization’s transformation. It’s also important to keep in mind that it’s a “business-led transformation not an HR function transformation,” she added.

3. An entry-level hire will be the company’s future CEO

Organizations will still put a big emphasis on hiring for a diversity of ideas, which enhances a company’s culture and leads to profitability, according to Terrance S. Lockett, senior diversity program manager of Campus Advisory at Oracle.

“That’s why it’s critical that we get this diverse talent,” Lockett told HR Dive. But, in his opinion, a trend will be more of a focus on inclusion and equity, and “less about the word of diversity, per se.”

Recruiting diverse populations at the collegiate level will remain important as companies move those candidates up the talent pipeline into leadership roles, instead of looking outside of the organization for top executive talent, he added.

Organizations are focusing on the C-suite and “shaking up the board, shaking up the chart.”

“So it’s going to start from campus to recruiting,” Lockett said. “It’s key now that we get those people with potential because that’s going lead to the next wave of focusing on more internal growth of diversity.” According to the results of a survey by Zapier released on Jan. 27, 2020, millennials and Gen Zers want to stay a job for a significant amount of time, defying myths that younger generations tend to be job-hoppers and thus not worth the investment.

In searching for diverse talent, Lockett said Oracle, a multinational computer technology corporation, has partnered with Historically Black Colleges and Universities to find science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) talent, but the company is also focusing on what he referred to as high diversity institutions (HDIs). For example, an HDI could be a college or university in which the engineering program has a high concentration of women students.

Lockett said that at Arizona State University, 40% or more of their engineering students are women.

4. Adjusting to communication styles becomes the norm

Billeter said a focus on enhancing communication styles for recruiters will grow in importance.

“If someone is very analytical, you’re communicating with them much differently than someone who’s on the more emotional side or more communicative,” she explained. “You’ll have to understand how to engage with them to get a more productive conversation.”

Even if a candidate is more analytical and prefers technology to be present in the interviewing process, like the 24/7 ability to ask questions online through chatbots, there still needs to be personal, one-on-one communication, Billeter said.

“It can’t just be only technology-based,” she said. “The human side of this is going to win the day.”

In addition to online conversations or phone calls, Billeter recommended that if a candidate is based in a location outside an organization’s headquarters, a company representative in that location could meet with them. She also said having “a quality candidate pool based on analytics and curating all of the different experience data” will enhance the delivery model, resulting in moving the process forward more quickly.

5. Candidate, employee and customer messaging merge

This year employers will begin to connect the candidate, employee and customer through one, insync company experience. “We’re seeing the employee and the candidate experience needs to meld into the customer experience because often times employees and or candidates are going to become customers,” Billeter said. “You have to be attracting the talent that’s going to drive your overall business strategy, but most importantly your customer strategy.”

She said chief human resources officers will focus on experience strategy first — one that involves both heightened tech and the human touch.

“The medium with which we meet people is going to be a combination of human as well as technology as well as ... living, feeling and seeing the culture of an organization — all of those things have to come together for it to be a good experience,” Billeter said.

No matter what year it is, candidates consider the quality of the recruitment process and their impressions of the recruiters, according to December 2019 survey results from career site Zety.

“If you can’t get the experience part of this equation right, you are probably going to be an unfortunate loser in the talent game,” Billeter said.

SOURCE: Estrada, S. (09 March 2020) "5 ways hiring will feel more, not less, human in 2030" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.hrdive.com/news/5-ways-hiring-will-feel-more-not-less-human-in-2030/573153/


Tips for Making Your Workplace More Sustainable

Companies are continuously looking into ways to become a more sustainable workplace, which includes buying in bulk, reducing paper, and recycling. Read this blog post to learn helpful tips for becoming more eco-friendly in the workplace.


Employees at CareerPlug, a software company in Austin, Texas, loved their Keurig coffee. In fact, the 60 employees used around 300 of the brand's disposable K-Cups each month.

However, one employee on the company's sustainability committee was bothered by the amount of waste this practice was generating. Instead of trying to eliminate the coffee system, however, she proposed a solution: The company could save money and help the environment by investing in reusable K-Cups.

CareerPlug implemented her idea and, according to Natalie Morgan, director of HR, the company has reduced its monthly coffee budget from $126 to $42.

"Not only did we eliminate 300 K-Cups per month," she said, "we reduced costs by 67 percent."

At a time when climate change is dominating headlines, companies around the world are evaluating how they can put more sustainable practices into place.

"As hubs in our communities, workplaces represent a large footprint to create an impact within our broader society," said Anne Robinson, chief talent officer at VillageMD, a professional medical practice in Chicago. "Driving action against eliminating waste and reducing our carbon footprint are such critical elements to ensuring generations to come are able to enjoy and benefit from the environment that we know today."

To help make your office more environmentally friendly and do your part to protect the planet, here are some easy habits to put into practice.

Recycle, Reuse Paper or Go Paperless

Think about all the times you use paper in the office. You likely print out employee onboarding and performance review forms, the employee handbook, notes for distribution at meetings and notices to hang around the office. Recycle or try reusing paper, suggests Angelique J. Hamilton, founder of the HR Chique Group consulting firm in Jacksonville, Fla.

Also have employees view documents with their teams on shared drives instead of distributing paper copies. "Not everything needs printing out, especially not the documents handed out during meetings, which are glanced at for five minutes," said Nate Masterson, HR manager for Maple Holistics in Farmingdale, N.J. "Use online document-sharing platforms to collaborate and share work in the office."

Digital tools such as Google Drive, Slack, Dropbox, Basecamp and Asana can help employees make the leap from paper-based to digital communication.

Develop a Remote-Work Program

Most Americans—76.5 percent, to be precise—take a car to work every day, according to research by the World Wildlife Fund. Transportation is the second largest contributor to carbon emissions, behind the electricity sector.

One way to cut back on those commuting emissions is to allow employees to work from home at least some of the time, said Tony Bergida, HR director at Frosty Tech, an engineering firm in Overland Park, Kan. "Allow employees to work from home a couple of days a week, which, in addition to reducing the impact of commuting, [also] cuts down on in-office snack packaging, electricity use, trash creation and more."

Consider the Landscaping

When thinking about workplace sustainability, don't forget about your outdoor areas. Hamilton recommends xeriscaping—the practice of using plants that require less water and arranging them in ways that they need less water to thrive.

Many communities, especially those in areas plagued with water shortages, are rewarding companies that decrease water usage in this way through rebate and tax relief programs, such as those offered by the Los Angeles County Waterworks Districts.

Cut Back on Water Bottles

Many cities are now charging retailers that give customers plastic bags, and restaurants are being encouraged to seek alternatives to plastic straws and utensils. But many companies are still providing single-use plastic water bottles to employees.

A more environmentally friendly approach is to buy or rent a water dispenser for the office.

Buy Snacks in Bulk

Providing snacks to employees is a great perk. However, if you want to reduce plastic use and waste, buy in bulk instead.

Morgan said the CareerPlug team "evaluated how we were ordering breakroom snacks and realized we were buying a lot of individually packaged items. We purchased some reusable containers instead and now buy most of our snack items in bulk."

Seek Buy-in

When implementing waste-reduction initiatives, said Robinson at VillageMD, organizational leaders should model the change they want to see. They should publicly invest in and support programs that make a difference, which demonstrates to employees the behaviors they should emulate.

Robinson said her company involved employees from the beginning by creating a task force to plan and implement sustainability goals. "Employees are passionate about this, and they're wanting to do this."

You'll also need to educate employees on waste reduction to ensure they know why changes are taking place. Robinson is creating communication that explains the company's plan for putting different types of trash and recycling bins around the office, what employees can dispose of in each, and how to properly operate new composting equipment.

Becoming a more eco-friendly workplace will not only show employees and job candidates that the company is Earth-friendly but also that it cares about offering a healthy work environment.

"Workplaces are ultimately part of a larger community, and caring about your environmental impact is both healthy for your external reputation and your corporate connection to the individuals in your workplace," Morgan said. "It's also, plainly, the right thing to do to be engaged in this global conversation and take a stance for positive impact."

SOURCE: Lobell, K Ora. (26 February 2020) "Tips for Making Your Workplace More Sustainable" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/hr-topics/employee-relations/Pages/Tips-for-Making-Your-Workplace-More-Sustainable.aspx


Industrywide Initiative Brings Blockchain to HR

Although many HR professionals would think of a blockchain as an obscure element of technology with very little practical application in their jobs, it can protect those who are involved in exchanging data in digital environments. Read this blog post to learn more.


To many human resource professionals, blockchain may sound like an esoteric technology with little practical application in their jobs. But an ambitious initiative called the Velocity Network Foundation (VNF) shows how blockchain has near-term benefits for both recruiters and job seekers. Experts say the project is one of a growing number of uses for blockchain—in talent acquisition, payroll and data security.

Blockchain technology allows two or more people, businesses or computers that may or may not know each other to safely exchange data in digital environments without having an intermediary validate the transaction.

The VNF is a nonprofit consortium of 15 companies in HR technology and education industries. It was formed to reinvent how the career records of job seekers and students are shared in the global labor market. A blockchain-powered platform streamlines the way work history, professional achievements, skills, talent assessments and educational certifications are verified, stored and shared.

Founding members of the VNF are Aon's Assessment Solutions, Cisive, Cornerstone OnDemand, HireRight, Korn Ferry, National Student Clearinghouse, Randstad, SAP, SumTotal Systems, SHL, Ultimate Software, Unit4, Upwork, Velocity Career Labs and ZipRecruiter.

Benefits for Job Seekers, Recruiters

On the VNF platform, job seekers create and own a verifiable digital record of their career credentials and can share it with others. According to a 2019 global study from Accenture, more than 70 percent of 10,000 surveyed employees said they want to own their work-related data and take it with them when they leave their jobs—and nearly half (48 percent) of C-level executives were open to allowing them to do so.

Experts say portable work records help recruiting teams. Recruiters get easier access to an all-in-one digital collection of employment history and can evaluate candidates more quickly.

Yvette Cameron is co-founder and executive vice president of Velocity Career Labs, a developer of blockchain technology that helped establish the VNF. Cameron said the foundation is initially focused on building a platform that serves as a "public utility layer." The project's second phase will enable network members to build and integrate applications that facilitate the exchange of credentials between job seekers or students and employers and educational institutions. Being open and transparent about the process is key to the foundation's success, she said.

"We wanted to include members from across the industry to solve the challenge of how career records are shared in the labor market because we believed no single vendor or organization could address it," Cameron said. "Taking an industrywide approach means the VNF will be owned by nobody and governed by everybody."

Debasis Dutta, vice president and general manager of product management for vendor SumTotal Systems in Gainesville, Fla., said the network will benefit job seekers and recruiters alike. In a labor market where verifiable skills are increasingly in demand and the relevance of college degrees is shrinking, Dutta said employers need quick, secure access to a job-seeker's skills.

"We're leveraging blockchain to address the problem of job candidates or employees owning their own verifiable career credentials and making the process of checking employment history and skills more efficient for recruiters," Dutta said.

Cameron said blockchain means job candidates no longer have to be at the mercy of their employers' systems to get quick access to information about their work histories. "The goal is to put people back in control of their digital professional credentials in a trusted and verifiable way and fix the underlying data exchange problem we have in the labor market," she said.

Apratim Purakayastha, chief technology officer with the Skillsoft group (which owns SumTotal Systems), said blockchain-inspired approaches like the VNF also can help when creating internal project teams. "Organizations that are constantly bidding for projects often have to assemble project teams with the right skills, and prospective clients want to see proof of those skills," he said. "If verified career credentials can be quickly shared with clients through blockchain, it improves the chance of success in those projects."

Blockchain Gains Traction in HR

HR's use of blockchain is growing incrementally. Research and advisory firm Gartner found that 12 percent of 500 surveyed HR and technology leaders are using blockchain-based solutions in their HR function today and another 23 percent are experimenting with the technology in their area of responsibility. Of the latter group, half are running blockchain-inspired pilot projects in their HR function, the study found.

Matthias Graf, a senior director analyst in Gartner's HR practice, said the top three HR process areas where study respondents reported using or piloting blockchain are in HR analytics and reporting, policies and governance, and workforce planning. But Graf also noted an important distinction between "adoption" and "maturity levels" of the technology within human resources.

"If you take a closer look at where blockchain solutions are most advanced in HR, the picture differs," he said. "The most mature applications can be found in the areas of compensation and benefits, recruiting and employee relations, and labor law."

An example is paying gig workers. Blockchain solutions can facilitate real-time payments, the Gartner study found, bypassing intermediaries like payroll aggregators or banks. Blockchain can make it easier to employ and pay workers in far-flung locations around the globe where the payment infrastructure may be limited, as well as make it more efficient to verify the identity and experience of such workers.

Chris Havrilla, vice president of HR technology and solution provider research for Bersin, Deloitte Consulting in Atlanta, said using blockchain for instant pay can expand access to gig talent and make contract jobs more attractive to top candidates.

Blockchain and Data Privacy Regulations

Companies considering using blockchain often wonder how it aligns with data privacy regulations like the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Gartner's study found 40 percent of respondents cited "data security and privacy concerns" as their top worry about using blockchain, followed by 31 percent who cited "integrating blockchain technology with existing technology architectures."

Cameron said no proprietary data or personally identifiable information from users will be stored on the VNF blockchain platform. "Depending on the approach that's taken with blockchain, you can be 100 percent compliant with GDPR," she said. "In our approach, career credentials are owned by the individual and stored privately in a trusted way on their own devices. You decide as a job candidate or student who gets access to those credentials, when and for how long."

SOURCE: Zielinski, D. (27 February 2020) "Industrywide Initiative Brings Blockchain to HR" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/hr-topics/technology/Pages/Industrywide-Initiative-Brings-Blockchain-HR.aspx


Common interview answers can say a lot about potential employees

Interviews can be stressful, long and overwhelming but the process can represent the first impression of a potential employee and can illustrate how they might communicate with colleagues and clients. The interview process can allow recruiters to get an understanding of who the candidate is. Continue reading this blog post to learn more about how common interview questions can show a lot about potential candidates.


The interview process is stressful for everyone involved. Employers are eager to get candidates through the door and candidates are overwhelmed about giving the perfect interview. Hiring managers should always consider a candidate’s past experience and expertise when looking to fill a position. However, looking closer at the way candidates approach basic interview questions can also provide valuable insight.

Sometimes, answers to the most common interview questions provide recruiters with the knowledge needed to get a clear understanding of who a candidate is. Although simple on the surface, when asking questions like, “tell me about yourself” and “why do you want to work here,” you are gaining important knowledge on how well a candidate will communicate with other employees and clients. It can also reveal their ability to take feedback and apply it, and how prepared they are for the interview.

“Tell me about yourself.”

Although this request is commonly used as an icebreaker, it is crucial to the interview and screening process. This is the candidate’s chance to give you a quick, comprehensive look into who they are as a person and a professional. Since this is such a popular, and expected, question in interviews, candidates should be prepared to provide a memorable, concise answer without feeling the need to ramble.

Look for a healthy blend of information on a candidate’s personal life, professional journey and some background information. Depending on the position and person, a good answer can include whether or not a candidate moved a lot growing up, classes they took in college that are relevant to the job they are applying for, or a little about their work history and personal life. When done correctly, a candidate will leave you with something to remember them by. At the same time, an effective answer also includes a candidate’s motivations and where they see their career long term.

“What is your biggest weakness?”

This question is notorious for prompting insincere and generic responses such as, “I’m always working late,” instead of giving an actual answer. Rather than accepting watered-down responses like these, challenge candidates to elaborate by pushing them out of their comfort zone.

Take the “working late” example – this response could indicate a time management issue, and it gives you an opportunity to question why they were unable to complete tasks during their allotted time. Use this to gauge whether or not the candidate is qualified for a particular position, and allow them to expand on how they plan to keep improving.

When discussing the biggest weakness, look for answers that reveal if they recognize their professional flaws, if they are working to improve and if they can take feedback from managers. It is key to seek out candidates who are willing to improve and achieve continuous growth.

“What would your previous manager say about you?”

An effective answer to this question should always go beyond “they loved me” – it should include a combination of honesty, vulnerability and directness.

If a candidate is having a hard time answering this question, ask them to simply summarize the feedback of their previous manager, which should include both positive and realistic points. For instance, an ideal response explores the areas where the candidate needed additional coaching, where they had the biggest opportunity to learn and what would have made their manager most proud.

“Do you have any questions for me?”

This is a classic interview-closer, but it is also yet another opportunity to see how prepared the candidate is for the interview and how interested they are in the job. Candidates who come prepared with a list of questions show that they have done their homework and have a genuine interest in learning more.

At the same time, you also want someone who has been engaged during the interview and is able to adapt. If they have questions on their list that have been answered during the interview, they should still go through them and refer to the previously discussed answer. Questions referencing specific aspects of the company, such as something they found in their research, also show that a candidate isn’t taking the same questions to every interview.

Although a normal process for most interviews, simple and common questions can tell a lot about a person and how they carry themselves in unique situations. In addition to other attributes (experience, professionalism, etc.), looking at how candidates respond to these go-to questions can give hiring managers great insight into what they can offer to the company.

SOURCE: Blanco, M. (25 February 2020) "Common interview answers can say a lot about potential employees" (Web Blog Post). Retrieved from https://www.employeebenefitadviser.com/opinion/common-interview-answers-can-say-a-lot-about-potential-employees