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Are You a Great Employee? 5 Attributes of the Best Hires

Are You a Great Employee? 5 Attributes of the Best Hires
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You know the competition out in the marketplace for a job is fierce. At 7.7 percent, unemployment is still riding fairly high and this means a flood of applications for every available job. As an example of just how competitive the marketplace is, let’s take a look at airline carrier US Airways: back in January, the airliner wanted to hire 450 new flight attendants, but they weren’t even remotely prepared for the flood of applications they received. The company ended up inundated with 16,500 applications for the open positions.

In a field so crowded, how do you stand out from the pack? How do you set yourself apart and show employers you really are the best person for the job? Before hitting the submit button on your application, take a look at the five attributes of the best hires and make sure you’re positioning yourself as a top-notch candidate:

Creative

With the field so intense, creativity might just be the answer to standing out from the crowd and getting hiring managers to notice you. All companies need creative hires—these are the people who dream up big ideas and come up with new solutions to old problems. Fostering creativity is the reason tech giants like Google offer their 20 percent time program so employees can work on new concepts.

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It’s also the reason candidates with flashy, creative, and outside-the-box resumes get scooped up more quickly than traditional candidates. Just look at the candidate who started a campaign to get hired by Google, or the job seeker who turned himself into an Amazon product page. To get recognized in this competitive market, you’ll need to show off your creativity right from the application process. Whether it’s a video resume, an online campaign, or even a billboard, don’t be afraid to dream big.

Good Communicators

Every company, whether it builds apps or bakes apple pies, needs to be staffed with good communicators. Communication skills are necessary in all aspects of business life, whether you’re speaking to a client or writing an email to a colleague. Showing off your communication skills in the application process is a smart way to brand yourself as a great candidate.

One smart way to show off your communication skills is to record a video resume: on video, you can talk about your qualifications and experience, while also showing off your ability to communicate and your confidence. Anyone can list “superior communication skills” on a resume, but video resumes force you to back up your claims.

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Team Players

No matter how smart, capable, or creative a candidate is, it’s all moot if they don’t fit into the company culture. Employers are looking for candidates who will be excited to come into the office every morning. No-one wants to hire a superstar who will soon start searching for an exit strategy.

Employee turnover can be extremely costly, so it’s important to position yourself as a candidate who will fit into the company culture with ease. Do some research into the company, review their website, and scan their social media. Find out what the organizational environment and values are like, and be sure to explain in the application process why you’re the perfect fit for the company. You know you’d be a great fit for the team, so help employers understand why you’re the right person for the job.

Highly Skilled

The skills gap is a big problem for companies looking to hire workers with specialized skills: a recent survey by Towers Watson showed 70 percent of employers are having a hard time finding the critical skill employees they need. Whether the job you’re looking for is in media or in tech, it’s important to highlight and underline your critical skills.

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Use your social profiles, online channels, and even video in order to show off what you can do. Show concrete examples by putting together an online work portfolio or starting an industry-specific blog. Show employers you possess the critical skills they need in their open positions and you’ll be likely to rise to the front of the pack.

Passionate

The final, and perhaps most important ingredient, is passion. Employers know that the best hires are truly passionate about their industry, their jobs, and their company. It’s not merely fitting into the corporate culture—it’s being excited to get up in the morning and go into work. It’s being thrilled by the challenges presented and looking forward to finding the best solutions.

It’s important that you show off your genuine career passion in the application process, as this attribute is more vital than all the others. There are plenty of people with the same skills, the same qualifications, and the same experience as you, but there’s no-one with the same amount of passion. Use the application process to show employers how passionate you are, whether it’s in a video resume, through a blog post, or on social media. Employers want passionate employees, so don’t be afraid to show how much you care.

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It’s not easy to stand out from a packed field of contenders, which is why you need to consider the attributes employers are looking for, and show off these top qualities as early in the hiring process as possible. This way you’ll nab your dream job and become the company’s dream employee.

What are some ways you show off these top attributes? What do you think employers are looking for? Share in the comments!

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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