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Archive for April, 2008

I Need Your Help. I Am Looking For Some Great Interviewing Questions!

Monday, April 7th, 2008

I tend to be a creature of habit. I start my day around 6:00 AM, workout about five times a week, try to eat lunch around 11:30 AM and usually interview three to four people every week. My strategy is and has always been you never know when you will need to add staff and if you come across someone who is amazing, a superstar, and be successful within your system, you can always find a spot for them.

I try and ask thought provoking-questions. Here is a sampling of some of them:

  • If I called your manager, what are five words they would use to describe you?
  • Please describe the last time you weren’t successful at something and what did you learn from the experience.
  • Describe a trend that is happening in the research industry right now and what you think companies should do as a result.
  • What does client service mean to you?
  • I would like to get better at _______ this year.

Some of my questions are ok, but clearly some of them are stale and need to be replaced. So today I need your help! I am in search of NEW interviewing questions!

What questions do you use?

What is the best question you were asked the last time you were interviewed?

I really look forward to reading your comments.

Yes, Even I Get Speechless Once In A While…What About You?

Friday, April 4th, 2008

A few weeks ago I knew I was going to be in Las Vegas, so for the second time in a short period of time I wanted to get tickets to see Carrot Top. I know most if not all of you who are reading this are thinking that my taste in music is horrible and now my taste in comedians is just as bad. That might be the case because I love his sense of humor, really enjoy the pace of his performances, and love all of his props. So there I am getting ready to walk into the performance with a friend of mine (AW) and lo and behold we are seated in row A–yes the front row. Yes, dead center, and yes you think even less of me now than you did a few minutes earlier. The show was a little like the one I saw a month earlier. He had an opening act and then he would be done by 9:20, so I could make our dinner reservation since we were meeting a few other friends.

So for some reason (maybe it happens all the time) the audience isn’t laughing at everything and Carrot Top is struggling a little bit and he is starting to make fun of the crowd more and more. By doing this, the show is going a little longer than I had hoped and he had scheduled, and now I am late for dinner and meeting my friends. So I pull out my BlackBerry and prepare to send a text message saying I am late and will be there shortly. The lights were a little dim and I start to type and of course as luck would have it, Carrot Top and his big hair see me and precede to stop the show and attack me for sending a text message. There were a number of choice words for me and lots of laughs. I was speechless. I should have said I have seen your act four times and you always end on time but tonight you messed me up by going longer than normal. But I couldn’t get the words out.

It was a classic, and yes I was totally embarrassed!

  • When was the last time you were speechless?
  • Have you ever been embarrassed beyond words?

I hope you will share you stories with us as I have. I look forward to hearing from you.

Company Activities: Lots Of Planning. Lots Of Fun? Not Always.

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

Yes, I am a planner. Yes, some of my friends call me Julie McCoy (Cruise Director from the TV show the Love Boat). My friends tend to look to me for: What should we do tonight? What are we going to do when we are on vacation? What show should we see?

Over the years the atmosphere and morale of wherever I worked has always been important to me. I always thought (and still do) if people are happy, they will work a little harder and communicate their smile to clients–which can only help your business grow. Over the past 3+ years at M/A/R/C, we have tried a number of company activities. Some have worked great. Some missed the boat. A number of them were surprises–from the standpoint of people really enjoying themselves.

Here are a few activities we have done with the staff and my opinion of how it went:

  • Chicago softball game. The intent here was to play a coed game where no one could get hurt. A normal softball is twelve inches around; this ball is sixteen inches. The ball is lot bigger and softer and frankly the ball doesn’t travel that far. This style of softball is popular in Chicago—hence the name! We have played three years in a row and I think people have really enjoyed themselves. Grade B
  • Murder mystery holiday party. I had the idea that it would be fun to go to the Gaylord Texan for a murder mystery holiday party. This turned out to be a comedy of errors: there were not enough seats for our group, the food wasn’t that good at all, the show wasn’t that funny and of course they added another group to our group (yes, we were supposed to have a private show) which was an elderly group with everyone over 75. The staff hasn’t forgotten about this experience and reminds me (thanks TA) very often. Grade D-
  • Ugly tie contest. A few years ago we had an ugly tie contest with three judges. We gave everyone an opportunity in front of the office to strut their stuff on a runway highlighting their tie. Since we only did it one year I am not sure how successful it really was. Grade C
  • Whirleyball. I was very , very concerned about doing this. For those of you who don’t know what whirleyball is, picture an indoor basketball court with no rim, no net, and a target on the backboard. There are two five-person teams that are trying to catch a large wiffleball with these scoops while on whirly carts (which is another name for a bumper carts). Tons of fun, and can be very physical and challenging. We did this a few weeks ago and the staff is still talking about it. Grade A+
  • For the second year in a row we will have the MARCy’s. This is our version of the Academy Awards. Every year the staff makes a company video. For the past two years, we have had the entire company vote on the best performances. And so far–in year two–this has been very successful. Yes there is a red carpet, yes there are interviews, trophies and acceptance speeches and yes we are very goofy. Grade A-

Company outings can be a challenge. You have different ages, gender and interests that you need to incorporate into the activity to ensure most of the staff participates and enjoys themselves.

  • What activities have worked for your company?
  • What activates missed the boat?

I look forward to reading your comments.