You Talkin’ to Me?

woman hiding behind a folio

As we come out of isolation and social distancing, we’re interacting with others more than we have in a long time. There’s less working on the sofa in sweatpants and more heading to the office in pants with zippers. Are you finding the transition tricky…and your communication skills rusty? You’re not alone.

Nonetheless, being able to effectively communicate with your superiors, your coworkers and your staff members is essential in the workplace. If you’re thinking, “I’ve forgotten how to have a normal conversation with someone,” that’s valid. However, keep in mind that effective communication entails more than talking.

As Indeed shares in “Communication Skills for Career Success,” there are several types of communication. These include:

Verbal. Here’s where talking comes in. To speak effectively, speak with confidence. Avoid filler words, and use business jargon only when necessary. Speak clearly and loudly enough for others to hear you, and be sure not to ramble on.

Nonverbal. Your body language and facial expressions say a lot, without a sound. Whether you’re in a meeting or having a casual conversation with a colleague, maintain eye contact and respect personal space. Be mindful of your physical responses to what others say. If your arms are crossed, for example, you can appear to be unreceptive to what someone is saying. Leaning forward in your seat or nodding, on the other hand, conveys interest.

Written. When you’re putting things in writing at work, keep the writing simple and uncluttered. Use bullet points to highlight key points, as people tend to skim documents rather than read them from start to finish. Always, always proofread your work. Consider asking another team member to proofread your document as well for an additional quality assurance measure.

Want to shake the rust off your communication skills? We have a variety of communication courses you can take online, at your convenience. Choose from:

We offer an online Business Communications certificate program as well.

So dust off your office clothes and your communication skills. You’ll be ready to face the workplace with confidence.

Email us at learn@corexcel.com to learn more.

Source: Indeed, Examples of Nonverbal Communication in the Workplace

Follow These “Rules” to Make Remote Interviews Rule

Companies are hiring, and that’s good news! Much of the interviewing is being conducted remotely, with the interviewer and interviewee in separate locations. The virtual format can present challenges, but taking certain steps can make it a smooth process for all. Whether you’re conducting the interview or you’re being interviewed for a job, follow these tips for best results.man in virtual interview looking at resume

Rules for the Job Candidate

Keep everything but inanimate objects out of sight. This means keep the kids away. Keep the pets away. Make sure they can’t be seen—or even heard.

Present a tidy environment. Be mindful of what the interviewer will see in the background. If you’re in the kitchen, make sure there are no dirty dishes around. If you’re in the bedroom, your bed must be neatly made. Do not do the interview from a basement with poor lighting.

Set up good lighting. Lighting is important on video calls. Position the light behind you, or sit in front of a window so there is natural light behind you. Good lighting can help you appear…in the best light.

Put down the cell phone. It should go without saying, but do not text during a video interview. If the phone is near you, turn the ringer off before the interview starts.

During a phone interview, stay still. Don’t go outside for a call, because the wind can affect the sound. Don’t do the interview while driving, either. You want to maintain safety and sound quality.

Check your equipment beforehand. Test your connection, including your audio and video, prior to the interview. While you can’t always avoid technical glitches during a video call, running a test lets you be as prepared as possible.

Do all the in-person interview things. Research the company ahead of time so you sound informed during the interview. Follow up with a thank-you email to the interviewer.

Rules for the Interviewer

Provide clear information on logistics. Send the job candidate a link prior to the meeting. Consider sending a “looking-forward-to-meeting-you” email that morning to put the candidate at ease.

Give the interviewee some slack. Despite best efforts, the individual might have technical difficulties. Don’t hold it against them if it appears they prepared for the interview. Leave enough time between interviews to accommodate unforeseen technical trouble.

Prepare. First, prepare questions that can help you gauge a person’s behavior since you can’t fully gauge their body language through a screen. Second, in case there are sound issues, have questions prepared that you can share on the screen. Then you can ask the candidate to submit the answers.

Keep privacy in mind. If you share your screen, make sure sensitive internal information and information on other candidates are not visible.

Remove distractions. Just as the interviewee should keep children and pets away, so should you. It can unfairly distract a candidate trying to make a good impression.

Rule for Both Parties

Our rule for both the interviewer and interviewee is to dress appropriately. It’s an interview, after all. Skip the sweats and baseball caps, and wear professional attire.

With these tips, your remote interviews can rule!

Email us at learn@corexcel.com to learn more.

The Dos and Dont’s of Personality Assessments

When used properly, personality assessments are a phenomenal tool for any workplace. The information they provide can help enhance employee communication, resolve team conflict, and make employees aware of their own behavioral inclinations. When used improperly, to make hiring decisions…that’s a “don’t.”

This is important, because these days the majority of Fortune 100 companies use some sort of a personality assessment as part of their hiring process. To encourage proper usage, here are the dos and don’ts we recommend.

The Dos

We offer personality assessments because we have seen the incredible workplace transformations they’ve created. When using an assessment, for best results:

Use a research-validated assessment. All personality assessments are not created equal. Many out there are not backed by research. That’s one of the reasons we offer DiSC® assessments.

Give everyone the same assessment. This way, you compare apples to apples.

Educate the assessment givers and takers. It’s important that the people giving the assessment fully understand what the assessment measures. It’s also essential that they convey to the assessment takers, “This is not a test. There are no right or wrong answers.”

When using an assessment in the hiring process, follow up. If a candidate’s results show inconsistencies or potential characteristics that might not align with the role, use interview questions to learn more. Remember that you can learn a lot about someone from an interview.

Don’t

There is one crucial “don’t” when it comes to using personality assessments, particularly if you’re using them as part of the hiring process. Don’t. Pigeonhole. People. In other words, don’t rule out a candidate just because their results show them to be in a certain personality/behavioral category.

Please always keep in mind that assessments are not designed for this purpose. While you can learn a lot about someone’s innate style from their results, that should only be a small portion of what you’re considering.

At the same time, if you’re using assessments to learn more about the people already on staff, don’t excuse poor behavior just because of an individual’s style. If an employee keeps showing up late, for example, their style does not make that acceptable.

Taking an assessment? Don’t try to trick it or answer questions in a way you think would sound good. The assessment gets to the truth.

Do let us know if you’d like more information.

Email us at learn@corexcel.com to learn more.

We’re Going Hybrid. Should You?

Corexcel has focused on workplace trends for years, but we’ve never seen anything like this. The pandemic has brought about a workplace shift that’s becoming as widespread as the virus itself. Last spring, businesses, and organizations scrambled to establish work-from-home arrangements for employees. Now, nearly a year later, businesses throughout the U.S. are embracing hybrid and fully remote work options.

For a change of pace, we’re sharing our own work experience as it might serve as a useful example for other businesses.

Our Hybrid Experience

At Corexcel we went fully remote in 2020, and we recently transitioned to a hybrid work arrangement. We’re still ironing out the kinks, but for now, our team is working remotely on Mondays and Fridays and in the office on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. So far, we’re finding the three-days-in-the-office-two-days-at-home arrangement to be a good balance.

woman on her laptop sitting on couch wearing a headset

We decided to try a hybrid format to:

  • Provide flexibility for employees
  • Reduce our rent expense
  • Lower the company’s carbon footprint

Before going hybrid, we polled the Corexcel team and, interestingly, no staff members indicated a preference to work virtually every day. While that might not be the response at every business, we’re finding that our team members aren’t missing a beat. In fact, our employees are comfortable and working effectively with the new arrangement.

We asked why they like the hybrid arrangement and received these comments, among others:

  • “It’s nice to skip the commute sometimes after being on the go with the kids.”
  • “I can work more at my own pace.”
  • “I appreciate the mix. I get quality time with the kids, but I also get time in the office with no kids and no dog.”
  • “Hybrid is so flexible. We can start a project in the office and finish the work at home at night if that works best with our schedule.”

These benefits would resonate with employees at other organizations as well.

Why Hybrid Instead of Fully Virtual?

As we see how our hybrid arrangement plays out, we might decide to go virtual; who knows. For now, we like coming in part of the week to get a sense of normalcy. Our time in the office works well for meetings, too. Employees who might be hesitant to speak during a Zoom call are often open to speaking at an in-person meeting. For us, the hybrid model seems to be the perfect mix.

A Trend That’s Here to Stay

From our own experience, though brief, as well as input from other businesses, we believe a hybrid workplace could be the wave of the future. We’re hearing that business owners feel hybrid arrangements widen the hiring pool. Candidates who might find the commute too much on a daily basis based on their location might be willing to travel two or three days a week. In addition, if a hybrid structure makes employees happy, they’re going to be loyal to the company. Hybrid workplaces could lead to less employee turnover, and in turn lower costs.

Going Hybrid?

If you’re going hybrid, there are several factors to consider. SHRM’s article, “What to Consider When Moving to a Hybrid Work Model,” is a good place to start. If you’re concerned about hiring when your team isn’t in the office full-time, we recommend using a hiring assessment tool to screen candidates. PXT Select™ lets you assess candidates on thinking style, behavioral style, and interests—from wherever they are. If you’re thinking of going hybrid, please let us know!

Email us at learn@corexcel.com to learn more.

It’s a Good Time for a Fresh Start

The past year has been a lot—at home and on the job. With the pandemic causing substantial changes to the way we live and work, that might be an understatement. But along with change comes the possibility for something new. Maybe you lost your job. Or maybe all this time at home has you contemplating a new career. If you’re looking for a work-related fresh start, here are some of our recommendations:

a person holding a small alarm clock

Update your resume. Does your resume reflect your current position and responsibilities? Make sure it clearly highlights the experience your potential employers would find useful.

Update your references. Check with the people vouching for you that they’re still on board to field calls about you and your work.

Create or update your LinkedIn profile. A current LinkedIn profile is a must as you look for a new job. You can search for jobs on LinkedIn and apply for jobs on the site when it’s an option. If you’re being considered for a job that’s not on LinkedIn, recruiters will still look at your profile to get a feel for your experience. Tip: Your LinkedIn profile should be more conversational in style than a resume.

Brush up on your interview skills. Job interviews are stressful. Going in prepared alleviates some of the stress, so practice answering common interview questions.

Prepare your technology for interviews, too. Chances are, you might have a few virtual interviews. Check your connectivity and your lighting to make sure you’re seen, literally, in the best light.

Join/subscribe to career development podcasts and career-related social media groups. They can provide helpful advice and insight on various careers, and they offer support from fellow jobseekers.

Take a course. Getting an introduction to a field you’re interested in is valuable. It can confirm you’re getting on the right career path—or let you know you’re not. Having a course under your belt can also make you more marketable. If you’re interested in the medical field, for example, our Medical Terminology or Microbiology course is an excellent first step.

With these tips, you’re ready for a fresh start. Good luck!

Email us at learn@corexcel.com to learn more.

Are you Hiring? Be Sure to Hire Right

What a year we just had; businesses and organizations across the board scrambled to revise operations, workers went remote, and hiring in many sectors came to a halt. As we enter a new year, hiring freezes are beginning to thaw. If you’re fortunate enough to be hiring, be sure to hire right.

woman typing on the computer with the word assessment on the screen

Employing the wrong candidate comes at a cost. It costs you money. It costs you time. In fact, the cost of a bad hire is considered to be the equivalent of an employee’s first-year salary*. According to surveys conducted by John Wiley & Sons, which questioned 2,000 individuals, hiring practices are a common problem:

  • 39% of hiring managers do not always align job requirements with candidates.
  • 54% say candidates are not always assessed with a structured interview process.
  • 65% of hiring managers rely on their instincts rather than data.

To help ensure that you bring the right individual(s) on board:

Establish a consistent hiring process. This ensures that hiring is fair, and it makes it easier for you to compare candidates. Consider creating a checklist that keeps the position’s requirements and the qualifications you seek front and center.

Use data in the hiring process. We use data to make lots of decisions these days, so why not use it for hiring? While the impression the candidate makes during the interview carries considerable weight, going exclusively with your gut is so yesterday. Data offers valuable input.

Use PXT Select™. This online assessment is designed to help you select the best candidates for your organization. Candidates take an assessment, and PXT Select generates a report that provides insight into their behaviors and interests. It also tips you off to their verbal and math skills so you can see if they’re a good fit for the position.

PXT Select lets you compare candidates to one another and a single candidate to multiple positions. In addition, the reports have ongoing use as they provide tips for an individual’s onboarding, training, and development.

After the year we’ve had, focusing on 2021 is a welcome development. If your organization is growing, congratulations. We’re here to help you do it right.

Email us at learn@corexcel.com to learn more.

* Source: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Are You Bored With the Working From Home Thing?

If you’re like many people, you’ve been working from home for months. And you’re over it. At first, it seemed like a novelty—a chance to skip the commute and work in comfy clothes while staying safe. As the weeks went on, however, you realized it can be tough to work with spouses, kids, and pets around, and it can get awfully boring looking at the same walls.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to get out of your rut and combat the boredom you might be feeling at home:

Woman yawning while at her desk

Plan a busy schedule. If you pack a lot into your workday, your mind will be focused on the tasks. Now is the time to add those often-put-off housekeeping projects, like cleaning out old emails, deleting files, and filing papers, in your schedule. Fill the gaps and avoid the lulls.

Schedule breaks. This means actually put time for breaks on your calendar. Step away from the desk. Get up and stretch. Talk to a family member in the house. Stay put and call a friend. Squeeze in a workout. The point is to use the time to focus on something other than work so you can come back to it fresh.

Change your location. If you usually work in a bedroom, try a day in the kitchen. Or the family room. Or the dining room. Just mix it up! When you feel boredom setting in, take a walk, even if it’s just around the house. A change of scenery, even if brief, goes a long way.

Pursue training opportunities. You’re not spending time going to and from work, so use the downtime to explore training your employer offers. If your employer will compensate you for taking outside classes, take advantage of that. Or, if you want to switch or advance your career, take one of our many online courses and professional certificate programs. All of these options will expand your skill set, bolster your resume, and alleviate boredom.

Set up a fun distraction. Listen to music while you work—rock, jazz, country—whatever lifts your mood. Have a favorite show playing off on the side, if it won’t distract you from work. A little bit of fun can have a big, positive effect on your day.

Working from home might be a lasting trend. Once you learn how to keep boredom at bay, it might be a trend to embrace.

Email us at learn@corexcel.com to learn more.

Is The Time Right for a Career Change?

clock with people in the background

Who would have thought that a global pandemic could be just the thing to prompt a career change? When COVID-19 first hit, we were thinking, “Do I have enough toilet paper” and “Where can I get hand sanitizer?”—not “Perhaps I should switch jobs.” However, there are actually several reasons why it just might be the perfect time to make a career move.

Time to think. Before the pandemic, it was go-go-go.  We were running to work. Running home to take care of the kids. Running to meet friends for dinner. Now we’re sitting on the sofa…and sitting there some more. It gives us time to think, and, importantly, to assess whether or not we’re happy with our careers. Time to think can lead to “time to change.”

Job uncertainty. Businesses of all sizes are hurting. Many Americans are worried about job security, rightly so. Even if you enjoy your current job, will it be there when the dust settles as the pandemic winds down? Unfortunately, a new career might not be something we want, but something we need.

Time to learn. With all of these weeks at home, we have plenty of time on our hands. That means we have time to learn new skills. We have time to update our resumes and LinkedIn profiles, too. (Even if you’re working full-time, you no longer have a commute, social engagements, or errands to run.)

Workplace flexibility. Just a few months ago, an employer might have questioned a job candidate on a career shift. In these unprecedented circumstances, a career move is understood.

Corexcel offers the educational opportunities you need to revitalize or reinvent your career. Not only do we offer a full suite of career-boosting courses, we also offer many online certificate programs. Earn your certification in Data Analytics, Search Engine Optimization, Cybersecurity, or many other in-demand options. Exit the pandemic with a valuable skill set—and a new career!

Email us at learn@corexcel.com to learn more.

Introducing Managing Remote Employees

Today’s workforce is turning to technology to handle both internal and external communications. Employee Working Remotely The idea of meeting face-to-face is becoming less and less common. In wake of the recent string of viruses world-wide, many companies are embracing the idea of employing remote workers to run their day to day operations. While the convenience and agility of working remotely sounds easy enough, it is also imperative that supervisors and managers alike are practicing the best strategies to effectively oversee their remote employees.

Introducing Managing Remote Employees 

Course Features

  • Online, self-paced course
  • Open enrollment 24/7/365
  • No prerequisites
  • Interactive review exercises
  • Professional videos with complete transcripts
  • Ask the Expert feature – Submit questions directly to our experts
  • CEU/PDU Certificate

Information Technology for Managers Online Training Course

Information Technology courseA Manager’s Guide to Information Technology is a new online information technology course that helps managers learn the basics of information technology. This IT course will help learners combine management concepts with their newly acquired knowledge and be able to make informed business decision for themselves and support their team.

Participants learn about:

  • Operating systems and application software
  • Programming languages
  • Network configuration
  • Database security

This course offers 1.0 CEUs upon successful completion.

Have a group of 10 or more that need to take an information technology online course? Call us at 888-658-6641, or send your request through our contact form, for special group pricing.

Corexcel is approved as an Authorized Provider by the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).