Important questions to ask in interviews

Asking effective questions in job interviews is an important task, as it avoids the expensive mistake of paying an ineffective employee a salary over a period of many months or years.

While there are many creative questions that hiring managers can ask,  some are better than others at getting an interviewee to reveal their inner character.  Below, we have assembled some questions that achieve this goal.

people in a job interview, pic from bureau of IIP on flickr
Deliver a sales pitch on behalf of this company to me, a potential customer

This question will test the candidate on their knowledge of the company,  as their ability to sell its products or services will depend on how thoroughly they have researched the business. They won’t be expecting this question, so it will evaluate their ability to craft sales pitches on the fly.

Being able to market and sell products or services is central to the survival of any business, so evaluating their ability in this department is paramount when recruiting for almost any position in a company.

Ask them about their interpersonal relationships with their co-workers

Many candidates in the job market these days have the technical qualifications and the education necessary to fit into any role, or so it seems. Human beings are complex beings though, so it is vital to evaluate them for interpersonal fit.

With this in mind,  ask them about the worst relationships they have had with co-workers in the past. Ask them to go into detail, as their answers will tell everything that is needed to make a decision on whether this individual would be a great employee for the company.

If they go out of their way to bad-mouth former co-workers, it is highly likely they will eventually experience friction with employees in the business in which they are trying to get hired.

Explain a complex concept so that someone in grade school could understand it

Any business has its fair share of jargon; being able to explain concepts to those that don’t know the lingo is vital in fostering cross-department communications.

While a high grade point average is a good starting point when it comes to recruiting intelligent talent, the true mark of a smart employee is one that can take a complicated problem and break it down into terms that even someone in grade school could act upon.

By getting them to offer up a complicated process and successfully explain it to the interviewer in a manner that anyone could comprehend,  it will show that this individual will be an effective member of the team.

Ask about a time they messed something up … what happened and why?

No human being is perfect, but hiring someone that isn’t afraid to own up to their mistakes is a rare quality. Stilted responses pointing to someone’s propensity to work too hard should be disregarded in most cases, as it shows they aren’t willing to expose their ego by acknowledging that they too are capable of making real mistakes.

However, those willing to make themselves vulnerable by showing that they are willing to accept responsibility for their errors, and explain how they recovered from them should be given a long hard look when making a final decision on who to hire.

What to know and do about sexual harassment in the workplace

Of all the types of interpersonal problems that can occur in business, sexual harassment has the greatest potential to disrupt a corporate culture and expose a company to legal risks. As a result, it is important that every business is aware of what it is, and what to do if an incident of this sort occurs within their work environment.

 

Below, we will define what sexual harassment is, how it is perpetuated, and what can be done to prevent and respond to it.

640px-Queen_Rania_of_Jordan  
What constitutes sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment takes many forms within the workplace. As such, it is important to know what behaviors to watch for so employees can recognize them and respond in an appropriate manner. It can include everything from offering advantages to employees in return for sexual favors, to gender-specific derogatory name-calling.

Other acts that constitute sexual harassment on the job: uninvited physical contact, persistent date seeking directed towards an individual, commenting on one’s physique in a sexual context, and sending sexually explicit images to fellow co-workers, among others.

Who is affected by it, and how is it perpetuated?

In most cases, the aggrieved party is female, though it should be noted that on occasion, males can be targeted as well. This type of workplace issue tends to be a problem in environments that are male-dominated, such as the construction industry, police and fire departments, and in certain engineering professions.

Many cases occur when an individual in a position of authority uses their power to coerce employees below them to submit to their sexual advances, but sexual harassment is also perpetuated by employees of equal status in an attempt to gain an advantage over others (e.g. spreading rumors about the details of a co-worker’s sex life in order to damage their reputation).

What to do about sexual harassment in the workplace

Preventing the development of a culture of sexual harassment in the workplace starts with the formulation of a clear and concise policy against it. This document will advise all employees of their rights and responsibilities with regards to sexual misconduct on the job, and it should be posted in a high visibility place, such as on a break room bulletin board.

It should outline procedures that are to be followed in the event of a violation of this policy, and the consequences for the offending party, should they be found guilty. To ensure that all employees are aware of the statutes in a workplace’s anti-sexual harassment policy, make certain that it is supplied to them in an orientation manual, and that it is explained in training sessions for new hires.

Interview with Karin Neumann – Director of Investor Relations

karin-neumann-22
Karin, where did you grow up?

Germany

Where did you study for college?

Bayerische Julius-Maximilians-University, Würzburg, Germany with a Diploma, Business Administration/Finance (equivalent of Masters Degree)

What was the first job you had out of college? What was the most important lesson you learned there that has stuck with you for your entire professional career?

I started my career in Purchasing with Siemens Healthcare in Germany; I quickly learned how important processes are in a company and how they can help improve results.

What drew you to working with A Neumann and Associates?

After over 20 years in Financing for a Global 500 Company I was looking for a change; in my former job I was responsible for Sales and Marketing Controlling but never took the chance to move into Sales; I now enjoy very much working with Investors and marketing our engagements.

What counties and states do you represent?

I am responsible for the buy side of A. Neumann & Associates and cover all regions.

What is the most rewarding experience you’ve had working in your region?

Getting positive feedback from investors about our process and the information we provide to help them to make a fast and informed decision about a business.

Best advice for someone considering selling a business in this region?

Contact A. Neumann & Associates and let us show you how we address confidentiality and help to maximize your profit selling your business.

Best advice for someone considering buying a business in this region?

We believe our process is one of the best in the industry. We have a strict pre-qualification process to ensure only qualified business investors are introduced to the business sellers; once pre-qualified, we provide a detailed Confidential Memorandum with taxed based information and a 3rd party business valuation to enable investors to make a fast decision if the business is right for them and ensure a smooth due diligence and closing

Interview with Karin Neumann – Director of Investor Relations

karin-neumann-22
Karin, where did you grow up?

Germany

Where did you study for college?

Bayerische Julius-Maximilians-University, Würzburg, Germany with a Diploma, Business Administration/Finance (equivalent of Masters Degree)

What was the first job you had out of college? What was the most important lesson you learned there that has stuck with you for your entire professional career?

I started my career in Purchasing with Siemens Healthcare in Germany; I quickly learned how important processes are in a company and how they can help improve results.

What drew you to working with A Neumann and Associates?

After over 20 years in Financing for a Global 500 Company I was looking for a change; in my former job I was responsible for Sales and Marketing Controlling but never took the chance to move into Sales; I now enjoy very much working with Investors and marketing our engagements.

What counties and states do you represent?

I am responsible for the buy side of A. Neumann & Associates and cover all regions.

What is the most rewarding experience you’ve had working in your region?

Getting positive feedback from investors about our process and the information we provide to help them to make a fast and informed decision about a business.

Best advice for someone considering selling a business in this region?

Contact A. Neumann & Associates and let us show you how we address confidentiality and help to maximize your profit selling your business.

Best advice for someone considering buying a business in this region?

We believe our process is one of the best in the industry. We have a strict pre-qualification process to ensure only qualified business investors are introduced to the business sellers; once pre-qualified, we provide a detailed Confidential Memorandum with taxed based information and a 3rd party business valuation to enable investors to make a fast decision if the business is right for them and ensure a smooth due diligence and closing

How to increase a business valuation

When a business owner moves to sell their company, they should be shooting for the highest value possible. There are a myriad of things that can be implemented before the listing of a business that can increase a business valuation. This article will discuss several ways to increase the perceived value of a business in the eyes of potential buyers.

valuation-149889_640
1) Ensure key employees stay on board

The performance of a business can be compromised if linchpin workers leave the company shortly before its sale. Without them, work flow can suffer, and valuable resources will have to be spent to bring new talent into the company.

Assure staff that the new buyers will maintain the culture that currently exists, and they will be less likely to seek a new gig. Long term incentives such as profit sharing will keep employees working hard for the company during the transition to the new management team.

2) Create clean, concise business processes

The best asset in any business sale is the person who built it. While the seller can’t stick around to run the company, well organized infrastructure and business processes will make these tasks easier.

This can be done by setting up project management software, as it will make work flow and the chain of command within the business simple for outside investors to understand. When writing a manual that describes the company’s positions, tasks, and responsibilities, use plain language so that all aspects of the operation can be understood with minimal difficulty.

3) Pay mind to appearances

The curb appeal of a company is as much of a factor in its business valuation as it is with a well-kept home on the real estate market. Time should be taken to clean the premises, complete cosmetic renovations, and add decorating touches that will impress potential buyers.

Ensure that these measures are completed before listing a business, as ongoing work when suitors walk in the door will leave a negative impression.

4) Improve profit margins

Finally, the top consideration of any business buyer when purchasing a company is its ability to generate profits easily. The best way to boost the valuation of a business is to improve its margins in the quarters prior to its sale.

By increasing this measure, it can be demonstrated that the business in question has upside potential, which can elevate its perceived value substantially.

There you have it, just a few ways on how to increase a business valuation. Check back frequently to the blog for more strategies and additional information.

How to leverage video to increase business

The expansion of the Internet over the past five years has made video a tool that businesses can use to enhance their profits. There are many ways that a company can use video sharing sites to take their marketing efforts to the next level.

Below, we will cover techniques that can get any business started in their video marketing efforts.

how to leverage video to increase business
Choose a hosting platform

The first thing that a business owner should tackle when creating videos is to choose the platform that will host their content.

YouTube is the most popular option, but entrepreneurs that are concerned with their image may want to choose a platform that is more sophisticated in appearance, like Vimeo.

The latter service specializes in videos that are shot in higher resolution, and it contains subject matter that deals with more serious subjects than what is normally found on YouTube.

Finally, those marketing to younger demographic groups should experiment with Snapchat.  This short form video sharing site is popular among Millennials; as such, businesses that cater to them may experience success reaching out via this medium.

Tailor content to the target demographic

Some companies may offer products that have cross-generational appeal. Because of this, it makes sense to offer videos on all or some of the above-mentioned video sharing services. However, there are different audiences that inhabit each of these sites, making it important to tailor content to the demographic that frequents the video sharing platform where a specific video is uploaded.  Doing so will ensure that the delivered message will resonate properly with targeted customers.

In a competitive industry? Think outside of the box

It can be hard to stand out from many competitors.  When creating video content in a crowded niche, do not be afraid to market differently than other businesses. Using humor or irreverent commentary is an easy way to accomplish this, but if the business deals with serious subject matter, revealing little known facts can help in this quest.

Craft videos in a manner that generates leads

At the end of the day, the videos that are made for a company should help achieve one central goal: an increase in profits. Ensure that the end of any video that is created has a call to action at the end, such as link to a website, or to a webinar where they can learn more about the business.

Add optimized text descriptions

It’s important to include a rich text video description with the keywords that you’re looking to be found for when someone searches on Google. This will add another degree of visibility to your videos as people use text to search for them.

How to effectively give employees feedback

Feedback is a necessary step to help workers improve their job performance. However, results can vary depending on how it is delivered to employees.

How can a manager evaluate an employee’s actions in an effective manner? Below, we go over several techniques that can improve a company’s feedback process and in the process retain and develop quality talent.

640px-Employees_discuss_in_office
Build a rapport with employees

People are more likely to be receptive to a management team that treats them as equals. In order to build a rapport with employees, greet them when they get to work in the morning, strike up conversations concerning non-work topics, and praise them when they do a great job.

Be mindful of phrasing

When delivering feedback, use words that engender feelings of belonging, trust, and expectation. By using phrases that affirm the important role they play in the company, that management believes in their ability to do a great job, and that they are expected to aim high with regards to the quality of their work, a manager’s feedback is more likely to be adopted into their routine. This will improve their performance over time, as well as their overall job satisfaction.

Indicate belief in the abilities of the feedback recipient

Emphasize trust in the ability of a worker to not just complete a task, but to do it well. When this is combined with the feedback that is given to an employee, the confidence that results will fuel them through obstacles that might cause those with less mental resilience to slow down or quit.

Belief in an employee creates a desire within them to meet and exceed expectations, as they do not wish to let down their fellow team members.

Deliver it often, and frame it positively

The best time to deliver constructive feedback is as soon as possible, when memory of a relevant action is still fresh. Some companies only brief their employees at set intervals (e.g. once per quarter), long after a specific aspect of an employee’s performance has been forgotten by them.

By resolving to inform a worker of better courses of action on a more frequent basis, they will be able to integrate lessons learned more effectively.

In these meetings, structure advice in positive language. When negative words are used, the feedback recipient gets defensive, as it stimulates a threat response in the recipient’s brain. Positive words stimulate the pleasure centres of their brain, making employees more open to corrective advice.

Having and organized and developed feedback system will not only increase the productivity of a team, it can increase a business valuation.