Hyperlapse

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Hyperlapse

Ever since its launch in late August, people and marketers alike have been rushing to capture life and their products in hyper speed.  Since this is still fairly new to most people, I wanted to give a brief overview of what Hyperlapse is, and a few tips on how to master this new media.

What is it?

Some of you may have already seen some of the creative (or downright terrible) time-lapse videos to come from this app.  Hyperlapse is the new video app from Instagram which allows you to record something and then play it back as fast as 12 times the original speed – no fancy video camera or software needed.  The app is available on both Android and iOS devices, and the videos you create with this app can be exported to a multitude of platforms – Instagram, Vine, YouTube, and Vimeo.

Tips

I will spare you the technical details, but basically a Hyperlapse is a video playing in fast-forward.  What this means is that if you want 15 seconds of video at 12 times the original speed, you will need to capture 180 seconds of original footage.  Below is a breakdown of how long your video footage needs to be in order to successfully upload to Instagram or Vine.  Both media platforms have a limit to video length; Instagram being 15 seconds and Vine being 6 seconds.

Instagram (you need x length of footage at y speed):

1-15 Seconds 1x
16-30 Seconds 2x
31-60 Seconds 4x
61-90 Seconds 6x
91-120 Seconds 8x
121-150 Seconds 10x
151-180 Seconds 12x

 

Vine (you need x length of footage at y speed):

1-6 Seconds 1x
7-12 Seconds 2x
13-24 Seconds 4x
25-36 Seconds 6x
37-48 Seconds 8x
49-60 Seconds 10x
61-120 Seconds 12x

 

Now that you know how much video footage you need, it’s time to figure out what to capture. You are only bound by the limits of your creativity, but if you need some help getting your creative juices flowing it’s best to treat Hyperlapse like Snapchat.  Capturing unique and/or exclusive content is your best bet. To give you an idea of what other marketers are doing with Hyperlapse, take a look at some of these popular videos.

Want to walk around the White House? Take a 15-second tour right now! #Hyperlapse

The White House (@whitehouse) tarafından paylaşılan bir video ()

Creating with #hyperlapse is going to be a lot of fun. Well played @instagram #ants

A video posted by Jake Hiller (@jmayerhiller) on

Another tip is to vary the types of motion and panning in your video. The app has a really nice movement stabilizer. Lucas Perlove, of Shutterstock, made this Hyperlapse from the Brooklyn Bridge to illustrate just how great this feature truly is:

I was determined to get some lateral tracking into this shot. #brooklynbridge #hyperlapse A video posted by Lucas Perlove (@lucasperlove) on

Once you have created your stunning video, it’s time to upload it. The app allows you to share directly to Instagram and Facebook.  I recommend uploading to Instagram as you can edit your video and add filters to take your Hyperlapse to a whole other level.

Feel free to tweet me your creations @Tom_Castronova!

Emotional Marketing

World’s Toughest Job – Proves the Power of Emotional Marketing

I was moseying through Facebook the other day and came across the most delightful, heart-warming advertisement I’ve seen since that Super Bowl commercial with the dog and the horse.  If you have not seen this American Greeting advertisement, I suggest you take a look:

Being an advertising enthusiast, I often admire how companies go about using those different terms I learned in college.  In this case the term being, Emotional Marketing.

This form of marketing is somewhat subtle, yet extremely effective.  Emotions are something that most of us cannot ignore, and even if we think we can, most of the time we are still subconsciously affected in some way.  The best part about successfully accomplishing this form of marketing is that the consumer is affected long after viewing a simple piece.  It is a direct gateway into the consumer’s head – not in a creepy and possessive way, but warm and fuzzy.

There are many different ways to inject emotion into advertising, one of the most common being nostalgia.  Donald Draper of Mad Men, one of the best characters to ever grace cable television, goes off on a brilliant tangent during a pitch to Kodak regarding the Carousel slide projector.  “Nostalgia – it’s delicate, but potent. Teddy told me that in Greek nostalgia literally means ‘the pain from an old wound.’ It’s a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn’t a spaceship, it’s a time machine. It goes backwards, and forwards… it takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It’s not called the wheel, it’s called the Carousel. It lets us travel the way a child travels – around and around, and back home again, to a place where we know are loved.”  Well said, Don!  Nostalgia takes a consumer on a glorious journey through the past, while leaving them wanting your product/service in the present.

Let’s do a 180 here and direct our attention to the American Greeting advertisement I referenced earlier.  Yup, this article on Emotional Marketing is now turning into a lesson on video interviews.  Direct your attention to the fella who first shows up at 0:53.  Rule number one, two, and three when participating in a video interview – go somewhere quiet and professional looking, dress the part, and make sure your technology is up to date.  This guy fails to follow every one of these crucial rules.  I know this is off topic, but I could not stop myself from commenting on this man’s attempt.

ANYWAYS – Emotional Marketing, if executed correctly, can do wonders for your brand and your campaign.  The best way to go about creating a message that will truly resonate with your consumer is to know your consumer.  If you can pinpoint your target market, and understand when and why your product/service is being purchased, you will be able to create a marketing piece that will pull your consumer’s strings at exactly the right angles.

Day in the Life - Jason Harrison

Day in the Life – Jason Harrison

his week for our Day in the Life of a Sutherland Global employee, I caught up with Jason Harrison who is from our Jamaica location!

Name:  Jason Harrison

Location: Kingston, Jamaica

Position: Team Manager

  1. What parts of your job do you find most enjoyable?

“I enjoy seeing the satisfaction on my team members’ faces when they are able to satisfy a customer.”

  1. Who at Sutherland has been your biggest inspiration?

“My biggest inspirations at Sutherland are my Account Managers, Donnovan Wallace and Dwayne Thompson. They constantly push me to function at my very best and to get the best out of my team as well.”

  1. What is the one thing you look forward to the most every day while you are on your way to work?

“I look forward to seeing my team members and interacting with them.”

  1. If you could eat one thing for lunch for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

“The fruit I would choose would be the Dragon Fruit. Reason being – it has a hard, beautiful outer shell but a soft, mild, kiwi-like internal appearance and taste. It is also very rich in fatty acids and oleic acids, which the body does not produce. The Dragon Fruit also helps lower bad cholesterol and promotes good cholesterol.”

Fleetwood Mac Career

Let Fleetwood Mac Influence Your Career

In today’s ever-changing job market, any advice is good advice to a job seeker.  For some universally applicable words of wisdom, I encourage you to turn to an unlikely source: Fleetwood Mac.  The famous lyric I am referring to is, “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow”.  Is this the corniest advice you’ve received? I imagine so, but its value is unique and rather powerful.

According to an article in The Wall Street Journal (Seven Careers in a Lifetime? Think Twice, Researchers Say), it is reasonable to expect a person to have as many as seven different careers in their lifetime.  This number may seem a bit high, but it is clear that people are not sticking with one job until retirement.  This is why we need to heed the words of Fleetwood Mac, and think about what our possibilities are for tomorrow.

With career change a likelihood for most of us, it is essential that we continue to learn even once we have completed school.  Just like the job market is always changing, so is education.  Online classes are convenient, and are becoming more readily available.  There are even organizations offering free online classes in almost any subject, one of the more popular being the Kahn Academy.  It is worth a quick Google search to see what options are out there.

You never know when a great opportunity will come knocking, so you’ll want to be ready.  Don’t let your desire to learn burn out.  The more you learn, the more prepared you will be when your opportunity arises.  Make the most of it, and you could find yourself riding a “landslide” of success (last corny Fleetwood Mac reference, I promise).

Disney-collage

The Top 7 90’s Disney Movies

To cap off this great week, we wanted to share something that will take you back to your childhood. We have had previous lists before, but nothing like this. Here are my top seven Disney movies from the 90’s. This list is not limited to just cartoon movies. It can be anything and everything associated with the mouse.

Number seven is one of the most underrated comedies ever put out by Disney, Heavyweights. This 1995 classic starred Ben Stiller, pre-There’s Something About Mary. He takes over a fat camp for boys and attempts to turn the experience into an infomercial. What’s not to love? Half of the cast of the Mighty Ducks is in the movie, it is full of toilet humor jokes, and Judd Apatow was one of the main contributors. The jokes and the fashion represent the 1990’s so well, but it has lines that you will be quoting for days. If you haven’t seen this, I highly suggest it for some good laughs and a little hint of what Ben Stiller’s character from Dodgeball would look like in black and purple spandex. Oh wait, he did that twice…

My next movie has to be the timeless classic that will put a spell on you, Hocus Pocus! This movie can be billed as a top option based on the cast alone – Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy. The story revolves around the Salem witch trials of 1693, and how their spirits have come back 300 years later to haunt the children of Salem. The witty humor and terribly awesome effects make it so 90’s! This movie is an instant favorite of mine every Halloween, and something you can watch with the kids.

Heading into my top five is a movie that may be higher on your list, but sits fine right here for me, Aladdin. This film has caused some controversy in the past regarding the spoken lyrics and ethnic representation of Arabic people. The music and cast really make this movie an instant classic. To this day, I can still sing the guy (and girl) part of “A Whole New World”. The witty child and adult humor are blended together so well by the Genie, voiced by the late Robin Williams. He alone made this movie amazing, catchy, and eye-popping. This movie is so 90’s in the sense of lyrics, colors, and the marketing behind the movie. I mean, Steve from Full House voiced Aladdin.

I offer up another wildcard at number four, Cool Runnings. The movie based on the 1988 Jamaican bobsled team reeks of the 90’s with the cast (John Candy as the USA head coach), the music (“Some people know you can’t believe, Jamaica we have a bobsled team”), and the story. This classic has been around for over two decades, and I still watch it every time it is on.

The number three spot goes to another holiday classic, the Muppets Christmas Carol. This is by far my favorite film from the Muppets.

Ebenzer is played by living legend Michael Caine before he was Alfred in Batman but post-Alfie. The musical really sets it apart from any other adaption of this yuletide classic. I consider this movie to be so 90’s.

Number two goes to one of the greatest movies and franchise that Disney has ever created, Toy Story. This movie is unique because of the time frame regarding it. The first was released in 1995 when I was a wee lad. The third one hit the big screen when I was a young adult. The winning ensemble of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, John Ratzenberger, Don Rickles, and more made it one to remember. The writing, design, and soundtrack are things that resonate with any generation. This movie is totally 90’s purely because it encompasses the epic-ness of the decade.

Finally, the top spot goes to a film close to my heart, the Mighty Ducks. Who doesn’t enjoy an underdog story, especially when it deals with youth hockey and that Breakfast Club guy? Emilio! This film has a basic storyline: a few dorky kids who can’t play hockey get a drunk for a coach and magically learn how to win. However, you find yourself falling in love with these characters as the story unfolds. This movie did give me hopes, dreams, and a false sense that I could become the next Wayne Gretzky. It oozes 90’s with the cast, soundtrack, and especially the acid washed jeans and mullets.

So there you have it folks, my top seven Disney movies of the 1990’s. I hope you enjoyed them. I would love to hear any comments – good or bad. Until next time, party on Wayne!

Experienced Need Not Apply

Experienced Need Not Apply

Why does it seem that recruiters and hiring managers only have eyes for perfect candidates?  After an evolution of the working environment that would make Charles Darwin smile from ear to ear, it’s surprising to see that these practices are still in place.  While finding a perfect match to the skills and experiences you desire may be preferred, going with the riskier choice comes with some advantages.

Companies like Zappos have shown us the power of the “hire for attitude and train for skill” approach.  By hiring a person with less direct experience, you are bringing in an unbiased candidate who can objectively look at existing processes and problems, and give a new perspective on them. This can lead to new ideas, solutions, innovations, and improvements.  Look at it as an injection of new oil into an old machine.

Hiring candidates with less than perfect credentials can also lead to loyal and determined employees.  The smart candidate will recognize your willingness to take a chance on them when other employers refused.  Your risk will in turn be rewarded with employees that stay longer and work harder.  Also, less-experienced candidates typically cost less than their experienced counterparts, and will have far fewer offers for you to compete against.

As a recruiter or hiring manager it is important to remember that as business is rapidly changing, experience is losing value.  You need to be looking for flexible candidates who can adapt to the ever-changing business landscape. If you are still stuck in your old ways, then I invite you to take a look at the resumes of Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs.  Notice that neither of these two moguls had prior experience as a CEO, but were still able to change the game.

New Hire of the Month - Danita Morrison-Coles

New Hire of the Month – Danita Morrison-Coles

Name: Denita Morrison-Coles

Location: Poinciana, FL

Program: Work at Home – Tech Support

 

Meet our New Hire of the Month, Denita Morrison-Coles! I was fortunate enough to be able to catch up with the busy mother of three this week!

 

Q: What was your first impression of Sutherland? 

A: At first, I was a little intimidated because I thought I might have bitten off more than I can chew. As I made my way through training, I thought there was no way I was going to be good at this job. But now I feel very prepared because I was given the right tools to succeed.

Q: Why did you want to work here?  

A: What made this job most appealing was the ability to work from home. I have three girls, and I love the fact that I can be close by if they should need me.

Q: What was your favorite part of training

A: [The tools]… that were provided to me and discovering they would help me overcome my lack of confidence in my abilities. Once I was taught how to use these tools, I relaxed and found my comfort zone.

Q: If you had the power to go back and change the outcome of a single event in the entire history of mankind, what would it be and why? 

A: Honestly, there is no part of history I would change. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and as things occur, they make way for the next phase in life. I think that if we change one event, that could change the entire course for all of mankind.

 

Disney Heroes Part 1

A Dozen Disney Heroes: What They Teach Us About Leadership, Determination, And Courage Part 1

Whether you are a parent or simply grew up watching these characters on the big screen, you’re probably quite familiar with most Disney movies and the beloved characters featured in the films. As children we wanted to emulate them, playing dress-up and reenacting our favorite scenes. They were our heroes, and they taught us about love, loss, friendship, and singing. Lots. Of. Singing. Watching their struggles and triumphs has taught us important life lessons that can be applied to adulthood, as well.

Let’s take a closer look at what we can learn from these heroic fictional characters.

12. Jack Skellington, The Nightmare Before Christmas – The “Pumpkin King” grows tired of celebrating Halloween endlessly – crazy talk, right? Halloween brings out the inner child in all of us, but apparently Jack had his fill of tricks and treats. After stumbling upon Christmas Town, Jack becomes fixated on bringing Christmas to Halloween Town. Not fully understanding the true spirit of Christmas, Jack takes his vision a little too far and alienates himself from the other townsfolk. Jack has a dream, and nothing is going to stand in his way. While he may have been a bit impulsive and reckless, Jack’s intentions were never malicious. Although he fails to bring his vision completely to fruition, that failure does not defeat him. He redeems himself in the end, and emerges as a leader of stop motion characters men. Lesson Learned: Often, our biggest achievements in life follow our biggest failures. Don’t give up on your dreams, and don’t let failure knock you down. Also, don’t kidnap Santa Claus.

11. Simba, The Lion King – After experiencing the tragic loss of his father, the brave lion cub is banished from his home. In an instant, his life changes irrevocably. Admit it, you cried when Mufasa died. Simba is adopted by a meerkat and a warthog, and becomes somewhat of a hippie – you know, hakuna matata and living off of beetles. It takes some coaxing from feisty lioness Nala to make him come to his senses and let go of the past. Ultimately, he realizes that he needs to return home, take his rightful place in the pride, and save his family from crazy Uncle Scar. Lesson Learned: You can run from circumstances but you can’t run from the past. Simba made a new life for himself, but once he reconnected with Nala he knew what he had to do. He bravely returned home despite being afraid and uncertain of what awaited him. It took guts to go home in spite of everything, but he bravely faced his uncle and that crazy monkey with the stick. Accept the past, learn from your mistakes, and move on.

10. Alice, Alice in Wonderland – Hands down my favorite movie and favorite Disney character of all time, don’t judge me. Alice is charming, a bit prissy, inquisitive, and has “real life” traits that many other female Disney characters are lacking. For example, Alice is a bit clumsy, gets annoyed, can be disagreeable, speaks her mind, and doesn’t have any trouble talking back to adults. Characters such as Snow White and Cinderella are quite demure, graceful, and exceedingly sweet. After falling down the rabbit hole and into a fantastical world full of outrageous characters (I’m looking at you, Mad Hatter!), Alice adapts quickly to ever-changing circumstances. Quick on her feet, she manages to escape from more than a few tricky situations. Of course, it is all just a dream, but it is still an awesome movie! Lesson Learned: Alice literally grew and shrank in order to fit through a doorway, simply because she was curious about where that rabbit with the pocket watch was going. Allow yourself the freedom to be curious about the world – explore your options, make mistakes, and then learn from them. Oh, and don’t eat the mushrooms!

9. Mulan, Mulan – This chick is bad. The good kind of bad. At first, she attempts to behave in a “socially acceptable” manner by stuffing herself inside a stereotypical box. As we all know, this doesn’t last very long. A hero from the beginning, Mulan leads her life with passion and courage, eschewing tradition and straddling gender roles with ease. She saves the day, and proves that girls can be brave soldiers, too! Lesson Learned: No matter what, don’t let society dictate your life. Mulan fought for her beliefs and risked everything to save her father. While it’s important to cherish your heritage and family traditions, allowing others to tell you how to live is a road that leads only to disappointment and unhappiness. Take risks, follow your heart, chop your hair off, and get a really cool sword. Having an annoying talking pet dragon wouldn’t hurt either; just don’t bring him to dinner parties!

Check back soon for Parts II and III!

Leadership from Within

Leadership From Within

Just as a train requires tracks to successfully reach its destination, every organization requires a strong vision from its leaders to successfully reach the company’s goals.  If your leadership team has developed an exciting vision and has laid out a clear path for the organization to follow, you are off to great start.  However, even the most well thought-out and detailed plans will inevitably face unforeseen obstacles.

When facing these obstacles, members of the organization will need guidance.  Due to the significant demands on many leaders, guidance is not always available on a whim. What happens when no one is around to offer direction in the moment?  The answer is still leadership, but it needs to come from within the team.

It is important that team members understand the direction that the organization wants to take, and the types of decisions and actions that are necessary to move in that direction.  Along with this understanding, team members need the character to back it up.  Knowledge and awareness, combined with the right personality, makes for a team member capable of leadership in a time of need.

The good thing about leadership coming from within the team is that it does not need to come from the same one or two appointed “leaders”.  It can come from anyone, at any time.  Depending on the situation, different people may feel more comfortable stepping up to take control.

In order to successfully leverage team members’ abilities to take charge in tough situations, it is imperative for leaders to know and understand the people on their team.  It is important to understand exactly who is stepping up in certain situations.  This can help leaders form a plan of action for similar occurrences in the future.

Finally, it is important to acknowledge the accomplishments of these internal leaders.  It feels good to know that your boss sees you have gone the extra mile and appreciates your efforts.  If team members are recognized for their leadership abilities, they are more likely to take charge in the future.  It is empowering to be a part of a flexible team, and it is reassuring to know that support and leadership goes deeper than one person’s title.

 

Unemployment Spiral

Four Things to do During Unemployment

In one of my previous articles, I wrote about the bad habit of not hiring people with long stints of unemployment.  Since it is 2014, there is a very good chance that most of you reading this have had at least one long gap of unemployment.  Regardless of the reason for your gap, it is something you will probably need to address in an interview.  One way to address it is by simply being honest.  “I left my previous job because of a family member’s health issues.”  “The right opportunity in the right field hasn’t come along yet.” Another way to address the gap is to talk about how you have kept busy during your unemployment.  I am going to focus on four relevant things you should do during an extended period of unemployment.

Volunteer

There is something to be said about donating your time to help the community or a cause, especially when you are unemployed.  I think it’s a safe assumption that not many of us can really afford to be unemployed for a long period of time, and volunteer work may disrupt the time spent job hunting.  However, volunteering is a great way to build skills, and if the right opportunities exist in your area, you may gain transferable experience.

Volunteering can also help you stay positive and motivated through long periods of unemployment. As Staci Pierce, CEO of Ultimate Lifestyle Enterprises, said, “Unemployment can wear on your self-esteem.  Volunteering helps you maintain a sense of value and purpose, and helping others is an instantaneous mood booster.”

Acquire a Part-Time Job

Part-time jobs are a great source of income when you are unemployed.  Even though it might not be immediately apparent, the skills and experiences gained from part-time jobs can prove to be invaluable if you illustrate them properly on your resume.  They can also help you transition careers if you are trying to move from one field to another.

Start Your Own Business

Lack some of the basic experience required to get into your dream job?  Start your own business, and acquire that experience.  Do freelance work, or become a consultant if you have an expert-level understanding of your field.  Not only is this a fantastic way to get those skills and experiences onto your resume, it’s a great way to keep them sharp so that you can hit the ground running on day one of your new job.

Take Classes

The world is advancing at an alarmingly fast pace.  It doesn’t matter if you graduated 25 years ago or eight months ago, there is always something new to learn.  From community colleges to virtual universities, numerous classes and certification courses are offered that will help you stand out to a prospective hiring manager.  Do your research, and pick and choose relevant classes that will get you the skills you want for your career.

I know that unemployment is no fun, and the longer it drags on the more demoralizing it can become.  I hope that if you are in the unfortunate position of needing a job that these tips help you minimize your gap.  Thanks for reading!  Tweet me @Tom_Castronova.

Day in the Life - Daniel Augustus Brooks

Day in the Life – Daniel Augustus Brooks

This week for our Day in the Life of a Sutherland Global employee, I caught up with Daniel Augustus Brooks who is from our Jamaica location!

Daniel Augustus Brooks

Kingston, Jamaica

Customer Care Specialist

  1. What do you see as your greatest accomplishment this year?

“Well I am relatively new, but my best accomplishment so far was graduating from my training batch with the highest performance rating. Either that or simply the fact that I resigned from my previous job to start working with a company that makes me feel more valued as an asset than any other company where I have previously been employed.”

 

  1. What skills are required in your position on a day-to-day basis?

“I am required to display customer service skills and technical expertise as I interact daily with customers and resolve their technical issues. I also provide information about services.”

  1. What parts of your job do you find most enjoyable?

“I find it most enjoyable when I restore a customer’s trust in the company’s high quality of services.”

 

  1. What is the one thing you look forward to the most every day while you are on your way to work?

“When coming to work, I look forward to sharing an environment with co-workers and support staff as one unit to get the job done.”

Unemployment in America

Unemployment in America

On September 5, 2014 the Bureau of Labor Statistics released their Employment Situation Summary.  The summary showed that 142,000 new jobs were created in August, which means that the unemployment rate remained at a steady 6.1%.  Here are the month over month numbers compared to last year:

Numbers

The dip in new jobs created is being attributed to the typical end-of-summer slowdown, but is that really the case?  Believe me when I say that the jobs are out there.  How do I know this?  From personal experience, that’s how.  I am currently looking at our Sutherland Global Services recruiting target for September and it is not a small number, even if you subtract the positions outside of the US.  September isn’t just an anomaly either, projections by month for the rest of 2014 are looking to be just as high.

The jobs are definitely out there, but why is the number of new jobs created down?  In my article Four Common Recruiting Fails, I talked about four very commonplace recruiting blunders still being made by hiring managers today.  One of these mistakes is not hiring people with large gaps of unemployment.  As of the release of this report, 3 million Americans were disqualified for a reason that might not even be their fault!  I’m not saying that this practice is the sole reason for the disqualification of viable candidates, but it has to be factored in.  A side effect of these positions going unfilled is the decline in available workers, 268,000 to be exact.  Economists attribute the retirement of Baby Boomers to about half of this number, which means that 134,000 prime working-age people have given up on finding a job.

If you are going to take anything away from this article it should be that if you have a large gap of unemployment, you will want to be direct in an interview.  Ask if the gap will be an issue; if the response is yes then you will be able to immediately address the white elephant in the room.  Also, I feel like it’s worth mentioning – DO NOT LIE ON YOUR RESUME!  This will get you rejected quicker than a typo will!  The other thing that I want you to take away is that no matter how bleak you feel the job market is, you should take solace in the fact that Sutherland Global Services is really growing and always looking for an injection of new talent. Joining us is as simple as clicking the “Careers” tab at the top of this page, and selecting your location.  For those of you not located near one of our locations, don’t worry, we will come to you!

Together, you and Sutherland can fix the unemployment issue in America. So apply today!  If not for you, do it for America!

 

Platinum Performer - Evan Arnold

Platinum Performer – Evan Arnold

Name:  Evan Arnold

Location:  Rochester, NY

Recently I had the opportunity to catch up with Evan Arnold, one of our Platinum Performers. It’s not surprising that Evan is being featured as a Platinum Performer. With his ambitious attitude and consistent desire to be a brand ambassador for Sutherland, he is a true leader here. Take a look at what he had to say about his career with us.

 

Q: What motivates you on a daily basis? 

A: Knowing that, no matter how large SGS becomes, we are an organization driven by the growth of small entities such as the programs I support.   There is a constant drive at SGS to innovate, solve for client needs, and develop the skills of our most talented employees to lead the company into the future.

 

Q: What did you do to become a Platinum Performer?

A: Honestly, there is nothing I did differently than what I would normally do.  If I have the opportunity to present SGS in the best possible light for our clients and employees, I will treat it as my priority.  Everyone I interact with is my customer, and the rules for best-in-class customer service apply in every scenario.

 

Q: Who had the biggest impact on you becoming a Platinum Performer?

A: There are too many to name individually.  Approaching my 10-year anniversary, I do not want to dilute the influence of any individual I have had the pleasure of working with.  They know who they are, be it the folks who have led me or the people who gave me the opportunity to lead them and watch their careers flourish.

 

Q: Have you ever been told you look like a celebrity?

A: Not really, nor would I agree that I look like anyone other than my mother with a beard.  I did have the opportunity to speak with Raquel Welch once as a consultant, and when she responded with an emphatic “yes” to my asking if she was the Raquel Welch, I responded that she had the pleasure to speak with the Evan Arnold.

Facebook

How to Stay Ahead of the Facebook Changes

As many of you may know, Facebook recently updated the algorithm it uses to determine what gets shown on people’s news feeds. This may not be news to the seasoned marketer, but I wanted to briefly go over the impact of these changes and how to stay ahead of them for those less experienced with social media marketing.  These tips will help maximize your initial organic reach, but if the content you are sharing is not engaging then it won’t matter what you do.

The First Change:

 “We will take into account time away from Facebook after clicking a link, or whether they come straight back to Facebook.”

We have all fallen victim to being “Click Baited” by amazingly catchy titles only to find an irrelevant article.  Facebook is now looking at how much time you spend on the article you clicked on.  The basic premise here is that the longer you are away from Facebook, the more engaging the content is because you are busy interacting with it.  Since the behaviors of our readers are largely out of our control, the only real thing we can do here is to make sure we are producing quality, engaging materials that will resonate with our followers.

The Second Change:

“We will prioritize showing links in the link-format, and show fewer links shared in captions or status updates.”

This is a big change to how we post our content on Facebook.  As you all know, Image-type posts have always been weighted more highly than all other forms of posts prior to this change.  Facebook has decided to give posts without embedded links the top priority when determining what shows up in someone’s news feed.  What is link format exactly?  Link format is that preview of the link you pasted onto your Facebook; you know, that pretty blurb below your post?  If you are still unclear, go to Facebook and start a new post on your page.  Once there, paste in a link to your website and you should see a preview generate after a few seconds.  That is link format.

Facebook took it a step further, however.  It’s not just link format that is king now, it’s non-embedded link format!  I know some of you are probably starting to break out into a cold sweat, but don’t worry!  This is as simple as hitting your delete key.  In order to turn your Facebook post into non-embedded link format all you need to do is delete the link once the link preview has generated.  Just in case some people need to see what I am talking about visually, here you are:

 

Facebook Right and Wrong

Facebook is always evolving, and it can be daunting to keep up especially if you are a small business owner.  Hopefully you will find some value in these tips, and can put them to good use.  Feel free to comment on any other tips you have found to be effective since the latest changes.  As always, you can Tweet me @Tom_Castronova with any questions!

New Hire of the Month - Amanda Bogardus

New Hire of the Month – Amanda Bogardus

Name: Amanda Paige Bogardus

Location: Syracuse, NY

 

Meet our New Hire of the Month, Amanda Bogardus! This week, I was able to chat with Amanda about her new job at Sutherland.

 

Q: What was your first impression of Sutherland?

A: Sutherland seems like a place where you can definitely start a path towards a rewarding career!

 

Q: Why did you want to work here?

A: I wanted to work here because Sutherland really seems to care about the growth of their employees, and provides a built-in support system. It is nice to know that whenever I have a question, there will always be someone with an answer for me.

 

Q: If you were CEO for a day, what one change would you make companywide?

A: I am still learning about the company because I’m fairly new here. So far, I love that the company has Casual Month/Day/Week if you donate money to a charity! If I were CEO, I think it would be cool to do this every day, as long as employees donated a certain minimum amount of money.

 

Q: If you were a monster, how would you scare people?

A: People would be scared by how much they love me!

Re-Define LEadership

Everyday Leadership: Why We Need to Re-Define Leadership

Think about this for a moment: when was the last time you actually gave credit to a person for changing your life in some way? If you are scratching your head right now because you can’t remember, you are not alone. According to leadership expert Drew Dudley, most of us are guilty of failing to vocalize the impact others have had on our lives. Why?

During his 2010 speech at TEDxToronto “Everyday Leadership & Lollipop Moments”, Dudley asserts that as a society, we are remarkably focused on the big, splashy moments that often occur sporadically. As a result, we have grown desensitized to the everyday achievements that define great leaders. Naturally, when we hear about the Steve Jobses and Richard Bransons of the world and the remarkable things they are doing, we revere these people as “true” leaders, ignoring our own meaningful professional and personal contributions, even if those contributions are on a much smaller scale.  In doing so, we have begun to lose sight of what true leadership really means.

The little things matter. The stirring motivational speech you give to your team every day, the new client you were able to land for your company – these are what Dudley refers to as “lollipop moments”. Every email, every nuance, and every interaction presents an opportunity for a lollipop moment. If you weren’t fortunate enough to have been bestowed with the last name Branson or Jobs, do not be deterred; Dudley is passionate about great leadership and posits that we are all capable of becoming great leaders.  It is his belief that leadership is not a trait reserved for extraordinary people, but instead, a characteristic shared by everyone. We just need to learn to tap into it.

According to Dudley, we can start by re-defining leadership. Instead of seeing leadership as something beyond the reach of the “average majority”, we can start by viewing ourselves as leaders already. It’s not an abstract concept; the ability to be a great leader resides in all of us. In his “Everyday Leadership & Lollipop Moments” speech in Toronto, Dudley challenged the audience to re-think leadership, and called upon them to celebrate leadership as the everyday act of improving someone’s life. That’s pretty powerful.

So, in the spirit of Drew Dudley, I challenge you to change the way you think about leadership, right at this moment. You are capable of extraordinary things, every day, and you don’t need to be a famous CEO to prove it. Now get out there and claim your lollipop moment!

Theodore Roosevelt

Great Hires in History – Theodore Roosevelt Hires Candido Rondon

In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt was defeated in an election for a third term as President of the United States. Depressed and despondent, as he always was after a major defeat, Roosevelt set out to seek his next great adventure. Originally set to be a simple speaking tour in Brazil and Argentina, the plan quickly changed after Roosevelt heard of a mysterious, uncharted river – The River of Doubt.

Roosevelt would not be alone on his new adventure to explore and map the territory, some of the last still uncharted at the time. He would be joined by 19 others including Father John Zahn, naturalist George Cherrie, and Kermit Roosevelt, his son. The American Museum of Natural History, which was sponsoring the expedition, plead with Roosevelt to consider a safer, well-explored river. However, Roosevelt had no intention of deterring from what he considered “a delightful holiday” with “just the right amount of adventure.”

While the Brazilian Government was excited to have Roosevelt in their country, they were less excited about the possibility of the former U.S. President dying on their soil. They offered Roosevelt the services of Candido Rondon, a Brazilian explorer with close ties and distinguished experience with the Amazonian wilderness.  Rondon had successfully traversed other unexplored rivers, developing ties with Native tribes that had previously killed all westerners they came in contact with. Roosevelt instantly took to Rondon who, like him, possessed both a strong character and the will to lead. Because of this Roosevelt wisely accepted Rondon into the expedition and heeded his advice on the journey, a decision that likely saved his life.

The River of Doubt would be the hardest test of Roosevelt’s and Rondon’s already accomplished lives. The river itself was a complete mystery with its length, course, and destination totally unknown. The party faced multiple rapids and waterfalls, forcing them to cut paths through the heavy jungle to proceed. They shared the territory with deadly predators such as alligators, snakes, poisonous frogs, and piranha. Disease-carrying insects constantly harassed the party. Most members of the expedition caught malaria, leaving them with fevers and constant sickness. The Natives, previously untouched by modern culture, shadowed them constantly, and could have wiped out the expedition at anytime (the fate of many future expeditions).

The dangers of the trip were intensified by the incompetence of Father Zahn, who provided inadequate medical supplies, rations, and boats. During the 400-mile trip across the Amazon wilderness toward The River of Doubt, it became clear to both Roosevelt and Rondon that Father Zahn would not have the ability or character to survive the trip. He, along with several others, were sent home along a safer route.

Shortly into the expedition Roosevelt suffered a leg wound that, while minor, meant possible death for the former President. Roosevelt’s condition worsened over several days, while the supplies continued to dwindle. Worse still, the expedition was simply not traveling fast enough. It was Rondon and his reliable, hardworking men, called Camaradas, who were able to ensure the group pushed on. The Camaradas cut their way through the jungle, traversed rapids, and scrounged for any food they could find, all while suffering from malaria and malnutrition. When men of lesser character would have deserted or panicked, Rondon and his men led the way, sometimes at great cost. Three of the Camaradas lost their lives on the river.

The expedition stopped when it was clear that further travel would mean Roosevelt’s death. The group’s doctor performed surgery, removing the dead flesh and cleaning the wound. With little medical equipment and no medication available, Roosevelt, with a 105 degree fever, felt every cut of the knife. The surgery would save his life. Not long afterward the expedition saw its first sign of civilization in the form of Rubber Tappers, who were able to provide them with vital supplies.

Starting in February and ending in late April, 1914, the expedition had traveled a total of 950 miles. The River of Doubt was renamed Rio Roosevelt in the former President’s honor. But without Candido Rondon and his Camaradas, it would have most certainly been his grave.

For more information on this thrilling history please read the book “The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey”, by Candice Miller.

Tom Hanks - Forrest Gump

5 Tom Hanks Roles That Were Better than the Real Guy

You love him. I love him. Who doesn’t love him? Tom Hanks is one of the greatest actors to ever live. He may be considered a modern-day Charlton Heston, but I don’t think Heston has anything on him. His acting career has spanned four decades, with roles both on television and in film. He has also had the opportunity to direct his vision. For those debating what his greatest appearance has been, this is the list that ends all lists. Here are my top five Tom Hanks roles:

Coming in at number five is…. Saving Mr. Banks.

Tom Hanks - Mr. Banks

This one may come as a bit of a surprise to people. I consider this the wild card of the group. It’s relatively new, and many people may have not seen it, but Tom Hanks does justice to Walt Disney. The mannerisms, the look, the smile – it captures the Walt man to a T. You can’t help but fall in love with the vision that he had. I can see why P.L. Travers ended up giving into the charm and dedication. Hanks exemplifies such passion for the role, and such sorrow when the end looks murky. It may not be the best movie, but the role of Hanks and his counter-part Emma Thompson steals the number 5 spot.

Number four goes to Captain Phillips.

Tom Hanks - Captain Philips

Again, a more recent role, but this one must be considered. Hanks portrays Captain Richard Phillips who oversees a crew that gets ambushed by Somalian pirates. Playing a real life hero must be difficult. You want to do the person justice, but many times it is difficult to do that on film. Hanks plays it perfectly. I was so entranced when I watched this film I was literally shaking near the end. Don’t worry, no spoilers here. Hanks in the face of danger is something I could watch day in and day out.

Our third spot goes to Philadelphia.

Tom Hanks - Philadelphia

This was the first of two Oscar performances for Mr. Hanks. He plays a gay lawyer in Philadelphia with AIDS, and is fired from his firm after “dropping the ball” on an important case. This film was an important piece for its time as the AIDS scare was in full-force. In this role, you see multiple faces of Hanks. You literally follow someone from living a normal life to their deathbed. Hanks’ portrayal is a true display of award-winning acting. So many people argue with this (BIG fans), but to me this was his breakout performance.

Coming in at number two, Saving Private Ryan.

Mr. Hanks may not be the main character, but his performance is so great that he becomes the main focus. All of the little mannerisms from the hand shaking to the wandering eyes gives you a very in-depth perspective of the brave men who served during WWII. Despite this film not being his best work,  this is my favorite movie that he has been in because I am a history nerd. The honor for his best movie goes to our number one…

Forrest Gump.

This movie might be one of the most quotable movies of all time. Hanks, as the loveable Gump, might be one of the best-known characters in history. Like seriously, who could hate this guy? Even Lt. Dan came around! This film pushed Hanks into super, mega-star status with a second consecutive Oscar. To me, that alone makes it the best performance by Hanks.

I hope you have enjoyed this listicle, and future suggestions are welcomed! Remember like Mr. Hanks once said, “If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great.”

Day in the Life - Edward Stibick

Day in the Life – Edward Stibick

This week for our Day in the Life of a Sutherland Global employee, I caught up with Edward Stibick who is from Copperas Cove, TX!

Edward Stibick

 Copperas Cove, TX

 Call Center Operations Desk/Workforce

  1. What do you see as your greatest accomplishment this year?

“I think it is a toss-up between being selected for the Supervisor Overflow Team and having my stack rank of 11. Each represents the work I’ve put into Sutherland, and I am extremely proud of each accomplishment. I hope to surpass both by the end of the year.”

  1. Who would win in a fight, a gorilla or a polar bear? Why?

“In a neutral area like NYC in central park during the fall, my bet would be on the polar bear. This is for two reasons. Number one, a polar bear on average is three times bigger than the largest gorilla. Gorillas also have problems with jaguars in one-on-one fights. Number two, polar bears are geared to hunting alone and dealing with creatures that outweigh them.”

  1. Who at Sutherland has been your biggest inspiration?

“My Biggest inspiration at Sutherland is a tough question to answer. In the beginning I looked up to Ken Bilton and Alicia Westbrook (my trainers). I then started to model my habits after the ambassadors that I had. Now I look up to my coaches who are Nabeel Bazzi, Acea Lavigne, and Lexi Sapp. I look at what they have done and shoot for that as my goal. Recently, I had some interactions with Matt Malanka. I have seen what he has accomplished and I take that into account. I would have to say it has been my whole team, those who have climbed the ranks before me that really inspire me to succeed.”

  1. If you could eat one thing for lunch for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

“I would have to say I would pick egg drop soup. It is a food I have never gotten tired of, and it’s perfect for when I am sick or just having a rough day. It was always a comfort food of mine growing up. Besides, you can literally throw anything in it and have it come out awesome. I usually make mine with chicken and shrimp when I have it on hand.”

Recruiting Fails

Four Common Recruiting Fails

Despite there being a relatively high unemployment rate, many requisitions are still going unfilled.  Undoubtedly, the main reason given to upper management is something along the lines of “not enough qualified candidates.” In this article I am going to highlight four common recruitment practices that are severely limiting your qualified candidate pool.  Or to put it bluntly, four common recruiting fails.

Long Stint of Unemployment? No Job for You!

Let’s face it, it’s not 1967 anymore.  The unemployment rate is high and people are no longer spending 30 years at the same company.  In fact, it has been quite the opposite as job hopping is the “New Normal”, according to Forbes.  In 2010 we saw the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression.

Just because someone has been unemployed for an extended period of time does not make them any less qualified for the job.  Don’t assume the gap is due to laziness; you have no idea what their circumstances are.  Put the preconceived notions aside and let their previous work experience do the talking.

High-Skill Positions at Entry-Level Wages

Candidates turning down high-skill, hard-to-fill positions due to wage rate is not a qualification problem, it’s an affordability issue.  You need to be flexible with the wages you offer for these positions.  Take note of your competitors and see how long similar positions go unfilled.  Usually there is a reason they are paying people in those roles more, and it’s not because they can afford to.

Job Descriptions that Misrepresent the Actual Position

The job description is one of the most important and influential pieces of your recruitment strategy, and often gets overlooked.  Your job descriptions need to be interesting enough to draw candidates in and keep them reading.  Show job seekers that what you are saying is useful and relevant to them.

While being creative in the wording of your postings is definitely encouraged, do not misrepresent what the position has to offer.  Do not leave off core job functions because you think it will scare top talent away.  Be open and honest because nothing will cause a candidate to walk away from a job offer, and bad mouth your company, quicker than a feeling of deceit.  Not disclosing that the position requires cold calling while hopping up and down on one foot on a balance beam that is suspended three feet above a tank of sharks will surely cause a candidate to feel mistreated.

Limiting Your Candidate Pool by Job Title

CareerBuilder did a fairly large study and found that 55% of all hiring managers, from the over 2,000 organizations surveyed, only hired people who held the same title as the open vacancy.

My official title is “Talent Engagement Strategist.” What does that really mean?  I do a little bit of everything – I do some recruiting (apply now!), I get to play around on social media for part of the day (Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), I devise strategies to engage with my fellow co-workers.  If you are reading this then you know I get to create some compelling content, and I also support a myriad of internal tasks and projects ranging from reporting to business development.  I have so many hats that I needed a hat rack installed at my desk!

If I was a prospective candidate for your Social Media Specialist position, and you filtered your candidate pool by job title, I would certainly be eliminated.  Nowhere in my current or past titles have I ever been a “Social Media” something.  I clearly have a lot of experience with social media, but I would surely be passed over.

The next time you are finding yourself short on qualified candidates, I want you to think back to this post (assuming you haven’t printed this out and posted it next to your computer screen).  You may be guilty of some of these common recruitment practice fails. If you need any reminders, you can always tweet me @Tom_Castronova.

Sharonda Hunter

New Hire of the Month – Sharonda Hunter

 Meet our New Hire of the Month, Sharonda Hunter who is one of our newest members of our CloudSource team!

Q: If you were CEO for a day, what one change would you make companywide?

A: I would want to know how the employees feel about their jobs, so I would make it a point to meet everyone. By speaking to them directly, I would be able to target any problems and create solutions to the issues they bring up. Since Sutherland seems to value their employees and promotes people from within the company, I believe the on-on-one interaction with employees would ultimately help identify future leaders, as well.

Q: What has impressed you the most at Sutherland Global so far?

A: Sutherland is full of opportunities. We are kept up to date and informed about product information. Leadership is also important at Sutherland, so every agent is not only prepared to be the best, but we are also backed by an amazing support team. On the whole, agents are given many opportunities to become leaders at Sutherland!

Q: What have you enjoyed the most so far at Sutherland Global?

A: I have enjoyed the flexibility of working from home, as well as the one-on-one training that is provided. I now feel that I have the skills needed to exceed expectations on the job! Sutherland constantly provides bonuses for performance including perfect attendance, so hard work is acknowledged and rewarded here.

Q: If you could stock a vending machine with anything, what would you stock it with and why?

A: Fortune cookies! They have inspiring messages that could help motivate people every day!

 

That’s actually a great idea, Sharonda! Welcome to Sutherland!

Conflict

We Need A Resolution: Turning Conflict into Opportunity

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein

 

Imagine the following scenario: Your friend is dying to show you a particularly grotesque video on the internet that he/she seems to find simultaneously intriguing and hilarious. You, on the other hand, are feeling simultaneously queasy and itchy after finally agreeing to watch it. This same feeling can also be triggered whenever the “C” word is mentioned: conflict!

Conflict management is typically defined as the process that seeks to eliminate or limit the negative aspects of conflict, while concurrently increasing the positive aspects involved with conflict. You may be asking yourself, “what, exactly, is positive about conflict”? If so, you’re probably not alone. Most people tend to avoid the awkwardness and emotional discomfort typically associated with disagreements, disputes, confusion and the like. When it comes to conflict in the workplace, avoiding it becomes even more commonplace; in fact, you may notice a few people running towards the nearest exit. There seems to be significantly more people willing to participate in the ice bucket challenge than there are people willing to face conflict head-on. So why do people expend so much energy trying to avoid conflict? Well, let’s start with some of the causes of conflict.

Conflict arises when one party is dissatisfied or unhappy. For instance, conflict may arise when someone is required to engage in an activity that may be incongruent with his or her particular interests or skills. Issues may also surface when there is miscommunication amongst employees, which can create a chaotic atmosphere of zombie-apocalypse proportions! In fact, miscommunication is often cited as the most common catalyst for workplace conflict, whether it stems from a poorly constructed email or the seemingly insignificant nuances of body language during a meeting. Amongst employees, differences in personalities or levels of competition between them can create tension. And, let’s face it: every professional environment has that one guy who just doesn’t play well with others. It’s the nature of business.

Considering the above examples of how conflict can develop in the workplace, we can easily identify the reasons that so many people avoid the awkwardness linked to conflict: fear of aggression (from the other party), stepping outside our comfort zone, fear of rejection of our emotions/feelings/positions and wanting to avoid embarrassment, or having a preconceived judgment that there is no resolution to the issue. Upon closer inspection, we can ascertain that the underlying issue -aside from fear- is a lack of trust. When lines of communication are not truly open, transparent and otherwise “safe”, emotional guards are put in place, which hinders the growth of employees, and the entire organization as a whole. Great leaders recognize this, and instead of avoiding conflict, they embrace it. How?

  1. Don’t Be a Conflict-Avoider. Obvious, table for one. You cannot avoid conflict, so there’s really no point in trying. You want to be known as the person who helps solve problems, right? This falls under the goes-without-saying category, but including it as the first piece of advice seemed necessary. You’re welcome.
  2. Focus On the Positives of Conflict. You clearly cannot have a high-functioning team within a combative environment. However, you can manage a high-functioning team working through their conflicts, which creates an environment of collaboration, problem-solving and open communication. Generally, when people get upset about something, it’s because there is some degree of passion there. A passionate employee is a good employee, so work with that. Some conflict is actually beneficial, because that usually means that people care enough to get upset about something. That’s always better than not caring at all.
  3. Resolving vs. Winning. Conflict management is not about winning or who’s right – it’s about presenting a solution to a problem. If you’re in a leadership role, it’s not your job to “defeat the enemy”, but rather to elicit optimal performance from the team/department you are managing. In order to do that effectively, you have to change the way you view conflict and those who present it. People themselves are not problems; they come to you for help with the problems they have.
  4. Be the Voice of Reason. Just take the moral high ground. There’s no need to pull rank just because. It’s your responsibility to represent the company in a professional manner, so remain calm yet clear on your stance, and as neutral as possible. It’s all about how you communicate. Coming from a reasonable, logical and neutral position is much more effective and advantageous than ruling with an iron fist.
  5. Speaking of Communication…Communicate! Be sure tokeep the lines of communication open, accessible, and friendly yet professional. You set the tone for the rest of the team, so provide a respectful platform in which they feel relatively comfortable approaching you about any issues that surface. Actively listen to others and allow them the opportunity to express their concerns and point of view. You could even facilitate weekly one-on-one meetings to serve as a “check-in” point with each member of your team, just to see how they’re doing. By conducting these informal meetings and treating them more like conversations, it will put employees at ease and they’ll be more likely to open up. And document, document, document! You don’t want HR banging on your door because something you said was taken out of context, and this goes likewise for your subordinates. Protect them, too. Keep neat and organized records, and save those emails!

Whether you are currently in a leadership role or aspire to move into one, by embracing conflict, encouraging communication on your team, and adapting to an ever-changing environment, you become a more effective leader, and a model for the rest of the company. Look at you, big-shot! Go get ‘em!

Fun in the CloudSource

Coffee and How Work at Home Employees are Healthier

Reason 13.1 to Love Working from Home: Fresh brewed coffee just the way I like it!

Coffee!  Who doesn’t love a nice hot (or iced) cup o’ joe in the morning?  I love coffee, so much so that I had 27 cups (Just kidding!) (Or am I?) during the writing of this article!  Coffee has been around for a long time and has had a resounding impact on human history from the spark of the Age of Enlightenment to the protection against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  As it turns out, coffee is really good for you.  Don’t believe me?  Here are 13 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Coffee:

  1. It can improve energy levels and make you smarter
  2. It can help you burn fat
  3. The caffeine can drastically improve physical performance
  4. There are essential nutrients in coffee
  5. It May Lower Your Risk of Type II Diabetes
  6. It May protect you from Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia
  7. It may lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease
  8. It appears to have protective effects on the liver
  9. It can fight depression and make you happier
  10. Coffee drinkers have lower risk of some types of cancer
  11. Coffee does not cause heart disease and may lower the risk of stroke
  12. It may help you live longer
  13. Coffee is the biggest source of antioxidants in the western diet

I encourage you to click the source link above if you want to learn more about the magical effects of coffee.

Now some of you might be asking “What does this have to do with work at home employee’s being healthier?”  Great question!  Allow me to show you.

Coffee

According to Statista, in 2011 82.4% of coffee consumed in the United States was at home.  That’s 82.4% of the 3.16 billion pounds of coffee American’s consumed that year!  So if you are a coffee drinker and happen to work from home, chances are you drink a lot more coffee than your commuter counterparts.  Since you drink more coffee than your cube dwelling friends, you most likely have more energy, are in better shape, are happier, and have a lower risk for heart disease.  I don’t know about the rest of you but I think I’ll be working from home tomorrow.

Feel free to Tweet me a coffee! @Tom_Castronova

57H

Follow the Leader

Do you remember playing Follow the Leader as a child?  One kid stands in front doing goodness knows what, while everyone is behind mimicking his/her actions.  What made you a good “follower” was being able to copy exactly what the leader was doing, regardless of the ridiculous nature.  Isn’t it funny how far from reality this game truly is?  You have to wonder what impact this game has played on the perception of leadership in the minds of children.

Let’s first take a look at the child in the “leader” role.  Does he/she have his/her follower’s best interest in mind?  Heck no!  All they want to do is run around and make everyone behind them look like idiots.  Does he/she have proven leadership skills?  Absolutely not!  The leader is most likely five years old, and won a game of rock-paper-scissors in order to receive this coveted title.  Let’s not steer away from the fact that this is a harmless children’s game, but maybe the creator should have named it differently!

Let’s now take a look at the child in the “follower” role.  Is he/she working alongside the other team members towards a common goal?  Nope!  In fact, the follower is essentially trying to beat the other members in the group.  Is the follower taking any sort of precautions towards the leader’s intentions?  Umm, probably not.  It really doesn’t matter what type of crazy, acrobatic moves the leader is attempting to make, everyone will be trying their best to do them as well.

I hope that those who are reading this do not think I am completely serious.  My statements are pretty accurate, but you won’t see me picketing playgrounds around town.  Writing this, it was funny envisioning myself as a child engaging in an intense game of Follow the Leader.  I always won, of course, but that’s beside the point.  It was fun, exciting, and taught me no beneficial life-long lessons.  As adults in a leadership position, it might actually be helpful to play a bit of Follow the Leader.  If you purposely perform a ridiculous action, and your team follows without question, it’s time for a team meeting!

Hashtags

#Awesome Hashtag Advice

#Hello readers! Get ready for the #ride of your #life! Ok, maybe it isn’t the ride of your life. I could be #fabricating that a bit. However, this installment of #SMO is quite important to you #savvy #socialmedia users. If you haven’t figured out what the topic pertains to, then maybe you need a refresher course on social media – you can find my previous post here. We will be discussing hashtags and how to use them in a skilled manner. I will be offering up some suggestions from this article I stumbled upon, as well as some best practices I have found.

Before Twitter, most people understood # as a pound sign on a phone. There really wasn’t a use for it beyond that. However, social media has taken it to a new level. You can now use the hashtag to search for the hottest news or trending topics. It can be used to create a marketing platform for basically free from a personal computer, smartphone or tablet. The hashtag can even be used to sell a product to someone halfway across the world, or voice opinions to global leaders – all by hitting Shift and 3.

As stated in a previous article about optimizing your social profiles, certain actions can have positive and negative effects on your presence. Regarding hashtags, here are a couple poor practices and a couple good practices with Twitter:

Poor:

  • Leveraging trending hashtags without tying back to your products

A hashtag is used to contribute something to a popular topic, mainly for the purpose of exposure. It is smart to jump on the topic hashtags (ex: #tbt, #superbowl); however, you must have an end goal. In an attempt to capitalize on a trending topic, a British furniture store failed miserably.  The company posted the following, “Our totally desirable Spring collection is now 20% off! #iPhone” A post like this is pointless, and makes the store look incompetent. If it doesn’t make sense, no one cares.

  • #Using #too # many #hashtags #in #your #posts

Too many hashtags results in a poor response rate, and cries out desperation. A study by Statista found a direct correlation between user engagement and hashtag use per Facebook post:

 

#brands

All in all, one to two hashtags is where you get your highest pay-off. Less is more, people!

Good:

  • Create hashtags that mirror your brand, and give people reasons to use them.

The real benefit of a hashtag is creating and building your own brand. Creating something unique can have a more resounding effect. Audiences will tie that tag to your brand.

  • Use a handful of targeted, keyword-driven hashtags.

Quality is better than quantity. If you can create something original, you are able to resonate better with your target audience. Build that community, and your product/service/brand will sell itself.

Well, this is the part I hate the most. As Semisonic once said, “Closing time, you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here”. Happy #tweeting!

Day in the Life - Kelley Flanegan

Day in the Life – Kelley Flanegan

This week for our Day in the Life of a Sutherland Global employee, I caught up with Kelley Flanegan who is from Rochester, NY!

Kelley Flanegan

Rochester, NY

 Executive Assistant to the Chief Financial Officer SGS, Global Accounting Officer, Chief Financial Officer SHS, and Senior Vice President of Global Development/Mergers & Acquisitions

  1. Who at Sutherland has been your biggest inspiration?

“All of my fellow Global Finance colleagues. We all appreciate each other and I have never worked alongside a more caring, generous, and professional group of individuals. Especially Shripriya Kannan, the Senior Finance EA in APAC. When my Officers travel to APAC, she always goes above and beyond to help and support them. She is always kind, appreciative, and dependable.”

  1. What is the nerdiest thing you do in your spare time?

“I love to watch documentaries about anything. I have a deeper appreciation for learning about history, science, nature, and different cultures now than when I was younger”

  1. What parts of your job do you find most enjoyable?

“The Department I work in and the four individuals I support. The Finance Team is a group of truly wonderful people. We laugh every day and have such a deep professional respect for each other. We are a very tightly knit team.”

  1. If you could start all over again, would you change your career path in any way? Why?

“I did have a very different career years ago, my dream career in fact. For over 23 years I was a Ballerina. I have performed with professional companies, and being on a stage performing such beautiful art has brought me many incredible experiences, taken me to many exquisite countries, and introduced so many interesting people into my life. Unfortunately, the extreme physical demands on the body, and injuries, forced me into a premature retirement. However, the discipline, grace, and life experiences I gained during my ballet career I have carried with me in every aspect of my life.”

Video Interview

Video Interviews on the Rise

Have you ever experienced an event so daunting that it makes your palms sweat and knots form in your stomach? This event could be anything. For me, it’s the job interview. Before I started my career here at Sutherland Global Services, I was sent through the gauntlet.  I was interviewing for many positions at different companies across the country. If you haven’t interviewed recently, you may not have realized that video interviewing is starting to replace face-to-face interviewing. Video interviews are chosen 63% of the time, according to HR managers. With this growing market I’d like to offer some first-hand tips, as well as capitalize on some tips listed in this article.

  1. Make sure your equipment works.

Nowadays, this tip may seem a bit irrelevant.  With the prevalence of tablets, computers, and smart phones, it seems everyone has video capability. However, connection issues can arise. Maybe your wireless internet has kicked out or the connection strength isn’t quite as strong in the back of the house. Perhaps you have run out of Skype credits. Keeping these points in check before they become issues is your best course of action.

  1. Pick the right area.

Be aware of your surroundings, and things that may pose as a distraction. Simulate an office setting. Pick somewhere well lit, but not so bright that it puts you out of focus. Make sure there is nothing behind you that can pull the interviewer’s attention elsewhere. Also, make sure there aren’t any family members or pets around to bother or distract you. Not only will it look unprofessional, but it can strain your relationship.

  1. Dress for success.

I once made the mistake of “half-dressing” for success. I went with the shirt and tie on top, and shorts on the bottom. Before I knew it I was being asked to stand up and do a demonstration. Cue the Homer Simpson D’oh! No matter the situation, type of job, or time of year – always dress professionally. It is better to overdress than underdress.

  1. Smile, you are NOT on candid camera!

For some reason, people still don’t understand technology. It is important to remember that when you are on camera people can see EVERYTHING in the camera’s view. Smiling and looking at the camera is vital to your appearance and attitude. In face-to-face interviews they say eye contact is key. It is also key in video interviews. Don’t let those eyes stray! If you are watching yourself on the screen, you are not making “eye contact” with your interviewer. Make sure you are looking into the camera!

  1. Your momma always said, practice makes perfect!

Practicing for speeches, interviews, and public speaking events is normal. Why would an interview be any different? Practice old-school methods in a new-school way. Turn the camera on, pretending it is a mirror. Record the video and watch it, looking for flaws. Have a friend mock interview you. The only way to be an expert in something is to practice it constantly.

These tips, along with some company research, can put you in prime position to obtain your desired career. A video interview should be fun and less stressful – you and your interviewer aren’t even in the same room! Relax, take a deep breath, and let technology do what it was intended to do – make things easier.

1

Seven Things You Should Ingest After Working Out

You just finished your five mile run, or your hour spin class. (Grrrrppphg) Yes, that was your stomach growling. So what can you eat? Here are seven things you should ingest after working out, as taken from here and here:

  1. Eggs

1

Eggs are an amazing source of protein. They contain all of the essential amino acids your body requires to digest and absorb protein. It is best, after a work-out, to mix five egg whites with one whole egg. I personally love hard-boiling a bunch of eggs and slamming them down Cool Hand Luke style. (see link)

  1. Orange Juice

2

You can get vitamin C from Gatorade. You can also get vitamin C from OJ, as well as significantly more potassium. Potassium gives you ample energy. Potassium is also high in our next food…

  1. Bananas

3

These are the carbs you want. They are fast-acting. They can help rebuild your damaged muscles, and they are tasty! J

  1. Salmon

4

Salmon is a good source of protein. It is filled with Omega 3’s that help fight against diseases. Why not kill two birds with one stone?

  1. Dried Fruits and Nuts

5

A quick source of protein, and something you can eat on the go. Like bananas, these are the good carbs. Just make sure you have no nut allergies, your muscles will swell up bigger than you want!

  1. Pineapples

6

Another excellent source of vitamin C. A better option than artificially flavored drinks. It also has this cool natural remedy that helps to heal bruises, sprains, and swelling.

And finally……….

  1. Sweet Potatoes

7

Along with a healthy dose of carbs, sweet potatoes contain a variety of vitamins and nutrients – vitamins B6, C, D, magnesium, and potassium. Be happy your mom made you eat these when you were younger!

Plug and Play

Plug and Play

As the whole BPaaS industry shift is now in full swing, the question is: what’s the next step?  Now that all services are under one roof, the only things left to change are the pricing models and the facilities.  Not so fast!  According to Arindam Dutta, the head of Global Business Analytics and Asia Business Services at HP, buckle up for a whirlwind of changes.  Early this year, Dutta stated that as the as-a-Service model matures, and BPaaS’s are able to “provide buyers with greater opportunities to significantly lower costs, improve process reliability, reduce error rates, and create faster processing times, Pricing will move to a primarily usage pay by the drink model.”

What does this mean?  It means that instead of being stuck with the deluxe model at deluxe model prices, clients will be presented with a menu of services, each with their own individual cost.  With the move from the traditional business model to the new plug and play service model, the facilities are also going to have to undergo a radical shift.

Plug and play facilities are popping up all over the place now that the demand for these agility-inducing offices has skyrocketed.  Plug and play facilities give businesses a cost-effective solution to the ever present question, “Where will my new employees work?”  These often very large (+20,000 sq. ft.) offices are created and brought up to operation by a 3rd party.  They then sit unused until a client (Like us!) comes and leases the seats.  The advantages to this model are HUGE!  BPaaS facilities can now be set up and operational in a matter of days, instead of requiring time to plan, prepare, and build – which can take upwards of twelve months to complete.  Besides the monumental savings of time, plug and play facilities also reduce the risk of lost business.  Sure, no one likes losing a client’s business, but it happens.  By outsourcing everything from the building to the office equipment, businesses do not have to worry about all of that going to waste should that facility no longer be required in 4 months.  Imagine that, Business Process Outsourcing is outsourcing!

Time - What Has Become of You

Time – What Has Become of You?

We are all given 24 hours in a day, regardless of our position. CEOs, Board members, Mail Handlers, Receptionists – the title is irrelevant. Since time cannot be created, it is our most valuable commodity. Since it cannot be destroyed, it is our greatest gift. This makes how we spend it one of the most important decisions out there. It defines our satisfaction in the present, and our place in the future.

Along with this idea, I would like to highlight a couple of novel approaches to time management from an article that I am happy I stumbled across.  The different approaches mentioned here are intriguing and provide new ways of understanding time management.

The first approach is to structure your time around your personal and professional development goals. This calls for being consciously aware of your goals, and making sure to include practices that point towards your goals each day – regardless of the urgent matters that may arise in your schedule. This can be done by creating space in your daily planner to do something associated with your goals; more efficiently, by taking the opportunity to apply, within your required task, something that moves you closer to your goals. For instance, if your goal is to move into Sales, and your normal schedule consists of greeting and directing clients, you can start to cultivate professional relationships as you interact with those clients.

The second approach to successful time management is to be present in each moment. This allows you to enter into a mental flow, which athletes often refer to as “the zone”.  While in this state of mental flow, time seems to pass quickly. The heightened performance in this state allows you to generate a large amount of high quality work in a relatively short amount of time. It is also a very relaxing and rewarding experience.

Now that you have learned some new ways of thinking about it, what will become of your time?

Platinum Performer - RJ Ancheta

Platinum Performer – RJ Ancheta

Name: RJ Ancheta

Location: Philippines

 

Q: What motivates you on a daily basis?

A: To be a dependable provider for my household, especially for my daughter Ysabelle. Having the opportunity to motivate others through PCCW and LEAD 100. I’m also motivated by my personal successes, but I can’t leave others behind. I always do my best to bring them up with me, succeeding together.

Q: What did you do to become a Platinum Performer?

A: I always make a list of the things I need to do on a daily basis. Making a list is not just simply jotting down words; it is carefully organizing my thoughts and prioritizing what is important. Also, determining what can wait until later.

 

Q: Who had the biggest impact on you becoming a Platinum Performer?

A: I have a long list! My parents, my daughter, Elden, Shridhar, Doug, Jay, my team, and other people I’ve encountered along the way at Sutherland.

 

Q: Have you ever been told you look like a celebrity?

A: No one has ever told me that I appear like one, hahaha.

5 Common Resume Myths

Five Common Resume Myths and How to Combat Them

Now that you have created that killer cover letter, it’s time to debunk some of those common resume myths that are currently out there.  Here are five common resume myths, and some info on their lack of validity.

1.    Myth: Gaps in Employment are bad

False.  While this may have been true 25 years ago, since the “Great Recession” gaps in employment are more or less the norm, especially in younger candidates.  Do not let these gaps deter you from applying for a position that is right for you.

2.    Myth: GPA is Important

False.  A GPA does not tell much of a story.  Sometimes a 4.0 can be attained by cramming in a bunch of easy classes, while a 2.5 can be a result of a few challenging, non-major related courses.  Listing your GPA on your resume is meaningless without a transcript.

3.    Myth: My Resume Should Only Be One Page

False.  Most people have too much information for one page, and it looks ridiculous if you try to squeeze it all in by using .001” margins and 5.5 font size.  Conversely, your resume shouldn’t be five pages either.  Only list work experience that is relevant to the job you are applying to, unless the previous company you worked/interned for is eye-catching.  If you happen to be light on work experience never stretch your content just for the sake of filling a second page.

4.    Myth: One Resume Fits All

False.  You need a customized resume for each job you apply to.  It is likely that each resume will overlap in skills and job duties; however, no two jobs are exactly the same.  Aim to have your qualifications and experiences spotlight these subtle differences.

5.    Myth: Keep Your Achievements Separate

False.  By separating your achievements from your work experience, you run the risk of a recruiter missing them altogether.  Achievements should be organically woven into your work experience to strengthen and showcase your skills.

These are just a few of the many resume myths that are out there.  If you have any questions regarding other myths, resume related or not, let me know in the comments or on Twitter @Tom_Castronova.

CloudSource Cartoon

Fun in the CloudSource – Episode 5

In Episode 2 of Fun in the CloudSource I talked about the benefits of working from home.  Since 40% of the top 10 benefits dealt with driving in some way I thought I would dive a little deeper into the topic.  Join me as I shed some light on just how great it is to work from home.

The Commute:

Save Gas, Avoid Traffic, and Eliminate Long Commutes appeared on my top 10 list at spots 2, 3, and 6 respectively.  Let’s say that you are an average American, living in an average American city.  Did you know that the price per gallon of Regular gasoline is about $3.471?  Were you aware that the average American commutes 1-10 miles (one way), and that the MPG of a brand new 2010 model car is about 33.9?  Using these numbers, the commuting cost for the average American per week (assuming a 5 mile radius) is as follows:

Cost of Gasoline per week
Commute Distance (mi.) 5
Miles per day 10
Miles per week 50
Gallons of gasoline per week 1.47
Cost of Gasoline per week $5.102

Doesn’t seem like much, right?  Well this translates to $265.30 a year, and this is assuming your commute is 5 miles one-way, gasoline prices are $3.47/gallon, and your vehicle gets at least 33.9 Miles Per Gallon.  Oh, by the way, this does not take into account traffic.  Since you are the average American in this scenario, your average commute is over 50 minutes one-way!  So now you are sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic just like the cartoon pictured above.  What is your car doing the whole time?  Burning gasoline of course!  Maybe you burn an extra gallon and a half per week due to traffic.  This will turn your spending into something like $10.431 per week or $541.48 per year just to get to and from work!  I don’t know about you, but I sure wish I had an additional $500 per year.

Going Green:

Being environmentally friendlier appeared on my list at number 10, and I have a feeling it will be jumping up spots in the years to come.  For those of you that are going green, the EPA says that the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per gallon of gasoline burned is 0.0889 metric tons.  Not a lot, right?  Well that small amount adds up, and the 156 gallons of gasoline you use to get to and from work every year equals 1.39 metric tons of carbon dioxide emitted per year!  This is equivalent to you using 58 full tanks of propane on your barbeque grill.  You would have to plant a 1.1 acre forest to offset your commuting emissions.  For those of you that are visual, I will leave you with this:

CO2

You can follow me on Twitter @Tom_Castronova

How Top Brands Use Twitter

How Top Brands Use Twitter

Hello, and welcome back to another edition of Social Media Optimization. It is time to transition from the general idea of SMO to a specific tool prevalent in today’s Social Media world, Twitter. Let’s focus on the top brands that use this tool most effectively.

Twitter is one of the top tools we use here at Sutherland. We have begun using best practices to figure out how to improve our presence. This article uses an in-depth study to outline some of the top brands active on Twitter. Here is a graphic to put things into perspective:

Twitter Account Details

As you can see, most of the top brands on Twitter are top brands in general. Everyone knows what McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and Google are. These companies had extraordinary brand awareness before Twitter was invented. They leverage Twitter as a powerful tool to market themselves.Some do it better than others:

  • @eBay has mastered total engagement, which is basically what your audience does for you and how you interact with them. The sum of all sums. The end-all be-all.

o   Key – engage with your audience.

  • @MTV is amazing at gaining followers. It is normal for celebrities to have followers in the eight digits, but MTV has done an effective job of getting people to latch on. One reason why is that they also follow a lot of people (29K), so it’s a give and take.

o   Key – follow, be followed!

  • @pizzahut tweets all of the time. If you are sending out 34,000 tweets over three months, that’s 333 tweets per day! The sheer volume alone will attract people, no matter what you are selling or who you are.

o   Key – Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. Can I say it more? Tweet!

  • @nokia has a great ratio of total tweets to @replies tweeted.

o   Key – Try to respond to every question, answer, and more!

  • @Disney does an amazing job of posting links (95%) along with every tweet. Tweeting links gets a huge response and boosts engagement rate. It gives people a reason to want to learn further about your brand.

o   Key- Give the people reason to respond. Make it showy and flashy. People like shiny objects!

The big key is being engaged with your users. A quote from the article says, “While top brands are dedicating resources to brand promotion, many aren’t engaging with users in a one-on-one capacity”. They try to push out their own content, and assume people will follow. This is the wrong approach. Recognizing the efforts someone has taken to reach out to you makes all the difference in the world.

I hope you have enjoyed this week’s edition of SMO and our take on the Social Media tool, Twitter. We will see you next week!

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The New Guy Blog

So you got the job?  How exciting!  Your nerves from the interview phase have calmed, but now the real nerves begin.  What am I going to wear?  What if my co-workers don’t like me?  What if I’m not such a great fit after all?  These thoughts are common, and healthy to a degree, but calm down.  It will be okay!

Almost every adolescent/adult has experienced being the “new guy” in some sort of workplace type setting – the fear, the excitement, the unknown.  Believe me, I am well aware of all of the newbie cycles, as I sit here a month into my new position at Sutherland Global Services.  This isn’t my first rodeo either, but I still find myself shakin’ in my boots the night before the first day.

It’s easy to let nerves and emotions take control, but I’ve found a few simple tricks to overcome the stress and progress to success. (Trick #1: the comic relief of a tongue twister – just kidding)

1.)    REGAIN YOUR CONFIDENCE – Not only should you regain confidence in yourself, but have a bit of confidence in who hired you.  Understand that they saw something special in you, and trust their decision to add you to their team.

2.)    TURN THE STRESS INTO EXCITEMENT – You should be celebrating!  This is a new chapter, and a fresh start means fresh opportunities.  You have beat out others fighting for this spot, and you deserve to feel proud.

3.)    FOCUS YOUR ENERGY ON MAKING AN IMPACT – Don’t sit around twiddling your thumbs, thinking about what could possibly go wrong.  Get pumped up, and prepare to make a name for yourself!  In this day and age, new career opportunities are few and far between.  Don’t look at this in “the pressure is on” type of way, but turn it into the fuel that drives you to give it all you’ve got.

4.)    UNDERSTAND YOU’RE NOT ALONE – This may be the best way to calm your jitters.  Walk into your new office knowing that everyone around you was once in your position.  Your co-workers are there to help you get acclimated.  Take advantage of the support around you, and soon enough you’ll feel at ease.

Everyone has their own personal ways of overcoming stress.  These are just a few points that help me through the new job jitters.  I have to say that the unsteady feelings have long passed, and I am extremely content with my new position here at Sutherland!  There is nothing better than doing something you love around supportive people you admire.

sumall-sending-thoughts

Five Reasons to Speed Up Your Hiring Process

Today I wanted to shine some light on the adverse effects that a slow hiring process has on an organization, and their ability to recruit top talent.  Below are five reasons why you should aim to increase the speed of your hiring process.

1.    Lose Out on Top Talent

The old saying “The early bird gets the worm” has never been truer when talking about top talent that is often not on the market for very long.  By having a slow hiring process, you allow your competition to be the first to make an offer.  This forces the candidate to make a decision before your offer is even on the table.  Chances are, the candidate will no longer be available once your offer does make it to the table.

2.    Increased Vacancies and Spending, Lower Productivity

How much revenue and productivity does a vacant position generate?  If you said zero, then you probably understand the profound effect that a slow hiring process has on an organization.  Some of you may be saying, “But you are saving on that position’s salary and benefits!”  True, but let’s say that this vacant position is a sales position.  Zero sales equal $0!  If your organization doesn’t already calculate the cost-per-day that a position remains unnecessarily open, then now’s the time to start.  You will be shocked at how much it costs you.

Another negative effect of a slow hiring process is that when you finally do hire someone for that open position, chances are you end up paying them more than if you had not been beaten to your first choice.  When top talent finally enters the job market, and they have worked with the same company for many years, something funny happens.  They undervalue, or flat out don’t know, what they are worth.  If your organization is flexible enough, and able to get in an early offer, you are most likely going to end up paying the new hire a much lower salary.  Why is this?  Remember how I said top talent doesn’t remain on the market for very long?  Invariably they will take one of those early offers and not be around to receive other offers, nor have the time to do their homework into exactly what they are worth.  If you have a very slow hiring process, and by some miracle your top candidate is still on the market, you will pay top dollar for them.

3.    Damage the Candidate Experience and Potentially Your Brand

In the age of social media, word of mouth is king.  Seldom do you see great experiences go viral on social media.  When you have a slow hiring process people are not only going to talk about it, but also scream about it on social media.  Don’t believe me?  Check out glassdoor.com, which shows how long the hiring process can take, and how that wasted time can impact a brand.  Poor brand image will lead to smaller applicant pools, as well as lower-quality candidates.  As for your candidate experience, being slow to respond to an application will drive a candidate to their own conclusions about the prospects of joining your organization.  Can you guess what they are thinking?

4.    Incapable of Hiring Passive Candidates

Passive candidates are the “great white buffalo” of the recruiting world.  To hire a passive candidate you more than likely have built and fostered a relationship with this person over a long period of time.  One day you see they updated their LinkedIn profile, and they are on the market!  Only problem is that every other recruiting type has been fostering a relationship with the same candidate.  If you have a slow hiring process, you will see all of my previous points in action.  Another facet that comes with passive candidates is that you are not just competing with other companies.  If you are slow to the dance, you allow their current employer to make a counteroffer, or mend the rift that was driving that candidate to seek other employment.

5.    Significantly Raise the Hidden Hiring Costs

I say hidden costs because most organizations do not include them in their standard cost-per-hire calculations.  A major increased cost is if you require an excessive amount of interviews to fill a position.  In this case, anything over four interviews per candidate is excessive.  With each additional interview you are demanding more and more time of your hiring managers, recruiters, and any other employee involved.  Opening positions to internal candidates first, or having a complex requisition approval process, can also lead to high costs.  The longer the vacancy stays open, the higher the cost per hire.

These are just a few of the negative side effects of a slow hiring process.  If you feel there are more important downsides, feel free to let me know in the comments or on Twitter @Tom_Castronova.

Kevin Guillory

Day in the Life – Kevin Guillory Jr.

This week for our Day in the Life of a Sutherland Global employee, I caught up with Kevin Guillory Jr. who is from Covington, LA!

Kevin Guillory Jr.

 Covington, LA

 Tech Support/Customer Service for CloudSource

  1. What parts of your job do you find most enjoyable?

“What I enjoy the most about this job is the opportunity to help people every day. It’s a wonderful feeling when I can hear the satisfaction in a customer’s voice. Of course, there are many times when I am not able to resolve a customer’s issue the way I would like to. However, when I do it makes it a joy to come to work.”

  1. What do you see as your greatest accomplishment this year?

“My greatest accomplishment so far this year was making the move from my hometown of Houston, TX to Covington, LA. I moved here to be closer to family members, and while it was a big change for me, I am very glad I did it. Not only am I closer to my family, but the move allowed me to become a part of the Sutherland family.”

  1. Who at Sutherland has been your biggest inspiration?

“My biggest inspiration isn’t one person, it is a group of people. I fondly recall that during my first couple weeks of training, the weeks of nesting, and the end-of-day meeting I was always laughing. Everyone has a great sense of humor and a strong work ethic. My coaches are always there to lend a hand, and some of the same ‘classmates’ that I trained with are now on my team. I haven’t forgotten the names of my coaches, both past and present, who rock: Nichole Craig, Christine Reed, Jamie Spoczak, and Nabeel Bazzi. Also, my Sutherland ‘brothers and sisters’: Candace Penn, Michael Grimmett, Leesa Bradley, Sean Baird, Ada Charlson, and Kelly Jones, just to name a few. You don’t remember someone’s name unless they have had a positive impact on you. It truly feels like a family.”

  1. If you could eat one thing for lunch for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

“If I could eat one thing for lunch every day it would be either okra gumbo or red beans and rice. One of the best things about the culture of Louisiana is the cuisine. It puts a smile on your face, thus filling you up in more ways than one!”

115H

Office Horror Stories That Are Completely True

Have you ever experienced something in the workplace setting you could not believe? An employee talking on a cell phone about personal information? Tell you about some personal issues best left to a shrink? These or something similar to these stories have probably happened to all of us. I was given this article recently and you won’t believe the stories and examples of “office horror stories” I am about to share with you.

I’m sure everyone has experienced or heard some crazy stories, but the following might be some of the most bizarre:

  1. Employee was blowing bubbles in sub-zero weather to see if the bubbles would freeze and break.

Really? Are we 10 years old again? I’ll admit I have done some questionable actions in my life but most of those happened before I was a teenager. I guess when you live in arctic-like conditions there isn’t much to do!

  1. Employee was shaving her legs in the women’s restroom.

I have heard horror stories of people doing things like this at public gyms in public showers, but at work? Someone must have been hibernating for winter if this was such an importance.

  1. Employees were having a wrestling match.

I am all about employees enjoying the work setting, maybe having some friendly competition to promote the business and drive result. However, when it turns into old school WWE competition and people are leaving work bloody and battered, something is wrong.

  1. Employee was taking selfies in the bathroom.

This is something every company or organization can be guilty of. People have become so vain that we have to be snapping photos at all times, no matter where and when. Even it includes the most private place you could be.

  1. Employee was changing clothes in a cubicle.

Ok, we’ve already had shaving legs and selfies in the bathroom. Is there any ounce of privacy left? This could easily be a product of social media where “nothing” is really private anymore. I have a simple solution for this: use a bathroom. Wow.

After reviewing some of these, I’ve realized in my personal setting I haven’t seen the worst. I’ve experienced people slacking, water wars, pranks and others. However, this takes it to a new level. I would love to hear what you have experienced as some work place horror stories.

7K0A0879

Six Tips on Crafting a Killer Cover Letter

In our recent blog posts, we have been featuring a lot of tips regarding perfecting your resume, developing your career or becoming a more effective speaker. One area we have failed to address to this point is a cover letter. You know, that thing that goes along with your resume and sums up who you are and how well you right write. This can be a very daunting task because it is a first impression that can make or break the next step of the hiring process. I came across this article which pretty much laid out how to be successful in creating one. I will point out some of the best practices that are quick and easy and you can apply them right now to your current letter.

1)      Always attach a cover letter. You may never know if the hiring manager is planning on looking at it, but assume yes. Like the ol’ Boy Scout motto, “Always be prepared”.

2)      Address the cover letter to the proper person involved in hiring for the position. Spend time searching the company website, or asking questions when they call you in for an interview. Most postings will include the name of the person to whom you can address your cover letter, but if not, do some digging. Being too general can get you shuffled in the pile. You need to stand out as much as possible.

3)      State the company’s full name and the reason why you want to work here. Sell yourself by showcasing what you can do to help the company, customer, etc. but not what makes you the best candidate. It’s a very fine line to teeter between bragging and making sure you get your point across of what you can do to help them.

4)      Keep the meat of your content to about three paragraphs. Start by introducing yourself, followed by listing your value to the company and concluding with a call to action to get the process moving.

5)      Spelling and grammar must be perfect. Re-read your cover letter. Then re-read it again. Now have someone else read it. And then re-read it. Then have someone else read it…get the picture yet? Having multiple eyes read your content can only help catch mistakes. It can offer up some issues of having different “voices” interpret your writing skills, but this is something that can adjusted very easily.

6)      Make sure u don’t use abbr. or emoticons or txt msg riting wen u r creating a CV. All these phrases show that you were either a) too lazy to actually type out full words or b) not understanding how to create full, complete sentences and not a fit for this position. Don’t put yourself at a disadvantage over this.

These “rules” are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cover letter creation. The way social media is today and how you have to stand out makes it difficult to justify one surefire way. New digital cover letters, videos and other forms of media have become popular in place of the traditional word document. My advice to this is know the industry you are entering and the common standards used.

Platinum Performer - Meghana Kulkarni

Platinum Performer – Meghana Kulkarni

Name: Meghana Kulkarni

Location: Mumbai – Airoli

Q: What motivates you on a daily basis?

A: The work culture here is really challenging and that’s what keeps me going. We have healthy competition, and everyone wants to be at the top. I would never want to settle for anything but the best!

Q: What did you do to become a Platinum Performer?

A: Making a conscious effort to be the best in everything I do. Challenging myself on a daily basis and taking risks. When you’re competing with yourself, the results just get better!

Q: Who had the biggest impact on you becoming a Platinum Performer?

A: My team, for sure! Each one of us believes that it’s never too crowded when you walk the extra mile. We’re like a family, and the office is a second home. We’ve bonded really well, and strive to outperform each other on friendly terms. Of course, without the continuous support of my managers and colleagues nothing would be possible.  It’s their trust and confidence in me that has helped me achieve success here.

Q: Have you ever been told you look like a celebrity?

A: Well, as of now, I have never gotten that kind of compliment – I wish!

Etiquette

Developing Your Etiquette

In my fourth article, I wrapped up a series on Creating Goals with a discussion on how to define them using the S.M.A.R.T. goals outline. If you haven’t gone through the entire series, you can start here. The next several articles will focus on development goals that are common in the business world.

Etiquette

Etiquette sounds like an old-fashioned word; however, it is surprisingly pertinent to our times. Netiquette, the art of etiquette through virtual mediums, is proof that these unspoken rules of proper interaction have transitioned along with technology. Mastering etiquette helps build successful relationships by demonstrating that a person is polite, considerate, and respectful. It can help with establishing a serious and professional presence, and eventually aid in advancing one’s career.

I encourage you to visit the Emily Post website, one of the most extensive resources found on the internet that provides instruction on current standards of etiquette. While the site offers paid seminars, it also offers plenty of free articles on everything from interviewing, business communications, workplace, and personal etiquette. If etiquette is foreign to you, I recommend spending some time on the website to familiarize yourself with the standards. If you have been in the business world for some time, it may be beneficial to revisit some of these topics.

In addition, I recommend The Web’s leading resource for International Business Etiquette, Manners, & Culture.  This can pose as a quick guide to proper etiquette when interacting with those of different cultures. The home page is a little confusing; however, if you scroll down to the bottom of the page you will find links to each country’s guide by geography.

I hope this article has piqued your interest in learning a bit more about etiquette. I challenge you to integrate some of these practices into your day-to-day interactions, and see how they improve your relationships.
 

Day in the Life - Kayla Prier

New Hire of the Month- Kayla Prier

This week for our New Hire of the Month, I caught up with Kayla Prier who is from our Alexandria, LA location!

Name: Kayla Prier

Location: Alexandria, LA

Program: Sales

 

  1. What was your first impression of Sutherland?

“My first impression of Sutherland was that this would be a fun, competitive career to grow and be an asset in.”

 

  1. What is your favorite part of training?

“My favorite part of training is learning all of what my program has to offer to customers so that we can make their everyday lives a little bit more enjoyable and easier.”

 

  1. Why did you want to work here?

“I wanted to work for Sutherland because I felt that I would be an asset to the company, and I love helping people.”

 

  1. If you were a monster, how would you scare people?

“I would scare people by hiding behind doors, and jumping out when approached. I would then have to give that person a flower, or something, and apologize.”

The Goldilocks Conundrum

The Goldilocks Conundrum

Everyone who holds a leadership position in their lifetime, no matter how big or small, will inevitably face the Goldilocks Conundrum when it comes to managing the ebb and flow of stresses on their team.  At this point you may be asking yourself, “How does the story of a small child rummaging through the home of three bears, eating their food, and sleeping in their beds compare to leading a team of people?”  Throughout her journey, Goldilocks was confronted with the task of finding a balance between two extremes – too hot or too cold, too hard or too soft, too big or too small.  At some point or another, anyone holding a leadership role will have to find a balance between pushing their team too hard and not pushing their team hard enough.  The question is, how does a leader find that balance?

For many leaders facing this challenge, the line between pushing too hard or not hard enough is a fine one, and can be hard to define at times.  If pushed too hard a team can become unfocused, insubordinate, and members may even start to leave.  If not pushed hard enough a leader can lose the ability to keep the team under control.  In either case, the team will not be able to reach their full potential.

Like many aspects of leadership, there is no universal solution.  Leaders need to understand the personality types of their team in order to find the right balance.  Some people find getting yelled at to be a motivational factor, while others would be put off by these actions, leaving very little chance for success.  It is important to find out what motivates your team members, and to act accordingly.  Gathering feedback, and making adjustments, can help to ensure that your actions are working to effectively motivate the team.

Beyond understanding your team members, and pushing them in a way that is effective, it is essential that expectations stay consistent and are clearly communicated.  It is extremely frustrating for a team member to find out the expectations were never properly communicated after they have already worked hard to complete a task.  It is especially important for new leaders to be consistent in communicating expectations because they are still working to earn the trust of their team.  If a team feels that they cannot trust the expectations provided by the leader, they will likely guess as to what the expectations are.  This can lead to a disorganized and disconnected team, and we all know that a team must work in unison in order to be successful.

It is important to remember that balance does not mean you have to push your team with the same amount of pressure all of the time.  There are going to be times where the demands on your team are higher than normal, and you will have to push your team harder.  This is okay, but once the demands have settled back down don’t forget to reward your team with something special.  Find an appropriate reward by understanding the members of your team, and knowing what will make them feel appreciated.

CloudSource

Fun in the CloudSource – Episode 3 “Distractions”

Whether you are working in an office environment or from home, there will always be distractions.  While there are a lot of similarities between these distractions, there are definitely a few unique ones that accompany the work from home lifestyle.  Here are six common work from home distractions, and how to deal with them:

  1. Friends And Family May Not Take Your Job Seriously

If you have never worked from home, then you may not understand this one, but there are many people out there who think working from home is essentially employment-lite.  They believe you have time to sit and gossip all day, or think you are able to drop what you are doing on a moment’s notice and meet for lunch, go to a movie, etc.  To combat these interruptions, you have to handle them the same way you handled Denise from Accounting, who was always tracking you down to give you the latest scuttlebutt about office politics.  Kindly remind this person that you have a job to do, and you would be more than happy to talk to them after work hours.

  1. Kids

Obviously this only applies if you have children. If you do, then you know how much of a distraction they can be.  The level of distraction kids will create will depend on their age, and whether or not they have siblings around.  Strategies for reducing this distraction will vary depending on how flexible your work from home job is.  If you have a flexible schedule, then a great strategy could be to work in blocks: entertain the kids throughout the day, between your bouts of working.  Within this same vein you can also try to work during nap times, if permissible by your employer.  Another tactic is to allow your kids to play quietly around you while you work, and reward them for outstanding behavior. Not all work at home jobs include this flexibility, however. For some jobs – especially those with assigned schedules – it’s best to arrange childcare during your work hours.

  1. Daydreaming

While it’s human nature for one’s mind to drift from time to time, there are some ways to help you keep your focus.  One of the biggest things you can do to help you focus is to rearrange your home office so that your desk is not facing a window.  It looks so nice outside – light breeze, sunny, clear skies……get back to work!  The sooner you move that desk, the better!  If you are able, try some soft background music that has no words.  It will break the silence, and you may find it easier to focus.

  1. The Phone

This could be your home phone, your cell phone, or both.  They are a distraction just waiting to happen!  If you have a home phone, a simple solution is to screen your calls.  Cell phones can be a little trickier.  First and foremost, silence your phone as if you were at the movie theater.  Avoid the temptation to read texts or to view your friend’s most recent cat video on Facebook.  The next best thing is to place your cell phone out of reach, but within viewing distance.

  1. Housework

I know that the sink is overflowing and the carpet needs to be vacuumed, but it is time to work.  If you were leaving home to go to work, you would naturally save all of your housework for non-work hours.  Fight the urge, and keep your housework separate from your job!

  1. That Idiot Couch

Don’t talk to the couch…or any other furniture for that matter!

Thanks for reading!  Please let me know how you cope with Work from Home distractions, and stay tuned for next week’s instalment.

Listicle List

A Listicle About Listicles

With the rise in popularity of such sites as BuzzFeed, top 10 lists are becoming somewhat of a household thing.  Here are my top 5 favorite Listicles to help you sift through the clutter out there.

  1. Top 10 Influential People Who Never Lived

This list has it all!  Chances are you have heard of all of these fictional characters.  It is also pretty insightful, a little bit of history mixed with some humor.  Definitely check this one out!

  1. 17 Signs You’re Really Still A Big Kid At Heart

Let’s face it, we are all still big kids at heart.  The real question is, to what degree?  After reading this list (watching?), there will be no doubt in your mind just how big of a kid you are!

  1. 10 Fascinating Facts About Cookies

Who doesn’t love cookies?  This list has some crazy facts about your favorite cookies, from Oreo to Girl Scout.  Of course, a list about cookies wouldn’t be complete without appearances by Cookie Monster, Famous Amos, and Mrs. Fields.

  1. 17 Fanny Packs From the ‘90s and What They Said About You

You can’t deny it, all of you owned at least one of these fanny packs.  How could you not?  It was what you did back in the ‘90s.  The “What it said about you” section is more or less dead on, too!

  1. Top 10 Ridiculously Common Science Myths

Who doesn’t love science?  With the resurgence of COSMOS, science is huge right now.  This list helps dispel some of the common myths that have come about over time.  If you ever wondered if a penny thrown from the Empire State building would actually kill someone, or if there is gravity in space, then I highly recommend checking this Listicle out.

So that’s my top 5 list of best Listicles.  Let us know in the comments which influential person who never lived had the greatest impact on you, which fanny pack you rocked back in the ‘90s, or if you knew Cookie Monster’s real name was Sid.

80/20 rule

The 80/20 Rule

Hello, and welcome to the latest edition of Social Media Optimization! I hope you have found the previous articles to be informative, influencing your return! If this is your first time visiting, I appreciate your interest. The topic of discussion is based upon an extremely interesting article that I am happy I stumbled upon.

If you have ever worked for a company with some kind of social media presence, or pushed out content on your own personal account, you may have run into the issue of not knowing what to post. This issue is in regards to content that is yours and content that is not yours. Have no fear, we have the answers here! Wow, I did not mean to rhyme there. Apologies folks. So yeah, back to the content breakdown.

The history of the “formula” dates back to before social media was even a thought, and lies within the field of Economics. In 1906, “Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian sociologist, mathematician and philosopher, discovered that 20% of the Italian population owned 80% of the land. This proportion was repeated in many other countries and many other daily life aspects, such as power distribution, material wealth, etc.” If you know your history, this had the early markings of fascism.

This concept continued to grow throughout the 1940’s. Dr. Joseph Juran “found a similar percentage in Quality Management. He established the difference between the ‘20% vital few’ and the ‘80% trivial many’. In his experience, managing quality standards, 20% of the defects caused 80% of the problems and complaints from clients”. Translated into business terms, 80% of total business comes from only 20% of the total customers. Interesting to think about, huh? If you have a product and ten people buy it, you should have only spent your time and resources on two of those people! Their continued support will be good enough to produce results for the others.  It breaks down to this simple concept, “80% of your outcomes come from 20% of your inputs”.

Now we have to do a little math. I bet you didn’t think we would be doing that in an SMO article! 20% of your content will make 80% of your revenue, so only 20% of your content – whether it be on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social site – should be for “sales purposes, self-promotion, lead generation, and advertisements”. The remaining percentage should consist of content to promote others, show data regarding the industry, and answer questions.  Also, this is when you should work to curate your own content regarding your brand.

No one wants to only hear about how awesome you and your company are. You will seem more real and genuine if you sing praises to others, provide valuable feedback, and gauge the interests of your audience. I sincerely thank you for taking the time to read this.  Keep on tweeting, sharing, liking, and posting!

Day in the Life - Steve Young

Day in the Life – Steve Young

This week for our Day in the Life of a Sutherland Global employee, I caught up with Steve Young who is from our Windsor, Ontario location!

Steve Young

 Windsor, ON, CA

 Technical Support Manager

 

  1. Which parts of your job do you find most enjoyable?

“Definitely my co-workers and my bosses. Enjoying the people you work with makes work, as a whole, more enjoyable.”

 

  1. If you could start all over again, would you change your career path in any way?

“Nope. Who you are is determined by what you have been through. If I didn’t take the path I did in the past I wouldn’t be who I am right now, and some people say I’m alright.”

  1. If there was a Sutherland soccer team, who would you pick to be the goalie and why?

“Corey Petryschuk, he’s like 6’6. I think that says enough as to why.”

 

  1. If you could eat one thing for lunch for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

“Potatoes. They are versatile. You can make mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, french fries, potato chips, baked potatoes, potato salad, etc.”

 

Hiring Top Talent in a Down Market

Hiring Top Talent in a Down Market

Is it really easier to hire top talent in a down market?

There are more candidates to choose from in a down market; however, many will not fit your specific opportunity.  When the market is down, many candidates will apply for any job they see available.  This will require more time from your recruiters to assess the larger candidate pool.  Based on the increased traffic, it is easier to overlook good talent.  Also, “great talent tends to be more hesitant about making a career change in a down market. They fear if it doesn’t work out at the new employer for whatever reason, they have fewer career options if they have to leave.” Kim R. Davis

In order to hire top talent an employer must truly be able to define it, as well as be prepared to make timely decisions.  Nothing can be more detrimental to your talent pool than dragging your feet on making hiring decisions.

 

Top Talent…

  • Is persistent
  • Has high energy
  • Possesses a great attitude
  • Shares the company vision
  • Has a life’s purpose that is in alignment with the company’s mission

 

Top talent is in demand.  They are not standing in line waiting for your opportunity, you need to go out and seek them.  Be proactive, as you are not their only option!

Benefits of working from home

Fun in the CloudSource – Episode 2

Welcome to the second episode of our Fun in the CloudSource series!  Today, I wanted to talk a little bit about the benefits of working from home.  When I say “benefits of working from home” I’m sure most of you immediately think about working in your bathrobe while watching Drew Carey on Let’s Make a Deal…or is it The Price is Right?  Back in 2011, a study of 3,500 work-from-home employees was conducted.  Part of their research included polling on their work from home experiences.  Here are the top 10 benefits of working from home according to this report (page 5):

  1. Work/Home Balance
  2. Save Gas
  3. Avoid Traffic
  4. More Productive
  5. Less Distracted
  6. Eliminate Long Commute
  7. Quieter Atmosphere
  8. Less Stressful Environment
  9. More Time with Family
  10. Environmentally Friendly

What are your top 10 benefits of working from home?

Effective Communication

Effective Leadership: Secrets of Communication

Earlier in this series on leadership I wrote about the traits that make up a good leader.  One of the most important traits on the list was to be an effective communicator.  It is impossible to be a great leader without being able to effectively communicate with those around you.  Leadership needs to provide direction for the team; miscommunication can cause team members to go in their own directions.  This may ultimately pull the group apart and make it difficult, if not impossible, for the group to reach its end goal.

If you look back in history, great leaders were also great communicators.  In researching why these leaders were such great communicators I found an article that perfectly sums it up.  “10 Communication Secrets of Great Leaders”, by Mike Myatt, gave me great insight into what made their communication so effective, and I would like to share with you some of his key points.  He starts with some obvious points such as developing trust, being personal, and being specific, but let’s take a look at some of his points that are not as obvious

  1. Shut up and listen – We all know that as a leader it is important to be able to effectively get your point across when you are speaking, but what is less acknowledged is being able to listen.  To understand where miscommunications are occurring, or even to know if your message is being accepted or rejected, it is essential to listen to the team.  If you listen to what your team is thinking you will be able to address the miscommunications, or even adapt your thinking to better suit the team/situation.
  2. Reading between the lines – With the power that leadership holds, it is not a given that team members will speak their minds freely.  Because of this, it is important for leaders to be able to take the true meaning from the sugarcoated version of what a team member might say.  Unless leadership knows the true meaning, they will not be able to truly address an issue that might be passively brought to their attention.
  3. Speak to groups as individuals – It is not always going to be possible for leadership to have discussions with each individual on the team.  In group settings it is important for great leaders to be able to tailor their message to reach as many individuals as they can.  Everyone comprehends information differently, and great leaders need their message to be understood by everyone.  It is important that explanations be presented in a way that can be universally understood even if the differences are subtle.  It may even be necessary to communicate with certain individuals post meeting to ensure that the message was received correctly.
  4. Be prepared to change the message if necessary – This was a bonus “secret” that Mr. Myatt provided, and in my opinion it may be the most important.  This is not to say that great leaders change their message every time a team member doesn’t completely agree.  If that were the case, then the message would change so often that it would become convoluted and meaningless.  What this does mean is that if the message is broadly met with enough opposition that it does not work for the team/situation it may be necessary to make some changes.  We all know that being a leader comes with some degree of ego, but a great leader is able to put ego aside if it means allowing the team to succeed.

I encourage those of you that have read this post to check out Mike Myatt’s article in more detail.  He does an amazing job detailing the communication secret of great leaders of the past.  I also encourage you to check out more articles on our blog.  We are adding new posts daily, and your feedback is more than welcomed.  Cheers!

Keith Razon

Platinum Performer- Keith Razon

In this installment of Platinum Performer, I had the pleasure of speaking with Keith Razon from our Philippines location. Keith clearly embodies and demonstrates Sutherland’s five core values: entrepreneurial spirit, clients, leadership, integrity and people. He is a driven, respectful leader who takes pride in not only his own success, but his team’s accomplishments as well.

He is motivated and optimistic, and isn’t satisfied with simply meeting goals; he wants to be number one! Keith is not only insightful, but also honest and humble. He recognizes that his career at Sutherland has flourished because of his own hard work, as well as the guidance from team leaders, supervisors, and mentors along the way. Here, he explains in detail how he has achieved success in his career with SGS.

  1. What motivates you on a daily basis?
  • “My optimism and my goal to become one of the best at what I do currently as a Senior Team Manager.
  • The desire for my team to consistently be number one in our program.
  • My hunger for the development and overall improvement of agents from my team, colleagues, and our program as a whole.
  • I am motivated to make myself as effective as I will ever be in my field.
  • God, and my Family.”
  1. What did you do to become a Platinum Performer?
  • “Laid out solid and concrete action plans for the rest of the team as to how we are specifically going to meet our metrics and be the number one team for the program.
  • Provided materials and some training sessions as to how things should be delivered in the field to ensure compliance and efficiency.
  • Taught my consultants to become as optimistic as me.
  • Ensured a light and fun work environment for the team.
  • Provided daily feedback of the team’s performance.
  • Focused on outliers and recognized top performers.
  • Made myself a role model to the rest of the team to lead them in the right direction.”

3. Who had the biggest impact on you becoming a Platinum Performer?

  • “Carol David, a top performer last June, showed great improvement overall.
  • Jen Zabay, our backup apprentice who remained diligent in helping the rest of the team perform at top level.
  • Chris Cruz, our apprentice, who implemented strict compliance on daily tasks and helped out agents who needed answers to their questions, and provided best practices.
  • Account Managers Sherie Obar and Arvin Mercado, who pushed us to the limit on making sure that we perform at our peak and give out best results for the program.”
sumall_microphone_broadcast_podcast

Public Speaking: Practice Makes Perfect

From small group introductions to presentations on stage with large audiences, there will come a time in most people’s careers when public speaking is required. The anxiety around public speaking is well-known, but even if it isn’t someone’s worst fear, very few people are excited about the prospect of speaking in front of others. Preparation and practice, however, will pay off in terms of reduced anxiety, and may even have you excited about your next speaking opportunity.

College is a great place to practice creating presentations, speaking in front of the class, receiving feedback from other speakers, and giving feedback. However, there is still an opportunity for speaking engagements through a great community resource called Toastmasters.

With club locations in over 120 countries, Toastmasters is one of the most well-known organizations supporting people who are learning how to speak publicly. It provides a low-pressure atmosphere where you can engage in workshops that will help you learn and practice communication and leadership skills. In addition, it is a great place to network with other professionals. There is a small membership fee required to be able to participate at the club level, but Toastmasters has a number of free resources for public speaking and leadership skills on their web site.

 

I found great tips in this article How to get the most out of Toastmasters for both new and current members.

I encourage you to visit them at www.toastmasters.org/ to see what they offer and to find a Toastmaster’s club in your area.

New Hire of the Month - Melanie White

New Hire of the Month- Melanie E. White

This week our new hire of the month is Melanie E. White who is from Kansas City, MO and is a member of our CloudSource team!

Name: Melanie E. White

Location: Kansas City, MO

Program: CloudSource, Tech Support

 

  1. What was your first impression of Sutherland?

“A reputable company that offered a wonderful work at home position that seemed to be tailor-made for me so that I am able to succeed for Sutherland and for myself.”

 

  1. What is your favorite part of training?

“My trainers are very helpful and humorous. I absolutely love learning all the new material as I enjoy a challenge.”

 

  1. If you were CEO for a day, what one change would you make companywide?

“Employees have the option to work holidays if they would like to.”

 

  1. If you could stock a vending machine with anything, what would you stock it with and why?

“Cheap books. I love to read and reading material always seems to come in most useful and relaxing wherever a vending machine usually is.”

Making Your Resume Stand Out

Making Your Resume Stand Out

The biggest question when you are looking for a new career is, “How can my resume stand out from the rest?”  If you haven’t asked yourself this question, then it is about time you did! These days, you are one in a hundred, if not a thousand, applicants vying for the position you just applied for.  Here are 5 tips to make your resume stand out from the rest:

  1. Add Pizzazz

The person who receives your resume has already seen more resumes than he or she can count and all of them have the same things in common. For instance, the main section heading is usually some variation of “Work History”, “Experience”, or the like.  Where did this practice start?  It’s time to break the mold and be creative.  If you are looking to move up in the Customer Service industry, try, “Customer Satisfaction Achievements.” If you are in the midst of a career change, go with something like, “Relevant Sales Roles.”  The real effect of doing this comes when you are trying to draw attention to a specific set of experiences or skills, especially when you are trying to change careers.

  1. Make It Achievement-Based

One of the biggest mistakes you can make on your resume is listing experience under a previous (or current) position, and not celebrating the achievement of that experience.  This is your chance to show your future employer what you can do for their company.  Which looks better?

  • Exceeded sales quota for 8 consecutive months

Or

  • Exceeded sales quota by 125% for 8 consecutive months, which resulted in a revenue increase of 11%

It’s great that you exceeded your sales goals for 8 consecutive months, but it doesn’t tell us much.  You may have surpassed your goal by a single sale, or by 200.  Did you have to promise the moon to your clients to get them to buy, or are you just that good?  Your future employer needs to know this!

  1. Customize

I know what you are already going to say: “But Tom, I don’t have time to customize every single resume I send out every day!”  Job searching is not really a numbers game.  There is no magic ratio that will result in a new job.  The name of the game is to work smarter.  Take the time to read through the job description carefully, and take note of keywords, skills, specific experience, etc.  Be sure that you highlight these elements in your jazzed-up work experience section.

This tip won’t immediately jump off the page like the first two, but once you have captured the hiring manager’s or recruiter’s attention, having a customized resume for that specific job WILL stand out.

  1. Try Keyword Stuffing

Like my last tip, this one does take some research to see what recruiters and hiring managers are looking for.  Keyword Stuffing is especially effective if you are posting your resume to a job board or to LinkedIn.  Adding targeted keywords to your resume will increase the likelihood of it being found.  Be careful not to use keywords for the sake of using them. Keywords need to fit into the story you are telling in your resume.  They need to feel organic and not forced.  Whatever you do, don’t just list keywords in a word bank somewhere on your resume either!

For more on using keywords, Patrick Murphy has compiled a list of 20 Powerful Keywords to Charge Your Resume.

  1. Use Great Formatting

Even if you are in desperate need of a new job, there is no reason not to take the time to format your resume properly.  You would not believe how many resumes I see each day where the name and contact information are in the header, the work experience is listed with 5-6 bullets that contain no more than one line each, and then there is nothing else on the page.  Whitespace is a good thing – it helps keep things uncluttered – but too much whitespace looks bad and can strain the eyes.

Speaking of resume length, your resume should be two pages – not one, not two and a half, TWO.  This is where customizing your resume comes into play, especially if the list of all of your experience and skills would take over two pages to showcase.  Get out the red pen and start eliminating what is not relevant to the particular position to which you are applying at that time.

Get creative: if you have design experience, then let it show!  Be tastefully colorful and accentuate your experience and skills.  Use some of the fancy bullet points to stand out, but don’t be obnoxious.  A resume that’s too flashy could have a negative impact on the reader.

Once you have mastered these tips, your next hurdle to getting your new career is to practice your interviewing skills.  Now if only I had some tips on interviewing

Are You Afraid of the Dark

The Scariest Episodes of Are You Afraid of the Dark?

While sifting through some YouTube content last week, I came across one of my favorite shows from when I was a kid. If you were born between the mid 80’s and the early 90’s, you are definitely familiar with Nickelodeon, specifically Are You Afraid of the Dark? That cheesy 90’s Canadian gem was a staple on the network for years. I have compiled a list of 7 of the scariest episodes, referenced here. Let us know what you think! (All descriptions were taken from the original site.)

1. “The Tale of the Night Shift”

Scary 1

Amanda volunteers for the night shift at her local hospital. Soon she discovers that someone is draining the patients and employees, and turning them into vampiric zombies. I guess the moral of this one is, don’t do volunteer work? Way to scare kids out of doing good with green-skinned monsters.

2. “The Tale of the Quicksilver”

Scary 2

Aaron and Doug are plagued by strange events in their new house. They come to realize that a demon who killed a classmate’s twin sister is back to claim another soul. This episode upped the stakes with the actual death of a child (albeit off-screen) and some very effective makeup.

3. “The Tale of the Frozen Ghost”

Scary 3

Melissa Joan Hart plays a babysitter tasked with taking care of a spoiled kid at his aunt’s country house. They soon discover a ghost haunting the property, a young boy who froze during the harsh winter. Even scarier than old people? Children. And the ghost here has an extra creepy pallor, because he’s — you know — frozen.

4. “The Tale of Laughing in the Dark”

Scary 4

Josh wants to prove the fun house isn’t haunted by stealing evil clown Zeebo’s nose. Of course, the fun house is haunted — and Zeebo goes after him. Do I even need to explain that clowns are the actual scariest thing? Although the carnival barker is pretty frightening, too.

5. “The Tale of the Lonely Ghost”

Scary 5

Amanda is staying with her cousin Beth, who says she can only hang out with her if Amanda spends the night in the haunted house next door. There, she meets a ghostly deaf girl who wants a friend. As if the ghost girl wasn’t bad enough, you’ve got “HELP ME” written backwards all over the walls for an even more chilling effect.

6. “The Tale of the Midnight Madness”

Scary 6

Dr. Vink tries to save a dying movie theater by selling it his copy of the 1922 film Nosferatu. After the theater owner turns him down, bad things start to happen. Like, for example, Nosferatu comes to life. Who knew the original movie vampire could be so much scarier than those that came after?

7. “The Tale of the Ghastly Grinner”

Scary 7

Comic book geek Ethan is obsessed with super villain the Ghastly Grinner, who turns his victims into drooling idiots by staring at them. By microwaving his comic book, Ethan accidentally brings the Ghastly Grinner to life. Has any episode of television ever inspired more nightmares? No. There is simply nothing scarier than the Ghastly Grinner, or his blue-mouthed minions. I’m still petrified.

Principles of SMO

8 More Principles of SMO

Hello, and welcome back! We are glad to see you are interested in learning more about Social Media Optimization (SMO). If you missed last week’s article, or any previous postings, you can check out our archives section. This week’s installment is the continuation of an article by Peg Fitzpatrick. We are going to be breaking down the remaining eight principles of SMO. Let’s dive right in!

  • Influencers– Identify key influencers to foster connections with.

This is a great area to point out because in order to build some credibility with your readers, you need to point out the innovators that have taken nothing and turned it into something. Influencers come in all shapes and sizes, and with different backgrounds. Luckily for you, we have a section titled “Leadership” available! These articles pertain to leaders of the past, present, and future – industry or non-industry related.

  • Communities– Existing communities can expand your reach.

Let’s face it, when you are writing for a blog, or creating original content, you probably aren’t reinventing the wheel. There are cases where this is true, but is more likely that you are modifying and improving its capabilities. Use the resources that are at your disposal. Find people who have written content before, and ask them questions. Post your ideas and content in order to acquire some useful feedback. Don’t be afraid to take chances, and understand that everyone is a critic. If you are confident in your work, these communities can help you spread the word and create a following.

  • Reputation– Build a personal reputation & brand, as a reliable source.

A quote by Baltasar Gracian, a Spanish philosopher, sums up this topic very well. He said, “A single lie destroys a whole reputation of integrity.” Being untruthful just once can really harm all of the work you have done in the past to build trust. Be truthful in your writing. Don’t try to fabricate your content with fluff. Tell it like it is, and be proud of what it stands for. You are representing yourself, your organization, and your brand. As my mother always said, put your best foot forward.

  • Engagement– Tag-Cite-Reply-Comment-Proactively Engage.

When I came across this bullet, my eyes lit up. My title here at Sutherland Global Services is Talent Engagement Strategist – keyword: Engagement. I am all about building a buzz (no pun intended!) How are you ever going to know your audience if you don’t talk to them, or read what they have to say? Being in tune with your target audience is vital to the success of your content. Bottom line: if they hate your work, they won’t read it.

  • Authority– Become a notable authority in a field of expertise.

This step can be one of the more difficult ones to accomplish. I will admit, I don’t know everything about SMO, but I feel that based on my knowledge, skill set, and industry, I can provide enough insight to be one of the leaders for the company. When you are producing original content, you need to make a mark. Every idea may not be your own, but every opinion should be.

  • Leadership– Lead with original ideas, be a Thought Leader.

This idea is very similar to Authority. Be able to create your own voice, adding your opinions and original thoughts to the work. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.

  • Social– Be sociable, try to visualize & reach the individual person.

Hi. How are you? Are you still reading? How is your day going? Really? You don’t say! This example shows, and justifies, the idea of individuality. I want to talk to you, and have a conversation. I want to show you cool things, in this case, about Sutherland. I want to show pictures, videos, and more.

  • Media– Learn to master the media platforms you need to reach.

If you are reading this article, you could be reading it on our blog. You could have found the link on one of our Facebook pages. Maybe you saw the link on Twitter. My point is that this content is available everywhere. If you want to create something similar, you need to understand the tools to grow and gain an audience. There are new social media tools available every day. Explore them. Know them. Get to be an expert in them. It will help you in the end.

  • Optimization– Target, optimize content/keywords integral to SMO.

Hopefully, by this point, you are still reading and enjoying the article. This last step is what you see in the title. The best way to go about SMO is by conducting research and exploring options. Try different keywords, and look for articles linked in other articles. Find your audience, and make it blatantly obvious you want them to read this.

Again, thank you for taking the time to read this, and stay tuned for the next installment of Sutherland’s Social Media Optimization!

Krystal Hummel

Day in the Life – Krystal Hummel

This week for our Day in the Life of a Sutherland Global employee, I caught up with Krystal Hummel who is from our Rochester, NY location!

Krystal Hummel

Rochester, NY

Recruiter

8 Years

 

  1. If given an unlimited amount of Lego blocks, what would you build and why?

“I honestly have no idea! I’ve never been a fan of Lego blocks”.

 

  1. Out of everyone you work with, who gives you the most energy, and how do they energize you?

“Dan Cady! (Director of Recruitment) He is always stopping in to touch base on a daily basis just to see how our day is going, and always has some words of wisdom to share! All of my recruiting co-workers as well. Everyone is always very upbeat and motivated!”

  1. What is your favorite sports team to root for, and why?

“Syracuse University. I grew up a fan and love going to games, basketball and football”.

 

  1. What was your favorite TV show growing up?

“Full House and Saved by the Bell”.

Hire for Fit, Train for Skill Set

Hire for Fit, Train for Skill Set

I recently read this article by Brandee Barker and found it to be very true and refreshing.  Many times, the ideal candidate isn’t the person who is most qualified based on skills; often the ideal candidate is simply the person who will work effectively in your unique business.

It is rare that a new employee will resign due to lack of skill.  Commonly, their motive to step down lies in the fact that they’re unfit for the position.  An unfit employee can be detrimental to your company.  This is why it is important to make sure that you hire for fit.  If not, you will be building attrition into your business.

Employers make a costly mistake when they assume that acquiring the right employees, and retaining them, are two separate and distinctive activities.  They actually fit hand in hand and are two points of the same objective – finding the right person for a particular job.  Hiring a best-fit candidate makes retention notably easier to achieve.  Companies that want to enable success are starting to recognize the need to build retention into their recruitment process.

It is important to recognize that traditional thinking – doing business the same old way – no longer works in recruitment.  Over time, any business process that worked in the past can become illogical or impractical, and even a hindrance to business success.  Candidates are not standing in line, waiting to come work for your organization.  An effective recruitment process for today’s marketplace must be both a science and an art.  You need to reach the best candidates before your competition does.  Remember, great candidates – the ones you want – have options.

Technology

Putting the Customer First

Has technology improved the BPO industry? In my last article I discussed how we are amidst a drastic transformation in the BPO industry. It is evident that this transformation is fueled by the transition from the old model to the new, Business Process Outsourcing as a Service (BPaaS), model due to the injection of technology.  But has the adaptation and development of tools and services such as Intelligent Call-Back, Universal Queue, and Data Center Automation actually improved the customer experience?  According to Cisco’s report on “The Impact of Technology on Contact Center Performance,” yes, technology does in fact improve the customer experience, and not by just a little bit.  A contact center could expect to see an increase in Top Box Customer Satisfaction (defined as a score of 5 out of 5 on the question “Overall, how satisfied were you with your interaction”) by as much as 4-7% by using this type of technology.

Top Box

Take a look at the impact of technology on First Call Resolution (FCR):

FCR

No surprise that an analytics tool tops this list as understanding why people contact you allows you to better prepare your workforce to handle the most common call types and issues that customers are experiencing.

I know that this is only one reports findings on the impact technology is having on customer satisfaction but if this report is not indicative of what is really going on in the BPO industry, then why are BPO juggernauts like ourselves (Sutherland Global Services) and Accenture making promises that their integrated technology solutions will impact customer satisfaction?

Is technology the end-all be-all to improving the customer experience though?  At the end of the day, there is no magic pill a BPO company can take that will allow them to stop focusing on the customer experiences they provide to their clients’ customers.  In order for technology to truly make an impact on the customer experience, customer satisfaction needs to always be the first priority.  Don’t just buy tech for the sake of getting a shiny new toy, buy it because it fits your business and will have a measurable ROI on your customers’ interactions with your agents and your client.  After all, the customer comes first!

 

7K0A0223

Sutherland 101: My Story to Success at Sutherland Global

“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” (Dwight D Eisenhower)  Ever since I discovered this quote it has always been one of the first things that comes to mind when I think about leadership.  I am reminded that one’s ability to instill trust and confidence in others really defines their success rate as a leader.  A quality leader will have genuine support from those around them.

I would define leadership as the ability to find value in a person, determine how that value can benefit the group, and make the connection of how the progress of the group can benefit that team member. To sum it up, leadership is the ability to connect the needs of a team member to the needs of the group so that one benefits the other. When this is accomplished, a major part of the leader’s role is complete, and with continued direction and support the group will achieve the rest.

I have been in a leadership role at Sutherland Global Services before, and I believe my greatest strength was my ability to connect with my team and uncover what was important to them.  I became successful in ensuring the productivity of my group by coaching them to be able to relate the work they do to their goals in life.  I found areas where I know I needed improvement as well.  Balancing coaching sessions, monitoring, escalations, system issues, etc. often quickly changed the “to-do list” I had planned for the day.  Sometimes I found that I prioritized the wrong items which caused my day to be less productive than it could have been.  Time management is certainly an area I’d like to improve.  I have always learned best by making my own mistakes, and watching how others are able to succeed.

When I returned to Sutherland I was unsure that I would be successful in a sales role, and for the first couple months I definitely struggled.  I tried everything from reading books on sales to watching how others on my team found success.  I have always had great soft skills, and the ability to let the customer know I would resolve their issue. I quickly learned that was not enough to be successful with the sales aspect of the program. By not giving up, and pushing through rejection, I realized what I was missing. I always had the skills to sell, but I had misunderstood what it took to close a sale. The answer was in front of me the whole time, the 5 step sales process! By applying the same leadership skills I had used with my previous team, connecting the needs between the customer and the product, I was able to successfully jump from a customer service to a sales representative. My time at Sutherland has taught me one solid thing about myself: If afforded an opportunity I will do my best every day regardless of the struggle.

This is my story.  If you would like to share your story with me and possibly have it showcased, feel free to leave a comment or you can email it to me at SGSCareers@sutherlandglobal.com.

40H

Get S.M.A.R.T in your Professional Development

Professional Development Series.

In my previous article, I discussed how to identify strengths, and explained why focusing on your strengths to develop excellence is a better approach than trying to correct your weaknesses. Here we will look at how to define your goals using the steps discussed in the previous articles in the series.

Writing Your Goals

If you have been working through this series, you should have a good idea where you would like to be in your future career, and which of your strengths can help you achieve it. Review this information as you write your goals. Writing clearly defined goals allows you to plan a path to reach them, provides a way for you to measure your progress, and keeps you motivated. The following S.M.A.R.T. goal format is a common outline to use when writing your goals.

S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Specific:A specific goal helps you focus your attention on obtaining it. In order to create a specific goal, answer the following six questions:

Who – who will be involved (i.e., my mentor; my colleague; just me)

What – what will you be achieving (i.e., complete three presentations)

Where – what location do you need to perform the goal (i.e., at work; at a college)

When – time frame to completion (i.e., within three months)

Which – identify contingencies and constraints (i.e., change work schedule to allow attendance at user group meetings)

Why – purpose or benefit of the goal (i.e., learning to manage a team will assist in getting promoted to a management role)

 

Measurable: A goal needs to be measurable so you can track your progress and know that you have completed it. The measurement should be objective, not subjective. (i.e., I completed 3 speeches and achieved an average audience feedback rating of 4 or above vs. I completed 3 speeches and engaged my audience).

Attainable: Goals may stretch your talents yet they should not be extremely easy or extremely difficult. Ask yourself these questions: Would I be able to accomplish this without any making any effort or need to list it as a goal? Is the effort required to accomplish going to crowd out any other goal or work I am performing at the same time?

Realistic: Your goals should be relevant to your desired career path or support your other goals in reaching it. If your goal is to learn how to watercolor, but it is not necessary to achieve your career goals, the recommendation would be to move that to a personal goal list.

Timely: You should strive to plan on being realistic in your timeframe; this doesn’t mean they cannot be adjusted based upon circumstances. Being too ambitious will frustrate you if you fail to achieve the goal by the set date. However, using timeframes too far in the future may allow you to lose your sense of urgency for completing the goal, and affect the timeframes of your other goals.

I hope this short series prompted you to start thinking about your goals, and assisted you with creating a plan to reach them.

 

Going forward, individual articles will explore strategies and resources for some of the most common career goals.

For a more in depth look into how to define your goals, take a look at:

http://hrweb.berkeley.edu/learning/career-development/goal-setting/career-plan-vision

http://www.iseek.org/mymncareers/finish-school/long-short-goals.html

http://topachievement.com/smart.html

tc

New Hire of the Month – Theresa Charles

This week our new hire of the month is Theresa Charles from our Rochester, NY location!

Name: Theresa Charles

Location: Rochester, NY (Jefferson Road)

Program: Consultant

  1. What are three things still left on your bucket list?

“Getting settled in a new city, purchasing our first home, and owning a restaurant.”

 

  1. Does Sutherland have something to offer that other employers don’t? If yes, what?

“The ability to grow within the company at only six months in to the company. In my opinion, this is the absolute best asset ever.”

 

  1. What is the best compliment you have ever received?

“I am an amazing person.”

 

  1. What is your favorite song out right now?

“Beautiful by Mali Music.”

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Four Ways to Observe your Way into a Great Job

Most, if not all, candidates walk into an interview with a focus on what they can offer an employer. Many times that focus is on the candidate’s own skill-set, but a savvy interviewee should know how to recognize and understand problems that the company may be having.

Here are four tips to observe your way through to a great interview.

  1. Look for problems online that you can solve – Check out the company’s website and social media sites to identify possible issues and help explain what you can improve while at the company. See something you like? Mention it to the interviewer so they know you’ve researched them.
  2. Check the lobby – Companies often display their achievements publicly in lobbies and conference rooms. Check to see if they have any awards or accomplishments around the area. Chat with the receptionist about any goings-on in the company that she may be able to share.
  3. The interviewer’s office – People tend to display things they are proud of in their office. Take a discreet look around and see if any talking points arise. You might have the opportunity to comment on a family photo or sports memorabilia, which will help build rapport with your interviewer.
  4. Look for problems on site that you can solve – Does your interview include a tour of the office? Take a look around and comment on the things you see. Question and compliment a possible co-worker on their project, or offer your expertise on a half finished assignment.

The best job hunters understand that interviewers are looking for problem solvers. Be observant before, during, and after the interview, and then communicate how you can make a difference.

1

Five Historic ‘Staches in History

To have some fun on this Friday and to bring a smile to your face, I present to you five of the top 10 mustaches of all time from this article

1. Wyatt Earp

A classic handle-bar/Midwest look. This ‘stache struck free into the hearts of outlaws!

2. Salvador Dali

One of the craziest ‘staches I have ever seen. The hairs reach past his eyes. Unbelievable!

3. Kaiser Wilhelm I

So much hair on his face and yet none on the top of his head. The muttonchops are just glorious.

4. Teddy Roosevelt

Speak softly, and sport a big ‘stache Teddy. Well said.

5. Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche said “that which does not kill us makes us stronger”. That ‘stache could deflect bullets.

edwardjohnson

Platinum Performer – Edward Johnson

This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Platinum Performer Edward Johnson about his thriving career with our Work-At-Home division. Edward has been an SGS employee since 2008. He was able to provide some fantastic insight into the process for achieving success here at Sutherland, as he has taken full advantage of the amazing opportunities available.

A self-proclaimed “techie”, Edward began his SGS career as a Sales Consultant at our Rochester location but worked hard to advance into a Technical Support position based in Syracuse. When I asked him to describe his career path thus far, he stated that one of the things he loved most about Sutherland was the “opportunity that is available – there is something for everyone!” He admitted that when he began working here, he was not expecting to find a career here. “I thought it would be a good job for a year or so, until I could find something better. What I quickly found was that not only were there tons of opportunities within all facets of SGS, but the people, values and culture were exactly the ‘something better’ I had been looking for!” Edward attributed his early success as a Consultant to the feedback he received from his coaches and managers, applying their guidance and advice toward the goal of advancing his career. “I was never afraid to ask questions, and I was eager to find and share the best practices that veteran agents were using in order to succeed”. Providing further insight, Edward also stated that the most common traits among top performers include excellent attendance, positive attitude, determination and the desire to make each call better than the last.

Out of sheer curiosity, I asked Edward to name the one chore he hated the most. His reply was that he was “not a fan of doing the laundry and unfortunately, paper clothing doesn’t seem viable in my climate!” I think most SGS employees can agree with Edward on this one. While he may hate doing laundry, Edward does have passions that extend beyond his Sutherland career. I asked him to name one skill that would love to learn. His response? Flying. “If I could learn to fly, seriously, that would be amazing!”

Wrapping up the interview, Edward informed that ten years from now, he will be “wishing my twelve-year-old was two again! Also, I am working hard to continue developing the skill set necessary in order to be prepared for the next stages of my career.” He also stated that he hopes to have mastered those skills in order to help other SGS employees advance their careers through mentoring and teaching, and perhaps even leading an account in driving Platinum Performance. “Preferably, from the comfort of my own home office!” Keep that dream alive, Edward.

As a final piece of advice, Edward added that perseverance and goal-setting are vital in achieving success, providing your career with the momentum it needs to keep pushing forward. “I knew that advancing my career wasn’t an overnight process. There would be challenges along the way, but by embracing the challenges and looking for ways to improve every day, I knew I could find success. I watched others doing it, so I knew it would work for me…and I know it can work for you, too!” Edward is proof that with hard work and determination, success is attainable for every SGS employee. We’re proud to have passionate and driven people like Edward as part of the Sutherland family.

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Optimize Prime your Social Profiles Part Deux

Hello, and welcome back to Social Media Optimization at Sutherland! It’s another fantastic week in the world of BPO. This week’s article will be a continuation on how to optimize your social profiles. We will specifically look at the other sites listed in the previous article, Google+ and YouTube.

It has already been stated that companies fail to optimize their pages properly to gain the most exposure. Google+ is something Sutherland has attempted to leverage because we realize its importance. Here are some tips:

  • Page Title Tag: It has been said that Google isn’t as lax about the use of keywords in your page/profile name, so stick with using your actual company name.

Don’t try to get fancy with this. Keep it simple and professional. Think of it in terms similar to LinkedIn.

  • Page Meta Description: The ‘Headline’ and ‘Introduction’ fields act as your page’s meta description in search, so once again be sure they include the use of keywords.

Use a catchy tagline like “Welcome to the official…” or “The official page of” and include the full title of the company. Any other keywords that could fit specifically to your industry might be helpful as well. For something like Sutherland, we might use: BPO, social media, etc. to promote ourselves.

  • Inbound Links: Google+ pages present the option to embed links within your profile’s introduction, in addition to the ability to feature numerous “recommended links”. This can be a great way to drive traffic to your site, blog, and other social media profiles.

Use what is provided. Be as visible as possible. Promoting your other social media sites on here is a great, organic, inexpensive way to grow. It shows your company is willing to be everywhere and anywhere to gain an audience.

The last profile we will be looking at is YouTube. This is something we haven’t used yet to our full advantage. If you were to search Sutherland Global Services on YouTube, you would find videos of our company being featured on news sites or corporate videos explaining our industry. You probably won’t find videos showcasing our culture, environment, and our employees. This is something you should take action on. You can also do the following steps:

  • Page Title Tag: Knowing YouTube is owned by Google and Google’s position on the use of keywords in your profile name, it’s best to stick with your company name which acts as your page title tag in search. This will also ensure people will find your channel when they search your company.

This is very similar to what we advised you to do on your Google+ page. Don’t leave any stone unturned.

  • Page Meta Description: Your channel description acts as the meta description.

You can most likely copy what you used on your Google + page word for word. It will be easy, it keeps a similar voice, and cuts down on time spent on it.

  • Inbound Link: Once again, this is a no-follow link but it’s worth adding for potential referral traffic.

I am going to steal what I wrote from before. Use what is provided. Be as visible as possible. Promoting your other social media sites on here is a great, organic, inexpensive way to grow. It shows your company is willing to be everywhere and anywhere to gain an audience. This repetition starting to make sense?

  • Keyword-rich Copy & Tags: As you build out the profile on your channel take the time to work in target keywords.

This is your chance to be fun and creative. Make your company’s voice heard. Use slogans, taglines, and previous proven keywords to showcase what kind of company you are. People are watching your videos because they are obviously interested in your company, a product you sell, or possibly a career. Make it fun, exciting, and desirable.

  • Optimized Video Postings: Similar to every post on Facebook or tweet on Twitter, every new video post on your channel should contain an optimized title, description, and appropriate tags.

Attracting people’s attention can be a difficult task, but it is feasible if you use the right words. Understanding what people are looking for is key. Try searching what you think the search terms should be for the video and see the results you get. You should have your answer. Keep trying until you are successful and can be seen.

Thanks for taking the time to read this week’s take on Social Media Optimization! Until next time, keep tweeting, liking, and sharing!

Lavanya Nagaraj

Day in the Life – Lavanya Nagaraj

This week for our Day in the Life of a Sutherland Global employee, I caught up with Lavanya Nagaraj who is from our Dubai, UAE location!

Lavanya Nagaraj

Dubai, UAE

HR

4 ½ years

  1. If there was a sitcom that was about your team at Sutherland, who would play your manager, and why?

“First, I really don’t watch any sitcoms and don’t keep pace with it, and I also don’t have a team here. I am my team, and my team is me. My manager Dawn Ayres works from London, and we meet once in a quarter. I would say if she were to be described with a personality, she is akin to Margaret Thatcher – very strong willed, passionate, resilient, collaborative, and confident. She has the ability to call a spade a spade. On a personal front, she resembles my mom, and they both share the same birth date- that makes our rapport all the more special”.

 

  1. What would you want to tell someone who is just starting with Sutherland today?

“There may be many who underestimate the power of the BPO industry. To some, it is merely a call center, to others just a pit stop for a stop gap source of income until they find something concrete, popular and conventional. I was told the same when I chose BPO for a career in the year 2000, that this wouldn’t last and I will get bored and feel out of place. I remember packing up for 20 days to try this job out in GE where I ended up spending 9 years! Here I am, 14 years into BPOs, and still yearning to learn and do more in this ocean of opportunities, and I see myself excited as a child on the shores watching the next wave of opportunity come my way. Any business where you really wouldn’t need to go physically shake hands with your customers/ clients on a daily basis can be executed to perfection at a BPO with more efficiency, productivity and value add. That’s my definition of this domain. Having said that -I have seen how the leadership thinking aloud, and the passion to venture into just about anything beyond our chosen markets and to take the positive risk have resulted in amazing business re-engineering potential projects. There is no stopping the learning, possibilities and success in this industry from getting people to work from home where jobs don’t exist, to help a municipality manage its waste in a sustainable manner to telling a waterpark how to make their customer experience more fun and engaging! You need to experience working in this industry to get a feeler, as words just don’t describe the intricacies, complexity and the attention to detail that it calls for. So hop on aboard, and enjoy the employee experience!”

  1. What Sutherland location would you like to visit the most and why?

“I live in Dubai and go to work admiring the beautiful Burj Khalifa (World’s tallest building) every day. However, the fact that our UK offices are on the 33th level on the Gherkin in London gives me a high! It is such a unique building in the London skyline, and a very special one – I’d like to visit our UK office someday”.

 

  1. Does Sutherland have something to offer that other employers don’t? If yes, what and why?

“Yes- Sutherland really grooms you to expect the unexpected, take positive risks and take the plunge into success in every way. This is a truly global company. I can vouch for it.  Being in site support, the programs I am involved in makes me realize how important team work is, and no matter where the team members are spread out through the globe. Communication, ideating together, consensus and synergy is what makes a successful business and at Sutherland we live by it every moment trusting only on our people, process and technology. I have seen many companies that call themselves global, however they are so compartmentalized in every region they operate. Sutherland doesn’t subscribe to it. No matter what your background is, and what you have been doing so far, Sutherland offers you a lot of new learning”.

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Three True Interview Questions

The Three True Interview Questions

From time to time I find myself Googling information on Recruiting; in fact, I may have a problem!  Sometimes I find myself on pages with useless information and other times I find myself on pages that provide quality knowledge on recruiting.  Today, I happened to stumble across this article on Forbes that is titled “Top Executive Recruiters Agree There Are Only Three True Job Interview Questions”.  Only three, that’s it!!!  Let’s see what they are…

  • Can you do the job?
  • Will you love the job?
  • Can we tolerate working with you?

Can You Do the Job? – Strengths

Kevin Kelly, CEO of Heidrick & Struggles, explained to me that it’s not just about technical skills, but also about leadership and interpersonal strengths.  Technical skills help you climb the ladder.  As you climb higher, managing up, down, and across become more important.

“You can’t tell by looking at a piece of paper what some of the strengths and weaknesses really are… We ask for specific examples of not only what’s been successful but what they’ve done that hasn’t gone well or a task they’ve, quite frankly, failed at and how they learned from that experience and what they’d do different in a new scenario.

Not only is it important to look at the technical skill set they have… but also the strengths on what I call the EQ side of the equation in terms of getting along and dealing or interacting with people”.

Will You Love The Job? – Motivation

Bill Guy, CEO of Cornerstone International Group, emphasizes the changing nature of motivation:

“… younger employees do not wish to get paid merely for working hard – just the reverse: they will work hard because they enjoy their environment and the challenges associated with their work… Executives who embrace this new management style are attracting and retaining better employees”.

Can We Tolerate Working With You? – Fit

Continuing on with our conversation, Kevin Kelly explains the importance of cultural fit:

“A lot of it is cultural fit and whether they are going to fit well into the organization… The perception is that when (senior leaders) come into the firm, a totally new environment, they know everything.  And they could do little things such as send emails in a voicemail culture that tend to negatively snowball over time.  Feedback of onboarding is critical.  If you don’t get that feedback, you will get turnover later on”.

I must admit, they are spot on with these questions.  Each question I have ever asked, or that I have been asked, is a follow-up to one of these three questions.  As a recruiter, it is our job to find the people who not only know how to interview, but also know how to deliver and are a good cultural fit within their potential new organization.  However, will these people be wise enough to ask a company, “Why would I want to work for you?”

What are your thoughts?  Do you agree or disagree?

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Professional Development and You (Part 3)

Please check out part one and part two of this series!

Professional Development Series In the second article of the series, I described the beginning steps of making a professional development plan. We continue here with a closer look at how to define your goals. We’ll also discuss why fixing your weaknesses is not the most important thing in your professional or personal development. Build on Your Strengths The traditional focus in many structured workplace development plans has been to record and address areas of weakness. This approach is helpful if you need to remedy a gross weakness, such as being consistently late. Weaknesses that will negatively impact the success of what you are doing, or plan on doing, should be addressed. However, in most cases where a weakness is not a functional flaw, and only impacts your success, it can be mitigated through teamwork or delegation to others. For example, if you are not good at documentation then try to work with someone who is. Additionally, when you concentrate your efforts on improving your weaknesses, you dilute your focus and lose the additional time and attention that could be devoted to developing excellence in your areas of strength. A far better approach, and what is necessary to stand out on in your chosen field, is to excel in one or more areas. Practicing and honing your strengths allows you to develop them beyond ordinary skill levels. As an added benefit and motivation, you will be learning and practicing those things which you, most likely, enjoy doing. Identify Your Strengths There are various ways to identify your strengths, from asking friends and colleagues for input to taking structured assessments online or through your workplace. However, one of the most creative ways I found to identify strengths can be done on your own by asking yourself a few simple questions:

  1. What types of tasks or activities do I learn quickly?
  2. What are some recognitions or awards I have received, and what are the skills that allowed me to earn them?
  3. What makes me unique?
  4. What are the accomplishments I am most proud of?

  Next week we will look more in depth at defining and timing your goals.

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Orange is the New Black Meets The Office

As I look around at my team I see 14 unique individuals, each with their own personalities, talents, and aspirations.  We work, we laugh, we collaborate, and at the end of the day we each do our part to reach a common set of goals.  It’s our differences that make us successful.  Think, what good is a bunch of the exact same people working together?  Unless you’re place of employment happens to be a factory, and your “team” consists of everyone on the assembly line, this instance would surely pump out the same, boring, uncreative, uninspired work.

The return of Orange is the New Black has got me thinking, what if I compared the characters of OITNB to those of The Office?  Let’s be real, both shows contain some pretty eccentric individuals, but each with their own purpose.  Let’s see where this goes…

Piper – The main character.  Although sometimes things do not seem to go her way, this only makes her stronger.  She is easily influenced, but can take charge when necessary.  Although she may be the most educated of the bunch on paper, her street smarts aren’t always up to par.

  • Pam Beesly – Both women start off shy and timid.  Over time the two begin to become more comfortable in their settings.  Taking risks and speaking their minds soon becomes normal.

 

Alex – The businesswoman.  She likes to make money, and she likes to be noticed.  There is something about her personality that attracts people to her.  She is extremely persuasive, and can be quite the smooth talker.

  • Ryan Howard – Both of these characters are used to being “obsessed with.”  They have also both shared the antagonist role.  Their hunger for wealth has left them both behind bars.

 

Crazy Eyes – The unpredictable one.  The way her brain works is a mystery, but what she contributes to the group is unlike anything else.  She is one unique individual, and she takes “thinking out of the box” to a whole new level.

  • Dwight Schrute – This gullible and naïve pair longs to be needed.  Their actions are often unpredictable, and usually unwarranted.  Both characters definitely take some getting used to, but bring a unique sense of spontaneity and entertainment.

 

Red – The mother figure.  She cares deeply about her co-workers, and will do just about anything for the greater good.  Although her concept of “family” can sometimes get quite Soprano like, she does have a large heart.  She is really good at what she does, and has a lot of passion for her work.

  • Michael Scott – Red and Michael both value the concept of family.  Although this concept may be misconstrued at times, it is never an issue of caring.

 

Bennett – The gentle, charismatic one.  Although in a position of authority, he is the opposite of power-hungry.  He has the strong notion to always do the right thing, and can be counted on to do so.

  • Jim Halpert – Both Bennett and Jim are kindhearted, intelligent, and trustworthy men.  They both fall in love with another character in the show, and both endure struggles because of it.

 

What character are you?  Possibly one I haven’t listed (for the sake of your interest, and my own to-do list, I stopped after five).  Or maybe you’ve never watched either of these shows.  In this case, I suggest you get at it!  There is no limit to what a diverse group of people can achieve.  Input from all directions can produce something glorious.

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Is it Leaders Teaching or Teachers Leading?

For many years it was believed that people could not be taught to lead, but that leadership was an inherent trait that a person was born with.  Over the years this mindset has evolved. We now know that some people are born with an inherent leadership quality, but there are aspects of leadership that can indeed be taught.

The question now is: if leadership can be taught, why are there so few effective leaders among the billions of humans that walk the Earth?  To quote The Leadership Skills Institute’s article, “I’ve gone to Barnes and Noble I don’t know how many times and bought the self-improvement and how-to books on leadership skills training courses.  I’ve read them cover to cover, always digging for the secret that makes one a leader. And they all say the same thing: it’s in the way you think.”

In other words, it’s a mindset.  Some people’s way of thinking does not correlate with the mindset suitable for being a highly effective leader.  Even more important than choosing the right method of teaching leadership is choosing the right student.  To successfully mold a strong leader you need a student who has “a track record of success [in their current role] and have already exhibited leadership traits” (4 Tips for Teaching Leadership Skills, Nicole Fallon).  A short list of traits to look for includes:

∞     Strong Listening Skills

∞     A Vision

∞     They work for everyone else

Good listening skills are self-explanatory, but the other two traits are not as clear.  By “vision” I mean that the potential leader must show signs of being able to clearly see the end goal, and understand how to get there by leveraging the people around them.  By working for everyone else I mean that a good leader will not get caught up with the idea of people working for them.  They need to have the belief that as the leader they are working for everyone on the team to help them progress towards the end goal.  It is impossible for a leader to do all of the work to get their team to the end goal.  Leaders will need to work through their team, and if the team sees their leader working for them, they will be more inclined to work to their full potential.  That is the ultimate goal for a leader isn’t it? There is no greater success for a leader than to have their team work to their full potential and meet or exceed the original goal.

Kenmone D. Hammond

New Hire of the Month- Kemone D. Hammond

This week our new hire of the month is Kemone D. Hammond from Alexandria, LA. If you want to be showcased, e-mail us at Hive@Sutherlandglobal.com.

 

Name: Kemone D. Hammond

Location: Alexandria, LA

Program: Consultant

 

 

  1. What is your favorite thing about Sutherland at this point?

“I’ve always loved customer service and I love a job that offers and pays me for something I like to do”.

 

  1. What is one thing you would like someone outside of Sutherland to know about?

“If you are looking for a job that is dealing with everyday people, come join in! Simple as that. The pay is good and there are many opportunities for advancement”

 

  1. If you could go back in time to any era, which would it be?

“It would have to be the 90’s. I would like to do my childhood years again and appreciate my adolescence!”

 

  1. What’s the strangest talent you have?

“I really do not have a strange talent, but one talent that is not considered common is making a variety of things out of one sheet of paper: boats, claws, stars, flowers, PacMan, etc.”

 

 

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20 Powerful Keywords to Charge your Resume

20 Powerful Keywords
You’ve heard it over and over again: use keywords to make your resume stand out to a recruiter. However, choosing the right keywords, and using them to effectively demonstrate your skill set, can be harder than it seems.
Here are 20 powerful keywords to enhance your resume:

1. Conceptualized
2. Trained
3. Built
4. Introduced
5. Strengthened
6. Directed
7. Persuaded
8. Forecasted
9. Projected
10. Assessed
11. Set Goals
12. Promoted
13. Oversaw
14. Improved
15. Adapted
16. Solved
17. Initiated
18. Planned
19. Managed
20. Increased

It’s important to note that none of these potent action verbs should be used too often. Make sure each use is followed up by a detailed example of a notable achievement.

Success

Five Ways to Make Yourself More Successful

I found this article recently on how to be more productive during the day. I give you my top five options on how to make yourself more successful:

  1. Cut your to-do list in half. Getting things done during your workday shouldn’t mean fitting in doing as much as possible in the sanctioned eight hours. Do you really need those 30 tasks on your to-do list? Take a less-is-more approach to your to-do list by only focusing on accomplishing things that matter.
  2.  Use your morning to focus on yourself. It’s a big productivity killer to start your mornings by checking your email and your calendar. This allows others to dictate what you accomplish. Start your day out right by ignoring your emails in the morning and getting in a good breakfast, reading the news, meditating, or working out. This will ensure you’ve got the necessary fuel for a productive day.
  3. Tackle your challenging tasks before lunch. Knock out your most challenging work when your brain is fresh. If you have any busy work or meetings, save them for the afternoon. By scheduling your day this way, you’ll be able to create a new and more productive way to manage your time.
  4. Stop confusing productivity with laziness. While no one likes admitting it, sheer laziness is the No. 1 contributor to lost productivity. In fact, a number of so-called time-saving methods – take meetings and emails for example – are actually just ways to get out of doing real work. Place your focus on doing the things that matter most as efficiently and effectively as possible.
  5. Stop multi-tasking. Stop trying to do 10 things at once! Changing tasks more than 10 times a day drops your IQ an average of 10 points. Get things done more effectively and efficiently by focusing on one task at a time.

Remember, these tips are key to becoming successful in a workplace setting. Your supervisor and co-workers will take note and appreciate your efforts!