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Interviews

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Focus Groups

Katia Arias No Comments

On previous posts I discussed “Human-Centered” design and talked about how it all starts with empathy and relationships.

Although there are many tools to conduct primary research on customer needs, one of the most effective tools is focus groups: meetings where you interact with and gather first-hand information from a solid batch of potential users.

To help you build and conduct a successful focus group, we’ve assembled 10 steps, that according to field experts, you must take into consideration!

Source: metacconects.org

Source: metacconects.org

  1. Establish a clear purpose for the meeting

 Experts from Duke University stress that a focus group is NOT a marketing opportunity, a lecture, a partnership meeting or a problem-solving session.

Instead, these meetings focus solely on gathering feedback and customer perspective on a specific product or service that will be offered. That’s why it is important to set conversation boundaries and work with predetermined questions.

  1. Decide how many focus groups you’ll need

Marketing professionals suggest you conduct between 3-4 meetings to gather all pertinent information.

You may schedule following meetings a week apart and ask the exact same questions to different groups. When no one has anything new to say, you know you’ve reached your goal.

Read More: Human-Centered Design
  1. Choose your participants…very closely

 Although diversity is a very important concept, when you conduct a focus group, Duke University suggests you keep the group fairly homogeneous.

The ideal is to have people who’ve never met but can feel comfortable around each other. That’s why you must take into strong consideration the social and cultural contexts of the group you’ll be interviewing.

Beware of recruiting mixed groups if there’s a strong sense of “machismo” in the country. Be also mindful of economic and social power gaps. You wouldn’t want people to feel intimidated or inferior to other participants, so much that responses may be biased or anchored.

Try to set a specific age range for your group and make sure you don’t bring in extremely dominant personalities that may steer all the conversation in one direction.

And finally, remember to keep the group small! If you don’t know how many are too many, follow the “two pizza rule”: if the team can’t be fed with only two pizzas then it is too big.

Source: hubspot.net

Source: hubspot.net

  1. Structure your questions

 Try to stay within the 8-12 question range. Remember focus groups are based on open-ended questions and it may take a long time to gather every perspective.

 Make sure the questions are short but not written in a way that inspire “yes” and “no” answers.

 Start with simple questions to get the group acclimated, then proceed to the most insightful ones and finish by asking the group if there’s anything else they would like to add.

If you’re making a comparison, experts suggest you interview groups A & B in separately.

  1. Find a stellar moderator

Moderators are the key to incredible results. To avoid bias, Ruth Peebles, President of The INS Group, advises that moderators be third-party facilitators that are not affiliated with your organization.

Moderators must have an engaging personality to make participants feel free and welcomed at all times. They must keep the conversation within scope and prevent the meeting from steering in a wrong or biased direction.

Also, it is suggested you also find a separate note taker!

image_the-moderator

  1. Set you meeting “specifics” and agenda

 Set a date, place and time that works for your chosen demographics. It is advised you seek a place outside your offices to make the conversation feel neutral.

Times are better after working hours so it doesn’t interfere with people’s schedules.

Write down your agenda and share it with your moderator and note taker before the meeting. Make sure you clearly communicate your goals and expectations and go over the questions at least once.

  1. Build your recruitment strategy

 All right, so how are you going to approach your participants?

If you belong to a large multinational social media and public ads could help your case. You can offer monetary incentives to participants and have them register on your website.

If you’re a smaller business you may like to email or call the people you consider would give you a good perspective. And, if you can’t offer money for participation, you can always offer coupons, certificates or prizes (company care packages are usually great!).

Duke University also recommends using local newspaper ads and flyers. If your participants are youngsters posting your call on university bulletin boards might work pretty well.

Think about your demographic and then take advantage of the means of communication they use most. And then make sure they feel the meeting would be a win-win situation.

Once people register or show interest make sure to call or email them to confirm participation. Share once again the place and date of the event.

 

 

LibGuides focus group recruitment flyer. Recovered from,slanypublications.org

LibGuides focus group recruitment flyer. Recovered from,slanypublications.org

 

  1. When conducting the meeting…

 Ruth Peebles recommends you start with icebreakers to make participants feel comfortable.

Continue to communicate the purpose of the meeting, procedures, expectations and desired outcomes. An important thing you must never forget is to promise confidentiality! Make them sign agreements if needed.

Make sure the meeting goes accordingly to the agenda and record responses in more than one way. You can write them down on posters, post-its, use video, voice recorders or any other material you can think of.

9. Be precise to analyze

 After the focus group it is important that your team sits down to discuss major findings, segment these appropriately and identify specific thoughts, stories and suggestions.

You can log your result using spreadsheets, graphs and tables. And then present them on a slide show to help the team visualize where your new product stands amongst your target market’s needs and expectations.

For more guidance on analyzing data, you can check out Duke University’s “Guidelines for Conducting a Focus Group”

Source: datapine.com

Source: datapine.com

  1. Share

Finally, share the results of your findings with your participants and keep scheduling meetings to gather more and more information!!

For more empathy-building tools check the LUMA Institute’s “Innovating for People: Handbook of Human-Centered Design”.

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6 ways to keep your interview from going off-track

Margie Davis No Comments


 

We’ve all been there at one time or another. We start off the interview excited and confident, but somewhere down the line it starts digressing into a failure. Don’t dismay and don’t give up. Regain your confidence and turn things around.

ONE: Blanking-out

For the job you’re applying for, you may be expected to have specific knowledge. If you blank-out at the question, instead of pretending to know the answer, you can call on their sympathy by admitting that you’re nervous and can’t remember at the moment. And instead, try to recount a similar situation in your experience to try to recall the answer to show that you can work under pressure.

 

TWO: You don’t know the answer

Like before, instead of pretending to know the answer by circumnavigating the question, tell them that you don’t know but immediately follow it with ‘how’ you would go about finding out the answer. This shows confidence, and problem solving skills.

 

THREE: Being incoherent

Sometimes our nerves get the better of us, and we end up saying absolutely nothing. Instead of letting it slide, show them that you are self-aware and address the issue. Possibly use humor to show them that you acknowledge that you were being incoherent and ask if you can try again.

 

interview2

 

FOUR: Distracted interviewer

An interviewer might seem distracted because of a myriad of reasons: last minute meeting before the interview, a sudden problem in the office, or they haven’t had a chance to go over your resume. Be prepared for the possibility that they don’t have a copy of your resume by bringing a printed one and offering it. If that doesn’t seem to get the interviewer’s attention, genuinely ask if they would prefer to reschedule for a later time. More than likely they will welcome your flexibility and sympathy.

 

FIVE: Hostile interviewer

In the case of a hostile interviewer, don’t get flustered because this may be a test. Remain calm and polite and offer information on why you are the best candidate for the job if they aren’t interested in asking questions that elicit your best skills sets.

 

SIX: Awkward silence

Obviously you would have looked into the company’s website or other literature before you showed up for the interview. So prepare some questions that may not have been addressed in the website, annual reports or brochures. Ideally ask questions about the position you are applying for, the training program, advancement or promotion paths available. Remember to stay away from questions that have already been addressed in the website or job application.

 

Sources: Entrepreneur, everydaylife, pvamu

 

job application

Google HR: 5 Resume Mistakes to Avoid

Margie Davis 7 comments

Laszlo Bock, Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google, recently published an article in linkedin.

He mentions that Google sometimes gets more than 50,000 resumes in a single week. That’s a lot of resumes.

“Some are brilliant, most are just ok, many are disasters. The toughest part is that for 15 years, I’ve continued to see the same mistakes made again and again by candidates, any one of which can eliminate them from consideration for a job. What’s most depressing is that I can tell from the resumes that many of these are good, even great, people. But in a fiercely competitive labor market, hiring managers don’t need to compromise on quality. All it takes is one small mistake and a manager will reject an otherwise interesting candidate.”

Don’t have your resume fall under the ‘ok’ or ‘disaster’ piles, strive to turn it into a brilliant resume by avoiding these five mistakes.

Mistake One: Typos As obvious as it seems, a CarerrBuilder survey from 2013 found that 58% of resumes have typos.

“Typos are deadly because employers interpret them as a lack of detail-orientation, as a failure to care about quality. “

Bock suggests reading the resume from the bottom up in order to read each line in isolation. Another option is to have someone else proofread your resume closely to ensure zero mistakes.

Mistake Two: Length. A good rule of thumb is one page of resume for every 10 years of work experience. Focus on getting an interview first through an impressive resume. You can focus on convincing the hiring manager when you actually get the interview.

“A crisp, focused resume demonstrates an ability to synthesize, prioritize, and convey the most important information about you. Think about it this way: the *sole* purpose of a resume is to get you an interview.”

Mistake Three: Formatting. Ensure that your resume can be opened across platforms satisfactorily, as the formatting usually shifts a bit. To prevent any issues, saving your file in a PDF will guarantee that the recipient will see the document as you intended.

“Unless you’re applying for a job such as a designer or artist, your focus should be on making your resume clean and legible. At least ten point font. At least half-inch margins. White paper, black ink. Consistent spacing between lines, columns aligned, your name and contact information on every page.”

Mistake Four: Confidential information. When you reveal confidential information, you are telling your potential employer that you might also reveal their trade secrets to competitors. Make sure you are ethical about honoring your confidentiality agreement.

I once received a resume from an applicant working at a top-three consulting firm. This firm had a strict confidentiality policy: client names were never to be shared. On the resume, the candidate wrote: “Consulted to a major software company in Redmond, Washington.” Rejected!

Mistake Five: Lies. This is quite obvious, especially in the age of the Internet. A quick search will reveal more than you think. You might want to check out “Is your social media killing your job opportunities.”

Putting a lie on your resume is never, ever, ever, worth it. Everyone, up to and including CEOs, gets fired for this. (Google “CEO fired for lying on resume” and see.) People lie about their degrees (three credits shy of a college degree is not a degree), [their GPA’s], and where they went to school (sorry, but employers don’t view a degree granted online for “life experience” as the same as UCLA or Seton Hall).

social media icons

Is Social Media Killing Your Job Opportunities?

Margie Davis 7 comments

By now you should have Googled yourself at least once. If you haven’t done it, you definitely should. A simple search will reveal all the online information you have unknowingly shared throughout the years.  94% of Recruiters use social media to recruit (2013), a substantial increase from 78% in 2008.

Google

– Start by searching for yourself, this will show everything a Recruiter will see. Did something pop-up that you don’t want Recruiters to see? It’s time to look-over your online persona, and make sure it’s up to par with the impression you want to give.

Facebook

– Review your privacy settings, make sure that your updates are not public and are limited to your friends only. On a side note, if your current employer is in your list of friends, it would be wise to change their permissions to “Restricted” so that they can only see things that you share publicly.

– Eliminate past ‘public’ posts by going to your privacy settings and under “Who can see my stuff?” locate the third option “limit the audience for posts you’ve shared with friends of friends or public” and choose “Limit Past Posts”.

LinkedIn

– Update your profile and ensure that it’s completed in its totality.

– Ask for recommendations and endorsements

– Add your LinkedIn Profile to your CV

Twitter

– Remember that Twitter has no privacy setting; everything you share is readily available to the world.

– Connect with peers, industry influences, and experts.

Blog

– Start a blog and create unique content that helps you stand out from the crowd.

 

Things to Avoid: Don’t post about…

Illegal Drug Usage: 83% of recruiters report a negative reaction

Sexual posts: 70% of recruiters report a negative reaction

Profanity: 65% of recruiters report a negative reaction

Gun References: 50% of recruiters report a negative reaction

– However, 65% of the recruiters remain neutral towards overtly political posts.

 

woman touching social media cloud

 

Still don’t think Social Media is important?

– LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter continue to be the most used channels by recruiters. Although there’s an increased adoption of specialized and localized social networks such as GitHub, Yammer, Stackoverflow, Pinterest and Instagram.

– Recruiters use Linked in 93% of the time to search, contact and keep tabs on candidates in the hiring process.

– Recruiters continue to use social media even after sourcing and contacting candidates ( 18% use Twitter and 25% use Facebook to vet candidates after the interview process).

– 43 % of employees from referrals and company pages stay longer than 3 years, while only 14% of job board hires stay longer than three years.

 

Sources: Jobvite, Tweak Your Biz

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