Networking events sometimes feel like speed dating. Talk to as many people as you can until you find a mutually beneficial connection. It can be less than comfortable.
These events are created with the best of intentions, but trying to create organic conversation in a manufactured setting can be difficult.
The thought of networking will cause you to reach for a stack of business cards or hide in the coat closet depending upon your personality. Rather then shuffling through your forced mental script of rehearsed questions, consider the following 5 ways to be effective at your next networking event.
We don’t mean wearing a flashy tie. Be the man or woman who is remembered by what you say.
We’re all used to the standard, “So, what do you do?” line of questioning. Simply being prepared for these standard questions can leave an impression.
Come up with an honest answer that is engaging and makes the other person want to know more.
Donald Miller, best selling author and CEO of StoryBrand, gives the following example of a conversation between two people at networking event.
Other person: “So, what do you do?”
You: “You know how hard it is to make a healthy dinner every weeknight with all the stuff your kids have going on? Well, our company delivers homemade frozen dinners that are actually affordable, so parents can relax and enjoy time with their families at night.”
As Miller explains, this method works because you’re telling a mini-story with this type of answer. This also positions you as the person who can solve a specific problem. If the other person can’t work with you at the present time, they’ll be able to file your name away in their mental Rolodex as the person with a specific solution.
Vanessa Van Edwards, a human behavioral expert, and author of Captivate, tries to provide a “me-too!” moment for the other person in every conversation. “It makes us feel accepted. It makes us feel heard. And most importantly, it makes us feel calm,” she explains.
Genuinely showing you care goes a long way. During most of these events, you’re surrounded by people searching for what they can get out of the other person. But entering a conversation with the desire to solve their needs often results in mutual benefit. Maybe you’ll get their business or maybe you’ll just get the blessing of being able to help someone.
Show the other person you care by asking questions you actually want to know the answer to. Rather than the standard, “What do you do?” or “What brought you here tonight?” try the following:
What are you most excited about with your job right now?
What are you most excited about with your industry right now?
What’s the biggest challenge you’re currently facing?
How did you end up in your line of work?
What are you looking forward to this week?
Know where to stand
It may sound trivial, but the location you choose to stand in a room can make all the difference. Rather than backing yourself up into a corner, choose strategic high-traffic locations within the room.
More specifically, stand where people are walking away from – against the flow. Find a place where there is a natural traffic flow such as a few feet from the bar or hors d'oeuvres table. This will allow you to make eye contact and be in position to naturally engage other attendees.
Check your body language
In a recent interview, Van Edwards explained that you want to maintain open body posture. This shows the other person you are open to conversation and non-threatening.
A simple way to demonstrate open body posture is to show your hands. Van Edwards says this is a primal survival mechanism showing that we are not carrying a weapon. Conversational stature often causes us to place our hands in our pockets or fold our arms. Subconsciously this communicates that we are closed off or even untrustworthy.
It can be hard to avoid folding your arms as this can be a natural tendency for many. However, if you need to, hold a glass or folder to keep yourself from placing your hands in your pockets.
Have a plan of action
You can usually decide early on in the conversation whether you will want to stay connected with the person you’ve been speaking with. If you do, you’ll want to have a practical way to follow up. But if you decide that you won’t want to stay connected, you need to have a natural exit strategy.
If you desire to stay in contact, provide them with your business card and tell them you’ll be following up with them. Depending upon the conversation, you may be able to offer to email them a helpful resource.
However, if you realize you won’t want to stay connected beyond the conversation, you need to have a way to remove yourself from the conversation. Simply asking to be excused in order to attend to needed business before the next session can be a honest, natural method. You can also watch for a natural break in the conversation and cordially thank them for their time and wish them the best of luck with the remainder of the year. While you want to show genuine interest in the other person, you need to value your own time as well.
Depending upon the length of the event or conference, you may have several conversations, but you’ll only have one or two memorable connections. Once the event is over focus on the conversation that you see providing the most direct benefit.
Today, it’s easy to make connections, but developing relationships can be difficult. Developing these relationships requires you analyze yourself and be proactive. While searching for connections, you need to be the person someone wants to network with. Keep these five tips in mind to make the most of the next networking event you attend.
You have made it to the final interview for your dream job and now the conversation is winding down. The interviewer asks you: “Do you have any questions for me?” Now is not the time to say “No”! This is your moment to interject your own personality, comments and leave a favorable impression.
So many candidates fail to take advantage of this opportunity. Some of the best-qualified candidates fall short of the interview finish line and therefore, lose the job. Even if your interview went very well, the way you end the interview can make or break your chances of landing the position.
To help you cross the interview finish line, here are some effective exit statements to close out your interview:
1) Express your enthusiasm and interest. “This is an exciting position and just the kind of challenge I’m looking for. I feel that I’m the right candidate for this opportunity.”
2) Summarize why you’re right for the job. Reiterate your strengths and how they tie into the critical skills the company is seeking. Include several reasons why you should have the job.
3) Ask about any hesitations: “From what you heard today, do you think there are any issues or reasons that would prevent us from moving to the next step?” Address any hesitation.
4) Thank the interviewer for their time. Let the person who interviewed you know how much you appreciate their time, interest and consideration. Also, mention that you appreciated meeting their staff along the way (if others were involved in your interview).
5) Ask the final question: “What is the timeline for filling this position and when can I expect to hear from you?”
Make sure the interviewer’s last impression of you is a good one. Closing out your interview with the right statements will significantly increase your chances of landing the job.
June 18, 2018
Rachel Makoski, Director of Foodservice E&S and Food Processing recently had the opportunity to connect with Evan Priesel, Marketing Manager at Univex for a series of Thought Leader Interview questions. Mr. Priesel shared insights on the Foodservice industry, interesting initiatives Univex is taking, and his personal career in the industry.
First off, thank you for this opportunity! I went to school at Southern New Hampshire University for my B.S in Business Management with a concentration in marketing. I love being able to influence why people purchase a certain product and study all new ways to promote and advertise a brand. I am currently enrolled in an MBA program from SNHU in Digital Advertising and have obtained many marketing/digital marketing certifications. I grew up a two-sport athlete in baseball and basketball, and since my baseball days are over, have grown a love for golf! It is a great place to network, discuss business and compete all at the same time. Univex is my 2nd position out of college and I couldn’t be happier!
Fairly new to the Foodservice Equipment world, what led you to pursue this industry?
I never would have thought that I would be in the Foodservice Equipment world to be honest. I knew I wanted to be in a managerial role, overseeing a team and growing a company. I believe marketing is a very relatable skill no matter the industry if you do the research and study the target market. After a few interviews with management at Univex, we hit it off and was extremely excited to join this great team! This is now my 2nd year here!
Univex is always finding ways to use technology and innovation. We have some specialty equipment specifically in the bakery and pizza industry that are the only ones on the market right now. Our goal is to save companies time, and labor cost, all while producing consistent and great results! We continuously do R&D and test new ways to help our customers succeed! We just released our “rotante” oven, which is a Stone Hearth Rotating Dome Pizza Oven. We also have multipurpose and bakery ovens with touch screens that are based on modern phones! These are all ways to stay up to date and make our products user friendly.
Univex prides itself on innovation. How is innovation encouraged on your team?
Innovation is highly encouraged at Univex. Whether that’s in the marketing department with digital ads, social media, target marketing, or new creative graphic designs, we always try to stay ahead of the competition and find where the most engaging audience is. From a factory stand point, we are always testing and doing research in finding ways to help customers succeed. It is important for us to stay ahead of the game and I believe we are doing a great job of it.
To that point, there seems to be an increased focus on critical safety features – how does Univex meet those expectations on their new products?
When we design a product or do testing, we always keep customer safety as a top priority. We go through numerous certifications for sanitation and safety purposes as well. Another task we make sure we have for our customers are clear operation manuals for user knowledge. Something we have incorporated this year is turning the operation manuals into videos and demonstrations and putting them on YouTube for everyone to be able to see. We also have a great Quality Control department which inspects every piece of equipment that leaves the factory.
What trends do you expect to see in Food Equipment in the next 5 years?
Specific trends that I think are coming to the industry is complete innovation. This may mean finding the best way to cut down labor cost, or ways to speed up production while producing a consistent product. Univex is already leading the way in this category and we do not see it slowing down any time soon. Another change that I can see maybe in the next 8-10 years is virtual reality test kitchens. This would give customers the ability to visualize equipment in their own kitchen using dimensions and parameters of the equipment they are looking at just by wearing a pair of goggles or glasses. I believe this is a little further away than 5 years, however if it makes the customer eager to purchase, and it is an easy, user friendly way for them to purchase, I do not see why this won’t happen in the future.
What Foodservice segments do you see having the most growth for the remainder of 2018 and into 2019; grocers and deli’s, convenience stores, restaurants, healthcare, education, or hospitality, and why?
I believe the entire industry is growing. I believe innovation in equipment specifically in the pizza and bakery industries. Univex does a lot with all the industries stated above, and we let our customers and dealers know we are here to support them with whatever that may be. Everything from delis to healthcare and hospitality, we support our customers and want to lead them to success.
Univex seems very focused on reliability and your equipment clearly stands the test of time. What do you think is the differentiator that enables you to do so?
First off, thank you! Univex has been in business for over 70 years! We take pride in the quality of our equipment and always want to make sure we supply the right piece of equipment for our customers depending on their needs or wants. We are also a one stop shop for everything dough related in the pizza and bakery industry. A customer can mix, divide/round, form, sheet and bake with all Univex equipment! Our factory knowledge in house is also a big factor. We have years of knowledge in house and work with customers all the time making sure they are getting what they need to succeed. We still manufacture in Salem NH so I believe that is one of the biggest differentiators. Also, we have an outstanding Quality Control team. We make sure that everything is perfect before being sent out to customers. We have machines that are over 50 years old still out in the field working perfectly! It is something that we take pride in and something that the company is very proud of.
With kitchen connectivity being a hot topic in the industry right now, what are your thoughts on the topic and how do you see Univex getting involved in that space?
We understand that kitchen connectivity is the way of the future and a big topic in the industry currently. I believe this is great and was bound to happen sooner or later with technology and the way the world is evolving. Our multi-purpose and bakery ovens are highly kitchen connective. You can sync recipes from your phone or USB drive into the oven, save your recipe for the future and program specific recipes tailored to what you need. This makes it easier the next time you need to use the oven, all you would have to do is hit the icon of the product you want to cook, and our ovens remember the recipe and program. This feature allows you to save time and prepare other items in your kitchen while your food is cooking or baking.
Describe the approach you take to attracting and retaining high impact talent at Univex.
Univex is such a great company. We have employees that have been here for over 40 years! You do not see that often in most companies now however, we have many. Being a team player is extremely important to our success, every department helps each other and is always there for support. Multi-tasking is another key feature we look for in our employees as our day to day tasks may change due to projects, etc. Once a new employee sees and feels the family atmosphere that is at Univex, they feel welcomed and at home. It is truly a great company to work for!
What or who has motivated and influenced you to be successful in your career? Have you had mentors?
I always continue to learn new skills and research new ways to improve. I have had many mentors in my life, the biggest being my father who has taught me so much growing up. He is the biggest influence in my life and career and he still teaches me new skills and life lessons every day! I have had many teachers and professors in college who have mentored me and continue to work with me to ensure I am on the right path. Executive management here at Univex has also been a huge help and has mentored me greatly. They gave me this amazing opportunity and when I go to them with questions, they are always there to teach me new skills and gain valuable information and we work as a team to complete goals. The biggest thing I learned from all my mentors, is do not be afraid of failure. Go for something you want, and if you fail (which everyone does from time to time) make sure you learn from it and grow.
Director of Foodservice E&S and Food Processing
At the beginning of May, The Direct Recruiters Plastics and Flexible Packaging team attended NPE in Orlando, Florida. The show provided access to innovations, networking opportunities, technology, and ideas shaping the future of plastics. With over 2,180 exhibiting companies showcasing at NPE, it was the largest show in history. The DRI team enjoyed the show and shared their thoughts on NPE 2018:
David Peterson, Managing Partner of Plastics and Flexible Packaging
“This was my 3rd NPE and each one has been unique. The buzz around industry 4.0 was exciting. It’s important for the plastics industry to continue to adopt newer technology. This keeps the industry moving forward but also helps significantly in attracting the millennial generation as well as talent that will be graduating from college in the coming years. From a job perspective, Field Service and Engineering was in super demand especially with the OEMS. Several companies are looking for the exact same talent making the market super tight and competitive. From the materials perspective technical service roles continue to be in demand. People that are able to talk tech but have a sales side to themselves are very valuable right now. From all companies we met with there continues to be concern at the executive level that pending retirements, with the lack of available candidates to backfill these roles, will be a major issue. In general, we felt the “vibe” was very good, the weather was terrific, and overall it was a positive experience for those that attended. My only complaint remains the same as always. It takes two weeks for my back and feet to stop hurting from all the walking. You?”
Adam Swinderman, Plastics and Flexible Packaging Executive Recruiter
“The technology at the show was great. It was amazing to see where the industry is going. The one thing that really stood out, was the sense of community there. Everyone was very willing to help other people out. This made the event a great opportunity to network and find ways to enhance one’s career and for business to collaborate. I’m very excited to see how things will evolve in the next 3 years when we all meet for the next event.”
What were your thoughts on the show? Contact our Plastics team to discuss.
Food Safety, Efficiency and Ease of Cleaning a Focus at this Years’ National Restaurant Association Show
May 29, 2018
By Rachel Makoski, Director of Foodservice Equipment and Supplies
With it being the largest event in foodservice each year, it’s no surprise that last week’s National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show broke its record for a fourth year in row with more than 715,000 square feet of space at McCormick Place from May 19-22. If you missed it, the show had more than 65,000 attendees from around the world bringing innovations in foodservice products, equipment, supplies and software to one place.
As it has been in recent years, the focus was on innovation, this year with food safety and sanitation standing out. I talked with start-ups just recently breaking into the space with new concepts, to the most recognizable brands in the industry, all with the same basic idea – innovating to become more user friendly, easy to clean and efficient, and aiming to bring product ideas that disrupt the market.
Below are just a few of the companies that I chatted with at the show.
With their new line called the Elevation Series, Ice-O-Matic has created a more modular unit with the environment and sanitation in mind. The Elevation Series cube ice machines are now easier than ever to clean with snap-in parts that are dishwasher safe. The equipment also offers groundbreaking technology that gives the unit a dual exhaust so that it can adapt to airflow requirements you need without an extra kit.
Mixing delicious samples for attendees, Blentec’s booth was booming with attendees. Last year Blentec took a 2017 Kitchen Innovation award for their Nitro Blending System, improving on sanitation and efficiency and saving on labor.
Always at the forefront of foodservice innovation, Vulcan took a 2018 Kitchen Innovation award for their SonicSafe Ultrasonic Scale Prevention for Steamers which eliminates limescale to prolong the life of steamers. And still gaining attention at the show was their 2017 Kitchen Innovation award-winning Gas Convection Oven, which offers easily removeable, dishwasher-safe doors.
In business for more than 60 years and known for its signature fried chicken programs, Broaster aims to offer an experience, not just products – and that it did at this year’s National Restaurant Association Show. Right at the front of the North Hall, you would’ve thought Broaster was throwing its own party with an extensive and energetic display of their lineups.
Alive & Kickin’ Pizza Crust
The Alive & Kickin’ Pizza Crust booth was hosting lines of attendees waiting for their turn to get a slice of pizza on their variety of crusts. One of their sales reps said they were seeing great responses this year. With a variety of delicious recipes, from Focaccia to Quinoa, Crushed Flax & Honey, Alive & Kickin’ sells into retail, foodservice and deli settings.
What were your thoughts on this year’s NRA show? What innovations did I miss? Reach out to me if you’d like to discuss!
*For more information on our Foodservice practice area, see http://www.directrecruiters.com/food-service-equipment/
In today’s candidate-driven market, every company is competing for top-talent. While in the past, candidates may have been more hesitant to make major job decisions, they are now fast-moving and have their pick of jobs. This makes it extremely important to pay attention to the time taken to complete the hiring process. However, speeding up the process doesn’t mean you have to lower your standards. Here are 4 tips for hiring faster while still ensuring quality during your process:
Write a great job description
Starting off on the right foot and getting ahead in the process starts with a clear and concise job description. It is extremely important to provide details like required competencies, skills, motivations, behaviors, etc. for the job at hand. An accurate description will help you and/or your recruiter pull in relevant candidates faster than having a too vague or too lengthy description.
Streamline your process
How many steps are candidates currently going through in your hiring process? Identify the parts of your process that could be consolidated or eliminated, to save time in your process. For example, instead of asking for references after the position has been offered and waiting to get them, consider references at the time of a final interview. Additionally, be sure to hold hiring managers accountable for making a decision in a timely manner to keep the process from slowing down.
To accelerate your search process, allow job seekers to use video interviewing to provide a more comprehensive profile of themselves beyond the traditional resume. For hiring managers, this is both efficient and collaborative as well as enables them to gain a truer sense of the individual before inviting them to interview in person.
Rely on your recruiter
An outside recruiting firm will have the network and resources in place to find passive candidates and the talent needed for the job. This will save you the time of sorting through countless resumes and setting up the entire process on your own. Recruiters will present you pre-qualified candidates that fit your needs, making the hiring process efficient and effective.
Analyzing your hiring strategy is important to do periodically to continuously improve. Not only will you land in-demand talent by moving quickly, you will also have an edge on your competition.
May 16, 2018
By Norm Volsky, Director of Mobile HIT
Earlier this month I attended ATA in Chicago, the world’s largest telehealth innovation and networking event. With over 4,500 participants at the event, I was able to meet with many leading professionals in the industry. Specifically, I enjoyed meeting with 14 innovative companies to discuss the new and interesting things they’re doing in the healthcare and telehealth industry. Below I have highlighted these companies with an overview of each company and some of the new initiatives they’re taking in the space.
Agile Health: Mobile health engagement vendor creating digital conversations to improve population health and achieve better healthcare outcomes through lasting behavior change. Agile intelligently and seamlessly blends automated and live coaching support to deliver a suite of highly interactive, evidence-based programs with a substantive record of clinical validation and proven results. Agile has an 85% engagement rate, a 25% reduction in total cost of service, a 46% reduction in readmissions at 90 days, and 4.75 of 5 patient satisfaction rate.
Analyte Health: Care enablement platform that helps consumers better own their health. Analyte allows consumer to do lab testing in the comfort of their home and get lab diagnostic information and test results quickly and accurately. Not only is Analyte speeding up the time of diagnosis, the simple and convenient platform encourages consumers to get tested for conditions that they would have put off otherwise.
CareDash: Doctor Review platform that makes it easy for consumers to find, compare and review doctors. CareDash is hell-bent on bringing transparency to the healthcare market and developed a tool to notify patients if their doctor has accepted money from Pharma companies. The peace of mind CareDash provides its users is invaluable to patients who are not sure if they should be on a certain medication. This type of info can help the entire healthcare system fight the opioid epidemic.
CirrusMD: Text first virtual care platform that gives patients instant access to healthcare. Having 4 of the largest 10 health plans in the country as customers, CirrusMD delivers impactful interactions with in-network doctors for millions of patients. 70% of virtual visits require no additional follow-up resulting in major cost savings for the entire healthcare system.
Fitango: Care Management and Patient Engagement vendor helping its customers move towards value-based care. Their HIPAA compliant solution enables all the stakeholders to communicate including: Care Managers, Care Givers, Providers, Network Managers, the Patient and their family. Fitango’s approach is preventative in nature and is geared towards the post-acute setting. Recently the company launched Oncology Pathways which is a precision oncology platform. In addition, Fitango launched an advanced care planning module for end of life situations which helps family members navigate through very difficult decisions.
GlucoMe: Digital Diabetes Care company that simplifies the way patients, caregivers and providers manage diabetes. By combining diabetes monitoring hardware, mobile app solutions and cloud-based computing, which supports their Digital Diabetes Clinic, GlucoMe enables healthcare professionals to continuously monitor their diabetes population. Based in Israel, GlucoMe works with the top HMO’s in Israel. Partnering with Apollo Sugar Clinics allows GlucoMe to potentially help hundreds of thousands of diabetes patients manage their condition in India. Also, a new parternship with Diaman in Latin America is expanding GlucoMe’s global reach. A year ago, industry veteran John Erickson was appointed to be EVP and GM of North America.
Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems: IRIS’ Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnostic solution helps caregivers prevent their patients with diabetes from going blind. Its early-detection screening platform provides an end-to end-solution for primary care including patient identification, diagnosis, reimbursement and referral. This allows its customers to increase access, improve care coordination, reduce costs and achieve HEDIS compliance. The number-one leading cause of blindness in adults is diabetic retinopathy - and 95% of vision loss is preventable with early detection which is the problem IRIS helps to solve. After winning a Microsoft 2017 Health innovation award, IRIS was also featured at the Microsoft Build Conference 2018 this past week for their work on Artificial Intelligence algorithms to enhance the identification and diagnoses process for diabetic blindness.
InTouch Health: Made big news in acquiring Reach Health which was announced at the show. Offering secure, reliable and scalable telehealth, InTouch has 130+ Health System customers at over 1750 locations. They provide over 30+ use cases and were recognized as a category leader for virtual care platforms by KLAS with a score of 90.1 out of 100.
Medici- Created WhatsApp for healthcare with an emphasis on user experience allowing patients to avoid waiting rooms, save time and money and get treated faster. Medici built a business platform for providers to communicate HIPAA compliantly with their patients and “unchain their practice.” The text, phone and video capabilities allow for seamless communication, e-prescribing and referrals. Providers can also bill via the app which caters to patients with high deductible plans. Medici launched in South Africa last year and is looking to expand their international footprint. Veterinarians have started using the Medici app which is an entire new market vertical for the company.
Medsolis: Care Management and Patient Engagement vendor offering a BYOD app that was named a Top 10 Telemed company by CIO Review and won the Most Innovative Care Management Product award from Frost and Sullivan (out of over 50 vendors). With the ability to personalize, automate and humanize, their solution is extremely interactive and loved by patients and care teams. Their ‘My Goals’ module allows a patient or care team to set out goals and the simple and interactive platform allows them to track the patient’s progress on their way to reaching their goals.
Pillsy: Smart pill caps and software system that provide smart reminders for patients to take their prescription medication correctly. By levering Bluetooth (low energy) smart caps for their patient’s pill bottles, Pillsy reduces the cost vs. older generations of smart pill bottles while providing a modern user experience. The software was designed to be super user friendly and simple, resulting in a nearly instantaneous setup when the product is distributed by pharmacy. In addition to selling to consumers, Pillsy also has an enterprise platform that helps organizations manage medication adherence across their patient populations
Trapollo: Enables payers and providers across the United States to have collaborative relationships with their patients/members. With the infrastructure of being a Cox Communication owned company behind them, they can provide their customers unmatched services with their remote patient monitoring program design, management and logistics expertise. Trapollo’s integrated solutions deliver keen insights that help clinicians monitor a patient across the continuum of care inside a patient’s home, helping them manage chronic conditions and comorbidities. Trapollo realizes that their employees might be the only voice a patient hears all day and their goal is to “have an attitude of compassion and love as they help solve any technical issues they might experience while enrolled in a program." Recently Trapollo hired Cox veteran executive Mike Braham to lead the company into explosive growth.
Vivify Health: Remote Patient Monitoring Platform helping move the industry toward value-based care. Helping its patients manage their chronic disease, Vivify is one of the leaders in mobile population health management. In 2017 Vivify was awarded a patent for extending EMR’s with Digital Health. UPMC which is a customer’s of Vivify did a presentation at the show explaining how Vivify has helped them improve patient outcomes in their health system.
Zipnosis- Provides its customer a significant ROI which has been proven to convert 25% of patients from the telemedicine platform to in-person customers with an average spend of $3K per year. The providers that were using the Zipnosis platform met guideline adherence up to 95%. Key customers include: Baylor Scott and White, UCLA Health and Mission Health. In April, Zipnosis added post-surgical care services to its telehealth platform. Zipnosis also partnered with AAFP which gives thousands of family physicians access to their telehealth platform.
ATA was a great event and I was thrilled to meet with these great companies. Please reach out to me if you’d like to discuss your insights from the event or if you’d like to chat about the telehealth industry in general.
May 9, 2018
By Christy Fox, Director of Marketing
Stress in the workplace is extremely common and known to be a big challenge affecting employee engagement in many companies. Not only does stress impact engagement at work, but also productivity and overall health of employees. While a certain level of stress is expected with any job, it is important for you to pick up strategies to reduce stress and create a better working environment for yourself. After all, 1/3 of the average person’s life is spent at work. Everyone handles stress differently, but these six tips will help you lower your stress levels and feel less anxious at work.
Keep a positive mindset. Instead of looking at stress from your own filtered view where you may tend to magnify the negative aspects of situations, blame yourself for conflict, or immediately assume the worst, view stress objectively to help minimize these types of negativity. Practice positive self-talk, and be open to learning from stressful situations instead of letting them bring you down.
Focus on others. Volunteering, lending a helping hand, or even complimenting others is proven to increase happiness. Positive actions towards others at work such as showing gratitude for help, giving compliments on a job well done, or mentoring can minimize negative impacts on your mental health.
Set yourself up for small wins. Oftentimes professionals find themselves buried with countless projects and it feels like the workload is too much. When the stress of work overload gets to you, try to find a small task or challenge that you can solve quickly and easily. This small success can act as a positive jump start to your day and get your mind ready to take on bigger challenges.
Take small breaks. When you are facing a stressful day at work, stop and take a couple of deep breaths to reset yourself. Other helpful tactics include a quick walk around the building, meditation, or mid-day yoga to help refresh your brain and lower stress levels.
Create a schedule. Poor time management often leads to stress at work. Plan your time wisely and structure your day to ensure that you’re prioritizing the right tasks and staying on top of deadlines. It is also important to eliminate as many interruptions as possible. This will help you relax knowing that you are completing your work in a timely manner.
Exercise, eat healthily and get plenty of sleep. These basics contribute to your stress levels and have a huge impact on your overall health. It is crucial to get some type of exercise during the week or every day if possible. Stress has a tendency to make us turn to unhealthy foods that can elevate blood pressure, raise cholesterol levels and more. It is important to choose healthy foods including plenty of fruits and vegetables with the right nutrients to boost your immune system and make you feel better in general. Lastly, reducing stress depends, in large part, to how much sleep you get. Make sure to get an adequate amount of rest each night to perform at your best during your workday.
We all deal with some type of stress at work. Take the necessary steps to positively impact your mental health and create a better work environment for yourself. What actions do you take to reduce your workplace stress levels?
The quickest way to eliminate yourself from a job process is by having mistakes on your resume. Beyond the obvious grammatical and spelling mistakes to avoid, there are 5 other BIG mistakes to be aware of and stay away from:
1) Not including keywords that match the job. Your resume must show that you are qualified for the job so include keywords on your resume to refer to the specific position. You have very little time to grab a hiring manager’s attention so don’t send a generic resume. You will be lost in the pile.
2) Focusing on the wrong thing. Candidates often explain their responsibilities but forget to include results. Set yourself apart from the pack by highlighting specific accomplishments. The more quantitative, the better. In fact, numbers and metrics speak louder than words.
3) Being too modest. Don’t forget to include any awards or recognition you’ve received such as “President’s Club Member” for being over quota by 25%. Also, include any community service awards you received. Hiring managers look favorably upon people who not only work hard at the office but make a difference in the community as well.
4) Leaving unanswered red flags. Candidates usually wait until the first interview before addressing any gaps that may be on their resume, but this can prove to be a mistake. Most candidates won’t make it to a first interview if the issues are not explained on their resume, cover letter or even LinkedIn profile. So if you moved around a lot in your career, it would be to your benefit to explain the reasons for your movement.
5) Writing too much. When writing your resume be as succinct and concise as possible. Keep your resume to 1 or 2 pages max. Bullet points and short paragraphs enhance readability. Limit your resume to the last 10 - 15 years of work experience. You don't need to include everything you ever did.
Ashley Gannon, Executive Recruiter for Plastics and Flexible Packaging recently had the opportunity to interview Steve Eglowstein, Director of Sales at IPL Plastics. Mr. Eglowstein shared helpful insights regarding the plastics packaging industry, innovation, and leadership.
Please tell us about yourself and your company, IPL Plastics.
I have had over 15 years of Plastic Packaging experience, most of which have been in the manufacturing of rigid plastic containers. I have had roles from producing in sales to leadership. Currently, my title is Director of Sales and I lead Sales Reps from the Southeast, out to the Gulf Coast and the entire West Coast throughout that division. IPL Plastics is now the third largest manufacturer of rigid plastic containers in North America. IPL is comprised of 4 business units -The bulk division which is all plastic containers from 0.5 up to 6 gallons in rounds, squares, rectangles and various shapes and styles, a retail division, which is the smaller type of plastic containers that are synonymous with yogurt and sour cream and products you see mostly in the retail sector, a material handling division which is primarily storage handling containers, and an environmental division which are roll-out trash cans.
What led you to pursue the Plastics/Packaging industry in your career?
I think what really caught my attention in the Plastics/Packaging industry was the opportunity to work within an industry that is always growing and changing. Whether it is in food, chemical, or industrial, types of packaging are always changing. There are many initiatives that have been ongoing in the OEM to retail markets. The innovation and constant change is very present in Plastics Packaging, and finding a company that was open and invested in innovation allows you to get to the right customers for the right reasons.
IPL has a culture of innovation and commitment. How do you encourage innovation on the teams you lead?
It starts with a company like IPL who provides best in class product and service. Having these key components allows your team to collaborate with customers and truly provide solutions and the ability to differentiate yourselves from the competition. We, at IPL, encourage our teams and our sales folks to constantly think outside the box. We hire creative minds who are constantly looking to provide solutions, options or variations to the way that you’re doing things. Hiring people that have that mindset and then having a best in class company, best in class product, and having a team internally that welcomes that, drives innovation and people take to it. Each opportunity in our company is worth exploring and if it makes sense we will do it. We are probably more flexible than most of our competitors, so for that reason it creates an environment in itself that promotes innovation, thinking outside the box and coming up with new ideas.
What trends do you expect to see in the Plastics/Packaging industry in the next 5 years?
Source reduction is definitely a key proponent, not only from an environmental standpoint, but also reduction in costs. In addition, state of the art decoration has become more accessible to medium and small customers. IML or in mold labeling is something 10 years ago only large brand owners could afford to do. Through technology advancements, it’s not just for the companies who have a huge wallet, now some of the medium and smaller accounts can use state of the art decoration. I think you will see more and more of that. Being able to do shorter runs with decoration will be more available in the next 5 years, so driving out material, driving out costs, and using types of decoration in an economical way are trends I see. Lastly, innovation is not going to stop. Coming up with the best and newest mouse trap is an ongoing topic that has no finish line.
What traits do you believe are necessary in leadership?
The first is being able to hire the right people. One of the reasons we work with DRI is they give us the ability to hire the right people, by putting the right people in front of us. Additionally, being able to have access as a leader, keeping your ear to the ground and finding talent that can add value to the team is important. I think that once you’ve got the right people on board then it becomes leading by example. My job, in essence, is to remove obstacles and do everything in my power to help that person succeed whether in metrics, goals, and dollars; that’s my mantra. My job is to stand behind someone and help them move the pile and help them succeed in closing business, and achieving their personal and professional goals. We provide all the training and guidance but once you hire the right people and give them the right tools, leaders should be asking, ‘how can I help you?’ It’s not about who works for you, it’s more or less becoming teammates and partners and creating collaborative relationships.
Describe the approach you take to attracting and retaining high impact talent at IPL Plastics.
I think one of the assets that IPL’s culture has is having a collaborative and entrepreneurial type spirit. Some of our best in class competitors are very set in their ways. Having a leadership team that is open to new ideas, and wants to collaborate with their teammates seems very well received with the people that we talk to. It seems to be the culture people want to be around instead of the less flexible environment. There’s nobody at IPL that puts themselves above anybody else. We all consider ourselves partners, coworkers and we all work together for a common goal so people feel apart of the process and that’s how you get a better buy in.
What or who has motivated and influenced you to be successful in your career? Have you been involved in mentorship throughout your career, whether being mentored or mentoring others?
I have been very fortunate to have worked with and for people I would consider mentors. I have been given the opportunities to go through formal training and worked with good mentors who have taught me great skills in sales and leadership. These people have enabled me to pick up some great habits and great skillsets. As for mentoring others, part of my job is to mentor the people who report to me to certain degrees, helping them provide solutions and recommending how to handle different situations. Some people are just as experienced as I am, so the last thing I want to do is to tell them how to do their job. My job is to find out what can I do, how can I help, and how can I remove obstacles. For those with less experience that come across a situation they need help with, we will sit down, brainstorm, and look at our options to figure out the best way to handle it – that is one way I can provide some mentorship.
What is the biggest challenge facing the industry right now?
Top manufacturers need to have the ability to be flexible to meet and exceed customer expectations. There are folks that are much larger or much smaller that are very ingratiated in standard operating procedures IE, “that’s how it’s got to be done”, but business climate has changed over years. There are spikes and valleys in businesses and there are different senses of urgency and needs so the biggest challenge in the industry is being that company that not always says yes, but has the flexibility and open-mindedness to look at ways to help customers meet and exceed their expectations.
What do you think is necessary to be a successful salesperson in your industry?
There are a lot of people in our industry from the sales standpoint that are used to doing things the same way that everybody else has done it for some period of time and I don’t believe that necessarily holds true anymore. Customers in the industry have evolved. The average customer is more astute as to entertaining a new vendor coming in, listening to the questions they ask and the way they conduct themselves, and they’re saying to themselves, “Is this someone I can look at as a partner? Do they have our best interest at hand? Are they bringing new ideas to the table?” This is a different mindset than just trying to speak to customers to sell your product or service. Salespeople need to enable themselves to get in front of customers and ask them a lot of questions, find out what they’re doing, how they’re doing it, where they want help, and then providing solutions, suggestions or options. When you do that, then you become an extension with a company and you are viewed as a partner with your customer. I think that’s very important and the industry needs it.