Author Archives: Alex Greenwood

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AGPR is proud to be a charter member of Unified Strategies Public Relations™, an international network of public relations and marketing communications professionals, born out of a strong desire to provide clients with cost-effective solutions for all their communications needs.

USPR smaller round logoUSPR is dedicated to providing you with the best possible Public Relations services in every major market throughout North America and Canada, and offer access to all traditional and social media platforms, locally and internationally.

USPR is grounded in integrity – the very cornerstone of our existence. With more than 50 years combined service in Public Relations, founders Susan Hamburg and Bob Schiers have a track record of award-winning excellence that is second to none.  Whether it’s counseling the CEO of a major corporation or working with frontline retail clerks, Bob and Susan take the same approach in providing honest, workable public relations solutions to organizations of every size.

No long-term contracts. No vetting agencies in multiple markets. No multiple agency invoicing. No hassles; just great service and outstanding results.

Member agencies of USPR, a women-owned business, represent some of the most talented, creative and progressive Public Relations firms worldwide. Whether you are looking for support for a local initiative or a nationwide opportunity, USPR provides you with turnkey PR solutions for all your needs. Do you have a single store grand opening? We’ve got you covered. Rebranding an entire regional or national store chain? We’ve got you covered. Need help launching a new product or service in one market or throughout North America? We’ve got you covered.

AGPR, like each member, is an independent agency that works closely with fellow agencies to provide local expertise and nationwide coverage for all your public relations needs.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 4.10.31 PMAt less than half the cost of most national Public Relations firms, USPR provides your business with flexibility; local, regional, national and international expertise; and senior-level counsel for virtually all of our services.

Make the most of your communication dollars by connecting with USPR – the PR network built on integrity, trust and results. 

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“Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re about developing relationships for our clients that increase their opportunities for success.

Let us know how we can make this happen for your business.

Tom Mulligan: I Applied for a Job and They Made Me Take a Test

Guest column from our friend Tom Mulligan of Sandler Training by Coffman Group.

I applied for a job and they made me take a test.

I passed it, I think…

Lots of people apply to jobs everyday. Many–if not most–find themselves taking some type of personality profile test or questionnaire. In trying to pass the test, many fail.

What’s going on? Personality profiles cannot be passed. Nor can they be failed. But they can have that effect on getting the job.

Think of the time you applied for a job you really wanted. You got dressed in your best clothes, made sure your resume and references were in the best shape they can be, got yourself on your best behavior and proceeded to psyche yourself up for the win. You sparkled.

Tom Mulligan

Tom Mulligan

That’s where it started to go wrong.

When we meet people who are interviewing us for a job, the first thing we recognize is that they have a job in the company we are applying for. They are the type of people who have “won”. Since we are doing our best, thinking on our feet and conquering the moment, we may use this as a model for how to get an edge. In doing our best, we are hurting our chances.

First mistake.

Many HR people and hiring managers consider DISC one of the leading methodologies for profiling. Like all others, the intent is not just to find out about you but to make a judgment about how the job matches you. Certified DISC profilers can detect attempts to “push” the results. Some is expected. Lot’s of “push” is a disqualifier.

Second mistake.

Unless you are applying for a job as a hiring manager, you may be mirroring the wrong behavior. It may seem incredible, but you may be disqualifying yourself.

Last (and worst) mistake.

It might work. You’ll get the job and in short order find yourself miserable. So you look for another on

e, and then another. Each time your sparkle fades. You have become a job hopper.

Ask yourself: where is your posture in an interview? Are you convinced that you are right for the job? If so, have the courage to relax. Let the profile help you by allowing it to work.

You just might sparkle enough as it is.

Tom Mulligan brings to the Coffman Group a record of uninterrupted success in sales and sales training.  He is an award winning performer at the fortune 500 level and has helped thousands of small businesses achieve their goals. He understands business owners because he is one. He is known for his unrelenting enthusiasm and energy making him highly sought after to coach organizations looking for immediate improvement. When you are ready for real results, call on Tom and the Coffman Group at (913) 488-3766. You and your business deserve the best. 

Coming Soon: Our New Look

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Greenwood

 

 

Hello Friends,

Hard to believe we started this enterprise more than 6 years ago and have not updated the website much since. The old saying about the cobbler’s children comes to mind.

Anyway, suffice to say we aren’t just changing the website for the sake of making changes. AGPR is actively looking at ways to refine our service offerings to better serve existing clients. We are also working to make certain prospective clients understand the myriad ways we can help them achieve their goals.

We’ll be working on the new look starting right about…now…and will have everything up and running by the end of June–barring anything unexpected.

Until then, please continue to check out our blog.

Of course, if you’re looking for a Kansas City-based public relations, social media and marketing consulting firm with a national reach, look no further.

Also, if you want daily info, tips, updates and occasional silliness, we are on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and yes, I am frequently Tweeting it up.

Thanks for your continued support. Talk soon…

Alex Greenwood

Principal

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Is A Rotten Job Interview Bad PR for a Company?

Many companies lagging when it comes to ‘manners’ of the hiring process.

After three months of hit-or-miss interviews, Sharon* was thrilled to be considered for a high-profile position at a local non-profit organization that enjoyed deep community support.  She prepped for the interview by researching the organization and formulating scenarios of ways she would add value if hired.

Sharon arrived fifteen minutes ahead of her interview and was asked by a harried-looking staffer to have a seat and that they would be with her shortly. “Shortly” turned into fiftee12549044-what-was-your-worst-job-interview-2n minutes past her scheduled appointment time; then thirty minutes more, then an hour. Staff passed by as she sat in the reception area, but no one checked on her, offered an explanation or said a word.

“It was only after about eighty minutes that the marketing director came out and said they were running late,” Sharon said. “No apology, really. Just ‘we are running late and you are to continue to wait.'” Finally, fifteen minutes after that exchange, Sharon was asked to join the hiring team for the interview. After twenty minutes of pro forma questioning, she was thanked for her time and excused.

“They called me two weeks later and asked if I would come in for a second interview. I still didn’t have a job, but I was so turned off by the experience I declined. I thought if they were that poor at managing a job interview, why would I want to work there? No matter what their public image, who knows what kind of a mess that place is?”

Oh Nice, They Sent Me A Postcard

“One of my favorites was a cattle call interview a few years ago,” said Brad*, a respected product manger and designer. “I sat in a room with about fifty other applicants, filling out all the application information that my resume already contained.”

The last item in the stack of documents was a pre-printed rejection postcard. The candidates were told to fill in their home address on the front. Brad waited, had his interview and three days later received the rejection postcard he had addressed.

“It was efficient, but not the most professional method the company could have chosen,” he said. “Had that happened today, you know I would have posted their postcard on social media.”

Are Bad Interviews Bad PR?

The jobs report released in March 2016 showed a gain of 242,000 jobs in February and an unemployment rate maintaining at 4.9 percent. While not incredible, it’s mostly good news–the economy is on the move and there are jobs to be had. Though it’s doubtful many are saying it’s an “employee’s job market,” it does indicate there is a need for qualified workers.

That said, are employers forgetting that a job interview is a two-way street, especially in the era of social media as Brad suggested? Are interviewing processes creating a bad PR feedback loop among applicants? Is conducting a bad job interview a real danger to the public image of a company?

“We advise our clients every day on ways to avoid damaging their brand,” said Alex Greenwood, principal of AGPR Public Relations of Kansas City. “We think that kind of strategy should not only be employed in a company’s public facing actions but in its internal hiring activities, also. Remember, especially in the age of social media and Glassdoor.com, employers are being evaluated every bit as much as job candidates.”

Sure, we’ve all heard of weird job interview stories–people showing up and eating a sandwich during an interview, pouring the entire candy dish in their pocket, admitting they want to steal, etc. But what if the company was the party at fault in bad interview?

“Companies know that filling a job vacancy is never easy, but many busy hiring and HR managers often are their own worst enemy,” said Stephanie Guin, MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP of The Guin Group, a Kansas City-based human capital consulting firm.

“With the job market changing from one where the employer held all the cards to that where the employee does, unfortunately some companies and their hiring staff–be it HR or the hiring manager–are lagging when it comes to ‘manners’ of the hiring process. An interview is, in essence, a date of sorts between both parties. Companies often forget this. Both parties deserve the same level of respect,” Guin added.

Wrap it Up

“One senior interviewer made it obvious that he was through with me when he looked at his watch and mouthed the words, ‘It’s ten,’ to the HR rep in the room with us,” said James*, a manager. “I was in the middle of an answer to one of his questions but it was clear he wasn’t listening anymore. This hour-long slot for our interview was finished and he was off the clock. He put his pen down, stopped writing notes, abandoned eye contact and crossed his arms.”

“When I paused, he looked over at the HR rep once more and said, ‘I think we have everything we need.’ He made that finger-spinning gesture that off-camera directors do on morning talk shows. It said, ‘Wrap it up.’ I was ushered out of the room with a quick shake of my hand from the stunned HR rep. It was a thanks-but-no-thanks attitude and I was relieved to never hear from them again.”

Even when a candidate gets a job, they always remember a poorly executed interview. Roger* had an appointment which started late because the interviewer was late from lunch.

“He left me waiting for at least twenty minutes beyond my scheduled time. His TV had March Madness playing, and he kept looking over my shoulder at the tube. I don’t think he ever really made eye contact. He barely glanced at my resume. We talked for five, maybe ten minutes and that was that. I did get the job, but I never really bonded with that guy.”

Dallas-based career coach and author Tami Cannizzaro has seen this often in her work with candidates.

“Nothing says ‘I’m not interested’ more to a job candidate than a hiring manager who arrives to the interview late with a deer-in-the-headlights look, totally unprepared to ask questions,” she said. “Even worse is when they rush through the interview to make it to another meeting. Yet I hear this often from clients as we debrief from their interview. My clients are ready for the interview: they have questions to ask; they have researched the company; they are dressed appropriately, with copies of resumes and business cards. Why are the hiring managers not prepared?”

Advice for Hiring Managers

“Companies should consider training all hiring managers in how to conduct a good interview. Just as they expect candidates to be on time and prepared, the company should hold hiring managers accountable as well.”

Ultimately, candidates walk away from bad interviews feeling insulted, dejected–even depressed, especially if they have been out of work and are becoming desperate for an opportunity.

“Bad interviews stick with candidates for a very long time. I work with many clients at all levels looking to change careers or advance. I have heard horror stories from several. A bad experience where a candidate feels like they were not treated with at least basic human decency can have ramifications on his or her psyche,” Guin said.

Simon* reported a situation from ten years ago, where he was pretty sure he was a placeholder candidate. The interviewers were going through the motions because they had to, and they didn’t care he knew it.

“I’ll never forget an interview I had for a position with a university. The hiring committee was a vice president who answered directly to the president of the university; the other two answered directly to her. When I arrived, I was asked to sit. From there, I watched for twenty minutes as the trio sat before me, finishing their lunches, laughing and gossiping.

“When the interview finally began, they each asked me a fairly benign question with no follow-ups and sent me away. I never received a letter or message stating I was rejected. I had to call several times to get an answer. I can tell you, had social media been an option at that time, I would have been sorely tempted to let the world know what unprofessional clowns they are.”

Flash forward to today: what if a job candidate is treated poorly in an interview and decides to take it to the Internet. Would it matter? Would that person merely look foolish–a case of sour grapes–or could it do damage to a brand if the world knew they kept job candidates waiting 90 minutes, or had them fill out their own rejection card, or treated them as something less than human?

Perhaps the mere fact that someone is looking for work precludes them from exacting revenge on social media, and employers know it. But is it worth the risk?

“Besides doing the decent thing, it ultimately pays dividends for a company’s image,” Greenwood said. “People may not be thrilled if they don’t get a job, but they will remember they were treated with respect in an interview.”

HR expert Guin has a final word for companies about examining their hiring practices.

“Much time has been spent on training and coaching applicants how to be respectful and land a good job, but many organizations are not showing applicants the same courtesy.  As a result, many applicants do not show back up for second interviews, will decline job offers, or will in general badmouth the firm that they had the encounter with.”

“All of this spells disaster to the company who was trying to fill a position,” she said. “And, if the applicant does end up taking the position, what kind of expectations has the company set regarding respectfulness and even time management in general? The whole thing just leaves a bad taste in the potential employee’s mouth. Not good.”

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Stephanie Guin’s Interview Tips for Hiring Managers

During an Interview:

  • Be on time!
  • Make sure your office is in order.
  • There should be no interruptions during an interview. Place your phone(s) on do not disturb or vibrate if possible
  • Smile. Help the candidate feel relaxed. (A relaxed candidate will provide more information than an intimidated one!)
  • Outline the interview.
  • Seek contrary evidence.
  • Keep an open mind.
  • Be attentive & listen.
  • Ask open-ended questions.
  • Share the essential functions of the job with the candidate.
  • Let the candidate do most of the talking. (80/ 20 Rule: They talk 80% of the time, you talk 20%.)
  • Observe body language.
  • Don’t be too quick to judge.
  • Probe incomplete answers.
  • Keep reactions to yourself.
  • Silence is OK. (Let the candidate formulate thoughtful answers.)
  • Determine the candidate’s interest.
  • Maintain control.(Don’t allow the candidate to digress or avoid questions.)
  • Do not tell the candidate too much about your needs until the end of the interview.
  • Remember to take good notes because you will forget 80% of what you learn in one hour.
  • Close the interview on a positive note.
  • Thank the candidate for his/ her time and explain how and when you will communicate with him/ her again.
  • Remember that every candidate may be a potential customer!

After the Interview:

  • Review notes.
  • Write additional notes as needed.

Please note: Names marked with an * have been changed to protect the anonymity of the commenter.

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