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Do you Like Loud and Conceited, Over Calm and Understated?

iStock_000000652065_SmallA recent Harvard Business Review article suggests that we don’t know the difference between confidence and competence. Ignoring the gender argument, is there something to be said for this claim? According to the article, common traits associated with leadership are synonymous with those found in personality disorders, such as narcissism and psychopathy personalities.

Is it a male vs. female thing? Is the article suggesting that women should be more psychotic, or celebrate their normalcy in order to become more successful? Perhaps more fascinating to us all, is the thought of why we are so attracted to loud, rude, headstrong, and oftentimes abrasive personalities. Female or male, we really do tend to back the bully and belittle the calm and collected types, as they attempt their rise as leaders.

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Small Business Management Tips from Marilyn Weinstein, Vivo CEO

dba-small-business-show-logo-300x273Marilyn Weinstein, founder and CEO of Vivo, says “When you’re the owner, you don’t have the confidence that somebody else’s money gives you.” One trick is building a small business management team so that you’re the “other person” with the money, and delegating those decisions to someone else. Having a partner can mitigate that from day one, so long as you start your partnership correctly.

Listen to Marilyn’s lessons and anecdotes on all of this … and more!

Harpreet Singh
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Did Your Internet Persona Walk In the Door Before You Interviewed?

unnamedMuch has been said on this topic, but it bears repeating: prospective employers with even the slightest interest in hiring you will have looked you up online – sometimes even before your first in-person interview. Many candidates first begin thinking of this and covering their Internet tracks – so to speak – when their active employment search begins. But, did you know that it might be too late?

The online search, to which I am referring here, may be something as simple as:  Entering one’s name into any generic search engine, and simply sifting through the yielded search results.

In a perfect world, the yielded search results should only showcase the candidate’s positive attributes.  Everyone by now, is aware that scandalous posts from a misspent weekend in the Sin City or bad-mouthing a previous employer could leave a negative impression of you and may even cost you the job.  And again, many candidates feel like they are covered if they have remembered to set all social media settings to “private” or “friends only”. But, in today’s overly connected world it is growing increasingly difficult for people to keep track of all of their connections, and remember everyone they’ve friended/followed/allowed to follow/etc.

So what should you do? Go Page One Positive!

I am by no mean’s suggesting that one should be a ghost.  But, why not make your first search results your best.  Studies show that people rarely go past the first page when Googling. Most admit to accepting the first few results they uncover, and moving on.  So, instead of only remembering the “social” aspect of social media when posting, spend time building a professional profile. Make sure that when someone Googles your name, they see your employable qualities on page one.

How to have your hireable persona show up on page one:

  • Show off!
    • Build a website that showcases your professional skills and interests.
    • Share relevant business content on LinkedIn
    • Blog your impressive (read: relevant) opinions
    • Tweet your impressive (read: relevant) opinions
  • Respect others with similar career interests.
    • Like relevant content on LinkedIn
    • Retweet others’ impressive blogs
    • Link back to others’ blogs on your website
    • Participate in networking groups, online discussions, etc. (Carefully!)
  • Ensure that all public images are professional
    • Have a great, clear, and professional LinkedIn profile picture
    • Consider that most default profile pictures are set to “public”, so keep yours neutral at worst, professional at best.

Other things to keep in mind:
For some employers, a social media presence or an Internet footprint of an employee is a must – not having any online presence leads some employers to believe that the candidate may be hiding something.

Remember that not everyone uses a search engine. Many employers will go straight to the source, and more than likely look up potential candidates on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, so that they can get a indication of the candidate as a person.

No matter what platform you choose to expose your personal skills/interests, keep in mind…
1. Do not post anything that you would not want a future employer seeing. You’re working for a super “cool” company now, but when times change, is anything you’re saying online likely to be a deal-breaker for a future workgroup?

2. DO NOT and I repeat once again, DO NOT depend on your Facebook privacy settings since they are constantly changing. Also, today’s friend can be tomorrow’s future employer’s sister. Do you know all of your friends’ friends?

3. Remove or un-tag yourself from anything that could be seen by an employer as unprofessional. Enjoy the moment. Laugh with your pals. Then, untag.

4. Have a heyday sharing/posting/tweeting content which highlights your accomplishments and qualifications in a positive way!

If you like my blog, feel free to share it. Of course, only after you google me and tell me what you learned!

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A New Spin on Sexism in the (Tech) Workforce

This article certainly caught my attention. I can admit that I’d never really thought about these subtle differences in communication styles, and how they may be impacting career movement and growth.

I have noticed that women resist words they consider “bragging”, and are (usually) less comfortable embellishing on their achievements.  But, I can now say that I will make a concerted effort to look for what this article calls more “feminine” adjectives, like “nurturing” and “supportive”.  I’m not entirely sure that I have seen either on someone’s resume, but will report back, if I do.

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Top 3 Mistakes When Hiring an IT Consultant

We all make mistakes. I know I do. What matters is how we learn from them. Often I hear clients say that they are struggling to get the most out of a new consultant. Without the right approach, hiring consultants can be complicated. When troubleshooting consultant issues, quite often I see the same issues crop up. Many of these issues transcend companies and most of them could be remedied by a change in perspective.

1. Consultants are people too!
The biggest mistake hiring managers make is a lack of empathy, so to speak. More times than not a consultant is thought of as an object; a tool used in the execution of a project. They are there for a reason and you have taken the time to interview them for the job. You have assessed their skills and expertise that you need but once on boarded communication comes to a halt.

My suggestion: Treat them like one of the team and get better results.

2. Consultants are as welcomed as a skunk at a lawn party.
All those things that happen when a person joins the team, not so for a consultant. Understand that the consultant will not be going through an orientation process that covers everything from “access permissions” to scanning. These tasks may seem insignificant but when amassed, it may actually be cutting into your consultant’s ability to be efficient.

My suggestion: As a manager/supervisor, think through and arrange for equipment, provide any special instructions, and give them all the tools they need to succeed.

3. Expectations: establish them.
This sounds simple, but more times than not the interview was not enough for your consultant to fully understand the job. Setting expectations first requires planning and communication skills. The more time you invest on the front end, the more effective your consultant will be in operation mode.

My suggestion: Take the time to set clear expectations and to make sure that they are understood.

In summary, really, it all comes down to taking a little time in advance to set your consultants up for success. That time will pay off with a positive and productive engagement.

For more quick tips follow me/Vivo on LinkedIn. 


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Posture Counts!

Don’t slouch! You’ve heard it a thousand times (usually said by your own mother!). But, did you know it could be costing you your next job? We are often surprised when a really great candidate or former consultant fails his or her interview. But, the real heartbreak comes in when our clients tell us “it was her posture.”


Good posture in an Interview? Really?  But, why?

Yes, really. How you sit in an interview tells almost as much about you as the answers you give. Your posture shows whether you are interested and engaged in the conversation. It shows a command of the room.  It can show your comfort level or insecurity.  Lastly, posture can also indicate how you see yourself compared to others from a respect level.


What is proper interview posture?

All too often, a candidate tells us, “I’m highly interested”, but during the interview, his body language told a different story. But, believe it or not, it may be as simple as sitting up straight.  Proper posture includes sitting up, not leaning back or slouching – and hands placed on table in front of you. If you have a notebook, pad, or other note-taking apparatus, these should be placed in front of  you.  Sitting up erect gives the impression of interest and engagement. It’s also easier to make eye contact and to look around at multiple interviewers without first needing to rearrange your body to accomplish this.


What’s wrong with slouching?

When clients complain about posture, it’s usually more severe than simply leaning back in one’s chair a little. The sloucher or slumper looks like he has either taken the interview too casually – a posture you’d use to sit on your couch with friends, for example – or like he is bored or “over” this. Some hiring managers complain that it seems disrespectful as well.   At a minimum, it looks “tired”. Most hiring managers are hiring because they have a lot of work.  They are looking for people with the energy to complete this work – and the stamina to complete it all. A tired-appearing, slouching candidate will have a harder time convincing everyone she’s really got the requisite energy level – after all, she’s having trouble even sitting up, right?

Lastly, secure confident people have good posture. It shows a command of the room, and an ability to hold your head high. By comparison, insecure people slouch. They make themselves smaller. They shrink.  Or, at least that’s the impression they give. The words that proclaim confidence are less likely to believed by your interviewers when coming from a slouching candidate.


So, sit up straight!

Listen, we’re not going to tell you your mother was right about everything. We all swim within 20 minutes of eating, and figured out that our eyes did not “stay that way”, despite our mother’s warning. But,  in this case, it seems like she was on to something. Don’t let your posture keep you from your next opportunity. Shoulders back, feet on ground. Sit up straight, and ace

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The Mastermind Behind Vivo’s Exceptional Customer Support

What do Vivo and great customer service have in common? I know the answer and she’s called Jamie. When you start a new job through Vivo, Jamie makes sure you’re settled, acclimated, and happy. She turns frowns upside down and bans them from appearing ever again. She’ll even feed you and treat you out to lunch! We sat down with Jamie to learn the secret to her success.

Name: Jamie Reifenberg

How long have you been with Vivo?
2 years!

What’s your official title?
Engagement Manager.

But what do you really do?
Consultant relationship management… this means strengthening trust between Vivo and consultants; providing fast problem resolution to contracting issues such as on-boarding, time entry and conversion; and much, much more.

What other hats do you wear?
VMS management coordinator. I’m also a master spy! I get leads that enable Vivo to figure out where to focus its business development activities.

What’s your hidden talent/skill? Anything about your background that our clients and consultants may not know?
I used to be an elementary school teacher. I’m also a karaoke queen, a pretty darn good cook, and I bake awesome chocolate coconut brownies. Ask the recruiters!

Poking fun at ridiculous interview questions, if you could be any animal on top of a moving train, what is your favorite coffee?Kona coffee blend. No fancy Starbucks coffee for me.

I say Vivo, you say….?
YEAH! : )

What’s your number one interview/resume/presentation tip?
Be clear and concise. Just get rid of the nonsense.

Harpreet Singh
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10-second Resume Review

As recruiters, we review countless resumes on a daily basis.  On any given day, the average corporate or agency recruiter reviews 100 to 200 resumes. This means, on average 5-10 seconds per resume is spent making the decision whether a candidate is  worth contacting for open positions.
So, here are a few things that we look for in a resume when making the decision about whether or not the resume represents a viable candidate: 
1.  Presentation:  spelling and grammar
2.  Qualification:  education/relevant skills
3.  Measurable accomplishments
4.  Employment history:  Gaps in employment
5.  Consistency:  Resume vs. LinkedIn
6.  Increasing/decreasing responsibility
7.  Short term employment
8.  Multiple career shifts
We all know that our candidates are more interesting and their backgrounds more relevant than that which can be represented on their resumes alone. But, with a 5-10 second review time, do yourself a favor and work out the kinks in your resume, so that you’re essentially making yourself more marketable. Stand out quickly, but for the right reasons!
Harpreet Singh
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Job Security in a Post-recession World!

Are you only looking for a permanent role or are you willing to entertain consulting roles, as well?

As a response, some candidates will state that they are looking for “perm roles” only – due to job security.  While others are serial consultants and only looking for consulting roles.  In a pre-recession world, selecting the perm role over the consulting role would have been a no-brainer due to job security.  However, we now live in a world where, in my opinion, there is no such thing as a permanent job and being a consultant may actually provide greater job security overall.

In the post-recession world, permanent employees can and have been laid off with little to no notice – making their permanent role anything but.  The general public has a skewed perception about being a consultant (temporary employee) and view it as to being high risk.  However, being a consultant (contractor) may actually provide less of a risk to the individual, in that contracting roles have a start date (‘start of contract’) and a pre-established end date (‘end of contract’).   With this knowledge comes the ability to plan. So, knowing the end date means that the consultant can start looking for other opportunities as their contract term nears.  In reality, they can start as soon as they can see their projects come to an end – products put into production, “go live” dates met, post-go-live testing, etc. The signs that a contract is coming to an end are many, and the consultant is rarely – if ever – caught by surprise. This is in stark contrast to a permanent employee who is caught off guard when the company does layoffs.

Some consultants try to find roles on their own at the end of an engagement, while others will reach out to recruiting firms to find them their next gig.  The beauty of working with a consulting company like Vivo is that we are well connected and if you have worked with us in the past we are able to vouch for you and get you in front of other clients within our network.


So, if risk alone has kept you from the contracting world – though the money and freedom are calling your name – you may want to think again.  Perhaps that contract position you’ve been turning down would provide you more security than that “permanent” role, after all.

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BOLD LETTERING: Do’s and Don’ts


When it comes to composing your resume, a lot of guidelines are out there. There are different styles, formats, titles used, dates needed, etc.  But one thing that is never truly defined is when to make words bold and when not to. There are two rules to follow that will help your resume look more professional when it is submitted to a possible employer.

  1. DO bold your name, contact information and the headings sections on your resume (e.g., education, employment history, awards, certifications, etc.)
  2. DON’T bold words throughout your resume that relate to the skillset needed for a certain position for which you are applying.

Following these two basic rules makes your resume clean and easy to read. It also encourages the person reviewing your resume to look more closely at your accomplishments and the details of your past employment. When someone is reviewing you for a job opening, the way your resume looks can make it or break it for you. Don’t automatically get rejected by being “bold” and standing out in all the wrong ways.