Thursday, December 15, 2011

What not to do at a Holiday Work Party

1) List All The Ways You Hate Your Job
Do prepare an elevator pitch. Do not detail everything that's wrong with the company.
2) Show Too Much Skin
Do try to look nice. Do not mistake vulgar for sexy.
3) Get Sloppy Drunk
Do relax and have fun. Do not drink more than you can handle.
4) Make A Rambling, Incoherent Toast
Do make a toast to up your visibility. Do not ramble on and bore or offend those gathered.
5) Bring An Ill-Advised Date
Do bring your partner, if invited. Do not bring someone you don't trust to be professional.
6) Get Grabby On The Dance Floor
Do let your hair down. Do not make any outrageous displays on the dance floor.
7) Start A Fight
Do mingle. Do not throw any punches.
8) Do Your Comedy Routine
Do lighten the mood with calculated humor. Do not go into your late-night comedy routine.
9) Ask The Big Boss What they 'Really' Does All Day
Do introduce yourself to your boss's boss. Do not ask too-personal, critical or rude questions.
10) Be Creepy And Suggestive
Do try to network with those you don't often work with. Do not flirt, hit on or suggestively touch anyone.

Copied from Forbes Magazine.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I blew it!

Is there a worse feeling than leaving an interview knowing that you blew it? Especially in today’s economy, where good job opportunities seem to be running scarce.

Majority of the time, the interviewee will look back at a critical mistake as something they said to the interviewer, which could be true. The principal issue in many interviews is almost as basic as brushing your teeth: Candidates ignore how they are conveying themselves non-verbally. One wrong cue could stick out to an employer and ultimately have you cut from the hiring process. Follow these do’s and Don’ts before your next interview and you might leave with a job offer.

• Rub or touch your nose. Not only is it grotesque, many bosses have been trained that this is a lying technique.
• Slouch back in your seat. It seems like an obvious one, but if you are flowing with good verbal answers, sometimes your body gets too relaxed.
• Cross your legs and shake your foot. It shows that you are nervous and uncomfortable.
• Sit with your arms folded. That is the ultimate sign of hostility.
• Rub the back of your head or neck. Some interviewers take this as a sign of disinterest.

• Sit up straight and slightly lean forward. The lean shows admiration and agreement with the interviewer and suggests that you are willing to interact.
• Make thorough eye contact. It shows you are confident. If there are multiple people in the room, make sure to spread the wealth.
• Nod and make positive gestures. It shows enthusiasm.
• Limit your use of cologne and/or perfume. It could cause a headache and some people are allergic to it.
• Smile while standing up, even on a phone interview. Studies show that standing leads to your level of attentiveness.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

4 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Network

How many times do you hear the phrase ‘It is not about what you know, but who you know.’ A few people take that phrase to heart when they are jobless, seeking out everyone and anyone. In the mean time, most of the unemployed sector ends up scouring online for jobs for hours at a time, and usually have their resumes thrown on the bottom of a pile. It is time for you to take charge of your job search and follow these four networking tips.

1) You Know More People Than You Think
Just contacting your immediate connections isn’t good enough if you are truly serious about finding the right job. Neighbors, old friends from high school and college, your church, the gym, your sibling’s best friends, even your old friendly landlord. Everyone needs to be taken into consideration. Facebook and LinkedIn can be used as tools to organize a list. Even if these people aren’t directly in your desired field, more often than not, they will know of someone who may be able to help you out. Don’t be embarrassed to reach out either. Most people like helping out and giving advice; it makes them feel important.

2) Get Your References In Check
Never ever use a friend as a reference. Employers will laugh at your feeble attempt to get a person to say something good about you. A professional reference should be someone who enjoys your personality but can also vouch on your resume, abilities and track record. Explain to them your current situation, your new goals and ask them for their support. Many times these references are the ones who end up finding you a gig. It is your responsibility to keep them informed on any potential interviews and/or phone calls they may receive. Even if you go on an interview and don’t land the job, still thank your references.

3) The Fun Part: Reaching Out
After you have organized and compiled your list, it is time to start putting your network into action. Before contacting anyone you need to set clear goals as to what kind of job you are looking for. And also don’t rush into your ‘job need’ with a contact. Take the adequate time whether it is in person or over email to do the proper catching up. Once you start networking never utter the phrase “Let me know if you hear of anything.” That is too generic of a request and people in your network will forget about you. Tell the said person that you are looking for a position, be detailed on the kind of job you want and finally ask them if they know anyone in your chosen field.

4) Maintain These Relationships
Your brother’s old co-worker may now be one of your top job networkers if you say the right things to him. Now the trick is to keep him thinking about how he can help you. You don’t want your contacts to feel ambushed by your requests, so ask them for insight at first. Most times that exchange can lead to much more on your behalf. Don’t be a hit-and-run networker either. Even if you don’t get what you want from a contact at this current time, check back with them a few months later. It is worth the shot. Finally, be genuine; meaning just be yourself. Pursue a job you want. If you hide the true person you are, you could find yourself unemployed much longer than you anticipated.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

5 Ways to Keep your Best and Brightest Employees

Staying satisfied at the workplace, from both the employer and employee’s perspective, is becoming a daunting challenge in everyday America.

A 2010 Corporate Leadership Council survey detailed that more than 25 percent of employees were planning on changing jobs within the next 12 months. As if that statistic alone wasn’t alarming enough, more than half of the executives who participated in the survey agreed that their organizations are unsuccessful at retaining the top talent they’ve hired.

The growing problem in the workplace can be pinned on both parties, although the employer is responsible for taking charge in implementing a more suitable atmosphere. Check out the list of tips below.

1) Open Communication
Employees deserve the right to know where they stand on an impending promotion. Being dishonest or putting off a decision usually has worse ramifications than informing the employee of the bad news. Even so, as an employer you need to foster visibility. Employee’s exposure to you can be an essential ingredient to keeping them content with their future. In these meetings stress the value of developing leadership attributes.

2) Hold Employees Accountable
Research suggests that employees thrive when they are given real responsibilities, something that employers are reluctant to give. Employees that are frustrated usually feel like they aren’t being pushed enough and/or are getting too many general assignments. So show them that they matter. To keep these go-getters happy, employers should assign meaty projects. Then in turn the company is able to measure results.

3) Be Flexible
Handing over an inflexible assignment to an employee, such as relocation when the person has young children, can be a morale buster. You must compromise on the situation to make sure your employee isn’t disgruntled, or the odds are stacked against you. And that isn’t a scenario you want when you’ve just promoted someone.

4) Assign Mentors
You shouldn’t leave an employee hanging out to dry when they are first hired. Tap an effective mentor who fits their personality. Remember to occasionally sit down with that mentor and make sure they are there for encouragement and support/

5) Use A System
Having a ‘method to your madness’ as an employer shows that you provide fair and sustainable solutions to any problem an employee may have. George Penn, senior director of Corporate Leadership Council, says the key in a system is to “provide processes for creating criteria, assessing performance and controlling compliance in administration.”

Parting ways with an employee is a stressful situation that may cause harm to a company. By following these strategies effectively, satisfaction issues within your office will indeed be curbed.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

How to prepare for a Hurricane

Hurricane Irene is supposed to make landfall on Saturday and Washington, DC has not seen a hurricane since Isabel in 2004. Please cut and paste the following into your address line:

Be safe, stay dry and always be prepared.

Brian Steffan

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Welcome Louise Verret, Our New Vice President of Legal Services

After many years as the Director of Personnel for Patton Boggs LLP, one of the largest and most prestigious law firms in Washington, DC, Louise has joined our firm to head up our Legal Division. During Louise's tenure she has interviewed, hired and supervised over 2,000 legal support staff and paraprofessionals. Do you think she knows a thing or two about law firms? If you would like to find out and utilize her invaluable experience finding you the right employee or job, please call her at 703-224-8182 or email her at

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It's a Whole New Employment World Out There

Happy 2011 Everyone!

Well, we all survived 2008, 2009 and 2010 and I for one am so thrilled it is 2011. The average unemployment rate in the DC metropolitan area is 4%, with a national average at just under 10% which means that much fewer people are looking for jobs or are available to work for certain jobs. It is again a great time to look for a new position.

What this means for firms is the qualified employment pool is drying up and their positions are opening up again. Steffan & Co saw this turn coming back in late August and has been gearing up for 2011 ever since with an ever changing strong and diverse base of qualified available candidates ready to interview and start a new opportunity.

What this means for a qualified candidate is more opportunities, better salaries and a stable work environment to go into.

Everyone wins in a strong economy. I look forward to working with many new firms and candidates this year.

Brian Steffan