5 Questions You Should Ask Your Interviewer

Blog - Mar. 30.jpgAt the end of every interview I complete, I always give the candidate a chance to ask any questions that they may have regarding the company or the position that they are applying for.  Not everyone asks questions, and when they don’t it worries me. Do they really understand the position that they’re applying for? Do they even want this job? Did they apply simply because they need a job and they saw the posting? Today I decided to write about a few basic questions that all candidates should ask their interviewer once their interview is complete.

#1: “What’s the next step?”

The interviewer should know to tell you what the next step is – usually reference checks take place – but if they don’t, be sure to ask. It’s good to leave with an idea of what to expect next. It’s fair to ask if they will be calling you or if you should contact them after a certain amount of time. They will also appreciate the eagerness in you asking how the process continues on from there!

#2: If you’ve heard something negative about the company, don’t be scared to ask about it.

I often get asked questions about rumours that candidates heard through the grapevine and I love having the opportunity to put those rumours to rest. If you’ve heard anything negative about the organization that you are applying to, you should never hold back on asking for clarification. It could be something completely false that is causing you to have a false perception of the company.

#3: “Is there room for advancement?”

Normally when people apply to a position in a new company, it’s expected that they will begin at the bottom of the seniority list or the ‘food chain’.  However, not everyone is comfortable staying there for his or her entire career. If you are one of those people, then don’t be afraid to ask if there is a possibility to move up in to a higher position. If the position doesn’t offer you what you want long-term, it’s better to find out right away and move on to something different.

#4: “Is there anything that I can do to further assist you in making your decision?”

By asking this question, you give your interviewer the chance to tell them what else you could do to be successful after the interview without flat out asking “What else do I need to do to get this job?” They may tell you to start working on completing some sort of training right away rather than having to wait until later on. This is a good sign!

#5: “Do you offer any sort of any additional educational courses or training?”

Not only does this answer the question of, Am I expected to complete any sort of training while working here?, but it also shows your interviewer that you are interested in bettering yourself as a professional and an employee. You will also (most likely) be told if the company covers the training costs or if you need to provide payment for them.

TessaSignatureRevised

Dealing with Workplace Stress

give_up.jpgS-T-R-E-S-S. The six letter word that makes you cringe and makes the hair on your neck stand up. Most people have experienced some form of stress in one way or another. Today, I am speaking about workplace stress and providing some tips on how one can cope.

Stress, simply defined, is a state of mental tension and worry caused by a problem; something that causes strong feelings of worry or anxiety. Stress is a feeling that is often related to some sort of pressure; be it a time constraint, meeting a sales target, delivering bad news. That feeling we call stress is the body’s way of responding to the pressure.

We have all heard that stress can be devastating to our health. While a little pressure can be healthy to our motivation and help us get things done; large amounts of stress that lead to anxiety, sleepless nights and interruption of daily activities need to be managed and controlled.

To ensure that stress does not inhibit your well being please read through the following tips.

  1. Recognize when your stress levels become excessive. When we don’t recognize and manage our stress, we create a breeding ground for bigger problems. Uncontrolled stress can be signaled by the some of the following: sleep disturbance, fatigue, stomach problems, social withdrawal, concentration difficulties, poor productivity, loss of interest in work or a decrease in job performance. By recognizing these signs, one can find the tools needed to manage and decrease stress levels.
  1. Track your stressors. When you recognize your stress signals, you can track what may be causing them. Track on a calendar or in a journal the moments in which you feel the warning signs of stress start. This way you can look for patterns and determine what is causing the stress. When you can pinpoint exactly what is causing the discomfort, you can put tools in place to prevent the stress from becoming overwhelming.
  1. Take care of your health. Taking care of your health by exercising and eating well will help in managing those stressful feelings. When we feel good we are better prepared to handle situations when they become difficult. Be sure to get enough sleep; when we are tired everything seems more difficult and challenging. Fatigue can make a mountain out of a mole hill; adequate sleep will ensure you wake with energy to take on the day!
  1. Establish boundaries. In a world of constant demand, many people feel the constant pressure to be available 24/7. Depending on the nature of your role and the type of service you provide, it may be of benefit to not check emails and such while with your family and friends. Designate time to tend to those emails or inform your network of when you will be unavailable. This will reduce the possibility of work-life conflicts and the potential stressors that come with it.
  1. Self care. It is very important to take a time out, practice self care and re-charge your own batteries. Learn some relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation or take a simple walk. Taking time for yourself will ensure that when you return to the fast pace of life’s demands, you return with a recharged and clear mindset.
  1. Talk about it. If you are feeling the overwhelming heat of your stressors, it is important to address those feelings with a friend, a supervisor or a professional who can help you work through your thoughts. Do not allow the stress to build up as it can easily lead to problems that could greatly affect your well being.

With everything we want to accomplish in life, do not allow stress to get in the way. Learn to manage these feelings so they do not become unbearable and overwhelming. Use these tips and practice stress management so you can take on the world!

Cheers!

mandyblog

 

So…What is Music Therapy? Part 2

Music Therapy or Not Music Therapy – that is the question!

As March comes to an end, I have to thank several people and outlets that have let me share about music therapy. One of those people is Sheri Tomchick and The A Dot Team. Thank you!

There are new outlets that are recognizing Music therapy Month at a national level. This is the first year that Health Canada’s Calendar for Health Promotion Days recognizes March as Music Therapy Month. Go see for yourself: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/calend/index-eng.php

I hope you enjoyed the past blog on the different elements of music therapy. Today, I would like to share what is music therapy and what is not music therapy.

Accredited Music Therapists are trained healthcare professionals like Registered Nurses, Registered Social Workers and Registered Physiotherapists. We are educated at a University level by majoring in Music Therapy at a Bachelor’s or Masters Level. This education provides us with the skills to develop music therapy sessions to work with:

  • Older adults to lessen the effects of Dementia.
  • Children and adults to reduce Asthma episodes.
  • Hospitalized patients to reduce pain.
  • Children who have Autism to improve communication capabilities.
  • Premature infants to improve sleep patterns and increase weight gain.
  • People who have Parkinson’s disease to improve motor function.

There are several ways music can be used therapeutically in many different settings.  (And I highly recommend the use of any of these approaches in the appropriate setting.) These examples of therapeutic music are very useful, but are not clinical music therapy:

  • A person with Alzheimer’s listening to an iPod with headphones of his/her favorite songs.
  • Groups such as Bedside Musicians, Musicians on Call, Music Practitioners, and Sound Healers
  • Celebrities performing at hospitals and/or schools
  • A piano player in the lobby of a hospital or nursing home.
  • Nurses playing background music for patients
  • Artists in residence
  • Arts educators
  • A choir singing on the pediatric floor of a hospital
  • From Kimberly Sena Moore, Ph.D., MT-BC, Music Therapy Maven

It is important to make sure an Accredited Music Therapist is involved if you are participating in ‘music therapy’. To find an Accredited Music Therapist near you, please check out:

http://www.musictherapy.ca/en/information/mta-credentials.html

or

http://www.musictherapyontario.com/find-a-music-therapist

I welcome you, the reader, to contact me if you wish to learn more about music therapy or Kadence Music Therapy. Please connect with me online:

Email: contact@kadencemusictherapy.com
Website: http://www.kadencemusictherapy.com
Facebook: Kadence Music Therapy
Twitter: @kadencemt

It has been a pleasure blogging for The A Dot.

Sincerely,

Kylie Klym RP, MTA

DSC_5309

8 Things to Consider When Designing a Website

10-Web-Design-Trends-for-2015.pngFull disclosure: I’m not a website designer or developer by any means, I just have experience when it comes to navigating various webpages and formulating an opinion about what works and what doesn’t. Have you ever stumbled upon a website and were looking for something in particular—contact information, reviews, etc.—and it was nowhere in sight? Or did you have difficulty reading the content due to the wonky font or colour choice? If you’re creating or redesigning your current website, below are a few things to keep in mind during the planning process. You should note that you don’t necessarily have to work with web designers as there are a lot of low-cost alternatives out there (such as buying pre-made and customizable templates), but if it’s in your budget, don’t be afraid to approach a few reputable designers and see how they can help bring your vision to life!

  1. Define your goal. If you’re looking at providing basic information about your product or service offerings and your brand, make note of it. If you are looking at selling products online, ensure that’s your focus. Whatever your goal is, make sure it’s easily defined and be sure that each page on your site serves its purpose.
  2. Identify your audience. You must know who you are trying to reach before even designing your website to be able to create content that is appealing to your audience. What’s the point of creating a website that your target market isn’t interested in?
  3. Ensure your site is easy to navigate. Taking one of the above points a step further: it’s absolutely crucial that visitors can easily navigate the website. I know that when I visit a site and can’t find what I’m looking for, or if I have to click through 5 menus (and what feels like a labyrinth) to get to the page I am looking for, I will just abandon the website completely. Use simple drop-down menus, anchor tags (clickable links that can help visitors jump to a specific location on the page without having to scroll endlessly), search bars, etc., to ensure individuals can navigate effortlessly.
  4. Choose colours carefully. Colour plays a huge role in the overall look of your website. Pick colours that match your brand, logo, graphics, and avoid those that clash. I have visited many websites with yellow backgrounds and white font, rendering their content illegible.
  5. Figure out the font. Choose a simple font with good readability. While some of the fancier, custom fonts look really nice, they may not load across all devices correctly. When in doubt, use a basic font such as Arial, Verdana or Calibri.
  6. Get social! Don’t forget to link your social media accounts to your website and vice versa. This will ensure your various accounts receive traction which can lead to an increase in engagement!
  7. A picture is worth a thousand words. Choose high quality, stunning photos. Purchase stock photos if need be. If you are selling products/services, ensure that the pictures you (or a photographer) take are the best possible representation of your product.
  8. Make it mobile friendly. The number of individuals who access the internet from their phone surpasses those who access it using their computers/laptops. If you’re not able to reach your audience through a mobile version of your website, it may easily dissuade them from visiting your website in the future.

Web design can be a very simple or complex process depending upon your capabilities and creativity. If you’re stuck, reach out to your network or visit a company’s website whose design you admire; most of the time the designer is listed in the footer of the webpage. Ask around and compare designers before settling for the first one you speak with, and don’t be afraid to be involved in the process from start to finish—it is your website after all! Good luck!

MeganSignature

Best Advice I’ve Ever Received – Part 2

Blog - Mar.23

A few months ago I wrote a blog about the three best pieces of advice I had ever received. As I had said, I constantly look for advice. I read blogs about life advice and love to hear what makes others feel happy and successful. Since it’s been some time since I wrote ‘Part 1’, I thought that I would follow it up today with a few other pieces of advice that I have received since then!

“Go with your gut.”
I heard this statement quite some time ago, but it’s a statement that speaks volumes to me every day in both my work life and personal life. Using our ‘gut’ or our intuition is something that we talk about every day in the office. We are all firm believers that if you don’t get a good first impression or feeling about something or someone, chances are that others will feel the same way. When it comes to choosing people to fill a position or to represent your company, choosing the wrong person can be detrimental to the success and to the reputation of your organization. If your gut makes you hesitate and second-guess, then follow that intuition.

“Do the right thing, even when no one is watching.”
A person’s morals and ethics are what makes them either a good or bad person. It doesn’t matter what anyone else tells you is right; whether that be a parent, friend, boss, colleague, spouse… always do what you feel is the right thing to do in every situation; even if no one is around to see you do it. It doesn’t matter what anyone says, do what you feel is the right thing. Personally, I am a stickler for policies. I create a bulk of the policies that the Recruitment Department at Plan A follows, and I have created those using my own personal morals and ethics and my idea of what is ‘right’ or ‘fair’ or ‘just’. When a situation comes up or something takes place in which policies need to be referred back to, I do not change or alter the policy to work in my favour. I do what is right and follow that policy.

“Cannonball off the high board.”
Never be afraid of jumping in to any and every situation that crosses your path. Whenever we hire new office staff, we always tell them that cannonballing off the high board is a requirement when becoming part of the A Team. We are so busy that we don’t have time to handhold. Each and every one of us in the office were thrown into our positions, told to simply run with it and do the best that we can, which is what we do every day. None of us in the office have been in our roles before. None of us know the answers to every question that’s asked. But by jumping in to any situation that crosses our path, we grow personally and professionally in a way that would never happen if we simply sat behind our desks every day and never took chances.

TessaSignatureRevised

Transform Those Negative Nancy’s into Positive Patty’s!

AttitudeIsEverything
You’ve heard the phrase “attitude is everything”, and you certainly cannot have a positive life and with a negative attitude. Keeping up with a positive culture is so important to the team at Plan A. Our team always finds the good in every situation and we learn from those situations that are not necessarily successful. It is almost an automatic response for all of us to capture the positive in all encounters.

At Plan A many traits encompass our entire culture and a positive environment is high on that list of traits. I honestly think that our team works so well together because we all have caught onto the vision of our company and work hard to maintain our motivating culture.

Here are some tips to push those negative moments out the door and embrace the positivity!

  1. Focus on the solution, not the problem. This is something that has become part of my daily routine. If we focus too long on the problem, we lose sight of our primary focus. When we focus on the problem we end up wasting energy that should be placed on learning from the problem and implementing a solution.
  1. Find the opportunity in a negative situation. In every situation, good or bad, it is necessary to find the take away. What can you learn from this event? How can you implement a strategy to avoid this from happening in the future? Find the opportunity, be thankful for the learning and move on!
  1. Challenge negative thoughts. When you find yourself repeating negative thoughts and/or behaviours, challenge them. Adjust your mindset to a positive one. It is evident that what we put out into the world is what we receive back. By focusing on and living a positive life good things will come your way, it is simply the law of attraction.
  1. Exercise regularly, eat and sleep well. When we make time for exercise, eat well and sleep well, we allow our bodies to rid themselves of stress. In doing so, we give our minds and bodies rest and fuel to tackle the next big project.
  1. Encourage positive thoughts and discussions. At Plan A, we encourage all of our team members to practice positive thinking and incorporate this into all of our discussions and team meetings. It is really amazing to see how each and every one of us finds the positivity and learning experience from every situation we are in. It’s a beautiful thing!

I should mention that living a life of positivity does not mean viewing the world through rose colored glasses. For our team, it means when things get tough we find the optimism, we rise above the problems, we focus on the solution, work together and challenge the nay-sayers.

Cheers!

mandyblog