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Resource: Featured Articles
The Interview Questions That Could Cost You the Job If Left Unasked
Wednesday, January 23, 2013

We all know that the questions we ask during an interview are just as important as the answers we give. For the interviewer, your questions are actually better understanding on the depth of your research and preparation. Good questions are those that demonstrate your thoughtfulness. Doing this doesn't require days of brainstorming, just a well-composed strategy.

Show the interviewer that you know your stuff by adding the following questions to your interview arsenal along with your own specific questions:

What are the qualities of your most successful employees?
Asking this lets the hiring manager know that you are thinking ahead. You want to show that you have your mindset on long-term success rather the immediate goal of getting the job. Companies like employees who share the same drive for big-picture success. These qualities will vary from company to company. For example: a fast-paced company may want someone who can thrive in a high-pressure environment while another company may want individuals who have demonstrated exemplary communication skills with team members. Pay close attention to the qualities they value and consider whether this place is a good match for you.

How much potential for growth is there for this position?
Ideal candidates and employees are those who are looking for a lasting career rather than just a paycheck. Show the hiring manager that you're looking for a position that will allow you to grow and develop your skills. Expressing this willingness to learn will give the employer more reason to teach you things that will help you advance. If hired, they may be able to connect you with a mentor which is great for career advancement. Mentors can introduce you to other professionals in their network and help you rise in the ranks faster.

What do you like most about working for the company?
The interviewer's answer will shed some useful insight as to whether you will actually enjoy working there should they offer you the job. What they reveal about the company will also give you a good idea on the kind of culture there. Knowing what they company values, how it operates, and what it expects form employees is important for any potential you have for a future there. You may find that the company is a better or worse fit than you initially anticipated.

What is a common misconceptions about the company that you would like to clear up?
It's hard for a company to be represented absolutely accurately. Representing your image to the public is like a game of telephone, somewhere along the line there's going to be some confusion. People may have the idea that a company is either more relaxed or stressful than it really is. The best way to find out for sure is by asking someone who knows firsthand. Perhaps hearing that a company offers free lunches makes you think that it's more laid back but you later find out that employees are expected to work long workdays. The interviewer will provide both perspectives for you to paint a better picture on the truth.

Tech Trends in Retail for 2013
Thursday, January 10, 2013

We're in the first month of 2013 and the trends in retail t brought on by advances in technology are becoming even more apparent. Smartphones have taken over how we interact on our mobile devices. We've gone from small starts such as email subscriptions to accessing full catalogs from our favorite stores. Shopping can now be done anywhere with Internet connection and sufficient battery life present.

An increasingly popular new retail trend is shoppable media. This interactive marketing approach allows consumers to engage with retail media. Target is one of these stores making headway in this arena. In its shoppable series "Falling For You"--which features Kristen Bell, Nia Long, and Zachary Able--shoppers are able to click on items that they like featured in the episode and go on to purchase it from there.

With technology making it possible to incorporate interactive features on our computer and mobile device screens, it makes sense that the consumer experience will continue to evolve in pleasantly surprising ways. While we may never adopt Smell-O-Vision into our homes, the ability to simply watch, click and buy is something that most consumers can take advantage of.

While retailers want to make it easier for consumers to buy from the convenience of their homes, or anywhere for that matter, they still want to see their brick-and-mortar shops bustling with shoppers. So to in order to establish a middle ground, many retailers are incorporating the same kind of technological experience into their shops.

Take Walmart, for example, which is in the process of testing out a "Scan & Go" iPhone app. This app lets shoppers scan their items using their phones and pay for them at a self-checkout counter. In any service experience, speed and convenience are the main keys to great customer service. With this app, long lines and crowded aisles would be eliminated allowing shoppers to get in and out quicker.

Last year, Macy's added interactive kiosks to their stores to enhance the shopping experience by making it easier for shoppers to find what they want all in one place. JC Penney is now among those following suit with their own in-store kiosks which feature maps and gives shoppers the ability to purchase items not found in-store.

Futuristic shopping innovations have already made improvements in the way we shop now. Major retail giants are taking strides toward more shopper convenience with technology. From putting the benefits of self-checkout into your very hand to in-store kiosks that serve as high-tech customer service reps, shoppers are getting more of their needs met.

Consumers crave convenience which is what online shopping has become a symbol of. However, 90 percent of sales are still done in the physical stores. Online shopping provides additional convenience but is by no means a substitute for what brick-and-mortar shops have to offer. Companies are finding new technological ways to put their customers first and its speaking volumes for their reputations and their sales.