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5 Things Black Professionals Can Do to Prepare for Their First 5 Days of Work

You’re starting your career or continuing your career with a new organization.  In preparation, you completed a number of onboarding tasks. On your first day, or at some point during the first week, you’ll likely participate in the organization’s orientation. You’ll complete a series of forms, learn the organization’s history, learn about health and welfare benefits, review company policies, and be bombarded with a bunch of other topics that are sure to thrill you.

While they may not be the most exciting part of starting a new job, New Employee Orientation programs serve an important purpose. In addition to acclimating new hires to the organization’s culture and providing useful information, the best ones are effective retention tools and aid in developing a more productive workforce.  

The more comprehensive programs extend beyond one day.  Many are designed to get the new employee through a ninety-day probationary period and include one week, thirty day, sixty day, and ninety-day milestones.  The way you assimilate into an organization sets the tone for your overall success and satisfaction. Likewise, the first impression you provide of yourself also sets a tone for the type of employee you will be.

To put your best foot forward, here are five things you can do in the first five days.   

Be on time.  

Every department in every workplace has a person who’s designated themselves as timekeeper. For whatever reason, this person thinks it’s their duty to monitor and report everyone’s comings and goings. I encourage you to stay off of their radar by being on time.  Prior to your start date and during what will be your regular travel time; do a dry run of the route you will take to work to determine how much time it takes to get from your door to your seat. For extra assurance, have an alternative route as well.

Dress for success.

Deciding what to wear to work used to be a big time suck for me. There are far too many times that I wound up wearing something that wasn’t on par with the image I was trying to project because I was forced to rush to ensure I was on time.  To fix this problem, I adopted and adapted the practice of wearing a “uniform”.  I wore a dress every day for 3 months. The practice not only saved time but was empowering and gave me a renewed sense of control.  If a “uniform” is adverse to your personal style, you can do what some of my friends do.  Some plan their outfits for the entire week while others do so the night before.

Personalize your workspace.

A significant portion of your day will be devoted to preparing for, traveling to and from, and being at work. Incorporating personal items into your workspace improves productivity, can encourage socialization with coworkers who have similar interests and helps you bond with your new environment.  I’m not suggesting you go overboard.  A framed photo or two, desk accessories in your favorite color, a plant, and/or objects pertaining to your outside interests (fraternity, sorority, favorite sports team, favorite actor/actress, etc) can provide the necessary comfort.  

Establish expectations with your supervisor.

Schedule a time to talk to your supervisor or team lead to determine what you are expected to accomplish leading up to your first official performance review. This will help you to prioritize tasks, set goals, and identify opportunities for development.  It is also a good idea to determine the way in which you should solicit feedback on your performance outside of the planned review period(s).  

Create a Routine.

There will be people you encounter at work who appear to have it all together.  They carry themselves as if Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is based on them. One thing these people have in common is that they are strategic, proactive planners.  Your routine should start as soon as you turn off your alarm.  It can include things like meditation, prayer, eating breakfast, and going to the gym.  Decide if you will bring or buy your lunch and what time you will eat.  Add reminders to your calendar so that you take breaks throughout the day.  Get in the habit of meeting one person a week who is not in your immediate work group as means to expand your network.   Lastly, have fun! Before you know it, you’ll be one of the people that new hires view as having it all together.  

This article was written by Keirsten Greggs, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. who specializes in corporate recruiting. 

 If you would like to connect with Keirsten check out the following links:
Blog: traprecruiter.com
Instagram: @TrapRecruiter
Twitter: @K_Alea
LinkedIn: Keirsten A. Greggs

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30 Smart Responses for When Recruiters Ask “Do You Have Any Questions?” at the End of a Job Interview

At the end of every job interview, no matter what it is for, the person asking the questions asks “Do you have any questions?”

This is often the most important question of the entire interview and can be used to win over the company and secure the job.

If the interview was mediocre up until this point, it can give the candidate a great chance to shine and win over the interviewer and if the interview was already good, it can be used as icing on the cake and as a way to personally connect with the person who has the power to give you the job.

Unfortunately, when this question comes up, many are not prepared with a quality response. The last thing you want to do when asked “Do you have any questions?” is answer “No”.

We at Watch The Yard reached out to our audience of successful Black professionals and asked them to give us some ideas for questions to ask when the “Do you have any questions?” question comes up. We received hundreds of responses and have compiled 30 of them for those of you who are preparing for an important interview.

Check them out below:

  1. Are there any questions or concerns about my resume or experience that have not been addressed? (notyaaveragenerd)
  2. How does the company measure their success? (lomielom)
  3. What are three things you believe it takes to be successful within this company? (l_love14)
  4. Will I undergo continuing education onsite to perfect my performance? (blessedyoli)
  5. What is one obstacle someone in this position would face? (mrrephined)
  6. What are some characteristics someone in this position would need to succeed? (mrrephined)
  7. How is success measured in this position 30 days out? 90 days out? A year out? (mrrephined)
  8. What has been your favorite part about working for the company? (People love talking about themselves). (thirst_d)
  9. If the person interviewing will be your direct supervisor, ask them what their management style is. Also, ask what the work environment is like. (t_michelle_c)
  10. What is the typical career path for someone in this role? (ayyyoooceecee)
  11. What are some of the expectations you have of a person who would potentially fill this role? (wolf_savvy)
  12. Can you describe a typical day of a person holding this position? (almaeda_1)
  13. Could you describe the culture of the department and/or peers I would be working in if hired? Could you elaborate on what a typical day in this role would consist of? (If they didn’t answer this throughout the interview) (cgriffeyjr)
  14. What more do you need from me to show you I am the person for this role? (ak_thegreat1)
  15. How does the company help to prepare and equip you personally and professionally? I ask this every time and it’s a great convo starter. (sydsaidwhat)
  16. “How or why did this particular job position open?” Gives you a chance to see if the job position was recently created or if the previous employee resigned. From there they may be able to give you a little insight on why they left. Which may be a huge factor in determining whether or not you want to continue to pursue the job! (cm_ciara)
  17. If you’ve done some research about your employer, or even if you haven’t done much, ask them how their transition from college to the workplace was and how they’ve grown since they’ve began at whatever company. Ppl love to talk about themselves I’ve found. (keaux)
  18. “Outside of what was listed, what are you looking for in a candidate, personally.” (maceira518)
  19. If I was a friend/relative, what advice would you offer regarding working here? (therussellfirm)
  20. How long have you worked here and what makes you stay? (iam.theo.coney)
  21. From an HR professional perspective I like to be asked; describe the culture of the organization, described ways I can work collaboratively with colleagues, do you have any questions about my skill set that we did not touch upon. Always end with a handshake and send an thank you email. (bkqnzrose)
  22. What aspect of this job requires the steepest learning curve? (chelovely)
  23. A big one for me is asking about cross training within the company, if applicable. Showing that you’re interested in learning more outside of the hiring position is always an advantage and a good look on your end. (ruby_moscato)
  24. How do you provide feedback on performance outside of the yearly review cycle? (k_alea)
  25. Do you have any concerns about me as a potential candidate? If given the opportunity what would be your expectations of me in my role during the first 30 days? Why is the role currently vacant? What does the on-boarding process look like? (naii_baay_beee)
  26. What are the three things that you believe have made this organization so successful? What is the biggest challenge for this organization in the near future? What is your management style like? What challenges does someone in this role face as a new hire? What are some of the characteristics you’re looking for in a “blank” position? Then logically refer to what they are looking for, mesh that with your experiences and share with why you know you’d be a great fit. Then ask for their support moving forward. Always keep a pen and notebook handy to take notes and write down questions that may develop during the interview. (taylordmoore_)
  27. How long has this position been vacant? What do you like done differently with the new person? (kimhasmk4u)
  28. What are some difficulties people in this position have faced, or normally face, and what resources are available to support resolving those issues? (stillmatiq)
  29. What things could the new hire do to make a good impression on management? (carmela_50)
  30. What is a core value you don’t advertise but would like for all of your employees to have? (iamshotbyjay)

Multiple people have reached out to us saying that this list has helped them land jobs.

“This helped me OWT tremendously,” one member of Omega Psi Phi wrote us. “I had a 3 day job interview, we discussed a couple of these questions and there was no need for the next two days. I had the job offer the next morning, so thank you!”

We will be posting more crowd-sourced career help stories like this over the next couple of weeks and are open to companies teaming up with us for sponsored content. If you are interested in reaching our audience of over 1 million college educated African-Americans a month, send us and email at watchtheyard@gmail.com and let us know. 

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Watch The Yard is Looking For YouTubers Who Are Members of Black Fraternities and Sororities

Are you a YouTuber who is a member of a Black fraternity or sorority?

Watch The Yard currently reaches over 1 million people a month and we are looking to use our platform to help members of Black fraternities and sororities who have YouTube channels with quality content grow their subscribers and audiences.

This includes writing feature stories on them and their content, helping them network with other Black greek YouTubers, promoting their content and potentially making them exclusive Watch The Yard YouTubers and tying them in with sponsorships.

If you are interested, fill out the form below. It is quick, easy, and takes less than three minutes to complete.

Share this with someone who is a Black Greek Youtuber and let them know about this opportunity.

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