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March 23rd, 2012

It is more or less the end of the first quarter of 2012, many companies have released their annual figures and people are looking to move jobs. Heading into Q2, the quarter in which companies are most likely to hire, chances are you will be doing some hiring in the not so distant future. These days, many companies use VoIP software like Skype or Microsoft Lync to conduct interviews. Do you?

Let’s face it, there are very few people out there who love conducting interviews. The ones that do, are journalists, the rest of us see it as a means to the end. But that doesn’t mean that you should put interviews on the back burner. Remember, the purpose of the interview is to find an employee that meets your needs and is a good fit for your business. Many of us have watched or conducted interviews over VoIP, and have walked away unimpressed, or unsure of the results. Here are some tips to ensure you get the most out of VoIP while interviewing.

Remember the Rules Many of us have another identity or personality when we are online, it’s common to see people who are usually quiet and reserved in real life become very vocal when placed in front of a computer. This also happens when people conduct interviews online, another personality often comes out during the interview. Remember: even though you are conducting an interview over VoIP, it is still an interview, and as such, you need to follow the same rules and guidelines you would when conducting a face-to-face interview. One of the biggest things interviewers forget when they conduct interviews via VoIP is that you are a representative of your company and its brand, the interviewee will form their own opinion based on what you say and how you act. Adopt your face-to-face interview persona, not the online persona.

Lights, Camera, Office? When conducting the interview it is best to pick a well-lit spot, with minimal to no distractions. Your office may be the one with Nirvana posters on the wall - which is cool - but they’re probably not the best thing to have as your background during the interview. The best spot to conduct face-to-face interviews is in a conference room, so why not conduct the online interview there? If you don’t have a conference room, pick a quiet spot in the office. Wherever you settle, be sure you are comfortable there, as chances are you will be conducting more than one interview.

When you have found a good spot, be sure to turn off your cellphone, or at least put it on silent. Also be sure to turn the various sound alerts on your computer off. Nothing is more annoying to interviewees than being interrupted mid-sentence by a telephone call, or the ubiquitous IM alert.

Test the Tech Before you conduct the interview, ensure you are familiar with the program you are using. You don’t want to accidentally mute the interviewee, or even worse, hang up on them. It is a good idea to set up in the place you are going to be conducting the interview, and check that the internet connection is stable, or if you are using WiFi, that the signal is strong. Conduct a test call with a colleague or another person to ensure that your webcam is working correctly, and you can hear the other person. It is best to do this a few days in advance, so you can iron out any glitches or problems with lots of time to spare.

If a technological mishap occurs during the interview, or you lose your connection, don’t give up and walk away, simply call the interviewee back, apologize and carry on. Better still, establish at the outset that if there is a problem, you will definitely call back. This will ensure that the interviewee isn’t calling you when you are calling them.

The Interview Remember that you are using technology for the interview, and this technology has many useful features, the most pertinent being the ability to record. Being able to play the interview back later if you feel you have missed something, or want to know other employees’ opinions, is an excellent perk to using VoIP. Be sure to let the interviewee know that their interview will be recorded, as it could be illegal to record the person without their consent.

One common oversight by both the interviewer and interviewee is time. It may happen that you need to conduct an interview with someone in another timezone. It’s important to be aware of the time difference and ensure that both parties are on the same page. Also, if you’re in an area that has Daylight Savings Time, be aware that some places don’t observe it, and adjust accordingly. If you know the interviewee is in another timezone, clearly state when you are setting up the interview time, if you mean your time or the interviewee’s time.

Finally, when conducting the interview: be aware of where you are looking. Most programs will have the other person in a large image with you in a smaller image. Look at the image of the person when they are speaking, and at the camera when you are speaking. This is the best way to replicate eye-contact in a face-to-face interview.

When you remain professional and can execute a good interview using VoIP software, you can be sure that the interviewee will be impressed and will want to join your company. Good luck! If you would like to know more about using VoIP for interviews, or other business operations give us a call - we are more than happy to hear from you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic VoIP
February 22nd, 2012

Getting dazed and confused with all of the options for chatting, texting, tweeting, posting, liking and poking people at work nowadays? Fear not, Unified Communications can help you and your business manage and make sense of all of these different communication forms. Read on to find out more.

Because of continued improvements in technology and changes in the way people work, we now have a multitude of options to communicate with one another. This can be both a boon and a curse, as not only do we have to learn and master a variety of devices from which to communicate—but also contend with an equal or higher number of forms with which to communicate. For example, not only do we make a phone call to talk nowadays, but we also chat, text, tweet, post, like, poke, huddle, share screens, do white board sessions, and more. We can do all of these whether on the desktop computer, laptop, netbook, tablet, desk phone, mobile phone, TV – and soon maybe even from the kitchen refrigerator! Not surprisingly, people have started looking for ways to tame and simplify all of this complexity—and thus was born the concept of "Unified Communications."

Unified Communications, simply stated, encompasses the organization of different communication tools and models so that it can be used and managed in an integrated way, with the goal of improving flexibility, efficiency, and effectiveness. To illustrate the benefits of Unified Communications, here are some examples of how it can be used in several business scenarios:

  1. Have a "single number to call" or a simpler way of reaching people. Instead of remembering and sharing a phone number, IM handle, email address, twitter account, and more, you can have just one number or address by which people can reach you—and systems will bridge that with whatever device or application your Unified Communications happen to be on or you prefer. So you can easily have calls placed to your desk phone routed to your mobile phone when you are out, and have voice mail emailed to you as a recording in case you can't answer.
  2. Reaching people when you need them. If you are working remotely, or managing remote workers, Unified Communications systems can indicate your or your colleagues' location or "presence"—i.e., whether you or they are available at the normal location, working remotely, or out in the field.
  3. Synchronous or asynchronous way of working. If you work with people in different time zones you can opt to conference when your schedules overlap, or swap messages that can be answered at their convenience if they don't —and be able to track and tie all of these together.
  4. Richer collaboration. If you work on projects, Unified Communications can allow you or your team to get in touch and collaborate in a richer and more interactive way. While working on a project you can chat, switch to voice calls for better clarity, or conference via video to provide more context, as well as share screens for easier collaboration—all from a single screen or session.
  5. Application integration. Imagine if you had the ability to call people from your email application's address book, or initiate a web conference from your instant messaging tool. With Unified Communications that is all possible.
Unified Communications may sound expensive and complex, but in reality it can actually lessen costs and make things simpler for you and your business. Learn more about Unified Communications and what else it can do to improve your business by contacting us today.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

February 16th, 2012

With today's advancements in technology, and the constant lowering of prices as technology achieves mass adoption, VoIP is now within easy reach for most businesses—even small businesses. Read on to find out why you should consider switching to VoIP for your phone and office communication systems today.

If you are running a business, then there is no reason you shouldn't be using Voice-over-IP, or VoIP, to reduce telecommunications cost, streamline operations, and improve the flexibility for your organization today.

VoIP, simply put, allows telephone communications to run over your data network or the Internet. The benefits of this setup are many, and the following are just a few.

  1. VoIP allows companies to maximize investments already made in their network infrastructure. The same network which handles the flow of data such as web access and email can now accommodate voice as well—no need to add and maintain additional wires and devices.
  2. VoIP can allow you to dramatically reduce the cost of communications, especially for interstate or international communications—everything can go through the Internet instead of incurring expensive long distance toll charges.
  3. VoIP allows your employees to be more productive and efficient by giving them the ability to receive and make calls anywhere with a data connection, using their laptop, mobile phone, tablet, or virtually any device connected to the Internet.
  4. VoIP increases the number of features you can use with your phone system. For example, it's easier to add extensions to your phone. You can provide a local number or extension for all your staff without additional costs or cabling. You can also set up sophisticated auto answering routines and call routing. You can marry voice messages with email and faxes all in one inbox.
  5. You can use VoIP as a tool for real-time collaboration—along with video conferencing and screen sharing. You can employ presence technologies that come standard with VoIP phones and VoIP communication systems. Communicate with colleagues about your presence or receive info on the status and whereabouts of your staff.
Previously, all these benefits were only available with a big price tag and a critical limitation—the unavailability or unreliability of the company's Internet connection—but not anymore. With the great strides made in technology and the wide availability and affordability of broadband connections over the last few years, VoIP is now readily within reach for many businesses—large or small

VoIP is certainly a technology that has come of age. It's cheap, ubiquitous, and easy-to-use, and any business should have VoIP in their toolset. If you are interested in learning more about how VoIP can help your business, contact us today to find out more!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic VoIP