Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Do's and Don'ts For Job Interviews by Marie G. McIntyre, Ph.D.

Do's and Don'ts for Job Interviews

Marie G. McIntyre, Ph.D.

(All material on yourofficecoach.com is copyrighted to Marie G. McIntyre. All rights reserved.)

Here are six surefire ways to make a BAD impression in an interview:

1. Show up late. Unless you were run over by a bus on your way to the interview, there is no acceptable reason for arriving late. Tardiness sends the clear signal that you are either a) incapable of planning, b) inconsiderate of others, or c) not very interested in the job. So allow yourself extra time to get there, but if you arrive early, don’t go into the office! Being early is almost as bad as being late, because you will mess up the interviewer’s schedule either way. Sit in your car until the appointed time – or if the weather is too hot or cold, find a nearby McDonald’s. Another tip: if you don’t know where your prospective employer is located, do a dry run and find their offices before the day of your interview, especially if you live in a large city.

2. Wear odd clothing. Keep in mind that one person’s “interesting and unique” can be another person’s “weird and inappropriate”. Unless you’re applying for a position at a clown college, you don’t want your attire to be too memorable. Remember that the way that you dress for an interview says a lot about your common sense and judgment.

3. Wear cologne. A scent you find pleasing can be repellant to someone else. The interviewer will be trapped with you in a room for an hour, so it’s much safer to wear no cologne at all. Otherwise, your interview may be cut short just so the interviewer can escape the smell.

4. Talk non-stop. An interview should be a dialogue, not a monologue. If you are one of those people who has trouble putting the brakes on your mouth, then you need to learn how to stop talking. The interviewer needs time to ask all of his or her questions, so when you have given a complete answer, just stop.

5. Bad-mouth your previous employer. You don’t want to say anything in an interview that would make you seem like a risky hire. If you complain about management or the organizational culture, then the interviewer may conclude that you are a negative person who could be a problem. So even if your previous boss was an idiot and your company was a wreck, don’t say so!

6. Ask too many self-serving questions. If you ask too many questions about pay, benefits, and promotional opportunities, you will give the impression that you are primarily interested in what you can get out of this job, not what you can contribute.

Now, consider these suggestions for doing well in interviews..

1. Know something about the business. Whether this is a large company, government organization, or mom-and-pop firm, learn as much as you can about the business before the interview. With so much information readily available on the Internet, this is usually pretty easy to do. So easy, in fact, that you will seem very unprepared if you haven’t at least checked out their website.

2. Study your own resume. Be sure that you are prepared to talk intelligently about the responsibilities, projects, and accomplishments listed. Look over your resume with the eyes of an interviewer and consider what questions might come to mind. Be prepared to answer them.

3. Practice common questions. The goal of any interview is to determine whether an applicant has the skills, motivation, and “fit” for the job, so interview questions are often quite similar. You should decide in advance how you will answer questions that can easily be anticipated. Trying to “wing it” in an interview is not a good idea! (For a list of sample interview questions, see “Conducting Effective Employment Interviews” under the “Leadership” tab on our home page.)

4. Dress one step up. When deciding what to wear, you need to dress just a little better than the prevailing norms at your prospective employer. If people in this job wear jeans, then show up in business casual. If they wear business casual, then you need slightly more formal attire. But showing up in a three-piece-suit to apply for the jeans job would classify as odd!

5. Watch your self-talk. If you keep mentally telling yourself that you might screw this up, then you’ll come to believe that. And if you define this as a life-or-death situation, vocationally speaking, then you’ll just work yourself into a nervous tizzy. Recognize that this is just a conversation about yourself, and you know more about yourself than anyone else. You’re the expert on your abilities and experiences. So relax.

6. When you meet the interviewer, smile and act friendly. First impressions are extremely important! You need to look like someone people might want to work with.

7. Make the interviewer comfortable. Odd though it may seem, many managers are nervous about conducting interviews. One of your goals should be to do your part to make this a comfortable conversation. If the manager doesn’t seem to know what to ask, it’s fine to say, “Would you like me to tell you something about my experience?”.

8. Tell helpful stories. Interviewers are most likely to remember examples of experiences or accomplishments, so be prepared to describe them in a concise and interesting way. Tell only the stories that will help the interviewer conclude that you could be a good match for the job.

9. Ask questions. Interviewers usually expect applicants to have some questions, so come prepared with a few. The purpose of asking questions is not only to get information, but also to make a positive impression with the type of questions you ask. The best questions will demonstrate your knowledge about the business or interest in the job. As mentioned above, too many self-serving questions will make a negative impression.

10. Make notes afterward. After the interview, make notes on what was discussed, what you learned about the job, and the names of people you met. Especially if you are interviewing at multiple places, this will help you keep everything straight and avoid embarrassing moments if you are called back for a second interview.

Copyright Marie G. McIntyre, www.yourofficecoach.com, all rights reserved. Used with permission

Monday, August 24, 2009

God Ain't Blind - Mary Monroe at Alexander Book Company, Tuesday, 8/25/09

Best-selling author, Mary Monroe, reads from her new book, "God Ain't Blind," on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.


Alexander Book Company | 50 Second Street | San Francisco | CA | 94105
(415) 495-2992

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Kindle You Handle It?

This is what all the Best Sellers will be dressed in this season.

Jerri got the latest generation Kindle (TM) electronic reader for her birthday.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Congratulations to Michael Wu and Gina Tsai - Baby Madison Is On The Scene

Welcome the newest addition to the Esquire Solutions Family!

Little Madison Wu is finally here!! She was born August 7, 2009 at 9:16am weighing in at 6 lbs 15oz and 20 inches.

Mom and baby are doing great - except for a little sleep deprivation on Gina's part :)

Have any parenting tips to share? I'm sure Gina would love to hear from you.

Anybody want to bet that Madison will be the most well-dressed baby in town?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

"Electronic Transcript Management Made Easy" By Barbara Lynch

(Reprinted with Permission from Atkinson-Baker)

Today’s technology has caused the amount of paper being used in the legal industry to be cut back over the years, but the quantity of paperwork that still is flowing in and out of law offices can be overwhelming for any legal professional working in litigation.

The entire litigation process has been a test in itself for paperwork management: how to organize paperwork, how to pass on paperwork, how to prioritize paperwork, and, all the while, trying to minimize paperwork. This is something they don’t teach law school students or first year associates.

Attorneys and their support staff shuffle through and pass back and forth loads of paperwork daily which, in large part, includes deposition summaries and transcripts. Multiply the amount of deposition hours by the number of cases and one attorney could easily fill a medium-sized closet with nothing but stacks of “active” transcripts at any one time.

But that has changed.

We are now in the time of electronic deposition transcripts. Receiving electronic transcripts not only cuts down on the amount of paper, but also cuts down on the delivery time, helping legal professionals to be much more efficient when handling and using transcripts.

How can electronic transcripts help?

Noelle Toorish, a legal secretary at Thompson Hine LLP in Cleveland, Ohio, has been taking advantage of electronic transcripts for quite some time now and sees how it benefits everyone involved - the attorneys, their support staff and, most importantly, clients.

“Having this information literally ‘at our fingertips’ helps us better manage our workflow in the review process--providing our clients with a better work product, quicker turn-around times and lower fees,” she said.

Eric Anvari, a litigation attorney who heads up his own practice in Woodland Hills, California, has also been a big fan of working with electronic transcripts.

“I have been reducing my paper bulk since 2005 and having electronic deposition transcripts and exhibits fits well with my personal policy of reducing the amount of paper used,” he said. “Besides getting rid of the paper clutter, the electronic version is easier to store, retrieve, and transport.”

You can copy and paste the link below to read the entire article:


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"A Bad, Bad Boy," by Judith Moore

The late Judith Moore was probably one of the best writers of her century. Her writing prowess was only matched by her incredible intelligence and dry wit. For those of us lucky enough to have known her, she left an impression that will never be forgotten.

However, incredible artists never really die – they simply leave this earth, but their art remains forever in our minds, or on the page, or on the canvas, or on the recording. Judith wasn’t finished with her work on this earth when she passed away from colon cancer in 2006. It was the same cancer that claimed the life of another great woman artist, Audrey Hepburn.

Moore was the author of the critically acclaimed 2006 memoir, “Fat Girl.” Now, three years after she departed this life for her new home, the San Diego Reader Press has published Ms. Moore’s biography of San Diego mob boss, Frank “Bomp” Bompensiero (1905 –1977). “A Bad, Bad Boy” is sure not to disappoint. Kudos to Jim Holman for making this happen.

After all, who wouldn’t be engrossed by a cast of characters which include, “Bomp,” “Jimmy (the Weasel) Fratianno,” and “Momo and Marie?” And don’t be surprised if you develop a sudden craving for pasta and peas.

“A Bad, Bad Boy” available at:




Monday, August 10, 2009

"Confessions Of A Shopaholic" - Now on DVD

You don't have to be a "Shopaholic," or even enjoy shopping to enjoy "The Girl In The Green Scarf."

I rented this movie over the weekend and it was just what I needed to forget about the stresses of the week. It's short (90 minutes), so you can even watch it on a work night.

Isla Fisher is just too cute as Rebecca Bloomwood, Hugh Dancy would be adorable as Luke Brandon, even if he didn't have that infectious accent :)

Joan Cusack - well, I just love Joan Cusack and paired with John Goodman, they are the most endearing parents ever.

Worth watching - even for the clothes alone!

"Two snaps and a circle!"

Friday, August 7, 2009

"Proud To Be A Secretary"

By Carol Ann Wilson
(Reprinted with Permission)

A voice on the telephone recently asked me, "Are you his secretary,
or do you prefer to be called his administrative assistant?" I told
him, "I am his secretary and very proud of it." You could hear the
relief in his voice as he replied, "Thank goodness I can deal with a
real person the one who really runs things and I don't have to
deal with a prima donna who takes offense at the least little thing!"
Now, I'm serious. This really happened. And I think he voiced a common
feeling, because people know that a secretary, especially a legal
secretary, is close to the boss, can be trusted with information, and
will handle all matters correctly. (But we know who really runs
things and it's not the secretary.)

The United States of America is the leader of the free world and its
President is the most powerful individual in the world. And what are
the President's cabinet members called? Secretaries!.

Confidential Communications

Yes, I am very proud to be a legal secretary. I am proud of the
knowledge and experience I have gained from my 29 years as a legal
secretary. I have met famous people, worked on important cases, been
given important responsibilities, and learned more than I could from
any law school. I have been trusted with information that is so
confidential that, had I been working for the government, I would have
had the highest security clearance. And some secrets I will take with
me to my crematory urn. For what is the base of the word "secretary"?
It is "secret".

Webster defines the word "secret" as an adjective, it is "kept from
the knowledge of others," such as a secret agreement. As a noun, it is
"something kept from the knowledge of others," as to keep a secret is
to refrain from communicating a secret to others. Legal secretaries
understand, appreciate, recognize, and honor the value of
confidentiality in communications. So our position in the office where
we work is one that inspires confidence, because third parties know of
the confidential nature of our business.

Special Traits and Skills

The legal secretary must possess skills and traits far above average,
such as excellent keyboarding, transcribing dictation, general
knowledge about computers and other office machines, and ethics.

In addition to all that, the legal secretary:

Must be an expert at time management, juggling many activities and
roles at the same time;
Must possess psychological skills, dealing daily with many
Must possess excellent judgment to make dozens of critical
decisions; and Must have talents as a travel agent, personal shopper, living
calendar, telephone directory, and mentor.

Wow! What a collection! Perhaps that is why J. Wiedemer in his
textbook," Real Estate Finance"
, says in the chapter on "Analyzing
Borrowers" that "the top legal, professional and executive secretaries
not only command good salaries but are virtually assured of continuous
work today."

Highly Employable

Merriam-Webster's "Webster's Legal Secretaries Handbook," which is one
of the resources for our specialty certification examinations, is an
excellent work and reference for new legal secretaries.

In discussing "Employment Opportunities," it cautions legal
secretaries who are contemplating becoming legal assistants, because
"competent and experienced legal secretaries are becoming a rare
commodity . . . . As the need for good legal secretaries continues to
increase and their numbers decrease, each one becomes more valuable."

Legal secretaries belong to one of the most employable groups in the
world. One important reason is that the skills necessary to be a good
legal secretary carry over to many other positions, professions, and
businesses. Have you ever noticed the admiration from those outside
the legal community when you say you are a "legal secretary"? I have,
many times.

Legal Secretaries International Is for Legal Secretaries

The LSI association has been established:_

* For the beginning legal secretary or one reentering the legal
secretarial field
* For the legal secretary whose work is a lifetime career
* For the legal secretary whose skills convert to other positions in
the law office or elsewhere
* For the retired legal secretary, whose vast experience can benefit
so many
* For the legal secretary who is a mentor, teacher, and role model

How can we best help legal secretaries? By being the best we can be.
By living good ethics. By being dependable. By being honest and never
making excuses, but learning from our mistakes. By increasing our
competencies every day. By being good examples.

I close with a poem my dad memorized when he was a child. Both title
and author are unknown.

"I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day;
I'd rather one would walk with me than merely show the way;
For the eye's a better pupil, and more willing than the ear.
Fine counsel is confusing, but example's always clear.
And the best of all the creatures are the ones who live their creeds,
For to see the good in action is what everybody needs.
I soon can learn to do it, if you let me see it done;
I can watch your hand in action, but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lectures you deliver may be very wise and true,
But I'd rather learn my lesson by observing what you do.
For I may misunderstand you, and the high advice you give,
But there's no misunderstanding how you act, and how you live."

May we be good examples and show that each of us is "Proud to Be a
Legal Secretary."*

*About the Author
Carol Ann Wilson holds several certifications, including Certified
Legal Secretary Specialist in Civil Trial Law. A charter member of
Legal Secretaries International, she currently serves as Director of
Outside Program Development. Carol lives in Houston.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Friday, August 7, Free Coffee Freddo at Peet's

Come in this Friday
August 7 from 2 to 3 p.m.
to enjoy a FREE Coffee Freddo

To sign up for email alerts and to get your coupon, go to:


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Life's A Beach - And Then You Win One!!

Beach Ball, that is.

My friend, Greta and I, were at lunch at the Embarcadero Center today and stumbled upon the Sobe Life Water Promotional Event. Spin the wheel - win a prize. Everyone is a winner. Prizes ranged from "tattoos" to coolers.

Greta won a bottle of their new Life Water and I won a beach ball - and thanks to Greta for blowing it up, because even though, I'm full of hot air - I was all out of wind ;0