SRI (Software Resources) was founded in 1992 by Tamara Giaimo, and is a women-owned business enterprise (WBE) headquartered in Lake Mary FL. She serves as CEO, and her husband John Giaimo serves as President. The firm provides staffing services in Technology (IT, Creative, Marketing), Finance, Accounting, and Executive/Admin sectors. Fundamental to its services is the idea that a job should be mutually rewarding for the employer and the employee, and a dedication to finding the right match for every position.
A Little About Tammy and John
John and Tammy have three grown children, Julia, Jacob, and Jessica. Julia received a bachelor’s degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology, lives in New York City and works for Macy’s. Jacob has a BS degree from Florida State University, lives in Los Angeles pursuing a music career, and works part time for SRI as a Recruiter/Sales Executive. Jessica lives at home, is a senior at Bishop Moore and will be attending a college in New York City in August. John, Tammy, and Jessica live in Longwood, Florida. They enjoy family time and traveling, as well as sports. John particularly likes basketball and golfing, and he spent a good deal of time coaching his kids’ sports teams over the years. Tammy favors running and tennis and is also an avid music fan.
John and Tammy are heavily involved in community and charity initiatives. Some of the causes and organizations they support are:
- Camp Boggy Creek
- Salvation Army Women and Children’s Shelter
- Morning Star
- Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College
- St. Francis Xavier Society
- Boys and Girls Club of Central Florida
- Wildwood Church
- Annunciation Catholic Church
- Canine Assisted Therapy
- Florida State University
- Every Town for Gun Safety
- Tee it Up for the Troops
- UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital
- Save the Children US
- Bishop Moore Catholic HS
Telecommuting has been rapidly on the rise in recent years. Mostly, it’s because advances in communication, data sharing, and other technologies make it ever easier and more cost-effective to get things done without team members having to be in the same location. And, as this happens, we keep realizing there are more and more good reasons to hire remote workers.
Of course, telecommuting isn’t right for every business, job, employer, or employee or contractor. For example, sometimes physical presence is required to perform certain functions, some processes just work best when everyone’s in the same building, and some people don’t do their best work when they’re physically isolated from the rest of the team or some form of supervision.
But if you’ve determined that certain positions can be filled by off-site staff, there are a number of compelling reasons to hire remote workers in these instances. If they outweigh any foreseeable drawbacks, it makes sense to avail yourself of this option.
Here’s a quick look at just some of these reasons to hire remote workers.
Benefits of Hiring Remote Workers
- Telecommuters reduce overhead expenditure. Cutting down on the number of people you have to support on site can mean less required space, reduced equipment needs, fewer office supplies and pieces of furniture, less utility consumption, and other savings.
- Remote workers are more productive. What once seemed counterintuitive is now accepted as fact, thanks to study after study. While not everyone thrives working from home, those well suited to it are considerably more productive, largely thanks to the lack of common workplace distractions (and also because telecommuters are extra concerned about avoiding the appearance that they slack off). Furthermore, because of increased flexibility and not needing to go into the office, telecommuters take fewer sick days and less paid and unpaid time off.
- You have access to a wider pool of talent. If you’re not limited to hiring people within commuting range of your site, and can instead work with people anywhere in the country or the world, obviously you have exponentially more candidates to choose from. For positions that call for a highly specialized skill set, this can be a particular boon. It’s also easier to achieve greater diversity in your workforce this way.
- Telecommuters are happier. Working from home offers employees plenty of benefits. They’re spared the hassle and costs (monetary and time) of commuting, they can work in their pajamas from the comfort of their own home, they have more flexibility, and so on. This is another reason for increased productivity, and it also means higher quality work, more positive representation of your brand, and less employee turnover (and with it, less wasted time and money).
- It’s an eco-friendly approach to doing business. Commuting makes a massive carbon footprint in America, especially in areas where most workers don’t use public transportation. Every commute you eliminate reduces gasoline consumption and environmentally harmful vehicle emissions. A green approach is good for the Earth, and it demonstrates corporate responsibility, appeals to consumers, and appeals to employees—especially younger talent.
There are plenty of statistics about what percentage of communication is nonverbal. While nobody can really give an exact number—and surely it varies among different people and by the situation—we do know that body language, tone of voice, and other nonverbal cues play a significant role in how we and our messages are received.
Even without being able to precisely quantify it, there is a science to how nonverbal cues work. Many experts have dedicated careers to studying and reading body language. Obviously, it’s an application that can be very useful, especially when you’re trying to determine whether someone is being truthful.
Body language sends strong messages, and these messages are generally considered authentic and reliable. Your body language in an interview is a major factor in how well you sell yourself. An experienced interviewer understands how to read an applicant’s body language. But even one who doesn’t do so consciously is affected by it subconsciously, and it bears strongly on their overall impression of each person they meet with.
Here are some fundamental tips about using body language in an interview to communicate that you are open, honest, personable, respectful, confident, competent, and otherwise deserving of the job.
Using Body Language in an Interview
- The interviewer’s first impression of you sets the tone. Walk into the room with confident strides, standing up straight with your chin up and your eyes fixed on the interviewer.
- Your handshake should be moderately firm; it shouldn’t feel weak, but it’s also not a strength contest. Stick to three pumps of the hand, and hold eye contact for the duration of the shake.
- After the greeting, let the interviewer lead the way and wait for them to invite you to sit. This is respectful and mindful of business etiquette. Of course, if the interviewer leads you to a chair but doesn’t indicate that you should sit, take the initiative rather than stand there awkwardly.
- Sit with straight posture, your back straight against the back of the chair, shoulders back, chin up, eyes forward, knees pointing forward, and the soles of your feet flat on the floor.
- Keep your arms open, either on the arms of the chair or out pointing slightly away from your body on the desk or in the air while you gesture. Never cross your arms across your chest, as this comes across as defensive or stubborn. In general, if you physically close yourself off in any way with your arms, it communicates that you’re not open, honest, and receptive; alternatively, if your arms are open, you seem open. Also, tilt your palms upward while you speak to convey honesty.
- The same goes for crossing your legs; don’t do it. It doesn’t only make you seem closed off, but it’s also informal.
- Don’t put your briefcase, portfolio, or other objects on your lap or on the desk between yourself and the interviewer; a physical barrier like this also has the negative effect of closing you off.
- Refrain from touching your mouth or face, holding your hand in front of your face, or doing other things that obstruct the view of your face while you speak. Such actions communicate dishonesty and uncertainty.
- Gesture naturally in moderation, but avoid abrupt, sweeping, or otherwise dramatic gesturing. Never point at the interviewer or make chopping motions, as this is rude and perceived as aggression.
- Maintain eye contact with the interviewer most of the time. Lack of eye contact portrays a lack of interest, attention, and respect. But it’s normal to break eye contact occasionally and briefly; a constant stare is unnerving. Just don’t get lost staring out the window or at your feet.
- Lean slightly forward and nod every once in a while when the interviewer is offering an explanation to seem engaged and interested. Don’t, however, lean forward while being asked a question, as this can come across as aggression.
- Refrain from drumming your fingers, fidgeting, or playing with something in your hands or on the desk. This makes you seem nervous or disinterested and bored.
- At the end of the interview, shake hands the same as when you first came in, and leave similarly poised. Walk out confidently, but without looking like you’re hurrying. If you seem to rush, it says that you were uncomfortable or unhappy during the meeting.
Certain situations in the workplace can be a bit awkward for many managers, and giving employees constructive criticism is often one of them. It can be particularly uncomfortable when the supervisor knows the employee in question is genuinely trying, or if the worker is known to be a little sensitive.
With the right approach though, the exchange can be as painless as possible for both parties, and you minimize the likelihood of the recipient becoming too defensive to benefit. Plus, the feedback will be delivered with the best chance for triggering meaningful improvement in the employee’s performance.
Why Is Giving Employees Constructive Criticism Important?
There are many reasons for giving employees constructive criticism as part of managing projects and performance in the workplace. And it’s not just for struggling staff; even high-performing employees can and should receive professional, valuable constructive criticism.
Obviously, the primary reason for giving employees constructive criticism is that when it’s delivered and received well, it should improve productivity, performance, and results. This contributes to greater success for the employee, their team or department, and the company.
Beyond that, constructive feedback is a crucial form of employee engagement and development. It demonstrates that management and the company is invested in the employee, and in helping them grow. In the best cases, it can even open the door to greater responsibility, as well—and with it advancement and increased pay.
Constructive criticism also gives employees a fair chance to turn things around before they have to be fired. Generally speaking, people deserve the opportunity to work harder if they’re not meeting certain expectations or goals. Often, they’re unaware of how they’re falling short without having it brought to their attention. And, from a more liability-oriented standpoint, it’s helpful to document issues and official attempts to correct them.
Tips for Giving Employees Constructive Criticism
- Provide constructive criticism promptly when you become aware of a problem; letting the issue persist doesn’t do anybody any favors, and if you end up angered by it over time, you’re less likely to deliver the feedback as professionally and constructively.
- Let the employee know ahead that you want to speak with them, and tell them why; they’re more likely to get upset and defensive if they’re blindsided at the meeting.
- Have the conversation in private; it’s just courteous, and it will be much more uncomfortable for the employee if they’re afraid someone else is overhearing it.
- Keep emotions out of the conversation on your end, even if the recipient of your feedback becomes emotional; stay calm and professional.
- Open by explaining that the purpose of the meeting is to help the employee improve their performance, and that they’re not in any sort of trouble.
- Start by saying something positive about the employee; this is a tried and true psychological tactic that helps people be more receptive to criticism, and it’s also nice.
- Pick one or two of the most important issues to cover, and save any others for another time so it doesn’t come across as an all-out assault; it’s also more likely that the constructive criticism will be digested and successfully applied if there isn’t an overwhelming amount to focus on.
- Cite specific examples of the behavior or aspect of performance in question, rather than just vaguely describing it.
- Address the employee’s actions, rather than personality traits; for example, one of the examples you cite could reference a time when they didn’t structure something in a logical, efficient way, as opposed to saying that they’re disorganized.
- Provide specific, practical, actionable steps for improvement; a simple way to do this is to offer advice about how they could have better approached the situation or task in the examples you cite.
- Stick to things the employee has the ability to change; otherwise, it’s just criticism, with nothing constructive.
- Let the employee speak—and even offer an explanation if they feel so inclined—but be prepared to get the conversation back on track if they’re only being defensive; also, be open to the possibility that they may have a valid reason for what you’re discussing (such as having been trained by another manager or employee to do something the way they’ve been doing it).
- Thank the employee for listening and wrap the meeting up with a positive, encouraging statement reiterating that the purpose of the feedback is to help them achieve more.
- Follow up with the employee after an appropriate amount of time (which depends on the nature of the issue they’re working on); if you’ve noticed effort and improvement on their part, be sure to tell them so.
There’s a piece of career advice—and really, it’s good life advice in general—that doesn’t get nearly enough attention: Honor your commitments while job hunting.
In terms of what we do here at SRI, we’d like to draw attention to two commitments every job seeker makes, but that sometimes don’t get taken seriously:
- When you have an interview scheduled (whether it’s a phone interview, video interview, or in-person interview), that’s a commitment.
- When you formally accept a job offer (with or without signing a contract), that’s a commitment.
Disregarding These Commitments
How do some job seekers fail to honor these commitments?
If you don’t answer the phone or show up for your interview, you haven’t delivered on your commitment. Even if you cancel the interview at the last minute, you neglect your commitment.
Sure, sometimes there many be a real emergency that prevents you from attending your appointment. But almost always, there’s not. Go to your interviews if you can’t cancel at least 48 hours ahead—even if you accept another job or decide against the one you’re interviewing for. Consider it practice, and an opportunity to make a new connection in your industry.
And once you formally accept a job offer, it’s not professional or ethical to back out. It’s your responsibility to be sure you want the job before accepting it. Don’t agree before doing all the research you need to do about the position and the company, or before following up with any other pending possibilities you’re more interested in.
If you need time to make a decision, be upfront with the employer while assuring them you’re excited for the opportunity. If they’re unwilling to give you a reasonable amount of time to consider such a big decision, you probably don’t want to work for them anyway. Because this is a major decision; don’t make it lightly, and if you choose to accept, you’ve made a commitment.
Why Honor Your Commitments While Job Hunting
A basic reason to honor your commitments while job hunting is that it shows respect for other people and their valuable time. As far as interviews go, when you have an appointment, that means someone has taken an interest in you and allotted time in their busy schedule to give you an opportunity. Yes—as a great candidate, you’re also giving them an opportunity to benefit from your talents—but it’s a two-way street, and everyone deserves the common courtesy of having their time respected.
Once you accept a job, you’ll much more significantly inconvenience people if you back out. The employer has stopped trying to fill the position, started on paperwork and onboarding processes, and made other arrangements to help you get started. They may have also notified runner-up applicants that they were not selected for the position.
But honoring your commitments through the job-seeking process isn’t just about respecting others; it’s also about you. People who keep their promises and fulfill their responsibilities are highly regarded for it. On the other hand, failing to honor your commitments reflects poorly on you.
You may have a good reason for not following through on a scheduled interview or for going back on a formal job acceptance. You burn bridges, though, and this can come back to haunt you in ways you can’t ever foresee.
Always remember that you’re dealing with people and employers in your industry. There’s no saying where the people you encounter along the way will be next year. You have no idea who the person you inconvenience knows at the company you want to work for even more. You simply can’t predict how your actions one day will affect you the next. People with the most rewarding careers remember this and act accordingly.