Friday, July 26, 2013

3 Reasons to Hire Nervous Job Candidates

boxheadFor many people, interviews are one of the most nerve racking things that they can do. It’s not surprising when you think about it, since there is a lot at stake: the job of their dreams, the ability to make the next mortgage/rent check, regaining a lost sense of self esteem, etc.

With so much being at stake, isn’t it perfectly understandable that many candidates may succumb to nerves during an interview? The problem is that these nerves can indeed impair their interview performance and hinder the interview process – candidates can speak too quickly, slur their speech, have temporary memory loss and basically not give a true representation of their ability. This means that it is very easy to miscast nervous candidates as basket cases or incompetents who are not suitable for the job, when in truth they could be more appropriately skilled than some of the more outspoken and forward applicants.

In fact, three studies back up the idea that nervous candidates may be in fact disguising underlying brilliance.

The first was a study by Corinne Bendersky from UCLA’s School of Management. In her study she looked at MBA students and classified them as an extrovert and introvert (typically more neurotic and nervous) and she looked at the perceived status of these students. They found that those who were seen to be more extroverted were perceived to be of higher status and a better potential contributor to the effort. While neurotics were seen as lower status and they were expected to make a smaller contribution (this superficial first impression is an effect that is likely to be replicated in the interview room). But, what was most interesting was that at the end of the 10 week study/project period, the extroverts were seen to have lost status and to have contributed less than expected and neurotics were seen to have contributed more than expected and gained status as a result. Corinne concluded that extrovert traits that may them stand out from the crowd can fail in a team based situations. And the dull, uninspiring traits of introverts can make them effective on the job.

So, if you are hiring for roles with a collaborative element consider that the more nervous and neurotic may make a very positive contribution.

Corinne completed a second study which looked at team perceptions of neurotics and extroverts before and after working together and revealed that the general preconception is that the volatility and negativity of neurotics will be a drag on the team and that the enthusiasm and energy of extroverts would boost the team. But, in the studies the contributions of extroverts were not as good as expected and the introvert performed beyond expectations in a team environment.

A third study by Adam Grant from Wharton compared the sales performance of a group of 340 introvert and extrovert sales people. They found that the most successful employees were the ambiverts (halfway between introvert and extrovert) earning 24 percent more than introverts and 32 percent more than extroverts. So, in a purely sales capacity, this study (albeit isolated)  has shown that extroverts are the worst performers.

Now, I am in no way suggesting that you exclusively hire introverts because you need a balanced team and introversion is just one of many qualities and skills which can lead to the employee being a higher performer. But, that is the point; while you should not hire someone just because they are introvert, equally it does not make sense to overlook someone because their introversion and neuroticism may have affected their presentation during the interview. Try and build selection processes that allow both introverts and extroverts to shine and develop interview techniques that relax candidates and which coach nervous candidates back into a state where they give an authentic demonstration of their ability, enabling you to make truer assessment of their abilities.

If you need help with effectively interviewing nervous candidates, watch out for the second part of this article titled, “8 Tips for Interviewing Nervous Candidates.”

Kazim Ladimeji  |  June 19, 2013  |

Monday, July 15, 2013

Can tablets handle business?

On 27 January 2010, Apple launched the iPad, and sparked something of a revolution in mobile computing. Tablets have since become the computer of choice for many people, and the consumer-oriented devices have increasingly found their way into business life.

Many companies have since been attempting to take a piece of the Apple pie by releasing various competing models, from the hundreds of Android devices on the market – sparking court cases galore – to a handful of Windows devices and the BlackBerry Playbook.

“The consumer purchases a tablet and goes into work, acting as a brand advocate,” says Ovum principal analyst Richard Edwards. “They use it in every other area of life, so why not work? That’s how Apple has got so much scale.”

IT departments are bracing themselves for an influx of mobile devices, which will put a strain on the corporate Wi-Fi network and potentially open up companies to data security issues. But tablets have been suited more to the consumption of media than as devices for the enterprise.

There is a general lack of business software, but Microsoft is about to introduce a new option for CIOs with its launch of Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT on 26 October. The new version of Windows is tablet-optimised and could bridge the gap between Windows-based desktop computing and tablet computing, which has previously been limited mainly to Android and iOS devices. Research from Ovum has found people would like to use Andoid and iOS devices at work.
“We’re almost giving up the desk to become very mobile” Rob Bamforth, principal analyst Quocirca
“We’re in a transitionary space right now, where we’re almost giving up the desk to become very mobile,” says Quocirca principal analyst Rob Bamforth. “But it’s still difficult to call whether people will prefer something entirely tablet-like or the legacy keyboard.” A number of hybrid devices have been launched recently, in the run-up to Windows 8, including HP’s Envy x2, Dell's XPS Duo 12, Toshiba’s Satellite U920T and the Archos Gen10 XS. These hybrid devices have both touchscreens and keyboards – the latter either detaches or flips around to turn the device into a slate. The launch of Windows 8 will undoubtedly cause a stir in the coming months, but will its software encourage business users to invest in Windows 8-based tablets? To investigate this question further, Computer Weekly has looked at three devices to see how Android, Windows 8 and iOS fit in the enterprise


Fujitsu Stylistic M532


The Fujitsu Stylistic M532 tablet runs the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS. It is aimed at professionals looking for a small (25.7cm), lightweight (560g) tablet that can be easily integrated into their company’s virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). The device uses a Tegra 3 T30S 1.4 GHz quad-core ARM processor.
According to Fujitsu, users of the M532 can securely access business applications, data and company intranets. It is built specifically to protect any sensitive company data against leakage and unauthorised access. “The full range of devices support mobile device management services. For example, we have a Fujitsu managed mobile service that enables IT departments to remotely install, update and wipe a tablet,” says Dave Shaw, product manager for Stylistic tablets at Fujitsu.

The supplier also ships the device with Absolute Computrace, which enables the M532 to be tracked and wiped remotely, even if the drive has been formatted, providing peace of mind to both the user and the company’s IT department. Available for £462, the device looks stylish, can be held in one hand, and features a highdefinition screen and 8.4 hours of battery life. In terms of storage, it includes 32GB of flash memory and is configured with 1GB of RAM. The M532 comes pre-installed with £100 worth of business applications, including Citrix VMware View, ThinkFree Office, ES File Explorer, and Norton Security with a one-year subscription.


Samsung 700T running Windows 8


Windows is likely to remain king of the enterprise desktop, laptop and PC market for the foreseeable future, but how well can it run on a tablet?

The Samsung 700T tablet is what used to be called a slate PC. Originally released in 2011, it is a full-blown 11.6in touchscreen PC without a keyboard. It is currently selling on Amazon for £766.
The 700T is powered by an Intel Core i5 2467M 1.6GHz processor, has 4GB of RAM and features a 64GB solid-state disk. The screen is high resolution with vibrant colours. With a bluetooth keyboard and wireless mouse, the Samsung 700T could easily replace a notebook PC. The included docking station, which measures 11x10x1.5cm and doubles as a stand, has an Ethernet connector and an HDMI port.
The device is well-suited to running the final shipping version of Windows 8, with its touchscreen user interface. As expected, with Microsoft ActiveSync, connecting the Samsung 700T to an Exchange email server takes seconds, which should not burden the IT support desk. It requires a Windows Live account and connects seamlessly to Hotmail and Gmail.

There are not yet enough applications in the Microsoft Store to assess the suitability of this Windows 8 tablet as an enterprise device, but more Windows 8 software is likely to be become available when the new OS ships in October. Weighing just under 1kg and with battery life of around four to five hours, it is certainly not a tablet that could be used on the road all day. But the Kindle app works well and the large screen makes reading in landscape format particularly comfortable. It will be interesting to see how the Samsung 700T works in a full enterprise environment, as and when virtual private network, anti-virus, enterprise resource planning and business intelligence software, and apps such as Citrix Receiver, are certified for Windows 8.


Apple iPad


The Apple iPad is clearly the king of the tablet world. Apple’s ringfenced, yet sophisticated, ecosystem has managed to lock millions of customers into buying through iTunes, which could prove a barrier if businesses want to develop their own custom iPad applications for employees.

Featuring a 1GHz dual-core ARM chip, reviewers and analysts have always championed the iPad as a fantastic piece of kit. However, even as a leader in the tablet market, the iPad has never been aggressively targeted at business users. It is the most popular tablet in UK businesses because people buy it for personal use and take it into work. Prices start at £399 for the basic model. Due to the extensive app store, there are plenty of features and applications that work really well and aid the iPad in its work duties. The iOS operating system supports ActiveSync for connecting to Microsoft Exchange, while Citrix Receiver and Wyse PocketCloud deliver a Windows desktop for the iPad. Enterprise applications such as Microsoft OneNote,, Sage and Oracle Expenses are available in the Apple AppStore.

Along with a variety of planning, note-taking, file-sharing and scheduling apps, the iPad can contend with many of the made-for-enterprise tablets on the market. Its biggest downfall comes from a lack of multi-screen technology, which is now available on Android operating systems. It can become quite convoluted switching between different applications and web pages – something fans hope will be fixed in a future upgrade of the operating system.

There is also an array of choice when it comes to Apple accessories. Cases with in-built keyboards can increase productivity, and many do the job well. However, with an already expensive piece of kit, this is an additional cost. Surely if typing on the iPad – or any tablet for that matter – is so difficult, an ultrabook or transformer model tablet would be a more convenient tool?

How 3D printing will rebuild reality

"Objects can now be printed, and pictures built. How will this revolution effect business, and the world in general?"

A 3D model of a complex anaplastology case, created in collaboration with the anaplastologist Jan De Cubber, is seen at the Belgian company Materialise. 3D printing has already changed the game for manufacturing specialized products such as medical devices. REUTERS/Yves Herman

When Star Trek debuted in the mid-60s, everybody geeked out about the food synthesizers. Even my mom, a reluctant but compulsory Trek viewer, recognized the utility of this amazing gadget, particularly with two ravenous boys around the house. My brother and I knew, of course, that the real magic food box was the refrigerator.

Years later, I wasn’t the only one craving the replicators of Star Trek:The Next Generation for my home workshop. TNG’s follow-on concept of a ‘universal build-box’ upped the ante way beyond a hot cup of Earl Grey. The list of things we would have made at home was endless: for the kids, replacement baseball bats, balls and window panes, game controllers and handheld electronic devices. I would have gone in for replacement car parts, repairs for broken appliances and furniture, and an endless supply of consumables like gasoline, toilet paper, kitty litter, and inevitably, a couple of cold—strictly non-syntheholic—beers for afterwards. I note in passing that Starfleet protocol prohibits civilians from replicating weapons.

With the recent rise of the Maker movement and the advent of cheaper, easier-to-use 3D-printing technology, the sci-fi concept of a household device that can manufacture functional objects seems to be gaining reality. But for those who witnessed the technology’s birth and growth, it has been a surprisingly long and winding road—one that has recently reached a significant but mostly unnoticed milestone. For me, it all began with Star Trek and the Silver Surfer.

  A 3D object called the Quin.MGX is seen at the Belgian company Materialise, a pioneer in the process. REUTERS/Yves Herman 

Exactly how replicators—presumably some sort of universal matter assemblers—might actually work remains unclear. The first time I saw a version of the concept that offered an inkling of how a fabrication machine might operate was in 1969. It was in the classic Marvel comic book, Silver Surfer #1, when our superhero-to-be, Norrin Radd, rushes to build a spaceship so he can fly out to confront Galactus, the super-being that will otherwise consume his homeworld. Radd gets a top scientist to deploy a "mental constructor", a helmet-mounted beam-like device that does all the work for him: "within seconds the image of your ship which in have in my mind...shall take solid form before our eyes!"

The notion of wielding an energy beam to build a working rocket in one’s own lab was like catnip to somebody who ran a side business at the elementary school dealing (to trusted friends only) three-stage, explosive rocket munitions that I’d fabricated in secret at home from notebook paper, Scotch tape, matchbooks and soda straws (but that’s another story…).

A decade and half later, when I was first working as a science and technology writer/editor, it was natural for me to become captivated by the new manufacturing marvel of 3D-printing technology. Watching 3D Systems’ groundbreaking SLA stereolithography system was particularly impressive. The moving laser beam built parts right there in the chamber out of photo-curable liquid polymer: “Holy shit, it’s the Silver Surfer’s fabricator!”

Thos 3D vase, called The Hidden, was designed by Dan Yeffetlamp. REUTERS/Yves Herman

Adding and subtracting
One of the publications for which I worked covered the machine-tool industry, which built big, powerful milling machines, drills and so forth. These devices carve away material from blanks in a subtractive fashion to leave the desired object, like a sculptor does. In contrast, the new additive 3D machines built the target objects from the bottom up in layers, like a bricklayer. Both technologies rely on the same precision x,y,z machine stages to exactly position the tool or workpiece within the three-dimensional build volume.

The first step in nearly all those and most of today’s processes for “turning bits into atoms” involves using CAD/CAM software to create a 3D digital design that is then cut into two-dimensional “slices”—as if the virtual object were run through a kitchen egg-slicer. The resulting stack of cross-sections are next fed one-by-one as data into a printer unit, which directs a laser or dispenser head to follow a tool path that produces that layer of the physical object. Generally, nearly all 3D-printers first deposit a thin layer of material—metal or polymer powders, or a plastic goop that’s extruded like toothpaste—and then solidify the patterns layer-by-layer with laser light or other means. The procedure, in time, yields a nearly finished object.

Posted to Creative Tools' flickr page, this model of Star Wars' Yoda was made with Fabbster, a 3D printer that can be bought on for $1800 in kit form, or $3000 pre-assembled. 

Just a matter of time
The initial users of the technology, mostly product designers and engineers, could revise, tweak and iterate their unfinished designs easily and cheaply using “rapid prototyping” models, a process that greatly enhanced design capabilities and engineering productivity. And from the beginning, the new fab technology hinted that it might bring about potentially revolutionary changes in global manufacturing practices by offering a possible paradigm shift for basic production, one that just might turn traditional supply trains on their heads. From our perspective, it seemed a given that at some point pretty much everybody would have ready access to functional metal and plastic objects—replacement parts, “one-offs,” you name it—made precisely to their specifications quickly, affordably, and locally.

Sure, the early fab units could only make rather flimsy epoxy and polymer models for design and engineering purposes, but we knew that it was only a matter of time before they would be able to manufacture practical parts out of many different engineering materials. We were also certain that system and operating costs would drop as the process took greater hold in industry and production volumes rose. Soon, tougher ABS plastic 3D-printed components arrived, and researchers at places like Sandia Labs, MIT and the University of Texas at Austin were hard at work developing build processes that could manufacture working metal parts like those in your clothes washer, lawnmower or car by welding or fusing together metal powders.

A colorful geometric shape casts a shadow. Photo: fdecomite
Slow progress
As things developed, however, making functional 3D-printed objects a reality took much longer to come to fruition than any of us had expected. Researchers toiled away for decades to perfect these basic innovations, and much time had to pass for some of the crucial patents to expire and for computer, laser and materials technologies to advance sufficiently.

Year after year, the 3D-printer industry booths at manufacturing trade shows like the big International Machine Tool Show in Chicago would feature mostly design models, toys and puzzles and all manner of customized tchotchkes, knick-knacks, and one-off novelty items. Yes, increasingly sophisticated stuff with ever-tightening dimensional precision—but for many years real-world commercial products were embarrassingly scarce. The ones that did eventually emerge were typically “high value-added” products, whose market niche typically arose from an acute need for the customization enabled by additive manufacturing processes. 3D-printed medical implants, using CAT scans as blueprints, eventually hit the market.

In the last decade, the steady progress in digital technology and the 3D-printing industry’s continuing R&D efforts has now brought into being multiple fabrication methods that employ new, better performing materials to achieve significantly better precision and build-quality. Today’s higher-end printers can produce truly amazing objects with highly complex, even ‘impossible,’ geometries as well as integral—built-in—moving parts.

But it was only the emergence of more affordable ‘home’ 3D-printer units, at a couple of thousand dollars a pop, that allowed the technology to cause more broad public excitement. The burgeoning Maker movement—enthusiasts inspired by the DIY/home-grown ethic, the desire to personalize possessions and often a primal desire to democratize production—has captured the imagination of many technologists who once again dream of a replicator in every home. That iconic vision and the ready ability for designs to be downloaded from the Web, or easily scanned using a real object, has fanned the trend to the point that I will soon be able to buy a printer at Staples and download CAD/CAM designs to a ‘neighborhood’ fab shop that runs industrial printing systems. For now, access to user information about the process and demos have become increasingly available at Maker Faires and similar events nationwide.

Until very recently the output of home systems has been mostly restricted to often very cool but mostly non-functional or non-structural aesthetic or decorative objects such as jewelry, highly customized items like cell phone covers, or relatively low-function replacement mechanical parts. That is starting to change.
But even though home 3D-printing has received substantial publicity of late, it is in the industrial sector where the technology will probably make its most significant near-term impact on the world both by manufacturing improved commercial products and by stimulating industry to develop next-generation fab methods and machines that could one day truly bring 3D-printing home to users in a real way.

This winged skull, uploaded to flickr by Jeremy Keith, demonstrates 3D printing tech's ability to produce extremely complex designs.
3D-printing nears mass production
A couple of months ago when I heard GE Aviation would mass-produce a 3D-printed jet engine component within the next few years, I knew the real revolution had begun.

Rows of industrial 3D-printing units in plants will soon be fabricating turbine engine parts—fuel nozzles—from cobalt-chromium alloy powders. Each one of GE’s new LEAP jet engine will contain nineteen of the fuel nozzles, which are up to 25 percent lighter and five-times more durable than traditionally manufactured fuel nozzles. In airplanes cutting weight saves fuel. The LEAP engine has already amassed more than 4,500 orders, so between it and the new GE9X engine, the corporation could end up making as many as 100,000 additive manufactured components by 2020.

GE Aviation and Santa Fe-based Sigma Labs are working together to develop in-process inspection technology that serves to verify the quality and geometry of the additive components during the build process. This boosts production speeds by as much as 25%, and enables faster FAA qualification of parts. Recent news reports indicate that initial assembly of the first pre-production LEAP engines began just last week.

GE researchers also say that clinical testing has begun of a low-cost medical ultrasound sensor prototype made by 3D-printing ceramic powders. The new, cheaper device could potentially bring prenatal imaging to many more expectant mothers in third-world nations.

A Nestle logo was printed by a 3D printer during a display for the inauguration of the system technology centre for the design, development and deployment of their products in Orbe. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse 
Make it so
Progress in the industrialization of 3D-printing technology is probably the best thing that could happen to the Maker movement. It’s only a matter of time before spin-off technologies start trickling down into the hands of hobbyist and neighborhood makers at affordable prices. Greater R&D investment will in time surely yield a steady flow of more capable and presumably cheaper home printing technology, including new machines, enhanced design software, more and better fab materials and deeper processing knowledge. These innovations should help bring 3D-printing and additive manufacturing firmly into the mainstream—and maybe into your own home.

Real-world replicators have taken a lot longer to materialize than I’d thought; it’s been nearly half a century since Star Trek first appeared. But the replicator revolution seems to be happening at last.

A handout electron microscope photograph shows a nano-scale model of London's Tower-Bridge created by a recently-developed 3D printing technique for nanostructures. Researchers from the Vienna University created their grain of sand-size structures in just four minutes, a fraction of the time that other tiny items were previously printed. Photo: Vienna University of Technology

Thursday, July 11, 2013

PMG Webinar Series | Winning Virtual Product Strategy

Pirrotti Marketing Webinar Series

July Topic:

5 Steps to Establishing a Winning Virtual Product Strategy:

With a focus on: packaging, pricing promotion and distribution channels
Back in 1999, 1% represented the percentage of white-collar knowledge workers who had the authority to make an office space decision.  Fast forward to today and the traditional forces of change: globalization, shifting of social norms, technology and competition have made that limited 1% audience a thing of the past.

Welcome to a business 2 consumer world where 40% of the workforce is at your doorstep and your client’s decision criteria involve the individual, his/her family and the business. And as your audience has completely evolved in a new direction, so must your product, your pricing, your strategies for both lead generation and conversion. Are you ready?
Via a webinar series, Andrea Pirrotti from Pirrotti Marketing will address the key steps workspace providers must take to evolve their offering and target this new, expanded audience.  

Roadmap to Success: 8 Steps to Fuel Revenue: Live Encore

If you missed Andrea Pirrotti's June webinar, "Roadmap to Success: 8 Steps to Fuel Revenue" or would like to participate again, join us July 17 at 3:00 EST! Please click here to register!

Sign up today and get ready to seize your share of the market.

Wednesday, July 24th

3:00 EST
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About Andrea Pirrotti:
Pirrotti Marketing Group has been crafting and executing marketing strategies to fuel revenue for more than 800 workspace locations across 65 countries since 1999. Andrea Pirrotti is the Executive Director for the Workspace Association of New York (WANY) and is the chair of the Marketing Committee for the Global Workspace Association (GWA).