Best Products Co. Inc

Never say “hard working, motivated, or team player” during the interview 0

Team PlayerWhat Job Candidate says - “Hard working, Motivated, Team Player Seeking Dream Job with Big Salary”

What Hiring Manager hears - “Limited skills, brown-nosing, seeking a paycheck working as little as possible”

It still amazes me that job candidate’s think the way to get a job is to say things about themselves. Hiring Managers aren’t interested in you telling them you are a “hard worker”, they are interested in you showing them. What situation did you face in the past, what action did you take to correct the situation and what was the outcome?

Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior

Demonstrating through a specific example, a story, lets the future employer see how you worked in the past. They can take that specific story and visualize you solving their problem, their reason for wanting to hire you. They will also use it to remember you.  Here’s a true Customer Service example I gave during an interview:

I was the Store Manager for Best Products in Hopewell Virginia. It was 8 PM on Christmas Eve when I got a phone call from a customer who had bought a ride-on car for his 8-year-old son. The father was putting the car together after his son went to bed when he found the battery for the car was missing from the package. The father had called me to ask what I was going to do about it.

I told the man I would meet him at the store. I called my Assistant Manager  just in case it was a set-up (it wasn’t) and we drove to the store. We found the battery the man was missing and his 8 year-old son’s Christmas was saved.

Now I could have said “I’m a people person” when asked about my customer service skills or I could have said “I love people.” As Jay Block famously said “My dog’s a people person, but I would never hire her.” The story, specific to the job, was a key to landing the job.

By setting up situations similar to the ones you will face with the new company, your specific examples will demonstrate that you are “hard working, motivated, and a team player” without ever saying it.

This often leads to the employer saying “you’re hired.”

Students should plan, so they never waste a summer 0

Joel Quass worked for VIMS on the Chesapeake BaySchool can be a stressful. Even the most motivated and inspired students face academic deadlines, family commitments, roommate distractions,  and other stressors. The thought of spending even part of the summer working just adds  additional pressure. Students view summer as spring break on steroids.

For me, summers were all about making money to pay for school. That was my plan. Summers involved long hours doing construction, pumping gas and being the Assistant Manager of a movie theatre.

But what if, with a plan,  you could use that time to forge a relationship with a multi-national corporation? Or work with marine biologists planting sea grass on sand dunes? Summer jobs in your field of interest stand out on a résumé and develop valuable contacts for future positions.

My best summer during college involved 18′ Thunderbird motor boats with giant Mercury outboard engines. My job was to chase the incoming tides up rivers that fed the Chesapeake Bay. Starting at the mouth of  the river at slack water, I would take a water sample. After logging the time and temperature, I would race upriver a specific time and collect another sample. All summer long I said to myself, “I can’t believe they are paying me to do this.”

As a  Political Science major, I never thought about leveraging that summer job into a career. That wasn’t my plan. Yet it happened in spite of myself.

I made some strong contacts at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and more importantly, at the marina where we fueled the boats. One of the Senior VP’s of the retail chain Best Products kept his boat there, and we had many of the same interests. Networking with Mr. Riley landed me an interview and a management position with Best Products after graduation.

My summer job helped me land a full-time management position after graduation by sheer luck. Imagine what a student could do during the summer if they had a plan.

Managers – Are you paying enough attention? 4

Lessons from the Worst-Performing Companies in America
What’s caused U.S. firms to lose the most shareholder value in the last 10 years? A new Booz study — actually, a repeat of one it did in 2004 — once again came up with the same result

As I read this article, my mind flashed back to my years with Best Products Co. Inc. I had joined them right out of college. I was hired as an entry level Department Manager, but within a year I was a Store Manager for the company. I managed seven stores in as many years, moving frequently for the company.

After arriving in Hampton, Virginia, there was talk among our Senior VP’s of my taking on a District Manager role. Life was great and the possibilities limit-less. Then we bought Modern Merchandising.

We went from a one billion dollar company to a two billion dollar company over night. Everyone was very excited. In fact, we even had T-shirts made.  And our Senior Management spent the next twelve months assimilating the acquisition into the company.

We changed the names on our buildings; out with Dolgins, Miller Sales and the rest, in with the Best Products logo’s. We consolidated distribution centers, creating new efficiencies and re-aligned regional support offices.

The entire process took 12 months. And then we were ready.

But in the past twelve months, retail customers had gone off in a new direction. We had been so busy focusing on the acquisition and re-structuring that no one noticed our customer base was  leaving.

When I saw the hand writing on the wall, I left , purchasing the vending company I would sell two years later.

Every time I think things are running really well in my business I have a  flash back to my Best Products days. The lesson I learned then has stuck with me for over 25 years. So please, pay attention to your business.