How Brands Build Enduring Relationships

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How Brands Build Enduring Relationships

It can be said that good brands are well known, but great brands are well loved. The love affair between customers and their brands, as with any relationship, takes work. Great brands don’t merely talk the talk when it comes to their unique customer-centric mindset. They walk the walk by the effort and sacrifice they do, corporately, “to keep it real” for the customer.

Earlier on Branding Strategy Insider, we looked at how brands like Delta and Campbell Soup were showing how they could relate to their customer’s reality by telling their stories through some very creative and engaging marketing campaigns. But what’s important to remember is that as clever and well-produced as these campaigns are, they are simply an accurate reflection of the brand’s attitude of care and respect for its customer.

Virtually all successful brands employ some combination of best practices to care for their customers, such as customer hotlines, live chats, blog posts, online reviews, social media and relationship management. Great brands go further, incorporating traditions, practices and rituals that pursue customer affection while keeping the main tenants of the brand alive and well.

During my work on the Home Depot account, I learned a valuable lesson from this big box brand in this regard. For instance, Home Depot requires all its non-store associates to spend a couple of weeks “wearing the orange apron” serving customers in one of their 2,275+ stores. It doesn’t matter if you’re a top executive or an assistant’s assistant in their home office in Atlanta, you wear the apron and you serve the customer. In so doing, you experience Home Depot for the first time from the brand’s perspective–to give you a greater appreciation of the customer’s perspective.

Attend any company meeting and you’ll understand why this practice is so powerful—an auditorium filled with loud brand-passionate orange apron-clad believers ready to do what it takes to keep their chain #1 and their customers happy.

There are other corporate cultural imprints, such as referring to their home office the “Store Support Center” (again, putting the emphasis on serving others) rather than “headquarters.” And inside this massive complex, you’ll find an exhibit dedicated to the Home Depot story and experience, as impressive as anything you would walk through in a large, metropolitan science and industry museum.

These and other practices are designed to inculcate and keep alive the brand’s culture, passed on from the founders, of customer service, passion, and can-do attitude with each of the 385,000+ associates that wear the Home Depot apron.

As the brand continues to grow and become more successful, keeping the passion and connection alive between its roots and its branches becomes an increasing challenge. Success can actually become the enemy of brands for a variety of reasons:

  • The original mission becomes muddled by way of growth via mergers and acquisitions of other brands (and their corporate cultures),
  • Changes of ownership or leadership with a different set of priorities,
  • Growth directions and line extensions that may dilute or diminish,
  • Growing too fast to adequately train and equip associates to maintain the same standards of quality and service the brand is known for,
  • Or just complacency brought about by over-confidence

Home Depot experienced such a challenge a few years ago, precipitated by a leadership change, and as a result, its reputation for customer service was called into question. With another regime change, however, customer service was again given priority and, post-recession, the brand has continued to thrive.

Of course, Home Depot is not alone in the pursuit of keeping itself real for the customer. Great examples abound with great brands:

  • Southwest Airlines and Wegmans treating their employees as number one which inspires them to make their customers feel number one.
  • Zappos’ singular goal: Make the customer happy no matter what. Period.
  • Nordstrom’s “The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service” with attention to detail and employee empowerment.
  • Ritz Carlton’s culture of ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.
  • IKEA’s communication of its high standards regarding protection for the environment and employee working conditions throughout its organization and with all of its suppliers.
  • Laura Ashley’s ways of personalized thank you’s to its customers.

When brands meet customers where they’re at, and work uniquely and diligently for their business, their hearts and their loyalty will follow. Great brands go the extra mile and are not only well known, but well loved.

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April 26, 2017 at 04:47AM

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from Paul Friederichsen

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A judge just blocked Trump’s order on sanctuary cities — but they still offer only limited protection

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BI Graphics_Jersey City thumb 2x1

On Tuesday, a California judge blocked Trump’s order to withhold funding from sanctuary cities, places that refuse to cooperate with ICE and other authorities enforcing the nation’s immigration laws. 

Lawyers representing San Francisco and Santa Clara County argued that Trump’s executive order cracking down on sanctuary cities violates jurisdictions’ 10th Amendment rights and could deprive them of billions of dollars in federal funding. The judge’s preliminary injunction blocking the order will stay in place while the lawsuit moves through court.

It’s the latest development in the fight between some cities that have decided to stand with their unauthorized immigrant communities, and authorities that enforce the nation’s immigration laws. 

Jersey City, home to an estimated 22,000 unauthorized immigrants, has taken steps to strengthen and codify its sanctuary status, openly defiant of immigration officials. 

But even then, in many cases, Jersey City may still be powerless to protect undocumented immigrants.

The limits of sanctuary

Nearly 10 years after a woman from the Philippines settled in New Jersey, there was a knock on her door.

She had come to Jersey City in part because that’s where immigrants have settled for more than 400 years. It’s a city so synonymous with immigrants that, back in 1996, it declared itself a “sanctuary” for unauthorized US residents.

But on this January morning in 2016, the woman, who spoke with Business Insider on the condition of anonymity, was about to experience the limits of a place declaring itself a sanctuary city.

It was before sunrise. She had just fallen asleep, having come back recently from her job on the overnight shift.

The woman’s sister let two men into their apartment. They were from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and a moment later they were in her bedroom.

“I thought it was just a dream,” the woman told Business Insider.

The agents showed her a photo of herself. There was no denying it. She had been a permanent resident but lost that status after being convicted and serving time for possessing methamphetamines. So they took her away to the local ICE headquarters and then placed her in Hudson County jail, only a few miles from her home.

A city of immigrants takes a stand

Jersey City, in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, is said to be the most culturally diverse city in America. Forty percent of its population is foreign-born. Its streets are home to immigrants from Italy, Cuba, the Philippines, Poland, India, Ireland, the Dominican Republic, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Jaime VazquezJersey City has been a place for immigrants since before there was a United States, dating all the way back to when the Dutch settled the area in the 1600s. Tens of millions of immigrants passed through Ellis Island, which is within the city’s borders, and many stuck around in Jersey City.

All this at least partly explains the actions of Jaime Vazquez in 1996, when the US was tightening its immigration policies, denying public assistance to immigrants and calling on government employees to report anyone they suspected of being in the country illegally. Vazquez, an outspoken, pro-immigrant councilman from Puerto Rico, wrote up a resolution to declare the city a “safe haven” for immigrants and to discourage city employees from reporting people suspected of violating immigration laws.

“It’s un-American to have people living in fear because some social worker is going to report them to immigration. That’s almost Gestapo-ish,” Vazquez told the North Jersey newspaper The Record at the time. “Some people say that’s an extreme comparison. OK, maybe. But the Nazis started somewhere.”

By passing a resolution that declared the city would not help enforce federal immigration efforts, Jersey City had become a sanctuary city.

“The resolution embodies what the Statue of Liberty stands for: compassion, liberty and freedom,” Vazquez, who died last year, told The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Then-Jersey City council president Tom DeGise was equally emphatic.

“We wanted to make a statement that, in our ethnically diverse city, we didn’t want any city agency ferreting out illegal immigrants,” he told The Christian Science Monitor at the time. “My job as a school teacher is to educate the children in front of me, not be in a position of saying, ‘Are you an illegal immigrant?'”

But, as Jersey City’s current government recently learned, symbolic gestures can do only so much, and now DeGise is on the other side.

The power of financial incentives

As Jersey City was first calling itself a sanctuary in 1996, nearby Hudson County Correctional Facility began housing immigration detainees under a so-called intergovernmental service agreement. As a contractor for the US Immigration and Naturalization Service, Hudson County, where Jersey City is located, began providing housing, safekeeping, subsistence, and other services for INS detainees in exchange for $77 per detainee per detained day.

DeGise has a different job now and a different perspective along with it. He’s Hudson County’s executive, and in this role he says he supports the county’s efforts to help ICE detain unauthorized immigrants.

Inmates are seen at the Hudson County Correctional Center in Kearny, New Jersey.It was under his leadership, in 2009, that the Hudson County Department of Corrections entered into an agreement with ICE known as 287(g) to honor immigration detainers, which are requests that local authorities hold people suspected of violating immigration laws until ICE can pick them up and detain them. The agreement also allows the county to identify noncitizens who are subject to removal from the US. Around the same time, the county’s detainee-day rate also increased to $110 a day from $90.

The 287(g) agreement essentially deputizes three corrections officers from Hudson County to function as immigration agents and allows them to interrogate, charge, and detain any immigrant already at the Hudson County jail.

When people are arrested for indictable offenses in Jersey City, their fingerprints are scanned and sent to the FBI, which then shares them with ICE. If their fingerprints come up in an ICE database as somebody who is wanted on suspicion of an immigration violation, then ICE can issue a detainer. Sanctuary status can’t prevent that.

In June 2016, the county said it probably wouldn’t renew its contract with ICE. “Barring overwhelming evidence presented by ICE of its law enforcement value or of the need for county, rather than ICE personnel to carry out this function, the 287(g) agreement will not be renewed,” county spokesman Jim Kennelly told The Jersey Journal at the time.

But the following month, the county did renew the contract.

“I was convinced that it’s a very effective tool in trying to keep some bad guys out of our communities and off of our streets,” DeGise told NJTV News in defense of the agreement.

DeGise declined Business Insider’s requests for an interview, but in the 20 years since he backed Jersey City’s sanctuary status, his change of rhetoric shows the limitations of sanctuary-city policy.

Even though Jersey City is a sanctuary city, its residents are at a higher risk of being detained and deported because ICE is embedded into the county’s corrections system.

Amid concerns from advocates that the county would have to abide by new national guidelines introduced by Trump that allow ICE to prioritize just about every unauthorized immigrant for detention, the county issued a statement about a new policy it adopted that says it plans to continue following the priorities for detention it signed onto when it re-entered the agreement with ICE in July. According to those earlier standards, county correction would flag for detention only people who committed serious offenses.

In an email to Business Insider, Kennelly wrote, “The only reports sent to ICE by Hudson County Corrections are limited to serious offenses, laid out in a county policy put in place after the new Presidential administration took office.”

The policy, however, also laid out guidelines for whom the county would screen and process — included on this list are people who have been arrested on suspicion of any misdemeanor that could result in at least three months of jail time.

“I’m a liberal Democrat, one who thinks that serious criminals, especially those who commit sexual assaults against women and children or engage in violent felonies don’t deserve to remain in this country to prey on the very immigrants we cherish in Hudson County,” DeGise said in a statement.

But critics say 287(g) is more of a public-relations program for ICE to say it is ridding the streets of dangerous immigrants, and they dispute the characterization — people arrested for minor offenses wind up in detention all the time, advocates say.

Rosa Santana, Chia-Chia Wang, Johanna Calle Jersey City immigrant advocatesRosa Santana, a detainee-visitation program coordinator at First Friends of New Jersey and New York, tells Business Insider she has visited with detainees who are in jail for traffic violations. “We have heard of clients who called the police for a domestic violence dispute and then both parties were detained and ended up in immigration detention,” she says.

Rev. Eugene P. Squeo, a longtime immigrant advocate who visits Hudson County detention center twice a week, says he often hears stories that fathers who support their wives and children sometimes spend months to years in detention for minor offenses.

Kennelly says ICE can detain whomever it wants, including people who have committed lesser crimes, and the county will house these detainees. Hudson County has no hand in choosing these detainees, he says. “With 287(g), we exercise very careful discretion in the choices of foreign-born individuals we report to ICE who are drawn from the arrested persons brought to our facility by local police,” he writes.

Advocates say that, ultimately, the reason Hudson County kept its 287(g) contract with ICE is that the county didn’t want to bite the hand that feeds it.

Chia-Chia Wang, the organizing and advocacy director at American Friends Service Committee who is also head of the group’s Immigrant Rights Program, tells Business Insider that at a rate of $110 a day for each detainee, it behooves the county to identify more immigrants to be detained.

“The reason DeGise decided to renew the partnership with ICE was for the $20.5 million the county received in 2015 from the federal government for incarcerating immigrant detainees,” Eugene G. Drayton, the president of the Hoboken Branch of the NAACP, wrote in an op-ed article for The Jersey Journal. “The county profits financially when, rather than being released, immigrants whose criminal charges have been dismissed or otherwise resolved, continue to be held on immigration matters.”

At the end of March, nearly half — about 600 — of the almost 1,200 inmates at the jail were being held on ICE detainers, according to The Jersey Journal. While the jail’s overall population has been dropping since January thanks to a new law that says only pretrial defendants deemed a danger to the public or to a witness may be detained, immigration advocates suspect this makes room for more immigrant detainees to occupy beds there.

“It seems that Hudson County is in a race to fill empty criminal defendant beds with immigrant detainees to collect federal cash,” Wang wrote in an op-ed article for The Jersey Journal.

Kennelly says, however, that the county’s budget is huge — about a half-billion dollars — and, after expenses, the county nets only $8 million in income for housing ICE detainees. What’s more, he says the county hasn’t received any indication from ICE that Hudson County’s jail would not be used if the county were to end its involvement with 287(g).

And while the bond rules are freeing up beds, he says the county’s focus for the future is repositioning its jail as a regional center for drug treatment for inmates throughout the state and region.
Jersey City pro immigrant rally

Meanwhile, Jersey City has a financial incentive to protect its 22,000 unauthorized immigrants.

In the New York metro area, which includes Jersey City, 36% of service jobs like making and serving food, working in offices and retail shops, and caring for children and the elderly are done by immigrants, both with documentation and without. And the concentration of immigrants in this area working blue-collar jobs like construction, truck driving, and factory work is even higher at 50% of the working class, CityLab reports.

Immigrants living in the US illegally aren’t just working for small businesses, either. Immigration expert Harry Pachon once estimated that up to 10% of such immigrants run their own businesses. If true, that would suggest there are more than 2,000 unauthorized entrepreneurs in Jersey City.

A new city under a new administration

You can grab a fresh, hot samosa from one of the many restaurants lining Newark Avenue in the “Little India” section of Journal Square, and, after a quick bus ride up Central Avenue, wash it down with a cafe con leche from one of the Latin American bakeries in The Heights.

Jersey City New JerseyJersey City is also changing, with a waterfront rapidly becoming home to hipsters and finance workers priced out of New York neighborhoods like Williamsburg in Brooklyn.

“A lot of diverse folks live in proximity to each other, and they call them neighbors and friends and family,” Jersey City Council President Rolando R. Lavarro tells Business Insider.

But the new administration has brought new fears to those subject to deportation.

From the outset of Trump’s campaign for the US presidency, he has vowed to deport the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the US illegally using a “deportation force” and crack down on cities that provide a safe haven for these people. His immigration policies as president so far appear to be an attempt to bear these promises out.

“Sanctuary jurisdictions across the United States willfully violate federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States,” Trump said in his executive order on immigration. “These jurisdictions have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our republic.”

Trump’s executive order to withhold federal grant money from sanctuary jurisdictions was reiterated by Sessions, the attorney general, who specified that Department of Justice grants could be at risk. Just last year, Jersey City received a grant of almost $1.9 million from the DOJ to support the hiring of 15 new police officers.

Threats to federal grants in sanctuary cities have been met with support by numerous conservative politicians, including New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie.

“Elected officials can’t be allowed to pick and choose the laws they wish to comply with,” Christie said during his call-in radio show. “And if they say they’re not going to change, I can guarantee them something: Donald Trump is going to take away federal funding if you don’t comply with the law.”

The New Jersey governor also said he would veto “on arrival” any legislation seeking to reimburse sanctuary cities for any lost federal funds, calling such a bill “outrageous” and “political pandering.”

But Jersey City decided to fight back. It has attempted to fortify its sanctuary status into an official law.

“I think it took [Jersey City] a little while to realize that, while in name you might be a ‘sanctuary city,’ in real practice you need to put a bit more than just a sentiment in there to actually do something,” says Johanna Calle, the program coordinator at the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice.

ice deportationIn February, the city codified its official status as a sanctuary city into law.

Mayor Steven Fulop signed his own executive order that, among other things, bars the city’s employees, agents, and law enforcement from honoring ICE detainers.

Fulop’s order also bars city agents from assisting in civil immigration-enforcement operations; requesting information about anyone’s immigration status unless it’s required by state or federal law, regulation, directive, or court order; or allowing federal immigration officers access to municipal facilities or databases without a warrant.

“In today’s climate, despite threats, it’s just a strong statement from Jersey City saying that we won’t be bullied and we won’t be mistreated and we’re going to stand by the values that are important to us,” Fulop said at the executive-order signing.

The real value in sanctuary-city policy

Lavarro, the Jersey City council president, says Jersey City has never aided ICE before. But by codifying its sanctuary-city status, the city is officially forbidding its police force from helping ICE.

But local officials can’t stop federal immigration agents from entering the city and detaining immigrants themselves. Advocates say the real value in sanctuary-city status is its symbolism. It sends the message that local police officers are on their side, which historically has made immigrants more willing to cooperate.

The liberal Center for American Progress has found crime to be lower in counties that do not honor ICE detainers than in counties that do. And unauthorized immigrants have been found to commit crimes at a rate lower than that of native-born Americans.

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop signs an executive order declaring the city aFulop tells Business Insider that making Jersey City a sanctuary city was imperative because he wanted to ensure there was a sense of community in which people felt comfortable they could rely on city resources, which Trump’s executive order threatens.

Jersey City’s director of public safety, James Shea, tells Business insider there is no question the city has seen instances in which fear of deportation has hindered law enforcement.

“The big challenge in policing under our system of law isn’t just apprehension — it’s conviction,” Shea says. “And that requires cooperation from the community in the form of witnesses, canvassing, sharing their video cameras with us from their homes or businesses. It requires a whole team effort from the community. Anything that helps the community feel comfortable making that effort works for us.”

Hopes for the future

After she was picked up by ICE, the woman from the Philippines spent 11 months in the Hudson County jail until a judge declared she’d most likely be persecuted if deported. She won a “withholding of removal,” essentially meaning she can stay in the US and apply for a job.

Jersey City rally for immigrants“When I came here, I had my pockets full of hopes, because living in the Philippines is really hard,” she said. The woman is transgender, and the Philippines are not known for being accepting of LGBT people.

She says she’s been clean of drugs for five years and wants to stay in the US. She says the US needs immigrants as much as immigrants need this county.

“I want to see this country be united,” she says. “I want this country to still have immigrants because immigrants built this country, and I want this country to remain diverse. I want us to be more united because when we’re united we’re stronger, and we should not just let one person decide for the lives of the many.”

SEE ALSO: Trump’s crackdown on ‘sanctuary cities’ is creating a chasm among police

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NOW WATCH: Deepak Chopra’s go-to 3-minute meditation to stay focused

April 26, 2017 at 03:39AM

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from Rachel Gillett

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The best public high school in America is an Arizona charter school with 750 students

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Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona is home to the best public high school in the nation, according to a new ranking by US News & World report.

BASIS Scottsdale is a 5th through 12th grade charter school with 754 students. It’s the first time the school has ranked No. 1 on the list.

Part of a larger network of charters — schools that are publicly funded but privately run — BASIS Scottsdale has a 100% graduation rate for students. It also places a high focus on college readiness, and requires students to take a minimum of eight Advanced Placement (AP) courses. The average number of AP exams per student is 11.5, and the average score is a 3.78 out of 5.

Ninety-six percent of students at the school are white or Asian, a figure likely dismaying to public-school advocates.

It was one of the issues that Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education, took aim at in an disparaging op-ed in The Washington Post.

“The proportional over-enrollment of Asian-American students and under-enrollment of Latino students in BASIS charter schools is startling,” she wrote in March.

Burris looked at the 16 BASIS charter schools in Arizona and noted that 32% of students during the 2015-16 school year were Asian. Statewide they only constitute 3% of the population. And while only 10% of student at the school are Latino, they constitute 45% of the population in the state.

Still, Burris agrees that the schools provide students with “a challenging education.”

That fact shines through on the US News’ list. Four of the top five schools are BASIS charter schools.

SEE ALSO: The 15 best public high schools in America

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NOW WATCH: 5 safety items you should carry — according to a self-defense expert

April 26, 2017 at 12:50AM

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from Abby Jackson

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Here’s the question a rejected job candidate sent via email that prompted an executive to hire her for another role

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alex cavoulacos

My response to job rejections has always been much the same.

I replay the interview in my head until eventually I’ve figured out why the company rejected me: I wore an ugly outfit. I talked too much. I’m a generally terrible person and no company would ever want me as an employee.

It’s never occurred to me that I could actually find out why the company turned me down.

According to Alexandra Cavoulacos and Kathryn Minshew, authors of “The New Rules of Work,” it’s not only possible to find out why the company turned you down — it’s often advisable.

Cavoulacos and Minshew are the cofounders — and COO and CEO, respectively, of careers advice and job listings site The Muse. In the book, they recommend following up with the hiring manager to ask for feedback on your interview skills.

Business Insider spoke with Cavoulacos and she recalled one woman she rejected for a job at The Muse. The woman followed up with an email asking: “Is there anything that I could have done differently?” Cavoulacos told her she could have been more prepared.

The woman later applied for a different role and showed up to the interview much more prepared and impressive. She got the job.

Asking what you could have done better is especially useful, Cavoulacos said, when you really have no idea why you didn’t get the job or you thought you nailed the interview.

Cavoulacos said she always answers this question with a few pieces of feedback, but she added that you might not get a response at all. If you receive the rejection in a phone call, she said, you’re more likely to get some feedback.

Cavoulacos’ team at The Muse has reached out to people again about roles that would be a better fit. That’s why it’s helpful to add a line that says something like: “I always welcome the opportunity to speak about roles in the future.”

SEE ALSO: Here’s the cold LinkedIn message that prompted a CEO to give the sender a job

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NOW WATCH: The 2 biggest job interview mistakes young people make

April 26, 2017 at 12:33AM

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from Shana Lebowitz

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16 interview mistakes people think will cost them the job — but won’t

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nervous energy

Considering all the advice about interviewing out there, you might feel you have to walk on eggshells when you’re interviewing for a job.

Don’t worry. Asking to reschedule your interview won’t blow your chances. Nor will asking too many questions.

And, believe it or not, neither will showing up late.

While we certainly don’t recommend you go out of your way to be late, experts say that most interviewers will understand if you get stuck in traffic. The important thing is to go about informing your interviewer the right way.

In fact, there are quite a few things you might think would cost you the job that, in reality, won’t:

SEE ALSO: 9 things people think are terrible for their careers that actually aren’t

DON’T MISS: 32 brilliant questions to ask at the end of every job interview

Asking to reschedule

Before you get an in-person interview, you’ll likely talk to a recruiter or hiring manager on the phone as part of the preliminary vetting process. If you get this call at a bad time, you don’t have to take it right then. 

“I’ve interviewed too many candidates who simply answered their phone and were distracted, unprepared, and more — it’s not their fault,” Vicki Salemi, a career expert for Monster, tells Business Insider. “Am I saying to not answer your phone? No. But when you do you can simply state, ‘I would love to speak to you but I’m in the middle of something right now. Can we schedule time on the calendar to have this conversation?'” The employer won’t think any less of you for doing this, Salemi says.

The same holds true if you’re sick or something comes up and you need to reschedule your office interview. Salemi says you just need to give the employer enough notice — at least 48 hours would be best, though, if you’re sick, sometimes 24 hours will have to do. When you ask to reschedule, mention the reason without getting into too many gory details, she says. 

Asking which job you’re interviewing for

“When I worked in corporate recruiting, it wasn’t uncommon for candidates to apply to more than one job at the company,” Salemi says. “When you’re contacted about your résumé, go ahead and specifically ask which role they’re talking about. You’ll need it to market your skills and experiences towards that job over another if they vary slightly.”

Being late

“In an ideal world, we would all arrive ten minutes early for our interviews,” says Vicky Oliver, author of “301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions.” “Unfortunately the ideal world is worlds apart from Manhattan traffic.”

If you are running late, Oliver says you must call ahead. “You get a lot more sympathy if you call 20 minutes in advance and say, ‘I have been sitting in a cab for 40 minutes and am terrified that I am going to be late for our meeting today. I hope you won’t hold it against me because I am really looking forward to meeting you.’

Never just slide in late without an excuse. Your interviewer will notice, she says.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

April 25, 2017 at 11:12PM

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from Rachel Gillett

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The 21 largest US cities ranked by ease of building wealth

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san francisco

The best way to build wealth is to prioritize assets over income. But ensuring that your assets outweigh your liabilities can be impacted greatly by the city you call home.

This week, online personal finance consultant Bankrate.com released a report ranking America’s best and worst metro areas for building wealth.

To create the list, Bankrate.com ranked the 21 largest metro areas in five categories that contribute directly to an individual’s ability to build their wealth:

  • Savable income: average income after taxes and expenditures
  • Human capital: unemployment rate, educational opportunities, and productivity
  • Debt burden: non-mortgage debt per capita and average credit score
  • Homeownership: average annual change in home prices, foreclosure actions, and homeownership rate
  • Access to financial services: Percentage of workers with access to retirement plans

San Francisco came out on top as the best place to build wealth, followed by Minneapolis and Washington, DC.

“In some metro areas, like San Francisco, homeownership can be prohibitively expensive, but higher-than-average salaries can help residents stash more money away in tax-advantaged retirement accounts,” wrote Claes Bell, a Bankrate.com analyst and the author of the study. “On the other hand, Minneapolis-area residents don’t earn as much, but the area’s affordable housing and recovering real estate market provide opportunities to build wealth over the long term through home equity.”

Read on to see how the 21 largest US cities stack up for building wealth, as well as the average savable income, homeownership rate, and non-mortgage debt per capita for each city. 

SEE ALSO: 10 of the best American cities to live comfortably on $40,000 a year

SEE ALSO: The most expensive housing market in every state

21. Riverside-San Bernardino, California

Savable income: $9,790

Homeownership rate: 62.6%

Debt burden: $27,682

20. Miami

Savable income: -$3,613*

Homeownership rate: 58%

Debt burden: $25,645

*Analysis showed a negative average savable income for the Miami metro area. This may be attributable to the high population of retirees in the area who are spending more of their savings than they’re earning.

19. Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida

Savable income: $3,437

Homeownership rate: 62.7%

Debt burden: $27,015

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

April 25, 2017 at 11:12PM

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from Tanza Loudenback

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A banker-turned-Googler explains why tech companies could stand to hire more Wall Street bankers

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Sameer Syed Google

When Sameer Syed worked as an investment banker at JP Morgan, he knew that every email had to be perfect.

“You didn’t want to make a mistake in an email and have someone senior read it,” he says. “They might be like, ‘This guy doesn’t really care about his work.'”

This pressure to get the details right ended up serving Syed well, even after he quit finance and headed off to work at a tech startup.

Today, he works in strategic partnerships at Google and organizes quarterly roundtables known as Wall Street to Silicon Alley, which strives to help financial professionals transition to jobs at tech startups.

“That’s my goal, to highlight some of the talent that exists on Wall Street and figure out ways for tech companies and startups to start tapping into them,” he says. “In finance, you have to have a very good work ethic.”

He says that bankers and other financial professionals tend to possess a tremendous work ethic and a fresh perspective that can compliment traditional tech workers.

Here are two other strengths that Syed says finance workers can bring to the world of tech:

1. Attention to detail

When Syed landed his first job at a tech startup, his colleagues would often comment on his emails and presentations.

“They were like, ‘Oh wow this is very clean and very professional. It looks like we hired a bank to do this,'” he says. “And I was like, ‘Well, I did work at a bank.'”

Syed credits his time in finance with sharpening his attention to detail.

“When you’re sending out emails when you’re working in banking you have to be super detail-oriented and make sure that there’s no mistake and no errors,” he says. “Every presentation you put together is very nicely done. The formatting is perfect. Everything is great. That kind of stuff is super valuable.”

2. Flexibility

Syed says that, despite the stereotypes about stiff bankers, flexibility is a trait that most financial professionals are taught to embrace.

“You develop an ability to adapt very quickly and learn about new products very quickly,” he says.

This means learning things on the job, quickly.

“That’s one of the things that I always tell people, to make sure they can demonstrate that in an interview with tech startups,” he says. “Explain that, ‘I can pivot very quickly and pick up a new product or understand a new concept very quickly because I’ve done that in investment banking. I’ve had to understand new regulations that will have an impact on my client, or if I’m working with financial products I need to understand all the products.'”

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April 25, 2017 at 10:57PM

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