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How to Answer the Most Commonly Asked Interview Questions

As recruiting experts, we interview a lot of people, and know that looking for a new job can feel intimidating, overwhelming, and confusing. Over the next several months we will publish a series of blogs to help you, the job seeker, feel more comfortable with what to expect during the job-search and interview process. We will include tips on how to prepare for your job search, guides on how to address common interview questions, what to do after that interview, and how to handle the offer process. This blog series begins today with the interview process; below we will give our best advice on how to answer some common interview questions you may encounter as you begin interviewing for your next job.

Tell Me About Yourself

“Tell Me About Yourself” can feel like an incredibly overwhelming question to answer in an interview. It is important to remember that the interviewer is human, just like you, and usually has your best interest in mind. Typically, an interviewer uses this question to segue from when you introduce yourself into the rest of the interview- your answer to this question can determine the direction that the interview will take.

This is a great opportunity to highlight things that you want to make sure the interviewer knows about you! It is best to answer this question in three parts: the past, the present, and the future. For example, you could answer the interview question, “Tell Me About Yourself,” like this:

“I attended college at Appalachian State University where I earned a Bachelor of Science in Communication with a focus in Creative Advertising. From there, I worked as an in-house graphic designer for a national distribution warehouse. However, now I am looking to pivot to an agency setting where I will have the opportunity to work across several different clients in multiple capacities.”

How Did You Hear About This Job?

Whether you heard about the job for which you are applying through a friend, or you found the job on a job board, this question is the perfect opportunity to share what you know about the role, what makes you excited about it, and why you would be good at it. If you heard about the job through a friend, this is your chance to drop their name and share about your connection. In addition, there is never harm in bragging to the interviewer about what impresses you about the company at which you are interviewing.

We suggest answering the interview question “How did you hear about this job?” like this:

“I found this specific posting through a search of local openings in the marketing field on LinkedIn, I’ve admired this company for a long time, so I was thrilled to see a position open for which I know I would be the perfect fit!”

Why Do You Want to Work Here?

This question offers the perfect opportunity to brag on the company with which you are interviewing. Do your research ahead of time and pick out a few things that make the company really stand out to you. If you cannot find anything that makes the company impressive in your eyes, it might be a red flag. Your response to this interview question does not need to be lengthy or cover many topics. The interviewer is probably trying to gauge what you know about the company and whether or not you came to the interview prepared by having done your research. For example, you could answer this way:

“I am so encouraged every time I see anything about your company in the local news, on social media, or through various connections. People in the community as well as your internal employees have wonderful things to say about this company’s commitment to diversity and serving local non-profits, both of which are things I am extremely passionate about. I also noticed that your company has earned the Greatest Company in Raleigh Award three times in a row- it would be an honor to work for such an outstanding organization.”

Why Should We Hire You?

This question is really the perfect segue to get to brag about yourself. Remember to keep your answer professional and to the point. We recommend answering this question in three parts: your skills, your results, and your personality. What you want to avoid here is providing a generic answer or potentially disparaging any of the other candidates who may be interviewing.

Show that you are the perfect fit for this position by providing examples of how you may fit in with the team, how you have overcome difficult problems at work in the past, and how your skills match the position. Do your research about the position beforehand and incorporate examples from their job posting into your answer.

What Are Your Greatest Weaknesses?

While choosing how to respond to this question, you need to be careful to walk the middle ground of confessing something that may be a huge red flag and being untruthful by saying that you have no flaws. A good choice is to answer this question by sharing an example that can also be viewed as a strength. We suggest answering like this:

“I am a very detail-oriented person, meaning that sometimes projects take me longer to complete, because I want every last detail to be perfect. I have been working with my current mentor to overcome this by creating a system to help me identify the priority level of tasks to be completed as well as ensuring I understand the various project deadlines so that I manage them effectively.”

Tell Me About a Time You Made a Mistake at Work.

The interviewer is probably asking this question to gauge whether you can own up to your mistakes, self-reflect, and show the initiative to ensure the mistake does not occur in the future. We suggest answering this interview question in three parts:

  • What was the mistake?
  • How did you fix it and what did you learn?
  • What are the steps you took to make sure that mistake does not happen again?

For example, you could answer like this:

“During a busy season at work, I missed the deadline for submitting a flyer. Because of my mistake, a few of my coworkers had to step in to help me get the flyer made. I learned how crucial it is for me to prioritize each of my daily tasks by importance and ensure that I block time on my calendar to work on each project. Since then, I have created my own system to calculate how many hours are likely required to complete the tasks on time and to remind me of deadlines coming up.”

Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job?

When replying to this question please know there is no value for you, your past employer, OR your future employer in talking negatively about your past/current job. Rather than talk negatively about your past employer, use this as an opportunity to brag on the company with which you are interviewing. If you were let go from your last job, it is okay to answer by saying, “Unfortunately, my position ended,” and leaving it at that.  We suggest answering this question like this:

“As much as I enjoy my current position, I am seeking opportunities for growth and increased responsibilities.  I would really love the opportunity to increase my responsibilities by overseeing incoming creative requests from beginning to end, and I know I would have that opportunity here.”

Do You Have Any Questions for Us?

You should always come to an interview with questions prepared and be listening during the interview for anything the interviewer says about which you may want clarification. We suggest approaching this question as an opportunity to make sure this position is the right fit for YOU.

Here are a few questions you could ask:

  • What is your favorite part about working here?
  • What is your favorite project on which you have worked in the past year?
  • Is there anything else I may share with you to add clarity about me as a candidate for this position?
  • What are the growth plans for your department or the company overall?
  • In your eyes, what does success look like in this role and how is it measured?

 

Check out our TikTok for answers to the most commonly asked interview questions!

Gen Z and Racial Equity in the Workplace

A Courageous Conversation Recap

A few weeks ago, Greene Resources had the opportunity to attend a Courageous Conversation hosted by the Raleigh Chamber about Recruiting and Retaining Young Black Talent. This event featured speaker Raven Solomon of Raven Solomon Enterprises, as well as a panel of young local leaders: Melanie Flowers, SGA President NC State University, Ian Finley, SGA President, Shaw University, Greear Webb, Student Activist, UNC Chapel Hill, and Moderator, Danya Perry, Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity of the Raleigh Chamber.

A recent McKinsey study, Race in the Workplace, offered advice for recruiting and retaining Black Gen Z Talent. McKinsey suggested that the three key pillars to intentionally diversifying your workforce are: representation, a commitment to DEI, and showing support and belonging to your employees. This study guided the panelists’ conversation during this impactful and honest Courageous Conversation.

Representation

Raven Solomon of Raven Solomon Enterprises shared that “77% of GenZ workers said that a company’s level of diversity affects their decisions to work there.” Ian Finley, SGA President of Shaw University, communicated the importance of understanding the culture of the people you are hoping to bring onto your team. He stressed that when he is looking to apply for a job, he immediately notices companies that want to see him grow by providing access and opportunities to grow and learn within the organization. Melanie Flowers, SGA President of NC State University agreed with Ian’s sentiments by communicating that she feels the most seen in an organization with people who she identifies with in positions above her. Melanie expressed her fear of entering an organization where she will have to be the first or only woman of color to break through the barrier of high-level roles.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Theodora Smith, Greene Resources’ Human Resources Manager noted that her biggest takeaway from this Courageous Conversation was supporting Generation Z and their values in the workplace. In addition, Cassandra McNeil, a Search Consultant at Greene noted that it is essential for employers to provide layered support for Black Gen Z individuals. Whether it is providing opportunities to grow in the community, through mentorship or sponsorship, it is crucial to show commitment to DEI through actions rather than stopping at a statement. During the panel, Melanie commented that it is easy for her to notice when a company is silent. She said, “People [and companies] have platforms, and when they go unused, it’s definitely heard.”

Support and Belonging

“You cannot ask someone to leave part of their identity at the door,” Raven Solomon explained. Inclusion for each individual is what leads to equality. Karah Lizote, a Recruiting Specialist at Greene reflected on this Courageous Conversation by noting how impactful this part of the conversation was for her. Karah noted, “We cannot discourage Gen Z from letting their passion show through in the workplace…Inclusion and belonging are how we are going to recruit and retain top Black Gen Z talent.”

Danya Perry wrapped up this discussion by urging employers to shift culture language from encouraging applicants to be a “culture fit” and rather to be a “culture addition,” insinuating that it is far more important for a person to add to the culture of a work community, rather than being forced to fit a pre-existing culture mold.

We are so thankful for the Triangle DEI Alliance offering programs such as Courageous Conversations. The Triangle DEI Alliance hosts a variety of different events throughout the year, including: We Connect, Black Business Momentum, Hispanic Business Momentum, Courageous Conversations, and the Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity Conference. For all of these events and more about the Triangle DEI Alliance, visit their website at triangledei.org.

 

Onboarding a New Employee Remotely

As the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to evolve and shift, most companies have continuously had to implement creative solutions to problems that used not to exist. One problem many have had to face, among a long list of others, is thoughtfully and successfully onboarding new employees remotely.

My name is Katie, I am the Marketing Specialist at Greene Resources. I was the first internal employee that Greene Resources hired and fully onboarded remotely in the COVID-19 Pandemic. As I look back on the past five months, I recognize the ways in which many of my co-workers and teammates played an integral role in my smooth transition. I would like to share a few things that I believe companies should consider to effectively, carefully, and intentionally onboard a new employee remotely.

Overcommunicate

As I prepared to walk into our office on the morning of August 17 to retrieve my computer and keyboard, I felt prepared and confident. My manager took time before my first day to ensure I knew directions to the office, which elevator to get on, who would be meeting me in the lobby, and exactly what to expect upon arrival. When I now reflect, knowing what I do about my manager’s schedule, I am floored that she still made time to ensure my comfortability going to the office, send me detailed instructions about my arrival, and lay out an entire schedule for my first two weeks of work.

Immediately, when I accepted my position and made plans for my first day of work, my manager ensured every single detail about safety and beginning my job were communicated thoroughly. As a fellow Type-A individual, I felt incredibly cared for simply because I received an email walking me through exactly what Day 1 would look like- down to the parking spot that was most convenient to access the front door.

Beyond my first day, my manager, my teammates, the leadership team, and every other individual with whom I’ve had the opportunity to work has demonstrated thoughtful and thorough communication- something that I now know is modeled from the top down and is implemented in every single role within our organization.

Be Prepared

Feeling prepared is an essential part of effectively transitioning or onboarding into any new role. The world of remote work brings many new challenges and obstacles to overcome. Not only are people facing the challenges of faulty internet, pesky pets, and roommates and family members who need attention, but our technology teams are also facing the reality of people not being quite as tech savvy as they maybe once thought. Within my first month of working for Greene, my computer died, and my Internet failed more times than I would like to honestly admit. Luckily for me, our IT Team was in the process of rolling out an entirely new remote system for submitting tech support tickets.

Because Greene Resources and our Tech geniuses were prepared for the difficulty that came with onboarding an employee remotely, each of my problems was greeted with more than sufficient help, generosity, and comfort. I feel as though I am set up well and I am empowered to do my job well because of the people that have gone before me to think through the potential issues that could arise when a new employee begins work remotely.

Invest in an Inclusive Culture

From my very first interactions with internal Greene Resources employees, I knew I was entering into a diverse, inclusive, welcoming, and fun community. Before COVID, when a new employee walked in for their first day at Greene Resources, a green carpet would be rolled out before them with all of their new coworkers high fiving them as they made their way to their desk. When COVID hit and our office went fully remote, our Leadership Team pivoted and found a new way to engage employees while onboarding on their first day to ensure they felt the full welcome entourage.

As I walked into the office on my first day to pick up my computer, I was greeted by the entire Leadership Team on a Zoom call with “Welcome, Katie!” backgrounds. Any fear or hesitation immediately dissolved when I saw the faces of the company so thrilled to greet me. There is something to be said for members of our leadership team carving out time in their day to ensure I felt welcomed and excited.

Further than my first day, I felt nervous about making friends and getting to the point of making real connections with my co-workers. Almost immediately, when I logged onto Microsoft Teams, I was greeted by numerous Greene Team members dropping by to say hi, welcome me to the company, and find common ground on which we could relate. Nobody forced my now co-workers to be kind, inclusive, and welcoming to me- it is just who they are, it is a lifestyle that is modeled by every leader, manager, and entry-level employee I’ve met at Greene.

Though we don’t yet see an end in sight to the days of working from home or onboarding remotely, we can definitely admit we’ve all gotten a *little* better at it. As we continue to walk down this unpaved road together, I hope we can continue to grow together, looking out for each other, empowering each other to show up each day with our all, and being as welcoming as we possibly can- even through the computer screen.

Common Questions When Hiring During a Pandemic

It is not breaking news to write that many wonderful candidates have been impacted by the global pandemic. Fortunately for your company that may be searching for great talent, there are candidates who are highly motivated to find a new career. We have received several questions from hiring managers who are considering adding employees to their team. Included below are the most common questions we receive along with our advice.  

 

How Quickly Should I Be Making a Hiring Decision? 
Has the Hiring Timeline Changed?

It depends. As always, many hiring questions are dependent on your individual circumstances and needs. The more experience required with a position, the longer the hiring process may take. Similarly, the more people that need to be involved in the decision may also impact the amount of time the hiring process takes. We suggest accelerating the process as much as possible without sacrificing the quality of the decision.  Regardless of the timeline, be as transparent as possible with the candidates, and be sure to meet all established deadlines for follow up.  Rest assured, the quality candidates will likely have multiple offers to consider and your ability to keep the process moving forward will make a big difference.  

With much uncertainty in the world, it may feel fitting to delay your hiring process for as long as possible. However, we are seeing multiple opportunities being presented to candidates, and they are extremely motivated to accept their new position.  The longer you wait, or the longer the process takes, the greater the chance the candidate you want will move forward with another opportunity. 

 

How Do I Compete with Companies That Are Still Offering Remote Options When We Are Back in the Office? 
Transparency is Key!

The best way to navigate a conversation about your current work location and accessibility is to approach the conversation with full transparency, and always consider the situation and needs of all involved. You know your options and flexibility better than anyone, and all parties will benefit from open and honest dialogue. Clearly sharing the procedures in place to ensure everyone’s health and safety will also reduce potential concerns.  Be mindful of individual needs that may arise, such as health factors, kids participating in remote learning, comfort levels, and more. A candidate can only bring their best work to the table in an environment in which they feel comfortable and supported.  Even slight variations and increased flexibility to the work schedule can make a difference.   

 

Is There Value in Considering a Candidate Who May Work Remote Indefinitely? 

Yes, whether a candidate could potentially work remote indefinitely due to health concerns, location and proximity, or a myriad of other reasons, is certainly worth considering. All employees, employers, and situations are different. An employee will thrive if they are set up for success and they feel as though they are an equal part of your team- whether they join you through the computer screen or in-person when the time comes for you to return to the office.  We are seeing companies finding ways to allow for remote work.  Expanding your candidate search outside of your region can open the candidate pool exponentially, providing greater diversity with candidates 

 

We are not prepared to onboard a full-time employee, but still need help, what should we do? 
Contract Roles

Contract roles offer clients and candidates the opportunity to ensure the fit is right before committing long-term. Clients and candidates are encouraged to face their current hiring situations with an open mind, due to the uncertainty of the next few months, meaning more employees and employers are open to considering contract options.  

 

At Greene Resources, our goal is to connect people and companies in such a way that jobs become purposeful, impactful and long-term careers.  We welcome your questions and look forward to the opportunity, through COVID-19 and beyond, to fulfill this mission with you.  

 

20 Years of Purpose

Greene Resources is celebrating 20 Years of Purposeful Recruiting. To celebrate our 20 years, we are highlighting 20 local non-profits with which we have had the opportunity to partner in our 20 years. Read more to learn about our 20 Years of Purpose.

 

WakeEd Partnership

First up in our 20 Years of Purpose series is WakeEd Partnership! Having gone through the Wake County Public School System, it was an easy decision for our founder, Gary Greene, to get involved and stay engaged for over 20 years. Since its founding in 1983, WakeEd Partnership has remained focused on ensuring strong schools in each community, excellent educators in every school, and successful students in all classrooms. For this coming school year, WakeEd is helping provide virtual, safe learning environments for all through the Families and Schools Together program.  

 

Jobs for Life  

From the very start, our mission has been to connect people with purposeful careers. It is hard to find a partner more aligned with that mission than Jobs for Life. For almost 25 years, Jobs for Life has worked to address the root causes of unemployment by uniting churches, businesses, and community organizations. Greene Resources has seen the difference meaningful work can make. 

 

Me Fine Foundation 

This week we are highlighting The Me Fine Foundation! The Me Fine Foundation began in 2004 to provide emotional and financial support for families whose children are facing medical crises. Me Fine pools resources to give generously to families that may be facing the insurmountable medical debt that often comes hand in hand with a severely sick child.  When a Greene Resources team member’s 2-year old niece was diagnosed with Esthesioneuroblastoma in 2007, the incredible care and support for the family provided by The Me Fine Foundation was witnessed first-hand.  Recognizing the impact they have on the the local community and hospitals, we began partnering with them over a number of years.  Me Fine Foundation serves the Duke Children’s Medical Center, Wake Med Children’s Hospital, and the UNC Children’s Hospital faithfully, and we are honored to have had the opportunity to partner with them in the past. There are many ways to get involved with The Me Fine Foundation including Music for Me FineHope for the Holidays and visiting their Second Hope Thrift and Consignment Shop in Princeton

 

ALS Association  

When our VP of Technology lost his mother to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in 2012, we knew we wanted to support him and his family any way we could. This was how the dreadful disease was initially introduced to Greene Resources and why we began, and continue, to support the local ALS ChapterALS currently affects around 30,000 people in the United States, with 5,000 new cases each year. The ALS Association is on a mission to discover treatments and a cure for ALS while serving and advocating for those affected by the disease. As one of our legacy philanthropy partners, we look forward to their annual fundraising walk each spring and we didn’t hesitate to dump some cold water on our teammates for the ice bucket challenge. We will continue to support this wonderful cause, in hopes that one day there will be a cure. Thank you, ALS Association for being such an impactful part of our 20 Years of Purpose.

 

Skate4Life  

The first Skate4life event took place in 2011 after Dylan McNeill tragically ended his own life. Friends, family, and community members rallied around the McNeill family to honor Dylan’s life and celebrate his love for skateboarding. Cody Arrington placed second in the first Skate4life event and designed the original event logo. 8 months after the first Skate4life, Cody also took his own life. Cody and Dylan’s mothers noticed such a generous response from community members, that they took it upon themselves to host Skate4life every year. The annual Skate4life event features a skateboarding competition in memory of lives lost and provides an opportunity to educate the community about suicide. In 2016, Dona Arrington and her partners turned Skate4life into its own 501C3 non-profit. The event was postponed this year due to COVID-19, but they are hopeful that it will return in May of 2021. We are honored to partner with Skate4Life in their mission to raise awareness of teenage depression and suicide. 

 

United Way of the Triangle 

This week we are highlighting United Way of the Greater Triangle for our 20 Years of Purpose posts! At the very heart of our mission, we believe that all people should have the opportunity to succeed. We believe it is important to care deeply for our neighbors, and we prioritize partnering with organizations that share that same core belief. United Way of the Triangle holds these values closely, and it is evident in all that they do. United Way is “committed to eradicating poverty and creating social mobility for everyone in the Greater Triangle.” Through annual and emergency investments, they create opportunities for the next generation to be equipped on their educational journey, help families access all they may need to stabilize, overcome poverty, and achieve social mobility, and they amplify voices of underrepresented non-profit leaders. We are honored to get the opportunity to partner with United Way of the Triangle in raising up the future generation to be inclusive, welcoming and equal. 

 

W.A.R.M. 

Home can mean a lot of different things- the people around your dinner table, a hug from a loved one, a smile of understanding, or—home can mean a house. Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry has spent the last 24 years repairing, rebuilding, and making houses accessible to all in the Wilmington area. WARM’s dream is that all people, regardless of income or ability, would be able to live safely in their home. 24 years ago, WARM recognized the need that the Wilmington community had for urgent home repairs, hurricane recovery, and accessibility upgrades- especially their neighbors who fall into low-income or disability categories. WARM rallies volunteers and staff members to love and serve the community by protecting the dignity and independence of people while providing the resources and labor needed for house repairs. We will continue to support WARM in hopes that one day all people will have access to a safe home. 

 

Triangle Family Services 

For over 80 years, Triangle Family Services has worked to create safe spaces and provide resources and care to families in crisis. Through therapy, housing assistance, financial counseling, domestic violence intervention, anger management programs, and so much more, Triangle Family Services has made it their mission to serve families in the community in every way they can. More than the programs offered, Triangle Family Services believes that much of a child’s future success is dependent on the stability of their household growing up. Triangle Family Services knows when to intervene to provide “services in family safety, financial stability and mental health,” to break many multi-generational effects of traumaIt has been an honor to partner with Triangle Family Services in their mission to provide sustainable and necessary services to families in the Triangle.  

 

The Harrelson Center 

This week’s #20YearsofPurpose celebrates @HarrelsonCenter, Wilmington’s non-profit powerhouse! A downtown campus of 24 non-profits, this is the place where common ground and common purpose improve the common good.  Here, you’ll find organizations dedicated to youth enrichment, career empowerment, housing security, domestic violence, emergency response and more. Among these non-profits is the Help Hub which celebrates its 5 yr anniversary in October. From hurricanes to COVID, this is where people in need turn for assistance with housing and utility payments, food and pharma sources and referral for urgent needs. In 5 yrs, the Help Hub has invested over $850K to help more than 6,000 families. Join us in supporting The Harrelson Center’s awesome work. Their Unlock Hope Capital Campaign is doubling their campus for more and expanding non-profits and creating an event venue for all. What was once Wilmington’s jail is now a place to #UnlockHope. Greene Resources celebrates The Harrelson Center for its continued impact on so many in southeastern North Carolina. 

 

Read and Feed 

read and feed mission statement woman handing books and food to a girl14 years ago, Read and Feed recognized the need to create opportunities for every child in the Triangle to have access to grade-level books and to nourishing meals. Kati Mullan, Executive Director of Read and Feed, put it simply: “Every child should have access to the resources that allow them to love reading.” Due to COVID-19, Read and Feed has not been able to have any in-person tutoring, and they recognized that doing virtual tutoring is not realistic for a lot of families. Due to the technology restrictions some families may face, Kati mentioned that it is likely many students have not had access to grade level reading or consistent after-school meals since March. Opportunities for volunteers to get involved right now include conducting a book drive, sponsoring a child, supporting a food drive, and simply being ready to volunteer when in-person tutoring can resume. We are honored to have had the opportunity to partner with Read and Feed in the past and we look forward to getting to walk alongside this organization for years to come.

 

Meg’s Smile

Meg's Smile Foundation mission statementMeg’s Smile is a non-profit organization based in the Triangle area serving children across North Carolina.   Jim and Terri Wasley know the pain and horrible heartache of losing a child. In memory of their daughter, Meg, who passed away in 2011 due to a brain tumor, Jim and Terri created Meg’s Smile to raise funds to provide gifts and fun days to children who are affected by serious illnesses and are being treated in North Carolina hospitals. Meg’s parents remember the outpouring of love that their daughter received as she was going through treatment, and after she passed away, they knew they wanted to do everything they could to put smiles on the faces of other serious and terminally ill children. Meg’s Smile has served over 350 families in North Carolina to date. Greene Resources is so glad to have gotten the opportunity to partner with Meg’s Smile in the past. 

 

The Ministering Circle

The Ministering Circle mission statement with TMC Staff posing for a photoFor over 130 years, the Ministering Circle has supported projects and programs that promote and improve the health and wellness of those in Wilmington and the surrounding community. At its beginnings, The Ministering Circle supported healthcare needs in the community, such as financing the building of a home at Wrightsville Beach for sick children during the summer, funding the District Nurse for over 40 years until NHC health Department was established in 1950, and contributing to the purchase of a horse for the James Walker Memorial Hospital ambulance and of Wilmington’s first X-ray machine. Since 2000, The Ministering Circle has funded over 20 nonprofit organizations in New Hanover County that are meeting local healthcare and humanitarian needs. We recognize the need that the Wilmington community has for The Ministering Circle, and we are more than happy to get the opportunity to partner with them. 

 

Lucy Daniels Center

kids smiling at the camera the Lucy Daniel Center mission statementThe Lucy Daniels Center is the leading provider for children’s mental health services in The TriangleTheir approach to recognizing and treating childhood mental illness places families first. Their multifaceted team is trained to work hand-in-hand with families and children to evaluate their case, provide resources to the family, and establish long-term relationships. Not only does Lucy Daniels Center provide a team of professionals to assess and establish a plan of treatment, they also have a preschool through Grade 5 school that offers therapeutic classroom settings. We are honored to have partnered with Lucy Daniels Center as they’ve continuously been “dedicated to fostering emotional and creative freedom through education, outreach and psychoanalytic treatment and research.” 

 

American Heart Association  

Greene Team members participating in the American Heart Association walkIn 1924, six cardiologists banded together to create an organization that would fight against heart disease and strokes. Heart disease and strokes claim the number one and two spots for global causes of death. The American Heart Association is the home-base to over 33 million volunteers and over 300 staff members. There are many ways to get involved with the work that the American Heart Association is doing. Some ways that the AHA suggest are the most impactful are to promote healthy lifestyle choices within your sphere of influence, advocate for your workplace to become healthier, participate in research, host charity events, and more. Recently, 39 Greene Team members participated in the annual American Heart Association’s Heart Walk. Greene Resources is proud to support the American Heart Association.  

 

Step Up Ministries 

Step Up Wilmington mission statement woman posing for the camera smiling contentlyAs we continue to celebrate 20 Years of Purpose, we are honored to highlight our partnership with StepUp. We have had the pleasure of partnering with both the Raleigh and Wilmington locations of StepUp, and we’ve found in both cases our mission, vision, and purpose align seamlessly. StepUp is motivated by the mission of empowering and uplifting “Individuals in the community to reach their potential and live stable lives through satisfying work.” Like Greene, StepUp fights for every person to secure a living wage while advocating for justice and equity in the workplace. We had the opportunity to speak with Tyler Young of StepUp Wilmington, and he shared a powerful story from Felisha, a graduate of Jobs Week. Felisha (pictured) was laid off from her job at a law firm. Felisha felt a bit rusty entering back into the job search after a decade of employment. Through classes, presentations, and helpful tips, Felisha was able to nail a panel interview and land a new job! We are so glad to get to partner with StepUp as we work together to ensure people in our communities find purposeful and impactful careers. 

 

Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC 

Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC mission statementThis week for our 20 Years of Purpose Post, we are highlighting The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. The Food Bank has provided food for people facing hunger in 36 counties for over 40 years. In 1980, the Food Bank began operations with the help of funding from a local partner. The Food Bank now partners with over 900 like-minded agencies to provide access to nutritious and sustainable meals to those facing hunger. The Food Bank’s mission is critical to our community– “Nourish People. Build Solutions. Empower Communities.” With these values at their core, they are doing the lasting work to ensure that no one goes hungry.   

 

LGBT Center of Raleigh 

Greene Team members volunteering at Out! an event hosted by the LGBT Center of RaleighOver the past few years, Greene Resources has had the honor of partnering with the LGBT Center of Raleigh in their mission to “serve, empower, and advocate for the well-being of our diverse LGBTQ+ communities”. Throughout a typical year the LGBT Center hosts various programs for members and allies of the LGBT community. This year, however, many events are taking place virtually. Last year, Greene Resources supported the LGBT Center of Raleigh in a few different capacities- more specifically by having 22 Greene employees and a few family members volunteer at the Out! Raleigh event in Downtown Raleigh. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with the LGBT Center of Raleigh, and we are so excited for the day that we can participate in future events!

 

Refugee Community Partnership 

Refugee Community Partnership vision statement kids playing with face paintYears ago, founding members of the Refugee Community Partnership recognized the consistent message from refugee neighbors telling their stories of cyclical poverty, isolation, the opportunity gap and systemic barriers to socioeconomic equality. By focusing on long-term societal change rather than temporary solutions, RCP is working to “reshape the social and economic landscape that otherwise forces refugee and immigrant communities into the margins of society.” We recognize the work that RCP is doing and how beneficial this is in the short term and long term to our community and neighbors. Thank you, RCP, for all you do and for allowing us to highlight your mission in our 20 Years of Purpose posts.

 

Dress for Success 

Vision Statement of Dress for Success non-profit two women wearing business clothesDress for Success, an organization focused on both The Triangle and the world, has spent the past 12 years empowering women to achieve their full potential in and out of the workplace. In just over a decade of calling The Triangle home, Dress for Success has served over 15,500 women. Dress for Success believes in providing opportunities for women to thrive in the workplace by building a network of opportunities, resources, and community. Dress for Success provides professional outfits to those who may need it, tips and advice for upcoming interviews, a community of other local women, and more. It is difficult to find a local organization more in line with our 20 Years of Purpose mission than Dress for Success! 

 

GiGi’s Playhouse 

Gigi's Playhouse Mission QuoteGiGi’s Playhouse, a center dedicated to empowering individuals with Down syndrome, is a global non-profit and we are fortunate enough to have a location right down the road from us in Raleigh. GiGi’s Playhouse uses therapeutic based education systems and practices to raise up children with Down syndrome and stand by their side as they grow into adulthood. GiGi’s playhouse is committed to each family and child that walks through their doors by offering a wide variety of resources to assist families from pre-natal care all the way through adulthood. This past year, we’ve gotten the honor to walk alongside GiGi’s Playhouse as they’ve navigated the pandemic to ensure care and support for the families in which they partner. We look forward to many days to come of getting to partner with GiGi’s Playhouse. #20YearsofPurpose 

 

Commit to Corporate Engagement

A Courageous Conversation with Opal Tometi

Who is Opal Tometi?

Recently, we had the great honor to attend a webinar featuring Opal Tometi, the co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM). This was the second Courageous Conversation webinar hosted by the Raleigh Chamber and Triangle DEI Alliance. As we became closer acquainted with Opal, we had the chance to learn about who she is, about what she is passionate, and what led her to co-found the Black Lives Matter movement. Opal recounts that a few years back, she knew her friends were working on a new project together to create a platform for Black people and people of color, and she knew she was willing to do anything she could to be part of the movement. Opal’s background is in Marketing and Communications, so when she felt the pull to join her friends in the creation of BLM, she knew exactly how she could help.


What is the Black Lives Matter Movement?

Opal noted that the Black Lives Matter Movement is not strictly about police brutality; however, the organization has focused many efforts recently on recognizing systemic flaws within sectors of police brutality, American government, education, healthcare, and law making. Opal and the other co-founders of Black Lives Matter recognized that oftentimes misinformation can lead to a lack of unity. If there is a way to unite people under the same cause, then more people will have a platform to use their voice, and change will be easier to enact. This was the heart of BLM during its conception, and still to this day- to create a safe space where people can learn and grow and empower each other to be the change within flawed systems.

Corporate Engagement + Black Lives Matter

We’ve noticed that many job seekers care deeply about the culture of a company and what the company offers beyond a paycheck. Corporate Engagement in Social Justice Issues emphasize that the company is committed to growth, DEI, and amplifying the voices of others. Opal made a point to mention that it is not the responsibility of just a handful of people to enact change in our societies, it’s the responsibility of everyone, everywhere. We cannot wait around for important people or impactful companies to establish change in our communities. The heart of BLM is to offer a launch pad for all companies and people, no matter race, size, or influence to have the platform to stand up for what is right. Opal put it perfectly when she said, “The mandate is much larger than any one individual or any one organization.” We are all responsible for standing up, speaking out, and using our platform.

One tangible way companies can invest in corporate engagement with BLM, Opal suggested, is to offer your employees solutions to take Election Day to vote. For example, Greene Resources offers its employees to take two free days off a year to volunteer at any place of their choice. Many team members at Greene Resources are taking Election Day to work at the polls to assist in making voting easy and accessible for others.

Commit to Your Community

Community changes everything. It took a pandemic for the world to slow down enough to recognize how important real community is. When you become deeply invested in a community it is easier to see how your actions impact people within your sphere of influence.

Your Sphere of Influence

The words we say and actions we perform impact people more than we may realize. Whether working, parenting, or being a friend, what you stand for is obvious to many throughout the day. Opal challenged everybody to be gracious towards each other and extend kindness to all with whom we interact. In this Courageous Conversation, we were reminded that throughout our days, our lives will intersect with people who look different than us, act different than us, and believe different things than us. It may feel more comfortable to avoid investing in relationships with people who are different, but Opal encouraged everyone to remember that differences are what make us stronger and wiser.

Honest and Robust Conversations

Many people may feel intimidated to begin to have conversations about systemic racism and diversity due to the fear of saying the wrong thing. If you are just beginning the work of recognizing biases and racist tendencies, you may feel like you don’t have anything worth adding to the conversation. While people with privilege should always amplify other’s voices over their own, everybody brings valuable information and insight into conversations. Opal put it simply, “Don’t let the fear of perfection keep you from taking the first step. We are looking for progress, not perfection.” In order to see real change around systems of inequality and racism, real people must be transformed. Transformation begins with having the space to engage in honest and robust conversations, like the Courageous Conversation that Opal Tometi shared.

Closing

It is always an honor to get to sit in the (virtual) presence of world-changers and simply get the opportunity to listen and learn. We were tremendously impacted by the first webinar in this series with Matthew McCarthy as well as this Courageous Conversation with Opal Tometi. The team at Greene Resources wants to extend a special thank you to Opal Tometi for speaking at this event and to The Raleigh Chamber and the Triangle DEI Alliance for organizing and hosting Courageous Conversations.


Movement, Not a Moment // DEI Conference 2020 Recap

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity in the Workplace

A couple of weeks ago, more than fifty Greene team members attended the three-day Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity Virtual Conference through the Raleigh Chamber. This marked the third annual conference for the Triangle DEI Alliance and, once again, it defined itself as one of the most impactful conferences of any type of conference we attend. Greene Team Members learned incredibly valuable lessons during this conference that will shape the way we view, discuss, and address Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity in the workplace and beyond. Below are just a few key takeaways from this conference.  

Creating a Movement, Not a Moment 

One of the most profound questions we have had to ask ourselves over the past few months is: How do we sustain a movement that lasts, rather than creating a trending moment that will fade? Many people are considering this question, not only from a personal standpoint, but also professional. Most initiatives that create lasting change require tough work and will not happen overnight. As individuals and as organizations, we are each responsible for committing to do the tough work. One Greene Team Member put it simply: “Commit to being kind, [do] the right thing, and [lead] by example. Through doing so, we learn, grow, and continuously improve.”  Simply saying, “Black Lives Matter,” cannot be the end of our work. There needs to be corresponding action and attention to deliverables that ensure an ongoing focus. As Candi Castleberry-Singleton, VP of Diversity Partnership, Strategy, and Engagement at Twitter shared, “Each of us needs to be a champion of dignity and respect.” 

Getting Past the Fear of Being Misunderstood 

There is no doubt that conversations about racial injustice and systemic racism have increasingly arisen in day-to-day conversations. Oftentimes, it can feel intimidating to take part in the conversation due to fear of saying the wrong thing or appearing uneducated. The fear of being misunderstood in these conversations is enough to deter people from having important discussions at all. How do we, as coworkers and friends, create safe spaces that foster healthy DEI conversations? It is important to remember that we are all on a journey of unlearning biases and understanding systemic racism. We all know that words do matter; however, we can show one another understanding by listening to a person’s tone and accepting their intent. This grace allows for open conversations, and in those conversations, we can teach with kindness and learn with compassion. These actions can eliminate the fear of being misunderstood and encourage continuous dialogue. Donald Thompson put it best when he said, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” Not only is this a great mantra of which to hold ourselves, but it is also an important reminder for everyone to hold others to a standard of grace, not perfection, in doing this much needed DEI work. 

The Platinum Rule 

We’ve all heard the Golden Rule: “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” What if we flipped this sentence and changed the focus from *me* to *you*? Candi Castleberry-Singleton challenged everyone to, “treat others the way THEY want to be treated.” When we adopt this mindset, we can take ourselves out of the situation and consider the wants and needs of those around us. A few ways this may arise in your workplace are: using correct identifying pronouns when addressing others, assuming the best of your co-workers, and asking questions with the intent of understanding. Another idea shared is to pay attention during your next meeting on how much time is spent validating your own opinions versus advocating for others. Candi reminded us it is important to remember that, as humans, “Our behavior is not organically inclusive.” Because of that instinct in us, we must be continuously and consciously committed to change. A suitable place to start is with this 30 Tips of Dignity & Respect video shared by Candi. 

At the end of the day, it is more important to be known for being kind, inclusive, and welcoming than to be known for being right and hurting people in the process. All humans deserve to feel known and loved and cared for. As employers and employees, we have the unique opportunity to spend our work time with people whom our lives may not have otherwise intersected. Use that time to be compassionate, invest in people, listen without judgement, and always treat others the way they want to be treated. 

We thank the Chamber again for providing such an impactful conference with so many great learning and activation opportunities. We left the conference energized and ready to put our knowledge into practice. 

August 2020 Professional Women’s Luncheon

Recently, a number of Greene team members had the opportunity to learn from five successful and influential female entrepreneurs who call the Triangle home at the Virtual Raleigh Chamber Professional Women’s Luncheon. Below, we share some of our greatest takeaways from this inspiring event.

SET BOUNDARIES

Bridget Harrington, Executive Director of Innovate Raleigh admitted, “It is really hard to set boundaries,” especially when your living room and your workplace become one. Bridget went on to explain that the only way she has found healthy work-life boundaries in the middle of the COVID pandemic is to learn how to prioritize tasks and responsibilities and figure out what is truly important. Priorities and needs are ever evolving.  They may look different for you than they do for your neighbor, and they may look different for you tomorrow than they do today. The important thing is to not lose sight of the “Why?” behind your top priorities. Maggie Kane, Founder and Executive Director of A Place at the Table gently reminded everyone that to show up for the people around you, you must first show up for yourself. Maggie reminded us that it is okay to cry and it is okay to feel the depth of your emotions. Often, as women, we feel the insurmountable pressure to hold it all together while juggling the many hats we wear each day. We were given the gift of feeling a full range of emotions; so, feel free to make yourself a bowl of ice cream and leave out the side of guilt, go dance on the living room furniture, go on a run and leave your timer at home, journal your most honest feelings, and remind yourself that you were not made to suppress emotions that come natural to being a human.

PRACTICE SELF CARE

First, self-care is a phrase that is often thrown around when talking about wine, yoga, or Saturday brunch- but what does self-care look like between 9 and 5? How do we take care of ourselves while also taking care of others? Tarryn Henry, CEO of Tarryn Enterprises challenged everybody to, “prioritize therapy, exercise, and being with friends.” Self-care often is a set of practices that we build into our schedules over time, rather than a one-time quick fix. For some, self-care may look like going on a socially distant walk or having a virtual happy hour, while for others, self-care looks more like running a bath or diving into a new book. We need to foster a healthy relationship with ourselves to even begin to listen to what we need. We are taught from very early on that our bodies are not trustworthy. However, when we choose to count our bodies as trustworthy and honorable, we are able to listen more clearly when it warns us about red flags in our day to day lives.

BUILD COMMUNITY

Our world has shifted to a mostly remote, socially distanced world. It can feel daunting to attempt to foster an authentic connection while remaining 6 feet apart. It may seem discouraging to think of the opportunities and experiences you may be missing, but actually, we are learning that people are placing a higher value on authentic connections now. Tarryn Henry suggests that “authentic connections are easier to do in a pandemic because people want to have real connections now.” We are being challenged to show up for our people in new and creative ways – send a letter to a friend, send your co-worker $5 to go buy a good cup of coffee, remember important dates in people’s lives, and never underestimate the power of simply asking how someone’s day was.

GIVE YOURSELF GRACE (and lots of it)

Jess Porta, Executive Director of Raleigh Founded talked about her experience becoming a mother this year. She shared that she constantly feels the pressure of being the absolute best at every single thing in her organization. Jess noted that she has learned over and over again that the point is not to be the best at everything, but to surround yourself with people who are better than you, and be willing to admit that you cannot do it all. Next, Jess shared that it is tempting, as a woman in leadership, to feel the pressure of continuously taking on more and more responsibilities to prove you deserve a seat at the table. Fortunately, we can trust that we already deserve a seat at the table and we deserve to take up space.

So, let us encourage you, women! Our journey will look vastly different as we navigate our virtual world. We encourage you to know that you are valuable, you are important, and we need you in this world.

2020 Women’s Leadership Conference

Women have come a long way in the workplace. There is a woman on the board of every S&P 500 company. The recent Women’s Leadership Conference celebrated this progress while reminding participants of how far there is still left to go.

A series of speakers and panels filled three mornings with insights, advice, and empowerment. Many of our team members were able to attend the virtual conference and shared their most valuable takeaways.

Know Your Worth

Self-awareness is one of the most powerful tools at our disposal as women. Take the time to reflect on your strengths and areas for improvement. Don’t be afraid to seek out constructive criticism from those you trust and consistently work to develop and grow your skills.

Don’t confuse self-awareness with self-criticism, though. Be confident in your accomplishments and advocate for yourself in everything from salary negotiations, promotion consideration, or new opportunities. Don’t wait for someone to open doors for you. Rather, make sure you are laying the groundwork for your success and reaching to open doors on your own.

Take Risks

Lee Anne Nance of Stewart shared that she thinks of her career journey as a highway. As she progressed, she saw opportunities as exit ramps and had to decide at which ramps to get off. The most pivotal moments for her, she said, happened when she took the risk of getting off the “highway” and tried something new.

All the speakers echoed similar sentiments. Don’t worry about being perfect or 100% ready; trust yourself and never self-eliminate from an opportunity. After all, the worst you will hear is no. As for failure, the speakers shared that its inevitable. Embrace the power of the word “yet.” Instead of thinking “I can’t do this,” or “It hasn’t happened for me,” add the word “yet” to each of those phrases. “I can’t do this yet.” “It hasn’t happened for me yet.” Focus on your growth and the potential for your future.

Push Back on Bias

Both women and men have a role in eliminating bias in the workplace. Many policies have been enacted to counteract explicit bias but improving explicit bias doesn’t necessarily improve implicit bias. Courtney White with BASF spoke about second generation bias that often goes unnoticed. This occurs when policies, procedures, or norms seem gender neutral but could still be favoring men. For example, the path to senior leadership roles often are tailored to fit men’s lifestyles over women’s. Women face a subtle, unspoken pressure to appear and behave a certain way. Even the words we use, such as manpower or right-hand man, conjure a masculine image.

Breaking these biases and stereotypes takes work that starts with internal reflection. What subconscious prejudices do you have that may be perpetuating these barriers? Then turn outward to your organization. Does your company have policies in place, both formal and informal, to support women’s growth and development? Does the organization source talent intentionally from a diverse pipeline? If you are a woman in leadership, are you reaching back to mentor and support rising young women? This is a process of continuous improvement that moves not only women, but all of us forward.

Conclusion

Zena Howard with Perkins + Will summarized the conference’s message perfectly. So often, women ask if they can have it all. Zena encouraged us to redefine “having it all” to simply HAVE. Help others. Associate with quality colleagues and organizations. Value your work and the work of others. Engage with others to learn and grow. We can all take action today for a more equitable future.

Greene Resources Introduces the Customer Experience Division

Greene Resources is committed to putting people first. This is one of our founding principles and it still holds true today. We serve three customers: our client, looking for the right person to grow their team; our job seekers, looking for their next purposeful career step; and our internal team, filling needs while growing in a fulfilling career. While these three customers have different needs, we view them all as equally important. 

To better serve the needs of these three customer groups, Greene Resources is thrilled to introduce our new Customer Experience Division! Previously our Implementation Team, the Customer Experience team has grown to include a Customer Experience Specialist and a Marketing Specialist, all dedicated to ensuring our customers have an exceptional experience.

Ruth Johnson, Director of Customer Experience

two lions near a tree
  • Spirit Animal: Lion  
  • Favorite book: I am unable to answer this question, but a book I really love is Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett 
  • Go-To North Carolina Restaurant: Stanbury, Raleigh

“I am always eager to ask the question, “why are we doing it this way, and can it be done better?” I think it’s important to question our assumptions to promote improvement, while always keeping the end result in mind: excelling at what we do. The Customer Experience Division allows us to ask that question, enact change where possible, and provide greater support to our customers as a result. I’m so excited do that day in and day out!” 

Margaret Croft, Implementation Specialist

arctic fox on snow
  • Spirit Animal: Fox
  • Favorite Book: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling
  • Go-To North Carolina Restaurant: Relish, Raleigh

“I have always enjoyed getting to know people and learning from them. I am also passionate about helping others. I am excited that the Customer Experience Team allows me to do all these things. I get to know and learn from clients, candidates, and coworkers all while getting to help them with processes, tasks, documentation, and time-consuming projects. I am always grateful for being able to help in any way I can!”

Sandy Low, Customer Experience Specialist

  • Spirit Animal: Dolphin
  • Favorite Book: Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • Go-To North Carolina Restaurant: Daniel’s, Apex

“One of the aspects that I love the most about my job is being able to impact all of our customers – our applicants, our clients, and our internal team. Every day presents a unique opportunity to shape the customer experience, and this team is passionate about ensuring that this experience is exceptional. I am excited to be a part of this team and can’t wait to see what we can accomplish by combining our ideas, our energy, and our expertise.” 

Kiersten Lucas, Marketing Specialist

  • Spirit Animal: Lynx
  • Favorite Book: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling
  • Go-To North Carolina Restaurant: Dank Burrito, Morehead City/Raleigh

“I chose a career in marketing because I enjoy relating to people and helping companies relate to their customers. Through the Customer Experience Team, I get to be part of more than just business; I help create purposeful, fulfilling relationships with our customers – both internal and external!” 

Mi Towel-Shonek, Implementation Specialist

  • Spirit Animal: Dragon
  • Favorite Book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin
  • Go-To North Carolina Restaurant: Fiction Kitchen, Raleigh

“I love finding solutions – sudoku, crosswords, who keeps taking all the Kiwi LaCroix from the work fridge? Process development is a jigsaw puzzle where pieces are scattered all around the house. Jigsaw puzzles are frustrating, difficult, and time-consuming but so very satisfying to complete. I am always so excited when I contribute to a process that solves a problem for any of my customers – clients, candidates, and coworkers!” 

We look forward to providing you an exceptional experience as you work with Greene Resources!

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