Preparing for a Phone Interview

•April 24, 2011 • 6 Comments

I will be participating in my first ever phone interview tomorrow morning!  Knowing that I lack phone interview experience, I began to research some recommended ways to get prepared and I thought I would pass these along to you.  There has actually been a large shift towards phone interviews as a preferred method for screening eligible candidates.  This makes a lot of sense considering the costs involved with travel expenses for the candidate and more candidates applying for every open position.

One of the first sources I came across was an article by Anne Fisher on CNNMoney.com titled, “15 secrets to mastering a phone interview”.  Link .  Here is the list of recommendations that were particularly helpful to me in that article:

1 ) Be enthusiastic.  (This includes smiling!  Your speech actually is noticeably different when smiling, so the interviewer may be able to pick up on this.)

2 ) Have a list of questions prepared about the position, company, etc.  Also, have a copy of your resume on hand for your reference.

3 ) Match your style to the interviewer’s –> use technical terms if the interviewer is doing so.

4 ) Never interrupt, silently count to two or three after the interviewer finishes their statement, before responding.

5 ) Avoid negative words (e.g. can’t, haven’t, won’t)

6 ) Clearly state your “fit” for the job

7 ) Say thanks!  Send a quick e-mail or thank you letter to the interviewer.

8 ) Wear business attire.  This can mentally prepare the interviewee as if he/she were going to a face-to-face interview.

9 ) Avoid saying “um” or “ah”, replace these sounds with a short pause.

10 ) Take notes of new information, possible questions you think of, etc.

I am very glad that I did my research about phone interviews and spent some time preparing.  Not only will this make me more confident, but it will allow me to be familiar with behaviors I should avoid.

Another article I found by Alison Green titled, “6 reasons you failed your phone interview” really helped me to gain a different perspective, that of the interviewer.  Two recommendations in this article were particularly helpful to me.

1) Pay attention to the tone of your voice.  Keep alert and interested in what the interviewer has to say.  Tones such as: lack of enthusiasm and being distracted can easily be conveyed to the interviewer on the other end of the phone by the individual’s tone.

2) Avoid long winded answers.  This is something I personally with, but it is important to quickly convey your ideas and statements.  Do not use more than two minutes to explain and if you do have more to share, ask the interviewer if he/she would like you to elaborate more.

Link to Green’s article

In addition to conducting a quick online search, I posted the question on Twitter and received a few helpful recommendations from @MsSanka that weren’t listed on any of the my other sources.

Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health

•April 24, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I recently came across a link to this video about Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health in Washington D.C. which just opened it’s doors in April 2011.  It was amazing to see recent innovations of the medical field and it will be interesting to see how these innovations will be incorporated to increase the quality of health care in America.

Let me know what you think!

Internet Culture

•April 24, 2011 • Leave a Comment

For our class presentations about internet culture, I chose to research e-Commerce.  Before beginning to research the topic, I knew very little about the e-Commerce.  Here is a Slideshare link to my presentation if you are interested: Link.

Let me know what you think!

AA #5

•April 23, 2011 • 2 Comments

The Use of Social Media in Disaster Situations:

Framework and Cases

APA Citation:

Lang, G., & Benbunan-Fich, R. (2010). The Use of Social Media in Disaster Situations: Framework and Cases.  International Journal of Information Systems for Crisis Response Management, 2(1), 11-23. doi:10.4018/jiscrm.2010120402

Link to Lang’s Slideshare

Purpose of the Research:

The researchers are seeking to further the understanding of social media use by members of the public in disaster situations through a proposed theoretical framework.

Methods:

Used a qualitative comparative case analysis method (QCA).  QCA combines qualitative and quantitative research with a case study analysis.  The hope of the research group was to provide support for the recently developed framework.  The first case study analyzed the Virginia Tech Tragedy (VT) of 2007, a man-made disaster, as well as the Britain Blizzard Crisis of 2009, a natural disaster.

Main Findings:

Due to little theoretical support for this developing field, they used the idea of e-participation to structure a framework for social media use which contains the following four categories:  Selection (Control number and relevance of participants), Facilitation (Ensure input from all participants), Deliberation (Elicit open-response input), and Aggregation (Produced unified output based on rules).  See figure #1 below for a visual representation of this framework.  There are 16 different possible variations (archetypes) of these four components of social media which can help researchers understand varying patterns of use of different social media types depending on the crisis situation.  Through the case study the researchers discovered that social media use during the VT Crisis represents selection, facilitation, and deliberation.  However, the Britain Blizzard case represents only aggregation, despite the varying archetypes of social media use, both crisis situations were aided by social media.

Analysis:

I am extremely excited to have found this article! It was actually quite a struggle to obtain a full copy version having to use Purdue Library Inter-library Loan, but the effort paid off when I actually found an article that is trying to provide theoretical support for the growing body of research that is looking at social media use during disaster situations.  The images listed in the article were very helpful and started my thought process of how other crisis situations could fit this model.  Therefore, this article is very valuable to my research interests surrounding this topic, especially because this one of the first articles that discussed the potential lack of infrastructure during an emergency situation such as power outages or limited internet access and how that can effect communication via social media.

Some of the limitations of this article would be that only two case studies have been applied to this framework.  Also, both of the case studies were fairly localized issues and it makes me wonder how the research team would apply this framework to a multinational disaster or an extremely complex situation such as the recent March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan.  I believe that this framework has great potential to add the theoretical backbone that researchers in this area are desperate for.  Hats off to Lang and Benbunan-Fich on an amazing framework!

AA #4

•April 18, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Backchannels on the Front Lines:

Emergent Uses of Social Media in the 2007 Southern California Wildfires

APA Citation:

Sutton, J., Palen, L., & Shklovski, I. (2008). Backchannels on the front lines: Emergent uses of social media in the 2007 southern California wildfires. Proceedings of the 5th International ISCRAM Conference (p. 624–632).

Purpose of the research:

The objective of the researchers is to show critical instances of use of information and communications technology (ICT) by several stakeholders during the 2007 Southern California wildfires that is a precursor to the future institutional and organizational changes for disaster response.

Methods:

The researchers began gathering empirical data using qualitative methods of observation, interview and collecting online text within days of the October 2007 S. California wildfires.  Survey questions were disseminated through online networks on Craigslist, Facebook and Twitter about ICT use for communication.  According to the article, 279 individuals completed the questionnaire, only 38% were males and the average age was 35-44 years.  Also, 92% of the respondents had mobile phones and 70% had access to a laptop computer with wireless capabilities.  Both of these devices allowed individuals to share information via ICTs during the wildfire.

Main findings:

Questionnaire asked questions about how the individual sought information during the crisis, below are some of the results that I compiled into a table format (n=279).

Questionnaire Responses

Retrieving Info

Submitting Content

Used mobile phones to contact friends/family

54%

54%

Used info portals and websites mentioned via traditional media

76%

?

Alt. news sources, discussion groups, & blogs

38%

36%(discussion) 9% (blogs)

Web Forums

15%

16%

Photosharing sites (Flickr or Picasa)

10%

8%

Twitter

Less than 10%

4%

-“Backchannel” communication methods are becoming more visible and reliable sources for information.

-The news channels that received high praise during this crisis were those channels that effectively used current social media tools including: Twitter and Google Maps.

Analysis:

The article was very interesting and it is made very clear that these researchers intend to publish sequential articles to follow up with the ICT findings.  However, I was very shocked that there were only 279 respondents to this survey.  It causes me to question whether the research team chose the best method of dissemination.  In the beginning of the methods section, the researchers present the following statistics: 20 different blazes made up the October 2007 wildfires, duration was 19 days, 1,500 homes were destroyed, and over 500,000 acres of land burned.  From these statistics and the massive efforts to evacuate makes me feel that the survey could have reached many more individuals and added to the reliability of the results.

In the conclusion the research team makes a good point, “we call for efforts by public officials to actively consider how to align with peer-to-peer information exchange and to develop new conceptualizations of the information production and dissemination functions for disaster response.”  This statement is especially important for me as a future public health emergency official.  Inevitably, social media and other “back channel” communication methods are making a profound impact in the world of disaster preparedness and management and it is essential for public health officials to explore these social media opportunities and understand how to use them prior to a disaster.

Directions for future research might be to study the process of incorporating social media into a community’s all-hazards disaster plan.  Being able to design a model or at least provide pointers to other public health emergency officials would be valuable tool that could broaden communication methods and even save lives.

AA#3 Emergency knowledge management and social media technologies: A case study of the 2010 Haitian earthquake

•April 4, 2011 • 2 Comments

APA Citation

Dave Yates and Scott Paquette, “Emergency knowledge management and social media technologies: A case  study of the 2010 Haitian earthquake,” International Journal of Information Management 31, no. 1 (February 2011): 6-13.  Click for an online Link to article.

Purpose of the research:

To find how social media technologies were used during the 2010 Haitian earthquake, what influences they made on knowledge sharing, reuse, and decision-making and how knowledge was maintained in these systems.

Methods:

This 2 week case study used participatory action research to investigate how the U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff’s Crisis Action Team (AFCAT) used Microsoft SharePoint to share knowledge within the staff, as well as Wiki pages to keep the general public informed throughout the 2010 Haitian crisis.

Main findings:

The use of SharePoint and Wiki pages in tandem during this earthquake recovery provided a flexible and innovative platform of communication that could be used by many individuals, departments and external organizations, which enabled effective acquisition, sharing, use and maintenance of knowledge.

Analysis:

Personally, I enjoyed the article and it is very obvious that this article contributes quite a bit to the area of social media use in emergency management.  I feel that the methods section of this article was quite vague.  Specifically, I was unclear how the research team gained access to this information in the SharePoint documents being shared by AFCAT.  Although the methods section was unclear, the remainder of the article was well organized and thoroughly explained the impact, pros and cons of using social media in emergency communications, particularly Microsoft SharePoint and Wiki pages.  As a graduate student interested in the field of social media and emergency management, this article definitely contributes to my knowledge.  However, some of the limitations of this research article include: the case study only focuses on use of these communication tools during one crisis situation, reliability of the results would be enhanced by further case study investigations.  Another limitation is that replication of this study would be difficult due to information missing from the methods section.

The main thing I hope to remember from this article is that successfully managing knowledge during an emergency situation can increase knowledge sharing, decrease duplications of the same activities, and increase informed decision-making for emergency management individuals.

Pandemic Influenza… AWESOME READ!

•March 10, 2011 • 2 Comments

I just completed reading, Pandemic Influenza: Emergency Planning and Community Preparedness, an edited book by Jeffery R. Ryan.  My academic advisor recommended that I read this book, and I couldn’t be more thankful.  This book captures a multitude of aspects relating to pandemic influenza, including: history of major outbreaks, community planning guidelines, mass fatality management recommendations and so much more.

My passion for emergency preparedness and interest in pandemics sprouted from my summer internship with a rural health department where my primary goal was to create and exercise a county-specific plan for dealing with a pandemic influenza situation.  I worked with many stakeholders, first responders, community leaders and Indiana State Department of Health District 4 PHPER Team Members (Public Health Preparedness & Emergency Response) when preparing this plan.  The continued guidance and support I received from these individuals helped to quickly acclimate me on how life in this rural community and create a plan that was specifically tailored to this county.

Reading through this book provided me with a great deal of background information about pandemic influenza, as well as provided some additional tips and recommendations on how to make a public health preparedness plan as effective as possible.  I know this book will come in handy in my future as a public health professional, so I will be sure to keep it as a reference.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the importance of public health emergency preparedness, past and possible future pandemic influenza cases or the biology of influenza viruses.

Any recommendations on other books relating to public health preparedness and community planning?