Thursday, December 10, 2009

Interview Dos and Don'ts

As a Senior level professional in the recruitment industry I have done my share of screening candidates over the years and consider myself pretty competent at determining who is qualified to move forward to an interview with the hiring manager. That being said it still astounds me how many potential candidates will go to an interview and have an unsuccessful outcome. A candidate can have all the credentials in the world but if they don’t follow certain basic interview rules they will not move forward. This list is based on feedback I’ve received from clients and should be on everybody’s list when attending an interview.

DO have an professional and tidy appearance. Even if you know the company has a culture of casual dress, you should still dress formally for an interview.

DON’T be late for the interview. This should seem obvious, but happens way too frequently. Plan ahead. Plan for traffic, and finding a parking space, and finding the office.

DO go in knowing something about the company or organization and what they do. It is your responsibility to do your research and be aware of the company’s profile.

DON’T badmouth former employers or a former boss.

DO remember to follow-up. If you are dealing with a recruiter, you should follow up with them. Otherwise send a thank you note to the hiring manager directly.

DON’t fail to answer the questions you’ve been asked. Just as it sounds, make sure you are answering what is being asked, and not going off on a tangent.

DO be prepared to describe your qualifications for the job. Be specific. Let the hiring manager know how your qualifications fit with the job specifications.

DONT talk too much or too little. As a rule, the candidate should be doing most of the talking, while not taking over the conversation. If you find the hiring manager doing most of the talking, gently try to guide the conversation back to you and your qualifications. Otherwise they will come away with little or no impression of you.

DON'T use inappropriate language and do make eye contact. Be aware that you are attempting to put your best foot forward.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Should You Incorporate? Sole Proprietorship vs. Incorporation

 It can cost $1000 or more to incorporate your business. But is it worth it? This article compares the pros and cons of the two most common types of businesses that we see: Sole Proprietor and Incorporated.

Tip: You can change the legal structure of your business as it grows. Many small businesses start out as a sole proprietors or partnerships and become incorporated as the business grows.

1/ Liability
One of the main advantages of incorporation is limited liability. A sole proprietor assumes all of the liability for the company. As a sole proprietor your personal assets, such as your house and car can be seized. As a shareholder in a corporation, you are not responsible for the debts of the corporation unless you have given a personal guarantee.

2/ Corporations Carry On
Unlike a sole proprietorship a corporation has an unlimited life span. The corporation will continue to exist even if the shareholders die or leave the business.

3/ Tax Credits
Income tax rates are lower for Corporations than for personal income. Using tax planning, the tax burden can be reduced by earning income through a Corporation, due to the lower corporate tax rates.

4/ Income Control and Tax Deferral
If you are incorporated, you have options to determine when you personally receive income from your corporation. Being incorporated allows you to report your income at a time when you will pay less tax. You may be able to realize tax savings if you receive your income at a time when you are in a lower tax bracket or if taxes have fallen.

5/ Income Splitting
With a Corporation, there exists the opportunity to pay shareholders salary, dividends or a combination of the two. Your spouse and/or children could be shareholders in your corporation giving you the opportunity to redistribute corporate income to family members with the lower incomes taxed at a lower rate.

6/ Perception
Some people perceive corporations as being more stable. Having Ltd., Inc., or Corp. as part of the company’s name may help you attract business.

7/ Paperwork
Incorporation brings with it extra accounting and paperwork. Corporations must maintain minute books, corporate bylaws. Other required corporate documents are register of directors, the share register and the transfer register.

8/ Non-Calendar Year Ends
Corporations have the ability to choose their year end, and not be restricted to a calendar year-end as with a Sole Proprietorship. This opens up the possibility of bonus deferrals. Choosing a year-end may also be better for year-end paperwork filing should your business be busy at the end of the calendar year. By incorporating, you can choose to have your year-end fall during a slow period.

I‘ve outlined some of the advantages and disadvantages of incorporation versus sole proprietorship but what’s the bottom line? Is getting incorporated worth it or not? I recommend that you discuss your personal situation with your accountant and lawyer before you decide.

Tim Collins