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Showing posts from July, 2011

Background Check on Social Media: Now Is a Serious Business

More employers are using social networking sites for background check now. As suggested in my February’s discussion, 11% of employers will use social networking sites for employee screening; 70% recruiters admitted that they had turned down a candidate based on the information they found about the candidate online.

Indeed, a candidate’s social networking profiles can provide additional information for employers when they make the hiring decision. However, if used without caution, checking a candidate’s social media profiles may get employers into trouble because these profiles often contain “rich” demographic information about a candidate. On top of that, hiring managers may find it difficult to follow a standardized procedure (if there is any) to fairly screen every candidate due a variety of “private” settings. So, what is the solution?

According to this CNN News video, companies like Social Intelligence may be the answer. These companies can help employers answer some important sc…

Snore Patrol: An Innovation of the Crowne Plaza Hotels

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Have you ever had any bad experience of your hotel stay because your next-door “neighbors” made too much noise or just could not stop snoring?

The Crowne Plaza Hotels are testing out “snore-absorption rooms” in selected European and Middle Eastern properties. In addition to special amenities, such as sound-proof walls, special designed pillows, and white noise machines, the hotels also hire designated staff for snore patrol. “Snore patrol officers” may knock on a door if they sense that a guest(s) is too loud.
How important does a quiet room mean to you during your hotel stay? What are your thoughts on Crowne Plaza’s approach?


References: The pictures were downloaded from the website of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Syracuse, NY.

New Dining Etiquette by Zagat

Tim Zagat, the CEO of Zagat.com, shared the results of the company’s survey in a MSNBC News video about the new dining etiquette for the Web 2.0 age. Let me know what you think of these new rules of dining out:
Women and men should be treated equally, no matter who is paying for the bill. Whoever initiates a dinner date should pay for the bills, regardless of the gender. Do NOT talk, text, tweet, or e-mail at the table and turn off a cellphone's ringer. It is fine, however, to use cellphones when one is alone. It is fine to bring children to most restaurants, but not a good idea if it is a romantic place. Casual dress is more acceptable these days. One should honor his/her reservations. Or, one must cancel them on time. Do NOT overstay one's welcome at a restaurant, especially in a busy location. “Customers are always right.”
Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

What Channels Does Goupon Use in Talent Acquisition?

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Probably because of a long-lasting recession, coupons have come back to life, but in a different way. Online discounters like Groupon are very popular. According to the Fortune Magazine, Groupon has grown from 37 to 7,100 employees within 21 months. Ironically, this Internet/mobile discounter does not rely on the “net” to support the company’s dramatic growth. Then, what channels does Groupon rely on in talent acquisition?
The answer is employee referrals. Groupon uses internal recruiters, hiring managers, and social media tools such as Twitter and LinkedIn. “About 40% of new hires come from employees.” When employee referrals are so important these days, job seekers had better know how to leverage the power of their social network. So, forget about what you can do for a minute, my question for job seekers today is: Do you know the right person who can help you get a job?
Relevant recent discussions:
Tips for College Graduates on Job Hunting
Social Media and Job Search III
References: …

Blending In and Cashing Out

The secret of Karen Carrier, a successful restaurant entrepreneur, is to blend her talent of fine arts and culinary experience in her business. As shown in this CNN News video, she turned several old historic buildings into “theme” restaurants and made the best out of the places.

In the old times, business developers might have chosen to tear down a site and make everything new. If the site had been chosen for a hotel or a restaurant, probably the place would have been turned into a brand new establishment, with identical settings as a franchised business. What a waste if it is a historical site! Thanks to the boutique hotel concept (or boutique restaurant concept in this case), developers no longer need to cookie-cut their products.

I still feel very upset on the fact that the City of Syracuse changed the canals that used to be running through the downtown area into streets. Otherwise, we could probably have the best “River Walk” in the world. I know that the history cannot be chan…

Urban Farming in New York City: A Follow-up Discussion

For several times, we discussed the urban farming concept and the possibility of turning the urban farming idea into an enterprise. According to the Wall Street Journal, urban farming seems to work well in New York City, and some urban-farming entrepreneurs have already made profits last year.

The setup cost for urban farms is not cheap, about $2-$2.5 million for an acre of rooftop greenhouse in New York City. It usually costs less for non-greenhouse “agriculture-able” rooftops or lands --- the trade-off is the ability of providing all-season harvest. Regardless of whether a greenhouse is used or not, the benefits include fresh, better-taste and more nutritious food, closer to consumers, restaurants and markets, savings in transportations, little emissions of greenhouse gas, less water usage, and better utilization of urban lands.

Interested in watching the successful stories of the urban-farming entrepreneurs in New York City? Please check out the embedded Wall Street Journal video…

The Biggest Challenge and the Hidden Opportunity of Entering the Chinese Market

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Starwood’s top executives are in Shanghai, China now. They will stay there for a month to get “localized” by the Chinese culture and “Chinese way” of doing business. In this MSNBC News video, Frits van Paasschen, the President and CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide provided many good reasons of why Starwood needs to pay top attention to the Chinese market. I agree with him 100% and will not repeat what he said on the video. Instead, I would like to bring up one challenge and one hidden opportunity of entering the Chinese market.

I believe that the biggest challenge is to manage a company’s human capital in China, including recruitment and selection, training and development, and retention management. It is very difficult to recruit well-trained local managerial talents in China. Companies may assume that there must be abundant good candidates in a country with a population of 1.3 billion people. Yet, not every candidate has the proper education or training that a company …

May the Innovative Spirit Win: An Interview with Ian Schrager

Ian Schrager is an iconic hotelier because he introduced the boutique hotel concepts to the industry. Today, almost every hotel chain is rushing to get in the boutique hotel market. I am very pleased to share this CNN News video about Ian Schrager. The topic, however, was not about boutique hotels. Rather, Ian Schrager talked about a much broader topic --- innovation.
“You cannot create something new by asking people what they want because they will always tell you what they know.” Iran Schrager introduced what he likes to the market and became the leader of the trends.  To make the true contribution, a person must “breaking the mold” and dare to do something that nobody has tried before.  When Iran Schrager sees a great picture or article, he will take it out and post it on the wall --- not because he wants to manipulate others’ idea, (it looks like) he gains inspirations from others’ work. Iran Schrager is not afraid of making mistakes. I believe, if a person chooses to be a leader …

What Documents Does a Company Need to Verify a Customer’s Identification?

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A friend of mine came from Taiwan to Upstate New York for graduate school. He wanted to open a high-balance account in a local HSBC. According to him, having a high-balance HSBC account in Taiwan and in the U.S. would allow him to transfer money between accounts without any transaction fees. That sounds like a good deal for international frequent travelers and students, doesn’t it?
Personally, I never had any banking experience with HSBC, but I know in the U.S., HSBC is known as “the world’s local bank.” People in Hong Kong call HSBC the “Lion Bank” for its high service fees (HSBC’s symbol is also two lion statues). This time, I experienced the extreme difficulty of doing business with HSBC. I wonder how HSBC would survive in such a competitive market.
I am actually well aware that a bank needs to verify a customer’s identification. However, I never heard such a long list of proof of identifications. To name a few: Utility bills with a physical mailing address. Since my friend is li…

What Are the Top Businesses for Starters?

Kate Rogers reported the findings of the top five start-up businesses in 2011, a research completed by Sageworks, Inc, at FoxNews.com. They are:
Foodservice and catering rank the No. 1 on the list, with the average sales growth of 6.5%. While people cut spending in restaurants, food contractors in the workplaces “win” because they help people save money and time. Graphic, interior or industrial design firm gets the No. 2 spot with the growth rate of 6.2%. One contributing factor is that people made improvements on their properties before putting them on the market.  No. 3 is website designing and consulting. Business understands that good websites attracts customers. Plus, I believe there is a growing emphasis on social media on websites.  Bookkeeping and accounting. Controlling costs and cash flows is always very important. This area grew 4.9% in the last 12 months.  Landscaping, janitorial or pest control services grew by 4.7% because “maintenance services never go out of style, des…