March 15, 2019


You’re Invited to our Job Fair in Blacksburg, VA!

What: Blacksburg Job Fair
Date: March 20, 2019
Time: 2 PM – 7 PM
Where: Blacksburg Industrial Park, 3001 Commerce Drive


Spectrum Brands is have an on-site job fair in Blacksburg, Virginia on March 20th! We have immediate openings for Packers, Machine Operators, Compounders, and Set-Up Technicians. A $1,000 sign-on bonus will be offered for skilled roles only for job fair participants.


These positions offer a four-day work week with additional overtime as well as excellent benefits including medical, dental, vision, 401K, and more. Pay is based on experience and ranges between $10-$17/hour depending on the role and experience.


We invite you to meet us on-site at the job fair for on-the-spot interviews or to apply online at


Spectrum Brands is located in the Blacksburg Industrial Park at 3001 Commerce Drive in Blacksburg, VA.

Image: Spectrum Brands forklift operators getting trained in Edgerton, KS.

March 12, 2019


HHI Lake Forest Surpasses Goal for Children’s Hospital of Orange County Valentine’s Day Fundraiser

Lake Forest’s FUN Committee hit their goal again with another holiday-themed community fundraiser. For Valentine’s Day, the team raised funds for the local children’s hospital by sending candy grams to co-workers, purchasing craft kits for kids, and collecting cash donations.

The team’s goal was to raise $1,000 and to sell 100 craft kits. Over the course of the week, the Lake Forest associates came together to donate $1,583 and purchase 176 craft bags for the Children’s Hospital of Orange County.

Thank you to all who participated this year’s fundraiser!

March 7, 2019


Don’t Forget to Prepare This Before Your Next Interview

Your interview prep probably looks like this: research the organization then drill a bunch of common interview questions. Right? But here’s one thing that you absolutely have to prepare. It must be rock solid. What is it? Your story.

Your career chronology is important. Form a narrative around it. How did you get here? What inspired you? Why did you make that jump? How did you climb the ranks? What are those holes? How did you make change? What was your biggest achievement? Where would you like to go next? Paint a picture with examples, details, numbers, references, and more.

Regardless of what your story is, make it consistent and clear and purposeful. This is your chance to show how you’ve progressed throughout your career, what your interests are fueling your career, and what your goals are. This kind of direction and purpose will further define you as a quality candidate for hire.

Image via Matthias_M./Flickr.

March 5, 2019


The Best Interview Practice: A Mock Interview

College campuses around the country hold mock interviews for soon-to-be-graduates. Students sign up for a slot of time with a representative from a local employer or a university employee. They ask typical interview questions and provide feedback on answers, resumes, and cover letters.

If you’re currently enrolled as a student, this advice is easy: don’t miss the next mock interview session! But if you’re long past your college days, don’t fret. It’s easy to stage a mock interview. Recruit a friend, partner, colleague, or mentor who’s advice and career path you admire. If they’re familiar with your field and the position you’re going for–great. But if not, that’s ok. Many of the interview questions you need to practice are universal.

The most crucial part of interview prep is speaking your answers out loud, and thinking fast and clearly on your feet. Your mind has to be able to hop from one subject to another while crafting answers that shine the best light on you. This is why a mock interview is by far the best way to land your next opportunity.

Set up a 30-minute block of time–20 minutes for questions and 10 minutes for feedback. Afterward, practice the questions which you stumbled upon the first time. Then schedule a follow-up a few days later. Repeat the mock interview and see if you’ve improved.

Image via Enri Endrian/Flickr.

February 28, 2019


Common Interview Questions: How Much Research Should I Do?

Question: I landed an interview at a company that I’m excited about. The interview process is moving really fast so I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to do a deep dive into the company or the position. How much am I really expected to know about the company during my interview? How much time do I really need to spend researching?

Answer: This probably isn’t the answer you want to hear, but the more research you do the better! Think of all the things that could go wrong if you don’t do your research: You could show up to a laid back start up in a suit and tie. You could mention a product or service that recently got a lot of flack in the news. In the worst case you could offend someone terribly.

There are many reasons why researching a company’s history, mission, products, and recent headlines are helpful. You have a much better chance of landing the position if you fit in with the company’s culture and the company’s needs, and you have an understanding of the industry. The only way you’ll really understand these things is if you do your research. If you can chat with other employees before hand, even better. See if you’re connected with anyone on LinkedIn or if someone in your network can put you in touch with a friend of a friend.

Image via luckey_sun/Flickr.

February 26, 2019


5 Planners That Can Help You Get Organized This Year

Sure, Google Calendars, Microsoft Outlook, and iCal keep us on track. But there’s still something nice about writing down your schedule in a paper planner. And lucky for us, paper planners have gotten way better than the ones of our middle school days. Choose from daily, weekly, and monthly journals plus awesome additions like goal setting, motivational quotes, and more.

The Passion Planner
In this planner, you’ll find more than just the days of the week. A journal, goal setting guide, worksheets, and more guide you toward leading a more purposeful life and career.

The Bullet Journal
While there is an official planner available for purchase, bullet journaling is a movement. Learn the super simple method that will keep you on task and get you back to the basics. Many have taken bullet journaling even further by designing their own personalized planners from scratch.

The Day Designer
If you like taking things one day at a time, this planner will help you nail down your life hour by hour. It also highlights three priorities for each day along with other prompts to keep you focused on long term goals.

The Panda Planner
With over 4,000 four-star reviews on Amazon, the Panda Planner is clearly a hit with its users. While keeping you on task, this notebook has a focus on positivity and productivity with room for daily, weekly, and monthly goals.

The Simplified Planner
Another hour-by-hour daily planner that will keep you focused through the week. The spiral design allows this hardcover planner to easily sit open on your desktop so you can always see what’s coming up next.

Image via Duc Ly/Flickr.


February 21, 2019


5 Ways to Make Sure Your Emails Actually Get Read

On an average day you likely read 200 emails, and you spend about two and half hours per day doing so, according to Forbes. That’s a lot of emails–too many emails. It’s no wonder people have to skim through their inboxes to survive. But how can you make sure your emails not only get opened, but actually get read? Here are some tips.

  1. Write very specific subject lines. A detailed subject line keeps the receiver and the sender on topic and is easier to search for later. This means you can keep the conversation going on one chain instead of sending sporadic emails that branch off into other topics and priorities.
  2. Keep it brief. While still being polite, get right to the point. The shorter, the better. Emails are not replacements for phone conversations. Keep it concise and suggest a phone conversation if there are too many details.
  3. Increase the readability. Bullet points, short paragraphs, and bolded actionable items make your emails easier to read.
  4. Don’t respond right away. Often our first response might not be our best response. Both the sender and receiver can benefit from a little breathing room. A delay could give someone a chance to simmer down if they’re feeling angry. Or inspire someone to be more proactive instead of relying on someone else’s email response. And it may even allow you to come to a better more thoughtful response. Carefully written, well thought out emails are more likely to be read thoroughly than hastily-written, indecisive blabbering.
  5. End with instructions, not questions. Instead of proposing a question at the end of your email, such as “Should we meet in person to discuss more?” just make a decision and propose something like “I can meet up tomorrow at noon to discuss more if you’re available.” This will prevent follow up emails and conversations that are dragged on far beyond their need.

Image via Marie-Chantale Turgeon/Flickr.

February 19, 2019


How to Be Productive When You Work From Home

Whether it’s a sick kid, bad weather, or simply a Friday, working from home is becoming more acceptable in the workplace. But for those who are used to cubicle life, back-to-back meetings, and interruptions from coworkers, working from home can feel so different. It’s quieter. No one’s watching you. For once, you actually have some time to get work done! It’s easy to see why you’d feel so out of your element. If you’re  having trouble staying productive, follow these tips:

  1. Set up a work space. It doesn’t have to be a traditional office or desk. A kitchen table works just fine. (And is probably better than a couch or bed.) Wherever it is, designate a certain area for “work” so when you sit down, you know it’s time to stay focused.
  2. Take a lunch break. Use your lunch break to walk around the house and tackle all those errands or social media websites that have been distracting you. Throw in a load of laundry, check Facebook, sweep the floor, swipe through Instagram, unload the dishwasher… If you know that you’ll tackle these tasks during your lunch break, you won’t waste precious work time doing them.
  3. Have an end of day routine. It’s hard to end your work day when you’re working from home. If you can’t close the door of your home office, be sure to shut off your laptop and put it away. Before that, run through your agenda next week or whatever else you usually do at the end of the day.

Image via Matt Clare/Flickr.

February 14, 2019


Common Interview Questions: What Should I Bring?

Question: My big interview is tomorrow. I know what to wear and what questions to ask, but I’m wondering… what do I really need to bring with me?

Answer: Always bring a few extra copies of your resume in case one of your interviewers hasn’t had a chance to glance at your credentials–or if you just want to doubly remind them exactly who you are. Remember, that you are likely not the only person interviewing for this position. Also, your interviewer is squeezing this interview in between meetings and work demands. In the same vein, consider bringing copies/visuals of your best work (if that’s relevant to your line of work).

It always helps to have a notepad and pen on hand so you can jot down any questions that arise during the interview, important information about the position, as well as the email addresses and names of those who you’ve spoken to. This all can fit into a simple writing portfolio, also known as a padfolio (found at office supply stores), or a professional looking tote bag or briefcase.

Might as well throw in a water bottle, breath mints or gum, a small snack to nibble on before your interview, and of course your (silenced) cell phone. What else do you usually bring to interviews? Comment below!

Image via Carla Escobedo/Flickr.

February 12, 2019


Break the Ice with these Networking Conversation Starters

Whether you’re at a networking event, a conference, or a work function, you’ll likely need to spark up a conversation with a stranger. It’s the exact reason why so many people don’t love networking. But it’s such a crucial career skill (as we’ve talked about here, here, and here). The good news is that to network, all you need to do is speak one sentence. Really! Here are a handful of conversation starters that will bring you one step closer to foraging a new relationship.

What’s your story?

What do you do?

How did you get into the industry?

How long have you been in this industry?

What brought you here tonight?

How did you hear about this event?

Have you been to one of these events before?

What are you hoping to take away from this event?

Have you been to this venue before?

What do you think about this event so far?

What did you think of the speaker?

Do you mind if I introduce myself?

Where did you get that great bag/pair of shoes/jacket?

Which appetizer is your favorite?

Do you like networking events?

Image via Kasa/Flickr.