5 Reasons to Love Cincinnati

There’s a reason why Cincinnati was ranked #5 on Lonely Planet’s Best in the US and is on Forbes’s radar: it’s a great place to live and work. We might be a *bit* biased seeing as how we work in Cincinnati, but it’s an affordable city with tons of things to offer both young professionals and families. Here’s 5 of our top reasons to love this city….

#1: Sports

While Cincinnati sports may not have the greatest track record in recent years (we don’t need to bring up the post-season Cincinnati curse….), there is still nothing more infectious than the excitement of Red’s Opening Day.

 

FC Cincinnati has taken the city by storm, and suddenly soccer is every Cincinnatian’s new obsession. You don’t have to be a sports fan to get swept up in the game. And they just landed a deal to build a new stadium!

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#2: Celebrations

The Red’s Opening Day may be every Cincinnatian’s favorite holiday, but that isn’t the only day of the year that we celebrate our city. Our Oktoberfest is the biggest one outside of Germany. Every Memorial Day weekend, we have our annual Taste of Cincinnati with samples of food from all over the city. And new to our city this past year was Blink – an interactive light show spanning a weekend in October focused on celebrating art and set to return this year.

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#3: Food

The Cincinnati food scene has really exploded over the last few years. Just to name a few of the best local spots to visit…..

Maplewood Kitchen & Bar – Arguably one of the best brunch spots in Cincinnati. You can’t go wrong with their lemon ricotta pancakes with a side of local Cincinnati goetta.

 

Incline House – If you’re looking for a restaurant with a good view of the city, Incline House pretty much tops the list. It’s located in an area of Price Hill that’s seen a lot of recent development. The Incline Theater is right across the street putting on local plays, and Somm Wine Bar is down the street with an outdoor patio and monthly wine flights.

 

Sotto – For a bit of a more upscale dining experience, Sotto really can’t be beat. Located in the basement of it’s sister restaurant Boca, Sotto offers fresh Italian food. It’s the perfect place to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, or special occasion. While everything on their menu is phenomenal and definitely worth the splurge, the ricotta doughnuts for dessert are reason alone to stop in.

 

#4: Local Breweries

With Cincinnati’s rich German history, it’s no surprise that there are a ton of local craft breweries around the city. Between Christian Moerlein, Rhinegeist, and Braxton just to name a few – there’s plenty of places to grab a beer. If you’re only going to visit a few though, MadTree has to be on the list. MadTree has a huge taproom along with an outdoor patio complete with bonfires and cornhole. Not to mention that they have a rotating variety of 20+ handcrafted beers on tap.

 

#5: Coffee

Is there anything better than a hot, locally brewed cup of coffee on a Sunday morning? Thankfully Cincinnati is home to quite a few local coffee shops. Coffee Emporium has several locations around the city and is the perfect place to grab some coffee or a latte with a friend. If you’re looking for a side of pancakes or breakfast to go along with your coffee though, Sleepy Bee tops the list. They source their coffee and food locally and make everything fresh.

 

Overall, Cincinnati is a great place to live and work. Between the sports teams we cheer on (even if we don’t always win….), the parties we host, and the food, beer, and coffee we consume, we love working in this city.


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Development

How-To Guide: “Do You Have Any Questions for Us?”

Interviewing is usually pretty nerve-wracking for everyone. You’re talking to strangers for the most part about yourself, and that can get real personal real quick.

From the perspective of someone who conducts a lot of face-to-face interviews, there is often one thing that really sets apart great candidates from average ones, and that’s the answer to the question, “do you have any questions for us?”

Towards the end of the interview, after asking all of our questions, we open the floor to the candidate to ask us questions.

The absolute worst thing you can say is that you don’t have any additional questions. That signals to the interviewer that you might not be that invested in the opportunity. We know that is there no way we could have explained everything clearly or given you all the information you need to make a decision. The point of an interview isn’t just for us to fill a spot on our team – it’s just as much about you finding the right company fit.

Unemployment is at a 17 year low right now. Candidates have the power to be picky about where they ultimately take a job. You should be asking clarifying questions to the interviewer to make sure this is a company you could see yourself working for.

And while having some questions is better than none, having strategic questions is even better. Asking about what the typical day looks like is a default question that a lot of people use. It’s not going to set you apart from the competition. And the answer is probably not going to make-or-break your decision to work there.

These are just a few question ideas to get you thinking:

Growth

If you’re looking to build a career somewhere, you want to make sure that the company is doing well and will provide you with growth opportunities.

  • What is the company’s growth plan over the next few years?
  • What are the growth opportunities in the position?
  • When people start in this position, where do they typically go afterwards?

Challenges

Everyone is going to face challenges in any new position. The company is going to face challenges as well. Knowing what those biggest challenges are for both the position and the company can also give you the opportunity explain how you’d be an asset in overcoming those problems.

  • What is the biggest challenge facing the company right now?
  • What do people in this position struggle with the most?

Onboarding Process

If you were to become a new employee, you want to be sure that the company is going to set you up for success. You’re not going to know everything on day 1 to do your job well. Knowing that the company is willing to invest their time in helping you learn is extremely important.

  • What does the company’s training program look like?
  • How long does it take people to be successful and work independently in this role?

Top Performers

Asking questions specifically about the top performers in the role shows that you are already looking ahead and that you want to do what it takes to be one too.

  • What are the attributes of top performers?
  • What’s the #1 thing you look for in job candidates that often makes them a top performer?

Culture

While it’s really important that you like the job itself, getting along with the people you’d be working with is also vital. If you don’t fit in with the office culture, you’re probably going to be miserable at work even if you enjoy what you do.

  • How would you describe the culture here?
  • What is your favorite part of your job?
  • Do you organize out of work events for your employees?

Asking questions of the interviewer is something that shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s an easy way to impress the interviewer at the end of the interview and walk away on a high note. Don’t be afraid to ask them hard questions – they just did the same thing to you! Remember that it’s just as much about finding the right company for you as it is about finding the right candidate for them.


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

Onboarding: 6 Tips for Team Integration

Recruiting and hiring is becoming increasingly difficult in today’s job market with unemployment being so low. So when you finally find that perfect fit to welcome into your team, the absolute worst thing you can do is have no onboarding plan for them.

Onboarding isn’t just having a computer ready for the individual on their first day though. And it’s not just giving them a copy of the employee handbook and sending them on their way. Onboarding is about having an organized process in place to integrate that new employee with the rest of your team.

It is often extremely nerve-wracking to start a new job. There’s a lot of unknown people, processes, and procedures. If you don’t help the new employee get adjusted to all the new things being thrown at them, you’re already setting them up for failure. Or at the very least, setting them up for a much harder transition than necessary.

But what exactly does an organized onboarding process look like? Here at Bridge, we are constantly growing and adding to our team, so here’s 6 things we’ve found that have helped new hires make that transition:

 

1. Pre-Start Date Information

One of the absolute easiest things to do is send some information to your new hires before their start date. Just a simple email with what to expect doesn’t take very long to send but can ensure that everyone is on the same page. Including information on what time to be there, when lunch will be, what to wear, and the schedule for the first day is an easy way to calm some of the new hire’s nerves. Sending out employee paperwork for them to get a head start on also saves time during their first week to instead focus on more important items.

Informing the rest of the team that a new hire will be coming on board also can’t be overlooked. There’s nothing worse than an individual showing up their first day with no one aware except for the hiring manager. Give the team some information on the new hire’s background so they have some things to ask them about.

 

2. Dedicated Trainer

Having an individual dedicated to onboarding and training new employees is maybe the most important part of the onboarding process. This is especially important if there is a lot of new information to learn. Here at Bridge, we work in an industry that not many people are familiar with. Most of our new hires have no prior experience in logistics. There is a lot to learn, which is why we have individuals dedicated to training in our operations and sales departments. Giving that new hire a single point of contact and someone they can turn to with all of the questions that come up is vital.

 

3. Individualized Approach

Everyone learns differently – and at a different pace. Having a formal onboarding and training schedule is important so that all new hires are learning what is necessary for their role, but maintaining flexibility is just as crucial. What is confusing to one person may be a breeze to someone else, so being able to slow down and speed up depending on the individual will help that new hire get the best possible training.

 

4. Playbook

Developing a guide for new hires to refer to allows them to learn at their own pace. We refer to ours as a playbook – a document detailing everything that individual needs to know. It includes helpful tips and step-by-step guides (often with pictures) to show them how to handle certain situations. It’s basically an always accessible guide for when a new hire doesn’t remember how to do something or isn’t sure how to react in that scenario. It gives them the tools to be able to solve their own problems without always having to ask someone else.

 

5. Career Path Outline

Starting a new job can be scary, but it’s also really exciting. The individual is taking the first step to a new career, but sometimes it can be easy to get overwhelmed with all of the initial training. That’s why it’s really important that the new hire keeps an eye on the bigger picture. Introducing them to people who are in the same role as them, but who have some experience under their belt, helps them to visualize what life looks like for them down the road. Outlining for them on their first day what it takes to be successful in their role, what the typical timeline for advancement is, and what they can expect their job to be a year from now motivates them to get there. No one wants to be doing the exact same job forever, so showing them what their career path can look like within the company as early as possible can help increase retention.

 

6. After-Work Event

At the end of the day, people are starting new jobs to advance their career and do meaningful work. You want to set them up for success by providing them with information and individualized on-the-job training. But you can’t overlook the importance of developing relationships within the office. According to a Gallup poll, people with a best friend at work are 7 times more likely to engage fully in their work. That’s a huge increase in employee engagement, just by promoting friendships in the office. Giving employees time outside of work to get to know each other over happy hours or corporate events is an easy way to encourage more office friendships. Planning an after-work event shortly after a new hire joins the team can also help them to feel more like a member of the team and less like the new person in the office.

Onboarding is about getting a new hire up to speed on the role, but just as important is making sure they feel supported and encouraged in their new job. Setting expectations, giving them a single point of contact, customizing their training experience, providing them with tangible resources, outlining their career path, and promoting work friendships are just a few of the ways we onboard new employees into our company.


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

Salespeople Are _____.

Salespeople are _______.

If you ask just about anyone to fill in the blank on the above sentence, you’re most likely going to get answers like: Pushy. Sleazy. Annoying. Dishonest. Greedy.

Even a search on Google predicts words like: The worst. Bad sources of information. Liars.

The media portrays salespeople as being this way. Jordan Belfort lied and cheated his way to the top in Wolf of Wall Street. The company J.T. Marlin was founded on greed in Boiler Room. Movies and TV shows depict over and over the average salesperson as being deceitful.

But all of this is just a stereotype. An inaccurate representation of an entire industry.

As a sales organization, we have to fight these stereotypes every single day. Prospective clients don’t necessarily want another “sales call”. Prospective employees don’t necessarily want their job title to be “salesperson”. Because the first thing that comes to mind when they hear the word sales is all of the negative portrayals.

These misconceptions are just that though: misconceptions.

Good salespeople are simply passionate about their product or service. They know that not every person is going to be a potential customer, and if they find out their offering doesn’t make sense for you, they’ll stop calling. They understand that at the end of the day, sales is about making the customer walk away happy. They know they won’t be able to have repeat sales if the initial one is built on lies.

If all salespeople were lying, pushy, annoying individuals, no one would buy a car or house and leave feeling excited about it. No one would be satisfied purchasing a wedding dress. And no one would ever answer a sales call.

But people are satisfied with help from a salesperson more often than not. We just don’t always see that in the media.

At Bridge, we know that the sale means nothing if we can’t follow through and deliver the service that we are providing. If we can’t find trucks for our shipments and communicate along the way, no one is going to continue doing business with us. There’s no point in being dishonest or greedy because we’d rather have our service speak for itself.

The stereotypes surrounding salespeople will probably prevail, but we’ll be fighting those myths everyday through honest communication and genuine relationships.


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

3PL. 3P….What?

 

“We’re Bridge Logistics, a family owned 3PL based in Cincinnati.”

The sentence above is one we use a lot around here as a short way to describe our company. When we tell people though that we are a 3PL, sometimes we’re met with a lot of blank stares. After all, really only people in our industry know that 3PL stands for Third Party Logistics.

3PL = 3rd Party Logistics

 

But just stating what 3PL stands for doesn’t guarantee that whoever you’re talking to is going to know what that actually means. According to Dictionary.com, logistics is: “the management of materials flow through an organization, from raw materials through to finished goods”. That can mean a lot of different things. The supply chain is huge, and there’s a lot of moving parts to it.

3PLs make up a $166 billion industry. It’s a huge industry that most people never think about or understand.

As a third party logistics company, we are responsible for a piece of the overall supply chain: specifically moving products from one place to another. But still what exactly does that all entail?

Third party logistics companies are actually very similar to Uber. Think about it….Uber doesn’t physically own anything: they don’t own cars, and they don’t control the people moving around. They provide value simply by matching up available cars with people who need to be transported from one location to another.

That’s essentially what a 3PL does….just on a bigger scale. Instead of using a Toyota Corolla to transport three friends to a night out downtown, we happen to be using 53′ semi-trucks to transport 40,000 pounds of pies to be distributed to grocery stores. We don’t own any of our own trucks, and we aren’t manufacturers. We come in to help the manufacturers get their product and materials transported by finding available trucking companies to move the shipment.

3PLs work in a variety of industries. We may be arranging for the transportation of raw material steel to be later used in the manufacturing of cars at one moment, and then filled baby food jars to wind up on store shelves the next moment.

 

3PLs utilize varying modes of transportation too – whether that be cargo ship, airplane, rail, or truck. It’s our job to figure out the most cost effective and efficient way to get something from point A to point B for that manufacturer.

So at the end of the day, every single product that you use has probably wound up in your hands partly because a 3PL company arranged for its transportation – either during the raw material stage or the actual finished product.

We may play a small piece in the larger supply chain of getting raw materials converted into finished products, but 3PLs play a vital piece in getting all of those materials in the right place at the right time.


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

More Than Just a Ping-Pong Table: The Bridge Logistics Culture

Corporate culture. Probably one of the biggest buzzwords in business these days. A search on Google alone brings back around 4,840,000 results with article after article on cultivating a strong corporate culture and finding the right one for you.

We hear it again and again in interviews and on college campuses. Individuals are using a company’s culture to decide which job opportunity to pursue now more than ever.

But what exactly makes a culture?

Oftentimes, people have a tendency to discuss corporate culture in terms of all the “fun” things that happen around an office. We’re guilty of it ourselves from time to time. Things like…

We host an annual Christmas party at a hotel downtown every year.

 

We participate in a summer volleyball league.

 

We have a ping-pong table in the back of our office.

 

But honestly, at the end of the day, a ping-pong table doesn’t make or break a corporation’s culture. No one goes to work excited in the morning because their company has an epic party once a year in December. And you can join plenty of summer volleyball leagues without even being employed.

Instead, the culture of a company is made of the people who work there. It’s about the values they hold and the things that are important to them….things like building relationships with others, constantly supporting your team, and striving to always be better than you were yesterday. These are reasons to wake up every day excited to go to work.

Here at Bridge, we absolutely like to have a good time and see each other outside of work. But we know that none of those “fun” things carry any weight if we don’t support each other from 8:00-5:00 every day. So to us, culture is things like…..

Veteran employees always being willing to assist our newest team members with any questions they have.

 

Getting to know every member of our staff on a personal basis – from the ownership level to the newest of hires.

 

Supporting wins like crushing a sales contest with a flood of congratulatory company-wide emails.

 

A supportive environment where it’s safe – and even encouraged – to fail, where there are plenty of people around to pick you back up when you fall, is ultimately the culture we’re continually working to cultivate here.

The ping-pong tournaments on Friday afternoons just happen to be a nice perk.


By Allison Walke, Talent Acquisition & Onboarding

Staying Focused: Tips + Tricks

stay focusedRyan Ziemba, Sales Coach

Smartphones, internet, ads, television, texting… the list goes on. Every second of everyday we, as professionals, are berated with these temptations that distract us from achieving our goals. It almost feels like a losing battle. In my career, I have faced, and still do, these same battles. What can a person do to combat this?

Goal setting. It’s not as easy as it looks but it can be made easier. Having goals set will keep your eye on the prize. You also have to have both personal AND professional goals. Usually your professional goals feed your personal goals but is not always the case. For each, you should have your ultimate, long-term goals set. From there, set a medium goal. One that you have to hit each month in order to obtain your long-term goals. Now set a daily goal that helps you hit your monthly one. The daily goal should be very simple and basic. How many contacts to get in touch with. How many calls, emails, demonstrations, etc. Establishing these personal and professional goals is the first step to having laser-like focus.

Work backwards. Now that you have your short, medium and long-term goals set, it’s now time to write down what you need to do. Work backwards in your logic, starting with your long-term goals. As an example, if you want to make “x” amount of money in 2015 then ask find out how many sales you need to close each month to earn the commissions you need. From there find out how many calls you need to make each and every day to close the amount of sales you need to earn those commissions.

Tunnel vision. Stop and ask yourself… Is what you’re doing RIGHT NOW helping you hit your goals? If that answer is no then refocus your energy toward the activities that do. It also helps to picture yourself completing the tough tasks ahead. You see Olympic athletes do this all the time right before a big event. They close their eyes and imagine doing their task perfectly. It puts them in that frame of mind where nothing will distract them. Before a demonstration or important meeting, imagine doing it perfectly and winning the business.

Health. Eating healthy, staying fit and getting enough rest are very important when trying to stay focused. Having the appropriate energy will ensure you are as productive and positive as possible. If you eat garbage then your mind will be full of trash (thoughts that distract). If you are tired then your mind will more easily drift or you’ll simply fall asleep at your desk. Neither scenario is good.

Staying focused takes practice and good discipline. Doing the things I mentioned above will help provide you a good place to start. Good luck and happy hunting!

The Art of The Ear


Ryan Ziemba, Sales Coach

Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation with someone and you see or hear them disengage?  They are either focused on something else, something that caught their interest/attention or are just simply bored with the topic or worse, you. People that can recognize or avoid that all together are what I call Exceptional Listeners. The questions I’ll be answering in this post are: What is an exceptional listener? Why are they important in sales? And how do I become one?

Merriam-Webster’s defines listening as: “to pay attention to someone or something in order to hear what is being said, sung, played, etc..”  An exceptional listener is simply someone that is truly involved in the conversation at hand.  Not trying to multi-task or too busy looking at their cell phones.  You must be an active participant in the conversation to understand your prospects needs and identify how you can help them.

The less we talk the better off we are as sales people.  The greatest problem salespeople’s have are they talk themselves out of a sale by opening a can of worms or giving out too much information.  The best sales people talk less and allow their prospects to self discover why they need you.  It’s been said that people don’t want to be sold.  So stop selling and start listening.  Your bank account will thank you.

In order to be good at listening stop talking and really pay attention to the story.  You must liken the conversation like a hallway with many doors.  Each door leads somewhere else.  That somewhere else may be a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ or possible down another hallway with objections, etc.  If you already know the description of those other rooms and hallways then you will be able to actively listen and will able to react accordingly.  Listen for the cues.  Keywords.  Not jargon.  Not the BS but the real compelling reasons for doing business….. or not.

 

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Ryan Ziemba, Sales Coach

WorksmarternotharderWe’ve all heard the phrase, “work smarter, not harder.” I’ve also heard the opposite, “Nothing like a hard day’s work.” Why can’t we do both? If we as a collective work smart AND hard think about the possibilities! How much more would we accomplish?

Where did the phrase come from and why?

My research has pointed me to sometime after the Great Depression. Our country was lagging behind the Germans and Russia in the fields of Math, Science, Aeronautics, Space Exploration, etc. We were known at that time as a hard-working, industrial country. The new world power. School’s pushed this new saying so we could compete on the international level in these previously mentioned areas. The cold war grew and the need for a smart offense and defense intensified.

The cold war is over (some suggest it’s being rekindled- thanks Putin) and somewhere the message has been lost. It was meant to challenge us to work smart and hard. Not one vs the other. Not to think of better ways to be lazy. Laziness becomes complacency which makes us weak as a nation. New dangers are out there and they are working smarter and harder but for the wrong reasons.

I challenge everyone to ask themselves how smart and hard they are working. Is it one or the other? Are you thinking about ways to do your job faster and produce greater results? Or are you doing it to be more productive and work less?

As for the teachers, coaches, managers, and leaders out there, what message are we relaying? And why?

 

resuME: Individualizing The Resume

Logan Sand – Director of Talent Acquisition

Job Search - Resume

We all know it when we see it: the white, 8 x 11, Times New Roman font, one-paged bio about a “hard-working” individual in search of a career. Yep, you guessed it right, the resume. The resume is the conversation piece into the workforce. It’s the ticket to your employee badge number. It’s the piece of paper that will get you your very own green paper. All of us in the workforce have one, and that’s a good – and challenging – thing for us in the recruiting field.

If you look at it from a recruiter’s eyes, it all makes sense, really. I’ll give you an example. Currently I’m looking for our next group of interns for the summer. Right now, I have about 6 spots (I could probably squeeze a few more in if I have quality candidates), and roughly 50 students that have made it into the first round of interviews. At the end of the day, I can’t have conversations with all of them, and that’s where the resume comes into play. The individuals I move forward with? Well, there’s a reason behind the madness, and when it comes down to it, it’s about the individualization of the resume. It’s the best way to get my attention, and want to move forward. A little insider tip: I don’t look for perfection, I look for passion. I look for who the candidate really is, and what they’re trying to achieve.

Here are 3 things you can do RIGHT NOW to make your resume uniquely you.

 

  1. Bold, Breaking-The-Mold font. Listen, I’m not saying to use Comic Sans here (but please, don’t). Find a unique, clear, crisp, bold font to use that might be slightly different than Helvetica or Times New Roman.

LOGAN TIP: There are thousands of fonts on fonts101.com, and if you do decide to download a font, know the recruiter or hiring manager probably doesn’t have that font, so a word document could look different on their computer. If you use a unique font, make sure your resume is in an non-editable PDF.

  1. Your Objective. Way too many times do I see an objective along these lines: “A hard-working individual seeking to utilize my skills.” It says nothing about YOU. I’m also a hard-working individual who wants to utilize my skills. So is my boss. So is my co-worker. So is every other applicant who wants the spot you want. Be creative! This is an opportune time to reel me in.

LOGAN TIP: Be specific, clear and concise! Make sure that your true objective is parallel with your ultimate goal of that company. Try something like: “A meticulous business administration student with proven leadership and managerial skills seeking to apply my abilities at Bridge Logistics in my upcoming post-graduate career.”

  1. Design. Okay, you don’t have to be Monet. But it IS a nice refresher when I see a slightly different resume pop up on my desk. The other day, I had an individual who had their picture on their resume. Another had all of there text angled down the page, with contact information on the bottom left corner. Not for everyone, but different and eye catching nevertheless. Do what you feel is organized, and suits your personality.

LOGAN TIP: Some hiring managers / recruiters may not like to search around the page to figure out simple things, like contact info, education, and work experience. Make sure that each section is clear with a BOLD – and slightly larger – header.

So, there you have it. An easy way to have eye-catching resume with great content that really describes YOU, and why I should hire the man or woman behind the piece of paper.

Like what you’ve heard? Add me on Linkedin, or stay tuned to the Inside Scoop!