Monthly Archives: January 2014

Should IT Professionals Shake Hands During Cold and Flu Season?

IT recruiters and IT professionals from Boston to Los Angeles are finding themselves in the midst of cold and flu season.  While there are plenty of issues that come with cold and flu season, one of the most surprising is dealing with handshakes.  Everyone in the Information technology field, from IT headhunters to IT managers to IT consultants, all are likely to be faced with a situation that requires a handshake.  Sometimes it’s for interviews for IT jobs or sometimes it’s merely for an introduction. Whatever the case, though, a simple gesture becomes a bit of a minefield when one party is sick.

So what should be considered if IT contractors or IT professionals find themselves in a moment where a handshake is necessary, but they or the other party is sick?  The handshake is a surprisingly important gesture in American business culture.  It’s best to do everything you can to not avoid making it.  Washing your hands ahead of time, taking cold or flu medication, and using hand sanitizer discreetly are all acceptable ways to sanitize a handshake so it’s safe for both parties.   Doing these and still shaking your business acquaintance’s hand is preferable to withholding a handshake.  If you are the one who is well, simply shake the other person’s hand and proceed to wash your hands well afterwards.   The likelihood of avoiding a cold simply by avoiding a handshake is relatively low anyways.  Most viruses are airborne or wind up being unavoidable during this season.  Why possibly hurt a business relationship for only a slightly likely edge for your health?


Keeping Your Speech Professional at Your IT Job

IT professionals tend to work behind the scenes in less formal settings, but even those who do can make missteps in their speech and hurt their professional reputations with their IT recruiters, IT managers, or coworkers.  Below are a few things for IT contractors to avoid and suggestions to improve the way they communicate at their IT jobs.

Speed:  IT consultants who speak at a moderate, even pace, especially during stressful times, will give off the best impressions.  It’s easy to speak too quickly, particularly when you’re nervous or the people around you are nervous.  Maintaining an even pace helps you to stay calm and gives off a calmer air to everyone else.  This calmness can also be very effective in giving people the impression that you are competent and trustworthy because people who feel confident in their abilities to deal with a situation will usually sound pretty even-toned.

Pauses: Obviously resumes full of relevant skills and experience are the best way to demonstrate your competence to IT recruiting companies and managers.  However, a well-timed pause can go a long way to this goal, as well.  If you replace every “um,” “ah,’” “like,” or “you know” with a simple pause, you can increase other’s confidence in you.  People would rather you say nothing as you consider the next thing you’re saying rather than reach for a verbal stall like “um.”  The switch seems small, but it will make a big difference.

Cursing:  The rule of thumb with cursing is to generally avoid it.  There is a big caveat here, though.  A rare and well-timed curse in front of the right people can help you bond a bit with coworkers or possibly clients.  Sometimes it’s helpful for everyone to drop their professional demeanor for a moment and reveal their more human side.  If you think it’s a good time or place to do that, a mild curse can help.  Exercise caution with this tactic, though.