Voting 101: Your Election Day Questions Answered

While the 2020 presidential election is still more than a year away, the primaries are in full swing! As voters study the candidates and prepare to cast votes for their favorite nominees, this is the perfect time to review voting do’s and don’ts, including US voting laws and the rules upheld at voting stations across the country.

What are the qualifications to vote in the US?

To legally vote in the United States, you must be:

  • A United States citizen
  • 18 years of age on or before election day
  • Registered to vote by your state’s voter registration deadline

You also must meet your state’s residency requirements. You can be homeless and still qualify to vote.

What can I wear to a polling station?

Proper attire is required at most polling places across the country, but defining what this means has come up for debate.

Recently, the Supreme Court ruled that a Minnesota law effectively banning all political apparel, including campaign buttons and name tags, from voting sites is too vague.  While the court did not specifically define what is or is not considered proper voting apparel, it concluded that Minnesota’s rule was not specific enough and too challenging to enforce.

 

 

 

Most states have laws that ban electioneering within a certain area of a polling station. These laws may include promoting your candidate or expressing your political views on clothing and accessories, like buttons and hats.

Rather than taking a chance that you may be turned away from the voting booths for wearing questionable clothing, it may be best to save your favorite political garb for that election night celebration.

Are cell phones allowed in polling stations?

Don’t snap that #IVoted selfie just yet!

Rules governing the use of smart phones, cameras, and other recording devices at voting stations are informal, at best. Varying from state to state and even precinct to precinct, state officials often are left to subjectively interpret outdated statues or to haphazardly enforce existing rules or adopted practices.

Often interpreted as a form of voter intimidation, it is best to tuck that recording device away while at the voting booth to avoid a frustrating confrontation with voting officials. In addition, many states have laws forbidding the sharing of your completed ballot with anyone, via photograph, through social media, or by any other means.

What is early voting?

Early voting allows registered voters to cast their votes prior to Election Day during a public election season in order to increase voter participation and decrease Election Day congestion at voting sites. Early voting rules differ from state to state, including some that require a reason for requesting an absentee ballot, while some states do not offer early voting at all.

What forms of ID are required to vote?

While voter ID laws vary by state, these laws have become a hotly contested, nationwide debate over the past several years. Advocates of voter ID laws argue that legally issued photo IDs are required to prevent voter fraud. Alternatively, opponents contend that these photo ID requirements disenfranchise minorities and others who are unable to acquire them.

All voting laws, however, require voters to provide at least one from of official identification before being allowed to register to vote, receive an election ballot, or to cast a vote in any US election.

If a voter’s identity cannot be immediately confirmed, he or she will receive a provisional ballot. This ballot will be counted after a voter’s identity is confirmed.

Is campaigning allowed at or near a polling station?

Generally speaking, electioneering, or campaigning for a specific candidate, political party, or political issue, is prohibited within a certain distance of every polling station. Review your state laws on electioneering boundaries for specific information.

What is absentee voting?

Absentee voting allows registered voters to request a mail-in ballot, rather than visiting a polling station, to cast a vote on Election Day. Each state has rules governing who is eligible to receive an absentee ballot.

How do I vote from abroad?

If you are a US citizen living overseas or are a member of the military or his or her family stationed outside your legal voting residence, and are a registered voter, you are eligible to vote by absentee ballot.

Each year, you must submit a completed Federal Postcard Application (FPCA) to election officials in the precinct where you are registered to vote AND request an absentee ballot. Remember to submit a new application every time your address, email, and/or name changes.

Once your local election officials have confirmed that you are eligible to vote, you will receive absentee ballots for each election held that calendar year electronically or by mail.

Voting With a Disability

There are numerous federal laws in place to protect the voting rights of Americans with disabilities, including the Americans with Disabilities Act. Every voter with a disability must have a wheelchair accessible voting booth furnished with voting equipment for those who are blind or visually impaired.

Further, some states allow people with disabilities to vote by mail or offer curbside voting, where an election official will bring everything needed to cast a ballot to that voter’s vehicle. Disabled voters also are allowed to get assistance from an election official familiar with using the handicap accessible voting machine or bring someone with them to help them vote.

 

Tips for Halloween Safety

Quick Halloween safety tips:
Know your city’s laws for trick-or-treat days, times and age limits.
For night time trick-or-treating wear reflective or glow-in-the-dark gear.
Make sure staff and applicable visitors to haunted houses & similar attractions wear name badges or ID cards.
Understand and adhere to costume restrictions at Halloween attractions.

Today’s Halloween activities often reach beyond exploring the neighborhood cul-de-sac two streets over. Many families now spend October 31st visiting other venues, such as local haunted houses, theme park events, carnivals, church festivals, zoos, and corn mazes.

For everyone figuring out how they will spend this year’s holiday, here are some tips to make your evening go as smoothly and safely as possible. Take some of that effort reserved for planning costumes and put it into paying attention to rules designed to keep little ones from harm.

Curfews & Laws

Certain cities and states have curfews, age limits, and other laws related to trick-or-treating. Whenever you take your children out trick-or-treating for the first time or you move to a new city, find out the expectations for that location.

There may be laws regarding the day and time of day you can trick-or-treat. Many neighborhoods, complexes and housing communities recommend time slots for residents. While some cities suggest alternative trick-or-treating days – depending on when the holiday falls—others can be much more stringent in enforcing a city ordinance. A few places, like Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, prohibit trick-or-treating on Sunday in favor of celebrating the day before.

Other city and state laws put an age cap on trick-or-treating. Cities such as Chesapeake, Virginia, Meridian, Mississippi, Bishopville, South Carolina, and Boonsboro, Maryland set the age limit to 12-years-old.

North Carolina and Virginia have laws prohibiting anyone over age 16 from wearing masks or hoods that conceal identity. These laws provide exceptions for traditional holiday costumes. However, for Halloween that exception would only apply to October 31st and not the weekend parties or other events that surround the actual holiday.

With precise laws like this, it helps to pay attention to the specifics.

Neighborhood Traffic Hazards

An estimated 41.1 million trick-or-treaters set out on a candy hunting adventure each year, according to the Census.gov’s 2017 data. This group consists of children ages 5 to 14-years-old. With everyone travelling door-to-door, the number of pedestrians out at night is as at an all-time high.

The National Safety Council reports that children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than any other day of the year.

To help prevent traffic-related injuries and accidents, choose costumes in bright colors that stand out. You can also add reflective tape to costumes and trick or treating bags. Adults may want to wear headlamps and carry flashlights, especially in areas with dim street lighting.

Skipping Door-to-Door Fun for Local Attractions

Attractions can be a great alternative for your Halloween festivities, as businesses must meet safety standards before opening to guests. You avoid pedestrian traffic risks, candy and goodies are regulated, and the rules for activities are posted and enforced.

Fire hazards in neighborhoods are also higher, as backyard décor doesn’t have to undergo the same level of testing as a theme park haunted house. Your local amusement park, zoo, or other organization hosting a Halloween event must obtain permits, and meet fire and building codes before opening doors.

Venues are required to have precautions in place, such as heat detectors, back-up lighting, sprinkler systems, fire-proof set materials, fire extinguishers, clear emergency exits and more. Places with mazes, mirrors and confusing paths should have directional signage to clarify exits in case of emergency.

Girl with name badge Avoiding Scary Situations

Read “scare guidelines” to make sure the intensity is appropriate to the age level that you will accompany. Not every child is prepared for all that goes with Halloween amusements. Children and adults may be sensitive to strobe lights, fog, and loud noises used to create a spooky environment.

Parents should stay close to children when navigating through large crowds. Getting overwhelmed, lost or injured can take a turn from playful fun and to terrifying, when children are not sure who to turn to.

It is helpful if parents can quickly identify employees in case of emergencies. Many attractions require employees to wear themed costumes, STAFF shirts, hanging name badges, or name tags. Event badges may include large print text and recognizable symbols to designate those who are medical or security personnel. Some venues require staff to wear photo IDs to help build trust between guests and employees.

 For younger children, make sure they have a parent and buddy with them at all time. Ensure that adults know which children are under their supervision. With large groups and entertainment all around, it can be easy to get distracted and rely on other childcare helpers without first communicating who is responsible for who.

Following Costume Guidelines When Attending Events

Before packing up the family van to set off for your event, review any costume rules. Major attractions can be strict about only letting in guests that follow these rules. Many theme parks provide the following types of guidelines:

  • No costumes that touch the ground. Avoid costumes that restrain movement. This helps prevent trip and fall incidents and accidents with interactive games.
  • No masks that completely cover the face. Make sure masks do not impair vision. Sometimes masks are not allowed for teens over a certain age.
  • For costumes that include wigs and more elaborate add-ons, make sure all materials are non-flammable.
  • Make sure children can easily contact parents. Have older kids carry a cell phone with them. For younger kids, attach a name tag to costumes with your name and phone number.
  • Make sure props are not harmful. Often objects that appear to be weapons are prohibited, however younger children may be allowed to bring play swords and knives that are short, soft and flexible.
  • Use non-toxic make-up and face paint. Test paint before to make sure allergic reactions do not occur.
  • Make sure costumes are not violent or offensive. Many venues reserve the right to limit entry for costumes that are not considered appropriate.

Once your children’s costumes are finalized and costume guidelines met, all you have to do is pick out which spooky celebration to attend. You may also want to make sure your child’s favorite costume still fits. It’s a sad day when the Spiderman jumpsuit is officially too small.

 

Resources:

https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Publications-and-media/NFPA-Journal/2014/May-June-2014/Features/The-Haunted-Castle-Revisited/Spooky-and-Safe

https://www.dummitfradin.com/halloween-masks-and-the-law/

https://codes.findlaw.com/al/title-13a-criminal-code/al-code-sect-13a-14-4.html

https://www.census.gov/newsroom/facts-for-features/2018/halloween.html

https://www.cdc.gov/family/halloween/index.htm

https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/autumn/halloween

 

School Cafeteria Safety Concerns

Vegetables on a Table with the Words "Cafeteria Safety, Name Tag Wizard"

Cafeteria Safety

Table of Contents
Food Safety
Visitor Safety
Bullying Safety
Liability Safety
References

Approximately 29.8 million students, per day, participate in the National School Lunch Program across the country.¹ With that many students in the cafeteria, schools need to ensure and establish a safe environment.

There are many facets to student safety. Meals need to be prepared appropriately with special dietary considerations. Visitors need to be accounted for and cleared for access. Interpersonal safety needs to be monitored. And finally, safety hazards need to be taken into consideration to prevent accidents.

Food Safety

Apples, Oranges, & Lemons In Clear Plastic Buckets

The first and most obvious safety concern for a school cafeteria is the food. Are meals prepared appropriately? Is the kitchen clean? Are the meals offered healthy?

Whether school-provided lunches are healthy or not has been an ongoing debate for decades. Many schools suffer from funding issues to provide truly healthy meals, but with programs like the NSLP, schools have slowly improved the quality of their provided meals. However, there are still a number of safety factors to consider.

Whether your school offers multiple options or has a set schedule, the food provided to students should be monitored to prevent avoidable emergencies. Offering allergy-friendly or dietary restricted options will ensure students stay safe and healthy during their meal period. Alternatively, it is good practice to adequately advertise meal days so parents or students can make plans to bring lunch.

As a parent or educational professional, you can reach out to school administration to see what steps are being taken to ensure student dietary restrictions are taken into account when planning meals. Many schools already have their own system in place of monitoring these specific needs, but the safety of school-age children should always be kept up-to-date and tracked.

An inclusive menu is integral in preventing severe reactions to certain foods.

Allergic Reactions

Peanuts on a Table

We addressed the idea of including allergies on name tags in the past, and the main idea is that including this information makes prevention of allergic reactions easier. Approximately 5.6 million children under the age of 18 have food allergies.² Identifying the types of reactions that result from exposure to allergens is imperative to a child’s health and safety. There are a wide variety of symptoms but there are some common reactions to watch for. Everyone is different, so each child may react differently to allergens. The following are just a few common reactions:³

  • Vomiting
  • Hives
  • Swelling of lips or tongue
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Throat tightness

There are many symptoms and reactions that can occur due to allergies. It is the responsibility of educators and other school faculty to be able to quickly identify potentially life-threatening allergic reactions should affected students be exposed.

An organized method of tracking food safety measures can help maintain the health of students.

Food Safety Checklist

Maintaining a checklist of food safety protocols will keep students healthy. While the dietary needs and available resources will differ from school to school, the same general ideas can apply almost universally and come from basic principals concerning food preparation. Here is a short list of things to consider for a food safety checklist:

  • Common allergens & the students they affect
  • Minimum internal temperatures
  • Proper preparation techniques
  • Minimum cleaning standards

While some schools may lack the resources to keep an extensive list, ensuring that rules and policies are in place to meet minimal health and safety protocols is imperative for maintaining a school cafeteria.

Food safety is perhaps the most obvious precaution for cafeterias. However, measures concerning visitors should be taken in order to ensure a safe environment.

Visitor Safety

Books, Visitor Name Tag, and Chalk on a Desk in Front of a Blackboard with "ABC" Written in Chalk

Many schools welcome guests for any number of reasons. Perhaps they bring in a field expert for a specific class or a guest speaker to address a certain topic.  Parent’s day is also a common school event. Whatever the reason, inviting visitors on school grounds often means providing meals for them within the cafeteria. Tracking guests means ensuring and taking responsibility for their actions during their visit.

Visitor IDs

Visitor badges and photo IDs are perfect for quickly identifying individuals who are allowed on school property. The process should involve some form of check-in protocol, informing the visitor of your identification policies, and issuing the appropriate identification. Along with ease of identification, ID badges can also display important dietary concerns for visitors as well as students.

It’s imperative to student safety to keep unregistered guests and other individuals away from school grounds. Without proper tracking and identification of visitors, it becomes difficult to monitor unusual, infrequent, or unwelcome individuals.

Interpersonal safety should be monitored during everyday school activities. This not only applies to adult and child interactions, but also to the relationships between students and peers.

Bullying Safety

Three Male Students Standing in a Hallway

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, nearly 21% of students report being bullied, and of that number, 22% of incidents occur in the cafeteria.4 Bullying has been an ongoing issue that many organizations, including the United States government, strive to reduce.

Bullying Prevention

While the complete eradication of bullying may be impossible, it can be reduced and prevented to a certain degree. A 2013 study showed that the implementation of anti-bullying programs within schools reduces “bullying behavior by 20%-23%….”5

Bullying is a serious issue which is why so many groups are dedicated to decreasing its frequency. While it may prove difficult to monitor students for the entirety of their time at school, the cafeteria is an easier space to supervise their activities. It is then the responsibility of school faculty to identify bullying behaviors and to intervene when appropriate.

Aside from bullying, schools are responsible for ensuring students are in a safe environment free of hazards.

Liability Safety

White First Aid Case Mounted on a White Wall

Cafeterias can contain hazardous materials and unsafe food prep implementation. Between hot oils and stove tops, glass containers, and sharp kitchen tools, there are a great number of hazards that exist within lunch rooms. Schools need to keep their cafeterias and other dining spaces clear of dangerous materials or adequately mark hazards to properly warn students and visitors.

Properly trained cafeteria and custodial staff will adhere to all policies and procedures, which aids in the prevention of emergencies. However, in the case of an emergency, designated medical staff should be readily available. Some schools may even offer first aid training to teachers and custodial staff. This will prevent potential tragedies should a student be exposed to wet surfaces, sharp implements, hot oils, or other hazardous materials while in a cafeteria space as well as protect your institution from liability concerns.

Save 20% on Photo IDs with Code NTWSTUDENT at Name Tag Wizard, School Bus Badges Resting on Red Notebook

Recap

School cafeterias have special safety concerns as well as the common procedures all educational facilities should have.

  • The cafeteria’s primary function is to offer a dining experience, so it is imperative to make dietary and allergy concerns a top priority.
  • Visitors need to be easily identifiable while they’re on campus or dining with their child.
  • Teachers and other faculty need to supervise student activities during meals to identify and curtail bullying.
  • Finally, safety hazards need to be either removed or adequately marked in order to avoid injury.

 

Elementary Teacher Looking Over Class

Name Tag Wizard has a wide variety of name badges to increase school safety and security. From teacher name tags to visitor passes to generic designs, you can find name tags to fit your facility’s needs.

 

Related Posts

 

References

  1. USDA National School Lunch Program Report
  2. FoodAllergy.org
  3. Hopkins Medicine
  4. National Bullying Prevention Center
  5. McCallion & Feder, 2013

 

Pre-K & Elementary School Name Tags

School Supplies Including Pens, Paper, Notebook, Pouch, and Bus Name Badge

Helping Young Children at School

Going to school for the first time can be a frightening experience for young children. With a new environment, new teachers, and new friends, it can be difficult for them to remember important details. Name tags can help children, teachers and parents alleviate confusion at school and on their daily commute.

Name Tags for Students

Students Drawing at a Table, One Girl Wears a Name Tag Labeled "Jane"

Name tags for young children make it easy to find out who their teacher is or which classroom they belong to. This is especially helpful for children who are just starting to learn how to read as it reinforces their lessons and allows teachers and other school faculty to help. Starting off the school year by teaching young students to write their name and bus number on chalkboard name tags is a fun and practical way to build on their education.

Including bus numbers on name tags helps children find which vehicle to board or for teachers and drivers to direct them. Finding the right bus or getting on the wrong bus can be a frustrating or frightening ordeal for children, faculty and especially parents. Having bus numbers easily and readily available for kids and teachers helps prevent confusion.

Keeping Track of Bus Riders

Back of School Bus

With so many children riding buses to and from school grounds, it can be difficult to keep track of who goes where and on which vehicle.

Some schools, such as Biscayne Elementary in Jacksonville, Florida, utilize lists. Stephanie Jones, a Pre-K to 1st grade teacher at Biscayne, details their process.

“We have lists with all the student’s names for each bus. Teachers and paraprofessionals are assigned to monitor the children and usually have the kids and their bus numbers memorized. The bus drivers are also familiar with the students who ride their buses. The students get marked off when they get off the bus in the morning and marked again when they get on in the afternoon. If there is ever a change in the way a student is going home, it should be written in their agenda by a parent so there’s documentation.”

Bus name badges are a useful tool for quickly determining the correct bus for young students. With their name, bus number, teacher’s name, and photo all not easily visible at a distance, bus badges make it easy to direct children to their ride.

Having a child’s name readily available is beneficial, but it shouldn’t be too visible.

What to be Careful About

Child Wearing Backpack with Bus Name Badge Walking Away

Identification that helps kids get to and from their bus and classroom should be used carefully. Easily visible names on backpacks, clothing, lunch bags, and other objects can help strangers learn a child’s name.

According to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center, 424,066 reports of missing children were entered in 2018.1

Some children have difficulty determining who is a stranger or who seems dangerous. A malicious individual can easily gain the trust of a child if they know their name. Some children will think that the adult is someone they or their parents know and trust.

It’s important to teach children to beware of strange and unknown individuals. Parents, teachers, and other trustworthy adults won’t always be available or around, so ensuring a child knows how to avoid dangerous situations is imperative.

While name tags and badges can help, they should be kept discreet. Affixing a child’s bus badge on to the inside of their coat or backpack keeps it easily accessible but out of immediate sight. Ensure the child knows to keep their badge safe and tucked away when they don’t need it. Including a bus badge is a great way to help alleviate confusion and stress for a young student, but be sure to teach them the importance of keeping it out of sight and making sure they understand.

Save 20% on Photo IDs with Code NTWSTUDENT at Name Tag Wizard, School Bus Badges Resting on Red Notebook

Ensuring children know which bus they need to ride and which classroom to go to is an important part of their school experience. What ways do you know of to help children find their way at school? Leave a comment below with your ideas, and be sure to visit Name Tag Wizard for all of your name tag and badge needs.

Related Posts:

References:

  1. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Name Changes: Steps to Remember

Name Tag with the Name "Wilbur"

About Name Changes

Marriage Certificate

There may come a time in your life where you’ll want to change your name just like the thousands of other Americans who do each year. While no one keeps an official record, Bruce Lansky, author of 45,000+ Baby Names, estimates that roughly 50,000 people change their name each year.1 There can be quite a few steps that go into changing your name and there is a myriad of reasons as to why people do it.

Why Change Your Name?

Woman Holding Yellow Question Mark Against White Background with Yellow Border

There are many reasons why someone would want to change their name. The most common is marriage and, by extension, divorce. Approximately 80% of women take their husband’s surname following their marriage.1 Another reason could be adoption. As children grow older and enter adulthood, they may surprise their step-parent by presenting them an official certificate of adoption showcasing their new name. Further examples include distancing from an abusive family, converting to a new religion, simplifying from a complicated name, or taking on a more suiting moniker for gender identity. However, there are certain hindrances when considering a name change. For example, you can’t change your name to avoid bill or other payments. Whatever your reason, the steps for legally changing your name in the United States are generally the same.

How to Legally Change Your Name

Lawyer Signing Papers

With the exception of marriages and divorces, you’ll need to follow the same basic steps for changing your name.2

  1. Prove Residency
  2. In order to change your name in your state, you’ll need to prove you live there. You’ll also need to have lived within your state a minimum amount of time that varies. Each state has unique paperwork to file, so ensure you find the correct forms and provide the appropriate evidence.

  3. Prove Your Current Name
  4. The next step entails proving your current legal name. Each state requires different forms of identification, but it’s generally acceptable to provide your Social Security card, birth certificate, and driver’s license or other valid photo ID.

  5. Fill Out a Petition
  6. Again, this form varies state-to-state. Find your state’s appropriate petition form and fill it out with all of the required information. Since this is an official form, you won’t be allowed to sign it privately and will need to do so in front of a notary public.

  7. File the Petition
  8. After you’ve completely filled out your name change petition, you’ll send it to the court clerk who will then schedule a hearing. There’s usually a filing charge, so be prepared to pay a fee. This charge varies according to the court, so ask ahead of time how much your filing fee will cost.

  9. Attend the Hearing
  10. At this point, all that’s left is to attend your scheduled hearing. You’ll be presented before a judge and may be asked why you are changing your name. It is then up to the judge to approve your name change. Following the hearing if your name change is approved, the judge will file an Order and you will be given a copy. The Order is required for any place needing your legal name, and you can usually request additional copies from the court.

Marriages are different in that you typically won’t need to schedule or attend a hearing nor fill out a petition in the first place. All you’ll need is your marriage license approved to start the process of changing all of your accounts.

Updating Your Information

Woman Sitting at Computer

Now that you’ve changed your name, where should you update with your new information? Any sort of official service you use needs to have your current legal name, so here’s a list of places to update with your new name:

  1. Social Security: This should be first on your list, and you’ll need to fill out and submit an SS-5 Form to adjust your Social Security card.3
  2. Vehicle Information: Visit your local DMV or their website to see how to update your driver’s license and vehicle’s title & registration.
  3. Apartment Lease: Ask your apartment’s staff or landlord if they need to update their records with your new name and how they want it to be done.
  4. Mortgage: Each financial institution handles mortgages differently, so be sure to contact your lender to find out how they want you to update your mortgage information.4
  5. Bank Accounts: Contact your financial institution(s) of choice and ask how you can update your savings, credit, debit, and other accounts.
  6. Work: Get in touch with the appropriate individuals at your work to update your official information with them, including your Name Tag and Desk Name Plate.
  7. Passport: You’ll want to update your passport with your new name as well or you will not be able to travel outside of the country.
  8. Medical: There’s not much reason to update your medical records since your Patient Identification Number should stay the same so long as you inform your PCP of your name change during your next appointment so your new records can be combined with the old.
  9. Insurance: Contact your insurance provider so you can see how to update your information and remain covered.

There are other places you can update with your name such as on your birth certificate, but some places will require you to provide evidence of your previous name for verification. If there are other places people need to update with their new legal name, leave a comment below. We appreciate further information, and for all of your identification needs, visit Name Tag Wizard for a wide selection of name badges and desk and wall plates.

Related Posts:

Resources:

  1. Chicago Tribune
  2. LegalZoom
  3. Social Security Administration
  4. Sapling

Do’s and Don’ts of Conducting Job Interviews

When it comes to finding – and hiring – that perfect job candidate, the competition can be fierce. Since a significant part of the hiring decision comes from the face-to-face interview, doing a bit of homework and preparation beforehand is sure to help you, and your company, make your best first impression.

What is the Interviewer’s Role?

As one of the first people an interviewee will come into contact with when applying for a job with your company, you will most likely be representing and making the first impression for your company to your job candidate. This is a wonderful opportunity to create goodwill with your applicant, whether he or she is hired or not.

Make your interviewee as comfortable as possible, depending on your company’s culture. If your organization is formal and wears business attire, then pass that information along. If, on the other hand, your atmosphere is very relaxed and even you, as the interviewer, will be wearing jeans or other casual clothing, let your interviewee know so that he or she will fit in with your company culture and feel comfortable from the start. No matter the attire, always present yourself in a polished manner, including wearing a professional name tag. Your candidate will likely be nervous enough. Being able to glance at your name tag, or even a desk plate, and address you by name will take the pressure off trying to remember it throughout the interview and create a more relaxed, friendly environment.

Create a Relaxed and Welcoming Interview Setting

Conducting the interview at your place of business is a wise choice. When an interviewee comes to (and takes part in a tour of) your office, this provides the best opportunity to see how he or she reacts to your daily work environment. While it may seem like a more relaxing idea to have the interview at the local coffee shop or somewhere over lunch, these places tend to be full of noise and distractions that will hinder both you and your applicant from having the most productive conversation and from learning about one another.

Begin your interview with somewhat casual, yet specific questions. Opening the conversation with an open-ended statement like “Tell me about yourself” probably will not put your interviewee at ease. Rather, ask “Given what you know about our company, what personal qualities of yours would make you a good fit?”

What are Illegal Interview Questions?

As an interviewer, it is unlawful to ask any of the following questions –

  • Have you ever been arrested?
  • What is your religion? Where and/or when do you worship? Do you celebrate religious holidays?
  • Are you a citizen of the US? It seems that you have an accent, where are you from?
  • When were you born? What year did you graduate from high school or college? How old are you?
  • Do you have a disability that has the ability to affect your job performance? (This includes specific questions pertaining to former number of sick days, workers’ compensation claims, mental health diagnoses, or other pre-existing health conditions, including that of family history)
  • Do you use drugs, alcohol, or smoke?
  • Do you belong to a union or do you have an interest in joining one?
  • Are you willing to take a polygraph test? (You cannot be denied employment, disciplined, or fired for refusing to take a polygraph test)
  • Are you pregnant or do you plan to become pregnant, foster, or adopt a child?
  • What does your husband or wife do? Or do you have a spouse or significant other?

Note – When considering an applicant for a position, if your organization’s primary purpose is religious-based, you are legally permitted to favor hiring individuals who practice that same religion.

What are Legal Interview Questions?

  • Have you ever been convicted of a felony or crime other than a traffic violation?
  • Do your religious practices prohibit you from working on weekends (ask only if weekend work is required of the position)
  • Are you legally authorized to work in the US?
  • Do you speak any other languages (ask only if relevant to the position)
  • Are you able to put in the long hours and significant amount of travel this job requires?
  • Are you willing and able to relocate, if the opportunity arises?

What is a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification as Related to a Job or a Career?

A Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ) is a specific qualification that will allow a potential employer to make an employment decision based on protected classes of citizens ONLY if it is determined to be necessary to operate a specific business successfully. For example, commercial airline pilots MUST retire at age 65 since studies have shown that older pilots’ production declines and, therefore, becomes a greater public risk.

Key Points to Keep in Mind During the Interview and Beyond

Keep in mind the position you are interviewing to fill. While skills and education certainly are important, many job specifics can be learned through on the job training, apprenticeships, and job shadowing. Things that are more difficult to teach are fitting in with the culture, departmental employees, and generally with the company as a whole.

Refrain from asking hypothetical questions. Most often for an interviewee who may not have an immediate answer, this is cause for a moment of panic and he or she may make up an answer. Rather, ask specific questions that relate to real situations that he or she has most likely encountered in the workplace, for example, “Tell me about a time when you had to resolve a conflict between two employees and how that worked out.”

For more information about federal laws regarding prohibited or illegal employment policies and practices, please visit the US Equal Employment Opportunities Commission.

Effective Onboarding Techniques and Strategies for Your Workplace

Why Onboarding Matters

Attracting the best and brightest job applicants and turning them into longstanding employees is a lofty goal that virtually every successful organization aims to achieve. From that first initial contact with applicants through the onboarding process and beyond, you are beginning to build professional relationships designed to last for years to come. As the first official steps toward becoming valued members of your company, the onboarding experiences that you provide are likely to be some of new employees’ most memorable company impressions.

Ensuring Onboarding Success

Effective employee onboarding can mean the difference between a successful start and a challenging transition to a new job. From orientation and training to becoming socially acclimated to your company’s culture, your new hire onboarding process matters.

Begin Onboarding Before You Hire

Bringing your new employees successfully on board begins with the first time you contact your applicants. Whether via phone call, email, or social media, exposure to your organization starts with the recruitment process.  Be sure that all avenues of communication accurately represent your company and its culture and values. When recruiting methods don’t line up with your organization’s culture, new hires can experience culture shock, leading to a disappointing first impression and perhaps even an unexpected resignation.

Create a Welcoming Work Area

Once the paperwork is complete and your new hires are ready to get to work, show them you’re happy they’re here by creating a welcoming work space that includes all of the necessities they’ll need to get off to a terrific start. From pens, paperclips and notepads to custom welcome boxes, new hire name tags and desk plates that are personalized and practical, your newest team members will be ready to go!

Build an Onboarding Network

During the onboarding process, human resources is there to guide employees through the new hire process. Once they’re ready to begin work, assigning each new employee a peer mentor who has the experience and enthusiasm to provide support during the first few weeks or months of employment will go a long way in creating strong professional and working relationships. Scheduling some time for meet-and-greets and lunches with other employees and company leaders can also be a terrific way for new hires to get to know a variety of people throughout the company in a more relaxed social setting.

Make Short Term Goals

Setting short term goals for your new employees that are well defined, measurable, achievable, and relevant to their specific responsibilities will help them to develop confidence in their new positions, become familiar with your organization’s workflow processes, and learn the appropriate people to go to when questions or challenges arise.  Consider setting short term goals for 30, 60, and 90 day time frames.

Develop Long Term Goals

As short term goals are met, begin to create longer term goals that will encourage learning and professional growth over time. These goals will give new employees something specific to strive for, keeping them interested, engaged, and productive.

Investing in your newest employees from the start of the onboarding process is one of the best ways to ensure that they are off to a wonderful start and a successful transition to becoming contributing members of your team. Whether your onboarding program is three weeks, three months, or longer, when employees are offered the tools, training, and information tailored to their specific jobs, they’re sure to be off to their best start!

Building Professional Relationships with Name Tags and Badges

Your name is more than the grouping of letters that have adorned your birth certificate since the day you were born. Your name is a part of your identity that becomes an element of who you are like nothing else will. Names are shared everywhere, especially via name tags in the workplace. As commonplace as they seem, are name badges really worth all the fuss? Absolutely!

Think of everyone that represents your company, small business, or any other defined group as ambassadors of your brand. Hired for their knowledge and abilities to help your organization succeed, well-designed name tags will help these employees, volunteers, and others make their best first impression and inspire meaningful conversation between staff and guests.

Name Tags Build Brand Identity

Creating a memorable company identity is at the core of every successful business. Branding and company recognition often begins with that first face-to-face introduction where names become a key component of this introductory conversation. Name tags and badges that include your company’s logo that include your company’s logo will immediately link your employee’s name and face with your business, reinforcing your brand and identity. Be sure your team’s name tags are free of scratches, faded text, or other imperfections so their professional best is proudly on display!

Name Tags Encourage Personal Interaction

Once you’re introduced to someone by name, you’re both more likely to feel an immediate level of comfort and approachability. And whether your business has a few employees, hundreds, or even thousands, personal interaction goes a long way toward making everyone feel that ‘We’re all on the same team!’ and are working together toward a common goal. For volunteers and other guests, visitor name badges are a wonderful way to make them feel welcome and a part of the interaction.

Name Tags Inspire Personal Expression and Confidence

If your business is one that allows a bit of freedom with personal name tags, they can be a terrific way to learn a fun fact or two about the person wearing the badge while increasing a bit of self-confidence along the way. Perhaps a name tag could display a museum guide’s favorite exhibit. An airline employee’s badge may include the location of that once-in-a-lifetime trip. Or a name tag could include a restaurant employee’s favorite food. The creative possibilities are endless!

Name Tags Display Status, Promotions, and Growth

Name tags offer a terrific way for new employees to quickly recognize others and their respective roles within the workplace. In addition to learning who fulfills which job, specialized name badges are wonderful ways to highlight those well-deserved promotions and other avenues of growth within an organization.

Name Tags Provide an Added Level of Security

When everyone is required to wear name badges, including employees, volunteers, and guests, it is easy to identify others at a glance to be sure they have permission to be where they are – and especially easy to spot someone not wearing a badge who should not be in a specified area.

Whether yours is a corner bakery, the neighborhood’s favorite pizza parlor, or a multinational company, name tags are ideal for associating your respected employees with your valued guests and potential customers.

Tag Your Bags this Summer

Packed Suitcase and Hat Overlooking a Lake

Summer Vacation Packing Tips

Memorial Day 2019 is May 27, which means summertime is right around the corner. With summer comes the biggest travel season in the United States. According to a 2017 study, 80% of Americans traveled in 2016,1 so chances are you are one of the multitude of people who will be taking a trip in the coming months. So, here are a few basic packing tips to remember for your trip.

Packing Proper Pieces

Suitcase Packed with Travel Items

What you pack for your upcoming summer vacation is dependent on where you plan on going and what you plan on doing. Is your destination meant to be an escape from the heat to the far north? You may want to remember your jacket and hat. Are you bound for a beach side resort? Don’t forget your swim suit and sunscreen. Are you planning a family reunion back in your hometown? Family Eating LunchMaybe you should bring some reusable name tags to help remember everyone’s names. If you have children, then you’ll need to remember distracting activities during travel so they aren’t bored to tears before arriving at your planned location and possibly a photo ID and lanyard with your information in case they get lost. Planning and understanding both your trip and destination are integral to knowing what to pack and are important first steps to starting your summer vacation right.

Essential Equipment

Book, Luggage Tag, Sunscreen, & Glasses on Towel

Regardless of your summer vacation destination, there are a few packing essentials that most travelers will need. Here is a short list of basic travel items you will want to remember before you set off on your summertime romp.

  • Soaps: Body wash, shampoo, and conditioner are all staple items to pack unless you plan on purchasing more at your destination.
  • Dental Care: A toothbrush and toothpaste should never be forgotten when packing for a trip. Mouthwash is a good supplement, but should never be a replacement for brushing.
  • Personal Hygiene: Hygiene products are easy to forget but immediately become a problem when they are missing, so remember deodorant, shaving products, hand sanitizer, and feminine products if you need them while packing.
  • Appropriate Clothing: Pack enough clothes, and possibly extras, for the duration of your trip. Clothing items should be appropriate for your travel destination such as heavy jackets for colder climates or swim wear for beaches and resorts.
  • Minor Injury Items: A small emergency kit should be kept easily accessible in the case of minor injuries such as small cuts and scrapes. Sanitizing wipes and adhesive bandages work great and are easily portable for your travels.
  • Sunscreen: Always remember sunscreen. The sun’s harmful UV rays can cause long-term damage and deadly skin cancer such as melanoma, so no matter where you travel this summer, remember to bring and use sunscreen.

These general packing tips apply to most travelers, but if you are flying by air, then there are some exceptions to remember.

Road Requirements

Kids Playing Behind a Car

Road trips are a classic American vacation. You, your chosen companions, and the open road. If your summer plans include a cross country or other type of road trip, then you’ll want to remember to pack appropriately, so here are a few integral things to have in your car for your upcoming open road adventure.

  • Navigation: Whether you have someone use a map app, an electronic GPS guide, or go analog with a paper map, you’ll want to make sure you stay on route. While getting lost may make for entertaining stories in the future, it is a good way to derail any plans you may have made for the trip.
  • Food & Water: There may come a long stretch of road without rest areas or gas stations, so ensuring you and your passengers stay adequately hydrated and nourished is important for your trip.
  • Emergency Supplies: Flares, blankets, an emergency medical kit, a spare tire, and the tools to change tires are all extremely important items to keep in your vehicle while you travel. Being prepared for an emergency situation can sometimes mean the difference between life and death, so ensure you and your vehicle are ready for the unexpected.

Flying For Fun

Woman Traveling with a Suitcase in an Airport Terminal

Packing for a flight is typically the same as packing for any other trip. However, traveling by air carries an importance on safety for not only you but everyone on your flight. As such, the Transportation Security Administration, more commonly known as the TSA, has a myriad of flight passenger rules and regulations for the safety of vacationing and traveling Americans. This includes restricting certain items from being taken aboard as carry-on luggage or even as checked bags. The list is extensive and includes items such as firearms, axes, and other weapon or weapon-adjacent items as well as unexpected items such as cooking spray and recreational oxygen.2 There is also the endless confusion surrounding how much liquid you can bring in a carry-on bag, so here are the official rules from the TSA’s website:

  • Individual containers may be no larger than 3.4 ounces for carry-on luggage
  • Carry-on containers must all fit in a resealable, quart-sized bag
  • Containers larger than 3.4 ounces must be stored in a checked bag

If you need to check a bag, then you will want to make sure you can easily find your luggage when you land, and a custom luggage tag is a great way to easily identify your property among the multitude of bags. Aside from the TSA’s regulations and ensuring your luggage is easily located, here are a few air travel tips and packing ideas to help make your flight experience tolerable from beginning to end.

  • Clearing Security: Arrive at the airport a few hours early to ensure you make it through security with enough time to make it to your gate.
  • Child Identification: While children under 18 years of age aren’t required to present identification to board a flight, having your child wear a custom photo ID badge with your photo and contact information could prove invaluable should you and your child get separated.
  • Gum or Candy: Pack some gum or candy in your carry-on to help with the air pressure changes during take-off and landing. Chewing and swallowing during ascent and descent helps relieve pressure and chewing gum or sucking on candy helps produce saliva which in turn makes it easier to swallow.3
  • Entertainment: Bring fun activities for long flights, especially if you are travelling with kids. Books, card games, handheld video games, music players, and other items help pass the time while you fly and will help keep children occupied.

Whether you’re going by land or by air, remember these summer packing tips to ensure your vacation goes smoothly, and keep track of your luggage and family with custom tags and badges from Name Tag Wizard.

References

  1. scps.nyu.edu
  2. tsa.gov
  3. spoonuniversity.com

Remember Name Tags for Your Next Open House

Open House Directional Sign with Arrow

Open House Basic Tips

Summer is upon us, and with the warmer months approaching, many people will be looking to purchase a new home or move apartments. An estimated 80% of moves happen between April and September1 and home buying season usually starts in March and goes through summer.2 As such, hosting an open house during the following months could benefit your real estate agency in securing your next sale.

What is an Open House?

An open house is an event orchestrated by real estate agencies, rental properties, and home owners to open a property to the public to view and show potential interest in purchasing or renting. It allows real estate agents or property staff to meet and interact with prospective clients and potentially secure a sale or rental agreement.

Do Open Houses Work?

Real Estate Agent Displaying House to CoupleThere is some contention on whether open houses help sell houses or seal a new rental. Many agents find that open houses rarely end with buyers purchasing the property while others meet with frequent success. However, the main benefit of an open house is building a repertoire with prospective clients. Nurturing a trusting relationship between agent and buyer is important, and ensuring that your clients remember your name or the name of your agency with a custom real estate name tag will mean a greater chance of buyers coming to you when they become interested in purchasing a new home.

Open House Checklist

To run a successful open house, you will need to prepare ahead of time. A lot can go into these preparations, so here are six basic items to remember.

1. Advertise

Real Estate Agent in Front of Paper ListingsNo one will attend your open house if they don’t know you’re hosting one to begin with. Spreading the word is a vital early step in preparing your event. Share the event on your company’s website and social media pages or distribute outdoor signs to catch the attention of motorists and other by passers to inform them of your property’s location and the date of your open house.

2. Cleanliness

Woman Wiping CountertopEnsure the property is clean. Showing a filthy house or apartment unit will turn people away and leave a poor impression on the capabilities and trustworthiness of you and your company. Sweep and mop any non-carpeted areas, vacuum carpets and rugs, dust and wipe off counter tops, and clean windows and mirrors to show your clients the best version of the property.

3. Staging

Woman Hanging a Framed Print of a SeahorseStaging refers to the process of strategically placing furniture and decor to demonstrate the potential of a living space. It gives clients an idea of how they could arrange their own furniture, what they like or dislike about the current set-up, and how they can emulate or improve upon it. Showing those attending your open house the property’s potential with proper staging helps them imagine themselves living in the space which could mean the difference in a new or lost sale.

4. Refreshments

People Enjoying a Fruit & Cheese PlatterAs previously stated, open houses are primarily for building a relationship with prospective clients, and providing refreshments is a perfect way to do that. Coffee, juice, meat and cheese trays, fresh fruit, and cookies are all wonderful ideas. Bonus points if the cookies are homemade. This provides you an opportunity to connect with and get to know individuals or groups over a snack while they mull over the property and allows them to ask any questions they may have. Getting clients to trust you will mean there is a greater chance of them turning to you should they decide to submit an offer for the property or utilizing you for further house hunting opportunities.

5. Sign-In

Woman Typing on a Laptop KeyboardKeeping track of guests allows you to follow up with them later if they show interest in the property. Setting up a check-in area near the entrance of the house or rental unit is a quick and easy method of logging visitors. Provide a sign-in book, laptop, or tablet and perhaps a stack of reusable chalkboard name tags near the front door for guests to write their names on so you can easily learn their names.

6. Staying Memorable

Business Partners Shaking HandsSince the general purpose of an open house is to stay memorable to potential and future home buyers, wearing an eye-catching name tag from Name Tag Wizard works well in tandem while you host your event. Customized with your name and agency’s logo, a house-shaped name tag is perfect for getting guests to remember you. Be sure to include your name and title as well as your agency’s name and logo so anyone you meet at your open house can easily remember you and your company.

Prepare for your next open house with these tips and a custom real estate name tag from Name Tag Wizard!

References:

  1. help.movinglabor.com
  2. smartasset.com