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How to ace a virtual job interview

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, employers have had to adapt their hiring processes to limit the spread of the virus. Since in-person meetings aren’t recommended, most have opted to speak with candidates over the phone or by video chat. If you have a virtual job interview coming up, here are some tips to help ensure it goes well.

Check your devices
Among other things, make sure the right video conferencing software is installed on your computer. You should also confirm that your webcam, microphone, and headphones are working and that you charge your laptop or set it up near a power source. Also, be sure to find a spot in your home with a strong internet connection. By ensuring that you’re ready a few hours before the interview, you’ll help calm your nerves and reduce the risk of something going wrong.

Wear business attire
Dress as though you’re going to a traditional interview. You might not be leaving your home, but you still need to make a good impression. That being said, you can forgo a few details like socks, shoes, and perfume, or cologne. Additionally, make sure you’re set up in a well-lit space and that nothing unsightly or embarrassing can be seen behind you. Before the interview starts, close the door to keep out pets and children.

Stay focused
Whether it’s to quickly search for something on your second monitor or read an incoming text message, the recruiter is sure to notice if your gaze shifts to something off-screen. This will make you look distracted and can come across as disrespectful. To ensure this doesn’t happen, put away other devices and do your research beforehand. You should also keep a pad nearby to take notes, so the other person doesn’t hear you typing.


Finally, remember to thank the interviewer for their time, and be sure to send a follow-up email the next day to reaffirm your interest in the position. Good luck!

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Smart TVs offer savvy advertising channels for small businesses

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We’ve got apps on our phones, apps on our computers, and now, we even have apps on our televisions. And if there’s an app, there may be a business opportunity. Smart TVs may offer ways for businesses big and small to connect with customers.

More devices are becoming “smart,” which, among other things, means they’re connected to larger networks (such as the Internet). Modern TVs are loaded with streaming apps, like Netflix or Peacock. Meanwhile, online retailers and others are offering apps too.

Take Amazon, for example. The online retail behemoth spent $11 billion on video and music content in 2020, up from $7.8 billion the year before. To put that in context, Netflix spent $10.81 billion on content in 2020 and $9.22 billion in 2019.

Why is Amazon spending so much on media content? Part of it is to advertise goods sold on Amazon through video and music ads. The small businesses that sell their goods through Amazon’s marketplace can pay for ads to get their products in front of customers.


Peacock and other platforms also allow small businesses to buy ad space. Traditional TV ads are expensive and collecting data is difficult. We can estimate how many people watch a given show through surveys. However, it’s challenging to gather more specific data, like who purchased a product due to a commercial.

With digital apps and platforms, it’s possible to measure and define customer actions. With an app, you can track when a customer clicks on an ad and buys a product. Rather than paying for commercial spots, businesses can pay for results, such as click-throughs or sales.

As smart TVs take over the living room, instead of merely showing a customer an ad for your awesome local pizza parlor, you can get them to order delivery right from their TV. Or when Amazon launches its upcoming Lord of the Rings series, small businesses selling on Amazon might advertise swords, independently published fantasy novels, and other related products.

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Small businesses find success on Etsy

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Amazon dominates the online marketplace in the United States and many other countries, too. The online behemoth accounted for roughly 47 percent of American e-commerce in 2020. Yet Etsy is emerging as a promising alternative, especially for small businesses, and is now the second-largest online marketplace in the United States.

Rather than the generic mass-produced goods often found on Amazon, Etsy focuses on unique products, such as handmade arts and crafts. With Christmas approaching, shoppers can find handcrafted Christmas ornaments, custom printed driver’s licenses for Santa’s sleigh, and knitted blankets to keep warm while chestnuts roast on the open fire.

Shoppers can also order custom art and other products. For example, you can commission high-quality oil paintings, which may cost $300 or more. Those on a budget can order custom cartoon-style art for less than $10.

Etsy generated $1.7 billion in revenues in 2020 and $10.28 billion in merchandise sales volume. Much of the sales ended up in the bank accounts of small businesses.


As of 2019, more than 2.5 million sellers had found a home on Etsy. By 2020, total Etsy sellers topped 4.3 million. While 62 percent of Etsy sellers were based in the United States (2020), you could find Etsy entrepreneurs in 234 countries. PlannerKate1, a top Etsy seller, has drummed up more than $1.2 million in total sales.

Still, it’s not all good news for small businesses. For example, Etsy has drawn controversy with its off-site advertising campaigns. Etsy automatically advertised products, taking a 15 percent cut of sales. While smaller sellers could opt out, businesses generating more than $10,000 a year could not, but enjoyed a lower commission rate of 12 percent.

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Book Review – Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment

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Ever wonder why people make bad decisions? If so, Noise: a Flaw in Human Judgment by Daniel Kahneman, Oliver Sibony, and Cass R. Sunstein should make your holiday gift wish list. The New York Times bestseller sheds light on how people make decisions.

More than that, this insightful book may also help you tune out the noise that interferes with judgment. This could reduce variability and help you make sound choices.

The authors argue that bad decisions often come down to noise clouding your judgment. They distinguish between systematic deviation or bias, and random scatter, AKA noise. Ultimately noise seems to do as much damage as bias.

The authors each impart their expertise. Daniel Kahneman has already won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on behavioral economics. Olivier Sibony teaches business strategy at HEC Paris and formerly worked as a partner at McKinsey. And Cass R. Sunstein is a distinguished legal scholar and behavioral economist currently teaching at Harvard.


The stakes certainly are high. Gartner has found that poor operational decisions alone can cost 3 percent of profits. Meanwhile, research suggests that the average adult makes roughly 35,000 “remotely conscious” decisions per day. Choosing between orange juice or coffee may not matter, but deciding which candidate to hire or which marketing campaign to focus on may ultimately determine your business’s success or failure.

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4 ways local entrepreneurs uplift their communities

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Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), which runs from November 8 to 14, is an annual event that aims to celebrate and empower entrepreneurs, innovators, and makers from around the world. It’s also the perfect opportunity to recognize the contributions that local entrepreneurs make to your community. Here are four good reasons to support local entrepreneurs this November.

1. They create jobs in the area
Local entrepreneurs create new and exciting job opportunities in the region where they live. This helps keep money in the community and strengthens the area’s economy.

2. They get involved in local events
Local entrepreneurs live and work in their communities. Consequently, they take pride in volunteering, making charitable donations, and participating in festivals to make their community the best it can be.

3. They shape neighborhoods
Local entrepreneurs play an important role in shaping the character and identity of their communities. The products and services they offer contribute to building meaningful relationships with tourists and locals alike.


4. They offer personalized service
Local entrepreneurs are tuned in to the needs of the people in their community. Therefore, when you shop locally, you can expect to get friendly, personalized service that you won’t find anywhere else.

This November, consider supporting the local entrepreneurs in your community.

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Here’s why emotional marketing plays such a vital role during the holidays

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The holiday season is fast approaching. Hot cocoa, warm fireplaces, kids smiling, time spent with loved ones — the holidays drum up a lot of warm and fuzzy feelings. And quite likely many of the feelings are due to savvy emotional marketing.

Emotional marketing targets our personal feelings and experiences. Using functional MRI scans, researchers found that that emotional response has a greater influence on intent to buy than ad content by a factor of 2-to-1 for print ads and 3-to-1 for TV ads.

Consulting firm Bain expects December sales alone this year to reach $800 billion, with companies will be competing fiercely for every dollar. Want to drive sales to your business? Be prepared to use emotional marketing.

Black Friday and Cyber Week sales illustrate the effects of time-limited promotions. Shoppers often line up outside stores before they open, and sometimes stampede to get the best deals. Psychologists note that shoppers suffer from anticipatory regret or the “fear of missing out.”


Adobe Analytics found that Cyber Week sales, which includes the days from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, topped $34 billion in 2020. Anticipatory regret helps explain the impulse, but that wasn’t the only psychological tactic at play.

Marketers also attempt to drive “shopping momentum.” Once you purchase one product at a store, you’re likely to purchase other products. A shopper might stop by your store for a particular item on sale. While there, the shopper may pick up other goods. This is why many retailers use loss leaders, or products sold at a loss, to drive in customers.

Limited supply may also increase already high demand. Back in 1996, shortages of Tickle-Me-Elmo dolls led to a shopping craze. This year, X-Box and Playstation game consoles may be hard to come by due to global chip shortages and high demand.

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The quirky history of mascots and their impact on marketing

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Many companies use mascots to engage with their audience and promote their brands. Turns out that lovable, quirky mascots are an effective marketing tool. Researchers have found that mascots can influence purchasing decisions and consumer intent.

Indeed, research suggests that brands with mascots are 37 percent more likely to increase market share than brands without and are also 30 percent more likely to increase profits.

Researchers at Cornell further found that consumers were 16 percent more likely to trust a cereal brand if on-box characters made direct eye contact. For this reason, the characters on kids’ cereal are often angled downward, while characters on adult cereal boxes stare straight ahead.

Mascots are especially effective with children. Mascots increase brand recognition and children prefer brands with mascots to brand without mascots. Children are also more likely to eat food, including fruit, if it’s endorsed by a mascot.



Quaker Oats Quaker Man is among the oldest mascots and has been around since 1877. Many early mascots were people, perhaps because it’s easy to dress someone up in a Quaker outfit.

Research has found that to this day, 21 percent of mascots are based on humans.

Animals are popular as well, with birds accounting for 19 percent and domesticated animals, including cows and cats, making up 16 percent. Vegetables make up just 2 percent. Still, by 1916, Mr. Peanut was repping Planters Peanuts. The part-human, part-vegetable Green Giant appeared in 1928, encouraging kids to eat their greens.

Ronald McDonald, perhaps the poster child for company mascots, first hit the stage in 1963. Then there’s McDonald’s purple Grimace. Some folks theorize that the giant purple blob is actually a walking, talking taste bud. McDonald’s, however, claims that “the best part about Grimace is that he means different things to different people.”

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Thank You to our Local Business Participants:

@AHIER

Apple Dumpling Learning Center

Apple House

Auto Care Clinic

Blue Ridge Arts Council

Blue Ridge Education

BNI Shenandoah Valley

C&C's Ice Cream Shop

Code Ninjas Front Royal

Cool Techs Heating and Air

Downtown Market

Dusty's Country Store

Edward Jones-Bret Hrbek

Family Preservation Services

Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce

Groups Recover Together

I Want Candy

I'm Just Me Movement

Jen Avery, REALTOR & Jenspiration, LLC

Main Street Travel

Marlow Automotive Group

Mary Carnahan Graphic Design

Mountain Trails

National Media Services

Northwestern Community Services Board

Phoenix Project

Reaching Out Now

Royal Blends Nutrition

Royal Examiner

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Spice

Salvation Army

SaVida Health

Skyline Insurance

Studio Verde

The Studio-A Place for Learning

The Valley Today - The River 95.3

Warren Charge (Bennett's Chapel, Limeton, Asbury)

Warren County Department of Social Services

Warrior Psychotherapy Services, PLLC

What Matters & Beth Medved Waller, Inc Real Estate

White Picket Fence

Woodward House on Manor Grade

King Cartoons

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Upcoming Events

Dec
8
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Dec 8 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Dec
10
Fri
7:00 pm Clara, Little Mouse, and the Gol... @ Skyline Middle School
Clara, Little Mouse, and the Gol... @ Skyline Middle School
Dec 10 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Clara, Little Mouse, and the Golden Key @ Skyline Middle School
Dancing By His Grace Classical Ballet Ensemble presents Clara, Little Mouse, and the Golden Key, featuring selections from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet, at the Skyline Middle School in Front Royal, Virginia. Join us for our original[...]
7:00 pm Glory Bea: A Shenandoah Christma... @ LFCC's William H. McCoy Theatre
Glory Bea: A Shenandoah Christma... @ LFCC's William H. McCoy Theatre
Dec 10 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Glory Bea: A Shenandoah Christmas Story @ LFCC's William H. McCoy Theatre
GLORY BEA: A Shenandoah Christmas Story, by Rich Follett and Larry Dahlke, set in the 1930’s in the Shenandoah Valley and the Depression has hit the valley residents. This story is being presented by Selah[...]
7:30 pm Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
Dec 10 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
Friday, December 10, 2021 7:30pm Front Royal United Methodist Church 1 West Main Street | Front Royal, VA 22630 COVID-19 Guidelines: Masks are required for attendees Sunday, December 12, 2021 4:00pm Trinity Episcopal Church 9108[...]
Dec
11
Sat
2:00 pm Clara, Little Mouse, and the Gol... @ Skyline Middle School
Clara, Little Mouse, and the Gol... @ Skyline Middle School
Dec 11 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Clara, Little Mouse, and the Golden Key @ Skyline Middle School
Dancing By His Grace Classical Ballet Ensemble presents Clara, Little Mouse, and the Golden Key, featuring selections from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet, at the Skyline Middle School in Front Royal, Virginia. Join us for our original[...]
7:00 pm Glory Bea: A Shenandoah Christma... @ LFCC's William H. McCoy Theatre
Glory Bea: A Shenandoah Christma... @ LFCC's William H. McCoy Theatre
Dec 11 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Glory Bea: A Shenandoah Christmas Story @ LFCC's William H. McCoy Theatre
GLORY BEA: A Shenandoah Christmas Story, by Rich Follett and Larry Dahlke, set in the 1930’s in the Shenandoah Valley and the Depression has hit the valley residents. This story is being presented by Selah[...]
Dec
12
Sun
2:00 pm Clara, Little Mouse, and the Gol... @ Skyline Middle School
Clara, Little Mouse, and the Gol... @ Skyline Middle School
Dec 12 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Clara, Little Mouse, and the Golden Key @ Skyline Middle School
Dancing By His Grace Classical Ballet Ensemble presents Clara, Little Mouse, and the Golden Key, featuring selections from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet, at the Skyline Middle School in Front Royal, Virginia. Join us for our original[...]
3:00 pm Glory Bea: A Shenandoah Christma... @ LFCC's William H. McCoy Theatre
Glory Bea: A Shenandoah Christma... @ LFCC's William H. McCoy Theatre
Dec 12 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Glory Bea: A Shenandoah Christmas Story @ LFCC's William H. McCoy Theatre
GLORY BEA: A Shenandoah Christmas Story, by Rich Follett and Larry Dahlke, set in the 1930’s in the Shenandoah Valley and the Depression has hit the valley residents. This story is being presented by Selah[...]
3:00 pm Valley Chorale’s Christmas Concert @ Calvary Episcopal Church
Valley Chorale’s Christmas Concert @ Calvary Episcopal Church
Dec 12 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Valley Chorale's Christmas Concert @ Calvary Episcopal Church
This year’s yuletide concert is titled THIS SHINING NIGHT.  Join us for a selection of seasonal songs — ranging in style from classical to spirituals to pop — sure to brighten your holiday and lift[...]
4:00 pm Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ Trinity Episcopal Church
Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ Trinity Episcopal Church
Dec 12 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ Trinity Episcopal Church
Sunday, December 12, 2021 4:00pm Trinity Episcopal Church 9108 John Mosby Hwy. | Upperville, VA 20184 COVID-19 Guidelines: Masks are required for attendees