3 Ways Introverts Can Survive Networking Events

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Courtney Babin
ACFE Communications Coordinator

In Carl Jung’s Theory of Psychological Types there are two attitudes that humans use to adapt to the world: extraversion and introversion. You’ve probably heard of these attitude-classifications and, if so, you know which side your nature “prefers” (as no one is purely extroverted or introverted). Recently I realized that I tend to veer towards introversion.

Unlike extroverts, who are outgoing and draw energy from other people, introverts tend to pull their energy from themselves. It’s easy for us to get lost in our own thoughts, and we overthink before we speak. Rather than accumulating many friends, we have a few close friends; rather than being socially daring, we tend to sit back and observe others in social settings.

As professionals, we know the importance of networking, especially at events like the upcoming 26th ACFE Annual Global Fraud Conference. Networking is all about getting to know people. Who you know could be the way you break your next case or get your next position. According to CareerKey, “65 to 80 percent of all jobs are found through networking.” For introverts, networking can be draining and even exhausting. Here are a few tips on how introverts can network successfully.

Tip #1: Engage and Listen
Introverts are natural listeners, and because of our habit to think before we speak, we are usually perfect one-on-one conversationalists. When faced with a networking opportunity, try to find an extrovert. I know, it sounds crazy, but it works! Extroverts love meeting new people; they will talk to you about their lives and try to include you in the conversation. As a journalism student I learned how to keep someone talking by asking the right questions. If you are able to ask a peer open-ended questions you will help stir the conversation and might learn an interesting story about their career that could eventually help you in yours.

Tip #2: Appreciate Introversion
Learn to appreciate the way that your mind works and how networking works for you. I am at my best with one-on-one conversations rather than in large groups. In large groups I tend to observe rather than speak, which brings me back to this point: introverts are planners in conversation. We mull things over before we speak. Look at this as a wonderful thing — no one wants to be the person who speaks before they think. Well-formed thoughts and ideas are more powerful, especially when networking about your profession.

Tip #3: Take Time for Yourself
Introverts draw energy from within themselves so we need time to re-energize mentally after interactions with peers, especially intense networking events. If you’re at an event and are scheduled to go to a networking happy hour, take time for yourself before you attend. If you find time here and there for yourself you will feel more relaxed and balanced. As an introvert I know that networking can drain you, mentally and physically. If you can take a few minutes after the training and get a coffee alone or take a walk outside, then take that time for yourself. Remember that when you are relaxed, you are at your best.

It all comes down to the fact that introverts and extroverts have different needs. As an introvert, your energy comes from within, and we need to make sure that while networking we are conscious about our personal needs. Everyone deals with networking differently; it demands interaction and is a skill that professionals need to develop to survive in a business setting. 

Self-Reporting: 'Fess Up and Move On

FROM THE PRESIDENT

James D. Ratley, CFE
ACFE President and CEO

When we were kids, we always knew we had choices. When we fibbed to our parents, we could wait for the truth to emerge, or we could quickly go back to them and come clean with all the details. Our choices: harsh punishment or a possible lighter sentence.

Large U.S. conglomerates have a similar problem. As they acquire companies around the globe and transform them into subsidiaries, they often have to reconfigure them to conform to U.S. laws and regulations such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Now, that's not necessarily the hardest part. Policing those subsidiaries is much more difficult.

Let's say that years later a whistleblower from one of the subsidiaries reports to the company widespread corruption — a resurrected remnant of long-followed practices. What does the conglomerate do? Manage its risks, keep the infractions under wraps and work to clean up the mess? Or report the problems immediately to the U.S. Department of Justice?

In our latest Fraud Magazine cover article, Leslie R. Caldwell, assistant U.S. attorney general for the DOJ's Criminal Division, in essence, says go for the second option: 'Fess up and make amends — quickly.

"We encourage companies, particularly public companies, if they discover a significant compliance problem that also is a significant criminal issue to self-report to the Department of Justice," Caldwell says during a recent Fraud Magazine interview. Caldwell will be a keynote speaker at the 26th Annual ACFE Global Fraud Conference, June 14-19 in Baltimore, Maryland. 

"We encourage them to cooperate with us in our investigation," Caldwell says. "And they should be prepared to give us the relevant facts, documents and evidence in a timely fashion. They should include who is responsible for what went wrong and what these individuals did in the form of facts, not in the form of opinions or privileged attorney-client information. It's very important for companies to understand that they tell us which employees did what — even if it's senior executives."

Of course, a corporation's first responsibility is to avoid a situation in which it has to self-report. But if it finds itself in a legal bind, it should lace up its running shoes and race to the DOJ.

6 Small Things that Can Have a Big Impact On Your Career

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Kathy Lavinder, CFE
Owner and Executive Director of Security & Investigative Placement Consultants

When it comes to the job hunt, sometimes it’s the small things that have the biggest impact. After 15 years recruiting anti-fraud specialists I’ve seen countless instances when attention to detail and good manners have carried a candidate over the finish line. Here are some small things that you should not overlook when searching for a job:

Be responsive: When a recruiter, an associate, a professional contact, or a hiring manager calls or emails about a position, respond in a timely fashion. It’s shocking how many candidates take days or even weeks to reply after an initial contact. That’s a surefire way to miss out on what could be a great opportunity. It’s equally shocking how many people have voicemail boxes that are full and won’t accept messages. Opportunity may not come knocking twice, so be ready.

But don’t be too hasty: If you’re responding to an overture in writing, thoughtfully compose your reply. Make sure to avoid grammatical or spelling mistakes. Don’t expect anyone to overlook issues just because the reply is sent from a smart phone. Attention to detail is important in even the most basic of communications. Also, avoid jumping to conclusions about the role you’ve been contacted about. Make an informed decision once you’ve learned more, as opposed to a knee-jerk response.

Be on time: Just to state the obvious, being late for any interview – phone or in-person – is unacceptable and almost always a deal breaker. Strong organizational and time management skills are essential for all fraud fighters and job seekers.

Be a good listener: Anti-fraud practitioners should have well developed listening skills, so make sure those are on display during any conversations about a potential career opportunity. Avoid asking questions that can be answered by a careful reading of the position description. The hallmark of a good listener is in the quality of follow-up questions he or she poses. Not only will you glean valuable information, but you’ll impress the interviewer when your questions reveal thoughtfulness and an insightful understanding.

Dress the part: Your clothing, makeup, and grooming choices all communicate things about you.  Polished shoes, trimmed nails and hair, ironed clothing and business-appropriate attire are expected. Candidates who miss the mark on any of these will be at a disadvantage should their skills and experience be comparable to other candidates who are suitably turned out.

Good manners rule: The use of social niceties, such as please and thank you, is expected. Good manners reflect a respect for others and indicate not only an awareness of social norms, but the likelihood of being a good team player. A carefully crafted thank you note, either hand-written or via email, is essential after any interview. It not only communicates your appreciation for the other person’s time and attention, but is a great way to reiterate your interest in the role. Even if you have decided not to pursue the opportunity further, remember to say thank you. 

Hiring decisions are based on multiple factors and calculations, but any job seeker would be wise to get the little things right. They can only help your chances of getting hired.