Career Development

Beware of the Top 5 Interview Mistakes
By Deb Walker,
We’ve all heard stories of job candidates who looked great on paper but who were absolute disasters in person. With fewer interview opportunities available in our competitive job market, it’s essential to make the best possible first impression. Learn from the mistakes of others and avoid these top five worst interview blunders:

1. Not preparing for the tough interview questions. Like every job seeker, you probably have your own set of tough interview questions you hope will never be asked. The best strategy is to prepare ahead of time with answers to ALL of these questions. A career coach can be a great resource for helping you work out suitable answers with a positive spin on negative or challenging career situations.

2. Failure to match communication styles. Making a great first impression is easier to do when you communicate effectively with your interviewer. The best way to do this is
by mirroring his or her communication style. Allowing your interviewer to set the tone of the conversation will put him or her at ease and makes the conversation flow more naturally.
For instance:

  • If the interviewer seems all business, don’t attempt to loosen him or her up with a joke or story. Be succinct.
  • If the interviewer is personable, try discussing his or her interests. Personal items on display in the office can be a clue.
  • If asked a direct question, answer directly. Then follow up by asking if more information is needed.

3. Talking too much.In my recruiting days, I abhorred over-talkative candidates, and so did most of my client employers who interviewed these candidates. Over-talking takes several forms:

  • Taking too long to answer direct questions. The impression: This candidate just can’t get to the point.
  • Nervous talkers. The impression: This candidate is covering up something or is outright lying.

To avoid either of these forms of over-talking, practice answering questions in a direct manner. Using role-playing in preparing for your interview will help you avoid excessive, nervous talking.

4. Saying negative things about your current or past employers or managers. Even if your last boss was Attila the Hun, avoid stating your ill feelings about the person or work situation. No matter how reasonable your complaints, your negative comments will be viewed as disrespect towards your boss. When faced with the challenge of talking about former employers, make sure you are prepared with a positive spin on your experiences.

5. Giving away too much salary and earnings information. Candidates often weaken their future earning potential by speaking too freely about their current income. No matter the official salary range of the position you are interviewing for, your current earnings have an enormous effect on the size of the offer. Investing in a career coach to help you answer salary questions can add thousands of dollars to your new job offer.

You already know that it takes a strong resume that sets you apart as a candidate of choice to be invited for an interview. The next step is to hone your interviewing skills to actually win job offers. Polishing your interviewing skills can mean the difference between getting the job and being a runner-up.

Used with permission for KCIIE newsletter.

May Event – Volunteering with Harvesters

Harvesters logoHarvesters’ mission is to feed hungry people today and work to end hunger tomorrow. As this area’s only food bank, Harvesters is a clearinghouse for the collection and distribution of food and related household products.
They have been helping people in need since 1979 by

  • Collecting food and household products from community and industry sources
  • Distributing those products and providing nutrition services through a network of nonprofit agencies
  • Offering leadership and education programs to increase community awareness of hunger and generate solutions to alleviate hunger

Grab a co-worker, friend, or family member and bring them with you!! Children 6 and older are also welcome.

When: Tuesday May 8th, 5pm-7pm
Where: 3801 Topping Ave., Kansas City, MO 64129 Phone: 816.929.3000
RSVP: By May 4th to Beth Kelley at

1st Quarter Meeting Recaps

January Meeting Recap:
Pure Fishing Tour – Joint meeting with ASQ
In January, Kansas City IIE and the Kansas City chapter of American Society for Quality held a tour of the Pure Fishing distribution center. We had 10 IIE members, 10 ASQ members and and 4 non-members participate in the tour.

Pure Fishing’s 400,000 sq. ft. facility opened its doors in Kansas City in Oct 2008. The Kansas City DC is the primary DC for durables distribution for North America. Durables include rods, reels, and tools and accessories. The two-shift facility has approximately 37,000 pallet locations and supports both B2B and B2C business. Within the building, there are approximately 3000 SKUs. Pure Fishing uses SAP for its WMS, MagicLogic for cartonization and ConnectShip is used for all shipment rating and routing.

Our tour was led by one of our KC IIE members, Jason Duncan. We would like to extend our thanks to Jason and the rest of the Pure Fishing team that assisted with our tour! Thank you!














February Meeting Recap:
Innovation Engineering Overview and Roundtable

Our February meeting was held on February 29 on Innovation Engineering. Our presenter was MAMTC’s Mark Chalfant from the Manhattan, KS Office. A small group of 8 people met at the Pizza Maker in Lenexa and learned about the basics
of an Innovation Engineering Management System (IEMS). The meeting concluded with a roundtable discussion about IEMS and how it may apply at the various companies or organizations present at the meeting.

April Tour – Coleman Distribution

Coleman logoJoin us as we tour Coleman’s distribution facility in Gardner. The Coleman Company was founded in 1905 and is headquartered in Wichita, KS with operations around the world. The company opened its distribution facility in Gardner, KS in October 2009. It currently employs around 200 full‐time employees and will staff an additional 200 contingent workers during peak season. The facility is a 24/7 operation. Some interesting facts about the Coleman Distribution facility:

  • 1.1 million square feet
  • 25 acres under roof (20 football fields)
  • 3,000 truckloads of concrete on the interior
  • 3,000 truckloads of concrete on the exterior
  • 100 dock doors and trailer parking for 300
  • The building is accumulating LEED points and working towards becoming LEED certified
  • For energy efficiency, all lighting is operated by motion sensors and the roof is specially painted to reflect light.

Where: 17150 Mercury St, Gardner KS (off I-35 and US-56)
When: Wednesday, April 25th at 3pm
Cost: Free for IIE Members; $15 for non-Members

Sneak peek at May event: Volunteering at Harvesters, Tuesday, May 8th, 5-7pm. More info soon!

Educate our Youth about Industrial Engineering!

By Amy Martens, P.E.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity during national Engineer’s Week this past February to educate our youth about Industrial Engineering. I was asked by the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center in Topeka, KS to participate in an Engineering Expo to provide our youth with exciting and interactive engineering experiments. This was the first time the recently opened facility has held this event and they have the desire to make it an annual occurrence.

Several organizations and engineering disciplines were represented at the event:

  • Westar Energy: Electrical Engineering
  • Kansas Department of Transportation: Civil Engineering
  • Kansas State University: Civil Engineering
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas: Industrial Engineering

The engineering displays were enjoyable to the both the children and adults who participated in the event. The civil engineering displays shared knowledge about water quality,  treatment and buoyancy; the electrical engineering display showed the energy savings tied to using LED technology; and the industrial engineering display provided a demonstration of unit production as compared to assembly line production using Legos.

It was exciting to me to share the passion I have for engineering with our youth. This type of volunteerism is something that I highly recommend to any engineer. If you have any interest in assisting with this event next year, please contact me at The representatives at the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center would like to grow this event next year, so it would be great if I could interest volunteers who could represent Industrial Engineering from other organizations.

More info on the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center –

Membership Update & News

Membership as of 4/1/12 – 91 (down 3 from last month)

Member News

IIE member since 2009, Matthew Kafka is a process improvement project manager by day at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinic. Matthew has recently entered a new business venture, The Local Pig.

During Matt’s formative years (high school and college) he grew up on a farm and worked as a line cook in steakhouses. This background led to many experiences ranging from hunting to cost analysis and set the base for his constant yearning for continuous improvement and high standards of always looking for ways to improve products or processes. Matt’s first job out of college as a process engineer allowed him to travel the country (75% on the road) and experience regional and rural/urban cultures especially related to his interests pertaining
to food and healthcare!

This brief history sets the stage for his desire to be an entrepreneur. An opportunity via craigslist occurred to open a butcher shop. Matt and Alex Pope, his business partner, met over a few beers and struck a business relationship. Due diligence, his background, and his conservative nature with resources and money all pointed to signs of success for the butcher shop business opportunity.

The Local Pig has been and will continue to be a huge learning experience. Matt has learned and can see now why many folks don’t take the plunge into forming a small business! Since opening the doors on February 27th, Matt and Alex have learned one valuable lesson in particular: we were naïve! Engineer and business skills can only take you so far with planning and interacting with customers!! You can have much planning and there will still be items that were forgotten or not even thought about, one in particular being that the customer
reception has been larger than expected! The original business plan has already been exceeded and larger visions are now being formulated!

The Local Pig opened its doors at 2618 Guinotte Avenue in Kansas City, MO on February 27. A grand opening party was held on March 3. The Local Pig is open daily from 10:30 am to 7:30 pm.

To find out more, below are links to The Local Pig’s website and recent press releases on the business:
The Local Pig –
The Local Pig on Twitter –!/thelocalpigkc

Ink Magazine –‐chef‐alex‐popeopens‐local‐pig‐a‐butcher‐shop‐in‐the‐east‐bottoms/

Pitch Weekly –‐popes‐local‐pig‐opens‐on‐monday-february‐27