TIME Careers & Workplace

5 Words to Include in Your Email Subject Lines (and 4 Words to Avoid)

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The most effective emails treat the subject line like a caller ID

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This post is in partnership with The Muse. The article below was originally published on The Muse.

Sending an email is the easiest and least intrusive method for making requests within teams. But it’s precisely because email is so effortless that it can be a complete waste of time. Firing off a vague email that doesn’t clearly tell recipients what they should do or why your ask is important will only create more work for everyone.

The most effective emails treat the subject line like a caller ID and use words that get to the point immediately.

Here are some dos and don’ts for word choice that will get your message across clearly and keep you from annoying (or confusing) your co-workers:

1. When There Are Tasks to Complete

Don’t Write: Etc.

Do Write: The, This, or These

Your teachers in grammar school were right—be specific! Even if your email is following a recent conversation or meeting, it’s likely going to get filed as something to do later. When your recipient is ready to read it, seeing “Staff meeting follow-up etc.” won’t be helpful. Instead, be clear about what you need and write: “Please resolve these questions from staff meeting” or “The report discussed in staff meeting.” Think of your subject like pre-writing a to-do list item so it’s easy for that box to get checked.

2. When You’re Sharing Another Email

Don’t Write: “FWD:”

Do Write: Help

This one always makes me think of the ’90s, when it was common to see emails that went something like this: “Fwd: fwd: fwd: fw: Send this to 10 people and this will be your lucky day!” Unless you really are sending chain letters at work (seriously, don’t), you’re probably just sharing something that someone else wrote that you want your co-worker to read or do something about. In that case, do her a favor and write “Could you help me decipher this?” or “Looks like the client needs help.” Sure, you may have planned to write that message in the body of the email, but the subject is a much better place if you want it to get noticed quickly.

3. When You’re Trying to Be Personal

Don’t Write: Hey

Do Write: You

Sending a “Hey” in an email subject line is the same thing as texting “We need to talk” to a friend or someone you’re dating. Don’t do it! You’ll make the recipient suspicious of whatever will come next, and you may end up waiting a while for a response because it may never get opened. Since you might actually need to chat about something personal or private, try “When do you have time for a 15-minute chat?” This approach takes the edge off and puts the power in the recipient’s hands to choose a time that works for him.

4. When You Need it Now

Don’t Write: Urgent

Do Write: Today

When time is short and the pressure is high, “urgent” is a word that can only produce panic. And panicking is the last thing a person responsible for a task should do. If you have enough time to recognize the need and send an email, you also have the time to give advance notice that “This needs to be your first priority today.” If it truly is urgent, make a phone call or in-person visit instead.

5. And One More Bonus Phrase

Last but not least is a phrase that we all say to end our emails but may rarely use to directly address our co-workers: “Thank you.” A short, simple message of appreciation will go a long way in strengthening the bonds between you and your team members. It says that you recognize their efforts and value their roles. And it sure beats a trust fall.

More from The Muse:

Read next: 10 Ways to Write Better Emails (and Just Maybe Change the World)

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TIME Automotives

Here’s Why the Apple Car Is Making Auto Executives Nervous

Apple Unveils iPhone 6
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images Apple CEO Tim Cook shows off the new iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California.

Apple and Google’s automotive projects are keeping longtime carmakers on their toes, with the two tech companies set to put their significant capital and technological savvy behind electric or driverless vehicles. Google has already made a driverless car, while Apple is rumored to be working on an electric vehicle of its own.

“If these two companies intend to solely produce electric vehicles, it could go fast,” Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn said at the Geneva International Motor Show, Bloomberg reports.

Apple plans to push an electric car into production as early as 2020, and Google said in January that it aims to have a self-driving car on the road within five years. Automakers usually need at least five to seven years to develop a car, sometimes longer.

Automakers Tesla Motors and General Motors are working against the tech companies on a tight timeframe to produce an electric vehicle than can go more than 200 miles on a single charge and cost less than $40,000. “The competition certainly needs to be taken seriously,” Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany, told Bloomberg.

Traditional automakers are hoping to work with Apple and Google, perhaps by assisting with their supply chains or production, Bloomberg reports. Those two areas could be weaknesses for non-automotive companies looking to enter the field.

[Bloomberg]

TIME Careers & Workplace

These Are the Companies Cutting the Most Jobs

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Technology companies were the largest downsizers in 2014

Planned job cuts among U.S. companies in 2014 totaled 450,531 through November, down 5.8% compared to the same period in 2013. According to global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, this was the lowest count of year-end job cut announcements since 1997.

No company announced more layoffs in 2014 than Hewlett Packard (NYSE: HPQ), which announced a total of 21,000 job cuts. Based on data from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the companies that planned the most job cuts last year.

Click here to see the companies cutting the most jobs.

In some cases, companies shed jobs in an effort to return to profitability or because they become insolvent. However, in an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Challenger, Gray & Christmas CEO John Challenger explained that this is not the case for most companies. Particularly in a strong economy, many companies are “doing regular strategic evaluation of their business looking for areas of redundancy, [and] looking for ways to make their organization a tighter ship.”

Technology companies were the largest downsizers last year with several long-time stalwarts leading the way. Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), and Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) announced the most job cuts, not only among tech companies, but also overall. The industry as a whole announced more than 58,000 job cuts in 2014, the highest number among all industries. According to Challenger, “technology is a particularly volatile sector in our economy [because] products become obsolete more quickly than they do in some other industries that are slower, safer, and have less opportunity.”

The industry with the second largest planned layoffs in 2014 was retail, with nearly 42,000 job cuts announced. This figure is actually down from 2013, despite layoffs at Sears (NASDAQ: SHLD), as well as Coldwater Creek, which declared bankruptcy in April. Financial companies, too, were among the top companies cutting jobs. JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), for example, was among the 10 companies with the most planned layoffs in 2014.

One factor that often drives job cuts is industry evolution. According to Challenger, this is especially true in the retail sector. “It’s an area of low margins and fierce competition and technology is making a big difference in how consumers are coming to stores,” Challenger said. Retailers are making cuts, he explained, as a result of the changing retail landscape, especially the fact that more shopping is done online.

Other companies cut jobs in an effort to continue to stay competitive. Shareholders invest in companies that they hope will generate higher returns than other companies. In order to provide such returns, companies often restructure their operations to trim costs and increase profits, which can lead to layoffs. Sears Holdings, which has been reporting declining sales and consistent losses in recent years, is undergoing one of the most dramatic such restructurings. CEO Eddie Lampert set up a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) to buy Sears stores and lease them back to the company and others. This raised the company’s stock price considerably despite the fact Sears is still losing money.

In some cases, the companies that announced layoffs truly had no choice. For example, Coldwater Creek had to close all of its stores after filing for bankruptcy protection. Not only were shareholders wiped out in the bankruptcy, but also the company had to close all of its stores in order to pay off its creditors, eliminating thousands of jobs in the process.

Challenger Gray & Christmas provided 24/7 Wall St. with all job cut announcements affecting at least 500 positions through 2015. 24/7 Wall St. combined the planned cuts by company to identify the companies that announced the most job cuts last year. We only considered publicly traded American companies. However, job cuts did not need to be entirely within the United States. Some cuts announced last year may not be completed until later this year. Consolidated revenues and employee totals are from each company’s most recent financial report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. If the company did not disclose global headcount for the quarter, figures from its last annual report were used. We relied in part on our previous analysis of Challenger Grey & Christmas data published September 25th. To the extent layoff figures were unchanged from that period, discussions of companies that also appeared in our earlier article were kept the same.

These are the 10 companies cutting the most jobs.

10. Amgen Inc.
> Job cuts: 4,000
> Number of employees: 18,000
> 1yr. share price change: +27.28%

In recent years, biotechnology company Amgen has reduced its global workforce as part of its restructuring plan to focus on drug development. While layoffs in the technology sector more than doubled between the first halves of 2013 and 2014, job cuts in the pharmaceutical industry declined in that time, falling by 15.4%. Despite the industry trend, the company announced in August it would cut 2,900 employees. In October, Amgen announced it would close a research and development facility in Seattle that would result in an additional 1,100 job cuts, bringing the 2014 total to about 4,000. The restructuring plan will reduce the company’s workforce by up to 15% and includes the closure of several facilities in Washington and Colorado. Amgen reported strong earnings in 2013 and in 2014. According to the company, the layoffs are “natural steps in a long-term strategy.”

ALSO READ: 10 States With the Worst Taxes for the Average American

9. Procter & Gamble
> Job cuts: 4,430
> Number of employees: 118,000
> 1yr. share price change: +11.72%

Procter & Gamble announced in early November it would cut 4,430 jobs, the ninth highest number of announced job cuts reviewed. Last year marks the fourth consecutive year the consumer products company has reduced its total workforce. As of 2014, there were 118,000 Procter & Gamble employees, versus 132,000 in 2009. As is the case with many other companies, cost-cutting measures such as layoffs are often part of a strategy to maintain consistent income growth. P&G’s net sales have grown each year since as early as 2012. The company reported net sales of $83.1 billion in the 12 months prior to June 2014. In addition to slashing employment, P&G also announced in August that it would eliminate as many as 100 underperforming brands to further improve results.

8. Sprint Corp.
> Job cuts: 5,000
> Number of employees: 36,000
> 1yr. share price change: -40.27%

Sprint Corporation, one of the nation’s largest cellphone carriers, stated at the end of October it would lay off 5,000 workers for restructuring purposes. Earlier that month Sprint cut 452 jobs at its headquarters in Kansas. Sprint had 36,000 employees at the end of 2014, down from the approximately 38,000 employees it had the year before. Despite the layoffs, Sprint may roughly double its store count in a deal with RadioShack, which recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. If the deal is finalized, Sprint would operate as a store-within-a-store in nearly 2,000 RadioShacks.

7. Intel Corp.
> Job cuts: 5,350
> Number of employees: 106,700
> 1yr. share price change: +35.66%

At the start of 2014, after poor earnings and growth forecasts, Intel announced it would implement cost cutting measures. Part of the measures included plans to reduce its global workforce by 5,350 people, or 5% of its headcount, throughout the year. According to Intel spokesperson Chris Kraeuter, the cuts would primarily consist of “people retiring, redeploying, or leaving voluntarily.” In addition, the chip maker announced in April that it was shutting down its assembly and test operations in Costa Rica. While this eliminated 1,500 jobs, Intel continued to employ more than 1,000 engineering, finance, and human resources workers in the country.

6. Sears Holdings
> Job cuts: 5,400
> Number of employees: 249,000
> 1yr. share price change: -9.32%

While layoffs are not always a sign of weak revenue, retail holding company Sears has been closing stores and shedding employees for years as a result of faltering sales. The company reported revenue of $36.2 billion for the 12 months through February 1, 2014, down by more than $3.6 billion from the previous period. According to Challenger, Gray, & Christmas, Sears announced in October 5,400 job cuts, the sixth largest compared with other U.S. public companies. However, Sears is closing stores so fast that it may be difficult to keep track. In 2014, the company closed 235 stores, most of which were Kmart locations. The layoffs were announced at a time when most retailers were hiring workers for the holiday season. As of the beginning of 2014, Sears had roughly 226,000 U.S. employees, including part-time workers.

ALSO READ: Cities Where Crime is Soaring

5. Coldwater Creek
> Job cuts: 5,500
> Number of employees: N/A
> 1yr. share price change: -92.84%

Women’s apparel retailer Coldwater Creek filed for bankruptcy in April after it was unable to find a buyer for its operations. Shareholders in the company were wiped out as the company began the process of closing its 350 stores and laying off its 5,500 workers. However, there may be a silver lining for at least a few employees. As part of bankruptcy proceedings, other retailers bought a number of Coldwater Creek’s leases. While most employees may be out of luck, customers may be able to soon buy Coldwater Creek merchandise again. Private equity firm Sycamore Partners bought the Coldwater Creek brand name. The new owner relaunched the brand as Coldwater Creek Direct, an online retailer that aims to sell women apparel via a catalog.

For the rest of the list, please go to 24/7WallStreet.com.

TIME Careers & Workplace

50 Reasons to Start Your Own Business

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Resources are plentiful with the dominance of the Internet

Some people are destined to be entrepreneurs. From the time they get through school, or maybe even before that, they’re hungry to start a business and lead it to success, and they’ll stop at nothing to make that dream a reality.

Related: 3 Steps to Eliminating the Barriers to Becoming Self-Sufficient

For others, starting a business is a scary, intimidating notion. There are too many unknowns to take the plunge. But if you’re considering becoming an entrepreneur, don’t forget all the benefits that go along with it:

1. Flexibility. Work your own hours.

2. More spare time (eventually). Spend more time with your family and friends. But note: This is only applicable once your business is established and you have employees handling the majority of necessary responsibilities. Don’t expect to have more spare time until you reach this point. In fact, expect to have much less.

3. Call the shots. Nobody else is going to set the rules. You are.

4. Set your own deadlines. No more last-minute rushing unless you want to do it.

5. Sell how you want to sell. Online? In person? Inbound? Outbound? It’s your call.

6. Create your own environment. You can set the formality and culture of your organization.

7. Pursue your passion. You can do what makes you happy.

8. Create something from scratch. Watch your organization grow from start to finish.

9. Meet new people. Network with other entrepreneurs and professionals.

10. Build a team. You decide who to hire and bring into your company.

11. Create jobs. Improve the economy with new job opportunities.

12. Help people. Use products and services to improve people’s lives.

13. Become an expert. Learn the ropes of your industry through first-hand experience.

14. Invest in yourself. You take the risk, and you’ll gain the rewards.

15. Make more money. If you want a pay raise, you can give yourself one.

16. Financial independence. No one else is signing your paychecks.

17. Tax benefits. Write off your biggest expenses Note: while you do get to write off lots of expenses as an entrepreneur, beware the “self employment tax.”

18. New challenges every day. Find new ways to stimulate your mind.

19. Get exposed to new cultures. Discover new perspectives and approaches.

20. Discover new fields. Delve deeper into your industry.

21. Create an asset. Give yourself something sellable to hedge your bets.

22. Connect with your clients. Forge real, personal connections.

23. Delegate boring tasks. Don’t do anything you don’t want to.

24. You can stop working. Work you enjoy doing can’t be described as “work.”

25. The power to give. Have the power and flexibility to donate time or money to worthy causes.

Related: The 8-Step Battle Plan to Succeed as an Entrepreneur

26. Get involved in the community. Participate actively in your neighborhood and region.

27. Improve your industry. Push your industry forward with new innovations and ideas.

28. Get a mentor. Meet valuable, insightful mentors and learn from them.

29. Become a mentor. Take your own knowledge and experience, and mentor someone else.

30. Learn new skills. Branch out in new departments.

31. Attend new classes and seminars. Constantly refine your skillset and stay updated.

32. Have a big office. If you want the biggest office in your workplace, it’s yours.

33. Work from anywhere. Work from home, an office or a beach if you so choose.

34. Have the option for multiple ventures. Start another business when you’re done with this one.

35. Gain entrepreneurial experience. Being an entrepreneur makes you a better professional in almost any position.

36. Get recognized. Start earning name recognition and build a reputation.

37. Get things done faster. Set your own efficiency rates.

38. Build a personal brand. Take the time to develop your personal brand, and tie it into your business’s.

39. Get more creative. Create your own opportunities and your own solutions.

40. Inspire others. Serve as an example for other people to follow their dreams.

41. Reduce your commute. Find an office space closer to your home.

42. Have more job stability. Never worry about being laid off or fired.

43. Find pride and fulfillment. Finally start taking pride in the work you’re doing.

44. Reach your dreams. If you’ve ever dreamed of being wildly successful, this is your chance.

45. Learn to embrace failure. Even if you fail, you’ll walk away with new skills and more experience you never had before.

46. Have a great story to tell. It will be a fun story for your grandchildren one day, win or lose.

47. Leave something behind. Pass the business down to your children and grandchildren.

48. Change the world. It may seem like a lofty goal for you right now, but your business really could change the world.

49. Resources are plentiful. With the dominance of the Internet, it’s easier than ever to find resources you need, including startup capital, loans, grants and even mentors.

50. There’s nothing stopping you. What’s really keeping you from being an entrepreneur? Of course there are risks, but there’s nothing forcing you not to take them.

If you want to become an entrepreneur, there’s nothing really holding you back. Take the leap, and lead the company you’ve always wanted.

If you decide to take the leap, be sure to grab my ebook to help with your growth, The Definitive Guide to Marketing Your Business Online.

Related: 10 Reasons Why 2015 Will Be the Year to Start Your Business

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com.

MONEY Autos

Fastest-Growing Category of Cars Is One You Can’t Afford

Bentley Continental GT Cabriolet V8 S
James Lipman Bentley Continental GT Cabriolet V8 S

Sales for Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Porsche, Maserati, and other ultra-luxury auto brands have been off the charts. Even stronger sales are expected down the road.

It’s an exceptionally good time to be in the game of selling cars to the 1%. And forecasters say that business will only get better for brands targeting ultra-luxury, ultra-premium vehicles—basically, anything with a sticker higher than $100K—to the ultra-rich.

Halfway through 2014, all signs indicated that super high-end auto brands such as Rolls-Royce and Bentley were experiencing outstanding sales growth. In June, for instance, the BBC noticed that Rolls-Royce sales were up 60% in Europe compared with the year before.

For that matter, a recent Bloomberg News report cites data from IHS Automotive showing that the sales growth of ultra-premium or “hyper-luxury” cars far outpaced the industry as a whole in 2014, as well as every year dating back to 2010. Global sales of six-figure-price vehicles from the likes of Porsche, Maserati, Ferrari, and Lamborghini were up roughly 25% in 2014, compared with an industry-wide average increase of about 3%.

What’s behind the ultra-luxury auto sales surge? Unsurprisingly, there has been a corresponding surge in ultra-wealthy individuals. According to Bloomberg, since 2011 the number of households with net worth in excess of $30 million has grown 13%, and for these people, it’s not that big of a deal to drop six figures on a car:

For a person worth $30 million, purchasing a car for a mere $100,000 isn’t a weighty decision. It’s akin to the median U.S. consumer with net worth of $45,000 swinging by the used car lot and dropping $1,350 on a well-worn Pontiac Aztek.

The ultra-rich supposedly don’t shop for cars like you and I do either. An Automotive News story quoted Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes saying that his customers rarely cross-shopped other auto brands. Instead, “Our competition is a chalet in the Swiss Alps, a beautiful piece of art or a watch,” he said.

Accordingly, Lamborghini sales increased 19% last year, while Porsche sales were up 17%. At the same time, Lamborghini and Ferrari, among others, have taken steps to cap sales in order to avoid diluting the brand’s exclusive image. Meanwhile, Bentley sales hit 10,120 units globally in 2013, up 19% from the year before, and sales rose another 9% in 2014, reaching 11,020 units. By 2020, Bentley is seeking annual sales to reach the 20,000 mark.

One way that Bentley hopes to keep growing—and why the ultra-luxury category as a whole is forecast to rise around 40% over the next five years—is by expanding into the ultra-luxury SUV market. Porsche introduced a sport utility vehicle several years back, and now Bentley, Rolls-Royce, and Jaguar are among the luxury brands with their first-ever SUVs in the works.

Bentley’s SUV will be called the Bentayga—already bashed as one of the Worst Car Names ever, and it doesn’t even go on sale until 2016. As the saying goes, if you have to ask how much it costs, you can’t afford it. Suffice it to say that the automaker is promising that the forthcoming vehicle will be the “most luxurious and most expensive” SUV on the planet.

 

TIME stocks

Nasdaq Closes Above 5,000 for the First Time in 15 Years

The Times Square news-ticker announces the NASDAQ composite index topping 5,000 points on March 2, 2015 in New York City.
Bryan Thomas—Getty Images The Times Square news-ticker announces the NASDAQ composite index topping 5,000 points on March 2, 2015 in New York City.

The Nasdaq Composite last hit 5,000 during the tech bubble peak in March 2000

The last time the tech-laden Nasdaq stock closed above 5,000, Bill Clinton occupied the White House, America Online had agreed to buy Time Warner for $165 billion and beloved “Peanuts” cartoonist Charles Schulz had died in his sleep.

The index closed slightly above that level on Monday, unofficially ending Monday at 5,008.10, up 44.57 or nearly 1 percent, as investors celebrated an interest rate cut in China and upbeat economic data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 also advanced.

The Nasdaq Composite last hit 5,000 during the tech bubble peak in March 2000. The index tumbled in the months following to land at 1,108.49 in October 2002…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Companies

Mark Zuckerberg Doesn’t Want All the Credit for Bringing the Internet to More People

Mark Zuckerberg attendes Mobile World Congress 2015
David Ramos—Getty Images Founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg speaks during his keynote conference during the first day of the Mobile World Congress 2015 at the Fira Gran Via complex on March 2, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain.

"It's really important not to lose sight of the fact that people driving this are the operators"

Mark Zuckerberg kept a low profile Monday during his Mobile World Congress keynote about Internet.org, Facebook’s project to spread Internet connectivity to underserved areas with wireless carriers’ help.

The Facebook founder downplayed his company’s role in Internet.org, instead urging the audience to recognize the work and investments of mobile carriers. Zuckerberg delivered his keynote alongside executives from three global telecommunications companies.

“While it’s sexy to talk about [Internet.org’s Internet-beaming] satellites, the real work happens here, by the companies. It’s really important not to lose sight of the fact that people driving this are the operators,” Zuckerberg said. “Too often Internet.org is conflated with Facebook.”

People in the parts of the developing world where Internet.org’s app is available get access to Facebook, Google search and some other services for free. But the end goal is to convince these users to eventually purchase data plans from wireless carriers — and so far, Internet.org has been successfully driving new smartphone use.

“It Colombia, it’s very encouraging to see about 50% more people in three weeks in our network as new data users,” said Mario Zanotti, senior EVP of Latin America at telecom company Millicom. “In Tanzania, we have seen a ten-fold increase in the number of smartphone sales since we launched the [Internet.org] campaign. So it’s pretty impressive numbers.”

Despite Zuckerberg’s efforts to highlight the work of Internet.org’s carrier partners, it’s hard to see the project being successful without Facebook’s involvement. Zuckerberg’s company has largely spearheaded the organization’s efforts, while its offerings in the Internet.org app, like Facebook Messenger, are a big draw to attract users.

However, some mobile carries could be worried that Facebook might cannibalize their voice and texting plans with its own services. Last year, Facebook acquired chat app WhatsApp, which became popular as means of avoiding wireless carriers’ texting fees.

“This is a point of tension between operators and Facebook in particular. It’s a consideration for any company to be careful to deliver the ‘key’ to the competitor,” said Jon Fredrik Baksaas, CEO of telecom company Telenor. “You really want to watch that ‘key’, and you want to control how that ‘key’ develops. That’s where the disruption comes.”

TIME Companies

Lumber Liquidators Defends Itself Against 60 Minutes Report

Lumber Liquidators store in Denver on Feb. 25, 2015.
Rick Wilking — Reuters Lumber Liquidators store in Denver on Feb. 25, 2015.

The news program reportedly found that the company sold flooring breach of California's health and safety standards

Lumber Liquidators is defending itself against allegations that the retailer’s hardwood flooring fails safety tests.

The specialty retailer of hardwood flooring is in the crosshairs of a report by television news program “60 Minutes,” which aired a special on Sunday that alleged the company sold flooring with higher levels of formaldehyde than permitted under California’s health and safety standards.

The news has badly bruised Lumber Liquidators’ stock since last week, when media reports said the “60 Minutes” report would cast Lumber Liquidators in a negative light. Shares, which traded near $70 last week, have slumped in recent days and were trading near $40. The stock is down over 20% on Monday alone.

“We stand by every single plank of wood and laminate we sell all around the country,” said Lumber Liquidators in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

The retailer, which generated $1.05 billion in revenue in 2014, said it was in compliance with the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which is the only regulator of composite core emissions. The company said it also adheres to those standards in other regions even though the regulations only apply to California.

“We believe that 60 Minutes used an improper test method in its reporting that is not included in CARB’s regulations and does not measure a product according to how it is actually used by consumers,” the retailer said. “Our chairman addressed the differences and our position on the test methodology but 60 Minutes chose not to include it.”

CBS’s “60 Minutes” reportedly tested the retailer’s floorings in several states for levels of formaldehyde, a cancer-causing chemical. CBS reportedly found that out of the 31 samples tested, only one was compliant, according to Reuters.

Lumber Liquidators competes with national and local retailers of hardwood flooring. The company, which was founded in 1994 and debuted on the public market in 2007, operates 352 retail stores. The retailer and two large competitors — Home Depot and Lowe’s — control about one third of hardwood flooring retail market.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

TIME Careers & Workplace

These Are the 2 Most Important Words in a Job Interview

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How candidates use two pronouns can reveal (almost) everything you need to know

So many qualified job applicants, so little time. How can you be sure you’re picking the right people to join your team if you’re too busy with the rest of your job to spend more than, say, 20 minutes interviewing each one?

You might consider what Steve Pogorzelski has found. He’s spent the past 25 years vetting hundreds of candidates for leadership jobs, notably as group president of Monster.com Worldwide, where he helped the career site more than triple its revenues to $1.4 billion. Last August, Pogorzelski stepped in as CEO at sales and marketing data analytics firm Avention (formerly OneSource), where he has since replaced six out of eight of the company’s C-suite executives.

Here’s what he asks candidates, and why:

“What has been your biggest professional success so far, and why?”

It may sound like the same question every other interviewer asks, but Pogorzelski is listening for something different. After all, most people’s biggest successes are already obvious from their resumes, cover letters, and social media profiles. “What I want to hear is the word ‘we,’” he says. “The way someone describes how they achieved their biggest goals speaks volumes about them as potential leaders.”

By his lights, candidates who say “I” more than “we” are used to grabbing all the credit and won’t be strong team players. “I interviewed a CFO just the other day who came from a tech startup,” Pogorzelski says. “He said ‘I” so many times and ‘we’ so few that I cut the conversation short about halfway through.”

“What has been your biggest failure, and why?”

Again, this query is such a staple of job interviews that candidates are likely to have a canned answer ready to go. What they may not realize is that Pogorzelski is listening for where they put the blame. “The word I want to hear when people answer this is ‘I,’” he says. “If someone tells me they failed at something because someone else messed up, or the economy was bad, or for any other reason that was not their fault, that’s a big red flag.”

Of course, he adds, sometimes factors beyond one’s control really can derail the best-laid plans, but “you want people on your team who will be accountable for their own mistakes, without trying to shift the blame to others” — and who can describe what they’ve learned along the way.

“What could the company be doing better than we do now, or how could I do my job better?”

Very few people expect this question, so an interviewer can get a glimpse of how a candidate thinks on his or her feet. And it’s a good way to find out how much research and thought someone has put in before the interview. Any response that shows a thorough knowledge of the company, the industry, and the competition is okay, and may even reveal some useful insights.

“The only wrong answer is, ‘Nothing! You’re doing just great,’ which should make you doubt that this person can add value,” says Pogorzelski. Why? “It’s a clear sign that the candidate either hasn’t done enough homework, or isn’t brave enough to work here.”

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

Read next: Here’s How You Can Answer ‘Is There Anything Else You’d Like Us to Know?’

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME

The Proven Way to Get What You Need from Your Boss

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Sometimes, getting ahead is all about feedback

Most of us would probably like if we got regular, useful feedback from our supervisors. Unfortunately, the only thing most of us get that even comes close is the dreaded annual performance review (which studies show up to 90% of us absolutely hate). What if there was a better way to get the feedback you need to do your job better?

That’s where Spencer Harrison, an assistant professor of management at Boston College, comes in. Harrison spent a lot of time observing how people in creative fields — where it’s not as easy to measure performance by, say, sales numbers — get feedback at work and came up with some observations that can benefit the rest of us.

It should be a two-way street. For feedback to be effective, it has to be interactive, which is the exact opposite of how most performance reviews are conducted. “Most organizations don’t structure performance reviews to be interactive,” Harrison says. In other words, this is why you feel like your boss is talking at you rather than with you.

But it usually isn’t. The feedback most people get at work is presented as objective fact rather than a point of view on which you and the boss can build together. “If the information is objective, then you can’t really have an interaction to determine what it means or where it could take you,” Harrison says. “We can only convey so much information if we are engaged in a one-sided conversation.”

You might need to ask for it. “If you can show that you were willing to experiment a bit first and do some hard thinking and then seek feedback, then you are showing that you don’t need hand-holding, you just want help with direction,” Harrison says. After you get that feedback, be thoughtful about incorporating it into your work, he adds. “Honor the feedback giver’s time by really listening and looking for opportunities to use the feedback.”

Bringing the topic up yourself gives you the advantage of being able to shape the questions and steer the direction of the feedback. “That helps them control the conversation a bit more,” Harrison says.

It can’t be personal. Harrison’s research found that feedback works when everybody involved is able to make a clear distinction between the work and the person doing it. “If feedback focuses on the person during that process then they are missing the real target,” he says. Even though it can be hard, try not to internalize criticism of your work and get defensive.

Intention makes a big difference. “Part of the problem is that organizations mix feedback that is meant to mentor and improve with feedback that is meant to evaluate,” Harrison says. This can be confusing and give mixed messages to workers. “The former allows for learning and change and the latter usually does not,” he says.

Both people need to be on the same page. “Part of getting feedback right is understanding the type of work that is being evaluated and making sure the person doing the work and the person evaluating the work have the same assumptions,” Harrison says. Ideally, this should be something that’s ironed out well in advance of a formal review, but since many companies (and bosses) aren’t equipped to offer ongoing feedback, an employee could feel like they’re being blindsided or, worse yet, set up to fail.

It should be ongoing. The problem with the annual performance review lies right in its name: It only happens once a year, and Harrison says effective feedback needs to be a continual process rather than a one-time event.

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