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Archive: December - 2013 (6)

  • Being More than Just a Recruiter

    Article by Kevin Maas, Practice Manager in Jobspring Philadelphia

    Kevin Maas, Practive Manager of Jobspring PhiladelphiaWhen I started this career four years ago, I thought recruiting was very one-dimensional. Whenever someone asked, “What do you do for work?” I simply said, “I’m a recruiter.” At the time, I was an entry-level college grad, and that was my understanding of the job. Fast forward to today, and someone asks that same question, I say something like, “I’m an IT-Consultant-Hiring-Expert-Career-Counselor-Solution-Provider to the Philly tech market.”

    Unless you’re a professional athlete or a doctor, it’s not impressive to describe your occupation in less than four words. So, my advice is to be more than just a recruiter. Here’s how…

    Cultivate relationships instead of being as good as your last placement.

    This is a career, not a summer job. Candidates become clients, and clients become candidates, so make decisions and give advice based on the long-term affect.

    Be a subject-matter expert instead of a generalist. 

    If you’re good at this job, then you know the market better than your candidates and clients (combined). For clients, be a reliable business partner, rather than a disposable vendor. For candidates, be a trusted advisor rather than “just another recruiter”.

    Be solution-oriented, not money-motivated.

    What’s more valuable, a rolodex full of clients or a wallet full of bills? I don’t know if that makes sense, but you get my point! The effort you put forth and the relationship you leave behind is more memorable than whether or not you placed that candidate or filled that position. 

    Set goals, not unrealistic expectations. 

    No one likes to waste time, so cut the hedging and be upfront. If a candidate or client is looking for the impossible, be honest with them (point #1), explain why (point #2), and come up with an alternate solution (point #3).

    It's these things that make you more than just a recruiter. You should strive to become a business partner, irreplaceable to clients, candidates, and companies.

  • Is Contracting a Viable Option for You?

    Article by Tom Parzych, Practice Manager at Jobspring DC.

    There is certainly a stigma surrounding contract, and even contract-to-hire positions. Most employed individuals are averse to hearing about contracting opportunities, and companies trying to establish a culture, or build a team, are just as likely to avoid hiring someone on a contract basis. However, the hiring market right now, especially in technology, is highly competitive. It’s time for a discussion where contracting is viewed as a viable opportunity. Realistically, contracting is a great solution for a both management and job seekers alike.

    How Contracting Benefits Hiring Managers

    There are many positive aspects to hiring on a contractual basis. However, in order to truly understand the benefits, it’s important to first address the perceived negative aspects, such as:

    • Hiring a contractor creates a culture of instability
    • A contractor doesn’t typically buy into the overall mission of the company
    • Temporary employees have no loyalty or incentive to follow through on deliverables
    • Contractors won’t put in the same quality of work as permanent employee

    These are the main concerns I’ve come across as a recruiter. These concerns typically stem from, in my experience, companies and managers who have never previously hired, let alone approached a contractor.

    There is an underlying theme among these concerns. Namely, will the quality of work from these candidates be the same as if they were paid a salary and benefits? The short answer is YES. Look at it this way; even one-month contracted candidates are incentivized to perform at a high-quality level. Why? Firstly, this is a position that will fill any gap of employment, which means prospective employers will see the position on the candidate’s resume. As a result, the candidate will want a positive reference from the most recently listed employer on their resume. Secondly, the candidate may wish to work on projects with the same employer in the future. Most professionals, in every industry, are not looking to burn any bridges. It is common knowledge that the best way to fill a position is through having a strong network of industry professionals to rely on.

    Now, let’s take a look at the benefits of contracting. Trust me, there are numerous benefits, but here are just a few:

    • Option of temp-to-perm (you can try and buy!)
    • Increased hiring flexibility
    • An immediate need is filled
    • Maintenance of budget requirements, while still getting the work done
    • The hiring company is not the direct employer and therefore, does not have to worry about HR, accounting, or direct supervisorial issues

    By having extra hands on board, deadlines are being met and demand is being filled. Additionally, contractors are usually paid out of a separate budget than permanent employees. This means that you are able to stay within your budget, while also getting the work done in an efficient and effective manner. Sounds like a win-win!

    How Contracting Benefits Candidates

    I’ve had extensive experience helping to place contract candidates at various companies, even those who did not anticipate hiring a contractor, and the benefits very clearly outweigh any concerns the candidate may have. Below are the main benefits on the candidate-side of the spectrum:

    • Getting a foot in the door
    • Gaining exposure to a  new skillset the candidate may not have otherwise had the chance to learn
    • Higher earning potential
    • Avoid being out of work for an extended period of time
    • Typically earn higher hourly rates

    I’ve placed a candidate on a short-term contract countless times, which then, unsurprisingly, gets extended, then extended again. Then the individual is hired as a permanent employee as a result of the company recognizing the value of that specific candidate. This happens more often than most job seekers think.

    Having Doubts?

    Are you still unconvinced or hesitant about contracting? Then I recommend seeking consultation from someone who is familiar with this trend. Be that a former coworker, a colleague at a different organization, a friend, a habitual contractor, etc. It’s time to start considering the contracting realm as a practical option.

     

  • Jobspring New York Offers Career Advice to Recent Grads

    Our Jobspring New York team recently utilized their skills and knowledge about the NY tech job market to help recent graduates of a non-profit organization, Per Scholas, get a head start on their career search. 

    What is Per Scholas?

    Per Scholas is a national nonprofit organization that breaks the cycle of poverty by providing technology education, access, training and job placement services for people in low-income communities. 

     

    How did we help?

    For many Per Scholas students, they either do not have any job search experience whatsoever or do not have job search experience for the IT field. Our network infrastructure team worked to close this gap with the students. 

    We trained more than ten students on how to build an effective resume, where to start your job search, how to utilize social media and networking for your search, how to effectively work with a recruiting agency, how to identify the right people to reach out to for your search, and how to rock an interview. 

    While the students were engaged and asking questions throughout the entire presentation, it was obvious which key takeaways were their favorites.

     

    Check out a few key takeaways:

    1. Over 2,200 jobs were created in Q2 (2013) in the NYC tech field. This results in a 7.3% gain over Q1. If you didn't already know, it's a great time to be in the NY tech job market!

    2. Your LinkedIn account is key. Make sure your profile is 100% complete and your picture is a professional headshot. If possible, beef up your bio with recommendations from prominent people in your past positions.

    3. Recruiters can be an excellent tool. Pick 2-3 tech recruiters that you trust so you can stay effectively organized on your job search. A few red flags to look out for when working with recruiters: They ask you to pay a fee. They ask you to sign a contract. They don't provide you with company names. 

    4. As many of you know, you should always be prepared to ask your interviewer questions. Great question topics include: company culture, interviewer's story, or biggest challenge of the role. Make sure to stay away from anything negative from your prior employer or colleagues during the interview process.

    We finished off the event with some delicious pizza and beverages- yum! We're looking forward to partnering with Per Scholas again soon.

    Below: Our Network Infrastructure team is getting ready to present. 

     

    Below: Per Scholas students excited to start the class! 

    Interested in having Jobspring Partners come mentor your community on job search advice, interview tips, etc? Email [email protected]. We'd love to help!

  • Advances in Technology are Making Medical Devices More Impactful Than Ever

    Article by Patrick Tafua, Recruiter in Jobspring Orange County.

    In 2013, there have been many cutting-edge releases of new and exciting medical devices. With modern technology helping medical device companies innovate and explore new and unchartered areas of the medical field, you have to wonder what it is that is helping turn the tide. For example, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago just released the first thought-controlled bionic leg, and right now, a man who had congenital heart failure his entire life, is walking around with a temporary and totally artificial heart in a backpack while awaiting a donor heart. It appears that around the country, medical device companies are coming up with new ideas every day and in southern California, it's no different.

    In northern San Diego County, there is a growing medical device company that has created an advanced wireless medical device that is used to continuously monitor blood glucose levels for diabetics. The sensor and transmitter wirelessly send glucose information to the device every 5 minutes and can be transferred to your computer for easy sharing with doctors. By utilizing mobile applications and embedded software, they have been able to create a device that allows for flexibility and convenience. 

    The Orange County medical device industry has been known for producing life-saving innovations and creating jobs across the area. With so many advances in technology in the world, the medical device market is continuing to grow, especially with an aging population that could increase demand for healthcare products and services. So, add the aging growth and increase demand in products, you then have a need for more hands-on-deck to help steer the job ship.

    Recent findings have cited that the Orange County medical device industry’s job growth has gone up 6% in the past year. The type of devices being developed in Orange County range from replacement heart valves, robotic prosthesis for arms and legs, implantable devices for heart defibrillation, to optical surgical lasers and other surgical instruments. It is very apparent that medical device companies have a tremendous opportunity, and a gold mine of patient data that their technologies collect. Having an understanding of how to transform contrasting data sources into meaningful tools to both improve the care, safety, and security for patients, and ultimately profit from it, is the underlying challenge for the industry.

    The traditional methods of hiring have needed quite the face lift. If companies are longing to make a mark on innovation in this particular market, they are going to have to think outside the box on hiring. Take, for instance, the need for mobile app developers. Mobile development has only been around for 4 years and medical device makers cannot hire the hobbyist iOS or Android developer off the street. Yet, they need this particular skillset. So what’s the compromise? Hire a senior software developer who comes from an actual computer science background and has picked up mobile development and will be comfortable working in an environment with heavily regulated policies and procedures.

    Having medical device experience used to be a must, but now having this in your background is a mere plus. The need for innovation is more important in order to remain competitive. For more information, or if you're in need of a Medical Device position in Orange County, contact Patrick Tafua!

  • Interviewing Tips for Hiring Managers

    Article by David Belsky, Regional Director in Jobspring Chicago.

    There are lots of blogs out there devoted to helping job seekers be well-prepared for an interview. These tips range from what to wear to what intriguing questions to ask in order to wow an interviewer. But what about the other way around? As a hiring manager, it is your job to sell your open position to the job seeker and make a hiring decision in a timely manner so as to keep the job seeker interested.

    As recruiters, we see the frustration that job seekers face when they have gone through the trouble of preparing a resume, going to an interview and days later, still have not heard any feedback from the hiring manager. It makes them wonder if your company is even serious about filling the open role, and worse, it makes them lose interest in the position. Besides providing useful, timely feedback to all job seeking candidates, here are a few other tips to keep in mind next time you are attempting to fill an open role:

    1.    Start Strong:  Initial interviews should always take place face-to-face if possible. This way, you are better able to determine the interest level of the candidates and see any of the soft skills that you may not be able to assess over the phone. Also, keep the initial interview short. This isn’t the time to conduct a technical quiz. The initial interview should be a chance to gauge interest in the position without overwhelming the candidate.

    2.    Define an interview process:  Decide who is going to be involved in the interviewing and hiring process and stick to an interview schedule. Make sure that you’ve let your internal team know that filling the open position is a priority.

    3.    Remember that hiring is all about momentum:  You need to build it and maintain it throughout the interview process. Never let 48 hours go by without speaking to the candidate and always have direction in these conversations. 

    4.    Three Rounds of Interviews - max!  Initial, deep dive, and final. That’s it! Otherwise candidates can get the impression that you don’t know how to hire.

    5.    Make hiring a priority:  Within 5 days of meeting the candidate, you need to make a hiring decision. Remember that you are not the only one interviewing them, regardless how you found them. Don’t let the candidate lose interest in your open role because the hiring process took too long.

    Want to hear more about the recruitment process and what it takes to hire a developer in Chicago? Check out my Snapclass video here!

  • The Key to Interviewing

    Article by Daniel Urbaniak, Practice Manager in Jobspring Silicon Valley.

    For most people, interviewing is a daunting task. There's the gauntlet-style interview process, with interviewer after interviewer for hours on end. There's the never-ending phone screen-style, with a multitude of conversations over the phone that hopefully, if all goes well, lead to an on-site meeting. And once you finally land that face-to-face interview, you might find yourself being grilled by a panel of 5 to 10 interviewers all at once. Even if the interview process is streamlined, an initial 30-60 minute interview followed by an in-depth, in-person interview can still be a roller coaster ride of emotions.

    Now, there are definitely methods to overcome the anxiety and properly prepare for success. The obvious is to stay true to yourself. Talk about what you know, and be honest when you are unsure of the answer. Every day I receive feedback from hiring managers who are looking to introduce new candidates to their team. Frequently, it goes something like, "I really like him or her, but I asked a question and they gave me the totally wrong answer. If they didn't know, they should have just said that instead of guessing and getting it completely wrong and continuing to justify that wrong answer."

    If you are looking for less of an introspective approach to interviewing, there are a multitude of articles on the web detailing interview styles, prep questions, and how to deal with different scenarios, such as whiteboarding. There's an endless supply of information, really, however it is very easy to become inundated with information and styles to the point where themes begin to contradict one another.

    You may want to consider using a recruiter, as they're often a wealth of knowledge when it comes to interviewing processes. The amount of time the recruiter has worked internally or with the client will dictate the amount of prep information that they're able to pass along. Obviously the recruiter you are working with wants you to be as successful as possible, but if this is a new client, they might not have a ton of insider information to pass along to you yet. At the same time, you could hit a similar wall with an internal recruiter or human resources, who are likely swamped with many responsibilities. Information falls through the cracks, or because you are 1 of 100 candidates interviewing, that internal resource just does not have the bandwidth to get the appropriate information to you.

    Combinations of the aforementioned tools are helpful and will contribute to your success, if used properly. The job seekers that are the most successful are those that can put themselves in the shoes of the individual on the other side of the table.

    With that in mind, I asked David Ta, Manager of Cloud Services at FireEye, to spend a few minutes with me discussing his thoughts when interviewing candidates for his team.

    Me: If someone doesn’t have the ‘full package’ from a technical standpoint, what quality or intangible traits do you look for that would make up for those missing skills?

    David: It’s pretty straight forward. I ask questions where they can work towards the answer. It shows me how they could work through problems. I am also looking for people that are intelligent, someone that inspires confidence when delivering their answer.

    Obviously, this also depends on the role that I am filling. If we are talking about a task doer, I expect a certain level of passion or someone that really puts their heart and soul into their work as opposed to someone that is just cooling to collect a paycheck. If I know this person is interacting with others, if they are light technically it’s important they can articulate themselves in a way both technical and non-technical individuals can understand. Engineering teams will eat you alive if you don’t have the ability to explain your proposed solutions.

    Me: What are the challenges and your thought process when you are considering head count and building a team?

    David: Challenges, the main thing is finding that balance between a rockstar and a team player. Of course there are candidates that are great at what they do, but they know they are great and that can be a problem for culture. Team work is just as crucial as talent. If someone is less concerned with team work but succeeding on their own work it does not matter. If the one person is failing the team is failing. This is a mentality I consider when interviewing and follow through with once they are on the team. It’s also important to find individuals who take the initiative to do things that will help the team. That’s priceless really.

    When actually considering the number of requirements a team needs, I consider the metrics. You cannot justify headcount without understanding and displaying statistics. You need actual numbers. I ‘ve been using a kanban board to visualize work across the team, and the resulting data will help me justify an actual headcount when needed.

    Me: If money was no object what resources would you seek out to help you build your engineering team?

    David: I would start hosting user groups and meetups here in our office. I would fly famous, relevant speakers (ie. Linux Torvalds) to attract as many people as we could. Obviously provide food, top shelf liquor, and soft drinks. Hopefully it would attract solid candidates and be a great marketing tool for our company. I think hosting free training sessions would also be a pretty cool way to identify talented individuals, you can build a relationship with them while they are in the office and if they excel at picking up new technology it would be an easy transition.

    Me: What would your advice be for an entry level candidate?

    David: I would tell them to go get their Red Hat (RHCE) certification. Then continue learning and advancing, eventually working toward a Red Hat Architect certification.

    When it comes to salary, do not just spit out a number. Let the hiring manager talk to you about a number. Let’s say they are thinking 120K and all you want is 80K, you can really short change yourself.

    Another thing to keep in mind while you are interviewing with any company is the interview is not just for the company, it’s for you too. Once you approach it that way you can be more confident.

    Smile a lot and create rapport with your interviewer. I read a study that people that were interviewing were more likely to remember the name of a candidate that smiled more often than candidates who didn’t.

    Me: What would be your advice for a mid-level engineer?

    David: Specifically, I hire for automation. So learn how to script and code. Don’t just put on your resume that you do whatever it is you do, but actually explain what you did and how it either saved time and money or how it improved the business.

    Me: What would be your advice for a senior- level engineer?

    David: The more programming languages you know the better. Be sure to keep educating yourself on the newest technologies. Python and Ruby seem to be the languages in demand right now, back in the day it was Perl. People tend to just stick to what they know as they get older and it can be a huge detriment if they have not expanded their skillset.

    Me: What was your most memorable response to an interview question?

    David: There is definitely one… I was interviewing a Perl expert. So I asked him, “What is the difference between for loop and foreach loop?” He told me, “Four letters.” He followed up with the right answer, but very witty.

    In Closing

    If you have a fear of interviewing or always wanted to know what that hiring manager was thinking, just put yourself in their shoes. What qualities would you look for in a candidate? David showed us it is not just about technical skills, but the whole package when building a team. There are qualities that each of us have, so take note, have confidence, and think about how you could add value to that team.

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