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Archive: June - 2014 (5)

  • When Accepting a New Job, Sweat the Details

    Written by Kevin Lin, Recruiter at Jobspring Orange County

    Imagine, if you will, that you are in the process of interviewing with the company of your dreams. You have just stepped out of a second round interview where you knocked their technical test out of the park. Since the first interview, you have had fantastic conversations with the hiring manager and you mesh so well with the team that they have already given you a nickname. You like them, they like you, and they definitely want to see you back for a final handshake with their Director of Engineering.

    At this point, most people will have offer numbers dancing around inside their head and have probably already started thinking about where the optimal place would be to put their red Swingline stapler. Before we start registering for the new intra-company softball league, let’s take a step back and make sure we are covering all our bases to really make sure that you have all the necessary information to steer your career onto a new path.

    First, take a moment to really analyze what makes this particular company a better fit than the other companies you are currently interviewing with. Which opportunity offers you the best chance to utilize your current skillset and widen it at the same time? Does one company offer Beer Fridays while the other allows you to work from home two days a week? Put it down on paper and make a list if you have to, but make a quick ranking based on everything from culture to commute.

    With that done, make sure you have a full understanding of your current benefits package and bonus structures (if applicable). If you have a HMO or PPO, confirm the network coverage and if your employer is currently contributing. If you have stock options or a 401k, figure out the max percentage of matching that is offered. Also, verify exactly how many days of PTO and holidays you have at your current job.

    Almost every medium-sized and up company will run a background check, so for your own sake, be truthful when discussing things like current salary (if you have to at all) and make sure to fully disclose if you have anything on your record. As Sandra Zawacki mentioned in a prior blog post, deciding to “roll the dice” with not mentioning any background issues will most likely result in you not being hired.  

    Finally, most companies will want new hires to start within the industry standard of 2 weeks, so make sure that you confirm the exact date and time that you are expected to start at your new position. Giving notice and dealing with counter-offers will be a discussion for another time, but if you ever need help with that, please feel free to ask us! The managers here at Jobspring Orange County have been dealing with issues such as these for many years and will know how to make the transition as seamless as possible.

    At the end of the day, whether or not an opportunity is right for you is something that only you can decide. However, you can use these pointers to make an informed decision to make sure your career path is headed towards growth in the best way possible.

  • Instant Gratification is Holding You Back: It’s Okay to Smell the Roses

    Written by Daniel Urbaniak, Practice Manager in Jobspring Silicon Valley

    Type, type, dial, hang up, voicemail… email, email, dial, “Hello, how are you?” “Let’s make it happen”, type, dial, email, “How can you help me right now?” Repeat.

    Sound familiar?

    As a culture we’ve grown ever more reliant on instant gratification. Understandably so, with a constant race to see who can get there first and how you can help me this second. Work and life is becoming progressively faster-paced, and details begin to blur together. Magnify that by 10 if you are in sales, and you have a recipe for missing important details.

    As a Sales Manager, I fall into this trap way too often, as I’m sure most of you do as well. Sure, moving quickly, delivering on due dates, hitting numbers and constant hustle are the name of the game. However, it becomes necessary to look at the big picture before you become the hamster who is addicted to running on its wheel. Once in a while, we need to slow down, take a look around and see where we can add value, even if it doesn’t directly impact our bottom lines.

    In February, I received an email from an Afi Bryant, Career Service Advisor at The Art Institute of California- Silicon Valley. What caught my eye was Afi’s title, Career Service Advisor for a local Art Institute. I knew Afi was reaching out on behalf of her students; there would be no purple unicorn resume here.

    In Silicon Valley, our services are not typically used for entry-level candidates and at the time I knew I wouldn’t be much help to Afi for finding open positions for her students. Then I remembered how daunting it was for me to graduate college and think, “What in the world am I going to do now?” So I stopped, asked the office if anyone knew of any entry-level positions, and as I imagined, crickets ensued. I decided to just give Afi a call.

    The conversation was immediately better than expected. Afi was a native of the same area I relocated from roughly a year before, and we ended up talking at length about a quarterly event that they hold, where local tech companies stop by for two or three hours to sit down with soon-to-be graduates to discuss interviewing best practices, job search techniques, and general feedback on their portfolios. It sounded like a great way to give back to the community, so I volunteered us right away. After the event, we realized that not only was this something that we’d like to continue to do as an organization, but that the Art Institute had a great space for events.

    One month later, the Art Institute was host to the largest Tech in Motion: Silicon Valley event in its history. 320 attendees packed the Art Institute for the ‘Women in Tech Panel’ event which featured Perri GormanKimber LockhartSophia PerlLisa FalzoneMarissa Louie, and Ewa Ding. Not only was this very rewarding for all 320 attendees and the technical individuals on campus, but it also allowed the culinary students to display their talents. (Thanks for the food, guys!)

    The relationship with the Art Institute has continued to grow, and in fact, this post was inspired by Afi calling in yesterday, three months after our initial interaction. An email which ordinarily may have been overlooked will add to the success of a growing event series, and a rewarding experience for both our staff and those students that attend the Art Institute.

    The next time that you find yourself calling and emailing away, focusing on instant gratification, don’t forget to look at the big picture.

  • Interviewing IT Contractors? Four Topics That Employers Mess Up

    Article by: James Vallone - Director of Business Development

    Have you ever interviewed a contractor and realized that something you just said caused them to be noticeably less interested in the job? Interviewing IT contractors is very different than interviewing perm candidates. There are a lot more land mines to look out for. Contractors think and act differently during their job search. To successfully engage IT contractors, you must be fully aware of what’s on their mind at all times and tailor your conversation to their agenda.

    Begin by understanding that a tech contractor’s job security is based on weeks or months, not years. Typically, contractors are not as interested in long-term career development at your company (unless it’s a contract-to-hire position). They will want to focus more on the specific challenges and expectations of the project at hand. Contractors also greatly value their independence and will view the employer on a peer-to-peer basis (or service provider to client basis) rather than an employee/boss relationship. They are chameleons, fitting into different cultures and becoming members of teams for temporary periods. Many are contracting with more than one company at a time, so time is their chief currency.

    To keep contractors fully engaged during the interview process and interested in your opportunity, here are some important things to pay attention to during the interview:

    1. Don’t be vague about the contract length. Let’s say the contractor asks you how long the contract period will last. You waffle and admit that you are not exactly sure or give a wishy-washy response. What does the contractor hear? They hear that maybe you’ll consume far more time than the contractor wants to commit to this engagement or, conversely, that you may not provide a long enough engagement to make it worth it for them. 

    Advice: Always be specific about both the estimated minimum and potential timeframes so they can feel more secure about the engagement.

    2. Don’t disclose the specific contractor pay rates you are willing to pay. First off, if you’re working with a staffing firm, redirect any questions the contractor has about pay rates back to the agency. It’s the agency’s responsibility to address this. If no agency is involved, it is still not in your best interest to specify rates early on the process. Why? Because if you throw out the rate first, you may risk being too low and turn them off. He or she may decline your contract on the spot without taking the time to explore if there is room for negotiation. On the other hand, if your rate is higher than what the contractor expects, then they’ll hold you to this rate and you may end up paying more than you needed to. 

    Advice: Ask the contractor to provide their pay expectations first so you can establish more control during negotiations.

    3. Don’t discuss your overall budget in too much detail. Any talented IT contractor will want to work for a company that has a solid and reasonable budget in place for staffing. However, they do not need to know exactly what your entire budget is. Communicating that you have a significant budget in place will certainly prove to the contractor that IT is an important initiative for the company. But the contractor may leverage this information against you and inquire as to why you’re not paying them more. And, of course, disclosing a budget number that is very low will have the obvious impact of stirring up concern about the commitment to IT spend. 

    Advice: Use adjectives, not numbers, to discuss the financial context such as, “We have a solid or healthy or strong budget in place for this department.”

    4. Don’t make promises about contract-to-perm conversions. Some contractors may inquire about a potential conversion to permanent hire. They may ask because they are interested in converting to perm, or they are really looking for a permanent position, or because they are not interested in a permanent position altogether. It is really important to understand where this question is coming from before you provide an answer.

    Advice: Ask the contractor first about their interest in becoming a permanent employee. If you find they are ideally looking to be converted to perm, give them a realistic timeline of when the job could convert, but be honest and explain that any conversion would be based on the contractor’s performance during the contract period and that this is not guaranteed.

    Remember, it’s your job to sell the contractor on the great opportunity they have to work at your company. You will always be competing with other employers and must differentiate your opportunity. Avoid these common interviewing obstacles and keep the interview hyper-focused on the selling points to attract the best IT contractors.

  • Contract-to-Hire: Is it Right for You?

    Trends in the HR space are not like those in other industries. While there are always new trends that come into place, in some cases, tried-and-true methods are usually always applicable. However, every once in a while, a trend like contract-to-hire frequently fluctuates between hot and cold, and the past few years we have been going through a heat wave. Several companies are currently focusing on hiring contractors for their businesses and are seeing great rewards and benefits with the work they perform. Our Director of IT Contracting James Vallone discusses why contract-to-hire has been picking up steam with hiring managers all over the world, as featured in Website Magazine.
     
    Website Magazine: Companies and professionals have three routes available when hiring: contract, contract-to-hire and permanent. Contract is when an individual is engaged to work for an agreed amount of time with no intent for permanent employment. When the contract ends, the individual moves on to other jobs. Contract-to-hire is when a person begins work as a contractor with the intention that after a set amount of time, the role will become permanent. And lastly, permanent is when an employee is brought on immediately without any contract period.
     
    There are benefits and drawbacks to each type of work engagement; however, we’ve seen an increase in popularity for contract-to-hire positions. We thought we’d examine some of the reasons companies (and professionals) find this arrangement so attractive, including:
     

    • Fast hires
    • Ease of hiring
    • Cost efficient
    • Immediate impact
    • Flexibility
    • Broader talent pool

     
    You can read James Vallone’s full article here on Website Magazine: Contract-to-Hire: Is it Right for You?

  • 10 Tips: How to Select IT Staffing Firms

    Companies generally like to work with other companies that know their industry and have a strong background with desirable contacts within their field. The staffing industry is no different, which is why working with a specialized staffing firms can give you a significant edge over generalized staffing firms.

    When it comes to IT staffing firms, things can often get pretty technical, as you would imagine – but that doesn’t mean hiring an IT staffing firm should be difficult. Our very own Director of IT Contracting James Vallone and Executive Leadership of Contracts Ben Sanborn provide guidance and tips on how to select an IT staffing firm, as seen in InformationWeek.


    InformationWeek: One question we are often asked is, "What are the advantages and disadvantages of partnering with a specialized IT staffing firm versus a generalized staffing firm?"

    Understanding the pros and cons can help you find a firm that most closely meets your specific staffing needs. Generalized staffing firms are often large, national firms with recruiters that typically work remotely. They staff all types of roles and positions and do not focus on a specific discipline. They have broad talent sources called staffing generalists. They can be experts at staffing large volumes of roles and, for companies that focus on quantity vs. quality of hires, they make routine, high-volume staffing convenient. If we compare them to the healthcare world, they would be general practitioners.

    James and Ben have identified a few of the differentiators between generalists and specialists in IT staffing, that help businesses determine if a firm is right for you:

    1. Are they local?
    2. Do they have people that specialize in current technologies or are they IT generalists?
    3. How long have they existed?
    4. Are they active in the community, do they hold meet ups, do they participate?
    5. Do they speak your language and can they hold a conversation with you on the technology?
    6. Do they listen and understand your needs?
    7. What is their reputation in the industry?
    8. Do they have a sourcing strategy or are they just fishing from the same pond?
    9. Do they make it easy for you to staff?
    10. Are they a full service provider?

     
    You can read James Vallone and Benjamin Sanborn’s full article here on InformationWeek: 10 Tips: How To Select IT Staffing Firms

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