With the tech-industry unemployment rate dropping to an impressive 2% nation-wide in 2016, it is easy to understand why hiring managers and human resource departments alike are experiencing heart-ache when thinking about tech hiring initiatives this year. Having worked with a few military veterans throughout his career Del Crockett, Regional Director of Jobspring D.C., gives us three great reasons why companies should hire veterans to address their biggest hiring problems.
As a high technology recruiter for the last decade, I have seen my fair share of hiring markets over the years and I can easily say that today's hiring landscape is the most difficult I have seen in my career for companies to navigate. Quite simply, we are looking at an Economics 101 problem to the max degree: High demand and nearly zero supply.
In an attempt to curtail the depressing amount of supply on the market, numerous development boot camps have popped up in an attempt to teach non-technical professionals to become developers. Although that has been questionably effective, it got me thinking, what about our military veteran resources out there? How are we overcoming common misperceptions and utilizing their unique skill set to impact technical hiring agendas?
The squeeze on the technical talent pool has not only forced companies to broaden their technical expectattions, but also take into serious consideration the "soft skills" and/or "intagibles" that can end up making a candidate a fantastic hire over the long term.
Over the last few years, companies have started to make that exact adjustment. I am regularly seeing companies make offers based as much on intangible soft skills as they are technical abilities. With that trend inevitably growing as the market continues to tighten, it is a great time to be looking at our veteran's as a high quality option to fill technical roles.
1. Prospective tech candidates do not fit the team culture
Company Feedback: If I had a dollar for every time I received feedback from a hiring manager stating that a candidate was "technically great, but not the right culture fit"...The truth is that culture fit is beyond critical, especially for small to medium sized companies. Most clients I work with will overlook some technical ability to find someone with a "go-getter" attitude that is ready to learn. In a hiring landscape dominated by more and more candidates feeling entitled due to the current demand, it's not unusual to see hiring managers pause when faced with the decision on someone who might be a detriment to the team/company culture.
Why hire a veteran: Teamwork and trainability are possibly a veteran's best attributes. Early on, those in the military learn that in order to become a good leader, one most be a good follower. Rising through the ranks is a right of passage that must be earned and the same can be said in most companies. Finding a candidate who believes in these concepts will ultimately benefit the growth of the teams, its operation, and overall retention rates.
2. Prospective candidates lack experience executing under pressure
Company Feedback: Let's face it: Programming environments have their moments of being high pressure, there is no way around it. Start-ups? How about every day! With the typical development team working on a two-week sprint cycle, the ability to handle deadlines calmly is as critical as the quality of code you put out. Similar to coaches, hiring managers love finding job seekers who they can count on, come crunch time. Not everyone has the mental strength to execute come "crunch time" on a consistent basis. You're either clutch or you're not.
Why hire a veteran: Needless to say, veterans have become accustomed to making important decisions (sometimes life dependent) for themselves and their team under the most intense situations. The ability to solve problems under the most unparalleled circumstances is a quality that every hiring manager can use, especially at start-ups.
Are you a veteran looking for a job? Apply to a job in D.C. or a city near you!
3. Prospective candidates are too "big picture" focused and lack attention to detail
Company Feedback: With famed companies such as Facebook and Google constantly re-shaping the technical landscape, it is understandable that many of today's candidates can find themselves getting hyper-focused on today's "hottest new technology." Unfortunately, for many hiring managers, that latest technology may or may not be a critical element in their current production enviornment. Even when it is, many candidates only understand the overarching general concepts rather than the in-depth details on the "why" and "how" the technology can be utilized in a real production environment. This inability leaves companies vulnerable to low quality code and implementation, causing bugs, delay, and often-times, resentment within the team ranks.
Why hire a veteran: Officers and soldiers in the field are trained to keep an impeccable sense of detail with everything they do. From the way they dress and keep quarters, to addressing tiny logistical details on the battlefield, veterans are trained to embrace the responsibility of always being meticulous, while working towards the big picture. This is a trait that is nearly impossible to find in today's hiring market. Considering that the slightest mistake in a line of code can be the difference between a product being received well from users and the same product totally failing due to bugs or security concerns, having staff who embrace "getting lost in the details" can make all the difference.
According to Joseph Kernan, NS2 Serves Chairman and Vice Admiral (Ret.), U.S. Navy, in an article from the Business Journal, "Hiring a veteran not only provides your company with a devoted employee who has the potential to become a highly productive member of the team, but you're also giving a deserving veteran a fresh start in post-military life and a chance at a fulfilling career." Looking to hire a veteran? Contact Jobspring here so we can help find you the right talent for the job.
Ready to start job searching? Here are some resources to help guide you to a job you'll love:
Company culture is no longer a nice-to-have for your employment brand or at your current job. According to Indeed’s 2016 Job Happiness Index analyzing over 10 million employee reviews, culture ranks #3 – over both compensation & benefits AND job security & advancement – as to what makes a job satisfying overall.
Company culture isn’t something that can easily be built overnight. It’s a unique blend of employee traditions, values, and vision that everyone can share in the work environment. You can see it in something as simple as happy hour after work, rewarding a team goal with dinner, or the lunchtime ping pong tournament.
The truth is, to build a company with a strong culture, there has to be a balance of work and fun that starts at the ground-level. Culture-building activities like these unique activities will keep everyone on their toes, as well as build rapport between team members.
1) Unique Dining Experiences
Go beyond the typical happy hour or Taco Tuesday. Seek out unique dining experiences that will keep people talking about more than the food. One example is LA’s Dining in the Dark Experience, where guests are seated in pitch black darkness. If you take away the visual element, would the food taste better? Without eye contact, would the conversation be more open?
Culture is just one piece of the puzzle. How do you know you’re at the right job?
2) Escape Challenges
Engineers work together to solve tough problems all the time, so why not put those skills to test in a mock life-or-death situation. Escape rooms can range from escaping a hell house to solving a mystery in space! With the clock clicking down the entire time, teams either triumph or have a hilarious time scrambling to solve the puzzle. Escape or capture, the team synergy will be flowing by the time the clock runs out.
3) Sports Leagues
No matter what sport you choose – bowling, ultimate Frisbee, kickball, or beyond – nothing builds teamwork like sports. In Chicago (pictured below), the office all came together to play softball and ended up winning their league! The employees became culture and brand cheerleaders as they plastered the win across social media. Choose a sport that is fun to watch and play so you can get everyone involved.
Want to join the fun? We’re hiring at Jobspring Partners across North America!
4) Experience Nature
Every week, most employees spend hours indoors, perhaps without windows. To unplug and experience raw nature on a hike or a beach day can not only build great relationships, but help everyone refresh and recharge. Get away from the screen for a day while also getting in touch with the world outside your office building. Think your team might get bored instead of engaged? Throw in a scavenger hunt or a game of ultimate Frisbee.
5) Community Service
Everyone wants to make an impact in the world and, either through small projects on their own or in more organized settings, the feeling is rewarding and deeply universal. By tackling a large project as a group, you can carry out a larger project to completion, with the satisfaction that as a part of the company you’re contributing to the greater good. You’ll also know it was only possible because everyone lent a hand. Prime culture-building while giving back! (Below: Jobspring Boston volunteering for Cradles to Crayons.)
These are just a few activities you can try with your team or suggest to your manager. Ultimately, you want to ask yourself what will make your group excited to participate. Capture these moments and display them where everyone can see as a reminder of the strides you, your team, and your company are making toward greatness. Moments like these can help you create a strong company culture where people look forward to coming into work every day.
Game rooms. Unlimited vacation time. Free yoga classes. One year of maternity OR paternity leave. Tech companies these days are offering some phenomenal employee benefits, but not every company can afford to offer such lavish options. Sometimes it’s the simple things at a job we love that we need to appreciate. It’s easy to get swept away in the daily grind of a work day, so here is a list of little perks around the office that are worth being thankful for this holiday season.
Location, Location, Location. Chances are you probably don’t live right next door to your work, so instead of sitting in traffic right at closing time or riding the rush hour train, why not go for a walk and see what’s around? You’d be surprised how many people work in an area they never take the time to explore. Maybe you’ll find a new happy hour or a restaurant you would have never found otherwise.
Speaking of happy hour, they say that an office that drinks together, succeeds together. They don’t actually say that, but a Gallup study shows that employees with a best friend at work are 21% more likely to report that at work, they have the opportunity to do what they do best every day. So if you have coworkers who enjoy being social after a long, hard week, it could make you much happier and productive in the long run.
Snacks on Snacks on Snacks
Nothing gets you through the end of the day 2:45 like a good afternoon snack. According to USA Today, a study by PeaPod shows that while “56%,of full-time employees are "extremely" or "very" happy with their current job, that number jumps to 67% among those who have access to free food.” If your office provides healthy snacks like green tea, fruit, or vegetables it can make you feel better as well.
Your job doesn't offer snacks? Here's a list of open roles at companies that do!
Nothing like a nice secure place to put your car every day. No need to worry about meters, street cleaning, or struggling with a tight parallel parking job! Sometimes, depending on the area, you can even park your car there on the weekend and see a show or eat at your favorite restaurants.
Who has time to wander the streets looking for a blue box? Even with apps and maps, it can be so confusing! Not to mention, who can keep track of all those pick-up times. The fact that you can get mail delivered to work is great, even better when they pick up in your building…It’s especially nice this season, because you’ll need someone to sign for all of those packages you’ll be getting for your holiday shopping list.
Depending on the size of the office, you’re probably going to eat cake every couple of months. Cookies may get delivered every few weeks. Maybe you’ll get to prank someone by taping balloons all over their workspace, or wrapping everything in gift wrap. It’s all fun and games…until it’s your birthday.
Even if your personal workspace doesn’t have a window, there’s probably one a couple floors up. It’s always a good for the mind and body to watch the sunset. Sometimes you just have to stop and enjoy the little things in life. (like the view from our sister office in Dallas, below).
The Jobspring Partners team wishes you a happy holiday season and hopes that you have many things to be thankful for this year. If your job isn't one of them though, feel free to reach out to us after the holiday to find one that will be!
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.
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 Gorman, Kimber Lockhart, Sophia Perl, Lisa Falzone, Marissa 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.
Recently, Jobspring Los Angeles was fortunate enough to volunteer with No Kill Los Angeles, a pet adoption center that advocates for the preservation of animals' lives. NKLA is an initiative of Best Friends Animal Society, which groups multiple organizations together, all with one common goal. Their goal is to increase the number of adoptions so that fewer animals are placed in shelters, and also to end the unnecesary killing of these animals.
NKLA had a variety of cats and dogs who needed grooming, walking and petting! After receiving an orientation from the staff, we were able to choose which animals we wanted to tend to. Some of us took dogs for a walk, while others groomed and spent time with cats.
Here's Zach about to take his new friend for a walk!
And here is Sam eyeing one of the available cats. At the shelter, they had what they called "Cat Condos" for each cat! If at any time you wanted to pet, groom or hold one, all you had to do was open the door and take the cat out!
Alyssa spent time with the cats as well! They seemed so excited to get out of the cages and have some interaction with us.
Dana and Jackie spent their time with these adorable puppies! They were too young to be taken for walks, so intead, they got to be groomed and held.
Last but not least, here is the group picture we snapped at the end of our day. We had a blast taking care of the animals, as well as getting to know the NKLA staff. If you would like to get involved with the organization, you can find more information here.
We had an amazing time, and can't wait to return!
There were a couple of Jobspringers, up to some good, keepin’ kids from makin’ trouble in the neighborhood. There wasn’t one little fight, and no one got scared, but we made some memories we’d all like to share.
When Jobspring Philadelphia volunteered with the Boys & Girls Club of Philadelphia on March 27th, we weren’t sure exactly what we would be doing with the children of the program. Turns out, we ended up doing a little bit of everything at the Jackson Street Center. It was “Healthy Living Day” at the after school program, and the kids kept everyone from the office moving!
The Boys & Girls Club of Philadelphia offers kids a safe place to learn and grow while still having fun. They offer a variety of programs to help enhance the lives of their members. Their goal is to offer unique and healthy opportunities that might not be available to their members otherwise – this includes homework help, athletic groups and building leadership skills.
Steve Vaughan and one of the Boys & Girls Club members took each other on (above) while Keith Wilson and Drew Collins, to the right, caught their breath. The Jobspring Office was thrilled to play basketball, football and tag with the children of the program, but sometimes quick breaks were necessary to keep up with their level of energy. The kids were in much better shape than we expected, and more than up for the challenge of one-on-ones.
Perhaps Keith was tired out after his Zumba and kick boxing session alongside the group (below). Along with the impromptu sports games in the gym, we were able to take part in some informational workout videos. Additionally, there was a pretty intense bracelet braiding session going on in the study hall room, after we helped the kids wrap up any loose homework ends.
Mai Chau (below) loved hanging out with the young ladies of the club, even teaching them a few new, old hand games. The girls also loved playing football with us, taking over the ongoing game of tossing the pigskin around.
During one brief moment of quiet, the Jobspring group stopped to snap an office photo. Somehow, we managed to fit this in between the spirited game of tag and a highly completitive round of Jenga, with the help of the center’s assistants.
By the end of the afternoon, it was clear that we were fortunate enough to just be kids for the day with the Boys & Girls Club after school program. We hope to return to the Boys & Girls Club for another afternoon of hanging out with their wonderful members – perhaps Gerard Daly can even get a re-match in foosball!
Recently, Jobspring Partners San Francisco spent an afternoon at the SF-Marin Food Bank in the city where we, along with a group of many volunteers, contributed to feeding those less fortunate. The SF-Marin Food Bank estimates that one in four Bay Area families struggle to feed themselves and therefore, food banks are an extremely useful resource for the surrounding communities.
We spent the afternoon working in teams of six, taking turns bagging, weighing and packaging bags of rice. Rice is a staple of any diet and it was amazing to see just how far a little bit of this grain would go to help people and families in need.
In the time we spent at the SF-Marin Food Bank, we managed to bag 4,500 pounds of rice which is the equivalent of feeding 10-15,000 local families. This can make a huge difference to families struggling to make ends meet. A contribution from an organization such as a food bank is the helping hand that many need to survive. As some staff pointed out, this resource is often their lifeline.
Our visit to the SF-Marin Food Bank was a valuable and enlightening experience. If you would like to know more about volunteering opportunities visit http://www.sfmfoodbank.org/.
On Friday, January 10th, Jobspring Chicago had the opportunity to volunteer at the Chicagoland Ronald McDonald House. The mission of the Ronald McDonald House is to care for families of children with complex medical needs by providing comfort, compassion and a sense of community. This beautiful facility located in the heart of River North is funded entirely by donations from corporate sponsors and members of the local community.
The Ronald McDonald House provides free room and board for families with children who are being taken care of in local hospitals. In order to provide 13 meals per week for these families, they rely on volunteers to purchase, prepare and serve food for the everyone who stays at the House.
Here's our Regional Director, David Belsky, as he shops for our ingredients! This was our first time volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House, and we had a blast preparing lunch for everyone. We also had to come up with a menu so we chose a fan favorite-- sloppy joes!
Here's our group arriving at the beautiful facility in River North!
Kevin, Cory, Meredith and Katie browned 15 lbs of meat for our sloppy joes. They were all so excited to start cooking in the state-of-the-art kitchen!
Here's Amy and Jaime posing with one of the sweet families staying in the house! It was such a great opportunity to talk with some of the groups and hear their stories!
Lunch time! Our chefs got creative and made one version of "regular" sloppy joes and one version of "spicy" - they were both big hits with the families!
We had such a great time that we are already planning our next date to volunteer! There are Ronald McDonald Houses in over 300 cities around the world and they are always looking for people to prepare meals for them. If you're interested in getting involved, you can find more information here -- http://www.rmhc.org/. What a great way to spend time together as an office and help out in our community!