How to Find the Real Job Behind the Enticing Description

Job descriptions may attract you to a job, but they're rarely a good description of the role. The person who prepares the description may not really know anything about the job. It may be the same description used on another job in another department. It may list technologies the project isn’t using, or omit important aspects of the job, such as on-call production support.

This means you can't simply trust a job description to tell you what skills are really needed and what you'll be doing on a day-to-day basis if you get hired. You need to do some research and ask questions to find out the truth about the job.

Ask about the technology being used on the project and in the job you're being hired for.

Most projects use multiple technologies, but not all roles will use every technology. Find out for certain which languages will be used by the job you're being interviewed for so you can be certain it's a language you want to program in.

Clarify the scope of the position.

Not all programming positions are alike. Some have you spending all your time coding to someone else's design. Other's require you to spend time talking to business users to figure out the requirements long before you write any code. There's nothing wrong with either kind of shop, as long as the responsibilities of the role match what you want to do.

Get feedback on the company from current and former employees.

During your interview, pay attention to the tone as well as the comments expressed by your interviewers. Try to gauge whether they're genuinely enthusiastic about the work and the company. If you have any contacts within the company, get their opinions about the company and the department you'd be working in. If you know people who've left the company, ask them why.

A staffing agency can also give you insight into a job and a company. The recruiters at The Armada Group are skilled at matching candidates with the right opportunity. Contact us to learn how we can help you read between the lines of a job ad to find a job that will truly advance your career.

Dont Leave the Interview Without Asking These Questions

It's easy to feel like the company has all the power during an interview. After all, you're there because they have something you want: A job. But it's important to remember that the interview is a two-way street. You should be evaluating the company as thoroughly as they're evaluating you. That's why you should always take advantage of the opportunity when an interviewer asks if you have questions. If you don't, you can look like you aren't interested in the position, but you're also missing out on the opportunity to learn what the job would really be like.

Ask Follow Up Questions

Ask for more detail about something the interviewer mentioned only briefly. This shows that you were paying attention during the interview and that you were interested in what the interviewer said. Both are flattering to the interviewer and can make them feel positive towards you. More importantly, it lets you gently probe deeper into topics the interviewer mentioned glossed over, perhaps to conceal some less positive aspects of the job.

Ask About Life on the Job

Find out what your work life will be, both now and in the future. What stage of development is the project in? Is there a deadline crunch? Do they expect there will be one? You'll also want to look ahead towards your long-term future with the company. Ask about support for continued training and what kind of career path you can follow. Will the company support you whether you want to remain technical or move into a business or management track?

Ask About the Company

You should have researched the company prior to the interview, and you certainly don't want to ask basic questions about its business. Instead, ask about how the company is meeting its challenges and distinguishing itself from its competition. You'll gain insight into how the company perceives itself and whether there will be long term stability, growth, or failure.

Working with a technical recruiter can help prepare you for your interviews by providing a full picture of the opportunity. The Armada Group has been matching candidates to positions for more than 20 years. Contact us to start your search now.

The VR Market Is About To Get A Lot More Competitive

Virtual reality is becoming real. Companies have begun using VR to allow potential customers to try out products before buying them, or to experience a destination before traveling there, and movie studios have begun using the technology in trailers.

One reason for the surge in interest is that VR technology has become much more affordable. Google Cardboard uses a simple cardboard viewer to turn an ordinary smartphone into VR device.

Of course, higher-end headsets make the VR experience all the more immersive. Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are the dominant headsets. Now, Intel is getting into the high end VR market with Project Alloy. Unlike the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, which require the use of handheld controllers to interact with the virtual environment, Project Alloy will allow users to simply use their hands. Project Alloy will also include real-world elements into the virtual scene if they are in camera range. The ability to use natural gestures and to incorporate real-world people into the virtual environment will create a different, so-called "merged reality" experience for Project Alloy users.

Microsoft will also be developing similar "mixed reality" experiences through the Windows Holographic Shell. The shell, planned for release late next year, will let any Windows-equipped PC generate VR images (as long as the user has a headset to view them). Perhaps it's no surprise that Microsoft and Intel are collaborating on specifications for VR PCs and headsets. They may be hoping to stimulate a broad range of VR development and encourage users to purchase new devices in order to enjoy augmented or virtual reality experiences.

Are you a developer or engineer with the skills needed to build VR hardware or software? The Armada Group has 20 years' experience placing employees with advanced technical skills with top technical companies. Take a look at our hot jobs to see the positions we're currently filling. Then contact us to let us know how you want to shape the future of VR. We'll take time to understand your talents and goals to match you with an innovative firm that will help you invent the future.

11 New Ways to Improve the Way You Hire IT Pros

It's been said so often that it's become a cliché: Every business is a software business.

That means that when you're hiring tech talent, you aren't competing for employees just against other companies in your industry. You're competing against every company in America. Coming out on top in that competition means getting smart about your approach to hiring. Here are 11 tips to help you hire faster and hire better.

Know why you're hiring.

Have a rock-solid, detailed job description, and be clear about which skills the new employee needs to have and the skills you want them to have. And while tech hiring is often about checking off acronyms and buzzwords, know what results you want the new hire to be able to deliver, not just which languages they need to be able to code in.

Help candidates be prepared for the interview.

Tests like asking candidates to open a nailed-shut window are almost totally inappropriate for hiring technical employees, but candidates will be stressed even without a stress test. Help reduce their stress so they can present themselves comfortably by making sure they know what to expect before they arrive.

Read the resume before the interview.

You can tell when a candidate doesn't research the company before the interview and it doesn't leave a good impression. Similarly, it doesn't make a good impression with the candidate if you're clearly scanning their resume for the first time while they're sitting across from you. Remember, they're evaluating you while you're evaluating them. So read their resume and check out their Linked In or Facebook profiles before you meet the candidate.

Treat it as a conversation, not an interrogation.

Yes, you need to know about the candidate's abilities and interests, but that doesn't mean you should bombard them with one question after another. Make sure the candidate has a chance to respond and ask their own questions.

Be prepared to be spontaneous.

If you've understood the requirements of the job and reviewed the candidate's resume, you should have a list of questions prepared. Make sure you ask all the necessary questions, but don't be afraid to go off script. Follow up on things the candidate says that intrigue you.

Allow the candidate room to talk.

Give candidates time to respond in detail to your questions. The interview process is about their answers, after all, so unless there's a real time crunch and some questions are mandatory, give them room to provide full explanations.

Pay attention.

When you're interviewing multiple candidates, especially on a single day, it's easy to start tuning out in the middle of the interview and thinking about the other things you need to accomplish. Avoid these distracting thoughts by planning your day around the interview rather than squeezing it into a jam-packed schedule.

Interviews shouldn't be Pass/Fail.

You're trying to hire the best candidate for the job, not just an adequate candidate for the job. Don't simply consider whether the candidate is acceptable; evaluate them in depth to be able to compare multiple candidates and find the best fit.

Let the candidate know what happens next.

Remember, you probably aren't the only company the candidate is interviewing with. Let the candidate know how long it will take to hear from you. That way, they'll know whether they should wait, get back in touch with you, or jump on another offer they've received.

Give every candidate a final Yes or No.

The candidate took time out of their day to come meet you. They deserve the courtesy of a final answer, whether to make an offer or decline to hire them.

Work with a top-tier recruiting firm.

You'll minimize the pain of the hiring process and make it far more efficient if you work with an experienced recruiting firm that can identify potential candidates and meaningfully prescreen them. The Armada Group has more than 20 years experience placing top talent in the technology industry. Contact us to learn how our skilled recruiters can help you hire faster and better.

Why UI Engineers Make More Money in Silicon Valley

There's no question UI Engineering is a top-paying career choice. The national average salary is over $95,000. Move to Silicon Valley, though, and you can add more than $15,000 to your pay: The average UI engineer salary in San Jose, California, is more than $111,000.

The reason for that is simple: Silicon Valley is still the heart of the tech industry, still full of startups looking for talent to help them crack the big leagues, still full of established tech firms like Google and Apple that need superstars to help them remain on top.

All of those companies are competing for a small pool of super-talented engineers, and that competition means big paychecks for developers with the right background and abilities. Compensation offers often comes with more than salary and standard benefits packages, with stock options and other perks. Those inducements are needed when the candidates with the best backgrounds receive and weigh multiple job offers.

It isn't just the competitive hiring situation that leads to high salaries. The costs of living in Silicon Valley, including owning a home and raising a family, are higher than in many other parts of the country. Higher salaries are needed to compensate for these higher costs.

For UI developers and other tech talent, working for these Silicon Valley companies is immensely appealing, and not just for the financial rewards. These tech companies are all about technology, and rather than tech supporting the business, tech drives the business, tech is the business. This lets engineers make a much more profound impact through their development work.

Finding these opportunities requires working with a recruiting firm with the connections to these top-paying companies and the insight to help you succeed in the hiring process. The Armada Group has been placing candidates for more than 20 years. Check out the Hot Jobs we're currently working to fill, and then contact us to speak with a recruiter. Our team will take the time to understand both your achievements and your aspirations, and match you to an opportunity where you can maximize your salary and your success.

Tech Jobs in Silicon Valley Exceed Dot Com Era

Today's senior IT employees may look back on the Dot-Com era, the late 1990s through about 2000, as a golden age. The Internet had burst onto the scene and companies of all kinds were popping up, finding new ways to exploit the new technology. Inevitably, many of those companies found their business models to be unsustainable, and the dot com crash followed.

Today's new graduates may not realize it, but they're searching for their first jobs in a new golden age. There are now more tech jobs in Silicon Valley than there were during the dot com boom period, and technologies that were once dismissed as dead, like artificial intelligence, are suddenly finding new applications.

The Bay Area now has more than 20,000 more technology jobs than it did back in the dot com era, leading some to question whether a new bust is coming. In fact, several major tech firm, big names like Yahoo and Microsoft, have laid off thousands of employees, and venture capital — a key measure of support for this industry — has dropped by nearly three billion dollars over the last year.

But there are also signs that the boom-n-bust cycle is still set on boom, with the bust nowhere in sight. Tech firms with cash have been acquiring other tech firms, especially those in currently hot areas like big data or the Internet of Things. And tech unemployment remains low, at less than half the general unemployment level.

That means that job seekers in the Bay Area will find opportunity, and likely stability, if they search for a new position in the tech industry. Those who are willing to look outside the hottest specialties or who are willing to work in businesses that merely use tech rather than create tech will find even more chances for interesting, meaningful work.

The Armada Group has been helping developers and other technical workers chart their career paths for more than 20 years. Our recruiters are skilled at understanding and matching candidate backgrounds against the requirements of job opportunities. Let our recruiters help your career boom in the Bay Area. Contact us to start your search today.