Onboarding a New Employee

 

As a manager, it’s often your duty to ensure the success of your team. However, when many companies bring on IT contractors, they don’t take as much time and attention with them as they do with their regular new hires.

 

While it’s true the company’s relationship with a contractor does differ from the one they maintain with their permanent staff, that doesn’t mean you should forgo certain steps. When you properly onboard an IT contractor, you give them the tools they need to excel in their role, increasing productivity, the quality of their outputs, and even their level of job satisfaction.

 

If you are getting ready to bring on an IT contractor, here is some important advice for their onboarding.

 

Build a Relationship

Even though a contractor may only be with your company for a short time, that doesn’t mean you should avoid making a connection. By getting to know your IT contractor, you help turn a transactional relationship into a meaningful one.

 

Not only can this help them feel more welcome and integrated with your organization, fostering positive feelings and potentially a greater sense of loyalty, it can also help you stay ahead in the talent war. A happy contractor is more likely to accept a position with you in the future should you have a similar project or require someone with their skill set down the road, making it easier for you to secure reliable top talent when the need arises.

 

Plus, if your IT contractor genuinely feels like part of your team, they are more invested in the project’s success as well as the success of everyone involved. When there is a sense of connection, most employees, whether short or long term, are more likely to go the extra mile for their co-workers and managers, enhancing productivity and the quality of their outcome.

 

Set Clear Expectations

When you bring in an IT contractor, you usually have a solid idea of how you want them to contribute to the organization. However, if you don’t clearly define your expectations during the onboarding process, your new IT contractor might struggle to meet or exceed these requirements simply because they weren’t aware of them.

 

To ensure your IT contractor is set up for success, take some time during the onboarding process to fully outline what needs to be handled and when. Create a calendar with all relevant deadlines and let them know precisely when and how they need to provide you with status updates.

 

Typically, a contractor isn’t fully aware of any operational standards or office norms in your organization. Additionally, they weren’t exposed to the weeks or months of planning phases that took place before their arrival, so they didn’t have a chance to glean this information over time. This means it is always best to spell everything out clearly, ensuring they understand your expectations, goals, and how their contributions align with the big picture.

 

If you would like to learn more or are seeking an IT contractor for your next project, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with a member of our skilled team today and see how our hiring expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Workplace Retaliation

 

Retaliation in the workplace can involve a wide range of scenarios. For example, if an employee files a complaint about a coworker or manager and is subsequently given a bad performance review that isn’t justified, transferred to another department, subjected to verbal or physical abuse, became targeted by workplace rumors, or otherwise had their work life made intentionally harder, that could be retaliation.

 

Often, retaliation is much more prevalent than many managers realize, and it can be seriously damaging to a company’s culture. Additionally, many skilled professionals won’t tolerate environments where retaliation is common, leading them to seek out opportunities with competitors instead of remaining in a hostile workplace.

 

One survey indicated that one-third of IT professionals at large tech firms witnessed or experienced retaliation after they or another employee reported an issue. If you are wondering whether your workplace is affected by retaliation, here are some signs that may be the case.

 

Criticism and Scrutiny

If an employee is subjected to increased criticism and scrutiny after filing a complaint or reporting an issue, that could be a sign of retaliation. Whether it involves inaccurately measuring their performance, being overly critical, or simply questioning their judgment more often, treating the employee differently after they report a problem are troubling signs of workplace retaliation.

 

This is especially true if any negative feedback is being discussed in front of others, such as their coworkers, employees and managers in other departments, or members of the leadership team. Criticizing someone publicly could be seen as an attempt to harm their reputation with others, something that can be detrimental to their working relationships and their career, which can be a form of retaliation.

 

Limiting Access

After an employee reports a problem, if they are suddenly being removed from critical meetings, denied feedback or guidance, removed from training plans, or otherwise having opportunities eliminated, this could be retaliation.

 

Similarly, removing enjoyable job duties and replacing them with less desirable tasks could also be an indication of an issue, as it limits the worker's ability to derive satisfaction from their role.

 

Department, Location, and Schedule Changes

Relocating a worker to a different department, office, or cubicle could be viewed as retaliation if the employee did not express a desire for the change. Similarly, changing their schedule against their wishes could also be seen as punishing the person for filing a complaint or bringing up an issue.

 

Such changes disrupt the worker’s life and could harm their career, which qualifies them as potential forms of retaliation. However, if such changes are made at the employee’s request, they typically don’t fall into that category.

 

Ultimately, retaliation in the workplace is incredibly damaging, and not just to the person who reported a problem. The culture of the organization is negatively affected, creating an environment full of hostility and stress.

 

Managers should actively strive to eliminate retaliation in the workplace. Otherwise, the company will suffer. If you are interested in learning more, the skilled professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your questions with one of our experienced team members today and see how our services can benefit you.

 

 

Database Engineer

 

Database engineers are typically tasked with the creation and management of databases for a specific company or organization. This can include anything from building a new database to meet a specific need, configure new and existing systems, and maintain the databases to ensure everything remains fully functional.

 

The skills you need to work as a database engineer can vary from one position to the next. However, certain requirements are fairly common, making them must-haves in the eyes of many employers. If you are interested in becoming a database engineer, here are some skills that you need to acquire.

 

SQL

SQL is essentially “the” programming language you need to work with databases. Without SQL skills, you won’t find many opportunities in the field, let alone as a database engineer.

 

The level of fluency required may vary somewhat for each job. However, it’s best to keep your SQL skills current at all times and strive to learn as much about the language as possible if you want to excel as a database engineer.

 

Platform Knowledge

There are numerous database platforms available today, and learning the ins and outs is often essential if you want to land a role that works with one.

 

For example, you may opt to specialize in Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, or a number of others. Then, you need to take a deep dive into the platform and learn all you can about the available features, current limitations, recent releases, how to manage upgrades, and more.

 

Now, this doesn’t mean you need to forgo all other platforms in favor of one. Instead, it merely means that becoming a platform expert can be beneficial, especially if you want to secure upper-level database engineering roles.

 

 

Debugging and Optimization

A strong database engineer has a variety of debugging and optimization skills that can help them correct problems and increase efficiency in a range of applications. In some cases, this ability is essential, particularly if the database engineer is the only team member with complete end-to-end visibility.

 

Patience and Communication

While patience may not be listed as a required skill in a vacancy announcement, it is usually a must for database engineers. Typically, these professionals are approached with requests, often from people who don’t fully understand how a database operates. What may appear simple to them actually ends up being highly complex, and you need to be able to navigate the situation calmly.

 

Similarly, being able to explain technical information in a way that is highly accessible, even to those who aren’t as tech-savvy, is vital. This ensures you can work with individuals from other departments or work areas and find compromises when what they are requesting isn’t feasible or requires more time than they initially wanted to allow.

 

By acquiring the skill above, you can increase your odds of landing a database engineering job. If you are looking for a new database engineering position, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you to a range of opportunities throughout the area. Contact us to discuss your ideal job and learn more about our current vacancies today and see how our services can help you land your perfect role.

 

 

Build Release

 

Build and release engineering is an exciting but complex specialty within the IT world. Typically, you are responsible for a wide range of duties, including software design, building, testing, troubleshooting, and release.

 

The variety that is inherently part of build and release engineer roles make these positions attractive to professionals who appreciate both variety and challenges. You have to compile code, install libraries, create scripts, select hardware, and manage the deployment of each package, making sure that everything works seamlessly together to ensure a project’s success.

 

If you are enticed by the idea of working in build and release engineering, here’s how to know if this IT specialty is right for you.

 

Technical Skills

Since the duties associated with build and release engineering jobs are so varied, you’ll need a broad technical skill set to be successful in the role. Typically, a bachelor’s degree in computer science or an allied field serves as a foundation. Then, you need to gain a thorough understanding of key concepts like configuration management, version control systems, and branch management.

 

Additionally, the ability to write complex scripts for a range of platforms is a must. This allows portions of the build and deployment processes to be automated effectively, increasing the likelihood of a positive outcome through increased reliability. Further, it enables these processes to be easily repeatable, saving additional time and energy on subsequent projects.

 

Thorough knowledge of testing and troubleshooting systems is also essential since you are typically responsible for handling those duties. You’ll also need to be able to create release schedules, adjusting your approach based on the complexity of the software.

 

 

Soft Skills

A successful build and release engineer will also possess a variety of soft skills that can help them excel in the role. Verbal communication skills are often critical, as you will need to both work as part of a larger team as well as with customers who may not be overly tech-savvy. Written communications skills are similarly a necessity, both for the use of collaboration platforms and the development of any documentation that is required for the project.

 

Due to the complexity of these roles, attention is detail is an incredibly valuable skill. If you accidentally use the incorrect version of the source code or omit an essential library, the scripts may fail, leading to issues when you attempt to deploy the software.

 

Problem-solving is also a core competency. Since you are responsible for troubleshooting, being able to identify the issues and find suitable solutions is crucial to your success.

 

Career Potential

Build and release engineers can have lucrative careers, similar to the level of success a software engineer or similar professional can experience. As you build your level of experience, six-figure salaries are possible, especially if you are highly efficient in your role.

 

If you are interested in learning about build and release engineering opportunities, the professionals at The Armada Group can help you explore your options. Contact us to speak with a member of our knowledgeable staff today and see how our services can make getting your build and release engineering career off on the right foot.

 

 

Interview Questions

 

Whether you are applying to an IT job or a position with a tech company, you typically expect to be asked certain technical questions. After all, they either apply to the role itself or the organization’s business model, so these inquiries have an innate level of relevancy.

 

However, it isn’t uncommon to be asked non-tech questions as well. Typically, questions that fall outside of the tech landscape serve a critical purpose in assessing whether you are a strong fit for the position or the company as a whole.

 

Even tech giants like Google and Amazon branch into non-tech areas, regardless of whether the position is tech-oriented. If you are wondering why they ask their candidates these non-tech job interview questions, here’s what you need to know.

 

Soft Skill Assessments

Communication skills, problem-solving capabilities, and leadership potential are often highly relevant to nearly every company, regardless of the position itself or their industry. Hiring managers will often ask non-tech questions that help them assess a candidate’s soft skills as a means of determining whether the job seeker possesses the right mix to be successful in the role.

 

For example, if you are asked for an example of a time when you used data to make actionable recommendations (something Amazon has been known to do), the hiring manager is looking for insight into your analytical skills and how you use them to benefit the company.

 

Similarly, being asked how you would prioritize or choose from assignments from multiple leaders in the organization gives the hiring manager information about how you assess your skills, any preferences you may have, and how you approach challenging situations involving workplace dynamics.

 

Since soft skills are incredibly valuable assets, hiring managers want to know which you possess and how you use them to be effective in a position, and non-tech questions are a common approach for making these assessments.

 

 

Cultural Fit

When it comes to determining whether a candidate fits into a company’s cultural, tech questions aren’t always ideal. Instead, hiring managers use non-tech questions to assess whether the environment is right for you.

 

For instance, questions about your preferred management style can let them know if you would thrive or struggle under the position’s manager. Asking you to describe an ideal physical environment helps them ascertain whether the workplace itself matches your preferences.

 

Similarly, requests for examples of how you function as part of a team provide powerful insights into how you work in group scenarios and whether your approach would mesh with your coworkers.

 

Ultimately, non-tech questions help the hiring manager get to know you beyond your technical capabilities. Since cultural fit and soft skills are so important in every workplace, it’s wise to anticipate that you’ll face similar questions yourself, as they are practically guaranteed to arise.

 

If you are interested in learning more or are seeking out new job opportunities, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your goals today and see how our services can benefit you.

 

 

Promoted

 

The vast majority of workers today are not in the last position they hope to hold during their career. Often, they are looking for opportunities to advance, including a chance to land a coveted promotion.

 

At times, figuring out how to get promoted in your tech role can feel daunting, especially since every company handles their promotion processes differently. However, there are certain things you can do to increase your odds of being selected. To help you on your journey, here are four tips that can help you land a promotion.

 

  1. Don’t Be Promotion Focused

While it may seem counterintuitive, being entirely focused on earning a promotion can backfire on you. For example, if you only accept projects with a high-level of visibility and turn away work that is necessary for daily operations, you could harm your reputation.

 

Being unwilling to take part in the drudgery of the day-to-day makes it seem like you aren’t a team player, especially if your coworkers have to pick up the slack. Additionally, you may lose the respect of your peers, something else that can hurt your chances of being promoted.

 

Even though taking assignments that can showcase why you should be promoted is a smart move, you can’t ignore the basic responsibilities that come with your role. However, if you embrace these tasks along with high-profile projects, you can increase your odds of being recognized as a reliable employee who is willing to do what is necessary to help the company thrive.

 

  1. Earn the Right Kind of Recognition

Most people know that you have to be willing to work hard to get promoted. However, the precise areas in which you need to focus can seem like a mystery.

 

While every company has their own promotion criteria, certain points are almost universally reviewed. First, the leadership team will look for recent accomplishments that are beyond what is expected in your current position. Second, they will seek out information that shows you can solve complex problems. Third, they will look for evidence that you possess leadership qualities, such as the ability to train others, coordinate a project with multiple employees, resolve conflict, and communicate effectively.

 

If you can demonstrate strengths in these areas, you increase your chances of landing a promotion.

 

 

  1. Discover (and Fix) Any Perceived Gaps

At times, it can seem that even a strong performer is being passed over for a promotion. When this occurs, it’s possible that management perceives a gap in the person’s skills, experience, or capabilities.

 

If you have taken action in the areas above and still aren’t seeing results, then it’s time to talk with your manager. Schedule a meeting and let them know that you would like to be promoted and you would appreciate any feedback they could provide that would help you reach that goal.

 

This can be an intimidating conversation, particularly since it invites criticism. However, it is also an excellent learning opportunity, giving you the chance to gain insight into areas that need improving to land a promotion.

 

After your manager mentions a gap, discuss what can be done to fill it. Then, take action based on that advice, and your odds of being promoted will improve.

 

  1. Don’t Forget to Network Internally

When most people think of networking, they focus on external connections. However, by networking with leaders in your company, you increase your visibility, making it more likely that when a promotional opportunity arises that they will think of you.

 

Work to connect with employees at every level, including members of the leadership team. Provide them with value by assisting with their needs first. Then, when you need help to reach your goals, they will be more inclined to be there for you.

 

If you are interested in learning more or are seeking out new employment opportunities, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your career goals today and see how our expertise can benefit you.