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    Hiring Managers

2 Bad Culture

 

There's nothing worse than starting a new job only to find out the work environment isn't right for you; it's far better to realize it's a problem workplace before you accept their offer. Here are seven ways to spot a bad office culture before you accept the job.

The office space is run-down.

Not every company is going to have designer-selected accessories, and the desk chairs might not all match. But if the chair they give you to sit in at your interview is broken, if you see signs that copiers are out of order, and if the walls are desperately in need of a paint job, it's a sign that the company isn't investing in its workspace and doesn't care about the facilities available to its employees.

The company's founders got squeezed out.

In technology startups, the founders are often the driving force behind the company's success. Losing the founders can mean the company is in trouble and investors are hoping to salvage it; or it can mean the company will soon be in trouble, as the creative minds with vision have moved on to new projects. It can also mean all projects and employees are under close scrutiny.

The interview is all about what the company needs.

Certainly, you should expect the bulk of the interview to be questions directed at you, to help the company determine if you have the skills for the job. But there should be time allotted to explain the company and project to you, and for you to ask questions. If the hiring manager doesn't have time to hear your questions now, they probably won't want to hear them after you're hired, either.

The only part of the workplace you see is the interview room.

This may be related to the fact that the office space is rundown (see bad sign number one), but may also be because the company is afraid to let you feel the vibe of the workplace and see how employees interact with each other—if they even interact at all.

You aren't impressed by the company's leadership.

In most cases, you don't get to meet the company's CEO, even if you're interviewing with a small company. So take the time to find a video of them online, on the company site or elsewhere. If they aren't inspirational, you probably won't find working for the company to be inspiring, either.

The interviewer seems surprised you're there.

Your time is valuable, and the company should have a prepared schedule of interviewers who've reviewed your resume before you arrive; they should certainly know what job you're interviewing for! If the company isn't prepared to meet with you, they may be having a bad day or they may be poorly managed.

The interview is stressful.

Obviously, interviewing is a tense process. Some companies may add stressful challenges not directly related to job skills, such as asking you to solve a puzzle rather than writing sample code. Other companies may ask a lot of questions about how you manage stress, or talk a lot about their intense pushes to make deadlines. Pay attention to the questions you're asked for what they reveal about the stresses you'll encounter on the job.

When you're looking for a new job, it's helpful to get insight into the workplace environment even before you schedule an interview. At The Armada Group, our recruiters know the details of the jobs and companies we're recruiting for, and we'll match you to a job that matches your technical skills and your personality. Contact us to start your search today.

Millennials Are An Anxious Generation. Heres How You Can Help

When your employees give everything their all, sometimes they end up giving too much, leading to burnout. The Millennial generation is often overloaded with work, continuing education, hobbies, and family obligations, leaving them overstressed and unable to do their best. Use these tips to help the Millennials at your workplace find balance that lets them be productive at work and in all aspects of their lives.

Offer Flexible Work Arrangements

It's easier for Millennials to manage their work and outside obligations when they have the flexibility to work from home, work a shifted schedule, or work part-time hours. Technology today makes it possible for almost every worker to get their job done from home; particularly in IT, there are few positions that truly require an on-site presence to interact with customers or equipment.

Offer Flexible Work Assignments

Sometimes burnout or work stress comes from having too little that's interesting to do rather than having too much to do. Give your employees the chance to mix it up with different projects that reduce boredom. Rather than spending all day coding, let your team shadow business people for a few hours or days. It will be a break in the routine that also deepens their understanding of the goals and significance of their work.

Create a Culture of Caring

If management demonstrates that it cares about employees, they'll be less likely to stress and more likely to ask for help if they need it. Allow managers to get to know their employees outside of work with offsite teambuilding activities. Except when deadlines are in danger, allow employees to goof around at the office. That casual banter helps build relationships that pull the team together and encourage everyone to work together to meet project goals.

Make Work Meaningful

Employees are less likely to burnout at work if the work has meaning to them or to society. Make sure your business contributes to social or civic causes and encourage employees to join your charitable teams.

The Armada Group has been helping companies hire top talent for more than 20 years. Our experience working with all generations of employees, including Millennials, can help you build an workforce of capable, content workers. Contact us to leverage our approach to recruiting and solve your hiring challenges.

Armada Group Job Hopping

Building an impressive resume requires acquiring impressive work experience. Does changing jobs frequently stand in the way of that? Changing jobs frequently certainly lengthens a resume, because there are more jobs to list. This used to be a negative, as companies looked for loyalty. That was fine when 25 years of service got you a gold watch and a pension.

In today's world, managers recognize that loyalty cuts both ways, and since companies often demonstrate little loyalty to employees, they can't expect much in return. The trick with job hopping is to make sure that each job change adds something new to your resume and boosts your value. This means you should consider job hopping if the new position:

Lets you develop a new technical skill.

Technical skills are the most important skills any IT worker brings to their job, but it can be difficult to keep skills current when you stay at an employer a long time, as companies are often committed to a specific tech stack. Job hop strategically to develop a new skill that can position you well for future opportunities.

Gives you a new job title.

If your current employer requires you to keep your title for a fixed number of years before you can add the word "senior" to it, jumping to a new employer can shorten the time it takes to climb the ladder. Although sometimes there's not much difference between job duties, having a senior position on your resume can help the next time you want to change jobs.

Gives you new responsibilities.

You can become a more well-rounded worker by moving to jobs that give you experience in different aspects of technology: programming, QA, support, and management. You'll gain skills that qualify you for a variety of positions in the future.

Whether you've changed jobs often or stayed with one employer for years, when you're ready to make your next change, The Armada Group's recruiters will match you to an open position that takes advantage of the skills you've acquired. Contact us to start looking for your next job now.

Armada Group Top Performing Programmers

For management, it's tempting to want to keep your top performers in their current roles. They're doing a great job; everything's under control. If move them to a different position, someone else will have to take over their job. You'll have to train that person and they might not be as good. It seems better to keep your programmer doing that job.

The problem is, programmers work in a world where there's always something new; most programmers have curious minds and want to try out the new technology. Forcing a programmer to stay in the same job makes it likely your developer will make the decision to move out, and you'll be even less prepared to cope with their absence.

Instead, recognize that retaining your top-performing programmers doesn't mean keeping them in the same role on the same team on the same project in the same department. Focus on offering them challenges that will keep them in your company while giving them the opportunity to learn and grow.

Challenge them.

Let your developers move to new projects with different roles, responsibilities and technologies. Encourage your top individual contributors to take leadership roles or apply their technical insight to solving a new problem.

Develop them.

Help your talent discover and develop all their talents. Assign mentors who can help programmers envision their long-term career path. Offer support for continuing education, and don't restrict company support to training that's immediately applicable at work.

Reward them.

Monetary rewards are important; top programmers can definitely find well-paying work. But other rewards are also important; praise, both public and private, assures developers that their work is both noticed and appreciated.

Despite your efforts to retain top talent, sometimes they'll decide to leave anyway. When that happens, you need an effective recruiting process that will bring in someone equally good. When you work with The Armada Group, you leverage our 20 years of experience. We make sure we understand the role you're filling so the job description will attract the best candidates, we prescreen potential hires who respond to the description, and we help your team interview and evaluate the candidates. You'll quickly stop worrying about the employee who left and start focusing on how to retain the new talent on board.

new to IT management

You earned your promotion because you successfully applied your skills in your previous role, but the management role is very different from a hands-on technical role. Cranking out bug-free code isn't your job anymore; motivating your team to crank out code, making sure they have the resources they need, and negotiating time, budget, and requirements with business users will fill your day. Here's what you need to do to help your team (and you) succeed.

Recognize That Things Have Changed

Sometimes the promotion comes with a new job or a new project, and it's obvious things are different. Other times, you're asked to step into the lead role on the same project you've been working on. That can create a tendency to keep doing what you were doing, and to interact with the team the same way you used to. Don't allow that to happen! Make a conscious decision to refocus your time on business problems, rather than technical problems. You may also need to change how you interact with work buddies who are no longer your peers; you need to create a relationship where they accept, respect, and work towards the direction you give.

Build Relationships

Management gets things done less by sheer technical, analytical, or business skill than by building relationships that allow them to collaborate with others and persuade others to do things a certain way. Don't isolate yourself behind your desk with spreadsheets; attend meetings in person when possible and always introduce yourself to other attendees. If you're a typical techie, your interpersonal skills could use some work, so take classes that help build your ability to communicate on paper and in person.

Focus on Business Needs

You've probably got a specific project you need to deliver, but the way to make the biggest impact on the business is to focus on the business's long-term strategic goals. Be prepared to suggest ways your technical team can contribute to meeting those goals beyond the current deliverable. Business management lacks the understanding of changes in technology that can support different ways of doing business, so take on the responsibility of envisioning and selling the role of technology.

Whether you're looking for your first management position or have mastered the skills needed to work as a senior executive, The Armada Group can help match you to an opportunity that will stretch your capabilities. Contact us to discuss your career goals and learn how our recruiters can help you achieve them.

feeling burned out

There's no question that stress, deadlines, and the constant race to get ahead takes a toll on you. If you're feeling burned out at work, don't let it keep wearing at you. A vacation can help, but there are also things you can do to help you feel better – even when you have to go into the office.

Improve Your Life Outside the Office

You may not be able to change the stressors at work, so take steps to reduce their impact on you once you escape home. Practice meditation or simply deep breathing to help reduce the tension in your body. Try to limit how much work you do from home, so your hours away from the office are a respite.

Talk to Friends

Coping with both the feelings of burnout and the aggravators at work is tough to do by yourself. Get advice and emotional support from your friends and family. If you need to, seek help from a professional. Therapists can help you cope with your feelings, while career advisors can help you resolve work situations that make days on the job difficult.

Sleep More

Turn off your electronic devices and hit the sack. Not only does the light from your phone's screen interfere with your sleep, lack of sleep interferes with both your mood and your effectiveness at work.

Get in Control

Sometimes burnout comes from a feeling that you're struggling to keep up and on top of everything that needs to be done. Figure out a new way of managing your to-do list so that you don't worry about missing something.

Find a New Job

Sometimes the only way to solve burnout is to tackle a new job and new challenges. If you've tried the above steps and you're still worn out at work, maybe it's time you switch jobs. Explore our hot jobs list to find ones that excite you, and then contact us. The Armada Group's experienced recruiters are skilled at matching job seekers to positions that make them happy to get up when the morning alarm clock goes off.