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big data market

 

IT leaders often shoulder a high level of risk when it comes to implementing a big data and analytics solution; the risk of making the wrong choice. Often, adding new solutions are costly ventures, requiring significant financial and time investments to get everything online. And, if the chosen solution doesn’t produce the anticipated results, it can cause the entire project to be considered a waste.

 

Finding appropriate solutions can be challenging. It isn’t uncommon for current IT employees to have limited experience with the technologies, especially if they have been with your organization long term. And, even if they stay abreast of industry happenings, that doesn’t mean they possess enough knowledge to guarantee a result.

 

Often, decision makers look to mitigate this risk by reviewing the choices of similar companies operating in the same sector. Then, they focus their recommendations based on successes experienced elsewhere based on the presence of similar resources.

 

So, how does an IT leader get the information they need to move forward? By reviewing key information points in the Big Data market today.

In-House Expertise or Outside Consultation

The presence or lack of in-house expertise is going to be a driving force for information gathering. If you don’t have employees with experience in the Big Data and analytics field, then your choices need to be driven by that fact.

 

Often, this makes consulting a necessity. Whether you choose to work with a specific consultant who can recommend suitable solutions or prefer to work with industry-leading vendors directly, you may have to look outside your organization for the knowledge you require.

 

However, certain options, like SAS and Cognos, are considered tried-and-true solutions that have been part of the IT landscape for years. That means there is a higher chance that staff members have experience with the platforms, and may make it a wise choice based on that familiarity.

Available Resources

In most cases, your decision will come in one of two formats. First, you can choose to use technical resources in your own facilities and data centers to build your own analytics operations. This has the benefit of using hardware with which your IT team may already be familiar, though functional changes will be necessary to complete analytics operations.

 

However, those without on-site resources (or who prefer not to dedicate resources to the task) can choose cloud-based solutions. And you may even have access to some of the same solutions regardless of that choice.

 

For example, IBM’s Watson is available as an off-the-shelf solution for use in internal data centers as well as in a cloud-based variant. This makes the option accessible to businesses of almost any size.

You Aren’t Starting from Scratch

Big Data and analytics have become a well-developed sector. That means you and your business aren’t having to step in blindly. Instead, the information about potential solutions is often highly accessible, whether from internal staff or external consultants. Begin your process with research regarding your current in-house capabilities and then see what options best integrate into your current landscape.

 

If you are interested in bringing in Big Data experts as employees or consultants, The Armada Group can help locate the best candidate to meet your goals. Contact our experienced recruiters today, and we will work with you to find your ideal solution.

2 hiring trends

 

The process involved in the hiring of new employees is ever-evolving. Low employment and challenges to the traditional workday norms are having a significant impact on workplaces across the nation, making the job market feel unfamiliar to many. Whether you are planning to hire or be hired in 2017, take note of these trends that will shape opportunities in 2017.

Goodbye Traditional 9 to 5

Between the rise of the gig economy and declines in the number of mid-level positions, the traditional full-time work experience isn’t going as available as in previous years. Reliance on freelancers and contractors is growing, and many technical professional are using that as an opportunity to focus on skills, tasks, and projects that they truly enjoy.

Additionally, rising competition for top talent allows employees to leverage options like flexible scheduling and remote worker options. That means fewer people in the office during the “standard” work day, and a new paradigm to which everyone must be somewhat prepared to adjust.

Personal Networks and Job Referrals

One of the quickest routes to a new position is through the direct referral process. Social media geared towards professionals has made finding referrals a simpler process and can be seen as a blessing to employees and employers alike. High-quality employees are only going to provide referrals to those they feel will represent them in a positive light, so there is a strong likelihood the referred candidate will possess a similar work ethic or skill set. The route can also be more cost-effective than openly advertising positions, and referrals can often access individuals not actively on the job market.

Information Upfront

Many companies are moving away from the practice of hiding information about available salaries and benefits. While the information isn’t always posted publicly on job announcement, more companies are relying on systems like chatbots to provide potential candidates with more details than what is shown in a job posting. This increased transparency allows job seekers to determine whether a position meets their minimum requirements prior to applying. And that means less time wasted on filling out applications for positions they would never accept, and less time spent considering candidates who will never accept the available salary.

Security is a Priority

Regardless of the primary function of an IT position, an understanding of security as it relates to their work is going to be a priority. Issues regarding data breaches regularly make front page news, so everyone within an organization will need to contribute to larger security goals. Whether that involves developing an additional skill set or increasing awareness regarding vulnerabilities, efforts in the area of security will almost always prove valuable.

Shorter Hiring Processes

The candidate experience is being given more consideration in previous years, and many companies intend to shorten their hiring processes as part of the larger initiative. This produces more favorable conditions for candidates interested in new opportunities as well as businesses filling vacancies.

One method for shortening the hiring process is working with a professional recruiter that specializes in the unique needs of the IT field. The Armada Group has over 20 years of experience in matching top talent with outstanding opportunities. Contact us today and see how our experience can work for you.

Monday, Jan 09 2017

Can AI Eliminate Hiring Biases?

Written by

Armada AI

 

Most companies know the value of a diverse workforce, but finding the right candidates can be a challenge for tech-oriented companies. Even unintentional bias can impact hiring decisions, making the diversity gap harder to close. To combat the effects of unconscious bias, some organizations are leveraging a relatively new technology to help solve the problem. And that solution is artificial intelligence.

 

Understanding Bias

The majority of the population don’t consider themselves to hold biases in regards to diversity. However, many people make decisions under the control of unconscious bias. Often, people are more comfortable communicating with individuals who share certain characteristics with themselves. And this innate desire for comfort incidentally affects our choices.

 

Additionally, people maintain preconceived notions regarding who a person should be. For example, if your company is looking for someone who is bilingual in English and Spanish, you may picture a certain kind of person in your head who you imagine meets the criteria. If someone qualified comes in, but does not match the image you had, you may find yourself making assumptions about their capabilities. And this can occur even when you have solid evidence that your assumption was incorrect.

 

AI and Avoiding Bias

AI has the capacity to serve as an unbiased third party in regards to candidate analysis. These systems can be designed with machine learning principles and can review data for potential patterns that may reflect unconscious bias within recruiters and hiring managers. Once this information is obtained, the development of strategies to improve internal hiring practices.

 

Additionally, AI analysis is helpful in tracking which policy changes and hiring techniques are ultimately successful in improving diversity within IT teams. As more information is collected regarding the effects of new strategies, decision-makers can make adjustments to create more favorable results.

 

Open Communication

Since AI tools are unbiased by design, it is easier to open communication channels regarding unconscious bias in the workplace. Employees, recruiters, and hiring managers aren’t being judged by individuals for behavior that is not necessarily intentional. Instead, decision-makers can approach employees with the benefits of this analysis in promoting diversity in hiring. It also provides an opening to encourage employees at every level to speak up if they see potentially biased hiring practices.

 

AI can provide useful information to employees at all levels as well. Technology at this level has no regard for the internal hierarchy of the company. That means patterns can be identified and presented whether the person being examined is entry level or a C-level executive. In fact, the unbiased nature of the analysis is ideal for reviewing the activities of all personnel involved in hiring decisions. This gives every person an opportunity to improve to meet the diversity goals of the organization at large.

 

By combining AI and traditional hiring methods, your organization can evaluate candidates more objectively, ensuring technical capabilities and growth potential are given more weight as decisions are made.

 

If you are looking for IT professionals to join your team or would like more information about how your organization can increase the diversity of its workforce, The Armada Group can help you locate top talent to meet your needs. Contact us and speak with one of our professional recruiters about how you can reach the diversity goals of your business.

7 Resumes

The current IT job market significantly favors job seekers. This makes it harder for hiring managers to find the candidates they need to fill job vacancies and can increase the time required to complete the hiring process. To find the best applicants, you must give significant consideration to the content of their resumes. However, not every section is as important as others.

If you want to locate qualified candidates more quickly, here are some tips on what to look for in a resume, and what you can ignore.

Look for: Social Media Links

Resumes have a limited amount of space to review one’s prior education and experiences. However, social media profiles geared towards their professional lives can fill in many of the gaps. Applicants are more inclined to include links to their LinkedIn profiles directly on their resume. When this information is provided, take a moment and see what their profile has to offer. You may find answers to questions that resumes simply can’t answer.

Ignore: College GPAs

Unless a candidate has just graduated from college, a GPA provides little indication regarding their capabilities today. While a degree provides a solid foundation for entry-level positions, 15-year-old grades and test scores are essentially meaningless in comparison to more recent certifications and professional references.

Look for: Quantified Data

Numbers speak volumes. Having hard data about the number of users an IT professional supported, the size of a project budget that was managed, or the percentage reduction of the overall costs associated with a service give you metrics that can be easily compared. This helps you understand the value a candidate has provided in previous positions, and shines a light on any potential they may have for your organization.

Ignore: Objective Statements

The objective statement has lost its usefulness. Most candidates just state their desire to land a job, further their career, or some other banality. In some cases, objective statements even make the candidate look less appealing. However, if you choose to bypass this information when a resume still includes it, you may find the other information enticing.

Look for: Spelling and Grammar

While some of the rules regarding how a resume is written contradict those in other writing styles, it should still be well-composed with no grammar or spelling errors. A resume is an important document, and an applicant not taking the time to perfect the information contained therein may suggest a lack of attention to detail in other areas.

Ignore: Resumes that Don’t Meet Stated Application Requirements

Alternative resume formats, including infographics and other visually stimulating options, are gaining ground in many industries. While using these options can be completely appropriate, if your application materials specifically request a traditional resume, and one is not provided, then you may want to move on. Failure to follow basic instructions in an attempt to stand out is still a failure to follow instructions.

Look for/Ignore: Keywords

Keyword use has benefits and drawbacks. Some resumes are crammed full of keywords to help them get beyond the roadblocks created by applicant tracking software (ATS), but they don’t always provide value. Just because a large number of keywords are represented doesn’t mean the candidate is by default a better choice than someone who used them more sparingly. However, a heavy use of keywords can also indicate the candidate has a broad range of experience that may be useful.

Ultimately, keywords can be a factor, but shouldn’t be the only factor when determining which applications to interview.

The staffing professionals at The Armada Group can help you sort through the resumes to find those who possess the skills you need. Contact us to speak with one of our professional recruiters about your current hiring needs.

5 Celebrate the Holidays

Holiday celebrations do more than just improve morale for a day. Having annual traditions in the workplace can increase employee motivation. It also contributes to team building efforts and leads to more productive teams.

 

While most organizations focus on providing opportunities to celebrate the traditional winter holiday season, there are a number of other holidays that can be celebrated. By scheduling regular events, you encourage your employees to look forward to the celebrations and keep spirits high throughout the year.

 

To experience the benefits that only workplace celebrations can bring, here are some tips to get you started.

Unity and Togetherness

Even though most people spend a disproportionate amount of time around their co-workers, those interactions are rarely social or celebratory in nature. By adding holiday events to the regular schedule, you encourage everyone to come together for a reason other than completing a work task. The relaxed atmosphere gives employees a chance to bond while enjoying themselves. Supporting these connections can help teams function optimally and might lead to better performances on future projects.

Morale and Motivation

The ability to have a holiday event at work helps employees feel appreciated. This improves the overall mood in the workplace and allows the employee to fully dedicate themselves to their employer. Having a break from routine is a morale booster, especially when the celebration focuses on fun and relaxation.

Recognition

While holiday events do not have to double as recognition events, it is often an easy adjustment to make. Being recognized for accomplishments and success demonstrate that members of management notice the hard work they put in and appreciate the effort. This can include longevity celebrations focused on key milestones with the company, such as the 10-year mark, as well as those focused on recognizing employees who have experienced a significant accomplishment during the year. Consider reviewing both professional and personal victories of your employees to show you take a particular interest in the well-being of your team.

Choosing Appropriate Holidays and Events

It is important to pick the right moments for celebrations. While the winter holidays often lead to an event, it is important to avoid parties with specific religious connotations. Most workplaces are filled with diversity, so focusing on a holiday closely associated with a particular religious preference is often not appropriate. However, seasonal celebrations can be created without referencing any particular religious or cultural preferences.

 

You can also hold regular events that are not specifically tied to holidays, such as annual employee appreciation events. Additionally, recognizing birthdays on a monthly basis or other major life events, like weddings, births and graduations, can also provide excellent opportunities to celebrate.

 

If a large project is nearing completion, consider creating a celebration surrounding the accomplishment. Not only does a recognition event of this nature disrupt the monotony that may have taken over the workplace, it also provides excellent stress release after the fact.

 

The professionals at The Armada Group understand the value of employee motivation and recognition, as well as how proper hiring can improve morale. Contact us to speak with one of our professional recruiters about your current hiring needs.

7 Remote Employee

 

A lot of the collegiality of a workplace comes from being in the same place at the same time. Working on-site means employees can bond over chitchat during a coffee break; it also means they're able to drop by the boss's office or a colleague's desk to ask questions. When workers aren't on-site, they lose these interactions that make employees feel like they're part of a team. Here are six ways to overcome the distance and keep your remote team members engaged.

Don't bug your remote employees for status updates.

Managers ask for status updates from on-site workers, too, but it's easier to tell what's going on because you can see what's going on. Use technology to give you the same insight for your remote team, with activity trackers and team communication tools that help you know where their time and effort are going.

Keep in touch with them regularly.

Just because you aren't bugging them for status updates doesn't mean you shouldn't have routine conversations with them. Make sure you communicate on a regular basis, and be available for ad-hoc discussions as needed.

Talk about things besides work.

You take time to know your on-site employees' families and how they spent their weekend. Take the same time to get to know your remote workers. If you treat them as a person, not just a resource, they'll be much more engaged and committed to your project.

Accept that remote workers have their own schedules.

Don't expect your remote workers to adhere to your work schedule. The productivity of working off-site is enhanced when they can work on a schedule that works for them. Judge the quality of their output, not the specific hours they're at their desk.

Include them in team conversations and decisions.

It's easy to forget to include remote workers in team discussions, but if all decisions come to them without having asked their opinions first, they'll feel their opinions don't count. Also, make sure you consider your remote team equally when handing out favorite assignments and opportunities for advancement.

Have periodic face-to-face meetings.

It isn't always possible to meet remote employees in person, but you should try to have occasional face-to-face meetings. Bringing them to your office site gives them a chance to bond with the team. At the very least, include video conferencing at occasional meetings to put a face to the names and establish a basic personal connection.

 

The Armada Group knows working with remote employees is tough. Contact us for more tips or to search for employees who work efficiently on-site or off.