Jeff Tavangar

Jeff Tavangar

Social Media

 

Social media screening has become increasingly popular with companies. Traditionally, it’s used to find additional information about candidates beyond what is contained on their resumes including as a way to learn details that reflect a job seeker’s beliefs and personality.

 

While social media screening can be beneficial, the approach also comes with some drawbacks. Here are some of the pros and cons of using social media screening to find your ideal candidate.

 

Pro: More Than a Resume

By design, a resume is a fairly short document, usually being limited to one or two pages. Even if the applicant provides a cover letter, you’re only getting a glimpse into their skills, abilities, and experiences.

 

Social media screening is a great tool for learning about a job seeker’s capabilities beyond what can be expressed in a resume. You may find blog posts that highlight their knowledge as well as their skill with the written word. Information about less applicable, though still potentially valuable, skills may also be readily available. Portfolios of past work may also be accessible through their social media pages.

 

By screening their social media accounts, you can learn a lot of helpful information about who a candidate is as a professional, giving you a better ideal if you want to continue considering them for the role.

 

Con: Protected Status Details

Most social media users reveal a significant amount of information on their profiles, including items that could associate them with a protected group. For example, a person’s picture may allow you to determine their national origin, race, gender, and approximate age. Posts or affiliation with certain groups may relate to a disability they have or religious preferences.

 

Even if you did not intend to find these details, using them in a hiring decision could be viewed as discrimination. This could lead to a lawsuit or other forms of legal trouble.

 

 

Pro: Spotting Red Flags Early

While perusing through an applicant’s social media profiles, you may discover behaviors or incidents that show the person might not be the ideal employee. Posts that include racist or sexist remarks should be considered a red flag. Images that show irresponsible behavior or messages that speak poorly of their current employer are also warning signs. Even poor writing skills may suggest you may want to move on to another candidate, especially if written communication is a substantial part of the job.

 

Con: Equal Opportunity Concerns

A large portion of the popular maintains social media accounts. However, not everyone takes part in social media, and some of the reasoning is both logical and justifiable. If a lack of active accounts or profiles leads you to discard a candidate, then the job seeker may be inclined to file a lawsuit over that decision.

 

If you do use social media screening, ensuring that those who don’t maintain a presence aren’t immediately cut from contention is a must. Otherwise, you might not only open yourself up to a lawsuit but could also miss out on a great candidate.

 

Ultimately, social media screening can be a powerful tool, but it needs to be managed wisely and should only be a small part of the larger process. If you are interested in learning more or are seeking candidates for your vacant positions, the skilled professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your business needs today and see how our services can benefit you.

 

 

Tech Egos

 

Today’s tech pros are commonly tasked with working as part of a team and communicating with a variety of stakeholders, company leaders, and customers, some of whom may not be as tech-savvy in your area of expertise. As a skilled professional, it’s easy for one’s ego to color their interactions, especially when speaking about an area where you may be knowledgeable or are passionate about.

 

But allowing your ego to impact your interactions generally has consequences. Arrogance and bragging are rarely well received, and defensiveness or a reluctance to change one’s opinion can stymy collaboration.

 

Ultimately, if you’re going to survive in the business world, you need to be skilled at setting your ego aside. Here are a few tips to get you started.

 

Prepare for the Environment

In some cases, our environment plays a large role in the amount of ego we display. If there is a lot of it present in a room, exhibited by peers or leaders in the organization, it’s easy to get sucked in. However, in ego-free environments, it’s often easier to keep one’s ego in check.

 

While you can’t necessarily control the nature of your workplace, you can prepare for it. Knowing that you are going into a potentially contentious situation gives you an opportunity to increase your level of self-awareness, ensuring you don’t merely react to stimuli and instead consider the impact of your contributions before you speak.

 

Similarly, by setting your ego aside, others may do the same, depending on the nature of the conversation and your position within it. This allows you to potentially influence the interactions subtly, creating a more welcoming and productive environment.

 

 

Practice Mindfulness

When one’s ego comes out, it could be based on a misinterpretation of reality. For example, you may see someone else’s view or statements as threatening when they are meant to be part of constructive discourse.

 

By practicing mindfulness, you can learn to view a situation as it truly is instead of responding on an emotional level. Consider meditating regularly or dedicating time to introspection, so you can determine what about the encounter tends to put you on edge and if you may be skewing the reality of the situation unintentionally. It can also help you build willpower, ensuring you don’t lash out with your ego in a reactionary fashion.

 

Be Compassionate

Often, if we simply view a situation from the other person’s perspective, we can gain valuable insights into the origin of their behavior. Further, by considering whether additional influences, such as a personal issue or work stress, may be influencing their approach can also be beneficial.

 

At times, this allows you to see a person who seems to be using their ego isn’t intending to target you. Instead, it may be the result of increased pressure elsewhere and may be venting out unintentionally. And that can help you set your ego aside.

 

Ultimately, by not allowing your ego to take control, you can have more positive and productive interactions. If you are interested in learning more, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our team members today and see how our experience can benefit you.

 

 

Silicon Valley

 

When people think of the technology sector, they generally focus on the tech itself. Advances like artificial intelligence, machine learning, chatbots, big data, and drones often capture headlines, but they aren’t necessarily the most valuable assets in the IT landscape.

 

Many high-level tech professionals, including everyone from CIOs to venture capitalists, understand that there is more to the technology arena that the tech itself; the people are just as (if not more so) important. And, by managing people properly, you can create thought leaders, inspire innovations and increase productivity.

 

Human Motivation

For the technology industry to thrive, the environment has to be conducive to innovation. Often, this doesn’t happen by chance. Instead, it must be cultivated and curated, and strong leaders can make that happen.

 

One approach to creating such a workplace is the use of Objectives and Key Results, or OKRs. Ultimately, the premise asserts that, by providing clear objectives and outlining measurable steps to monitor success, employees have something to focus on.

 

Plus, it removes any ambiguity regarding what management or the organization as a whole wants its staff to accomplish. This gives everyone a common goal, aligning internal activities and defining priorities.

 

 

Community Building

Similarly, workers who feel as though they are part of a community tend to outperform their peers. Creating a strong corporate culture that focuses on teamwork and collaboration may do better than one that concentrates on individual achievement and competition.

 

Understanding how one employee’s outputs impact the entire project, or even the company’s larger goals, can also breed a sense of unity. It allows everyone to see how they fit into the larger whole, giving meaning to daily tasks that, without this context, may seem inconsequential.

 

Additionally, encouraging relationships that mimic friendships (or even genuinely become that close) also leads to a positive culture. This is especially true when management doesn’t fully distance themselves from their staff and, instead, creates an environment filled with support.

 

Mentorship is also powerful in the workplace, allowing strong connections to form while the youngest in your staff get valuable guidance that can help them grow as professionals, both for their benefit and that of the company.

 

The “People” Factor

Regardless of how far technology comes, there is also a “people” factor to the industry. There are hardworking individuals and talented leaders behind these developments.

 

Without a focus on how to create an environment that supports the needs of the human beings behind the code and tech, revelations may not come as quickly as they otherwise could. By crafting an ideal workplace, you can increase productivity and innovative thinking, helping make the next step in technology possible.

 

If you are interested in learning more, the skilled professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members today and see how our expertise can support your business as it strives to reach new heights.

 

 

Machine Learning Developer

 

If you are interviewing machine learning developer candidates, you likely have a strong grasp of technical concepts. Plus, those who make your short list are practically guaranteed to have a level of tech prowess, regardless if they’ve specifically worked in the machine learning arena before.

 

However, since machine learning development is a relatively new specialty, it can be hard to determine what interview questions will help you sort out those with the right kind of potential. This is especially true since many fledgling fields attract job seekers looking to make a change, so their prior experience may not be in the world of machine learning.

 

If you are getting ready to interview machine learning developer candidates, here are a few questions you can ask to help identify top talent.

 

What’s the Difference Between Bias and Variance?

This question is designed to help separate those who have a textbook understanding of the concepts from those who understand how they impact machine learning applications. While the fact-based response isn’t inherently wrong, by looking for candidates who take it to the next level, you can gauge if they have a functional understanding, as well as a conceptual one.

 

 

If You Had to Choose, Would You Say Model Accuracy or Model Performance is More Important?

Many job seekers approach this question by attempting to avoid a direct answer, instead focusing on how both are important. However, top talent will understand that, without accurate data, performance is largely irrelevant.

 

By asking this question, you can assess whether a candidate has a realistic picture of how the two concepts work together. While them mentioning that both are vital for overall success, a skilled developer is going to understand that accuracy is paramount, since low quality data makes even the speediest results unusable.

 

How Does Deep Learning Contract With Other Typical Machine Learning Algorithms?

Some job seekers are going to assert that deep learning is just a more complex or sophisticated approach to machine learning. However, this is only a surface level response.

 

The ideal candidate will be able to express a more thorough understanding of deep learning, including the use of the neural network model and how it can eliminate the need for manual feature selection based on the algorithm’s ability to learn meaningful features without the need for intervention.

 

Ultimately, top talent can go beyond a simplistic definition and actually show how they grasp the concept more fully, as well as how it affects the use of algorithms.

 

By asking the questions above, you are better equipped to determine which machine learning developer candidates have the strongest understanding of the field and are most likely to meet your needs. If you are seeking high-quality machine learning professionals to join your team, the staff at The Armada Group can connect you with some of the area’s leading developers. Contact us to speak with a member of our knowledgeable staff today and see how our services can help you find the ideal candidate quickly and efficiently.

 

 

Call Center

 

To say that call center agents spend a lot of time on the phone is an understatement. In most cases, their entire shift is dedicated to helping callers by answering questions and resolving issues. As the day wears on, it can be hard to maintain a level of enthusiasm, especially when the calls are some repetitive in nature. Additionally, fatigue makes it more difficult to judge the emotional state of the caller, which can be harmful.

 

Now, a software program called Cogito is looking to improve the call center experience for agents and customers alike. Here’s how.

 

Cogito Voice-Analysis

At its core, Cogito is software that analyzes the tone and pattern of the speaker’s voice, making adjustments based on word choice and even the length of time the line goes silent. It does this through robust algorithms supported by machine learning, allowing it to use data from other voice records to assess the status of a call as it progresses.

 

Cogito Call Center Software

When Cogito notices that a call participant, including agents or customers, has a voice pattern that suggests a potential problem, it alerts the call center representative.

 

For example, if it determines the agent's tone isn’t as cheerful, a notification that looks like a little cup of coffee pops up on the screen. This lets the representative know that their mood has changed, giving them a chance to refocus and correct it.

 

Similarly, if the software detects that a customer may be experiencing heightened emotions, either positive or negative, a heart icon displays. When they see the heart icon, the agent knows that the caller is having an emotional reaction and can adjust their approach if necessary.

 

 

What Does This Mean for Jobs?

Ultimately, Cogito isn’t designed to replace people in call centers. Instead, it functions in a support role, helping them assess how a call is going more quickly and efficiently so that quick action can be taken should the need arise.

 

The goal of software like Cogito is to provide customers with a better experience by bringing things to the attention of representatives that a person may have a more difficult time ascertaining. While an employee can certainly notice a heightened emotional state in a caller, they might not be as aware of their own tone. Additionally, the software may recognize changes in mood and cadence used by the customer more quickly than the agent, allowing them to intervene more rapidly to diffuse tense situations.

 

Some similar software offerings, like one from State Collection Service, can even display congratulatory messages to agents when it believes that a customer was satisfied with the interaction. These quick moments can help boost morale and confidence among agents, allowing them to be more effective at their jobs. Additionally, it can provide helpful tips, like steps to calm an upset customer, as soon as a potential issue is detected, giving the representative guidance when it is needed most.

 

In the end, software like Cogito isn’t going to replace workers, only give them new tools to help them be more productive and effective in their roles.

 

If you would like to learn more, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to see how our expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Stay Interviews

 

Hiring managers understand the time, energy, and resources it takes to hire a new employee. Often, this is what makes retention so important, as being able to keep your best and brightest on staff is obviously preferred over having to find their replacement.

 

But many companies struggle to understand why some workers stay with the business and others leave. This is especially true if there are no known issues and the employee seems generally satisfied.

 

Luckily, there is a way to gather additional information that can help you with your retention efforts. By conducting stay interviews, you gain access to powerful insights, allowing to your do more to keep your top talent working for the company.

 

What Are Stay Interviews?

A stay interview is a conversation that functions similarly to an exit interview. It’s a discussion where the employee can provide feedback on the organization.

 

However, instead of waiting for the team member to provide their notice, a stay interview happens while the person is a part of your staff.

 

Why You Need to Conduct Stay Interviews

While exit interviews provide valuable information, they occur at a time where it is nearly impossible to convince that employee to stay on board, even if you are willing to make changes. A stay interview happens while the worker is still a permanent part of your staff, so the information you receive can create opportunities for action.

 

By giving your star performers a chance to participate in a stay interview, you can find out what is working for them and what they think could use improvement. Then, you can make reasonable adjustments to provide the employee with what they need so that they are open to remaining with the company for the long-term.

 

 

How to Conduct Stay Interviews

Stay interviews need to be one-on-one, giving the employee a sense of privacy and allowing them to be the focus. These meetings should be conducted in person, as a survey usually won’t provide you with the level of detail a conversation can, and the opinions of your best and brightest won’t get lost in the shuffle.

 

Work to ask probing questions that will produce honest answers. Resist the urge to interject, regardless of how you feel about what is being said, as becoming defensive may lead the employee to hold back, ensuring you won’t get the desired result.

 

Let the worker know that their feedback is valued and that their responses may help shape the future of the company. Ultimately, you want to know what will keep them interested and engaged on the job and what they value as well as any issues they’ve experienced that haven’t been addressed.

 

By conducting stay interviews, you can boost your retention rates through right-action. If you are interested in learning more or are seeking a skilled professional to join your team, the employment specialists at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members and see how our services can benefit your company today.

 

 

Cryptocurrency

 

After Bitcoin’s meteoric rise in 2017, the world has become fascinated with cryptocurrencies. The virtual currencies were designed to be an alternative medium for payments, employing new ledger mechanisms to record transactions and monitor the flow of funds.

 

However, the largely unregulated cryptocurrency market has also come under fire. Scams aren’t uncommon, and some question whether they help support illegal activities simply based on how they are designed, even if it is an unintentional side effect.

 

Cryptocurrencies are shaking up the global market. If you aren’t familiar with how they are used, here’s what you need to know.

 

The Appeal of Cryptocurrencies

While initially considered a novelty by many governments, cryptocurrencies have significant potential when it comes to international dealings. The funds are easy to use and can provide alternatives to individuals or companies operating in countries where the local currency is unstable.

 

Additionally, cryptocurrencies are primarily unregulated, providing people with the ability to circumvent strict controls regarding taxation and the flow of money, both internally and across borders.

 

The technical mechanisms are also appealing to some. Blockchain ledgers provide some benefits for the recording and tracking of transactions, being mostly transparent and unalterable.

 

Government Responses and Perspectives

As cryptocurrencies gained traction, many governments began examining the digital currency market in an effort to develop proper controls, particularly when it comes to preventing issues like tax evasion. However, few limitations on the use of cryptocurrencies are currently in place, and it may take time to resolve any potential problems, as some may not yet be especially apparent.

 

 

Issues of High Volatility

One of the biggest concerns regarding cryptocurrencies is their volatile nature. At one point in 2017, Bitcoins were valued at over $19,000 each. However, the market has since experienced significant declines, even falling below the $8,000 mark.

 

While the high experienced by Bitcoin has led some to invest in it and other altcoins as a means of diversifying their portfolios, the future of most cryptocurrencies is incredibly uncertain. Some financial experts fear that a crash is inevitable while others claim that a recovery is on the horizon.

 

A boom or crash can impact global markets in a variety of ways, though the low total market capitalization should prevent a drop from having the same level of impact as those in other areas, such as when mortgage-backed securities led to a global financial crisis.

 

The size of the market likely means that there is little systemic risk today, though that may change depending on how much traction cryptocurrencies gain and how investors react. Additionally, new legislation will impact the effect virtual currencies have on larger markets, but the precise impact of regulations won’t be fully known until they are in place.

 

Ultimately, cryptocurrencies are a fledgling part of the global market, so the full effect of their presence may not be known for some time.

 

If you are interested in learning more, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our expertise can benefit you.

 

 

Full Stack Developer

 

More and more companies are looking for full stack developers. These jacks of all trades have detailed knowledge of every software development layer, understand front- and back-end technologies, and can create fully functional products from prototypes.

 

Since it requires a substantial amount of knowledge to become a full stack developer, not everyone chooses to pursue the profession. That means those that do are in high demand, often commanding large salaries based on their robust skill set.

 

If you’re ready to increase your level of competency so you can become a full stack developer, and possibly land a six-figure salary, here are some e-books worth reading.

 

HTML5 & CSS3 for the Real World

If your looking to gain a strong foundation in web development technologies, this easy-to-follow guide is ideal for the task, providing you with the fundamental skills in two of the most commonly used tools in the world of web development. There’s hands-on instruction, ensuring you have a chance to get the skills down, and information about building exceptional websites as efficiently as possible.

 

Jump Start Responsive Web Design

Now that a smartphone is in nearly everyone’s pocket, websites need to display properly on more than just computer screens. This e-book provides guidance on using HTML and CSS to create responsive designs that will appear correctly on any screen, making it a valuable text for any would-be full stack developer.

 

Researching UX: User Research

Ultimately, a project is only successful if it appeals to your audience. This e-book teaches you about user research, including a number of techniques for collecting data, and how the information can help you create designs that are most likely to resonate with your visitors.

 

 

JavaScript: Novice to Ninja

JavaScript is a leading programming language, so every full stack developer should know how to use it well. If you aren’t already familiar with JavaScript, this e-book will get you up to speed, giving you the ability to add new functionalities to apps and create code that is easy to maintain.

 

Jumpstart Git

Essentially, Git is a version control system that allows collaborating developers to track cumulative changes that are made to a project, ensuring everything is centralized and accessible. This e-book explains the value of Git, as well as methods for maintaining control of both your assets and your code.

 

By reading the e-books listed above, you can improve your skillset and pave the way to a strong career as a full stack developer, increasing your odds of landing a six-figure salary as you progress in your profession.

 

If you are seeking out full stack developer opportunities or would like to learn more about the skills required to be successful in these roles, the professionals at The Armada Group can help you explore your options. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our services can help you launch or progress in your full stack developer career.

 

 

Data Scientist or Engineer

 

As big data made waves in the business world, a range of new job titles emerged that described some of the critical functions associated with harnessing the power of a company’s data. But, with many of them being similar, it can be hard to identify the differences between the roles based on their job titles alone.

 

The data scientist and data engineer titles are a prime example, as they may seem similar on the surface. However, these are unique professions, and which you choose with impact how your career develops.

 

If you aren’t sure whether a data scientist or data engineer career path is right for you, here’s what you need to know.

 

Data Scientist

A data scientist is a professional who can take raw data and turn it into something meaningful. Often, an understanding of statistics, analytics, and machine learning are required, enabling these specialists to solve a variety of critical business problems or answer important questions.

 

At their core, data scientists take large quantities of data and use the information to generate actionable insights. This requires strong programming skills, an understanding of algorithm creation, data visualization skills, and high-level problem-solving skills.

 

Some of the commonly requested hard skills include Apache Spark, Hadoop, Python, R, deep learning, machine learning, and statistics.

 

 

Data Engineer

A data engineer is usually responsible for handling the infrastructure that supports the big data activities of data scientists. Often, this includes designing systems, building solutions, and creating mechanisms that allow information from a variety of sources to integrate.

 

They may also compose complex queries, ensuring that the data is accessible and the larger system operates efficiently, and design data warehouses.

 

The ultimate goal of most data engineers is to ensure that the proper system design and architecture are in place, and usually aren’t expected to have high-level skills in areas like analytics and machine learning.

 

However, commonly requested skills include Hadoop, MapReduce, SQL, NoSQL, MySQL, and Cassandra.

 

Which is Right for You?

Ultimately, which career path is right for you depends on your skill set and personal preferences. Both options can lead to a lucrative and long-lasting career, particularly since companies are likely to continue pursuing data-oriented objectives for years to come.

 

Both roles are important in the data landscape, so one isn’t inherently more valuable than the other. Without data engineers, data scientists wouldn’t have the infrastructure they need to get their jobs done.

 

There are also other roles associated with big data that may be appealing, such as data analyst positions, so you aren’t restricted to only exploring data scientist or data engineer job.

 

If you are interested in finding a new opportunity in any of the above career paths, the professionals at The Armada Group can help you explore your options and connect you with leading companies throughout the area. Contact us today to learn more about how our services can benefit you.

 

 

 Diversity

 

In the vast majority of occasions, companies are all too aware that the tech talent gap is real. Many businesses struggle to find the IT professionals they need, and it’s a trend that is expected not just to continue but get worse in the coming years.

 

As organizations struggle with recruiting top talent, many put other objectives on the back burner. But, if you let your diversity efforts fall by the wayside, you could be missing out on an opportunity to close your tech talent gap.

 

Women and Minorities Underrepresented in Tech

By and large, women and minorities are underrepresented in tech roles. In fact, the percentage of women holding tech jobs has declined since 1990.

 

Typically, this is seen as a demonstration that the tech industry doesn’t fully reflect the communities in which the companies are based. And unconscious biases may facilitate a lack of diversity.

 

But there are steps that can be taken to increase diversity, allowing your company to experience benefits like increased creativity and innovation. Here are a few to get you started.

 

 

Always Consider the Impact

A diversity initiative won’t be effective if it isn’t ingrained into your company culture. Instead of treating it as a separate issue, it’s important to consider how any action may impact diversity, and choose approaches that support the objective.

 

This could include evaluating how the gender and racial makeup of a hiring team could affect who is hired, and whether ensuring that a minority is always present could be beneficial. It could also involve adjusting recruitment approaches, such as what resources are used, to reach a more diverse pool of candidates.

 

Reexamine Your Job Requirements

For IT roles, it isn’t uncommon to see a minimum higher education requirement, such as a bachelor’s degree in a related field. However, education alone may be insufficient when it comes to actually performing the work.

 

Instead of limiting your pool of candidates based on an educational requirement, consider shifting the focus to skills and applicable experience. Ultimately, your goal during the hiring process is to find a candidate that can actually do the job and not just have a diploma they can hang on the wall. There are many skilled professionals who acquired their level of competency through routes other than formal education, so don’t automatically eliminate them just because they don’t have a degree.

 

Recognize the Role of Unconscious Bias

Often, people are more inclined to hire people who remind them of themselves. This can lead teams to predominately consist of variations of essentially the same person, with everyone having a similar education, background, type of experience, and even race or gender.

 

Unintentional bias can harm diversity efforts, even if people don’t mean to make decisions in that matter. By recognizing that unconscious bias may be influencing hiring decisions, actions can be taken to limit its effect, ensuring a more diverse workforce.

 

By seeking out diverse candidates, you can access a larger pool of skilled IT professionals to fill your vacancies, increasing the odds that you can overcome your talent gap.

 

If you are looking for top talent to join your team, the knowledgeable staff at The Armada Group can connect you with some of today’s most skilled candidates. Contact us to learn more about our services today and see how we can help you defeat your talent gap once and for all.