Being able to find top talent remains one of the biggest concerns amongst IT managers in almost every industry. It is closely followed by worries about retaining the employees that are currently on staff. This makes it even more imperative for businesses to have a strong culture that helps attract the candidates they need as well as keep those already working for the company in place.
In most cases, competitive compensation can only take you so far. While the associated salary and benefits are a big part of hiring any employee, the company’s culture also plays a role. But what creates a culture that is too good to pass up, and what will have candidates pass you by? To help you understand what it takes to create an environment that woos the best and brightest, here are some tips for cultivating the right culture in your business.
One of the most enticing offerings for talented candidates is the available to explore something new on the job. This can include the ability to train into different areas or experiment with new technology. Individuals who are especially adept at their job often crave new challenges. This keeps the environment exciting and gives them the chance to test their skills.
On the other side, having an environment that begins to feel tedious or dull, and that doesn’t support exploration and professional growth, is sure to be a turn-off when it comes to the best candidates on the market. Essentially, boredom is one of the biggest enemies, and it must be fought at all cost if you want great applicants to come knocking at your door.
Another important part of the company’s culture is morale. Happy employees will sing the praises of your business, and that makes top candidates interested in becoming a part of the workplace. Ultimately, everyone wants to enjoy their time on the job. So, if the culture doesn’t help keep employees engaged and content, you aren’t going to have access to the top talent you are hoping to find.
While some of employee morale is based solely on time spent working, giving workers a chance to cut loose and have fun can also improve the culture. Whether it is through employee appreciation events, team building retreats or a simple thank you lunch, creating an atmosphere that encourages bonding and socialization (at the right times) can work wonders for your company’s reputation as an employer of choice.
Hiring with Care
Once you establish your culture, it is important to hire new employees that fit. Choosing applicants who have similar values and general attitudes ensure your culture will thrive, making it easier to attract more top talent whenever the need arises. If you are looking to hire new IT professionals, The Armada Group can help you find the right candidates for your vacant positions. Contact us to discuss how we can help you create the kind of culture that will keep top talent coming in for years to come.
The current technology landscape is filled with trials. Unemployment among IT professionals remains low, making it more difficult to find candidates for almost any position. Couple that with growing skill gaps when it comes to various growth areas within the field, and your business is likely struggling to get the employees it needs to move forward with some of your most promising projects.
If you intend to seek out tech workers this year, here is an overview of some of the biggest talent gaps, and most challenging specialties to hire, based on the job market today.
The use of mobile technology is a staple in many workplaces. Add to that the fact that new developments in the area continue to rise, and it’s no wonder may companies are finding it hard to get the right people to fill their vacancies. This is especially true for businesses that choose to use more than one platform, such as Android and iOS, as not every IT professional with skills in mobile application development have working experience in both.
IT security professionals will continue to be in high demand, especially as a wider variety businesses rely more heavily on technical products and services as part of their daily operations. Even companies that serve industries other than tech are highly dependent on their software applications, IT infrastructure, and other services to keep things moving forward, and having employees that can secure the organization’s data are a necessity in every one of these landscapes.
In many cases, IT professionals are hyper-focused on their technical area of expertise. However, a certain portion of these employees also possess a wider understanding of business operations and priorities. Being able to understand the intricacies of the IT portions of the business within a broader view can make a significant difference in how a business plans for the future. Employees that have the right balance of technical expertise and business acumen are a coveted commodity as it helps develop stronger long-term strategies to meet the needs of the company over the long-term.
The introduction of cloud-based solutions had a great impact on how many companies do business, and it requires a specific set of skills to support these operations. Being able to support cloud applications and work with various data and storage solutions requires knowledge outside of what is necessary to support in-house operations. Having an IT professional that is familiar with both is often considered ideal as it allows a business to choose a hybrid solution without requiring separate staff for each.
Willingness to Learn
While this isn’t as easy to identify as hard skills, finding employees that are willing to learn and grow as technology changes are almost as important as locating candidates with the right skills today. Not every IT professional is open to expanding beyond a specific specialty, so finding a well-rounded individual that can adapt to the changing needs of a business is always a good find.
If you are looking to higher individuals with the skills mentioned above, The Armada Group has the industry-specific experience to help you along the way. Contact us to speak with a recruitment specialist about your needs today.
Recruiting skilled talent is rarely easy, and it can be especially challenging when searching for tech professionals. Aside from the demands that innately come with the job, IT recruiters must stay apprised of technology changes, hardware development, in-demand programming languages, and much more. Additionally, low unemployment levels among IT workers often necessitates finding candidates who aren’t actively on the market, many of whom aren’t concerned about being found.
Now, you also have to add social media recruiting to the mix. And that can feel like quite a task for those recruiters who have yet to use these resources for the purpose of recruiting.
However, adding social recruiting to your regular repertoire doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, taking your first steps into the arena can be fairly intuitive, as long as you have the drive to get it done based on the potential it holds.
Tech Pros Embrace Social Media
The primary reason IT recruiters need to embrace social media is the fact that the target market already has. Tech professionals are often active on some form of social media. In some cases, large-scale sources like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can provide access to a wide range of subject matter experts working in technology fields, and most people are at least somewhat familiar with how to engage others on these platforms.
Additionally, there are a variety of resources like GitHub and Stack Overflow, that tend to cater to those interested in tech. These can provide access to dedicated professionals who may shun traditional social media in favor of industry-specific interactions.
Becoming a Resource
The ultimate purpose of exploring social media as a recruiter is the potential to be seen as a resource. By participating regularly and in a meaningful way, they can position themselves as a resource in the community, and not just a person looking to make a placement. For recruiters who specialize in IT, building a strong reputation in the community can provide a natural point in which to engage with professionals working in the industry.
And once you are seen as a resource, you are more likely to be exposed to new resources. For example, many social media participants openly share information with others with whom they have built a relationship. This can give you new sources of cutting-edge developments and industry information. You may find yourself better prepared to anticipate the needs of client companies as upcoming trends may enter your radar more quickly.
In some cases, recruiters may even find an opportunity to locate a candidate for placement directly from these sources, but it is also possible to locate available professionals through association. If your need for a specific tech specialist is known, you may find those with whom you have connected to be a valuable source of referrals.
Maintaining more connections gives you access to more potential candidates by extension, and sometimes casting a wide net is the ideal solution when searching for a difficult-to-locate skill set.
That is the same principle that can make working with professional staffing firms like The Armada Group so effective. Contact The Armada Group today and let our recruitment network work for you.
In the end, your resume is one of the most important documents you will ever create. It outlines your IT skills and experience to give hiring managers insight regarding what you have to offer. But creating a strong resume is no easy task, especially since there is flexibility regarding how the document can be designed.
However, certain mistakes are more common than others. If you are an IT job seeker, and you want to make sure your resume serves as the best introduction possible, here are four mistakes you should avoid.
1. Too Much Jargon
Not every hiring manager looking to fill an IT position is a tech professional themselves. Having a resume dominated by tech terminology can leave those less familiar with the jargon at a loss when it comes to understanding your qualifications. Additionally, diving too deep into the technical can come across as unapproachable or even intimidating to someone who is less comfortable with the subject matter.
Now, that doesn’t mean you should avoid key terms completely. Instead, take some time to determine which words or phrases are helpful and which can be removed. For example, feel free to use tech-oriented language that mirrors the job announcement. Additionally, include skills that pertain specifically to managing the job to which you are applying. Otherwise, if it isn’t directly applicable, consider leaving it on the cutting room floor.
2. Inappropriate Length
The correct length for a resume is a hotly debated topic. Some professionals still swear that a one-page resume is the only way to go while others believe a two-page approach is fine for those with longer career histories who are applying to upper-level positions. However, neither stance is entirely correct.
The truth is the correct resume length is the one that outlines your skills, experience and education that are valuable (and pertinent) based on the position to which you are applying. If you can include everything a hiring manager needs to see in a one-page format, don’t stretch it to two just because you think that is the standard. If you do, you’ll likely be relying on fluff and filler, neither of which will help you land an interview.
In contrast, if squeezing all the information into one or two pages isn’t possible, don’t beat yourself up for going to a third. However, if you are going beyond two pages, consider whether every line is actually valuable. Anything that doesn’t add to the conversation in a meaningful way should immediately be subtracted from your resume.
3. Ignoring Side Projects
Many professionals assume that experience gained outside of traditional employment or education needs to be left off of their resume. And while this is true for side projects that hold no relevance to the position, you can include information about any experience that applies regardless of where it was acquired.
For example, if you developed a mobile app, built a friend’s blog or used your technical skills in a way that is applicable to the position, consider including it. Even if you didn’t financially benefit from the project, that doesn’t mean they aren’t good examples of your skills.
Just make sure the information is appropriate to display in a professional context. If the subject matter involved is controversial or not appropriate in the work environment, it is better not to mention it at all.
4. Failing to Brag
While no one wants to come across as arrogant, many err too far on the side of caution and avoid discussing their major accomplishments in a meaningful way. A resume is a document designed to market your skills and abilities to hiring managers, making it a perfectly acceptable time to showcase what you’ve done.
Feel free to describe your successes, just make sure the tone is professional.
If you are interested in improving your resume or are looking for a new IT position, the professionals at The Armada Group are here to help. Contact us and see how you can elevate your resume to the next level to score the position of your dreams.
Whether you are pursuing your first step on a career path, or have decided to move away from your current career towards a different future, becoming a project manager can be a satisfying and lucrative career. But how lucrative varies based on certain criteria. Education and experience always come into play for job offers and salary negotiations, and your field of focus can also be a factor.
If you are wondering how much a project manager can make in Silicon Valley, here are some key points to consider.
Your level of experience is one of the largest determining factors regarding potential salary. In the Silicon Valley area, entry-level positions tend to be in the $60,000 area (without accounting for any potential bonus payments). Generally, that is considered a fairly strong starting salary, though the cost of living in the San Francisco can be relatively high.
However, the upper edge of the overall salary potential is well into six-figure territory, even without bonuses. And as demand for skilled project managers increases, and finding candidates in the IT field becomes more challenging, it is possible salary levels will increase in the years to come.
Now, it is possible to avoid a stop at the entry-level salary point if you have significant experience in the field in which you intend to work as a project manager. For example, an IT professional transitioning into project management in a tech field may see higher starting salaries than those who are relying solely on their education.
Often, successful project managers have a combination of experience. First, they likely have a degree in their chosen specialty area. For example, IT project managers may have a degree in computer science or information technology, while those interested in becoming a construction project manager may have a degree in engineering.
Additionally, most project managers complete coursework in the areas of business management or even project management specifically. Some of these options involve graduate-level education, including master’s degrees or professional certificates. For example, the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification can help those working in the field achieve higher salary levels than those who aren’t certified.
Salary and Compensation
As of late 2016, salary estimates for project managers in the Silicon Valley area ranged from $61,874 to $143,241. Additionally, financial compensation may also be available in the forms of bonuses and profit sharing, though this isn’t necessarily standard.
Working as a project manager can also provide access to a comprehensive benefits package if you work as a long-term employee for a business. This can include access to medical insurance and prescription drug coverage and may include dental and vision benefits. Additionally, retirement benefits may also be included.
However, some project managers work as independent contractors or are self-employed. In those cases, benefits are not provided by the companies with which you work. Instead, you will need to select your own solutions in those areas.
If you are interested in becoming a project manager in Silicon Valley, The Armada Group can help you explore your options. Contact our recruiters today to see what options may be available.
As a job seeker, working with a tech recruiter requires a significant amount of trust. You need to feel secure in the idea they are prioritizing your needs appropriately, and not just focused on meeting the needs of the companies with which they work. Without trust, you will struggle to create a partnership with your recruiter that will ultimately yield results.
But determining which recruiters you can trust and which you should pass by isn’t always easy. To help you find the right tech recruiter for your job search, here are some key characteristics to aid you in identifying a recruiter on which you can rely.
A recruiter that is truly concerned about your needs when looking for potential employment opportunities will provide you with all of the information you need to make an informed decision. They will outline the pros and cons of any position or company in consideration and will be thorough in their descriptions of the work tasks involved and how the business operates.
Additionally, they will be open to hearing your concerns and finding answers to any questions you may have about the position. If they truly feel you are a match for a position, there will likely be a level of excitement or eagerness about delivering information to you, and they won’t be inclined to avoid any detail when speaking to you about the opportunity.
However, if it seems your recruiter is hiding something such as withholding important details or glossing over your concerns, then it could be a sign of trouble. If they aren’t willing to share the name of the company, provide information about the work environment or discuss potential compensation, that should be a red flag.
While you want a recruiter to be your advocate, you also want them to be honest. They should be clear about how the process works as well as what they will or will not do to help match you to a position. Additionally, they should be able to provide information about placement rates and current client relationships.
Recruiters who are reluctant to answer your questions with an appropriate level of detail could signal a problem. Additionally, if they say they are interested in helping you, but speak more about how you can help them, there may be another motive behind their actions.
Being a recruiter requires specific skills, just as any technical position does. They need to have knowledge of the current job market, an understanding of what your skills mean and ability to speak with hiring managers to reach a mutual benefit. Those with a high level of competency know what questions to ask candidates to determine their needs and gain thorough knowledge about their capabilities. Additionally, they will have the ability get details about available positions from businesses.
A skilled recruiter wants to create a situation where everyone benefits in the end. However, a less competent recruiter may not get all of the information necessary to truly find a match or may pressure you to accept a deal that doesn’t actually meet your needs. Additionally, they may end up overpromising about what they can do, selling an outcome that might not be realistic. And sometimes, that fact doesn’t come to light until the process has gone on for some time.
Finding a skilled tech employer doesn’t have to be a challenge. By working with a company that has significant experience in the tech recruitment field, such as The Armada Group, you can find a recruiter who will operate with integrity and work diligently to meet your need. Contact us for a consultation and see the benefit of selecting the right recruiter first-hand.
There are times when the interview process can feel frustratingly short. When you are interviewing candidates for an automation engineering position, you want to make sure you get all of the information you need as efficiently as possible. One way to ensure that happens is to ask the right questions during the interview.
But how do you know which questions will get to the core of what you need to know? Here are some interview questions that are sure to fit the bill.
What Automation Tools Are You Most Familiar With?
Not every automation engineer has gotten their hands on every available tool. By requesting an overview of the tools with which they are most comfortable will help determine whether they have the background required for the position.
Some automation tools have focused functionality. For example, Selenium and Watir automate browser-based applications. That means experience in that area won’t directly translate into tasks that require the testing of GUIs or APIs. However, someone familiar with tools offering a wider functionality, such as TestComplete, HP Unified Functional Testing Software, or Telerik TestStudio, may be considered more suitable for positions that require a wider range of potential applications.
Can You Write a Function That Determines…?
One of the easiest was to see someone’s skills on-the-fly is to request a demonstration. Make sure that the interview space has a whiteboard or other suitable surface and have every candidate complete a suitable request or two, similar to a basic pop quiz. Cover the specific skills that are fundamental to the position individually, or combine them for a single demonstration. Not only can this help ensure that the applicant has the skills required to do the job, but it also gives you an idea of how the react when put on the spot.
When Face with a Problem You Don’t Know How to Solve, What Do You Do?
This question segues fairly naturally from the prior demonstrations regardless of whether the candidate struggled. It also serves as an indicator of what their general problem-solving strategy would be and whether the approach matches stylistically with how the work environment generally operates. Ultimately, this is a question with no prescribed right or wrong, but it can be revealing nonetheless.
Describe Your Ideal Work Environment
Here is a prompt that is valuable regardless of the position being filled. Even the most skilled automation engineers may struggle if there is not a suitable cultural fit with the organization at large. For example, if your management style focuses on empowering employees, then it won’t be a good fit for an employee that prefers specific direction.
How Would Your Current (Previous) Manager and Coworkers Describe You?
Similar to the previous prompt, this question is designed to determine a candidate’s likelihood of fitting into the section, department, or business at large. It will give indications regarding their work style as well as which traits they believe are more perceptible to those around them. Additionally, it lends itself to great honesty than self-assessments as the information is theoretically verifiable should you contact their references.
Narrow Down Your Candidate Pool with Skilled Recruiting
If you want to give yourself more time to assess top tier candidates, the professional recruiters at The Armada Group have the experience required to locate and prescreen the best applicants for your automation engineering positions. Contact us and speak with one of our recruiters today.
Software development is becoming a higher priority for businesses in 2017. With unemployment low among IT professionals, the competition for top software developer talent is fierce. So many companies are prepared to make strong offers much faster than in previous years.
But that doesn’t mean your company wants to cut corners in the name of greater speed. Finding the right kind of candidate is still as important as getting one quickly. So, how does your organization position itself to hold the secret to a better software developer pipeline? Here are four approaches that you can begin to implement today.
Entice, Don’t Chase
When a company is looking for a top developer, many have their internal recruiters begin the process of hunting down potential candidates. While this process can bring results, not every skilled professional is going to respond to cold calling. And that goes double in cases where the developer isn’t familiar with your company.
The first step to attracting these candidates is to take an unconventional approach to making the first contact. For example, your organization could host and advertise a coding challenge. This helps draw attention by engaging professionals in a new way and giving them an avenue to demonstrate their skills in a fun manner. After they complete the challenge, simply request permission to contact them with future job opportunities.
With this approach, you can reach developers who are interested in the challenges that often surround the work, and truly have a passion for coding and development. It also increases awareness of your business in the developer community, making potential candidates more inclined to pick up the phone when a recruiter calls.
Engage the Community
The developer online community is large. By tapping into these resources, you can do more than simply find potential candidates; you can engage with them. You’ll have the ability to see how the work, both individually and with others in the community, as well as gain insights into their general attitude.
For example, a skilled developer who is often assisting others with their coding issues will likely have a similar approach when working with the members of your team. Similarly, a person who is overly critical of others work may act similarly in the office.
If you personally don’t have the knowledge required to make the most of these communities, work with the programmers currently on your staff to evaluate potential candidates.
Test First, Interview Second
While sponsoring a coding challenge provides insights regarding a developer's skills, it won’t answer every question you have about their abilities. With that in mind, consider adding a skills test near the beginning of the recruitment process instead of after interviews.
This approach allows you to screen any candidates that actually have the technical skills you need. That way, you know every interview has the intellectual capacity to meet your needs and you can focus on other characteristics when you meet in person.
When developing the tests, focus on gathering useful information in a fun way. If the test is challenging and entertaining, you are more likely to keep the best and brightest engaged throughout the process.
Consider a Working Interview
If your initial impressions of the candidate are positive, consider scheduling a time period where they can shadow a current programming employee. This gives the candidate a chance to meet the team in a meaningful way, and the team members can learn about the candidate’s approach to some of the problems the team faces.
Often, this process requires a few hours of the candidates time, but it provides a real opportunity to see if what appears to be a match on paper, in fact, will work for the day to day.
If you are looking for additional ways to expedite your hiring process, The Armada Group can help you locate the software development candidates you need. Contact us today and speak with one of our professional recruiters about your current hiring priorities.
The Armada Group understands that the quality of our recruiters has an enormous impact on the results we can provide to clients and job seekers. And keeping the best recruiters on staff requires effort on the part of the business. This includes creating an environment where recruiters are encouraged to work hard for every applicant and client, as well as supporting their development in the field.
As said by Mitchell Postle, a technical recruiter for The Armada Group, “Armada appreciates its employees and implements the Santa Cruz culture in the workplace, and that was very appealing for me.”
The fact that working as a recruiter provides The Armada Group employees unique opportunities, also makes the job worthwhile. Mitchell says, “My favorite part about being a recruiter is having the opportunity to help so many talented people find new roles. Even if we are not able to find someone a new job, I love building relationships and lending a helping hand in any way possible.”
Building strong relationships with every client and job seeker ensures our recruiters understand how the needs differ between various companies and job applicants. Since every candidate placement provides distinct benefits to the client business and the person who was placed, our recruiters get to see how their efforts impact the lives of everyone involved.
And, if making a particular placement is every a challenge, management at The Armada Group is always available. As Mitchell puts it, “Armada cares about every employee. They always go the extra mile to make work fun and keep everyone motivated. Keeping the high touch method of staffing in mind, the management is always available to help, and provide guidance in career growth.”
As far as any favorite client experiences, Mitchell recalls a few placements with Olsen Communications. “I have placed three consultants with [Olsen Communications], and it was a very smooth process. Even more so, I love watching our consultants grown their skills and take advantage of the in-depth training Olsen Com has to offer,” Mitchell says.
Every recruiter working for The Armada Group has the opportunity to develop their job placement skills, allowing them to make good matches between job seekers and client companies. The company provides the recruiters with a working environment that promotes team building and creates incentives to help each employee see this as a place to develop a career.
The success of The Armada Group’s recruiters directly relates to the success our client companies and applicants get to benefit with our successful placements. As the skills of every recruiter grow, you get to put that experience to work for you. Contact us today and see how our skilled recruiters can help you reach your goals.
When auto-rejection emails begin to dominate your inbox, it is tempting to explore other options to get your resume seen by the right people. One approach involves avoiding a major component of the traditional hiring mechanism: human resources.
The idea of skipping over this standard on the path to new employment is intimidating, especially if you fear repercussions associated with making such a move. However, choosing to bypass conventional routes can produce favorable results.
Before you decide if sidestepping the HR department is the right move, here are some points to consider.
Penalties are Unlikely
Most job seekers are worried that skipping past HR means you will not only get rejected from this position but from every other position that becomes available at the company. The fact is, many businesses don’t care if you work through HR or decide to contact the appropriate hiring manager directly, especially if you have in-demand skills.
Even if you were initially sent an automated rejection from HR, you could still inquire with the hiring manager directly. Most rejected applications are never seen by anyone outside of HR (or anyone at all), meaning the manager likely hasn’t reviewed your information.
If you present yourself professionally and concisely, the likelihood of fallout from your decision is minimal. Often, when going through HR is required, your email will either go unanswered, or you may be referred to the preferred hiring system.
Stay On Topic
Hiring managers are busy individuals; they don’t have time to sort through paragraphs of information and longer than necessary resumes. You need to create a tailored approach to the particular position you are interested in as well as the hiring manager that will be reviewing your information.
Keep the body of your email short. Include information regarding who you are, the reason you reached out, and an overview of what you have to offer. Don’t let the conversation drift into irrelevant areas, as that increases the likelihood of being ignored.
Networks and Referrals
If you currently know someone working at your target company, consider using them as a resource. Many companies are interested in referrals from employees, especially other top performers. Look through your professional network and determine if someone can bring your information directly to the hiring manager.
Businesses often encourage employees to refer potential candidates, especially for hard-to-fill positions. This provides a very organic approach that avoids HR naturally, so there are rarely negative connotations with the approach.
However, this only works when a current employee is willing to refer you. Some people may be uncomfortable with the idea entirely, while others may be highly selective regarding their referrals. Don’t just request a referral from someone with whom you have a limited connection. If a relationship is not already established, consider contacting them for insight regarding how the company operates. As the conversation progresses, asking for a referral may be more appropriate than blindsiding a friend of a friend with a blatant request.
Staffing companies often have unique relationships with hiring managers throughout area businesses. This means they have the ability to contact them directly when they find strong candidates, giving you a direct path to the person whom ultimately makes the hiring decisions.
Working with the professionals at The Armada Group can provide access to unique opportunities that may otherwise be unavailable to the standard job seeker. Contact our team of experts today and see how our two decades of experience in the field can help you find new opportunities.