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Armada Pipeline


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.

Armada Group RecruiterSpotlight Mitch

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. 

4 Avoid HR

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.

9 Empathy


When you're searching for a new employee, you probably spend a great deal of time thinking about the skills the new employee should possess. Have you ever spent time thinking about the most important skill your recruiter should possess? Maybe you think it's a deep network of connections, or great salesmanship that turns your humdrum job description into the most appealing job in the world.


If that's what you think, you're wrong. The most important skill any recruiter has isn't the ability to create a deep network of connections; it's the ability to connect deeply with their network. Any recruiter can match the buzzwords and acronyms on a candidate's resume to the buzzwords and acronyms in your job description. (These days, it's most likely that recruiting software takes care of that task).


The hard part isn't matching skills; it's matching expectations, which are often subtly expressed or entirely unstated. But it's matching those expectations that leads to a match that not only looks good on paper but also feels good for both the employee and the employer. When it's only the technical criteria that are matched, there's often dissatisfaction on both sides of the employee-employer relationship, and the employee is likely to move on, unhappily disrupting their life and the employer's project.


Achieving the level of understanding that helps the recruiter match expectations as well as technical skills is driven by empathy. With that quality, recruiters are able to gain an understanding of the employer's work culture. They're able to take the employer's perspective and understand what's required to succeed in the workplace. This is more than how the company expresses its values in its mission statement; it's how the company expresses its values through its actions and how it treats its employees and its customers. An empathetic recruiter is also able to take the converse position and understand the employee's perspective and values. They're able to draw out the candidate to understand what motivates them besides an interest in technology and in earning a paycheck.


The recruiters at The Armada Group have been making empathic connections with employers and job seekers for more than 20 years. Contact us to learn how our empathetic insights lead to the ideal match of candidate and position.

10 Tech Mom

Working in technology can require long hours at times, so tech moms can find themselves pulled between work and family obligations. Fortunately, because of their comfort with technology, tech moms are comfortable drawing on technology as well as family to find the balance. Here are some tips:

Work from home when you need to be hands-on with the kids and hands-on at work.

If a family obligation prevents you from going into the office, make use of technology to work from home. These days, you can access every tool you'd have at your desk from your home office. Just be sure that if you need to be on a conference call, your kids are in another room.

Use mobile apps to help you get through your day.

Because your smartphone is always with you, it's a smart tool to use to plan out your day. Look for apps that help you track and coordinate everyone's calendar and check items off your to-do list.

Build a smart home.

Take advantage of Internet of Things devices to help your home run smoothly. There are smart thermostats, smart door locks, even smart plant watering systems. Most of these IoT devices let you monitor and control them from your phone, meaning you won't have to run home to make sure you locked the door.

Coordinate with colleagues.

You aren't the only one with family obligations at your workplace. Find out about your co-workers' families, and trade off support. You can swap tasks or cover for each other if you need to head home early.

Take advantage of your company's benefits.

Find out what services and support your company offers to parents. This might include on-site childcare, a nursing room, flexible schedules, and other benefits to help out parents.

Partner with your partner.

You probably aren't the only adult in your child's life. Talk to your partner, your parents, your kids' after-school coaches, and see how they can help lighten your childcare load.

Give yourself a break.

Recognize that there are always tradeoffs. You may not be a perfect mom; you may not be a perfect employee; you may not have a perfect kid. Don't aim for perfection. Aim to be happy as a mom, happy as an employee, and have a happy kid. Take a break and step away from the pressure to have it all, do it all, and be it all.

Are you a working mom trying to find the right balance in your professional and personal lives? The Armada Group can help you find a job that allows you to be your best at home and at the office.

How to Find the Real Job Behind the Enticing Description

Job descriptions may attract you to a job, but they're rarely a good description of the role. The person who prepares the description may not really know anything about the job. It may be the same description used on another job in another department. It may list technologies the project isn’t using, or omit important aspects of the job, such as on-call production support.

This means you can't simply trust a job description to tell you what skills are really needed and what you'll be doing on a day-to-day basis if you get hired. You need to do some research and ask questions to find out the truth about the job.

Ask about the technology being used on the project and in the job you're being hired for.

Most projects use multiple technologies, but not all roles will use every technology. Find out for certain which languages will be used by the job you're being interviewed for so you can be certain it's a language you want to program in.

Clarify the scope of the position.

Not all programming positions are alike. Some have you spending all your time coding to someone else's design. Other's require you to spend time talking to business users to figure out the requirements long before you write any code. There's nothing wrong with either kind of shop, as long as the responsibilities of the role match what you want to do.

Get feedback on the company from current and former employees.

During your interview, pay attention to the tone as well as the comments expressed by your interviewers. Try to gauge whether they're genuinely enthusiastic about the work and the company. If you have any contacts within the company, get their opinions about the company and the department you'd be working in. If you know people who've left the company, ask them why.

A staffing agency can also give you insight into a job and a company. The recruiters at The Armada Group are skilled at matching candidates with the right opportunity. Contact us to learn how we can help you read between the lines of a job ad to find a job that will truly advance your career.