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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.

11 New Ways to Improve the Way You Hire IT Pros

It's been said so often that it's become a cliché: Every business is a software business.

That means that when you're hiring tech talent, you aren't competing for employees just against other companies in your industry. You're competing against every company in America. Coming out on top in that competition means getting smart about your approach to hiring. Here are 11 tips to help you hire faster and hire better.

Know why you're hiring.

Have a rock-solid, detailed job description, and be clear about which skills the new employee needs to have and the skills you want them to have. And while tech hiring is often about checking off acronyms and buzzwords, know what results you want the new hire to be able to deliver, not just which languages they need to be able to code in.

Help candidates be prepared for the interview.

Tests like asking candidates to open a nailed-shut window are almost totally inappropriate for hiring technical employees, but candidates will be stressed even without a stress test. Help reduce their stress so they can present themselves comfortably by making sure they know what to expect before they arrive.

Read the resume before the interview.

You can tell when a candidate doesn't research the company before the interview and it doesn't leave a good impression. Similarly, it doesn't make a good impression with the candidate if you're clearly scanning their resume for the first time while they're sitting across from you. Remember, they're evaluating you while you're evaluating them. So read their resume and check out their Linked In or Facebook profiles before you meet the candidate.

Treat it as a conversation, not an interrogation.

Yes, you need to know about the candidate's abilities and interests, but that doesn't mean you should bombard them with one question after another. Make sure the candidate has a chance to respond and ask their own questions.

Be prepared to be spontaneous.

If you've understood the requirements of the job and reviewed the candidate's resume, you should have a list of questions prepared. Make sure you ask all the necessary questions, but don't be afraid to go off script. Follow up on things the candidate says that intrigue you.

Allow the candidate room to talk.

Give candidates time to respond in detail to your questions. The interview process is about their answers, after all, so unless there's a real time crunch and some questions are mandatory, give them room to provide full explanations.

Pay attention.

When you're interviewing multiple candidates, especially on a single day, it's easy to start tuning out in the middle of the interview and thinking about the other things you need to accomplish. Avoid these distracting thoughts by planning your day around the interview rather than squeezing it into a jam-packed schedule.

Interviews shouldn't be Pass/Fail.

You're trying to hire the best candidate for the job, not just an adequate candidate for the job. Don't simply consider whether the candidate is acceptable; evaluate them in depth to be able to compare multiple candidates and find the best fit.

Let the candidate know what happens next.

Remember, you probably aren't the only company the candidate is interviewing with. Let the candidate know how long it will take to hear from you. That way, they'll know whether they should wait, get back in touch with you, or jump on another offer they've received.

Give every candidate a final Yes or No.

The candidate took time out of their day to come meet you. They deserve the courtesy of a final answer, whether to make an offer or decline to hire them.

Work with a top-tier recruiting firm.

You'll minimize the pain of the hiring process and make it far more efficient if you work with an experienced recruiting firm that can identify potential candidates and meaningfully prescreen them. The Armada Group has more than 20 years experience placing top talent in the technology industry. Contact us to learn how our skilled recruiters can help you hire faster and better.

Six Facts To Make You Change Your Hiring Strategy When it Comes to Sofware Developers

Are you using an old-fashioned hiring strategy while trying to woo candidates to work on cutting edge tech projects? If you think throwing money at potential employees is how to lure them in, think again. Today's IT workers aren't driven by money — or at least not by money alone. Take a look at what one survey found about software developers — and rethink what your hiring strategy needs to offer job seekers to get them to accept your offers.

Interesting projects are more important than money.

This means you need to sell candidates on the actual project they'll be working on. And while some jobs are clearly less exciting than others, especially maintenance and support, you can highlight what candidates will learn in those positions and how they'll have the chance to grow and move into other opportunities at your business.

Employees want to work from home.

The ability to work from home ranked third, right after money, in the things job seekers are looking for. So make sure your firm has robust support for work-from-home; if you have doubts about the practice, there are tools you can use to monitor productivity. Also recognize that working from home doesn't mean always working. So make sure your company can balance demands on employees and allow them to have a life.

Working for you should have its perks.

Employees expect their company to offer perks, such as free or discounted access to the company's product. Employees also enjoy perks like covered gym memberships. And some perks employees want are good for your business as well as the employee: software developers want perks like the chance to attend training classes and technical conferences.

Big names mean big appeal.

The employer "brand" can have significant appeal to potential employees. If you're trying to hire top-quality software engineers, you may want to spend time boosting your company's reputation first. This means you may need to improve your current employees' morale to get them talking positively about working for you.

You may need to accept less-qualified employees.

It's long been a joke in the industry that job ads ask for 3+ years of experience in technologies that have only existed for 1-2 years. But even in more established areas, such as mobile application development, you may not be able to find the level of expertise you'd like. You may need to consider hiring more junior employees and creating your own training plan to develop their capabilities.

Working with a recruiting firm can shortcut your hiring process.

Recruiters have large databases of candidates, plus the ability to prescreen resumes and match candidates to appropriate jobs. Through marketing your open positions and searching for passive job seekers, recruiters can bring you better candidates than you would find on your own. The Armada Group has more than 20 years of experience helping companies find employees. Contact us to learn how our services can change and improve your hiring strategy.