the most thorough way

The more you know about a company before going in for an interview, the better you'll do. You'll have a comfort level of knowledge about what they're looking for, and you'll be able to highlight your skills and experience to match their needs. Understanding a potential employer requires more than simply glancing at their website. Follow this list of things you should do to thoroughly research a company before your interview.

Look at the company website.

Start here, and dig far beyond the landing page. Read about the company's mission, their values, and their products. Take a look at the biographies of management and employees to see if your background is similar. Explore the recruiting section thoroughly; it may tell you what to expect when you come in to the office. There may be interviews or videos with current employees telling you what it's like to work for the company. If they have the information publicly available, read through the benefits section to get a sense of how employees are really treated. Check out their competitors, too, to see how they compare.

Check out the company's social media.

Take a look at the company's posts on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. The first two will let you see how the company interacts with the public and whether there are lots of complaints about their products. LinkedIn offers a more professional view of the company. You can view profiles of company employees and see any posts offering perspectives on the industry.

Hear what employees have to say.

If you have friends who work for the company, ask them for the true inside scoop. While their opinions are the best source, knowing the person lets you know how much weight to give their opinion. Are they perpetually happy, go-with-the-flow types or does every little thing upset them? Use that to give some shade to the information they share. If you don't have friends who work for the company, search for online reviews at sites like Glassdoor. Just be aware that the review sites may not verify that the commenter really works for the company, and you don't have all the necessary information to decide if their opinion is valid.

When you've done your company and industry research and are ready for the interview, The Armada Group will match you to the right open position. Contact us and let our recruiters help prepare you for your interviews and the next step in your career.

Thursday, Jul 21 2016

How Developers Want to be Recruited

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Recruiting new employees is as much about wooing as is it about screening. You want to find the right hire, and that requires attracting candidates who can help your projects succeed as well as screening out those who just don't fit. In order to draw candidates to you, treat them the way they want to be treated. When it comes to recruiting developers, this means:

Go beyond acronyms.

Developer resumes are filled with acronyms and buzzwords, which present easy filtering criteria. Think about it from the developer's perspective, though: the acronyms on their resume represent every technology they've ever worked with, not just the tech they work with now or the tech they want to work with in the future. Instead of mass mailing or calling every candidate with the skills you need on their resume, take the time to read the resume and see if their experience with that skill is recent. You might think it's more efficient to let the candidates screen themselves out, but overloading their inboxes with inappropriate job listings hurts your reputation and can cause candidates to ignore every mail from you – even if it describes a job they'd be perfect for.

Don't rely on interviews.

Sure, development is a team effort and everyone needs to be able to interact with their peers. But unless you're hiring a lead or support role, most programming jobs are more about spending time with a keyboard than time with people. So while the interview is necessary, don't overemphasize it; many developers simply are introverts and won't do well when pinned down for verbal answers. Instead, use tests to verify a candidate's technical ability to do the job. And when you give those tests, don't make developers talk through their solution standing in front of a white board. No one works that way in reality. Instead, let the programmers develop their solution sitting in front of a computer – the way they will when they're on the job.

Present the job the way it really is.

Both resumes and job descriptions have an element of exaggeration to them; after all, they're both advertisements, in a way. Despite that, don't stretch the truth in your job description or when speaking with candidates in person. Don't try to make the job seem more exciting than it really is. If it's mostly maintenance of existing code rather than new development or there's little opportunity for advancement, be honest about that. It might cost you the chance to hire this particular candidate, but hiring someone who then quits because the job isn't what they signed up for is more expensive.

The Armada Group has been recruiting top technical employees for more than 20 years. We understand the way developers think and what they're looking for at work, and are the experts at matching developers to opportunities. Contact us to talk about your hiring needs and how we can help you recruit the right developer the right way.

Thursday, Jul 14 2016

Why are Python Careers so Popular?

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Picking the right technology to learn is important to position yourself for job and career success. Languages and technology vary in how in-demand they are in industry; if you choose to learn a language that's in high demand, you'll have lots of opportunities to choose from. For developers today, the language to learn is Python.

Python is Easy to Learn

Learning Python is relatively easy, compared to other programming languages. The syntax isn't cluttered with brackets; you don't need to declare variables and can just use them as you need them. There's less code needed to accomplish basic tasks. Because the language is object oriented and has built-in support for data structures like lists, programmers can quickly start building application functionality rather than application infrastructure. Because it's interpreted, you can easily test the code you write as you go along, rather than needing to define a complicated and time-consuming build process. 

Python is Used in Industry

One of the biggest companies pushing Python is Google, where it's used as part of the Google App Engine and YouTube. With Google a major driver of technical innovation, it's no surprise that its support for the language has boosted its popularity. Other major companies that use Python cross every industry you can think of—the list includes Yahoo, Industrial Light & Magic, ABN AMRO, the National Weather Service, and more.

These companies like Python because it is efficient and powerful, and there are numerous libraries and frameworks that make developing substantial applications. Django is a popular framework for web development, and other frameworks provide features such as numerical analysis. The language is also portable, with versions that run on any platform, giving companies the flexibility of supporting multiple operating systems.

Python Gets You Hired

There's continued to be an increase in need for Python programmers, making them among the most in-demand and highest-paid developers. If you've got top Python skills and are ready to take on a new opportunity, The Armada Group can help you find a job that'll challenge and excite you. Contact us to start your search. 

ux

You may think hiring decisions are made in the face-to-face interaction between a candidate and hiring manager at an interview. But the reality is that the most crucial hiring decision comes long before the candidate ever arrives at the job site for that interview; it comes when the potential employee decides whether or not they want to apply for the job.

These days, the candidate almost certainly finds out about a job and fills out their application online. When a candidate submits an application, that's like completing the checkout process at an online store; when they don't, that's equivalent to abandoning their shopping cart.

By realizing candidates are your recruiting processes' end user, you can apply the methods of user experience design to create a candidate experience that doesn't drive away potential employees.

As with any user experience design, the user needs to be part of the design. While your systems need to be designed to support the HR and recruiting teams, they aren't the only users – depending on your objectives, they may not even be the most important users.

This means companies need to interact with candidates not only to decide whether to hire them but to get their feedback on the systems and process. Simple surveys likely aren't enough to capture the deep understanding of user attitudes.

You may not be able to induce candidates who choose not to apply to talk with you about why not, and candidates who don't get the job may not be interested in talking with you any longer, but you should be able to glean solid feedback from the potential employees who become actual employees. Integrate collecting feedback about the online hiring process into your onboarding process; by making it a routine task, you won't miss any opportunity for gathering data.

Then make sure that data doesn't simply go into a report but is actually acted upon to improve your systems. Remember you want to encourage candidates to apply and keep streamlining the process as your goal. While systems can't be replaced overnight, there will always be a need to hire new employees, so you should always be motivated to make changes as soon as possible.

Whether or not your online process is candidate-friendly, positive word of mouth will encourage potential applicants to press "submit." When you work with The Armada Group, our recruiters take the time to fully understand what you're looking for in talent so we can help candidates understand why they should want to work for you. Contact us to start improving your candidate experience now.

contract employees are the future

The gig economy isn't just for Uber drivers. Companies are also turning to contract employees for skilled work, including in the technology industry. There are several reasons for this outsourcing:

Contract employees offer companies flexibility.

Companies today need to be able to respond to changing business demands and scale up or down quickly. Through using contract employees, companies are able to add or shed workers easily in response to growth or other changes in the business environment.

Technology enables remote work.

The internet, virtual desktops, and video conferencing all mean that people don't need to be in the same place to get work done. Documents and other resources are easily shared no matter where people are located, so companies don't need all their employees working in one office.

Contract employees offer special skills.

Companies sometimes need a specific skill for a short time, to fill a specific gap in their teams. If they don’t have many projects that will utilize that skill, it's difficult to justify adding a permanent employee just to add that skill to the team. By bringing in contractors, the employer gets the skills they need without making a long-term commitment. Employers also use contractors to help train their existing workers when there's a mismatch between the skills they have and the skills they'll need going forward.

Hiring contractors is cost-effective.

When companies hire contractors, the contractor is paid for their work, but the hiring company doesn't have the expenses of benefits like health insurance, 401K matching, unemployment insurance or contributing the company's share of Social Security taxes. Companies also don't withhold taxes on behalf of the contractor.

There are different legal obligations between employers and contractors than there are between employers and employees. One of the main legal obligations employers have is to classify their workers correctly; companies cannot simply call a worker a contractor in order to avoid paying unemployment costs. In order to avoid the risks of being accused of misclassifying workers, many companies prefer to hire contractors who operate as employees of a contracting agency.

The Armada Group helps companies fill their staffing needs whether they want to hire permanent employees, use a contract-to-hire model to help evaluate potential employees, or add contractors on an as-needed basis. Contact us to learn how our services can help your company grow.

4 things before returning to work

There are many reasons for stepping off the career track. Raising children, caring for parents, pursuing a passion, or simply taking a much-needed sabbatical all take people away from the office. Having an answer ready for the inevitable question about the gap on your resume is important, but it's not the only thing you need to do to get ready to return to work. Here are four key things to do before you start searching the job listings.

Figure out what you want to do.

While you may want to step right back into the role you stepped out of, your industry will have changed while you were away. You will have changed while you were away, too. The role you used to have may no longer exist, or it may not suit you any more. Rather than trying to reclaim your old job, take time to think about what new job fits the person you are now.

Upgrade your skills.

Especially in technical fields, many companies use online tests to prescreen candidates and verify they have the level of technical ability they claim. No matter how solid your skills were before your break, if you haven't been using them every day, you'll have grown rusty. Take time to refresh your memory of the details of your specialty. You may also want to pursue a certification in an old or new technical skill. Not only will the certification prove you have a base level of skill, it demonstrates to potential employers that you're serious and ready to return to work.

Reach out to your old network.

Get the scoop on what's going on in your industry from your former colleagues. They can tell you about opportunities, but more important, they can tell you about the challenges their companies and the industry are facing. With that inside information, you can tailor the way you present yourself to demonstrate that you can help a potential employer overcome those issues.

Prepare your family for the change.

If your time off was to take care of loved ones, when you return to work, it will change their lives as well. Make sure you've made all the necessary arrangements for their care when you're at work, so you'll be able to focus on the job and not worry about how they're doing. Depending on their ages and circumstances, explain why you're going to work and how it will impact them, so they won't worry either. Understand this can be a difficult transition for everyone, and allow time for the adjustment.

Are you ready to return to work? The Armada Group is ready to help you find the right job and reenter the workforce. Contact us to learn how our expert recruiters can help you speed your search so you can get back to work quickly.