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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
IT pros spend a lot of time dealing with computers. So it's no surprise that sometimes they interact better with machines than they do with people. This can be a problem when it comes to getting hired, because an interview isn't a coding challenge. You need to figure out the human factors to ace the test. Here's how:
Don't be arrogant.
Are you a master of arcane technical knowledge? That's great, and it's definitely important to bring that knowledge to the interview. But it's also important that you don't come across as arrogant, or impatient if an interviewer asks you more basic questions.
Along the same lines, if the interviewer describes their project to you, don't insult the work that their team has done. You can offer an honest opinion as to where you would have used the technology differently, but don't offer a harsh critique without some positive comments as well.
Find out as much as you can about the company, the project, and the team that you're interviewing for. With this information, you can tailor your responses to match what the team needs. That doesn't mean lying about your experience or your interests, but simply choosing to emphasize different aspects of your background and experience. It also lets you brush up on the technology you're likely to be asked about.
Don't talk on and on.
Many technical staff are introverted, so talking too much isn't normally their problem. But in a situation where you're nervous, like an interview, it's common to talk more than you should. Rein in your nerves, give the interviewer a chance to finish their question, and tailor your response to the specific question.
Help the interviewer see how you fit in.
The best way to win a job offer is to seem like you belong there. This isn't just about dressing appropriately; it's about showing how you can help the team. If the interviewer mentions challenges or difficulties the project team is facing, talk about similar challenges you've faced and how your experience can help the team overcome their current issue. Sharing your knowledge and solving a problem for the group even before you're hired is a great way to demonstrate your value to the employer!
The Armada Group has more than 20 years of experience matching candidates to opportunities. Our recruiters will help prepare you for your interviews with all the information you need to shine. Take a look at our hot jobs database to search for an opportunity to boost your career.
Working with a recruiter can be a great way to streamline your hiring process. By offloading the preliminary screening to a recruiter, you remain focused on your business while the recruiter filters out the unqualified applicants. You and your team only need to take time away from your daily tasks when the recruiter finds a candidate who is a solid prospect for the job.
That's the ideal outcome. If you don't work effectively with your recruiter, though, you can end up seeing many potential hires who just aren't appropriate for the position. To make sure that doesn't happen, do the following:
Choose a recruiter with expertise in technology.
Tech jobs aren't like other jobs, and technical employees aren't like other employees. Choose a recruiter who understands technology, can use appropriate technical terminology, and understands what technical candidates want from their career.
Give the recruiter time.
There are times you contact the recruiter to meet an immediate need, like when a critical employee gives notice, but if you can start working with the recruiter before the need is urgent, you'll get better results. Contact a recruiter as soon as you know you'll have headcount opening up, even if it's not immediate.
Give the recruiter an accurate, detailed job description.
Don't just hand the recruiter a list of keywords and acronyms. Tell them about the level of expertise needed in each skill, and be clear about which skills are mandatory and which are optional. Also, let the recruiter know about the non-technical skills that are necessary for the job. Ask the recruiter to have candidates complete an online skills assessment, or have them ask the candidates a fixed set of simple technical questions (which you provide answers to) in order to guarantee a baseline of competence.
Give the recruiter feedback after candidate interviews.
If the candidates the recruiter sends over don't fit the job, don't simply tell the recruiter "No." Give detailed feedback about the skills and/or personality traits that made the candidate the wrong candidate. With that guidance, the recruiter can tailor their prescreening questions more effectively and increase the chances that the next candidate will be the right candidate.
The Armada Group has spent more than 20 years connecting employers with top-tier technology workers who help companies innovate and succeed. Contact us to find talent with the skills you need to complete your projects and help your business grow.
You work at your job, but do you work at your career? Whether you're happy in your current position and can't imagine wanting to leave, or are so busy with projects inside and outside the office that you don't have time to think about it, it's dangerous to assume the job you have is safe and permanent.
Stable companies can be upended by unexpected changes in the market, leading to layoffs, and changes in technology can mean that the technical skill set that got you hired is no longer needed. In order to be prepared to cope with challenges like these, make time every year to review your career, your goals, and the actions you need to take to keep your job or find a new one.
Review Your Career Goals Regularly.
The goals you had when you took your current job may not be appropriate for you anymore. Make sure you're still excited by the opportunities that will be available to you in the future if you keep doing what you're doing. If you aren't, identify where you want to go next on your career journey and what you need to do to get there.
Build Your Network.
If something happens and your current position was to go away, the best way to find a new opportunity is through talking with your contacts. Take advantage of LinkedIn and in-person networking opportunities to stay in touch and update your former colleagues with what's happening in your professional career and to make new professional connections.
Learn a New Skill.
Know what industry changes are happening and take a class or work on a personal project using one of the new technologies that's becoming popular. You should also work on developing your interpersonal skills, because those will help you impress on interviews as well as succeed at the office.
Keep an Eye on the Job Market.
Even if you don't expect to transition to a new job this year, become aware of what technologies and roles are in demand. You should also track the salaries being offered for the job you currently have; it's common for long-term employees to lag behind market rates as raises don't keep pace.
Be Aware of What's Happening in Your Company.
The better you're plugged in at your workplace, the less surprised you'll be by anything that happens. Maintain a good relationship with your boss, and take advantage of one-on-one and skip-level meetings to gain insight into corporate plans.
Talking with recruiters is also a great way to become informed of what's happening in the job market. A recruiter can let you know what openings exist and what changes they see happening. At the Armada Group, our hot jobs database lets you see what skills companies are hiring. Check out what's in demand, and if you decide you're ready for a change after all, contact us to start getting connected to opportunity.
If there was something easy you could do to make yourself stand out from other job seekers, you would do it, right? Well, there is something you can do that your competition doesn't: include a cover letter when you submit your resume through an online job application. Rather than skipping over that optional field, take advantage of it to sell yourself and highlight your skills in ways that just uploading your resume fails to do.
You'll stand out.
For starters, most people who upload their resume won't include a cover letter, so you'll stand out. Taking the time to write a cover letter emphasizes you have real interest in this position.
You can explain how you fit.
While it's true a lot of resumes are scanned and matched for keywords, your cover letter can help explain how you match the job opportunity even if it isn't obvious from your work history.
You demonstrate writing skills.
One place resumes fall down is in demonstrating communication skills. Incomplete sentences are the norm and sections tend to be a single paragraph per heading. Writing a cover letter lets you demonstrate you can write effectively, which is still a necessary skill on technical jobs.
You make reviewing your resume personal.
Cover letters tell the person reviewing your documents something personal about your goals. You're no longer an anonymous stranger, and they'll connect better with the details included on your resume.
You can be creative.
Resumes are formulaic, and by the time they get in front of a reviewer, they may be stripped down to fit inside the company's candidates database format. Your cover letter provides an opportunity to present your information structured differently and make it more enjoyable for the reviewer.
Whether you're ready to find a new job or need to hire the best, The Armada Group's recruiters work to match the right job to the right candidate. Rather than sending cookie-cutter resumes, we work to personalize the job-hunting process and help candidates stand out in the search. Contact us to learn how our services can help make the job hunt and hiring processes faster and easier for you.