Your first 90 days on the job are critical. During that period, your coworkers learn what to expect from you and managers are deciding whether you were actually a good hire or not. Your initial few months at your new company set the tone, and missteps during this time can haunt you.
Luckily, there are things you can do to make sure that you shine during your first 90 days. If you want to make sure you make the best impression, here’s what you need to do.
Find the Flow
Every workplace has patterns. They may expect certain tasks to be completed in a particular order or have an innate understanding that some phrases should be interpreted in a specific way.
By finding the flow, you can integrate yourself into what is already there. Not only does this makes you seem like a more natural fit, but it can also save you a lot of frustration. Instead of pushing against the norm, you are recognizing it and working with it, which is going to be universally appreciated.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you can’t be a champion for change in the future. However, coming into a new workplace and asking people to conform to what you want isn’t going to win you any allies. Similarly, telling a group of colleagues that you don’t know well that their wrong is going to leave a sour taste in their mouths.
Always strive to make yourself a part of how things are first, as this gives you a chance to have the full experience. Plus, you may learn that things are the way they are for a reason, and that change isn’t actually necessary. If you do have a potentially beneficial idea, then you can share it once you garner the respect of your colleagues, and that usually won’t happen in the first 90 days.
Seek Out Expectations
Exceeding expectations is usually a great way to make a positive impression. However, you can only do that if you actually understand what expectations exist in the first place.
If your manager hasn’t clearly defined any expectations, objectives, or goals associated with your role, schedule a meeting and ask about them. You can also talk to your coworkers about what they anticipate you’ll be able to provide, giving you an idea of how they think your position fits into the bigger picture.
As you learn about the expectations, don’t make grand promises about exceeding them. Instead, acknowledge them and make commitments that give you a little breathing room whenever possible. Remember, it can take time to familiarize yourself with a new environment, so it’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver in the beginning.
Contact The Armada Group for More Help with Your Career!
By following the tips above, you can excel during your first 90 days on the job. If you would like to learn more about making a great first impression, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your questions with one of our skilled team members today and see how our workplace expertise can benefit you.
When it comes to motivating your staff to remain productive during the holidays, money is only one solution. While holiday or year-end bonuses can raise morale, not every business can afford to shell out a significant amount of cash.
Luckily, there are simple things you can do to keep your tech team engaged during this hectic holiday season. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are a few tips to help you get started.
Close the Office (or At Least Offer Flexible Scheduling)
Many tech professionals feel guilty if they take time off around the holidays, especially if it tends to be a busy period for the company. Additionally, many wonder if it is worth the effort if they are going to be contacted regardless of whether they are on vacation, making their time away feel like work anyway.
If possible, consider closing your office on more than just the federal holidays. That way, everyone gets time away and the likelihood that they’ll be contacted by their manager or coworkers during their time off decreases dramatically.
However, if that isn’t an option, consider institution a flexible scheduling policy. Give your tech team some level of control over when they are available, allowing them to handle personal obligations while still covering their duties. Even if you need to make certain core work hours mandatory, adding some flexibility can go a long way when you need to boost engagement.
Embrace Telecommuting to Promote Work-Life Balance
The ability to work remotely can alleviate stress. It allows your tech professionals to work in environments where they are comfortable and spend more time with their friends and family since they don't have to accommodate their commute.
Often, your employees will be at least as productive at home as they are in the office. If a worker’s duties tend to require concentration and focus, they may even be more productive when telecommuting as they don’t have to deal with any office-related distractions.
Plus, your team can work remotely from nearly anywhere as long as they have a suitable internet connection. This can even allow them to travel during the holidays without having to take time off, something that can keep your team productive and engaged.
Recognize Their Contributions
Even if you aren’t offering bonuses, recognition can help boost engagement during the holidays. When employees feel that their efforts are seen and appreciated, they feel more connected to their employer. This can boost morale and enhance productivity, allowing your tech team to be at their best.
Anything from a simple “thank you” to small gifts to a catered lunch can make a difference. Consider what options are both meaningful and affordable, and make sure to make recognition a priority.
Learn More About How The Armada Group Can Boost Your Hiring Efforts!
If you are interested in learning more about increasing engagement, the skilled team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our workplace productivity expertise can benefit you this holiday season and beyond.
Top performing site reliability engineers (SREs) often have a few things in common. While technical prowess is a given, they also share a certain attitude toward their role and how their efforts integrate into the larger picture. If you are looking to excel in the field, here are seven things you can do to be a successful SRE.
Look at the Big Picture
Exceptional SREs always have the big picture in mind. They are able to analyze how each change could impact the business today as well as in the future. This ability to look beyond the now to effectively consider risk and future impacts is a critical habit for anyone who wants to be successful in the field.
Similar to the point above, great SREs are able to determine how their efforts impact others, including the system itself and their coworkers. They strive to break down informational silos and aim to always keep the work of others in the back of their mind, ensuring their changes don’t harm the business by negatively affecting the team.
Let Go of Duds
At times, an SRE has to determine if a process or procedure is actually enhancing productivity. In cases where a well-intentioned effort isn’t panning out, you have to be able to let it go and move on. This means making efficiency and quality results a priority, no matter how much time was dedicated to an approach that isn’t actually beneficial.
For some IT professionals, automation feels like a threat to their jobs. However, in many cases, it serves as a way to increase accuracy and efficiency while simultaneously freeing you up to focus on tasks that genuinely require your attention. This is especially true of monotonous, tedious, or repetitive work where opting to automate can actually be a source of relief.
Be an Advocate for Change
At times, you’ll need to convince organizational leaders and stakeholders to make a critical change, such as automating a particular task, that provides a substantial benefit but seems to go against tradition. A top-notch SRE understands that being a confident advocate in these instances is a necessity, and they strive to acquire the skills it takes to do so effectively.
Make Learning a Priority
Technology changes at a rapid pace, so trying to avoid the inevitable often means your skill set suffers. Talented SREs understand the value in embracing every learning opportunity, both as a means of future-proofing their skill set as well as increasing efficiency and productivity.
Strive for Better
While perfection is impossible, as preventing a system from ever breaking down isn’t realistic, successful SREs know that always striving to be better is a critical mindset to maintain. It ensures you remain open-minded about change, allowing you to adjust continuously if something will produce better results.
If you would like to learn more about what successful SREs are doing, the professionals at The Armada Group would be happy to answer any questions you may have. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members today and see how our technical expertise can benefit you.
Many Netflix employees extol the virtues of the company’s generous benefits package and positive corporate culture. However, one interesting aspect that often garners positive attention is actually Netflix’s termination policy.
If you are wondering why employees embrace Netflix’s approach to assessing whether a worker should stay or be let go, here’s what you need to know about their unique approach.
The “Keeper Test”
Netflix understands that to build strong teams, every member needs to provide value. As a means of determining whether an employee is meeting the needs of the business, they are subject to the “keeper test.”
With the keeper test, managers consider one key question: If the employee was considering leaving Netflix for another company, would I strive to convince them to stay? If the manager would answer that with a “no,” then the person is either terminated or encouraged to leave on their own.
The approach is designed to ensure that only “highly effective” workers are retained. Not only does it ensure that mediocre employees don’t bog down their teams, but it also motivates employees to always be at their best, as everyone is subject to the seemingly ruthless evaluation.
Netflix has also employed a formal tool, known as “360,” to give everyone the ability to review anyone else in the company, including CEO Reed Hastings. Additionally, it provides every worker with insight into why any person has been let go, a critical part of the company’s transparency-focused culture.
Together, they help managers to determine which employees are actually worth keeping. Additionally, it even leads to shakeups at the upper levels of the corporate hierarchy, serving as a non-traditional playbook for making retention decisions.
Is Emulating Netflix Wise?
Ultimately, when combined, the keeper test and 360 are meant to promote objectivity when it comes to hiring decisions. It removes emotions from much of the process, as whether an employee is liked is less important than if they are effective and productive. While this can certainly be beneficial, it doesn’t mean Netflix’s model is ideal for every business.
In some cases, the risk of being quickly terminated can lead some to constantly fear being fired, even if they don’t make a mistake. This can increase stress and potentially harm productivity, even in top performers if they have a tendency toward anxiety.
Similarly, it relies on management being able to set emotion aside at all times, which isn’t something everyone can do. Further, a good employee who is well liked may be better in your company than a tremendous talent whose personality clashes with the rest of the team, something that can breed conflict and harm overall productivity.
However, that doesn’t mean that companies can’t learn from Netflix’s approach, particularly if there is a tendency to keep mediocre workers without just cause.
If you would like to learn more about effective internal policies, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your questions or concerns with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our workplace expertise can benefit you.
Toxic workplaces are incredibly damaging to morale and are often considered the leading cause of employee burnout. While most professionals would never willingly accept a role in such an environment, it is often hard to understand the severity of the situation until you are in it personally. At times, this occurs once you begin a new job. In others, the existing culture morphs into something toxic over time, leaving you a bit stuck.
If you find yourself in a toxic work environment, there are things you can do to make it more manageable. Here’s how to get started.
Resist the Urge to Join In
When it comes to a toxic culture, the old adage, “if you can’t beat them, join them,” should not apply. While going along with the crowd may seem like the easiest way to avoid becoming a target of negativity, it is almost guaranteed to damage your reputation both inside and out of the company. This can make it harder to secure new opportunities when the need arises.
Similarly, it can also reflect poorly on you as an employee. Even if a workplace is toxic, that attitude rarely extends to everyone. If those above you on the ladder notice your change if behavior, it can harm your ability to grow professionally.
Build a Support Network
Having colleagues or other professionals you can trust in your corner can make it easier to survive in a toxic workplace. If you have a few coworkers you can rely on it may be easier to keep your spirits up and avoid negative incidents.
Additionally, having a large professional network increases your odds of learning about new opportunities in companies with more favorable conditions. Then, you may be able to make a speedy exit to greener pastures if you feel that is the best course of action.
Enhance Your Skills
Even the most toxic workplaces have something to offer. If you get a chance to join interesting projects or acquire new knowledge, make sure to take advantage of them. This gives you more to showcase on your resume, increasing the odds that when you apply elsewhere that you’ll impress the hiring manager.
Document What Happens
If you are exposed to toxic events, make sure to keep copious notes about what occurs. Save any emails, record information after meetings, and otherwise track what happened and when it happened.
By documenting everything, you give yourself the evidence you need to either push for change or to simply protect yourself, both of which can be valuable in their own right.
Ultimately, by following the tips above, you can survive a toxic workplace. Then, if you feel like you need to make a change, you can do so at your own pace and without undue pressure to escape. If you would like to learn more about how to deal with a toxic environment or are seeking a new position, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to speak with one of our knowledgeable recruiters and see how our workplace expertise can benefit you.
While having the right mix of skills and experience is critical to landing a new role, how you dress and present yourself during your job interview can also be a factor in whether you are selected for the position. By putting additional effort into your appearance, you can inspire confidence in the hiring manager. Plus, by learning to control your body language, it is possible to use your mannerisms to your benefit.
If you are wondering how to make the best impression possible, here is what you need to know about your appearance and body language during an interview.
How to Select Your Attire
How you look plays a role in how you are perceived and can significantly impact your first impression on the hiring manager. People will make assumptions about your competence, intelligence, attention to detail, and trustworthiness based on your appearance, so selecting the right attire is an essential part of preparing for an interview.
First and foremost, all of your interview clothes need to be in good repair. Holes and stains are guaranteed to leave a poor impression, so they need to be avoided at all costs. Similarly, every piece needs to fit well, as loose clothing makes a person appear disheveled while items that are too tight may seem inappropriate in a professional setting.
Additionally, you want to make sure your attire isn’t rumpled when you arrive. While you may not be able to prevent every wrinkle before you come in for your interview, ironing your outfit before you leave home can be beneficial.
If you aren’t sure what sort of clothing is appropriate for the environment, always err on the side of more dressed up and conservative. In many cases, business casual is a solid choice, but it’s hard to go wrong with a classic suit and tie or similar outfit if you aren’t sure what the hiring manager expects.
Master Your Body Language
During your interview, your body language can be just as important as the words you use when answering a question. By using positive body language, like sufficient eye contact and smiling, you increase your odds the hiring manager will see you as a competent professional.
Similarly, learning to maintain an open posture can help you seem friendlier and more self-assured while using power poses and standing or sitting up straight can make you appear more confident.
When you rehearse your interview responses prior to the meeting, spend some time reciting your answers in front of a mirror. This will allow you to observe your mannerisms, giving you a chance to adjust your body language to send the ideal message.
Ultimately, your appearance and body language do matter during a job interview, so working to improve them both can increase your odds of being selected for the role. If you are interested in learning more about how you can make a positive impression on hiring managers, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members today and see how our hiring expertise can benefit you.
When you are looking for a new job, finding a company that offers more than just a competitive salary is a must. If the cultural fit isn’t right, you might not be satisfied in the role, even if the compensation package meets your needs.
Often, assessing a company’s culture during the hiring process isn’t easy. While you may be able to gain insights from the organization’s website and social media pages, or through employee reviews on sites like Glassdoor, these only provide a glimpse into the environment. Luckily, they aren’t your only options for determining cultural fit.
If you want to make sure the company’s culture is the right fit for you, here are some questions you can ask during your interview.
What Do You Like Most About Working Here?
While the question may seem obvious, or even bordering on cliché, it’s also incredibly valuable. If the hiring manager can quickly provide a meaningful response, that’s usually a good indication the environment is positive. In contrast, if they struggle to give you an answer or their response feels shallow, that could be a sign of trouble.
Ideally, the hiring manager should be able to share details about why the company is a great employer. Then, you can consider their perspective and see if those aspects are similarly enticing to you. However, if they can’t, that could signal the company’s culture is lacking in some regard, and it may be wise to continue your job search.
How is Feedback Usually Delivered?
Asking about feedback creates multiple opportunities for you to assess the company’s culture. First, managers that provide guidance regularly are often invested in the growth and development of their teams, as long as they focus on being constructive. In contrast, if the hiring managers only answer involves annual performance evaluations, it could indicate they aren’t as focused in those areas.
Second, how feedback is provided can be critical to your job satisfaction. For example, if a business favors peer review, and that isn’t a paradigm you prefer, that might make the job a less-than-ideal fit. However, if you appreciate continuous, small doses of feedback and that’s the approach the manager uses, you may feel more confident about the cultural fit.
Who Else Is on the Team?
In nearly any job, you’re going to spend a significant amount of time interacting with your teammates. By asking this question, you can gain a variety of insights about their personalities and positions, both of which can clue you into the company’s and group’s cultures. This may allow you to assess whether it’s a team you’ll mesh with or if conflicts may be inevitable.
Ultimately, by asking the questions above, you can gather valuable information that can allow you to assess whether the company is the right cultural fit, ensuring you only accept a role in an environment that meets your needs.
If you are interested in learning more or are seeking out new employment opportunities, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your ideal company culture today and see how our expertise can benefit you.
When you apply for a job, it may be days, weeks, or even months before you hear back about an opportunity. During that time, you might land a new position, have a change in your personal circumstances, or simply become less interested in a particular role. Then, if you get an invitation to interview for the job, you find yourself in a tough spot.
While some would argue that you should attend every interview, even if it’s solely for the practice, that isn’t always a practical choice. Plus, it means potentially wasting the hiring manager’s time, and that might not be something you want to do if you don’t want to burn bridges at that company.
Luckily, it is possible to turn down a tech job interview invitation without harming your reputation with the hiring manager. If you aren’t sure how to manage the situation, here is the most amicable way to decline the opportunity.
Express Your Appreciation
Being asked to interview is something to be grateful for, even if you no longer want to pursue the job. By expressing your appreciation to the hiring manager, you are more likely to make a positive impression, even if you are declining the opportunity.
Let the hiring manager that you are thankful that they reached out before you say anything else, as your gratitude will help soften the next part of your response.
If you are turning down a tech job interview, you don’t want to be ambiguous. Instead, you need to clearly state that you are declining the opportunity.
For example, saying, “I am unable to attend” might suggest to the hiring manager that the date or time doesn’t work, but that you are still interested in interviewing. This can lead to an awkward and unnecessary back and forth that could have been avoided had you been clear from the beginning. Instead, let them know that you “need to decline the opportunity,” removing any question about your intention or interest in attending.
Whether you provide a reason is up to you. However, if you do choose to let the hiring manager know what you are declining, make sure to keep it both vague and brief. Additionally, by honest if you opt to provide a reason, as a fib could come back to haunt you later.
End on a Positive
After declining the interview, it’s wise to end on a high note. Before you close, consider saying something positive about the company. You can also add that you are confident they will find a great candidate for the role.
You don’t have to be overly specific, but adding some positive can increase your odds of being remembered fondly should you decide to apply to a role in the company in the future.
By using the tips above, you can gracefully decline a tech job interview. If you are interested in learning more, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us with your questions today and see how our expertise can benefit you.
At some point, nearly everyone experiences stress related to their boss. However, when your manager is genuinely incompetent, dealing with the situation can be incredibly taxing.
While severe ineptitude is generally rare in the workplace, it does occur. Usually, it is the result of an individual receiving a promotion for the wrong reasons or being tasked to oversee positions when they aren’t overly familiar with the person’s specialty.
Luckily, it is possible to thrive at work, even if you have an incompetent boss, though it does require getting into the proper mindset. Here’s how to get started.
What may initially appear to be incompetence may, in fact, be something quite different. If your boss is overtasked or under significant pressure, their missteps may be the result of those stresses and not a lack of understanding.
By assuming an empathetic mindset, you may be better equipped to discover the nature of the issue. This could lead to a revelation that they aren’t actually incompetent or at least make it easier to understand that bosses, like all people, are human and can make mistakes.
Sometimes, your frustration can cloud your judgment, making it hard to find a reasonable approach to the situation. If this occurs, requesting advice from a trusted colleague or mentor may help you gain perspective and find workable solutions, giving you the tools necessary to cope with an incompetent boss.
When you discuss an issue with your boss or have a request, don’t just approach them with the problem. Instead, also provide them with potential solutions that can help them fulfill your needs. For example, if you need their help, require their input, or need permission to go forward in a particular direction, make that clear. Then, if your boss can’t fulfill that need, present an alternative that allows you to get what you need.
This approach allows you to help your boss solve the problem, making the entire situation easier on everyone.
Prolonged periods of stress can be harmful to your health, so practicing self-care is a necessity while you navigate the situation. For example, resist the urge to victimize yourself or spend a significant amount of time complaining to others, an approach that typically doesn’t yield positive results.
Instead, focus on the positives of your job and use those points to stay motivated and happy, limiting the psychological impact of working for an incompetent boss.
In some cases, looking for a new job may be the best solution if your manager is genuinely incompetent. It gives you the ability to find a boss and environment that better meets your needs, allowing you to obtain greater job satisfaction and reduce stress.
If you are interested in finding a new position, the skilled professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with leading employers throughout the area. Contact us to discuss your ideal role today and see how our services can benefit you.
Burnout is a serious problem in the IT field. Often, work overload is assumed to be the largest contributing factor, particularly since unemployment is low and many companies can’t fill all of their vacant tech position.
While being over-tasked is a significant factor in burnout, it isn’t the biggest one present in workplaces today. Additionally, there are many other reasons as to why a tech pro may burnout, showing that workloads are only part of the larger puzzle.
The Biggest Factor of Tech Pro Burnout
A recent survey of IT professionals indicated that “poor leadership and unclear direction” was the largest contributing factor to burnout, representing 23 percent of the responses. This is four percentage points higher than the second-place contributor, “work overload.”
The results of the survey showcase the value of strong leadership within an organization, particularly one where the mission and the company’s vision are clear and serve as sources of guidance and inspiration. Similarly, it highlights the importance of direct managers functioning as leaders to their team, something that often requires clear communication and expectations.
However, “work overload” is still a significant cause of burnout for tech professionals, so this point shouldn’t be discounted. If tech teams are constantly tasked with more than they can manage, leading to long periods of mandatory overtime, burnout may be inevitable for some. But, even if additional hours aren’t required, the feeling that catching up is impossible can be just as damaging to morale.
Other Top Reasons for Burnout
Not far behind “work overload,” which came in at 19 percent, was “toxic culture” with 18 percent of the responses. This suggests that many tech businesses and departments are still experiencing culture issues, leading many to turn away from the field or seek out opportunities with other companies.
A “lack of control and career growth” as well as “insufficient reward” were also cited as top reasons for burnout, with 15 and 12 percent respectively. This could also indicate the importance of being appreciated or acknowledged in the workplace along with giving employees a sense of autonomy and room to advance.
Only about 10 percent of survey participants claimed that “burnout isn’t a problem” at their workplaces.
Ultimately, burnout continues to plague tech pros at a range of companies, both inside and outside of the tech industry. At times, problems can be remedied, allowing employees at risk of burnout to recover. However, if companies continue to provide poor leadership experiences, overload their workers, maintain toxic cultures, or not correct any of the other causes of burnout, workers will likely feel forced to seek out opportunities elsewhere to escape the situation.
If you are interested in learning more about how to combat burnout in the workplace, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our workplace expertise can benefit you.