5 Non-Traditional Interview Questions to Uncover the Best Candidates

There is no doubt that the standard interview has weaknesses. The interview as a hiring tool is not going away any time soon — but recruiters and hiring managers need a way to strengthen this process in order to make better decisions and find the right candidates for the job.

While your interview format should still retain some standard questions, you can uncover the best candidates by adding nontraditional questions into the mix. Here are five unexpected interview questions that will help you refine your hiring process and select great candidates for your open positions.

1. What is your definition of success?

This question is similar to the standard “what are your career goals” line, but it places a slightly different emphasis on a candidate’s aspirations. By asking interviewees to give their own definition of success – without tying it specifically to the position they’re interviewing for – you’ll know not only what their goals are in terms of working for your company, but also whether they’re looking for a long-term career or just a paycheck. You can also gain insight into whether the position is a good fit for them.

2. What are the first three things you do when you arrive at work?

This nontraditional question gives you a look at the candidate’s work style, level of organization, and work ethic. Everyone has a different method of dealing with their work day, but the answer to this question should indicate that the candidate handles tasks in a timely and efficient manner. In addition, you’ll discover more about their relevant skills and knowledge through their response.

3. What types of people bother you?

Regardless of the position, the ability to work within a team is important for any candidate. Asking this question gives you insight into a candidate’s cultural fit, so you can gauge how well they’ll get along with your existing team. Honesty in divulging a few pet peeves is fine as a response, but if a candidate either states that they get along with everyone, or churns out a laundry list of complaints, these could be potential red flags.

4. What are the most effective approaches for managing you?

This question can give you insight on both cultural fit and the candidate’s working style — whether they’re low-maintenance and function best with little to no guidance, or perform well under detailed direction and support. Depending on the existing managerial style at your organization, a candidate’s response may signal an ideal fit, or a potential problem aligning with your leadership.

5. Please list and rank factors that affect your job acceptance.

With this question, you can find out what a candidate is looking for in terms of deciding on the right job for them. This is a more subtle way to uncover candidates’ salary and benefits expectations, willingness to perform, and what they believe the position will entail — which will hopefully align with the actual job description. You can also use this question to make the right offer and win over top talent who may be considering positions at other companies.

In today’s connected business environment, answers to standard interview questions are readily available to determined candidates. Asking both standard and nontraditional interview questions ensures that you’ll receive more than rehearsed responses, and helps you determine which candidates are the best choice for your organization. Speak to the staffing experts at The Armada Group today to learn how unconventional interview practices can expedite your hiring process.

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Published in Recruiting

 

Micro-jobbing takes your data science strategy to the next level

An uncertain economy has given rise to a variety of non-traditional employment scenarios. The expanding popularity of contractors, temporary employees, and freelance workers has launched a new variation on independent contractor arrangements, called micro-jobbing — and there are many ways this freelance-style platform can benefit your business.

What is micro-jobbing?

Like contractors, micro-jobbers are independent employees who contract their services to companies or individuals. The primary difference between traditional contractors and micro-jobbers is the length of the job. While independent contractors typically work on projects for several months to a year, micro-jobbers take on smaller tasks that can be completed in days to weeks.

Therefore, the scope of micro-jobbing projects is smaller than that of contracting jobs. Where a contractor might design and implement a new software application for a company, a micro-jobber may offer services as an independent tester, or create a new feature for an existing application.

Micro-jobbing and data science

Many people perceive micro-jobbers as third-rate outsourcers who may be from a foreign company and probably offer low-quality work for equally low prices. However, micro-jobbing is a viable platform for a lot of top talent — creative and motivated individuals who prefer not to work in an office environment, and enjoy choosing their own jobs and setting their own hours.

Data science is a complex field, but many skilled micro-jobbers have recognized the market value of this skill set and acquired experience in fields like information management, data filtering, and predictive analytics. There are a number of data science micro-job tasks that can add value to any IT department.

The benefits of micro-jobbing

Micro-jobbing arrangements are mutually beneficial for both companies and talent. For IT professionals, micro-jobbing provides a way to earn extra income without the restrictions of a traditional employment setting. And for organizations, hiring micro-jobbers allows you to gain valuable resources and services without the need for a full-time financial commitment.

Enabling micro-jobbing in your organization

For most companies, building the capacity for micro-jobbing requires a bit of organizational development and restructuring. Here are three steps you can take to pave the way for micro-jobbers in your organization:

  • Understand the scope of micro-jobs. Be realistic when deciding on the tasks you want to assign to micro-jobbers. A full-time commitment of three to six months isn’t suitable for this platform — instead, choose tasks that can be completed in a few weeks or less.
  • Work with procurement to fast-track onboarding. Because micro-jobbers are very short term, you’ll need a way to bring them into the organization quickly and efficiently. Be sure to discuss your micro-jobbing program with procurement and emphasize the difference between micro-jobbers and independent contractors, so they know what to expect.
  • Recruit micro-jobbers with a custom platform. Most of the existing popular platforms for micro-jobbers, such as Elance and TaskRabbit, are focused primarily on low-skill, low-paying tasks. To recruit talented micro-jobbers, your company may be better off building a branded platform and marketing your site directly to the data science community.

Implementing a smart micro-jobbing strategy can help your organization take your data science to the next level. The available talent pool is huge, and bringing in micro-jobbers can not only strengthen your overall data science strategy, but also help to keep your in-house team sharp, focused, and challenged. Talk to our recruiting experts today to find out how The Armada Group can help your company implement its best staffing option. 

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Published in IT Infrastructure

The Problem with Wearable Technology

 

Wearable tech is a relative newcomer to the technology landscape. Not too long ago, gadgets like Google Glass and the Pebble Smartwatch belonged in the realm of science fiction — but today, wearable technology is a fledgling reality. And it’s poised to have a significant impact on the business world.

While wearables were initially introduced as consumer technology, the focus is shifting toward enterprise applications. In fact, industry experts say it’s not a matter of if wearables will become part of the corporate culture, but when. But like any new technology, there are some issues surrounding wearables that CIOs and IT departments should be aware of in order to prepare for the entry of these smart gadgets into the workplace.

Here are some of the most common pitfalls to watch for involving enterprise wearables:

Wearable technology is not well defined

In modern terms, the latest crop of wearable tech devices is still in its infancy — and no one knows exactly what constitutes a wearable. Most personal wearables are centered around fitness or health, and often have connectivity with a mobile application. Devices that are considered enterprise wearables are largely smartglasses and smartwatches.

But new gadgets and categories are emerging, and there is no set definition for wearable technology. This can be problematic for CIOs and IT departments, especially when it comes to defining workplace policies for wearables, if you’re not sure what those policies should apply to.

Smart gadgets suffer from development challenges

As a relatively new technology, wearables face some serious concerns that impact performance and user experience. Some of these challenges, particularly for smartwatches and smartglasses, include:

  • Energy inefficiency for color displays
  • Insufficient Internet connectivity, often creating the need for companion devices
  • Poor battery life
  • A lack of standards for waterproofing charging connectors
  • Privacy and security concerns over personal data collection
  • Awkward design issues

These challenges could make it difficult to integrate wearables into an enterprise environment, particularly the connectivity and security concerns.

No standardized platform for wearable tech

Much like smartphones and tablets, the wearables industry is working without standardized platforms. There are also no regulatory standards in place for wearable tech, bringing challenges for IT departments when it comes to measuring and reporting from a regulatory perspective.

Ideally, wearable software should be hardware-agnostic. Greater collaboration between wearable designers and enterprise developers could lead to platform standardization and across-the-board success — but for now, software systems for wearables are diverse and fragmented.

IT departments have a smaller margin of error

The enterprise wearables industry brings some unique potential pitfalls to IT, especially for rolling out new wearable tech. Smartglasses in particular come with different user experience and design requirements, and many IT departments have no prior exposure to working within these requirements.

In addition, overreaching is a common problem for wearable rollouts — IT departments take on too much, too soon, on the strength of the marketing hype surrounding many of these hot new gadgets. The best strategy is a controlled, small-scale first deployment to test the waters before taking wearables company-wide.

Wearables and legacy systems don’t mesh

The majority of new technologies are designed for integration with legacy systems. This is not so with wearables. Organizations may introduce wearable tech expecting to see productivity gains, only to discover that the utility of wearables relies on tapping into other corporate systems — and there is no easy way to bridge the two.

One of the largest stumbling blocks with wearable integration is data input. Legacy systems are generally built to accept keyed data, but most wearables don’t have keyboard inputs. Instead, they rely on voice or touch input that doesn’t translate to the legacy infrastructure.

The gains made possible by wearable tech are not sufficient to support the expense of replacing existing systems. Instead, CIOs and IT departments need to find a way to bridge wearables with legacy infrastructures in order to derive enterprise value from introducing these new devices to the workplace.

For more on how wearables and other new technologies can fit into your company structure, contact the IT experts at The Armada Group today.

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5 Tips to Prepare for  a Phone Interview

Prepping for interviews is an essential part of any job search — but are you ready for the right kind of interview? You might have been preparing for an in-person interview, only to find that your initial interview will be over the phone.

Many companies use phone interviews as a pre-screening tool. These interviews are faster and more convenient for busy hiring managers, and can help them reduce a large pool of applicants who are qualified on paper to a manageable size for in-person interviews. If you survive the phone screening, you’ll be invited in to sit down for a traditional interview.

Getting ready for a phone interview is similar to prepping for a traditional interview, but there are a few modifications and additional steps you should take to prepare. These five tips will help you ace your phone interview and move on to the next phase.

1. Take it seriously

The idea of a phone interview can seem informal, so it’s common to think that you’ll be able to just rattle off your qualifications and pass with ease — and therefore, you don’t need to prepare. But the fact is that companies use phone interviews to screen out applicants, and they’re looking for a reason to not schedule a formal interview with you.

Prepare thoroughly for a phone screening, just as you would for a traditional interview. Make sure you’ve studied the job description, researched the company, and practiced your responses to common interview questions.

When should you start preparing for a phone interview? Preferably, as soon as you send off your resume — some hiring managers like to save even more time by asking to do the phone interview the first time they call, instead of scheduling a time for later.

2. Print out your materials

Unless you have all of your application materials memorized completely, it’s a good idea to print everything out and have it in front of you during a phone interview. You’ll almost certainly be asked about specific things that appear on these documents. Make a hard copy of your:

  • Resume and bio
  • Cover letter
  • Full job description
  • Supporting documentation, such as your portfolio or internship position description

In addition to these documents, you can create a “cheat sheet” that will help you stay focused during the phone interview. Make notes of any critical points you want to make with the employer, such as your relevant skills and experience, your interests and passions, and particular abilities that match the written job description.

3. Prep your environment

While you’re not interviewing face to face, you still have to present yourself as a professional during a phone screening. This means you’ll need a good quality phone — a landline, if possible — that doesn’t produce delays, echoes, or tinny sounds, and won’t drop your call in the middle of the interview.

You’ll also need a quiet environment to conduct the interview where you won’t be distracted or interrupted. Choose a private room with a door, where there won’t be traffic noise or barking dogs. If other people will be around during the interview, stress the importance of not having background noise. And if you’re unable to have quiet and privacy at home, consider reserving a private room at a library or other place where you won’t be interrupted.

4. Dress for success

Even though the interviewer isn’t going to see you during a phone screening, it’s still important to prepare and dress the same as you would for a traditional interview. Grab a shower, eat breakfast, and wear a professional outfit for your phone interview.

Why should you do this? Going through the motions of preparing for a live interview will put you in the right frame of mind. If you’re still in your pajamas and interviewing from your bed, you’re likely to feel you’re having an informal chat with a friend, instead of a professional interview that will decide whether you get the job you want.

5. Stand up (or sit straight)

Once again, the hiring manager can’t see you during a phone interview — but your position matters. Like your attire, the way you physically conduct yourself during a conversation affects your frame of mind. Research shows that people who are standing while speaking project themselves better, and feel more confident in what they’re saying — which translates even over the phone.

If you’re uncomfortable or unable to stand, you should at least sit up straight behind a desk or table, with your hard copy documents in front of you. This position projects a more professional stance than slumping on a couch or lounging in bed.

Getting ready for a phone interview? Contact our team of recruiting experts at The Armada Group. We can help you prepare for any interview situation, and ace them all!

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Published in Recruiting

 

Should You Hold Out for Perfect Candidates

Many hiring managers dream of finding the perfect candidate — someone with just the right mix of skills, experience, and personality – who’s willing to work for the salary on offer and likely to stay with the company long-term. Unfortunately, those perfect candidates are few and far between, and might even be non-existent. So why are hiring managers holding out for them?

In the current job market, as the country continues to recover from the recession, some experts perceive a general glut of talent. Hiring managers believe they’ll have plenty of time, and plenty of candidates to choose from — so if a candidate is good but not perfect, they might decide to wait. Major companies like Microsoft and Google have open positions that have been available for months because the ideal candidate hasn’t walked through the interview door yet.

But is waiting for perfection really the best strategy? Here’s why holding out may be causing more harm than good for your company:

The longer the hiring process, the more money you’re losing

It is undeniably costly to hire the wrong person for the job — but the costs of waiting can add up to even more. When you’re scouting for candidates, you’re typically sinking time, money, and resources into various recruitment strategies and channels. Meanwhile, your company is short-staffed, which typically causes decreased productivity and morale while increasing the strain on your current team as they struggle to fill the gaps.

The ‘talent surplus’ is general, but your needs are specific

Overall, there are currently more job seekers than open positions. But that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a surplus of the type of talent you want to hire. In fact, there are talent shortages in some industries, particularly in-demand IT positions. When you factor in geographic location and active versus passive job seekers, the talent pool shrinks even further.

The perfect candidate may not be the best choice

Let’s say you’ve found the ideal hire — certified and experienced in all the skills you require, with a positive attitude and lots of motivation to do a great job, and happy with your salary offer. Now, ask yourself this: Where will they go from here?

Hiring perfect candidates can actually be risky. If you onboard someone who has everything they need to perform the job perfectly, there’s nothing to challenge them and nowhere to go but up — or over to another company. In many cases, a strong candidate who’s not perfect will prove a better fit for the long term.

Tips for hiring not-quite-perfect candidates

Saying yes to perfection is easy, but how do you choose someone who isn’t ideal? Consider these tips to help you choose a great candidate who can grow into perfection with your company:

  • Reconsider your job description and requirements, and decide which skills and characteristics are truly necessary to get the job done — and which you can live without.
  • Tweak your recruitment strategies to become more active. Many employers choose to post open positions on social networks and job boards, and then wait for the resumes to roll in. Instead, actively seek candidates who meet your minimum requirements and initiate contact — it will speed the process, and give you a more qualified list to work from.
  • If you’re not sure about a candidate from the resume alone, take the chance and schedule an interview. You may discover that someone who looks merely competent on paper is actually a great find in person.
  • Focus on training and retention to improve the quality of your current staff and new hires, and to keep more of them around so you’ll have a reduced hiring burden in the future.

There may be no such thing as perfection, but there are plenty of good candidates who can become great employees. At The Armada Group, we can tell the difference between a great candidate, and a perfect fit for your company. Contact us today for help with every step of your hiring process.

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Published in Recruiting

 

The Most Attractive Incentives for Short-Term IT Workers

Many employers associate benefits with full-time employees, and don’t think about them in the context of short-term IT workers. But good temporary help is worth the effort of offering incentives — and if you supply benefits for your temporary IT staff, you’ll enjoy advantages like attracting better talent, increased productivity, and a higher ROI on your short-term staff investment.

What do temporary IT workers want?

The first step to a successful incentive plan for short-term IT employees is to identify what motivates temporary workers. These employees know that their time with you is limited, and in many cases they’ve already arranged their careers to take care of typical benefits like health insurance that long-term employees receive.

Effective motivation for short-term IT employees is similar to non-insurance incentives for permanent employees. And since these workers have limited time contracts, creating an incentive program for temps is often more affordable for you as an employer.

The ‘more money’ incentive

Just about everyone likes money, and that includes temporary IT workers. A short-term bonus plan for IT temps can be a great motivation to perform well. You can offer bonuses for meeting deadlines, upon project completion, or even for above-and-beyond productivity.

Creating a strategic bonus or series of bonuses for short-term IT employees will increase morale and fuel the natural human drive for competition, ensuring an overall higher performance.

The ‘cool free stuff’ incentive

Gift cards are a great and inexpensive bonus to offer temporary IT employees. You can usually purchase gift cards from just about any local businesses — opt for retail, restaurant, and entertainment cards to give the best bang for your gift bucks.

If you have short-term IT staff that you’ve hired for a big project, and they’ll be around for several months, you may consider giving reloadable gift cards and placing a small amount on them each week. This will keep temporary workers motivated to continue, and give them the opportunity to spend quality time with family when they aren’t working.

The ‘work-life balance’ incentive

Paid holidays, sick days, and personal days are a popular benefit for permanent employees, but what about temporary staff? Offering paid days off to short-term IT workers isn’t usually feasible for a business, but you can create a smaller scale program that still offers much-needed advantages.

For example, you might give temp workers a half-hour of paid time off for every full day worked, and allow them to take advantage of their accrued paid leave for things like important appointments or the occasional personal day. You could also consider offering time off with half-pay when it’s reasonable and needed.

The ‘good job’ incentive

Simple thanks for a job well done are a strong motivator for full-time staff, that’s also free for your business to offer. With short-term IT workers, you can take your recognition for their work a step further and offer official employee awards. The possibilities range from printing out certificates to holding a fun event for your temp IT team upon project completion — and all are equally appreciated.

In addition, employee awards give temp workers something they can demonstrate their value with to their next temporary employer. For an IT professional who changes jobs frequently, this can be an exceptionally valuable benefit.

At The Armada Group, we can help you devise incentive programs to maximize your fulfillment of temporary IT workers, and to keep your full-time staff happy and productive. Contact us today for more information, or to find outstanding qualified candidates.

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Published in Recruiting

 

The Most Important Career Question Youve Never Even Considered

CIO posed what they consider to be “The most important career question you’ve never even considered.” While Glen, the author, goes on to explain in more detail, the ultimate question is this – do you want to make yourself a “hot commodity,” someone who has a unique skill but is a transactional relationship, or a “treasured stalwart,” who is intended to be a long-term employee but rarely works in the “hot new skill” industry.

As the author states, neither is wrong, and both have their various characteristics. So, we’ve opted to expand a bit upon the two options to help clarify some of the pros and cons of each.

The general idea of a commodity worker is one who works contract or part time, and who specializes in a unique skill; one that the company, for whatever reason, doesn’t want a standard full-time employee for. It could be implementing a new network or part-time SQL DBA – there’s no specific field, but it tends to fill the short-term needs, rather than long-term trends.

Commodity pros:

  • Generally higher pay (in the short run)
  • Provide necessary and sometimes difficult skills
  • Can contractually work for flexible periods of time and flexible projects

Commodity Cons:

  • Not always a steady, consistent flow of work (e.g. occasional periods of unemployment between projects)
  • Not usually “developed” as a tenured employee would be in understanding the overall picture
  • Culture doesn’t always fit with company

On the other hand, the stalwarts will have different characteristics. They tend to retain long-term employment, and operate in fields that the business will need either indefinitely or for extended periods (think: Java programmer).

Stalwart Pros:

  • Consistent, stable employment
  • Developed as an asset to the team (which can increase flexibility)
  • Understand business culture better

Stalwart Cons:

  • Doesn’t cash in on “hot skills”
  • Generally lower pay (in the short run)
  • Less flexible hours

While there isn’t a right or wrong answer (and not everyone fits neatly into a single category) this goes to show the evolution of the IT sector. Generally, IT professionals tend to gravitate somewhere in the middle, rather than polarize at the ends.

At The Armada Group, we can help you not only ascertain the best fit for you, but we can help to pair you with a business that is looking for your work style as well as skills. We work with some of the best and most innovative talent in the industry, on both sides of the spectrum, and we want to help you find the next step of your career. Contact us today for a consultation.

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Published in Recruiting
Wednesday, Dec 18 2013

5 Common IT Job Search Mistakes

Looking for a job in the competitive tech market can be an exercise in frustration. If your IT job search doesn’t seem to be getting you any closer to landing a job, it might be the competition, or maybe your resume. Or you could be making one or more of these common mistakes that many IT pros stumble into during a job hunt.

Read on to learn more about potential IT job search problems, and how you can correct them.

Skipping the planning and preparation stage

A lot of IT job seekers brush off their resume and dive right in, without giving a thought to job search strategy. This mistake leads to hours of wasted time and a faster onset of burnout as you fail to make progress.

Maybe you’re spending all your time sifting through the hundreds of listings on job boards, or Googling for new leads. Maybe you’re only dedicating a few minutes to finding a potential position and firing off your resume. Whatever you’re doing, if you haven’t planned ahead of time then it’s probably not working.

Look at your schedule and block out some time to focus on your job search. To stop yourself from spending most of that time crawling through job postings, use your first session to set up alerts for the type of position you want—either through Google or directly on job boards. Then you’ll have opportunities waiting for you to investigate when you sit down to job hunt in earnest.

Applying the spaghetti method

Throwing your resume all over the place and hoping it sticks somewhere is not only a poor strategy. It’s also likely to land you a job you won’t like, which means you’ll have to start the job search process all over again. With this method, you’ll waste time chasing down leads that don’t pan out—and the evidence of your scattershot job search will dilute the message you’re sending to potential employers.

Make sure you know what you’re looking for, and focus your efforts on jobs that match. Also, don’t rely solely on job boards and recruiters, which might be the least effective avenues for real job opportunities. It’s better to concentrate on expanding your business network and finding leads through the connections you make.

Too much tech talk

How long is your resume? By nature, IT resumes usually have more content than other industries—but if yours is a sprawling, eight-page document that reads like a manual, it’s time to revise. Listing every single detail of your career can backfire if it goes on longer than two or three pages. At that point, impressive turns into tedious, and you’ve lost most hiring managers’ interest.

This mistake also applies to interviews. While you can and should mention your technical skills during a job interview, it’s better to keep that discussion brief and focus on your soft skills. You landed the interview on the strength of the technical information in your resume—so the interview itself is the time to show you’re a good fit for the company.

Trashing your past (or current) employer

Plenty of IT pros have had miserable work experiences. But if you’re using your interview time to bad-mouth a rotten boss, there’s more at risk than the chance your interviewer knows your former employer. You’re also making yourself a poor candidate. The hiring company only has your side of the story when it comes to bad employment experiences, and they may default to thinking you’re a complainer.

So be honest about why the bad situation didn’t work out, but stay respectful. Instead of talking trash about the employer, focus on how you met the challenge of a difficult work environment.

And if you’re currently employed, whether your boss is good or bad, don’t use your work email address as your contact information during your job search.

Failing to follow up

This may be the number one mistake IT pros make in a job search. Many employers use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to collect candidate resumes and scan for keywords before they start scheduling interviews—and with hundreds of resumes sent this way, it’s easy to lose a few in the shuffle.

During the application process, look for contact information for each company where you can direct questions. Then, once you’ve uploaded your resume, send a follow-up email that reinforces your interest in the job and asks for verification that your application packet was received.

You should also follow-up any interviews you go on with a thank-you email, including anything you forgot to mention during the interview. Simply following up can help you stand out from other candidates, and increase your chances of being hired.

If you are looking for technical job opportunities in California, contact us today.

Published in Recruiting

 

There’s a relatively recent shift in employment trends that is especially significant in the tech industry, and that is job longevity. The days of starting and ending your career at the same company are long gone—and it’s rare that anyone spends even a decade with the same employer.

In the software development field, this paradigm has come to signify a positive asset. Developers and engineers who change jobs frequently are viewed not as disloyal and unreliable, but as adaptable and improving. Their skills outgrow their job demands, and they move on to better challenges—a process that makes them more desirable to employers.

So as contrary as it might seem, frequent job-changing is one way software developers can increase their employability. Here are some other things you can do to make yourself a hot commodity in the tech world.

Be an expert at one thing (and proficient in others)

Specialists are always in high demand in every field. While it’s important for software engineers to be well-rounded, choosing an area of expertise will help to ensure that there’s always a position for you somewhere. Make sure you specialize in something you enjoy doing, so you don’t get burned out and lose your expert advantage.

Of course, technology is always changing, so you shouldn’t specialize in the flavor of the moment. Instead, opt for foundational specialties in things that tend to last for a decade or more, such as a particular field, programming language, or type of software.

Keep your options open

This tip can be applied in a few different ways. First, it’s essential to continue learning new things and working with new technologies. Employers want to see software developers who are flexible, open-minded, and willing to try new tools, languages, and platforms. The longer you go without learning, the more difficult it will be to find a new position.

Second, experienced developers should be willing to compromise on the hierarchy of positions they’ll accept, especially when entering a new software area. If you’ll only take a senior or supervisory position with a high salary, you’ll find your options extremely limited and your job search extended much longer than you want.

Network—even when you’re not thinking about changing jobs

The saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” can often be applied to finding work as a software developer. You don’t necessarily need connections to land a job, but there are a lot of benefits to continual networking—not the least of which is the potential to lower your job search time dramatically.

In addition to maintaining an accurate, active LinkedIn profile, you can network throughout your current employment by:

  • Reaching out to others in your field at different companies. For example, when you hear about a new development you admire, send a quick email or social media mention to congratulate them. The positive impact you make will help you out later.
  • Put yourself out there by attending conferences or industry events, writing industry articles for online circulation or as a guest blogger, or even doing some public speaking. You’ll make connections you may not even be aware of until you start searching for your next job.

Being employable as a software developer is all about keeping things fresh, interesting, and constantly circulating. Resist the urge to bury yourself in code, and make new experiences that will help you enjoy a long and happy career.

If your are looking software developer jobs in California, contact The Armada Group today.

 

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Published in Recruiting

 

You know better than anyone how technology can revolutionize systems, so it shouldn't be a shock that one of those revolutions is how landing new opportunities and moving forward in your career are being changed by the social web.

Resumes are becoming passe, and taking their place is the concept of “personal brand” - signature traits, achievements, and contributions that reflect what you alone bring to the table. Your personal brand is your reputation, your work legacy, your defining role in the industry. Careful cultivation can create a personal brand that will open up doors as you progress along your career path.

Be the Next . . . You!

Many people have tried to predict who will be 'the next Steve Jobs'. Will it be Jeff Bezos? Elon Musk? You? The problem with trying to the next someone else is that it isn't authentic. Your personal brand has to be just that – personal. It's that unique intersection between your knowledge, experience, and passion—and how you share that with those around you in the workplace.

Figuring out your personal brand is as simple – and as difficult – as taking a look at your top traits and what you are known for. Are you a usability evangelist? Do you educate people about quality assurance? Are you seen as a great team leader, or viewed as a lone wolf visionary? Look at the consistency of your work; does it have a theme? What do you know the most about and how do you communicate it? How does that tie into your career goals? Leverage the best of what you have to offer, and how you offer it, to purposely develop your brand and its message.

Get Social to Get Noticed

Now that you've gotten a good start on identifying your personal brand, a large part of its development will be networking to help others identify it. While it's not all about who you know, that does play a significant part in ensuring doors are opened to you.

LinkedIn, BranchOut, and Google+ are three excellent social networking sites with a more professional focus. Work hard on your LinkedIn profile – don't just view it as your online resume. Join industry groups and interact with them. Follow industry influencers on LinkedIn and elsewhere, making sure to comment on articles. Be as useful as possible without fawning over them. Add valuable insight to keep the discussion going, and you'll soon stand out. Hone your writing skills to make sure you communicate well – it's going to come in handy...

Create a Voice Worth Sharing

The next level of building your personal brand is creating and sharing your own content. If you've paid attention to what and how the IT leaders are sharing, you should have a sense of the kind of content that's valuable to your industry. It's time to add your voice.

There are multiples ways your brand can deliver its messaging: A blog on your own site, guest posts on respected industry blogs, forums and groups, whitepapers, participating in an open source project, speaking at or leading a seminar, even 'micro-blogging' and delivering nuggets of wisdom on Twitter. Your first priority is to create valuable content; your second is to promote it. This hierarchy should guarantee that your focus is serving others – the reverse will come across loud and clear that you're not ready to lead and therefore not worthy of followers.

Branding tells the story about what you 'produce' and why, but it's not just about promoting yourself. If you want a brand that communicates how you are the right choice for that next step up, it has to be about how you are really qualified. Otherwise, your brand will simply become more noise lost in a busy online world.

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Published in Recruiting
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