In the epic words of Bill Gates, “Everyone needs a coach.” Most employee learning takes place on the job, and usually not through formal training programs. As a result, managers need to be ready to step up, guiding the development of their team on a daily basis.
However, many leaders do not spend much time coaching their staff. If you want to help your team and company get ahead, here are some tips to make you a better coach.
Highly effective IT teams don’t happen by accident. Instead, they are carefully crafted, bringing together the right mix of skills, experiences, and even personalities to ensure the team can collectively thrive.
But figuring out what such a team should look like isn’t always easy. However, there are certain traits that are common among top-performing IT teams, allowing them to serve as potential indications of the viability of the group’s composition.
If you are wondering what hallmarks are part of highly effective IT teams, here’s what you need to know.
For a team to thrive, they need to align in a few key areas, including with the broader mission, the values of their peers, and the priorities of the leadership team. When it occurs, everyone is working toward the same collective goals, keeping everyone on target. Additionally, when every team member believes in the mission, this can boost morale, job satisfaction, and productivity, providing them with intrinsic value as a source of motivation.
Highly effective IT teams genuinely identify as part of a team. They exhibit self-awareness regarding how their actions impact those around them, giving them an additional source of guidance when they need to make decisions or solve problems. Additionally, they recognize that success is based on the cumulative work of the group, not the accomplishments of the individual. The perspective can increase teamwork and their willingness to help each other when problems arise, enhancing the sense of cohesion.
A team can only be effective if they have a strong leader. Without proper guidance, the group will typically not flourish. Often, this involves having a manager who works as a coach and mentor, and not just a person delegating tasks. Further, open communication and transparency are necessities, ensuring everyone has vital information whenever something new comes down the pipe.
Genuinely stellar teams understand there is always something new to learn. Whether it’s a new approach to managing a project, a unique way to solve a problem, or an emerging technology that can provide value, they are open to exploring it. When it comes to knowledge, effective teams are never stagnant, and they typically aren’t fearful of change if it could potentially lead to better outcomes or increased efficiency.
Strong IT teams feel inherently supported by each other. Typically, this means everyone has a voice and feels like they belong, creating an atmosphere that allows for constructive debates that don’t devolve into morale-crushing arguments.
Ultimately, it involves a sense of inclusion, the understanding that everyone is valued and that what they bring to the table is relevant. Without that, team members may be fearful when it comes to expressing their opinion, and that can stymy the group’s success.
All of the traits above are commonly found in highly effective teams, so forming a team that exhibits these characteristics may increase your project success rates. If you are interested in learning more or are seeking IT professionals to join your staff, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your company’s goals today and see how our services can benefit you.
While each member of your tech team likely possesses a range of valuable skills, some are probably more effective in their positions than others. And, in many cases, their hard skills are only part of the story.
Successful IT professionals often have a range of qualities that help them excel, allowing them to stand out from their peers. By hiring tech pros with these traits, you can improve the overall performance of your team. To help you get started, here are seven qualities your new tech hire should possess.
If you're looking for a top performer, seek out candidates who are insatiably curious about their area of technical expertise. This can include professionals who explore their field both inside and out of the office, as well as those who stay abreast of rising trends and devour new details about emerging technologies.
Technology is an ever-changing world, and the best tech pros are prepared to roll with the changes. Ultimately, IT teams can’t afford to stand still when it comes to examining the potential of different technologies and must be willing to make a transition when it benefits the company. Otherwise, it’s easy to stagnate or, worse, fall behind the times.
In the world of IT, rarely does everything go to plan. If your team is going to be successful, your employees need to be able to identify problems, analyze the situation, and find solutions.
People who are problem-solvers are typically also strong learners, as they have to take in new information to get to the root of an issue and correct it.
The ability to teach others is a highly valuable trait, particularly in a world filled with skill gaps. A willingness to teach also indicates that they put the needs of the team first while being effective in this role shows they have a range of important soft skills, like communication and patience, that aren’t always easy to find.
A willingness to receive feedback and adjust their approach is also a valuable quality. This indicates the candidate isn’t necessarily set in their ways and is open to constructive criticism that helps them improve.
As technology becomes ingrained in nearly every department, having a foundational understanding of business is beneficial. It will make it easier for them to understand the needs of the company as a whole as well as individual departments.
Leadership isn’t limited to telling people what to do. Instead, it also includes being able to bring people together to achieve a common goal or encourage others to be at their best.
A tech pro with leadership skills can help ensure your team works well together, making it easier for them to accomplish joint goals.
By seeking out the qualities listed above, you can find a tech pro who can do more than just complete individual tasks as they are assigned.
If you are looking for a skilled IT professional to join your team, the experienced staff at The Armada Group can connect you with some of today’s top talent. Contact us today to learn more about our services can how they can help you find the ideal tech pro for your open positions.
When companies look to hire new employees, they often focus on the candidate’s experience and available skills. However, this information isn’t always indicative of the job seeker’s potential to succeed, and failing to account for this point can lead to a bad hire.
While a candidate’s potential can’t necessarily be the only consideration when selecting a new hire, it should play a role in your decision-making process. If you are wondering how much their potential should factor into your hiring, here’s what you need to know.
A job seeker’s potential is a reflection of their ability to grow and adapt to a particular role or environment. Those who are more capable in these areas may have an easier time achieving success, even if they don’t possess the same level of skill as other applicants.
It is important to understand that the candidate’s past accomplishments or the length of their resume may not accurately portray their potential. This means you will need to delve deeper if you want to find out details that can help you assess them in this manner.
In some cases, a job seeker who appears to be highly experienced may have a lot of years in the profession but has actually been relatively stagnant in their career. For example, a 20-year veteran of the field who has held the same position for nearly a decade may not have experienced much growth, depending on whether their duties evolved over time.
In contrast, a person with five years of experience who has been steadily moving forward is actively progressing in their career, which can be an indication of their level of drive and interest in furthering their skills.
Similarly, whether a job seeker is still actively learning about their field or has resigned themselves to coasting through their career is valid. Someone who is constantly pursuing knowledge may be more valuable, even if they have less starting experience than someone who has stopped actively learning about their area of expertise.
The Value of Accomplishments
Many hiring managers would assume that a candidate without a major accomplishment isn’t what they need. However, a person who has a steady, solid performer over the course of their career may be more valuable than a job seeker who had a single great accomplishment that amounts to no more than a flash in the pan.
Additionally, a candidate’s level of participation in an achievement is also valid, particularly when the accomplishment is related to the work of a team. Often, not everyone contributes equally, so you need to determine whether the individual’s contributions are as significant as they seem.
Ultimately, the presence or lack of a significant accomplishment needs to be closely examined if you want to figure out its true value, particularly when you measure potential.
If you are interested in learning more or are seeking a talented professional to join your team, the recruitment specialists as The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our skilled staff members today and see how our services can benefit you.
Your resume often serves as your first introduction to a hiring manager, so making sure it is on point is a crucial step when you are looking for a job. Trends for resumes change regularly, and falling behind the times can actually hurt your chances of being called for an interview, even if you have the right skills and experience for the role.
To make sure your resume is ready for 2018, here are some tips to get you started.
Streamline Your Contact Information
With the internet playing such a large part in finding a job, certain contact information that was once considered vital to include can actually be discarded. There’s no need to list your entire street address, so remove everything but the city and state. Additionally, just use your cell phone number, and forgo labeling it as being mobile. You also want to make sure to add an email address and make sure it is professional.
If you want to include links to an online profile, select the one that is most applicable, such as LinkedIn. To keep your resume from initially feeling cluttered, consider placing the links at the bottom of your resume instead of the top.
Headlines and Summaries
For your headline, you want to focus on the position you are hoping to land, not the one you have today. Start off with common variants of the job title and select a few keywords that are particularly relevant to the role based on your experience.
When you move on to the summary, create an explanation that shows how the skills and experience you possess today relate to the position, including how you can add value to the business.
Adjust Job Titles
Not every job title you’ve officially held may be easy to relate to the role you are hoping to land. With that in mind, include the official job title and, in parenthesis, list the more common variant. This helps the hiring manager see how your experience relates to the job and eliminates some of the mystery that can surround some of the more unique job titles some companies choose to use.
For added impact, directly under your job title, add a short caption that highlights your key contributions, especially if you’ve held multiple positions with the same company.
When you write a job description, you want to concentrate on the value you provided instead of just listing your duties. When possible, quantify the information to help make it feel less abstract. After the short description, include a section that discusses any relevant achievements by focusing on three to five major accomplishments that are most applicable to the target position.
In most cases, you can simply tweak your current resume based on the trends that hiring managers will want to see in 2018. And, once you have your resume created, remember to customize it every time you apply for a job.
If you are looking for a new position, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with some of the area’s most desirable employers. Contact us to see how our services can help you succeed.
IT professionals know that the ball is in their court when it comes to choosing to stay with an employer. With unemployment among these workers sitting near 2.5 percent, there’s no shortage of opportunities for highly skilled tech pros. While salaries certainly factor into an employee’s decision to stay with a business, many companies are also including more options in their compensation packages to lure in the best and brightest.
It is important to determine what benefits are considered in-demand by your workers and adjust accordingly to stay competitive. To help you choose the right options for your team members, here are some of the most in-demand employee benefits that could affect your retention rates.
Student Loan Repayment
It’s no secret that many Millennials are plagued by student loan debt, and they aren’t necessarily the only ones working to pay back thousands of dollars for their education. With that in mind, some companies are developing student loan repayment programs for employees that meet certain requirements.
Often, these benefits are tied to specific metrics, such as performance ratings or tenure, so payment doesn't have to be made early in the individual’s employment.
Most employers tie performance-based raise opportunities to reviews. By offering new hires the chance to be reviewed in six months instead of at the year mark can entice candidates to come on board. If you extend the option to existing employees by holding semi-annual salary reviews to ensure your rates are competitive, this could have a positive effect on retention efforts over the long-term as well.
Education and Training
Most top performers aren’t satisfied with stopping their career where they are today. Instead, they are looking for chances to improve their skills and grow professionally. Having an education and training program can give them an avenue to meet their goals while making them more valuable to the organization as a whole.
These benefits can be administered as a tuition assistance program as well as with formal training budgets. Since IT is an ever-evolving field, having the opportunity to earn additional certification opportunities could be highly valued by tech workers looking to stay up-to-date and competitive in the field. Some other methods can include mentorship opportunities or the ability to job shadow other workers who function in the employee’s area of interest.
Paid Time Off
This classic part of the benefits package can be used as a retention tool as well if the company is willing to exceed what is offered by competitors. Providing more than the standard two week vacation time or considering unlimited options can set your business apart from others operating in your area. These offerings can be applied companywide or scaled based on tenure. However, if you use the tenure-based approach, make sure the starting rate is sufficient to attract new talent, and that incremental increases begin early in the process.
If you would like to learn more about retention techniques that can help your business or are looking for a new employee to join your team, the experienced professionals at The Armada Group can assist. Contact us to discuss your needs and see how our services can help you reach your hiring and retention goals.
For management, it's tempting to want to keep your top performers in their current roles. They're doing a great job; everything's under control. If move them to a different position, someone else will have to take over their job. You'll have to train that person and they might not be as good. It seems better to keep your programmer doing that job.
The problem is, programmers work in a world where there's always something new; most programmers have curious minds and want to try out the new technology. Forcing a programmer to stay in the same job makes it likely your developer will make the decision to move out, and you'll be even less prepared to cope with their absence.
Instead, recognize that retaining your top-performing programmers doesn't mean keeping them in the same role on the same team on the same project in the same department. Focus on offering them challenges that will keep them in your company while giving them the opportunity to learn and grow.
Let your developers move to new projects with different roles, responsibilities and technologies. Encourage your top individual contributors to take leadership roles or apply their technical insight to solving a new problem.
Help your talent discover and develop all their talents. Assign mentors who can help programmers envision their long-term career path. Offer support for continuing education, and don't restrict company support to training that's immediately applicable at work.
Monetary rewards are important; top programmers can definitely find well-paying work. But other rewards are also important; praise, both public and private, assures developers that their work is both noticed and appreciated.
Despite your efforts to retain top talent, sometimes they'll decide to leave anyway. When that happens, you need an effective recruiting process that will bring in someone equally good. When you work with The Armada Group, you leverage our 20 years of experience. We make sure we understand the role you're filling so the job description will attract the best candidates, we prescreen potential hires who respond to the description, and we help your team interview and evaluate the candidates. You'll quickly stop worrying about the employee who left and start focusing on how to retain the new talent on board.
Recruiting new employees is as much about wooing as is it about screening. You want to find the right hire, and that requires attracting candidates who can help your projects succeed as well as screening out those who just don't fit. In order to draw candidates to you, treat them the way they want to be treated. When it comes to recruiting developers, this means:
Go beyond acronyms.
Developer resumes are filled with acronyms and buzzwords, which present easy filtering criteria. Think about it from the developer's perspective, though: the acronyms on their resume represent every technology they've ever worked with, not just the tech they work with now or the tech they want to work with in the future. Instead of mass mailing or calling every candidate with the skills you need on their resume, take the time to read the resume and see if their experience with that skill is recent. You might think it's more efficient to let the candidates screen themselves out, but overloading their inboxes with inappropriate job listings hurts your reputation and can cause candidates to ignore every mail from you – even if it describes a job they'd be perfect for.
Don't rely on interviews.
Sure, development is a team effort and everyone needs to be able to interact with their peers. But unless you're hiring a lead or support role, most programming jobs are more about spending time with a keyboard than time with people. So while the interview is necessary, don't overemphasize it; many developers simply are introverts and won't do well when pinned down for verbal answers. Instead, use tests to verify a candidate's technical ability to do the job. And when you give those tests, don't make developers talk through their solution standing in front of a white board. No one works that way in reality. Instead, let the programmers develop their solution sitting in front of a computer – the way they will when they're on the job.
Present the job the way it really is.
Both resumes and job descriptions have an element of exaggeration to them; after all, they're both advertisements, in a way. Despite that, don't stretch the truth in your job description or when speaking with candidates in person. Don't try to make the job seem more exciting than it really is. If it's mostly maintenance of existing code rather than new development or there's little opportunity for advancement, be honest about that. It might cost you the chance to hire this particular candidate, but hiring someone who then quits because the job isn't what they signed up for is more expensive.
The Armada Group has been recruiting top technical employees for more than 20 years. We understand the way developers think and what they're looking for at work, and are the experts at matching developers to opportunities. Contact us to talk about your hiring needs and how we can help you recruit the right developer the right way.
Information technology and related engineering fields continue to offer strong employment opportunities for candidates with solid credentials. IT employment has increased by nearly 4 percent since last year. For candidates looking for new opportunities in the industry, use these tips to focus your search and stand out.
Focus on industries with growing opportunities.
Although the demand for tech workers exists in all industries, it isn't equally strong across all of them. You'll find a job more quickly if you focus on the industries with the most current opportunities, such as the consulting industry and the computer systems design industry.
Emphasis your technical qualifications.
Technology jobs require many skills in addition to technical knowledge, but employers use technical skills as screening criteria to filter out resumes of unqualified candidates. Make sure your resume lists all the technical skills you have, including operating systems, programming languages, databases, software development tools, and specific frameworks.
Develop skills to meet industry trends.
Find out which programming languages and other skills are in demand. If you lack them, take time to learn them—with online resources and free downloads of software, it isn't difficult to develop basic competency by studying on your own. You can even highlight your initiative in undertaking this independent study.
Demonstrate passion for technology.
Contribute to an open source project and include that on your resume. Open source projects are typically on the cutting edge of software development methodologies, so working on one shows potential employers that you're serious about keeping current with what's happening in the tech industry.
Leverage your contacts.
Take advantage of your network. If someone you know personally recommends you for a position, you'll have the inside edge on getting the job. Hiring managers know that your contact wouldn't risk their own reputation by referring an unqualified candidate.
Work with an experienced recruiter.
If you don't have inside connections, the next-best way of connecting with a top company is to work with a staffing agency like The Armada Group. We'll take time to understand your qualifications and your interests so we can match you with openings that will challenge and excite you. Plus, our relationships with hiring companies give us insight into what the positions truly require, meaning we only send you to companies where you'll have a strong chance of getting the job. You don't waste time interviewing for positions you'll never get, and will find the job of your dreams faster than if you search on your own. Contact us to learn how we can help you find your next job now.
Many people are drawn to technical careers by a love of technology; they enjoy the creativity those careers require and the challenges they provide. Others are drawn to technical careers by more practical concerns: tech careers are among the best-paying opportunities out there. But even if your developers love their jobs because they love technology, they still want to be fairly compensated. That compensation isn't limited to their paycheck; benefits and perks matter, too. Work with your human resources and budgeting teams to make sure your company provides developers these crucial perks:
Start with a basic benefits package – 401K, stock options, paid time off including vacation, sick days, and personal days. Don't be tempted to leave insurance to the government-run exchanges; employer plans can offer better options and better networks. Offer, and subsidize, the cost of dental and vision insurance as well as medical insurance.
Sure, developers can work on any old computer, but they'll get a lot more done and be a lot happier with top-of-the-line equipment. The larger the monitor, the better, and the more monitors, the better, too. Make sure you have enough printers, so developers don't have to walk all the way around the building to pick up a printout. The paperless office isn't a reality for developers or anyone.
Quiet space where they can think.
Coding problems aren't solved on the computer; they're solved in the developer's mind, first. The open workspace with low cubicle walls is filled with distractions that make concentration difficult, which frustrates developers who want to get their jobs done. Even if you can't give everyone an office with real walls and a door, provide a quiet space where they can go to simply think through a tough challenge.
Freedom to use the best technology to solve the problem.
You need a stable technology platform, and mixing multiple technologies can complicate support, but don't force your team to use a tool that isn't appropriate for the task at hand just because you have the support capability. Developers want to work with new technology that makes it easier and more fun to solve the hard problems.
Training in new technology.
To use the best and newest technology, your team needs to understand it. Support your developers in learning those skills; don't force them to study on their own time but encourage them to attend off-site seminars where they can concentrate on learning without being distracted by day-to-day business issues. The commitment to their development will boost morale as well as their technical capabilities.
These perks help developers get their jobs done and demonstrate the value your company places on their skills, which boosts morale and their loyalty to your business. Contact The Armada Group to learn how we can help your business find employees who love technology and want to apply their skills to solving your problems.