When job search takes longer than you expect, sometimes taking a temp or contract role is a solution. It gets you a paycheck, and more than that, it gets you into a company. You may be able to turn the temp role into a permanent one.
The Company Called It a Temp-to-Hire Position
Some companies are explicit about the "trying-before-buying" nature of a temporary job when they bring on a temporary worker. Recognize that "try-before-buy" works both ways; you're under no obligation to stay with the company if the position isn't what you're looking for.
You'll want to do exceptional work to impress them. Treat the job as if you'll be there until retirement and are climbing their career ladder. Be there every day and take on more than they ask of you. Make sure you have positive relationships with your managers, co-workers, and others in the company. If you're difficult to work with, it will be hard to convince them to retain you … no matter how good your work is.
The Company Called It a Temp Position
If the company hasn't held out the possibility of converting your status to full time employee, you still need to do stellar work, but you need to do more to convince them to retain you. When you start, let the company know you'd be interested in a permanent position, and as the contract nears termination, raise the subject with your manager. Depending on the size of the company, you may want to reach out to the HR department as well. If you have a good reputation within your department, they may be able to recommend you for another opening in the company, even if your current position will not continue.
The company may have sized the work they assigned you based on the length of the contract. If there's more work to be done, if there's a follow-up project, or if you've learned skills that are applicable to other ongoing work in the department, point it out to management. You may also want to remind them that you're already here and know how things work, while it will take time for them to find, hire, and train someone else.
Leverage the Temp Role to Boost Your Career
Whether you want the temp role to turn permanent or not, don't treat it as a throwaway. Take advantage of the position to learn about the company, the industry, or the technology you're working with. No matter how short the temp job, it's an opportunity to learn something and develop skills or character that will enhance your resume and lead to the job you want.
Information technology is a competitive business. Companies compete for funding, for sales, and for employees. Because top tech talent is in short supply, sometimes the best hire is working for your competition. If you do steal someone away, make sure your theft is legal.
Take the Employee's Talent, Not Their Employer's Trade Secrets
You should be aiming to gain competitive advantage from the employee's special skills and knowledge, not from their inside information about their former employer's business plans. Trade secrets are protected by law, even if the employee hasn't signed a nondisclosure agreement.
It's important to make sure any ideas the employee brings with them are original and can't be claimed by their current employer. Some employment contracts give ownership of ideas, even if they were developed on personal time or seem unrelated to the company's line of business.
Make Sure the Employee Can Work For You
Some employees are under noncompete agreements with their employer. While courts don't always uphold these agreements if they're challenged, you should consider the consequences of a potential fight before hiring the employee. Litigation can be expensive, even if you win. Court battles require time as well as money, so the employee's contributions may be limited until the case is settled.
Ask about any other agreements the employee signed. In addition to non compete agreements, nondisclosure, nonsolicitation, confidentiality, and other clauses may affect the ability of the employee to perform the services you want.
Make a Clean Break
Under some circumstances, it may be possible to work with the current employer to ensure that the employee doesn't bring over any materials. The current employer can designate a monitor to document that only personal items are removed from the premises and that all required corporate material was returned. This can eliminate the basis for claims of trade secret thefts later. If possible, you can structure the new employee's responsibilities to reduce the possibility of disclosing confidential information.
Consult Your Attorney
The best way to make sure your hiring the competitor's employee is within the law is to consult an attorney prior to offering a position to them. Make sure you and your legal advisor review all employment agreements signed by the employee with their current employer. Once you understand the commitments they've made, you'll be able to determine whether there are any risks in hiring them and if those risks are worth taking.
Tech employees enjoy the challenge of new technology, but that isn't enough to make them love their jobs. Managers often think a paycheck and bonus expresses the company's appreciation for employees' work, but that isn't enough, either. At the end of the day, even technical employees spend their day interacting with people, and it takes a personal touch to make them feel valued. Here are seven tips you can put into practice to make your IT team feel valued:
1. Celebrate team successes
When your team succeeds, make sure you take the time to celebrate with them. Because projects can take years to complete, don't wait 'til the end. Acknowledge the successes along the way, like when they hit a milestone.
2. Say “thank you” often
It costs nothing to say "thank you," but this is one of the most basic and most overlooked ways of making people feel valued. Don't just casually throw out a "thanks;" say what specifically you're thanking them for, and what the value of their contribution was.
3. Let people know that others recognize their contributions
Don't claim credit for your team members' ideas. When they have good ideas that you pass along to higher-ups, tell the supervisors where the idea came from, and make sure you let your team know there was a positive reaction.
4. Encourage contributions
Have an open-door policy, and seek out input from employees who may be too shy to initiate conversation. As much as possible, involve team members in project planning and other decisions that affect when and how they do their work. Be sure to act on their input; otherwise, they'll recognize it's a waste of time to make suggestions.
5. Talk to people as individuals
Make sure you talk with everyone, not just team leaders or employees who report directly to you. Not everyone will want to share details of their personal lives, but if you can get to know employees as people, they'll feel less like corporate widgets. Be aware that issues in employees' personal lives can affect their performance at work, and offer appropriate assistance when necessary.
6. Offer challenges
Give your team members challenges and opportunities for new experiences. Help them find mentors who can help them grow. When they've outgrown their current role, help them find a new position within your company that will offer them the growth you no longer can.
7. Be honest
Respect your team enough to tell them the bad news, as well as the good news. While everyone would rather receive compliments, honest, well-intentioned feedback shows you care enough to offer constructive criticism, rather than taking the easy route of ducking a difficult conversation.
It’s hard not to have heard about the IT talent shortage. While many industries are still slowed, or even stopped, due to the effects of the recession, the tech job market continues to grow — and IT hiring managers are struggling to hire the right people. Unemployment is low for the IT industry, and tech pros can afford to be more discerning when it comes to accepting job offers.
With all the challenges that already surround hiring IT talent, you can make your life easier as a hiring manager by avoiding these common technical hiring mistakes.
Mistake #1: Poor job descriptions
The IT recruitment process starts with the job description — and if you don’t have it right, you’re not going to attract the right talent. Accuracy is particularly important for IT job descriptions. If candidates show up expecting to interview for a certain job, only to find the position isn’t as described, they’ll take a pass on accepting any offers.
Make sure your job descriptions convey the nature of the position and the requirements accurately, and as briefly as possible. Skip the laundry lists of every hard and soft skill you can think of — instead, focus on three-to-five core technical requirements, and one or two essential soft skills. The rest of the information you need will come out in the interview.
Also, keep in mind that your job description is selling your company to candidates, so emphasize the benefits and the reasons a candidate should choose to work for you over your competitors.
Mistake #2: Bad first impressions
You know how much significance you place on your first impression of a candidate — so remember that the candidate will also have a first impression of you and your company, and it may be good or bad. When you’re in hiring mode, it’s easy to forget about keeping your best foot forward, and many hiring managers make this mistake.
Make sure you’re dressed appropriately, the overall work environment is presentable, and you have someone to greet candidates and point them in the right direction when they arrive. First impressions definitely count for candidates who have multiple employment options.
Mistake #3: Inadequate interview prep
Just as the most successful job candidates never go into an interview unprepared, the best hiring managers make sure everything is lined up prior to interviewing candidates. On your end, being prepared for an interview means having that great first impression ready, ensuring that your interview team has clearly defined roles according to which parts of the interview they’re responsible for, and letting candidates know in advance what to expect during an interview — including any testing that may be involved.
Mistake #4: Lack of enthusiasm
Just as you want to hire a candidate who really wants to work for your company, candidates want to work for a company that really wants them on board. As a hiring manager, you’re the first line of enthusiasm for candidates — who are hoping to recognize from their interaction with you that your company is a great place to work, and they’ll make a good fit with your culture.
Be conscious of the type of picture you’re painting for candidates during the interview. If you focus too much on the issues surrounding the position, you may end up turning candidates off instead of engaging them. Offer realistic expectations, but at the same time sell the benefits of the position.
Mistake #5: Waiting too long
In slower economic times, hiring managers often have the luxury of taking their time with the hiring process, and waiting to make a job offer until they have multiple possibilities to choose from. But in today’s IT job market, this is not usually the case. If your phone screenings, interview calls, and face-to-face interviews are spread out over a week or two, you’ll find that the most desirable candidates have competing offers by the time they get to you — and you’ll have to work even harder to land them.
It’s a better idea to streamline your hiring process as much as possible. When you find qualified candidates who seem like a good fit, compress the screening and interview process down to a few days. Then, make the job offer immediately when you’ve decided on a great candidate.
With the rapid evolution of the Cloud, today’s companies no longer wonder whether they should climb aboard the Cloud bandwagon, because the answer is yes. The only question is how much of your infrastructure should move to the Cloud, and when.
Hybrid cloud environments—infrastructures that mix cloud services with on-premise solutions—are here to stay. But many organizations still aren’t leveraging the cloud in the most effective ways. The primary reason for this is a focus on costs, as companies try to replace on-premise solutions with the cheapest cloud services possible.
However, there’s far more value in choosing cloud components on the basis of innovation, and aligning your hybrid model with the primary functions of your business.
Identifying candidates for the cloud
When planning a hybrid cloud environment, CIOs need to separate their workloads by business function, and decide which functions would be best served by migrating to a cloud-based service. For most businesses, these functions will be the core enterprise workloads.
Infrastructure components like messaging, supply chain, HR, service management, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) are typically ideal cloud candidates. These functions can be expensive to maintain through on-premise solutions, and difficult to integrate with a network. The cheaper, faster cloud alternatives for core enterprise workloads help organizations improve automation and cross-departmental functionality, delivering a more streamlined and cost-effective environment.
In these spaces, migrating to the cloud can be equated with buying innovation. Advances in software-as-a-service (SaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) enable more features, better scalability, and decreased downtime for universal cloud-based services that are common to most businesses.
Choosing on-premise solutions
Where most companies err in developing hybrid solutions is choosing the cloud to save time and money for workloads that feed into core business functions. On-premise solutions allow for more robust and innovative platforms, which further key differentiators and help organizations remain competitive in their primary fields.
For functions that serve as your company’s main profit centers, on-premise solutions are the right choice. Your infrastructure investments should be directed toward these on-premise models—including all that money you’re saving by migrating core enterprise workloads to the cloud. On-premise solutions allow you to retain control of every aspect, which permits greater innovation and competitive advantage.
Blurring the line: Tips for maintaining hybrid environments
In most cases, dividing workloads into enterprise and core won’t always be a clean or simple process. The flow of information between departments must be taken into account, and full integration can be challenging with a hybrid model.
In an environment with cloud components, control is always decentralized to some degree. There will be parts of the IT process outside of your control, particularly when you’re feeding multiple cloud services into an on-premises environment. Within a hybrid system:
- The IT environment is chaotic (but it can be controlled)
- Operational performance will rely on external systems to some degree
- The user experience is highly distributed, with some aspects reliant on a third party
- Visibility is the key to optimized performance
Successful hybrid solutions will extend visibility to every component of the network layer. With orchestrated visibility, you can control the flow of information even when some elements are outside your control.
Choosing the right components to migrate to the cloud, and ensuring a seamless information flow with high visibility, will help you develop and maintain an effective hybrid environment that delivers optimal ROI for your organization.
Job candidates may be looking for a new career for one of many reasons, or several reasons at once. The motivations vary according to each candidate’s personal preferences and circumstances — but there are typically common factors. Some of the most popular reasons for embarking on the path of career change include:
- A desire for new challenges
- Moving or seeking a better location
- Increased potential for career advancement
- Improved job security
- A higher caliber of co-workers
- More money
The last factor may be the most common, either as a sole reason or part of the overall motivation for jumping the career ship — and it’s also a frequent cause for deception on behalf of job candidates. Here’s how it happens, and what you should do about it.
When employee verification turns up a deception
For a great candidate whose resume is impressive, and who’s passed the interview (or multiple interviews) with flying colors, typically the final step between extending a job offer and actually hiring is an employee verification screening. This includes background and reference checks, as well as contacting past employers to verify:
- Whether the candidate worked there, and for how long
- What their job title was
- What salary they were receiving
At this point, many hiring managers are surprised to learn that the candidate has lied about their previous salary, stating it as higher — sometimes much higher — than it actually was.
Why candidates lie about salary
There’s a common psychology among job candidates that inflating their salary records will benefit them once they’re hired somewhere else. Some assume that if they’re applying for a position that’s offering a larger salary than they’re currently receiving, they need to say they were making the same amount (or close to it) in order to justify the higher offering. Others believe that claiming to have earned more will allow them to negotiate for a higher-than-offered salary.
In any case, it’s the wrong strategy to use in trying to earn more — and it could cost them the job offer.
Discouraging salary deception
Hiring managers and recruiters know that lying about salary simply doesn’t work. What many candidates fail to grasp is that earning less money doesn’t mean they’re worth less. Provided your resume and interview show you’re the type of person the company wants to hire, you’ll be offered the salary that was advertised for the position — even if you made less at your previous job.
Another factor is the company’s budget. In nearly all cases, hiring companies have a set budget for the roles they’re looking to fill, and they’ll stay very close to that budget. Upping the salary offer during an interview is rare, especially if the candidate is trying to negotiate a much larger amount.
When candidates inflate their salaries, they lose credibility with employers, and often destroy their chance at getting hired. Instead, the right approach is to be confident in your abilities, and prove that you’re worth the salary you’re requesting.
Want to know more about salary deceptions, or how this could apply to your hiring or job search strategies? Contact The Armada Group today. We know what it takes – and what you can’t do! – when filling or fighting for jobs.
A relatively new type of technology is making its way into businesses and organizations across the country. Some are referring to beacon technology as “GPS for indoors,” and in effect, that’s what these devices do — though the potential applications for beacons go beyond offering locations and directions.
What are beacons?
Beacons are small, inexpensive pieces of hardware that connect via Bluetooth, enabling them to transmit data directly to mobile devices. As usual, Apple is setting the popularity trend with its iBeacon, but other companies — some of which have been using beacons before Apple launched their version — are already making waves with this technology.
How can beacons be used?
Through the combined use of beacon hardware and specialized software, beacons can be used to locate mobile devices indoors and transmit messages or prompts according to a set of targeted criteria. This enables real-time, segmented in-person marketing for consumers with mobile devices.
The most obvious applications for beacon technology are in retail. Beacons can target shoppers in certain areas of a store and send personalized deals, product information, and more directly to their smartphones or tablets. This technology can also simplify the shopping experience, allowing customers to use a completely contactless payment system that’s tied to their mobile device.
But retail isn’t the only possibility for beacon technology, which has potential applications for enterprise, event organizers, transit systems, and even educational institutions.
One potential barrier to widespread adoption of beacon technology is the required permissions. Retail locations can’t simply send messages to any mobile device that happens to be inside the store. Generally, customers have to enable Bluetooth, permit location services on the relevant beacon app, and opt-in to notifications from the store.
Who’s using beacon technology now?
Apple’s iBeacon is already being used for personalized shopping experiences through a partnership with marketing platform Swirl, which is used in several stores throughout the United States and Canada — including Lord & Taylor, Timberland, Alex and Ani, and Kenneth Cole.
A Silicon Valley-based shopping app called shopkick has used beacon technology since 2009, rewarding users with “kicks” or retail points just for entering certain stores. The shopkick beacon platform is currently used in stores like Target, Best Buy, Old Navy, JC Penney, American Eagle, and more. Brands like Ritz, Levi’s, and Oreo also use shopkick to send alerts that draw customers to their product locations inside stores. Macy’s recently announced an expanded partnership with shopkick that represents the largest beacon deployment to date, with the technology to roll out to 4,000 Macy’s locations — bringing the total number of locations using shopkick to 7,500.
Several other companies are also getting involved in beacon technology. Both PayPal and Qualcomm tend to roll out beacon hardware of their own to compete with the iBeacon, and vendors similar to Swirl, such as Estimote and GPShopper, are offering beacon management and consulting along with software platforms.
With the prevalence of mobile devices, beacon technology provides a convenient new way to direct people — shoppers, students, travelers, and more. To learn more about this technology, or how it pertains to your company, contact the IT experts at The Armada Group today.
Wearable technology has a lot of exciting potential, but so far gadgets ranging from GPS shoes to Google Glass have amounted to little more than interesting fads. Could smartwatches push wearable tech into the mainstream consumer markets? With the official announcement of the Apple Watch, set for release in early 2015, wearables may move out of the fad phase and into everyday life.
Smartwatches on the market now
The smartwatch is not a new tech category. In fact, Samsung, Sony, and Motorola are just a few of the brands currently offering the gadgets in an increasingly crowded space. So far, consumer demand for these devices has not been overwhelming, and the smartwatch is viewed more as a James Bond-esque accessory for diehard tech fans than a “must-have” piece of technology.
Most of the current crop of smartwatches emphasizes a single main functionality, whether it’s health and fitness, smartphone notifications, or mapping and communication. The same features can be accessed with fitness bands and smartphones, lending these devices a limited appeal.
Apple’s game-changing smartwatch gamble
While current smartwatches have limited uses, the Apple Watch is said to offer full functionality for fitness tracking, smartphone integration, and more. On the fitness side, the watch offers a tracking app along with a heart rate monitor and accelerometer. A wide range of apps work with the Apple Watch, and users will also be able to receive short calls through the watch when an iPhone is linked to the device, which contains a microphone and speaker.
Other features of the Apple Watch include an interactive GPS with different types of vibrations for turning left or right, haptic message notification that feels like a “tap on the wrist,” and the ability to run third-party apps — not just those from the iTunes store. Apple CEO Tim Cook called the watch “the most personal device we’ve ever created” at the public announcement for the device.
Apple: Redefining the market (again)?
In 2007, Apple transformed the mobile device industry with the release of the iPhone. Some analysts believe the Apple Watch will do the same for the wearable tech landscape, making smartwatches a “must-have” for consumers — and driving competitors to up the game and produce devices with similar features and functionality.
If the smartwatch goes mainstream, the device could impact a number of industries. While the impact may not be to the degree smartphones cut into the market for digital cameras and MP3 players, it’s projected that a successful smartwatch could disrupt the fitness band industry and impact traditional watchmakers.
The Apple Watch will be available in three versions: a standard model with a black or silver stainless steel body, a sports model in gray or silver aluminum, and a luxury model with a hardened, 18-carat gold body. Pricing for the device starts at $349, and 30 million units are expected to be sold in 2015.
Need help finding candidates who understand and utilize all the most current and up-to-date technologies on the market? Contact The Armada Group today!
Technology may change in the blink of an eye, but the basic job of a developer or software engineer remains the same: to produce code. Writing code is the heart of every developer task, from debugging and maintenance to creating brand new software.
However, many of the tools, resources, and skills developers use to crank out code have evolved along with technology, particularly with the emergence of the cloud. Here are some examples of the ways modern cloud developers differ from software engineers before them — and a few things that haven’t changed.
Source code control systems
This type of system isn’t new — in fact, developers have used them for decades to store and track codes, versions, and revisions. All source code control systems have the same basic components:
- A repository where code is stored
- Revision control tools to manage copies of the master code
- A version system that keeps track of releases
For the modern developer, the difference in source code control systems is awareness and mastery of adaption. Working with these systems in the cloud requires the ability to manipulate code for a widely dispersed workforce. The distributed git system, made popular by the collaborative developer website GitHub, is the most widely used, but centrally controlled systems like Microsoft Team Foundation Server and Apache Subversion are also commonly used in cloud development.
Agile development methods
There is increasing pressure on modern developers and software engineers to push products to market faster. This has led to the creation and practice of smaller, faster, and more flexible methods for producing code — and speed increases are often achieved through collaboration over a git system, with developers who may be located in diverse geographic areas.
For example, one method many developers employ is called a “sprint.” Sprints are periods of time, usually a week or two, when a team of developers does nothing but produce working software.
Platform as a Service
A lot of end users are familiar with the cloud term Software as a Service (SaaS), a time-saving and cost-effective method for using programs and applications that are hosted on the cloud rather than on workstations or servers, and accessed with an Internet connection.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) is similar in that it delivers large, expensive components developers use on a hosted platform, without hefty overhead or upfront investment. PaaS is a cloud computing layer that provides infrastructure build, integration testing, and software deployment — removing overhead for the developer and allowing coding to happen faster.
For a long time, developers could build a career by becoming proficient in a single programming language. Today’s cloud developers need greater linguistic capabilities — as least in the languages they use to talk to computers. Most programming languages are decades old, but modern developers are combining them in new ways in order to work with all the domain-specific languages that can go into a single software product.
All factors considered, speed is the primary difference between previous generations of software engineers and the new breed of agile cloud developers. What once represented a year’s worth of output can now be created in a matter of days, and the process can be repeated week after week.
But at the end of the day, developers deal with code. And that will never change.
The Armada Group knows what modern skills developers need to cultivate and maintain in order to be at the forefront of their industry. To speak with one of our recruiting specialists, or to find a top IT candidate, contact our team today.
As technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, there are massive changes taking place in the energy and utility industry. The energy grid that’s currently in use has been around for a long time — and the aging infrastructure is costly, inefficient, and unreliable. The world is moving toward standardized clean energy technology, and smart grids are at the heart of this movement.
There are a number of different technologies currently fueling growth in the smart grid industry, in both core and grid-edge areas. These include:
- Smart meters, sensors, and software
- Transmission gear technologies
- Distribution automation through flexible, intelligent distribution systems
- Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology
- Charging stations for electric vehicles
- Demand response systems
Here are some facts about smart grids, and the role IT will play in the future of cleaner, more intelligent energy distribution, storage, and management.
Smart grids are substantially more efficient
The longer something has been in use, the more likely it is to fail. This is the case with the current energy grid — failure is more frequent, and it costs everyone. While the existing electricity system has 99.97 percent reliability, power interruptions and outages still occur, and cost Americans an average of $150 billion or more each year — roughly $500 per person.
Aging infrastructures, retiring professionals, and the increasing use of solar and other distributed power generation resources are leading to gaps in safety and stability. Smart grids are becoming increasingly necessary to support — and eventually replace — a grid that is already relying more on newer technologies to sustain operation.
Companies are creating smart grid-based services
For hardware and software vendors, smart grid technology offers the potential for a range of management services that will benefit consumers and the energy industry. Examples of smart grid-enabled service include:
- Home energy management
- Asset management and condition monitoring
- Demand response services
- Advanced metering infrastructures
- Automation for distribution and substation communications
- Software solutions and analytics
A market forecast from Navigant Research predicts that the global market for services based on smart grid technology will grow from $1.7 billion in 2014, to over $11.1 billion by 2023.
Workforce development is vital to smart grid success
Many STEM-related careers are already experiencing talent shortages. In the coming years, this is expected to increase — and jobs relating to smart grids will be among the most pressing. To meet this need, the U.S. Department of Energy backs and promotes the Consortium for Electric Reliability Technology Solutions, which works with universities and other institutions to advance the smart grid through the development of new methods and technologies.
One of the largest categories in the smart grid industry is likely to be the market for IT solutions, and IT smart grid jobs will be in high demand. From transmission upgrades to analytics solution, smart grid IT is expected to grow as an industry to more than $23 billion by 2023.
Data scientists who work with smart grid technologies will also be in high demand, but many utility companies will be unable to afford the creation of a dedicated data scientist role. For this reason, some are turning to outsourced solutions that allow multiple utility clients to leverage one expert — a strategy that is likely to become more popular as smart grid technology spreads.
For more information on IT’s role in clean energy, or to find candidates who understand the necessity for implementing this type of technology in your workplace, contact The Armada Group today.