Whether you are applying to an IT job or a position with a tech company, you typically expect to be asked certain technical questions. After all, they either apply to the role itself or the organization’s business model, so these inquiries have an innate level of relevancy.
However, it isn’t uncommon to be asked non-tech questions as well. Typically, questions that fall outside of the tech landscape serve a critical purpose in assessing whether you are a strong fit for the position or the company as a whole.
Even tech giants like Google and Amazon branch into non-tech areas, regardless of whether the position is tech-oriented. If you are wondering why they ask their candidates these non-tech job interview questions, here’s what you need to know.
Soft Skill Assessments
Communication skills, problem-solving capabilities, and leadership potential are often highly relevant to nearly every company, regardless of the position itself or their industry. Hiring managers will often ask non-tech questions that help them assess a candidate’s soft skills as a means of determining whether the job seeker possesses the right mix to be successful in the role.
For example, if you are asked for an example of a time when you used data to make actionable recommendations (something Amazon has been known to do), the hiring manager is looking for insight into your analytical skills and how you use them to benefit the company.
Similarly, being asked how you would prioritize or choose from assignments from multiple leaders in the organization gives the hiring manager information about how you assess your skills, any preferences you may have, and how you approach challenging situations involving workplace dynamics.
Since soft skills are incredibly valuable assets, hiring managers want to know which you possess and how you use them to be effective in a position, and non-tech questions are a common approach for making these assessments.
When it comes to determining whether a candidate fits into a company’s cultural, tech questions aren’t always ideal. Instead, hiring managers use non-tech questions to assess whether the environment is right for you.
For instance, questions about your preferred management style can let them know if you would thrive or struggle under the position’s manager. Asking you to describe an ideal physical environment helps them ascertain whether the workplace itself matches your preferences.
Similarly, requests for examples of how you function as part of a team provide powerful insights into how you work in group scenarios and whether your approach would mesh with your coworkers.
Ultimately, non-tech questions help the hiring manager get to know you beyond your technical capabilities. Since cultural fit and soft skills are so important in every workplace, it’s wise to anticipate that you’ll face similar questions yourself, as they are practically guaranteed to arise.
If you are interested in learning more or are seeking out new job opportunities, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your goals today and see how our services can benefit you.
Technology dedicated specifically to sports and athletics, both at the professional and amateur levels, is becoming more prevalent, leaving many wondering if it will morph into a field of its own. The systems are designed to do more than just monitor performance, supporting other objectives like health tracking and providing access to visual tools that can help them improve.
New products are being introduced on a regular basis, but that only scratches the surface of what the field may have to offer. If you’re wondering what’s next for sports technology, here’s what you need to know.
New Devices and Wearables
Since fitness trackers like the Fitbit became all the rage some years ago, there have been significant advances in the available devices and wearables that are designed to help athletes improve. Activity-specific devices are becoming more prevalent in the market while the capabilities of general devices are increasingly robust.
The field is poised for additional growth, particularly as interest in sport-specific technologies grows, and there is certain room in the marketplace for more sophisticated advancements.
A Connection with Big Data
While most sports technology devices are capable of collecting data about the individual using the tool, big data is also making an appearance in the field. Supporting applications are able to use information about other users to provide additional information and recommendations to users, giving them the opportunity to improve their performance or simply see how they measure up to others.
Analytics are also often integrated into these applications, some of which have predictive capabilities that allow a user to anticipate their results if they choose a specific course of action.
One of the tricks associated with this rapidly advancing field is that, though a number of performance metrics are being included, tech professionals weren’t always knowledgeable about which metrics are actually valuable to users. As the sports technology field grows, however, the professionals behind the devices and applications are learning more about the sports, allowing them to select better information.
This means that tech professionals who have a solid understanding of athletics are highly sought after in the industry, allowing them to be well-positioned when it comes to securing a top-notch position. And, if a software engineer or data scientist has explicit knowledge about the specific sport being targeted in the device and supporting app, all the better.
Whether sports technology will become a full-blown field of its own, in an official sense, is yet to be seen. But, the potential is undoubtedly there, giving sports-minded tech professionals the option of specializing in an area that may combine two of their passions.
If you are interested in learning more about the burgeoning sports technology specialty or are looking for a new tech position, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our services can benefit you and your career.
IT projects are often complex, requiring a significant amount of time to complete and a diverse set of employees to ensure all needed skill sets are present. To coordinate the associated activities, having a robust project management strategy is a necessity.
Like any other area, there are a number of trends that are poised to change the face of project management in 2018. With that in mind, here are a few that you are likely to notice as the year goes forward.
The EPMO Model
Organizations have begun to favor the Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO) methodology over the traditional project managing office (PMO) model. EPMOs typically reflect a more strategic approach, aligning the project, portfolio, and program activities to larger company goals. This allows companies to reach a higher level of success, particularly when it comes to creating end results that meet the original objectives. Plus, fewer projects fail using the associated methodologies, which is a benefit that can’t be ignored.
Increased Use of Software and Tools
Web-based project management software and tools have become more affordable over recent years, allowing more companies to access them. This provides smaller organizations with the technology they need to better manage their projects, including by reducing waste, efficiently allocating resources, and keeping them aligned with their goals.
Analytics Play a Bigger Role
Business analytics continues to become more accessible as well, allowing companies to leverage the power of their data in more meaningful ways. Teams can identify trends in advance, spot potential risks earlier in the process, and even examine complex approaches with greater ease, giving them valuable information that can increase the chances that the project will be successful.
This also helps in the development of future projects as lessons learned today can be captured with greater ease, allowing the associated information to guide decisions during the next project.
More Remote Workers
Technology has also made remote work and telecommuting options easier to manage, allowing your full-time staff to experience greater flexibility or you to access top talent in areas outside of your immediate vicinity.
Since work-life balance has become a priority for many professionals, particularly Millennials and the incoming Generation Z, this can be an attractive offering that gives you an advantage over competitors who choose to forgo the option, increasing the odds that you will be viewed as an employer of choice.
Hiring for Emotional Intelligence
Companies and employees are placing a higher value on emotional intelligence in the workplace, and this will likely affect hiring decisions today and into the future, particularly with project managers. The nature of the work requires coordinating with a wide range of professionals, all with different priorities and personalities. Emotional intelligence makes the task easier, making it a valuable skill for anyone leading a diverse group of workers.
If you are looking to hire a project manager or would like to learn more about current trends, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to speak with one of our skilled team members and see how our expertise can work for you.
IT professionals are often trusted with a significant amount of power in any organization. They have access to critical systems and data, some of which is not directly related to their positions.
Employees in any department may participate in some questionable activities, and IT workers are no exception. While some occasional lighthearted actions can be beneficial to morale, when certain lines are crossed, a serious problem exists.
To help you identify these issues and address unruly IT employee behavior, here are some common areas of concern and how to handle them.
IT employees are uniquely positioned when it comes to practical jokes. They can do anything from changing a person’s password to adjusting computer wallpaper, often remotely.
While some of these actions may seem harmless, they can easily become bothersome. For example, another employee’s work may be disrupted by a practical joke, hurting productivity. In more severe scenarios, such as changing a worker’s desktop background to something inappropriate, a staff member may become offended, or worse.
To prevent these activities, you need strong policies in place that define how credentials can be used as well as any consequences that are associated with these breaches of trust. Using alerts that inform the manager when specific actions are taken can also be effective deterrents, as all activities are automatically broadcast to their supervisor.
Accessing Confidential Information
Most IT professionals have administrator credentials that allow them to access a range of systems. While this is necessary for the work, it can cause problems when they abuse the privilege, using their credentials to access confidential or sensitive information not related to their positions.
Further, they often have the ability to delete or alter logs, giving them a chance to cover their tracks.
Setting up alerts can help spot this kind of activity, as well as a robust ticketing system that can help determine which actions are legitimate and which may be illicit in nature.
Since IT often controls what can be accessed over the internet and which activities are logged, the potential for abuse is significant. A worker could give themselves the ability to access entertainment related sites that would otherwise be blocked, giving them the opportunity to slack off while they are on the clock.
While taking a moment to relax isn’t inherently a problem, if they begin spending more than a reasonable amount of time on non-work-related activities, productivity is going to decline. Further, if they access inappropriate content using company resources, you could have a bigger problem.
To help lower the risk associated with such actions, it’s imperative that all employees be subject to the same restrictions based on actionable policies and that any attempts to circumvent certain blocks be appropriately logged and alerted. This helps deter IT professionals from taking advantage of their position, lessening the likelihood that someone will do so.
Ultimately, most IT employees are standup workers and wouldn’t abuse their power. However, it is crucial that the proper policies and monitoring mechanisms are in place to ensure that such activities don’t take place.
If you are interested in learning more or are looking to hire a new IT worker, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today to see how our services can work for you.
If your developing a career in DevOps, the idea of being a Senior DevOps Engineer may be particularly enticing. Like any upper-level position, you’ll need to possess the proper skill set and also make an effort to separate yourself from your peers.
To help you begin on your way to becoming a Senior DevOps Engineer, here are some tips to get you started.
First and foremost, you’ll need to be especially proficient in a range of scripting languages, including options like Bash, PowerShell, and Python. You may also need to be familiar with working on multiple computing platforms, such as Linux and Windows.
When web services are a component of your development efforts, being experienced in RESTful services is beneficial. And, to meet project objectives, you may need a thorough understanding of continuous integration and delivery, as well as knowledge of configuration management concept.
Since cloud services and tools can play a vital role in DevOps, being familiar with CM tools and frameworks like Chef and SALT can help you get ahead. Expertise in test automation is also highly desirable and can help you stand out from your peers.
Like most IT positions, Senior DevOps Engineers also need a range of soft skills to excel. Most importantly, you’ll need strong written and verbal communications skills, including the ability to make complex information more accessible to stakeholders who may be less tech-savvy.
Planning and organizational skills are incredibly useful as they make it easier to keep projects on track and ensure you are handling your tasks based on any applicable deadlines. Being able to work as part of a team is also crucial.
Senior DevOps Engineers may also need to guide junior team members, so leadership skills can help you move up the ladder to the next level position.
Securing a Promotion
While there is no guaranteed way to obtain a promotion, certain efforts increase your likelihood of success. For example, volunteering for leadership roles can help you develop your skills and assert yourself as someone who can direct and manage the work of others. Taking on new challenges shows your interested in expanding your knowledge base and growing in the field while participating in professional development activities also demonstrate you are working to keep your skills sharp and relevant.
You also need to meet the fundamental requirements of your current position, such as meeting your deadlines and maintaining high-quality standards. Additionally, you need to be open to feedback and work diligently to follow any advice that can allow you to become a top employee.
Securing a promotion is generally about more than just being technically proficient, so aim to become a well-rounded employee who is willing to go the extra mile and support larger team goals to ensure the company has everything they need to succeed.
If you’re looking for a new DevOps position, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with some of the most innovative employers in the area. Contact us to see how our services can help you get ahead in your career.
With competition for top talent in the IT field being fiercer than ever, many companies are exploring new options to help with recruitment and retention. One such benefit involves paying for employees’ certifications.
While the benefit to workers is clear, as having a business cover the cost of any form of continuing education is seen as a boon, some organizations struggle to see the value it provides to them. However, paying for employee certifications can actually be a very smart move when handled wisely. Here’s what you need to know.
Fill Skill Gaps
Even in today’s tech-oriented world, it can be hard to find candidates who possess the skills you need to round out your team. And, with unemployment among IT professionals remaining well below the national average, it may only become more challenging.
Choosing to pay for employee certifications can ultimately help you overcome any existing skill gaps as you can sponsor the training of your top employees, giving you access to their new skills. Essentially, you can mold your current staff into an ideal team, covering all the competencies you need to move forward towards your goals. And, by selecting truly talented workers for the task, you can almost guarantee they’ll come back with the level of understanding you need.
Many businesses turn to traditional offerings, like raises, to keep talented employees on staff. While a larger paycheck is likely to have a positive impact on workers and may improve retention rates, the direct benefit to employers isn’t necessarily as high as with paying for certifications.
Most IT professionals see the value in additional certifications, as it can help them move forward in their career, and companies can benefit from their increased skill level, helping them achieve their goals as well. In some cases, offering certifications in lieu of salary increases can have a similar effect on retention, won’t necessarily cost more than a raise, and gives your company access to skills that may otherwise be unavailable.
Having an employer support professional growth can be seen as a substantial benefit for workers. Not only does it save them from having to pay out of pocket for additional training, but it also proves the company is invested in their forward progress and various personal goals.
In the end, this can lead to a happier workforce, increasing productivity and improving retention. In addition, employees who are satisfied with their employer are more likely to stay for the long haul, and may also share their appreciation with others, making recruitment efforts easier as well.
Offering to pay for employee certifications does require a strong plan, as you need to exude a level of control over which options are supported and who would qualify for such a program. However, by investing in this area and creating a strong guiding structure, your company has a lot to gain from the arrangement.
If you would like to learn more or are seeking an IT professional to join your team, the skilled staff at The Armada Group can help. Contact us today.
Using social media to find potential candidates, a process known as social recruiting, can be highly effective. However, there are various unwritten rules that indicate a recruiter may have gone too far. These tools are powerful, but using them properly is the key to success. Here’s what you need to know about the nuances and best practices associated with social recruiting.
Don’t Spam Job Posts
An overzealous recruiter may be tempted to get the word out about a position by repeatedly posting information about the vacancy on social media. While they may believe this will help the post be seen by more people, it’s actually a quick way to alienate yourself.
If a particular account keeps flooding followers with the same announcement, it may encourage people to unfollow the account as a way to eliminate the noise. Others may ignore the posts or mute them from their feeds. Either way, it means you lose access to passive job seekers who are simply annoyed by the practice.
Researching a candidate over social media can be an excellent way to vet a job seeker. But digging deeper than is necessary isn’t useful and can border on inappropriate. For example, quickly scanning posts and photos for signs of trouble or to confirm the person has the relevant education or experience is fine, but opening hundreds of photos isn’t a way to accomplish those goals.
Writing Off Candidates Who Won’t Let You In
Since screening the social media accounts of job seekers has become common practice, many candidates separate their personal pages from their professional ones. Typically, they’ll restrict access to the accounts that are dedicated to their private lives and only give recruiters access to the professional variants.
Turning away a job seeker just because they won’t friend you on Facebook is generally a mistake. Yes, there is information to be seen there, but the candidate is smart enough to keep these details private. Remember, if you can’t see the account, it is likely the person isn’t letting anyone in if it could harm their public image. And that’s actually a good thing.
Don’t Force a Peek
While this is by no means common, some recruiters have crossed serious lines by “making” job seekers log into their social media accounts in front of them, so they can take a look. Not only is this a violation of the candidate’s privacy, it is often seen as highly unethical and potentially an abuse of power.
Instead of resorting to these measures, recruiters need to understand that social media is only one tool for evaluating applicants. Not being given access to an account isn’t a reason to discount a potential employee and forcing them to give you access is unacceptable.
If you have open positions and would like assistance screening candidates, the team at The Armada Group can locate the top talent you need. Contact us to see how our services can improve your recruitment processes today.
The use of social media as a recruitment tool is fairly common. Many recruitment professionals use these systems to locate and screen candidates, reach out to those with potential, and build long-term relationships with skilled tech professionals. Additionally, companies use these outlets to post information about job openings and highlight everything they have to offer new employees.
But how do you use social media properly to find the technology pros you need with greater ease? By making sure you cover the following basics.
Many companies jump onto social media and just expect people to follow them, even without a good reason to do so. If you want to attract potential candidates to your social media sites, you need to provide something of value. Often, simply adding posts with useful information is enough to attract some interest, so just make sure you have more than ads for your products and services posted regularly on all your accounts.
Your ideal candidates likely have certain priorities and points of interest. One way to get their attention is to create posts designed to draw them in and associating the information with hashtags relating to those areas. In most cases, upcoming tradeshows, news events and industry developments are quickly connected to a particular hashtag. By discovering what they are and writing posts that allow the use of the hashtag to feel organic, you can make a connection with potential job seekers who share that interest.
Your current employees can be your biggest cheerleaders, and they aren’t only focused on the bottom line. By encouraging employees to share company information – including job vacancies – with their networks, you can reach a new audience with greater ease. Make sure they are focused on posts with substance by not considering them a source of additional advertising. Like your own posts, providing information with substance will attract more positive attention than having everyone push the same carefully crafted slogan.
The purpose of social media is to be social, and this involves having actual conversations with other members of the community. Make sure to add personal touches to your content to show that there is an actual person behind the account and not a faceless automaton. And, if a person reaches out to your company, acknowledge them quickly and engage them directly.
However, it is also important to manage any messages being sent carefully. Take the time to review any posts before they go live, even if you are responding with a direct message. The comments you write today will live on for a long time, so a poorly chosen word or phrase can create a bad impression for those who see it directly, as well as anyone within their network with whom they choose to share. And that can hurt your recruiting efforts in both the short and long term.
If you are currently looking for new candidates for open positions or are looking for a social media expert to help you connect with job seekers online, The Armada Group can help you locate the right people for your needs. Contact us to see how our services can help you achieve your larger hiring goals.
Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. And Facebook is hiring both.
When most companies think of security, they focus on hiring IT professionals that can stop attacks in their tracks. Often, it requires a combination of skills aimed at limiting penetration, closing backdoors, and monitoring for intrusions. While all of these tasks are important to overall security, it does lack one key thing: an attacker.
Businesses are often only made aware of vulnerabilities when one is taken advantage of. That means the majority of security operations are reactive in nature. But some organizations have chosen a more proactive approach by hiring penetration experts to test their systems intentionally.
Role of the Internal Attacker
The purpose of an offensive security engineer is to act as an attacker in these scenarios. Their job is to try and make it through security mechanisms just as a hacker would. However, since they are employees of the company, they don’t focus on damage after the fact. Instead, they create their reports, record their techniques, and work with other security personnel to make sure someone outside of the business can’t get in the same way.
Often, the process of breaking into these systems and working your way past security measures is called penetration testing. Essentially, it is determining whether security measures are sufficient by blatantly trying to prove they aren’t.
Not a New Profession
Penetration testing isn’t new to the IT security world. In fact, some companies have been using outside services for this purpose for years. The difference isn’t in the process, but who ultimately employs the hacker-for-hire.
Many businesses who used to outsource the function have decided to bring professionals on-staff instead. In some cases, the reasoning behind the change is the ability to bring on staff who can do more than penetration testing. That way you can essentially have a hacker on-call while still finding more value in their work. Other organizations prefer to keep the privacy associated with internal testing.
Even if a third-party signs appropriate confidentiality agreements, some businesses are inherently nervous about outsiders getting in. By keeping an offensive security engineer on staff, that role can be completed by an employee instead.
Offense and Defense Go Hand-in-Hand
Creating a strong defense requires a solid understanding of the offense side of the equation. By having both sides represented by employees, businesses have the chance to allow each side to learn from one another. This can lead to stronger defenses based on more capable offenses, and that cycle can continue indefinitely.
If your company could benefit from an offensive security engineer or you’re filling any other IT vacancies, the professionals at The Armada Group can help you find the candidates you need. Contact us today and see how our recruitment specialists can work for you.
Do you feel good when you go home at the end of the day? If you don't, you may not be in the right job or working for the right company. Take a look at these seven signs that it's time for a job change and see if you recognize yourself in any of them.
You don't share the company's mission.
It's hard to be happy at work when you can't stand behind the company's product. If you trade off your values for the sake of salary, or even if you just feel that what the company does isn't meaningful, it's hard to feel good about the time you spend there.
You aren't passionate about the technology.
So much of the fun of a tech job comes from getting to use new technology to build exciting products. If your company is stuck using old tech to support existing systems, you may need to go elsewhere to find a new challenge.
When you have skills and abilities that you don't get to use on the job, you can start to get restless. By the time you've been on the job for a while, your manager should feel confident in your abilities and allow you to tackle big problems. If you've asked for those opportunities and been turned down, you may not be as skilled as you think, or your manager may not trust your abilities.
You don't respect your management.
If your managers have made bad decisions that impacted the company, your project, and you, it becomes hard to keep a positive attitude about the work. It also becomes difficult to work together to address problems, leading to even more frustration.
You're in over your head.
Sometimes the job isn't what you thought it was and you don't have the skills. You might have misunderstood what the job entailed or things might have changed at the company between the time you were interviewed and the day you showed up to start work. In either case, your inability to perform as well as you want can make you very uncomfortable every day.
You've been doing the job too long.
You loved your job when you started; it had everything you wanted. But once you've been doing it for a while, it can start to get old. You can try to find ways to change the details of what you're doing and how you do it, but you may need to look for a new job in order to really find a new challenge.
If you have too much work to do or not enough time to do it, you won't leave work behind when you leave the office. You'll take it home with you, work nights and weekends, and even when you try to sleep or have fun it'll still be nagging at you that there are tasks undone.
If you see any of these signs in yourself, it's time to think about finding a new job. The Armada Group takes time to understand both candidates and open opportunities to make a good match. Contact us to start looking for the right company now.