How to Hire for Emotional Intelligence

There's no question technology requires specialized skills, and you definitely wouldn't hire someone whose resume lacks the core technology required for the job. Although much of a technical worker's time is spent staring at a screen, man-machine interaction is only part of the job. Person-to-person interaction is also part of the job, so look for employees with emotional intelligence as well as technical capabilities.

Having emotional intelligence means having skills like self-awareness, empathy, and social skills. Employees with these skills work well with others, which is important in team-oriented technical projects. They focus on finding solutions to problems rather than dwelling on the problem, which makes them effective leaders. Find new hires with emotional intelligence these ways:

• Use behavioral interviews.

Emotional intelligence isn't like book intelligence, where you know the right answer; it's about responding effectively challenges. Use behavioral interview questions to find out about the candidate's work in the past and how they envision responding to hypothetical situations. If the hypothetical situations you ask about actually happened in your work environment, you'll get insight into whether their approach to problem solving is appropriate in your company.

• Assess the candidate's attitude during an interview.

Listen to the candidate's responses, not only for content but also for manner. Listen for passion about their work. Make sure the candidate is listening to you and responding to the questions you ask, not just presenting the information they want you to know. Pay attention to nonverbal cues, also.

• Measure the candidate's fit against your culture.

Ask why they want to work for you and what their ideal work environment is. You'll get an idea of the environment they need to thrive and whether your environment matches.

• Find out what they do outside work.

You can learn whether someone is a "people" person by what they choose to do in their spare time. If someone has a leadership role in a volunteer organization, they're leading people who don't have to follow (unlike at work).

• Rely on referrals.

Your employees understand the reality of working within your company and know what kind of attitude will succeed. They won't recommend job candidates they don't think will fit in and be able to do the job.

Published in Hiring Managers

What Security Pros Need in the New Year

From an information security perspective, 2015 was a headline-making year, and not in a good way. Major breaches occurred at healthcare insurance companies, an online dating site, financial firms, and government agencies including the FBI. The challenges facing security pros are daunting. These are a few of the things they need to make their jobs easier:

Integrated security tools.

There are plenty of security products out there, including firewalls, intrusion detection systems, data loss prevention tools, threat feeds, and security information and event management products, but they mostly provide independent services. Security pros wish for integrated tools that would provide a comprehensive view of the network security posture and work together to address threats.

Increased security awareness.

Security doesn't make money for companies, so it often gets little attention—and money—until after a problem has occurred. Security pros wish consciousness of the importance of security would penetrate the entire business hierarchy, from the boardroom where strategic funding decisions are made to the lowest-level employees who are vulnerable to phishing and social engineering attacks.

Security implemented throughout the technology stack.

It's no longer possible to secure corporate data by securing the network. Security needs to be built into applications and databases to defend against attacks that originate from within the network. Security concerns should be part of an application's earliest design phases, not an afterthought ineffectually bolted on at the tail end of the development process.

Security focused on major risks.

It's impossible to provide effective security when you don't know where the biggest risks are. Companies need to perform risk analysis to understand which data is being used by which applications and where that data is being stored. Then security efforts can focus on protecting sensitive data which would do the greatest harm if exposed, rather than applying equal levels of protection across all applications regardless of risk.

More security engineers.

There's a shortage of security professionals, so even when a business is committed to investing in security, it's hard to find employees with the skills to implement the necessary tools and policies. Engineers with solid training and up-to-date security certifications will find plenty of opportunity in the new year.

Published in Recruiting

Armada Dec How to Prove Your DevOps Adds Value

The rise of cloud computing, coupled with the push for continuous software development, has led many businesses to the DevOps model. In DevOps, the team responsible for deployment and support of applications in the production environment works closely with development teams and development tools to streamline the transition of applications to operational usage. This is a culture change for many organizations, where traditionally the development and operations teams were separate. For companies that have made this transition, identifying the benefits and ROI can prove challenging.

CA Technologies developed a framework for metrics that can be used to assess the performance of DevOps. These metrics review the DevOps organization in the following areas:

Culture, collaboration, and sharing.

Cultural changes are needed for any DevOps program to succeed. Metrics such as staff retention and employee morale surveys help you determine how successfully the DevOps philosophy is accepted by your organization.

Efficiency and effectiveness.

DevOps teams need to show their success in meeting operational goals. These are traditional goals so traditional metrics such as admin-to-server ratios are still applicable. Other relevant metrics measure the cost of releases.

Quality and velocity.

These metrics verify whether this approach to service delivery is succeeding through looking at measures such as the number of releases that are rolled back due to problems and the time taken to restore service after a problem.

Customer and business value.

Ultimately, the reason for using DevOps is to achieve business goals. Companies should create metrics that assess whether DevOps is helping to roll out functionality more quickly, and improving customer loyalty.

Metrics are made at a moment in time, and an effective metrics program requires an ongoing program of assessment. Metrics which are continuously passed can be removed from the program; metrics which are not met can indicate unrealistic goals or a problem with the DevOps implementation. It's easy to backslide and measure only traditional operations metrics or technical factors such as number of bugs, but it's important to retain the emphasis on internal collaboration and customer satisfaction. The real ROI of DevOps comes when your teams work as one to meet business goals.

Armada Dec What Skills are IT Candidates Missing

How do you decide which candidates to bring in for an interview? Reading their resume gives you an idea of their skills – at least the skills they claim – but lots of candidates look a lot better on paper than they do in person. You and your team can end up spending a lot of time meeting with candidates who can't do the job. One way to cut down on wasted time is to work with a staffing agency that can effectively pre-screen candidates for you. While a recruiter can't make the ultimate decision as to whether a candidate is the right person for you to hire, we can screen for common shortcomings, and make sure you spend your time talking to the best potential new hires.

Communication skills

Staffing agencies talk in-depth with candidates before we pass their resumes on to you. If your job requires a candidate who can speak with confidence and give effective presentations, our conversations with the job seeker let us evaluate their ability before you meet them.

Cultural fit

Our conversations with job seekers always touch on what they're looking for in the position, in the workplace, and longer term in their career. This lets us make sure that the candidates we send to you will fit in and stick around for the long haul.

Problem-solving skills

We can conduct behavioral interviews to assess candidates' problem-solving skills. These interviews ask questions that let the candidate demonstrate resourcefulness, creativity, and analytical thinking.

Technical expertise

Staffing agencies can do more than just match acronyms on candidates' resumes against the acronyms in your job descriptions. We can give candidates technical tests to confirm a baseline level of ability before they ever meet your staff.

Whether you're hiring because you're staffing up for a new project, or need to replace an employee who's resigned, you want to find your new employee as quickly as possible. Working with a staffing agency that's experienced in screening candidates is an effective way to speed up the process. We'll weed out the candidates who don't have the soft skills or personality for the position, and let you focus on the hard technical criteria that are your expertise.

Published in Hiring Managers

Armada NovWhat Not to Wear at Your Interview With a Startup

When you're applying for a corporate job, it makes sense to go for a corporate look at your interview. You want to look like you can fit in and do the job. When you're applying for a job at a startup, deciding what to wear isn't so straightforward. Startups are the antithesis of corporate, and without a dress code, their employees usually wear pretty much whatever they want. But that doesn't mean you can wear whatever you want to your interview.

Every startup is different. To some extent, you need to use common sense based on what you've heard about this specific startup and the specific role you're interviewing for. Sales jobs and other jobs that require meeting with customers may require a more pulled-together appearance. So what follows, then, aren't rules but guidelines that will help you decide how to present yourself.

Be clean.

It doesn't matter how casual the dress code is; your clothes should be freshly laundered. You should not be rumpled, smelly or stained, it will seem like you aren't able to handle basic self care, or give the position your respect.

Be neat.

A pulled-together look is always better. That doesn't mean formal, but it does mean looking like you made an effort. It's not so much the specifics of what you wear, but that you give an impression that the interview is a big deal to you.

Fit in.

Not all casual environments are the same. Some are fine with short; others draw the line at jeans. It's better to be one step more formal than the workplace than to push it too far.

For both gents and ladies, khakis and a button-down shirt are always a safe choice. There's no need for a tie. Ladies can also wear a dress; just don't go too short or too low cut. If you go with jeans, darker colors read more formal than light colors. A sports jacket or blazer also step up your style when you wear jeans.

No smart company will make the decision to hire you based solely on what you wear to the interview, but it's another piece of information they'll consider. Miss the mark too badly and they'll wonder about your judgment. Make a smart wardrobe choice for your interview, and once you're hired, you can dress like you belong there.

Published in Recruiting

Armada Nov Comment Trolls Can They Be Stopped

Companies engage with customers in more ways than ever. These engagements are more public than ever, too. Previously, the business controlled the public content, through ads and marketing activities. Interactions with consumers were private.

Today, though, social media makes interactions with customers public. Sometimes negative comments on social media are legitimate customer complaints that merit an investigation and corporate response. Sometimes, however, they're trolls who simply enjoy provoking, or, worse, want to damage the company.

It's difficult to manage trolls; simply shutting down a forum can also lead to negative publicity. Companies can use the following strategies in responding to trolls instead.

Don't Respond at All

Sometimes the best thing you can do with a troll is to ignore them. They are intending to provoke a response; when they don't get one, they're likely to go away. Don't send automatic replies, which just prolong the interaction.

Find the Funny

If the complaint isn't about a serious situation, find a way to make a joke about it. Humor helps defuse online anger as effectively as it does in the real world. Just make sure the joke is a funny response to the situation. Making light of the situation or making fun of the commenter won't have the effect you want.

Keep Them Hidden

You don't want to block legitimate gripes, but you own your social media outlets and you don't need to approve every comment for display. On some sites, you can review comments before they're publicly posted. You can also define standards of behavior and hire moderators to enforce them. Commenters who repeatedly violate standards can be banned from the forum.

Don't Allow Anonymity

Trolls are much more likely to operate when they can keep their identities secret. Requiring posters to provide real identity information, even when not displayed on the site, helps ensure civil behavior.

Investigate and Respond

Not all negative comments should be ignored or buried. If there is truth to the complaint, acknowledge the facts of the situation and find a suitable resolution. Your biggest detractor can become your biggest booster if you correct a problem.

IT Salaries Increase While Company Provided Benefits Decrease

Employers attract employees in three main ways: they offer interesting and enjoyable work; they offer competitive salaries; and they offer comprehensive and competitive benefits packages.

Competitive Salaries

When it comes to salaries, from the employee perspective, bigger numbers are always better. So employees, at least, will be overjoyed to read the latest ComputerWorld IT Salary Survey. Fully two-thirds of the employees who responded to the survey received raises last year. The average increase was around four percent, but some employees have received increases of as much as 50 percent.

This reflects the increased competition for IT employees and the fact that cold cash is the main motivator for employees who changed jobs. Salary increases can also motivate employees who aren't actively looking for a new job to make a change, too, so companies who want to retain staff need to make certain paychecks are deep green.

Competitive Benefits Packages

While every employee would like a bigger paycheck, when it comes to nonsalary benefits, opinions differ. Employees have different short-term and long-term goals, as well as different responsibilities outside the office. Because of this, there are no real standards for benefits packages. Companies are free to design and modify them to meet employee and business needs.

The ComputerWorld survey found that many employers are reducing benefits. In most cases, these are benefits that made sense at one time but are no longer relevant. Company-paid cellphones, for instance, were eliminated by almost 10 percent of the surveyed employees' companies. As almost everyone has a personal cellphone by now, a company-provided device is no longer needed.

Other benefits that were reported as being eliminated, such as flextime and telecommuting options, were rated important by only 29 percent of respondents.

When companies eliminate benefits, they typically select benefits that aren't being used by employees. The savings can then be redirected into providing benefits that are more meaningful and more highly valued.

Employees Remain Satisfied With Benefits

Despite the reductions in benefits, the ComputerWorld survey also reports that most employees, over 90 percent, are satisfied with their comp package. Of employees who are looking for new positions, higher salary is the main motivator. More interesting, fulfilling work is more important than an improved benefits package. That third way of attracting and retaining employees isn't easily defined or achieved simply through spending. Companies that figure out how to both pay well and keep their employees motivated and challenged will have an advantage in the increasingly competitive IT employment arena.

Published in Staffing News

Why Using a Staffing Firm Gives You More than just IT Talent

If the only time you think of using a staffing firm is when you need a hand filling a position, you're not getting the full benefit of their expertise. Partnering with a staffing agency can help companies define and achieve a comprehensive workforce management strategy. Instead of always reacting to the loss of IT talent, companies can work together with the staffing agency to proactively position themselves to attract IT talent.

Provide a View Across the Industry

Because of their industry contacts, staffing agencies know how other organizations are enhancing their benefits and policies to appeal to potential employees. They have insight into job descriptions and how the roles of employees are changing. A staffing agency can work with its client companies to develop or revise HR policies to match industry standards and make the company more appealing to potential hires.

Help You Plan for Flexible Staffing

One of the biggest challenges for companies is finding a way to balance long-term and short-term staffing needs. Having to implement a layoff is painful and costly for companies in multiple ways, but being understaffed is also difficult. A staffing agency can help companies develop strategies for using part-time and temporary staff to meet changing staffing needs, as well as recruit the part-time and temporary employees needed. In addition, working with a staffing agency reduces the time needed to find these employees.

Share Responsibilities for Employees

In some cases, the temporary employees don't become your employee; they are employees of the staffing agency. In this arrangement, the staffing agency – not your business – is responsible for meeting legal obligations such as withholding taxes and making FICA contributions. Another significant legal obligation that belongs to the staffing agency is compliance with ACA regulations. By removing these responsibilities from your company, corporate HR and employee benefit teams can be smaller and more efficient.

Published in Hiring Managers
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