Software development is becoming a higher priority for businesses in 2017. With unemployment low among IT professionals, the competition for top software developer talent is fierce. So many companies are prepared to make strong offers much faster than in previous years.
But that doesn’t mean your company wants to cut corners in the name of greater speed. Finding the right kind of candidate is still as important as getting one quickly. So, how does your organization position itself to hold the secret to a better software developer pipeline? Here are four approaches that you can begin to implement today.
Entice, Don’t Chase
When a company is looking for a top developer, many have their internal recruiters begin the process of hunting down potential candidates. While this process can bring results, not every skilled professional is going to respond to cold calling. And that goes double in cases where the developer isn’t familiar with your company.
The first step to attracting these candidates is to take an unconventional approach to making the first contact. For example, your organization could host and advertise a coding challenge. This helps draw attention by engaging professionals in a new way and giving them an avenue to demonstrate their skills in a fun manner. After they complete the challenge, simply request permission to contact them with future job opportunities.
With this approach, you can reach developers who are interested in the challenges that often surround the work, and truly have a passion for coding and development. It also increases awareness of your business in the developer community, making potential candidates more inclined to pick up the phone when a recruiter calls.
Engage the Community
The developer online community is large. By tapping into these resources, you can do more than simply find potential candidates; you can engage with them. You’ll have the ability to see how the work, both individually and with others in the community, as well as gain insights into their general attitude.
For example, a skilled developer who is often assisting others with their coding issues will likely have a similar approach when working with the members of your team. Similarly, a person who is overly critical of others work may act similarly in the office.
If you personally don’t have the knowledge required to make the most of these communities, work with the programmers currently on your staff to evaluate potential candidates.
Test First, Interview Second
While sponsoring a coding challenge provides insights regarding a developer's skills, it won’t answer every question you have about their abilities. With that in mind, consider adding a skills test near the beginning of the recruitment process instead of after interviews.
This approach allows you to screen any candidates that actually have the technical skills you need. That way, you know every interview has the intellectual capacity to meet your needs and you can focus on other characteristics when you meet in person.
When developing the tests, focus on gathering useful information in a fun way. If the test is challenging and entertaining, you are more likely to keep the best and brightest engaged throughout the process.
Consider a Working Interview
If your initial impressions of the candidate are positive, consider scheduling a time period where they can shadow a current programming employee. This gives the candidate a chance to meet the team in a meaningful way, and the team members can learn about the candidate’s approach to some of the problems the team faces.
Often, this process requires a few hours of the candidates time, but it provides a real opportunity to see if what appears to be a match on paper, in fact, will work for the day to day.
If you are looking for additional ways to expedite your hiring process, The Armada Group can help you locate the software development candidates you need. Contact us today and speak with one of our professional recruiters about your current hiring priorities.
The Armada Group understands that the quality of our recruiters has an enormous impact on the results we can provide to clients and job seekers. And keeping the best recruiters on staff requires effort on the part of the business. This includes creating an environment where recruiters are encouraged to work hard for every applicant and client, as well as supporting their development in the field.
As said by Mitchell Postle, a technical recruiter for The Armada Group, “Armada appreciates its employees and implements the Santa Cruz culture in the workplace, and that was very appealing for me.”
The fact that working as a recruiter provides The Armada Group employees unique opportunities, also makes the job worthwhile. Mitchell says, “My favorite part about being a recruiter is having the opportunity to help so many talented people find new roles. Even if we are not able to find someone a new job, I love building relationships and lending a helping hand in any way possible.”
Building strong relationships with every client and job seeker ensures our recruiters understand how the needs differ between various companies and job applicants. Since every candidate placement provides distinct benefits to the client business and the person who was placed, our recruiters get to see how their efforts impact the lives of everyone involved.
And, if making a particular placement is every a challenge, management at The Armada Group is always available. As Mitchell puts it, “Armada cares about every employee. They always go the extra mile to make work fun and keep everyone motivated. Keeping the high touch method of staffing in mind, the management is always available to help, and provide guidance in career growth.”
As far as any favorite client experiences, Mitchell recalls a few placements with Olsen Communications. “I have placed three consultants with [Olsen Communications], and it was a very smooth process. Even more so, I love watching our consultants grown their skills and take advantage of the in-depth training Olsen Com has to offer,” Mitchell says.
Every recruiter working for The Armada Group has the opportunity to develop their job placement skills, allowing them to make good matches between job seekers and client companies. The company provides the recruiters with a working environment that promotes team building and creates incentives to help each employee see this as a place to develop a career.
The success of The Armada Group’s recruiters directly relates to the success our client companies and applicants get to benefit with our successful placements. As the skills of every recruiter grow, you get to put that experience to work for you. Contact us today and see how our skilled recruiters can help you reach your goals.
Looking for that great new job is a complicated and time-consuming process. With so much involved, even the most savvy job seekers can make small mistakes — that may end up having huge consequences. But you can increase your chances of successfully landing your dream job by being aware of potential pitfalls in the job search process, and knowing how to avoid them as they come up.
Here are five of the most common job search mistakes, and what you can do to ensure you aren’t making them.
Sending unsolicited resumes
One common bit of advice that’s been thrown around to job seekers over the years is to apply widely, and send your resume out to as many companies as possible — even if they’re not hiring. Some have recommended using this strategy to get into your dream company. But the high volume of resumes that are sent to any given company, hiring or not, combined with widespread use of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) practically guarantees that unsolicited resumes are a waste of your time and efforts.
Instead of sending out resumes blindly, your time would be better spent identifying a handful of ideal job opportunities, and customizing your resume and cover letter to match each individual job’s requirements, company information, and job description.
Relying on job boards and online listings
Generally speaking, online job boards are not the best sources for leads. Even worse are online “classifieds” or “want ads,” which are often riddled with increasingly clever scams posing as opportunities. But even legitimate online job postings will often end up wasting your time — simply because of the high volume of applicants these listings receive.
While it’s okay to dedicate a small portion of your time applying through online job boards, the majority of your efforts should be spent on more productive and effective strategies for finding opportunities. Networking is absolutely the most effective, since a majority of today’s new hires are referral-based. The Jobvite 2014 Social Recruiting Survey reports that 60 percent of hiring managers and recruiters said their best hires were through referrals.
Working directly with a recruiter is another highly effective way to find great opportunities. Recruiters have access to job openings that aren’t posted to the public, which means you’ll apply with a referral from the recruiter and compete against a smaller pool of candidates for the position.
While many job seekers understand the importance of networking, at least in theory, most aren’t using this powerful tool effectively. Networking is best when it’s made the focus of your job search, and when it’s approached in a structured and professional way that allows you to measure the results of your efforts.
For example, “being on LinkedIn” is not an effective networking strategy. Simply joining the social network doesn’t bring a flood of recruiters and potential employers to your virtual doorstep. You need to optimize your LinkedIn presence with a detailed, relevant profile that lets people know you’re in the job market, connect with industry professionals, influencers, and potential employers, and interact through groups and discussions in order to attract attention and grow your network.
Flying solo on your job search
This refers not only to networking, but also using career experts in general. Of course, when you’re actively looking a job, you should let family, friends, and colleagues know that you’re in the market to keep your network open — you never know where the next opportunity might come from.
In addition to asking for help from people you know, you can substantially increase your chances of getting hired by working with a professional. Career coaches, resume experts, staffing agencies, and recruiters have extensive resources for job seekers that can help you every step of the way, from identifying opportunities to making it through the interview.
Not asking for the job
It’s incredibly disappointing and frustrating to trip at the finish line — but that’s what can, and often does happen when you forget to ask for the job. You might make it all the way through the application process and a round of interviews, but if you don’t express your genuine interest in the position, you may be passed over anyway.
The very last step of every interview should be to thank hiring managers for their time, and state clearly that you want the job, in plain language. This makes your final impression as someone who’s both qualified and enthusiastic, which exponentially increases your chance at getting hired.
Need more assistance in your job search, or have questions about any of the job search blunders above? Call The Armada Group today and talk to one of our career guidance experts!
As technology continues to evolve rapidly, so does the role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO). Like many other positions, the demands and responsibilities of this role are rising to meet the fast-paced changes throughout the industry. What is important for today’s CIOs — and what may be less important than it used to be?
Here’s a look at the future of the CIO role, for 2015 and beyond.
CIOs will be less tech-savvy, more boardroom-ready
Traditionally, the role of any IT professional has required high levels of technological skill. But in the modern business landscape, where every organization regardless of industry has an IT infrastructure to maintain, the technical side of a business is no longer separate — it’s an integral component of every department, and increasingly important to shareholders, partners, and customers.
The CIO of the (near) future will rely less on technical skill, and more on leadership and persuasion. CIOs will be responsible for gaining buy-in and getting the green light from shareholders and the C-suite, and for ensuring a strong business-IT alignment across the organization. These leaders can come from any background — not just IT.
Speed and agility are critical
Successful CIOs in 2015 will be able to move at the speed of technology. CIO strategies will incorporate high degrees of agility and scalability to accommodate the latest advances, leading organizations through massive transformations from companies that have tech departments, to world-class digital companies that also operate in the physical space.
The CIO of tomorrow understands that the competitive technology curve is moving away from strong IT skills and traditional IT services, and toward emerging digital business technologies in the social, mobile, analytics, and cloud spaces. Cutting-edge strategies in these areas will be vital to the success of any organization, particularly as big data evolves toward more practical uses and substantially increased ROI.
CIOs will adopt a customer point of view
The traditional role of the CIO has been internally focused. CIOs tend to consider internal operations and supporting functions, while leaving external impacts and customer-facing decisions to marketing and sales. But the new CIO will understand that the market is shifting toward customer-centric technologies and infrastructure decisions — and a customer-first attitude is essential for success.
Personalization, market segmentation, and targeting strategies must start at the foundational level in order to be effectively driven by the latest technologies. In 2015, successful CIOs will transition legacy skill sets to the new digital reality, and develop an outside-in view of an organization’s technology. Keeping up with the speed of the modern market will require massive changes in the mindsets of IT leaders as the focus shifts from maintaining internal functions, to streamlining external operations and creating a flawless customer experience.
For the modern CIO, success hinges on mastering the soft skills that have been regarded as the antithesis of the IT profession for decades. Exceptional communication, increased speed and agility, and strong leadership and persuasion skills will define the role of the CIO for 2015 and beyond.
Looking for a job can be stressful and time-consuming, whether you’re unemployed or unhappily employed. But with the New Year approaching, it’s the perfect time to turn things around and make a fresh start. Your job search doesn’t have to consume your life — by working smarter, you can corral your job-seeking activities and be more productive with the time you spend.
As an IT candidate, these tips will help you make 2015 your most productive year, so you can land the job of your dreams.
Ready, set, organize
Like any other task, your job search will be smoother if you have an efficient, dedicated workspace. Set up an area that will provide you with minimal interruptions — because each time you have to stop what you’re doing, it takes time to refocus and get back into the task.
Decide on the system you’ll use for organizing tracking your job search progress, and have it ready to go in your workspace. There are many different ways to keep track, so choose whichever method you feel most comfortable with that you’re likely to stick to — whether it’s spreadsheets, index cards, a weekly planner, or a tracking app.
Create a daily and weekly plan
Job seeking involves a lot of activities, and many of them are repetitive. You need to network and monitor your presence online, search for jobs, research companies, update your resume and cover letter, apply to jobs, follow up on submissions, attend interviews, and follow up with those. Developing a plan that reminds you when to do each of these activities helps you save a lot of time — and prevents you from chasing your tail.
A sample daily and weekly plan might include:
- Monday: Review available positions you can apply to
- Tuesday, Thursday: Research companies you plan to apply, take notes to use in your custom resume and cover letter
- Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Follow up with one networking contact
- Wednesday: Google yourself and weed out negative information, if needed
- Friday: Follow up on any applications you sent out last week
Let technology find jobs for you
Actually searching for jobs that match your criteria can take a lot of your valuable time — but you don’t have to spend hours running Google searches and scouring job boards. Most online job boards provide a free alert system that notifies you via text or email when a new job is posted that meets your search criteria. There are also several Twitter feeds for job boards that send out tweets as new job postings come in. You can typically choose either daily or real-time updates, and select the alert type that’s most convenient for you.
As you subscribe to job alerts, don’t forget to check niche online job boards as well as general boards. Niche IT job boards can provide a richer and more focused resource for open positions — which makes your job search easier.
Tailor your resume and cover letter smartly
This may not save a lot of time, but customizing your resume and cover letter according to each job you’re applying for increases your productivity by producing more targeted, effective submission materials. The better you can express your qualifications for a specific position, the higher your chances of landing an interview.
You don’t have to rework your entire submission packet every time. But at a minimum, update your resume keywords and your Summary of Qualifications according to the requirements for the job you’re applying to, and enhance your cover letter with comments about the specific company that you’ve found through your research.
Work with a recruiter
One of the most efficient and time-saving steps you can take for your 2015 job search is to work with an IT staffing agency. Recruiters handle much of the legwork for you — finding positions that you’re best suited for, submitting your resume and cover letter, and scheduling interviews.
In addition, recruiters can help you get hired faster, for better jobs. Staffing agencies specializing in IT develop long-term relationships with IT hiring managers, giving you the value of a referral to help you get your foot in the door. A recruiter can also give you access to jobs that aren’t posted for public viewing, since many hiring managers often hire directly through staffing agencies instead of posting job descriptions.
Make 2015 your year to land your dream job with a streamlined, productive job search strategy!
Being a great leader — whether you’re already in an executive position or looking to be promoted to one — requires strong emotional intelligence. And an important part of emotional intelligence is the ability to keep negativity out of your communication and interaction with other people. Negative thinking and emotion prevents you from getting results both for yourself and with others. What’s more, negativity can spread stress like it’s contagious — studies have shown that negative thoughts transmit stress-producing hormones that affect those around you.
Even if you have high emotional intelligence, you may be putting out negative vibes without realizing it. Here are five subtle but common ways you might not know you’re being negative, and what to do if you spot yourself engaging in them.
Not accepting compliments
For many people, responding to compliments with a demurral is an instinctive reaction. If you’re told you did a good job, your instinct may be to downplay the sentiment by crediting someone else, insisting it wasn’t that hard, or even saying you were just lucky. You may think you’re being humble — but this type of reaction actually undermines your confidence and makes it harder for other people to trust your skills or abilities.
Instead of demurring, learn to accept compliments with grace (and a dash of humility). Own your positive actions or accomplishments, even if your response is a simple “thank you” with no further discussion on the subject of the compliment.
Negating a positive
Negative inferences happen when you make a positive statement, and then follow it up with something negative that undermines the effect. For example, you might say, “My last performance review was fantastic, but I’m still not making the salary I should.”
The first part of this statement is positive and worth both consideration and discussion. But when it’s followed immediately with negativity, the positive value goes out the window — and suddenly you’re one of those people who always sees the glass as half empty. Negative inferences crush enthusiasm and prevent others from taking your side.
Instead, keep your positive statements positive and focused on your options. For example, you might say, “My last performance review was fantastic, so now I’m going to work on presenting my accomplishments better so I can negotiate a higher salary.”
Reacting too quickly
When something goes wrong, people have a tendency to react — and in the heat of the moment, your reaction might be less than emotionally intelligent. For instance, if a team member says something unfortunate during a meeting, you might approach them after the meeting with a comment along the lines of, “That was a stupid thing to say!” This type of reaction is not constructive, and can quickly break down relationships.
A better way to handle moments like these is to focus on responding, instead of reacting. When you respond to a problem, issue, or negative situation, you give yourself time to consider what really happened and why it might have happened — and then formulate a thoughtful reply that is constructive and considerate.
“Yeah, but…” mode
Everyone’s said it from time to time. Someone makes a suggestion, and you want to agree, but you immediately calculate the problems with the idea and your response sentence starts with “Yeah, but…”
This opening is a blocker. The word “but” dismisses anything positive that came before it, and makes collaboration with other people difficult. If you find yourself saying “Yeah, but” frequently, people will lose interest in listening to you.
Instead of agreeing, and then immediately disagreeing, focus on validating ideas that you believe are worthy, and offering possible changes or alternatives for those that don’t quite seem there yet. Keep the “but” out of your responses.
Bringing others down to raise yourself up
Emotionally intelligent people understand that the path to success is not forged by blatantly stepping on others along the way. However, you could be engaging in a more subtle form of diminishing other people, through statements that contain gossip or put-downs — even if they seem innocuous.
Besides the risk of having these negative comments get back to the people you’ve made them about, the person you’re talking to may wonder what you’re saying about them to others. If you’re tempted to put someone else down in order to feel better, ask yourself what your real motivation is for making these damaging statements. It might be insecurity about your own performance, jealousy of someone else’s abilities, or simply just a bad habit of engaging in gossip.
This type of negativity can be the most difficult to overcome — but it’s also the most rewarding. When you have genuine respect and kindness for others, they’ll reciprocate, and you’ll be better positioned for leadership.
Want to learn more about being an emotionally intelligent leader? Contact the staffing and recruiting experts at The Armada Group. We can help you find – and retain – the best in IT management and professionalism.
Makerspaces are a new phenomenon that’s currently exploding in popularity. The term “makerspace” refers to a shared community space that provides access to cutting-edge tools for techies, students, inventors, and anyone interested in making.
There is no set definition for what makerspaces offer. They might contain anything from classes on using the latest Firefox browser, to industrial sewing machines and metalworking tools, to 3D printers and laser cutters. And these communal facilities are popping up everywhere.
Here are five makerspaces in various U.S. locations that any techie would love:
Location: Somerville, MA
Fees: $85 for a 5-pack of day passes, $60 to $150 per month memberships, various fees for work space, storage space, and classes
Website: Artisan’s Asylum
At Artisan’s Asylum, diverse users share a space that offers a wide range of classes, and a comprehensive selection of tools and equipment. The space is divided into shops that include a computer lab, a rapid prototyping lab with 3D printers and laser cutters, welding shop, wood shop, machine shop, jewelry and lampworking shop, electronics lab, and many more.
ChiPubLib Maker Lab
Location: Chicago, IL
Fees: Free classes and associated materials, materials fee for open shop time
Website: ChiPubLib Maker Lab
This makerspace is part of the Chicago public library system. Launched in 2013, the ChiPubLib Maker Lab holds regular events, lab classes, and workshops, with use of tools and equipment that include 3D software and 3D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters, and a milling machine.
Location: Austin, TX
Fees: Memberships starting at $60 per month, varying fees for workspace and storage space
Website: ATX Hackerspace
With classes from auto repair and bartending to web development and replication, and sponsored events that include chiptune concerts and a Global Game Jam, ATX Hackerspace provides a community for creators. Frequent meetings and events provide motivation and encouragement, and memberships include personal storage space and unlimited classes. Available equipment includes a 3D printer / replicator, laser cutter, a Virtual Instrumentation Suite, and more.
Open Hardware Makerspace (OHM)
Location: Raleigh, NC
Fees: Material costs only
Website: Open Hardware Makerspace
This makerspace affiliated with North Carolina State University maintains a free-to-use open lab space on the university campus. OHM offers skills training, collaboration opportunities, and a wide range of tools and equipment — from hand tools and power tools to 3D printers, vinyl cutters, oscilloscopes, a Geiger counter, Eggbots, and an Arduino-based Polargrapher bot.
Location: Honolulu, HI
Fees: $60 to $75 per month for memberships
Currently in the process of moving to a new and expanded space, HICapacity offers a wide range of classes with an emphasis on programming, frequent themed community nights, and tools and equipment that enable 3D printing, 3D modeling design, working with Oculus Rift, and more. Members pursue everything from silkscreening and conductive painting to virtual reality and brain-computer interfaces.
If you're currently looking to further your career in IT, contact the recruiting experts at The Armada Group today. We specialize in placing candidates in the fast-paced IT careers they dream of.
An uncertain economy has given rise to a variety of non-traditional employment scenarios. The expanding popularity of contractors, temporary employees, and freelance workers has launched a new variation on independent contractor arrangements, called micro-jobbing — and there are many ways this freelance-style platform can benefit your business.
What is micro-jobbing?
Like contractors, micro-jobbers are independent employees who contract their services to companies or individuals. The primary difference between traditional contractors and micro-jobbers is the length of the job. While independent contractors typically work on projects for several months to a year, micro-jobbers take on smaller tasks that can be completed in days to weeks.
Therefore, the scope of micro-jobbing projects is smaller than that of contracting jobs. Where a contractor might design and implement a new software application for a company, a micro-jobber may offer services as an independent tester, or create a new feature for an existing application.
Micro-jobbing and data science
Many people perceive micro-jobbers as third-rate outsourcers who may be from a foreign company and probably offer low-quality work for equally low prices. However, micro-jobbing is a viable platform for a lot of top talent — creative and motivated individuals who prefer not to work in an office environment, and enjoy choosing their own jobs and setting their own hours.
Data science is a complex field, but many skilled micro-jobbers have recognized the market value of this skill set and acquired experience in fields like information management, data filtering, and predictive analytics. There are a number of data science micro-job tasks that can add value to any IT department.
The benefits of micro-jobbing
Micro-jobbing arrangements are mutually beneficial for both companies and talent. For IT professionals, micro-jobbing provides a way to earn extra income without the restrictions of a traditional employment setting. And for organizations, hiring micro-jobbers allows you to gain valuable resources and services without the need for a full-time financial commitment.
Enabling micro-jobbing in your organization
For most companies, building the capacity for micro-jobbing requires a bit of organizational development and restructuring. Here are three steps you can take to pave the way for micro-jobbers in your organization:
- Understand the scope of micro-jobs. Be realistic when deciding on the tasks you want to assign to micro-jobbers. A full-time commitment of three to six months isn’t suitable for this platform — instead, choose tasks that can be completed in a few weeks or less.
- Work with procurement to fast-track onboarding. Because micro-jobbers are very short term, you’ll need a way to bring them into the organization quickly and efficiently. Be sure to discuss your micro-jobbing program with procurement and emphasize the difference between micro-jobbers and independent contractors, so they know what to expect.
- Recruit micro-jobbers with a custom platform. Most of the existing popular platforms for micro-jobbers, such as Elance and TaskRabbit, are focused primarily on low-skill, low-paying tasks. To recruit talented micro-jobbers, your company may be better off building a branded platform and marketing your site directly to the data science community.
Implementing a smart micro-jobbing strategy can help your organization take your data science to the next level. The available talent pool is huge, and bringing in micro-jobbers can not only strengthen your overall data science strategy, but also help to keep your in-house team sharp, focused, and challenged. Talk to our recruiting experts today to find out how The Armada Group can help your company implement its best staffing option.
No one enjoys an audit. You know that compliance and security are vital areas for your IT department, but facing an audit in these areas is like heading to the dentist for a root canal. Audits always seem to come at the wrong time. And it doesn’t help that no matter how prepared you think you are, the compliance auditor is going to find something wrong — after all, they have to keep their job.
Fortunately, you don’t have to suffer with anxiety every time a security or compliance audit is announced. By proactively addressing compliance and security issues, and performing regular checks that make compliance a year-round focus instead of an annual scramble, your IT department can rest easy when the auditor shows up.
Here’s what you can do to handle compliance issues regularly and stay prepared for audits 365 days a year, while also handling your day-to-day IT project load.
Plan (and budget) compliance work for IT every year
Like most of the IT industry, compliance and regulations change continually. It’s essential for your IT department to work proactively on compliance every year, rather than simply catching up before (or after) an audit. The best solution here is to plan realistic budgets and implement new compliance measures as they come up, instead of waiting for an auditor to point out the fact that they’re missing.
Designate a compliance control point
Rather than spreading compliance tasks through your IT team on an as-needed basis, which often results in a last-minute rush before an audit, appoint one person as your compliance central command to plan and budget your needs. This ensures someone is always keeping an eye on compliance, and you’ll know about potential problems before they become major issues.
Some of the responsibilities for your control point should include:
- Reading the latest compliance and security publications
- Attending conferences on new or changing regulatory and security measures
- Scheduling the IT work required to ensure consistent compliance
Perform regular self-audits
Waiting for your regulators to show up for an audit can throw your IT department into a minor panic. To help control audit fever, create a regular audit schedule and perform “dry runs” with either internal auditors, or a third party that is separate and distinct from your regulators. In addition to helping your department understand and experience audits, these practices also help to strengthen your company’s security and governance positioning.
Prep a single file for your documentation prior to an audit
When you have an upcoming audit, prepare a single binder or efile that contains all of your documentation for compliance, including procedures, policies, system flow diagrams, and anything relevant that pertains to governance or security. Presenting this file to an auditor not only makes their job easier, but also creates a favorable first impression of your preparedness — which can positively impact your overall assessment.
By taking proactive steps to address security and compliance issues before audits happen, you and your IT department can ease audit anxiety and come through the experience quickly and painlessly. Speak to the staffing experts at The Armada Group today, to ensure your company is compliant and to ensure all your staffing needs are met.
IT managers need to know more than the tech side of a business. And while administrative skills might seem counterintuitive to the IT professional, there are some non-technical skills you must have in order to successfully manage your IT team.
As an IT leader, you serve as the bridge between your team and upper management or business users — ensuring projects are cleared, tasks are assigned, everyone stays motivated, and the work gets done. Having or developing the following10 indispensable administrative skills will help you do just that.
1. Clearly defining projects and goals
Most IT professionals are creative and resourceful, and will find a way to complete any type of project — as long as they fully understand the project’s objectives and desired outcomes. To keep your team productive, you must be able to define requirements, goals, and expectations to a detailed level. This may mean rejecting sandbox work or project prototyping if there is no definable objective, or identifying the right point to cut off work before it enters unproductive territory.
2. Relationship building with upper management
Like it or not, IT is inextricably linked to the politics of business. Your team’s ability to progress hinges on a solid working relationship with mid-level and upper management throughout the organization. Great IT managers are able to build trust with other management personnel, which gives their own team the leeway they need to undertake projects without interference.
3. Fighting for the budget
Nearly every IT team has experienced the frustration of stopped work because it’s “not in the budget.” IT managers must be able to sell the work to management convincingly, with project justifications, detailed returns on investments, and the hard numbers to back everything up.
4. Serving as a political shield
While there are some exceptions, most IT pros would rather stay in the world of technology, and avoid the world of office politics. In addition to relationship building with management, a successful IT manager will take on political pressures and battles for their team, whether the conflict is with management, shareholders, or other departments — ensuring a clear path to progress.
5. Addressing problems proactively
No project goes off without a hitch, but small snags can often become major roadblocks if they’re not addressed quickly. IT managers should be able to spot problems in any area — technical, strategic, political, or operational — and diffuse the issue before it becomes a full-blown situation.
6. Promoting teamwork
A cooperative and committed team is essential to the success of your projects. However, if there is a competitive environment in your organization where everyone feels the need to outdo everyone else, this atmosphere can adversely affect your team and cause them to work at cross-purposes. Effective IT managers must not only encourage, but practice teamwork — and demonstrate that assisting others is just as valued as individual contributions.
7. Employing the power of praise
Encouraging teamwork, along with productivity, job satisfaction, and loyalty, can be fairly easy to accomplish through the simple method of praising your team. Studies have shown that recognition of an employee’s efforts — even if it’s nothing more than a spoken thank you — can drive engagement and boost a company’s bottom line.
8. Demanding accountability
In any given team, you’ll find at least a few people who are adept at passing the buck. They’ll refuse to accept responsibility for mistakes or problems — and when that happens, the whole team loses. As an IT manager, you need to be familiar with the everyday situations and responsibilities of your team. This way, you’ll know exactly what went wrong with who, and ensure that no one is blamed or demoralized for someone else’s mistakes.
9. Being accountable
As the saying goes, you can’t talk the talk unless you walk the walk. Everyone makes mistakes, including IT managers. If you want your team to practice accountability, you need to own up to your own responsibilities and admit when you’ve gone wrong.
10. Spotting employee burnout
Many IT professionals are highly driven, willing to work hard and put in extra time to solve a problem or complete a project on deadline. But this relentless pace can sometimes lead to burnout — a dangerous situation, and one that the most driven of your team will never let on about. As an IT manager, you need to be able to recognize the signs, and step in to reward hard-working team members with a day off to recharge.
At The Armada Group, we recognize what it takes to find great IT professionals, and are adept at picking out top talent in every facet of IT. Speak with a member of our team today, and learn how we can quickly fill vacancies at your facility with the best talent across the nation.