There are times when the interview process can feel frustratingly short. When you are interviewing candidates for an automation engineering position, you want to make sure you get all of the information you need as efficiently as possible. One way to ensure that happens is to ask the right questions during the interview.
But how do you know which questions will get to the core of what you need to know? Here are some interview questions that are sure to fit the bill.
What Automation Tools Are You Most Familiar With?
Not every automation engineer has gotten their hands on every available tool. By requesting an overview of the tools with which they are most comfortable will help determine whether they have the background required for the position.
Some automation tools have focused functionality. For example, Selenium and Watir automate browser-based applications. That means experience in that area won’t directly translate into tasks that require the testing of GUIs or APIs. However, someone familiar with tools offering a wider functionality, such as TestComplete, HP Unified Functional Testing Software, or Telerik TestStudio, may be considered more suitable for positions that require a wider range of potential applications.
Can You Write a Function That Determines…?
One of the easiest was to see someone’s skills on-the-fly is to request a demonstration. Make sure that the interview space has a whiteboard or other suitable surface and have every candidate complete a suitable request or two, similar to a basic pop quiz. Cover the specific skills that are fundamental to the position individually, or combine them for a single demonstration. Not only can this help ensure that the applicant has the skills required to do the job, but it also gives you an idea of how the react when put on the spot.
When Face with a Problem You Don’t Know How to Solve, What Do You Do?
This question segues fairly naturally from the prior demonstrations regardless of whether the candidate struggled. It also serves as an indicator of what their general problem-solving strategy would be and whether the approach matches stylistically with how the work environment generally operates. Ultimately, this is a question with no prescribed right or wrong, but it can be revealing nonetheless.
Describe Your Ideal Work Environment
Here is a prompt that is valuable regardless of the position being filled. Even the most skilled automation engineers may struggle if there is not a suitable cultural fit with the organization at large. For example, if your management style focuses on empowering employees, then it won’t be a good fit for an employee that prefers specific direction.
How Would Your Current (Previous) Manager and Coworkers Describe You?
Similar to the previous prompt, this question is designed to determine a candidate’s likelihood of fitting into the section, department, or business at large. It will give indications regarding their work style as well as which traits they believe are more perceptible to those around them. Additionally, it lends itself to great honesty than self-assessments as the information is theoretically verifiable should you contact their references.
Narrow Down Your Candidate Pool with Skilled Recruiting
If you want to give yourself more time to assess top tier candidates, the professional recruiters at The Armada Group have the experience required to locate and prescreen the best applicants for your automation engineering positions. Contact us and speak with one of our recruiters today.
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.
Facebook started as a way for friends and family to keep in touch, but as the service has evolved it's added more business-oriented features. One of its latest features is consumer-oriented, but will have a big impact on businesses anyway. Whether you love Facebook or hate it, your business needs to be on it.
More than Likes
The new feature lets members go beyond "liking" a business on its page. Now they can post ratings and reviews of service providers. Businesses that have been monitoring and responding to reviews on ratings sites like Angie's List and Yelp now need to add Facebook to their scans.
Facebook doesn't let businesses delete ratings, but you can report a rating that violates guidelines. You can also respond to a review by adding a comment. This being Facebook, there's a "Like" button you can click as well.
Facebook will use reviews and ratings as part of developing a recommendation engine to suggest businesses to its members.
Own Your Business Page
Even if you didn't create a Page for your business on Facebook, one may already exist as an unofficial page. In order to monitor and respond to member reviews of a business, you'll need to claim ownership of the page. Make sure business information, such as location and hours, is accurate on Facebook to avoid disappointing potential customers and getting negative reviews. Because Facebook's influence is so significant, your business needs to be on Facebook no matter how many or how few Facebook friends you have.
Prioritize Your Social Media Activity
For businesses, this new feature on Facebook adds to the social media sites they may need to be involved with. Depending on what your business hopes to accomplish online, you may need to actively post on Facebook, tweet from Twitter, monitor reviews at Yelp, and update LinkedIn. Some companies may need to hire a social media strategist to handle all these responsibilities. The irony, of course, is that many businesses block access to Facebook to keep employees focused on work when they're at the office. Now, keeping Facebook and other social sites properly monitored and updated is not only legitimate work, it's necessary work.
The Silicon Valley Hiring Case has been one of the most high-profile class action lawsuits in the region, and the five-year battle is nearly at its end after a judge approved Apple, Google, Adobe Systems, and Intel’s proposed settlement of $415 million. Representing 64,000 employees from a variety of professional fields, this class action suit had the potential to damage the reputation of these major companies, as well as result in costly, long-term litigation.
The tech companies were sued after engineers learned of the existence of a “no poaching” policy, in which Apple, Google, Adobe, Intel, Intuit, Pixar, and Lucasfilm agreed not to hire each other’s workers. Labeled as a conspiracy, this policy effectively shoe-horned employees into their positions, limiting their opportunities to move between companies and capping their wages.
The details of the no-poaching agreement were revealed in a series of email correspondences between major players in the tech industry, including late Apple CEO Steve Jobs. In one such exchange, Google executives indicated that they wanted to hire Apple engineers, to which Jobs responded, “If you hire a single one of these people, that means war.”
In fact, the evidence was so compelling that Judge Lucy H. Koh rejected their initial offer of $324 million, believing the amount to be too low. It is extremely unusual for judges to reject settlements, and given that the plaintiffs cited upwards of $3 billion in damages, it’s likely there was overwhelming evidence in their favor.
Intuit, Pixar, and Lucasfilm settled with the claimants for $20 million, leaving the remaining three tech giants to settle or face drawn-out litigation, as well as a media frenzy and poor publicity. Despite critical public attention, each company has declined to comment on the approval of their second offer.
There is a final approval hearing scheduled for July 9, which will hopefully bring the lawsuit to a close. If the settlement is approved, attorneys could claim as much as $83 million in legal fees, while the workers will receive several thousand dollars.
Though the amount of the settlement is a paltry sum considering the value of each company involved, there will be other long-term effects of the class action suit, particularly in regards to under-the-table arrangements between executives. During the course of the case, damaging documents, emails, and other evidence may put the fear of exposure into these tech leaders and discourage other back room dealings in the future.
Most of us are relying more on our smartphones and tablets every day. These indispensible pieces of technology can help us communicate, keep us organized, wake us up in the morning, and even help us find the keys we dropped somewhere in the car at night. But can your iPhone or iPad help you boost your brain function and make you more productive?
Not surprisingly, the answer is yes. Here are five apps for iOS that can help you work smarter and more efficiently — either directly or indirectly.
What does a memory game have to do with making your job easier? According to several studies, memory games can make you smarter in the short term, improve overall brain function, and even help to prevent dementia. Brainbean gives you eight free games that exercise your mind and improve memory, pattern recognition, and imagination:
- Letter List gives you a letter, and asks you to come up with as many words as possible that start with the letter
- Incomplete Drawing gives you part of a drawing and asks you to complete it with the power of your imagination
- Word Scramble gives you a bunch of letter tiles, and has you make as many four-letter words as possible from those letters
- Pipe Builder has you rearrange six tiles containing pipe segments to form a complete pipeline
Brainbean also includes Mosaic Drawing, Pattern Tiles, Block Builder, and Remote Association.
Learning a new language is another proven way to boost brain function, but actually doing this is harder as you get older. Babbel provides an easy, interactive tool to help you learn a second language, or a third and fourth. Game-like activities are used to help you master words and phrases, and simple listen-and-repeat actions allow you to master pronunciation. There are 14 languages to choose from, including German, Spanish, French, and Italian.
Babbel is free for the first few levels. Advanced lessons are available for a monthly subscription fee.
Adobe Photoshop Sketch
This free-form sketching app from the biggest name in digital illustration lets you draw and sketch on photos or backgrounds that are imported from your camera, device storage, or the Adobe Creative Cloud. You can also sketch on a blank page. It includes five pens and a full color palette, as well as a ruler tool to easily draw straight lines. Adobe Photoshop Sketch is free, and makes a great tool for meetings and presentations.
Adobe Photoshop Mix
Another Adobe product that uses the Creative Cloud, this simplified version of Adobe’s flagship software lets you perform photo editing on your iPhone or iPad. Features include image mixing, enhancing, effects, cut-outs, and crops. And with connectivity to the Creative Cloud, you can access more advanced image editing tools such as content-aware fills and shake reduction.
Adobe Photoshop Mix is a free app, and can be extremely useful in meetings and presentations, especially on larger iPad screens.
While not as versatile or free-form functional as the Adobe apps listed here, Skitch is an excellent on-the-go annotation tool. The app allows you to quickly and easily annotate web pages, PDF files, images and photos, and maps pulled from Apple Maps, allowing for more streamlined communication on the fly.
Skitch is free to download, but it costs $1.99 to get PDF markup capabilities (all other markup features are free). You can also connect the app to Evernote Premium for $4.99.
For more information on how to make your job easier, or to find a job that suits you better, contact the employment experts at The Armada Group. We help place candidates in top positions across the nation – and world.
An updated resume is an important tool for anyone, even if you’re not looking for a job right now. It’s a good idea to keep your resume continually fresh — noting new accomplishments or certifications, updating quantified results, adding portfolio links, and clearing off items that are no longer relevant. You should also have your resume handy and accessible, especially if you’re currently job hunting.
The good news is that you can do all of this right from your smartphone or tablet. Here are five apps that can help you create and maintain a recent, polished resume that’s ready to send or show to prospective employers.
1. Microsoft Word
The overwhelming top choice for resume format is .doc or .docx, which makes Microsoft Word an obvious choice for resume-generating apps. There are two ways to get MS Word on your phone: Microsoft Office Online, which can be accessed through a browser, or Microsoft Office Mobile, a free read-only app that you can use to create and edit documents with an Office 365 subscription ($7 per month).
For most users, the mobile app is the better choice. It’s a slimmed-down version of Word designed specifically for smaller screens, with an intuitive interface and mobile-friendly controls. The best feature of MS Word is the wide selection of resume templates that make resume-building on the go easy.
2. Resume Builder Pro (Android)
This Android app lets you build a resume quickly and easily with a database-driven approach. The app gives you individual sections to populate with information, such as Objective, Skills, and Education, and then generates a clean, professional-looking resume in .docx format — which is emailed to the address of your choice.
Potential drawbacks to this app: You have to move through multiple screens to make minor changes, and any formatting changes you make in Word will have to be re-applied after you edit through the app.
Resume Builder Pro is priced at $4.99 for the Android.
3. Resume Builder Pro (iOS)
While this app has the same name as the Android app above, it’s not the same program — though it does have similar features. Resume Builder Pro / Pocket Resume for the iPhone and iPad also generates database-driven resumes from individual sections you fill in. An extra feature this app includes is the ability to pull and integrate information from your LinkedIn account.
While the app doesn’t generate resumes in Word format, you can export to Dropbox, directly to a printer, or as a PDF to email. Resume Builder Pro for iOS costs $3.99.
4. LinkedIn apps
LinkedIn has become the essential social network for any job seeker. To potential employers, you might seem suspect if you don’t have a detailed LinkedIn profile available. And while LinkedIn offers basically the same information as your resume, but in a different format, you don’t have to write your resume twice to use it.
With LinkedIn’s profile editing interface, you can import an existing resume in a few clicks. The business-oriented social network also offers a suite of free apps to help with your resume and job search, including a mobile LinkedIn interface, Connected, Job Search, Pulse, Recruiter, and SlideShare.
5. LinkedIn Resume Builder
This experimental software from LinkedIn Labs offers to turn your existing LinkedIn profile into a functional resume. The LinkedIn Resume Builder offers a variety of templates, and you can share your resume through an exported PDF or a custom link. You can also edit the resume after it’s generated from your profile.
If you’re already active on LinkedIn and have a detailed profile, this free tool is an easy way to create a professional resume quickly from your computer or mobile device.
For more information on how to best build a professional resume, contact the career experts at The Armada Group. We know what top IT companies are looking for in candidates, and can help you build a resume to suit their expectations.
Looking for a job can get hectic. There’s so much to do and keep track of, it might seem like a miracle when you get anything done at all. But many job seekers have a powerful tool that can be used to stay organized, boost your productivity, and streamline your job search — your iPhone or iPad.
Here are four great productivity apps for iOS and OS X devices that can give you a hand in finding the perfect job.
For job seekers, email is crucial. Apple’s Mail program allows you to easily connect to and manage your email account from your device, whether you’re using IMAP, POP3, an Exchange server, or a web-based service like Gmail.
Mail is designed to be user-friendly on a smaller screen. This streamlined application focuses on the tasks and information you use most often, and offers rich functionality such as support for multiple email accounts and multiple signatures, and a Smart Mailbox that automatically alerts you of critical messages — like interview requests from potential employers.
The best part is that Mail is already built into the OS X platform, so you can start using it right away to configure your inbox for your job search.
Similar to Google Docs, the iWork suite comes with programs for creating documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Like Mail, this app is designed for easy use on a small screen, and the interface is intuitive when it comes to common tasks.
The individual apps are Pages for word processing, Keynote for presentations, and Numbers for spreadsheets. The iWork bundle includes a large collection of professional templates, including several for resumes and cover letters. With iCloud integration, you can also quickly share any content created in iWork.
This app bundle is free for devices using OS X and iOS 7 and later.
Need to focus on writing a killer cover letter, taking notes on prospective employers, or preparing great answers to interview questions? WriteRoom helps you out by eliminating distractions so you can focus on the task at hand.
This full-screen app has an old-school feel, with green text on a black background. Distractions are eliminated with a simple interface that doesn’t contain all the bells and whistles of other word processing programs. And while using WriteRoom, your email alerts and other notifications are blocked to help you avoid the procrastination of checking your messages every five minutes to see if you have a job offer yet.
A whiteboard can be a great brainstorming and planning tool for job seekers, but they’re not exactly portable. Scapple turns your iPhone or iPad into an electronic whiteboard that allows you to quickly build lists and ideas, specify relationships intuitively, and capture the results in PDF format.
This nonlinear planning tool encourages creativity in your job search. Some of the features include the ability to change font colors, backgrounds, and note shapes, add or edit arrows to indicate relationships, and a drag-and-drop interface for organizing and combining notes.
The app comes with a free 30-day trial, and costs $14.99 to purchase.
Need help in your search for a new IT career? The Armada Group can help! We specialize in placing job seekers in top IT positions throughout the nation. Contact us today to learn more.
Mobility has, like many areas of IT, grown exponentially in the last decade, and even the last few years. Smartphones have become the majority, rather than the minority, so everything from mobile security to app development is a hot skill on a resume. In light of that, here are the top five mobile certifications to advance your career.
1. Mobile App Sec+.
CompTIA holds the first two on this list. The Mobile App Sec+ certifies an owner’s/developer’s security ability. This can be attained in iOS or Android, and focuses on secure network communications and back-end development.
CompTIA’s Mobility+ tests a more generalized variety of skills than the Mobile App Sec+. The Mobility+ certification is designed to ascertain MDM (mobile device management), troubleshooting, network infrastructure, and to do so securely.
3. Mobile Development Fundamentals.
While WinMo doesn’t carry the clout of Android and iOS, it still has thousands of apps. The MDF is a Microsoft Technology Associate certification that validates several computing languages needed to develop a Microsoft app.
4. Java ME 1 Mobile Application Developer.
Java is one of the most widely used languages presently, and this long-winded certification is developed to ensure a candidate has a level of proficiency for Java mobile app development. It does require a prior certification of Java development (SE 5, 6, or 7).
5. Citrix Certified Professional – Mobility.
Citrix’s large market share validates this certification for mobile developers. The focus here is on design and implementation of enterprise solutions, especially those with BYOD and MDM solutions.
Mobility has earned its place in the spotlight as it sweeps through businesses. Device management, apps, security – there’s a broad field of needs that businesses must fulfill for optimal efficiency. Regardless of which type of mobile need your business has, we can help.
At The Armada Group, we retain the elite talent in the Silicon Valley area. We work with some of the most innovative companies in the world, and want to help you take the next step in your mobility career. Contact us today to see how we can help you!
Engineering in the computer industry is a very broad field, encompassing virtually every sector of IT. Computer engineers, network engineers, Linux engineers, software and hardware engineers; the list is as expansive as the number of IT fields. Each engineering field has a manager – and the compensation increases considerably once a worker reaches a manager position. Here are some salary samples of engineering manager jobs in the San Francisco area.
Software Engineering Manager is first on the list, as it is the most general – and hence, most frequent – title among engineering managers. The median salary for an software engineering manager in San Francisco nets $148,300 – a fair amount more than a Sr. Java Engineer, for example ($103,600). The upper and lower quartiles are $133,300 and $169,700, respectively. This compares noticeably higher than the national average
By contrast, a hardware engineering manager in San Fran brings in $157,300, before taxes. While the responsibilities are very different, the difference is less than 6%. The lower 25% of the hardware engineering managers however, brings in $138,000 whereas the top 25% rakes in $175,000. The highest 10% yields $191,300.
Integration between software and hardware managers is an important function, and thus, systems engineering managers are next on our list. The job description for system engineering manager includes the requirement to maintain adequate software updates and hardware infrastructure. In the San Francisco area, this is very close to the previous two, at $150,100 per year as the median. The quartiles for Systems Engineering Manager are $129,500 and $168,500 for the top and bottom 25%, respectively.
Finally, a network engineering manager’s median income for the bay area is $140,700. This is the lowest amount of the engineering managers, but still a very fair wage. The lowest 25% receives $122,500, while the highest 25% yields $160,800.
Regardless of which type of engineering manager you are, we can help. The Armada Group is a talent solutions firm that specializes in highly innovative and fast growing companies. Some of our clients are the largest technology-based companies in the US, and we want to help you find the best career opportunity for your next move. Contact us today to see how we can help you.
For most organizations, getting and retaining top IT talent is a primary goal. When it comes to attracting talent, some strategies are more effective than others. One of the most foolproof is to make your business a great place to work.
So, what constitutes a desirable IT environment? Today’s employees are seeking flexibility, opportunities for advancement, and a team atmosphere that fosters knowledge and communication.
Create a team orientation
A popular workplace mentality at many of today’s successful businesses is that “none of us is as good as all of us.” This is especially true for millennials, who are often far more comfortable and productive working in teams than flying solo.
There are several ways to foster a team culture in your organization:
- Offer diversity training for both new and established employees
- Recognize and reward team players as frequently as those with individual merit or accomplishments
- Arrange for team-building workshops, seminars, or retreats that help employees learn to work better together
Offer certifications and training
Helping your IT staff build up their skills and abilities isn’t just good for your company’s productivity as a whole—it’s also great for retention. When you make additional training and certifications available to your employees, you’re sending the message that you want to invest in them for the long haul.
The potential for advancement within your company is crucial for IT employee retention. If they believe they’ll be stuck at the same level—and the same salary—for as long as they work for you, they’ll start hunting for greener pastures.
Tell them “why” to do
Today’s savvy IT employees are no longer satisfied with simply being handed down tasks from management and expected to complete them by rote. They want to know why they’re doing what they are—not out of laziness or an opportunity to refuse work, but because they want to feel like they’re making a difference and contributing to the success of the company.
Providing employees with context for their work and business goals enhances the team culture, and helps staff feel they’re part of something larger than themselves.
Work options like flexible scheduling and part-time telecommuting are becoming more common in today’s workplace. In fact, many employees—who are leading increasingly busy lives outside the office—value flex options over other types of benefits, and would choose a position with flexibility over one with a higher salary and rigid requirements. Offering flex options is a great way to differentiate your firm and attract top talent.
No one wants to do the same thing at work, day after day. You can improve attraction and retention for IT employees by offering different projects throughout the year, providing opportunities to cross-train and experience a variety of work disciplines.
Put these strategies into place for your business, and you’ll create a desirable IT environment that enables you to attract the best talent—and keep them happy, engaged, and productive.
If you are looking for staffing agencies near Silicon Valley, contact The Armada Group today.