Incompetent Boss

 

At some point, nearly everyone experiences stress related to their boss. However, when your manager is genuinely incompetent, dealing with the situation can be incredibly taxing.

 

While severe ineptitude is generally rare in the workplace, it does occur. Usually, it is the result of an individual receiving a promotion for the wrong reasons or being tasked to oversee positions when they aren’t overly familiar with the person’s specialty.

 

Luckily, it is possible to thrive at work, even if you have an incompetent boss, though it does require getting into the proper mindset. Here’s how to get started.

 

  1. Be Empathetic

What may initially appear to be incompetence may, in fact, be something quite different. If your boss is overtasked or under significant pressure, their missteps may be the result of those stresses and not a lack of understanding.

 

By assuming an empathetic mindset, you may be better equipped to discover the nature of the issue. This could lead to a revelation that they aren’t actually incompetent or at least make it easier to understand that bosses, like all people, are human and can make mistakes.

 

  1. Get Advice

Sometimes, your frustration can cloud your judgment, making it hard to find a reasonable approach to the situation. If this occurs, requesting advice from a trusted colleague or mentor may help you gain perspective and find workable solutions, giving you the tools necessary to cope with an incompetent boss.

 

 

  1. Identify Solutions

When you discuss an issue with your boss or have a request, don’t just approach them with the problem. Instead, also provide them with potential solutions that can help them fulfill your needs. For example, if you need their help, require their input, or need permission to go forward in a particular direction, make that clear. Then, if your boss can’t fulfill that need, present an alternative that allows you to get what you need.

 

This approach allows you to help your boss solve the problem, making the entire situation easier on everyone.

 

  1. Practice Self-Care

Prolonged periods of stress can be harmful to your health, so practicing self-care is a necessity while you navigate the situation. For example, resist the urge to victimize yourself or spend a significant amount of time complaining to others, an approach that typically doesn’t yield positive results.

 

Instead, focus on the positives of your job and use those points to stay motivated and happy, limiting the psychological impact of working for an incompetent boss.

 

  1. Move On

In some cases, looking for a new job may be the best solution if your manager is genuinely incompetent. It gives you the ability to find a boss and environment that better meets your needs, allowing you to obtain greater job satisfaction and reduce stress.

 

If you are interested in finding a new position, the skilled professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with leading employers throughout the area. Contact us to discuss your ideal role today and see how our services can benefit you.

 

 

Published in Staffing News

Match Business 

 

It wasn’t long ago that IT functioned in a supporting within nearly every business, learning about the business rules and processes and identifying corresponding solutions. Now, technology is evolving at a rapid pace, having the capacity to define the business and serve as a source for positive organizational change.

 

As things have shifted, IT is tasked with being a leader in innovation and has certainly become a more visible component within the company thanks to its ability to be the root of future successes. This makes matching your tech to the business incredibly critical.

 

If the idea of making your technology match the company is new to you, here’s how you get started.

 

 

Concentrate on Creating a Competitive Advantage

With the number of IT solutions available on the market today, it’s easy to become sidetracked by offerings that don’t align with your larger strategic goals. Instead of allowing yourself to be automatically caught up in the latest developments, focus only on those that will enable you to create a distinct competitive advantage, preferably one that is sustainable.

 

Ultimately, every business has mission-critical tasks that help with market differentiation, and supporting these activities through updated tech can allow your company to stay ahead in the overall marketplace. Identify the areas where the organization truly stands out from the crowd and seek out tech that can make it easier to maintain that advantage.

 

At times, you’ll need to dig deep into how the business operates to figure out which areas truly deserve special attention. You may need to ask certain questions, often repeatedly, that allows you to drill down to the core areas where a competitive advantage exists as many people want to believe that their company outshines the competition in every possible area. However, every organization will have a core focus that separates them from similar offerings in the marketplace, and those are the areas that truly deserve additional innovation as a means of staying ahead.

 

Befriend Best Practices

Once you’ve identified the company’s competitive advantage, it’s time to build best practices that keep everyone aligned with this goal. Generally, this means standardizing specific activities and simplifying your core objectives so that everyone can operate on the same page.

 

In the end, every project IT takes on should be for the betterment of the primary competitive advantage. Those that don’t align with that concept should usually be set by the wayside, at least temporarily, so that the larger goal of remaining ahead can be the focus.

 

By ensuring your tech matches your business, you can increase your odds of maintaining your advantage without wasting time, energy, or other resources on tasks that genuinely aren’t as critical to your success.

 

If you are interested in learning more or are seeking a tech professional who can help you reach your goals, the professionals at The Armada Group have the expertise you need to succeed. Contact us to learn more about how our services can benefit you today.

 

 

Published in Hiring Managers

Certifications

 

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.

 

A Win-Win

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.

 

Boost Morale

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.

 

 

Published in Staffing News

12 AI

 

As the excitement surrounding artificial intelligence and machine learning continues to ramp up, companies have begun looking to the technology to improve a variety of internal operations and how they interact with customers. However, even the most competent AI has limits. Certain concepts are, at this time, distinctly human, and that means having the right people in your organization is just as critical as ever. Further, an AI is only as strong as the programmer behind the technology, meaning human intelligence will always play a role even when these solutions are put in place.

 

Typically, an AI is designed to handle tasks that require a significant amount of repetition, such as those some workers would even classify as tedious. By allowing such work to be managed by intelligent applications, your workforce can dedicate themselves to tasks that actually require human intelligence to complete. Overall, this approach can increase productivity and efficiency while also improving the bottom line.

 

For example, the use of automated ordering systems and chatbots are often based on the principles above, giving customers the support they need without employees having to be directly involved. AI is also highly valuable in the data analytics field as these systems are better equipped to identify patterns in large datasets than their human counterparts. However, there does come a point where the limits of these technologies are reached, and that’s where people come back into the equation.

When Human Intelligence Trumps AI

An AI can only go as far as the programming allows. That means there will come a point when the technology won’t have access to the data it needs to move beyond a specific limit and human intervention will be required.

 

Further, even the most well-programmed AI won’t be 100 percent accurate in its outputs, especially in areas where correlation does not mean causation. This means employees are still critical for vetting what an AI produces, ensuring that conclusions aren’t drawn based on faulty assumptions on the part of the system.

Emotional Context

In cases where AIs interact with customers, it is important to understand that a program isn’t capable of understanding all of the nuances of human emotion and interaction. For example, a system cannot exhibit true empathy or possess compassionate understanding. When interacting with customers, both of these shortcomings can be problematic, so having the option to fail over to a person is critical.

The Bottom Line

While AI is undoubtedly changing how business is conducted and even how people manage their personal lives, the technology as it stands can’t fully replicate the human-to-human experience. They can only function within the limits of their programming and, while those borders are sure to expand with time, that means human intelligence is still a vital part of any solution, including those using AI.

 

If you are interested in locating IT professionals to help bring AI into your workplace through their unique experience and intelligence, The Armada Group can connect you with some of the best and brightest working in the field. Contact us to see how our expertise can help you find your ideal candidate.

 

recruiter

 

As a job seeker, working with a tech recruiter requires a significant amount of trust. You need to feel secure in the idea they are prioritizing your needs appropriately, and not just focused on meeting the needs of the companies with which they work. Without trust, you will struggle to create a partnership with your recruiter that will ultimately yield results.

 

But determining which recruiters you can trust and which you should pass by isn’t always easy. To help you find the right tech recruiter for your job search, here are some key characteristics to aid you in identifying a recruiter on which you can rely.

Open Communication

A recruiter that is truly concerned about your needs when looking for potential employment opportunities will provide you with all of the information you need to make an informed decision. They will outline the pros and cons of any position or company in consideration and will be thorough in their descriptions of the work tasks involved and how the business operates.

 

Additionally, they will be open to hearing your concerns and finding answers to any questions you may have about the position. If they truly feel you are a match for a position, there will likely be a level of excitement or eagerness about delivering information to you, and they won’t be inclined to avoid any detail when speaking to you about the opportunity.

 

However, if it seems your recruiter is hiding something such as withholding important details or glossing over your concerns, then it could be a sign of trouble. If they aren’t willing to share the name of the company, provide information about the work environment or discuss potential compensation, that should be a red flag.

Honesty

While you want a recruiter to be your advocate, you also want them to be honest. They should be clear about how the process works as well as what they will or will not do to help match you to a position. Additionally, they should be able to provide information about placement rates and current client relationships.

 

Recruiters who are reluctant to answer your questions with an appropriate level of detail could signal a problem. Additionally, if they say they are interested in helping you, but speak more about how you can help them, there may be another motive behind their actions.

Skill

Being a recruiter requires specific skills, just as any technical position does. They need to have knowledge of the current job market, an understanding of what your skills mean and ability to speak with hiring managers to reach a mutual benefit. Those with a high level of competency know what questions to ask candidates to determine their needs and gain thorough knowledge about their capabilities. Additionally, they will have the ability get details about available positions from businesses.

 

A skilled recruiter wants to create a situation where everyone benefits in the end. However, a less competent recruiter may not get all of the information necessary to truly find a match or may pressure you to accept a deal that doesn’t actually meet your needs. Additionally, they may end up overpromising about what they can do, selling an outcome that might not be realistic. And sometimes, that fact doesn’t come to light until the process has gone on for some time.

 

Finding a skilled tech employer doesn’t have to be a challenge. By working with a company that has significant experience in the tech recruitment field, such as The Armada Group, you can find a recruiter who will operate with integrity and work diligently to meet your need. Contact us for a consultation and see the benefit of selecting the right recruiter first-hand.

Published in Recruiting

What to Wear to an Interview with an IT Recruiter

It used to be simple to decide what to wear to an interview. A business suit was appropriate for both men and women. Almost no technical jobs require wearing a suit at work, though; some offices are casual enough for jeans and sneakers, or even shorts in the summertime. And when you're interviewing with a recruiter, you aren't interviewing with the employer, anyway. So exactly how do you dress for meeting a recruiter?

The key is to remember you're trying to convince the recruiter to pass you up the hiring chain and get you an interview with the company. They'll ask about your technical skills, but recruiters aren't able to judge the depth of your knowledge. Instead (and this isn't disparaging their skills) they need to make judgments based on non-technical factors. Your ability to present yourself well, which includes your body language, speaking ability, and, yes, how you dress is key to succeeding at this meeting.

Dress to Impress Anywhere

Because the recruiter may have positions available at multiple companies, you can't easily tailor your outfit to match the norms at a specific employer. The best choice is to wear something that would be appropriate at almost any employer. This means smart business casual or a suit. The more senior the position you're aiming for, the more formal your outfit should be. You can use an accessory or two to show your personal style, but tilt conservative.

For any interview, whether with a recruiter or an employer, make sure everything is clean and neatly pressed. It's best not to wear something brand new, though. You want to be sure there won't be any problems, like the fabric making you itchy and uncomfortable. That physical discomfort can translate into odd mannerisms or facial expressions during the interview.

Ask the Recruiter's Advice

When you meet with the recruiter, it doesn't hurt to ask them about the dress code at the employer and how you should dress for your interview there. The recruiter wants you to succeed and get the job, and they'll give you the best advice to help make that happen.

Published in Recruiting

Dev Ops Mainstream

The pace of technology change is rapid, but in tech as in other areas of life, there's resistance even to beneficial changes. The first object-oriented programming language was probably Smalltalk, which became available in 1972, but object-oriented programming didn’t become mainstream until a decade later, when C++ became standard. The DevOps concept was first started in 2008 or 2009: how close is it to becoming mainstream?

DevOps Going Global

Currently, DevOps is largely used to support businesses that are heavily dependent on the cloud, where automated deployment and configuration management is crucial. According to Gartner, fully 25 percent of Global 2000 companies will integrate DevOps into their processes by 2016. It's this move away from cloud-specific utilization that will make DevOps part of the technology mainstream.

DevOps Requires More Than Tools

While the development of tools to support DevOps will grow to a $2 billion market in 2016, the key to broad acceptance is the realization that DevOps isn't just a set of tools. Companies are looking for DevOps ready tools, but they have also come to understand that DevOps is a culture of collaboration that enables continuous improvement in a business's technical environment—which benefits the bottom line.

Of necessity, DevOps requires improved communication between development and operations teams. Companies also find that using DevOps improves communication between their IT teams and business partners, which, combined with agile development methodologies, reduces the time to develop releases.

Companies that are still struggling to adopt agile software processes are likely to struggle with DevOps. Getting people to accept rapid deployments and collaboration between development and support teams is unlikely in an environment of step-wise work phases like those in a waterfall development model.

DevOps Enables Business Growth

In some companies, DevOps enables deployments to be made as often as multiple times an hour, compared to the old process of a few times per year, allowing companies to be much more responsive to business needs. Using DevOps also enables companies to scale deployments rapidly and cheaply. For companies that succeed with DevOps, growing DevOps parallels business growth.

Stay in Touch with Old Boss

It can feel really satisfying to walk away from an office the last day of your job. For whatever reason, that job was no longer right for you and you moved on, starting fresh somewhere else.

If you didn't like your former boss and co-workers, it can be tempting to permanently sever the connection. But most of the time, even if they weren't your best buddies, it's best not to do that. Old colleagues and old bosses can be a network that lets you know about new opportunities and give you references that help you get the job.  Keep in touch so they'll keep you in mind when these new opportunities arise.

Connect on Social Media

Connecting through social media is an easy way to keep lines of communication open, especially if you simply want to make sure you have a way to contact them if you need to.

Connecting on LinkedIn is better than connecting on Facebook for professional contacts when you don't want to share your personal life with them. Because you can contact second-degree connections on LinkedIn, connecting your profile to your former boss and colleagues gives you direct access to additional professional connections that can help a future job search.

Celebrate the Holidays

Sending a New Year's card is a painless, once-a-year way to remind former bosses or colleagues that you exist. Take the time to write a brief note on the card. It makes it personal and is a chance to update them on what's going on in your professional life, and let them know if you're open to new opportunities.

Send Useful Updates

If you want to take a more active approach to keeping in touch with old bosses and co-workers, periodically send them useful updates. You'll want to let them know when you've moved or had other significant life events, but if you really want them to keep you in mind professionally, send them links to professionally relevant articles. Make sure the links you send are useful. Try to find a timeline for sending material frequently, but not so often the recipient is being bombarded by mailings from you.

Whichever means you choose to keep in contact, don't be oversensitive to whether you get a reply or not. People are busy and may not acknowledge your notes. That doesn't mean they are snubbing you, or you should terminate communication. As long as emails don't bounce back, they're being received, and your goal is achieved.

It can feel really satisfying to walk away from an office the last day of your job. For whatever reason, that job was no longer right for you and you moved on, starting fresh somewhere else.

 

If you didn't like your former boss and co-workers, it can be tempting to permanently sever the connection. But most of the time, even if they weren't your best buddies, it's best not to do that. Old colleagues and old bosses can be a network that lets you know about new opportunities and give you references that help you get the job.  Keep in touch so they'll keep you in mind when these new opportunities arise.

 

Connect on Social Media

Connecting through social media is an easy way to keep lines of communication open, especially if you simply want to make sure you have a way to contact them if you need to.

 

Connecting on LinkedIn is better than connecting on Facebook for professional contacts when you don't want to share your personal life with them. Because you can contact second-degree connections on LinkedIn, connecting your profile to your former boss and colleagues gives you direct access to additional professional connections that can help a future job search.

 

Celebrate the Holidays

Sending a New Year's card is a painless, once-a-year way to remind former bosses or colleagues that you exist. Take the time to write a brief note on the card. It makes it personal and is a chance to update them on what's going on in your professional life, and let them know if you're open to new opportunities.

 

Send Useful Updates

If you want to take a more active approach to keeping in touch with old bosses and co-workers, periodically send them useful updates. You'll want to let them know when you've moved or had other significant life events, but if you really want them to keep you in mind professionally, send them links to professionally relevant articles. Make sure the links you send are useful. Try to find a timeline for sending material frequently, but not so often the recipient is being bombarded by mailings from you.

 

Whichever means you choose to keep in contact, don't be oversensitive to whether you get a reply or not. People are busy and may not acknowledge your notes. That doesn't mean they are snubbing you, or you should terminate communication. As long as emails don't bounce back, they're being received, and your goal is achieved.

Published in Staffing News

Stay on Top of These 10 Influential IT Recruiting Trends

1. Job seekers have the power. When the economy was tighter, recruiting was more straightforward. There were more job seekers, and they had fewer jobs to choose from. With the economy much improved, companies need to work harder to attract candidates and speed up the process to avoid losing a great candidate.

2. Personalize the recruiting process. You'll need to woo each candidate as an individual. Even for non-executive roles, searching for top candidates becomes more like executive search.

3. Money talks. Along with getting to making an offer more quickly, companies need to make more compelling offers to win over candidates. Sign-on bonuses and paid relocation are no longer a thing of the past. Expect to have to outbid simultaneous offers or counteroffers from the candidate's current employer.

4. Phones are the dominant technology. The recruiting action all happens on mobile phones, now. Candidates expect not only to have interviews over the phone, but also to access the company's careers information on their phone. If your site isn't mobile-friendly, the candidates may not be friendly, either.

5. There's more opportunity for recruiters, too. Companies won't only be competing for IT staff, they'll be competing for the recruiters who find the IT staff. Companies may have to make competitive offers to hang onto their recruitment specialists. Even companies that previously used internal recruiters may need to turn to agencies for assistance due to being shorthanded.

6. Candidates love video. Static text isn't good enough anymore. Businesses need to integrate video into the recruiting process, with videos about the job opportunities and life at the company. Video interviewing can be a convenient way to interview candidates without having to bring them to the company site.

7. Resumes are passé. Candidates don't want to upload a resume to each potential employer, and they hate having to correct parsing errors after it's loaded into your system. Streamline the process by working with their online profile at sites like LinkedIn. And because resumes can hide a candidate's strengths, also review a portfolio of their work. Seeing what they've actually done will give you a much better perspective of what they're capable of.

8. Just-in-time hiring isn't fast enough. If you only look at resumes when a position is available, you'll miss out on great candidates. In today's job market, top-quality engineers are in and out of the market fast. When an impressive resume crosses your desk, consider making an offer even if you don't have an open position. You're better off already having top talent on staff when a role opens up, compared to searching for weeks while being shortstaffed.

9. Hire people you already know. The best person to work for you may be someone who worked for you previously. Unless someone was terminated for cause, bringing back someone who already knows how your business operates gives you a "new" hire who can settle in and start producing quickly, rather than needing to get familiar with how to get things done.

10. Emphasize workforce planning. Increased turnover and a competitive hiring market means you need a better plan for keeping your employees working for you and developing their talents. Improved use of data will help companies develop effective policies, as predictive metrics become further developed.

Published in Staffing News

Build Release Engineer Is Making the Career Change Right For You

Preparing software for release requires bringing many separate components together: code that needs to be compiled, third-party libraries that need to be installed, scripts that enable everything to run, and some kind of hardware where the software is deployed. Ensuring that the right versions of all the components are packaged together and successfully installed is the job of a build and release engineer.

Technical Skills

Build and release engineers usually have a degree in computer or information science. The engineers should understand how configuration management and version control systems work, and be able to work with the development team to manage branches.

Engineers should become comfortable writing complex scripts for a variety of platforms, as these are needed to automate the many steps of a build and deployment process. Many organizations try to minimize manual effort required to install a product, as that may be error prone. The scripts help ensure that the build process is repeatable and reliable.

Nontechnical Skills

Communication skills are important, as the build and release engineers need to work with the development and infrastructure teams to understand the components needed for the builds and the platforms the built packages need to run on. Release engineers need also need written communication skills, in order to document the build and release process.

Attention to detail is critical, since pulling the wrong version of source code into a build or omitting a necessary library means build scripts may fail or the deployed application won't run correctly.

Career Growth

The salary for build and release engineers is comparable to those in related careers like software engineering and systems administration. As you become more experienced in the release engineering process, you can take on additional responsibility for planning the application build and deployment process. For those who are interested in management, senior engineers can help choose tools and set corporate standards around the build and deployment process. Other build engineers opt to move into quality assurance or software development roles.

Published in Staffing News
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