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The Differences Between a Chatbot vs Virtual Agent

When people discuss conversational technology, it isn’t uncommon for them to use terms like chatbot and virtual agent interchangeably. Even though they all let the user gather information or request specific actions using a natural discussion approach, those terms actually describe different kinds of tech.

By understanding the differences between the technologies, you can discuss them with more accuracy. With that in mind, here’s a look at what chatbots and virtual agents are and how they differ from one another.

As IT Picks Up Pace What Are Ways Your Tech Workers Can Keep Up

To say that technology changes rapidly is likely a massive understatement. Often, new innovations and approaches emerge with such frequency that keeping pace seems practically impossible. However, falling behind can be detrimental to companies, so they need to find options that can help their tech workers keep up. 

Luckily, there are a variety of resources that can make tracking trends and staying relevant as easy as possible. If you want to make sure your tech team can keep up even as IT picks up the pace, here are a few ways to get started. 

Published in IT Infrastructure

Job Search Behaviors That Will Kill Your Chances Before You Start


Even if you are highly skilled and have a substantial amount of experience, a job search can be challenging. If you have your eyes on an incredibly coveted role, you may face additional competition. As a result, even small missteps can have serious consequences, causing you to miss out on your dream job.

When you are facing this much pressure, you may be more likely to make a mistake. It is hard to think through stress, so you may commit a faux pas based on a simple oversight or speaking before you had a chance to consider the potential consequences. In most cases, a small misstep isn’t going to significantly hurt your odds of being selected.

However, there are some job search behaviors that can destroy your chances quickly. Here is a look at some major job search mistakes that could cost you and how to avoid them.

Published in Staffing News

How to Become a Security Risk Management Lead


If you work in security risk management, the idea of becoming a lead may be exciting. After all, it is a logical step forward in your career and often serves as a springboard into higher management-level roles.

In order to become a security risk management lead, you need to bring the right combinations of education, experience, and skills to the table. If you are ready to find out if you have what it takes to make the leap, here’s what you need to know.

Published in Staffing News

Staying Relevant

The moment you graduated from college, your skills were well on their way to becoming obsolete.  Sounds depressing, but that's a fact of life for an IT professional. Technology changes daily, seemingly at the speed of light. It's up to you to keep up if you want to remain relevant and marketable in your field. Here are a few tips that may help:

Be a people person

The IT field is rife will professionals who are highly knowledgeable, but unable to communicate what they know to people who don't speak IT. Increasingly, employers are adding communication skills and other soft skills to their list of “must haves”. Become a more well-rounded candidate, and you'll have your pick of opportunities.

Make keeping up a priority

Between your career and your outside obligations, remaining relevant in the IT field can seem like just one more thing to fit into an already overbooked day. But taking some time to focus on your professional development is essential to your career. Schedule some time into each week to keep up on industry news and advancements.

Keep on learning

Commit to continuing education as part of your career strategy. Work towards new certifications each year, learn new programming languages and technologies, or return to school to obtain advanced degrees. Your employer will likely encourage this initiative and offer reimbursement or allow you to expense at least part of the cost. If not, consider it an investment in your own future.

Stay connected

Stay in touch with others in your field.  Join groups, either online or by networking in person. Attend conferences and speeches by industry leaders so that you are always abreast of new developments. It's easy to work in a vacuum, but by making that regular commitment to engage, you increase your knowledge and marketability.

In a field where staying cutting-edge is essential to the industry and your career, it's important to make the time to improve your interpersonal and technical skills, that way you will always be ready for the next big opportunity that comes your way.        

Published in Staffing News

12 Work Life Balance Still Exists Fact or Fiction

In the not-too-distant past, work was something you went to five days a week, and left at the office on weekends and holidays. But today’s business world is dominated by always-on technology, and the boundaries between work and personal life are increasingly blurred, if not obliterated.

It may be logical to believe that company expectations for employees to be constantly available are the cause of eroding work-life separation, but even in demanding companies, this isn’t the sole reason. Human nature and societal norms contribute significantly to the disappearing divide between work and home — and as a consequence, we’re focusing on the wrong problems.

What causes work-life imbalance?

There are real business reasons that most employees are unable to separate eight hours a day from the rest of their lives. Email is one — it’s omnipresent, available anywhere there’s a connection, and most employers don’t think twice about expecting their staff to keep up with email at all times. There’s also the globalization of business, and collaboration with co-workers and partners in various time zones that skew the start and close of the “business day.”

In addition to the modern corporate environment, the nature of people encourages a blending of work and life. American employees take pride in hard work and self-sacrifice, and many people thrive on being needed. Furthermore, some work activities — such as opening a new, unread email — influence us chemically, releasing dopamine that makes the action addictive.

Finally, exceptional employees are always working, even outside the office environment and without being required to. For many people, dedication to great job performance means constantly thinking up new ideas and planning ahead. This process naturally works itself into everyday life.

Conquering the work-life balance myth

In order to successfully address the issues surrounding work-life separation, we first need to accept that separating them is impossible for most people. The good news is that blending work and personal life doesn’t have to mean erasing your identity as a person, eliminating all free time, or becoming defined by your job.

What is the best solution for achieving both professional and personal satisfaction? For many, the answer is to embrace the blurred lines, and strive for a work environment that grants more control over personal time with flexible scheduling. The typical nine-to-five workday is practically extinct — and the best way to thrive in the modern business landscape is to get rid of rigid boundaries and time clocks, so the stress of “balancing” personal and work life is eliminated.

Any employer looking to provide work-life balance for their employees should institute a more flexible scheduling process. Despite beliefs to the contrary, studies have repeatedly shown that workers who have more control over their schedules are more productive and motivated, produce higher quality work, and have a greater sense of loyalty to their organization.

There are several reasons why flexible scheduling is so effective. One is that allowing greater control over work schedules allows employees to work at their personal optimal times, rather than conforming to a one-size-fits-all, eight-hour shift. Some people are much more productive first thing in the morning, while others don’t really get into gear until the afternoon.

Another, perhaps more impactful reason this arrangement works is the blending of personal and work time a flexible schedule allows. When employees can take time off in the middle of the work day and make it up when it’s convenient, they’re able to accomplish personal tasks they’d otherwise have to skip with a rigid schedule — like getting school-aged children on and off the bus, banking, attending personal classes, or caring for elderly parents. This allows employees to reduce or eliminate the personal stress that would otherwise affect their performance at work.

It’s in the best interests of any company to care for their employees as a whole person, rather than an eight-hour chunk of labor. By allowing and encouraging overlap between personal and professional lives, your company can bust the work-life balance myth and achieve a truly happy, productive, and loyal workforce.

Published in Staffing News


What Makes a Successful IT Professional

With the demand for skilled tech workers increasing, many of today’s IT professionals are able to enjoy challenging and lucrative careers. Of course, in every industry there are some pros more successful than others. So what’s the recipe for IT success?

Below are some of the characteristics shared by successful IT professionals across many different fields and career paths. Cultivate these qualities, and you can enjoy a long and rewarding career as an IT pro.

Successful IT pros love technology — and share the love

It’s a given that everyone performs better when they’re doing what they love. The best IT pros have a demonstrable passion for technology, and it’s often contagious. If you’re excited about your work, that excitement rubs off on your co-workers, your supervisors, your customers, and everyone you engage with professionally — which means they enjoy working with you and want to get involved.

As an expansion of passion for technology, successful tech professionals are happy to share their knowledge and skills with others. IT pros who believe their knowledge is too valuable to share aren’t going to get very far — but those who share and help others are able to build loyalty, enhance their professional reputation, and win promotions.

Successful IT pros understand the business

With the world relying more on technology every day, you can find IT professionals in just about every industry — from tech companies to retail, finance to food service, manufacturing to education. One of the key aspects shared by successful tech pros is a thorough understanding of not just IT, but the particular industry they work in.

One of the most sought-after qualities in IT pros is the ability to break down concepts to a non-tech level, and communicate the value of IT services or solutions to key people who don’t work in IT, such as customers, shareholders, and other departments. This requires a strong business understanding and knowledge of how your work relates to other functions of your industry.

The top IT pros are skilled business professionals who know a lot about technology. With a comprehensive knowledge of your industry, you can deliver superior solutions and more innovation, which enhances both your reputation and your value as a professional.

Successful IT pros know (almost) everything, but specialize in something

One of the most effective paths to IT success is specialization. Regardless of your actual position, if you’re the best in your field, you’ll find greater success than a well-rounded tech generalist. So if you’re a data communications pro, your focus should be on knowing everything about the hardware and software that sends and receives data. If you’re a project manager, you should be exceptional at leading projects and people.

However, no IT position functions in a vacuum — so it’s equally important to be proficient in the areas that relate to your expertise. For example, a successful top Java programmer will have a strong working knowledge of database design and stored procedures. The best project managers will understand software development and testing. With the complexity of modern business, IT pros must understand all the components that feed into their specialties.

Successful IT pros love a good challenge

Technology can be extremely complex, and every IT pro faces challenges and problems on a regular basis. Rather than letting themselves become frustrated and stressed, the best tech professionals view problems as learning opportunities, and face new challenges with excitement at the possibilities.

Even technical problems that appear impossible at the start can help you broaden your horizons and increase your skills, knowledge, experience, and problem-solving capabilities. Continual learning is an important part of facing challenges — with the rapid pace of IT evolution, there is always some new platform, language, or tool that can impact your job and your industry.

To be successful in IT, keep learning and loving what you do — and share that passion with others. Employers will notice your skills and enthusiasm, and you’ll find yourself cultivating a rewarding career in technology.

Want to find out more about what it takes to become a successful IT pro? Or need a top industry professional to fill a position within your company? The Armada Group knows what – and who – it takes to be the best in the business. Contact us today



Published in Staffing News


6 Important Tips for Crafting a Strong Tech Resume

For those who are entering the tech job market, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that IT is a healthy industry with lots of job openings to go around. The bad news is this doesn’t make it any easier to impress potential employers and get hired.

Regardless of availability, the IT job market is highly competitive. No matter where you apply, you’ll need to make a strong case for hiring you over dozens or hundreds of other candidates with a varying range of experiences. And the first step toward making that case is crafting a resume that hiring managers can’t pass up.

If you need help packing your IT experience into your resume, these tips will show you how to create a resume that commands attention.

Claim your identity

Your resume should tell prospective employers who you are — but do you know the answer to that question? Many IT job seekers make the mistake of generalizing in the hopes of appealing to every employer, but this ultimately ends up weakening your resume.

Instead of positioning yourself as a developer, state that you’re a front-end developer or a Javascript developer. Don’t be a mere programmer — be a programmer analyst, or an application programmer. Build your resume around a specific role, and you’ll be better positioned as the right hire for that role.

Illustrate your passions

In addition to experience, an obvious passion for the work you do can go far in the eyes of employers. Use your resume to demonstrate how passionate you are. Listing projects is standard, but take it a step further and explain how you took your projects to the next level, and why.

You should also describe any extracurricular activities, student or professional organizations, or volunteer efforts you’ve been involved in prior to entering the IT job market.

Tone down the hype

If you’re crafting a resume with scant experience to back it up, you may be tempted to hype yourself heavily in order to demonstrate confidence. It’s better to use caution in this area — if you’re going to hype, make sure you have the skills to back it up.

Avoid phrasing that indicates you have skills or experiences you’re “working on” or “going to get around to.” If you’re currently taking extra courses or working toward certifications, it’s alright to state that. But it’s not okay to claim you’re already a Java expert because you can make a “hello, world” screen, or to say you’re CCNA certified if you have a class scheduled for next month.

Tailor to your audience

You might be a graduate, but that doesn’t mean you’re through with homework. The most effective resumes are tailored for the particular company you’re applying to — and that means you need to do some research.

Look for the most in-demand skills in your professional area, and those that the company is looking for specifically. Then create a revised version of your resume that highlights those skills. This way, you’ll have no problem breezing through the resume screening software, and a much better shot at catching the eye of a hiring manager.

Skip the filler

When your resume is stripped of hype and contains only core information, it might look a little short. This is when you could be tempted to add some text simply to take up space — and you might list things like email proficiency or Microsoft Excel as skills.

The problem here is that IT employers expect you to know the basics. Pointing out that you have obvious skills won’t win you any points, and will be seen for what it is: an attempt to pad your resume. Don’t worry too much about the length. If you’re a recent graduate or new to tech, employers won’t pass up your resume just because it’s short.

Get on GitHub

If you don’t already have a GitHub profile, or an active account on a similar online IT community, start building one now. The ability to give prospective employers a URL that showcases projects you’ve completed or worked on is worth more than your GPA. With a strong online profile and tangible work results, you can impress any employer enough to move to the next round.

The Armada Group knows what it takes to not only create a strong tech resume, but how to get through every phrase of the hiring process. Contact one of our experts today and learn how we can fill your staffing needs or find your dream placement today.



Published in Staffing News


Using Social Networking to Succeed in IT

Social media has revolutionized the way that people interact. It helps to form our opinions, share information, and – possibly the most crucial – changes the way we conduct business. While many initially assumed MySpace would disappear into the abyss of tech fads, it gave way to Facebook, followed by a rash of different flavors of social media for different purposes. In today’s world, companies cannot expect to excel in the business world without having a platform to interact on social media.

And neither can candidates.

Facebook might be a great place to post cat memes and baby pictures, but it’s also increasingly common to use it as a news source. Some very widespread companies (PCMag, for instance) disseminate a wide variety of content, which allows users to stay abreast of current developments.

For those who find Facebook a little too personal for professional purposes, LinkedIn serves an entirely different community, as it’s aimed towards professionals. This filters the lion’s share of political and religious discussions, fighting over the greatest video game-du-jour, and the endless stream of alternately hilarious and atrocious material. LinkedIn allows users the opportunity to receive relevant news and blogs which cater towards a user’s preferences. It also allows users to join industry-specific groups, where you can both read, post, and interact with best practices and relevant information in your chosen career path.

But perhaps the most notable feature of LinkedIn is developing a network for career opportunities. LinkedIn is a wonderful tool to find and be contacted by recruiters, and using your profile to list achievements, skills, and work history is a great way to get noticed by recruiters and industry leaders alike.

Finally, SpiceWorks is one of the best methods to really showcase your talent. SpiceWorks is a social media designed specifically with the IT specialist in mind. It allows a user the ability to communicate with high-level facets of a job, help and learn about projects, and interact with others in the IT community.

When it comes to succeeding in IT, the best place to do so is with the help of a recruiter. At The Armada Group, we can help. We only work with the best talent in the Silicon Valley area, and we understand what it takes to succeed. We work with some of the most innovative companies in the nation to pair elite candidates with the ideal career opportunity for maximum long term productivity. Contact us today to see how we can help you! 

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Technical Recruiting Trends in Mountain View Busted

Even with all the information floating around the Internet, there still tend to be great deal of mystery when it comes to recruitment practices and the technology that recruiters use. While there are some recruiters who hang on to traditional methods, there also a growing number who embrace recruitment technology resources to find the best talent.

As a whole, technology and all that it stands for has become a major part of our everyday lives. Now, more than at any other time in the history of employment, it is even more important for employers to understand how to harness the power of business technology. Using recruitment apps and technology tools helps to break through the myths that exist.

Whether we want to believe it or not, technology is here to help us be more productive as recruiters. Here are some of the myths about using technology in recruiting that we’d like to dispel once and for all.

#1 – Big Data is Out of Place in the Recruitment World

The argument over ‘big data’ in recruitment is something that we hear over and over again. Standard recruiting metrics continue to lead the way in measuring the success of recruiters. However, when analyzed correctly, big data allows recruiters to see their performance over periods of time. Big data also helps to highlight the most successful candidates. Understanding what drives performance and results is why big data should have a place in the recruitment world. Recruitment technology that taps into big data continues to be a trend that all recruiters should watch carefully.

#2 – Social Media Doesn’t Belong in Recruiting

When social media first made its debut ten years ago, many in the recruitment world simply ignored it, thinking it was a passing fad.  The myth arose that social media had no place in recruitment methodology.  However, as we know now, social media has become a powerful player in the recruitment world. Over time, social networking has become the go-to activity the most recruiters take part in to attract and build candidate pools. Most recent studies regarding social recruitment and candidate behavior indicate that this will continue to grow as a tool as developers tap into the needs of professional recruiters.

#3 – Mobile Recruitment Will Never Have any Real Impact

Alongside social networking, mobile recruitment has taken great strides in the last couple of years. Early on, recruiters believed that mobile apps would not be seen as serious tools in the arsenal that recruiters use. However, currently there are billions of job seekers who are actively using mobile devices to conduct job searches, connect with hiring companies, develop online resumes, and apply for jobs. It’s critical for recruiters to be knowledgeable of at least a few of the major mobile apps in order to attract candidates from all markets. As mobile devices get cheaper, more job seekers and recruiters will look to this as primary resource.

#4 – Online Career Boards are Ineffective

Some recruiters think that online job boards are a waste of time. While it is apparent that job boards are no longer the primary source of job leads, according to recent surveys, nearly 70 percent of job seekers still actively visit online boards to look for work. Job boards should not be neglected when planning a recruitment campaign. In addition to posting ads on industry job boards, recruiters should have well developed company career websites so that they can tap into search engines. Making your company's presence known by advertising open positions in job boards, plus on your branded career portal will help your company to stand out online.

The best advice for hiring managers: Don’t believe the myths that exist in this challenging industry. Instead, look at technology’s changes as a positive thing and learn as much as you can about the tools and resources available to you.

If you are looking for technical recruiters in Mountain View, contact our team today.


Published in Recruiting