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Working remotely comes with a unique set of challenges. Since at least one of the employees won’t be spending a lot of time with their coworkers in the office, portions of the team may struggle to bond with one another. This can make collaboration trickier and may harm communication, both of which can hinder the group’s overall productivity.

However, even if working remotely isn’t always easy, there are ways to improve the connection between team members. Not only can this boost morale but it can also lead to higher productivity, making the experience more enjoyable and leading to better results.

If you want to make sure remote work benefits the workplace, here are some tips Google shared to increase your odds of success.

How to Become the Scala Engineer Everyone Wants to Hire

 

Scala is objectively harder than some other programming languages. As a result, companies look closely at candidates before making a hiring decision, trying to ensure that the job seeker genuinely has the required skills, experiences, and capabilities.

Showcasing your talent is essential if you want to land a new Scala engineer role. However, you also need to make sure that you are shining a spotlight on the right areas if you truly want to stand out from the competition. If you're going to be the Scala engineer that everyone wants to hire, here’s what you need to bring to the table.

Published in Staffing News

Machine Learning

 

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have taken the business world by storm, with more and more companies becoming interested in how they can integrate these technologies into their operations so they can experience the benefits for themselves. However, there are a limited number of skilled professionals available to support these emerging systems.

 

While the high level of demand is excellent for AI specialists, it leaves companies struggling to find the skilled workers they need to reach their technology goals. But Google is releasing a solution that may make AI and machine learning technologies more accessible to businesses.

 

Say Hello to Cloud AutoML

Google has begun rolling out Cloud AutoML, a solution focused on automating the creation of machine learning models, to help bring the emerging technologies to the masses. The first product in the release, Cloud AutoML Vision, provides developers with an easy to use, drag and drop interface, allowing them to craft image recognition models with greater ease.

 

According to the company, the system allows organizations to experience more accurate results, when compared to generic machine learning APIs, which can easily be considered a significant benefit for businesses looking to implement the technology.

 

 

It should be noted that the Cloud AutoML platform is still in the Alpha phase of development, so growing pains are likely as Google works to iron out the kinks in the technology. However, it represents a potentially significant step forward, even if there is still work to be done to make it viable on a larger scale.

 

Additionally, the question as to whether something as inherently complex as AI and machine learning can be automated, a point that is particularly relevant should the technology be added to critical systems. But, if it is deemed a success, it could signal the beginning of a revolution in the field, encouraging more firms to explore the associated possibilities and giving companies a new approach that can help them overcome skill gaps in their teams.

 

Will AI and Machine Learning Specialists Still be Relevant?

While the idea of an automated or simplified approach is enticing, most companies would be wise to maintain an AI or machine learning specialist on their staff, particularly as the technology still has a long way to go before it can be deemed suitable for all situations. In the meantime, working with experienced professionals will continue to be the norm, even as Cloud AutoML exits Alpha, or even Beta, as businesses will need to learn what the solutions can and cannot do effectively.

 

If you are interested in hiring an AI or machine learning specialist to join your team, the professionals at The Armada Group can connect you with some of today’s top talent. Contact us to speak with one of our skilled recruiters today and see how our services can help you achieve your AI and machine learning implementation and support goals.

 

 

Expand Role

 

Even if you are generally satisfied with your position, the idea of expanding your role can be exciting. This can include getting your hands into a particularly interesting project, gaining a new skill, or working with a team that you admire.

 

Branching out isn’t always easy, especially if you don’t want to overstep any boundaries that may exist within the organizational landscape. But failing to expand your tech role could lead to missed opportunities and stymied growth, making an attempt typically worth your while. To help you explore new opportunities without stepping on any toes, here are some tips to get you started.

 

Be Value-Oriented

Before you ask to be added to a specific project or request additional responsibilities, it is essential that you have a full understanding of how you can provide value to the business by getting involved in those tasks. This allows you to explain how your participation positively impacts the bottom line, making your case more powerful, especially if you can quantify the result.

 

Ultimately, you have to create a pitch to “sell” why the company should let you expand your duties, and your points can’t all be self-serving. Demonstrating your value shows the business what is in it for them, making it easier to secure their approval.

 

 

Make the Most of Learning Opportunities

At most companies, there is a range of learning opportunities available to employees; you just have to know how to spot them. Anything from formal training to workshops during lunches to job shadowing can be effective ways to branch out and increase your knowledge.

 

Start by exploring the kinds of options that are made available to workers and see if any catch your interest. If so, examine the requirements for participating and explore the value of your attendance.

 

In some cases, offerings that may not be specifically aimed at you could still be helpful, though you may need to pitch the idea to your manager to get approval. To do so, use the advice above and demonstrate how your participation benefits your department or the company as a whole. Whenever possible, use specific examples and quantify the information, as they will be the most effective approach.

 

Invest in Yourself

Sometimes, your company won’t have the kind of learning opportunities you need to help you meet your goals. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t invest in yourself and pursue additional education on your own time.

 

Often, the majority of your professional development falls squarely in your hands, so don’t let a lack of options in your workplace stop you from exploring skills that interest you. And, if your company has a training budget that allows them to cover educational costs for things like classes and conferences, see if you qualify.

 

If you are interested in branching out by finding a new position, the team at The Armada Group can connect you with leading employers in the area. Contact us today to see how our services can benefit you.

 

 

Published in Recruiting

Hiring Strategy

 

When it comes to hiring, two things matter more than anything: speed and quality. While the two don’t always seem to go together well, there are strategies that can help you secure top talent as quickly as possible. Here’s how to get started.

 

Clearly Define Your Ideal Candidate

One of the easiest ways to improve your hiring process is to first clearly define what your ideal candidate looks like. Typically, this involves an extensive review of the job requirements with a focus on critical competencies and priorities, such as filling skill gaps.

 

Now, during this process, you don’t want to create a skills list that is so extensive it becomes practically unattainable, especially since many professionals won’t apply to a position unless that are a 100 percent match for the requirements. Instead, list only those that are most crucial for the role as requirements, and review the applications to determine if anyone also possesses any “nice to have” skills as well.

 

Align Your Interview Team

Often, each interviewer on a team or panel has a different idea of what a great candidate looks like unless they are given clear guidance regarding any current priorities. Failure to align your interview team means everyone isn’t likely to agree on a top prospect, which may leave you without a potential new hire.

 

Begin by identifying any essential core competencies that are necessary for the role as a method for guiding everyone’s analysis of the interviewees. This will also help you determine if you need someone who functions as more of a specialist or generalist in their particular area, as either approach can be appropriate, depending on your priorities. Then, consider if any attributes define candidates who may be a solid cultural fit, increasing the chances that they will excel in the environment.

 

You also want to make sure that the panel won’t place too much weight on credentials from top-ranked schools or previous experience at leading companies, as many professionals are just as skilled even though they don’t possess that particular pedigree. It also helps to have a discussion regarding the importance of achievement versus experience, as a seemingly less experienced job seeker may be more prone to greatness despite their greenness.

 

Agree on Acceptable Trade-Offs

Some teams are more willing to take a risk on a potentially great talent who needs some additional development than others, and getting everyone on the same page in this area is essential. If everyone isn’t assessing the candidates from the same perspective, you may have conflict in your interview team as they debate the merits of someone who appears to have potential but isn’t proven. By having this discussion in advance, it is easier to align the panel in a particular direction, speeding up the hiring process.

 

Similarly, very rarely does a candidate possess every skill or trait you’re hoping to find, so it is important to determine which points are non-negotiable and which can be overlooked as long as the interviewee has another characteristic or competency which could be helpful.

 

By following the tips above, you can streamline your hiring process significantly. If you would like to improve your strategy further, the recruitment specialists at The Armada Group can connect you with some of the area’s leading talent. Contact us today to see how our hiring strategies can work for you.

 

 

Published in Hiring Managers

H 1B

 

Many hiring managers associated with companies operating in the tech industry have to deal with H-1B visa petitions on a regular basis. At this time, the program faces a lot of uncertainty based on government policies relating to the program being under review.

 

It has been asserted that these visas should only be given to foreign workers with the highest level of skill, and those holding the visa shouldn’t be used to replace Americans who can perform the work.

 

As more attention was drawn to the issue, many people began to wonder what H-1B visa holders actually receive for salaries. Here is some insight into that question.

 

Top-Paid H-1B Visa Holders

It’s no surprise that some of the highest H-1B visa holders are working for large tech companies that are known throughout the world. For example, those working for Apple earn an average annual salary of $139,000 while visa holders at Google bring in $132,000. Microsoft pays an average of $126,000, while Cisco and Amazon provide average annual salaries of $121,000 and $115,000, respectively.

 

To put that in perspective, the average H-1B visa holder makes around $91,000, based on data from 2016.

 

Where Do Most H-1B Visa Holders Work?

While many would assume tech companies employ the highest number of H-1B visa holders, that isn’t the case. In fact, the majority of approved visas go to business consultancy firms. This includes companies like Accenture, Cognizant, Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services. And, in most cases, these companies paid their visa holders far less than the tech giants listed above.

 

What Is the Purpose of the H-1B Visa Program?

The original intention behind H-1B visas was to ensure that U.S. companies could access highly skilled talent for positions that prove hard to fill. Visa holders aren’t supposed to replace competent American employees or job seekers who could reasonably do the work, though saying that never occurs would be naïve.

 

Currently, the IT unemployment rate is shockingly low, especially for in-demand specialties like programming. Many tech businesses argue that restricting the program could harm companies who otherwise couldn’t find the talent they need to sustain business operations.

 

Do Visa Holder Salaries Matter?

Regardless of whether your company employs H-1B visa holders, it is important to understand what they make. For one, it is a critical piece of data for budgeting the potential addition of a visa holding employee. Second, these salaries will affect the expectations of American employees working in the field.

 

All salary data is relevant, and this represents a piece of the larger puzzle regarding what top talent needs to be offered in order to secure and retain them as employees. And, if the H-1B visa program is altered by the government, salaries of workers may actually have to rise if you hope to stand out from the competition and gain access to skilled job seekers.

 

If you want to learn more about the impacts of H-1B salaries or are looking for a new IT professional to join your ranks, the team at The Armada Group has the expertise you can rely on. Contact us today to discuss your needs and see how our services can help you find the right candidates for your vacancies.

 

 

2 Job Interview

 

Having the right credentials on your resume is only part of what you need to advance your career; you also need to make a great impression during the interview. Being able to demonstrate why you are the best candidate is the key to ultimate success, so proper interview preparation is critical. So, what do you need to do to nail your next IT job interview? Here are some steps to get you on the right track.

Find Examples of Real Interview Questions

Everyone’s heard that practice makes perfect, but figuring out which responses you need to hammer out isn’t always easy. Luckily, there are resources available online that can give you example questions to work on based on topics covered in real interviews. Glassdoor, the popular job site, gives users the chance to post information about their interview experiences, including the exact questions they were asked by hiring managers. These tidbits of information are a gold mine for preparation material, so taking the time to research what may be asked can help you get great answers together in advance.

 

See if any questions have been posted by people who have interviewed with your target company for similar positions first. If you find the information lacking, then check into what competitor businesses have asked candidates for similar positions. Then, consider your responses and practice them before you meet with the hiring manager. This gives you a chance to have a strong plan in place, making it less likely you’ll be caught off guard when you’re sitting in the hot seat.

Get Your Questions in Order

Towards the end of your interview, you’ll likely be given a chance to ask some questions of your own. Neglecting this part of the discussion isn’t wise, as failing to ask great questions can have the hiring manager doubting your interest in the position.

 

Begin by researching the company and the role for which you are interviewing. If you can’t find information about certain details, then form a question to get the feedback you need. Make sure you don’t ask questions that can easily be answered with some simple web searches, as this suggests you didn’t take the initiative to do basic research, and stay away from topics like compensation, as it is likely too early in the process. However, questions about how the position may change over the next few years or what the company’s culture is like are often fair game and show you have a long-term vision regarding the role.

Keep Expectations in Check

Even with a strong resume and well-managed interview, there is still a chance you won’t be selected for the job or that you might not even want it when all is said and done. In that regard, it is wise to keep in mind that an offer may not come, but remember that every interview experience is valuable as it lets you practice your interviewing skills. Always make sure to give it your all, and you may find that even if this job doesn’t pan out, it could help your performance at your next interview.

 

If you are interested in finding a new job, the team at The Armada Group can connect you with great employers in the area. Contact us to see what is available today.

 

Published in Staffing News

interview objectivity

Remaining objective in an interview can be difficult. We’re often inclined to base our impressions of others on emotions and first impressions rather than fact. This can not only harm the interviewee, but it can also result in the loss of talented candidates. By maintaining objectivity and consistency in each of your interviews, you can ensure that the process is as thorough and accurate as possible.

These five key elements of an objective interview will keep you on the right track during your candidate search.

Create a Checklist

Before you begin reviewing resumes, create a checklist that you will follow for each interview. Steps can include “review the job description” or “review interview questions.” Closely following this protocol for each interview will help you maintain consistency throughout the hiring process.

Outline Your Expectations

It’s important to have a solid understanding of what you’re looking for in a candidate. Create a list of desired attributes, and rank them on a scale of importance from one to five. If computer skills are more important for this position than professionalism, for instance, then you will give that trait a higher rating. By outlining your expectations for the ideal candidate, you’ll be more able to objectively compare each individual interviewee to your set of desired characteristics.

Categorize Your Questions

As you’re writing your list of interview questions, try to categorize them by the list of traits determined above. If you need a candidate with project management skills, ask about occasions when they’ve influenced the outcome of a project by taking a leadership position. Other categories may be detail orientation, communication, and the ability to be a team player.

Use a Scoring System

Create a score sheet that will help you evaluate each candidate during the interview. Using your outlined traits, rate them on a scale of one to five. You should complete the score sheet as soon as possible after the end of the interview, while your impression is still objective. The same score sheet should be used for each interview.

Rank Each Candidate

Once you’ve rated your candidates, it’s time to compare their rating to the importance of each trait. Multiply the interviewee’s score in each category by its importance. This is their weighted score. Once you’ve weighted each category, add their total score and compare with other interviewees to choose the candidate best suited for the position.

These five elements of an objective interview process will aid you in choosing qualified candidates without clouding your judgment with emotions or “gut feelings.” This process is fair and consistent for the interviewees and delivers the best results for your company. By remaining consistent and impartial, you increase the effectiveness of your interview process and choose the best candidate each time.

Published in Hiring Managers

07 Recruiting an IT Project Manager Make Sure You Look for These Important Skills

In order to make sure your IT project is completed on time and in budget, you need a great project manager. But how can you spot one? Unfortunately, holding the title of project manager doesn’t always mean that a person can effectively manage projects.

Here are the skills a good IT project manager should have to complete projects successfully, without wasting your time or money.

Organization and multi-tasking

A project manager’s organizational skills can make or break a project. A strong project manager will be able to juggle multiple tasks, or even multiple projects, and track project issues on a daily basis — so they’re spending less time looking for information, and more time managing the project productively.

Leadership skills

It goes without saying that project managers should be good leaders, but it’s important to realize that there’s more to manage than the IT team. A great IT project manager is able to take charge of the team, and also lead vendors and stakeholders in order to reach a collaborative consensus.

Good project managers inspire their team to realize the project vision, and maintain strong relationships with key stakeholders that ensure alignment with project goals.

Effective communication

Key personnel in any project will include both technical and non-tech professionals. Good project managers are excellent communicators — able to clearly explain even complex concepts to key stakeholders, and ensure that communication is maintained among all stakeholders as well as between stakeholders and the project team.

Effective communication encompasses more than the ability to translate tech speak. Great project managers will be able to relay both good news and bad news to all staff levels, in a timely and tactful manner. They’ll also understand who needs to know what, when, and how — and ensure that the appropriate information is delivered to the right people, at the right times.

Negotiating skills

A good project manager will know both how and when to negotiate. With most projects, the IT project manager is working with people whose interests may not align with their own, or who don’t seem to be interested in understanding the goals of the project — or why they should help accomplish them.

Successful project managers develop relationships with stakeholders and determine their interests, which enables them to negotiate cooperation by appealing to the stakeholders’ needs — while still remaining within the objective parameters of the projects.

An eye for detail

When it comes to IT project management, details count. A great project manager will take a meticulous approach to handling project details big and small, and understanding the impact every detail will have on the overall success of the project. Failure to pay attention to details can mean failure of the entire project.

Decisive problem-solving

In every project, issues and obstacles will arise — and some will require an immediate solution. A good IT project manager must be able to make critical decisions quickly, arriving at the best possible solution in the shortest amount of time to avoid delaying or derailing the project.

Relevant technical skills

While project managers don’t need high-level IT skills to be effective — after all, the skills brought to the table by the IT project team are crucial to success — an effective project manager must have a firm understanding of the programs, software, and platforms that are involved in the project, or that the company works with regularly.

Great project managers will have enough technical skill to be able to take on some of the project tasks themselves. By completing project tasks personally, project managers can earn the respect of the team, which enables them to work more effectively as leaders.

Published in Hiring Managers

01 Finalizing a Hire Dont Forget These 12 Reference Check Questions

The reference check is a long-standing tradition in the hiring process, intended to give you a more objective view of candidates than you can gain from resumes and interviews. However, many employers consider the reference check a perfunctory, or even pointless exercise — especially when hiring contractors, since it’s easier to end the working relationship if things don’t work out.

Of course, employers assume that candidates will never provide bad references, so it’s easy to believe that reference checks are biased and not all that useful. However, references should be used not just to confirm the information received during the interview, but also to find out more about the candidate than the interview can reveal.

With a bit of extra effort and some active listening, you can derive more value from reference-checking candidates, including contractors. Here are 12 questions to ask references that will help you make better and more confident hiring decisions.

1. What were the candidate’s responsibilities?

You can check the reference’s responses against the candidate’s resume and any discussion of responsibility during the interview. Ask for clarification if the reference’s information doesn’t seem to match the candidate’s.

2. How would you rate the quality/accuracy of the candidate’s work?

Keep in mind here that references may or may not have been directly involved in reviewing the work performed by the candidate, particularly if they are peer-level references.

3. What was the candidate’s level of independence?

Find out if the candidate was directly supervised, worked remotely or onsite, or required more or less supervision than other employees or contractors.

4. Describe the candidate’s interactions with supervisors and team members.

This question can help you determine more about the candidate’s personality and cultural fit in a team environment.

5. How was the candidate’s attendance?

If the candidate worked onsite but missed several days of work, especially for short-term projects, this may raise red flags that should be discussed with the candidate.

6. How were the candidate’s communication skills?

Good communication is important for any new hire, whether the candidate will be a consultant or a permanent employee. Try to learn whether the candidate communicated successfully at multiple levels within the work environment.

7. What was the candidate’s attitude toward the project or job?

Some candidates may seem enthusiastic during the interview, but turn out to be less than focused or energized when they actually report for work. References can be a valuable source of information for finding candidates whose actual performance attitude may not be reflected in an interview.

8. Why did the candidate leave?

With regard to consultants, the most common reason for leaving a previous position is project completion. But even if the candidate gave this as the reason for leaving, it’s a good idea to check with their references to ensure this is what happened.

9. Describe the candidate’s work ethic.

References may be able to give you a good sense of whether a candidate is an enthusiastic hard worker and a team player, or someone who’s more interested in paychecks than performance.

10. Can you tell me who referred the candidate to you?

It can be good to know whether the candidate was hired cold based on the strength of a resume and interview, or was referred by someone for their previous position. However, keep in mind that the reference may not be able to give you this information.

11. Would you rehire this candidate, and if so, why?

It’s usually a good sign when a reference would be willing to rehire someone who’s left the company. Asking what qualities make them an attractive rehire can help you learn more about the candidate than you might have during the interview.

12. Is there anything else you’d like to mention about the candidate?

This open-ended question can also provide you with valuable information that will help you with the hiring decision.

Published in Recruiting
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