Many Netflix employees extol the virtues of the company’s generous benefits package and positive corporate culture. However, one interesting aspect that often garners positive attention is actually Netflix’s termination policy.
If you are wondering why employees embrace Netflix’s approach to assessing whether a worker should stay or be let go, here’s what you need to know about their unique approach.
The “Keeper Test”
Netflix understands that to build strong teams, every member needs to provide value. As a means of determining whether an employee is meeting the needs of the business, they are subject to the “keeper test.”
With the keeper test, managers consider one key question: If the employee was considering leaving Netflix for another company, would I strive to convince them to stay? If the manager would answer that with a “no,” then the person is either terminated or encouraged to leave on their own.
The approach is designed to ensure that only “highly effective” workers are retained. Not only does it ensure that mediocre employees don’t bog down their teams, but it also motivates employees to always be at their best, as everyone is subject to the seemingly ruthless evaluation.
Netflix has also employed a formal tool, known as “360,” to give everyone the ability to review anyone else in the company, including CEO Reed Hastings. Additionally, it provides every worker with insight into why any person has been let go, a critical part of the company’s transparency-focused culture.
Together, they help managers to determine which employees are actually worth keeping. Additionally, it even leads to shakeups at the upper levels of the corporate hierarchy, serving as a non-traditional playbook for making retention decisions.
Is Emulating Netflix Wise?
Ultimately, when combined, the keeper test and 360 are meant to promote objectivity when it comes to hiring decisions. It removes emotions from much of the process, as whether an employee is liked is less important than if they are effective and productive. While this can certainly be beneficial, it doesn’t mean Netflix’s model is ideal for every business.
In some cases, the risk of being quickly terminated can lead some to constantly fear being fired, even if they don’t make a mistake. This can increase stress and potentially harm productivity, even in top performers if they have a tendency toward anxiety.
Similarly, it relies on management being able to set emotion aside at all times, which isn’t something everyone can do. Further, a good employee who is well liked may be better in your company than a tremendous talent whose personality clashes with the rest of the team, something that can breed conflict and harm overall productivity.
However, that doesn’t mean that companies can’t learn from Netflix’s approach, particularly if there is a tendency to keep mediocre workers without just cause.
If you would like to learn more about effective internal policies, the team at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your questions or concerns with one of our knowledgeable staff members today and see how our workplace expertise can benefit you.
When you get a job offer, the excitement can easily overtake you, leading you to say “yes” before you really look at whether the opportunity is right for you. While the new role might be great for you, it’s also possible it isn’t, so taking the time to make sure is a smart move.
If you are trying to determine if a tech job is right for you, here are five questions to ask yourself before you accept.
Is Now the Right Time to Make a Switch?
As the saying goes, timing is everything. While you may be dying to leave your position, how your exit impacts your current employer is a point worth examining.
Will you be heading out in the middle of a big project? Is your involvement in the project critical for its success? Can you give sufficient notice?
Everyone’s situation is different, but it’s wise to consider how your quitting will affect your current employer. After all, if you leave them in a bind, they may not be willing to give you positive employment references in the future.
Additionally, you want to reflect on whether your personal life can support a change. If you need to relocate, how will that impact you and your family? If the new job comes with longer hours, can you still maintain an appropriate work-life balance while meeting all of your obligations? Will your spouse or partner need to take on more to accommodate the shift or will the decision impact their career (which can occur if you need to relocate)?
Make sure to review the points above before you say “yes,” especially if other people will be accompanying you on the journey.
Are You Excited About the Opportunity?
Sometimes, you apply for a job that seems amazing on the surface, only to later discover you aren’t really excited about the opportunity. Maybe something came up during the interview that changed your perspective, or you found details about the company that gives you pause.
Regardless of the reason, if you aren’t enthusiastic about the new role, then it might be better to say “no” and continue looking for something that’s a better fit.
Is the Culture a Match?
Every company has a culture. If you feel comfortable in the environment, then you are more likely to excel. However, if it doesn’t seem like a good match, you might want to decline the offer.
Being the odd person out or trying to force yourself to fit into a culture that doesn’t jive with your personality can be harmful to your well-being and may impact the quality of your work. If the culture doesn’t align with your values and preferences, then looking for an opportunity that does is usually a smarter choice.
Will You Receive Better Compensation?
While pay, benefits, and perks aren’t everything, they are always something. You need to consider whether you come out financially ahead by taking the job or are at least able to maintain the status quo.
Examine the entire compensation package, including the value and expenses associated with your benefits, to see if you are making positive strides. You also want to look at the shift in your costs, such as whether a change in your commute helps you save money or if it will lead to higher expenses.
If the math doesn’t work in your favor, then carefully consider whether making the change is a wise decision.
Will This Job Help My Career?
Sometimes, even if you will take a financial hit by accepting a job, it’s worth it because you can use the experience to move your career in a better direction. However, even if you are getting a substantial raise, it’s always smart to consider whether taking the position will help or hurt your chances when it comes to making progress in your field.
Ideally, you want your new job to lead to additional opportunities after you gain experience with your new employer. If that isn’t likely to happen and you’re not looking for your last role before retirement, then you might want to continue with your search.
Ultimately, it’s always wise to carefully consider whether saying “yes” is the right decision. If it isn’t, then don’t hesitate to turn the job down. You can always continue your search and, by doing so, give yourself the chance to find an opportunity that is genuinely a good fit.
If you are interested in learning more or are seeking out a new position, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to discuss your career goals with one of our knowledgeable team members today and see how our services can make finding your ideal role easier than ever.
When it comes to in-demand IT skills, Python is currently on a high. The programming language plays a substantial role in data science and data analytics as well as back-end web application development.
Based on the number of positions that require Python, and that demand is expected to rise, learning this language can help tech professionals secure more lucrative opportunities.
Some job seekers may be surprised at how many kinds of list Python as a requirement or preferred skill. If you are wondering whether learning Python can boost your chances of finding a great job, here’s what you need to know.
10 Jobs Python Skills Can Help You Land
While the top 10 jobs that favor candidates with Python skills are largely in the IT realm, there is a reasonable amount of diversity when it comes to potential opportunities. Here are 10 jobs where Python might be featured in the vacancy announcement:
- Software Developer
- Software Engineer
- Research Assistant
- Senior Software Engineer
- Software Engineering Internship
- Web Developer
- Graduate Research Assistant
- Quality Assurance Engineer
Positions in the software development or engineering arenas aren’t necessarily a surprise, but some job seekers may be startled when they see that even internships may require Python.
Additionally, certain research-oriented jobs benefit from Python skills as well, particularly when custom software is needed to handle the associated projects.
How to Learn Python
If you decide that you want to add Python as a skill, you do have options for learning this programming language. First and foremost, traditional education is always an option. In some cases, Python will be featured as part of a larger degree plan, either as a requirement or optional course. However, you don’t necessarily have to be pursuing a degree to take a single class focused solely on Python, particularly if you are open to online learning.
You may be able to find a boot camp that either concentrates on Python or features it along with a variety of other languages. If you choose to go the boot camp route, make sure the company offering the boot camp is reputable and that you have the time necessary to complete the entire course.
For those who are already comfortable with programming languages in general, teaching yourself Python is also an option. There is a variety of resources, both online and off, and communities that can help you learn the language and improve your skills.
Ultimately, adding Python to your repertoire can be a smart move, particularly if you want to land one of the 10 jobs listed above. It can take a little time to learn, but is well worth the effort if you wish to pursue a career in any of the tech-oriented areas contained in the list.
If you are interested in learning more or are seeking new opportunities, the professionals at The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members today and see how our experience can benefit you.
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.
When companies look to hire new employees, they often focus on the candidate’s experience and available skills. However, this information isn’t always indicative of the job seeker’s potential to succeed, and failing to account for this point can lead to a bad hire.
While a candidate’s potential can’t necessarily be the only consideration when selecting a new hire, it should play a role in your decision-making process. If you are wondering how much their potential should factor into your hiring, here’s what you need to know.
A job seeker’s potential is a reflection of their ability to grow and adapt to a particular role or environment. Those who are more capable in these areas may have an easier time achieving success, even if they don’t possess the same level of skill as other applicants.
It is important to understand that the candidate’s past accomplishments or the length of their resume may not accurately portray their potential. This means you will need to delve deeper if you want to find out details that can help you assess them in this manner.
In some cases, a job seeker who appears to be highly experienced may have a lot of years in the profession but has actually been relatively stagnant in their career. For example, a 20-year veteran of the field who has held the same position for nearly a decade may not have experienced much growth, depending on whether their duties evolved over time.
In contrast, a person with five years of experience who has been steadily moving forward is actively progressing in their career, which can be an indication of their level of drive and interest in furthering their skills.
Similarly, whether a job seeker is still actively learning about their field or has resigned themselves to coasting through their career is valid. Someone who is constantly pursuing knowledge may be more valuable, even if they have less starting experience than someone who has stopped actively learning about their area of expertise.
The Value of Accomplishments
Many hiring managers would assume that a candidate without a major accomplishment isn’t what they need. However, a person who has a steady, solid performer over the course of their career may be more valuable than a job seeker who had a single great accomplishment that amounts to no more than a flash in the pan.
Additionally, a candidate’s level of participation in an achievement is also valid, particularly when the accomplishment is related to the work of a team. Often, not everyone contributes equally, so you need to determine whether the individual’s contributions are as significant as they seem.
Ultimately, the presence or lack of a significant accomplishment needs to be closely examined if you want to figure out its true value, particularly when you measure potential.
If you are interested in learning more or are seeking a talented professional to join your team, the recruitment specialists as The Armada Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our skilled staff members today and see how our services can benefit you.
A job interview is a sales call. Isn't it? You're there to convince the hiring manager that you're the right person for the job. That means you have to sell yourself hard. Doesn't it?
It shouldn't. Go to an interview focused on selling yourself, and you'll be focused on yourself. That's the wrong focus. An interview isn't about you; it's about the company and the company's needs. Focus on understanding the company, the job, and the problem the company needs to solve, instead of on yourself, and you'll automatically stand a better chance of getting hired. Why?
By paying attention, you'll answer the questions that are asked – and the questions that weren't asked.
If you go to an interview with stock answers that you think will impress the interviewer, and then look for opportunities to throw out those lines, you won't be answering the questions that are asked. You'll be missing the opportunity to show your understanding of the company or project through answers that are tailored to the question, or by referring to related subjects.
You don't connect with the interviewer.
he point of the interview is to get to know you; when you focus on selling a prepared image, the interviewer can feel that you aren't being genuine. When you stop concentrating on selling yourself, you are free to let your real self show and the interaction with the interviewer feels much more natural and comfortable to them.
Selling yourself requires hiding parts of yourself.
If you're focused on selling yourself, you naturally try to conceal parts of yourself. You try to avoid talking about times you failed; your answer to "what is your biggest weakness" is that you work too hard. Besides the fact that hiding takes energy, interviewers are likely to be more impressed if you acknowledge a shortcoming or a time that you failed and discuss how you addressed the issue to ensure a better outcome next time.
When you work with The Armada Group, we'll match you to jobs that fit your talents and aspirations so you can be yourself and still land the job. Contact us to stop selling yourself and start an effective job search now.
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 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.
While it has never been seen as a desirable trait in any industry, many information security experts suggest that a healthy dose of paranoia may actually be good for business. After all, a paranoid leader is a vigilant one. This state of alertness can actually improve the defenses of your organization, through regular improvements, scheduled maintenance, and increased awareness in your company. So should you look for a CISO with a paranoid streak? Consider the benefits before making your final decision.
1. Paranoid CISOs search out advancements.
Paranoid CISOs are ever-improving. Because they constantly suspect that their organization is under attack, they’ll always be looking for new, advanced ways to fortify their defenses and stay informed on new developments in the industry. There’s always room for improvement, so your company will have the most up-to-date information security system available with new, multi-layered controls. This valuable instrumentation and increased depth can help prepare for a threat or attack before you’re even aware it’s there.
2. Paranoid CISOs never neglect necessary system maintenance.
Complacency is just as dangerous as an inherently weak security system. If your CISO isn’t taking the time to update and patch their managed program, they’re opening up channels for potential breaches. A paranoid CISO, on the other hand, constantly patches their program to ensure that no known weaknesses exist in the system. This regular maintenance might be neglected by complacent leaders, creating dangerous vulnerabilities in your organization.
3. Paranoid CISOs improve company awareness.
In their constant state of hyper-vigilance, a paranoid CISO will want to ensure that every member of your organization is doing their part to follow security protocols. This will help create a culture of data security to protect your company at every level. From data analyst to CEO, you organization will be more secure and less vulnerable to attack.
4. Paranoid CISOs develop a deep understanding of the company.
Not only will they understand the nature of each and every potential attack, but a paranoid CISO will also understand the potential consequences they may have on the company. Their deep-rooted knowledge of the business will motivate them to improve and monitor the system, specifically targeting the threats that may cause the most harm to the company.
So while paranoia is often the butt of office jokes, it may actually help the performance of a company’s security system. A paranoid CISO can do more for a business than a complacent leader. Embrace a healthy level of paranoia in your CISO for an improved system and better overall defenses against attacks.
Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) has become an increasingly popular policy as more employees work both remotely and on-site from their mobile devices. This is especially popular for small businesses or companies with limited budgets — letting employees use their own devices is cheaper than investing in and distributing company devices. But is BYOD the right choice for your company in particular?
The answer depends on a number of factors. Even companies without big budgets to invest in worker tech may find that it makes more sense to find a way for company-owned devices — or conversely, those with less limited resources might find that BYOD is a better choice.
Here’s a look at the benefits and drawbacks of BYOD policies, and how you can decide what’s right for your business.
The advantages of BYOD
While the cost savings are usually the first benefit that comes to mind, perhaps the biggest advantage of a BYOD policy is productivity. Typically, your employees will be more productive when they’re working from a device they’re intimately familiar with.
However, it should be noted that there is a learning curve with company-issued devices, and employees can reach similar levels of productivity once they’ve used the new device enough.
Some of the other benefits of BYOD include:
- Cost savings: This applies not only to the initial device investment, but also to maintenance and upkeep expenses — which are typically the employees’ responsibility for personal devices.
- Increased responsibility: When employees use personal devices for work, they are fully responsible for handling them, which can decrease the occurrence of damage or device loss.
- Greater flexibility: With a BYOD policy, it’s easier to try different technologies or the latest tools without having to commit to costly upfront investments or get tied up in long-term contracts.
The disadvantages of BYOD
While a BYOD policy comes with many benefits, there are also some serious challenges to consider. These challenges can affect multiple departments in your company, including human resources and IT/security.
Some of the issues that can arise with BYOD include:
- Security challenges: With multiple users accessing your company’s network from potentially unprotected devices, it can be difficult to secure your data and systems.
- Resource consumption: The need to support a variety of operating systems and device formats can be draining on infrastructure and programming resources — not to mention your IT team.
- Increased costs: With BYOD, you may end up paying additional licensing fees to install programs on employees’ personal devices, unless you’re using Web-based software or VPN protocols.
- Employee dissatisfaction: In some cases, employees may consider company-issued devices a highly positive perk — and asking employees to purchase their own equipment for work may demotivate some of your staff.
What to do if you implement BYOD
If you decide that BYOD may be the right model for your business, it’s important to have a strategy for implementation — other than simply announcing that employees can use their personal devices at work. You’ll need a BYOD policy in place that covers things like:
- Whether employees are required to have personal devices, or if it’s optional to bring mobile devices to work.
- Who can use personal devices for work (some companies have BYOD policies that only permit personal devices for employees who travel frequently).
- Any usage implications or restrictions on personal devices (i.e. personal devices can be used for certain purposes, or at certain times).
- Software and security requirements for personal devices.
The use of mobile devices continues to increase, for both personal and professional areas. Whether your company chooses to implement BYOD or invest in company-issued devices, it’s important to address how you’ll handle mobile devices in the workplace, and set policies and best practices that make the most sense for your particular business.
With 80 million in the United States, most of them already in or about to enter the workforce, millennials are the rising generation. And since 40 percent of current IT professionals will retire over the next 10 to 12 years, millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025.
Of course, this means there will soon be millennials in positions of power at the majority of organizations. As this generation takes the reins of leadership, there will be a new breed of CIO — those who’ve grown up firmly in the digital era and have never known life without the Internet.
How will millennials handle their technology purchasing power? Here’s what they’re likely to do differently from their predecessors, and how the millennial CIO will change the way IT works in organizations.
Big brands won’t be automatic buys
In the earlier days of technology, brands were everything. Organizations stuck with the tried and true: Microsoft, Apple, IBM. No CIOs were willing to risk their jobs investing in a new, unproven startup with any possibility of failure — because if things went wrong, their buying choices would be blamed.
But millennials are less risk-averse than their predecessors, and more willing to try, or even embrace, new technologies and startups. In fact, a study tracking millennial behavior in the workplace from IT industry association CompTIA found that this generation prefers to work with startups run by millennials like themselves — and big brand names simply don’t matter as much, if at all.
Buying choices will hinge on customer experience
The advertising onslaught began in earnest with the millennial generation, who have been pelted with marketing campaigns from every direction — television, radio, Internet, mobile, and more. This advertising overload has made millennials wary and distrustful of larger brands with ulterior motives, and led to a demand for transparency and personalized experiences.
Millennial CIOs are likely to work with vendors who can provide these qualities. They’ll look for brands with platforms that rely less on making money, and more on changing the world through innovation and creativity. Bonus points for brands that are heavily involved in philanthropy — despite the “selfish” tag often applied by the media, over 85 percent of millennials base purchasing decisions on whether the brand stands for something socially and takes meaningful steps to ignite social change.
Employers should remember that this millennial state of mind extends to the jobs they hold, as well as the brands they invest in — in all things, they want to be treated right.
IT decisions may be crowdsourced
Social networking has had a tremendous impact on the lives of millennials, and many traditional advertising channels are all but invisible to them. Instead, this generation relies on referrals, reviews, and peer recommendations to make buying decision in both their personal and professional lives.
Millennial CIOs are likely to want more feedback from all sides before making a purchasing decision. In addition to their peers, they will probably involve their IT team in considering new products, and weigh several competing factors of a given solution or strategy before deciding to implement something new. Because they’re risk-takers, they are also likely to skip seeking permission, opting to ask for forgiveness instead if something goes wrong.
Want more information on millennial CIOs or this incoming wave of millennial workers? Contact The Armada Group today. We successfully place millennials and other top IT professionals in positions across the nation.