Monthly Archives: February 2011

IT job Interviewing – Uncommon Sense

Most candidates make the same mistakes during an interview.  Many don’t even realize they are creating a negative first impression. Don’t forget, as soon as you walk through the door, you’re being assessed.

Often, mistakes are subtle, but why waive a red flag with an employer if you can avoid it?

Here are some important tips to consider before your next interview”

First impressions count! Those first minutes when you meet the IT recruiters or direct hiring manager can make a world of difference in determining the outcome of the interview. Based on this, you will either be working the rest of the interview to overcome a bad impression, or get the benefit of the doubt on concerns that the IT manager may have.

Appearance Outfit, composure, tidiness, and polish can create a very positive first impression. Is your hair neatly combed? Are you dressed too flashy or inappropriately? Conservative dress is always better than flashy. Are you sitting or standing straight, or sprawled across the chair? Are your shoes clean and polished? Are your pants, shirt, coat or skirt or blouse tidy and pressed, or overly wrinkled? Do your clothes fit appropriately or are they too tight, too loose, too short, or too long? Are you wearing too much makeup, perfume, or cologne? All these become factors on a first impression in an IT job interview setting.

The Greeting – Is your handshake too firm or too loose? This is a major factor for both men and women. Are you too loud or do you mumble? Are you too informal with the technical recruiter or hirig manager? Are you too serious or are you exuding a warm smile? Relax, breathe and be as natural as possible while maintaining an aura of professionalism.

NO REFRESHMENTS – THIS ISN’T A MOVIE THEATER! When arriving for an interview, it’s extremely common that someone might offer you a something to drink; a glass of water or coffee. It’s generally best to politely let them know you appreciate the offer but you are all set. This is for multiple reasons…

  • They usually ask to be polite, not because they want to ensure you’re not parched.
  • You’re probably somewhat nervous already, and creating a situation that makes you need to go to the restroom during the interview won’t help anyone.
  • Many people end up fidgeting with the cup or bottle to the point of distraction.
  • There’s always a possibility of spilling it, on you, on the floor, or on their desk.

Be professional, yet natural! Often, people either sit too relaxed, or too stiff. Sliding down in your chair and crossing your legs with one knee over the other may seem overly casual. Sitting straight and crossing your legs with your ankle on your knee may seem like you are nervous and uncomfortable. Sitting with your feet on the floor or one knee over the other, reasonably straight and slightly leaning forward can make you appear alert and engaged. Practice in front of a mirror to find what works best for you, but how you sit makes a very distinct impression.

Be Nice! It’s not just your skills; rather, they are looking for the complete “package”. Along with evaluating whether you can do the IT job, they are deciding whether they would like spending 8 hours a day with you. If you’re too stern in your discussion with them, or exhibit a bad attitude, or complain about previous co-workers, managers, or companies, they are not likely to warm up to you when it comes to personal considerations. Without being overly gregarious or making jokes, discussing the job and your skills in a warm, comfortable, and upbeat manner will go a long way toward building a relationship.

Make a Long Story Short! While you definitely don’t want to give one-word answers or answers that are so short you leave the IT recruiters Boston or hiring managers looking for more… you definitely don’t want to give answers that are far too long. Usually people do it because they aren’t sufficiently prepared for the questions being asked, so they ramble on until they think they’ve covered every aspect of it. Preparation by writing out answers to commonly asked questions and practicing them at home will help you give succinct and effective answers in the interview. Prepare for the most common questions:  “Why do you think you’re a fit for this specific role?”  “What are your strengths?  “Your weaknesses?”  “Tell us a time in which you’ve overcome adversity?”

Don’t try the patience of a technical recruiter or IT manager by being too long-winded!

Inquisition – At the end of an interview, you’d be surprised at how often people do not have any questions for the technical recruiters Boston or IT managers. If you’re not prepared to as any questions, it makes you appear indifferent or having a lack of interest.  Always ask questions at the end of an IT job interview.  Prepare the night before.

Unfortunately There are No Guarantees in the IT Staffing Industry

As one of the leading IT recruiting companies in the industry, we take full responsibility for the performance and reliability of our IT contractors.   However, as thorough as we are with our interview process, unfortunately there is never a guarantee in the people business.  You could ask every question, dot every “I” and cross every “T,” meet the candidate in person, check and dig into their references, conduct a thorough background check on the individual and there still is no guarantee that the person will report to work every day as promised.  The IT recruiting industry revolves around people, and unfortunately, people are one of the least reliable products out there.

Luckily, for every candidate that backs out of an job at the last minute or leaves an IT contract assignment before completion, there are a handful of hard-working, dedicated and professional IT consultants who go in and do the job to the best of their ability.

However, there are some steps that can be taken to help provide incentives for IT contractors to complete their assignments as promised.  One of the more widely used are completion bonuses in which IT staffing companies withhold anywhere from $1-5/hour of the weekly pay of their IT consultants, then pay them a “bonus” at the conclusion of the contract assignments.

For some IT consultants, just doing their job is motivation enough – especially knowing positive feedback will prompt IT recruiting firms Boston to want to work with them again in the future (subsequently driving up their future pay rate).  Ultimately, it’s up to the individual IT recruiters Boston to uncover each individual person’s motivation, then build some sort of retention program around that to ensure the client gets what they’re paying for.

Applications on Apple Devices

Recently one of the e-book applications that Sony submitted was rejected by the Apple store.  The reason for this was because it prompted the consumer to download the books directly from the app.  Other e-book applications allow you to read the books within the application but in order to purchase the books you need to log into Apple Safari and access it via their website.

Subsequently, it’s apparent that Apple is attempting to push everyone to switch over to their Apple store and e-book reader.  They’re also making it tedious for consumers to use other applications as they have to open more than one program in order to read the books .

As advanced and convenient as it is to use Apple devices, as soon as you introduce products or applications that are not created by Apple, it becomes more difficult to get some tasks done.  Will Apple change this in the future?  I posed this question to a number of IT recruiters  in Boston.  We don’t think they will.  Apple is going for world domination, the advent of the iPod and now the iPhone, coupled with their increasingly popular MacBook may just get them there.

In terms of their success, it is better for Apple to make things more compatible.  If consumers are pushed away from using things they like on Apple devices, eventually they will switch over.  The technical recruiters that I polled all said they would switch over to Macs if they had to in order to utilize all of their Apple products.

How to store your information safely

Like most IT recruiters, you probably have information saved on a number of computers.  You may even have an external hard drive and/or multiple thumb drives lying around the office or at home.  With so many different options to save your data, the task to retrieve it or store it all in one place becomes daunting…that is until now.   With the recent advent of online storage space, people are able to securely keep all of their files and data in one location.

Some technical recruiters Boston that I spoke with are currently using Dropbox.  They’re allotted 2 GB of free space and can get up to 10 GB from referring users to the website.  Dropbox allows them to save their files onto their server and access them as long as you have internet.  The IT recruiters MA just have to log on to the website and access their account through their portal.

Dropbox also allows our IT staffing salespeople to save their folders onto various computers.  These folders are saved on the desktop and update whenever a new file is added automatically as long as the end user is connected to the internet.  All they have to do is drag a file into the Dropbox folder that is saved onto their desktop.  This eliminates the need for a thumb drive.

Now in order to reach 10 GB of memory for free on your Dropbox account, you will need to invite your friends to join Dropbox and then they will have to install the folder onto their computers.  For each person that joins from your referral, you will receive 250 MB.  So if you are looking for an alternative to external hard drives and thumb drives, why not give Dropbox a try.

LinkedIn – Get Connected, Get Recruited

–          LinkedIn is the best way to get your name in cyberspace (in a good way!).
Your LinkedIn profile is an online resume for you, and it’s a way for you to get your resume in front of people without actually sending it. It’s your BRAND. This means, that the quality of your LinkedIn profile is vital. Ensure that it’s professional and easy to skim to get what’s important about you–a bulleted summary for each role you’ve held is ideal.

–          LinkedIn is a way to reconnect and establish your network.
Connecting to others on some level is what LinkedIn is all about. Joining groups is a great way to do that. Find groups that are focused in your industry/skill set/company/school. This will not only connect you directly and indirectly to global professionals and IT recruiters, it will keep you up to date on industry trends and happenings. Outside of  IT headhunters, it’s your most valuable IT job search tool.

–          LinkedIn is an incredible source for learning about clients.
Companies that span from large enterprise-level to smaller start-ups frequently maintain LinkedIn pages that are more educational than their official corporate pages for IT professionals who are looking for more employment-related information. Most current employees, including hiring managers can be found through an employee link on these pages.

–          Front Row Access to Recruiters.
Good IT recruiters Boston utilize all of the job boards. Great technical recruiters utilize the “passive” candidates on LinkedIn. Having a strong profile puts you front and center for us to find you easily.

Watching Out For New Computer Viruses

With so many technology advances, there are many ways to secure your devices.  At the same time though, many hackers are getting better at finding ways to access your private files.  Being a technical recruiter in the IT staffing industry, we know many of the Malware out there.

Here are a few things that even the best IT recruiters may not know about.  A new way that hackers are getting to you is through smishing.  This is when you are contacted through a text message with a link. The link allows the hacker to access any files on your phone (especially for people who are signed up for many phone alerts).  You may not realize it is a virus until it is too late.

Another mobile hacking technique is called bluebugging in which the hacker accesses your cellphone using Bluetooth.  They can then do various things such as editing information on the phone, keeping tabs on phone calls and access any personal information that you have stored on your phone such as your address book.  The biggest problem with this scam is that you will never know it is happening.

Hackers also created a new hacking technique called ransomware.  The virus basically slows down your computer and fills it with pop ups basically disabling your computer and making it useless.  This happens to our IT recruiters Boston on a monthly basis.  Hackers disguise their virus in a resume attachment.  Technical Recruiters are obviously always going to open a resume attachment, so it’s a sure way for hackers to disable their computer.

Therefore, the next time your computer acts strange or a piece of information goes missing, you may have been hacked.  Computer hackers cost businesses millions of dollars each year, never mind the additional expenses incurred with purchasing hardware and software security their networks.  This not only hurts our nation’s economy, it ultimately stunts job growth.  Therefore, I’m sure I’m not alone in pushing the government to create stricter penalties for computer hackers (personally, I’d follow the rules of China and remove fingers as a penalty.  This would certainly cut down on the number of hackers ripping through our security systems).

Are Business Condos the Way to go for IT Staffing Companies?

If you have the savings, it’s the age-old question, is it time to rent or buy?  Although this is often a personal decision with regard to a residential property, the same should hold true on the commercial side.

There are many advantages and disadvantages to leasing vs. buying a business condo.  Renting obviously provides you with flexibility.  If you’re a small IT recruiting firm, unaware of what your future holds, you may be biting off too little, or possibly even too much, than you can chew.  Purchasing a business condo may lock you into a space that you’ll either out-grow or may never fully use.  Additionally it can be a financial handcuff that you never recover from.  Your business will have its ebbs and flows, but your mortgage will always be constant.  For some companies, the heavy financial burden can be crippling.

Here’s some advice from someone who has been there.  Just four years into the birth of my IT recruiting company, we purchased a 4,000 square foot office condo in downtown Boston, MA.  Home to the HQ of AVID Technical Resources; this space solidifies our flagship office.  While there were many unknowns when we bought the condo (our future revenue, future IT recruiting force, the commercial value in a market where business condos were scarce and in a city already pricing out many other IT staffing companies), we took the calculated risk based on a couple of certainties.  First, we saved every dollar earned and were able to put enough money down to make our mortgage manageable.  Second, based on the number of colleges in Boston, the city will always be a hotbed for start-ups and companies looking to tap into these educational resources.  These vary reasons have historically driven the commercial leasing market, making Boston one of the most expensive rentals in the country.  Subsequently, our mortgage would be no greater, and in fact possibly even less, than a typical 5-year rental.  Third, whether you purchase a house for your family or a business condo for your company, it gives you the chance to build equity instead of handing your money to a landlord.  Finally, and probably the biggest factor that drove our decision, we had confidence in our ability and in the future of our IT recruiting agency.

Even after a virtual real estate market collapse, I can sit here almost four years later and honestly say purchasing our office condo was one of the best decisions we made (for ourselves and for the future of our IT recruiting company).  In fact, as we continue to expand across the country and open up additional IT staffing locations, you can be sure we’ll be looking to purchase office space in future cities as well.

Can You Ever Be Too Honest in the IT Recruiting Industry?

If I could be accused of anything, it’s of being too honest.  Sometimes probably brutally honest.  Maybe I’m like that because in turn, I’d prefer to know exactly where I stand with people.  I have very little respect for anyone that tells you one thing to your face, and then says something else behind your back.  I take this approach in business and as the owner of one of the leading IT staffing companies Boston. However, is there such a thing of being too honest?

I realize that there are times in which brutal honesty is not the best approach.  There are times in which a good manager should hold back their true feelings as to not deflate or demoralize an employee.  However, in general, honesty is the best policy.  At least each person knows where they stand.  Top producing or hardest working IT staffing salespeople or technical recruiters Boston should know how much they’re appreciated, while underachievers should have a black and white picture as to where they need improvement.

As with other roles in the IT recruiting industry, open and honest communication is critical to being successful.  Technical recruiters must let their candidates know where they stand in the minds of a hiring manager or where they’re at with the hiring process.  In turn, IT staffing salespeople must let the hiring managers know where the candidate rank their opportunity and/or whether they have other hot irons in the fire which could factor into how long he or she remains on the market.

Like with most relationships, business or personal, communication and honesty is critically important.  While there are times in which you should hold back on answering brutally honest questions (“whether she looks big in those jeans!”), honesty is typically the best policy and the secret to success.

Branding Your IT Staffing Company’s Name

There are many different ways you can brand an IT recruiting agency.  Ultimately the marketing initiatives come down to budget, manpower, strategy and effort.  If your IT staffing firm is strong in all three of these areas, then you’ll be in good shape.  If you’re a small technical staffing company, then you must focus on the effort part.  Larger IT recruiting firms Boston may be heavy on the budget side, but actually weak on the strategy.

Branding your IT staffing company starts with developing your company’s logo.  This will create brand recognition for your clients and prospective technical candidates.  Business cards, company letterhead and stationary should be made.  Folders and pamphlets explaining your IT recruiting firm’s capabilities are a good idea as well.

Branding your company can also include creating promotional products and other client handouts with the logo of your IT recruiting agency.  Be sure to include your company’s contact info and/or website as well.  Depending upon your budget, some of the more common promotional products include pens, Post-it notes, mugs, golf balls, rubber stress balls, tee shirts and computer bags.  For more information, visit various promotional product websites.

For those more dynamic companies, interactive marketing can produce large ROI’s.  Otherwise, some of the more popular marketing tactics today still include mailers, TV and radio advertisements as well as those on bulletin boards.  Some local IT staffing companies Boston even advertise on taxi cabs.

Whatever the size, manpower or budget of your technical recruiting firm, there are an unlimited amount of initiatives that you can tackle with virtually no cost.  If you want to have a company that others know by name, it takes time…and effort.

How to De-stress Your Life in Your IT Recruiting Position

As a professional in the IT recruiting industry, there is a lot of stress you may have to deal with from home and the IT staffing office. This can then affect your behavior, and more important, your health. So how can you improve your life and de-stress from your daily activities?

First you should make sure that you take necessary vacations from your technical recruiting job. Every year you should be allotted a certain amount of vacation time and should take advantage of that. This will allow you to have time for yourself and relax. Go somewhere peaceful and/or do something that you enjoy. Everyone needs a break. Everyone needs to recharge their battery.

The second step you should take is making sure you don’t bring your work home. Figure out a schedule that will keep your tasks at work and not at home. When you blur this line, it could impact your family. There’s only so much work a person can do in one week. If you are constantly doing this, take a second look at what is going on to evaluate why this is happening.

Do you have a long commute to your technical recruiting office? Most people either drive or take public transportation to get to work. There are very few people who are lucky enough to be able to just walk to their IT staffing office. You might not realize, but long commutes can take a toll on you. If you are driving, not only do you have the stress of getting to work on time, but you have to deal with traffic and any accidents or adverse weather conditions while on the road. If you add a long commute on top of that, you’re already starting your day stressed or frustrated. If the commute is too long try discussing with your boss about the possibility of telecommuting a few times a week.

On the flip side, commutes can also provide a chance for IT recruiters to unwind. For some people, in the ideal world, they would like 15-20 minutes max to decompress. Listen to your favorite music, talk show or book on tape. Do something that helps you mentally unwind so you’re not taking any frustrations from your work day home with you.