Monthly Archives: March 2012

Considering a Career in Technical Recruiting?

What are the benefits of a career in technical recruiting & how do you know if it’s a career path you want to pursue? Technical recruiting requires the ability to listen to prospective IT candidates & engage in headhunting. Technical recruiters also need to be able to size up an IT professional’s technical strengths and weaknesses and make determinations involving the type of role that might be a good fit and environment that might suit available IT job-seekers as well.

At AVID  Technical Resources, technical recruiters keep in close contact with IT candidates and introduce them to technical jobs fitting their unique IT skill sets. Unlike staffing firms that deal in a broad range of industries and job descriptions, AVID focuses on an area of expertise, specializing in advanced tech roles. IT Staffing Agencies like AVID Technical Resources allow technical recruiters to develop a level of familiarity with tech positions that makes them better equipped to find IT candidates a good fit in a high-tech position.

Personality Testing for Technical Recruiters & Employers

Technical recruiters at AVID Technical Resources know that personality determines more than just what movies you like or what type of music you prefer. Personality tests, possibly the most famous of which is the MBTI test; the Myers Briggs Personality Test, allow employers to predict a candidate’s potential fit for a specific job using their psychological profile. It might seem counter-intuitive at first — how can something as subjective as a personality shed light on something as fairly objective, like how much a candidate’s level of experience qualifies him or her to perform specific duties? While a personality test won’t tell technical recruiters or employers how well a candidate with Java on his or her resume can actually perform when the timer or the pressure’s on, it can reveal the changes of a good candidate/employer fit.

Fit matters to employers because they’re invested in a specific company, with a unique culture and coworkers who belong to a team. A resume tells technical recruiters and technical employers part of the story, but careful employers want the other piece of the puzzle to be in place also – fit. Anything that’s important to an employer is also important to a staffing firm partnering with that employer. A technical candidate may see a technical job opportunity as a chance to reach career goals, or stay within an industry he or she likes. It may even be a chance to switch industries into an area that interests the candidate. In this way, the candidate may be the victim of a little tunnel vision, failing to take into consideration the big picture for the long term. The right job is more than an opportunity, or the label of the ‘right’ industry for the technical job-seeker. It’s the chance to take a first step up a long ladder of rewarding challenges, and if personality conflicts are going to do in the candidate from the start, no one wins. Employers need to reinstate their search for technical candidate with the right technical skills to fulfill the demands of the role their company needs, and and technical candidates are on the job search again. A better approach is to acknowledge that personality plays a big role in a company – how good of a team player a technical candidate has the potential to be depends to a large degree on the amount of common ground coworkers share.

Technical candidates may be asked to take a personality test for an interview, but they may find taking one on their own just as useful for their job search as it is to employers. A personality test can give a candidate data regarding his or her levels of extroversion versus introversion, and open up job possibilities not previously considered. It could give a candidate clues on which industries are likely to be the best match, or what personality types he or she should look for in potential coworkers when interviewing. You know what? Those Myers and Briggs…they may have been on to something.

Review: “The Complete IT Recruitment Survival Guide”

“The Complete IT Recruitment Survival Guide”, by Ayub Shaikh, offers advice direct from Shaikh’s prior career as an IT Recruiter. Inventor of a company designed to teach IT Recruiters about IT markets, including Java & more, Shaikh is an expert on his topic. He covers the history of IT Recruiting, various IT roles, and coverage of operating systems.

The book’s overview of the IT Project lifecycle delves into IT project structure, the Waterfall Model, each stage of the project lifecycle, and how the integration stages allow all stages to work together for the end goal of the project. IT Staffing experts at AVID Technical Resources will find much to agree with in Shaikh’s account of IT development approaches.

Review: Technology Made Simple for the Technical Recruiter

Technical Recruiters will find “Technology Made Simple for the Technical Recruiter: A Technical Skills Primer” by Obi Ogbanufe helpful for developing recruiting strategies and tech skills. AVID Staffing Firm employs IT Recruiting techniques covered by Ogbanufe in her book. Details she delves into include basic programming terms, networking tips, & operating system/network vocab. She even instructs on the art of knowing when a prospective candidate seems to be claiming levels of experience above what’s  present in their work background.

IT Staffing Agencies like AVID Technical Resources will do well to take note of Ogbanufe’s insight and advice. Her experience and familiarity with the topic can be of value to any technical recruiter looking to brush up on a rookie skillset, or polish a seasoned technical career. In an industry that changes at lightning speed, keeping on top of acronyms is key for technical recruiters, and they’ll find the latest and most thorough information in this book. Pick up a copy of ” Technology Made Simple for the Technical Recruiter: A Technical Skills Primer” today, and get smarter!

Skilled Tech Positions In Demand

Company demand for highly skilled tech workers has been increasing since the start of 2012. IT job candidates seeking higher salaries than they were able to land during the worst of the recession are likely to have more options now. Although the recession may not officially be over, demand for high-tech skills have significantly increased. Tech-savvy candidates considering a IT job change should take note of the professional climate, and feel confident about testing the technical job-search waters.

Technical professionals already on a job search should expect shorter search periods, faster placement, and potentially, multiple offers. AVID’s technical recruiters have connections to Boston’s top tech firms, the IT recruiters are plugged in to the most current tech opportunities available. Any skilled tech professional can connect with an AVID IT recruiter by picking up the phone to start a relationship with a recruiter that could be the entry into a new job, or tech career path.  Contact one of the fastest growing IT recruiting companies today!

Skill Testing Online

Any job-seeker who has interviewed with a staffing firm before has probably taken online skill-testing. Staffing firms can purchase online skill tests from test providers like Proveit, Eskill, or Brainbench, which offers testing for candidates in a range of skill sets. Technical test topics include Java, Dreamweaver, and ColdFusion MX. These resources can be useful for technical recruiters seeking to place candidates in roles that require proficiency in these areas. Offered in multiple languages, and in options including in-office testing or remote, skill assessments can be useful purchases for staffing firms.

For candidates, online skill testing can be just as helpful. Rather than purchasing access to skill assessments as a company would, job-seekers can log into free assessment providers like Smarterer to test their abilities in skills commonly sought by employers, such as Excel aptitude, Powerpoint skills, and more.  Candidates who have invested time building relevant industry skills have an opportunity to showcase their skills through an assigned score, comparing them to other test-takers. High-scoring testers may want to display their scores on their Linkedin profiles, or send them to recruiters as a resume supplement. Got Skills? Show them off!

How Not to Find a Job

So you think working for a living is lame? So yesterday? Or if your phone provider is AT&T, just too 5 seconds ago? AT&T TV Commercial — Tailgate LTE (HTC Vivid) . Great. I’m here to help. Here’s a solid instructional on how not to get a job.

  • Come 10 minutes late. Or an hour early. These days, arriving any earlier than 15 minutes in advance of a scheduled interview is a faux-pas. Not as bad as getting there late, but not good. If, hypothetically, you were to want a job that you arrive half an hour early (reasonable if you need to allow for travel delays) burn 15 minutes in the nearest coffee shop. Don’t forget the mints!
  • Come dressed as Barney, or choose any other inappropriate attire. Unless a job specifies a casual atmosphere, or you’re applying for a mall Santa position, you can’t go wrong with more formal dress over casual options. If you’re offered the job, you can always take it down a notch for your day-to-day.
  • Keep your cell phone ringer on during an interview. Arrange so that a friend calls/texts, or both. This will a) make you look popular b) guarantee that you don’t get the job. Perfect! Employers have indicated that one of the most common rising problems they encounter when conducting interviews is behavior that fits this description. Holding up a finger to your interviewer as your phone rings so that you can take a personal call while your interviewer waits will not win you points. You can let your incoming calls go to voicemail for 1 hour out of your day. Really.
  • At AVID, our job placements are exclusively technical, so interviews will contain questions about performing an IT role. If you’re applying for a Java Developer role, and you don’t have a clue as to how to guide your interviewer through your thought process and steps taken to respond to various technical scenarious — congratulations! You won’t be on anyone’s call-back list — your technical recruiter will know enough about the requirements of the role not to recommend you to the hiring manager in the first place, so you won’t have a chance to make multiple analogies to the fashion industry in a formal interview setting (or whatever it is that really interests you instead of technology).

So that’s it, folks! The above rules are your foolproof guide to guaranteed unemployment and a phone that never rings (unless it’s your friend, again). If you should be so foolish as to want a job, try to avoid engaging in any of these behaviors. They won’t do you any favors in your job hunt.

Secrets for Making your Recruiter your Best Friend

In today’s job search environment, recruiters often play an instrumental role in a candidates job search, whether the job is in the medical, financial or technical industry, or the position sought is contract or permanent. The reason is that recruiters spend each work day doing for a living what candidates do only during periods of time when they’re on a job search – create relationships with hiring managers and their companies, keep abreast of the most current job openings available, and cruise job boards like Monster, Indeed, and Craigslist, as well as professional networking sites like Linkedin and Yammer. A job-seeker applying to jobs online may encounter at least one position of interest that has been posted by a recruiter. In contacting the recruiter, the prospective candidate for the position initiates a relationship with the recruiter to determine if he or she will be a good fit for the role.

Here’s a secret: cultivating a relationship your recruiter correctly can make him or her your best friend. Mainly because that person has the potential to get you a new job. What is the protocol for candidate-recruiter alliances? The golden rule is – Imagine they’re the boss. If you make contact with a recruiter over the phone, your confidence, ability to describe your past roles and the value you added persuasively and succinctly, and clarity when defining the type of role you want to be your next will be as impressive to the recruiter as it would be to a hiring manager. The type of candidate that impresses a hiring manager is the kind of person a recruiter wants to get in front of the manager. It’s a win-win for everybody.

So here’s the bottom line: when you speak to a recruiter about a role, handle it like in interview. If you meet with a recruiter face-to-face, dress to impress. If your recruiter requests that you send references, or stay in contact once a week, make it a priority to do so, just as you would if you were in long-term negotiations with a hiring manager. Recruiters operate in a fast-paced environment – they’re not going to eat up a lot of your time. An investment of a few minutes a week on the phone with a recruiter you’ve established a relationship with could be the difference between getting the salary and benefits you want in a company you want to work for, or having to settle for less.

IT Recruiters at AVID focus on maintaining relationships with IT candidates with technical backgrounds. As an IT staffing agency that is more specialized that an all-industry recruiting firm, AVID offers candidates recruiters who are experts in staffing for the tech industry, and are best equipped to assist IT candidates with their job search.

Women in Tech

The tech industry tends to be one that is fairly male-dominated. Ask a technical recruiter how many men versus women he or she speaks to in a day when seeking to fill a Java or QA role, and you will tend not to hear the odds stacked in favor of the ladies. While this issue would have been a pet project for Third-Wave Feminists in the 1990’s[1], in the 21st century, enough equal opportunity exists in the work force these days that job types or industries dominated by one gender tends to be by employee choice (arguably). Employers with an eye for diversity may be either actively looking for employees that break with the status quo, or have an ongoing wish list to diversify if the right candidate appears.

An AOL jobs article, for example, cites the IT  job title ‘IT Network Engineer’ as one in which women consistently make 5% more than men when filling the role[2]. Their statistics, below, show that this technical position is on average a male-dominated role by 95%, with only 5% of women choosing to pursue the title, despite the fact that employers offer a compensation incentive for females.

According to Neelie Kroes, VP for the digital agenda at the European Commission, that should change. “It’s a digital world now and the digital world is for everyone. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise,” she advised[3]. Certainly, in the present professional environment, it would be hard to make the case that there is a strong contingent of women trying to break into technical roles and balance out the gender inequality. It’s more socially acceptable at the moment for women to express interest in industries where they tend to hired either more or less equally, or more than men.

If real change is going to take place in the percentage of females willing to enter the tech field, it needs to start at the interest level. Girls in high school are generally not being groomed to be tech-proficient, or encouraged to familiarize themselves with the opportunities and salary levels they could enjoy if they pursued a course of education that would qualify them for roles like the IT Network Engineer. Education initiatives like this could either increase the pool of female talent entering the tech workforce and energize the economy, or it could just prove that the effort to equalize everything may be a little unrealist. It’s possible that in general, women may tend to find more career satisfaction in non-tech roles, and maybe that’s just one of the many differences that will always exist between genders.





Company Culture

One of the challenges in a job search is finding a company that has not only the right benefits, but also the right atmosphere as well. How can interviewers assess the culture of a company they haven’t yet participated in? A few cues can better help interviewers understand the company they’re interested in.

Managers have long paid close attention to the impression an interviewer conveys through their use of language, dress, and credentials. Interviewers pursuing a job that will be the right fit for them for the long term should use that information to advance their best career interests as well. The interviewer who conducts a mental interview of their own will have higher chances of selecting a position that’s a great match, equating to higher job satisfaction rates and better longevity per company.

Interviewers who prefer highly structured, corporate atmospheres will tend to have the best working relationships with managers who suit up for interviews. Interviewers who want more casual environments should look for managers who sport a business casual look to interviews. When posing interview questions, do managers use more formal language, or do they feel comfortable with a more casual verbal approach? Language can be another cue to candidates as to whether or not they want to continue the relationship past the interview.

At AVID, many of our IT jobs are filled on a project-by-project basis via contract work. A prospective candidate for these types of IT roles might never meet his or her technical recruiter face to face – or even the project manager, for that matter. For IT jobs that are fulfilled via telecommuting, the above-mentioned cues may not apply – the contracter potentially has only an impression of the recruiter and manager formed via phone interviews. In these cases, the verbal & communication style cues become more key, but at the same time, the culture fit may be less important or irrelevant if the job is primarily telecommuting-based. In scenarios where interaction with management doesn’t play into the job, the job description and duties become the central focus, and as long as the skillset is a good fit for the candidates’ background and interests, the candidate is free to count culture out of the equation.

Lastly, it’s common knowledge that interviewers should look their interviewers up on Linkedin or other professional networks to get a little background on them before the interview. Rather than assessing the interviews purely from an informational perspective, however, candidates should pay close attention to their interviewers level of education and past experience from a personal angle, to determine how high the likelihood of common ground would be if the interview goes well. The takeaway? Interviewers – start thinking a little more like you’re on the other side of the hiring table.