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Archive: November - 2013 (4)

  • Volunteering at Wagtime

    On Wednesday, October 9th, Workbridge DC volunteered at Wagtime. Wagtime is primarily known for being a premiere pet resort and boutique with two locations in DC and Virginia. They cater to every dog owner’s needs through hands-on care and customer service. Such amenities include a spacious environment along with 24 hour availability, special zones for elderly dogs, power walking, in-home pet care, and licensed veterinarian recommendations. On Saturdays, Wagtime holds an adoption for the dogs that are without owners that they care for. Workbridge DC got to meet and walk Sadie, a Rottweiler, Big Mama, a Pug and Terrier mix, and Serena, a black lab mix, who are all up for adoption.

    Upon arriving, the Wagtime staff gave a quick introduction to the dogs as well as the best routes of where to walk. During the walk, Workbridge DC took the dogs to a dog park where they were able to let out all their energy!

     

    Even though it was sprinkling during the entire visit, it didn’t discourage the team from having fun. Workbridge DC enjoyed their time at Wagtime and look forward to visiting again, perhaps even with their own pets!

     

  • Why Hiring Managers Should Skip the Phone Screens

    Article by Matt Rogers, Lead Recruiter and Andy Kahan, Recruiter in Workbridge Boston

    Matt Rogers, Andy Kahan

    We've all been there, weeks of submitting resumes to hundreds of companies and you finally get a bite – a phone screen! All of that time and effort you put into landing a job finally gets you on the “Maybe we should bring them in” list. You set aside the time and prepare yourself as best you can. The phone rings and the screen starts. After twenty minutes or so of speaking to various hiring managers and learning some basic information about the company, the call ends. You’re left feeling like you didn’t get to express yourself enough and thinking, did I explain my skills thoroughly? Did I sell myself as well as I could have? When you’re done overanalyzing yourself, you think back and try to remember who you talked to but you can’t because you were slightly distracted by the fuzzy bunny slippers you were wearing at your kitchen table.

    Not being able to fully present yourself over the phone is an issue many people face because communication is actually 70% non-verbal. In this ever growing tech market, hiring managers already have a difficult time finding the right candidates, so why waste your time? You never want to leave a candidate feeling like the above and it is simply impossible to get a true sense of who they are over the phone. It makes the most sense to skip phone screens altogether. 

    Undivided Attention

    Bunny slippers or not, having a phone interview opens the opportunity for distraction while it’s happening. Unless, of course, a candidate has locked themselves in a cement block. And even then, one could still be playing with their clothing, wondering how long they’ve been inside said block, etc. When a person is required to sit directly in front of someone, it forces them to be aware, conscious, and attentive to not only their surroundings, but to you as the interviewer as well. And it's not just candidates who get distracted. In a busy office, it’s easy to get sidetracked when you’re on the phone between emails, coworkers, and so on. If you have to have a phone screen, go into a conference room away from the hustle and bustle so that you give the candidate your undivided attention.

    Building Rapport

    One thing phone interviews inhibit is the ability to SMILE at someone. When candidates smile during interviews, isn’t it reassuring to you? The smile is a subtle gesture that shows they WANT to be there and they WANT the job. It also solidifies that both parties are comfortable in their surroundings and with each other. There’s also a good chance you both have something in common. Discovering these similarities often times comes out in face-to-face interviews rather than on the phone. A Red Sox mug on your desk might trigger the candidate to say Hey, I’m a Sox fan too! If you can find that common ground, stand on it. It’ll help you both relax and be able to feed off of each other’s energy.

    Communication is 70% Non-Verbal

    Body language is everything. The way you stand, where you look, and where your hands are all give off an impression. Over the phone, candidates often come across as nervous because of a shaky voice, when if the interview was done in person, if the candidate is sitting up straight looking you in the eye, they may not be as nervous as you would presume. You may sound really stern over the phone, which may scare off candidates, but in person, because of body language, you’ll be able to present yourself like the relaxed person you are.

    Easier to Make a Good First Impression

    Everything discussed so far leads up to making a good first impression, one that neither you nor a candidate can make over the phone. In person, candidates have the chance to dress appropriately, give a firm hand shake, and come prepared. This makes them look serious about the job and shows you that they aren’t a slob. Being able to put a face to a name is very important for you to distinguish between candidates. There may just be something subtle about a candidate that makes their resume come to life, rather than be just another name in the “maybe” pile.

    Companies Get Forgotten

    It’s not that anyone means to forget companies, they really don’t, but after a while of applying to various positions, it’s hard for candidates to keep track of where they actually applied, especially if a company isn't at the top of their list. Having an in-person interview assures that your company is never forgotten. After all, candidates have to walk into the main lobby of the building to get to it. It also helps if your office is unique. Whether it’s the color, furniture, artwork, there will always be something that will stick out in a candidate's mind.

    Personality Test

    Going into a job interview is sort of like online dating. You’ve been telecommunicating and getting along fine, but do you actually go well together? Is this candidate actually a good fit? Going into a face-to-face interview, you know that whoever is coming in can do the job because their resume says they can. Although they meet the job criteria, they may not fit the company culture criteria. Nothing can test that better than a face-to-face interview. If something is off, you’ll know it the second the interview starts and the candidate will know the second it ends.

    For all of these reasons, and we’re sure there are many more, we want to encourage hiring managers to STOP with the phone screens. You and the candidate will both be thankful for it.

  • When You Find Yourself Without a Job

    Article by Edwin Yoon, Practice Manager in Workbridge DC.

    Furlough hit some government workers hard, some more than others. It became the most talked about topic in the Washington, DC area for weeks. But what were the options for someone out of work? For some, it was a chance to take a small vacation. For others, it was a painful process of not knowing where their next paycheck was coming from. Many job seekers understand that uncertainty all too well. The bright side is, there's plenty you can do to help your chances if you're currently searching for a new job.

    1. You should always be updating your resume. You may have just finished a major project at work and now is the time to include all the details that went into that project on your resume. Since the IT field is always growing, seminars and training conferences happen frequently. It would be beneficial to mention the conferences you attended. Make sure you’re also updating your LinkedIn profile as well since many employers check that during the screening process.
    2. Posting your resume confidentially. Having a backup plan of finding another job is understandable and helpful. In this case, it’s best to post your resume confidentially. By removing your contact information and giving an anonymous email, like you see on Monster, your email won’t get flooded or spammed and you won’t be receiving calls every 2 minutes. Also, don’t just stick with the traditional job boards, try using social media, like Twitter. More and more, companies are abandoning the traditional job boards and using social media platforms.
    3. Networking—go to meetups! We sometimes forget the simple act of networking through events. Go out and meet some people! There is a meetup group for everything and they are nationwide. I suggest going to meetups that are both relevant to your field and those that aren’t. I’ve noticed, when going to meetup events, that 90% of all network security meetup attendees are developers. By stepping outside your field, you are increasing your chances of learning a new way to approach the technology you use. Not to mention, the technological influencers you’ll meet at these events have the potential to impact your career.
    4. Get in touch with a recruiter. A recruiter’s job is to know the industries they specialize in, so they will know more about who is hiring and what positions are available that could be relevant to your skillset. Do your research on finding a recruiting office in your area. There’s no harm in meeting with a few so as to have several options. Be open and honest with them, and give them the information they need to help you. Good recruiters will be tactful with this info and use it to increase their effectiveness in finding you relevant opportunities.
    5. Be open to part time and contract jobs. You might be on a tight budget and can’t wait for a potential employer to make up their mind. Having a part-time or contract job will fill the gap on your resume and as well as that extra time on your hands. Working 15-20 hours a week will still allow you the time to interview while providing a flow of income. If you’re worried employers would see a six month contracting job as “job-hopping”, think again. Employers would rather see experience than a gap in your resume. I often see contract and consulting jobs being listed as such on resumes, to alleviate any concerns potential employers may have.

    Finding a job all comes down to being productive. By updating your resume and posting to traditional and non-traditional job boards, you’ll enhance your chances of getting an interview and snagging those opportunities. Events and networking at meetups are great ways to meet face-to-face with the technological influencers and employers in your area. Don’t dismiss getting in touch with a recruiter, they can become one of the greatest assets to your search with their knowledge of the industries. If you’re worried about money, be open to part time and contract jobs. These opportunities will improve your resume and eliminate gaps. 

  • How to Make the Most of Your Job Search

     Article by Marialice Carter, Lead Recruiter in Workbridge Philadelphia

    As Crystal previously mentioned, one of the most important things a job-seeker can do to enhance their search is create a digital presence. I’d like to add a few additional tips that will help get the most out of your job hunt.

    When you make the important decision to start your search, you can help yourself by taking care of a few things ahead of time.

    Interview Attire

    What’s appropriate here will have a lot to do with what your skill set is and where you are interviewing. A good rule of thumb is to have an interview suit ready to go. It’s probably been a while since you’ve had to wear it, so try it on, make sure it’s clean, fits well, and makes you feel like a million bucks. If you have a couple of different shirts/ties/necklaces/accessories options, you can get away with wearing the same suit to multiple interviews.  First impressions go a long way. You’ll want to do the same with a business casual or fully-casual outfit. Even in a jeans-and-t-shirt environment, you need to look put together - no wrinkles or stains. And don’t forget to get the right footwear. No sneakers with your suit.

    When in doubt about the dress code, ask your recruiter. Once you put the word out that you are looking for a new position, you should be prepared to have interviews lined up right away. You don’t want to turn something down because you have nothing to wear! In addition to clothing, now is also the time to make an appointment for a haircut or any other grooming that's important to you.

    Resume Preparation

    It’s time to dust off the old resume file and update it with details about your current position. Also, take a look to see if the formatting needs to be updated. If your resume is saved in Comic Sans, you’ll want to rejuvenate that. Do you have your summer jobs from college listed? Chances are, if you are trying to take a step forward in your career as a UI Engineer, you don’t need to tell the world that you were a Subway Sandwich Artist. (Unless you are applying for a UI role at Subway- there’s always an exception) Do take a minute to add on anything interesting about yourself; you want to highlight your professional experience but also make yourself seem human.

    You'd be surprised by the out of date contact information recruiters see on a daily basis. Is your address correct? Location, location, location! It's often important for hiring managers to know that you live close by. Is your phone number current? Does it have a reasonably professional message and/or ring back tone? Are you using an AOL or Hotmail email address? Think about getting something a little more current. Even my mom would tell you that having an AOL account is like having a rotary phone. 

    Internet Presence

    Your LinkedIn page should be current, and Facebook accounts should either be scrutinized for professionalism or privatized. Same goes for Twitter. If you have a website, make sure it's something you're proud of, especially if you're a Web Developer or a Designer, or a UI or UX Engineer. As Crystal suggested - if you are interviewing for positions in the Open Source community, then get on GitHub - that's just plain smart.

    Think Ahead

    Think about when you can actually interview and what's important to you in your next position ahead of time. Scheduling can be one of the biggest headaches for job seekers and interviewers alike. Alleviate this stress by coming up with some scenarios that will work for you. Do you have any PTO, flex time, or work from home days? If a company will meet you after hours will you be able to make it? Do you have any evening obligations? When an opportunity comes along, you won't have a lot of time to schedule the interview, so making the time will often have to happen in 24-72 hours.

    Finally, when you get to the interview, are you ready to answer the questions that will come your way? There’s no doubt that you know your craft in-and-out and can answer the technical questions easily, but are you prepared to answer the other questions about why you are looking, what you want next, why you've left positions in the past, and what kind of compensation you’d like? If not, talk these things through with your recruiter, that's what we're here for!

    To conclude, get your house in order ahead of time. It will keep your stress level down and make the whole process go by smoothly. When you're prepared and feel good about yourself it shows. Bring that confidence and energy into your interview. If a manager is already excited by what they see on your resume and what they can find on Google, you’ll settle into your new position in no time.

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