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Archive: May - 2014 (9)

  • The Benefits of Working and Hiring Contract-to-Perm

    Article by Andrew Sleptiza, Practice Manager in Workbridge Boston.

    There seems to be a lack of candidates and hiring managers these days looking to go contract-to-perm, and as recruiters we sit here and wonder WHY? A contract to perm position is where employers would like to bring on a full-time employee but don’t want to commit to a permanent hire right up front. In most cases, a contract-to-perm employee will work on a specific project for a few months in hope that their role will be converted into full-time. 

    For an employee, working a contract-to-perm job benefits you in three ways: resume, money, and the job itself.

    Resume

    Enterprise companies are constantly looking for contractors to work on their various projects. Names like IBM, Microsoft, and Apple don’t look too bad on a resume, now do they? Not only that, but because the contract phase of the job only lasts three to four months, if you aren’t onboarded, having the option to leave can open up the opportunity to work for larger companies.

    Money

    Another reason why we stress contract-to-perm is because what could be better than making money while actively looking for another job? If for some reason you don’t like the job, you don’t have to accept the offer to be converted to full-time at the end of the contract. It’s okay to keep your options open. Contract-to-perm jobs also have a higher hourly rate than salary positions when broken down. It’s the best of both worlds!

    The Job

    Contract-to-perm positions have some of the fastest onboarding processes we see. These companies are looking to get the job done as fast as possible. The interview process tends to be easier as well – “Can you do the job? Yes? Great!”  In most cases, you also have the ability to be flexible with your hours. As long as the work is getting done, and you’re committing the appropriate amount of hours each week, your employer will be happy. Remember, the bottom line of these positions is to complete a project.

    This ‘trial’ period is mutually beneficial for the employee and the employer. That's right, there are benefits for the employer, too. With contract-to-perm positions, employers win in terms of hiring process, the job itself, and the future.

    Hiring Process

    Like we said before, the onboarding for contract-to perm-positions is typically pretty quick and painless. When looking for contractors, you’re looking to fill an urgent need and thus don’t have to sift through as many resumes and worry about the right ‘culture’ fit.

    The Job

    Being that contract-to-perm positions are more like ‘trial’ periods, if you find the candidate isn’t a good fit, you are not committed to taking them on full-time. The arrangement lets you weigh their skills vs. how they are as an employee without having to commit right away. As recruiters, that fact alone trumps any argument about not hiring contract-to-perm. It’s like test driving a car before you buy it. Sure, it may look nice, but how well does it actually perform?

    The Future

    There are two scenarios that can happen with a contract-to-perm employee that can affect your future, both for the better. Say the hire is great and gets the project done but for whatever reason, doesn’t take/get offered to be put on full-time. That candidate will always be someone you can add to your network. If ever there was a time in the future when you need a project done, you know that you can call that person to get it done. On the other hand, if you flip the employee into full-time, you already know what you’re getting. The employee has already proven themselves as an asset and is a great cultural fit.

    If you haven’t thought about hiring contract-to-perm or accepting that sort of position, we definitely suggest giving it a shot because it can open up a whole new avenue of potential opportunities.

  • Creating the Perfect Company Culture

    Article by Jaime Vizzuett, Practice Manager in Workbridge Orange County

    Recently, I sat down with the CEO of a startup to talk about their future growth plans, and during our conversation he stated something I thought was crucial to his success. He said he is building an environment where employees are dreading Friday afternoons and are looking forward to coming in Monday mornings. Of course, in most cases, employees look forward to Fridays and dread Monday mornings. Regardless of the industry, position, or size for that matter, one of the most important parts of building a company is culture. Because of the industry we are in, I have been fortunate enough to see companies flourish, and others crash. I say ‘fortunate’ because regardless of the success or lack thereof, there is always something to learn.

    One thing I have learned is that a happy employee is a more productive employee. In a study done by Jim Herter, a coauthor of the New York Times bestseller, found that unsatisfied employees led to poorer performances. It is clear that when people don’t care about their job or employers, they tend to mentally check out, which inevitably leads to a lack of performance. I believe it’s a general consensus that humans tend to give better results when they are excited about what they are doing. As an employer, there is only so much you can control, but the one thing you can control is the work environment. That being said, one of the major contributors to a culture is the management or leadership of a company.

    As managers, you are exposed to a plethora of different personalities. Therefore, it’s important to make sure the leaders in the company are approachable and there to ensure that the employee’s job has a purpose. At the end of the day, an employee is going to take and stay at a job primarily because of who leads them. I am sure every company’s goal is to increase retention and decrease employee turnover, because not only is turnover costly financially, but it can cost you talent. Building a great culture will not only help with turnover, but also attract great talent and eventually your company will sell itself. Let’s remember that good talent is difficult to find, and talent is not going to hang around in a depressing, isolated, and lackluster culture.

    We are all people here, and want to be treated like such, so knowing who works for you is another crucial part building a culture. I am not saying you need to know every employee's life history, but simply make them feel appreciated to the point where they don’t feel like a walking money sign. In addition to that, employees are the biggest part of a culture, so bringing someone on board with the wrong attitude or mentality can ruin that. Remember, it only takes one bad seed to ruin the bunch. So if this means tweaking the hiring process, company BBQ’s, or an old-fashioned walk around the office, then so be it. Employees should be the number one priority for an employer, because no one wants to work for someone that doesn’t care about their well-being. The bottom line is that it pays to invest in your employees, because they are the ones that build a company.

    Let’s not forget that working adults spend more time at work than anywhere else, so do whatever you can to make them excited about coming into the office. I know none of this is breaking news, but it could mean the difference between the next Facebook and another start-up shutting its doors. If you feel like your current culture is non-existent, or repressive, then it’s time for a change.

  • The Mutual Benefits of the Mentor/Mentee Relationship

    Article by Andrew Kim, recruiter in Workbridge Orange County

    When I sit down for the first time with a job seeker, the first question that comes out of my mouth is, “What are the three most important things that you have to have to be happy in your next job?” Aside from salary and location, the next most frequent response I receive from both my junior and senior level candidates can be summed up as the opportunity to learn/exchange skills in a collaborative team environment. Or, to put it more succinctly, having the chance to mentor and to be mentored.  

    The job seekers I speak to often point to a fear of asking for guidance or not trusting co-workers due to office politics for reasons they don't seek out a mentor. While the mentor-mentee relationship has almost been disregarded as a relic of a past where tactile skills such as masonry, carpentry, or blacksmithing were learned through years of hands-on experience passing from a master to an apprentice, today’s preferred and digitalized method of self-reliant learning goes through an endless library of Youtube videos and Wikipedia articles. While this access to information appears to be an infinite and remarkable resource for gaining knowledge, it doesn’t suffice for the just as important component of acquiring skills by learning, doing, getting feedback, and setting goals with someone that has been in your shoes and can get you to that next, desired level. We often forget that the so-revered tech idols such as the Jobs’, Gates’, and Bransons of the world created revolutionary products and companies by not only being avid students of the masters of the past, but also by bouncing around ideas, information, and inspiration from the most innovative thinkers of their day. All of this stemmed from a shared fanaticism for business and technology that transcended a personal fear of being judged by colleagues. Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, echoes this as the desire that “leaders who are ambitious for their company rather than for themselves seek to develop other leaders.”

    What this mutually altruistic endeavor of mentoring and being mentored has shown is that there is a positive impact on both the mentor and mentee’s career progress, as well as an added benefit to the company as a whole. Sun Microsystems conducted a five-year study following the careers of over 1000 employees participating in the company’s mentorship program to specifically study whether or not there were quantifiable benefits to mentorship. The statistics were conclusive in showing that both mentors and mentees were approximately 20% more likely to get raises than those co-workers not in the program. Additionally, mentored employees were promoted five times more often than those without. And even more surprisingly, while 25% of mentees got raises during this time period, 28% of mentors did - and these same mentors were six times more likely to be promoted to a higher job. What these statistics show is that even in competitive job environments, the willingness to invest in one another pays off in significantly positive dividends for all parties involved and builds a stronger company culture from within.

    So, do you have a mentor or mentors at your current place of work?Have you been actively seeking a mentor/mentee out? If not, you could provide a major benefit to yourself, your mentor, and your company by starting a mentor relationship today.

  • The Growing Reason for High Turnover in the Tech Industry

    Article by Michael Yurcisin, Senior Recruiter in Workbridge Associates NYC

    There are many reasons why folks in technology leave their jobs. As a tech recruiter, I have heard just about everything under the sun, but the most common reasons fall under the category of growth. The term ‘growth’ can mean quite a few things.

    Salary is an integral part of the ‘growth’ candidates are looking for. Complaints about salaries are understandable, but often a candidate will tell me that he or she has worked with a company for two or more years without getting a raise and were denied when they inquired about one. The next logical step, especially since the market is so hot, would be to explore other options.

    The type of technologies candidates are using nowadays also plays a big factor in looking for a change. Developers want to be working with the most innovative technologies out there. For example, if a candidate is a Front End Engineer, they most likely will want the chance to work with new JavaScript Frameworks like backbone.js and AngularJS. If they are a PHP Developer, they will likely want to be using some sort of MVC framework. Staying up-to-date on technologies is what keeps a career alive over time. Technology is constantly changing, so if employees feel that their skillset is becoming stagnant, they may fear becoming obsolete.

    One’s ‘role’ also tends to be a factor in why employees leave their jobs. If they feel that they have done all they can on the development side of things, they might consider moving into a more managerial role. Since many tech teams tend to be small, they may have to move to a different company to solidify this jump. Of all of the reasons why folks leave their companies, this ‘role-changing mentality’ is the toughest for hiring managers to deal with. Sometimes a managerial role just isn’t in the cards, which often can lead to letting developers lead or mentor more junior members of the team as the solution.          

    Overall, the best way to avoid losing your staff is to keep you ear to the ground on the ever-changing and newly emerging reasons that employees use to move on. Maintain an open and honest line of communication with your direct reports. It is difficult for most people to ask for more money or even more responsibility, so creating an environment where this can happen freely is the optimal goal.

  • Job Search & Resume Critique Workshop at TurnToTech

    Recently, Workbridge New York put on a job search and resume critique workshop for several students and recent graduates from TurnToTech. TurnToTech is a local engineering school here in NYC with a focus on mobile software education.

    When our team of recruiters arrived to TurnToTech Monday afternoon, they gave a quick introduction about Workbridge Associates and what we do. Then the recruiters split up into three different stations for the students to rotate around. At the first station, recruiters walked the students through various job search sites and new ways to find job postings online. Recommended job sites included: Indeed, Simplyhired, We Are Made in New York, LinkedIn, and Joel on Software.

    At the second station, recruiters met one-on-one with the students to discuss their resumes and provide a few good examples of junior and mid-level iOS Developer resumes. They conversed about several different features of the resume, including what employers look for when they’re looking to fill an iOS Developer position versus other coding positions. They touched on the importance of having any apps that you've created and uploaded to the App Store featured on your resume when applying to an iOS Development position, just as it's important to have your Github account listed under your contact info if you’re applying to something like a Ruby Developer role. They also suggested the students include a “skills” section on their resumes to highlight and showcase any technologies they are familiar with and have used.

    The third team discussed the importance of a sending a “Thank You” note after interviewing with someone. You can fit all of the qualifications for the position, but unless you’re interested, it wouldn’t make sense for an employer to hire you. Whether it’s a formal letter or an email, keep thank you notes short and sweet, and make sure to proof read them before sending. For employers, it’s often the thought and interest in the position that matters the most. 

    Workbridge Associates had a great time discussing NY tech job search strategies with the students from TurnToTech. If you have any questions regarding your job search, feel free to reach out to any of the recruiters at Workbridge Associates, they would love to help! Also if you’re interested in learning more about TurnToTech, visit their website or email them at [email protected]

  • Contract-to-Hire: Is it right for you?

    Article By: James Vallone and Ben Sanborn


    Companies and professionals have three routes available when hiring: contract, contract-to-hire, and permanent. Contract is when an individual is engaged to work for an agreed amount of time with no intent for permanent employment. When the contract ends, the individual moves on to other jobs. Contract-to-hire is when a person begins work as a contractor with the intention that after a set amount of time, the role will become permanent. And lastly, permanent is when an employee is brought on immediately without any contract period.

    There are benefits and drawbacks to each type of work engagement; however, we’ve seen an increase in popularity for contract-to-hire positions. We thought we’d examine some of the reasons companies (and professionals) find this arrangement so attractive.

    • Fast hires: Many companies must fill vacancies so fast that they simply do not have time to wait for their ideal permanent hire candidate. In a contract-to-hire scenario, they request contractors who are already prescreened and qualified, conduct a phone interview, make a decision. The contractor can often start the next day. Given that a typical permanent hiring process takes two to four weeks, with an average of four to six weeks before the start date, contract to hire allows companies to hire with minimal interruption to productivity.
    • Ease of hiring: We have seen hiring managers run into situations where they don’t have a job officially approved, but they need the head count. It can be easier to get a contract-to-hire approach approved up front, fill the job, and have the contractor already working while you’re waiting for job approval. If it is approved, you transition the role to permanent. If it is not, the contract ends without hassle.
    • Cost efficient: Companies pay a staffing firm an agreed-upon rate for a contractor’s hours, this amount can be more cost efficient than immediately going with a permanent hire. (Particularly, in those rare instances when the hire does not work out.)
    • Immediate impact: Because contractors can typically start immediately, they get up to speed and productive much faster than the average permanent employee onboarding process.
    • Flexibility: Even with the most promising hires, companies and professionals both need time to figure out if an individual and the culture is right for them. While every job arrangement has a probation period during which a professional can be let go, contract-to-hire makes the whole situation far more comfortable for all involved. The contract period gives the company and the professional an opportunity to “see how it goes” and determine if it’s the right fit. While permanent employment is the goal, when the contract period is up, both the company and the professional have the opportunity to evaluate the situation and decide if permanent placement is indeed the best decision going forward.
    • Broader talent pool: Some companies express concern that if they go contract-to-hire they may miss out on the best permanent hires. What we typically point out is that some of the best professionals prefer contract-to-hire because of the ability to evaluate over a period of time if the company is a good fit. By going contract-to-hire, you open up your position to a much broader talent pool. Many professionals who typically only apply for permanent hires are willing to consider contract-to-hire. So, you do not lose anything by opening a role to this arrangement.

    Contract-to-hire isn’t for everyone. But companies who prefer to lower hiring risk, appreciate a “trial” period to ensure cultural fit, and want to expand the talent pool they draw from, often find that it can be a great way to find the right people for their roles.

  • Being Ready at a Moment's Notice

    Article by Amy Robert, Lead Recruiter in Workbridge DC

    A well written resume and cover letter, along with a clear cut design, is so important when applying for jobs. But who likes writing bullet point phrases that will encompass the entirety of your experience and the value that you can add to a company? I don’t know about you, but I get writer’s block the moment I begin to consider how I could possibly put my experience in a brief few words so that a potential employer will look at my resume and decide to move forward.

    If this hits home for you, know you are not alone. However, I implore you to consider regularly updating your resume. Here’s why: You may think you are in a good industry or with a good organization, which you probably are. I have dialogues with information technology professionals across all industries every day in my job. Many of them are very happy with their current position and with how they are progressing in their career with their current organization. That is, until something drastically changes at a moment’s notice.

    I am informed of many different circumstances and situations that arise, causing an employee to seek out a new employer, and I could not begin to mention them all. Here are a few:

    • Management or company values change due to someone leaving, promotions, company reorganization, or the company is acquired by another company, etc.
    • Unexpected loss of budget creating a need for a massive lay off  or restriction from hiring that 4th or 5th team member, meaning you are doing double the amount of work and become burnt out, cases of government furlough resulting in leave without pay, etc. Lack of budget could also mean that the project you joined the company to lead is no longer going to be implemented.

    Whatever the case may be, it's rare that someone will have a scheduled date or predetermined time inked out in their calendar for when they begin their job search. There's always a change, or an event, or maybe a final straw that will spur you to look elsewhere.

    That catalyst behind your desire or need to seek something else could hit you when you least expect it. Why not be prepared with an excellent resume in your arsenal? My recommendation for you is to make a habit of regularly updating your resume with relevant information. When you have acquired a new skill, learned a new technology, or led and implemented a new project, add it to your resume. This way, when that day comes for you unexpectedly, you are ready and may begin your search immediately. If anything, you will have a few polishing edits to make, and then you'll be ready to begin the application process and send your resume to your favorite recruiters to begin marketing your background on your behalf.

  • SF Brings Cheer to the Ronald McDonald House

    Recently, our Workbridge San Francisco office went out to the Ronald McDonald House to bring as much St. Patrick Day cheer as they could. The team was definitely looking the part as a cheerful crew, as they were dressed in character, wearing green and lots of it! They arrived ready to roll-up their sleeves and get to work! Kendal, the supervisor at the Ronal McDonald House, divided the jobs into three areas: crafts, baking, and cleaning. Although, by the end of the day, everyone was pitching in to help in all areas. 

    There was a sweet aroma of baking cupcakes and cookies filling the air. The green icing, green M&M’s, and of course green sprinkles were all key pieces in bringing out some Irish cheer. The Workbridge team worked hard, carefully decorating each cupcake and cookie with a unique St. Paddy's Day touch. The finished product resulted in a delicious reward. The families were in for quite the surprise when they arrived home.

    Two brothers, Ryland and Trent, who decided to hang out with the Workbridge crew, illustrated such a strong resilient sense of hope. Trent, 8 years old, was staying at the house with his family, and he proudly showed off his fresh scars from a recent surgery. His smile was so strong and hopeful. After hearing their story, a few members of the crew took them outside to play.

    The Ronald McDonald House works to keep families rested, healthy, strong and by pulling together during their time of need. The House offers a home-like environment where family members find comfort through supportive staff, volunteers, and other families in similar situations. When families stay close to their hospitalized child, the child heals quicker and the family copes better. Giving the families a distraction from a long day of supporting their loved ones, they were greeted with hot cookies, tasty cupcakes, and festive decorations.

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