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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?
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.
On a rainy day in Boston, our Workbridge Boston office traveled to Allston, MA to bring some sunshine to the kids at the West End House Boys and Girls Club. Founded in 1906 to aid immigrant and urban youth, the West End House provides leadership and life skills, academic support, college preparation, sports, fitness, nutrition, and visual and performing arts programs for just $15 a year. Today, the club has over 1,500 members, many of which are decedents of the original members who came to our country from the Dominican Republic, China, Vietnam, Haiti, and Cape Verde.
When the crew first arrived, they met with Aviva Berezin, the club's Community Engagement Coordinator, and a curious young girl named Ava. Ava is the self-appointed volunteer greeter at the Boys and Girls Club. She always introduces herself and loves to be with the groups. After learning some history about the club, Aviva went over the Activity Bored with the recruiters.
For the first hour of each afterschool day, everyone must be in their designated homework “Power Hour”. The WEH takes education seriously, in order to be a member you must be attending school. Workbridge was told that some of the classmates even tattle on each other if a day of school is missed. After homework, the kids can choose from a variety of activities: gym, art, swimming, or music.
The building is equipped with a huge swimming pool, a music room filled with equipment, an art studio complete with a black light room, a fitness center, full size gymnasium, and a dance room. The team was mildly jealous of the facility. After meeting with some of the teachers, two of whom they discovered are original members of the club, the recruiters split up into smaller volunteer groups. They helped during gym time, with homework for grades 1-3 and grades 4-5, art, and food prep.
Our recruiters were a little nervous about homework help. After all, none of them had done long division in a very long time. Nonetheless, they braved the challenge and helped the kids as best they could.
Believe it or not, the West End House serves over 1,200 meals a week to their members and they do it all with only ONE chef, Lisa Smith. It's safe to say she needed some help. Recruiters Liam Pushee and Julia Croyle, along with Marketing Specialist Liz Polom helped prep roasted garlic and applesauce that would accompany the pork chops being served the following day.
During gym time, the recruiters got a bit of a workout themselves. After playing basketball, they participated in sprints and wall-sits.
Usually, when school programs are cut, art is the first to go. This is a shame because the art room was full of creative minds. These kids were full of talent. Occasionally, the art will go on display and even sometimes sold. One girl was working on a landscape piece that was going to be auctioned off.
Needless to say, the team at Workbridge Boston had amazing time volunteering at the West End House. To find out ways to get involved, visit their website at www.westendhouse.org.
Article by Felipe Estrela, Practice Manager in Workbridge Boston.
CMS, Content Management Systems, is defined by techterms.com as “a software tool that allows you to create, edit, and publish content” but to experts, it’s more than just a product.
“Painful upgrades are just one example of how selecting a Web CMS is more than just buying an off-the-shelf product. When you commit to a content management system, you’re investing in the system’s leadership, vision, and reliability. It’s not just about how the system looks now – it’s whether you can trust it to perform year after year, and upgrade after upgrade.” – Marianne Kay, Research Analyst, What a Failed Umbraco Release Can Teach Us About Upgrades.
Business owners are using CMSs more and more because not only do they make websites look better, they are cost-effective and as we all know, everyone is in the business of making money. Some of the most popular CMSs being used today are WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and Blogger.
Scott Brinker, Co-Founder and CTO of ion interactive created a Marketing Technology Landscape for 2014, and as one can see below, it is very extensive. With this ever expanding marketing landscape, company owners need to adapt and have the technology in place to deal with it. Now, we’re not talking about mom and pop shops who need some help, we’re talking huge companies with a lot of data, and a lot of content that is constantly being shifted around.
These companies are adapting in two ways: investing in a great CMS, or hiring ad agencies to customize an enterprise level CMS such as Sitecore, Ektron, Drupal, or Umbraco. No matter the way, the bottom line is always the more time saved, the bigger ROI.
So what does all of this mean for the CMS job market today? With the current technical market, companies are slowly realizing they need to be accessible through the media we use the most, the internet. They need a website with a great CMS to help manage it. There’s only one problem…
Techies who can manipulate the code inside these CMSs are in high demand. That combined with the fact that we’re dealing with a niche technology, they are few and far between. While any .NET or opensourse developer can learn CMS, knowing its ins and outs makes for a much more marketable and desirable candidate. The less time a company has to spend teaching you a skill, the better off you are, because at the end of the day, companies are looking for candidates who know how to manipulate the CMS to make a website as efficient as possible.
As the Practice Manager of my own .NET recruiting team, I see candidates all too often with less experience, but strong CMS skills get hired over those who are experienced but lacking in CMS.
If you are interested in learning new technologies or want to add a new skill to your resume, I beseech you to follow through and learn. Send your resume to the top of the pile and learn a CMS in your technical language (opensource, .NET, drupal, sitecore) where you can even achieve an MVP level within the CMS space.
Go out, learn, and set yourself apart from the rest with CMS.
Article by Workbridge Boston.
The tech industry is an ever-changing world that recruiters, hiring managers, and job seekers alike need to stay on top of. With the start of a new year, we are seeing new trends in salaries, best places to work, and hiring demands. With a little bit of research and some help from my fellow recruiters, I give you the hiring trends of 2014.
Salaries in the Boston Tech Market will Rise in 2014
The West Coast is known for paying higher salaries (about $20k higher) than the East. At of the end of 2013, Boston companies were still not able to compete with these numbers. We're going to see this shift in 2014 as the Boston tech market explodes. The competition between companies for technical talent in Boston is at an all-time high. Historically, the West Coast and New York have been known for being the tech hotbeds, but Boston is heating up as well, resulting in increased demand, only without the supply. Companies are being forced to pay more, much more, to keep their talent, the main reason why almost every candidate in the Boston area has received a counter offer after accepting a new position.
Project over Prestige
There used to be a time when large corporations were the answer to job hunting. Companies like EMC and Akamai were the place to be when it came to technology, but that isn’t the case anymore. 2014 is the year of the startup. The majority of the talent pool in Boston is looking to leave their mammoth corporations for more exciting and cutting-edge projects, and the large corporations are left wondering why they no longer have the pull that they used to.
Working at a startup allows candidates to break free of the chains that large corporations restrain them with. Although startups will never be able to compete with the salaries that larger corporations can offer, they can incentivize with a reward system based off of skills rather dollar signs. Candidates are drawn to innovation and an atmosphere that focuses on recognition of accomplishments. This is something unmatched by corporate culture.
Hot Hiring Trends
For my team, 2014 is the year of DevOps and Big Data. As the amount of internet users increases, companies need to meet this high demand. Big data is the solution to this problem because it facilitates the capture, management, and processing of data. In response to this increased demand, companies need to figure out a way to scale their infrastructure. Enter, DevOps, the integration of software development and IT operations, which evolved from this growing demand. If you want to learn more about DevOps, check out this post by Tim Lockwood in our New York office.
So what does this tell us? The technical themes of 2014 are Big Data, large corporations feeling the threat of small and innovative startups, and candidates broadening their technical skills. 2014, it’s going to be a great year.
Article by Liz Polom, Marketing Specialist for Workbridge Boston
If you haven’t heard of MeetUp.com yet, well, say hello to your new networking accelerator. MeetUp serves to “revitalize local community and help people around the world self-organize.” With over 15 million members spanning over 140,000 groups, there is nearly a group for any person with any interest. If you love the outdoors, are looking to meet new people, or are a huge Star Wars fan, chances are, there’s a meetup for you. If there isn’t an existing group that’s perfectly tuned to your passions, no need to fear, the site allows you to create your own!
It isn’t just about hobbies and lifestyles though, MeetUp is becoming the place to be for working professionals, job seekers, and industry leaders. If you attend a meetup today (and you should), you’re walking into a multi-faceted event. Meetups are now about recruiting opportunities, advertising, brand outreach, learning, and most importantly, networking.
Here in Boston, meetups focusing on technology make up some of the largest groups: Boston New Technology, Boston PHP, and my personal favorite Tech in Motion! I’m a little biased because I’m a co-organizer of Tech in Motion: Boston, but love that all of these Meetups are bringing the tech community together through networking, a key tool for starting a job search or when looking to hire someone new.
I asked one of the Lead Recruiters in the Workbridge Boston office, Matt Rogers, about the relevance of networking, and he gave me this spot-on advice - “Networking is so important because a resume will only take you so far, people aren’t hiring a piece of paper, they’re hiring for your personality; and it’s a great way for candidates to meet a hiring manager before submitting their resume.”
Groups are utilizing the MeetUp format as a learning tool. Tech in Motion’s events are always focused on a specific tech topic. Whether we’re hosting a panel, speaker series, or a simple Demos and Drinks event, our attendees are always learning. Workbridge Recruiter Anneika Kerr says she loves “being able to meet new people in the tech community,” and really enjoys “learning more about the technologies, such as Xamarin and Azure, that our developers are using on a daily basis.”
As the Marketing Specialist for Workbridge, I love that we host Tech in Motion: Boston. What originally started as an event series to give back to the local tech community became a wonderful melting-pot for networking and tech talks. They are a great way for our recruiters to learn more about what’s going on in the tech world, and get out there to network with potential job seekers. We plan events that we would want to attend, that have a lot going on, and we always have recruiters on site to give career and resume advice. Attendees have the opportunity to meet with one another, check out various products up close, and of course, listen to industry pros give their insight on the latest tech trends.
Lou Adler, author of The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired suggests that “recruiters should employ a 20/20/60 recruiting strategy. The idea is to only spend 20% of their time posting jobs, 20% looking for resumes and 60% networking. This allows companies to find the best people available, not just the best people who are applying to their job postings.”
No matter your interest, meetups are great excuse to get out and start networking. LinkedIn is great, but meeting face-to-face is even better. What are you waiting for? Start RSVPing today!
On what could only be described as a perfect fall day, our team in Workbridge Boston set out to lend a hand at one of city’s oldest non-profits, known today as The Home for Little Wanderers.
The Home (for short) is actually a merging of four different Boston organizations; Boston Children’s Services (1799), New England Home for Little Wanderers (1865), Parent’s and Children's Services (1849), and Charles River Health Management. For over two hundred years the Home’s singular focus remains on helping children achieve independence and success from seemingly insurmountable difficulties.
Each year, the Home serves over 7,000 children ages birth to 22 by providing them with a network of services including behavioral health, therapeutic residential help, special education, adoption, foster care, youth transition, and family services. The Home continues to make an impact in the Greater Boston Area and will continue to better the lives of our youth, as stated in their mission statement,
“Our mission is to ensure the healthy behavioral, emotional, and educational development and physical well-being of children and families living in at-risk circumstances.”
The original Home for Little Wanderers was built in 1914 and was used as a way station where children orphaned and left homeless by the Civil War could prepare for a new life. It also sheltered over 250 young refugees during World War II. Since its beginning, the Home has moved its location from Boston to a much larger and more innovative space in Walpole, MA. The organization still owns the 100 year old building located in Jamaica Plain. They’ve been looking to sell the property but it was in need of some serious TLC, and Workbridge was there to help!
The team set out down the Green Line and arrived at the HFLW’s Knight Children’s Center around 2:15. Administrative Specialist Veronica Rosario greeted them with open arms. After learning some history about the organization, they set to work with rakes, brooms, and even a leaf blower (which happened to be a favorite amongst some of the recruiters). Before they started working, the grounds and parking lot were covered in leaves and trash. Through teamwork and coordination, they filled more bags than could fit in a truck bed and had the grounds looking inviting rather than completely abandoned.
To learn more about The Home for Little Wanderers and ways you can help, please visit their website www.thehome.org and be sure to follow them on Twitter @thehomeorg.
Article by Matt Rogers, Lead Recruiter and Andy Kahan, Recruiter in Workbridge Boston
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.
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.
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.
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.
Article by Abby Rose, Lead Recruiter in Workbridge Boston
I don’t work on a software development team and I don’t understand the ins and outs of what an engineering team does on a day-to-day basis. But do I talk to engineers daily? Yes, and they frequently divulge information to me that they never share with their manager prior to giving their notice.
I talk to them about why they are looking to leave their company (emphasis on looking because we all know that software engineers across the board are all passive in their job hunts). This article is not meant to tell IT professionals how to run their teams or manage their developers. I hope this analysis provides insight to the most common reasons as to why engineers do end up leaving companies and how it might help in your efforts to prevent losing top talent.
I evaluated the candidates that Workbridge Boston has placed and their “reason for leaving” since the beginning of 2013. We have three teams within our organization that place Java, Open Source, .NET and System Engineers, with approximately 150 placed candidates in the past 2 quarters of 2013.
Below are the top 5 reasons why, in our experience, engineers leave their companies:
1. New Challenges/Growth/Strategy
We’ve all heard it. “I have no room for growth in my current company” or “I am not challenged here anymore.” But what do those statements really mean? Our first reaction, as a recruiting firm, is to ask the engineer if they have addressed these concerns with their manager. Many times it is a simple fix and all parties avoid the ever dreaded acceptance of a counter offer.
But what if it’s not a simple fix? Engineers that are not continuously challenged or aren't given the resources to grow their skill set will immediately look elsewhere to do so. Challenge and growth definitions vary for each individual, but what we see as a good solution is to consistently check in and promote an honest and open environment so engineers feel comfortable speaking about their career growth. If an engineer cannot believe in the strategy of a company and their approach to accommodating engineers, it’s easy in this market for them to find another company.
This may seem obvious, but engineers thrive on teams that foster open mentalities on the use of new technologies. An old and stagnant tech stack is the quickest way to lose talent. Engineers are not necessarily chasing companies that use the newest technologies, but they are looking to leave companies that have closed mindsets.
Again, I know I don’t sit on a software development team. The pains of adapting new technologies to a platform may be difficult, but it could be a good way to challenge your engineers (referring to the first point) to integrate or use the technologies they are interested in.
3. Team and Management
I’ve never had a candidate say they hate their boss or that the management staff is horrible. The reasons engineers leave their companies due to management is usually because of a shuffle in upper-level management that trickles down to operational changes on a technical team.
If a leader in space leaves the company, or a VP is promoted to a hands-off role, or a new CTO is hired, changes occur that effect day-to-day routines of an engineering team. The most common pain points engineers talk about are added responsibilities and unrealistic new expectations, a new SDLC that kills the current flow, disorganization of priorities, or lack of new/continued mentorship. Management transitions are a crucial time to communicate with a team and again, foster an honest environment.
4. False Expectations
“I was hired to be a back-end Ruby engineer and I’m developing HTML templates.” That’s no good! It usually surprises me how much I hear about engineers being hired for a certain position and end up spending the first 3-6 months doing a completely different job. It usually roots back to an interview feeling like a honeymoon without diving deep, and truly deep, into what this specific role and this specific engineer’s timeline will be. If they are going to be developing HTML templates for the first 3 months, say that. Don’t hide it.
Again, communication in the first six months on a weekly basis can prevent a situation getting too far out of hand. Many times, as human beings, we wait until it’s too late to talk about being unhappy with our job. Instead what engineers decide to do is jump ship and find something new where they can ditch the unwanted parts of their current role.
Yes, every recruiter encounters a job seeker that is driven to receive a higher salary than what they currently have. Good recruiters proceed with a lot of caution prior to representing that candidate.
It is more common, however, to find an engineer that is looking for a job because of the following reasons associated with money.
- A startup didn’t get funding
- Company is going under and can’t pay engineers their market value salary
- Haven’t received a raise in over a year
Some of these factors are not preventable, but setting up realistic goals and incentives for raises will help you keep valuable engineers around longer. Clear cut steps to a bump in salary and honesty about the stability of the company will increase the longevity of your developers. If other people in the company are being laid off, talking about why and what is going on behind the scenes will prevent engineers from looking around. When employees get laid off, it shakes up the nerves of others. Many times engineers in our office say “a few people were laid off last week, so I’m looking because I want to be proactive about finding something new before I’m out of a job.”
Good news is that reason 5 is an easy fix by being communicative, open, and honest about what is happening within an organization and about how each person can be held accountable for their next raise.
Take away what you would like from this information. Hopefully it helps companies reflect on the way they approach retaining talent from an “aftermath” perspective.
Three take away points:
- Create a truly honest environment
- Communication, communication, communication
- Proactive and not reactive check-ins with all engineers