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  • Choosing a Technology Stack for Startups

    Article by Miles Thomas, Practice Manager in Workbridge Philadelphia 

    Tech startups from all over the country come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and types. From established entrepreneurs who have already sold multiple companies to college seniors working out of a basement, software engineers and businessmen alike have dreams of solving the ailments of the world, one solution at a time. To start an LLC isn’t all that difficult these days either; all you need is an idea, a working space, a computer, and (for some) a bottomless pot of coffee. Sounds easy, right?

    Well, as integral as elbow grease and caffeine are for any start-up, a direction may be the most important thing for any would-be entrepreneurs out there. One direction that is integral to technology companies is the different layers of technologies used to accomplish whatever problem they are trying to solve; this is known as the technology stack. There are many different kinds of technology out there, but most companies land either between one comprised of open source technologies (also called Open Stack) or a proprietary technology owned by another company (.NET owned by Microsoft, or Java owned by Oracle). So, what is the best choice for all you startups out there? Read on…

    An illustration of some of the different layers of a technology stack, and the options that an entrepreneur would have for each.

    Above, is an illustration of some of the different layers of a technology stack, and the options that an entrepreneur would have for each.

    It's well known amongst most tech savvy individuals that open source tech stacks seem to be all the rage amongst startups. After all, not only are open source technologies free to use for you bootstrappers out there, but there are a variety of different programming languages to use depending on what you’re trying to do. Need to use a functional programming language for reactive application design? Use Python or Scala. Need to do simple website development for clients big and small? Use PHP or Ruby on Rails. With so many tools at your disposal, the possibilities truly are endless.

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    Java and .NET may not be as flashy or wide-ranging, but they do offer an array of different tools. With different frameworks and API’s designated to each company’s respective programming languages, Microsoft and Oracle do not leave their users without ammunition. Furthermore, there are defined boundaries for what tool to use and when- this can be extremely valuable for someone who doesn’t necessarily know their way around the latest and greatest.

    The lack of boundaries is the biggest hurdle for people looking to implement an open stack. For example, if a company decides to use Python as their language of choice, what frameworks should they use? Django? Flask? Tornado? CherryPy? What about JavaScript libraries and frameworks? Angular? Backbone? Ember? There are so many possibilities with no guidelines for first timers that it is easy to get caught up in all of the different technologies. Another easy pitfall is ambition to use technologies that are not necessary- I can recall a small web design shop that was trying to implement Amazon WebServices as an example (they are no longer around).

    The boundaries presented by a Java/.NET stack come at a cost, quite literally. The obvious downside of proprietary programming languages is that they can be quite costly; this can be a huge deal-breaker for a small startup with little to no funding. For a smaller company looking to stay afloat, spending what little money they have on-hand for something they can get for free seems foolish (on paper, at least).

    At the end of the day, picking programming languages is all about circumstance. If a company has the money to spend, Java/.NET may be the way to go. If a company is strapped for cash, or if one of their founders has a background in some kind of open source language/framework, then open source may be the way to go. Given the convergence of the current technology landscape, however, it may not be long before it won’t really matter!

  • Hiring in Today’s Job Market

    Article by Evan Gordon, Regional Director in Workbridge Philadelphia

    Are you a technology manager in need of new talent to join your team? If so, the market may be a little different since the last time you hired. As someone who has been in the recruiting industry for over a decade, it is obvious when the pendulum swings from a client to a candidate’s market, and for those that have hired this year it is ever so clear; good candidates are hard to find and even harder to land. Below are a few points aimed at capturing talent in a very competitive job market.

    Move Quick

    Good candidates come on the market quick and jump off the market even quicker. The key to landing talent in this market is to condense lengthy interview processes and strike quick. The interview process from first interview to offer should wrap up in a week or 2 max, with an interview process consisting of 2, MAYBE 3 interviews. Do what you can to maximize a candidates visit and allow them to meet as many people in one shot as possible. Especially as the best candidates are typically employed, making it hard to schedule multiple rounds of interviews. 

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    Be Open Minded

    In the search for the "perfect" candidate, it is easy to be nearsighted and miss out on hiring candidates who may not have all the skills listed on the job description, but have both drive and desire. A bright, more junior candidate will often times outshine a more experienced candidate because they have something to prove and appreciate the opportunity. Don't undervalue desire in favor of current skills. 

    Sell Them on Your Job

    Remember, an interview is a two way street: it's a chance for the candidate to sell you on them but also a chance for you to sell the candidate on the opportunity at hand. Make sure to get them excited about the technology, projects, opportunity and the company as a whole. It is your job as a hiring manager to get candidates excited to work for you.

    Give Them a Chance to Speak

    One of the most underrated parts of an interview is asking the candidate if THEY have any questions for you. This is a window into how they think and an opportunity for them to ask about upcoming projects, technology initiatives and clear up any lingering questions they might have. It is also a way to test how prepared the candidate is. If they don't have any questions prepared or simply ask about benefits, work from home, perks, etc... I recommend continuing the search.

    All in all, the market has picked up considerably which is great news for the economy. With that being said, capturing talent is a about supply and demand. The demand increases as business expand and hiring increases but the supply of candidates remains mostly flat. Therefore, make an effort to capture talent before your competitors do.

  • 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.

  • Tread Lightly When Discussing Reasons for Leaving Your Job

    By Evan Gordon, Regional Director of Workbridge Philadelphia

    In today's market, some candidates have trouble explaining the reason they left their last position in a way that doesn't set off red flags with their perspective employer. During the course of my career I have heard a multitude of reasons, because candidates often feel more comfortable being "blunt" with a recruiter. However, it is important to realize that a hiring manager or human resources professional will often use these facts to decide whether or not to move forward with a candidate. It is important to be honest, but remember to try and look for the positives when explaining why you are looking, or have left positions in the past.

    Let's look at a few common reasons for leaving a job:

    • Career Growth
    • Commute
    • Technology
    • Compensation
    • Issues with coworkers/manager

    Keep in mind that inherently, these may all be valid motives for looking for a new position. And quite frankly, the people you are interviewing with have probably left occupations in the past for some, or all, of the same concerns. A phrase I learned years ago applies here, “it's not always what you say but how you say it.” The way that a job seeker describes the situation which is causing, or has caused them to look for work is usually more of a red flag than the actual issue.

    It is important, when explaining the above, to remain upbeat and go into as much detail as possible. For example, if your main motivation for looking for a new position is due to your career hitting a wall, explain this by going into specifics, instead of just saying "I am looking for a better opportunity." Instead, illustrate why you feel you stagnant, and how this new position will offer the possibility for career growth that is lacking in your current role.

    Also, remember to be conscientious about what you say. Your explanation can be interpreted incorrectly and you don't want your new employer to think you will be quick to jump ship, which will most likely result in no job offer. Perception is reality, and the reality is how you explain your reason for leaving a position is usually a major factor in screening out potential candidates.

    The best thing to do, when preparing for an interview, is to plan exactly what you want to say, and the desired perception. Once you have that down, do a dry run with a friend that you trust, and get their feedback. If your friend comes up with any questions, be sure to practice addressing the various concerns, and edit your explanation, if need be. This is a situation where the old idiom, “practice makes perfect” really applies. You don’t want to sound rehearsed, but going in prepared will make you more comfortable and confident. That will be sure to give you a leg up on your “looking for a better opportunity” competitors.

  • Happy Clients and Job Seekers at Workbridge Philadelphia!

    We at Workbridge Philadelphia could not be more happy for one of our .NET recruiters- Joe!

    Joe worked tirelessly to find the perfect job seeker for a great client, and we're happy to report that of his effort paid off!

    Joe hard at work!

    Sometimes when recruiters are asked to find a specific job seeker for a client, they have a feeling that it will be an easy match to make. Sometimes, they get the feeling that it will be exactly the opposite. This was a case of the latter. When Joe got the requirements for his client's new position, he knew it was going to be tough one to fill, but he was determined to succeed.

    Joe's client is one of the .NET team's favorite people to work with. The last time he was in the market for a new job, we were actually able to place him in an awesome management-level position. He's a great guy, and a pleasure to have in the office. He definitely has strict requirements for job seekers he is looking to hire at his own company, but we appreciate the passion and always enjoy a challenge!

    This time around, he was looking for a brand new Senior Software Engineer. His company is UK-based, and was looking to make a big move to the states. This was a major hire for them, and the to-be-determinded job seeker was going to have a lot of impact and visibility.

    It ended up being an involved process, with lots of nearly-perfect job seekers, but Joe persisted. He ended up finding the perfect person for the job! When we say he worked tirelessly, we mean it. He tried anything he could think of to find the right job seeker- and it paid off!

    We hear that everything is working out great- for the job seeker, the client, and the company. We could not be more excited for everyone, and more proud of Joe.

    If you would like to speak with Joe, please give him a call at 215-209-0100, or shoot him an email at

  • Two Positions Filled by Jonelle at Workbridge Philadelphia!

    We here at Workbridge Philadelphia are all incredibly proud of Jonelle, who was able to speedily fill two positions - all during the bustle of the holiday season!

    Jonelle recently reached out to a new company in Delaware, who was looking for both a QA Analyst and a Senior Systems Engineer. They had been having trouble finding qualified applicants and were thankful for the help.

    Jonelle was able to set up talented job seekers to interview for those positions. Our client loved the people Jonelle scheduled to interview with them and they found the perfect applicants to fill the available positions.

    We were all overjoyed to be able to find not one, but two, people that the company was happy with! Jonelle was especially happy, "it made my holiday break even more rewarding!"

    Congratulations to both people on their new job, and great job Jonelle!

  • Another Happy Job Seeker at Workbridge Philadelphia!

    Eric (seen below) is a job seeker recently placed by Marialice at Workbridge Philadelphia.

    Eric had worked in the IT field years ago, but eventually became burned out and decided to make a major life change, becoming a tattoo artist. (Talk about a career transition!)

    Recently, he'd been considering getting back into the programming world, and figured the best way to do that would be to teach himself one of the newest programming languages. So that's what he did! He taught himself Ruby, contacted Workbridge, and the rest is history.

    Marialice set him up on an interview with a great company, he killed it, and they offered him an awesome position a few days later.

    We couldn't be happier for him!

  • Workbridge Philadelphia Lends a Helping Hand to Habitat for Humanity!

    We over at Workbridge Philadelphia were super excited to spend an afternoon volunteering our time at our local Habitat for Humanity Restore last week!

    If you haven't been to a ReStore, it's a Goodwill-esque system; people drop off unused furniture, homegoods, and also things like kitchen cabinets and appliances, the ReStore resells them at a great price, and then the proceeds are used to build more homes for families in need.

    It's a wonderful organization, and we were pumped to be able to help them out in any way.

    It was also really fun! Check us out having an awesome time in the pictures below.

    Recruiters Joe, David and Ryan wrapping up glass doors

    Taylor and Sarah cleaning newly-donated kitchen cabinets
    Regional Director Evan working really hard to reattach cabinet doors
    Kate disinfecting and vacuuming a huge couch that was just dropped off (She genuinely LOVED her job)
    We spent a lot of the day cleaning...
    And moving furniture...
    And moving some more...
    Which produced lots of dirty hands.

    But we had a WONDERFUL time!

    The Workbridge crew with Javier- our ReStore ambassador!

    Everyone at the ReStore was absolutely wonderful- including, of course, our buddy Javier. They were so helpful and appreciative of us coming. It was an amazing experience that we hope to repeat.

    If you're in the Philadelphia area, please visit (or volunteer with!) the ReStore! They are  located in Kensington at 2930 Jasper Street, Philadelphia PA 19134, and open Wednesdays - Saturdays, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

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