Written by Graydon Klassen, Lead Recruiter in Jobspring NYC.
I get it. The idea of starting a new job can certainly be scary.
I have been working in the staffing industry for most of my professional career, and this potentially daunting experience is something that I discuss with both my active & passive candidates on a regular basis. Couple that with the fact that my family moved around frequently while I was growing up, and I have built up quite an informed perspective (if I do say so myself) of what the move should be when you walk through the doors on your first day. If you will, we can call it “Graydon’s Guide to Being the New Guy.” This tried and true guide has three critical components: Listen first, be yourself, and don’t jump to conclusions.
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Now it is important to note that these three stages are in chronological order and should be implemented as so. Listen First. You might be saying “Graydon, I know how to listen. What do you mean?” I know that the act of listening seems obvious but when you first start a job, sometimes its importance can be overlooked. More specifically, one of the most common errors a “New Guy” commits is not a lack of listening but as I like to call it just “waiting in line for your chance to talk.” Typically when you first start, you are eager to impress, share knowledge and stories, and as a result, can sometimes interject these already pre-packaged anecdotes with little to no relevance to the conversation at hand. Sometimes this works. But sometimes these interjections can leave your new coworkers with a poor taste in their mouths. This is especially a tough thing to get over during that initial first impression stage. Diving into it a little more, after several off topic comments, or even worse long winded responses, your colleagues might not come back to you with their water cooler banter, or even worse, their professional insights and responsibilities. You need to demonstrate that you not only have the knowledge to be viewed as a worthwhile colleague, but that you know when to apply that knowledge. Listening to your co-workers is the best—and really your only—way to position yourself advantageously in those early conversations. Trust that you are better than a Rolodex of go-to sayings.
Now that you are listening, it is equally as important to be yourself. I sometimes hear people talking about starting fresh by pressing the reset button, and while I think that this transformative presentation of yourself can be done in a real way, I see this backfiring more often than not. A valued employee is someone who is consistent. Consistency is one of those golden attributes that every employer looks for. The unfortunate fact is that most people who start off trying to be someone they are not cannot maintain this new persona. In hopes of avoiding this flip flop, it is important to be yourself from the beginning. Be honest with your abilities and desires. Starting off on a genuine note sets the proper dynamic for you and your employer and colleagues.
The “coup de grâce” of this guide is the oft-difficult mastery of not jumping to conclusions. Just as you might be feeling anxious to present yourself in the right way, your colleagues are going through the same thing. You need to find your place in the office, so it is important to come up with a realistic timeframe for seeing the true picture. It is easy to hop on a bandwagon at work just because everyone else is but that might not be the best play. You might be blinded by the initial bells and whistles and then next thing you know, you are somewhere you don’t want to be. So the only way to truly find your spot is by owning the first two steps. Now if you are listening and being genuine, the appropriate method of how to conduct your business and how you fit in will reveal itself.
There is a reason that the notion of things “falling into place” is a popular one, and it’s because that’s how the universe works. It applies to people too, but only if you are listening to the people around you and responding in a genuine fashion. So please take my guide to heart while you walk through the front doors of your new company, and get ready to climb that corporate ladder.
Article by Alston Chiang, Practice Manager at Jobspring New York
Jobspring Partners is a staffing agency that only promotes from within, and moving from an entry-level employee to a manager can happen quickly, or it can take some time. In my case, it happened within a year and a half. The stages of growth are exciting and at times overwhelming as the job functionalities change drastically.
A year and a half ago I moved from San Francisco to New York City in nine days to open up a brand new recruiting team focused on UX, UI, and Product Management. I had to hire a sales team, train them, build a pipeline of business, and recruit candidates in a completely unknown market in a town that was foreign to me. My biggest insecurity was managing a staff that was my own age, and possibly even older than me. How would they respect me if they knew I was the same age as them? Could we have a relationship that went beyond peer to peer contact? Would they be motivated to perform?
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To facilitate this process, I came up with a few simple guidelines to ensure success:
1. Set the example – Sales is all about numbers. If you’re team is going to perform, you need to set the example on your own desk. This also means coming to work prepared and showing them how you want the job done. No one will take you seriously if you roll into work 15 minutes late with your shirt untucked.
2. Implement structures that are easy to follow – Hold them accountable for the goals that you set together. Make sure you and your team are actively tracking and discussing progress. Give feedback using concrete facts as opposed to generating feedback that comes from a personal or emotional place.
3. Empathize with your staff – You might be their age, but remember that you have more experience in the field. Use this experience to help guide them while using your age to relate to them on a personal, yet professional level.
Since implementing these guidelines, which actually weren’t that different than the guidelines that my first managers used back in San Francisco, I have been able to find success. Growing pains are common and normal being a new manager and the road certainly hasn’t been easy—people have come and gone just as stress and doubt have ebbed and flowed.
I’ve come to understand that age really is just a number, and that experience is what actually matters. Experience is what gets you promoted and age is an unrelated signifier. Success comes from vision; specifically, your vision to see goals, how to achieve those goals and build confidence based on experiences. Anyone who aims to succeed in their career listens to their mentors. A good mentor guides staff to inspire them to hit their goals.
Above all, I’ve discovered that success is relative. Some days success might mean that your team is dominating the competition, but other days it may mean that you accomplished a simple task. And that’s okay. As a young manager, I’m going through my own growing process and perhaps that has been the biggest success of all.
To this day I’m proud of myself for taking a huge cross-country leap to start my team here in New York. Never be afraid of an opportunity – especially an opportunity to challenge yourself.
Article by Jennifer Setter, Practice Manager in Jobspring New York.
Over the past 7 years, there has been a huge shift in the software technology market. Fortunately, we have made it out of a recession and into a highly profitable market, which has been led by a broad and varying field of technologists. The current unemployment rate for individuals with a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science is less than 2%. This is in comparison to the national unemployment rate of 6.3%.
If you are an experienced software engineer today, you are most likely employed and content in your current situation. If you are a software technology executive, you are most likely starving for talent and perhaps unclear on how to fill your open software positions with good engineers. In other words, the demand is much higher than the supply. While this is a problem for employers, it’s a huge advantage for a software engineer who is passively on the job market. Keeping an ear open to new positions means that you have a lot of power over your own situation—and you will reap the benefits.
Because nearly every software technology company is hiring, you will have your fair share of options, from VC funded start-ups to well-known public organizations. All that you have to consider is what motivates your career. Pin-pointing things such as working in an industry that excites you, learning a new technology, or having a social office space are what will define your next career move. Once you start interviewing with various companies, you will find that you are on the advantageous side an offer negotiation. Since most companies are hiring the passive candidate, you can also expect to see about a 5-7% pay increase from one job to the next. Your options are endless and you won’t know what’s out there until you look.
Anxiety might arise about leaving a current job for a new one: You don’t want to burn bridges or let anyone down. The reality is that everyone makes decisions based on what is best for them, and fortunately, this is something that a good boss will understand. If you have a strong relationship with your boss or coworkers, that relationship will stay intact whether you stay or go. The average lifespan of a software engineer at one job is a year and a half. You will be neither the first nor the last to leave a company that you are personally connected to.
From a company’s perspective, the competitiveness of finding and landing top talent isn’t so glamorous. Like every other shop in town, you want to hire the best talent for your team. If you really want to draw in someone from the upper echelon, you need to be aware of why a prospective employee could be attracted to your company. Are you implementing the latest and greatest technologies? Do you have special perks such as flexible work hours or the ability to work remotely? Many executives are passionate about their product and like to think that the engineer they hire will automatically share that same passion. While this may be true for some companies, they are certainly in the minority. As a company that is looking to hire top-tier software engineers, you must really evaluate the perks that only your company can offer. This is what will reel in the right candidates.
At the end of the day, the technology market is profitable, competitive, and growing rapidly. Engineers are a hot commodity, and they have their fair share of career options with the opportunity to make a lot of money. Technology executives have the opportunity to profit on a market that has unlimited potential, but they have a harsh competition to beat out their competitors. The best product is made when the right people come together with the right companies, and this will only happen when both sides are open to seeing what each can do for the other.
Article by Devon Ellis, Recruiter at Jobspring New York.
Software Development Engineer in Test, or “SDET,” is a position that has gained a lot of notoriety in the past few years. This is the product of a marriage between a standard QA Engineer and a Software Developer. Because of this, there is a lot of gray area as to the duties and responsibilities of a SDET. It has also raised some questions as to what the difference is between a QA Engineer and a SDET. I have had hiring managers ask candidates to identify the differences between a QA Analyst and a QA Engineer during an interview, but things get a little bit more ambiguous when you combine two separate positions with varying responsibilities and create what is now known as a SDET.
At first glance, a SDET may seem identical to an Automation Engineer. One may look at two similar job descriptions, one with the title “QA Automation Engineer” and one looking for a “Software Development Engineer in Test,” and not be able to decipher the differences. This is an accurate observation, and may in fact be the best comparison to make. While many of the tools and languages are the same, such as Selenium, Java, and Jenkins, there are subtle but distinct differences that separate one from the other.
To put it simply, a Software Development Engineer in Test is a developer who works on a test team and not a development team. This is the perfect combination of a developer and a tester. A SDET is someone who not only writes the code, but tests it as well. They are responsible for creating the product from the ground up, and ensuring that they do not put out buggy code. Instead of waiting until the end of the product lifecycle to test the code, SDETs are constantly testing and fixing their own code – they conduct themselves on an Agile lifecycle as opposed to a Waterfall lifecycle. Ideal SDETs will have strong technical, problem solving, and analytical skills. Typically, standard QA Engineers are testers who have little-to-no programming experience. No Computer Science degree is required, and an engineer may not even be exposed to the code, particularly with manual testing. This type of position clearly still exists, but the demand for a more tech-savvy QA Engineer is on the rise.
So what does this mean for the tech community in NYC? This means that there is a new field that has previously been unconquered by engineers. This allows for people who are passionate about producing perfect code to be in the ideal job, where they can have their cake and eat it too. With the influx of SDET careers, this leaves the door wide open for an entirely different type of engineer. If you are a Manual QA Engineer, but want to progress towards becoming a SDET, I suggest you check out some coding courses. Codecademy (www.codecademy.com) is a great place that offers interactive courses on how to program. General Assembly (www.generalassemb.ly) also hosts classes given by professional programmers. These are two great companies in NYC that will help to increase one's potential to break into the SDET market. If you can master the delicate balance between Software Developer and QA Engineer, then you can excel in this market.
Article by Bradley Spencer, Lead Recruiter in Jobspring New York.
New York City is a hotbed for software developers and entrepreneurs alike. With its rich industrial diversity and wealth of talented software professionals, NYC is prime real estate for the ‘next big thing.’ This isn’t much of a secret, and there are a lot of ‘next big things’ out there, so how you stand out against your competition is crucial to bringing on the right hire. You’re competing with a lot of great ideas out there, but if you want to bring in the top talent, you’ll need to shine brighter than your competition.
Developers want to see your vision. If you’re going to convince a developer that you’re the best option, you will need to show him or her some of the cards. Unlimited snacks and dogs in the office are great, but they need to see the facts and proof of concept to feel comfortable taking a leap of faith. The knick-knacks won’t make you standout, but your vision and passion will.
Two hour code tests don’t work. In a highly saturated environment, where top-tier developers are choosing from multiple options, an extensive code test early on will knock you down the list. When a candidate is heavily interviewing, a code test is daunting, and if it comes too early on in the process, it can be a big turnoff out of the gates. Tests serve a purpose, but they should be administered towards the end of a hiring process when a candidate is already ‘bought in’ to your team and product.
Look at long term value vs immediate impact. I understand the urge to be picky and hold out for the perfect fit, however, looking for the perfect match will likely never come. If you’re looking for the candidate coming out of Google or Facebook, you’ll be looking for a while. Rather, look for the essentials in a developer. Do they have the technical chops to get the job done, and can they grow into an essential player at your company down the road?
When you’re ready to move forward with a candidate, it’s important to make the correct offer first. It’s almost always a bad idea to come in lower than a candidate’s asking price. Candidates are turned off by low offers and this will damage the relationship you have built through the interview process, and could potentially knock you out of contention if there are other players in the mix. Most of the time, companies end up eventually getting to the right number, so why not do it from the start?
For early stage startups, finding the right candidate at the right value is crucial and can be a daunting endeavor. It’s important to make candidates see what you see, and your vision for the future of your organization. In the end, they’re taking a leap of faith and buying into you and the foundation you’ve laid out.
Our Jobspring New York team recently utilized their skills and knowledge about the NY tech job market to help recent graduates of a non-profit organization, Per Scholas, get a head start on their career search.
What is Per Scholas?
Per Scholas is a national nonprofit organization that breaks the cycle of poverty by providing technology education, access, training and job placement services for people in low-income communities.
How did we help?
For many Per Scholas students, they either do not have any job search experience whatsoever or do not have job search experience for the IT field. Our network infrastructure team worked to close this gap with the students.
We trained more than ten students on how to build an effective resume, where to start your job search, how to utilize social media and networking for your search, how to effectively work with a recruiting agency, how to identify the right people to reach out to for your search, and how to rock an interview.
While the students were engaged and asking questions throughout the entire presentation, it was obvious which key takeaways were their favorites.
Check out a few key takeaways:
1. Over 2,200 jobs were created in Q2 (2013) in the NYC tech field. This results in a 7.3% gain over Q1. If you didn't already know, it's a great time to be in the NY tech job market!
2. Your LinkedIn account is key. Make sure your profile is 100% complete and your picture is a professional headshot. If possible, beef up your bio with recommendations from prominent people in your past positions.
3. Recruiters can be an excellent tool. Pick 2-3 tech recruiters that you trust so you can stay effectively organized on your job search. A few red flags to look out for when working with recruiters: They ask you to pay a fee. They ask you to sign a contract. They don't provide you with company names.
4. As many of you know, you should always be prepared to ask your interviewer questions. Great question topics include: company culture, interviewer's story, or biggest challenge of the role. Make sure to stay away from anything negative from your prior employer or colleagues during the interview process.
We finished off the event with some delicious pizza and beverages- yum! We're looking forward to partnering with Per Scholas again soon.
Below: Our Network Infrastructure team is getting ready to present.
Below: Per Scholas students excited to start the class!
Interested in having Jobspring Partners come mentor your community on job search advice, interview tips, etc? Email [email protected]. We'd love to help!
Recently, five volunteers from Jobspring Partners went on an adventure to Charity:Water to help give back to NYC's local community. Everyone had a blast!
When our recruiters arrived at Charity:Water's headquarters, the Volunteer Manager gave everyone a tour of the office and described their mission and current reach. We learned a lot. For example, did you know over 800 million people across the world don't have the luxury of clean water? In order to get water, women and children carry 80 pounds of water in yellow fuel cans. They dig in sand for dirty water, or line up at a well and wait eight hours for a turn.
This need gave way to this amazing organization. Charity:Water is a non profit organization bringing clean water and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. In the past 7 years, they've funded 9,015 water projects in over 20 countries.
Our team of recruiters spent a few hours helping the Charity:Water team stuff newsletters for their thousands of donators across the country.
Although we only made a small impact, we hope to have helped make a big difference in many lives!
If you would like to learn more about Charity:water and their mission, visit their website at http://www.charitywater.org/.
Last Thursday evening, Tech in Motion NYC held their first panel discussion: Women in Tech. With over 200 attendees and 7 brilliant panelists, the event was a huge success.
The event kicked off with a special guest appearance by Rachel Sklar, one of the founders of Sheryl Sandberg's new movement: Lean In. Not only was Rachel one of the founding editors at Huffington Post and Mediaite, but she is also the co-founder of Change the Ratio and TheLi.st (in beta).
After Rachel spoke about the Lean In movement, the highly anticpated panel kicked off.
Some of the audience's favorite discussions were as follows:
Carol Mirakove, the head of quality assurance at link-shortening site Bitly has worked as a leader in the tech industry for more than a decade, and though she says her current job is a great place for women, others have been the opposite. At previous jobs, office chat rooms and email lists would be filled with sexual and misogynistic jokes and images, she recalled.
Merrill Beth Ferguson, the VP of technology as Jirafe, agrees. "There are so many incidents in my career of guys saying stuff like that," she said. "It does occasionally go too far. It's the rare occasion that I have thought there was anything going on other than cluelessness."
Nikki Stevens, Director of Engineering at Refinery 29, addressed another hurdle that women deal with in the workplace: negotiating their self worth. Prior to starting with Refinery 29, Nikki was able to negotitate herself a $20,000 raise. She suggests, "Nobody wants to tell you how much they make, but they're willing to tell you how much you should make." So she approached people (particularly men) she worked with and asked, "How much do you think I'm worth?", and they gave her numbers.
Want to learn more about the event? Check out the highlight video!
Tech In Motion | Women In Tech from David Alex Films on Vimeo.
Stay updated with Tech in Motion by becoming a member at http://www.meetup.com/techinmotionnyc/.