IT Staffing

IT Management: Should You Hire Externally or Train Existing Employees?

by Jeanne Knutzen | October 10, 2013

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Almost every business owner or decision maker will eventually face some version of a universal staffing question: Is it wiser and more cost effective to launch an external search for new managers? Or can the best candidates usually be found among existing teams? Should candidates be sourced through national job boards, or groomed and trained through an existing internal pipeline? This can be an especially challenging question in the IT field. Excellent IT employees usually possess strong technical skill sets, some of which can take years to acquire, but technical and programming skills don’t automatically translate into management skills. And IT leaders often make the mistake of promoting employees to management positions based on their technical performance. Before you take this route or decide to do the opposite and focus your search outside the company, ask yourself these three critical questions. How much time do you have to fill the gap? If you have the luxury of time, you can start cultivating leadership skills in high potential employees who won’t officially step into management roles for months or even years. When you’re faced with an open position, you can carefully evaluate candidates drawn from both internal and external sources, and simply chose the candidate that best meets your established criteria. But be cautious; if internally trained and groomed employees know that they’re competing with outsiders for management positions, they may resent taking a subordinate position to the applicant who represents you final choice. Are you dealing with a skills issue or capacity problem? Do you simply need managers to handle budgets, schedules, motivation, and workflow for a growing group of employees? Or do you need managers who can address skill-based performance problems and direct employees on the finer points of specific programming issues? If capacity is your primary concern, outside candidates with no need for management training may be easier to find. But if skills are your focus, trusted and proven internal employees may be a better bet. Will your decision be a short or long term goal? Where would you like this decision to take the company in six months? How about five years? If one matters far more than the other (if, for example, you have a very short term, high-demand project to complete for a single client), then you’ll need to factor this into your decision to mentor and train an internal candidate or hire from the outside, possibly through a respected staffing firm. For more information and guidance that can help you resolve tricky management questions like this one, reach out to the Seattle IT staffing experts at Pace. If you are looking for information technology employment agencies in Seattle, contact Pace today.

An Optimistic Outlook for IT Job Seekers

by Jeanne Knutzen | August 20, 2013

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As the economy slowly recovers and the pace of hiring returns to pre-recession levels, some industry sectors are bouncing back faster than others. Some of the fastest growing hotspots are occurring in fields like healthcare, hospitality, retail, and food service, and the pace of hiring in these sectors varies widely by geographic area. But in almost every area of the country, employers are looking high and low for highly qualified candidates in IT. IT hiring is on the rise and is expected to remain strong for the rest of 2013 and most of 2014. New IT jobs are opening up in every industry, and salaries for these positions are on the rise. As employers start dialing up the search for talented candidates, candidates hold a wider range of options, which means a stronger hand at the bargaining table. Why So Much Expansion in IT? There are several reasons why IT hiring seems to be on fire, and some of these reasons vary by industry. In healthcare, for example, IT pros are in rising demand as new regulations like the Affordable Care Act shift into place and patient records become more portable and accessible. These changes mean an increased need for data security and also updated infrastructures to manage patient health information. In other fields, from finance to manufacturing, baby boomer employees are heading into retirement in waves, leaving companies struggling to replace them and looking for ways to transfer institutional knowledge to the next generation. In the meantime, a growing interest in mobile accessibility and cloud computing are taking businesses by storm, and managers are rushing to provide their clients and customers with company information via mobile phones, apps, and tablets. In-Demand IT Skills If you have the IT background to help employers handle the challenges above, your skills are becoming increasingly valuable. At this point, employers seem most interested in IT candidates who can: 1. Understand, maintain and update data security infrastructures 2. Help company leaders choose internet access and data management providers by comparing costs and plans 3. Help companies mobile optimize their websites and marketing platforms 4. Build new mobile applications from the ground up. If you possess any of the skill sets listed above, employers are waiting to hear from you. Make sure your background in these areas features prominently in your resume and other aspects of your job search strategy. For specific help with this process, make an appointment with the Seattle IT staffing experts at Pace.

A Bright Spot in the Software Market: Data Analytics

by Jeanne Knutzen | July 12, 2013

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The global enterprise software market may be experiencing a general slowdown across multiple sectors, but there’s one area that seems to be generating a disproportionate degree of optimism: data analytics. These include data delivery systems, security platforms, CRM applications, collaborative applications, and network management software. While the rest of the software market experienced a 2012 growth rate of roughly half the rate of 2011 and 2010, these areas underwent a surge of about seven percent. The market for new technologies and software solutions is becoming increasingly multi-layered, with certain selective areas experiencing higher demand while others stagnate. Big Data, led by Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, and SAP, appears to be one of these focused areas. The desire to manage and leverage information is driving this demand, and in their hunger for reliable infrastructures, companies are pouring vast investments into network-management tools. The firms listed above have been spending the last two years increasing their storage software offerings and adding customization options and scalability to their existing infrastructures, security tools, and product suites. These efforts were launched in anticipation of burgeoning growth in these areas, and they seem to be paying off. Companies taking advantage of increasingly sophisticated CRM platforms, for example, are turning their software investments into hard conversions and appear to have no regrets. According to the same types of ethnographic research and marketing studies that predicted these outcomes, the next wave of both data management and customer management will happen in the areas of social business software and mobile optimization. This may be a wise moment to consider adopting social business strategy, or a redirect of social media tools for business use. Meanwhile, businesses are also scrambling to bring their ecommerce platforms and CRM tools to mobile devices, including smartphones, tablets, and e-readers. The Seattle staffing experts at PACE can help you attract talented IT professionals to help develop your data analytics. Contact PACE to utilize our network and resources in the Seattle tech industry.

Technical Interviews: Make the Most of the Process

by Jeanne Knutzen | May 7, 2013

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Technical interviews are a common part of the job selection process within fields that demand programming skill. While no responsible hiring manager bases an entire hiring decision on technical questions alone, they nevertheless provide employers with a few key insights into a candidate’s readiness, insights that can’t be drawn from a resume, a cover letter, a work sample or a set of questions dealing with personality and behavior. Technical interview questions may begin with a candidate being handed a marker and a whiteboard and asked to solve an algorithm problem. Candidates might be asked to write the binary search algorithm or write code that will rotate an array in place without requiring additional memory. Sometimes candidates will be asked to find the longest palindrome in a string, or solve troubleshooting problems. The First Rule of Technical Interviews: Keep a Cool Head The entire concept of a technical interview often upsets, intimidates, or makes candidates feel a little resentful. After all, most experienced code writers and programmers know that when these problems arise on the job, the answers can easily be looked up. Even the most talented and experienced employees don’t usually carry these solutions and algorithms around in their heads. But when employers ask these questions, they aren’t just looking for straightforward answers. In fact, simply pulling the solution out by rote or from memory won’t really do anything to win them over. Instead, interviewers are presenting these questions in order to expose a candidate to a real world problem and observe the steps she takes to break the problem down and find a solution on her own. So the best way to prepare for this kind of interview won’t come from memorizing every possible answer to every coding problem imaginable. Instead, candidates should keep a cool head and call upon their experience, basic logical ability, and reasoning skills. Prepare for your interview by practicing with a friend, preferably a friend with some relevant technical experience. And remember that even if your potential employers put you on the spot by presenting you with real-time coding problems, they’ll balance your response to these questions with the details of your entire profile. If you looking for IT development positions in the Seattle area, contact the staffing experts at PACE today!

5 Tips for IT Managers: Hold Onto Your Millennial Employees

by Jeanne Knutzen | March 9, 2013

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Having members of the millennial generation on your team can provide an incredible boost to your bottom line and plenty of intangible benefits for your workplace culture. Millennials—the post collegiate workers at the youngest end of the age spectrum in the professional world—are generally a delight to have on board. Young workers need managers with a distinct approach to retention, one that may not apply as well to mid-career, gen X, and older workers. Here are a few steps that can help keep talented young workers on your team as they gain experience.

Tips for Retaining Millennial IT Employees

1. Pay attention to where they’re headed. Most post collegiate workers don’t expect to stay with their current employers for very long. A first job is first job, and you can expect your millennials to get restless and make a move within one to five years. If you want to hold onto them, be ready for this, stay in touch with their personal career goals, and make sure you have room available for in-house advancement when the time comes.

2. Offer flexibility. Younger workers usually prefer freedom and flexibility over money, retirement plans, and job security. This doesn’t mean you have carte blanche to underpay and exploit them in exchange for offering dress-down Fridays. But it does mean you’ll get positive results if you let them work from home whenever possible and allow them to use their personal devices on your network.

3. Respect their devices. Let them use their iPhones and tablets while at work if this use doesn’t undermine productivity. (This doesn’t mean you can expect them to use their own devices to accomplish work related tasks. If you do this, you’ll need to contribute to their data plans.)

4. Listen to their crazy ideas. Young people don’t know very much about how the world, or this business, really works. But their ignorance sometimes makes them brilliant. Tune in. Encourage them to express their ideas, risk failure, try new things, and speak up when they may have something to offer.

5. Provide them with structure. Just because they seem bold and free spirited doesn’t mean they are. All young people experience uncertainty now and then, but the members of this generation in particular are known for their highly sheltered, over-validated upbringings. They may sometimes chafe against the training wheels and restrictions placed on them, but before you send them out on their own, give them very clear instructions, rules with consequences, and the assurance of support.

Hire millennial workers who will make you proud, and once you bring them on board, take all the steps necessary to train them, encourage them, and retain them as their skill sets grow. Pace Staffing can help. Reach out to our office for more ways to get the most out of your post collegiate workforce.

IT Employment Grows Briskly in January

by Jeanne Knutzen | February 19, 2013

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According to a press release from TechServe Alliance, a collaboration of IT service firms, clients, consultants and suppliers, IT employment set another all-time high in January with an increase of 15,800 jobs. IT employment has grown by over 4% since January 2012. "Despite the lingering uncertainty with the U.S. and global economies, I anticipate demand for IT professionals will remain robust throughout 2013," said Mark Roberts, CEO of TechServe.