- November 10, 2015
Open source software was tough for many companies to accept, originally. It didn’t come shrink-wrapped with a vendor’s warranty and support contract behind it. That’s changed; open source software products are widely accepted and used throughout business. Some companies have even adopted open source development as a method for creating their own enterprise software. This is a big adjustment for companies that are used to top-down control over software projects, due to the collaborative, self-directed nature of open source.
Open Source Project Methodology
Open source projects have three main phases: initiation, evolution, and releasing. During the initiation phase, the problem is described, volunteers are sought, and a solution is identified. During evolution, code is written and reviewed. During releasing, the package is released.
That’s not significantly different from the method most software organizations use, except for work being done by volunteers, instead of assigned employees. Another major difference is that requirements are usually not developed at the beginning of the project; they are determined based on the earlier releases.
The final key difference is that the volunteers on an open source project are typically widely geographically scattered. Communication is almost entirely through email and online forums. Projects rely heavily on software like source code control systems, bug trackers, testing tools and packaging utilities to manage code, ensure quality, and create a reliable distribution.
Open Source Project Methodology Applied to the Enterprise
For enterprises, the biggest value of open source methodology may be the communication aspects. Although most software developers are located in close physical proximity in an enterprise, the electronic communications of the open source method provide valuable ongoing documentation of the project’s state.
The biggest challenge of open source methodology for an enterprise is the apparent lack of control. By not documenting requirements upfront, but allowing them to evolve, and by not assigning teams to a project but allowing workers to self-assign, businesses surrender some control over how the project is defined. At the same time, by surrendering control to the developers who actually do the work, businesses grant them freedom to innovate.
For mission-critical projects, companies may not be able to take chances with the experiment-and-evolve open source approach. For other projects, giving employees freedom to experiment and collaborate offers the possibility of creating software that more effectively meets the company’s needs.
To succeed in technology, you need the right professionals pursuing the right opportunities at the right time. Promptly making crucial connections among people, objectives, and solutions often separates winners from losers. At Vital Professional Services, our team delivers candidates who are second to none. Contact us today!
- November 3, 2015
Networking is often suggested as a way to make contacts that can help you; in other words, it’s about what you can get out of it. But relationships in a network go two ways; for you to get something, someone has to give something. The wonderful thing about networking is that even the person who “gives” gets something from the experience.
Raise Your Profile
Networking when you don’t need something specific is a great way to keep your name out there and raise your visibility. When you approach others later, they’re already familiar with you, and since people like to do business with people they already know and trust, you have an advantage.
Increase Your Confidence
Expanding your network means making new connections. This means reaching out and initiating contact with strangers, and getting comfortable in conversations with people in important positions. As you gain ease with these interactions, it carries over to your other interactions, whether in job interviews or presentations.
Sustained networking relationships can develop into genuine friendships and sources of support. The people you give advice to today are happy to return the favor when you need some help yourself. Having a ready group you can turn to means you don’t have to struggle with issues on your own.
When you share your knowledge and opinions with your network, you’ll receive their feedback and opinions. Their experiences may be different from yours, and can offer perspectives and insight you wouldn’t otherwise have.
It’s a scientific fact: Doing things for others simply feels good. Studies have found that “giving” increases happiness.
Networking is an effective way to make contacts for your business, but remember that the people you meet are people. Interact with them on a personal level, give a little bit of yourself, and you’ll enjoy the experience more, and gain more in the process. Staffing agencies like Vital Professional Services have a large network of job candidates to draw on; network with us to gain access to that network and find your next new hire.
Contact our great team of recruiters today to get started with a top staffing agency in the Bay Area!
- October 28, 2015
In June 2015, a court determined that an Uber driver was an employee, not a contractor. Cases like this are becoming more common as the gig economy grows. Misclassifying workers has both legal and financial consequences for employers.
Employee Benefits and Employer Obligations
Workers who are classified as employees participate in the employer’s benefit programs, such as medical insurance and 401K savings plans. Some benefits are at the employer’s discretion, while others, such as job protection under FMLA, are mandatory.
In addition to providing benefits directly to employees, employers have financial obligations to their employees, such as paying the mandatory minimum wage and complying with overtime laws. The employer pays the unemployment tax and workers compensation insurance. The employer withholds taxes from the employees’ paychecks and pays additional social security taxes.
Because these financial and legal obligations can be costly, businesses sometimes look to avoid them by classifying workers as contractors. They don’t receive company benefits, and the contractors or their agency are responsible for their own tax payment. However, companies can’t simply classify a worker as a contractor in order to save money. There are legal standards the IRS applies to determine whether a worker is truly a contractor or is, in fact, an employee.
Determining If a Worker Is a Contractor
Several factors need to be considered when deciding how an employee’s position is labeled.
- Is the work a core part of the business? A worker who performs a role that’s integral to the business is more likely to be an employee.
- Does the worker control how many hours they work, which assignments they accept, and how the work is performed? If the worker performs work act the dictate of the company, they are not likely to be seen as an independent contractor.
- Does the company provide all the tools and equipment needed to perform the job? If the worker does not provide their own tools and materials, or they purchase them for use at only a single workplace, the worker is more likely to be viewed as an employee.
- Is the relationship temporary or long-term? A worker and business with a long term work relationship, particularly if the worker performs services for only that company, is likely to be viewed as an employee/employer relationship.
Third-Party Staffing Agencies Protect Companies
One common way companies protect themselves from the possibility of misclassifying workers is to hire their contractors through a staffing agency. The contractor is an employee of the agency, which handles the legal and financial obligations. Working with an agency in this way lets companies have the flexibility of a temporary, contract staff without the risk of being accused of misclassifying workers.
We Place Contractors and Employees in Information Technology
We promise to help talented people and respected companies come together through creative and conscientious recruitment solutions. Contact Vital Professional Services today to find out how we can help today!
- October 21, 2015
Knowing your customer is key to succeeding in business. That’s the reason behind the growth of customer relationship management (CRM) software. By providing sales data and tracking customer interactions, CRM software provides information to help companies manage and grow their relationships.
Because so much business now takes place outside the office, CRM software needs to be accessible outside the office, as well. Having the data available is helpful, but there are challenges as well. Smartphones and tablets have limited screen space, so it can be hard for users to access some data. There are also security and privacy concerns.
For most companies, though, the advantages of using mobile CRM outweigh the disadvantages. Keep the following in mind as you plan your usage strategy:
- Know what you need the CRM to provide. Identify which end users need the mobile CRM access and what functionality will be useful to them. Is merely providing contact information enough, or do they need full access to sales history and product information? Some of the data users want in the field may be contained in your enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. If that’s the case, look for a product that will easily integrate with your other corporate systems.
- Will it be easy to use the software? Make sure your mobile CRM package is easy to use, despite limited screen size. It should take advantage of phone features like touchscreens and navigate through pages by swipes rather than a series of menus. It’s important to be able to easily sort and filter records given in spite of how few can be displayed at once. Most CRM users won’t need to enter much data while out of the office, but the CRM should make this as easy as possible.
- Does the mobile CRM provide additional features? If your field personnel need to take images, the mobile CRM should make it easy to upload them directly from the device. You may want the ability to capture data associated with GPS coordinates.
Once you know what functionality you need in a mobile CRM package, make sure it addresses your security and privacy concerns. Company-issued devices can be held to compliance standards, but you also need some control over BYOD devices, including the ability to remotely wipe data. Ensure standards such as strong passwords are enforced. Choose an enterprise-grade mobile CRM which securely stores customer information on the backend. You may wish to conduct an ethical hack or penetration test to identify any security vulnerabilities.
The advantages of staff having CRM access out in the field are significant. Being able to look up customer and product information can mean having the answer to a question immediately, rather than needing to get back to the customer after getting back to the office. That level of service can make the difference between losing a customer … or keeping them.
Filling IT Jobs in California
More than 99 percent of candidates settle for jobs they don’t consider ideal, rather than thriving in their career. We place candidates who want to thrive and don’t settle. Contact Vital Professional Services today!
- October 15, 2015
Nondiscrimination is the law, but even if it weren’t, having a diverse workplace makes business sense. Different backgrounds and different experiences inform different points of view. Those different points of view lead to unique ideas and innovation that can help your business succeed.
There are challenges as well as benefits to having a diverse workforce. Because everyone doesn’t share the same background, they don’t share the same frames of reference and assumptions. It’s easy for misunderstandings to arise. Things that seem innocuous to members of the majority, like holiday decorations, can seem exclusionary to minorities.
Before you start planning to develop a diverse workforce, realize the extent of diversity. In today’s world, diversity is about more than simply race. It also relates to gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, marital status, family status, and disability. Physical appearance doesn’t always tell you where someone falls, and the conclusion you draw based on physical appearance may not match the person’s own self definition.
Hiring Diverse Staff
Seek out a diverse staff by broadening your recruiting efforts. Don’t just wait for candidates to respond to your job postings. Reach out to community organizations and non-profits.
Make sure candidates know they’ll feel comfortable in your company’s culture. Your website can emphasize features that let diverse workers know you can accommodate their needs for things like alternate holidays.
Retaining Diverse Staff
Once they’ve joined your staff, the environment needs to make them want to stay. For some protected classes, the law requires reasonable accommodations. Make sure you have policies and know how to respond to requests.
Diversity training is important; everyone needs to know both that diversity is valued and that people are hired based on their qualifications. Try to get input from as many employees as possible when you develop your diversity plan, as that will help its acceptance.
Make sure all management, from the top down, is committed to supporting diversity. Managers may need training to understand effective techniques for managing different employees. The methods that work with younger employees may not be as effective with other staff, for instance.
Your employees’ day-to-day interactions with their direct manager and their peers will have the most impact on their perception of your commitment. It’s important that managers create environments where everyone feels their opinions and contributions are heard and valued. When opinions are discounted, you risk missing out on a good idea, and ultimately losing a good employee as well.
Finding Jobs in the Bay Area
To succeed in business, you need the right professionals pursuing the right opportunities at the right time. Vital Professional Services finds those right professionals for your company. Contact us today!
- October 7, 2015
Job descriptions tend to emphasize the IT skills needed for tech positions. Businesses look for acronyms on resumes and ask candidates to have multiple years of experience in each technology.
Going beyond the obvious technical skills, some companies realize the need for soft skills. Technical projects require teamwork, so being able to get along with colleagues and communicate effectively are key.
Fewer companies look for IT job candidates with business skills, but they should. IT used to be separate from the business and served solely as a support role. Now, however, IT functions are crucial to business development, business operations and business success. IT workers who can bring business skills to their work can make contributions that shape the direction of the business.
Business Insights Plus Technical Knowledge Yield Actionable Strategies
Companies often look to business analysts to bridge the gap between technology and business employees, but while they understand the tech better than the business team, they usually lack a deep understanding of its capabilities—particularly when speaking of new technologies that haven’t been integrated into the business yet. It’s here where technical employees with business and industry knowledge can contribute most: they can envision the possibilities of using new technology to help the business generate new revenue, in addition to ways to use existing tech more effectively.
Figuring out whether those possibilities are worth pursuing requires understanding business finance and being able to calculate the ROI of spending time and money on a project. Convincing others of the value requires more than just crunching the numbers; it requires communication and negotiation skills.
Finding Candidates Who Understand Business
To find candidates with these business skills, look at their resumes. Engineering-oriented degrees tend to focus more on technical issues, while degrees in business or information science take a broader focus.
Also explore their work history. Have they worked in your industry before? Probe to see their awareness of nontechnical happenings. If they’ve worked in other industries, do they describe their projects and achievements in strictly technical terms, or do they discuss the benefit to their employer? Can they point to any projects they initiated? Find out how they got their employer’s buy-in and support.
Cross-Train Your Own Employees
You can also urge your current employees to increase their business knowledge. Company support for ongoing education, including tuition reimbursement, encourages additional study. Business managers can make presentations to the technical staff.
It can even be helpful to “embed” technical staff with the business or operations staff for a day or two to give them an up-close-and-personal view of what those units need to accomplish on a daily basis. Any creative tech worker will be inspired by that experience to dream up multiple ways to improve the technology the business uses. Just make sure you’re willing to listen to ideas that originate from the tech side of the house.
Finding Top IT Candidates
To succeed in technology, you need the right professionals pursuing the right opportunities at the right time. Our team delivers candidates who are second to none. Contact Vital Professional Services today!
- September 29, 2015
The hardest part of hiring is attracting the right applicants. In most cases, the only tool you have to get their attention is the job description. Even candidates who are told about a job by friends or recruiters will want to see the job description to decide whether to apply. Because of this, writing effective job descriptions is key to hiring effectively.
Create an Appealing Job Title
Make sure the title you use reflects whether the job is junior or senior level, and whether the role is as a manager, lead, or individual contributor. Use terms that are meaningful outside your organization — the job title is probably the first thing a candidate will see and if they don’t understand what it means, they may not read any further.
Narrow the Required Skills List
Before you start writing the job description, take time to reflect and define the job. This means deciding which skills are necessary and which are just nice to have. A job description that lists too many mandatory technologies can scare off candidates who aren’t experts in all those areas.
Describe What Doing the Job Really Means
Listing the required skills doesn’t really tell the candidate what they’ll do from day-to-day on the job. Paint a picture that shows how the skills will help the company achieve business goals. Don’t use company terminology, though; the candidate needs to understand what you mean so they can see how the job will contribute to the company and why the role is important.
Talk About the Opportunity for the Candidate
While some job seekers are just looking for a job, most want their next position to offer them growth, challenges, and movement along the career path they envision for themselves. The job description should help candidates see how this position will help them achieve long-term career goals.
Help Candidates See How They Fit In
Describe the company’s culture and its values to help prospective employees understand what it’s like to work for the company, what distinguishes it from other potential employers with similar opportunities, and whether they would feel comfortable in this work environment.
Describe Benefits and Compensation
Since the point of a job description is to attract candidates, an ad that doesn’t at least mention comp numbers seems as if it’s hiding something. Even if you don’t want to give a specific salary range, stating that compensation is “Competitive” indicates you don’t intend to make a lowball offer.
Our team delivers candidates who are second to none. Filling your company’s contract, contract-to-hire, or direct hire positions is a challenge we take personally. Contact the great team at Vital Professional Services today to find out how we can help all of your employment needs.