The Vital Professional

  • Recognize Quality LinkedIn Recommendations

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    Vital-TouchTablet1000x300LinkedIn is a terrific resource for finding job candidates, but as with any resource, it’s important to carefully evaluate the information it provides. The endorsements and recommendations on a profile tell you what others think of this candidate’s skills, but not everyone’s opinion is equally important. Consider the following to decide how strongly to weight the recommendations on a candidate’s profile.

    Who provided the recommendation?

    Recommendations from a former manager or colleague are more meaningful than recommendations from other connections. Some recommendations may be obviously fake; others simply come from people who don’t know the candidate well enough to provide a useful evaluation. You can look at the recommender’s profile to see if the candidate gave them a recommendation in return; these “back to back” recommendations are often done as favors and don’t have much value.

    Is the recommendation specific?

    A generic comment such as “Bob is a reliable, hard worker” doesn’t provide any meaningful information. Comments that refer to the candidate’s specific contributions to a project let you consider how the candidate could make similar contributions at your company.

    Is the recommendation relevant?

    While recommenders can’t comment on every skill the candidate has, if the comments don’t mention the skills you are looking for, that may mean the candidate doesn’t have outstanding experience in that area.

    Besides looking at each recommendation individually, look at them as a group. If the candidate has worked for multiple companies but all their recommendations come from just one firm, this may just mean they haven’t updated their profile in a while — or it might mean they didn’t have a consistent level of success across all the companies they worked for.

    The quantity of recommendations isn’t nearly as significant as their content. Some candidates actively seek out recommendations and endorsements on LinkedIn, while others don’t. It may be more impressive to receive three unsolicited recommendations compared to a half-dozen solicited ones. Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell what prompted the recommender to make their comment.

    You also shouldn’t rely on LinkedIn’s recommendations as your only source of references for a candidate. Continue to ask candidates to provide contact information for references; then go ahead and call them. An interactive conversation is certain to provide more insight than a few sentences on any website.

    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. Warm bodies fill chairs, not needs. At Vital Professional Services, we will find you the best candidates for your open positions.

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  • When Should Your Company Use SaaS?

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    Vital-MouseFingers1000x300The subscription model of Software as a Service has led many companies to adopt it, primarily as a cost-saving measure. Since the software can be accessed via any browser, companies don’t need high-powered desktop systems to run it. Support costs are reduced because the software doesn’t need to be deployed to every user’s machine. All users are automatically upgraded to the latest version when the vendor provides it.

    Despite the cost savings and simpler support, software as a service isn’t always the appropriate choice. Companies should consider the following factors to decide whether a specific SaaS application is suitable:

    • What function is it providing? Many instances of SaaS support basic corporate processes such as HR functions and payroll. SaaS is appropriate for these kinds of routine processes that don’t provide your business a competitive advantage. While SaaS may be configurable, it isn’t customizable or unique to you.
    • Does it provide the features you need? As with any software, make sure you know the features you require. Fortunately, SaaS vendors usually offer a trial period. You should take advantage of this. Don’t simply “play around” with the product; use it in a structured way and make sure it can support processes you run only once or twice a year as well as your daily routine.
    • Do you need access from everywhere? A major advantage of SaaS is that it can be accessed from anywhere, not just your corporate network. For certain kinds of applications, the ability to use it without being on the network may be a major benefit.
    • Does it integrate with your other systems? SaaS often works best when it doesn’t need to integrate with your other applications. There’s limited ability to customize it to meet other systems’ requirements.
    • Will your data be secure? When you use SaaS, the data is stored on the SaaS vendor’s servers, not your own. Before using the application to manage confidential or sensitive data, be certain you understand how it will be protected.
    • Do you retain ownership of your data? Make sure you retain ownership of any data you create or store through the application. Also, understand how you will be able to recover your data and transfer it to another application if you decide to cancel the subscription service.

    As with any technology purchase, review your options before choosing a SaaS vendor. While you aren’t as locked into the software as when you purchase licenses and install on your own machines, it’s better to make the right choice the first time than to have to transition to a new product if things don’t work out.

    The simple truth is: more than 99 percent of candidates settle for jobs they don’t consider ideal, rather than thriving in their career. Contact the great team at Vital Professional Services to get started on your ideal career today!

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  • Do You Know How to Manage Remote Workers?

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    Vital-ComputerTouchBadTie1000x667pxThere are two main challenges for managers in working with remote employees. The first is overseeing the work the remote workers perform. The second is making sure those remote workers feel like part of the team. Take these steps to help your remote staff contribute to your project’s success.

    Have a Plan

    Project plans are critical to the success of every project, especially those where workers aren’t locally based. Everyone needs to know what work they are responsible for and what the deadlines are. Having a full project plan means work won’t grind to a halt if a question comes up and time zone differences prevent getting an immediate answer; the workers can move on to another one of their responsibilities while they wait for a response.

    Define a Process

    Besides knowing what work needs to be done, remote workers need to know how the work needs to be done. Provide a clear explanation of processes that apply, as well as the exceptions. Make sure remote workers know who to ask when there’s a question about how to proceed.

    Provide the Necessary Tools

    Getting workers all the equipment, software, and application access they need can be complicated when they aren’t at the office, but it’s necessary if they’re going to be productive. They’ll need access to project and departmental documents also, so make sure those reside on a shared file system or in the cloud so they can be readily accessed.

    Communicate Frequently

    When dealing with on-site staff, frequent check-ins can feel like micromanagement. With offsite staff, the only way to know what’s going on is to communicate often. Use email and telephone conferences, including videoconferences, to communicate official matters. For informal subjects, instant messaging lends itself to quick questions and casual chatter — the kinds of things you’d briefly stop into someone’s office to ask.

    Treat Remote Workers As People

    Don’t neglect your remote employees’ career development. Find out their career aspirations and work with them to define development goals and an achievable career path. But don’t limit conversations with your remote team to business subjects. Small talk helps you get to know about their lives outside the office and to know them as people. Allow some time for your remote team to just chat with you and the rest of the team. Business relationships work better when there’s a personal relationship, too.

    We promise to help talented people and respected companies come together through creative and conscientious recruitment solutions. Contact our great team today as we help place Bay Area jobs with the right professionals for the right opportunities.

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  • Motivate Your Team to Do More Than the Minimum

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    Vital-Course3to2It’s great when your employees do their jobs. It’s even better when your employees go beyond their job description to really excel. Part of a manager’s job is to motivate employees to do more than the minimum. Some of that motivation may come from bonuses and pay raises, but usually it takes more than money to get employees to do their best.

    Demonstrate Caring About the People and the Project

    People put in more effort when they care about a project and the people involved. When managers demonstrate that they care about the project and the people, employees absorb that attitude.

    Managers need to keep the team up-to-date about what’s going on with the project and the broader context around it. They need to speak individually with team members who are affected by changes or who are struggling with challenges (work or personal) to help them find ways to cope and mitigate the impact.

    When higher-ups in senior management express interest in a project, that really demonstrates the significance and importance of a project, so try to get someone “important” to talk to the team about the value of the work.

    Encourage Employees to Grow

    Companies that support employee development through training and tuition reimbursement show employees that the company wants them to learn new skills and apply them at work. Encouraging employees to pursue interests that aren’t immediately applicable to project work also is motivating.

    Helping employees develop interpersonal skills is another motivational tactic. Employees who don’t feel comfortable speaking up or dealing with conflict will shy away from some kinds of challenges. When they develop skills to cope with those situations, they’re able to contribute in many more ways.

    Supporting development doesn’t have to come through training, though. Official and unofficial mentoring can also show the employee that the company values them.

    Trust Employees to Get the Work Done

    Nothing kills motivation faster than being micromanaged. If the only way to do the work is your way, employees have absolutely no reason to be creative and stretch beyond the bounds of their assignment. Trust your team to get the work done — make sure the structure and requirements are clear, but let employees do their work their way.

    When possible, let employees stretch their skills by assigning work that’s slightly more complex or slightly outside the range of work they’ve completed previously. Besides motivating employees to develop the skills to complete the new tasks, varying the work keeps the project more interesting, which is motivating in itself.

    To succeed in business, you need the right professionals pursuing the right opportunities at the right time. Vital Professional Services will help with pursuit and guide your company to the best candidates for your organization. Contact one of the top Bay Area recruiters today to get started.

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  • Should You Consider Relocating a Job Candidate?

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    Vital-ComputerTouchBadTie1000x667pxCompanies are often encouraged to cast a wide net to find the best candidate for a job. Usually this means using a lot of platforms for recruiting: the company’s job board, LinkedIn, etc. Sometimes though, if a company is having trouble finding a suitable local job candidate, you may need to expand the geographical area you recruit in as well. While some non-local candidates may be planning to relocate on their own, in most cases, your company will need to pay for relocation to persuade a remote candidate to accept an offer. Because of the additional cost associated with relocation, keep the following factors in mind.

    Have you spent enough time looking locally?

    Maybe you’ll find a good candidate locally if you keep looking. People’s circumstances change all the time, and someone who wasn’t open to a new opportunity yesterday might be in the job market tomorrow. On the other hand, there are costs associated with leaving positions unfilled. You need to weigh those costs against the costs of a candidate who needs relocation.

    Does the candidate need a very specific skill set?

    It may be the case that the job requires a very specific skill that’s not in common use. If that’s true, it’s possible that simply looking longer in your local area won’t turn up suitable candidates. You may need to look for candidates near specialized educational programs, or in areas that have adopted that technology more widely. You should also consider whether you could train a generally well-qualified candidate in the necessary skills, rather than continuing to look for someone who is already trained.

    What happens if the candidate doesn’t work out?

    Relocation expenses typically involve temporary housing, assistance finding permanent housing, and moving the new hire’s entire household. You will likely need to pay for the candidate to come to interview, and possibly for a visit to look for housing before they start the job. If you hire the candidate, you should have an agreement regarding whether any of these costs need to be reimbursed if the employee quits or is terminated within a specified period of time.

    When a company is recruiting non-local candidates, it’s particularly important to have an effective pre-screening process using phone or video interviews and online tests to assess skill. These tools can let you weed out candidates who appear good on paper but don’t have the necessary skills. It’s also helpful to have an honest discussion about the location and lifestyle to check that it would be a good match in advance of bringing the candidate on site for an interview. If you do get to the point of bringing them in, be prepared to pay for an extra night in the hotel to give them an opportunity to explore the local area. It’s far better for a candidate to realize they don’t want to live in your town before they take the job.

    At Vital Professional Services, we strive for excellence. We promise to help talented people and respected companies come together through creative and conscientious recruitment solutions. Learn more about Vital Professional Services as one of the top Bay Area recruiters.

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  • How Does the Cloud Reduce Storage Costs?

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    Vital-Candidates3to2Companies consider cloud storage for many reasons, including increased availability, backup reliability, and rapid capacity expansion. However, when it comes to operating and maintenance costs associated with on-site data storage, expense reduction leads businesses to the cloud.

    When your company assesses cloud-computing benefits, remember that storage costs involve more than physical hardware cost. The storage unit price, often expressed in gigabytes, terabytes, and even petabytes for big data, may provide an initial basis for comparison. Services offer simplified pricing this way, though their tiered schedules include many special features, and that translates to hidden costs you might not have included in your assessment.

    When performing your own cost analysis, compare costs to create and manage backups, your data center’s operational costs, payroll costs of associated staff, and many more second-tier costs that may reside behind a service provider’s data management dashboard. Some additional factors worth mention include the following.

    Licenses for backup software and hardware leases: Enterprise-grade backup software takes snapshots of large data volumes frequently. This software requires licensing, and as your storage volume grows, your need soon graduates to additional hardware (disks or tape) or an off-site storage facility.

    Network storage accessibility and maintaining capacity with headroom: When a company’s storage and backup resides in its own data centers, the company must also support the networks that bear the data transport load to distributed sites. Cloud storage, in contrast, involves public Internet data transport. This reduces corporate WAN impact, which in turn reduces the need for ever-increasing capacity.

    Redundancy maintenance and disaster preparedness: Companies commonly mirror data across several locations. This is a best practice for comprehensive disaster preparedness. Because all data in the cloud is accessible from anywhere, replicated storage sites are part of managed service packages. This means that companies paying separate costs for disparate facilities can eliminate cost redundancy while maintaining data redundancy through cloud storage services.

    Datacenter operation: Even when Elvis (and everyone else) has left the building, the datacenter requires strict climate control. In addition to payroll costs, datacenters consume significant electrical energy. Using cloud storage eliminates the separate need for companies to house, configure, and manage complex disk configurations. Cloud storage providers reduce a company’s dependence upon self-owned and managed equipment, which reduces their leased space, thereby reducing energy consumption.

    Expansion challenges: Companies directly managing storage hardware regularly face obstacles to expanding capacity, and it happens more often than most companies anticipate. Conversely, cloud storage providers handle this for you, and their costs are already included in your service plan. When new storage integration occurs in the cloud, your company faces fewer capacity issues and less chance of disruptive operational impact.

    Migrating data to the cloud produces major changes to a business’s infrastructural requirements. The cost benefits can be surprising, and making the leap can be a daunting decision. Companies considering this change must consider all the impacts, which extend well beyond obvious numbers.

    At Vital Professional Services, we want a long-term, mutually rewarding, and professional relationship with you. Find out how we help candidates and clients with Bay Area jobs.

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  • Listen More to Become a Better Leader

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    Leaders convey the company’s message. Leaders give orders. Leaders give pep talks. But perhaps more important than any speeches a leader gives is the leader’s ability to listen.

    That’s because, in business, the goal isn’t just to have employees do what the project leader says. The goal is to collaborate and work together as a team to build a product and achieve the company’s business objectives. Actively listening to employees is one way leaders create an environment that encourages everyone to contribute to business success. Here are five ways leaders can listen more.

    1. Listen to nonverbal as well as verbal communication. People often don’t tell their bosses their true thoughts. They can hide their true opinion in the words they choose, but people don’t control their body language nearly as well as their spoken language. Pay attention to looks, gestures, and other subtle signs that don’t match up with their words.
    1. Seek out opinions. In addition to paying attention to body language, actively request others to contribute their thoughts. You may have more success drawing out reluctant employees in private conversations than in team meetings.
    1. Indicate that you’re listening. If you appear distracted — if you’re checking texts on your phone during the conversation, for instance — you give a clear indication that you’re not interested in the other person’s input, and they’ll quickly become silent. Instead, focus on the other person and nod and make small comments that encourage them to go on talking.
    1. Draw out deeper responses. When an employee gives a response, don’t say “Thank you” and move on. Take the time to ask follow up questions, to really understand what you’ve been told. You can ask questions about hypothetical situations and situations in which your normal business constraints don’t exist to encourage more creative responses.
    1. Don’t judge. It’s easy to shut speakers down by expressing judgment and criticism. Instead, let speakers complete their thoughts. When you do respond, be respectful — even if you don’t agree with their idea or suggestion, it should be clear that you value the effort the person made to share it with you.

    You can practice improving your listening skills in your personal life, as well as your workplace. Your family and your employees will all appreciate it!

    At Vital Professional Services, we are your advocates, and we understand employer competition.  We excel at competitive HR, and we know firsthand what drives the best candidates to your door. Contact us today to learn about the Bay Area engineering jobs and more.

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