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The Recruiter is a blog for workers in technology and professional markets to learn about hot fields and hiring trends from your friends at Yoh.
Yoh is one of the largest providers of talent and outsourcing services to customers in the United States. With over 374 million USD in total sales, Yoh operates from more than 75 locations and provides long- and short-term temporary and direct placement of technology and professional personnel, as well as managed staffing services, for the information technology, scientific, engineering, health care and telecommunications communities. For more information, visit yoh.com. Yoh is part of Yoh Services LLC, a Day & Zimmermann Company.

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Editor: Bill L.
Writers: Amy D., Anna M., Connie V., Roseanne D.

 

 

« September 2007 | Main | November 2007 »

October 31, 2007

R.I.P print classifieds

Happy Halloween, Recruiter readers! Though I’m sure you’re eager to dress as your favorite celebrity, the stand-by Frankenstein’s monster or another creepy crawly of the night, let me tell you one place you don’t want to put a mask: over your Facebook picture.

That’s because Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networking sites have surpassed print as the most useful place to find IT staff, says the Association of Technology Staffing Companies in a recent survey.

This is not to say that job boards, advertising and (of course) recruitment firms aren’t effective hiring methods. But the very nature of social networking—connecting with people of similar skills, backgrounds and interests—perfectly lends itself to targeted talent hunts.

It works in reverse, too. Job hunters can use social media to get in front of recruiters and prospective employers. Plus, it’s a great way to start dynamic conversations with industry peers, and gain competitive intelligence about job opportunities along the way.

Just make sure to keep your profile clean, professional and in line with your personal brand. That means getting rid of any inappropriate pictures and wall postings. Also, be completely accurate and factual in your previous job descriptions.

Above all, don’t write disparaging comments about your current company or boss. Such comments will come back to haunt you, and not because it’s Halloween.

That said, creating a profile that says “You want to hire me!” is just a few clicks away. And your new job might be mere steps beyond that. Now that’s not so scary, is it?

Posted by Roseanne D.

October 30, 2007

Pssst! Guess what I heard about pet peeves…

Are you a gossip? Clutterbug? Poor time manager? If so, take note: You’re driving your coworkers bonkers.

That’s because gossip, messiness and poor time management lead the list of office pet peeves, says a just-released Randstad survey. Other aggravations included strong scents, loud noises, overusing personal communications devices in meetings and eMail misuse.

What I found even more interesting was the breakdown of employees’ responses to each annoyance. For example, people dislike gossip in the workplace, yet 41 percent choose to say nothing about it to the gossiper or supervisors.

That means the gossip continues unchecked. And who is there to listen? The very coworkers who say it’s a pet peeve.

Hmm. Seems to be a catch-22. However, I think two office realities are in play. The first is that people often rely on gossip to negotiate office politics. If they plug the hole, they might lose out on valuable information.

And the other is that people don’t mind gossip as much as they say they do. They just mind when the chatter is about them.

Here’s the bottom line: Open, frank communication with coworkers and supervisors is always a great starting point for any workplace issue, from basic peeves like overwhelming perfume use, to more serious matters like performance reviews.

And if you’re a consultant, here’s a special set of tips for handling office gossip, and avoiding a spot on someone else’s top pet peeves list.

Posted by Anna M.

October 26, 2007

Take two health plans and call me in the morning

Health care tops the national political agenda right now, and for good reason. People have long relied on their insurance plans to help them pay for checkups, emergencies and medications.

But exactly how are most Americans insured? As of 2006, employment-based insurance covered about 60 percent of the 249.8 million insured U.S. citizens, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Yet of that 60 percent, only 32 percent were directly covered by their employer. The remaining 28 percent received their coverage through a spouse, domestic partner or parent.

Talk about added pressure for job seekers, especially if you’re the household breadwinner! This makes it all the more important to evaluate your total compensation package, not just salaries, when job seeking.

Indeed, knowing an offer’s total value can help you decide whether to accept it. Here’s how to compare apples to oranges during a job hunt:

1. List the different benefits each company provides. These can include medical coverage, pharmacy, dental, vision, life insurance, long-term disability insurance and some type of paid time off plan.

2. Set up a spreadsheet to help you calculate each item’s annual value and cost savings (excellent detailed instructions here).

3. Consider “priceless” intangibles, such as vacation time, title, travel obligations, office culture and your personal circumstances. They can impact your job satisfaction, emotional well-being and future career growth.

But for those consultants whose jobs aren’t accompanied by extensive benefits packages, don’t let that deter you from accepting the position. In fact, in some cases it might even be an advantage.  For example, instead of being given a slew of benefits you may never take full advantage of, the cash will be directly deposited into your pocket.  Then, you can either piggyback off of a relative’s plan, or use some of the extra cash to enroll in the individual benefits or insurance plan that best suit your needs.

Posted by Christy H.

October 25, 2007

Wages continue climbing in Q3

The Q3 Yoh Index of Technology Wages, released today, says hourly pay for highly skilled technology professionals rose nearly 6 percent in the third quarter of 2007, when compared to the same period in 2006. The salaries also slightly trail all-time highs set in the first quarter of this year.

These numbers are good, but what do they mean? Essentially, demand is still sky-high. If you have the right skill sets, experience and certifications in hot markets such as SAP, business intelligence, .NET, Java and project management, you’ve got solid opportunities in front of you.

Same goes for biostatisticians, clinical researchers, civil engineers and several other jobs most in demand nationwide. (See the full report for details.)

However, while the IT job outlook looks positive into 2008, keep your eye on the talent pipeline. Tech industries need to develop incentives for students to seek degrees in math, computer science and engineering.

That way, related fields can avoid a significant loss of IT skills and qualified professionals, and perhaps even stem the current talent shortage.

That’s it for now on Q3. Want to be first on the list to find out about next quarter’s wages? Then subscribe online!

Posted by Jim L.

October 23, 2007

Recruit softly, and carry a big stick

That seems to be the unspoken motto of hiring managers everywhere who are searching for the most elusive of prospects: the passive job seeker.

The phrase itself is an oxymoron. Passive job seekers aren’t really seeking anything, jobs or otherwise. Rather, they’re already employed, usually enjoying their work and occasionally tuning in to the buzzing job market to see if anything piques their interest.

Does this description fit you? Then recruiters are just waiting for you to emerge from the shadows so they can hook you. And with the IT talent pool evaporating, hiring managers are increasingly motivated to snag top talent (read: you) from competitors.

Here are a few ways recruiters might be contacting you. One way is placing hard-hitting ads in key publications and job boards to attract your coveted eyeballs. Another is reaching out with cold calls or eMails to engage you.

Recruiters with a softer touch might invite you to an open house at their company. This combines the usefulness of an information session with the informality of a meet-and-greet, and lets you and the possible employer mingle without so much pressure to seal a deal.

No matter which way you go, remember that one size does not fit all in the passive job-seeking world. The most persuasive recruiters will customize their approach to meet your needs; and stay flexible, friendly and accommodating through the entire process.

Posted by Roseanne D.

October 18, 2007

The IT law of supply and demand

I don’t know if there are any economists reading The Recruiter, but if you’re out there, I think you’ll enjoy this article from Techdirt.

In a nutshell, author Tim Lee says basing IT shortage figures only on the number of available jobs is misguided. Rather, the focus should be on jobs at a particular price range. Here’s his Econ 101 summary:

If the number of jobs exceeds the number of workers at a given wage, wages will get bid up and some employers will choose to let some non-essential jobs go unfilled. Conversely, if there are more workers than jobs, wages will fall, causing some firms to expand more aggressively than they would have at the higher wage. The number of jobs isn't fixed, it varies depending on how high salaries are.”

The real-world data supports his point—just look out for the Q3 2007 Yoh Index of Technology Wages which will be released next week.

So, if we’re following Tim’s analysis, rising wages means available jobs outnumber available workers. The result is the industry talent shortage, something we’ve often discussed here.

For extra credit, read the original BusinessWeek piece that fired up Tim’s brain cells. We’ll tackle the immigration debate in another post, once everyone recovers from having to remember basic economics!

Posted by Anna M.

October 16, 2007

Happy National Boss Day!

Want to earn bonus points with your managers? Shower them with holiday greetings for National Boss Day, a worldwide celebration of leadership and management. That encompasses quite a chunk of people. In the U.S. alone, more than 14 million individuals are employed in management occupations, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Now for some history. National Boss Day has been celebrated every October 16 since 1958, when State Farm Insurance employee Patricia Bays Haroski registered the holiday with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

She chose this date—her father's birthday—to honor his record as an exemplary boss. Since then, National Boss Day has expanded internationally to include England, Australia and South Africa.

It should come as no surprise that positive relationships between supervisors and employees directly contribute to job satisfaction. So take this opportunity to go above and beyond, and observe the holiday by getting your manager a greeting card, gift or small token of appreciation. Your gesture could have a big effect! J

Posted by Roseanne D.

October 12, 2007

This week’s office gossip

“Omigosh, I heard that Pizza by Alfredo’s filed a law suit against Michael for holding that poor delivery boy hostage all night. And did you know that Kelly faked she was pregnant just to get Ryan to go out on a date with her? She’s crazy! I would never mess with the boss like that…”

Sound familiar?  Exchanges such as this may sound like something out of an episode of NBC’s “The Office,” but they are more common in real life than you may think.

Steelcase, a Michigan-based office furniture manufacturer, recently surveyed 700 American office workers and found that office gossip is still very much a part of normal relations.  Nearly 66 percent of employees surveyed said that coworkers routinely gossip about company news.  And of workers at companies that use formal communication methods for disseminating company info, 28 percent still use the gossip mill as their primary news source.

Is all this back office chatter really a good thing?  Well, it can be.  Employee conversations held at the water cooler (or in the office kitchen/break room which is the new gossip hot spot, hosting 36 percent of conversations) can humanize employees and provide a refreshing break to the day.  Plus, they’re a good chance for newbies to learn the unwritten rules of the office (“Don’t leave your dirty dishes in the sink!”) and superiors (“What are you crazy? NEVER go to the boss’s office without an appointment!”).  These impromptu gossipy exchanges can expose you to the practices that will make you a better employee and colleague.

With that said, be sure to steer clear of personal gossip.  Rumors about your coworkers' personal lives and habits decrease employee morale and trust levels, hinder teamwork, and ultimately, threaten your own reputation—and even your job. 

So who’s most prone to office gossip?  Let’s just put it this way:   Don’t tell your deepest, darkest secrets to younger coworkers.  According to the Steelcase survey, 18 to 24-year-olds are the least likely to keep information private.  Alternatively, 55 to 64-year-olds are the most trustworthy, with 48 percent being able to keep quiet.

Posted by Christy H.

October 11, 2007

Being prepared for your dream job

We wrote a post a few weeks back on why fall is the perfect time to start your hunt for a new job. Now, with the holiday season right around the corner, there will be more opportunities for tech consultants to land seasonal gigs.

So what can you do to make sure you’re prepared for opportunities that may come your way?

Network. Networking is critical whether you’re actively searching for a job or not. You never know how the people you meet today can impact your career in the long run, so be prepared. Always bring business cards with you to industry or company events, or better yet—carry them with you at all times! And don’t let your first interaction be the last. Follow up with the contacts you meet, whether with a quick eMail or a message on sites like LinkedIn.

Work on your resume. Make sure your resume is up-to-date! And even more importantly, make sure it’s accurate. Rachel Zupek, of CareerBuilder.com, has a great article highlighting the lies told through resumes. While it may be tempting to fudge your credentials to make yourself appear more qualified, don’t do it!  According to Rachel’s article, 57 percent of hiring managers say they have caught job candidates in a lie, and of those, more than 90 percent didn’t hire the candidate as a result.

Update your skills. Make sure your tech skills and certifications are current. No one in 2007 will want to hire someone who’s last training was in the 80s.  Take advantage of your current company’s training programs, complete industry certifications or even take the next step in your academic education by returning to school for a Master’s or MBA. Having updated skills will increase your value to current and potential employers and may also lead to higher salaries. (Keep an eye out for my upcoming ComputerWorld article for more information on this topic.)

So take our advice and don’t get lazy!  Whether you’re actively searching for a new job or not, you never know when your dream job might come knocking at your door.

Posted by Jim L.

October 09, 2007

Go eMail free this Friday

I know it’s a little early in the week to be thinking about Friday (well, maybe it’s never to early to be thinking about Friday…), but I came across a post from Michelle Kessler at USA Today’s Technology Blog and it got me thinking.

Michelle highlighted a trend that’s starting to take hold with companies like U.S. Cellular and Intel—eMail-free Fridays. Sounds crazy, right? An entire day at the office without using eMail? But then it hit me—how many times have I sent an eMail to the person in the office next to me, rather than getting up from behind my computer screen to discuss the issue at hand? More times than I can count.

And while I don’t think I could ever delete my entire Inbox as some prominent techies are doing, the idea of spending a day without it sounds highly appealing.

But for those of you who manage your workflow through your Inbox and absolutely cannot eliminate it even for a day, there are still ways to reduce and simplify your time spent in your Inbox.  Web Developer Edward O’Connor offers a few tips in Michelle’s post, but here are a couple others:

-   Divide and conquer.  Customize your account so that incoming messages from particular senders are sent automatically into corresponding folders. 

-   Color code. Mark all incoming messages from individual senders in a certain color. For example, all eMails from your boss can be coded red, while eMails from your spouse can be blue. Also, use colored flags to designate tasks, such as marking eMails that must be responded to immediately in red.

Set up your spam filter.  Doing so will automatically route incoming junk mail into a designated folder and reduce Inbox clutter.  Check it once at the end of the day or week to make sure legitimate messages didn’t get sent there.

Personally, I think I’ll take a stab at eMail-free Friday this week, or, at the very least, I’ll make a concerted effort to not check my Inbox constantly throughout the day. Wish me luck!

Posted by Anna M.