IT Delivery – Are You Focused on the What, or the How and the Why?

Image

by David Probst, Vice President of Theoris IT, http://www.linkedin.com/pub/dave-probst/3/bb1/67

So much of the emphasis on delivering IT projects is focused on the “What” (what project, what tools/languages, what compensation, what timeline) and less attention given to the “Why” (productivity gain, cost savings, new market penetration) and the “How” (professionalism, courtesy, communication, responsiveness).   With leaner workforces and intense shareholder pressures, corporations have evolved over time into a greater focus on “get it done” while the purpose and the method for getting there can oftentimes be ignored.  I would submit that if equal or more project attention was given to the Why and the How, we would see more productivity, better results, improved overall morale, improved retention and better talent recruitment activity.  In my opinion, current hiring practices and employee development in the market doesn’t seem to be doing much to address this problem.

This phenomenon is not new to today’s market.  Rather I have observed it’s evolution over a number of years and what has resulted in today’s culture is a workforce that is primarily focused on the hottest technologies, the coolest projects, and “what I’m being paid.”  There is nothing wrong with striving toward these project attributes.  The problem stems when the project isn’t sexy or the technologies aren’t leading edge, and then to top it off, a competitor calls and offers a few thousand dollars more to make a move.  Does this mean IT professionals move on to the next job, every year, or every couple years?  I frequently see resumes that look like a checkerboard with six or more jobs in ten years.  Employers today are very squeamish about investing in this type of resource because they fear when the employee is offered a better project, a more cutting edge technology stack, or more money, that employee is gone and they will have wasted their investment.

I believe if today’s workforce would focus on the “Why” and the “How”, the “What” will take care of itself.  Having been in the technology sector for 30 years, the one thing I have learned is that the professionals who show up every day with a good attitude and contribute in ways that go beyond what is expected of them, are the same employees who are most times given the best opportunities and make the most money.   Why?   Because they are loyal, consistent, they can be relied on, focused on the big picture, and their overall value to the organization is higher than the person who strictly focuses on the “What.”  The “What” is simply a resume, but the “How” and the “Why” is a solution provider, a consultant, a valued employee who is taken care of. 

Theoris IT Services is a professional IT Staffing firm who has earned a great reputation for engaging our employees with “good fit” projects.  Moreover, we look for IT workers who get energized by solving problems for our clients and doing the little extra things to add value, all the while recognizing that what you work on day to day changes.  If you are an IT professional or a customer buyer of IT Services who is looking for a firm that focuses on solving problems and achieving results fostered by a process built on the “How” and the “Why”, we want to talk to you.

Is There Really Such a Thing As a Good Recruiter?

Image

by Katey Wellman, Senior Recruiter, Theoris IT, http://www.linkedin.com/in/kateywellman14

Ever thought about what it takes to be a successful Technical Recruiter?  Upon consideration the concept seems pretty simple, right?  You just pick up the phone and call IT professionals that fit your job.  Some may ask why do recruiters even get paid to help candidates find jobs that they could find on their own.

The answer isn’t as simple you might think.  A variable number of factors go into a job hunt and utilizing the skills of a good recruiter can be a valuable resource to help a person find the right fit. 

Speaking from personal experience I can confidently say recruiting is a roller coaster ride of a job and not for the faint of heart.  In an extremely people-focused environment, there are MANY possible obstacles as there is no perfect formula to guarantee a connection.  Plenty of job seekers will wonder, “Why am I not being called back?  Did the interview really go well?  Is this the best job for me to pursue right now?”  A good recruiter will use their connections to get these questions answered more promptly and honestly than you might have been able to do on your own.  It’s not easy work but pairing the right person with the perfect opportunity is the greatest victory we can achieve.  Recruiting is an exciting lifecycle of ups and downs and it takes a certain type of personality to be able to brush the dirt off your shoulders and keep on moving if things don’t go well. 

Technical recruiters need to tap into a robust list of skills in order to be successful such as:

  • An intermediate to strong understanding of the technology required for the role
  • The ability to really listen and discover the driving motivation behind their clients and prospective candidates
  • Strong relationship building skills that will help open doors and provide an edge to candidates
  • Quick decision making skills and strong professional tact
  • Interview preparation

This may seem easy to some, but communication and interpersonal skills can be some of the rarest qualities to find yet the most valuable! 

There is a wide range of quality when it comes to recruitment and some of us can catch a bad rep when compared to those who spam email, auto post to groups, and do monotonous key-word searches to loosely match someone on a job board to their role.

A good recruiter will reach out to create a relationship and talk to you about what’s in your best interest and not just theirs.

When you think about the relentless effort that goes into being a good recruiter you can really start to see the value add in utilizing the service.  If you think you’ve met a good recruiter then don’t be afraid to save their information, update them on what you’re up to, and build that relationship!  Odds are the effort will pay off soon!

If the Grass seems Greener……how about some fertilizer?

We have all heard the adage, The Grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.  This is usually a prompt for some kind of personal or professional change.  However, I think the phrase is a bit incomplete, my take on the phrase is this: “If the grass seems greener on the other side of the fence, then it’s time to fertilize your lawn”.

Many of us see others’ success or progress and wonder why we aren’t shaimagesring in that success.  We all have the opportunity to improve our own lives, our own position and our own outlook by making some personal changes that can have a great impact on our situation.

It’s the little things that can make a big difference.  Attitude, how we conduct and present ourselves, or how we act or react in different situations can “fertilize our own lawns”.  There are little things that we can improve upon in our own lives that enable success both professionally and personally.  Little things like posture, appearance, attitude and presentation.

I feel the most important indicator of attitude is the type of first impression an individual creates .  We all understand how to dress professionally, but a strong first impression goes well beyond our attire. The overall first impression goes much deeper than that.  Posture, a firm hand shake, strong eye contact and the correct body language all play integral parts in making a good first impression.

When you meet someone for the first time, whether it be an interviewing manager, a business source, a customer or anyone on your own team, impress them with your full attention.  Shake their hand while looking directly into their eyes.  Repeat their names and commit it to memory.  In one way or another, these people will be impacting your success.  Treat them like a first date with a long time crush.  Looking good is important, but the overall appearance is much more than a clean suit or a straight tie.  Details play a major role in a successful first impression, and it’s the little things that can give you the edge.

Making a strong, positive first impression can lay the ground work for a productive and rewarding experience as a contracting consultant.  Not only will it reinforce the decision to bring you on to the team, but it always builds the platform for success, both immediate and long term.  You will not only enhance your own standing within the company, opening more doors and a better future, but you will also reflect well on those representing you.

In the end, you will all see the benefits of making the right first impression.

-Luke Ice

From Traveler to Pioneer

Thailand-hotel-marketOn a recent backpacking journey across Thailand, I took a few days of respite in the mountain city Chiang Mai. I spent my time in the busy outdoor markets learning the names and uses of exotic foods and playing checkers with monks in courtyards. This is a common scene in the bigger cities of Thailand. The idea is to give monks a chance to practice foreign language skills and for tourists to learn more about life in a Thai monastery. Although I’d never had more than a passing interest in Buddhism, I listened intently and learned some valuable insight that guides me to this day.

A prominent iconography of Buddhism is the depiction of his largely disproportionate ears on Buddha statues. Buddha (Siddhartha) was born into great wealth (which he later renounced) and spent the first part of his life wearing heavy gold earrings, which were believed to stretch out his earlobes.  In Buddhism big ears are symbolic of spiritual wisdom and strength, signifying that listening is more important than talking, or as a monk explained it to me:  “Big ears make for a better journey than a big mouth.”

As contractors, we are in some ways tourists in foreign nations. Although we do not enjoy the status of citizenship, we are often held to higher standards and are expected to be more formal and more polite than our native counterparts.  I often hearken to my many journeys in foreign lands to remind me the importance of being a good tourist and particularly the value of having “big ears.”  I have learned that an attitude of “learning” (listening) is not only more valuable but is an obvious precursor to “proclaiming” (speaking).

Attrition trends have left many companies temporarily impaired as employees attempt to find order when key roles have been eliminated. Recently, I was called upon to make a decision over something I’d never had jurisdiction or even expertise. I recalled the countless meetings I sat in over the years. Meetings sometimes seem to go on endlessly, and often the things being discussed have little to do with my responsibilities on the project. During these long meetings, there is sometimes a temptation to use that time efficiently by mentally preparing for other meetings or upcoming tasks.  To keep my mind from wandering, I always take notes. It turns out that these meetings were not a waste of my time. The things I jotted down proved to be invaluable in later years when the people who imparted this knowledge were no longer with the company. I was able to make recommendations with specific examples and help lead the team to solutions.

A recent Theoris newsletter heralded the importance of being not just task masters but also solution architects. As I pondered this, I realized that we cannot offer solutions without having the facts and a history of examples to draw from, and we can’t draw from those examples unless we are listening.

Had I spent those seemingly pointless meetings engaging my own thoughts instead of listening, I would have had very little to proclaim at pivotal moments in my journey and had no advice for other weary travelers. By listening and imparting lessons we have the opportunity to make a transition from traveler to pioneer.

– Amy Pettinella