In my last blog, I suggested that IT professionals should learn to focus energy on the WHY and the HOW of projects and less on the WHAT. Indeed, it is oftentimes difficult to control our ability to land the most challenging projects and/or ensure we are working with the latest technologies. But gaining a crisp understanding of the strategic importance of the project and then going about your work by focusing on how I deliver my work (responsive, courteous, reliable, and communicative), is absolutely something we can control. It is my contention that the latter IT behavior results in securing the best projects, the most responsibility and ultimately, those who get paid the most.
Theoris has developed a motivational model called the Circle of Success, which can also be summarized with the phrase: Win-Win-Win. We have executed our business model around this philosophy in working with both our employees and our clients for 20+ years. It’s who we are – how we think! The model is very real and it most often plays out to be 100% true. The model suggests that as our IT professional staff is dedicated to their work and is motivated to deliver high levels of value, the result is increased output and productivity for our clients – the first WIN. When our clients realize this added value, Theoris and our employees are rewarded with marketplace success and we are afforded a greater variety in the projects to work on and we grow – the second WIN. As this occurs, there is economic success. And when revenue and profits grow, we share this success in the form of highly competitive wages and we are able to offer the best projects in the marketplace – the third WIN. This motivational philosophy feeds each stakeholder in the equation (employee, client, Theoris), and it all starts with the IT professional worker being motivated by the proper forces.
In IT projects, all tasks are valuable to our clients or they wouldn’t be paying us to work on them. As we develop an inner drive that compels us to not only meet our client’s expectations but to exceed them, regardless of the task, everybody is going to win. This requires a longer term mindset. As we develop this type of motivational attitude, our overall performance improves and we are all rewarded accordingly.
It’s Friday March 21st, 2014 and I’ve made it through my first full week at Theoris! The transition period has been fairly painless in regards to training, learning new software, and getting to know the team. One thing every single person here at Theoris has said is that this place is my second family, which makes me elated to invest my career with a company who, in today’s world, can offer those values.
I must admit, I’m the type of person who likes to run before they walk. So, I’m already thinking, at the end of week one, where is my next hit coming from and how fast can I get it. If you’re in this industry and you don’t have the mentality of, let’s close another deal and make some more money, I’m afraid you’ll be washed aside by those who do.
Being in the staffing industry is an addictive drug for anyone with a Type A personality and an “I have to win” mentality. You’re always focused on the next deal/hit/start and you can always do better, but with the highs, you’ll have periods of lows, which pretty much feel like someone took your legs out from underneath you. When your rolling high and closing hits left and right for 3 months, you’re on top of the world, but don’t worry, your subject to get smacked back into reality within a month or two where nothing can go right. Waiting for that high tide, my friends, is what keeps you getting back up, and asking for more because you know there is no better feeling then riding the wave of succe$$.
Until next time, Stay Techy!!!
Coming from a background of selling, and then transitioning into Technical Recruiting, I have certainly benefitted from my experience and understanding of the importance of building strong relationships in business. No matter if you are an IT Professional, Hiring Manager, Recruiter, or Account Manager, we all need strong relationships in order to thrive.
Throughout our lives and our careers, there is an ebb and flow of successes and times when things just never seem to go our way. But, if we remain professional, and have a general desire to actually try and help the next person, we are able to build bridges and not walls. We are able to open doors for other people, and in turn these folks open doors for us.
From the perspective of the IT Professional, certainly it can be daunting and over-whelming receiving all of these different calls from all these different Recruiters and sales folks; sometimes even talking about the same jobs. As a Technical Recruiter and a sales professional, I have talked with contractors who have sometimes received as many as 15 calls from 15 different recruiters, all about the same job. That can certainly wear on a person’s patience.
And even the Hiring Managers who receive all of these calls from different sales folks and Recruiters.
It can be easy for us to get frustrated through our processes on all sides of the coin. But at the end of the day, every business must reach out to new business folks in order to make their business successful and keep the doors open. And it is the true professional who understands this is how business works, and reaching out to Candidates and following up with Hiring Managers is an essential part of doing business; and we are all basically trying to help each other.
Strong relationships allow us all to enjoy the fruits of our labors and time with our families. Relationships and people are at the core of all of these activities, and at the end of the day – we’re all just trying to make it work and hopefully help someone out in the process!
Some strong viewpoints to consider: Resumes are nearly dead. Interviews are skeptical at best. LinkedIn is decent. Portfolios are helpful. Sounds contradicting from someone that works primarily in IT staffing- but hear us out!
Projects are the real future of hiring, especially IT and SDLC hiring. No matter how wonderful your references are or how impressive your education is, it’s not enough. What can you do to make yourself indispensable in a volatile climate? Deliver incredible results through your projects.
Top talent will engage in projects, testing their abilities to deliver real value on their own and with others. Forgo the experience, certifications, and other interrogatory genre; the real question will be how well can consultants rise to the challenge, and help redesign a corporate website, document a tricky bit of software, or even architect a data warehouse?
Most firms have learned the hard way that no amount of interviewing, reference checking and/or psychological testing is a substitute for actually working with a candidate on a real project. What can you do? What have you done? What will you accomplish? I call it on-the-job interviewing.
Many organizations now incorporate a three to six month ‘contract’ as part of their on-boarding process. Hiring becomes more holistic rather than best guess approaches. Remember, you’re interviewing the prospective employer as well. All while maintaining a solid living.
Ultimately, the reason why I am confident that ‘projects are the new job interviews’ is not simply because I’m in the middle of the client and the candidate, it’s because this is an important vehicle for all parties involved. The most successful adopters will quickly be replicated. Why? The most talented people typically like having real opportunities to shine and succeed.
Will your next long-term project or career come from only your resume and relationships, or from proving your worth by knocking a new project out of the park?
At some point in everyone’s career you find yourself looking for the next great opportunity and having to give notice to your current employer. Some of you will be faced with a counter offer and put in the position to Do you stay or do you go?
Industry professionals from all walks of life have debated whether it is prudent to take a counter offer or not and even those close to this type of process like fellow recruiters and human resource staff will be hard-pressed to decide on a good course of action for this dilemma. Of course all of us find it flattering having two companies bid against each other for us but there is a few things to consider before staying with your current employer and accepting the highest bidder…
There was a reason you were looking in the first place – you do need to take pause and remind yourself there was a reason you were looking in the first place. Perhaps it was more money, responsibility, or a better cultural fit. You should ask yourself why it took you threatening to leave for your current employer to find value in you to make additional accommodations. Also, will things really be that different in the long run?
They now know you question your loyalty– your employer now knows that you had not only considered leaving but took action and sought and accepted another job. If layoffs ever happen in the future, your loyalty could be in question and you will be one of the first to go.
Burning bridges with future employers – if you are at the point of turning in your notice, you have already made a firm commitment to another organization. Once you accept the counter-offer and stay at your current employer you will be going back on your promise to the new firm. Despite how hard the decision was to make, this will often burn a bridge.
The answer to this question is not easy to answer and will definitely vary from person to person. From my perspective, years in the industry have told me that counter offers rarely work out in favor of the employee. Typically within six months you will leave on your own any way or be asked to leave. Although change can be difficult, the new opportunity was attractive enough for you to accept once. Stick with your first instinct and….
Summer is in full swing and millions of children around the country are engaged in ‘America’s
Favorite Pastime.’ Recently I was at a little league game where I had the
pleasure of watching a player that quickly stood out as the star of the team.
Throughout the game he consistently played well. He was their pitcher and
seemed to strike out the other players with ease, and when at bat, his talents
were equally impressive hitting the ball.
After his team won the game, I heard the young man speaking with someone else
who was congratulating him on such a great performance. When asked how he
became so good the young man replied with thanks and explained that he never
takes his abilities for granted and always practices. He went on to say that he
knows there is always someone else who wants to be number one. To stay ahead of
the game he must always continue to improve his skills. With extra practices
and conditioning he knew it would improve his chances of staying on top.
I was very impressed by this young man’s attitude and quickly realized the
message related to me and, for that matter, all working professionals. As we
mature the game field changes to that of an office or worksite and our
definition of success changes from hitting a home run to one that is career
oriented. For some of us it is a certain position within the company, while
others focus on working with a certain technology or tool. The question is once
we have achieved that initial goal, what do we do then?
If we were wise, we would adopt the practices of this young ball player. All of
us need to recognize that there is always someone else trying to be number one
as well. Technology is always advancing as should we with our skill set. To
help us ‘practice’ and ‘condition’ our trade, we should always be looking for
ways to keep up with the latest information and evolve our skills. Perhaps it
is by attending trainings, participating in related user groups, or by reading
technology or trade publications. If we do not stay current on trends and the
latest technologies we could quickly find ourselves riding the bench or, worse
yet, out of the game altogether.
Are you a consultant that continuously gets redeployed and comes highly recommended? In my experience as a recruiter I have seen consultants come and go and have narrowed down some key characteristics of a great consultant.
- Effective communication – The ability to communicate effectively with clients is vital in order to create positive relationships and gain a good understanding of their needs. Having the ability to communicate effectively relies on emotional intelligence. A good consultant must be able to relate to a client on a personal level in order to build rapport and truly understand their needs.
- More than one solution to a problem – Sometimes routine creates tunnel vision. Stuff happens and things change. Successful consultants foresee multiple solutions and are open to other ways to achieve results. They are also ready to think on their feet when challenged and deliver tactful responses.
- Self-confidence – Having self-confidence means being adept at delivering bad news with direction and clear ways to deal with issues. Consultants who are sure of themselves are comfortable in any environment and attacking sensitive issues.
- Be a team player- While personal goals are important, the client’s goal must come first. Be able to adapt to surroundings and lead by example.
- A good understanding of the client needs and expectations – What works in textbooks doesn’t always work in the real world. It’s important to know what solutions have worked in the past and to have ideas about how to improve them.
- Transferable skills – Cookie-cutter approaches are weak. A great consultant is able to apply learning across different situations to come up with innovative ideas. The result should be practical new strategies that are compliant and that work for that client.
- Ability to simplify and explain a problem – A natural curiosity and interest in solving problems also aids good consultants in getting to grips with their client’s needs. A consultant needs tools to explain ideas simply, whether through a diagram or a metaphor.
- Be a good listener – A consultant should never assume and doesn’t hesitate to ask questions until they understand their clients’ needs fully.
- Gain client trust – Uncover the real issues. You have to be able to develop a strong relationship with your clients. Passion for their cause creates a bond and opens communication. Successful consultants need humility and must remember that the customer is always the star of the story.