Accessibility in the Search for Meaningful Work

The big why that drives the team at Ian Martin is connecting people with meaningful work. We believe people who want to work should be able to find employment that is important to them. Perhaps that’s why some research pointing out the degree to which inaccessible workplaces are holding people back from work caught our attention. 

The Conference Board of Canada’s 2018 report, The Business Case for Accessible Environments, puts some hard numbers around just how deal-breaking poor workplace accessibility can be for thousands of people who navigate their day-to-day life with a physical disability. In Canada alone, it is estimated that ten per cent of the population, or 2.9 million people, have disabilities that impair their mobility, vision, or hearing. As Canada’s population ages, that number will grow quickly. While Canada’s population as a whole is expected to grow by an average of less than one per cent between now and 2030, the population with mobility, vision, or hearing disabilities is expected to rise at nearly double that rate.  

Unfortunately, that equates to a growing number of people not able to find work. According to research from Statistics Canada, employment rates for Canadians with disabilities are only roughly two-thirds those of the general population. Those that are employed also tend to work a slightly shorter work week.  

The Conference Board of Canada asked almost 500 Canadians with physical disabilities to identify the factors that are creating barriers for them and to assess the changes that could improve inclusion. Roughly 60 per cent said their disability prevented them from finding employment that allows them to use their skills, abilities, and training. When asked to select from a list of workplace modifications that would allow them to take on the kind of role in the workforce they would like, it wasn’t just physical modifications that were top of mind. More accommodating management practices, including modified work, telework options, and flexible scheduling were frequently mentioned.  

Respondents asked to describe what they felt were the key features of a truly accessible workplace reported that it is about creating a space that allows them to perform their roles and interact with colleagues easily, comfortably, and with dignity. That sounds like meaningful work to us! The study suggests an ideal environment integrates three things: 

  1. Physical accommodations, like ergonomic workstations 
  2. Accessible building features, such as wheelchair accessibility 
  3. A sense of inclusion that lets those with disabilities access the same facilities and perform the same functions as their co-workers 

Accessibility for the win-win-win 

Workplace accessibility improvements like these could go a long way in allowing Canadians with disabilities to participate more fully in the workforce. In their research, the study authors ran an economic model to estimate potential labour market improvements if Canadian employers invested in better physical access and enhanced inclusive practices. Their estimate found that by 2030 about 552,000 people with disabilities would be able to add about 301 million hours a year to the workforce.   

And the positive impact of those increased levels of employment would have an overflow effect on the national economy: Canada’s real gross domestic product could be increased by $16.8 billion, which would spark a $10-billion increase in consumer spending.  

In addition to being positive for people with disabilities and positive for the economy, tackling workplace inaccessibility also creates positive outcomes for employers. It can significantly expand the pool of qualified talent available for new positions. Companies that have established proactive approaches to accessibility, including Sodexo and TD Bank, have also experienced higher retention rates, driving savings in recruiting and training costs. 

Simple Ways to Initiate an Inclusion Mindset 

Creating a workspace that is more accommodating to employees with physical disabilities doesn’t have to start with a multi-million-dollar renovation. In fact, 34 per cent of survey respondents said basic workspace upgrades, such as ergonomic aids like special chairs and back supports, would improve their ability to enter the labour market or work increased hours. For companies wondering where to start their efforts, simple actions like removing clutter from workspaces can improve access for everyone. Transitioning to an open office space can make it easier for employees with physical disabilities to move around and create an environment that is more conducive to collaboration at the same time. Inexpensive technological solutions such as ergonomically designed keyboards and voice recognition software can make computers more accessible and also improve the lives of employees without physical disabilities that may suffer from repetitive strain injuries. 

If you are a candidate with a disability, Ian Martin’s Hiring Experts are always available to discuss options for accommodation in the recruitment process. And if you are a company that would like to improve the inclusivity of your recruitment process, our Hiring Experts can offer impactful strategies for getting started. Connect with us today.

You can also ccess the complete report that inspired this blog post here.

3 Resolutions to Help Rock 2019 as a Technical Freelancer

Do you provide your technical skills on a contract basis to companies as an incorporated business or sole proprietor? Getting yourself organized in January can help save you time and headaches for the rest of the year. Here are three things every technical freelancer should add to their to-do list to start off 2019 on the right foot. 

Resolution #1: Create an Employment Status Proof Portfolio 

If someone from a government agency knocked on your door and asked you to prove that the working relationship you have with the company you’re providing your services to is truly as an independent contractor, could you do it with confidence? Employment misclassification can have serious financial penalties for both the company and the independent contractor. Having easy access to the items in this list will help you prove your independent contractor status should it ever come into question: 

Business Process and Documentation 

  • Certificate of incorporation (if you have incorporated your business) 
  • Business Information Number  
  • Canada Revenue Agency Business Number (If you have registered your business for GST/HST, you’ll have been assigned this 9-digit number by the CRA) 
  • Federal Tax ID Number 
  • Proof of your GST/HST account 
  • Copies of any licences or certificates required for carrying out your business 
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (Ontario) Clearance Certificate (if you have registered) 
  • Proof of coverage and amount of business insurance 
  • Proof of your own benefits coverage (e.g. disability, health and dental, life, critical injury orsimilar benefits) 
  • If you have employees, proof of any benefits coverage purchased for them 
  • Proof of how you market your business to the public (e.g. business cards, website, social media accounts, paid advertising, sponsorships, industry group memberships, trade fair participation, etc.) 
  • Sample business invoices 
  • Evidence of corporate banking and bookkeeping 


Written contracts that clearly identify you/your business as an independent contractor and ideally: 

  • Are for a fixed term or based on completing a specific project vs being open-ended 
  • Outline the services to be performed or the project or product to be delivered 
  • Have an indemnification provision that requires you as the contractor to compensate the client for any losses related to any negligence or other factors 
  • Permits you as the contractor to provide services to other organizations 

Proof of Control Over Services 

To help prove your status as an independent contractor, authorities will want to see evidence that you exercise a significant degree of control over the work you perform for your clients. Asyou complete projects for clients, gather examples that help illustrate: 

  • Discretion you’ve had in determining how your services are provided and the order in which they were performed 
  • Latitude you’ve had in setting your own hours and schedule 
  • Instances when you’ve contracted other people to provide services to your client 

Tools and Equipment 

  • List of all equipment you supply to perform your services (including computer hardware and software, cellphone, specialty equipment) 
  • Details around any fee-for-service arrangements for tools you use to perform your work 
  • Details on office space you own or lease 

Resolution #2:  Add Contract End Dates to Your Calendar 

Time flies when you’re working on technical projects. If you lose track of contract end dates, you could be left scrambling for work. Conversely, if you continue to work for a company after the contract end date, it can work against your case should your employment status ever come into question. Set aside some time to locate your current contracts and review their end dates. Set a reminder in your calendar to speak with your recruiter six weeks prior to the contract end dateto explore having it extended or discuss new projects to pursue when that contract ends. 

Resolution #3: Conduct Your Own Performance Review 

As an independent contractor, you are your own boss. As you focus on providing your technical services to your clients, it can be easy to lose sight of goals for yourself and your business. Carve out a few hours to spend reflecting on your 2018 performance and developing professional development objectives for the year ahead.  

  • Are there courses you could take to upgrade your skills and make your services more relevant for the future? 
  • Are there industry audio books or podcasts you could listen to on your commute to help take your business to the next level? 
  • Could a conversation with your recruiter help you identify exciting new work opportunities that might not be on your radar? 

Rocking 2019 as a technical freelancer might also mean landing a shiny new gig! Sign up to receive our job alerts here.

Be a Gift Giver: Apply for a Job, Change A Life

Raise your hand if any of the following thoughts have passed through your mind when hitting the submit button during the online job application process: 

  • “Will I stand out as a good fit for this job?” 
  • “Will the right person even see my resume?” 
  • “Will I actually hear back from a human this time?” 

If your hand is in the air right now, know that you’re not alone. At Ian Martin, we understand the job search process can sometimes leave candidates feeling like they’re a party of one in an uncertain and ego-challenging land. While we can’t promise all 10,000 of the candidates we receive resumes from each month a personal follow up call, we do feel strongly that the experience shouldn’t leave candidates feeling disconnected. 

That’s why when you apply for a position with Ian Martin you’re given an opportunity to connect with someone else on the planet who is also on a quest to find meaningful work. Every time a candidate applies for an Ian Martin posting, they’re given a $25 credit to make a loan to a entrepreneur of their choice through Kiva. 

Kiva is an international not-for-profit organization with a mission to alleviate poverty by connecting people through lending. By offering access to small amounts of capital, Kiva connects entrepreneurs who aren’t able to access funds from institutions, friends, or family, the way that many of us in the first world can. That funding, in turn, allows the recipients to do meaningful work to support themselves, their families, and their communities. Kiva loans are true loans, with interest fees and an expectation of full repayment. Kiva’s current 97% loan repayment rate illustrates that the entrepreneurs receiving these funds respect that. 

Since launching our Kiva applicant donation program in 2014, Ian Martin applicants have helped alter the lives of thousands of people across the globe. While not every single applicant elects to donate their $25 credit, the impact of those that do quickly adds up. Four years into the program, applicants’ efforts have already: 

  • Produced over $100,000 in loans 
  • Impacted communities in over 84 countries 
  • Created life-altering new opportunities for 2,776 female entrepreneurs and 900 male entrepreneurs 

To provide a better sense of the impact that applicants are making, here are profiles of just a few of the entrepreneurs whose loans were funded with $25 deposits from Ian Martin applicants in the last few months of 2018: 

  • Nena, an entrepreneur in the Philippines, received a loan of $575 to help buy fish trap materials like plastic screening, bamboo, nails and nylon string, and dried fish. 
  • Zaida, an entrepreneur in Uganda, received a loan of $150 to help stock her store with more tomatoes, onions, and avocados. 
  • Marame’s team of women in rural Senegal received a loan of $2100 to help them buy sheep. 
  • Arc secured a loan of $200 to purchase more hairdressing material and hair products for her beauty salon in Zimbabwe. 
  • Daniel, an agricultural entrepreneur in El Salvador, received a loan of $1,000 to buy supplies to grow corn and pay for labour. 
  • Kadiatu’s female farming collective in Sierra Leone received a loan of $2,375 to help them pay for improved seed, organic inputs, and tractor rental. This will allow them to transition from subsistence farming to working a larger area of land with a higher yield. 

If you’d like to apply for a new position and help change the life of an entrepreneur in the process with a $25 Kiva credit, browse our current job opportunities in: 

To receive alerts about new job opportunities in the industries that are of interest to you, you can also register to have a daily or weekly email with the latest postings sent directly to your inbox, here.

To learn more about kiva, visit


Delight a Job Seeker (and Support the #BEconomy) with these Black Friday BCorp Picks

Is there a job seeker on your holiday shopping list this year? If you’re stumped on what to get them, your search is about to get a whole lot easier. We’ve compiled a list of some favourite thoughtful items that may come in handy during their job search, but that’s not all. Every gift suggestion you’ll find in the list below is made by a company that is, like Ian Martin, a certified B Corporation. That means they’ve been independently audited and meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. B Corps aren’t just in for the bottom line –  they see business as a force for good in this world. B Corp companies compete to be the best FOR the world, the people living in it, and the natural environment. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving! 


Job Seeker Gift Suggestion #1: A Great Work Bag 

For new grads, making the transition from lecture hall to boardroom can be tricky. Help them update their style with a classic bag that means business. 

Our suggestion: The Slim Briefcase by LeDaveed 

LeDaveed bags are made in Canada with Nixburg Bullskin full-grain German leather, which is durable, waterproof, and uses 80% less water than the average leather to create.  This classic briefcase is an investment piece, but they will use it for years to come. The bag was designed based on detailed feedback from 200 on-the-go professionals, resulting in an array of unique features. 


Job Seeker Gift Suggestion #2: A Classic and Comfortable Pair of Well-made Shoes 

There’s nothing that detracts style points from a new interview outfit faster than a pair of scuffed-up old shoes. Ensure they’re dressed for success from head to toe with a quality pair of shoes. 

Our suggestion: Nisolo is a direct-to-consumer shoe company that makes contemporary classics that transition effortlessly from work to play. The James Oxford is a great choice for women and the Luca Chukka Boot is a versatile choice for men. The skilled shoemakers who produce these shoes receive, at a minimum, beyond fair trade wages, healthcare, and a healthy working environment.  


Job Seeker Gift Suggestion #3A High-quality Dress Shirt 

A classic white dress shirt is a job interview staple that deserves a space in everyone’s closet, whether they’re currently looking for work or not. 

Our suggestion: 

Tuckerman & Co.’s dress shirts are made with 100% GOTS-certified cotton, the gold standard for organic cotton. They also have thoughtful design details like non-toxic canvas interlining to help collars and cuffs keep their shape, real mother of pearl buttons and a slightly raised hem, so shirts looks good whether tucked in or untucked. The Men’s White Twill and Women’s White Twill are both timeless choices. 


Job Seeker Gift Suggestion #4A Caffeine Upgrade 

Whether they’re burning the midnight oil perfecting their resume or setting out early in the morning for a job interview, a great cup of coffee will be well appreciated.  

Our suggestion: 

Ethical Bean is a Canadian coffee company that has set a goal to compete with the world’s biggest growers and roasters on quality and taste, but only with fair trade, organically grown beans. Their Sample 6 Pack includes enough coffee to make three pots each of both their Lush Medium-Dark Roast and Classic Medium Roast. 


Job Seeker Gift Suggestion #5A Recommended Reading Collection 

In case their job search has left them feeling in need of a little inspiration, give them some reading material to remind them that it’s possible to have a great career and make the planet a better place at the same time.  

Our suggestion: 

Patagonia’s Business Library is a collection of three books that offers over 40 years of business wisdom, strategies, and practices from a company that was viewing itself as a shareholder of the planet long before it was cool. In Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman, Yvon Chouinard, the founder and owner of Patagonia, offers insight into the persistence and courage that have gone into leading one of the world’s most respected and environmentally responsible companies. Tools for Grassroots Activists captures wisdom and advice from 20 years of the Patagonia Tools Conference, an event Patagonia hosts that brings together inspiring thought leaders. The Responsible Company shares stories from experiences at Patagonia as well as efforts by other companies to illustrate some of the key elements of responsible business for our time.


Did you know that just by submitting your resume to Ian Martin, you too can become a meaningful gift-giver? Every applicant to Ian Martin’s jobs receives $25 to invest in a microloan that helps an entrepreneur who does not have access to traditional banking systems via It’s just one way jobseekers can join our mission of breaking down barriers to meaningful work. Together, we are changing the way business is done by creating benefit for people and our planet. 

If you know of someone that is on a mission to find meaningful work, please encourage them to browse our current job openings and also check out BWork, the world’s largest job board for purpose-driven job seekers.


Four Interview Costumes That Will Haunt Your Job Search

The team at Ian Martin loves a Halloween costume. Need proof?  Just check out some of the highlights from last year when employees dressed up as the career they dreamed of pursuing when they were kids.  There’s a time and a place for everything, however, and the wrong interview outfit can be a truly scary thing. Here are some of the spookiest wardrobe mistakes that are haunting our recruiters’ dreams of late. 


The Mark Zuckerberg 

While many tech companies tend to opt for a more casual dress code, that doesn’t give candidates permission to adopt Mark Zuckerberg’s signature style of a t-shirt and hoodie for the interview. If you’re unsure about what to wear and worried that formal business attire may be too much, ask your recruiter for their opinion. They can provide you with insider insight into the company’s corporate culture so you stand out – for the right reasons. 


The Ghost of Footwear Past 

There’s nothing that detracts attention from a great business outfit faster than scuffed and dirty old shoes on your feet. A pair of smart shoes helps send a message that you pay attention to detail, which is something that will be appreciated by any employer. Even if your wardrobe budget can’t cover a brand-new pair of shoes, pick up some polish to give those kicks a new lease on life.  


The Count Distract-ula 

Before you depart for your interview, take one last look in the mirror to assess the distraction factor of your accessories. Multiple bracelets can create an annoying jingling sound with every gesture. While a Darth Vadar tie might be a great conversation starter at a cocktail party, when you only have a limited window of time to convince the hiring team that you’re a great fit you don’t want to waste precious minutes comparing favourite Star Wars characters. If it’s a sunny day, have a plan for stashing your sunglasses. Perching them on your forehead gives the impression the interview has interrupted your beach vacation.  


The Aroma Apparition 

A strength overdone can become a weakness and that’s certainly the case when it comes to fragrances from lotions, potions, perfumes, and colognes. A growing number of people suffer from fragrance sensitivities and allergies, which means the wrong scent can send them sneezing, wheezing, breaking out in hives or worse. To ensure you have the undivided attention of your interview panel, go easy on any fragrances on the day of your interview. 


Could you use some additional tips from our recruiters to help knock it out of the park at your next job interview? Check out these blog posts from our Recruiters Off the Clock series: 

Is Checking References Officially Extinct?  

The Most Common Resume Mistakes 

Four Things to Eliminate from Your Resume Right Now 

The One Question Every Candidate Should Ask at the End of Their Interview 

Nobel Laureate-worthy Lessons in Meaningful Work

There were many reasons Donna Strickland’s recent Nobel Prize win caught the world’s attention. Most news coverage noted that she was the first woman in 55 years and only the third woman ever to win the Nobel Prize in Physics. There was something in addition to Strickland’s gender and her game-changing work with lasers that caught our attention at Ian Martin. Strickland’s unique take on her career is what had us talking at the water cooler. For a company committed to connecting people with meaningful work, this scholar offers some lessons that we love. 


Lesson #1: Great things happen when work feels like play 


Strickland’s Nobel Prize was actually awarded for research she had conducted over 30 years ago for her very first scientific paper. In an interview conducted minutes after the announcement of her big win, Strickland relied heavily on one word to characterize her work with short-pulse lasers: fun. 

“… it was just a fun thing to do, and so I enjoyed putting many hours into it. It is the one time in my life that I worked very, very hard! And … but… you know, it was a fun time in the field of short-pulse lasers, and it was a fun group to be in and… I don’t know, I put in the long hours and it was fun most of the time. Most of the time!” 

Work that feels like fun most of the time doesn’t just make the day pass more quickly. Research suggests the act of play is like a fast-forward button for learning. When we’re not playing, it takes over 400 repetitions to create a synapse in the brain, or true learning. By incorporating play into learning, it only takes about 12 repetitions to create a synapse. The act of play engages the creative right-side of the brain and opens our mind to think in new, innovative ways. 

The Takeaway: All work with no sense of play can create lengthy detours on the journey toward meaningful work. While ping pong tables and free lunch on Fridays may contribute to a job’s sense of play, finding work that feels like fun when you’re in the trenches is when the real magic happens. 


Lesson #2: Sometimes it’s more about what you’re doing than what you’re called 


Strickland’s resume includes stints at Canada’s National Research Council, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, and Princeton University. The fact that she has had the same associate professor job title at the University of Waterloo since starting there in the 1990s ruffled a few feathers when news of her Nobel Prize win broke.  

When asked by one reporter why she wasn’t a full professor given her impressive resume, Strickland’s response was, “I never applied.”

When asked why she hadn’t applied by another reporter, she said, “To me, it just wasn’t worth the bother.” Not seeking out a higher title allowed Strickland to channel time and energy that she would have had to dedicate to building a case for advancement toward other priorities that mattered more to her. 

When asked if she would apply now that she’d won this prestigious prize, she replied, “I’m not sure,” with a laugh.   

The Takeaway: Strickland’s candour about her job title serves as a great reminder that an ever-evolving series of job titles isn’t a prerequisite for a meaningful career. It’s a matter of personal priorities. If the descriptor on your business card doesn’t carry a lot of value in your books, you’re wise to spend the time and energy on other pursuits that do.  


Are you feeling like it might be time to recalibrate your career route toward more meaningful work? Browsing our Ian Martin job openings and submitting your resume are great first steps.  

Pacific Coast Priorities: 4 Things on the Radar of Ian Martin’s BC Recruiters

*Feature image by Rob Nelson

British Columbia’s economy is hot and its unemployment rate certainly reflects that. Thanks to strong performance in industries including oil and gas, technology, tourism, finance and real estate, British Columbia wrapped up August 2018 with the lowest unemployment rate of any Canadian province at just 5.3 per cent. 


While this low unemployment rate is certainly something to celebrate, it also means that the labour market is heating up. Does recruiting in a job seeker’s market like BC’s require strategic shifts in approach to come out a winner in the war for top talent? We went straight to the source and asked some of our top recruiters in the province what they’re keeping their eyes on in the BC talent market right now. 


#1: Difficult-to-fill Positions 

According to a recent report by the BC Chamber of Commerce, two-thirds of BC businesses surveyed are struggling with difficult-to-fill positions, the majority of which are for higher skilled or senior positions. Nearly a quarter of those businesses had dealt with middle or senior manager positions being vacant for over six months. 


#2: Desired Skills and Experience 

The same report found that 45 per cent of BC businesses surveyed were only occasionally or even infrequently able to recruit candidates with the desired skills and experience over the past year. The two most frequent skills or experience found to be lacking in candidates were job-specific technical skills and relevant on-the-job experience. To deal with this skillset deficit, nearly three-quarters of employers indicated they routinely resort to hiring less-qualified employees and training them on-the-job. 


#3: Location of Labour Pool 

Another interesting finding in the report was the fact that 80 per cent of the businesses surveyed indicated that they frequently recruit new employees locally. When they look beyond their city, nearly the same number of businesses recruit internationally (4%) as from other areas within Canada (5%). This is interesting given the fact that it is often much easier to place from within the country.  


#4: Wage and Benefit Increases 

To retain staff, more than half of the businesses surveyed indicated that they were increasing wages (56%) and/or benefits (52%). Interestingly, business located in the Northeast of the province rely on wage increases as a retention strategy more often (75%) than in the Mainland/Southwest region of BC (51%). 


Having to pay increased wage and benefits costs isn’t the only negative impact BC’s labour shortage is having on the bottom lines of companies located in the province: over a quarter of the businesses surveyed (27%) reported that they had reduced their total business output or reduced or modified their type of product or service offerings to try to address the labour challenges they were facing. 


Partnering with a recruitment firm that specializes in placing technical talent is a sound strategy for helping your company not just survive but thrive through a very competitive labour market like BC’s. By hiring on contract, companies can hire strategically for their projects while attracting highly qualified talent who may not place a priority on long-term employment because they care more about flexibility, autonomy, and having the opportunity to accomplish a significant project that will help build their resume for more exciting initiatives in the future. Working with a recruiting firm like Ian Martin, with locations across the country, also makes it easier to connect with Canadian talent in other provinces who are willing to make the move for the right opportunity. 


If you’d like to learn more about how contract staffing can benefit your business, our Insider’s Guide to Technical Recruitment and 5-Minute Outsourcing Assessment are great tools to get your research started. 


Recruiters Off the Clock: Is Checking References Officially Extinct?

They spend hours rounding up recruits, scoping out search assignments, consulting with their clients, and negotiating job offers. At the end of a long day, they’re ready to dish and we make sure we’re on hand to capture their very best insights to share in our Recruiters Off the Clock blog series. 

The Question:

Does anyone actually check references anymore?


The Recruiters:  

Joanna Mamo 

Joanna has worked in technical recruitment for over 15 years. She has been helping candidates find meaningful work in a variety of technology sectors with Ian Martin Group clients since 2008.   



Ratheesh Manivannan 

Ratheesh has worked in the field of technical recruitment since 2012 and for Ian Martin since 2015. He is passionate about matching talented people with engaging roles to create long-term satisfaction for both company and candidate.  



Nadiya Khan 

Nadiya has extensive experience as a technical recruiter and has been specifically focused on the engineering, telecom and IT sectors since she joined Ian Martin in 2015. 



The Dish: 

“Absolutely! Not only do my clients want to see references, some request references from specific companies that appear on the candidate’s resume.  Some employers are also asking to see references sooner in the process. Traditionally, collecting references was often one of the last things to occur before an offer, but some employers are requesting reference checks now prior to a second interview. Having a robust set of references is still a very important element of the job search.”

Joanna Mamo, Senior Technical Recruiter 


“Social media has made it easier for employers to get a better sense of the backgrounds of candidates, but it’s a mistake to think it has become a replacement for reference checks. Sites like LinkedIn can’t be verified for true authenticity, so employers will take a look, but they may still want to verify that those accolades posted on your profile are consistent with what your actual employers have to say about your past performance. As there is a good chance they’ll be doing a social media search, candidates should be giving any public social media pages a really thorough review regularly. Even if you have privacy settings set up so only friends of friends can see your page, you’d be surprised how connected the world is. Make sure there’s nothing posted on your social media pages that you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see.”

Ratheesh Manivannan, Staffing Specialist 


“Not every single employer asks me to call references, but candidates need to be prepared for that. One huge mistake I see candidates make when we do contact references is they give us the name and number of their reference, but forget to give the reference a heads up that we might be calling. It’s not only inconsiderate to the reference, it can really result in subpar comments because the person may not portray the candidate in the best light when they haven’t had time to think about their answer in advance.”

Nadiya Khan, Recruitment Manager 

Happiness at Work Benefits the Brain AND the Bottom Line

Not that long ago, if you’d asked the world’s political and business leaders about the role of happiness in the global economy, you probably would have been told that happiness was a pursuit for birthday parties, not boardrooms. That sentiment has changed drastically in the last decade. In 2011, recognizing that progress shouldn’t be measured by economic growth alone, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution recognizing happiness as a “fundamental human goal” and calling for “a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes the happiness and well-being of all peoples.”

Each year on March 20th, the United Nations celebrates International Day of Happiness to help raise awareness about the importance of happiness in the lives of people across the world.

A World Happiness Report is released by the United Nations each year on International Day of Happiness and findings from the 2017 report suggest that there is a vital relationship between work and happiness. While having a job has been proven to make people happier, the equation goes beyond that. Happier employees are also more likely to come to work, be more productive, take fewer sick days and are less likely to quit. Talk about a win-win!

While ultimately every person is responsible for their own happiness, research findings in the report point to specific areas that employers can support to create an environment that encourages happiness.

Work-Life Balance

Being able to achieve a healthy balance between commitments at work and home appears to be one of the most important drivers of an individual’s sense of wellbeing. Those with jobs that leave them too tired at the end of their workday to enjoy the non-work side of life report day-to-day happiness levels that are substantially lower. Workers who report that their job interferes with their ability to spend time with loved ones, and employees who feel they must “bring their job home with them,” report lower levels of subjective wellbeing.


The report’s findings suggest that people with jobs that allow them to do different things and learn new things experience more positive emotions on a day-to-day basis. The desire to learn new things on the job seems to be particularly important to millennials, who in a different study ranked training and development as their most valued employee benefit at a whopping 300 per cent higher rating than cash bonuses! Read this blog post for some suggestions to help create a culture of continuous learning and professional development.


An employee’s degree of autonomy at work, including having control over how their workday is organized and the pace at which they work, is another important driver of happiness in the workplace according to the 2017 World Happiness Report. This finding is echoed by some interesting research from the University of Birmingham. The research compiled two years’ worth of data from 20,000 employees and found that the higher level of autonomy a worker experienced, the higher their sense of job satisfaction and wellbeing. The type of autonomy most appreciated tended to differ by gender. Women placed a higher value on autonomy related to scheduling and location flexibility. Men appreciating autonomy more related to task allocation and pace of work.

A Circle of Support

According to the report, the support one receives from his or her co-workers also has an impact on workplace wellbeing and happiness. This finding aligns with research at Harvard that found that students with strong social support, both at school and at home, tended to be happier and better at dealing with stress. Workers with strong relationships with co-workers are also better at remaining engaged and coping with stress.

What does this all mean for recruitment?

As awareness grows about the significance of happiness in our personal and professional lives, it’s important for employers to realize that the days of relying on salary and bonuses to win over employees are long gone. The growing popularity of university courses dedicated to the topic of achieving happiness in life speaks to the priority tomorrow’s job seekers will be placing on achieving it in their careers. Yale University introduced a new course in January 2018 called, Psychology and the Good Life. The course’s goal is to help students figure out what it means to live happier, more satisfying lives, and teach them scientifically-tested strategies to achieve that goal. A quarter of the school’s undergraduate population enrolled, making it the most popular course ever at the university. At Stanford, one in six undergraduates take a course that promises to teach them to apply design thinking to the challenge of creating fulfilling lives and careers.

Action For Happiness has developed 10 Keys to Happier Living that are based on an extensive study of the latest findings from the science of wellbeing. While these keys weren’t developed specifically for the workplace, reviewing them and finding examples of ways they are demonstrated within your organization can assist in creating talking points that illustrate your company’s commitment to promoting happiness in the workplace with potential employees.

Key #1: Giving – In what ways does your workplace help others? Corporate donations, workplace fundraising for charities and volunteer programs are great examples.

Key #2: Relating – How does your organization strengthen relationships and build networks between employees? Are there corporate retreats, teambuilding events, or meetings that encourage open conversation between employees that you can speak to?

Key #3: Exercise – What things does your company do to encourage employees to be more active each day? This doesn’t have to mean investing in an onsite gym or subsidized gym memberships. Simple things like having bike racks for employees who want to cycle to work or helping clean up nearby walking trails send a message that you support employees having an active lifestyle.

Key #4: Awareness – Does your workplace do anything to promote employee mindfulness? Offering a lunchtime meditation class or even a dedicated quiet space that employees can retreat to when they need some time to collect their thoughts are great examples of how the workplace can support employee mindfulness.

Key #5: Trying Out – What channels does your company have in place to encourage employees to try different things and learn new skills? In addition to formal training and educational assistance, this could be things like casual “Lunch and Learn” sessions or encouraging the use of free online learning tools.

Key #6: Direction – How does your company assist employees to set challenging, yet achievable goals of their own and also ensure they understand their role in helping the company achieve its larger goals? Is this something that has been formalized in your performance review process?

Key #7: Resilience – All employees will be faced with stressful situations at some point. Does your company offer tools or services to help them cope with and bounce back from adversity? Mentoring programs as well as coaching or therapy offered through a company benefits program are potential supports you can showcase.

Key #8: Emotions – What processes does your company have in place to encourage the cultivation of positive emotions like joy, gratitude, contentment, inspiration, and pride at work? Things like recognition programs and sharing employee stories through internal communication channels are great examples.

Key #9: Acceptance – Does your company make an effort to promote conversations that help employees accept themselves and their colleagues as they are? Perhaps there are community initiatives that your company supports that are helping youth to accept themselves as well.

Key #10: Meaning – Is there a connection between the work that you ask employees do each day and a greater sense of meaning and purpose in their lives? Initiatives like workplace volunteer and mentoring programs can help provide a sense of meaning at work, especially for employees that may lack a direct line to a sense of something larger in their everyday roles.

How can we help?

Ian Martin’s Hiring Consultants gather insights every day from our candidates about the organizational values that are of particular importance them. If you’d like some suggestions as to how your company can illustrate its commitment to employee happiness and wellbeing in a more effective way, contact us today for a complimentary assessment of a recent job posting.



Recruiters Off the Clock: The Most Common Resume Mistakes

They spend hours rounding up recruits, scoping out search assignments, consulting with their clients, and negotiating job offers. At the end of a long day, they’re ready to dish and we make sure we’re on hand to capture their very best insights to share in our Recruiters Off the Clock blog series.

The Question:

What are the biggest resume mistakes you’ve been seeing lately? 

The Recruiters: 

Eddie Lartey

Eddie works in Hiring Success with Ian Martin Group’s partner company, Ftzii. Fitzii is an all-in-one hiring solution for small to medium businesses that offers access to expert hiring advisors with smart recruitment tools and software to help companies hire better, faster, and more affordably. 



Sriram Murthy

Sriram has worked in technical recruiting since 2011 and has been helping skilled candidates find meaningful work with Ian Martin’s engineering, IT, and telecom clients since 2016. 



Abhishek Sahay 

Abhishek’s post-secondary education in human resources laid the foundation for his successful career in IT and technical staffing and recruitment. He has been part of the Ian Martin team since 2016.  



Afrin Kammarched 

With a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering, Afrin brings a wealth of relevant knowledge and experience to her role as IT Recruiter with Ian Martin. 


The Dish:

“Showcasing your skills and experience is important, but I’m seeing more and more resumes lately where people just don’t know when to stop. You’ve got to be able to tell your story in clear, concise way and that’s just not happening with a five-page resume. Tailor your resume in a way that really showcases the specific skills and experience you have that match the skills and experience outlined in the job ad. That editing might take a bit of extra time and effort, but it’s worth every second.” 

Eddie Lartey, Fitzii Hiring Advisor 


“With a lot of the web-based systems that manage applications, submitting a cover letter comes across as an optional thing to do, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to do it. It shows you’ve put some time and thought into your application and it gives you a great opportunity to get really specific about how your skills and qualifications make you a great fit for the position. If the system only allows you to attach one document, make a PDF that includes a cover letter that is followed by your resume.” 

Sriram Murthy, Ian Martin Recruitment Manager 


“Even at work, more and more people are accessing their email on their mobile devices. That means your resume should be mobile friendly and we’re seeing many that aren’t. Take the time to open a PDF of your resume on your phone or tablet and see how it looks. Make sure it’s easy to read on any size of screen.” 

Abhishek Sahay, Ian Martin Recruiter 


“Career objectives or impact statements that don’t make an impact are really just a waste of space. Including a generic statement like, ‘I want to work for a company that reflects my goals and values,’ says so little about you that it’s probably better not to include it at all and dedicate that space to your relevant skills and experience instead. If you’re going to include an impact statement, you need it to really capture why you are an ideal candidate to work for that company or in that industry.” 

Afrin Kammarched, Ian Martin IT Recruiter 


Are you a technical professional? Make no mistakes with this new way to resume that’s getting professionals like you on the fast track to the hiring table.


Recruiters Off the Clock: 4 Things to Eliminate from Your Resume Right Now

They spend hours rounding up recruits, scoping out search assignments, consulting with their clients, and negotiating job offers. At the end of a long day, they’re ready to dish and we make sure we’re on hand to capture their very best insights to share in our Recruiters Off the Clock blog series.


The Question:

What words or phrases should job seekers avoid using in their resumes?


The Recruiters:

Vera Tarutayeva

Vera is a Senior IT Recruiter who has been delivering complete IT staffing solutions to Ian Martin’s public and private sector clients in the Greater Toronto Area since 2007. She has worked in the field of recruitment since 2005.


Farhaz Pasha

Farhaz is a Technical Recruiter with Ian Martin. Having held previous positions in e-commerce, customer service and IT support, Farhaz has a strong understanding of the roles and responsibilities associated with the positions for which he now recruits.


Godlin Horo

With both a Bachelor of Technology in Electronics and Communications Engineering and an MBA with a Human Resources Management focus, Godlin has known that the field of technical recruitment was for her since the moment she graduated. As an Ian Martin Staffing Specialist, she helps skilled candidates build authentic connections around meaningful work.


Sarah Fell

Sarah has been a technical recruiter specializing in placing permanent employees within Engineering and Executive type positions since 2012. A counselor by trade, she prides herself on taking a consultative approach to the entire recruitment process.



The Dish:

“Participated. Using words and phrases like “participated in,” “was involved with,” or even “was part of a team,” can create confusion about the level of the candidate’s actual involvement with a project. It makes it hard to tell if they were a key player, or just someone on the sidelines who observed the project. Instead, use powerful action words like performed, acted, solved, analyzed, led, executed, implemented or played a key role.”

Vera Tarutayeva, Senior IT Recruiter


Hobbies. Don’t waste valuable resume space including a list of things you like to do in your spare time unless they’re directly related to the job. If you volunteer teaching kids how to code and it’s a coding position that you’re applying for, that’s a great thing to highlight. Your passion for playing the bagpipes isn’t going to set you apart from the other candidates applying for the position though.”

Farhaz Pasha, Technical Recruiter


The same word used 18 times. Using the same word or words over and over again can send a message that you’re not very creative or haven’t put a lot of effort into your resume. That’s not a great first impression. If you think you may have relied on a certain word a little too heavily, use the Find and Replace function to count how often it appears and then challenge yourself to come up with an alternative for at least half of them.”

Godlin Horo, Staffing Specialist


Tip: According to LinkedIn, the most overused words in LinkedIn profiles in 2016 were specialized, leadership, passionate, strategic, experienced, focused, expert, certified, creative, and excellent. Watch for overuse of these words in your resume.


Birth date. Some things are better left unsaid and that’s certainly the case when it comes to your age. Even if you think having several years of experience is a benefit that can give you an edge over other candidates, hiring managers don’t want to have any information that could be perceived as creating an age-based bias. Instead, showcase your experience by including really strong descriptions of the jobs you’ve had and the projects you’ve overseen.”

Sarah Fell, Senior Technical Recruiter


Wondering what else you should avoid in your resume? Read this blog post for on how to edit your resume and put your best foot forward.

Recruiters Off the Clock: The One Question Every Candidate Should Ask at the End of Their Interview

They spend hours rounding up recruits, scoping out search assignments, consulting with their clients, and negotiating job offers. At the end of a long day, they’re ready to dish and we make sure we’re on hand to capture their very best insights to share in our Recruiters Off the Clock blog series.

The Question:

What’s the one question candidates should ask at the end of their interview if they want to make a good impression?

The Recruiters: 

Stephen Carrette 

Having worked in recruiting since 1995, Stephen has extensive experience in connecting great candidates with great companies. Stephen has been with Ian Martin Group since 2012 and in his current role as Senior Recruiter helps job seekers find meaningful work with our IT clients. 


 Jebas Christadoss 

With a wide range of experience in the staffing industry in both Canada and the U.S., Jebas is constantly on the lookout for opportunities to connect companies seeking new talent with brilliant minds seeking to change to the world.  


The Dish:

“That moment at the end of the interview when you’re asked, ‘Are there any other questions you have?’ is such a golden opportunity. If you answer with a no, then you’ve wasted an extra chance to make sure the hiring manager has all the information needed to help rank you against the other candidates. A different way to end your interview could be, Is there any other information I can provide about myself to help you make your decision?’ 

Stephen Carrette, Senior Technical Recruiter 


“I think it’s really important to leave the interview team with a strong sense that you’re excited about the position. When they ask if you have any questions, combine a personal strengths statement with a question about next steps, like: ‘This sounds like a really great fit for me because it would take advantage of my (brief reminder or the key skills you have that match those outlined in the job description). What are the next steps in the interview process?’ 

Jebas Christadoss, Senior Technical Recruiter


Read our blog post on what hiring managers are really looking for during an interview for more tips on how to make a great impression during your next interview. 


4 Recruitment Resolutions for 2018

If the promise of a fresh new year has left you feeling eager to improve, even small changes to your recruiting strategy have the potential to make a huge impact. Here are four simple recruitment resolutions that can help you secure better talent and improve your company’s bottom line in the year ahead.

Assess Your Internal Brand

As competition for today’s best technical talent heats up, convincing potential candidates that your company is a great place to work from the get-go is key. If you’re relying too strongly on consumer marketing messaging or the nuts and bolts of specific job benefits to communicate the advantages of working with your organization, you could be missing the mark.

Do the communications from your company that a candidate encounters during the recruitment process create a sense of what it will “feel” like to work for your company? Do they paint a picture of what sets your company apart from the competition? Strive to reach employees on an emotional level that speaks to their heads and their hearts. You can find a great article here by Gallup about creating a brand that attracts star employees.

Tap into the Potential of Employee Referrals

If you’re not engaging existing employees in your company’s recruitment efforts, you’re ignoring one of the most effective and efficient ways to discover and secure new technical talent. If you’re still not convinced, take a look at some of the research:

  • According to findings from Stanford, employees hired through personal referrals have higher productivity, lower turnover, and lower screening costs.
  • Another study by researchers from Berkeley and Yale found that referred workers are 10-30% less likely to quit and have substantially higher performance on rare high-impact metrics.

If a formal, incentivized employee referral program isn’t in the cards for 2018, consider implementing some smaller changes that will equip employees to be better ambassadors for your recruiting efforts. Start with something simple, like sharing new job postings more widely internally and making it easy for employees to pass along job opportunities to their social media networks.

Leverage KPIs to Find Opportunities for Improvement

Taking a critical look at recruitment data can help reveal valuable insights that will inspire action that is tailored to your unique situation. Tracking cost-per-hire, for example, can help determine if your recruitment efforts are getting more or less efficient over time. Measuring time-to-fill can help assess if the time being invested in things like managing job postings, pre-screening candidates, and checking references is paying off. Staying on top of retention rates can help identify specific positions that may be proving harder to keep filled.

Read our Hiring Metrics Checkup as a first step. In addition to defining some of the key metrics you should be tracking, it also describes how to best measure them.

Enhance Your Passive Candidate Recruitment Strategy

Limiting your recruitment strategy to only those candidates who are currently actively scanning job boards means you may be opting for a subpar pool of talent. Many of the best candidates are not only employed, they may be quite happy in their current position and not even considering looking for a new opportunity. The best real estate agents knock on doors to find homes that aren’t currently listed for sale on their client’s dream street. Recruiters take that same approach to find excellent candidates who may not be actively looking for new work, but might be intrigued by the right opportunity with a great company.

With six decades of experience as one of Canada’s leading technical recruitment firms, Ian Martin has built an extensive database of talent. In addition to the personal networks they’ve built during their tenure as recruiters, with just a few keystrokes Ian Martin’s recruitment staff can tap into a crowdsourced network of talent that’s been built by a collection of their peers from across the globe.

Connect with an Ian Martin hiring consultant today to discuss how we can assist you in reaching your 2018 staffing goals.

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Shake the Trees: 4 Ways to Take Your Tech Talent Search Beyond the Job Board

If you’re not hearing from the type of candidates you were hoping for in your technical talent search, it may be time to cast a wider net. As the battle for technical talent continues to heat up, it’s no longer enough to just post an ad to an online job board, share it on LinkedIn and cross your fingers. Here are some additional channels to consider incorporating into your recruitment strategy.


Slack is a cloud-based team messaging and collaboration app that was initially developed as an alternative to email to help companies communicate more efficiently. It’s been so well received that there are now Slack public communities that have been created to allow people with common interests to communicate. Third party websites like slack list, Standuply and Slofile compile lists of public Slack communities to help people looking to connect with others with similar interests. These communities can be a great way to make connections with technical talent. The Ruby on Rails community, for example, has over 6000 people interested in Ruby on Rails from all over the world, including avid OSS contributors, full-stack engineers, founders of start-ups, backend engineers and students learning Ruby on Rails. Within each community, various topics are organized into subject-based channels.

Top Tip: Watch your manners. When you join a Slack community, take some time to get to know the culture of the community before you start to post and tailor what you write accordingly. When you have a good feel for the community, ensure you are posting on the most appropriate channel.


Meetup is a social networking site that connects people with similar interests and helps them organize offline group meetings. As Meetups happen in physical locations, it is very easy to search by location if you are looking for talent in a specific city. There is a great collection of technical groups. By searching Ruby On Rails, for example, within 100 miles of Toronto, you’ll find Meetup groups of Ruby developers and enthusiasts in Toronto, Kitchener and Waterloo. In addition to being able to see upcoming events, such as a Rail Pub Night, you can also search profiles of people within each group.

Top Tip: Be open and honest about who you are. As this is very much a social platform, members may not be expecting to interact with recruiters or potential employers. Review Meetup’s Usage and Content Policies as a first step before you begin to join groups.

Engage Employees as Evangelists

Employee referral programs are one of the most effective and efficient methods of recruiting technical talent. In addition to coming with a built-in reference, research shows that candidates who have been referred by employees tend to stay longer and be more productive. Equip your employees with the tools they need to communicate within their networks about open positions at your company.

Top Tip: Even if your organization doesn’t have an incentivized referral program in place, look for simple things you can do to engage more employees in your company’s recruitment efforts.

  • Ensure new job postings are shared internally with employees in a way that makes it easy for them to pass on the posting to people in their networks.
  • When employees speak at conferences or trade shows, include a slide at the end of their presentation with a call to action to those in audience to speak to them about employment opportunities with your company.

Connect with Passive Candidates

Your technical talent search shouldn’t be limited to only people who are currently looking for work. Partnering with a recruitment firm that specializes in technical positions gives your company access to a deeper network of talent that includes experienced candidates who may not even be looking at job postings.  Getting a call from a recruiter they respect about a new opportunity can often make candidates realize it might be time for them to consider making a change.

Looking for Meaningful Work? Consider These 7 IT Careers

Information technology is an in-demand and exciting field. There are plenty of career opportunities, and you may not know where to start. Lists of in-demand IT jobs can help you discover jobs that could suit your interests.

To get started, check out these seven meaningful IT careers.

1. Software Developer

Software developers are the people responsible for creating computer programs. They may develop the systems that let programs run or they may develop applications. If necessary, they make changes to their software based on feedback from testers. After the software has been released to the public, software developers could have to perform necessary maintenance or upgrades.

At some companies, software developers write their own code. At others, they work closely with computer programmers who write the code for the programs.

2. Java Developer

Java developers write programs using the Java programming language. Java is a popular programming language that’s suitable for almost any programming task. As a Java developer, you could program anything from an online game to a business application. This means you can pursue a variety of projects in your career.

If you’re the type of person who gets bored easily, the flexibility of Java could make it possible for you to work on varying projects.

3. Mobile Developer

Mobile developers are software developers who specialize in building apps for mobile devices. They create apps for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone devices. Each of these types of devices has its own programming language, so mobile developers may choose to specialize in one device.

There’s significant demand for mobile apps, and many types of companies need them. As a mobile developer, you could create shopping apps, banking apps, or entertainment apps. You could also work on mobile games. This variety can help make your work more meaningful and fun.

4. Web Developer

When you view a great website, a talented web developer is behind it. Web developers are in charge of creating visually appealing and functional websites. They need to design the layout and function of the site based on their employers’ specifications.

Once web developers have concepts in mind, they need to use code to bring them to life while considering issues like security. Programming languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are used to create websites.

5. Network Administrator

These days, most organizations rely on computer networks. These networks need to function as expected. Network administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of organizations’ computer networks.

They make any necessary upgrades or repairs to ensure the network keeps working as expected. They also maintain the security of the network.

6. Network Engineer

Network engineers design and construct computer networks for organizations. They’re responsible for designing both wired and wireless networks. For wired networks, they need to set up all the physical equipment, like routers and cables. For wireless networks, they need to set up communication antennas in the right places to provide enough coverage.

Network administrators then take over the day-to-day maintenance of the networks.

7. QA Engineer

Software development is a complicated process, and someone needs to oversee it. That’s the job of QA engineers. As a QA engineer, you’ll create test plans and testing strategies for your team of testers. You’ll find bugs in the software that were overlooked by the developers. This is one of the best IT careers for people who are very detail-oriented.

If you’re looking for meaningful IT careers, start with one of the seven on this list. Start browsing job listings for IT positions, and you could have your new dream job before you know it.