Recruiters Off the Clock: 4 Things Candidates Do That Drive Employers Crazy

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 most common complaints you hear from employers following a job interview that didn’t go well? 

 

The Recruiters: 

Nadiya Khan 

Nadiya has extensive experience as an IT recruiter and has been connecting candidates with Ian Martin’s direct and MSP clients in the engineering, telecom and IT sectors since she joined the company in 2015.  

 

Sriram Murthy 

Sriram has worked in technical recruiting since 2011 and has been helping Ian Martin connect skilled candidates with meaningful work since 2016. Currently, his recruitment focus is in the sectors of banking and government. 

 

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.  

 

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.   

 

The Dish: 

 “There seems to be a correlation between candidates who are late for the interview and the employer not being happy with the candidate. I don’t think it’s just the fact that they’re annoyed by someone not respecting their time, I think it’s related more to the fact that when a candidate is late they arrive feeling flustered and don’t have time to collect their thoughts before the interview. Things just go downhill from there. Some of my candidates probably think I’m acting like a mother hen when I remind them to factor things like traffic delays and parking availability into their travel time, but I do it for a reason. Getting to your interview well in advance is going to help ensure you’ve got a clear head to really knock it out of the park.” 

Nadiya Khan, Recruitment Manager 

 

“Well, this is another obvious thing, but it continues to happen, so I think it’s worth saying. Employers get really annoyed when a candidate leaves their cell phone on during the interview. Turning off the ringer doesn’t cut it. It’s completely distracting to hear someone’s phone vibrating away in their pocket or their purse. If you want all eyes and ears on you for every second of that interview, you’ve got to turn off your phone. Better yet, don’t bring it into the interview at all and completely eliminate the risk of it interrupting the flow of conversation.”   

Sriram Murthy, Recruitment Manager 

 

Employers are disappointed when candidates don’t take the time to learn a little bit about their company. Don’t get me wrong, employers looking for technical talent today know that there is a shortage and it’s their job to sell potential employees on the position, but they still want to see that someone is interested enough to get a basic level of understanding about what the company makes or does. And it’s such an easy way for a candidate to make a great impression. Find a recent news story about the company or the industry it’s in and work that into the conversation somehow. Showing the interview panel that you’ve taken a genuine interest in what they do goes a long way.” 

Afrin Kammarched, IT Recruiter 

 

“When an interview doesn’t go well and I’m discussing it afterward with the employer, one of the things I often hear is, “They didn’t seem like they were even interested in the position.” A candidate doesn’t have to go in and be a complete cheerleader, but showing the hiring team that you want the job is critical. If you know you’re not a really animated or enthusiastic person, have some questions prepared that will show them you’re interested in your own way. At the end of the interview, say something like, “I think this position sounds like a really great fit for me and I am definitely interested. Do you have any reservations about my ability to do this job?” It may sound direct, but it does a great job of letting them know you want the job and also gives you a chance to wrap the interview up by alleviating any of their potential concerns.” 

Ratheesh Manivannan, Staffing Specialist 

 

Are there other questions on your mind about navigating your way through the new world of work? Check out our Contract Work Compass blog series for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we hear from candidates about contract work. 

Nuclear Attraction: 4 Ways to See If a Career in Nuclear Could Be For You

With half of the nuclear industry’s workforce eligible to retire within the next ten yearsthe field will become even more of a job-seeker’s market in the decade ahead. Canadian energy stakeholders are offering a growing collection of creative initiatives to inspire more people to consider a career the field. Here are four cool ways to dip a toe into the water to see if this powerhouse of a sector could be right for you. 

Visit the world’s largest nuclear facility
Bruce Power is the world’s largest operating nuclear facility, providing 30% of Ontario’s electricity. At the Bruce Power Visitors’ Centre  visitors can take a simulated tour inside a reactor or try their skills as a nuclear fuel operator on replica control room panels. Another exhibit in the Visitor Centre lets guests take control of a console to select different generation sources – wind, solar, biomass, coal, natural gas, and nuclear – to power an imaginary city. The Bruce Power Visitors’ Centre is open to the public Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. year-round as well as Saturdays and Sundays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., in July and August. If you like what you see, let the staff know and they’ll be happy to provide you with career information. 

Spend the summer with a medium flux nuclear reactor
McMaster University’s nuclear reactor was the first university-based research reactor in the British Commonwealth. Today, the medium flux reactor is still by far Canada’s most powerful research reactor at a university and it conducts hundreds of thousands of neutron irradiations each year.  McMaster is the only university in Canada where undergraduate students get the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with a medium flux nuclear reactor as a part of their educational experience. Each summer, the McMaster Nuclear Operations and Facilities group hires undergraduate students to work as research assistants at various campus nuclear research facilities. 

Chalk up some experience at Chalk River
Canadian Nuclear Laboratories is Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization. There’s an exciting $1.2 billion, 10-year transformation endeavour currently underway at its Chalk River Laboratories. Summer job positions and four-eight-twelve and sixteen-month co-op opportunities are available for college and university students.  

Upgrade your engineering skills with a part-time nuclear engineering education 
Recognizing that engineers who have already graduated may want to acquire nuclear sector knowledge, the University Network of Excellence in Nuclear Engineering offers a graduate-level diploma and Masters in Nuclear Engineering that can both be pursued on weekends. The courses are offered by McMaster, Waterloo, Western, Queen’s and UOIT. The UNENE M.Eng. consists of 10 courses, or 8 courses plus a project, and must be completed within 5 years. The UNENE Diploma consists of 4 courses and must be completed within 3 years.  

Ian Martin works with nuclear suppliers across North America and has been placing candidates in the industry for over 50 years. In that last two decades alone, we’ve coordinated over 7,000 job placements in the nuclear industry. If you’d like to browse our current opportunities in the power and nuclear sector, click here 

Superclusters Activate: 5 New Innovation Superclusters Expected to Create Thousands of Canadian Tech Jobs

Wondering where to look for Canada’s next crop of hot tech jobs? Five new Innovation Superclusters located across the country, which are expected to create 50,000 technical jobs within the next decade, are a wise place to start. In 2018, the Canadian government partnered with 450 businesses, 60 post-secondary institutions and a diverse range of community partners to create these industry-led consortiums that are expected to transform some of the country’s most important regional economies.  

Canada’s five new Innovation Superclusters are: 

  • An Ocean Supercluster in Atlantic Canada that will create over 3,000 jobs and use innovation to drive greater competitiveness in the country’s ocean-based industries, including fisheries, oil and gas and clean energy. 
  • The SCALE.AI Supercluster in Quebec that will create over 16,000 jobs and make Canada a leading exporter by leveraging artificial intelligence and robotics to build smarter supply chains. 
  • An Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster in Ontario expected to create 13,500 jobs that will connect Canada’s technology strengths with its manufacturing industry. 
  • A Protein Industries Supercluster in the Prairies expected to create more than 4,500 jobs, which aims to make Canada a leading supplier of the world’s plant proteins. 
  • A BC-based Digital Technology Supercluster expected to create over 13,500 jobs that will use big data and digital technologies to unlock new potential in sectors like healthcare, forestry and manufacturing. 

The caliber of private sector companies involved in the effort suggests there is a great deal of confidence in the results that private, public and educational partners can achieve by working collaboratively. Recognizable names include Microsoft, TELUS, Linamar, Optel, Air Canada, Shoppers Drug Mart, SNC-LavalinDow DuPont Agriculture and Maple Leaf Foods. The long list of post-secondary and research institutions involved includes the University of Waterloo, the MaRS Discovery District, University of BC and Dalhousie University. 

Efforts the Superclusters expect to inspire include a wide range of technologies that could fundamentally change the way many of Canada’s key industries operate. From autonomous marine vehicles to warehouses run by robots and improved access to remote care for Indigenous communities, the initiatives on the table will have an enduring impact right across the country. 

Having a strong representation of women and under-represented groups and helping them succeed in highly innovative industries is a key priority for the five superclusters. Providing digital and tech skills training for those working in traditional industry sectors has also been identified as a strategy to help ensure Canada’s workforce keeps up with the rapidly increasing pace of technological change. 

It may take some time before the projects funded through the Innovation Superclusters begin to generate the jobs that have been projected. In the meantime, if you’re interested in a new technical position, be sure to browse our current Canadian and American job openings.  

Twinsies: The Internet of Things Doubles Down on a New Kind of Engineer

When human twins arrive on the scene they tend to bring a fair amount of chaos into their parents’ lives. There’s a new kind of twin in town that is set to drive its own brand of disruption. 

Digital twinning is a term used to describe the practice of creating a highly virtual model of something that is an exact replica of a physical thing. It could be a car engine, a highway overpass or a manufacturing production line. Sensors that are connected to the actual physical thing collect important data that is then mapped onto the virtual model, or twin. Rather than having to actually examine the physical object in person, team members in any connected location can access important real-time information about how the object is performing as well as predictions about its future performance. 

Digital twinning can offer manufacturing businesses an unprecedented view into how their products are performing, including identifying potential faults and performing troubleshooting. It can also provide remote team members with aintricate view of a physical asset that might be thousands of miles away. 

The rise of digital twinning is expected to have a huge impact on business. Gartner predicts that by 2021, half of large industrial companies will use digital twins, resulting in those organizations gaining a 10% improvement in effectiveness. 

The increased use of digital twinning technology could drive the need for a new breed of engineer: the Digital Twinning Engineer. In the report2018 Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute Skills Gap and Future of Work Study, Digital Twinning Engineer was included as future work persona to help illustrate what manufacturing jobs could look like within the next decade.  

According to the report’s detailed (and fascinating) job persona, the responsibilities of a Digital Twinning Engineer could include things like: 

  • Using 3D software to create digital twins and run simulations 
  • Using product data to capture insights and design new products and business models 
  • Using machine learning and real-time data to drive continuous improvement 
  • Working with sales and marketing teams to develop customer insights and marketing strategies.

With companies likeGE already offering digital twin software, and other big hitters likeSiemens and Microsoft  investing in digital twin solution development, we expect to see an increase in demand for talent with digital twinning capability. The skillsets these jobs will require will include expertise in machine learning, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and other data-science capabilities.  

These jobs won’t be limited to manufacturing as the benefits of digital twinning could also apply to sectors including health and medicine, insurance, investing, risk analysis, research, transportation, and customer service. 

Browse our latest engineering and IT job postings here. To receive email alerts with new job postings that our Recruiters think might be of interest to you, sign up here. 

5 AI Jobs For Tech Candidates Ready For A Retool

Have you been thinking it might be time to refocus your technical skills to take advantage of the growth that’s taking place in the field of artificial intelligence? Findings from a report from consulting firm, KPMG, could serve as a helpful trail of breadcrumbs to lead you to some of the sector’s most in-demand roles. 

Based on its own projects scattered across the globe and also several that it advises on, KPMG has singled out these five AI roles as the jobs companies should consider creating if they want to effectively build their AI capabilities.  

AI Architect
The role of AI Architect is focused on identifying opportunities where AI can help a business. In addition to measuring performance of AI initiatives, those in this role are charged with ensuring the company’s AI efforts help build the bottom line.  

AI Product Manager
The AI Product Manager works between various organizational teams to ensure productive relationships between humans and machines and that AI efforts can be implemented at scale.  

Data Scientist
Data Scientists turn an organization’s data into actionable business insights. This involves cleaning data to ensure different collections of data can play nicely together, building models and algorithms to extract patterns, interpreting those patterns and communicating insights to organizational stakeholders. Although the term Data Scientist was first coined just a decade ago, the increasing importance of extracting value from rapidly growing vaults of organizational data has made the role one of the world’s fastest growing jobs. In 2012, Harvard Business Review celebrated the title of Data Scientist as the sexiest job of the 21st century and since then the field has exploded.   

AI Technology Software Engineer
AI Technology Software Engineers are often charged with solving one of the biggest AI problems facing businesses right now: transitioning projects from pilot phase to scalable deployment. 

AI Ethicist
An AI Ethicist tackles the ethical challenges that unfold as AI technology develops by creating guidelines and ensuring the company has systems in place to encourage compliance.  

According to KPMG, many of the skills required for these positions require specific technical know-how that may not currently exist within a company. Surging demand for these AI skillsets means that it will be a job seeker’s market as business leaders race to build their teams so they can win at the AI race.   

Some of the AI-related positions we’ve been recruiting for recently at Ian Martin that confirm KPMG’s predictions are on the right track include Data Sciences Analyst and Cloud Data Engineer. To browse the most recent postings, search our current Information Technology job postings. Use the keyword “data” to in the search bar to narrow down your options. 

If you’d like the latest job postings in the industries that are of most interest to you sent directly to your inbox, you can sign up to receive alerts here. 

Guest Post: The 10 Best Reasons to Hire a Veteran

The transition between the military and civilian worlds can be tough to navigate, especially when veterans re-enter the workforce. It can be difficult for former service members to explain and employers to understand how military skills translate to civilian jobs. But what companies often don’t realize is that, due to the rigor of military training, hiring a veteran can net a considerable number of advantages for civilian companies.

Here’s how your business can benefit from hiring a veteran:

  1. Veterans are goal-oriented: Military members get things done. From the day they start basic training, they learn how to perform tasks in a timely manner. They’re trained to keep their eyes on the prize and reach goals as efficiently as possible.
  2. Veterans are quick learners: Veterans are used to thinking on their feet, gaining and assimilating new knowledge under shifting conditions. This problem-solving and acuity helps them learn new skills quickly. Also, as a result of dealing with complex command hierarchies and supply chains, many veterans often excel at logistics, customer relationship management, and other areas beneficial to the process-side of your company.
  3. Veterans have clearances and security screenings: Many members of the military have already undergone extensive background checks, even for upper levels of security clearance. This can provide your company a level of confidence and trust(especially in the HR department). And if your company requires security clearances, hiring a veteran who already holds such clearances can save your company money and time.
  4. Veterans practice sound judgment: Military personnel are required to make decisions in the blink of an eye, and that requires the ability to make solid judgments of prevailing conditions and their own assessments. Throughout their careers, military veterans gain a considerable amount of experience deciphering when and when not to trust their intuition.
  5. Veterans are eligible for government-paid higher education: If there are a lot of opportunities to advance within your company that require classes or training, hiring a vet would be a good idea. The government gives veterans financial assistance for pursuing higher education. This means that if they need to take any college classes to advance within your company, the U.S. government will foot the bill, or at least part of it. In Canada, the Veterans Affairs Canada office provides service members who served 6 years with $40,000 worth of education benefits and $80,000 for those who served 12 years or more.
  6. Veterans have a strong work ethic: “Determined” is a word often used to describe vets. In the military, they’re accustomed to working long hours, often in less-than-ideal places. They also know that their team’s safety and success ultimately depends on their own completion of a goal to the best of their ability. As a result, most veterans have a well-developed work ethic.
  7. Veterans thrive in diverse workplacesDuring their career in the military, veterans are exposed to a vast array of different races, genders, sexual orientations, places of origin, religions, backgrounds, and personalities. They learned to work with just about anyone, which means they’ll probably fit into your company’s team well and cut down on personnel issues within the office.
  8. Veterans are safety-conscious: Due to their training, veterans are continuously aware of safety protocols put in place for themselves and the people around them. If your company works with heavy machinery or potentially dangerous or hazardous materials, hiring veterans could be a great idea, as they often have a sharp eye for regulations and potential hazards.
  9. There are tax credits for hiring veterans: There are certain tax credits in the United States available to businesses that choose to hire military veterans. Online systems are available to help companies screen veterans to determine the best candidate for the job, as well as the related tax credits. Tax credits will be different depending on who you hire, and credits work on a one-to-one ratio for the employer’s income tax.
  10. Veterans are adaptable: Being in the military requires that members learn to adapt quickly, whether for job conditions, relocating to a new city, or myriad other changes. Situations can change at the drop of a hat, and military personnel are constantly required to be prepared for those changes. If the unexpected is liable to happen within your company, (and remember, unexpected things happen all the time!) hiring a veteran could help your organization maneuver through those situations with ease.

All in All

A plethora of benefits come along with hiring a veteran to work at your company: adaptability, work ethic, teamwork and leadership, efficiency, safety-consciousness, and sharp critical thinking. Veterans’ military training has prepared them for just about anything, instilling the skills they’ll need to obtain and succeed as part of the civilian workforce once their military career has ended. Fortunately, those are the same skills that will benefit your teams and companies, as well.

Connect with Brad Miller: TheMilitaryGuide.org

Tap into Your Recruiter’s Knowledge for In-the-trenches Compensation Intelligence

When it comes to attracting and retaining talent, having a solid understanding of salary expectations has never been more important. With the introduction of salary disclosure legislation, like Ontario’s Pay Transparency Act, compensation rates are becoming increasingly front and centre in recruiting. Effective January 2019, jobs that are advertised publicly will be required to include the expected compensation or range of compensation and off-point salary ranges can be seriously off putting to candidates. Where once a sub-par salary often didn’t factor into the recruitment equation until an offer was made, today a monetary miss can stop thousands of potential candidates in their tracks before they’re even finished reading your job ad. Fewer candidates applying means a drastically reduced chance of finding a great fit. 

 

To help ensure the salary they’re offering will appeal to the calibre of talent they’re trying to attract, many companies turn to compensation intelligence services. These subscription-based reports and online tools offer access to benchmarking data that has been collected and collated from a wide range of organizations. While this information can offer helpful high-level insights, many clients we talk to have told us it can lack some make-or-break nuances. 

 

Today’s rapidly changing economy can drive significant and speedy changes to compensation rates. Other factors including location, hiring trends and high-demand skill sets are also always at play and may not come across in high-level compensation reports. To illustrate just how quickly and dramatically compensation rates can change, look to this example from the oilfields of Alberta. When the industry was booming in 2015, safety practitioners and professionals were in high demand with the average salary in the oil and gas industry hitting more than $125,000. This was 50 per cent higher than employees working in the health-care and communications industries Canada-wide and Alberta’s average salary for these positions tracked a full 25 per cent higher than Ontario’s. As oil prices plummeted, organizations downsized and these same safety practitioners who had once been in high demand started struggling to find even entry-level jobs. Data suggests that senior positions saw up to a 50 per cent drop in pay for newly advertised positions and junior position salaries decreased by between 10 and 20 per cent. 

 

At Ian Martin, we have recruiters who are in constant contact with both talent and employers from across North America. These daily conversations provide invaluable and up-to-the-minute insight into a wide variety of factors that can impact compensation rates. Whether it’s an announcement of a new satellite office for a high-profile tech firm that could drive salaries up, the addition of a rail line that will create a larger pool of suburban job seekers or a change in immigration legislation that opens up opportunities to eager international talent, our in-the-know recruiters offer context that, when combined with higher-level compensation data, provides a powerful one-two punch when setting compensation rates.  

 

Connect with one of our Hiring Experts today for a no-obligation chat about how we can help you set competitive compensation ranges for advertised positions that will help you attract the right calibre of talent and move your business forward. 

5 Ways Ontario is Driving Driverless Car Technologies

With potential benefits like fewer crashes, less time spent commuting, fuel savings, and reduced traffic on roads, the Conference Board of Canada suggests that the country could reap up to $65 billion in savings per year from autonomous vehicle developments. 

While the future impact of this technology will eventually drive major changes for those working in fields like transport; truck, courier, taxi and bus services; auto insurance; and vehicle parking, this isn’t only a career story about the future. There are already 150 Ontario companies and organizations involved in the autonomous and connected vehicle industry that employ a total of 10,000 employees. These firms, research centres, and universities are playing a key role in moving self-driving car technology forward. Here are just a few of the interesting advances related to autonomous vehicles that illustrate how Ontario is helping steer the future of this game-changing technology. 

 

Uber 

Uber’s not just focused on getting you where you need to be today. The company is also thinking about the future with significant investment into self-driving car research. In May 2017, Uber announced it would open a research group devoted to driverless car technology in Toronto. The project is being led by renowned University of Toronto computer scientist, Raquel Urtasun. Keep an eye out on the streets around the University of Toronto and you may even spot one of the two autonomous Uber cars that are driving themselves. Don’t panic, though, there is always a driver behind the wheel that can switch the vehicle from autonomous to manual mode as needed. 

 

BlackBerry QNX 

October 11, 2017 marked an important milestone in Canadian transportation when the first self-driving vehicle was tested on a public road. BlackBerry QNX was the company that made this historic day in Ottawa possible. It is one of the over 70 companies in Ottawa’s autonomous vehicle ecosystem. The BlackBerry QNX Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Centre (AVIC) was unveiled in 2016 with a goal of accelerating connected and self-driving vehicle technology by developing production-ready software. While the name BlackBerry may be synonymous with smartphones, BlackBerry QNX has been supplying software to the automotive industry for over a decade that can be found in more than 60 million vehicles today. Given that cars will soon carry one of the highest concentrations of Internet of Things edge nodes and sensors and generate a vast amount of data, Blackberry is investing in technologies that will power the core electronics of connected and autonomous cars. 

 

SAE’s AutoDrive Challenge 

The SAE’s AutoDrive Challenge is a three-year autonomous vehicle competition that has eight North American teams competing to develop and demonstrate a full autonomous driving Chevy Bolt EV. Both the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo have teams competing. From 2017 through 2019, the teams will work with real-world applications of sensing technologies, computing platforms, software design implementation and advanced computation methods such as computer vision, pattern recognition, machine learning, artificial intelligence, sensor fusion and autonomous vehicle controls. 

 

Magna 

Aurora, Ontario-based auto parts giant, Magna’s  MAX4 technology is an autonomous-driving electronic platform that can be used on existing vehicles as well as future electric and hybrid cars and trucks. The platform can enable up to Level 4 autonomous driving capabilities in both urban and highway environments. Level 4 automation is only achieved when the vehicles can perform all safety-critical functions for the duration of a trip with the only input from a driver being related to the destination or navigation. Most vehicles on the road today equipped with some automation features are classified as Level 1 or Level 2, which means they require active monitoring by the driver. 

 

Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) 

The  Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN)  Demonstration Zone in Stratford is the first of its kind in Canada and will allow researchers to hone autonomous vehicle technology and test vehicles in a wide range of everyday, real-life traffic scenarios. In addition to the Demonstration Zone, AVIN offers a Research and Development Partnership Fund, a Talent Development Program, and a Central Hub that will serve as a catalyst for conducting research, sharing information, and building connections amongst industry, research partners, and other stakeholders. 

 

Are you an automotive company in need of experienced engineers that can keep pace with the rapid change taking place in the industry? Speak to one of our Hiring Experts about how we can help you shift your staffing strategy out of cruise control.  

Do Candidates Really Care About Corporate Social Responsibility?

You’ve found a strong candidate. The interview is going well. You’ve told them about your company’s impressive benefits package, highlighted the opportunities for growth and development within the position, and shared some of the things your company does to support work-life balance. As you go through your mental checklist of all the factors that could positively influence the candidate’s decision to join your team, you feel like you’ve checked all the boxes. But has your pitch included some evidence that your company is committed to improving the lives of people and the health of our planet? If not, there’s a 50% chance that great candidate is going to walk out the door at the end of the interview and never look back.

According to research, your company’s commitment to corporate responsibility has a direct tie to attracting and retaining talent that may be even stronger than you realize: 

  • 58% of candidates surveyed said they consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work. 
  • 55% said they would choose to work for a socially responsible company, even if the salary was less. 
  • 51% said they will not work for a company that doesn’t have strong social or environmental commitments.

Highlighting corporate social responsibility is even more critical if you’re trying to convince a candidate that is between the ages of 27 and 35 to join your team.  

  • 67% of this mature Millennial segment surveyed in the study said they would not work for a company that did not have strong corporate responsibility commitments.  
  • 76% of mature Millennials said they would choose to work for a socially responsible company, even if the salary would be less than at other companies. 

Ian Martin employees volunteer during our annual B Corp Day in the local community.

Convincing candidates that your company is committed to making the world a better place isn’t as simple as pointing out your recycling bins and sharing some impressive figures from your charitable donation programsToday’s candidates are wary of corporate greenwashing, so be prepared to share some hard data to prove that your company walks the walk when it comes to its social and environmental efforts. 

One way that for-profit companies can prove without a doubt that they follow rigorous standards related to their social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency is to acquire B Corp certificationWhile the certification process will involve time and effort, it will set your company apart as an organization that is not only competing to be the best IN the world, but also to be the best FOR the world. Joining the roster of over 2,400 other Certified B Corps including recognizable names like Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, and Etsy won’t hurt your recruitment efforts either! You can learn more about the additional practical business benefits that Ian Martin has experienced as a result of our own B Corp certification here. 

Since research suggests that 78% of employees want to be an active participant in helping their company improve its responsible business practices, the corporate responsibility case you present to the candidate shouldn’t focus solely on big-picture initiatives and results. Share examples of the processes and programs you have in place that allow employees to get personally involved in your company’s charitable and environmental efforts. Today, the priority that employees place on opportunities to personally support causes or issues they care about is on par with benefits like wellness programs and tuition reimbursement. If you have a community volunteering or pro bono program, share data to give candidates a better sense of how many employees currently participate. Encourage current employees to share their volunteer experiences on your company’s social media channels. This will allow candidates to see real-life examples of your commitment to your community when they are conducting pre- and post-interview research.

In today’s raging war for technical talent, employers should leave no stone unturned when it comes to convincing candidates why their company is a great place to work. Our Insider’s Guide to Technical Recruitment has some helpful tips to assist you in assessing your company like a prospective employee. If you would like to get additional insight into the types of questions that candidates may have about your company’s corporate social responsibility effortsconnect with one of our Ian Martin Hiring Consultants. 

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

*Feature image by Rob Nelson www.robnelson.ca

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 

Nuclear’s Role Gets Reconsidered in the Clean Energy Equation

With global electricity demand on pace to double by 2030, the race is on for the world’s key energy players to find clean sources that will fuel their economies but also allow them to meet more aggressive carbon emissions targets. That race is inspiring a global rethink on nuclear power that is producing a variety of interesting results.

A growing sentiment that renewables can’t do it alone

Many nuclear energy supporters are raising awareness of their belief that while renewable energy sources like wind and solar can play an important role in the clean energy equation, Mother Nature’s unpredictability creates the need for backup energy sources. Today, that back up often comes from natural gas, which can detract from the carbon emissions advantages initially driven by wind and solar. Nuclear advocates point to Germany’s recent carbon emissions performance to illustrate their point. In 2016, despite a four per cent decrease in coal use and expansion of renewable energy sources, the country’s carbon emissions actually rose. The CO₂ emissions saved through the drop of coal use were offset by an increase in consumption of mineral oil and a 10 percent jump in the use of natural gas.

An opinion shift amongst environmentalists

The release of Robert Stone’s documentary, Pandora’s Promise, in 2013 was an important milestone in the nuclear power debate. The film positions nuclear energy as a key component in the fight to slow climate change. It was a stark contrast to Stone’s Oscar-nominated anti-nuclear documentary, Radioactive Bikini, that was released in 1987.

That same year, four of the world’s leading climate change scientists published an open letter encouraging anti-nuclear environmentalist groups to reconsider their views. The experts claimed that “Renewables like wind and solar and biomass will certainly play roles in a future energy economy, but those energy sources cannot scale up fast enough to deliver cheap and reliable power at the scale the global economy requires.” The letter went on to ask environmental organizations to demonstrate their real concern about risks from climate damage by calling for the development and deployment of advanced nuclear energy.

Tech Billionaires Set Their Sights on Nuclear’s Potential

While Bill Gates gets the most media attention for his support of nuclear energy, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Microsoft’s Paul Allen, and PayPal’s Peter Thiel are also on board. These high-profile tech investors believe that nuclear power is a wise choice for both the planet and their investment portfolio. Gates has put his money where his mouth is with his incubator TerraPower, which is working on a number of clean energy solutions including an approach to nuclear power that addresses real and perceived concerns about nuclear power due to cost, safety and waste. Gates has signed a joint venture agreement between TerraPower and China to create Global Innovation Nuclear Energy Technology, a company that will build and commercialize the Travelling Wave Reactor. This fourth-generation reactor will use waste uranium to generate energy and could operate without refueling for up to 40 years. This is just one example of how China is betting big on nuclear. It has set a goal of boosting its nuclear power capacity by about 70 percent to 58 gigawatts by 2020. Canada’s SNC–Lavalin also announced a joint venture with the China National Nuclear Corporation and Shanghai Electric Company in 2016 to build Advanced Fuel CANDU Reactors in China and internationally.

The UK gets it first new nuclear plant in over 20 years

In the United Kingdom, all eyes are on the Somerset Coast’s Hinkley Point C. The new nuclear power station being built there will be home to two European Pressurized Reactors (EPRs), which have been designed to generate more electricity from less fuel, require less downtime for maintenance, and reduce the risk of major accidents. The project, which is currently one of Europe’s largest building sites, is expected to be completed in 2025.

The Middle East hedges against oil dependence

The world’s big oil nations are also investing in nuclear as they diversify their energy strategies to keep up with increased demand for electricity. When it comes online in 2020, the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant will provide a quarter of the UAE’s energy and save 12 million tons in carbon emissions each year. Saudi Arabia also has plans for 16 nuclear reactors over the next two decades that will supply 15 per cent of its power.

Canada stays the course

Nuclear energy isn’t a new path for Canada, where the $6 billion sector employs approximately 60,000 people. Canada has been a world leader in nuclear energy since the development of the first CANDU reactor in 1952. Canada is home to 19 of the world’s 446 operable nuclear reactors, which generate 16.6 per cent of the country’s electricity. The Bruce Power Nuclear Generating Station in Ontario is the largest operating nuclear power facility in the world, and has been delivering energy since 1977. Canada is also the world’s leading supplier of uranium and is home to the highest-grade uranium deposits in the world.

At The Ian Martin Group, we’re fortunate to have a team of nuclear energy sector staffing experts as we’ve been helping companies source nuclear talent for over 60 years. If you are a company looking for short- or long-term nuclear talent, connect with one of our Hiring Consultants today for a no-obligation discussion about your search strategy. If you are a job seeker interested in exploring new opportunities in the nuclear sector, explore our current listings.

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.

Variety

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.

Autonomy

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.

 

 

Ian Martin Celebrates Land Acknowledgement Installation

 

At Ian Martin, we exist to connect people in meaningful work. But as we’ve discovered, before you connect people in meaningful work, you must first connect with them meaningfully. Last Thursday, July 5th marked a new phase of Ian Martin’s engagement with and commitment to Indigenous communities in our local area and across North America.

In the presence of Shannon Monk Payne of Sakatay Global, employees in our office enjoyed a catered lunch from Toronto Indigenous restaurant NishDish, made tobacco ties, smudged, drummed, sang, and unveiled a beautiful land acknowledgement statement that now adorns the wall when you walk into our headquarters in Oakville, Ontario. The acknowledgement reads:

The headquarters of the Ian Martin Group is located on the traditional territory and treaty lands of the Mississaugas of the New Credit. This sacred land is part of the Dish With One Spoon wampum covenant between the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas, and Haudenosaunee that bound them to share, care for, and protect the lands and resources around the Great Lakes. Subsequent Indigenous Nations and Peoples, Europeans, and all newcomers have been invited into this treaty in the spirit of peace, friendship, and respect. We are grateful to work in the community on this territory and recognize our shared responsibility to honour the truth of the land and its treaties while strengthening our relationships with Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island. 

For the past four months, a group of employees from Ian Martin embarked on a learning journey with Shannon Monk Payne to build our cultural confidence and awareness with Indigenous communities. Since much of our work is in the oil and gas sector, and since stewardship is a principal value of our organization, this initiative perfectly marries our triple bottom line of people, planet, profit. We have a duty to respect the original stewards of the land upon which we live and work; it is not only the first step towards reconciliation, but it is a step further along our  company mission to break down barriers to meaningful employment.

Land acknowledgements are becoming status quo in some organizations, but we are committed to going above and beyond the writing on the wall. Ian Martin has built a business culture steeped in open, honest, and meaningful engagement that seeks to change the way business is done. As such, we want to go beyond simply unveiling these words and having them rest on our walls. We want to live through these words with an enlivened commitment to engage meaningfully with Indigenous nations to foster mutually beneficial partnerships based on trust, accountability, and respect.

To realize this commitment, we have accompanied this land acknowledgement with a series of internal and external action plans to break down barriers Indigenous peoples face and join forces with our local Indigenous communities to realize more meaningful employment for more people. Ian Martin is also part of the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries (OCNI) First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Engagement Committee, which works in partnership with Bruce Power and Ontario Power Generation, as well as Canadian nuclear suppliers, to increase Indigenous representation and opportunity in Canadian business. We have committed to partnering with a local Indigenous organization as part of our newly developed Meaningful Work Foundation. We have established connections and will foster relationships with the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, upon whose traditional lands our headquarters operates. We will be rolling out an Indigenous cultural training program to all our employees. We have established our own Indigenous engagement task force to hold ourselves accountable and to keep improving on our goals. Still, there is much work to be done.

May this mark the beginning of a new journey forward not only to open doors for more people in meaningful work, but to open more doors of understanding and meaning in our commitments to the communities with which we share this land.

In the House of the Rising Sun: OPG Trades Coal for Solar

In February of this year, Ontario watched as two giant smokestacks on the coast of Lake Erie were demolished in a controlled yet mighty dust cloud. More than just a spectacle, this destruction marks a significant turn for the way power is generated in Ontario. Now that the dust has settled on the site, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has announced its plans to amp up its renewable energy capabilities by converting the former Nanticoke Generating Station into a solar power project. The move is a big step for the province towards clean, renewable energy sources, resulting in a drastic decrease in smog and air pollutants.

The former Nanticoke coal-fired generating station is getting a green facelift. (Ontario Power Generation Inc.)

The plant, which first came into service in 1972, was once the largest coal-fuelled power plant in North America. Come the end of 2019, the site will be transformed into Nanticoke Solar, a 200,000 panel, 44 MW solar farm that is a partnership between OPG, Sun Edison Canadian Construction LP, and the Six Nations of the Grand River.

Eliminating coal as a source of power is the largest action being taken to fight climate change. “At its peak, Nanticoke Generating Station was one of the largest air polluters in North America,” says Glenn Thibeault, Ontario’s Minister of Energy. “Ontario’s elimination of coal for electricity generation remains the single largest climate change initiative undertaken in North America and was the equivalent of taking up to seven million cars off of our roads.”

But climate change isn’t the only worry: smoggy skies also lead to many health problems for Ontarians. The burning of coal for electricity generation is a significant source of local and regional air pollution and mercury emissions. A 2005 independent study estimated that the total annual cost of coal-fired electricity, including health, financial and environmental costs, was $4.4 billion (2004$). In 2003, the Ontario government committed to eliminating all of its coal-powered generation plants in a phase out approach.

Nanticoke Solar is the Six Nations’ 10th green development initiative, and OPG’s 5th project with Indigenous communities. In addition to Nanticoke Solar, OPG has partnered with Indigenous communities on the Lac Seul Generating Station (in partnership with Lac Seul First Nation), the Lower Mattagami River Project (in partnership with Moose Cree First Nation), and the recently completed Peter Sutherland Sr. Generating Station (in partnership with Taykwa Tagamou Nation).

A fifth green development project between OPG and Indigenous communities is also in the works: Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek (KZA) / Gull Bay First Nation and OPG are codeveloping a microgrid that will offset diesel use in the remote KZA community. Currently, the KZA community’s energy supply is powered by diesel; the new microgrid project combines the use of solar, lithium-ion battery storage, and grid technology to reduce diesel use by approximately 100,000 litres each year, which equates to a reduction of approximately 340 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.

Nanticoke Solar is expected to be up and running by Spring of 2019.

If you’d like to learn more about finding the right talent to help your organization reduce its carbon footprint, connect with an Ian Martin hiring expert or download our Insider’s Guide to Technical Recruitment. If you’re a job seeker interested in a career in clean tech, take a look at our current opportunities in the manufacturing, power, and nuclear sectors.

 

How You Can Tackle Houston’s Labor Shortage Head On

A recent article in Barron’s, “The Great Labor Crunch,” offers some pretty telling statistics about the talent crisis facing the U.S. right now, including:

“…with the economy in its ninth year of growth and another baby boomer retiring every nine seconds, the labor crunch is about to get much worse.”

“From 2017 to 2027, the nation faces a shortage of 8.2 million workers … the most substantial shortfall in at least 50 years.”

This labor shortage is even more severe in Texas. In the article, an operations manager from a Permian Basin oil company says, “It’s an emergency, a crisis actually. It’s causing major delays,” and goes on to add that he has never had such trouble finding and retaining good employees. His company now offers signing bonuses to workers that sign noncompete clauses to help improve retention.

The good news is that signing bonuses aren’t the only way to compete for talent during a labor shortage. Ian Martin has been helping companies source contract and full-time employees since 1957. Over that time, we’ve helped hundreds of companies thrive through labor shortages. Here are three of our surefire ways to rise above the competition when there is a war for talent going on in your city.

1. Stop posting job openings—start MARKETING them.

Want your company’s open positions to stand out from the competition on job boards? Think about the factors that matter most to potential employees and make these points the focus of your job ad. This blog post offers some easy tips on how to elevate your job ads.

2. Reach for the passive candidate goldmine.

It’s no longer good enough to post an opening on a job board and cross your fingers. According to LinkedIn research, 60 percent of the total candidate pool is passive. That means they aren’t looking for a new job but may be very open to offers.

Our Hiring Experts can help your company tap into this valuable pool of qualified talent. And check out this blog post for some creative suggestions for finding new ways to connect with passive candidates.

3. Treat your salaried AND contract employees in a way that makes them want to stay.

Keeping existing employees engaged reduces the chance of them leaving. Contract employees who feel like they aren’t treated as well as salaried peers may feel disengaged and opt for an opportunity with a different company.

Ian Martin’s Contractor Success Team increases retention and return rates of contract employees. Each contractor has access to a dedicated support team that is 100% focused on addressing any issues that arise related to their employment. Whether it’s a question about payroll, expense reimbursement, holiday time or income tax, Ian Martin contractors know that help is only a phone call, text, or email away.

Would you like more advice on how your company can come out on top in Houston’s job seeker’s market? As one of North America’s leading technical recruitment and project staffing firms, Ian Martin has an extensive network of over 500,000 talented candidates.

Get in touch with one of our Hiring Experts.

Lost in Translation: Level Setting Language Proficiency

There is no doubt that bilingual and multilingual candidates are in high demand in today’s competitive market for technical talent. Unfortunately, both companies and candidates can struggle when it comes to bilingual job opportunities because of unclear expectations around language proficiency.

If you’d like your company to have improved access to today’s top talent with second-language skills, here are three simple things you can do to create better bilingual connections with potential candidates.

Assess the role’s actual second-language requirements before creating the job posting

Not every bilingual position requires complete second-language proficiency. Truly understanding the level of second-language fluency required is key. To do this, start by breaking down the daily tasks that the successful candidate will be expected to perform. This will shed light on the actual level of proficiency that is required, and in some cases, this may significantly expand the talent pool. For example, a customer service representative for a French speaking call centre may only need enough conversational English to conduct occasional face-to-face status updates with an English manager. That requires a significantly lower level of proficiency than a position where the employee must produce detailed written reports in their second language.

If a similar position is already filled with a bilingual employee, ask for their input on the level of fluency that they feel is required to do the job well.

Once you have the list of daily tasks compiled, take the time to understand which of those functions will require the candidate to speak, comprehend, and write in their second language.

Clearly communicate the position’s specific language proficiency requirements

Through conversations with thousands of candidates over the years, we know that there are many job seekers with a solid command of a second language who won’t even consider bilingual positions because they assume there is a requirement to speak, understand, and write both languages as proficiently as a native speaker. If your position does not require complete second language proficiency, you’ll gain access to a much larger pool of talent if that is communicated effectively in the job posting.

First, be clear about the specific languages you’re referencing. In a bilingual country like Canada, it’s easy to assume that the term bilingual refers to English and French, but in today’s increasingly global marketplace that’s no longer a safe assumption.

Next, look to the daily task list developed before creating the job posting to get really specific about the requirements for the second language. The posting should immediately address questions such as:

  • Is second language proficiency an asset or a requirement?
  • Will the candidate need to speak and write the second language?

Broad descriptors like “Intermediate Level of Fluency” or “Fluently Bilingual” lack clarity and can create confusion amongst potential candidates that might scare them away. Instead, paint a clear picture of language expectations by specifying second language requirements by oral, written, and reading skill proficiency.

The proficiency definitions used in Global Affairs Canada’s Language Proficiency Scale are a helpful resource that can be used to further define position requirements. The scale offers detailed definitions for its five levels of language proficiency:

  • Zero: No Language Proficiency
  • One: Elementary Proficiency
  • Two: Limited Working Proficiency
  • Three: General Professional Proficiency
  • Four: Advanced Professional Proficiency
  • Five: Educated Native Proficiency

Rather than saying you’re looking for “Advanced Professional Proficiency,” provide examples of what that would look like to your company. The Scale’s definitions can help with communicating those expectations. For example:

“When speaking in their second language, the candidate will be able to communicate with a great deal of fluency, grammatical accuracy, and a complex vocabulary.  They will be able to both write and edit formal and informal correspondence, official reports and documents, and professional articles.”

During the interview, ensure you actually assess the second language skills that you have identified as important. If the role will involve the successful candidate rapidly switching between two languages in conversations, simulate that experience during an interview question. If the role will involve a significant amount of writing in the candidate’s second language, give them a short on-the-spot assignment to get a better sense of how accurately and efficiently they can capture their thoughts in writing.

Talk to a Recruiting Expert with Bilingual Staffing Experience

A brief call with one of Ian Martin’s hiring consultants can provide invaluable insight to help you find great bilingual candidates. With over six decades of experience in technical recruitment and project staffing, Ian Martin understands the unique nuances of finding and placing bilingual technical talent. We also have an extensive network of bilingual talent across North America ready to work on your projects. Connect with one of Ian Martin’s hiring consultants today to discuss your bilingual talent search strategy.

5G Comes Into Focus

4G, 4G LTE. 5G. If you’re feeling a bit confused by the ever-changing variants of mobile networks, you’re not alone. While 5G hasn’t arrived quite yet, testing is well underway and widespread rollout is expected in the 2020 timeframe. Here are some key things to know about the technology as 5G transforms from concept to reality around us.

The wireless game is about to change

5G stands for fifth generation wireless network. It is being touted as a global game changer that will dramatically disrupt the way we work, play, and live. While previous network upgrades have brought about relatively gradual change, industry experts have compared 5G’s potential impact to major technological shakeups like the introduction of the printing press, harnessing the power of electricity, and the transition from the typewriter to the computer.

The Internet of things (and way more things)

The need for this new breed of mobile network is being driven by incredibly rapid mobile data traffic growth. With the increasing number of consumer electronics, wearables, connected cars, machines, meters, sensors and point-of-sale terminals, industry analysts are predicting that there will be 50 billion devices connected to mobile networks worldwide by 2020. That proliferation of devices and how they communicate with each other is referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT) and it requires a fast, reliable network to make it run.

The down low on downloads

Life in a 5G world will usher in an era of significantly faster download speeds. How fast? For a visual comparison, picture your current mobile phone download experience as watering a plant with your garden hose. With the 5G network, your download experience will be more like watering that same plant with a fire hose. With current 4G LTE capability, it takes about one hour for a high-quality download of a short HD movie. If the signal is disrupted during that download, which is common, it can take much longer. On a 5G network, download speeds are anticipated to reach 10 gigabits per second, which means a full HD movie could be downloaded in a matter of seconds.

Lightened up latency

Network latency refers to the time it takes for data to get from one point to another. Low latency means the network experiences small delays and high latency means there are long delays. That few-second delay you currently experience before streaming begins when you press play on Netflix might not seem like a big deal, but milliseconds can be the difference between life and death in a world where autonomous vehicles rely on signals they are receiving from the wireless network. With current 4G latency, a car driving at 100 km/h would still move 1.4 metres from the time an obstacle is detected until the time the braking command is issued. With 5G network latency, that car would move just 2.8 cm before the braking command was executed, which is comparable to the standard of current anti-lock braking systems.

Slicing and dicing

Network slicing will be an important concept for 5G as it will allow different networks to be customized over one shared infrastructure. Different mobile technologies put different demands on the network. The remote operation of a machine in a factory, for example, requires a different degree of bandwidth and latency than a remote tele surgery, for example. Network slicing will segment individual networks so that they can be isolated and customized for unique applications as if they were each a physically separate network.

Towers get tiny

To deliver the required speed and capacity to an increased number of devices, 5G networks will rely on a denser collection of smaller antennas than what currently exists for 3G and 4G networks. Today’s mobile networks require large towers every few miles that can be as high as 250 feet tall. 5G networks will require a massive deployment of shoe box-sized cells. Dozens of these cells within a single neighbourhood block will be attached to existing lamp posts, utility poles and the sides of buildings.

The secret sauce for major technological change

The drastically enhanced degree of connection that 5G will drive will usher in a range of new technologies that have been waiting in the wings. Self-driving vehicles will make their long-awaited trip from the test track to the twists and turns of real-world driving. Virtual reality will transform the healthcare sector by allowing for medical assessments and surgical procedures to be performed remotely by a doctor in a city that is hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Sensors that constantly communicate with each other will create smart cities where highway lanes can be changed to quickly respond to traffic patterns, public lighting can be dimmed when pedestrians and vehicles aren’t present and garbage collection routes are created in real time to reflect actual demand.

The next generation of jobs

Analysts predict that the economic impact of 5G will reach $12.3 trillion in 2035. In the automotive sector alone, 5G will enable over $2.4 trillion of economic impact when its supply chain and customers are included in the equation. In the nearer term, the deployment of 5G wireless networks will also have a significant economic benefit. In the United States, 5G deployment is expected to create 3 million new jobs and boost annual GDP by $500 billion.

 

With 5G network testing already being executed, the race to source qualified talent, especially systems engineers, RF engineers, design engineers and project managers, is on. If developing your company’s 5G talent strategy is still looming on your to-do list, connect with an Ian Martin recruiter to find out how to secure the right talent more efficiently and determine if contract staffing might be a better option for your bottom line.

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Elevate Your Job Ads

If you’re not attracting the kind of candidates you were hoping for, it might be time to take a closer look at your job ads. Job seekers’ search habits change over time, so what might have been an effective ad a few years ago could be falling flat today. We’ve captured the latest advice on writing a strategically crafted job ad in the infographic below to help you attract the attention of today’s top talent.

   Going Mobile

1) Who’s searching for a job on their phone?

2) Make a direct call to smartphone users

Keep the ad to a concise 300 – 700 words

Shoot for 13 words per sentence

Break up 1/3 of ad content with bullet points

 Mind Your Words

  Use terms like “You” and “We” instead of “The Ideal Candidate” and “Our Employees”

  Include specific qualifications, experience, and skillsets to reduce unqualified candidates

  Differentiate between MUST-HAVE skills and NICE-TO-HAVE skills

  Eliminate acronyms and jargon: WFH B2B think outside the box synergy

   Remember What You’re Writing

It’s a job ad, not a job description. SELL potential candidates on why your company is a great place to work. Do you have a unique culture you’re proud of? Highlight the specific benefits of working at your company to draw candidates in.

   Time it Right

 Best Day to Post: Monday

Job search engines get their most traffic at the beginning of the work week.

 Best Time to Post: Morning

Get your ad at the top of the pile when job hunters start their daily search.

   An Example:

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1

Start with a clear and solid title that contains words job seekers would search for. Keep the tone friendly but approachable.

2

Open with something to grab your reader’s attention — something that isn’t about your company, but that places the role in an exciting light.

3

Use language that includes your reader – invite them into your world!

4

Don’t overdo it on the list of duties – your goal here is to provide enough information to give your job seeker a taste of what the role looks like.

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Instead of a list of ideal candidate traits, include a description of the types of skills and personality attributes that will make someone successful at the job.

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Does your company have a mission and passion? Scream it from the rooftops!

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List unique perks and benefits about working at your company.

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Money matters — if you’re able, state your salary. When job ads specify a salary, they receive 30% more applications.

Also, include some attractive qualities about your office, such as location, transportation details, and amenities to draw your prospects in.

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Conclude with a strong call to action that tells candidates how to apply, and how to get in touch should they require further information.

Are you wondering if your job ads could use a lift?

Connect with one of our Hiring Consultants for a review of one of your recent job ads.

Cobalt: A Blast from the Past for Canadian Mining

The rise of the electric car seems to be creating a run on a rare mineral with ties to one of Ontario’s original mining towns. While the last time you heard about cobalt may have been when you were memorizing the periodic table in chemistry class, this uncommon metal is generating quite a bit of buzz these days.

Cobalt is a key component in lithium-ion batteries. As automakers eager to reduce their fleet’s carbon footprint introduce more and more electric models, the demand for cobalt for those batteries is expected to quadruple by 2020 and grow eleven-fold by 2025. That demand, coupled with a short supply of the mineral, has resulted in cobalt prices jumping by over 80 per cent.

Currently, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the world’s major producer of cobalt. China and Canada come in at a tie for a very distant second place, with each country providing only six per cent of global supply. Human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, are warning that there is a significant risk that cobalt from the DRC is being mined in extremely dangerous conditions by children as young as seven. This, coupled with political instability, has automakers on the lookout for supply chain alternatives.

This is where the small Ontario town of Cobalt enters the picture. Cobalt, located in northern Ontario close to the Quebec border, was a major mining centre for silver over 100 years ago. In the first six decades of mining there, the town’s silver mining camps shipped almost 1.2 million tons of rich silver ore and concentrates. Between 1904 and the beginning of WWII, 70 different mining operations were located there, making it the biggest silver camp in the world at that time. While it was known that cobalt was present there too, there wasn’t enough demand for the product to justify extracting it. That thinking changed in the spring of 2016 and since then over a dozen mining companies have staked claims in the area.

First Cobalt is company with the largest land holdings in the camp there. It controls over 10,000 hectares of prospective land, 50 historic mines, a mill, and is currently the only permitted cobalt refinery in North America capable of producing battery materials. First Cobalt initiated drilling in 2017 and has confirmed the presence of three cobalt bearing veins.

Ontario isn’t the only province or territory with high hopes for cobalt mining. Deposits have also been found in the Northwest Territories and Saskatchewan. In addition to the direct mining jobs that these projects could drive, the mining industry typically generates many indirect employment opportunities in fields like environmental and technical consulting, shipping, rail, and transportation. One 2011 study found that for British Columbia’s 21,112 people directly employed in mining there were an additional 16,590 jobs indirectly created.

As one of Canada’s leading contract engineering and project staffing firms, the Ian Martin Group has decades of experience assisting mining companies to find the technical talent required to keep their projects moving forward. Whether you’re a technical professional interested in exploring exciting new opportunities in the mining industry, or you work for a mining company and are in need of some additional talent for your project, our experienced recruiters are always available to discuss how Ian Martin can help you achieve your goals.

Connect with an Ian Martin Hiring Consultant now.

View current employment opportunities.

Biometric Tech Goes Mainstream

Biometric technologies like facial recognition, fingerprint scanning and voice ID have made the leap from spy movie storytelling to right-here-right-now consumer solutions. Here are five ways biometric technology may be about to become part of your everyday routine sooner than you think.

Fingerprint For Frappuccino

If you think biometric security is too complex to apply to your morning cup of coffee, think again. The Starbucks mobile app now allows users with phones with embedded fingerprint scanners to login, order, and pay for their purchase with the quick touch of a finger.  As the app contains the user’s customer profile, credit card information, and order history, requiring fingerprint data serves to protect that information should the phone ever get into the wrong hands.

Pay With Your Print

In the spring of 2017, Mastercard unveiled a new biometric card that blends chip technology with fingerprint information to verify the cardholder’s identity for in-store purchases. The technology is currently being trialed in South Africa. Cardholders who register for the card have their fingerprint converted into an encrypted digital template that is stored on the card. When shopping and paying, the biometric card works like any other chip card: the cardholder places their finger on an embedded sensor at checkout and the fingerprint is verified against the template. If the biometrics match, the cardholder is verified and the transaction is approved. Additional trials for the biometric card are planned for Europe and the Asia Pacific. In Canada, Mastercard’s website confirms it will eventually be adding a fingerprint security element to its masterpass solution for online and app purchases.

Face Before Flight

Canadian airports have already begun rolling out facial recognition technology to screen travellers at self-service border clearance kiosks. The first kiosks appeared at the Ottawa International Airport in 2017 with international airports in Toronto, Quebec City, and Vancouver following suit. The first phase of the kiosks relies on facial recognition technology and there are reports that a second phase incorporating fingerprint scanning technology may be on the horizon. The Canada Border Services Agency already uses iris scanning technology as a security measure for voluntary trusted traveller programs, such as NEXUS and CANPASS.

Smile For Your Camera

With the launch of the iPhone X, Apple introduced an all-new feature called Face ID. Users can now use their face instead of their fingerprint or a passcode to unlock their phone. The technology uses the phone’s front-facing camera to map 30,000 dots on the user’s face and read the pattern to verify the face. Apple claims that this will stop scenarios such as a hacker using a picture of the owner as verification. Face ID uses machine learning to enable it to continue to recognize the face as it changes over time. Apple has said that while the odds that someone else’s fingerprint could unlock Touch ID are 1 in 50,000, the chance of someone with a similar face unlocking Face ID is 1 in 1,000,000.

Converse With Your Car

Ford is forecasting that nearly 90 per cent of all new vehicles will have voice recognition technology onboard by 2022 that could transform your car into a virtual personal assistant. Currently, Ford’s Sync 3 system allows drivers to use Amazon’s personal assistant, Alexa, but that’s just a hint of what’s to come. Cars in the not-so-distant future may be equipped with a system of microphones and cameras that will analyze the driver’s voice and facial expressions to pick up on subtle clues and inspire actions like the playing of a relaxing song to ease a stressful commute or the telling of a joke to help rouse a sleepy driver.

As biometric technology becomes increasingly prevalent, the need for staff to provide related software development and technical support is increasing rapidly. If you’re a job seeker interested in learning more about opportunities in the biometrics sector, search our current opportunities using the keyword, “biometric.” If your company has a need for technical staff with related biometric experience, contact one of our hiring consultants to discuss how developing a customized recruitment strategy for the position can save significant time and money.

 

Focus on Clean Energy: Big Batteries = Big Business

The tricky part about relying on Mother Nature for clean energy is that the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow. There’s also the opposite end of that problem, when weather conditions create a “perfect storm” of energy production that creates more power than the grid actually needs. Without a solution to store that excess power, electrical utilities must release it to avoid power surges that can damage appliances and lead to power outages. While selling that power to other utilities is an option, on a day with ideal conditions for renewable power generation the demand for the power may be quite low. There have been times in Ontario, for example, when an electrical utility has actually had to pay another province or state to take their excess power.

Those types of situations have global energy stakeholders feeling very hopeful about the opportunities that rapidly advancing lithium ion battery technology are creating for energy storage. Large-scale battery “farms” allow power from clean energy sources to be stored when it’s available and saved for distribution when it is needed most.

In the fall of 2017, all eyes were on Tesla when Elon Musk committed to build a 100-megawatt lithium ion battery facility in South Australia in 100 days or provide it free of charge. Musk and his team delivered and the project, which pairs the world’s largest lithium ion battery with a nearby wind farm, has made South Australia a world leader in dispatchable renewable energy. The project can power 30,000 homes for up to an hour in the event of a blackout, but will probably be used more often to even out electricity supplies.

Being hailed by some as the energy sector’s next disruptive technology, the rapidly decreasing costs of battery storage could radically transform the power industry. Battery-pack costs decreased to less than $230 per kilowatt-hour in 2016, compared with almost $1,000 per kilowatt-hour in 2010, thanks in part to the growing market for batteries in the consumer goods and electric vehicle market.

Smaller scale energy storage is also driving growth in the battery industry. Home-based energy storage solutions, such as Tesla’s Powerwall, store solar energy collected through solar panels on the home and make it available on demand to power the home independently of the electrical grid.

Batteries aren’t the only way to store renewable energy. Other solutions include flywheels, fuel cells running on renewable hydrogen, and systems based on compressed air or pumped water. With more and more countries committing to phasing out coal-fired power, the global energy storage market is predicted to double six times between 2016 and 2030.

As the battery and energy storage market continues to grow, so too will the competition to secure the technical talent needed by the companies in this space. Electrical engineers, systems design engineers, software engineers, product managers, and field service technicians are just some of the positions these companies will require.

If you’re a job seeker interested in a career in clean tech, take a look at our current opportunities in the automotive, manufacturing,  power and nuclear sectorsIf you’d like to learn more about finding the right talent to help your organization reduce its carbon footprint, connect with an Ian Martin recruiter or download our Insider’s Guide to Technical Recruitment.

 

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Think Small: Could SMRs Be Nuclear Power’s Next Big Thing?

SMRs, or small modular reactors, have been creating buzz in the nuclear industry for some time now.  That buzz got noticeably louder in 2017 when Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization, set the ambitious goal of establishing an SMR on its Chalk River site by 2026.

What is an SMR?

SMR stands for small modular reactor. An SMR is significantly smaller than a conventional nuclear reactor, with output ranging up to 300 megawatts. As a comparison, Canada’s largest nuclear power plant, Ontario’s Bruce Power plant, produces 6,400 megawatts of energy at its peak. SMRs can be manufactured off-site and shipped to the reactor site fully constructed.

There are a variety of different types of SMRs under development. The main differentiator is the type of fuel or coolant they use. The Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ recent Request for Expressions of Interest drew submissions from across the globe for a variety of proposed technologies, including:

  • Pressurized Water-cooled Reactors
  • High-temperature Gas-cooled Reactors
  • Sodium-cooled Fast Reactors
  • Gas-cooled Fast Reactors
  • Molten Salt Reactors
  • Fusion Reactors

One example of SMR technology is Terrestrial Energy’s Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR). The company expects its first IMSR power plants to be operational at some point in the 2020s and capable of providing 190 MW of power and 400 MW of heat that is virtually free of carbon emissions. Terrestrial Energy’s reactor has successfully completed the first phase of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s pre-licensing vendor design review, marking the first time an advanced reactor has achieved this milestone.

“Small modular reactors have great potential as an emerging technology that could supply low-carbon energy for a range of users, including remote communities, mining operations and the oil and gas industry.”

Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources

Canada is not alone in its belief that SMRs could be a key strategy in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The United States, Russia, France, and China are also very interested in the technology.

What are the benefits of SMRs over traditional nuclear reactors?

Many of the advantages that SMRs could offer over large-scale nuclear reactors are related to the fact that they can be purchased and constructed in a modular fashion. This reduces up-front capital costs, makes for simpler plants, and can reduce labour requirements. It also makes it easier and more affordable to scale up a site with additional modules over time as energy demand increases.

The fact that SMRs have a smaller energy output also makes them a more suitable solution for locations with lower power requirements. This could be particularly promising for northern and remote communities and large mines where SMRs could replace dirty and expensive diesel generators.

SMR developers also suggest that the technology is safer than its larger counterparts, as the modular units house less radioactive material in their core, meaning less energy is potentially released in the event of an accident. SMRs can also be installed beneath the ground, making them less vulnerable to hazards such as extreme weather or sabotage.

Another advantage of SMRs is the fact that their capability extends beyond energy production. SMRs could also be used in applications for district heating, co-generation, energy storage, desalination, and hydrogen production.

Adoption of SMR technology could create an exciting next chapter for nuclear energy in Canada and across the globe. Even at moderate deployment levels, research suggests that the economic impact could be significant. One 2010 U.S. study estimated that a prototypical 100 MW SMR costing $500 million to manufacture and install would create nearly 7,000 jobs, including high-paying factory, construction, and operating jobs.

If you are job seeker interested in opportunities within the nuclear sector, review our current power and nuclear opportunities. If you are currently looking for technical talent with specific nuclear experience, connect with one of our experienced recruiting experts.

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Dear Amazon: Here are 4 things we think you should know about Toronto’s tech talent

As a proud Canadian company with a downtown Toronto office, we were thrilled to learn that Toronto has been selected as one of the final 20 sites under consideration for Amazon’s second headquarters. In reviewing the list of the 19 other contenders, we know our country’s biggest city is up against some incredibly tough competition. As the Amazon team evaluates its HQ2 options, there a few things to consider that we think set Toronto apart when it comes to accessing some of the world’s best technical talent.

The world’s leading AI experts now call Toronto home

We know that Amazon is already using machine learning to do things like improve search results, product recommendations, and inventory management, so you’re well aware of the value that experts in AI can bring to your bottom line. Much like neighbours knocking on each other’s doors to borrow some milk, there are huge advantages associated with giving your team access to some of the world’s most cutting-edge AI work right in their home city. The University of Toronto’s Creative Destruction Lab is home to 50 AI companies, representing one of the greatest concentrations of AI companies in any program in the world. Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District is also home to the Vector Institute, an independent research facility for AI that is focused on attracting the globe’s best deep learning and machine learning talent. You can learn more about why AI is red hot in Canada right now here.

Toronto provides access to TWO of Canada’s top tech markets from one location

While Toronto boasts Canada’s largest technical workforce, Amazon would also be able to tap into another incredible tech talent pool that’s located just a short commute from the city. Waterloo is just 113 km (70 miles) outside of Toronto, and in the last five years its tech talent market has grown by almost two-thirds, making it one of the fastest growing markets in the country. The Ontario government is moving ahead with preliminary work to build a new high-speed rail system that would make the commute between Toronto and Waterloo just an easy, breezy 48-minute ride. Current project timelines have that rail line up and running as early as 2025.

A Canadian location makes it easier to take a more global approach to talent acquisition

While there is a diverse range of tech talent in Toronto and its surrounding regions, there may be times when Amazon has a specific talent need that requires a global search. As the only remaining contender located north of the border, Toronto stands apart from a tech talent perspective because companies located here can access Canada’s fast-track visa program. In 2017, Canada’s federal government introduced changes to its immigration policy that make it easier for companies to bring in technical talent from other countries. Companies that need to bring high-skilled workers to Canada on a temporary basis now benefit from two-week processing of applications for work permits and, when necessary, temporary resident visas. Open work permits for spouses and study permits for dependents can also be processed in as little as two weeks.

Ontario’s world-renowned co-op programs help companies secure top tech talent before graduation

Toronto companies benefit from strong and strategic co-operative education programs at Ontario’s colleges and universities. By alternating school terms with related work placements, these programs create a unique blend of higher and hands-on learning that builds an important bridge between companies and students. According to Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada, in the fields of computer science and data processing alone there are 14 Ontario colleges and universities that offer co-op programs, including the University of Waterloo, Wilfred Laurier University, and the University of Toronto.

One more thing to consider

If the prospect of staffing Amazon HQ2 in a non-U.S. city seems complex, we’d like to assure you that it doesn’t have to be. By working with the Ian Martin Group, the Amazon team would have the support of North America’s most progressive recruitment and project-staffing firm on their side. Ian Martin has been staffing projects across Canada and the United States for over five decades and our expert team of project managers and recruiters is at the ready to help Amazon source the globe’s best technical talent. As a Certified B Corporation (‘B’ stands for ‘Benefit’), we meet the world’s highest standards for positive impact on our employees, customers, community, and the environment and we would apply those standards to help ensure Amazon’s smooth transition into the Canadian business landscape.

Selecting Toronto as the location won’t just be a win for our city. It will be a huge win for Amazon too! We look forward to hearing the results!

Turn Up the Volume on Your Company’s Training and Development Efforts

Cash is definitely not king when it comes to winning over millennials in today’s competitive hiring environment. In fact, in one study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, millennials didn’t just rank training and development as their most valued employee benefit, they rated it a whopping 300 per cent higher than cash bonuses!

How can you prove to prospective candidates of any age that training and development is a true priority within your corporate culture? Here are five ideas that will help illustrate your company walks the walk when it comes continuous learning and professional development.

Publish Your Perspectives

A blog on your company website with featured posts about new and emerging trends written by employees is a great way to illustrate to potential candidates that you encourage your team to keep its fingers on the pulse of the industry. Be sure to have the author include a brief biography at the end of the post, so readers realize that your employees have been granted the time to research and write the post.

Online Training and Development through Lynda.com

At the click of a button, you can offer your employees a mobile library of in-depth online training and development courses through dynamic, online instructional videos and self-paced courses. Lynda.com, acquired by LinkedIn in 2015, is a paid online learning platform that offers more than 4,000 courses in business, technology and creative skills taught by industry experts on subjects such as AutoCAD, Application design, web coding and programming, finance, and graphic design. Students earn a certificate of completion and a whole lot of expanded knowledge to take their careers to the next level.

Get Social on the Show Floor

When employees attend an industry event, trade show, or conference, ask them to share key insights from it on social media channels and tag your company. When candidates search your company on social media they will see that you support employees’ professional development by sending them to industry events.

Ramp up Your Reading Material

Does your company’s candidate waiting area pass the magazine test? If there are outdated magazines that rival the selection at your doctor’s office, you’re sending a not-so-subtle message that your organization may not be making it a priority to stay on top of the industry’s latest trends. Even if you tend to get your news online, subscribe to a few hard copy publications that are respected within your industry and keep them front and centre.

Fill Their Minds and Their Stomachs

Continuous learning isn’t just courses and conference. Encourage staff with unique knowledge and experiences to share insights with their peers at informal lunch and learn programs, or bring in outside experts so everyone can learn something new. During the interview process, ensure candidates know that you do this by bringing it up in a question like, “We have a program where employees are encouraged to share unique perspectives and skills with their peers at a monthly team lunch. Are there any specific topics that you would want to share with your co-workers, or any topics you’d like to learn more about?”

Know Your Numbers

Does your human resources department track employee training hours and costs? Keep those numbers handy during interviews, especially if they tell a story that you’re proud to share. According to the Association for Talent Development’s 2016 State of the Industry Report, organizations spent an average of $1,252 per employee on training and development initiatives in 2015, and employees averaged 33.5 hours of training.

 

Are you wondering if your company’s training and development programs will be viewed as a valuable perk by potential candidates? Talk to one of our Hiring Consultants to see how what you’re doing compares to other companies in your space.

If you’d like some additional insight into how to win over today’s top talent during the recruitment process, download our Insider’s Guide to Technical Talent.

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Disruptive Talent Download: 4 Key Questions to Help Orchestrate a Successful Shakeup

Disruptive technology is a term used to define those technologies or products that completely transform an industry. The telephone, the personal computer, email, and cell phones are all great examples. These game-changing products and concepts don’t magically reveal themselves, however. They are brought about by innovative thinkers, or disruptors, who are particularly adept at seeing things from a different perspective, spotting hidden opportunities, challenging the status quo, and tapping into their unique vision to develop and execute new ideas.

In his book, The Master Switch, Tim Wu offers a fascinating account of one of North America’s original disruptors, the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell. According to Wu, it takes a special kind of personality to “scuttle a perfectly sound ship.” In Bell’s case, he was a true outsider. He wasn’t working for a telegraph company. He wasn’t even trying to improve the telegraph. This separation provided a distinct degree of distance from the industry he would eventually disrupt.

It takes an even stronger kind of confidence to propose a new product or concept that could completely obliterate your employer’s current business model. That is the “special sauce” that sets disruptive talent apart. It is the difference between the employee who stays focused on building a better car and the employee who proposes a solution where people no longer actually buy their own cars but instead get from Point A to Point B using a ride sharing service provided by a fleet of self-driving battery operated cars.

Disruptive thinkers are a unique breed of talent. Bringing them on board in a way that will allow them to do their best work and move your organization’s innovation agenda forward requires forethought. Here are a few questions to consider as you develop your organization’s strategy for recruiting and onboarding disruptive talent.

Question #1: Is your organization actually ready to welcome disruptive talent into the fold?

Getting your leadership team to agree that it’s time to bring in someone with bold new ideas is a pretty easy sell. Ensuring those same leaders are going to be supportive when a new employee begins proposing changes to the business that are a radical shift from what you’ve been doing is a completely different matter.

Question #2: Is there a chance your recruitment strategy could hinder your search for disruptive thinkers?

Once you’ve decided that your organization is indeed ready to take on the unique challenges of adding some disruptive talent to the team, it’s time to take a good look at your recruitment strategy. The characteristics and qualities that your organization traditionally seeks in candidates may not necessarily apply when you’re trying to find disruptive talent. Malcolm Gladwell, writer for The New Yorker, proposes that disruptors aren’t just creative thinkers who are conscientious enough to implement their big ideas; they are also typically disagreeable. True disrupters shake things up because they don’t require the approval of their peers to do what they believe is correct. They also aren’t concerned if everyone around them thinks they’re crazy! If your recruitment process weeds out candidates who aren’t team players and consensus seekers, you could be ruling out the very talent you’re trying to find.

Question #3: Does your organization have an onboarding strategy in place that will help set disruptive talent up for success?

Once you’ve hired disruptive talent, turning them loose on the organization without the proper support can be a recipe for disaster. Coaching is key and it should start with developing a personalized coaching strategy and individual development plan that reflects the unique needs of each disruptive thinker.

Question #4: Are your organizational values entrenched enough to set the course when big change rocks the boat?

Imagine the frustration a child would feel if they were told the sandbox they were playing in had no rules, but then were scolded each time they did something differently than the other children playing. Being told, “That’s not the way we do business here,” is a sure path to disengagement for your disruptive thinkers, but that doesn’t mean the sandbox shouldn’t have some operating guidelines.

If your company has defined its vision, mission, and values, are they engrained enough within your organizational culture to help guide decision making when a potentially disruptive decision is met with resistance? Are they clear enough to serve as a kind of “Magic 8 Ball” to help reach consensus on why or why not a potential game changer should be embraced?

Spending some time thinking about your company’s answers to these questions is a great first step in developing a disruptive talent recruitment strategy. Ian Martin’s experienced technical recruiters can also offer valuable insight into finding, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding disruptive talent. Connect with one of our Hiring Consultants today to find your next disruptive shaker-upper.

Download our Disruptive Technology Dictionary.

 

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Getting Giggy With It: 4 Things Employers Need to Consider Before Forging Ahead with a Freelance Hire

The gig economy. Solopreneurs. Side hustling. Free agents. Workforce 2.0. No matter what you call it, there is no doubt that the economy is in the midst of a huge shift in the world of paid work. In 2016, nearly 53 million of workers in America were freelance, which makes up approximately 34% of the workforce. That number is only expected to grow. In fact, research by McKinsey suggests that by 2025, the online talent platforms that connect freelance workers with companies could add $2.7 trillion to global GDP.

As technologies that connect freelance workers and employers evolve, it’s no longer just companies like Uber driving the on-demand labour movement. Robotics, blockchain, Bitcoin, augmented reality, and deep learning were amongst the top ten fastest–growing freelance skills in the third quarter of 2017, according to online freelancing website, Upwork.

But before companies jump onto one of the many online freelancing platforms to find talent for an upcoming project, there are some important things to consider.

How will your company make decisions about which work can be outsourced to freelancers and which might be better executed by an internal team?

Not every project is a good fit for contracting out to an independent consultant. Download our 5-Minute Outsourcing Assessment to start the conversation within your organization about which projects might be a good fit for a freelance solution.

How will your company determine which freelancers to work with?

Basing freelance staffing decisions on the proposed hourly rate alone can lead to disappointment. Reviewing work samples and asking for references from past clients will help you do a better job of determining the quality of the work you can expect from the person.

Could the freelancer’s proposed work arrangement be characterized by the Canada Revenue Agency as a personal services business?

It’s not enough for a freelancer to just say they are a freelancer. The Canada Revenue Agency uses a four-fold test to determine if the relationship between your company and the freelancer is an employer-employee-like relationship or a business relationship. If the relationship is deemed more like an employer-employee relationship, there could be expensive tax implications for the freelancer. Should that happen, it could impact the freelancer’s decision to continue performing work for your company. Share our 5 Ways to Determine Your Personal Business Risk with your company’s freelancers to help them understand what they can do to reduce the risk of being classified as a personal services business.

Who is responsible for training freelance staff?

Just because a person doing freelance work for your company isn’t categorized as an employee doesn’t necessarily mean that your company does not have any responsibilities when it comes to ensuring they can conduct the work safely on your behalf. Regulations vary by province, so ensure you have a thorough understanding and documentation in place to prove your company has fulfilled its legal obligations.

If you need contract or freelance staff, consider working with a recruitment agency.

Ian Martin’s contract staffing solutions can offer a hybrid approach that can bridge the gap between hiring additional salaried employees and getting outside assistance from independent freelancers.

Sure, you can find your own freelance candidate on sites like Upwork, but if you want to be sure that you’re getting the right person for the job, we can help. When you work with Ian Martin, our recruiters will help you hone in on the specific skills you need for the job so you get the right person more efficiently. They’ll also work to put your unique brand in the spotlight and leverage your company’s best attributes so you attract the top candidates for the job. Need someone for just a short while? In for the long haul? We’ll scale to fit your specific business needs.

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

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

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.

AI, eh? 3 Reasons Why Artificial Intelligence in Canada is Red Hot Right Now

From cars that drive themselves to diagnosing cancer with the snap of a smartphone camera, the world as we know it is set to undergo drastic change in the decade to come thanks to rapid advancement in the field of artificial intelligence, or AI.

AI refers to the field of computer science that is focused on enabling technology to perform tasks that are normally done by humans. Faster and more powerful computers and the increased availability of immense sets of data have significantly increased AI’s capabilities to identify patterns and use that information to reach human-like predictions and insights.

Worldwide spending on AI solutions is predicted to grow to over $46 billion through 2020 and Canada is preparing to enjoy a bigger piece of that pie thanks to a number of factors that are setting the country apart as a global hub in the field. Here are three of the key reasons behind Canada’s growing reputation as an AI hotspot.

Decades of Support from Play-making Pioneers

While their initial work at Canadian universities may have raised eyebrows and skepticism in the early days, today, computer scientists Geoffrey Hinton, Ph.D., and Yoshua Bengio, Ph.D. are widely recognized as game changers in the field of artificial intelligence. In addition to being a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto, Hinton is an engineering fellow at Google. Bengio, who leads the Montréal Institute for Learning Algorithms, also advises Microsoft and Samsung on artificial intelligence initiatives.

Decades of academic commitment to the study of artificial intelligence has created a research-rich culture at universities across the country, particularly in Montréal, Toronto, Waterloo, and Edmonton. Academic research is turning into real-world reality at many Canadian universities thanks to robust business incubation programs. The University of Toronto’s Creative Destruction Lab, for example, is home to 50 AI companies, one of the greatest concentrations of AI companies in any program in the world.

Government Commitment to Keep and Attract Talent

Canada’s federal government isn’t just paying lip service to the priority they’re placing on artificial intelligence. Budget 2017 proposed to provide $125 million to launch a Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy to promote collaboration between Canada’s main centres of expertise in Toronto—Waterloo, Montréal, and Edmonton—and position Canada as a world-leading destination for companies seeking to invest in AI. The lion’s share of that funding, along with $50 million from the Ontario government, helped create the Vector Institute, a recently announced independent research facility for artificial intelligence located in Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District. The Vector Institute engages with universities across Ontario and Canada to attract, train, and keep the world’s best minds in Canada.

“The job market is changing, and instead of resisting in vain, we’re focused on funding research and innovation, like in AI and quantum computing, that’ll help lead the change here in Canada.”

– Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

In addition to providing financial support, Canada’s federal government recently introduced changes to immigration policy that will make it easier for companies to bring in technical talent from other countries. A fast-track visa program that offers up permanent residency was introduced in June 2017 with the goal of attracting innovators from across the globe.

A Critical Mass of Private Sector Research

It wasn’t just the government who came to the table with funding for Toronto’s Vector Institute. The list of corporate partners who invested $80 million in the initiative includes companies from a diverse range of industries across the country, including banks, technology, consumer goods, manufacturing, consulting, and transportation. Since the Vector Institute announcement in the spring of 2017, there has been a steady stream of additional privately funded Canadian AI research centres announced, including:

  • Google Brain’s second Canadian Deep Learning Research Team in Toronto (March 2017)
  • Uber’s Advanced Technology Group devoted to driverless car technology in Toronto (May 2017)
  • Deepmind’s first international AI Research Office in Edmonton (July 2017)
  • Samsung Electronics’ AI Lab in Montreal (September 2017)
  • Facebook’s AI Research Lab in Montreal (September 2017)
  • Thales SA’s new Centre of Research and Technology in Artificial Intelligence eXpertise (cortAIx) in Montreal (October 2017)
  • Royal Bank of Canada’s Borealis AI Institute for Research’s new Montreal Lab (November 2017)

These announcements were in addition to significant Canadian AI activity in 2016, which included Google Brain’s creation of a new AI research office in Montréal and General Motors’ news that it would launch a Software Development Centre in Markham, Ontario. GM’s 700 technical employees there will focus their efforts on autonomous vehicle software, active safety technology, and automotive innovation. Earlier in the year, GM opened its 2908 Communitech Innovation Lab in Waterloo, Ontario, which is focused on incubating urban mobility and connected vehicle innovations. GM also announced in 2016 its purchase of property in Toronto as the base for a new Urban Mobility Campus, which will include research and development facilities.

Securing AI Talent

As the artificial intelligence industry shifts into high gear in Canada and around the globe, it also brings a major talent shortage that is shaking up nerves in Silicon Valley. With the current red-hot market, AI professionals are raking in the offers from deep-pocketed tech companies. According to a recent article in The New York Times, “Well-known names in the A.I. field have received compensation in salary and shares in a company’s stock that total single- or double-digit millions over a four- or five-year period. And at some point they renew or negotiate a new contract, much like a professional athlete.”

Given this competitive climate, if you are looking to source artificial intelligence, deep learning, and machine learning talent, it is absolutely critical to have a solid hiring strategy in place before initiating your search. Candidates will be weighing your position against opportunities with some of the planet’s most recognized tech brands, including, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Facebook, Samsung, and Uber. Talking with one of our Technical Recruiters about your talent needs is a great first step. Connect with an Ian Martin hiring consultant today to get you on the fast track to top AI talent.

CIOs: 7 Ways to Deal with Talent Scarcity

The IT skills shortage is a major issue for CIOs. Companies are competing for top talent, and there aren’t enough highly skilled employees to go around. The problem is only going to get worse. A recent Gartner report revealed there would be 1.4 million openings for computer specialists by 2020, but only enough qualified graduates to fill about 30 percent of the jobs. This is a problem keeping CIOs up at night.

Since the IT talent shortage isn’t going away anytime soon, CIOs need to find strategies to deal with it. With the right strategies, CIOs can compete for talented workers and get the skills they need on their teams.

To deal with talent scarcity, use these seven strategies.

1. Train Your Current Employees

You already have several talented employees on your team. They may not have the exact skills you need for future projects, but they may be able to learn them. After all, they’re intelligent IT professionals. Training your current employees may be easier than finding new employees who have the exact mix of skills you need.

For example, if you’re having trouble finding a Java developer, you could teach one of your current developers about Java. If you can’t find a big data expert, you might have an analytical employee who’s interested in learning about it.

Online training can be used to teach employees new skills. Universities and consulting companies also offer training programs, so there are plenty of options. Carefully vet training programs first to ensure they’re offered by reputable organizations and will teach your employees the right skills.

You could also choose to offer in-person training for your employees. Internal or external trainers can teach your employees the skills you need them to have. Employees could also learn new skills by attending local industry conferences.

2. Pay Attention to Retention

When you’re struggling to find skilled employees for your team, the last thing you need is high turnover. When employees quit, talent scarcity problems get worse. You need to replace the employees who left while trying to grow your team at the same time. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to retention.

In this competitive labour market, compensation plays a big role in retention. Ensure your team’s salaries, benefits, and perks are competitive in the marketplace. Offering competitive compensation helps prevent your employees from leaving to work for your competitors.

Of course, money isn’t everything. Employees also need to feel appreciated at work. Appreciation can take the form of rewards systems, good feedback, and opportunities for advancement. Taking steps to make your employees feel appreciated and valued can help you keep them on your team. This could be as simple as congratulating your employees when they do a good job or occasionally providing bonuses.

3. Ask Employees to Refer Candidates

Your current IT employees have connections in the industry. They’ve met other IT professionals at school, at past workplaces, and at industry events. Some of those professionals may have the hard-to-find skills you’re looking for, but you might not be able to find them on your own. To reach these candidates, set up an employee referral program.

Let your current employees know you’re planning to hire new IT employees, and share the job descriptions for the roles you want to fill. Ask them if they know anyone who could be a good fit for the job. Your employees can then refer possible candidates to you. If you end up hiring someone based on a referral, reward the employee who made the referral. This could take the form of a cash bonus or another type of positive recognition.

4. Attract Top Talent with Your Company Culture

When talent is scarce, highly skilled candidates can afford to be picky. They can get job offers from multiple companies and then decide which one they want to accept. Salary and benefits are a consideration, but top candidates also think about company culture. Company culture means the personality of the company and the environment employees work in.

If your company culture is attractive, top candidates may choose to accept your job offers instead of working for your competitors. A healthy work-life balance, a strong sense of teamwork, and a meaningful company mission are some features of attractive company cultures. You can advertise attractive parts of your company culture in your job postings.

5. Use Data Analytics to Improve the Hiring Process

Companies have large quantities of data about job applicants. These days, candidates often apply electronically, and their resumes are stored indefinitely in applicant tracking systems. This data isn’t very useful if all you’re doing is storing it. Since you already have so much data, it’s time to start using it. Data analytics can improve your hiring process and help you hire the skilled employees you need.

To get started, dig into your data and look for patterns. For example, you could look for where your best applicants are finding you. If most of your top candidates came from referrals, not job boards, then it makes sense to focus more of your attention on referrals. You could also look at the educational backgrounds of your best applicants. If many top applicants went to the same schools, it could make sense for you to visit those schools for a job fair.

6. Plan for Your Future Talent Needs

In IT, it can be hard to plan for your future talent needs. Your staffing requirements change from one quarter to the next depending on the projects you need to complete. While you may not know exactly what skills you’ll need in the future, or when you’ll need them, you can still prepare.

Even when you’re not actively hiring, you should always be building your talent pipeline. Throughout the year, collect referrals from employees and work your own network to find candidates. Keep these candidates on file, even if you don’t have open positions for them yet.

When it’s time for you to hire, you’ll have many possible candidates to reach out to. Those candidates may be interested in joining your team, even if they’re already working somewhere else. Your company’s interesting projects, competitive salaries, or attractive culture could help convince candidates to leave their jobs to work for you.

7. Get Help from a Recruitment Agency

CIOs don’t need to manage their talent needs alone. They can turn to recruitment agencies for help. Some recruitment agencies specialize in placing candidates in technical roles, like IT. Recruiters at these agencies have the networks and skills required to locate candidates with hard-to-find IT skills. Since you’re busy, it makes sense to outsource your hiring needs.

Recruitment agencies can even find candidates who are already employed somewhere else. The best candidates may already be working for other companies in your industry but can be persuaded to leave for the right opportunity.

Talent scarcity is a big problem in IT, but it doesn’t need to keep CIOs up at night. By adopting some or all of these seven strategies, you can acquire the IT skills you need. With the right people on your team, you’ll be able to finish your projects and stay competitive.

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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.

What IT Hiring Managers Should Consider When Hiring Developers

Do you need to hire some new developers? It’s important to choose the right candidates, but this is often easier said than done. IT hiring managers may feel like they need a guide for hiring IT professionals with confidence.

Here are some factors IT hiring managers should consider when hiring developers.

Hard Skills

When you’re hiring developers, you need to consider their hard skills. Hard skills are the job-specific skills that are necessary to succeed in a position. Candidates require these skills to perform well in their jobs and add value to your team. For example, an iOS developer needs to have a strong knowledge of Objective C, Cocoa Touch, iOS SDK, and XCTest. A Java developer needs to have an expert-level skill of Java.

Since these skills are essential for success, you need to be sure job candidates have them. Anyone can list Java expertise on a resume. To make sure candidates actually have the right skills, have them perform a short test during interviews. This test could be a short problem your team recently solved. By observing candidates work through the test, you can evaluate their skills.

As an IT hiring manager, you’re not an expert in all the hard skills your developers need to know. That’s fine, and nobody expects you to be an expert. However, this can make it harder to evaluate candidates’ hard skills. For help evaluating developers, look to your existing team. You probably have some talented people on your team who could sit in on interviews with you. For example, when you’re interviewing new Java developers, have one of your existing Java developers evaluate candidates’ hard skills.

Soft Skills

Hard skills are essential, but soft skills are also really important. Soft skills are the personal attributes candidates need to perform well on your team. These skills are linked to personality, so they’re harder for candidates to improve or change. That’s why IT hiring managers need to ensure candidates have the right soft skills during the hiring process.

Communication is a key soft skill for developers. These professionals need to be able to communicate clearly with managers, coworkers, and clients. To assess this skill during interviews, ask candidates to describe past situations that required good communication skills. For example, ask them to tell you about a time they had to explain a technical concept to a non-technical client.

Teamwork is another essential soft skill for developers. Even developers who work remotely have to work as part of a team and get along with their coworkers. Good teamwork skills let developers advance projects instead of holding them back. To evaluate teamwork skills, ask candidates to tell you about a time they helped solve a problem with a team.

Cultural Fit

Every company has a culture. Company culture is made up of the beliefs and behaviours that govern interactions within the company. When you’re hiring developers, it’s important to consider cultural fit. Employees who fit in with your culture are more likely to perform well and stay with the company.

For example, if your company has a relaxed culture and employees have flexible schedules, seek a developer with a laid-back personality who can manage his own schedule. If your company has a team-oriented culture and an open-office seating plan, look for a personable employee who prefers to work as part of a team. By hiring for cultural fit, you can hire employees who can thrive in your company’s environment.

During interviews, ask candidates to describe their ideal work environments. Ask them about their preferred work style and favourite management styles. These questions can help you determine which candidates will thrive in your company’s environment.

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CIOs: How to Use Big Data to Recruit

Are IT hiring issues keeping you up at night? This is a common problem for CIOs. IT professionals are in high demand, and CIOs need to fight for top talent. Top talent is hard to come by, and six in 10 CIOs worry skills shortages will halt their companies from keeping up with change. Since it’s so hard to find top talent, CIOs need to do everything they can to solve their hiring problems.

While you may not be able to hire as many great candidates as you’d like, your open positions probably attract many applicants. Since today’s job seekers often apply online, instead of through paper resumes, you have a lot of data about your past applicants.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you’re using all that data. The data could just be stored in your applicant tracking system or workforce analytics system. Data doesn’t do you much good when it’s in storage, but since there’s so much of it, you may not know how to start analyzing it.

If you can get a handle on all the data you’ve collected, you can use it to recruit the IT talent you need. This can help you solve your longstanding talent problems and build strong IT teams. But where do you get started? Here’s how CIOs can use big data to recruit top talent.

Clean up Your Data

Over the years, you’ve collected a lot of data. You could have thousands of resumes in your system. Not all of this data will be useful to you, and it needs to be cleaned up before you can do any analysis. If you try to analyze bad data or poor-quality data, you could end up with incorrect insights, which won’t be helpful to your recruiting process.

Cleaning up data is a big job. Data scientists spend 60 percent of their time organizing and cleaning data. Since you and your team are so busy, you may want to hire a data scientist to help with this task. It makes sense to outsource jobs your team doesn’t have the time or the skills to handle.

For example, you could have duplicate records in your system. Applicants may apply for many different positions at companies they’re interested in, so their resumes could be on file many times. You could also have incomplete data sets in your system. For example, if applicants never provided their phone numbers or email addresses, or provided them in unusual formats, their files could be incomplete. Random errors, like glitches in your system, could also cause problems that need to be sorted about first.

Some of the data could also be too old to be of any value. You may not want to include decade-old resumes in your analysis. The field of information technology changes very quickly, and you might not get good insights from older data. Decide how far back you’d like to analyze your data, and exclude anything that’s too outdated to be useful.

Gather External Data

You have a lot of internal data about previous applicants and hires, but there’s plenty of data available externally, too. Candidates’ resumes aren’t the only source of valuable information. Job seekers may be active on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, and their public posts on these sites could be useful to you. Industry-specific forums, like Stack Overflow, can also be a good source of data. You can monitor these types of online forums and gather useful data to help with the recruiting process.

It’s harder to monitor external data than internal data. That’s because you have to head to the internet to find it, while internal data is already in your systems. Still, the hunt for data can be well worth the effort. It can help you learn more about candidates.

Use the Right Tools

To analyze the vast amounts of data you’ve collected, you need to have the right tools. Applicant tracking systems are designed to help companies search their data, so your existing tools may meet your needs. If you can use the tools you already have available, you’re off to a good start.

If your applicant tracking system isn’t letting you find the data you want to analyze, there are plenty of tools on the market designed to enable companies to use big data for recruiting.

For example, you could start using a tool like SwoopTalent. This tool lets you build a database across all your systems. If your data is spread among an applicant tracking system, a CRM, and paper resumes, this tool could help you see the bigger picture.

Other tools let you gather external data to use for recruiting. TalentBin is an example. This tool lets you gather candidate data from over 100 different websites, like social media platforms. You can find information about candidates’ personal and professional interests with this much data. The tool aggregates and scores each candidate’s information.

Determine Your Goals

To use big data in recruiting, you need to determine what your goals are. When you know what you want to learn from the data, you can quickly find it and put the data to use.

For example, you may decide you want to learn where your best applicants are coming from. You could analyze the data to see what percentage of applicants are coming from job boards, social media sites, referrals, or other sources. Once you know how your best applicants are finding you, you can invest more energy in those sources. If one source isn’t sending you many good candidates, you may decide to stop using it.

You could decide you want to see what universities your best applicants attended. When you know where your top applicants studied, you can put more effort into recruiting from those universities. You could hold a job fair at the university to hire top candidates before another company finds them. You could also search LinkedIn for candidates who attended the university in question.

You may decide to see what geographic areas your best candidates are coming from. With this data, you could see that many of your top candidates are coming from a certain city. You could travel to that city to hold a job fair. You could also attend conferences there to network with potential candidates.

Another option could be to find out what job titles your top candidates identify with. You could search sites like LinkedIn to see what titles candidates are using to market themselves. If you find a pattern, you could start using those titles in your job postings. This could help you attract top talent. For example, you could learn the Java developers you want to hire tend to call themselves Java Wizards on their LinkedIn profiles. Posting an ad for a Java Wizard could help grab their attention and get them to apply.

With big data on your side, you’re sure to improve your recruiting process.

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Are Engineering Jobs in Demand?

If you’re interested in an engineering career, you may be wondering if engineering jobs are in demand. You’ll be happy to hear the answer is yes. People who choose to pursue careers in engineering can look forward to good job prospects.

Some types of engineering jobs offer more opportunities in the current climate, so you may want to consider an in-demand specialization. In certain specializations, there will be more job openings than job seekers in the coming years. Here are some of the most in-demand engineering jobs in Canada.

Aerospace Engineer

Aerospace engineers design aircraft and spacecraft. They may even design systems for national defense or missiles. Once they’ve designed these products, they’re involved with the manufacturing and testing process. They ensure their products are safe and will work as expected.

The outlook for aerospace engineers is very good. Canadian Business ranked this job as number 14 on its list of the top jobs in Canada. Five-year wage growth for aerospace engineers is 38.85 percent and five-year employee growth is 9.1 percent, according to Canadian Business. By 2022, there’s projected to be more than one job opening for every job seeker, so there will be plenty of opportunity.

To pursue this path, you can study either aeronautical or astronautical engineering.

Petroleum & Chemical Process Engineer

Petroleum and chemical process engineers are also in high demand. Petroleum engineers are responsible for overseeing drilling operations and studying new drilling sites. Chemical engineers create the processes companies use to turn raw oil and gas into sellable products.

The outlook for these types of engineers is also very good. Five-year wage growth is 14.39 percent in this sector. By 2022, there’s projected to be a lot of demand for these engineers.

Electronics Engineer

Electronic equipment is a major part of modern life, and as an electronics engineer, you’ll be in charge of designing and developing it. Telecommunications equipment is designed by electronics engineers, as is data communications equipment, like computers and tablets. Electronics engineers could even be involved with exciting projects like communications and navigation systems for national defense.

Electronics engineering has seen five-year wage growth of 7.61 percent, with five-year employee growth of -0.6 percent. Demand for these engineers is projected to be high in the future. Aspiring electronics engineers can study electrical engineering, electronics engineering, or a related engineering discipline to get started.

Industrial Engineer

Modern manufacturing demands efficiency, and industrial engineers make that happen. They’re in charge of designing factory layouts for peak efficiency. By conducting studies, they determine the best ways for factories to use equipment, employees, and procedures. Industrial engineers could determine the most efficient ways to move products around a factory or to pay factory workers. This is a great job for people who like discovering the fastest, most efficient ways to perform tasks.

Five-year wage growth for industrial engineers is at 1.74 percent. However, five-year employee growth has been high at 16.7 percent. This hiring spree is projected to continue, and demand should be high in the coming years. Studying industrial engineering, manufacturing engineering, or a related specialization is the way to get started in this career.

Engineering is a solid career choice, no matter which specialization you choose to pursue. By choosing one of these in-demand engineering jobs, you can set yourself up for a successful career in the future. To find your dream engineering job, keep an eye on engineering job opportunities.

Why Some Industries Rely So Heavily on Contract Staff

In some industries, like tech or engineering, businesses rely heavily on contract staff. Contractors are brought on quickly and then let go when the business’s needs change.

For human resource professionals, this type of hiring brings new challenges. In other industries, HR managers need to find the right employees for the job. In industries that rely on contract staff, they need to find the right employees, in the right places, at the right times. This is a much more complicated scenario.

If you’re new to an industry that relies on contractors, you may be wondering why companies don’t just hire full-time employees. Here’s why some industries have to rely so heavily on contract staff.

To Keep up with Changing Demand

Some industries, like tech, are heavily project-based. Companies in these industries work on multiple projects and have unpredictable needs. If a project is approved, the company will need to find more workers right away. If a project isn’t approved, it won’t need to find more workers. This makes maintaining a permanent workforce very challenging. Companies that rely on permanent staffing will have too many workers at some times of the year and not enough at others times.

Hiring contract staff makes more sense for companies in project-based industries. It allows them to keep up with changing demand. When a project is approved, companies can quickly bring on contractors with the help of a staffing agency. When the project ends, the contractors can be quickly and easily let go. This labour flexibility makes it possible to compete in a project-based industry.

To Get Specialized Skills

When companies have specific projects to complete, they need workers with specialized skills. While their permanent employees may be very talented, nobody can be an expert in everything. They may not have any permanent employees with the right skill sets. Or, they may not have time to train their permanent employees before the project starts. Waiting too long to get started can jeopardize the project.

To move on with their projects, they need to hire highly skilled contractors. These contractors have the right skills to complete the projects, and complete them both on time and on budget. Once those projects are completed, the company won’t need the contractors anymore and can easily let them go.

To Complete Projects on Time

When companies land huge projects, they need to finish them on time. Finishing behind schedule can damage a company’s reputation in the industry. These companies may have trouble getting future projects. For these reasons, projects need to be finished on schedule.

Contract staff can help companies complete their projects on time. By getting contractors to help during the time crunch, the project will be completed more quickly. The extra help also takes strain off existing employees. Without help from contractors, employees may need to work excessive overtime to get everything done. Excessive overtime tires out employees and can lead to mistakes.

To Attract Talent

Shifting preferences in the workforce have made contract work more attractive. These days, many younger workers are looking for flexibility and autonomy. Performing the same job for a couple of years can get boring. One- to six-month projects, on the other hand, are more exciting. Workers get the opportunity to accomplish significant ventures, and then they can move on to their next challenges.

By offering contract positions, rather than permanent positions, companies can attract talent. They can appeal to highly qualified professionals who may not be interested in long-term employment commitments. To find these professionals at the right times, human resource managers can get help from a contract staffing agency.

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The Most In-Demand Engineering Jobs in Canada

If you’re an engineer, your career prospects are probably pretty enviable. Many industries already need your knowledge, and salaries start relatively high. However, demand for your skills is only set to increase in the next few years as older professionals age out of their positions. Overall, the future looks rosy for you and your peers.

Still, some jobs are more desirable than others. In-demand positions will offer you the ability to distinguish yourself faster and move up the ranks at a younger age. This will allow you greater freedom and control over your career choices. The right decision could put you on the fast track to success. 

But how can you determine which careers will offer the best long-term potential, and how will these jobs balance this promise with your immediate needs? These are both valuable questions, and this article will help you answer them. We’ll look at a few of the most auspicious engineering jobs in Canada and how they’ll change across industries within the next few years. There’s no better time than the present to start planning your future, and this list will help you do just that.

Software Engineers

You can expect a prosperous career if you have a background in software engineering. Demand for this position has grown at lightspeedsince 2006, and it shows no sign of slowing down. It currently ranks seventh on Canadian Business’s list of Canada’s best jobs, and while increasing salaries have led to a proportionate rise in job competition, graduates are still highly valued in today’s job market.

Software engineers can take on a wide range of roles, depending on the organization that employs them. These professionals usually create and design specifications for software, but they may also be involved in testing products, investigating their efficiency, and training new users on how to use them.

Petroleum Engineers

Considering the recent slump in oil prices, this engineering specialty may seem odd as an in-demand discipline. However, Canada’s petroleum industry is set to rebound in 2017, with job growth surging to 300 percent by 2018 before slowing slightly to 200 percent by 2024. Regardless, prospects don’t look as grim as they once did for these engineering jobs in Canada.

Demand isn’t the only selling point for petroleum engineers. Median salaries hover just below $105,000 per year, so these professionals can expect to live large. Petroleum engineers can also seek work with a wide variety of employers, from government or research organizations to oil extractors and more.

Aerospace Engineers

The aerospace industry seems to have contracted since 2009, as companies have shed 21 percent of their workers. However, this field can still guarantee plenty of engineering jobs in Canada over the next few years. Rapid retirement rates and projected growth mean that about 1,400 jobs per year could be available through 2024.

Engineers who specialize in aerospace generally require more education in order to compete. Still, these professionals can hold one of many roles. Salaries have also grown steadily, and while the current median sits below the six-digit mark, there may be an increase over time.

Electronics Engineers

You’ve already heard about software, and now it’s time to learn about hardware. Compared to other performers on this list, electronics engineering growth seems slightly slow. Demand has only increased by about 4.4 percent in five years, and significant growth isn’t expected until 2022 at least. But electronics engineering still places 24th on the Canadian Business list of the top 100 jobs, and median salaries have generally increased by about 16 percent since 2009.

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Financial Technology

Understanding the Impact of Blockchain

Blockchain is poised to have an enormous impact on how data is recorded and shared across the internet. In short, blockchain is a distributed database, like one giant spreadsheet shared by a massive series of computers the world over. 

The important difference from databases now is that this technology is not a centralized system controlled by one organization. Rather, any information is stored as incorruptible blocks that are accessible from any node on the network, chained together with a peer-to-peer system that’s safeguarded by automated cryptographic methods. The data shared is continuously recorded in an unalterable form, allowing for transparency. 

This allows for a secure, effective way to share data from person to person without relying on third parties for verification or distribution. When adopted, this technology will have major impacts on existing systems.

It Starts with Transactions…

The most obvious effect will be on digital financial transactions. Blockchain will provide secure connections capable of transferring important, verified data, such as currency. There will be no need for centralized authorities, like banks, to validate transactions. Individuals will be able to transfer funds securely from one person to another. This can transform the way the sharing economy works, having great stakes on companies like Uber and AirBnB, which act as third-party services to connect individuals. 

But data is data, and currency is only the start. Blockchain could potentially solve logistics and fulfilment problems. Records, legal documents, and virtually any other information that can be coded into 1s and 0s can be transferred using this technology. This could affect the way governmental records are stored and used, and perhaps one day, even the way we vote.

A Faster Kind of Cloud

Decentralizing file storage into the blockchain system has many benefits. The first is that the data becomes protected from files getting hacked or lost. There’s also the potential that completely decentralized information can make websites faster. It can also speed up file transfer and streaming times, which will be advantageous to streaming services like Netflix and iTunes.

IP Protection and ID Management

Digital information—including mp3s, video files, and jpegs—is infinitely reproducible, which means it’s infinitely distributable as well. While users are finding a golden era of content, copyright holders are struggling to maintain control of their intellectual property. Blockchain can offer smart contracts that can protect copyright and automate the sale of creative work. 

At the same time, this technology can better manage identities across the internet. The embedded cryptology nature of the technology means you can securely identify yourself and others. Developing digital identity standards is complex and by no means solved. But in the future, instead of having your personal data stored with large companies like Facebook or Google that can turn around and sell your data, you’ll be able to manage your information directly.

Governance and Transparency

A key element of blockchains is that all changes or additions to a block are kept indefinitely, and they’re always publicly accessible. Algorithms are deployed to ensure all this information is stored chronologically, permanently, and available to all users. This full transparency will have many positive effects towards governance of digital assets, equity, and information. Time will tell how people and organizations react to a higher level of transparency. 

These are just some of the impacts blockchain can and may have on existing systems. Blockchain is capable of making a world where all data is embedded in code and stored in shared, transparent databases that are protected from deletion, tampering, hacking, and revision. 

The technology is in its infancy now, but as more and more startups and big businesses consider the possibilities, you too should be prepared to work, create, and build within a distributed database.

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Blockchain and FinTech

FinTech Adoption Has Surged Globally Over the Past 18 Months

Financial technology, or FinTech for short, is a new and exciting part of the financial services industry. Innovative companies in this sector are using new technologies to compete in the financial services market. They’re offering everything from loans to money transfers to insurance, and they’re giving traditional financial services companies a run for their money.

Over the past 18 months, global adoption of financial technology services has surged dramatically. In the United States alone, adoption of FinTech has doubled since 2015. Here’s what you need to know about the rise of FinTech adoption.

Who’s Using Financial Technology Services

Globally, millennials are most likely to be using financial technology services. The global average adoption rate among this age group is 48 percent. The adoption rate is even higher in the U.S. Fifty-nine percent of millennials in the U.S. use financial technology services.

It’s no surprise that younger people are the most likely to use FinTech services. They’re comfortable with technology, so turning to FinTech companies makes sense. They’re also at the stage in their lives when they need a wide range of financial services. Young adults are getting their first full-time jobs, buying their first houses, and having children. All of these milestones require the services of financial companies, and these days, consumers don’t need to turn to banks.

Of course, millennials aren’t the only age group turning to financial technology. Globally, 41 percent of people between 35 and 44 years old are using these services. In the United States, 50 percent of this age group are financial technology adoptees.

Older generations are using financial technology as well, but not quite as often. Among digitally active people between 45 and 64, there’s a 40-percent adoption rate of these services. Seventeen percent of the digitally active senior population is using financial technology.

While these figures are impressive, there’s still a lot of room for growth. Most adults have a need for financial services like loans, money transfers, or payments. The people who are currently getting these services from traditional banks or credit unions may turn to financial technology services in the future.

Financial Technology Services with Greatest Adoption

You may be wondering what types of financial technology services are popular. Worldwide, money transfers and payment services have the greatest adoption. These services have been vastly improved by financial technology firms, so it’s no surprise they’re so popular.

Traditionally, money transfers are expensive. Banks and traditional money transfer companies charge high fees. They charge a minimum fee, so sending small amounts of money can be prohibitively expensive. They charge handling fees for transferring the money. Some banks or companies also charge a premium if consumers want the transfer to go through faster.

Financial technology firms have revolutionized money transfers. Consumers can send money to friends or family around the world with convenient mobile apps. They don’t need to go stand in line at the bank anymore. Financial technology firms also charge lower prices than traditional money transfer companies.

This is the same reason why payment services are a widely adopted financial technology service. When consumers make payments through banks or with their credit cards, they have to pay high fees. Financial technology firms make it possible for consumers to make payments with lower fees.

Other Popular Services

While money transfers and payment services are the most widely adopted financial technology services, other services are popular, too. Digital banks are an example of another popular service. With these services, consumers who don’t want to store their money in a traditional bank have alternatives. Digital banks can also reach underbanked populations. In areas where there aren’t many—or any—banks, consumers can still access digital banking apps.

In the United States, insurance is making huge gains in the FinTech market. In 2015, insurance represented the least commonly used financial technology service. That changed very quickly. In 2017, it’s the second most popular FinTech service in the United States, with a 24-percent adoption rate globally.

There’s a lot of demand for alternatives in this sector. InsurTech companies are using technology and design to make the health insurance experience more pleasant for consumers. They’re also offering more flexible services than traditional insurance companies. For example, Metromile sells pay-per-mile car insurance. This flexibility is appealing for people who don’t drive much.

Reasons for Increased Financial Technology Adoption

FinTech adoption is increasing rapidly for a fairly simple reason: financial technology companies are meeting customers’ needs.

FinTech companies realized what problems consumers were having with traditional financial services companies. The issues with high fees, poor service, slow transfers, and lack of access created a golden opportunity for startups. By solving consumers’ long-standing problems with traditional financial services companies, FinTech companies were able to grow rapidly.

Instead of paying high fees to money transfer companies, consumers can now send inexpensive transfers with FinTech apps. Instead of waiting days for payments to go through, they can send them instantly. Consumers who couldn’t get services from traditional banks are now able to access alternatives.

Financial Technology Adoption in Emerging Markets

A lot of the growth of FinTech adoption is coming from emerging markets. In China, 69 percent of the population uses financial technology services. India also has a high adoption rate, with 52 percent of its population using financial technology services.

In these countries, there are many people who are tech-literate but underserved by financial services. In China, both consumers and businesses have struggled to get services from traditional banks. In the past, they had to make do without banking services. Now, FinTech companies are eager to meet their needs. The same pattern is occurring in other emerging markets like South Africa, Brazil, and Mexico.

The Future of Financial Technology

FinTech services have become more popular in the last 18 months, and this trend will probably continue in the future. Consumers like using financial technology services, and they intend to keep using them in the future. In the U.S., FinTech adoption could reach 46 percent overall in the not-too-distant future. Worldwide, adoption of financial technology services could reach 52 percent.

For people working in the financial technology industry, this is an exciting time. There are many opportunities to gain customers for new services. Innovative companies can get in on the impressive growth of the industry.

Tips for Hiring in Financial Technology

To stay competitive in this fast-growing industry, you need to have the right people on your team. IT professionals are in high demand, so it can be hard to find the right employees. The best candidates may already be employed, and qualified unemployed candidates get hired quickly.

Often, it makes sense to outsource recruitment in high-demand industries. When you turn to an experienced technical recruiter, you can get access to better candidates. That’s because recruiters know where to look to find the right candidates, and they can convince them to join your company. They also have the expertise to find good candidates quickly, before your competitors can find them.

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What You Can Expect When Working With a Recruiter

Working with a recruiter can be a great way to streamline your hiring process and help alleviate the stress of finding qualified candidates and filling positions. Recruiters offer a great deal of support with great results. If you’re new to working with a recruiter, here are some of the things that you can expect.

A Strong Relationship

An important part of a recruiter’s job is to form a strong relationship with their clients. In order to find you the best candidates to fill roles, they need to understand the unique needs of your business, the technologies and processes you deal with everyday, your workplace environment, and the values you look for in employees.

One of the biggest aspects of hiring is finding employees who aren’t just able to complete the work satisfactorily, but who will be a good fit in the company, and mesh well in your business’s corporate culture. In order for a recruitment agency to find you the best people, they’ll need to understand that corporate culture. You can expect a lot of personal attention and care from your recruiter, and detailed questions about business operations. They may even ask to come observe for small periods of time, all of which is part of forming a good relationship.

Less Stressful Hiring Process

Hiring can be a very stressful experience, and is one of the big reasons companies turn to recruiters in the first place. There’s a lot riding on hiring decisions, and partnering with a recruiter can alleviate the anxiety that comes with finding the right candidates. They make the process as painless as possible, wading through applications, finding candidates and vetting them, and putting them through qualifying tests so that when you finally do sit down to interview people, you’re only seeing the very best options available. Recruiters also help with onboarding and paperwork, and often even train new employees, so that the entire process of hiring, from beginning to end, is less stressful.

In-Depth Market Knowledge

Recruiters make it their job to keep up to date on labour markets and employment trends. They are deeply familiar with the industries they work with, and have a vast amount of knowledge about hiring practices and complexities. When you partner with a recruiter, you have access to this knowledge, as well as to the deep networks that recruiters foster—networks that put them in contact with some of the most highly skilled workers available.

When working with a recruiter, you can expect a high level of expertise inyour industry’s employment markets—insight that can be of great value to your company. Working with a recruiter means having access to people who have their finger on the pulse of economic and employment trends and markets.

Best Pool of Candidates

One of the key differences you’ll notice when you begin working with a recruiter is that the pool of candidates will increase in quality. When hiring on your own, you’ll often have to wade through numerous applications and resumes that don’t meet the necessary qualifications, with only a disappointing number of applicants actually making the cut.

Recruiters have access to larger pools of candidates, using their networks to source workers that wouldn’t normally apply, or who can’t be found through traditional job postings. Recruiters also thoroughly vet and qualify all candidates before they reach you, meaning that you won’t even see those who don’t have the necessary qualifications. Instead, you’ll notice that the candidates you’re interviewing for positions are only the most qualified people for the job.

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Understanding Blockchain, Cryptocurrency & Bitcoin

New technologies are being developed all the time, and it can be hard to keep up.

In the past few years, blockchain, cryptocurrency, and Bitcoin have been getting more attention. You’ve probably heard of them before, but you may not know what they are or how they work.

As a CIO, you also have to think about how new technologies could be used at your company and how they could fit into your budget. Staying on top of new technologies helps you prepare to hire the IT professionals required to implement them.

Here’s what you need to know about blockchain, cryptocurrency, and Bitcoin.

Blockchain

Blockchain is a shared digital ledger that can be used to record transactions. Every record in the ledger is known as a block, and each block is linked to the next. Blocks can’t be erased, and the chain can only be updated with consensus from the participants in the ledger. Since it’s a peer-to-peer network, there’s no need for an administrator to manage the database.

This new technology has exciting implications for businesses.

Since blockchain records can’t be modified, this technology is ideal for recordkeeping purposes. It’s also ideal for auditing purposes. Companies in the financial services and healthcare industries have been exploring using blockchain technology. In financial services, blockchain can be used to transfer money without paying fees to a middleman, among its other uses. In healthcare, blockchain can be used to securely store and transfer sensitive patient records.

Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrencies are digital, alternative currencies. They’re not issued by authorities like central banks. Instead, they’re decentralized. They’re peer-to-peer currencies, so people can electronically send payments to each other without involving a middleman. Cryptocurrencies use cryptography as their main security feature. Cryptography means the information is encrypted.

Cryptocurrencies are recognized at an international level. That means people in different countries can send money to each other without worrying about exchange rates. For companies who do business internationally, this could be an attractive alternative to traditional money transfers.

Transactions made with cryptocurrency are anonymous, unlike other digital payment methods. The anonymity has benefits for businesses and customers. When customers pay with cryptocurrency, merchants don’t get access to their whole credit line. Merchants are only sent the cryptocurrency. This could help reduce identity theft, which is good for everyone.

In total, there are over 700 types of cryptocurrencies. These cryptocurrencies range from very well-known to obscure. There are so many cryptocurrencies because anyone can make one. If someone thinks they can improve on existing cryptocurrencies, nothing is stopping them from trying.

Bitcoin

Bitcoin was the first decentralized cryptocurrency. It’s the most well-known type of cryptocurrency, and that means it’s the de facto standard. It leads other cryptocurrencies in the size of its user base and its popularity. Other cryptocurrencies are gaining in popularity, but they still haven’t reached the level of Bitcoin.

People can use bitcoins to send money directly to each other, but they can also use them to pay businesses. Many companies are now accepting bitcoins. Even large companies like Microsoft and Overstock.com are accepting payments through Bitcoin. Small businesses are also starting to accept these payments.

For businesses, there are advantages to accepting Bitcoin payments. When you get paid through credit cards, you have to pay merchant fees to the credit card companies. These fees can be as high as three percent, which means the charges add up quickly. Accepting payments through services like PayPal also subject your company to merchant fees. Using Bitcoin allows you to bypass the middleman and cut out the merchant fees. This means you can make more money and also pass some savings on to your customers. It could also help you attract customers who like paying with Bitcoin, rather than with traditional payment methods.

Hire a Recruiter

Blockchain, cryptocurrency, and Bitcoin are set to disrupt many industries. Work with a recruiter to hire the tech experts you need to prepare for these changes and stay ahead of the curve.

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What Can an Engineering Staffing Agency Really Do for Me?

The hiring process is an opportunity for the best hiring managers to shine at what they do best. Whether you need a short-term employee to finish off an important project or want to enlist a permanent, full-time engineer, you’ll still face plenty of obstacles before you find the perfect fit for your organization. It’s difficult enough to find the right technical workers, but hiring them before other companies scoop them up can seem impossible. 

If you’re in need of a staffing boost, you should consult an engineering recruitment agency. These firms have connections and industry knowledge that help them interact with the best talent in your industry. As a result, they can be invaluable resources during your recruitment process. 

Still, many hiring managers refuse to work with these companies out of principle. They believe they should be able to recruit new professionals on their own. Unfortunately, this misguided conviction usually results in longer hiring processes and more expenditure. Read on to find out how an engineering staffing agency can help you avoid these pitfalls.

It Helps You Find More Versatile Engineers

Versatility is valuable in today’s engineering industry. A technical worker with a limited skillset can be a liability in a project-based environment. You need a professional with a breadth of knowledge who can adapt to new challenges with ease. Unfortunately, finding these candidates on your own isn’t an easy feat. 

The task gets easier when you work with an engineering staffing agency. These firms often have connections with professionals who have performed contract work with a variety of firms. As a result, they possess the broad knowledge you need to complete a variety of tasks. You can either hire these workers on full-time, or simply sign them to short-term contracts.

It Helps You Prioritize the Right Traits

Hiring managers may know the qualifications a certain role requires, but what about the temperament? For example, engineers can’t afford to be uncommunicative or withdrawn if they work with a team of other technical workers. You need to gauge whether a candidate will fit well within their required role, and that’s not something you can glean from a resume and a few interviews.

Engineering staffing agencies help hire hundreds of technical workers every year. Their professionals know how to read candidates’ characteristics, and they can predict whether they have the necessary soft skills for a role. This can help you find employees who are natural fits with your organization.

It Connects You with Top Talent

Sometimes, hiring managers miss opportunities to set themselves up for success. They want to find the best candidates for a given position, but then they only use job postings and advertisements to publicize their vacancy. Unfortunately, the best engineers are usually gainfully employed, so they don’t actively scour these resources.

You need to find a way to reach these passive candidates if you want your hiring efforts to succeed. An engineering staffing agency can help you. These firms network extensively with technical workers in a range of industries. As a result, they’re usually connected with some of the brightest talent in your field. The right recruiter can put you in touch with these professionals, which will help you hire more prestigious personnel.

It Speeds up Your Hiring Process

A slow hiring process benefits no one: delays create excessive expenditures for hiring managers, and they frustrate potential candidates. Engineering staffing agencies understand this problem. They work hard to help their clients minimize hiring time. As a result, engineering companies can save a substantial amount of money if they work with a recruiter.

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What is Blockchain?

Blockchain technology is getting a lot of attention these days. You’ve probably read an article in a newspaper about this technology or heard people at work talking about it. If you aren’t quite sure what the technology is, don’t worry. The technology is complicated and fairly new, so there’s no shame in not knowing much about it.

As a CIO, you don’t need to be an expert in this technology, but you should understand the basics. This can help your company take advantage of it. You can hire IT professionals who have a strong understanding of the technology and can help your company innovate.

Read on to learn what this technology is and how it works.

What It Is

This new technology was first described back in 2008. A person or group of people calling themselves Satoshi Nakamoto released a whitepaper that launched Bitcoin, now a popular cryptocurrency. This whitepaper descripted blockchain, the new technology that made Bitcoin work. The real identity of Satoshi Nakamoto still hasn’t been revealed, which adds a compelling mystery to this technology.

Blockchain is a decentralized, digital ledger. Different people can add records to the ledger since it’s decentralized. Once a record has been added, it can’t be changed or tampered with. This means the ledger provides a complete, trustworthy record of all prior transactions.

How It Works

Now that you know what this technology is, it’s time to find out more about how it works. A global network of computers manages the database that records transactions. Millions of computers around the world host the data. Since the database is decentralized, these computers can be owned by anyone.

To create a new record, the information first has to be entered. Think of this like typing data into a cell in a spreadsheet. However, unlike a spreadsheet, one person’s input isn’t enough to make a change. Before the record can be added, multiple nodes in the network need to agree on it. One way this occurs is the proof-of-work method. In this method, users’ computers repeatedly run hashing algorithms to verify the records. When you hear about people mining Bitcoins on their computers, they’re running these hashing algorithms.

Current Uses for This Technology

Right now, a major use for this technology is Bitcoin. Bitcoin is the world’s biggest cryptocurrency. People can use their bitcoins to purchase goods and services anonymously. Many reputable companies, like WordPress.com and Microsoft, let users pay for services with bitcoins.

Other cryptocurrencies use this technology, too. Cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin are known as altcoins. Popular altcoins include Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin. Altcoins try to improve on Bitcoin. For example, Litecoin transactions are faster than Bitcoin transactions.

Cryptocurrencies aren’t the only current use for this technology. Startups are using this technology for many exciting purposes in various industries. Abra uses a blockchain-enabled mobile wallet to let users send money to people around the world, with no bank account or credit card. Startups like Tierion have built platforms for healthcare data storage with this technology. Storj is beta-testing a blockchain-enabled cloud service network. Many other startups are using this technology for their products and services, too.

Potential Future Uses for This Technology

Right now, blockchain projects are fairly small in scale. Startups are creating exciting platforms with the technology, but they’re not widely used. Even Bitcoin, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency, only has about 10 million global users. That may seem like a lot, but to put that figure into perspective, there are more than 3.5 billion internet users in the world. Blockchain and its related applications have a long way to go before they reach their potential.

In the future, this technology may have major impacts on the banking industry. Since people can send money without fees with this technology, banks could potentially save a lot of money by using it. Banks could also offer faster transactions. They could also keep secure records; fraud is a big concern for banks, so a tamper-proof ledger is understandably very interesting to them. Many large banks are testing this technology and looking to see how they can adapt it to meet their needs.

Other industries could be affected too. Goldman Sachs has predicted that the electricity market could be much different in the future thanks to blockchain. Right now, central power providers send electricity to homes and businesses. In the future, a distributed network could be created with this technology. People could generate their own electricity and sell it through the network.

Blockchain could also be used to build trust online. People’s identities could be securely stored with the technology, and their identities could be linked to various sites online. This could help prevent people from causing trouble online and then creating new accounts to try to hide their reputation. For companies like Airbnb, this future application could be very useful. Guests wouldn’t need to worry as much about safety, and hosts wouldn’t need to worry as much about bad guests who cause damage.

Obstacles to Adoption

While blockchain is an innovative technology with a lot of potential, there are also obstacles holding back adoption. Since the technology is still fairly new, challenges like data limits still need to be ironed out. The regulatory status of blockchain and cryptocurrencies is also unsettled. National governments regulate traditional currencies, but no one regulates blockchain or cryptocurrencies. Some business owners may not want to start using this technology until they’re sure of its legal status.

Cultural adoption is another obstacle. Right now, users and operators are used to centralized systems, like the ones traditional banks have. Eighty-seven percent of Canadians say banks are stable and secure, and 80 percent trust banks to keep their personal information safe. Since most people are satisfied, they may not want to take a chance on a new technology they don’t know much about. Blockchain enthusiasts will need to sell the benefits of the technology to the general population and to businesses.

Another obstacle is that companies already have systems that work. The systems may not be perfect, but they’re getting the job done. To start using new technology, these companies could need to make significant changes to their current systems. They could even need to completely replace their current systems to make them compatible with blockchain. Risk-averse companies may not want to do this anytime soon. Even innovative companies will need to strategize about making the transition, which can’t happen overnight.

Energy use is another obstacle with this technology. Storing and verifying the records takes up a lot of computer resources. When computers around the world are all processing transactions, the electricity demands add up quickly. In June 2015, a single Bitcoin transaction used enough electricity to power 1.57 American households for a day. That was bad enough, but the electricity demands have gotten worse. Now, one transaction uses enough energy to power 3.67 American households for a day.

As more people start using Bitcoin and other blockchain-enabled technologies, even more electricity will be needed. Engineers will need to figure out ways to make these technologies use less electricity. You’ll need to hire talented employees now to tackle this problem.

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Blockchain & Banking: Just the Beginning

Blockchain is a technology that keeps records of transactions. The records, called blocks, are linked together in a chain. Once a record is created, it can’t be tampered with, so users can trust the data is accurate. This technology is very exciting for the banking industry.

With this technology, banks can speed up their back-office functions and reduce their costs. Startups in the financial services industry can also use the technology, which means the industry could potentially be disrupted.

If you don’t work in banking, you may think this technology is irrelevant to you. Not so fast. This technology has wide-ranging applications and could affect many industries. CIOs in many sectors need to be aware of how this technology could affect their companies. By hiring top IT professionals, they can take advantage of this new technology.

Here are some other major industries that could be affected by blockchain technology.

Online Music

Streaming music is popular with consumers, but it’s hard for artists to make money this way. They make less money from streaming services than they do from selling CDs or other physical music formats.

Blockchain initiatives could help artists make more money, while letting consumers keep streaming music. Artists could bypass streaming companies and use blockchain to send music to their fans. Smart contracts could also be created. These contracts would pay money to artists every time their songs are streamed or downloaded.

Healthcare

Doctors and hospitals use electronic health records to track patient data but often can’t share the records with each other. When patients go to new doctors or clinics, their records don’t follow them. This could lead to patients not getting the right care.

In the future, blockchain technology could solve this problem. Doctors and hospitals could add patients’ records to one shared ledger, and those records would be viewable to other medical professionals.

This could provide secure access to patients’ entire healthcare records. Researchers at MIT are testing a pilot, called MedRec, that could be widely deployed in the future.

Supply Chain Management

Between manufacture and sale, products change hands many times. The average international shipment is estimated to change hands 25 or more times. Keeping track of the transfers can be challenging, especially since various carriers don’t always have access to the same technology. Products can get lost or delayed, which drives up costs.

Blockchain technology may be able to solve these problems. That’s because this technology provides a permanent, decentralized record of transactions. Shipments can be securely tracked with technology, and suppliers throughout the supply chain will be able to track products.

Cloud Storage

Cloud storage companies store customers’ data on centralized servers. While these companies take precautions to protect customers’ data, the data could be at risk since it’s all in one place.

If hackers are interested in the data, they know where to target.

Since blockchain is decentralized, it could provide an answer to this security problem. Customers’ data could be stored in a secure, decentralized manner. Decentralized storage could also be less expensive for users—great news for CIOs on a budget—since expensive data centres don’t need to be maintained. Companies like Resilio, Tresorit, and Storj offer peer-to-peer cloud storage platforms.

Retail

Traditionally, people who wanted to sell products online needed to go through a middleman. Popular sites like eBay and Amazon connect sellers with buyers, but they also take a cut of the fees.

In the future, buyers and sellers may be able to bypass these traditional online marketplaces. They may be able to use decentralized networks to trade with each other directly, and they won’t need to pay mandatory fees. OpenBazaar is an example of a startup providing peer-to-peer trading services online.

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CIOs in Canada Reveal Their Latest Hiring Plans

Are you curious about other CIOs’ hiring plans? Learning more about what other CIOs are planning can help you set your own strategy. Here’s what you need to know about the latest hiring plans of Canada’s CIOs.

CIOs Hiring Plans

More than half of CIOs plan to hire IT professionals in the second half of 2017. Most are planning to hire when they need to fill vacant roles on their teams. To complete their projects, they need to maintain their staff levels. Eight percent of CIOs plan to grow their teams, not just fill vacant roles. If you have some big projects coming up, you may want to do the same.

About one-quarter of CIOs say retaining their current staff is their main concern. This priority makes sense given the high costs of replacing employees. According to some estimates, replacing a highly trained employee can cost 213 percent of the employee’s annual salary.

Reasons CIOs Are Hiring

There are a few different reasons why CIOs are hiring new employees. One of the reasons is that more new businesses are opening in their areas. When new businesses open up, there’s a need for more IT talent. New businesses aren’t the only factor driving hiring, though.

CIOs are also hiring new employees to keep up with their increased initiatives. There are a few different types of initiatives that are driving the need for new hires. These initiatives include digital marketing, mobile, and the cloud or big data. CIOs may need to hire because their existing teams can’t handle the increased workload that comes with new initiatives. They may also need to hire if no one on their existing team has the right skills to make the new initiatives a success.

The Skills CIOs Are Looking For

In the second half of 2017, CIOs are trying to find talented employees with in-demand skills. The skill the greatest number of CIOs are looking for is network administration. Demand for this skill picked up in 2016, but it’s continued into 2017. That’s because the technologies businesses use are becoming more complex, and they’re constantly evolving. Skilled network administration professionals are essential for digital businesses that want to grow. They keep companies’ computer systems running smoothly.

Database management is another IT skill that’s in high demand. These professionals maintain databases and keep them secure. Companies need data management professionals to ensure they have access to their data.

Telecommunications support is also in high demand. Professionals with this skill keep companies’ phone systems working properly. Without these skilled professionals, there wouldn’t be anyone on staff to install, repair, and monitor telecommunications equipment.

Finally, CIOs are looking for IT professionals with wireless network management skills. Companies are increasingly relying on wireless, not wired, networks. That’s because users want to connect with mobile devices, and some devices may not even have ethernet ports anymore. This skill is hard to find since many IT professionals are still experts in wired networks, not wireless ones.

Challenges in Hiring

A big challenge for CIOs in Canada is the competitive IT talent market. There’s an active hiring market. CIOs are bringing on additional IT staff or hiring new employees to fill vacant positions. Many companies are competing for the best IT professionals. Two-fifths of tech leaders in Canada say it’s challenging to find the IT professionals they need.

If you’re having trouble hiring IT professionals, it may make sense to outsource recruiting. To find top IT talent, CIOs can turn to technical recruiters. These recruiters specialize in finding talented IT professionals for companies. They can even find professionals who are already employed, not just professionals who are currently looking for work.

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Making a Hiring Decision

You don’t have to be indecisive to have doubts about your hiring practices. Managers often have to balance short-term needs against long-term growth, so a position that might be essential to a company’s daily operations today may be obsolete in a few years. A prospective hire may also look great on paper, but then not live up to expectations once he or she actually gets the job. Either way, the wrong employee can cost your company valuable resources and make other workers less efficient.

So what can you do to ensure you recruit the best possible candidate? An ideal process requires diligent planning, but if you just want to make a few tweaks, follow these do’s and don’ts to give you the confidence you need to make the right hiring decision for your company.

DO: Be Personable

Candidates’ perception of an interviewer can play a major role in their behaviour during a meeting. If their potential boss seems cold or distant, they may feel uneasy, and this can affect their performance. While you don’t want to change yourself too drastically, and while candidates should be able to perform under pressure, there are things you can do to make your prospect feel calmer.

Interviewers commonly ask candidates to talk about themselves at the beginning of an appointment. This tactic may sound cliché, but it does give the applicant a chance to warm up and break out of their pre-rehearsed scripts. You should maintain open, friendly body language and ask follow-up questions throughout the interview.

While a candidate’s comfort is important, your needs should take priority. Don’t be afraid to push them for more information if they say something that is unclear or suspicious. An ideal interviewer makes a prospect feel welcome, but he or she still gets the necessary information to make an informed hiring decision.

DON’T: Ask Personal Questions

As the previous point shows, asking candidates to describe themselves or their personality isn’t totally off limits; however, you want to avoid probing too deeply with personal follow-up questions. Labour laws prohibit employers from discriminating against candidates based on their gender, age, marital status, sexual orientation, and more. If you ask a prospect about these topics, you could face accusations of biased treatment. While these regulations vary depending on your jurisdiction, it’s better to just avoid these questions altogether when you make a hiring decision.

DO: Include a Task-Based Component in the Hiring Process

If you hire a candidate, he or she will have to complete tasks to your standard on a regular basis. You’ll need to train candidates before they can reach their full potential, but a duty-oriented assignment can help you determine whether they have the basic skillset necessary to function in the desired role. This may not work for every position, but you can get your prospects to complete the assignment on site after the interview or send them home with it.

Just make sure you establish a deadline and clear instructions before they get to work. If you’re worried about how they’ll integrate with your staff, you could even get them to help out with a task around the office to gauge their compatibility.

DON’T: Overemphasize Experience

Previous experience seems like it would be an indicator of success. After all, if a professional thrived in a similar job, why wouldn’t he or she be able to flourish again? Unfortunately, making a hiring decision is rarely as simple as comparing resumes. Context is key in these situations. An engineer may have been the all-star at their last company, but if the employee is a lone wolf and your job requires teamwork, his or her past experience won’t make a difference. Instead of pursuing a candidate who’s experienced in one area, look for an adaptable candidate who learns quickly, who can work independently and as part of a team,and who knows how to take instruction and constructive criticism.

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How Infotainment Technology Is Transforming the Auto Industry

In-vehicle infotainment systems provide information and entertainment for drivers and their passengers. Consumers can use the systems to navigate, listen to music, make calls, and more.

While you may think of these systems as fun add-ons for cars, they’re transforming the automotive industry. Here’s how.

Infotainment Is Creating New Business Models

Traditionally, automotive companies made their money from car sales. Once a car was sold, the company wouldn’t make any more money from it. To grow revenues, car companies needed to increase their one-time vehicle sales by expanding into new markets.

Infotainment technology is changing this traditional model. Car companies can charge monthly fees for access to their infotainment systems. This provides a new, recurring revenue stream for car companies. General Motor’s OnStar is a good example of the potential profitability of these systems. OnStar’s revenues are estimated to be about $1.5 billion annually.

Car Technology Needs to Be Upgradable

Modern cars are like computers on wheels. Like all other computers, they can become outdated as new technology is released. The speed of innovation is increasing, so cars with brand-new technology can become outdated in no time. Most of the cars people buy today will run the same software forever, according to The Verge. The only way to upgrade the cars is to buy a new one. Buying a new car just to get a better infotainment system isn’t practical.

The need for upgradable car technology is a big change for the auto industry. Now, automakers need to allow their infotainment systems to be updated. They need to decide how long they’ll offer support and upgrades for their past infotainment systems.

Most infotainment systems still can’t be upgraded over the air. Some systems can’t be updated at all. With other systems, you need to visit a dealership or use a USB drive to get a software update. Similar technology, like mobile phones, can be updated over the air using a Wi-Fi connection. Automakers will need to ensure their infotainment systems can do the same thing.

Increased Privacy Concerns

The growth of infotainment technology has brought increased privacy concerns to the auto industry. Carmakers are able to collect data not just about their cars, but about the people driving them. Information about passengers can also be collected. This data could be used for many purposes, not just ones that are related to safe transportation.

Automakers need to make sure the data they’re collecting doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. For example, when people sell their cars, or return their rental cars, they need to be able to thoroughly wipe their infotainment systems. They also need a way to provide consent for their data to be collected. These are challenging issues for infotainment engineers and others in the industry.

Security Concerns for the Automotive Industry

Infotainment technology is also bringing new security concerns to the automotive industry. Consumers are now worried about their cars getting viruses or getting hacked. According to one survey, 33 percent of consumers classify vehicle hacking as a serious problem; another 35 percent say it’s a moderate problem. Fifty-eight percent don’t think automakers can develop a permanent solution to vehicle hacking.

The automotive industry needs to ensure infotainment systems are safe and secure, not just useful and fun. This is a big challenge for the industry. To make secure systems and increase trust with consumers, automakers need to hire talented engineers. Over half of consumers say they’d be willing to pay a monthly subscription fee to ensure their cars were safe from hacking, so this presents another possible revenue stream for the industry.

 

The Rise of Blockchain Technology: How Your Business Can Adapt

The rise of blockchain technology is coming. How quickly the tech becomes ubiquitous, and who will embrace it, still remains to be seen. But big companies in the tech sector  (e.g. Microsoft) and in financial industries are spending R&D dollars on discovering just what this distributed ledger can do. 

Blockchain is a tracking database that was originally developed to run Bitcoin. The database uses algorithms to record digital transactions reliably with an impressive amount of anonymity. “Blocks” of data are created and sent across a peer-to-peer network without the need for a central authority or third party to verify or confirm the exchange; the system does all that itself through cryptographic methods. 

Though full adoption of this system is still unsure, and a timeline on feasibility is still in the works, being ready to be an early blockchain adopter can, theoretically, put businesses on the frontlines of the new cutting-edge digital culture. 

Here are a few ways your business can adapt to blockchain technology.

What Could Blockchain Do for My Company?

The potential effects of Blockchain technology are numerous, but here are some of the largest. 

Blockchain might streamline transactions by offering a single source of information, always updated, and in near real time. All your records will be digitized and available at a speed faster than what you currently experience. 

The cost of intermediaries will also go down and enable better, immutable ledger records. By adopting what some are calling “smart contracts”—coded sets of rules designed to execute when specific actions occur—automation of many financial services that require timely back-and-forth communication could happen in a fraction of the time.

Pilots and Working Groups

A good place to start the consideration of blockchain technology is by putting together a small working group tasked with designing a path to successfully using the tech in a way that aligns with your company’s overarching goals.

Start with a Hypothesis

Once this talented group is formed, develop a working hypothesis on how a distributed ledger can not only support, but improve, several aspects of your business. 

Focus the working group to select a couple of these hypotheses and transform them into working pilots. From there, it’s a matter of learning as you go. If it’s going to work, you should see ROI based on your hypothesis.

Scalable Efforts

One of two things will happen: you see ROI or you don’t. If you don’t, then it’s likely time to reconsider blockchains for your company, at least for now. If you do see good ROI, then it’s time for you to consider a strategy for the new technology. 

Develop a long-term plan that could be integrated deeper into your business strategy. Consider the successes you found with the pilot, but also any new awareness you may have gleaned from working on the pilot. 

You’ll then have to decide whether the risk is worth scaling now or whether you should wait to see how distributed ledgers come into play across your industry. You may also decide to never scale, depending on the results and where the technology goes. Either way, you haven’t committed the core of your business to this new technology, nor are you unprepared if it takes off overnight. 

Blockchain technology is still very new and largely untested. Many companies and startups are exploring the possibilities of distributed ledgers, but its future is still unsure. Exploring the possibilities early in smaller, controlled ways may give you a head start on your competition as you hurtle into the future of the digital age.

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Understanding FinTech Categories

These days, traditional banks and financial services companies have a lot of competition. Innovative companies in the financial technology industry are transforming many categories of the financial services market. As a CIO, you need to be familiar with the many categories of financial technology. With this knowledge, you can stay on top of trends and hire the IT professionals you need to stay competitive.

Here are some of the major categories in the financial technology market.

Lending

Financial technology companies are changing the lending process. People don’t need to turn to banks or credit unions to borrow money anymore. Many FinTech companies are now making loans directly to consumers.

Consumers can request loans online and get approval quickly.

FinTech lenders assess borrowers’ credit worthiness quickly and automate the underwriting process. These new models allow FinTech lenders like Kabbage and Borrowell to offer loans to more borrowers.

Payments

Payments are another category of the financial technology market. Companies in this category let people send money to each other without needing to turn to banks. Banks tend to charge exorbitant fees for simple payments like peer-to-peer transfers.

FinTech companies let consumers send money quickly and cost effectively. Technologies like blockchain are making it possible for these companies to process payments more cost effectively than banks can.

International Money Transfers

Traditionally, internal money transfers have been very expensive. Banks and traditional money transfer companies charge up to eight percent in fees. For large money transfers, these fees add up quickly. Worse, traditional transfers are slow.

Financial technology companies in this category are offering faster, less expensive international money transfers. Ripple, a company in this category, can send international money transfers in eight seconds, according to Financial Post.

Personal Finance

Personal finance is another major category of the financial technology market. In the past, people needed to talk to financial advisors at banks to get personal finance advice. To budget, they needed to use spreadsheets or an envelope system.

Now, there are plenty of apps on the market that can offer advice and help with budgeting. Consumers can get personal finance advice anywhere, at any time. Companies like Mint help consumers create budgets, while Level Money helps consumers save. There are also FinTech companies providing retirement or investment advice.

Equity Financing

Financial technology companies are transforming equity financing, too. Companies in this category of the FinTech market are making it easy for businesses to raise money. Some companies work to connect accredited investors with vetted startups. Others use a crowdfunding model and let anyone invest in new businesses.

These companies simplify the fundraising process for businesses. Virtual fundraising is also easier for investors, since everything can be done online.

Consumer Banking

Consumer banking is another category of the financial technology market. Traditional banks charge high fees, so companies in this category present an alternative for consumers.

These companies also have the opportunity to reach underbanked consumers. Consumers who can’t get approved for a credit card—or don’t want one—can get prepaid cards from FinTech companies. Companies like Green Dot and Netspend are active in this category. Some companies, like Moven, provide digital banking services. Consumers can use digital bank accounts instead of using a traditional bank.

Insurance

Financial technology companies have recently branched out into the insurance market, too. Many companies in this category are focusing on distribution. They’re using new technologies like apps to reach customers that are underserved by insurance. They’re also more flexible than traditional insurers.

For example, people who want to borrow a friend’s car can buy car insurance for just a few hours. Since the insurance market is highly regulated, companies in this category tend to partner with traditional insurance companies.

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Partner with a Recruitment Agency to Fill Mechanical Engineering Jobs

You may be in for a long search if you need to hire a mechanical engineer. The field is broad, but hiring managers usually want a professional with a specific set of qualifications and skills. An experienced worker could not be the right fit for your project, even if they specialize in a relatively similar area.

These problems often add complications to hiring managers’ lives. They already need to prevent time and cost overruns, but they usually feel additional pressure to find the right employee. If a new worker doesn’t fit in well or offer optimal output, the hiring manager may take some of the blame.

Thankfully, there are ways to ensure your reputation remains untarnished. You should seriously consider working with a recruitment agency if you need to fill mechanical engineering jobs. These firms can help source, interview, and hire professionals who will work wonders for your organization. Read on to find out how.

They Understand Mechanical Engineers’ Unique Qualifications

Hiring managers aren’t responsible for recruiting just one type of worker—their reach is broad in scale and variant in scope. You often need to hire a range of professionals according to your company’s needs. As a result, you probably don’t have time to learn the ins-and-outs of a given position. Sure, you may understand a position’s requirements in broad strokes, but the minutiae of each engineering specialty may elude you.

If you’re filling mechanical engineering jobs, you need a hiring solution that looks at the gritty details of the job in order to get the best fit. Recruitment agencies know which traits make for good engineers. They can source prospects who will meet your needs and convince them to work for you. Why spend your precious time struggling to comprehend a position that’s outside of your skillset when you can put your trust in an expert?

Recruiters Know How to Make Your Company Look Appealing

Never take your company’s assets for granted. You may recognize your organization’s strengths, but others may need further convincing. Every job interview is like a two-way sales pitch. Interviewees try to sell employers on their skills, while employers attempt to persuade interviewees to trust in their company’s reputation.

You need to convey your organization’s positive traits to candidates if you want to find and retain the best talent. Recruitment professionals know what mechanical engineers seek in a position and in a company, and they can identify those characteristics in your company and bring them to the forefront. They’ll put your company’s best colours on display, which will help attract extremely qualified workers who are already engaged with your company’s values and goals.

They Can Access Candidates That You Can’t

It can be difficult to network in specific areas when you have to hire for an entire company. You can probably keep a few professionals in mind for later openings, but it would take enormous effort to do so for every position at your organization. As a result, your reach may be limited when you do go to hire. You may only be able to access people who are looking for work when you post a job. Unfortunately, the best workers usually already have jobs, so they may not know you’re hiring.

Recruiters can solve every aspect of this problem. They maintain candidate pools that contain professionals from a range of industries. This ensures that they’ll always have a qualified worker available. The right firm can also reach engineers who are already employed, so you’ll be able to hook a better employee if you make the right offer. You stand to gain so much from working with a recruitment firm, especially when you need to fill mechanical engineering jobs.

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7 Top IT Priorities in 2017

IT is a constantly growing field. Whether it’s the development of new software programs or the refinement of the hardware upon which they run, the field is in a constant state of evolution. Some changes are minor, like a way to squeeze just a bit more processing speed out of your network, and some are major, like a shift to cloud computing.

Regardless of whether your company is large or small, local or multi-national, your IT department needs to stay current, nimble, and ready for change. Here are seven of the top IT priorities in 2017.

1. Cloud Infrastructure

One of the first priorities IT departments are looking into is replacing your business’ on-premise network with a cloud-based solution or infrastructure. If your company is not already operating with a cloud system, or moving towards one, trust that your IT department is already drafting a pitch for its necessity.

2. Disruptive Technology

Technological advancements, regardless of their quality or success, can be downright disruptive at times. In the IT world, this is amplified ten-fold. When it comes to disruption, be ready to hear your IT department talk about the evolution of digital platform architecture, the rise of A.I. and machine learning, and the growing internet of things. These examples of disruptive tech are going to impact your business in 2017.

3. Digital Enterprise and Going Bimodal

Many companies, in the changing business landscape, are refocusing their attention from brick-and-mortar/physical products to a larger digital focus—more software and services provided through technology. As a business restructures to embrace digital enterprise, IT departments will need to advance at a similar rate, staying innovative while holding on to their functional roots.

IT organizations will walk a balancing act at all times: they must stay agile to be innovation leaders, yet stable and disciplined enough to deliver secure, reliable services every day. To help manage this balancing act, watch for IT departments to transform to bimodal operations.

4. Security

There’s more talk of network breaches in the news than ever before. Digital security is a complicated issue and is the number-one reason IT managers are losing sleep at night. It’s impossible to stay 100-percent secure, so having effective response plans to mitigate damage when a breach to your network occurs will be on every IT professional’s mind.

5. Where Are All the Business Analysts?

IT departments from across Canada and the U.S. are having trouble filling their open IT roles. In particular, they are looking for viable candidates for business analyst positions.

IT departments’ key strategy for acquiring these essential tech skill positions will be to actively recruit and train candidates.

6. Outsourcing Services

With open positions and a need to stay nimble as innovators, many IT departments will begin to outsource some of their services, particularly infrastructure and day-to-day support of business process. They’ll begin to move to a multi-provider model allowing their best and brightest to focus on the innovation required to keep their companies competitive in digital enterprise.

7. Looking for Capable Software Providers

As IT departments shift and evolve to be the fluid, innovative departments they need to be, watch for them to reconsider old relationships with software providers that are unable to match the speed and quality of today’s IT. Providers able to adapt in the ever-changing landscape may just find business through the roof in 2017.

The year 2017 is shaping up to be a year of adaptation, growth, and restructuring for the IT field. IT professionals are seeking to solidify their place as innovation leaders while finding new solutions for their old staples.

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9 Big Industries Blockchain Tech Will Disrupt

When new technologies are developed, they provide new opportunities to innovative companies and disrupt whole industries.

There are many examples of this throughout history, and as a CIO, you’ve probably experienced disruptive technologies firsthand. The internet, the mobile web, and cloud computing are some of the very disruptive technologies your company and others needed to adapt to. Companies and industries as a whole were forever changed or made obsolete by the advances.

Technology is still moving forward, and CIOs will need to deal with many more disruptive technologies in their careers. They’ll need to hire talented IT professionals to help them adapt to the changes. One disruptive technology that’s getting a lot of attention right now is blockchain.

Blockchain is a digital ledger that’s used to record transactions. The ledger is stored on a network of personal computers. The records, called blocks, are time-stamped and linked to the previous blocks. This forms an unchangeable record. Once new data is entered, it can never be erased. This is the technology behind Bitcoin, a well-known cryptocurrency.

While your company may not be interested in using Bitcoin any time soon, the technology behind it may still affect you. This technology has many possible uses for businesses. It’s projected to disrupt many industries, just like the other technologies that came before it.

Here are nine big industries blockchain technology will disrupt in the future.

1. The Banking Industry

Banks securely store money for their customers and handle money transfers. For these services, they charge high fees. On top of monthly service fees, customers could need to pay fees for things like making payments on their credit cards. These fees aren’t optimal for customers.

Blockchain’s secure system could solve several problems for banks. The indisputable, permanent record of transactions could lower risks for banks. Customers will be able to see the status of their payments at any time. Money could also be transferred both cheaper and faster.

Banks that take advantage of this technology could provide better services to their customers at lower prices.

2. The Money Transfer Industry

Many companies allow people to transfer money to each other, both domestically and internationally. They make their money by collecting a fee every time someone sends a money transfer. As the middleman, they’re vulnerable to disruption by blockchain technology.

Some FinTech companies are taking advantage of this technology. They offer money transfers for lower fees than traditional providers charge. Traditional money transfer companies will need to be adapt or they’ll be left behind.

The FinTech startups could be left behind, too. With blockchain, people can send money to each other directly, without paying any fees. Since the technology is new, this isn’t widely used but should be a concern for any company in the money transfer industry.

3. The Stock Trading Industry

The stock trading industry profits from commissions and fees. When people buy or sell stocks, they need to pay a broker or middleman. Companies have worked to make the process of buying and selling stocks easier, but there are still more improvements that could be made.

These improvements could be made with the help of blockchain technology. With this technology, trades can be made accurately and inexpensively. While traditional trades can take up to three days to be settled, blockchain trades can be settled instantly. The trades can also eliminate middlemen. Overstock.com was the first publicly traded company to start issuing its stock through this new technology. In the long term, more companies may follow its lead.

4. The Online Music Industry

There are many criticisms of the online music industry in its current form. Streaming services don’t pay artists much per stream, and the streaming service and record label also get a cut of the profits. Some artists even go as far as removing their songs from streaming services.

Blockchain technology has the potential to shake up this industry. With this technology, artists may be able to offer their songs directly to their listeners. This will let them bypass the streaming services entirely. Artists may also decide to offer songs through the new technology instead of going through a record label. This could be worrying for streaming services and record labels alike.

5. The Real Estate Industry

Right now, there’s a lot of paperwork involved with real estate transactions. Errors in this paperwork could slip into public records, and fraud is another potential complication. These issues keep real estate agents, financial institutions, and mortgage companies busy.

With blockchain technology, real estate data like liens and land titles can be stored safely and permanently. Documents will be secured, with less work and less expense.

Blockchain could also eliminate escrow companies. With this technology, smart contracts could be created that would only release funds when contract conditions are met. That’s what escrow companies do now, so this new technology could be quite disruptive for them.

6. The Healthcare Industry

For patients to get good care, their medical records need to follow them from one doctor to another. When patients see several doctors, it’s easy for records to get lost or not be transferred between doctors. This causes continuity-of-care issues, and patients could receive poor care. They could be misdiagnosed or receive treatments that aren’t effective due to their incomplete records.

This problem could be solved with blockchain technology. It’s an excellent platform for data storage, and it can be used to hold patients’ medical records. Doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, and other healthcare institutions could all see patients’ complete medical records. Some startups are working to make this a reality.

7. The Legal Industry

Some types of litigation could be impacted by blockchain technology. Wills are a good example. Currently, family members may doubt the genuineness of a will and turn to litigation to resolve a deceased loved one’s estate. Lawyers need to determine if the will and other documents relating to the estate are genuine.

Blockchain can make this process much easier. Since the records can’t be altered, information relating to wills can be securely stored. No one will have any doubt the will is genuine or that it’s the most recent version of the document. Lawyers who specialize in wills and similar disputes could find themselves out of the job.

8. The Ride Sharing Industry

Ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft disrupted the taxi industry. However, that doesn’t make them immune to disruptions of their own. To use ride sharing companies, customers need to go through a centralized network—an app—to find drivers. The ride sharing companies are a middleman between riders and drivers, and take a cut of the fees.

With blockchain, customers could bypass current ride sharing companies. La’Zooz is a ride sharing startup that’s taking advantage of this technology. The startup lets riders find drivers who are already making the trips they’d like to make. The company is decentralized, just like the technology it uses to process payments.

9. The Human Resources Industry

Human resources professionals have to do a lot of time-consuming verification tasks during hiring. They need to verify candidates’ employment histories and perform background checks. Right now, the relevant records could get misplaced or even be falsified.

Blockchain ledgers can make HR’s verification tasks much easier. The ledgers can’t be falsified or tampered with, so it’s a good place to store records. If employment records and criminal records were safely stored in the ledger, HR professionals could quickly verify candidates’ background.

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On Making Better Decisions: Or, Why We’re Clover the Moon for Cloverpop!

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee,
And revery.

—Emily Dickinson

A well-made, informed decision is much like a four-leaf clover: hard to find, and lucky to have.

Around eighteen months ago, as a result of feedback from our employees on our company culture and to increase overall accountability and incorporate more diverse input into our decision-making, we made a commitment to change how decisions are made at Ian Martin.

The major shift is based on Dennis Bakke’s book The Decision Maker. We implemented what Bakke refers to as the “The Advice Process,” and the underlying principle of the concept, based on trust, is that every employee can make sound decisions in the best interests of the company. The problem is that traditional companies do not always approach decisions in a way that allows the people who understand the situation most intimately to make the decision to resolve or change. Bakke’s solution, which we have been following and evolving, is to change the culture around decision making by applying the guiding principles of trust and transparent communication. The result so far, which I can attest to, is that more people are engaged, invested, and accountable to the decisions being made.

When we started down the advice process path, our process was recorded using a document template in which the Decision Maker recorded a summary of the advice he or she gathered from interviewing people and collecting their advice and expertise. The process, however, was time-consuming and inefficient. We all know how hard it is to coordinate our schedules with others; imagine having to organize that while making a decision requiring everyone’s input at different stages of the process! This method also became much like a game of telephone: since the decision maker was reiterating what was being said by the experts and advice givers, the input was often recorded inaccurately. These miscommunications missed the crucial nuances of everyone’s feedback and decreased the overall value of the process. As a result, we missed our first target of 50 decisions made using the advice process during one year.

Business is Better in Clover

Then we had a huge Ah-ha! moment when we found Cloverpop, a tool designed to help people make better decisions. Cloverpop’s claim to fame is that they help streamline enterprise decision making: as they put it, “decide twice as fast with half the meetings and 100% visibility.” Add a dash of behavioural science and you’ve got an engine to drive and document decisions. This was initially rolled out on a trial basis and after some initial success, Ian Yates, our Chief Technology Officer, became our “Cloverpop Champion” to help all parts of the organization make better and more distributed decisions. As Ian says,

“Cloverpop allows us to make more inclusive, more transparent, and more effective decisions faster. The ability to track, follow-up, and rate the success of decisions also means we’re continually improving our decision-making skills.”

Compared to our previous process, Cloverpop provides more flexibility to the Decision Maker and Advice Giver. Collaboration and weigh-in all happens in the platform. In their own words, and in their own time, people can provide their wisdom, advice, and perspective from the comfort of their office—no meeting required. If someone feels that not enough context or background has been given, they can request information and begin a dialogue to clarify their questions. The Cloverpop approach has been especially effective in making sure everyone’s voice is heard, since it provides the time and space that is not always available in a meeting setting where one or two strong voices can dominate a discussion. This is important to make sure our decisions are inclusive, informed, and based on the right input (not just the loudest voices!).

To put it simply, Cloverpop was a welcome change. The tool is simple to navigate, and everything is laid out for you in clear steps: it quickly organizes your suggested solutions, and then rates the potential success of these solutions. Although the decision maker has the final say, you can very clearly see everyone’s alignment with the potential solutions. Then, once the final decision is made the involved parties can rate their buy-in. Everyone is kept informed at every stage of the process, and no detail is left unturned.

Breaking Ground for a More Decisive Future

Alongside the rest of the company, The Stewardship Council is learning how to use the tool—and more importantly, we’re learning how to “break the habit.”

What habit might you ask? In a traditional company structure, it is ingrained in the employee who is making a decision to achieve group consensus, or to defer to a person with authority. I’m guilty of both. I currently chair the Stewardship Council, and can honestly say that I’ve struggled with embracing this new practice and breaking from these entrenched habits. Recently, when I was close to making an important decision for Council, my internal moral compass began to sound the alarm; I then found myself hitting send on an email to Tim Masson, Ian Martin’s Chief Steward and CEO, asking for his permission to make the decision! Tim, who is great at reminding us to use the advice process, was kind enough to encourage me to use Cloverpop because he strongly believes in self-management and the benefits of ownership thinking.

As I mentioned earlier, I think it’s important for everyone to remember that decision making is not about achieving consensus. Don’t be swayed by the allure of accommodating everyone’s wishes, or the feeling that all responsibility and accountability is on you. As a decision maker, you will find yourself uncomfortable at times. However, this is a good indicator that you are the right person for the decision, and you can rest assured that by using Cloverpop, your decision will come from an informed position from all parties involved.

Council has so far used the tool three times since December 2016. My biggest takeaway thus far from the process is learning to frame the decision correctly, which involves asking yourself the basic question, “What problem am I trying to solve?” It also requires you to be wary of leading questions, and to remember that the focus as decision maker should be inquiry, not advocacy, which is not always a natural feeling when making a decision. Inevitably, there will be growing pains; for example, one of our advice processes was not framed well and we scrapped it half way through. This is by no means a negative comment—it was a fail forward exercise and what we learned ensured success in our second advice process.

We also realized that setting an ambitious target of 50 decisions within the year wasn’t the right goal for us. Quantity over quality is not the way to go in pursuing our primary target of more inclusive and distributed decision making process. Ultimately, we want more accountability throughout the entire company, and change does not happen overnight. Now, the council is looking for ways to continue to broaden the use of the tool to include more decision makers and more advice givers.

Really, our end goal is about increasing empowerment as much as it is about accountability: it is only by empowering all of our employees to make decisions and become informed advisors that we will harness the power of diversity to make better decisions and help the business prosper.

 

 

Don Tapscott

10 Blockchain Industry Thought Leaders to Follow

Blockchain is a digital ledger that accepts input from many users. Posts to the ledger can’t be revised or tampered with, and the ledger is decentralized. This technology has the potential to disrupt many industries, like banking.

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For CIOs, staying on top of the latest developments in this area is essential. Without a strong knowledge of developments in this new technology, it’s harder for CIOs to hire IT professionals and compete with other companies. To stay up to date on the latest developments, follow these ten industry thought leaders.

1. Don Tapscott

Don Tapscott is one of the leading analysts of the impacts of technology, and he’s written more than 15 books on related subjects. He recently wrote a book, The BlockChain Revolution, about how this technology will change the internet. Tapscott has also spoken at TEDGlobal about this technology.

2. Marc Andreessen

Marc Andreessen is well-known for founding Netscape, an early web browser. Now, Andreessen is an investor and Bitcoin enthusiast. His venture capitalist firm invests in Bitcoin and related startups. The firm recently raised $1.5 billion to invest in more breakthroughs.

3. Vitalik Buterin

This 23-year-old entrepreneur is famous for being the co-founder of Ethereum, a blockchain-based software platform. This platform is designed to handle financial transactions that can’t be handled by Bitcoin. The platform has the potential to create a decentralized version of the internet, called Internet 3.0.

4. Laura Shin

Laura Shin is a senior editor at Forbes. She manages Forbes’ coverage of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and related technologies, and explains these technologies in clear language. Shin speaks at conferences about these technologies and won the 2016 Blockchain Award for Most Insightful Journalist.

5. Nick Ayton

Nick Ayton is a global blockchain expert. He’s written many whitepapers and articles on the subject and also writes for CoinTelegraph, a publication that covers cryptocurrencies. Ayton is also a speaker and lecturer, and he has been a keynote speaker at various events. His latest project, 21 Million, is a crypto-funded television series about cryptocurrencies.

6. Naval Ravikant

Ravikant is the CEO of AngelList, a website that lets startups raise money from investors. He tweets about blockchain technology and how it can transform the world. Recently, he predicted this technology would replace networks with markets. For interesting predictions about the future of this technology, be sure to follow Ravikant.

7. Roger Ver

Roger Ver is an entrepreneur and angel investor. He’s famous for being an early investor in Bitcoin. Ver believes Bitcoin could rival major fiat currencies and thinks the cryptocurrency could promote economic freedom. He’s one of the five founders of the Bitcoin Foundation and has funded the seed rounds of many Bitcoin startups.

8. Vinny Lingham

Lingham is a major technology entrepreneur from South Africa. He’s been nicknamed the “Bitcoin Oracle” for his predictions of Bitcoin’s value. His latest venture is a business called Civic.com, which is a decentralized identity system that uses blockchain technology to create a digital ID. The end goals are protecting people’s identities and getting rid of usernames and passwords.

9. Jim Marous

Marous is a publisher, FinTech strategist, and keynote speaker. He’s the co-publisher of The Financial Brand, a digital publication for banks and credit unions. Marous also owns the Digital Banking Report, which covers current topics in banking. As a thought leader on disruption in the banking industry, he provides insights in new technologies.

10. Erik Voorhees

Voorhees is the founder and CEO of Shapeshift, a Bitcoin and altcoin exchange. He’s predicted Bitcoin could be replaced as the dominant cryptocurrency if it can’t continue to scale. Voorhees also talks about governance methods for cryptocurrencies.

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Does it make sense to outsource

10 Strategies Top CIOs Use to Reduce IT Costs

Are you under pressure to reduce your IT costs? Many CIOs are coming under pressure to reduce these costs. The cost reduction targets you’ve been given may seem impossible to meet. The good news is there are many strategies you can use to cut costs without harming the IT department or the overall company. Which strategies you choose to use will vary depending on the situation at your company and your goals. With that in mind, here are 10 strategies top CIOs can use to reduce their IT costs.

1. Reducing Number of Projects

Some CIOs are reducing the number of IT projects to control costs. To complete projects, you might need to bring on new staff or pay overtime to your existing staff. Cutting back on projects reduces the need for additional labour and helps keep costs under control.

However, you have to be careful about which projects you cut. Projects that could transform the business, like the development of innovative technologies, could be well worth the money. Projects that just support business operations, like upgrading internal technologies, could be put on hold.

2. Reducing Personnel Costs

As you know, your employees’ wages are a big part of your IT budget. That’s why some CIOs are reducing personnel costs to meet their budget targets. Controlling personnel costs can be challenging when your talent needs change from one quarter to the next. If you have enough staff to cover your busy periods, you’ll have too many during slow periods. You’ll have to keep paying your IT employees, even though there’s nothing for them to do. If you have enough employees to handle the slow periods, they’ll be overworked during busy periods. These are stay-awake recruitment issues.

To save money, you can turn to contract staffing. You can maintain adequate staffing levels to handle the company’s slow periods. Contract staffing can then fill in the gaps and help you manage higher-demand periods. It may make sense to outsource contract staffing recruitment to save time and money. When a new project approaches, a technical recruitment company can quickly find contractors for you. When the project ends, you can let them go. This flexibility can help you keep your personnel costs under control.

3. Taking Steps to Lower Turnover

High turnover is expensive. Companies can spend six to nine months of a departing employee’s salary to find and train a replacement. Those costs add up quickly if you have high turnover on your team. To reduce IT costs, top CIOs are taking steps to reduce turnover.

There are many ways to do this. One strategy is to improve your company’s culture to make it a more appealing place to work. Good work-life balance, the opportunity for advancement within the company, and access to training are appealing parts of company culture you could encourage.

4. Performing Less Software Maintenance

Software maintenance can get expensive. In fact, after five years, most companies will have spent more money on software maintenance than the software cost to purchase in the first place. For that reason, some CIOs are performing less software maintenance to reduce IT costs.

For example, instead of paying to upgrade existing software, they could decide to keep using the older versions. This could be a good strategy for you if your software isn’t too old and still meets most of your needs. If the software is so old as to be obsolete, skipping maintenance could end up costing more.

5. Using Open-Source Software

Licensing fees can be expensive, and some top CIOs are switching to open-source software to save money. Open-source software is usually free, so you can save money on licensing fees. Gartner estimates using open-source software can save companies about three percent. That may not seem like much, but when combined with other strategies, it could help you cut costs in your department.

6. Using Less Expensive Hardware

Using less expensive hardware is another strategy for cost reduction. When it’s time to replace your current hardware, look for options that are less expensive. Since hardware lasts for years, remember to think about costs in the long term, not just the initial purchase costs.

For example, it may make sense to purchase Macs rather than PCs, even though the upfront cost for the former is higher. IBM says it saves up to $543 every time it purchases a Mac instead of a PC. That’s because the residual value for Macs is higher in the long term.

7. Encouraging End Users to Help Themselves

Reducing IT support costs is another strategy for cost reduction. Many of the people who contact your IT service desk for help don’t really need the assistance of a paid professional. With IT self-service, as many as 40 percent of people could help themselves. This means you won’t have as much need for Level 1 support and can reduce some costs.

Make it easy for people to find the answers to their problems and help themselves. For example, you could set up an internal self-service portal to help employees throughout the company resolve their problems. They could use the portal to reset their own passwords, instead of having to ask IT for help. This can help you reduce labour costs at the IT service desk.

8. Renegotiating Contracts with Suppliers

Contracts with vendors and suppliers can always be negotiated. Don’t assume a signed contract means you can’t try to negotiate with your suppliers until the contract expires. The contracts will end at some point, and your suppliers are probably hoping you’ll renew when that happens. Suppliers know they have to keep you happy during the contract term if they want you to renew later. That means you have some leverage.

Call your suppliers and explain the reasons you need better pricing. In exchange for a contract extension or another incentive, your suppliers may be more than willing to give you a better price. Try to be flexible during negotiations to encourage your suppliers to want to help you.

9. Switching to Cheaper Suppliers

If your current suppliers can’t or won’t give you a better deal, their competitors may be able to help. Before the contracts expire, seek formal bids from other companies in the industry. You can then compare the bids and choose new suppliers that will give you better value for your money. For example, startup companies may be willing to provide lower prices than your current suppliers to grow their client lists.

You could also use the bids you collect to re-negotiate with your current suppliers. If suppliers weren’t willing to negotiate previously, seeing bids from competitors could encourage them to start.

10. Moving to the Cloud

On-premise services have several associated costs. You need to pay for software licenses, upgrade expenses, and server maintenance. There’s also power and cooling costs to worry about. You need to pay employees to look after these responsibilities.

Moving to the cloud can help you reduce these expenses and control costs. You just need to budget for a monthly fee for the services—not all the extra costs you’re paying now. When you use cloud-based services, you can stretch your IT budget further.

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When does it make sense to outsource

CIOs Are Moving towards a Multi-Provider Model of Outsourcing

Outsourcing is a popular business practice, and it often makes sense to outsource business functions. Information technology functions are no exception. CIOs can outsource many IT services to providers.

In the past, CIOs relied on a single provider for their outsourcing needs. These days, that’s changing. More CIOs now plan to move towards a multi-provider model of outsourcing. The same decision may make sense for your company’s projects or IT functions. Here are some reasons why CIOs are moving towards a multi-provider model of outsourcing.

Competitive Pricing

A major benefit of relying on multiple providers is access to competitive pricing. If you rely on a single vendor, the provider may need to subcontract some of the tasks. Since the vendor will charge a margin on the subcontracted work, you could end up paying more. By working with multiple vendors yourself, you could save money.

Using a multi-provider model also means you can shop around and find vendors that provide the best value. You can look for a provider that gives you the best value for your money in cybersecurity and another provider that does the same for data centre operations. When each provider has been carefully considered, costs can be reduced and value increased.

Using multiple providers can also encourage companies to compete for your business. If you’re known to only use a sole provider, there’s not much incentive for other companies to compete. If you’re known to rely on many smaller providers, there’s incentive for a new provider to approach you with a good deal.

Increased Flexibility

Using multiple providers also increases flexibility at the company. If a project ends, or if you want to start handling a certain function in-house, it’s easy to cut ties with a vendor. When one vendor is managing everything, it could be harder to adjust the functions it is handling.

Multi-sourcing can also go alongside shorter contracts, so you’re not locked in with a single vendor for a long period of time. Short-term contracts make it easy to replace a supplier you’re not happy with.

Access to Specialized Skills

It’s hard for one provider to excel at everything. While you may be able to find a provider that can meet most of your needs, that vendor may not perform well in other areas. This is a problem because you need all of your outsourced functions to be performed well, not just some of them.

When you use multiple providers, you can work with best-of-breed vendors. These providers are at the top of their fields and have employees with the specialized skills you need. You could hire one provider to manage your help desk and another to manage data centre operations. Another provider could work on application development, while another could work on disaster recovery. Since each provider is the best at what it does, you can ensure every function is performed optimally.

Risk Mitigation

Relying on just one provider for outsourced functions can be risky. If the vendor is not able to meet your deadlines, or doesn’t have the right skills, the damage to your projects can be significant. Your projects could have to be put on hold until the vendor solves the problem or until you can find a new provider.

Moving to a multi-provider model of outsourcing can help mitigate risks to the company. If a provider is only responsible for one function and doesn’t meet your needs, it’s less serious than it would be if the firm were in charge of everything. If one of your many vendors doesn’t meet your needs, the other providers you’re using for outsourcing can keep their own functions on track. This helps ensure there’s less damage to the company’s functions.

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Business Owners: How to Improve Relations Between IT and Senior Management

Do you wish your IT department and senior managers would get along better? Many business owners feel the same way: they aren’t happy with the relations between IT and senior management.

Senior management may think IT is too complicated or just a cost centre, which can lead to conflicts with the IT department. For business owners, there are many ways to remedy this situation. Here are some tips for improving relations between senior management and the IT department.

Educating Senior Management about IT

Senior management may think IT is too complicated or hard to understand. This can lead to conflicts with the IT department. For example, IT may not be able to get approval to purchase essential software if senior management doesn’t understand why it’s important. If IT leaders want to replace old on-premise software with cloud solutions, senior management may say no. In this situation, IT leaders may be frustrated because they can’t get approval for what they see as an important solution. Senior management may be frustrated about being asked to spend more money on solutions that don’t seem useful.

Educating senior management about IT can help resolve these issues. Of course, there’s no need for your senior managers to become tech experts. They just need to understand new technologies well enough to communicate better with IT. These technologies include things like cloud computing, the internet of things, and blockchain.

There are many ways to educate senior management about these new technologies. One option is to send your senior managers to an IT conference like iTech. At the conference, they can brush up on new technologies by listening to speakers or attending sessions. You could also bring an IT trainer into your workplace to go over some new technologies with senior management.

Hire a Talented Chief Information Officer

A great CIO is another piece of the puzzle. Great CIOs should have a solid understanding of the technologies businesses need to use. That doesn’t mean they need to be tech experts or able to perform the jobs of all IT employees. They just need to understand how technologies work, how they can benefit the business, and how technologies tie into projects.

Talented CIOs can participate intelligently in meetings with the IT department. They can support IT throughout the organization and advocate for new technologies that could benefit the business.

If you don’t have a CIO who fits the bill, it’s time to recruit one. It may make sense to outsource this function. Working with technical recruiters can help you find the right CIO for your business. They can work their networks to find great candidates for the role. They have the skills to encourage top candidates to join your company.

Involve Your CIO in Decision-Making

According to a McKinsey survey on business technology, IT leaders often aren’t included in shaping businesses’ strategic agendas. Including IT leaders in decision making can show senior management the IT department is effective. At companies where CIOs are very or extremely involved in decision making and strategy, IT departments are considered more effective. That’s why including your CIO in strategic meetings can help improve relations between IT and the senior management team.

This is also beneficial for the IT department. When CIOs are involved with strategy and decision making, they have a better understanding of the business’s short- and long-term technology needs. They can communicate this knowledge to the IT department, and help the IT department meet the business’s needs. By meeting the business’s needs, the IT department may feel more useful and may get more recognition from senior management, which improves relations.

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How the Role of the Chief HR Officer Is Changing

For the last 100 years, the role of the human resources department has been fairly static, but HR is now entering a new era—and there are many changes ahead.

Though change is certainly challenging, it’s also innovating static ideas and processes. It’s an exciting time in HR. By understanding current and future changes, you can coast through the challenges and become a more current and effective HR manager.

Why the Role of the Chief HR Officer Is Changing

There are many reasons why the role of the Chief HR Officer is changing. These reasons relate to the rapidly changing business environment of today. Factors like the rise of part-time work and fluctuating talent needs are playing a big role.

Today’s workforce looks a lot different than it did even ten years ago. Ten years ago, you may have hired employees for traditional, nine-to-five jobs. Now, you may notice you’re hiring more part-timers. That’s because most of the labour market’s gains are coming from surges in the numbers of part-time positions.

The rise of the gig economy is another big change for human resources. Many workers are now taking on contract positions instead of full-time jobs. In fact, just over one-third of the workforce is made up of independent contractors, temporary workers, and other contingent workers.

Some industries rely more heavily on part-time or contract employees. For example, high-tech companies are known for hiring short-term employees for their projects. In some high-tech companies, more than half of the workers are part-timers or contract workers.

If you’re responsible for hiring in a project-based industry, you already know talent needs fluctuate often. Since talent needs are dependent on projects, it’s hard to predict future needs. If a project goes ahead, you’ll need to find great workers on short notice. If the project doesn’t go ahead, you won’t need to find anyone. This makes it seem impossible to predict the workers you’ll need next week, let alone next quarter.

The increasing availability of marketplace data is another reason the role of the Chief HR Officer is changing. In the past, it was hard for human resources departments to collect good data about their workforces. You needed to dig through spreadsheets or mountains of paperwork to analyze the workforce. Now that HR departments are embracing more high-tech systems, data is easier to collect.

What Business Leaders Want from HR

Due to all these factors, business leaders’ expectations of their HR leaders are changing. It’s no longer enough to just recruit the right employees. The changing world of work means HR leaders now have to find the right employees at the right times. That’s a much harder task.

Since HR leaders now have access to so much data, business leaders want them to use it. Almost 70 percent of business leaders want their HR leaders to use data and analytics to make workforce decisions. This is a new responsibility for HR leaders, and it requires a different skill set.

Another common expectation is to evaluate decisions based on workforce costs. When you were mostly hiring long-term, full-time employees, hiring costs weren’t as much of a concern. Now that you’re hiring part-time or contract workers throughout the year, the costs add up quickly. You need to pay to post ads. Then you need to spend hours reading applications, interviewing applicants, and calling references. If training is required, that’s yet another cost to think about.

Obstacles for Chief HR Officers

Since the role of Chief HR Officers has changed so drastically, you may feel overwhelmed about all the new tasks you need to take on. Don’t think about these changes as obstacles, however. Think about them as opportunities as you adapt to your new role.

The backgrounds of Chief HR Officers may be one of these obstacles that overwhelm you. Many Chief HR Officers have a background in human resources (understandably). They’re experts in the traditional roles HR departments are expected to play.

Now that the role of the HR department is changing however, new skills are starting to be valued. Chief HR Officers who have a strong business background, or a background in data or analytics, can thrive in this new environment. They can use workforce analytics to help predict who to hire and when. Chief HR Officers with traditional HR backgrounds may not know what to do with all the workforce analytics they’ve gathered. Of course, they can learn, but needing to learn a brand-new discipline is an obstacle.

Consider this an opportunity to learn new knowledge, HR practices, and processes that will help you become a stronger Chief HR Officer.

How HR Professionals Can Adapt

Don’t let the changing expectations for the HR profession get you down. There are many things Chief HR Officers can do to rise to the occasion and adapt to all their new responsibilities.

One thing you can do is learn more about workforce analytics so you can adapt to the new way of hiring. There are many HR analytics courses you could take to increase your knowledge. Top universities like Wharton University and MIT offer online courses in HR analytics and data analytics. Your company may pay for you to take these continuing education courses. With your new knowledge, you’ll be better able to keep up with all the changes happening in HR.

If you’re not able to take any courses, there are other options. HR professionals can turn to technical recruiting agencies for help. These agencies specialize in finding top talent on short notice, which helps you keep up with your company’s ever-changing talent needs. They’re able to find candidates quickly because they already have a large network of talented professionals. The recruiters can work their networks to find good candidates, even candidates who are already employed.

When you find out you need to hire part-time or contract workers right away, you can simply contact the recruiting agency. A recruiter will send you the workers you need, and your company can get projects started on time. Once the project is done, you can just send all the workers back to the agency.

You may be worried that working with a recruiting agency would be too expensive. Surprisingly, the opposite is true. Working with an agency can actually cost less than handling recruiting on your own. That’s because recruiting firms minimize unnecessary hiring expenses. They also free up more of your time—and as you know, time is money.

As an HR professional, you may feel uncomfortable with the idea of outsourcing short-term and contract recruiting. There’s no need to feel that way. Often, it makes sense to outsource this task. You can focus on the things you know best, like hiring full-time employees and monitoring compliance. When you can focus on things you excel at, both you and your company will benefit.

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IT Recruitment Tips: How to Add Value to Your Team

Have you ever hired IT professionals, only to discover they didn’t add value to your team? Maybe they didn’t have some of the skills they claimed to have. Maybe they didn’t get along with their coworkers and caused conflict. Or, maybe they just weren’t reliable. Whatever the reason, these bad hires are frustrating for CIOs. After spending so much time on the hiring process, you can’t afford to hire someone who doesn’t add value to your team.

To prevent these hiring mishaps, hiring managers should know how to improve their IT recruitment processes. With the right process in place, you can ensure your new hires will add value to your team.

Here are some IT recruitment tips to follow.

Ask for Employee Referrals

If your past hires have clashed with your team, you may want to consider using employee referrals for IT recruitment. When employees refer candidates, you’re more likely to hire candidates who have good chemistry with your team. That’s because you’ll be hiring people who already get along with an existing employee.

Employees tend to refer candidates with similar work ethics to their own. If a high performer recommends a candidate, that candidate is probably a high performer, too. If you’ve hired people with poor work ethics in the past, getting referrals from your best employees can help.

It’s easier than you might think to start an employee referral program. Let your employees know you’re looking for IT professionals, and share the job descriptions. Your employees can then recommend candidates who’d be a good fit for the position.

If you end up hiring a great candidate, make sure to reward the referring employee.

Don’t Forget about Soft Skills

When you’re hiring IT professionals, you can’t ignore hard skills. You’d never hire a Java developer who didn’t know how to debug Java code, for example. Without hard skills, new hires won’t be able to do their jobs properly. Hard skills aren’t the only thing you need to worry about during IT recruitment, though.

Soft skills are just as important. Soft skills include teamwork, building effective relationships, and planning. Without the right soft skills, IT professionals won’t add value to your team. For example, a talented Java developer who yells at his coworkers and doesn’t finish work on time won’t add much value. If you hire someone like that, you’ll regret it pretty quickly.

Soft skills can be hard to evaluate since candidates may not list them on their resumes. That’s why it’s important to ask questions about soft skills in interviews. For example, if you need someone who gets along with coworkers, you could ask candidates to describe a time they had an issue with a coworker. From their answers, you can decide if they’ll get along with your team.

Consider Cultural Fit

Cultural fit is an important part of IT recruitment. A company’s culture is its personality. Some candidates will love your company’s personality, and others won’t. You don’t want to hire new employees and find out afterwards they’re in the latter group. Your new hires won’t be happy, and they won’t add as much value to your team as they would if they were a good cultural fit.

As a CIO, you aren’t in control of the whole company’s culture, but you can control the culture on your team. For example, you could encourage your team to leave work at 5 p.m. and become known for your great work/life balance. You could ensure your team receives many training opportunities and become known for helping your employees develop.

Whatever your culture is, make sure your new hires fit in by asking about culture during interviews.

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woman at desktop computer

IT Staffing and Recruiting Tips: How to Hire Talented Developers

Since developers are in high demand, hiring can be a challenge. IT managers need all the help they can get with IT staffing and recruiting. To make hiring talented developers easier, follow these tips.

Stop Relying on Job Ads

If your only recruitment strategy is posting job ads on online job boards, it’s time to branch out. While you can find good candidates from job ads, it’s not always the most efficient recruitment method. When you post a job ad online, tons of unqualified applicants send in their resumes. Worse, you may not even get any applicants you want to interview.

Why are so many unqualified applicants applying for your jobs? Since developers are in high demand, the most talented ones may already be employed somewhere else. They aren’t browsing job boards. To find the top developers you need, you need to switch up your tactics.

Ask for Employee Referrals

One of the ways you can find top developers is to ask your current employees for referrals. The good developers on your team probably know other people in the industry. Let your employees know you’re looking to hire new developers, and ask them for referrals. Your employees may know people who might be interested in your open roles.

To encourage referrals, make it easy for your employees to refer candidates. Ideally, employees should be able to simply pass on the names and contact information of referred candidates.

If you end up hiring someone through an employee referral, make sure to reward the employee who made the referral. Different employees value different rewards, so just ask. Some employees may want cash bonuses, while others would prefer an extra vacation day. Others might prefer getting thanked for the referral publicly.

Work Your Network

Your employees aren’t the only ones who might know interested candidates. As an IT manager, you probably have a large network of your own. Let your contacts know you’re looking for a great developer to join your team. One of your contacts may know a developer who’d be interested in your open position.

If nobody in your network can help, grow your network. You could attend IT conferences to meet new people. For example, you could go to iTech2017, an IT technology conference. At this conference, you could meet other IT managers and CIOs. Someone you meet could be able to help you fill the open developer positions on your team. You may be able to help your new contacts fill their open positions, too. When a new hire comes up, you can then reach out to your new contacts on social media channels like LinkedIn to crowdsource potential candidates.

Get Help from a Technical Recruiting Agency

Sometimes, you need a new developer for your team right away. You don’t have time to ask employees for referrals or go to conferences. You need your new developer yesterday. In situations like this, you can get help from a technical recruiting agency. Since recruiters have great networking skills, they can find the top candidates you need quickly.

Technical recruiters have a lot of experience with IT staffing and recruiting. They have large pools of talented candidates they can call on. If they don’t have any suitable candidates in their pool, they can work their networks to find top talent. They can even locate candidates who are already employed somewhere else. While these passive candidates may not be actively job hunting, they may be interested in joining your team. When you need qualified developers and IT staff at the right time, it makes sense to outsource your recruiting.

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FinTech mobile payments

How FinTech Companies Are Solving Long-Standing Payment Problems

Technology is progressing at a rapid pace, and new technologies give companies opportunities to solve problems. Mobile technology allowed ride-sharing companies to improve the experience of taxi passengers. Cloud technology allowed software companies to provide cheaper, simpler applications. In the same vein, FinTech companies are now using technology to solve customers’ long-standing payment problems.

In the past, established banks, insurance companies, and private equity companies dominated the industry. Customers had no choice but to suffer through payment problems. Exorbitant fees, slow transfers and payments, and inconvenience were inevitable parts of the customer experience. That’s changing thanks to FinTech companies.

Today’s FinTech companies are solving customers’ problems and disrupting established financial companies.

Here’s how FinTech companies are solving long-standing payment problems.

Taking Advantage of Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology is one of the new technologies FinTech companies are using to disrupt the financial industry. Blockchain is a shared digital ledger that can be used to record transactions. It can also be used to track the movement of assets. Anyone with an internet connection can use blockchain. Information is stored across a network of personal computers. Each record, known as a block, is timestamped and linked in a chronological chain to other blocks. Cryptography prevents users from being able to change previous entries.

The most famous use of blockchain technology is Bitcoin. Other cryptocurrencies, like BlackCoin, Nxt, and Dash also use blockchain technology. However, blockchain technology can be useful for other applications, too.

With blockchain technology, people can send money quickly and cost efficiently. This technology cuts out intermediaries like banks or payment processors. FinTech startups are using this technology to let customers send money transfers inexpensively. Now, customers don’t need to pay exorbitant fees to banks when they want to send money to their friends or family members.

This is especially useful for people who need to send money internationally. Traditional banks charge an average of $43 for international money transfers, which is an extremely high fee. FinTech companies are able to send money at a very low cost thanks to blockchain, and then they can pass the savings on to their customers.

Partnering with Banks

Consumers aren’t happy with their banks. In fact, only 23 percent of consumers say their banks are meeting their expectations. Transparency with pricing and fees is one of the big problems keeping consumers unhappy. They want more clarity about fees, and they want to be able to avoid paying outrageous fees.

While consumers aren’t fans of traditional banks, they may not be aware there are other options. Only two in five Canadians report using a non-bank alternative for financial services in the past year. FinTech companies could solve their long-standing payment problems, but they just don’t know it yet.

To mutually benefit from these tech solutions, FinTech companies and banks are becoming partners. The banks can provide the brand recognition and the existing customer base. The FinTech companies can provide an improved service that makes customers happy. By working together, both companies can benefit, and customers benefit, too.

For example, CIBC recently partnered with Borrowell, a FinTech company that provides online lending solutions. CIBC’s existing banking customers can get online loans quickly through Borrowell. Loans are adjudicated in real time, and the funds usually appear the next day in customers’ bank accounts. That’s a lot faster than a traditional bank loan.

Many banks have also partnered with R3 to use blockchain technology in the financial market. Seventy-five of the world’s largest banks are now part of this partnership. By partnering and using blockchain technology, banks will be able to make their payment transactions more secure. They’ll also be able to reduce their costs, and hopefully pass those savings on to customers.

Creating More Customer Convenience

One of the long-standing payment problems with traditional banks is inconvenience. When customers send money to their friends or families, they need to wait hours or even days for the money to arrive. In some situations, waiting may not be a big deal. In others, even a short wait can be a major inconvenience.

For example, consider a group of friends dining at a restaurant. The restaurant won’t split the bill, so everyone needs to pay together. The problem is, no one has any cash. They all just have their bank cards. The friends pull out their phones and transfer the cost of their meals to one person, who will then pay for everyone on a card. If that money doesn’t arrive instantly, the friends could be stuck at their table for hours, waiting for the transfers to arrive.

What a hassle! Fortunately, FinTech companies are solving this problem. Now, friends can instantly send money to each other with apps like Venmo. This makes sharing costs at restaurants a lot more convenient.

Creating Alternative Payment Channels

Traditionally, if you wanted to make a payment, you needed to log in to your bank account to do it. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with needing to go a bank’s website to make a payment, but it’s not the most efficient method. FinTech companies are creating alternative payment channels. These payment channels let customers pay for services without having to log in to their bank accounts. This makes payments simpler and faster.

For example, some FinTech companies are using chat messaging to process payments. PayKey is one of the companies doing this. Users can send instant money transfers to their friends or family members through Facebook Messenger, Twitter, or other social apps. This makes it easy for friends to pay each other back or for family members to send money to each other. When a friend asks for money, you don’t need to leave the app and log in to your bank’s app. You can just push a button to instantly send the money you owe.

Revolutionizing Mobile Payments

In the past, consumers paid with their plastic debit or credit cards in stores. A long-standing problem with this arrangement is the visibility of the data. For example, it’s easy for someone to get a look at your credit card number and watch you enter your PIN in the terminal. With that information, that onlooker could spend your money.

Mobile payments are a way to solve this long-standing payment problem for consumers. Mobile wallets are encrypted, so they offer increased security. They make it easier for consumers to shop online, since they don’t need to type in as many numbers as they shop. Mobile wallets are also able to store information from loyalty rewards programs. Today’s consumers are very comfortable paying with their mobile phones. Among retail banking consumers, one-third pay with their phones at least once a week. There’s still a lot of opportunity in this area since so many consumers still aren’t regularly using mobile payments.

One big area of opportunity for FinTech companies is the corporate market. While consumers are starting to embrace mobile payments, corporate users aren’t. Corporate users are worried about the security risks of mobile payments. They may worry about security vulnerabilities in the technology or phishing attacks.

To overcome these problems, FinTech companies need to focus on hiring highly skilled IT professionals. When you hire great people for your team, you’re better equipped to solve problems.

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Blockchain and FinTech

What Impact Will Technologies Related to Blockchain Have on Your Organization?

If you’ve been a CIO for a while, you’ve seen many disruptive technologies transform businesses. First, the internet became widespread back in the early 1990s. Companies gained the ability to communicate with customers and employees all over the world instantaneously. Next came the mobile web. Traditional internet companies had to re-think their business models and struggle to survive in the new mobile world. The widespread adoption of cloud computing was yet another hurdle for CIOs to overcome. Traditional on-premise software needed to be replaced with cloud solutions.

Download our free guide on key metrics hiring managers should know.

New technologies are being developed all the time, and they can disrupt your business, just like the technologies that came before them. One of the technologies that’s poised to disrupt businesses is blockchain. You’ve probably heard the word “blockchain” before, but you may not know much about it.

Blockchain is the technology that makes Bitcoin, the popular cryptocurrency, work. It’s a shared digital ledger that records transactions. The information is stored on a network of personal computers, not in a central database, like traditional ledgers. When a transaction occurs, a new record is created. These records, called “blocks,” are timestamped and linked together. To change one block, you’d need to change every block in the chain.

Cryptocurrencies aren’t the only use for blockchain technology. This technology can be used for many other purposes. This means it has the potential to disrupt many different industries. In fact, blockchain is such a disruptive technology that it’s been called internet 2.0.

As a CIO, you need to help your company navigate disruptive technologies like blockchain. You need to be prepared for the impacts it could have on your company so you’ll be ready to hire the right employees. Here are some of the impacts technologies related to blockchain could have on your organization.

Reduced Cost of Financial Transactions

The financial industry is one of the industries that will be most disrupted by blockchain technology. Traditionally, financial transactions are conducted through intermediaries like banks or credit card companies. These companies charge high fees. Every time a customer pays your company with a credit card, the credit card company will take a percentage. The business’s bank account is also subjected to monthly fees. These costs add up quickly.

With blockchain technology, intermediaries like banks and credit card companies can be bypassed completely. Instead of paying with their credit cards, customers could theoretically pay you directly through blockchain. You could pay your suppliers in the same way. The reduced cost of transactions could give your business a competitive advantage if you adopt blockchain before your competitors.

Of course, if you work for a traditional financial services company, this is bad news. Your customers may want to use blockchain technology to bypass you and avoid paying your fees. Some financial services companies are partnering with FinTech companies to take advantage of blockchain technologies. Another option is to hire FinTech engineers for your team to help your organization adopt blockchain.

Increased Security

As a CIO, you probably spend a lot of time thinking about your organization’s cybersecurity. You may be worried about threats like DDoS attacks, data theft, and user identity security. These threats can have a serious negative effect on a business. Companies that experience cyber incidents may have to pay fines, and their insurance premiums may increase. They may lose customers or contracts.

Blockchain technology may be able to help you keep your organization secure. That’s because blockchain has no single point of failure. The system is decentralized, so it’s nearly impossible for someone to carry out a DDoS attack. This will give you one less thing to worry about.

This technology can also help prevent data theft. Currently, data can only be encrypted when it’s either being stored or being transmitted. When the data is in use (like when an employee is accessing a file), it has to be decrypted. The data is vulnerable at this time. For example, if attackers can get into the system, they can see the plain-text data the employee is viewing.

Blockchain technology has been used to create a decentralized cloud platform, called Enigma, to solve this problem. Employees can view data and perform their work tasks while still retaining privacy. The data is distributed among multiple parties, so no one has full access to the data. This helps keep your data from falling into the wrong hands.

Better Record Keeping

Businesses need to keep many records. Right now, you may be using on-site servers or cloud solutions (or a combination of the two) to manage all the records. As you know, neither of these storage methods are perfect. Servers can become damaged, and you may not be able to recover your data. Cloud vendors can have server problems of their own and lose your data.

Blockchain technology has the potential to transform record keeping. With blockchain, the ledger file isn’t stored on one company’s server. Copies of the ledger file are shared among thousands of personal computers. Since there are so many copies, your data is more secure than it would be if it were only stored in one location.

When new data is entered in the blockchain, it can’t ever be erased. That’s because the blocks are linked together. Since the blocks can’t be changed, you’ll know your records are true and verifiable. Every transaction the organization has ever made will be stored in the blockchain. This makes blockchain very useful for auditing and record keeping purposes.

Eventually, the entire commercial world’s record keeping could be integrated with blockchain technology. That could eliminate huge amounts of record keeping for businesses.

Industrial Internet of Things

You’re probably familiar with the internet of things (IoT). The IoT is a network of internet-connected objects. These internet-connected objects are able to use sensors to collect and exchange data. You may already have some IoT-enabled devices in your home. For example, you may have a smart thermostat or some smart appliances.

The IoT isn’t just useful around the house. It can also be used in an industrial setting. Various devices and machines in factories can be connected to the internet, where they can communicate with other systems. For example, your machines could be connected to your enterprise resource planning system or your product lifecycle system. This can help cut costs and increase revenue for manufacturing companies.

There are some obstacles to using the industrial IoT right now. In its current form, the IoT poses cybersecurity risks for organizations. The more devices you have connected to the internet, the larger the surface area for cyber attacks. Worries about getting hacked may have kept your organization from embracing the industrial IoT. Another obstacle is the volume of communications that need to occur among devices in an industrial setting. To handle these communications, you could need to maintain a large and expensive data centre.

Blockchain has the potential to help companies overcome these obstacles. With blockchain, you can keep a permanent record of the history of all your smart devices. This will make it easier for you to keep an eye on security and follow compliance requirements. The internet-connected devices can also securely communicate with each other thanks to blockchain. It’s harder for malicious actors to hack your ledger or devices because the blockchain ledger isn’t in one location and doesn’t have just one thread of communication. The decentralized network also helps handle the volume of communications needed by the industrial IoT.

How technologies related to blockchain will affect your organization is yet to be seen—but the possibilities are exciting.

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3 Key Strategies CIOs Use to Hire Key Tech Skills

Do you have a pressing need for workers with key tech skills? In the project-based world of IT, that’s a common problem. With every new project, you’ll need workers with specialized skills. Acquiring these skills can be a challenge, especially when you’re on a tight schedule. Projects need to be completed on time, and that means you need to acquire key tech skills as quickly as possible.

Here are three key strategies CIOs can use on their own or in combination with other strategies.

1. Recruit New Employees with Key Skills

Since tech professionals are in such high demand, you may not get good results if you just post job ads online. One of the ways you can get workers with the skills you need is to actively recruit them. The best workers may not be browsing job boards, so they won’t see your ads. You can still try to post ads if your next project doesn’t start for a while, but it’s not the most efficient hiring method.

A faster way to recruit new employees is to use employee referrals. Let your employees know you’re looking for someone with a certain skill set and need them to start soon. Your employees may have a friend or past coworker who fits the bill. By asking for referrals, you could find vetted workers with key tech skills quickly.

Sometimes, your employees won’t know anyone who would be a good fit for the job. In those cases, you could also work your own network. As a CIO, you should know many people in the industry. Think of everyone you’ve ever worked with or met at an industry event. Get back in touch with these people via LinkedIn and see if anyone can help you.

2. Train Existing Employees

Sometimes, you can train existing employees to gain the tech skills you need. This strategy isn’t used as often because there are many situations where it doesn’t make sense. For example, there may not be time for employees to learn new skills. The skills could only be needed for one project, instead of being skills employees will need in the future. Paying for employees to learn the skills could be too expensive. Think about all these factors before you decide whether training some of your existing employees is the right strategy.

If you decide it’s worthwhile to train your existing employees, there are plenty of options. You could pay for them to attend external training courses. For example, local universities offer continuing education courses that could teach your employees the skills you need. Industry conferences, like OpenText Enterprise World or Strata Data Conference, are also places where employees could learn new skills. Another option is to pay a trainer to come to your workplace and instruct your employees.

3. Get Help from Consultants

The third strategy you could use is working with consultants. Even if you’re planning to hire some new employees or train existing employees, consultants can add the right skills to your team at the right time to help you complete your projects successfully. Once the project is done, the consultants will go work for other companies, so there’s no commitment for you.

If you don’t know any consultants with the right skills, a technical recruiter can help you find them. Recruiters have large networks of highly skilled workers and can put you in touch with the right consultants for your projects.

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5 Disruptive Technologies Impacting Business Today

New technologies have always had an impact on businesses. When the internet first came onto the scene, it had a major effect. Businesses were suddenly able to communicate with employees and customers all over the world. Then came mobile internet and the rise of the cloud, which brought changes of their own. Successful business owners adapted to the changes new technologies created. Those who weren’t able to adapt failed.

Disruptive technologies aren’t just a thing of the past. Technological advances are continuing at a rapid pace, and companies need to watch for trends. These changes will shake up businesses, just like the advances that came before them.

Here are five of the disruptive technologies that are impacting businesses today.

1. Blockchain Technology

Blockchain is the technology behind bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It’s a global ledger that’s open to anyone. This ledger securely and automatically handles digital transactions. Information is stored on networks of personal computers, so it’s decentralized. With millions of users, it’s hard for anyone to corrupt the network or take down the information.

Blockchain transactions are free, so they have the potential to disrupt any business that makes its money from charging small fees. For example, customers could bypass banks or credit card companies.

2. 3D Printing

3D printing isn’t new, but it only became mainstream recently. With 3D printing, companies can print three-dimensional objects with models they’ve created with CAD programs. Layers of material are added until the object is complete. There are many applications for this technology.

For example, aerospace companies are using 3D printing to make parts for their aircrafts. Automotive companies are doing the same thing, but with their cars. A construction company even printed an entire office building with a 3D printer. This technology lets companies manufacture products more quickly than they otherwise could, while also cutting labour costs.

3. Machine Learning

Computer scientists haven’t created sentient robots yet, but machine learning is a step in that direction. Machine learning means computer systems can learn and improve after being exposed to new data. Essentially, this means computer systems don’t need to be traditionally programmed and can write software for themselves.

Chatbots are one of the applications of machine learning. These bots communicate intelligently with your customers 24/7. With their data-backed insights, your company could enjoy higher profits and increased productivity. To take advantage of machine learning, you’ll need to hire top engineers and IT professionals for your team.

4. Biometric Verification

If you’ve ever used your fingerprint to unlock your smartphone, you’ve used biometric verification. This technology measures people’s unique characteristics and identifies them based on those characteristics. Your fingerprint isn’t the only thing that can be measured. Your retina, face, or even ear features can be used to verify your identity.

Biometric verification can be used to give customers increased security or a more personalized experience. The automotive industry is one area where biometrics can cause big changes. For example, future cars will be able to identify who’s driving and customize driver assistance settings to suit that person.

5. Internet of Things

The internet of things (IoT) refers to the devices—other than typical ones, like computers—that are connected to the internet. You may have some IoT devices in your kitchen. For example, you may have a coffeemaker that’s connected to the internet and can be turned on with a smartphone app. These types of devices are useful around the house, but the same technology can have a major effect on businesses.

In manufacturing, the IoT can help companies monitor devices in their factories. This can help manufacturing companies become more efficient and stop wasting resources; companies that don’t adopt IoT technology could fall behind. The automobile industry is also being affected. For example, when cars are connected to the internet, automakers can automatically release software updates.

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How to Benchmark a Staffing Company

Staffing agencies can help your company in many ways, but choosing the right agency is harder than it looks. The staffing industry is a very saturated market, and there are countless agencies to choose from. Some are better than others, but it can be difficult for hiring managers to identify the best agencies. There isn’t a lot of guidance out there about how to choose the best agency.

Price is a crucial factor when deciding on vendors for your business, but of course, it can’t be the only factor. You need to look at other factors to determine which agencies will give you the best value for your money.

There are many key metrics hiring managers should know when they’re evaluating agencies. By considering these KPIs, you can make a smart decision about which staffing agency will help your company meet its goals. Read on to find out which KPIs you should be concerned with.

Response Time

When you need new workers for your team’s projects, you need them right away. You can’t afford to wait a few days for a staffing agency to call you back or answer your email. That’s why it’s so important to ask about response time when you’re evaluating staffing agencies.

Response time lets you know how quickly, on average, the agency responds to clients’ orders or inquiries. The shorter the response time, the better. If you know you’ll have last-minute staffing needs, look for an agency that measures its response time in hours, not days.

Capacity to Deliver

The total number of recruiters committed to your account is a straightforward KPI. Naturally, a higher number of recruiters will yield a higher number of placements—the total number of workers the staffing company has placed in a certain time period. This number is important for you because it lets you see how large the staffing company is. Another metric for measuring an agency’s size and delivery capacity is to look at the total number of placements its recruiters have made in the industry.

If a staffing company has a low total number of placements, it may not be able to handle a high-volume order. It may not have a large enough network to find the workers you need. On the other hand, if the company has a dedicated team of recruiters to suit your business needs and a high placement rate, you can trust them to fill your large orders.

Average Fill Rate

The average fill rate is a measure that shows how successfully staffing agencies can fill their clients’ orders. For example, if you order ten consultants and the agency provides you with eight, it would have an 80-percent fill rate for that order. The average fill rate shows you how successful the company has been overall.

A higher average fill rate proves that a staffing company is able to provide its clients with the workers they need. If the company you’re considering has a low average fill rate, it may not be able to fill your open positions. Not getting your positions filled isn’t just frustrating; it can hold up your projects and cost your company money.

Submittal-to-Hire Ratio

Submittal-to-hire is a ratio that helps show how efficient staffing companies are. It’s expressed as a ratio of candidates submitted to hires made. For example, if a staffing company submits four candidates for every hire, its submittal-to-hire ratio would be 4:1.

When you’re evaluating staffing agencies, pay close attention to this ratio. Ideally, you should be looking for an agency with a low ratio. If an agency is submitting 20 candidates for every hire, that means you’ll need to read through more resumes to decide who you want to hire. That’s not an efficient process.

An agency with a low submittal-to-hire process may only send you a few candidates to consider for each open position, which is a better use of your time.

Average Time-to-Fill Ratio

The average time-to-fill ratio is another important KPI to consider when you’re evaluating staffing companies. As you know, time is money. The longer your open positions stay vacant, the more money you’ll lose. Your open positions need to be filled as soon as possible so you can get started on your projects.

The average time-to-fill ratio will vary based on the recruitment type. Temporary jobs can be filled in an average of six days, while contract jobs take eight days. Permanent jobs, where a great fit is essential, have an average time-to-fill ratio of 32 days.

Compare the staffing agencies you have in mind to these average figures.

Offer Acceptance Rates

The offer acceptance rate expresses the percentage of offers that are accepted in a certain time period. For example, if an agency makes 10 job offers in a month, and six people accept, the offer acceptance rate for the month would be 60 percent. This rate helps you evaluate a staffing agency’s recruitment strategies.

If a low percentage of candidates are accepting job offers, it could mean the agency’s recruitment strategies are lacking. Its recruiters could be having trouble finding good candidates for jobs, or they may not be interviewing candidates thoroughly.

A high offer acceptance rate shows that the agency is excelling at finding candidates who are good matches for open positions.

Fall-Offs

Another important benchmark for staffing companies is what is called “fall-off.” Fall-offs are the total number of candidates that accept an offer, but then do not show up to work without warning or notice. This is often due to two reasons: If the candidate is passive, he or she may have decided to stay on at his or her current job. Or, the candidate may have taken another, more competitive offer at another company.

Understandably, fall-offs are incredibly frustrating, and they are a waste of everyone’s time and money. Just when you think you’ve sourced the perfect consultant, he or she disappears. There are things staffing companies can do to prevent these fall-offs, so be sure to ask what their rate is to get a sense of how well they work to prevent these unfortunate circumstances.

Retention Rates

It’s not enough for a staffing agency to just find you workers quickly. Those workers need to be people who will stick around for a while. If workers leave too quickly, you’ll have a high turnover rate. High turnover rates can negatively affect companiesby wasting both time and money. High turnover rates also lead to lowered productivity, and it may affect morale. For these reasons, make sure to ask staffing agencies about their retention rates.

The retention rate refers to the percentage of employees who are still with a company after a certain period. For example, if you hired 10 employees at the beginning of the year, but only five were left at the end of the year, your retention rate would be 50 percent.

The higher the retention rate, the better. A higher retention rate means the staffing agency is able to find employees who are a good long-term fit for companies.

Cost-Per-Hire

Keeping costs under control is very important. While great employees are very valuable, you can’t afford to spend unlimited amounts of money hiring them. You need to spend as little as possible while still getting the best workers.

A staffing agency’s average cost-per-hire lets you measure the value of its recruitment resources. While you may have never calculated your company’s cost-per-hire before, the average cost-per-hire is $4,129. When you evaluate a staffing company’s average cost-per-hire, keep this number in mind.

Performance

Performance KPIs are also important to think about. These KPIs show you how happy past clients and candidates have been with the agency you’re considering. Ask for both client satisfaction and candidate satisfaction figures.

Client satisfaction is important for obvious reasons. If a low percentage of past clients were happy with the agency’s performance, you may not be satisfied, either. On the other hand, if most past clients have been pleased, you’ll probably have a good experience, too.

Candidate satisfaction is also important. Your recruiting process is a reflection on your company, even when you work with a staffing agency. If past candidates have a low satisfaction rate, your company’s reputation could be negatively impacted. Word gets around, and if candidates aren’t happy with the recruiting process, you could have trouble hiring workers in the future. For this reason, look for a staffing agency that boasts a high satisfaction rate for its past candidates.

Account Management

The last thing you want is for your recruitment process to become a game of telephone. Too often, staffing companies do not assign a proper contact for service delivery, which can open lines of miscommunication and chaos.

Having an account manager is key to the successful delivery of services. When evaluating staffing companies, look for ones that will dedicate an account manager as a single point of contact. This person will be solely responsible for overseeing the delivering of services and will work to understand your specific needs and ensure they are properly interpreted and communicated to the recruiting team.

Compliance Measures

Too often, the little things are overlooked when evaluating recruitment firms. Benchmarking for quality of services is one thing, but gambling with the safety of workers on your site or with your liabilities as a company are not things to trifle with.

When evaluating a company, it is good practice to pay attention to the small details of their service offering: Is the company transparent about its rates and the responsibilities it assumes for its contractors and clients? Things like insurance certificates, workplace safety practices, onboarding processes, tax compliance, and a company’s safety record can give you an idea of how well the company works to protect its consultants, and protect its clients from any liabilities.

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5 Important Factors to Consider When Making a Hiring Decision

Are you responsible for hiring engineers? This is a hard job. Engineers are in high demand, and recruiting top talent can be a challenge. Once you receive applications, you need to decide who to hire. As you know, you need to hire the best-possible engineers to take your team to the next level.

To make better hiring decisions, here are five important factors to consider when making a hiring decision.

1. Experience

Experience is an important factor to consider when you’re hiring engineers. If candidates have shown success in similar jobs, they’ll probably be able to replicate that success at your company. They have a proven track record of success.

When you have to choose between a candidate with experience and one without, it often makes sense to choose the former. This is especially true if you don’t have the budget or time to train new employees.

Of course, experience isn’t everything. It’s not enough to just hire the person who’s most experienced on paper. Make sure to consider experience, but don’t prioritize it over everything else.

2. Potential

When you’re interviewing candidates, you may encounter some people who seem promising, but don’t have much of a track record. They may be recent university graduates or people with only a few years of on-the-job experience.

Sometimes, you’ll decide to take a chance on a newer engineer. For example, you may interview engineers who graduated at the top of their class from an accredited university. While those candidates haven’t proven themselves at work yet, they have obvious potential. On your team, these candidates could grow into top performers.

3. Hard Skills

Hard skills are measurable, easy-to-define skills that applicants have learned at school or in past jobs. When you’re hiring engineers, you can’t ignore hard skills. If candidates don’t have the right skills, it won’t be possible for them to do the job without training.

For example, if you were hiring a civil engineer, you’d need someone with experience in AutoCAD, Civil 3D, and Microstation. Candidates without those hard skills wouldn’t be able to do the work successfully.

4. Soft Skills

While hard skills are essential, you can’t afford to forget about soft skills. Soft skills are harder to measure, and they’re often thought of as personality traits. For example, communication skills, work ethic, and being a team player are soft skills.

Candidates could have impressive hard skills, but if they don’t have the right soft skills, they won’t succeed on your team.

5. Cultural Fit

Company culture refers to a company’s personality. Every company has its own culture. For example, some companies have a culture of working late to make sure everything gets done. Other companies have a culture of leaving at 5 p.m. on the dot. Some companies have a culture of teamwork and socializing with coworkers. At other companies, employees work individually most of the time.

Whatever your culture is, you have to think about how candidates will fit in. When employees are a good cultural fit, they’ll be happier at work, which helps reduce turnover. Be sure to ask questions about cultural fit during interviews.

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CIOs: What IT Talent Scarcity Means for Your Business

Skills shortages are very common in IT, and they’re only getting worse. Nearly six in ten CIOs now think skills shortages will prevent their companies from keeping up with the competition. CIOs struggle to find the top talent they need. Here’s what IT talent scarcity means for your business.

Hiring Has to Come Before IT Strategy

IT talent scarcity changes the way you can think about your IT strategy. In the past, when talent was easier to find, you could plan your IT strategy first. Once your strategy was in place, you could start looking for talented IT professionals to help you fulfill your strategy. You didn’t need to worry about not being able to find the right people.

Now, talent is so scarce you need to think about hiring first. If you think about IT strategy first, you could discover you can’t find people with the right skills and can’t move ahead with your plans. Some skills, like big data analytics or change management, are hard to find. Once you’ve secured people with those hard-to-find skills, you can set your IT strategy.

Company Culture Is More Important than Ever

IT talent is scarce, and that means IT professionals have tons of options. They can afford to think about things like company culture. Your company’s culture is your company’s personality. It includes the work environment, company mission, and vision. When your culture is well-known, candidates who like what they see will be drawn to your company.

For example, you could become known for flexibility and good work-life balance. Some of the best tech companies to work for are known for this type of culture. Employees who want to work from home, work flexible hours, or have more time with their families will be drawn to you.

Hiring Practices Need to Change

Talent scarcity changes the ways CIOs can hire. When there are plenty of people looking for work, hiring can be as easy as posting ads on job boards. You can be sure talented candidates will be browsing the boards, and they may apply for your positions. That doesn’t work quite as well when talent is scarce. All the great workers are already employed elsewhere, and they’re not looking at job boards. That’s why you get swamped with unqualified applicants when you post an ad online.

To hire successfully, think long term. Work your network and collect employee referrals all the time, even if you’re not hiring yet. When a position opens up, you’ll have several candidates to reach out to. While many may already be employed, they may be willing to talk to you about a job on your team.

Another strategy is to get help from a technical recruiting company. These companies specialize in finding IT professionals. Even better, they can find them quickly, so you can get started on your projects right away.

Retention Needs to Be a Priority

When you’re having trouble recruiting information technology professionals due to IT talent scarcity, your competitors are likely dealing with the same issue. They may try to get your top employees to leave and work for them. This is common for some in-demand areas of tech. For example, software developers who are just out of college can get up to 20 recruiting calls a day. Highly experienced professionals could get even more calls.

To hang on to your existing employees, remember to invest in them. One of the reasons employees leave is to learn new skills or get promoted to higher positions. With an effective training program, your employees can learn the new skills they want without leaving the company. Whenever possible, try to promote from within your company. When employees see they can advance in their careers without jumping ship, they’ll be less tempted to talk to your competitors.

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What You Need to Know about Current Engineering Demographics

If you’re responsible for hiring engineers, you need to keep up with demographics in the industry. When you’re aware of the demographics, you can recruit the engineers you need more easily. Here’s what you need to know about some of the current engineering demographics in Canada.

Engineers Are Retiring en Masse

As you may have heard, Canada’s population is greying. There are now more seniors than children in the country, and that’s a problem for hiring managers in many sectors. As the population gets older, the average age of people in the engineering field increases. As time goes on, more and more engineers will retire. You’ll need to scramble to replace your highly talented engineers as they retire.

In Canada, engineers are typically between 30 and 55 years old, though this varies based on the field and the province. Civil engineers, for example, have a higher average age in Canada. In British Columbia, these engineers are an average of 50 years old, while in Manitoba, they’re an average of 48 years old. In Ontario, civil engineers are a comparatively youthful 42 years old.

Engineering managers are essential for your operations, but they have a high average age, too. In Ontario, engineering managers are an average of 49 years old, while they’re 48 years old in British Columbia. The youngest engineering managers are found in Newfoundland and Labrador, but they’re still 45 years old. The average age of engineering managers is expected to increase in all provinces over the next ten years. By 2025, they’ll be an average of 49 to 50 years old, depending on the province.

Demand for Engineers Will Outstrip Supply

Many engineers will be retiring in the coming years, but there aren’t enough younger engineers to replace them. In the next decade, Canada will be short 100,000 engineers. Canadian universities are trying to keep up. In 2015, there were 81,287 engineering students enrolled in undergraduate programs. That’s an increase of 32 percent from 2010.

Still, there won’t be enough engineers to go around. Companies will need to work even harder to recruit top engineers. To attract top talent, you may need to promise higher salaries or more diversified benefits. Or, you may need to offer a culture of career advancement to entice new engineers to choose your company over your competitors.

Some Skills Will Be Hard to Find

By the time the members of your engineering team retire, they’ll have accumulated many skills. These skills were learned through years of on-the-job experience. When these professionals retire, you may have trouble finding engineers with those same skillsets. While young engineers are qualified to start work after receiving their university degrees, it’s impossible for them to have all the experience retirees have. Of course, they’ll gain the experience and skills over the course of their careers, but that doesn’t help hiring managers now.

To find the specialized skills you need, you may have to widen your search for engineering candidates. This could include turning to candidates from other provinces or even other countries. If you’re used to recruiting locally, having to widen your search can be a big change. The methods you currently use to find engineers, like asking for referrals or going to local networking events, may not work as well.

To gain access to a wider network of candidates, consider turning to an engineering recruiting agency. Recruiters work tirelessly to find talented engineers, and they can find professionals you can’t. For example, they could have a network of engineers from across Canada, while you’re more limited to your local area. With this larger network, it’s easier for recruiters to locate engineers with hard-to-find skills.

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Have You Considered Working in the Automotive Infotainment Market?

Are you looking for work in the engineering field? Engineering is an in-demand field, so talented engineers can have their pick of employers. You can look for exciting opportunities that enable you to work on meaningful projects.

To find these opportunities, don’t be afraid to branch out and look for work in areas you haven’t considered before. One opportunity you may not have considered is working in the automotive infotainment market.

What’s Automotive Infotainment?

New engineering graduates may have never heard of automotive infotainment before. Infotainment is a blend of two words: information and entertainment. Automotive infotainment systems are the vehicle systems that deliver information to passengers or entertain them.

Every car’s infotainment system is a bit different, so engineers can work on varied projects. These systems have some common features, though. Passengers can make phone calls, use GPS to navigate, or play audio content. They can deliver rear-seat entertainment, like movies or games. Some infotainment systems even connect to passengers’ mobile phones and can provide internet-enabled features like traffic conditions.

Engineers working in this industry can work to improve infotainment systems’ current features. For example, they can make the systems more user friendly or fix bugs in the systems. Or, they can help innovate brand-new features.

Currently, engineers are developing programs like pupil-based driver monitoring systems or navigation systems with holographic technology. If you’re interested in developing these types of interesting features, you may love a career in automotive infotainment.

Growth of Automotive Infotainment

The in-vehicle infotainment market is large, and it continues to grow. By 2021, the global market is projected to be worth $56.7 billion. That represents a compound annual growth rate of 8.4 percent from 2016 to 2021.

Significant growth is good news for engineers who are thinking about entering the in-vehicle infotainment market. It means the field has plenty of opportunities for new engineers. Both automakers and their suppliers will need many talented employees to keep up with growing demand.

Required Qualifications

If you’re interested in working in the industry, you may be wondering if you have the right background. The good news is that there are many different technologies in infotainment systems, so teams are multidisciplinary. Engineers from different backgrounds can make contributions to infotainment teams.

A background in either electrical or mechanical engineering can set you up for success in this market. Computer engineering, software engineering, or computer science backgrounds are also assets. Like other engineering fields, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree.

Finding Work in Automotive Infotainment

There are many ways to get started in the in-vehicle infotainment market. To get started, you could check online job boards. Most car companies have their own online job boards, so check the boards of any companies you’re interested in. Don’t just think about car companies, though. Their suppliers also need to hire engineers. These suppliers include major companies like Panasonic, Pioneer, or Harman International.

Job boards aren’t the only way to find work as an engineer. Networking is another great strategy. Get in touch with your old classmates from university and let them know you’re looking to get into the in-vehicle infotainment market. You could also go to events held by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers. Events are held often in major cities, and you could meet engineers working in the infotainment market.

If you need more help finding employment, consider working with a technical recruiter. Industry-specific recruiting firms have experience placing engineers and could help you break into infotainment. By working with a recruiter, you could find out about jobs that aren’t advertised on job boards. These positions can help you get the experience you need for a fulfilling career in the industry.

 

CIOs: How Budgets for IT Will Vary in 2017

Budget is a major concern for any CIO, and one of your biggest responsibilities is managing your company’s information technology budget. Changes in the budget will have a major effect on your day-to-day activities. Here’s how budgets for IT will vary in 2017:

Budgets Compared to 2016

About half of companies have the same budget for 2017 as they did for 2016. If you fall into that category, you should be well-prepared for upcoming costs. You managed the budget well last year, and you can manage with the same amount of money this year.

About one-fifth of companies have cut their information technology budgets, however, which makes things more difficult for CIOs. CIOs at these companies need to aggressively find ways to cut costs. If you’re in this situation, you may be worried about how you’ll manage to deal with the new budget.

Finally, about one-third of companies have actually increased their information technology budgets for 2017. If you have more money to work with this year, you may feel lucky. Still, you need to carefully manage your increased budget to avoid overspending.

Strategies for Reducing Costs

There are many ways CIOs are working to reduce their costs. Some are reducing the number of projects that support the company’s overall operations. Others are deciding to do less software maintenance than they did in the past. These solutions can be risky because they can make your department or the company less effective.

Another strategy is to try to renegotiate contracts with your suppliers or providers. For example, you could try to get lower monthly rates from your cloud vendors. Some CIOs who aren’t yet using the cloud are also planning to make the switch from on-premise solutions to cloud solutions to cut costs. All of these strategies can help you stay within your budget.

One cost-cutting area CIOs may overlook is recruitment and hiring. Since you’re not an HR manager, you may not think of hiring in terms of costs. However, this is an area where you have the potential to save a lot of money.

Reducing Costs in Recruitment

IT is often project-based, so you may have fluctuating staffing needs throughout the year. Some quarters, you’ll have big projects to complete. You’ll need to quickly bring on workers to get the job done. Other quarters, you won’t have anything major going on, and you won’t need anywhere near as many workers. Constantly recruiting, hiring, and firing employees can drive up your costs.

Consider all the tasks you must manage to recruit and hire new employees. You need to post ads, read resumes, and choose who to interview. You need to conduct those interviews, conduct reference checks and background checks, and fill out new-hire paperwork. Once your big project is completed, you need to let those employees go. When a new project comes along, you need to start the whole process from the beginning.

The costs add up quickly, though you may not track them. Replacing a salaried employee can cost six to nine months of the departing employee’s salary. To stay within budget in your department, you need to find a way to reduce your recruiting costs.

The easiest solution is to outsource your recruiting functions to a recruitment agency. It makes sense to outsource when you need to cut costs. When you work with a recruiter, you can quickly hire contractors for your IT projects. You won’t need to waste your time or money reading resumes. When projects end, you can easily send the contractors back.

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Why Leadership Is a Key IT Skill

Do you tend to focus on hard IT skills when you’re hiring IT professionals? Hard IT skills are easy to quantify. You’d never hire a Java developer who didn’t have Java programming experience. You’d never hire an iOS application developer who didn’t know Objective C and had never built an app before. But hard skills aren’t the only skills you need to think about when you’re hiring IT professionals for your team.

Soft skills are also essential. Soft skills are often thought of as personality traits, and they’re harder for candidates to acquire. One of the soft skills you should screen for when you’re hiring IT professionals is leadership. Even if you’re not filling a manager position, leadership is a key IT skill. When employees have this IT skill, they can benefit your team in the following ways.

Taking Initiatives

Employees with leadership skills take initiative. Initiative is one of the essential traits of good leaders. When employees take initiative, they don’t wait around for you to tell them what to do. They’re able to figure out what needs to be done, and they find new ways to do more than expected. These employees are able to lead by example.

For example, employees who take initiative could find bugs in your programs before you even asked them to look for bugs. Or, they could come up with a solution for a problem with your app before anyone else noticed the issue.

When you’re interviewing, ask candidates to describe a time they went above and beyond at work. If they can’t think of an answer, they may not have leadership skills.

Being Creative

As a manager, you know being creative is another part of being a good leader. Leaders are presented with complicated problems, and they need to figure out ways to solve them. The answers to problems aren’t always staring you in the face. Sometimes, you need to get very creative to solve problems.

For example, if there’s a programming problem, an employee with leadership skills could think of a creative solution. The employee may try looking at the problem from another angle, like considering it in non-programming terms. Employees without leadership skills may just sit around and wait for someone else to take leadership and find a creative solution.

During interviews, ask candidates to explain a time they came up with a creative solution for a work problem.

Being Responsible

Leaders are responsible. They take ownership of their decisions, and they have a strong work ethic. They admit when they make mistakes, instead of trying to cover them up. They’ll accept blame for their errors, and they won’t try to point fingers or blame other members of the team.

When employees have this key IT skill, your team will get along better. When employees don’t have this skill, they may hide their mistakes and blame others. This can damage the team’s morale, and they may not get as much work done. When your employees have leadership skills, they’ll own their own mistakes and get along better.

Ask candidates how they handled a big mistake at work to see how responsible they are.

Building Relationships

When people have leadership skills, they can build relationships with people around them. As a manager, you know how important this is. If you couldn’t build relationships with your team and your colleagues, you wouldn’t be able to get much done.

Employees with leadership skills are able to connect with their coworkers and build trust. This trust can have significant effects on your team. A lack of trust can lead to lower productivity and poor communication; improved trust has the opposite effect.

To find out if candidates can successfully build relationships, ask them to describe a time they had to work with a coworker who they didn’t like – and how they handled it.

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What Happens When Talent Needs Change from Quarter to Quarter?

Do your talent needs change from quarter to quarter? That’s a common problem in some industries. In industries that are project-based, it’s hard to predict how many workers you’ll need next week, let alone next month. If a project gets approved, you’ll need to hire talented contract workers almost immediately.

In companies with rapidly changing staffing needs, the human resources department needs to play a highly strategic role. It’s not enough to just find the right workers in this hyper-competitive employment market. You need to find the right workers at the right time.

A company’s project timeline won’t always match with the timelines of the contract workers it wants to hire. So, how can chief HR officers get the top talent they need on impossibly tight timelines? The secret is to work with a contract staffing agency. Here’s how an agency can help you meet your talent needs.

Find Specialized Workers

Short-term projects require contract workers with specialized skills. Specialized work needs to be completed on a short timeframe, making it the best time to hire contract workers. This means there’s no time to train a generalist to complete the tasks. You need to find a contract worker who already has the high-level technical or engineering skills you need.

These specialized workers can be difficult to find on your own. First of all, they probably already have jobs. Highly talented contract workers don’t stay on the market for long, and they may be helping your competitors with projects. It’s hard to reach out to these workers on your own. While these passive candidates might be willing to join a new company, they may not want to talk to a human resource manager.

This is where contract staffing agencies come in. Their recruiters have large networks of the highly trained workers you need to hire. Since they already have these connections, it’s easier for them to reach out. If talented workers are interested in joining your projects, the recruiters can refer them to you.

Fill Contract Positions Quickly

It takes time to fill contract positions on your own. Your human resource employees need to post ads for the specialized positions the project team needs. Then, they need to wait for applicants to find the ads, and send in their applications. Sorting through hundreds—or thousands—of applications takes even more time. Then, HR needs to set up interviews, conduct those interviews, and make offers. By the time they find the perfect contractors to join the project, the project could already be wrapping up! There’s just not enough time to hire traditionally when talent needs change so quickly.

Contract staffing agencies can provide the contract workers you need before your project starts. How are they so much faster than your HR team? Agencies already have large networks of contractors they can call on. These contractors are pre-vetted, so the process is much faster. You’ll still need to conduct interviews and choose the contractors you want to hire, but the time-consuming aspects of hiring are already done for you.

Help with Onboarding

When you’re hiring contract workers for a short-term project that’s starting immediately, there isn’t time for much onboarding. Full-time employees will work on many projects over their years of employment, so onboarding and training are a good investment. With contract workers, not so much. By the time someone is onboarded, the project could be over.

Contract staffing agencies can help you onboard your contractors. That way, they’ll be ready to start work on day one of the project. They won’t need any time to get up to speed, since they’ll already be prepared.

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The Ultimate Guide to the Global Automotive Infotainment Industry

Electronics engineers are some of the most in-demand engineers in Canada. That makes it challenging to find engineers for your company’s automotive infotainment projects. Companies need to compete to get the best engineers for their infotainment teams.

The more you know about the automotive infotainment industry, the easier it will be for you to recruit the talented engineers you need. Here’s your ultimate guide to the global automotive infotainment industry.

Major Segments of the Industry

There are many types of products that electronics engineers work on. To hire engineers, you need to be familiar with some of these products. Engineers will want to know details about what projects your company is working on. While you may not be able to divulge too much about projects in development, you’ll have a hard time hiring without sharing general details.

Navigation and connectivity are growing segments of the industry. Navigation refers to the GPS features of infotainment systems, and engineers are always trying to improve navigational capabilities. Connectivity means connecting the infotainment system to other devices, like mobile phones. Connectivity works both ways. Mobile phones can power apps through the infotainment system, and the infotainment system can project a Wi-Fi network for the phones.

Another major segment of the industry is the display segment. Every company wants to make its infotainment system look better and be more user-friendly.

Global Growth of Automotive Infotainment

When you’re hiring engineers, it’s helpful to be aware of the global market. This helps you talk knowledgeably to engineers during interviews. By 2021, the global automotive infotainment market is projected to be worth an estimated $56.7 billion. That represents a compound annual growth rate of 8.4 percent from 2016 to 2021.

Why is the market growing so fast? Consumers are more aware of connected car offerings, and governments are more concerned about driver security. An increase in vehicle production in the Asia-Pacific region is another factor affecting growth.

Requirements for Infotainment Engineers

Now that you know more about the global automotive infotainment industry, you’re one step closer to hiring engineers. You also need to know the skills engineers need to be successful in this industry, however. If you’re not an engineer yourself, you may not know what you’re supposed to be looking for or what you should write in the job description.

Like other engineering workers you’ve procured, infotainment engineers will need a post-secondary degree. This degree should be in software engineering, computer science, or a related field.

Candidates should also have knowledge of UI framework and Android UI framework. They should have experience working with ActionScript, Qt, or HTML5. They should also have experience in some of the infotainment industry’s market segments. This includes navigation, speech recognition, hands-free processing, internet apps, or cybersecurity.

Soft skills are also essential for infotainment engineers. They need excellent communication skills to work with the rest of the team and with external suppliers. They need above-average problem-solving skills to identify issues with the infotainment systems and to come up with solutions. They also need to have a strong work ethic so the infotainment projects can be completed on schedule.

Where to Find Infotainment Engineers

Since infotainment engineers are in high demand, they can be difficult to find, and you need an essential guide to hiring engineers. The best engineers are probably already working for other companies and may not be checking online job boards. Eighty-five percent of employed workers are open to new job opportunities, so don’t be afraid to go looking for these candidates.

Networking is one place to start. For example, you could meet candidates through events hosted by one of Canada’s engineering associations. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers holds three conferences a year, and you could meet talented engineers at these conferences.

You can also ask your company’s current infotainment employees to refer candidates. They may know talented people in the industry who are open to a new job. Offer a reward, like a cash bonus, to encourage good referrals.

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How Hiring a Software Developer Can Be Made Easy

Do you need to hire a software developer or a team of developers? This is a big challenge for any hiring manager. Software developers are in high demand in today’s labour market. Companies need to work hard to recruit them.

As a busy hiring manager, there’s no way you can spend every work day for the next six months looking for software developers. You need to hire developers, and you need to hire them fast.

But, how can you easily hire a software developer? Use the tips below.

Use Your Culture

Workplace culture refers to the work environment on your team and in the company. It can be hard to define, and culture can vary from one team to another. Culture can include the attitudes, beliefs, and underlying assumptions of your employees. For example, your team may have a culture of independence and individual problem solving. Or, your team may have a culture of teamwork. Perhaps your company is heavily invested in IT innovation. Whatever your culture is, it can help you attract developers who are a good fit for your team.

News travels fast through the industry, so word about your culture will get out on its own. If your employees like working on your team, they’ll tell other people in the industry. You can also advertise your culture to make sure it’s clear. For example, you could be active on social media to give candidates a sneak peek into your company’s culture.

Emphasize Exciting Projects

Software development is all about solving problems. Developers are passionate about solving problems, and you can use this to attract them to your company.

During recruitment, talk about interesting problems your team has solved in past projects or exciting projects they’ve worked on. Talking about these projects gives candidates an idea of the type of work they’d be doing for your team.

Ask your candidates how they would have solved your team’s past challenges. This will give you an idea of how they’d approach problem solving if you end up hiring them.

Seek out Passive Candidates

Since software developers are in such high demand, the best candidates are probably already employed. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get them to join your team. Nearly three-quarters of employed workers would consider a new job if they were approached. These workers are known as passive candidates. They’re not actively looking for work, so they won’t see ads you post on job boards. However, since they’re open to making career moves, they could respond well if you reached out to them directly. You can use employee referrals or your network to get in contact with passive candidates.

There are three main reasons why passive candidates are open to new work. A desire for a higher salary is the main reason. A need for a change of scenery and a lack of advancement opportunities are the other reasons. If you can offer a better salary, exciting work, or advancement opportunities, you may be able to lure away passive candidates.

Work with an IT Recruiter

If you need a software developer right away, you may not have time to try any of the above strategies. To hire a software developer in a short timeframe, consider working with an IT recruiter.

IT recruiters already have networks of talented professionals they can call on, so you can hire IT talent quickly and with confidence. Many of these IT professionals may already be employed, so IT recruiters can also help you find passive candidates.

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Hire Skilled Developers with the Help of IT Recruiting Companies

Sometimes, it can feel like all the great developers are hiding. When you post a job ad, you get swamped with resumes from unqualified applicants. If you receive a promising application, the candidate may perform poorly in the interview. It can feel impossible to hire the talented developers you need for your team. You need an essential guide to hiring engineers.

Surely, there must be an easier way, you say. Fortunately, there is! The secret is to get help from IT recruiting companies. Here’s how IT recruiting companies can help you solve your talent woes.

They Understand What You Need

General staffing agencies may not understand what developers do or where to look for developers. IT recruiting companies specialize in filling these types of technical roles. They have a firm understanding of the intricacies of recruiting for developer roles. They already know what experience and education candidates should have, and they understand all the technical jargon developers use.

Since these companies have a firm understanding of what developers do, they can help you narrow down what you’re looking for. It can be difficult to articulate what you’re looking for in your new employees. IT recruiting companies know which questions to ask to determine exactly what candidates you’re looking for.

For example, you may have a hard time describing the types of candidates who’d fit in well with your company’s culture. Cultural fit is just as important as technical skills, if not more so. Is your ideal candidate a team player or an independent worker? Is your ideal candidate poised to be an IT leader someday? Are you looking for an innovative thinker to match the rest of your team? By asking these types of questions, recruiting companies can help you understand who you need to hire.

They Can Find Candidates You Can’t

Good developers are difficult for you to find on your own, as you’ve discovered. Since developers are in high demand, the good ones are probably already employed somewhere else. Employed developers may not be browsing job boards, so they won’t see your ads.

While your ideal candidates may not be actively looking for new jobs, they can be lured away from their current employers. Only 15 percent of employed professionals are completely satisfied with their jobs and unwilling to move on; the rest are open to new work. Recruiters are experts at locating these passive candidates and talking to them about possible opportunities. Recruiters know how to make your open positions seem interesting, so they can get candidates to talk. They also know what you need to offer in order to appeal to these talented developers.

It’s hard for you to do this on your own. Even if you can find talented workers at your competitors’ companies, they may not want to talk to you. However, they can trust recruiters to be discreet and not jeopardize their current jobs.

They Have Expert Interviewing Skills

Interviewing is just a tiny part of your job. As an IT director, you have many more important tasks to worry about on a day-to-day basis. You don’t have time to refine your interviewing skills.

Recruiters are experts in interviewing. They do it every day, so they know how to assess candidates. They have the expertise to ask questions you wouldn’t have thought of. They can ask questions to determine candidates’ cultural fit and soft skills. This ensures the candidates will be a good fit for your team.

Let’s say you want to hire a developer with excellent problem-solving skills. Applicants may say they solve problems well on their resumes, but that might not be true. Recruiters know what questions to ask to find out if candidates actually have these skills. For example, they could ask candidates to describe problems they’ve solved without help. They could ask candidates to describe situations where they couldn’t solve certain problems and needed the manager’s help. They could even have candidates solve a problem during the interview.

When you need to hire skilled developers, seek expert help from a technical recruitment company.

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Global Automotive Infotainment Systems Market Is Projected to Reach $49.5 Billion by 2025

Automotive infotainment is an exciting industry, and it’s only getting better as time goes on. If you need to hire engineers for your team, knowing more about the market’s future direction can help. You’ll be able to make more strategic hiring decisions with up-to-date industry knowledge.

First, you need to know the size of the market. The global automotive infotainment systems market is huge, and it’s only getting bigger. In 2016, the global market was worth $33.78 billion. By 2025, the value of the market is projected to reach $49.5 billion. Those numbers should be exciting to anyone working in the automotive infotainment industry.

What’s driving the growth of the automotive infotainment systems market, and how is the market changing? These are interesting questions for people in the industry. Knowing the answers will give you the information you need to build a solid infotainment team.

Here’s what you need to know about the growth of the automotive infotainment systems market.

What’s Driving Market Growth?

There are many factors driving the impressive growth of the global automotive infotainment systems market. The increasing production and sale of cars is one of these factors. By 2021, global automobile production is projected to increase by 21 million units. Those new cars will need infotainment systems.

Emerging markets are driving the increase in production. About half of the increase in production is due to increased demand in China. Incomes are rising quickly in China. In 2000, only four percent of China’s urban population was considered middle class, but by 2022, 76 percent will make up the middle class. That means many more people will have money to buy cars.

Changing customer preferences are also contributing to the growth of the automotive infotainment systems market. It’s no longer enough for a car to just be a vehicle that gets people from point A to point B. Now, cars need to be entertaining. They need to be customizable. Infotainment systems make the driving experience more fun for today’s customers.

A rising awareness of safety is another factor. In the past, only higher-end cars had backup cameras. They were an extra feature that could make backing up into parking spaces easier, but they weren’t common. Now, there’s more awareness of the dangers of backover accidents: Every year, about 200 people are killed when drivers accidentally reverse over them. Another 14,000 are injured in these accidents. By May 2018, all new cars sold in the United States need to have backup cameras. This new awareness of safety is helping to drive growth in the infotainment market.

Segments of the Global Market

There are five main segments of the infotainment market. North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and Middle East and Africa. As of 2016, the North American market had a market share of 26 percent. The market share in other regions is steadily increasing, though.

In Europe, the market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5.4 percent. By the end of 2024, the European market should make up nearly 20 percent of the global infotainment market. Asia-Pacific is growing fast, too. That market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5.9 percent. With that growth rate, the Asia-Pacific market will make up 26.3 percent of the global market by 2024.

Trends in the Industry

One of the trends in the infotainment industry is the growth of smartphone-enabled infotainment systems. These systems are connected to the drivers’ smartphones to provide additional features. For example, when systems and smartphones are connected, drivers can use apps on their smartphones to locate their cars in busy parking lots. Or, they can tell their infotainment systems to run regular diagnostic checks on their cars, using smartphone apps.

Rear-seat entertainment systems are also picking up growth momentum. Between 2015 and 2022, rear-seat systems are projected to grow with a compound annual growth rate of 24.6 percent. These systems are getting better, and they’re competing with tablets. They now offer features like gaming, Wi-Fi, and connectivity.

On-board infotainment systems are becoming mainstream. While they used to be reserved for higher-end cars, they’re now starting to be seen as a more standard feature. That means there’s an opportunity to expand into lower market tiers. Infotainment system manufacturers have the opportunity to expand into the economy car market.

Recent Developments

As you know, the infotainment industry is always moving forward. Talented engineers develop new technologies to make their systems better and easier to use. The development of navigation systems with holographic technology is one of these exciting new technologies. These systems display virtual indicators on the road ahead of the car, so drivers can navigate without having to look at a distracting navigation screen.

Another recent development is the pupil-based driver monitoring system. This system monitors increases in drivers’ pupil dilation. This helps determine drivers’ mental workloads. If the system determines drivers are tired or distracted, it tells the cars’ other safety systems to adapt. For example, if drivers are distracted, these systems can automatically put their mobile devices in do-not-disturb mode.

Audio systems with active noise cancelling technology are another recent development in the infotainment market. These systems let drivers use their infotainment systems even in noisy environments. For example, if they’re driving with the windows down, they’ll still be able to use the voice controls of their infotainment systems.

For your company to make these kinds of exciting innovations, you need the very best engineers on your team. To be competitive, it’s not enough to have a team that’s merely good enough. You need top talent. How can you find the innovative engineers you need? You need an essential guide to hiring engineers.

Factors Restraining the Industry’s Growth

While safety concerns are helping to fuel the growth of the industry, they’re also holding it back. Car infotainment systems can be distracting for drivers. For example, drivers could adjust their navigation systems while they’re driving down the highway. Less user-friendly systems could require a lot of adjustment, not a simple click of a button. When drivers are looking at their screens, they could get into accidents. Making these systems less distracting is an important goal for infotainment teams.

Surprisingly, even infotainment systems that use voice commands are distracting to drivers. After making a voice command, drivers need up to 27 seconds to return their full attention to the road. Even the most user-friendly systems, with clear commands and good voice detection, distract drivers for at least 15 seconds. A big challenge for people working in the infotainment industry is figuring out how to make voice command systems less distracting.

Privacy concerns are another factor holding back the infotainment industry. Infotainment systems are capable of gathering information about cars, drivers, occupants, and even other vehicles on the road. Drivers may worry that there’s no way for them to wipe the information stored by the infotainment system. If they sell their cars or return their rentals, they may worry the next driver will be able to access sensitive information. This is a big problem that people working in the industry need to solve. Solutions may include making it easy for drivers to wipe their data or turning off collection of some types of data.

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CIOs: The Biggest Stay-Awake Recruitment Issues and How to Solve Them

Are recruitment issues keeping you up at night? This is a common problem for CIOs, so you’re not alone. Recruiting and hiring employees is never easy, but it’s even more difficult in a competitive field like IT.

Here are the biggest stay-awake recruitment issues for CIOs, and more importantly, how to solve them once and for all.

Keeping up with Fast-Changing Demand

Keeping up with the fast pace of change in IT recruiting is a big worry for many CIOs. In fact, more than one-tenth of CIOs say keeping up with change keeps them up at night.

In IT, your staffing needs can change quickly. When you have a big project to complete, you need to find talented workers right away. In the lulls between projects, you don’t need anywhere near as many workers. That makes it difficult to maintain the right staffing levels.

If you hire enough workers to handle your big projects, you’ll be seriously overstaffed when the projects end. If you keep your workforce to a minimum, you’ll need to scramble to hire new employees when projects start. This is a stressful situation to be in as a CIO.

Controlling Costs

As a CIO, one of your big responsibilities is controlling costs within your department. When you’re always recruiting, hiring, and firing employees to keep up with demand, it’s hard to control costs. After all, recruitment and turnover are expensive. That’s why almost one-tenth of CIOs lose sleep over controlling costs in their departments.

There are many costs associated with recruitment. You need to pay to post job ads, take time to interview candidates, and then screen candidates. Once you’ve hired new workers, you need to spend money and time training them. Training isn’t cheap! Businesses can spend 10 to 20 percent of an employee’s salary on training alone.

Lost productivity is another cost associated with hiring new employees. Lost productivity can be hard to track, but it adds to your costs. A new employee can take a year or two to reach the productivity of existing employees.

Recruiting People with the Right Skills

Talent scarcity is a big problem for CIOs, with nearly one-sixth losing sleep over it. When you need to hire talented workers for a project, it can feel like all the good workers are hiding. CIOs have a lot of trouble finding people with skills in IT leadership, project management, data analytics, and other specialized areas.

One reason you have so much trouble finding top talent is that highly skilled IT professionals already have jobs. Talented professionals don’t stay on the job market for long, and when they job hunt, they get their pick of jobs. Your competitors may hire the employees you want before you even get the chance.

The good news is many currently employed professionals are open to new opportunities. They’re not actively looking for new work, but they’re willing to discuss exciting opportunities. Seventy-five percent of the workforce fits this description, so you may be able to lure employed professionals to your team.

Solving Your Recruitment Issues

How can you keep up with fast-changing demand, control your costs, and recruit people with the right skills? It may seem impossible, but it’s not. The secret is to get help from a technical recruiting agency. It makes sense to outsource your recruiting functions.

When you work with a technical recruiting agency, you can quickly get the talented IT contractors you need for your projects. Agencies have pre-vetted pools of talent, so they can find workers a lot faster than you can. They also know how to find passive job candidates with the skills you need.

Once the project ends, you can easily let the contractors go. This makes it easy for you to keep up with the fast-changing demands of your industry. Using an agency saves you both money and time, so you can control your costs and reduce your stress.

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Overwhelmed by Recruiting Engineers? Follow These 5 Tips

Do you wish you had a guide to hiring engineers? In this competitive market, recruiting engineers can be challenging. The best engineers are fielding offers from multiple companies, and companies need to compete to hire top talent.

How can you attract talented engineers to your team while taking the stress out of the recruitment process? Here are five tips for recruiting engineers.

1. Encourage Employee Referrals

If you don’t already have one, start an employee referral program. Your current employees probably know other people in the engineering field. They can refer talented candidates to your company. Employee referrals give you access to better candidates. This is because your employees are familiar with the company and know what types of people would succeed on the team.

To encourage your employees to refer candidates, offer incentives. Incentives don’t have to be financial, though they can be. Publicly recognizing employee referrals or offering positive feedback can also motivate employees to make good referrals.

2. Advertise Your Company Culture

Engineers are in high demand in the labour market, so they can afford to be picky. They consider factors other than salary and benefits, like company culture. Company culture refers to the environment in the workplace, which includes the company’s values and practices.

To attract engineers to your company, advertise its culture. When you write job postings, include a few specific points about the culture you’ve created in your workplace. Your current employees can also help. Employees will tell people they know about the culture, and their comments may attract candidates who find the culture appealing.

3. Write Clear Job Postings

To attract top talent, companies need to write clear job postings. If your job postings don’t clearly communicate what the job is and what the expectations are, you’ll have trouble attracting good candidates. Poor candidates may misunderstand the posting and send an application. Good candidates may not want to waste time applying for a job they may not be interested in.

Postings should list all the essential functions the engineer will need to perform. Clearly list skills candidates should have, and specify whether each skill is mandatory or just preferred. Give details about the company culture. Don’t forget to mention whether the job is part time or full time, and whether or not the position is permanent.

4. Have a Long-Term Recruiting Strategy

Do you only think about hiring when you have an immediate need for new engineers? This approach can make it harder to find the top talent you need. Your hiring timelines won’t always match up with the timelines of top candidates. In engineering fields, candidates may want to finish up their current projects before they move to a new job. They can’t always give two weeks’ notice and move on, like candidates in other fields can.

Instead, try to play the long game. If you’re always on the hunt for new talent, you can build a network of candidates you’d like to hire. Those people may not be immediately available, but if you stay in contact, they may be available when you have a hiring need.

5. Work with a Recruiter

Recruiting engineers can be challenging, and you might decide you don’t have time to do it yourself. Or, you might just not want to deal with the hassle of recruitment. In these situations, consider partnering with a recruiter to get the engineering staff you need. Using a recruiter can save you both time and stress.

Recruiters who specialize in engineering fields can make hiring easy. They network constantly to find good engineers, so you don’t have to. They also maintain databases of engineering workers, so they can quickly find talented people to join your team.

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How to Find and Hire QA Specialists in IT

Do you need to find and hire QA specialists for your team? These days, hiring good quality assurance workers is a big challenge. QA testers, leads, analysts, managers, engineers, auditors, and coordinators are in high demand, so it’s not enough to just post an ad on an online job board anymore. The great candidates you want to hire may already have jobs, and they may not be scanning job boards to look for new opportunities. That’s why you get swamped with unqualified applicants every time you post an ad for a tester.

If you can’t find great candidates on the job boards, where are they all hiding? Good candidates are out there; you just need to know where to look. Here are some tips for finding and hiring great QA specialists for your team.

Network with QA Professionals

Top QA specialists may not be checking job boards, but they can be reached in other ways. You can meet QA people at various networking events, including StarWEST, the longest-running conference on software quality assurance and testing, and Quality Jam, a software testing event focused on helping QA teams work smarter and faster.

You could also try a QA-specific meetup event or join an online tester community, such as UTest. The QA specialists you meet may be interested in your projects. Or, they may know someone who’d be interested in working for you.

Ask Your Team for Referrals

If you already have some QA specialists on your team, ask them for referrals. Let your team know you’re looking for some new QA talent for the team. Describe your ideal hire, and ask if the team knows anyone who fits your requirements. It’s likely your employees know other people in the industry. Their connections may be interested in new work.

To encourage your employees to refer good candidates, consider offering some type of referral bonus. The most common type of referral bonus is money, but you can use any type of recognition you think your team would like.

Attract QA Professionals with Your Culture

Your workplace culture is another way to attract QA specialists to your team. QA workers who are already employed can afford to be picky when it comes to taking new jobs. They can wait to find a company that offers an attractive workplace culture. To attract top talent, advertise the types of innovative projects you’re working on, explain how important the QA specialist’s role would be in the project, and describe the type of work they would be working on, such as whether it will be automated or manual, and the types of programs or software that are unique to your environment.

When it comes to corporate culture, quality assurance specialists are specifically interested in remote work opportunities. They also want to know whether you have a fast-moving (agile) team or whether you use different approaches to testing, such as the waterfall methodology. If these aspects are part of your culture, make sure to advertise them.

Test Candidates’ Real-World Skills

Have you ever hired someone who aced the interview but performed terribly on the job? It’s a frustrating situation. Some candidates are great at talking themselves up during interviews, but they just don’t have the skills to succeed. To filter out these unqualified candidates, make sure to test their real-world skills during interviews. One way to test a candidate’s specific skills is by using an online test called Prove It!, so you can ensure you’re choosing among qualified candidates.

Testing real-world QA skills doesn’t have to be a long or complicated process. It can be as simple as having candidates take an hour to find bugs on a popular website. Experienced testers will know where to look and will be able to quickly find bugs. They’ll be able to tell you how to recreate the problems they found.

Ian Martin Can Help You Find the Best

When it comes to hiring top QA Specialists, one thing’s for sure: You don’t need to handle all your recruiting on your own. When does it make sense to outsource? If you aren’t having any success with recruiting QA specialists, or if you just don’t have time to do it properly, it makes sense to get outside help. You can turn to a technical recruitment agency to get the help you need.

Ian Martin has experience recruiting QA and other IT professionals. We have access to an established pool of talented candidates and can find top talent for you quickly. What’s more, technical recruiters understand which types of offers will entice qualified QA professionals, so we can help make your business stand out to the best of the best.

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What’s the Best Way to Hire Technical Staff?

Hiring can be difficult in any industry, but it’s even harder in technical fields. Professionals with technical skills are in high demand, and they have a lot of job options. After spending hours writing job postings, going through resumes, and conducting interviews that go nowhere, you may be wondering if there’s a better way. This essential guide to hiring engineers is a good start, but what’s the best way to hire technical staff for your team?

Many companies turn to technical recruiting agencies when they need to hire technical staff. Here are some reasons why this is the most efficient and cost-effective way to get the technical staff you need.

Access to Passive Candidates

Since people with technical skills are in such high demand, a lot of them are already employed. They may not be actively looking for new work. However, if the right job opportunity comes along, they may be interested in leaving their current employers. These candidates are known as passive candidates. If you post ads on job boards, these professionals will never see them, since they’re not looking.

It’s hard for you to recruit passive candidates on your own. But when you work with a technical recruiting agency, you don’t need to go looking for them. The company’s recruiters will work their extensive networks to find top-quality technical workers who are open to new opportunities.

Help Narrowing down Your Search

To find the right technical staff for your team, you need to know exactly what you’re looking for. If you don’t have clear expectations of applicants, your job descriptions will be poor. Vague, generic postings aren’t clear enough to attract the right candidates. These postings confuse good candidates and keep them from applying.

One of the advantages of working with a recruiter is having the help required to narrow down what you’re looking for. Recruiters ask the right questions to help you determine exactly what you want from a new employee. This goes beyond just technical skills—they can also help you determine what soft skills a candidate needs to have to succeed as well as what personality is required to fit into your culture. With this information, it’s easier for you to find the perfect candidates.

Hire Technical Staff Faster

As a manager or director, hiring technical staff for your team is only a small part of your job. You still need to handle all your other responsibilities, like planning projects and managing your existing team. Hiring is something that you need to squeeze in to your schedule.

Since hiring isn’t your main priority, it can take a long time. You may put off tasks like reading resumes or conducting interviews because you’re too busy. Before you know it, your open positions have been vacant for a long time.

This doesn’t happen when you work with a technical recruiting agency. You can focus on your regular job, and the recruiters will look for technical staff for your team. The recruiters will pre-qualify candidates. All you need to do is choose which of the qualified candidates you want to hire.

Hire with Confidence

Sometimes, technical workers perform well in the interview, but don’t do as well in the job. They may have oversold their skills during the interview, or they may just not get along with your existing team. After spending a lot of time finding someone you thought was perfect, you may not have time to start over. This is how companies get stuck with bad hires.

When you work with a technical recruiting agency, you won’t get stuck with any bad hires. In the unlikely event that your new hire doesn’t work out, you can ask the agency to find you someone else. This eliminates your risk of getting stuck with a technical employee who isn’t a good asset for your team.

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How to Make Your Technical Recruitment More Efficient

Are you having trouble hiring technical employees for your team? You may need to speed up your hiring process. Since technical employees are in high demand, they may be interviewing with multiple companies at the same time. If your competitors make job offers before you do, you may miss out on promising candidates.

It takes an average of 42 days for companies to fill a given position, according to a 2016 survey. Posting job ads, reading resumes, interviewing candidates, and conducting background checks takes a long time.

How can you speed up your process and scoop up top talent before your competitors get to them first? Here are some tips to make your technical recruitment process more efficient.

Build a Network of Candidates

You don’t need to start from scratch every time you need to fill an open position. Posting a new job ad and sifting through a brand-new batch of resumes is inefficient. To speed up your process, build a network of candidates you can turn to when you have an opening. This network may include candidates you’ve interviewed in the past and liked, but weren’t able to hire at the time. It can also include promising candidates you’ve met at networking events or job fairs.

When you have an opening on your team, you can turn to the database of candidates you’ve built. Let the candidates know you have an opening on your team, and describe the position. Some of the people in your database may have found work elsewhere, but don’t let that deter you from reaching out.

Twenty-five percent of employed people are actively looking for new work, so candidates may be excited to hear from you. The other 75 percent aren’t actively looking for work, but they might be open to switching jobs if something interesting comes along. If the candidates in your network aren’t interested in your open position, they may be able to refer you to people who are.

Rely on Employee Referrals

An employee referral program lets you turn your technical team into recruiters. Your technical employees know other people in technical fields. They may have connections who would be the perfect fit for your team. Encourage your employees to refer candidates to you to speed up your hiring process.

Hiring through employee referrals is faster because the candidates are pre-vetted. Your current employees are in the best position to identify people who are qualified and a good fit for your team culture. When you receive employee referrals, you don’t need to spend time wading through unqualified applicants.

When candidates are referred by existing employees, they’re more likely to accept job offers. They already know someone on your team and are familiar with the culture. They’re also more likely to stay on your team long term due to cultural fit.

Outsource Hiring to a Recruiter

Not everyone has time to build a network of candidates and follow up with them as jobs open on the team. Your top employees may not know anyone who’s looking for work. In these situations, you may not know what to do. You need a guide to hiring engineers quickly.

The secret is to outsource technical recruitment to a recruiter. Recruiters handle the process of finding and vetting candidates. All you need to do is interview the pre-selected candidates they send you, and choose who to hire.

When you work with a recruiter, you can hire technical professionals more quickly. That’s because recruiters have a network of professionals they can turn to when a company needs to fill an open position. Recruiters are experts at technical recruitment.

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7 Surprising Statistics about the In-Vehicle Infotainment Industry

Electronics engineering is one of the most in-demand engineering occupations in Canada. These engineers work on exciting projects, like in-car infotainment systems. Since they’re in such high demand, using this guide to hiring engineers will help attract top talent.

Here are some interesting statistics about in-vehicle infotainment to keep in mind while you’re hiring.

1. Value of the Global Market

The in-car infotainment market is very large. Globally, the market is projected to be worth $35.2 billion (in US dollars) by 2020. The largest market is in Europe, while the Asia-Pacific market is the fastest-growing market. The global market is growing because of developments in high-definition in-dash displays, voice recognition, and other new technologies.

2. Prevalence of Internet-Connected Cars

As of 2015, 35 percent of new cars were connected to the internet. By 2020, it’s projected that 98 percent of new cars sold will be connected to the internet. All new cars are predicted to be internet connected by 2025. These are exciting statistics for people working in the in-vehicle infotainment industry.

3. Value of Infotainment Systems

Customers are willing to spend a lot of money on connected car technology. Research has shown customers will spend as much as 15 percent of a car’s list price on this technology. Customers may spend as much as $10,000 for the convenience of an infotainment system.

4. Customer Satisfaction Levels

Customers who have in-vehicle infotainment in their cars are very satisfied with the technology. Among people with vehicle-to-driver communication, 91 percent say they’re satisfied. 89 percent of customers are satisfied with the internet-enabled navigation in their cars; the same percentage are satisfied with their vehicles’ mobile applications. Eighty-seven percent of customers are satisfied with the voice-activated controls and features in their cars.

5. Ease of Use Concerns

While customers report high satisfaction levels with in-vehicle infotainment systems, the learning curve for these systems can be steep. Many people struggle to learn how to use their systems. During the first few weeks of ownership, 60 percent of people report problems learning how to use the system. One-third of new users report problems like system malfunctions or trouble with the voice controls.

Age plays a big role in how easily people learn how to use their in-vehicle infotainment systems. Drivers who are 65 and older report more frequent trouble than drivers of other age groups.

Infotainment engineers need to remember that people of all ages will be using the systems. Ease of use needs to be considered when designing systems.

6. Security Concerns among Customers

High-profile hacks have made some customers nervous about the safety of in-vehicle infotainment systems. Forty-one percent of customers say they’ll keep these concerns in mind when they’re shopping for a new car. Thirty-three percent say these hacks are a serious problem, while 35 percent say the problem is moderate.

For people working in the infotainment industry, these statistics are important. Teams need to work hard to make their infotainment systems safe and secure.

7. Older Features Are Surprisingly Popular

Infotainment engineers spend a lot of time developing new and exciting features for in-vehicle infotainment systems. These systems can control audio, deliver entertainment for rear-seat passengers (like movies or social networking), and even send text messages. Your team probably has some big ideas for the future of infotainment.

However, customers still like older features. Eighty-four percent of drivers still listen to AM or FM radio in the car, and 64 percent still listen to CDs while they’re driving.

While your team may be excited to incorporate new features in your systems, don’t forget to include these old favourites.

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Looking for a Mechanical Engineering Job? Follow These 5 Tips

Mechanical engineering is an in-demand field in Canada, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for new graduates to find work. Many new engineering graduates have trouble finding work. In fact, it can take as long as a year for new engineering graduates to get hired.

There are many things you can do to boost your chances of finding your first job. Here are five tips for new graduates looking for mechanical engineer jobs.

1. Be Flexible

If you’re looking for a perfect mechanical engineering job right away, you may struggle. Most people don’t get their dream jobs right out of university. Your first post-university job isn’t where you’ll work for the rest of your life. It’s a way to get your foot in the door and get some real-life experience. After a few years, you can take that experience to a new employer.

Being flexible involves applying to jobs with an open mind. Don’t filter out jobs just because they pay a bit less than you’d like or aren’t with prestigious companies. Being flexible may also involve considering jobs within a larger geographic area. If there isn’t a lot of engineering work in your city or province, you may want to consider moving for work.

2. Start Networking

If you haven’t done any networking yet, it’s time to start. Networking can help you make connections with people in your field, and that can help you find the best engineering jobs. People in your network may refer you to an open position that wasn’t advertised. They can also give you valuable advice about getting jobs in the field.

To start, make sure your friends and family know you’re looking for a job. They may have connections to people in the industry that you don’t know about. Your university’s alumni association is another place to network. You can also create a LinkedIn profile to stay in touch with professors and classmates from university.

3. Tailor Your Application Materials

When you’re applying to several jobs a day, it’s easy to send the same resume and cover letter to every company. This saves you time, but it doesn’t benefit your job search. Hiring managers can tell you’re sending them a generic resume and cover letter. This can make you look like you aren’t actually interested in the job.

Take the time to tweak your resume for every job you apply to. Emphasize your relevant skills and experience to strengthen your candidacy. For every job, write a customized cover letter. Writing a new cover letter for each job shows you’re very interested, and it helps you stand out.

4. Prepare for Interviews

Finding job posting and crafting applications is only part of the process. To get hired, you also need to impress hiring managers in your interviews. Being prepared is a major factor in your success. Plan your answers to common interview questions, and consider role playing interviews with a friend or family member.

Researching the company is another important part of being prepared. Being knowledgeable about what the company does can impress the hiring manager. It shows you’re very interested in the position.

5. Work with an Engineering Staffing Agency

Finding your first mechanical engineering job isn’t easy. If your job-hunting efforts aren’t paying off, you may get discouraged. There’s no need to abandon your engineering job search and take work in another field. An engineering staffing agency can help you land your first career.

Engineering staffing agencies specialize in placing engineers with companies. When you work with an agency, recruiters will look for job opportunities for you. As a recent graduate, you may worry you can’t afford this service. Companies pay staffing agencies to find the best candidates, so there’s no fee for you as a job seeker.

Emerging Vehicle Technology: 5 Trends Hiring Managers Should Know About

Modern cars have become veritable entertainment platforms in their own right. Back in the old days, drivers would have to rely on a radio or tape deck to entertain themselves on long trips. Now, passengers have fully integrated consoles at their fingertips. This vehicle technology can integrate with other devices and respond to voice requests, offering car owners unprecedented control over their driving experiences.

However, it’s not always easy to stay on the cutting edge. Companies that design infotainment for these systems need to adjust their products to fit new advancements. It takes vigilance to prevent obsolescence, so these organizations need to be more aware than ever.

That’s why these firms must hire professionals who can stay ahead of the curve. Fortunately, there are ways for hiring managers to anticipate changes in the vehicle technology industry. Read on to learn about a few prevalent trends in the field and how you can use them for your own purposes.

1. Solutions Need to Be Integrative and Intuitive to Compete

Connectivity is the name of the game when it comes to technology. Devices need to be able to sync with one another effortlessly, and in-vehicle solutions are no exception. Users want to be able to connect their smartphones with their consoles, and this becomes much easier when the two devices feature similar interfaces.

As Google and Apple move further into the vehicle technology market, companies will need to ensure their infotainment performs optimally on these devices. Those that refuse to adopt integrative techniques will find themselves shut out when millions of new cars go on the market. As a result, hiring managers need to find experts in iOS and/or Android systems, as well as how console operating systems will differ from their mobile counterparts.

2. Streaming Is Key

Physical media storage has become cumbersome. Instead of taking up space on a device, modern consumers prefer to simply stream media from cloud-based services such as Netflix and Spotify.

Automobile manufacturers have recognized this, which is why they’ve begun to integrate Wi-Fi hubs and other features into their vehicles. If hiring managers want to keep up with their competitors, they need to recognize these trends and find professionals who know how to take advantage of them.

3. Engineers Are Crucial

It should come as no surprise that software engineers are essential to developing vehicle technology. After all, any company that develops computer applications needs engineering talent.

However, managers might not know which specific qualifications to prioritize. Necessary skills will vary based on the engineer’s specific role, but most companies generally require five years’ experience with everything from diagnostics to cybersecurity and more.

4. Seek Versatile Professionals

Any rapidly changing industry needs professionals who can adjust at the drop of a hat. In-vehicle technology is no exception. A project may lead to incorporation or removal of elements at any time, so engineers and other workers need to be able to pivot from one task to another.

When finding the ideal job candidates, managers need to gauge soft skills and other criteria to determine whether prospective employees can keep up with the shifting nature of the industry.

5. Work with an Engineering Recruitment Firm

Balancing present needs with future demands is never easy, but it’s especially difficult in a rapidly changing field like in-vehicle technology. When hiring managers find themselves in a pinch, they can always rely on recruitment firms.

These agencies find qualified talent quickly, so managers never have to worry about finding a candidate who suits all of the above criteria.

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The Diversity Question: Industry Ailment or Recruitment Solution?

It’s an issue we’ve known about — and skirted around — for decades: the tech world has a diversity problem.

In recent years, equity has been an increasingly hot topic discussion across the tech industry. But most often, companies tend to scapegoat responsibility for their own practices by blaming under-representation on the voracious and unrelenting spaghetti monster known as “the industry.”

But passing the blame only adds to the problem — it’s time to look to the source: what can be done on the ground level of recruitment?

Disparity By the Numbers

When it comes to recruiting engineers, the numbers of under-represented groups —such as women, LGBTQ+ folks, and people of colour — are staggering. Last year, Facebook released its diversity report, wherein women represented only 17% of employees in technical jobs.

In Google’s most recent 2016 report, only 19% of women were holding tech jobs, with an overall 56% of the jobs being held by Caucasian employees.

What stands out from the data is the similar disparity in gender equity across the board in today’s leading tech firms. According to LinkedIn’s data (2016), they report only 17% of jobs are held by women, and Yahoo’s data (2014) reports a similar 15%.

Diversity Betters Business

What doesn’t translate in all this data is the viability and efficacy of a diverse workforce — its added value to businesses both big and small, public and private.

Too often, workforce diversity is relegated as an HR issue and not considered a cornerstone performance metric. Everyone knows diversity is good in and of itself, but that isn’t going to help the industry reach its targets.

According to a recent Forbes study, it was determined that companies who have racial, ethnic, and gender diversity out-perform their more uniform counterparts on the bottom line. Aside from the obvious benefits of improved decision-making, employee engagement, and customer service, diverse companies are 35% more likely to have greater financial returns.

Put simply, businesses that do not put a focus on diversity in their hiring practices will not survive — let alone thrive — in our increasingly globalized world. The business case for diversity, especially in the private sector, needs to be the centre of boardroom focus.

Be the Change: Empowering Recruitment and its Reach

Recruiters hold a lot of influence in terms of screening and determining who gets on shortlists — yet the procurement industry comes up notoriously short on taking action to increase diversity in the tech workforce.

For many recruitment firms, diversity has become an empty buzzword used by executives without accompanied action or success. To tackle the problem involves a strategy that goes beyond simply colouring bums in seats: it requires a rethinking at the level of the shortlist.

Instead of the industry standard of shortlisting candidates from a vetted pool of talent, leaders in the procurement industry need to take responsibility for who is in their pipeline. The solutions really aren’t complicated — with a little awareness put into best practices, your business can build its bottom line against the monochromatic grain.

Broaden your search efforts

While a trusted pool of networked managers and hiring experts works well in the short-term, it does little to replenish talent pool stocks and keeps diverse candidates from accessing opportunity. Job positions should be displayed widely — look to publish beyond the standard job boards by including community organizations and immigration and settlement agencies in your reach.

Build a more diverse network of partners

Partnering with organizations that are devoted to diversity is a clear strategy for success. Aside from the resources listed below, research community equity and employment organizations in your local area to get access to qualified talent.

The Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine (CWSEM)’s mandate is to coordinate, monitor, and advocate action to increase the participation of women in science, engineering, and medicine.

Engage equal opportunity publications, such as Minority Engineer Magazine, which is a recruitment-geared publication that helps recruiters — and promising engineers — reach a broader pool of potential candidates.

Advertise on Canada’s national job boards for Indigenous hiring, such as as inclusionnetwork.ca and nationtalk.ca.

The Canadian Abilities Foundation job search website, jobs.abilities.ca, links employers with job seekers with disabilities across Canada.

The National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP), offers job search and procurement resources such as LGBT CareerLink, a website devoted to linking employers with top LGBTQ+ talent.

New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering offers a full list of diverse recruitment resources.

Look beyond the resume

At Ian Martin, we’ve recognized that part of the problem underlying lack of diversity is recruiter bias and hiring practices that look to the resume as the sole determining factor of job fit.

Sometimes, as recruiters, our biases can be subconscious — we might not even realize that we are eliminating under-represented groups from our talent pool. While proper qualifications and experience are crucial hiring factors, the standard resume is simply not an objective tool for measuring the fit and performance of candidates for specific roles. 

So, in 2014, Ian Martin transformed this industry ailment into a recruitment solution. We acquired the hiring platform known as Fitzii, which aims to level the playing field of workplace diversity in small and medium-sized businesses.

Fitzii targets under-representation by using technology that generates shortlists based on a candidate’s personality, experience, and overall fit for a company’s particular culture. By enabling features that allow recruiters to hide information such as locations, names, and pictures of the applicant, employers get access to candidates that they might not have considered outright. Moreover, Fitzii makes use of psychometric measurement in the initial screening phase, which allows recruiters to predict not only how a candidate will perform on the job, but if he or she will thrive in a particular role. It’s not hippy-dippy holistic madness — it’s a fool-proof way of getting the right person for the job.

By using objective tools to assess applicants, platforms such as Fitzii are working to narrow the gap of opportunity and access — leading to a workforce powered by more engaged, diverse, and happier employees, and a stronger bottom line for all.

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7 Tips for Hiring in the Automotive Infotainment Market

The market for engineers is very competitive, especially in the automotive infotainment market. Every company wants talented engineers for their projects, but not every company can find them. Ninety-five percent of hiring managers say they have trouble filling open engineering positions.

If you’re struggling to find the best engineers for your infotainment team, this essential guide to hiring engineers will help put you on the right track. Here are seven tips for hiring in the very competitive automotive infotainment market.

1. Ask Your Network

As a hiring manager of engineers, you probably know a lot of people in the engineering field. Other managers at the company, past colleagues, or old classmates could know someone who’s looking for a job. They can put you in touch with talented engineers you wouldn’t have been able to find otherwise. Plus, when someone comes recommended by a person you trust, you can hire confidently.

2. Ask for Employee Referrals

Hiring through an employee referral program is an effective recruitment tool. Your existing employees can help you find talented workers for your team. As infotainment engineers, they have a lot of connections in the industry. Let your employees know you’re hiring, and tell them what type of candidates you’re looking for. They may have friends or old coworkers that would be a perfect fit for the team.

3. Write Clear Job Postings

Have you ever read a job posting and had no idea what the job entailed? Many companies write vague or generic postings that don’t give applicants much information. If you write vague postings, candidates may get confused. They won’t know what type of work they’d be doing.

The highly talented infotainment engineers you want to hire won’t waste their time trying to decipher unclear posts. Write posts that detail the day-to-day responsibilities of the position and the skills and experience needed to succeed. Be as clear and specific as possible to more easily hire engineers.

4. Branch out from Job Boards

A lack of quality applicants is one of the biggest struggles for hiring managers of engineers. After posting a job ad on an online board, you may be swamped with candidates who aren’t the right fit. After reading through all the resumes, you may not find a single person you want to interview. That’s why hiring managers should branch out. Don’t just rely on online job boards. Use other methods, like social media, to find candidates.

5. Sell the Position

Job interviews aren’t just an opportunity for you to find out if candidates are right for the job. They’re also an opportunity for candidates to find out if the job is right for them. During interviews, remember that your candidates are also evaluating you and the company. Try to find out what candidates are excited about, and try to sell them on relevant aspects of the job.

Candidates should be excited about working for you by the end of the interview. If they’re not excited, they can easily get a job somewhere else.

6. Emphasize Interesting Work

Since engineers are in high demand, they don’t need to settle for jobs that will bore them. They can search for opportunities that will be more exciting and interesting. During interviews, talk about the interesting work your infotainment team has done in the past. This gives candidates an idea of the type of work they’d be doing on a day-to-day basis if they join your team.

7. Use a Recruiting Agency

Since the market for automotive infotainment engineers is so competitive, you may still struggle with hiring after following these tips. There’s nothing wrong with admitting you need a bit of help with hiring.

A recruiting agency can hunt for talented infotainment engineers for your team. Recruiters have large networks and are experts at finding candidates for companies. In no time, they can find the perfect engineers to join your team.

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How to Recruit IT Talent and Take Control of Your Projects

Information technology professionals are in high demand in Canada. The recruitment market is very competitive, and the labour market outlook isn’t getting any better for employers. By 2019, it’s projected that there won’t be enough homegrown IT talent to fill available jobs. Since IT professionals are in such high demand, they can choose between many job opportunities.

This is good news for people working in IT. However, it can make life difficult for managers who need to recruit IT employees. How can you recruit IT workers for your projects when the market is so competitive?

You need an essential guide to hiring engineers. Here are some tips for recruiting IT talent in this competitive market.

Use Your Company Culture

Company culture is essentially the personality of a company. Every company has a culture, even though it can sometimes be hard to identify. Company culture includes things like the company’s mission, work environment, values, and expectations. IT professionals can afford to be picky about company culture since they’re in such high demand.

As an IT manager, you don’t have much control over the overall culture of the company. However, you can make your team’s culture more attractive. Today’s employees value things like a collaborative work culture, a flexible work schedule, and a mentor-like relationship with their bosses. Highlight your strengths in these areas in your job ads to attract candidates.

Offer Interesting Challenges

Since IT professionals are in demand, they get the opportunity to choose the jobs that sound the most interesting to them. In this competitive market, there’s no reason for talented employees to be bored at work. They want to be challenged. They want to do work that’s important and that can grow their skills.

During interviews with candidates, emphasize the interesting challenges they’ll get to solve. You can also discuss some of the interesting work your team has done in the past. The opportunity to solve complicated problems and do exciting work makes your company more attractive.

Prioritize Continuous Learning

Talented IT professionals don’t want their skills to become stagnant. They want to continue learning and improving. This keeps them at the top of their field. If one job offers opportunities for continuous learning, but another doesn’t, they may choose the former. To recruit IT employees, prioritize continuous learning and professional development on your team.

Continuous learning doesn’t have to be a complicated or expensive process. It can be as simple as providing work-related reading material for employees to read during office hours. It can also include individually coaching employees to help them maximize their potential. Training programs or classes, as well as conferences and seminars, if you have the budget for them, can also be very attractive to candidates.

Make Offers Quickly

Have you ever made offers to IT candidates, only for them to say they’d already accepted other offers? As the old saying goes, “if you snooze, you lose.” Your favourite candidates could be interviewing with a few other companies at the same time. If you’re not fast enough, another company could hire them first.

When you’re sure a candidate is perfect for your team, don’t wait. Make a strong offer right away. Of course, this only applies to candidates you’re sure you want to hire. Don’t rush to make offers to mediocre candidates.

Get Help from a Recruitment Agency

If you’re struggling to recruit IT employees for your team, consider working with a technical recruitment agency. Recruitment agencies can source IT professionals for your team. Since they already have networks of professionals, they can find talented employees for your team quickly.

Recruiters can even find candidates who aren’t actively looking for new positions. These people are already employed, but they can be lured away for the right opportunity. It’s hard for managers to find these people without help.

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5 Tactics to Recruit IT Professionals with Confidence

IT recruitment can be a perplexing process for many hiring managers. The field represents a bold new frontier for many HR professionals, and their methods are often woefully inadequate as a result. Specialists in the IT field are in high demand, so companies need to offer a clear direction and plenty of incentives to draw in top talent.

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The Complete Guide to Staffing in the Engineering Industry

Hiring engineers is notoriously difficult. You need to find professionals with the right qualifications and skills for your projects. If you choose someone whose skills are too niche or underdeveloped, you’ll need to spend much more money to train or replace them. That’s why it’s so important for you to hire well. 

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5 Factors to Consider When Filling IT Positions

Your IT staff is among the most important aspects of your business. These professionals maintain your systems so your operations can continue to run smoothly. Without them, your company would quickly fall into disarray, so it’s important to hire properly when the time comes.

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When Is the Best Time to Hire Contract Staff?

Contract staffing has saved many companies from certain doom. When business owners find themselves in a tight spot, they can temporarily hire skilled professionals who will help get them out of it. The hiring manager can renew their contracts if continued labour is required, or the contract workers can be let go if the job is complete. There are more contract workers than full-time employees in some fields, so employers don’t lack for options, either. 

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When It Makes Sense to Hire a Contractor

Full-time workers can’t handle every task your company requires. These professionals may be versatile, but they still have their limitations. There are only a few hours in a working day, so you need to ensure your employees can complete all their necessary assignments within that time. 

Unfortunately, there’s always be more work to be done, and as projects go on, there may be a need for a specific skillset that goes beyond the scope of your current workforce. When this happens, it’s your job as a hiring manager to find workers who can get the job done. If you can’t find the right talent, your company may fall behind on its projects and incur substantial financial penalties as a result. 

Fortunately, there are ways to avoid this outcome, and working with a contractor is among the best options. The right contractor will alleviate stress from your team and help you meet your goals on time. 

So when is the right time to hire a contractor? The answer will vary depending on your specific needs, but this article should help you figure out the most efficient way to hire contract staff.

Your Team Lacks Specific Abilities

If your company operates in a technical field, your workers will need a very particular set of skills. Yet within those qualifications, most full-time employees need to have a broad range of abilities. After all, why would you hire someone who could only complete a few specialized tasks? 

Unfortunately, broader isn’t always better when it comes to expertise. Your employees need to have a breadth of knowledge, but projects often crop up that need very specialized skills or experience that your full time workers may not have. 

When it comes to short-term technical projects, you should start looking for contract workers who can complete the job. You may not have use for their skills at other times, but they can prove indispensable under the right conditions.

You Need Seasonal or Temporary Workers

Every organization has its busy periods. Work may be scant in January, but come June, the conditions might be right and business will prosper. When this happens, you can’t be caught flatfooted. Your company will have limited time to make use of this productivity boom.

Temporary contractors can accommodate your needs. You can hire them to fixed-term contracts that allow you to renew or dismiss them according to your needs. Best of all, you can re-employ these workers later on if they agree to your terms, which means you’ll get reliable performance on a regular basis.

You Need Immediate Productivity

It takes time for full-time workers to get up to speed. Often, they spend their first few weeks learning about their roles before they can achieve full productivity. This shouldn’t be a problem if your projects are on track, but the same situation can divert valuable resources when you’re in a pinch. 

Contract workers don’t require this preparation. They can’t rely on long-term work, so they must be flexible in order to get new jobs. As a result, they’ll be able to adapt to your culture more quickly than a full-time employee would.

You’re Approaching a Deadline

Looming deadlines put substantial pressure on everyone. Workers often have to put in overtime to meet their targets, while managers may fret about getting the most out of their existing staff.

But what if you didn’t have to push your own employees to get the job done? If you bring in contract professionals, you’ll have more personnel without the expense that comes with hiring new staff members. You’ll finish your projects on time with these workers’ help.

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What Are the Benefits of Partnering with Engineering Recruiters?

It takes a lot of work to recruit the right engineers. In general, technical projects require highly qualified workers who specialize in the right fields. Yet hiring managers can’t hire based on qualifications alone. Plenty of other factors will influence whether a new engineer will fit in at a company. 

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Technical Recruitment Made Easy: 5 Strategies to Hire Great People

The best technical workers aren’t desperate for work. Skilled professionals are in high demand, so companies are sure to scoop up promising individuals quickly. This is great news if you’re a technician, but it’s not so encouraging for hiring managers. They need to find top talent quickly to reduce their costs, which is no easy feat when competition is fierce.

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Looking to Fill IT Positions? Keep These 5 Tips in Mind

Modern companies need IT departments like fish need water and people need oxygen. You need an effective IT team maintaining your infrastructure in order to allow your company to grow and innovate with the tides of change. Hiring properly for these crucial rolesis a necessity, but it’s not always a simple task.

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The Top Engineering Jobs in Canada

Engineers are the belles of the ball right now. The profession is about to undergo a wave of demand for new employees as older workers retire and leave the industry. This is leaving behind a wealth of engineering job opportunities for new job seekers. Those who have experience and a clear sense of direction can use this trend to jumpstart their careers.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be obstacles, though. Some engineers are still unable to find work, while others find it difficult to pass the tough hiring criteria that it takes to find gainful employment. The horizon may look bright for engineers, but that might not offer hope for those who are still in the dark.

Fortunately, there’s still some proactive things you can do if you’re looking or about to look for work. Companies still have high demand for some engineering disciplines, and these fields offer a host of other benefits that should make them attractive to any qualified professional. If any of these top engineering jobs suit your fancy, you may want to consider adapting your career path to pursue them.

Electrical Engineer

Specializing in electrical engineering can really give your career a boost. Workers in this field design and maintain a range of solutions that harness the power of electricity. Whether they build electronic components, create control systems, or find new ways to generate and transmit power, these professionals usually benefit from exciting and fruitful career paths.

You’ll need to build up a strong resume if you want to land one of these top engineering jobs. While these jobs only call for a bachelor’s degree in engineering, many firms look for workers that hold a master’s degree. A lot of the work is doneindependently on computers, but there is also some teamwork involved as well, so you need to be able to work in both environments.

Manufacturing Engineer

Engineers are frequently involved in the design stage of a product’s development, but those who specialize in manufacturing go a step further. They create tools and processes that actually enhance product development. Whether they’re tasked with reducing costs or designing goods that cut down on production time, these professionals take an active role in crafting everyday products.

Workers in this field are similar to industrial engineers, and they can find jobs in a variety of industries. On average, they earn about $83,000 per year, though professionals who work in more lucrative industries such as aerospace or transportation may take home more.

Software Engineer

Software is as much a part of the modern world as roads, cars, and buildings. Yet it’s easy to think of these tools as nebulous aspects of life. But behind every program there’s a dedicated team of engineers working to improve, update, and maintain services. It’s easily one of the most relevant engineering disciplines, and software specialists are in high demand all over the world.

Professionals in this field can expect to earn salaries in the low six figures, and the industry will continue to grow through 2024. Candidates will need at least a bachelor’s degree to find work. If you can work well with others, solve problems efficiently, and analyze data, you may be well suited to a career in this profession.

Petroleum Engineer

Despite a recent downturn, the oil industry is slowly bouncing back. Companies will need to hire a glut of new engineers to replace those who left in the initial slump. Those who are suited to the position should consider it as a viable career path.

Chemical, petroleum, and mining engineers can expect to earn about $84,000 from working in the oil industry. If you fulfill these criteria, you could be on your way to landing one of the top engineering jobs in Canada.

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What’s the Most Efficient Way to Hire Contract Staff?

Your company’s staffing needs are rarely static. You may have a long-term strategy in place, but it only takes a few slight deviations to throw that entire plan into disarray. Whether you have a firm idea of your organization’s future or you’re just starting to think about it, you need to be able to adapt your hiring practices to fit both your immediate and potential needs.

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