Four Ways to Impress a Recruiter in Your First Meeting

Capturing the attention of a quality recruiter is often easier said than done. However, provided you have earned that well-earned connection, there are certain actions which can help propel your name to the top of a recruiter’s list.

Your initial contact may either be an in-person or virtual meeting (via Skype or GoToMeeting, for example), or the recruiter (or HR representative) may choose to schedule a phone interview with you. Regardless of the platform, it is crucial that you win over this individual from the very beginning. One place to begin gaining a recruiter’s praise is to secure a clear perspective of what they are looking for in a job candidate and strategize fittingly.

Impressing a Recruiter - Woman on Laptop holding Smartphone in home office

Recruiter, career strategist, and author, Jenny Foss, helps summarize some of the best approaches to “wowing” a job recruiter on your very first consultation.’

1.  Quickly show that you can cover the essentials.

The first course of action for a typical recruiter is to ensure that a candidate is capable of a job’s essential requirements. However, Foss explains, “That said, you should study the job description closely or talk with people working in the department [if possible], and then (before the interview) list out the things you think are the most important deliverables for the role”. So, while you want to remain primarily focused on the basics during your initial conversation, touching upon some your strengths as applicable to the more detailed specifics of the position is also imperative.

2.  Make your enthusiasm known if you’re interested in the position.

A candidate who is both qualified and excited about the job is a valuable asset to any recruiter, especially if you’ve made it to the next phase of the interview process. “[Assuming] you are reasonably interesting in the opportunity, you’ve got to make that instantly clear to the recruiter during the screening call,” says Foss. This ensures recruiters that their time invested has not been wasted; making it more likely that they will contact you if and when another, more suitable, position becomes available.

3.  Radiate a “cultural” match.

While online research and speaking with connected members of your network are effective ways of obtaining strong cultural cues about a particular organization, you cannot always be completely sure of a company’s culture until you actually beginning working there. However, any information you do gather will certainly help you score points with your recruiter during your initial conversation. Find opportunities during the conversation to show that you can relate to the company’s ethos; as this offers your recruiter a solid platform from which to convince other decision-makers in the company that you are truly a top-candidate for the job.

4.  Recognize the recruiter’s role and commitment to the process.

Simply stated, a recruiter wants to believe in you. Their goal is to come away from the conversation with a viable contender for the position. After all, it is at the basis of their career to align hopeful job seekers with a position in which they will not only thrive, but also provide value to the respective organization. “So,” with this in mind, Foss adds “never be afraid to ask for the interviewer’s input on how you can put your best foot forward with the hiring manager or for clarification on any questions you don’t understand. [This] person wants to send you through to the hiring manager. Make it easy to do so”.

Impressing a Recruiter - Man_professional_holding smartphone

Remember that when the right strategy is in place, you are more likely to win the game, or in this case, land the job.

More from Stewart Cooper & Coon:  Navigating the End of Your Job Interview: What Questions to Ask

 

Fred Coon, CEO 

Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with LinkedInSecrets.us. Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.

Job Seekers: Four Ways to Stand Out to Your Recruiter

When working with a recruiter, it’s common for job seekers to assume they can finally relax and allow their consultant handle all the work. While recruiters carry quite a hefty load of responsibilities to assure a successful matching of candidates and companies, there are certain actions that job seekers can take to increase their leverage among competitors, resulting in an accurate and speedy placement.

Related:  Behind the Scenes of Corporate Recruiting

The goal is to create a reason for your recruiting consultant to truly advocate for you; to become their “go-to candidate” for the best positions. So, how does a job seeker increase their value in the recruiting world?

How-to-Stand-Out-to-Your-Job-Recruiter-Professional-Woman-Smiling

Sjoerd Gehring, Global Head of Recruiting at Johnson & Johnson, shares four key pointers:

1.  Be Ready and Organized.

One of the most important factors in a successful recruiter/candidate relationship is communication. Ensure that your recruiter is aware of your goals, skills and experience, as well as reasons for any noticeable gaps in your employment history. If they are in the dark as far as your background, they cannot effectively “sell” you to an organization, let alone the right one. “So”, Gehring advises, “proactively send them an updated resume if there have been any changes since the last time you spoke. Then, have your work portfolio and references prepared and ready to go as soon as they ask for them. Respecting their time – and lack thereof – will help you stand out”.

Related:  The Right Way To List Job Titles On Your Resume

2.  Honesty is the Best Policy.

If you are tempted to misrepresent yourself in any way because you think it will fast-track to toward a better position, let go of that notion immediately. This includes exaggerations or withholding important information that may impact your future employment. Without honesty, there cannot be trust, and if your recruiting consultant feels they can’t trust you, they may be quite hesitant to place or refer you. Gehring reiterates, “Just think how badly it will reflect on you (and the recruiter!) if you hold something back or tell a ‘white lie’ that later comes to light; [and] be under no illusion, these things always do”. If you do feel somewhat underqualified for a position, Gehring suggests highlighting your transferrable skills in an honest way.

3.  Show Your Enthusiasm.

Gehring agrees, “Recruiters are looking for qualified candidates who are serious about switching to the company they represent”. If a particular role is meaningful to you, by all means, let your recruiter know. Perhaps an organization possesses a similar value system to your own or you have a high esteem for their dedication to philanthropy or readiness to take on new forms of technology.  “Whatever your reason, demonstrate that affinity, so the recruiter knows why you’re committed to securing a role at their company,” suggests Gehring. Moreover, this information can be used to your advantage as a recruiter promotes you to the company as a well-suited candidate.

4.  Maintain Graciousness.

Perhaps your consultant has placed you on track toward a position that doesn’t quite appeal to you. If this is the case, don’t feel obligated to accept an ill-fitting role. However, it’s important to graciously advise your recruiter of your concerns as soon as possible so that they can begin working toward a new opportunity for both you and another candidate who would perhaps be a better fit for the position. On the other hand, if you are set for an interview, and experience a rejection, do not blame your recruiter or consider this the end of the road. Again, remain gracious for the opportunity, and move forward. You recruiter is likely actively working toward filling another role, so it’s important to remain in their good standing.

How-to-Stand-Out-to-Your-Job-Recruiter-Career-Target-with-Arrow.

Conclusion

As Gehring reminds candidates, as with any relationship (whether personal or professional), you receive what you invest; and this certainly applies to the affiliation between job-seekers and recruiters. Remaining conscientious, honest, motivated, and gracious can only bring positive results.

 

Fred Coon, CEO

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

How Do Companies Know When It’s Time to Seek a Retained Executive Search Firm?

As a hiring manager, how do you know when the time has come to seek out a retained executive search (RES) firm?  The answer to that question is simple:  Every single time you are hiring a senior level executive.

Leaders may toss around figures like 50k and 100k, but the cost of an unfilled position is likely much larger than numbers written on a single check.  How much does it cost to divert the work of others to fill the gap until the role is filled?  How much business is lost?  How much goodwill could you potentially lose by openly poaching from partner companies?  How long is it going to take to personally find an individual with the precise mix of skills that you need?

Benefits of Retained Executive Search - Woman at Laptop writing notes

Residents of the C-suite should rather take a holistic approach to finances when it comes to hiring senior executives.  Using a RES firm is slightly more expensive than using contingency firms (no hire/no pay), but truthfully, when it comes to hiring executives for top positions, the latter are less suited to the task.

 

Compare and Contrast

Consider: Contingency firms get a list of requirements, sort through their files looking for reasonably close matches, and then forward some CVs in the hopes that you’ll hire one of them, and then the contingency firm will get paid.  While this is a legitimate working system, the time and detail dedicated to ensuring that a particular candidate is “the one” is significantly less. This is not to downplay the work or necessity of contingency search firms; simply to display how a different set of needs (i.e. filling an executive/c-level role) requires a more comprehensive approach.

The nature of contingency firms requires them to be less invested in one particular prospect; simply due to the mere volume with which they are dealing.  Contingency firms serve their purpose; they provide a broad range of candidates for many generic executive positions.  The candidates are vetted, but in all likelihood, not as thoroughly as you are going to need for a senior executive.

The last thing you want is to hire is someone with an obscured track record of failure.  If you don’t find out first, your competitors will, and they will likely have the ability to use it against you.  For instance, the last thing you want to discover is that your CFO was implicated in a pension scam in a foreign country, in a position that he or she held for only two months; one that was likely omitted from their resume.

RES firms provide thorough vetting of all candidates.  They approach them directly, interview them face-to-face, and then provide detailed assessments of the candidates to the hiring companies.  The reports often include intelligence assessments, aptitude assessments, and personality traits (a type of “psychometry”, if you will), as an aid to determining their compatibility.

Benefits-of-Retained-Executive-Search-File-Folder-on-Laptop-Screen

Time is Money

More importantly, RES firms provide credibility.  The “cream of the crop” that you are looking for may not necessarily be looking for you.  Top executives are well treated, well paid, and well compensated.  This amounts to them being passive candidates that are most likely not looking for a change.

Most top executives only work with RES firms.  It would be atypical for them to even consider working with standard headhunter who is looking to build a portfolio of candidates.  If the recruiter doesn’t come to the table with a solid, fascinating offer, there are plenty of other ways that an executive can use their valuable time to achieve their goals.

Skill and Experience

Even if the position isn’t the precise one which that executive needs, they are now aware that this recruiter has serious, legitimate offers.  Plus, studies have shown that executives are much more open to discussing their capabilities, desires, and accomplishments with a third party, rather than directly with the competitor looking to lure them away from their current position.

The fact of the matter is that these candidates are willing to discuss their goals, their plans for the future, and their ambitions. Simultaneously, RES recruiters have the advantage of getting to know the executives, not just for their capabilities and accomplishments, but for how they integrate with other team members.

Retained executive search recruiters decipher the environment in which executives will thrive; they can place them in corporate cultures that match their personalities and tendencies.  It is in the company’s best interest to obtain an employee for the long term, because the length of time that the average senior executive spends in a particular position is only three years.

If they are matched with the right company, the affiliation could technically develop into a years’ long employment relationship.  That, in turn, is going to save the cost of replacement, downtime, diverting other people to cover the necessities of the position until it’s refilled, and all sorts of other needless annoyances.

Benefits-of-Retained-Executive-Search-Professionals-in-meeting_interview.

The Takeaway

Ultimately, the RES firm will provide much greater value.  They have a vested interest in being successful because that will establish a business relationship, and then you will work with them again.  Better yet, you’ll recommend them to others.

Free up your HR department to do their real job of managing your people on a day-to-day basis.  In reality, they are likely not equipped for senior executive searches any more than contingency firms.  Hire a RES firm and let them get on with the job, solving your problem quickly and permanently.

 

Fred Coon, CEO 

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Why Job Fairs Still Matter and How to Make the Most of Them

Despite what some may believe, job fairs are actually still a relevant and beneficial component in today’s job market, according to many experts.  They also hold a strong aspect of efficiency, since only at a job fair, can a job seeker make a successful first impression on not just one, but multiple employers in a single setting.

In a culture that is steeped in virtual and electronic communication, job fairs offer employers and job seekers the ability to communicate face-to-face, which still remains an integral factor in the pre-hiring process.

Job Fairs - word cloud

While notice of many job fair events may spread throughout your online social and professional network, websites such as Jobfairsin.com, allow job seekers to search for specific and applicable job fairs in their location of choice.

Once you have decided upon the job fair you are attending, there are several guidelines that will ensure you are prepared and equipped to make the best impression possible.

Research first.

Learn which companies will be in attendance, decide upon which ones you are most interested, and do some online research.  Employers attending a job fair in search of qualified talent expect that you will know something about their company prior to attending.  A simple visit to their website and LinkedIn profile is certainly not difficult, and can help you toward making a great first impression.  One tip is to bring up one of the details you researched, and ask the representative to elaborate some more on the topic.

Dress the part.

When it comes to your choice of wardrobe, the same rules that apply to job interviews also apply to job fairs.  However, at a job fair, you also want to be sure you stand out among the masses, so consider investing in some sharp new interview-friendly garments, if your budget allows.  Also, never leave home with wrinkled clothing, scuffed or worn shoes, or over-the-top accessories or jewelry.

Plan ahead.

While you are most likely going to be focused on the employers you researched, leave some extra time for the unexpected.  There is always the possibility that you will come across a company which peaks your interest out of the blue, so be sure to bring extra resumes, as well as a healthy snack to maintain your energy level throughout the day.

Be introduction-ready.

Often an employer will ask you to speak briefly about yourself and your background, so make sure that you’re prepared with a concise statement that explains in a nutshell, who you are professionally.  If an employer asks where you currently work, and you happen to be unemployed at the time of the job fair, opt for sharing what skills and expertise you gained at your “most recent place of employment”.  Whatever your status, remember that company representatives are likely meeting hundreds of job candidates at just one job fair, so be sure to lead with your strongest attributes to remain memorable.

Job Fair - job candidates in line

Maintain enthusiasm and focus.

Remember that appropriate eye contact, a smile, a firm handshake, and an approachable conversation style is the best way to initiate a meeting with a company representative. Displaying your enthusiasm and staying focused on the respective job opening is important, as is avoiding discussions regarding details of your own job search, etc.  Remain confident, and remember that the representative you’re speaking to is either a hiring manager or HR representative for a specific company, not a career counselor.

Engage in smart networking.

You may have made several promising connections, but if you don’t exchange the proper information and stay organized, you are likely to miss out on a great opportunity.  Don’t leave an employer’s booth without receiving a business card, and be sure to have a safe place to store the ones you’ve gathered.  Also, remember that your resume is not only an indicator of your job qualifications, but also serves as your contact sheet, so be sure all phone numbers, websites, and any other points of communication are clear and correct.

Follow up.

Similarly to how you would follow up after a job interview, you will also follow up with the career representatives you spoke with at the job fair.  A phone call or a brief email, thanking them for taking the time to speak with you, reiterating your interest in the position, as well as the basic qualifications most applicable to the position (to help them identify you) is sufficient.  Additionally, if the any of the company websites offer an online job application, you are giving yourself a double-advantage by completing it and even mentioning that you met with one of their representatives at the recent job fair.

The Takeaway

Job fairs can certainly be nerve-wracking, based on the sheer volume of employers and job seekers in attendance; all with the same goal of seeking important opportunities and meaningful professional connections.  However, remembering your ultimate goal and striving to make a stellar impression on each company representative by following the guidelines we’ve mentioned, will ensure that you leave your next job fair with some amazing new career prospects.

Fred Coon, CEO

 

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Outstanding Résumés… And How To Write Them

It’s not terribly difficult to isolate the best résumé design for your needs.  After all, there are countless web articles, templates, software, and Resume Writing - Working on computer - B&Wservices available to help you achieve the most attractive layout and effectual result.  However, in this article, we are going to discuss what makes a résumé stand out, from the inside out.

Back when you applied for your very first job, maybe replenishing stock in a grocery store, it might have been a good idea to relate that you once had three concurrent paper routes for two different newspapers.  It showed that you were responsible, dedicated, and motivated.

Now that you have graduated college, or have been in the workforce for 10 to 20+ years, no one needs to know that except, perhaps, as a clever anecdote.  Save it for your biography, after you retire.

The First Thing They See

Your prospective employer will initially notice your name, contact information, and likely your general field or industry.  This is what you want the reader to keep in mind as they examine your résumé.  This is your “brand,” so make it big and bold and tie it to their needs.

However, there are other matters to also consider.

Write for the Machine

Today, more and more companies are using Applicant Tracking Software (ATS).  ATS programs identify the exact wording or vocabulary of the job description in order to filter applicants’ résumés.  Unfortunately, most applicants unsuccessfully exploit this fundamental property.

For instance, if the company with which you’re seeking employment is looking for a  SysAdmin, and expresses a preference for people familiar with Network Security, Problem Solving, Information Security Policies, Network Protocols, On-call, Process Improvement, Network Troubleshooting, and Firewall Administration, be sure to use as many of those exact phrases as are consistent with your experience.

One strategy is to envision every distinct phrase in the job description as being worth five points the first time you use it.  Build up your “score”, and the ATS program will add your résumé to the collection “for human review” instead of the “Thank you for your interest” pile.

Write for the Human, too

While software may effectively sort and analyze basic information, human beings are naturally more adept at analyzing and evaluating ambiguous information and reaching thoughtful conclusions.

Of course, copy/pasting the original job description could possibly trick older ATS programs into passing your résumé along; however, they have grown much more sophisticated, so relying on this method is certainly not recommended.  Even if that ploy succeeded initially, a hiring manager would see what had been done.

Tell Them What They Need To Know

It is said that the average HR manager typically reviews a résumé for an average maximum of six seconds before deciding whether or not the applicant has a shot at the job.

Do your best to provide a concise document which describes your accomplishments.  The employer knows the responsibilities involved with their position; after all they created it.  What they need from you is quantifiable, tangible data to help them see where you will fit within their organization.

Did you save “X” number of dollars over your predecessor in your position?  Did you retain 80 percent of customers that we’re thinking of moving on to another supplier?  Did you accumulate 130 percent in new sales figures?  Did you train 80 percent of all new employees, or were your trainees generating 27 percent more sales than those trained by others?  Show them the numbers!

Sell Yourself

The object here is to showcase your abilities, and then tie them in to their requirements.  This is best done within your job descriptions in the body of the résumé.  For instance, if you are applying for an Office Manager’s position which requires knowledge of recruiting and training employees – and one of your prior positions as a Human Resources Generalist required a similar skill set – ensure that this particular bullet-point appears first, and is not buried at the bottom of a long list of possibly more loosely-related responsibilities.

There has been recent deliberation on whether the “Objective” line (the opening statement describing your career goals) should still be used.  Many believe it tends to shift the focus to the applicant’s own needs and goals, rather than what they can do for the organization, itself.  If you are looking for an opening line, perhaps opt for verbiage which highlights what you can offer the company, instead.

The Takeaway: Remember the Basics

Resume Writing - graphicAuthor, lecturer, and Guinness Book of World Records IQ record-breaker, Marilyn Mach (aka; Marilyn vos Savant) once stated, “When our spelling is perfect, it’s invisible.  But when it’s flawed, it prompts strong negative associations”.

Given the level of competition in today’s job market, there truly is no margin for error, when it comes to your résumé. Spelling counts; grammar counts; explaining gaps in your work history counts.  You don’t want to risk a hiring manager making unwarranted assumptions because you failed to proofread or because you took some time off for an overseas sabbatical or to write a novel.

Moreover, relevancy also counts.  While there may be room to list hobbies and interests on certain types of résumés, keep these details to a minimum, and avoid divulging any extraneous personal information.

Be truthful, insightful, and describe why you are the best person for the job by including valid examples based on past performance.  Telling them why they need you makes you the best candidate of all.

Fred Coon, CEO

 

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

What Not To Say During Your Next Job Interview

If you’ve been navigating through the job market for any length of time, you are well aware of how important it is to present yourself in the what-not-to-say-on-an-interview-professionals-at-tablebest possible light during a job interview.  Although even amidst the best of intentions, there is always the possibility that even a slight margin of error within our choice of words could cost us a job opportunity.  Chances are, you’ve expended a great deal of time and effort choosing the right responses and questions, but how much time have you spent researching what you should specifically avoid saying to an interviewer?

Your goal is to ensure that your prospective employer will remember you for your invaluable skills and winning personality, rather than any (completely avoidable) verbal blunders. Here are five of the most important statements (and questions) to steer clear of on your next job interview.

1.  “You can find it on my resume.”

If your interviewer feels that a question regarding a portion of your skill set, work experience, or education, etc. is important enough to discuss face to face, you can be assured it’s an important part of the job you’re interviewing for.  Be ready to verbally elaborate on aspects of your resume on the spot, and never refer your interviewer back to the page it’s written on.  Besides looking to learn more about your skills as they directly relate to the position, he or she is also observing your overall communication and articulation skills. Use this opportunity to show your interviewer that you are so much more than a just summary of your past job duties.

 2.  “What does your company do?”

One of the most prominent rules in preparing for a job interview is to research the company with which you’re seeking employment.  Luckily, some dedicated online investigating is really all it takes.  To go the extra mile, some extra networking inquiries can also help you glean more background on the company you have in mind.  However you choose to go about it, the one thing that cannot be argued is that it is really quite undeniably simple.  What’s more, employers know this; so asking such a basic question as “What does your company do?” shows an unfortunate lack of preparation on your end.  While there is always more to learn about an organization, a savvy candidate knows the basics of the company before he or she walk into the interview and is ready to appropriately present this knowledge.

3.  “My last company (or boss) was terrible.”

Any negative adjective at the end of that statement will still be equally as detrimental to the outcome of your interview.  While expressing thatwhat-not-to-say-on-an-interview-graphic you are looking to improve or build upon your prior experience or advance within your career is perfectly fine, directly disparaging or criticizing a former employer is never a good idea, whether it’s the company as a whole or just the individual for whom you directly worked.  While your friends and family may understand, speaking negatively about your prior place of employment during an interview-setting actually reflects more negatively upon you than the company you’re describing. If your last job was in fact a negative experience, try to at least keep your statements as neutral as possible, focusing mostly on the skills and expertise you developed and acquired while there.  Maintaining concentration on what you learned and how you grew within your position and field will help the interviewer understand your role with your previous employer, while reducing the need for you to elaborate on the company itself or its employees.   If your interviewer directly asks why you left your prior job, try simply expressing that while you respected the company for its decisions and understood their needs, you feel you would like to search for a better fit and opportunity.

4.  “What is your vacation/personal-day policy?”

Of course, we all want to work for an employer with reasonable, if not exceptional, paid-time-off policies, but unless the interviewer chooses to offer this information on his or her own accord (which is unlikely during a first interview), refrain from asking this question.  Considering all of the preliminaries to be discovered and understood on a first interview, advising your prospective employer that your next batch of days off is first and foremost in your mind may indicate that this job would possibly not be your first priority, or perhaps you are simply one to take off from work frequently.  It’s unlikely and rare that a quality organization would not have some type of paid-time-off allowances.  However, if there are personal reasons that make this an especially important issue for you, research ahead of time to find out if the company is considered a “family friendly” organization.  Otherwise, save this question for your last interview when you’ve sealed the deal, or perhaps for when you meet with HR, provided the information hasn’t already been presented to you.

5.  “I have a lot going on at home.”

This, or any statement, for that matter, that involves or describes difficult personal issues or challenges you are experiencing in your non-professional life, should be avoided.  While your interviewer may be sympathetic on a human level, it prompts the notion that you may be sidetracked or overwhelmed enough to not perform at your best working capacity, or that perhaps your personal challenges may even cut into the hours at your job.  Even if you actually are an extremely focused worker and none of these speculations are accurate, going into detail about your personal struggles is still enough to trigger some red flags in the mind of your interviewer.

The best advice:  When in doubt, keep it professional and be prepared!

Fred Coon, CEO

 

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

 

Career Highlight: Information Technology Director

Information Technology (IT) professionals are among the accomplished global workforce’s most invaluable assets. The role of IT is fairly well understood to the business world at large, as most — if very nearly all — companies have some sphere of technical operations in their functioning departments. These are the individuals who maintain the computer systems of businesses and organizations, large and small. IT it-director-businessman-entering-virtual-touchscreenprofessionals ensure that operations are running smoothly and generally provide support and advice to all users; from new hires to the boardroom.

IT professionals run a large spectrum of specialties as well, ranging from Analysts (who use their expertise to evaluate existing systems and applications – data, hardware, etc., to streamline and integrate enhancements) to Mobile Development (ensuring businesses stay connected, productive, and on top of the technology curve with on-the-go apps and software), and Security Specialists (the vital role of which is obvious to most).

Somewhat less understood, however, is the role of the IT Director. This is something of an oddity, as the vital role they play simply cannot be overstated. Indeed, without a competent IT Director fully engaged, most organizations would unravel at the seams, and in short order at that.

The Scope of the IT Director

In short, the role of the IT Director embodies the strategy, oversight, and seamless execution of an organization’s technological infrastructure. Among the IT Director’s most important functions are:

  • Oversight of technical projects
  • Ensuring all such projects are in-line with the organization’s goals and development
  • Managing the company’s networks and lines of communication
  • Oversight of systems development
  • Emergency and disaster recovery systems

With these points engaged, we begin to appreciate the value that a knowledgeable IT Director brings to a company, as well as some reasons why this professional is an indispensable asset.

In distilling the role itself, we observe that there is a specific scope of the IT Director’s responsibilities which is rarely seen outside of the upper executive suites. In choosing (or promoting) a candidate to fill this role for an enterprise, there are a few items that a clever executive would do well to consider.

  1. A prospective IT Director must have the ability to skillfully and accurately assess both new and existing technologies, and deliver it-director-screen-graphicinnovative new methods seamlessly (as is possible) into daily operations.
  2. The IT Director is typically required to handle the activities of upper-management — which is, incidentally, a task generally falling under the purview of an entire career unto itself — and is thus responsible for hiring, talent analysis, recruiting, and most other high-level duties of any other department manager.
  3. It can be concluded that the IT Director you want on staff will be able to crest all of these expectations and then demonstrate the capacity to reliably plan, evaluate, and then execute any additions of process, technical systems, and computer operations under the company umbrella.

So, we see that not only is an IT Director indispensable, they must be among the most highly competent and skilled among the team.

Those Capable May Apply

Aside from the standard formal education requirements (which are actually becoming less and less relevant in the age of open education where professionals can gain the ideal experience rather than pursuing a degree),the savvy executive will seek out those who have a demonstrable track-record of direct experience in the IT field, singling in on those who have held positions reflecting an upward momentum and, perhaps most importantly, those who have pursued an array of professional credentials and certifications in the field.

Naturally, hiring executives should pay special attention to those with experience working for the big names: Microsoft, Apple, and Cisco in particular. The CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association) is a vendor-neutral industry association which offers programs for certification on an array of brands across the spectrum of skills, and it is always worth looking into talent that can boast them.

The final point is this: a competent executive can be relied upon to conduct a comprehensive analysis and vetting of those who would fill pivotal roles in the enterprise – no exceptions.

Fred Coon, CEO

 

At SC&C we offer Career Analysis to help senior decision-makers from all walks of life identify strategies and tactics to increase their value-add employment potential.

The Multifaceted Benefits of Apprenticeship Programs

Why Apprenticeships?

Apprenticeship programs are a type of paid learning strategy which merges on-the-job-training with classroom directives.  The good news is that this method has demonstrated a positive track-record of successfully teaching workers highly sought job skills.

apprenticeship-programs-group-of-workers-at-laptopJobs, especially middle-wage jobs, are returning to the employment market after being drastically reduced during the Great Recession of last decade. However, the workforce for these jobs is simultaneously aging and retiring, leaving numerous new jobs without many trained replacements. A growing trend in the United States is to incorporate apprenticeship programs to help train new employees and potentially save a great deal of money for companies in the process.

Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce recently indicated that the United States is anticipating a shortage of 5 million technically certified and credentialed workers by the year 2020, as reported by Sarah Ayres Steinberg and Ben Schwartz, authors of “The Bottom Line: Apprenticeships Are Good for Business”. They continued that approximately half of U.S. executives employed at large-sized companies expected to have a shortage of competent workers within the next one to two years.  Predictably, employee retention is of high importance to competing companies in this tight job market; which is exactly where the concept of apprenticeships enters the equation.

Benefits to Workers and Employers

For many who do not understand how an apprenticeship program works, the fear of excess cost can be a major hindrance. Many employers are concerned that after spending resources to train new employees, these same employees may leave to work elsewhere, resulting in an ultimate loss in time and money for the company.

According to Angela Hanks, Associate Director for Workforce Development Policy, and Ethan Gurwitz, Research Associate with the Center’s Economic Policy Team, a 2012 study indicated that employers have been known to retain approximately 91 percent of employees who successfully completed apprenticeship programs for the same company.  Additional studies have indicated that employees who have received apprenticeship-programs-group-of-employees_smilingtheir training through apprenticeship programs have been happier at their jobs; as properly trained employees tend to have lower levels of frustration and higher levels of engagement, resulting in workers remaining with their employers for longer.

The turnover rate following apprenticeship training is much less than traditional hiring, which many experts also believe is the result of employees feeling more loyal to an employer who would take the time and money to train them.  Moreover, individuals who participate in apprenticeships are known to command greater earning power over the course of their careers than non-apprentices.

Another benefit of apprenticeship programs is the ability to keep a steady supply of well-trained employees who have been taught according the specifications of your organization.  These programs allow for tailored training so that new employees will be learning procedures in such a way that meets the specific needs of the company.

Community Advantages

“Apprenticeship programs are also an effective government investment. In 2013, Washington State projected that for every $1 it spent on apprenticeship, taxpayers would see a $23 return on investment,” noted Hanks and Gurwitz.

According to one Canadian study, employers actually earned $1.47 back for every $1 invested in an apprenticeship program. In November 2016, a U.S. Department of Commerce study examined the investment return of apprenticeships at 13 firms. Of the firms studied, each discovered that the program offered a definitive value as well as particular benefits which more than warranted the costs, resources, and commitments made toward the trained apprentices.

Conclusion

Finally, Hanks and Gurwitz indicated that companies who invest resources in apprenticeship programs are dually investing in the middle skills that are so important to the current and upcoming job market.  The restoration of middle-wage jobs is a sign of increasing and rebounding employer demand; indicating that now is the best time to develop skills with moderate earning-power for greater stability, retention, and ultimate earning potential for the long haul.

Fred Coon, CEO

 

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Career Highlight: Project Management

Defining the Role of a Project Manager

Project Manager is one example of a profession currently in high demand by employers, and for good reason.  Due to the increasing responsibilities and varying roles of business leaders, it is in their best interest to hire an individual who can oversee the details of a project, from conception to completion, relieving other departmental executives and high ranking managers to focus on further important facets of the organization.

project-manager-working-staff-at-table“While a business is a continuous and ongoing operation, a project is a temporary venture aimed at producing a unique product, service or process,” noted small business, finance, and technology writer, Sarita Harbour in the Chron.com article, “Why Is it Important for Organizations to Use Project Management?”

Project Management, at its core, assures the strength and stability of new initiatives.  For instance, a company who is planning to launch a new product line or marketing strategy, develop a new website or even reboot a department will call upon their Project Manager to devise strategies, assign tasks, and ensure that team members are adhering to predetermined timeline and budget requirements.

Specific Duties of a Project Manager

When a project is assigned, it is the Project Manager’s responsibility to oversee every aspect. First, they must develop an itemized budget for the overall project.

Next, managers will need to assess the strengths and talents of team members in order to properly delegate them to specifically appropriate tasks. While micromanaging is not encouraged, Project Managers will need to be kept informed of all progress and delays and react accordingly to make sure deadlines are met.

While working on the project, Managers will also be monitoring the scope of the workload and making adjustments as needed, while adapting assignments according to any issues or hitches that arise. Budgets may also need to be modified as unforeseen delays, product repairs, or other hindrances develop. It is the Project Manager’s job to adjust and correct any problems while making certain the project continues to run smoothly

How to Enter the Field of Project Management

project-manager-word-collageAccording to Computerworld contributing author, Mary K. Pratt, “Project Management is one of the hottest skills in IT today. In [their] 2015 Forecast survey, Project Management expertise was identified as the second-most sought-after skill, trailing only [behind] programming/application development.” She continued that approximately 35 percent of the 194 participating IT executives noted that their hiring strategies necessitated locating employees with abilities to lead projects.

While training and education are important, employees may begin working toward becoming a Project Manager by participating in projects within their company. This is the best opportunity to observe the routines and practices of other Project Managers, while also learning the skills necessary to successfully obtain and uphold the management of an important company endeavor.

Mangers will need to be detailed-orientated as well as possess the ability to lead other team members. A background in finance is required for the purpose of ascertaining and maintaining budget needs.  A strong technical sense is also recommended since a vast number of Project Management positions currently exist within the IT field.  Regardless of the nature of the organization, a certain amount of training and knowledge in the field is certainly beneficial.

Conclusion

If you are a conscientious professional who appreciates and enjoys continuous learning, working with as well as leading others, and receiving recognition as the one who is responsible for a successfully completed job, then a career in Project Management may just be for you.

 

Fred Coon, CEO

 

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

The Top Current Jobs in Business

What’s in Your Future?

Five sectors in the U.S. economy are going to drive more than 50 percent of the growth of new jobs in the next four years.  That’s in excess of 10,000,000 of the projected jobs by the end of 2020, and none of them contribute to economic growth.  How is it possible?

top-jobs-in-business-professional-group-pointingThese five sectors showing occupational growth are professional services, business services, social assistance, healthcare, and construction, indicating that service-based jobs are continuing an upward trend.

All five of these areas are noted for being indicators of economic growth in the technical sector.  It is clear that the job market will be calling for employees with Bachelor Degrees, Associates Degrees, Technical Degrees, and other STEM-based degrees, in the near future.

However, as we discover this information, we hope we haven’t missed an important window of opportunity.  Examine this data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  By 2022, it is projected that 25.6 percent of our work force will be aged 55 or older, a point we have never reached in US history to date.  The bulk (63.1 percent) of our work force will consist of people who are in the middle of their careers and not expected to make any significant changes.  The replacement workers, age 16 to 24, comprise only 11 percent of the workforce, which presents a problem.

We are not producing “replacement workers” fast enough to bridge the gap, and we potentially face a shortfall in the number of available workers at a time when businesses are going to be desperate for growth.

If you’re just starting out in your college education, and you’re looking at a business or technical career, that is an immense relief to employers.  You are going to be desperately needed when all those approaching retirement are finally separated from the job market.

Here are some of the areas you should focus on:

  • Advertising
  • Business operations specialists
  • Computer related occupations
  • Engineering
  • Financial occupations
  • Management occupations
  • Marketing
  • Promotion
  • Public relations
  • Sales and support services
  • Sales management and supervisors

top-jobs-in-business-outline-of-peopleComputer-related fields will provide a large portion of jobs (approximately 860,000), and management occupations will provide another approximate 200,000 positions, but none of the above listed categories are predicted to fall below 100,000 positions.

As it stands right now, when looking at all jobs on a city by city basis, hiring requirements are running between the mid-forties and the mid-fifties (percentage wise) where they stipulate a minimum of a Bachelor Degree.  That’s right…half of all the jobs require a college degree nowadays, and this, too, is a new record in our history.

Of course, in a world where babies grow up with a rattle in one hand and a tablet PC or an iPhone in the other hand, more people are technically competent now than at any other time in our history.  So what sort of jobs do we have for them?

  • Analytics Manager STEM & Tech Exp.
  • Audit Manager A.
  • Data Scientist A., Ph.D.
  • Engagement Manager Tech Degree
  • HR Manager A.
  • Mobile Developer A. & Tech Exp. Product Manager Tech Degree
  • Software Engineer C.S./Tech Degree Solutions Architect B.C.S./Tech Degree Tax Manager B.A.

The Takeaway

So, in consideration of this gap, there has never been a more important time to ascertain your plans as a job seeker. If you want to be in the construction trade, there will be plenty of great jobs for you.  The nursing profession is set to offer approximately 400,000 jobs, as well.

If, however, your interest is in business and technology, you need to take the time right now to decide where you are headed.  The biggest, most powerful ship in the world can churn the water into foam, but most assuredly it will never go anywhere important unless it also has a rudder to give it some direction.

Fred Coon, CEO

 

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