Michael Paradise Hire IT

The good news is that the US unemployment rate continues to fall, down to 5% for October 2015, according to the latest statistics. “The Federal Reserve considers a base unemployment rate of 5.0 to 5.2% as ‘full employment’ in the economy,” according to Mitchell Hartman of Marketplace.

And still, that position you’ve been eyeing for a while, the one you applied for months ago, is still open. Why?

The economy is humming along and people are employed, so when openings are available employers have a larger universe to select from — of both employed and unemployed candidates. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, when the most recent recession began in December 2007, there were 1.8 unemployed people for every job opening. That ratio peaked at 6.8 unemployed people per job opening in July 2009 and has trended downward since. In September 2015 the ratio of unemployed people to job openings was 1.4.

US employment continued to decline after the end of the recession, reaching a low point in February 2010. Job openings have trended upwards since, surpassing the pre-recession peak of March 2007. There were 5.5 million job openings in September 2015, BLS says.

But still — what gives?

The AP explained in September: “Some economists say that a mismatch between the skills of many of the unemployed and the skills needed by expanding companies is a big reason that openings are rising more quickly than actual hiring. Openings are up 22 percent in the past year, while hiring has declined. For example, construction workers who lost jobs in the housing bust may not have transitioned to fields where jobs are plentiful, such as health care.”

Often employers are searching for the perfect candidate rather than a really good candidate who will grow into the position. These candidates are known by recruiters as “purple squirrels” — with an all-but-impossible set of qualifications including the right levels of skills and experience. And especially in tech hiring, these candidates are expected to boast the skill set that two or three workers used to possess. But as you know, purple squirrels don’t exist. At Sysazzle, we work with the 80% rule — if you find a candidate with 80% of what you want and the drive and aptitude to pick up the balance on the job, hire that person immediately.

Many analysts blame the hiring bottleneck on technology — the portals and databases companies now use to screen candidates slows down the process. While employers are looking for the “right” candidate, they are sorting through thousands of applications in order to avoid hiring the “wrong” candidate, which costs the company not only time but money.

“Right now hiring delays can represent money left on the table both for workers and employers. There has been surprisingly little research on ‘interview durations’ from the job seeker’s perspective, and how company HR policies influence delays in job matching throughout the economy,” notes Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor Chief Economist, in a press release from Glassdoor Economic Research. Glassdoor, the jobs and recruiting marketplace, issued a report this past summer entitled “Why is Hiring Taking Longer?” that looked at the global hiring process from the candidates’ perspective.

Employer size, location and sector also factor in, with big companies and government taking longer to hire. “Job candidates in the Washington D.C. area report a slow hiring process as government jobs in this region tend to be more dominant – candidates in the nation’s capital report the hiring process takes an average of 34.4 days, which is roughly twice the time it takes candidates in Miami (18.6 days) to get hired,” according to the report.

Additionally, candidate background checks, skills tests and drug tests also add time to the process. But is a longer hiring process the new normal?

Glassdoor’s Chamberlain told Business Insider that HR professionals are telling him, “‘I’m seeing the same thing at my company, we’re now doing more and more of these screens, because we have systems that are just set up to do it, and no one’s really evaluating whether it’s working or not.’ Fads in hiring go through cycles. They may dial back when they realize how much of a delay each of these things cause. I don’t think most people realize.”

Is Your Introversion Holding Back Your Career?

Michael Paradise - CEO at Sysazzle, Inc (Business & Information Technology systems)
Michael Paradise is the CEO at Sysazzle, Inc (Business & Information Technology systems).

Even the most outgoing, extroverted professionals have a tough time managing their careers. But what if you’re an introvert? Do you have an even tougher time building the skills to get ahead, interact with colleagues who can help you progress, undertake a job search? And let’s drill down further — what if you’re an introvert in tech?

It sounds like a reality show — “Introverts in Tech!” — and research shows a preponderance of introverts in the field. IDG Connect, a technology marketing firm, surveyed 465 IT professionals, conducted in-depth interviews with industry experts, and collected first-person testimonials. Just over half (53%) of those surveyed said they were introverts, 20% said they were extroverts, and 24% claimed to be ambiverts (a hybrid). The remaining 3% didn’t know. IDG’s conclusion is that these results “correlate with a lot of the core work that IT professionals have to do.”

Indeed, the tech industry is included on Tony Lee’s list of “10 Best Jobs for Introverts.” Lee is publisher of CareerCast, a job listing and advice site.

So what, exactly, is introversion? Susan Cain, author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” discussed this in a 2012 TED Talk. Introversion isn’t the same as being shy. “Shyness is about fear of social judgment,” Cain said. “Introversion is more about how do you respond to stimulation, including social stimulation. So extroverts really crave large amounts of stimulation, whereas introverts feel at their most alive and their most switched on and their most capable when they are in quieter, more low-key environments.”

The bottom line, then, according to Myers-Briggs, is the different ways introverts and extroverts get their energy.

IDG sums up the challenge of introverts in IT this way: “There is no typical IT personality, but there are different ways of working and engaging with others. And today, as the role of IT develops, IT leaders are increasingly required to move outside the narrow remit of IT in order to sell the benefits of their department into the wider business. This could prove a double-edge sword, but it is worth remembering that you don’t have to be extroverted to sell, although you may need to be introverted to spend 12 hours doggedly pursuing one single detail-oriented development task.”

That’s especially true at senior levels, where positions are no longer siloed and every executive is responsible for the bottom line.

It’s important to interject the obvious: before you can do the job you have to get the job. Introverts can remember a few simple tips for self-presentation for interviewing during the hiring process, according to Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D. Writing in Psychology Today, Whitbourne boils down to this simple advice: prepare, prepare, prepare. She recommends asking about the interview process, scoping out the physical location, researching your interviewers, reminding yourself that you know your stuff, rolling with the punches during the interview, and leaving on a high note.

Introverts might take comfort by utilizing methodologies like the FIRST method, a communications tool used by top sales professionals and executives. FIRST aims to build relationships by uncovering the needs of others in each important meeting and conversation so you can work together successfully:

F: Foundation — develop rapport and build trust by getting to know the other person

I: Issues — uncover needs and discuss current and future challenges

R: Results — identify results sought and understand the consequences if unsuccessful at meeting the results

S: Solutions — discover and discuss possible solutions

T: Teaming — identify who else is involved in the solution and how to get started

“The key to this ‘other centered’ methodology is to be interested, not trying to be interesting,” says Richard Hoag, Esq., CEO of FIRST Professional Resources, Inc. “This is certainly a more comfortable approach for those not prone to extroversion, and people are universally more open to those who ask and listen, than those who try to tell them what to do.”

If introversion vs. extroversion is about energy and comfort, then outreach, collaboration, and consultation are the skills introverts must develop while remaining true to their core personalities in the workplace and throughout the hiring process.

Is Recruiting Prowess the Key to Your Success?

Michael Paradise Hire IT


According to the March 2015 LINE (Leading Indicators of National Employment) from the Society for Human Resource Management, recruiting difficulty had increased in both the manufacturing and services sectors in February 2015.

 What are organizations to do in order to stay competitive?

Focus on top notch recruiting efforts.

Is recruiting an art that deserves center stage in your business?

We all know it is.

The recruiting and staffing industry plays a direct role in the success of your business — the wrong hire wastes time and money in innumerable ways, from out-of pocket recruiting costs (accommodations, transportation) and on boarding costs (equipment, training), to disruption costs associated with lost work and opportunity costs associated with missed business, failure to hire other candidates, and miscommunications internally and with clients.

Finding the right candidate to fill a position is a process that begins in most cases before the position is even open: ideally, your recruiter will focus on getting to know your organization from the inside out to better understand your culture, and the culture of the specific group or team you’re hiring for. The balance of the team is important to create a functioning whole, and if your recruiter knows what makes your company or team tick, they can cut to the chase on candidate selection. A good recruiter will present you fewer candidate resumes, but ones that will be a better fit for the position.

One key component of making the right hire is having an appropriate job description and a good sense of expectations for your new employee. A good recruiter will ask challenging questions and probe deeply for hidden agendas when looking at a job description. Drafting an updated position description to address current and upcoming needs will ensure you find the appropriate candidate. Don’t use an “in the can” job description, or one pulled from a random website that “sounds like” what you’re looking for. You need to customize the job description to your exact needs, reviewed by HR for compliance and legal reasons if necessary, and utilizing the input of the professionals on the recruiting team.

One more point: your recruiter should be cognizant that their reputation is built on each and every placement and relationship they make — in other words, they should be focused on your needs, not theirs. If you sense that their business expansion is a priority over yours, or that they’re throwing a quantity of resumes at you rather than quality candidates, or their leadership isn’t actively engaged in your success, it may be time to reassess that relationship. Their inattention could ultimately spill into your company.

You have a lot riding on your business, and you need to know the people you hire feel the same responsibility. That means hiring a recruiter that knows the intricacies of your industry and the specific needs of your company.


Is Your Job Search Challenging? Then You Need A Coach!

Michael Paradise - CEO at Sysazzle, Inc (Business & Information Technology systems)
Michael Paradise is the CEO at Sysazzle, Inc (Business & Information Technology systems).

Job hunting is tough today, and different than you may remember if you’ve been out of the market for awhile. No longer do you find an opening in the newspaper, apply, and wait for a phone call. A job search today requires strategy, focus, and commitment to the process — a sales and marketing process. Yes, I said it, a sales and marketing process and…

In short, looking for a job, your next career move or something to fill in the gap between your last job and your next career move — is a full-time job.

When you need help at home, with your car or for your health, you turn to a professional, right? So shouldn’t you put your career path in the hands of a professional too?

The right coach will provide the guidance you need to get to the next level. Working with you one-on-one, a good coach will help you to identify and clarify your career goals and develop a personalized plan for you to implement.

He or she should be with you every step of the way to keep you on track, which often includes day-to-day if not hour-to-hour contact when things heat up.

The 2012 ICF Global Coaching Study, sponsored by the International Coach Federation, found that there were 47,500 professional coaches worldwide, compared to 2,100 professional coaches in 1999. In addition to career coaching, ICF represents executive coaches, life coaches, leadership coaches, relationship coaches, and other skilled coaching fields. According to the study, “most clients reported improved work performance, better business management, more efficient time management, increased team effectiveness, and more growth and opportunities… Nearly 70 percent of individuals indicated they had at least made back their initial investment. The median suggests that a client who achieved financial benefit from coaching can typically expect a ROI of more than three times the amount spent.”

For our career coaching clients, Sysazzle reviews and revises your resume to make sure it tells your story to a prospective employer; develops a winning cover letter you can adapt for multiple positions; assesses your online presence on social media to ensure consistency and professionalism; develops a portfolio that showcases your skills, talents and accomplishments; reviews your wardrobe so that you present yourself in the best light; and teaches you research, outreach, follow up and interview techniques and tactics so you’ll be successful in the job search process.

A Real Life Example: April 2014 – September 2014

One of Sysazzle’s coaching clients, Robert, is a mid-career IT professional who spent a year looking for the right position without any success. He was employed but wanted a new opportunity and a step up the career ladder, and thought a coach would help him to focus his efforts. Sysazzle began working with him and together they developed a personalized plan to market Robert in his search.

“At first, my coach spent time explaining the sales and marketing process and level of quantity and quality required to get hired; find that next career move. We created a baseline of activity and a high level plan. I then created a more granular plan and then I checked in with my coach for a few minutes every day to ask questions or get some guidance,” Robert said. “But once I had a better feel for the approach we spoke every few days or once a week. I have a 25-year career behind me but looking for a job is different now than it used to be, and there’s a whole new process I had to learn which included being vulnerable and getting out of my chair.

“The first thing we did was to fine tune my resume to highlight key aspects, skills and accomplishments that meshed with what my targeted companies were looking for. Then we drafted a cover letter that complemented my resume. We also developed a portfolio package that showcased my work that I could take to interviews and leave behind.

“At the same time as were putting the paperwork together, I was coached on the interview process itself — how to answer questions, how to ask the right questions, and how to be conversational instead of technical. We also covered how to follow up to stay on the screen instead of being forgotten: Things like what to say in handwritten notes, how long to wait to call back, and even how to drop in on someone I interviewed with while not seeming pushy. I learned that there’s a specific way to handle these situations, and knowing how to thread the needle is key.

“I found the position I was looking for — the right level of responsibility, in the location I wanted, with people I like and respect. Coaching taught me how to market and sell myself, and helped me get this job.”

Robert’s success is due to many factors, but especially the focus he placed on the search. The time he spent — about 40 hours over the course of four months – sharpening his interview skills and materials so that he could reach the next step in his career was an investment in his future.

The bottom line is that today you need to use every tool and resource at your disposal to make your job search a success. Other candidates are — and they’re getting hired! If you’re looking for a job, looking for a better job, or looking for a career instead of just a job, then you need a coach!

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Clean Up Your Online Presence

IT Recruiting
Whether you realize it or not, your online presence plays a larger role in your job search than you think. Employers and recruiters now routinely search online to see what candidates are really like — not just what they present in a resume and an interview. And yes, it’s legal. So how should you approach your cyber life? Here’s a three-step process to get you on your way.

Step One: Assess where you are

You can’t fix problems you don’t know about. So to begin, conduct a comprehensive review of all of your online accounts — including the ones that you set up way back in college (or the early days of the Internet, if applicable!) that you haven’t used in years.
Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, MySpace, Flickr, and the dozens of others that have come and go in popularity and use over the past 15 years are living out there in cyberspace telling a story about you. And it may be a story you don’t want told!

Remember: first impressions count, and are hard to reverse. Google yourself with keywords pegged to different times in your life, such as schools, cities or previous jobs and organizations, to see what others may see about you.

Step Two: Clean up the mess!

First, don’t panic. Methodically comb through your current and formerly used accounts to determine how they need to be fixed. If you haven’t used an app in years, correct any mistakes and delete embarrassing information, then delete the account entirely. You will at least have set the record straight before the account disappears, and you’re also able to take a screenshot of the corrected site in case an embarrassing issue becomes public.

Second, streamline! Determine which sites are useful to your personal and professional lives and eliminate the rest. For instance, if you’re a Facebook user, review your pics and posts and delete the ones that you don’t want a potential employer to see — or better yet, make your profile private so only friends and real contacts see it. And go back as far in the past as you can for this review! You may have been able to get away with a silly post when you were in high school, college, or even a first job, but look at it in the context of what it says about you today; your judgment, demeanor and attitudes may be more mature today but those can be easily undermined by one inappropriate post.

Now do the same with all your accounts! Some, like Twitter, are easy to review and revise. What’s important to remember is that you must be thorough, because your potential employer certainly will be.

Step Three: Move forward consistently

The best way to ensure your online profile won’t raise any alarms is to be consistent, not only in what you post but also in how you appear.

Simplify by having one professional photo as your ID on all your pages ensures potential employers will see the real you. Update contact and other necessary and appropriate information and stats. For LinkedIn,which is now the go-to site for professionals, cull and condense older positions that aren’t applicable to where your career is today, and add professional organizations and memberships you enjoy and awards or acclaim you’ve won.

Post only those items and thoughts that will enhance your appeal to a potential employer. Be aware of the comments and likes you’re providing, and what they say about you. Better yet, create your own guidelines for appropriate topics and stick to them so that “of the moment” comment won’t come back to bite you.

Moving forward, try to brand your online life as your own. Get your own domain name and utilize that email account; sign up as yourself or a single identity (no cute names!) on your social media accounts, so potential employers see what you’re posting and commenting on. If it makes sense, sign up for Klout so potential employers see the benefits of your online presence. Raising your profile the right way pays dividends.

Your online presence can enhance your job search, or it can kill it before it even begins — that’s up to you. You can clean up and repair past mistakes, but it takes diligence and a commitment to ensure you’re always putting your best foot forward.