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Why We Give Back

February 12th, 2016

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There are hundreds, even thousands of charities that work tirelessly to ensure that we take care of those who need information, guidance, and help to get through their daily lives. The reasons that we give back are infinite. Whether you feel compelled based on personal experience or because it makes you feel better – giving back is an essential part of contributing to society.

As a company, we give back for various reasons. But simply put, it’s just the right thing to do. We have been able to build a successful organization with passionate people who allow us to give back in many ways. It is our responsibility to show our appreciation for our success and lead by example. It shows our staff how passionate we are, and in turn allows them to be passionate about causes that are important to them.

In the month of November, as the holidays approached, we wanted to bring attention to the fact that many people would not be eating holiday meals at the same time that many of us were preparing to head off to our families for the holiday season. In fact, many would not be eating meals at all. It was important for us to reach out to a population that can be forgotten because they can’t necessarily be seen on the street or in a soup kitchen. Our decision to support Meals on Wheels in November helped us to understand that many older Americans are unable to leave their homes to shop for or get a nutritional meal.

Our goal was to donate at least $10,000 to the organization. We wanted to give our staff the opportunity to be part of this donation by giving them a competition that we knew they would take to heart. And we were right. $10,400 later, we proudly presented a check just in time for the New Year. There was no prize for them. There was no personal incentive to work harder. There was no monetary reward. There was no trip or fancy dinner. But our employees went above and beyond to make sure that we hit that goal.

Last winter, I took an eighth grade class into New York City to help set up a soup kitchen and feed the needy. It was a great experience for the kids and myself because everyone was so appreciative. And there was a realization that we are all people. We are all the same. Everyone’s circumstances are different, but everyone needs to be fed and needs to know where their next meal is coming from. No one in this country should be wondering about whether they will be hungry tomorrow.

Giving back to Meals on Wheels made us understand that we were helping those who could have very well been our parents or grandparents. And this understanding gives us the insight to appreciate not only our meals, but our families, our health, and ability to get up every day without the fear of not knowing where we will sleep, how we will eat, and if we will be safe as night falls again.

Coincidentally, as I’m writing these thoughts, this was posted by my church in an email today. Whether you are religious our not – the idea is universal.

“We need to feed the hungry in the name of Jesus, and that is a high honor and call. We need to make sure that none of our neighbors are ever turned away when they look to the church for help.” – Timothy Cardinal Dolan

I am so proud of our staff for considering it an honor to give back. I am so proud that they went above and beyond their normal work to ensure that we could reach our goal. And I’m so proud that we are able, as a company, to help those that need it most.

Join us this month as we take on our next challenge for Cycle For Survival. Every one of our offices has put together a spinning team to raise money and ride against rare cancers. And once again, I know they will make me proud to have such a dedicated team of people who are professionally and personally so passionate about giving back.

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Posted in Company News, Talener Blog

Insights from the CEO: Passive Job Seekers

February 1st, 2016

While on a client visit at a few weeks ago, the term “passive candidate” came up in our conversation. The hiring manager explained that they recently had a candidate who turned down their offer. When we asked why, they explained that they turned it down because they were a “passive candidate”.

Later on, a colleague and I spoke about what it really means to be a “passive candidate”. The definition in itself is simple: it’s anyone who is actively working. In order to on board a passive candidate, an offer from a different company needs to be “better” than their current position. But this is where the simple definition weaves itself into a spider web of complex emotions, needs & desires. “Better” does not mean the same thing for everyone. If you have a family, perhaps it’s monetary or stability. If you are beginning your career “better” could mean team size or the latest and greatest office perks.

My intention is not to lump passive candidates into one pool. Rarely does one factor (let alone the same one) influence the decision to leave one role and accept another. If your spouse is making $1m annually as a brain surgeon, your primary motivation may not be remuneration centric. But, you never know.

A few week ago, Mark Zandi, of Moody’s predicted full employment by mid-2016. What does this mean on a macro level? Companies are competing for top talent and their roles may not look as appealing as they were during the recession.

As the owner and CEO of Talener, I would hate to think that someone could offer a better opportunity than myself. I know that individuals are drawn to certain roles and my goal is to constantly find people who are drawn to mine.

Getting to the root of what someone “wants” and what is “better” isn’t quite as easy as asking them…”so, what do you want?” While we start by asking each candidate what they want in their next role, this only scratches the surfaces to the true needs and desires that each individual has. Honing in on specifics gives us a detailed portrait where we can see the individual brushstrokes that make up the overall picture.

So…what do you want? We ask our candidates, and you should ask yourself what you really want and need from your next role. Industry? Title? Technology? Location? Work from Home? Salary? Benefits? Organization Size? Start Up? Public Company? Often we compromise of the size of a company in order to get the ideal title or location. But if the healthcare industry is part of your future ideal job- let us know! We don’t want to miss anything that is important to you.

As we start the New Year and we’ve all had our fill our holiday festivities, one of my favorite ways to describe this process comes from watching “A Christmas Story”. Ralphie has brain freeze while on Santa’s lap and agrees that he wants a football for Christmas. But, as he slides down, away from Santa, he remembers what he really wants: an official Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot range model air rifle.

The lesson here is to ask twice and to be careful not to lead someone towards a role that they would like, but it isn’t really want they want or need. It is as much our responsibility to ask and ensure that we understand as it is yours, the passive candidate.

Simply saying that a role was turned down because someone was “passive” doesn’t get to the real reason that the offer is unaccepted. Without placing blame, we have been taught to hold our cards close. Because revealing everything means showing our true desires, insecurities or hot button issues. A role that is passed up doesn’t mean that it is not attractive or desirable- it just means that it wasn’t “better” for that candidate.

This needs to be a two way street. We, as recruiting professionals, need to support candidates in their current role. Something new is not necessarily always better. Sometimes the best advice we can give to a candidate is to stay put. This doesn’t mean that we don’t have something for them or a role that could fit their job searching criteria. It means that we’re looking out for your best interest in your current role. Technology has been very forgiving to those who move from role to role. New Software and startups move quickly and wait for no one. But sometimes our best advice is to stay put.

At the end of the day, very few candidates that are truly passive. And very few candidates can tell you that absolutely nothing, no other role, no other location or salary could be better. So does that mean that everyone is an active candidate? Not necessarily. With full employment coming into mid-2016, for the first time in a few years, companies will be dealing with “active recruits” in addition to “active candidates”.

So in this ocean of candidate labels, what does it all mean? Active recruits are going to cost more than an active or passive candidate. You want them. You pursue them. A fresh faced college student with a Computer Science degree could command close to $100k without having worked a day in the field. Some of the largest companies compete for top talent, paying premiums to recruit active candidates.

Our goal, as a company, is to ensure that our clients are getting the best candidates who know what they want and how they will fit into their structure. But our goal is also to provide candidates with job opportunities that give them what they want.

Instead of lumping everyone into a category, we need to consider where the candidate in their search (if there is one) and where a client stands on a position. Step back and ask yourself these questions before you blame a passive candidate or, if you’re the candidate, what would be “better”:

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While these are only a few of the questions the clients and candidates should be asking themselves as they sort through their needs and wants, it is insight into how involved the hiring process is- no matter which side you are on. Human emotions and needs can derail a slam-dunk offer, no matter how great. If it isn’t the “better” that candidates are seeking out, then it won’t work. So passive, active, or recruit- your better, by better, and their better will never match 100%.

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Posted in Talener Blog, Uncategorized

Hungry for the Holidays

November 2nd, 2015

We are constantly inundated with images of those less fortunate than us.  From homelessness to abused pets, children without access to education or a lack of lifesaving vaccinations- we know that there are many places that our time, money, and effort can go to help those is need.

This November, as we approach the Holiday Season, Talener would like to take some time to support an effort that hits very close to home, but isn’t always at the forefront of our minds.  When we think of hunger, we often overlook a population that needs our help: seniors in our own communities.

Talener has chosen to support the hungry this holiday season.  17.6 million seniors have difficulty paying for basic living needs- including healthy meals.  Many people are unable to leave their homes to shop, cook healthy meals, and meet their needs.  In fact, 14.8 million of them are isolated; living alone.  Many would not be able to stay living in their homes without these services.

One year’s worth of meals delivered to a senior costs less than ONE day spent in a hospital.  Simply, this means that we can make a difference for our parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents. They can eat well, even when they are unable to go out due to injury, illness, weather, etc.

During the month of November, Talener will donate $50 for every Interview Session (known in our lingo as a ‘Company In’) that takes place in one of Talener’s six offices.  From NYC to Boston, Chicago to Washington DC and all the way out to our offices in San Francisco & Los Angeles, we want to rack up the interviews so that we can give the most amount of money.  If we reach over 100 interview sessions, then we’ll double it- $100 each!

What’s the catch?  There is no catch.  If you are looking to hire great tech talent this month and need to fill your staff roster- then it is a win-win.  You get to meet several pre-screened tech candidates in one interview session, receive immediate feedback from candidates, and decide on-site who will meet you for additional rounds.  By using our office space, we create a neutral environment for the candidates and it allows you to only bring those who you want to interview again, into your office.  There is no obligation to hire.  We will donate the $50 (and hopefully $100!) per interview session whether you hire one of our candidates or not.

This is our way of motivating our staff, bringing awareness to hunger within the senior population, and to give back to the communities that we call home.

If you would like to discuss a tech job that you would like to fill, contact one of our office directors (below) and they will be happy provide market & candidate trends, as well as the benefits to conducing first round interviews in our offices.

Thank you and we wish you a happy beginning to your holiday season!


  • New York City- Kimberly Siembieda: ksiembieda@talener.com
  • Boston- Rob Laughlin: rlaughlin@talener.com
  • Chicago- Chris Fanning: cfanning@talener.com
  • San Francisco- Dillon Johnston: djohnston@talener.com
  • Los Angeles- Austin Douglas: adouglas@talener.com
  • Washington DC Metro- Justin Cottrell: jcottrell@talener.com

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Posted in Talener Blog

First Impressions Last

May 20th, 2015

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We all know that the cover of a book never tells the whole story; but on the job hunt- first impressions last.  Recruiters and hiring managers want to get past the title page and uncover your story. And in technology staffing, these impressions are vital as the market moves at light speed, languages & software are constantly updating, and companies demand more than just technical skills.  Some of our top recruiters sat down and talked about what makes a good first impression and what immediately turns them off.


KThumbs Up Greenim: I’m most impressed with someone who is passionate about what they do. If you are truly passionate about your job, you go above and beyond. A hiring manager once told me, “if you tell me you are open to learning a technology, but you don’t do anything on your own to learn, it’s like telling me you want to lose weight, but you’ve never been on a treadmill.”

Thumbs Up GreenMike: In the tech industry, there is a misconception that coders & developers are buried in a back corner, headphones in their ears, hunched over a keyboard. This just isn’t the case. Communication skills and personality are becoming more and more critical to our clients.  Effective communication is always a great way to get my attention.

Thumbs Up & Down Red_GreenMarina: Confidence. I guess this can be both impressive and a turn off. You need to believe in yourself, your skills, and your ability to land a job.  But, there is a fine line between confidence and an inflated ego.

Thumbs Down RedOlivia: Leave your ego at the door! We know that you have some of the top tech skills in the country but we have a lot of experience working through the hiring process for your specific skills set.  Plus, we have insight about how certain hiring managers conduct their interviews or how do you get you more money! My goal is to help!

Thumbs Down RedNick: It is frustrating when people immediately shut themselves off to certain industries without even taking the time to research or talk with the company.  It never hurts to network, practice your interview skills, and learn more about an industry that you might not be familiar with.

Thumbs Up GreenRachel: A smile, a handshake, and a put-together appearance (stained clothes happen a lot more often than you think!) go a long way.  But I’m really impressed by someone who can bring in a well-written, easy to follow, 1-2 page resume.  This gives us more time to go beyond the resume and truly get into your needs and wants in a new position.

Thumbs Up GreenNick: I find it really impressive when candidates are able to articulate what they really want. It makes a big difference if you can tell me your ideal type of working environment.  Small team? Collaborative? Work from home? Large organization? Learning opportunities?

Thumbs Down RedMike: Sometimes candidates have had a really bad experience with another recruiting agency and that attitude transfers to me.  I guess it is the classic “one bad apple spoils the bunch” mentality.  But it is really a turn off because my goal is to help you find a job. This is a partnership and the results are mutually beneficial.

Thumbs Up GreenOlivia: I am always on board when a candidate can communicate well.  A candidate who can express what they truly want in a position, helps us to help them.  Communication leads to a relationship, a relationship leads to trust. It is definitely a win-win for everyone.

Thumbs Down RedKim: I’m always turned off when someone thinks their resume is the be-all, end-all. There is so much more to your story and that is one of the reasons we meet with every candidate.  Personality, communication, presentation, and drive are just as important, if not more.

Thumbs Down RedRachel: It sounds cliché, but it happens ALL the time: Don’t be late! Traffic happens; trains are late.  But a quick heads up is always appreciated. If you are late without any explanation, it puts me in a situation where I don’t know if you’ll do the same thing to a hiring manager.

Thumbs Up & Down Red_GreenJustin: Demeanor & presentation: these both impress me and turn me off.  Being put together is more than just how you dress. It is about whether you are prepared, have eliminated outside distractions, and are focused on the the task at hand.  Someone who is well put together, with a clear head, confidence, and goals… has my attention.

Recruiters and hiring managers can screen hundreds of resumes every month.  At Talener, we also meet with all of the candidates we represent in order to build relationships, find the right candidate-client match, and to make sure that we are getting you the best possible package.  Getting to know you is part of opening your story and learning more about you. The hiring process can be daunting at any stage of your career and our goal is to have you put your best foot forward when you do get in front of your potential future boss.

Need more interview tips or want to prepare your resume?  Contact us for expert advice, market trends, or just to talk about potential positions what we have open!

Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog

Reflecting on the First Eight Years of Talener

April 3rd, 2015

Happy Anniversary, Talener!

Yesterday, Talener celebrated eight years in business. It would be an understatement to say that the time has flown by. They have been filled with wonderful people & memories.

I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone who has made Talener into the company it is today; a well-respected IT staffing firm that works tirelessly to provide exciting opportunities for employees, to deliver top talent to its clients, and to provide incredible jobs to its candidates. So bear with me, as I get a bit nostalgic & reflect on some of the great people and memories. I feel truly blessed to have had the chance to work with so many people over the years. While you may not know every name or story personally, each one has impacted Talener and has built it to what it is today.

Day One:

Talener was born in a 20’x20’, midtown Manhattan conference room, on April 2nd 2007. At the helm- Chris, Ashley and I, took on the IT staffing world. On Day 3, Ashley asked if she could set up a computer collecting dust in the corner. Of course! But, I said, “You have to set all of them up.” I was thrilled—I had no idea how to do it.

Chris placed our very first candidate, Alex, into a quality assurance job. We may have celebrated a bit too much, but it was a milestone. Talener was no longer just a name, we were a fee earning business. And then—it happened again! I placed our second candidate, Rahul, with Patricia at a midtown bank. But it was not without its difficulties- Rahul decided to take another job the night before his interview with our client. After some persuasion, Rahul agreed to go to his interview. Instead of moving to Detroit, he took the contract with the bank stayed for nearly two years!

Our First Hire:

With two deals under our belt, it was time to hire! Pat came to us as a blessing in disguise. He kept Ashley, Chris, and I from killing each other in our tiny cube of an office. Pat started training on his first day and was so overwhelmed by all of the information that I had to take him out for a beer before 3pm. Once that hurdle was cleared, Pat became an integral part of the Talener team and eventually gave all of us nicknames. From the Heronater to Matty Boom Batty, HB Blades to Winstonian, he had a name for everyone. While growing as a company, we also grew as friends. Pat helped out at our son’s birthday (in the sweltering heat) by holding our youngest, Nina, and running back and forth from the car to get cold drinks.

Talener is…

Talener is so many things. We are a community of people who work hard and play hard.  We have a great time with our clients and we would not be here if they hadn’t believed in our abilities.

Talener is sharing success. Greg, a Migration Project Manager Consultant, was hired and then (on the same day) a few years later, we celebrated his promotion to director at the same company.

Talener is about relationships. In 2008, our client, Leslie hired some of our best web producers in New York. From celebrating the successes with Leslie and Mike to Yankee games with Andrew, and wine filled lunches with Betsy—these four clients helped me build what Talener has become today. While you may not know these four people, I will be forever thankful for their support. These relationships are what make Talener great.

Talener is growing. From our early New York City days, we have grown significantly. Curt (Belly Buds) Williams and Rory started our Los Angeles office in 2009 while Tobias & Zen opened San Francisco in 2010. Not to be outdone—Rob, Kim, Ashley & Ben charged into Boston in 2012 and Dan, Ashley, Jacob and David took on chilly Chicago in 2013. And most recently, in January of this year Justin, Margo, Kate & Chris moved to our nation’s capital to break into one of the hottest new tech markets—Washington DC. To all of you, I sincerely hope that you’ve had as much fun as I had starting a new office.

Challenges:

Starting Talener has not been without its struggles. Like any start up, we tripped over printer cords, dealt with dropped calls, internet outages, canceled meetings, and no-show candidates. But those aren’t the memories that stay with me. The memories that stay with me are those that make me proud of my staff for taking a leap of faith to help Talener flourish.

In Closing:

I want to thank all of you, including my current circle of trust- Henry, Tobias, Rory & Chris. It is always a pleasure to have you on the team and work with you every day. Your courage, strength, energy and unwavering belief in Talener allows me to sleep at night. I know we will accomplish our goal of making Talener the best IT staffing firm. I cannot express my sincere appreciation enough. My belief and commitment in you is unwavering. There have been countless other people who have contributed to Talener, and to all of you (you know who you are), please know that you will always be in my thoughts and prayers. Rare a day goes by when you are not remembered. The stories always end with a laugh and a smile.

The past eight years at Talener have been filled with great memories, stories & people. I anxiously await what the next eight years will bring. Oh, the places we will go!

 

With Sincere Thanks,

Michael Dsupin

CEO, Talener

Posted in Talener Blog

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