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Professionalism in the Workplace

January 16th, 2013

Last Friday in our LA office,  I gave a presentation on an article I read off Monster featuring 10 common traits that project a professional employee.  The topic is current to our office as we continue to expand and are happily joined by our newest LA members: Mike Bishop and  Bennett Florence.  As a startup ourselves in 2007, Talener has seen many changes and grown over the last six years (and continues).

As I described the following 10 common traits for a professional, the office discussion the importance of each trait, what we already do to foster it and where our weakness are for future improvement.

10 Professional Characteristics:

  1. Competence.
  2. Reliability.
  3. Honesty.
  4. Integrity.
  5. Respect for others.
  6. Self-Upgrading (currently working on).
  7. Being positive: a trait Talener employees exhibit strongly and provides to our candidates.
  8. Supporting others: another trait we provide everyday here at Talener.
  9. Staying work-focused.
  10. Listening carefully:  everyone agreed this is a very critical trait to our success.

The idea is these points show the various factors that attribute to one’s positive reputation.  We also discussed how trying to obtain these traits will benefit not only our success, our candidates’ success but also our increased self-worth as an individual working with others.


By: Amy Lee Quarles

Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog

How do you define startup?

January 14th, 2013

It’s easy to define things using dichotomies. Democrats or Republicans. New York or LA. In technology, it’s often startup or big “enterprise” company.  When we describe things this way, we miss out on some important nuances. After all, our world is spectral and always changing.

This is especially true in staffing. As recruiters and consultants, we have to realize that our clients are not categories – they are evolving organizations made up of real people and real choices. String those decisions together day after day and you can get to some interesting places. My colleagues work closely with an incredible variety of clients so I decided to put the question to them: what is a startup? If your company grows from three people in a garage to a futuristic campus full of people, is it still a startup?

To help shape the conversation, we used three guides:

  • Eric Ries defines a startup as “a human institution designed to deliver a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty.”
  • The traditional table or diagram of startup stages based on rounds of funding, milestones, etc.
  • The Greiner Curve, which charts the challenges and phases of any company’s growth.

Comparing the Greiner Curve to the commonly accepted stages of growth for a VC funded startup was especially helpful for us as we tried to put the challenges our clients face in perspective. Our group developed a long list of criteria for startups: strategies, people, technology, funding, size, business model, assets, and user base among others. Everyone offered their own definition based on their own experiences placing people ranging from the first technical employee to the next generation of developers after a big round of funding.

When I’m talking to the developers I represent, I frame the conversation around my client’s mission, the methods they are using to achieve that mission, and where this person will fit into that process. Many of the best developers want to work on a team that improves their process with testing, user data, openness, and feedback. In this environment, everything is driven by a strong sense of purpose for the product and the user. People are often surprised when they find out that companies of all sizes and in all industries can have elements of a “startup environment.” From a public radio station to a big printing company, many organizations benefit from an entrepreneurial mindset and startup strategies. If the manager sees the team’s mission in startup terms, the developers on that team will have a startup experience.

Ultimately, it’s difficult to achieve consensus in a discussion like this but asking one question can help us start to answer others: how can we tailor our services to where our clients are now and where they want to be, what unique staffing needs or challenges exist in each stage of growth, where does our own company fall on the chart, and how can we help our candidates make the best career decisions.

Posted in Current Events, Talener Blog

Understanding Project Management & Product Management

January 7th, 2013

When an organization has a project that needs to be executed there is a need for a Project Manager.  A Project Manager is  responsible for the successful delivery of a project. This is a one time task with a goal, scope, deadline and budget. There is a defined beginning and end. They follow these five traditional steps:

  1. initiation
  2. planning and design
  3. execution and construction
  4. monitoring and controlling systems
  5. completion

Once the project to build the product is complete and the project manager has moved on, the product manager remains to manage the product through the entire life cycle. The Product Manager is then responsible for the overall and ongoing success of a product. They analyze the marketing conditions and defining features of a product.

Project and Product managers use different methodologies when carrying out projects. Two of the most used methodologies  are waterfall and scrum. Waterfall follows the idea that as soon as one step is completed, it is over with and a new step starts. There is no flexibility in this methodology. Agile is the second methodology and the more popular one. It is very flexible and allows for change dependent on feedback and testing. 

Posted in Current Events, Talener Blog

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