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7 Ways Evaluate Your Contract-to-Hire Job

October 9th, 2018

If you find yourself in a position to consider or accept a contract-to-hire job, use this opportunity to evaluate the company, the job, and whether it is the right permanent fit.

Try before you buy

A contract-to-hire job is a great way for both a consultant and employer to try each other out before making a long-term commitment.  During your contract period, you and your manager can assess whether the job and the company is the right fit for you.  At the end of the contract, you can choose to continue the relationship or part ways, ending the contract period.  For an employer, the end of a contract may not cause the ripple among employees that can occur when a permanent employee departs. And for you, it is easy out if you really don’t like the job or your co-workers.

Assess the company & its culture

Contract-to-hire jobs put you in a unique position to evaluate the company from the inside.  From procedures and hierarchy to organizational stability and operational structures, this time gives you a snapshot of how you will interact with the organization on a day-to-day basis.  Likewise, assess whether the company’s culture matches your values.

Find your fit

Knowing that a new job is the right fit can be tough to decode after a few interviews.  Chances are, you haven’t had a chance to meet with everyone and see the team dynamic before starting your job. Figure out where you fit into the team and the organization through your contract. Decide whether it is the right structure and environment to meet your needs and goals.

Assess work-life balance

What kind of hours do permanent employees work? Are they expected to eat lunch at their desks? Are there flexible arrival and departure times? Are vacation days hard to come by – or does this vary by manager or department? Evaluate how a permanent position will affect your lifestyle and whether you would need to make changes.

Evaluate the perks & benefits

Since most contracting positions do not offer full benefits or perks, this is a great time to evaluate what other employees have through the organization.  Get an insider’s look at their 401k plan, wellness benefits, company-sponsored insurance & more.  Plus, there may be some non-advertised perks or incentives that help you in your decision-making process.

Build your skill set

Add new experience and skills to your resume. Whether you decide to stay with the position or not, take the opportunity to learn new systems, programming languages, or methodologies.  These skills build on your existing experience and give you a leg up if your contract-to-hire job also has to be advertised outside of the organization before it is officially offered to you.

Answering: Why did you leave?

Explaining short stints on a resume can be tough. And it can make future employers weary that you won’t stick around if you’re hired permanently. In a contract-to-hire job, you can roll right into the position without needing to jump through the question hoops that outside candidates may face.

Or, if you decide to leave at the end of the contract, it’s easy to confirm that your contract finished without any further explanation needed.

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Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog

Eight Tech Resume Red Flags

September 5th, 2018

Your resume is a short reflection of your experience.  It doesn’t tell the whole story, but it invites potential employers to learn more about your background and open a door into how you can potentially fit into their organization.  Typically, less than 30 seconds is spent scanning a resume before it is moved from one pile to another.  Here are eight resume red flags to watch for as you craft your own:

  1. Perm Job Hopping: Consulting or project-based roles have become increasingly popular for tech jobs. Employers can wrap their heads around this type of work because they have a defined start and end. But hopping from one perm job to another raises eyebrows- even in a market where tech talent is in high demand.

 

  1. Your Resume Isn’t Relevant: Creating a detailed, yet concise resume is tough. But one or two pages of relevant and focused information about you generates further interest without overwhelming your potential employer. Listing every position you’ve held creates noise that dilutes what’s actually important.

 

  1. Being the CTO in a Team of One: Did you start or join a start up as a junior or mid-level engineer? If you were the only technical person, it may be tempting to list yourself as the CTO when you apply to new jobs. But unless you can back up your skills and experience, potential employers may have a hard time translating your resume into your actual capabilities.

 

  1. Your Timeline Isn’t Specific: Are months or years missing on the resume? Asking an employer to fill in the blanks as they read through your resume is a sure-fire way to raise red flags.  Including the to-and-from specifics eliminates guesswork, uncertainty about months or years of technical experience, and provides a neat timeline to assess your abilities developed within a position.

 

  1. Inflating Technical Experience: If it is on your resume as a technical skill, be prepared to answer questions about what you’ve done and how you can apply it to a future job. If you haven’t used a program or language since college and can’t answer a technical question or whiteboard – leave it off your resume.

 

  1. Out of Order: If your resume isn’t listed in chronological order that lists the most important / relevant information first – you’re forcing an employer to seek out information that is pertinent to them.  Provide them with an easy timeline that lists the most important facts about your experience first. Chances are, the 5th bullet point listed under your third job isn’t getting read at all.

 

  1. Resume Photos & Personal Information: In many countries, it is not uncommon to include photos, gender, birthdate, marital status, or citizenship on a resume.  However, this can send warning signals to an employer who may think that you don’t understand local customs. While you may be the best candidate for the position – including this information also sets you up for unintentional bias or discrimination before your resume has even been read.

 

  1. Buzzword Overload: While resume screening systems search for keywords to match resumes up with jobs– too many buzzwords (or too many of the same buzzword) may turn off a human resume reader. Use the most important keywords to convey your experience; but avoid taking up valuable resume space using words or phrases repeatedly that don’t create any additional value.

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Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog

Learning from Negative Interview Feedback

January 25th, 2018

“Take criticism seriously, not personally,” encourages Talener’s Gabe Klein.  The Chicago Director echoes this sentiment when he delivers negative feedback to his candidates during the interview process.  Whether he is conveying constructive criticism or relaying a ‘no’ after several rounds of interviews, Klein tries to focus on providing honest information.

Hearing negative feedback about yourself is never easy.  “Delivering it is just as tough,” says Klein.  “After making it through three or four rounds of interviews, candidates are often hopeful that they will get the call asking them, ‘when can you start?’”.

Whether you use a recruiting firm, or you are applying to a position on your own, it is important to objectively digest the negative feedback.  Did lack of sleep contribute to a less-than-stellar interview? Were you late? Or simply, was someone else more qualified for the job? Receiving negative feedback without understanding why you’ve gotten it, puts you back at square one in your job search. If you are taking on the job hunt alone and have received negative feedback, it is paramount to ask your HR team / interviewer what went wrong.

“Often, candidates don’t dig beyond surface feedback,” explains Klein.  “I’m trying to help both my candidate and client, so my goal is to listen for understanding rather than for debate. I can dig for detailed feedback that candidates may be uncomfortable asking for or too upset to address.” Klein says that he uses the feedback as a means for prepping the candidate for future opportunities. He has seen some of his best candidate relationships stem from a role in which they had been passed over or had received negative feedback.  Likewise, this feedback is an opportunity to qualify future candidates for that client.

“I often take responsibility for an unsuccessful interview process. It is my job to make sure that candidates are appropriately and effectively prepared. If they aren’t, I know that I have to do better as their recruiter.”

Overall, Klein advocates for open dialogue and transparency.  This includes things like knowing the number of candidates who are being considered, the interview type, and general information about the organization. The more questions you ask and the information you know, the better prepared you will be. Open dialogue and transparency all go hand-in-hand with providing feedback. Klein’s opinion is that any feedback can be good feedback, if you are willing to be open-minded and transparency on all sides shows that expectations are being managed and maintained.

Klein promotes cautious optimism. Being excited about an opportunity is part of the job hunt, but that doesn’t mean that a candidate should put all their time and energy into a single role. By looking into multiple roles, you’re given the chance to further develop your interview skill set as well as understand that each role and process is different.  And who knows? You may receive negative feedback from an interview on Monday and apply it to an interview on Wednesday.

If you are unsure about how to ask HR or an interviewer why you’ve not been offered a role or what you could have done differently, reach out to Gabe at gklein@talener.com for tips and tricks to successful interviewing.

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Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog

Salary History Inquiry Bans: California Joins New York City in Closing the Wage Gap

December 1st, 2017

Over the past 6 months, Talener has taken significant steps to close the wage gap across its offices.  In addition to holding itself to the standard of creating a more inclusive work environment, it also helped to prepare the Talener New York City office for the NYC Salary History Inquiry Ban. This law took effect in October 2017; prohibiting employers, staffing agencies, or anyone representing a job in NYC from asking about or requiring disclosure of compensation history.  By eliminating compensation history, employers should no longer rely on previous compensation to determine future pay.

On January 1st, 2018, California will join New York City with an amendment to its Equal Pay Act; eliminating compensation / salary history as a factor for hiring.  Compliance to both acts are similar, but there are a few key differences that can cause headaches for organizations with offices in California and New York City.  Next year will also introduce these types of laws in Oregon, Massachusetts, San Francisco, and more.

What are the key differences between the California and NYC policies?

  • The New York City Law expressly allows asking about desired or expected salary. Likewise, asking about measurements of production, including sales revenue generated, are permitted. Plus, the NYC law addresses deferred compensation and unvested equity as a subject that is OK to initiate with potential candidates.  The California law does not expressly prohibit or allow these conversations.
  • Candidates / applicants in California are entitled to a pay scale for a position, under reasonable request.
  • California will prohibit employers from using prior compensation as the sole means to justify salary, an offer, or in the decision making process to hire someone.

What kind of steps has Talener taken to be compliant with these laws?

  • Removing compensation questions from any digital and print forms or applications
  • Requiring employees to agree to a policy which bars them from asking about, using, seeking out, or sharing compensation
  • Educating candidates and clients about the changes
  • Creating a time / date stamped feature in the applicant tracking system that documents when / if compensation has voluntarily been disclosed and how it occurred
  • Committing to not using or sharing already-known compensation information with clients
  • On-going staff training

To see more steps and to learn more about our compliance policy, read more here.


If you have questions about how the laws might affect you and what steps you should consider, feel free to reach out to social.media@talener.com or pick up a brochure in one of our offices today.

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Posted in Current Events, Talener Blog

Converting from a Contract to Permanent Job: Preparation for an Easy Transition

November 29th, 2017

IT contractors have become a vital part of organizations’ ability to innovate.  Highly-skilled software engineers who can hit the ground running, easily transition their skills across various types of organizations.  Plus, a contract gives the company and contractor a taste of what it is like to work with one another without many of intricacies of a permanent role.  It’s a try before you buy situation for both parties.

Increasingly, organizations use contract roles as a means to evaluate potential permanent employees.  If your hope is to move from a contracting role to a permanent role with your current organization, then it’s important to understand your own career goals as well as the goals of your potential permanent employer.

Nick Branholm, Manager of the Talener New York PHP Team discusses how he views a successful transition to a permanent position. “It is important for us to place candidates in the right position.  It is critical that we understand the contractor’s desires.  If the goal is to move into a permanent role, then it is our duty to learn the story behind the contracting position.” Branholm continues, “We want to know if there is a possibility for a contract extension before the job has even started. My team’s goal is to proactively remove any burden that a candidate could face when converting to a permanent role.”

If you aren’t using a staffing agency for the conversion, there are several questions to help set you up for your ideal situation.

“During your time as a contractor, you should actively ask yourself questions to be prepared for next steps.  As a recruiter, my role doesn’t end when you start your contract. I actively ask these questions throughout the contract; mitigating unforeseen scenarios that most people overlook,” explains Branholm.

  • Am I receiving regular feedback from my manager?
  • Is the feedback valuable to me if I would like to negotiate a permanent role?
  • Will this project last longer than the initial contract period?
  • Does the company culture align with my expectations & values?
  • What types of benefits are offered to permanent employees?
  • Am I performing at my best to showcase my abilities and strengths?
  • If I am offered a permanent role, what is my game-plan to negotiate compensation?
  • Will I need to start a provisional or probationary period again?
  • What options do I have if my employer decides not to convert the contract?
  • Will there be a lapse in work during the negotiation process?

“Successful conversion is in the details,” stresses Branholm. “If you don’t know where you stand at the end of the contract, how can you negotiate your desired compensation in a permanent role?”

“I want to be your voice and your champion,” continues Branholm. “I want to set check-in times with your hiring manager for feedback. I want to understand your take on the organization, their projects, and culture. This allows me to get a head start on paperwork, background checks, compensation negotiation – and ultimately ensure a smooth transition without a lapse in work.”

Having the right dynamic from the beginning of the contract is crucial.  When you know what is expected, you can go into the position with the confidence that if you perform well, a permanent position may be in the cards.


If you have questions about the process of converting from to a permanent role, please reach out to your Talener representative or get in touch with Nick for more information.

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Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog

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