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Remote, or Not Remote – That is the Question

November 6th, 2020

The way in which many Americans work changed drastically and abruptly this past spring. Companies made dramatic shifts to create a last-minute remote workforce that could weather the pandemic storm.  Now, as we are deep into Q4, the prospects of a return to normal by 2021 seem confusing at best. Over the past several months, many organizations have adapted easily to virtual meetings and off-site staff, while others have struggled with creating a cohesive environment that fosters success. 

The Talener team works closely with startups, multi-nationals, and everything in between. And while some companies have been quick to embrace the work from home forever model, others are still scratching their heads at what the future will bring.

Remote work is not uncommon for many software engineers. But there are many people who did not work remotely prior to the pandemic, who now find themselves in this position.  We were curious to understand what their company’s plans were over the next several months. 

We asked our technology talent community on LinkedIn (who were not working remotely prior to the pandemic) to tell us what is happening next.  The community responded and gave us important insight into how their jobs will change as we finish out the year.

It is unsurprising that organizations are split across the board. There is no right answer to the question, and many factors could be out of their control – travel restrictions, capacity limits, local ordinances, or office / workstation setup.  Looking at these results opens our eyes to the clear uncertainty that plagues us as a country and as business leaders. 

For some, permanent remote work might be the answer to getting out of pricey office leases. While others may struggle with teams who work better in the same space and need to collaborate to be effective.   Additionally, this data also tells us that many organizations may need to be flexible to remote options as they hire new talent.  This requires a shift in sourcing, interviewing, onboarding, and integrating new team members.

As a technology staffing firm, this info helps us to decide how we will deal with the situation as well. Traditionally, staffing is a relationship-based business where in-person meetings and interviews are the core to building strong foundations with clients and candidates.  Talener has learned to adapt over the past several months through remote work and the gradual return of team members to the office.  Giving employees the option to use the office (safely) has been a great way to boost morale, take advantage of each other’s expertise, and collaborate more fluidly. It is an opportunity to take advantage of the energy that a traditional office setting can facilitate.

But this gradual shift back to the office may not be in the cards for everyone.  Talener’s CEO Michael Dsupin says, “Regardless of a company’s desire to return to a physical space or not, I hope that leaders will acknowledge the real fears that may exist within their staff and take that into consideration when trying to reset policies.” He continues, “Likewise, I hope that our own teammates will be courteous and mindful of the public health crisis by taking the necessary steps not to expose their co-workers to the virus.” 

Talener’s experience is not unlike many other organizations.  It is imperative that your organization take the time to make policies clear- yet allow for flexibility as circumstances change every day.  Setting expectations among staff and new hires will avoid confusion, resentment, and staff turnover.

If your organization is unsure how to address the remote work situation and you are looking for more insight into what is happening in your industry, reach out to the Talener team for help.  We can guide you as you make decisions, provide examples of other organizations’ set ups, and give you guidance on bringing in new hires.

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Posted in Talener Blog

Hiring a Diverse Workforce: Breaking Traditional Hiring Boundaries

October 20th, 2020

Not finding the diverse candidate pool you had hoped for? Review your sourcing process.

Diverse workforces deliver better results, attract better talent, and are better innovators.

Yet, more than three quarters of technology talent in computing-based roles are occupied by men, despite women making up more than 47% of the workforce. Likewise, Wired reports that in 2017, only 9% of graduating students with CS degrees were black and 10% were Latinx.

Over the past 15 years, major organizations have poured money and time into interviewing (and ultimately hiring) a diverse employee base.  But very little has changed significantly across the board. 

So how do we attract a more diverse and well-qualified candidate base? Even if we are actively demanding more BIPOC and women– we are likely impeding our own success simply through our traditional hiring and interviewing practices. A truly diverse search includes reviewing traditional boundaries like location, education, and experience.

As recruiters, building a relationship with our clients and candidates is the bedrock to successful placements. Our goal is to make the right match, and much of that match comes from the details and step-by-step process that helps us to give you, the client, what you want in an efficient and effective manner.

So, what should be looking for in a technology staffing agency, especially when you are committed to interviewing a more diverse candidate base?

Details, Details, Details

There is no replacement for an in-person meeting; or mid-pandemic, a video call — to nail down the details of a job. A job description can only tell you so much about the actual job and tells you very little about the ideal candidate beyond specific skills.

The right staffing agency is going to pick apart the job description, drilling down from broad organizational goals to very specific technical needs.

This initial intake call also gives clients the opportunity to tell us who they are looking for beyond the technical expertise. This is the first opportunity to discuss what diversity looks like to you and how to execute a plan to get to the right hire.

Internal questions could include:

What does the team make up look like? Are they remote? In-person? Who runs the team? Talk to me about the group’s cohesion. When was the last time someone new joined the team? Are they still there?

Then, we move to questions about the candidate:

What kind of person do you want to hire? Do they have specific industry experience? What about their educational background or professional experience? Would you prefer someone with a side hustle and a passion for their work? What is a show-stopper or deal-breaker?

These questions lay the foundation and force you to dig beyond surface. From covering remote-opportunities to flexible working schedules or requirements – analyzing your job description forces a closer look at whom you are targeting or not targeting from the get-go. You could miss out on the right person without realizing it when your job description doesn’t encourage a diverse candidate pool.

Attracting a More Diverse Candidate Pool

Not finding the person that you need? The right technical staffing agency can help you to discover where you may be missing out on additional talent.

Consider some of the following:

  • Is your talent pool restricted to one geographic area?  If so, consider the impact of hiring some remotely. Do they need to be in the same city, state, or time zone? What kind of flexibility are you willing to offer for the right skills?
  • Does your job description or requirements screen-out rather than screen-in? Your requirement for an Ivy League CS degree excludes HBCUs or exceptionally talented engineers who chose bootcamps over traditionally expensive college settings.
  • Is the requirement for professional experience at an organization of a certain type or size limiting you to a certain background rather than people who are truly passionate about their craft who spend their free time learning for their own benefit?
  • Are you restricting yourself to specific years of professional experience? Some of the most efficient  & effective employees are those who spend time outside of work doing projects and perfecting their craft. So — are you hiring an employee for who they are now or who they can be in the right company and team? Putting hard requirements on years on professional experience can limit candidates who may find themselves over or under the threshold.

The Changing Landscape

Over the past several months, the contrast between the rise and fall of companies has been dramatic. Many have lost jobs, while others have thrived in industries that could weather the pandemic. But no matter the situation, we have all found pause to re-evaluate what we do, how we do it, and with whom we do it. 

Within technology teams, many organizations found that they can, in fact, function successfully with a remote workforce. And those that are hiring again after layoffs can reconsider their traditional hiring practices.

This jolt to our norm has acted as a reset. It has opened up opportunities to explore talent that may never have been considered before.

Consider taking stock of how you use your technology staffing agency to meet these new goals.  Does a contingency-based service work for you? Or are you looking for an agency that acts as an extension of your TA; a retained search partnership that can provide you with a dedicated team who knows you and your diversity goals?

Hiring the Right Candidate

Some jobs are harder to fill than others. Technology is fluid; ever-changing in its need for people who are skilled in the newest (or sometimes oldest) tech stacks. At the end of the day, there are certain constants where you can’t be flexible: the right person who can do the job and has the requisite skills to meet your organizational goals. 

But this doesn’t mean that you can’t broaden your search to include a more diverse candidate pool. It is of the utmost importance that you understand what you need versus what you want.

If a more diverse pool of candidates is critical, tell your staffing agency. We can work with you to help you encourage diverse candidates, write more inclusive job descriptions, and communicate email & ad campaigns that show your commitment to diversity in your own workplace.

Encourage diverse backgrounds; non-traditional paths, location agnostic (as the job permits), different educational experiences, and people who are passionate about their craft.

Be vocal about your commitment by communicating with your staffing agency, your employees, and potential employees.

Auditing your hiring and interviewing practices can be daunting. Traditional ways of sourcing candidates are comfortable, but may not be providing the diversity that you are looking for. Ultimately, the person for the job has the right skills and the right fit –but if you’re limiting your search to geography, age, specific experiences, etc. , you might be missing out on talent that would otherwise be the perfect fit. If you are looking to review your process, let Talener help. Our team of experts can drill down into your process to help you get the best talent for you company. Reach out to Henry Boulos to get started.

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Posted in Client News, Talener Blog, Uncategorized

Employing Remote Workers: Considering Tax Presence & Ramifications

October 6th, 2020

If you are employing remote workers due to COVID-19 or thinking about a more remote-based workforce, consider the following tax implications.

COVID-19 has forced numerous companies to temporarily shutter their workplaces. This has resulted in in employees working at new or remote locations – be it a disaster recovery site, at home, at the home of a friend or relative, etc.  With the increasing availability of communication and productivity tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, as well as the continued uncertainty of how to best keep their people healthy and safe, employers have been mixed on return-to-office timelines.  So, what do you need to know if you have individuals working remotely?

Remote work raises the question of whether an individual or a business has established a tax presence in a different state.  Tax presence, or nexus, is determined by 3 factors – payroll, property, and sales.


Payroll taxes, or employment taxes, are an inevitable part of hiring and paying employees.  And they occur at both the federal and state level.  State income tax withholding is necessary for the state in which an employee provides services, not where the employee resides or the location of the company’s office.  Thus, remote work may cause some complications.  For example, an employee whose company’s office is in New York, but who lives in New Jersey and has spent time at a family’s home in Colorado during quarantine, may have earned income in 1 or all 3 of these states. 

Each state has its own rules as to the time an individual needs to work before considering income earned in that state.  For example, in some places, workers could owe taxes to their temporary state after just one day of work.  In others, it applies after a 30-day period.  Often, a taxpayer may get a credit from their home state for taxes paid to another.  It is therefore important to know where your employees are working.

The good news?  Currently, thirteen states and the District of Columbia have indicated that they won’t tax workers who have relocated temporarily due to the pandemic, according to the American Institute of CPAs.  Instead, those people will continue to pay taxes to the state where their employer is located.

What could this mean for you?

If you have employees whose remote working is not expected or deemed to be temporary, or you are hiring new employees into remote positions, you may have to withhold payroll taxes in these remote states.  Fortunately, registration is relatively easy.

  • Register your business with your state’s tax agency.  This will allow you to withhold and remit state withholding taxes.
  • Register for workers’ compensation insurance within your state.  All states, without exception, require that employers pay workers compensation insurance in case employees are unable to compete work.
  • Register for unemployment insurance with your state’s work force or employment agency.

Property & Sales

Property is fairly straight-forward.  If you have bought or rented property in a state, you may have created nexus there.  Creating sales nexus is more specific to the type of business you are in (i.e. product versus service). In addition to understanding whether your remote workers have created the need for you to file income or other regulatory filings within a state, one of the most important areas to be aware of is whether your business has become subject to sales and/or use taxes.

In summary, a remote working model may be advantageous to your business – beyond serving as a temporary solution while we continue to fight through the pandemic.  But it is important to understand the potential tax ramifications.

For employers:

  • Know where your employees are working from
  • Monitor their times spent working in that location
  • Stay up-to-date on guidance issued by states where you have employees

For employees:

  • Track the time spent working at your temporary remote location
  • Monitor your tax withholdings on each paystub
  • Communicate with your employer if you are planning to stay remote after it is time to return to the office

As we approach the end of the year, without a clear picture in sight for 2021, it is important to consider the benefits and drawbacks of a remote or partially remote workforce. For many companies, the past several months were a fast-track introduction to remote work for their existing workforce.  If you are considering on-boarding new employees remotely, the Talener team can help you to fine-tune your process and create the best plan to hiring new staff in a remote environment. From expectations to geography, interview process to on-boarding – our team is available to you.

Questions? Contact the team at

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Posted in Client News, Talener Blog

Modernizing Your Tech Resume

September 30th, 2020

Creating a modernized resume is imperative to breaking through hiring barriers.  The right resume is clean, succinct, and provides the exact information that an employer needs to move forward.

Call to Action

Your name and contact information are your call to action.  They are the first elements of a resume that a potential employer sees.  It must be immediately clear to the resume reader how they contact you. Even the best resume will be thrown into a pile if it is not easy to decipher your whereabouts.

  • Emphasize your name clearly
  • Include your telephone number and denote the type of phone (cell, office, home)
  • Do not provide your specific street address. Instead include your city / state or metropolitan region
  • Use a modern, professional email address with a simple extension, like  If necessary, create an email address for job searching purposes.
  • Include your personalized LinkedIn URL. If you have not personalized this link, learn how, here.


Avoid redundancy and save space on your resume by eliminating the summary of experience. Instead, provide a clear objective that a future employer can grasp: What do you want? What are you looking for? Is it a new industry, technology, job title, job function, etc.? 

Your experience already paints a picture of your past and present, but it doesn’t tell an employer about your goals and needs for the future. Defining your objectives turns a snapshot into an on-going story.

Let Your Experience Speak for Itself

Your experience and skills set are the most important parts of your resume. Unless you are targeting a creative position where artistic design is a critical element of your presentation, keep your resume simple and clean.

Muted hues like grays or blues provide a pop of color without distracting from the important information. Keep your organization simple, easy-to-read, and in logical order.  Layouts should work universally with standard file types that most companies require for upload – PDF & Word documents.

Keep your resume to one page. Find impactful words that pinpoint your experience and avoid explanations. Instead, build a meaningful story that lends itself to interest and inquiry from future employers.

Make Modifications

Your base resume should allow for modifications that meet the expectations set out by employers. It is OK to tailor your resume and try different avenues to make your resume stand out. If something isn’t working, make a change or A/B test your resumes.

Consider adding a headshot to help an employer place a face with a name.  But be mindful of any blind-hiring policies or applicant ingestion systems that do not accept embedded images.  

Stay Up to Date

Before distributing your resume, ensure that you any links you are including are updated. Your portfolio, GitHub, personal webpages, and LinkedIn pages should be robust and up-to-date.

Just as you research potential employers and individual hiring managers, you must assume that they are also digging into the entire picture of your experience. This is also a great time to update, hide, or eliminate social profiles that a prospective employer are able to access.

The References Page

Requests for references should absolutely be expected in technology-based positions. Prepare your references in a separate document.  This can be done prior to starting your job search and even before you set up your resume. 

Your references are a source of knowledge and know you well.  They may remember specific events, projects, or successes that you haven’t considered.  Additionally, they are a great networking source when you start your search.

Your reference page should Include updated contact information, preferred names, title, and the capacity in which they know you.

And, of course, give your reference a heads up if you think you are moving into the stage where they will be contacted.

Before & After

Re-writing a resume can feel like a tedious process. But it is an evolution as you mature and grow professionally.  When you have finished your new resume, look back and compare where you are now versus where have been.  You should see that evolution and maturity in your resume.


If you are looking for resources to help craft your resume, consider using tools like Google Resume Templates, LinkedIn Resume Assistant or Canva.

Google Resume Templates

If you have a Google account, you have access to Google’s library of templates. Sign into your Google account and navigate to the templates to access resumes, cover letters, and more in your Google Drive.

LinkedIn Resume Assistant

Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn helped the two join forces to bring better resume templates and a resume assistant to Microsoft Word.  If you are an Office 365 subscriber on Windows, customized templates and resume writing help are at your fingertips.  Check out LinkedIn’s Blog or get started in Word by opening a new document and choosing a resume template.


If you’re looking for a template to give you more creative license, sign up for a free account on Canva and get started with more free templates. Or, sign up for the pro-version to get custom-tailored designs.

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Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog

Beyond the Placement: 5 Ways to Take Advantage of Your Staffing Agency’s Services

August 14th, 2020

Make your agency work for you by using all of the services that they have to offer.

You wouldn’t expect your TA team to send you stacks of resumes without having reviewed them or having matched them to your needs.  So, take advantage of your staffing agency’s expertise and screening abilities by telling them exactly what you need in your next hire.  The more information that you share, the more likely that your staffing agency can give you what you want the first time around. This is especially important when you are dealing with highly technical positions where HR or TA may not be familiar with technical skills tests.

If you’re only using your staffing agency as a vessel to obtain resumes, then you’re not using it to its full potential.  And if the only thing that your staffing agency offers is pushing resumes –then it’s time to get a new one.  Your staffing agency should be your partner; an extension of your TA team that is working for you before, during, and after your hire.

A good staffing agency is anticipating your needs, looking at your long-term goals, as well as providing immediate staffing solutions.  The fee that you are paying a staffing agency should extend far beyond emailed resumes and setting up interviews. So, how do you take advantage of everything your staffing agency offers? 

Treat them as an extension of your TA team

You wouldn’t expect your TA team to send you stacks of resumes without having reviewed them or having matched them to your needs.  So, take advantage of your staffing agency’s expertise and screening abilities by telling them exactly what you need in your next hire.  The more information that you share, the more likely that your staffing agency can give you what you want the first time around. This is especially important when you are dealing with highly technical positions where HR or TA may not be familiar with technical skills tests.

Take advantage of consulting services

On-boarding consultants should be quick and easy.  You have an urgent need and must find a solution fast.  Use your staffing agency’s tools to take the administrative work out of hiring temporary staff.  From on-boarding and eligibility verification, to logging time and processing payroll– your staffing agency is there as your liaison and your partner so that you can get your contractor working faster.  Need to use your own time-clock system? Your staffing agency should work with you to make the process convenient for you.

Let them negotiate

In many states and cities, you are no longer allowed to ask about past compensation history.  While this helps to close the wage gap, it may leave you wondering how much you should compensate someone, especially if it is a new position or a newly created department.  If you’ve never hired someone in a similar position before, use your staffing agency as a resource to get comparable market compensation information.

Additionally, take advantage of your staffing agency’s negotiating ability. They go through negotiations day in and day out. They know which candidates are serious about making moves, what motivates them (it may not be $$$!), and what might make or break the deal.  Make your agency work for you by leveraging their existing relationships.

Use your agency post-placement

The relationship doesn’t end when the placement is made. Just as your staffing agency will ask you about new open positions or follow-up on a recent hire, you can also continue to build your relationship post-placement, even if you aren’t hiring.  Just because a placement has been made or a deal was done weeks (or even months) ago, doesn’t mean that the relationship is over.  Staffing is an inherently human business – it is relationship based and growing, even if it feels like every placement is an individual transaction. 

Ask questions, get job description writing feedback, or review your hiring / interviewing processes with your agency’s team. These lines of communication help your agency improve and help you make your process more efficient for the future.

If you are looking for a new technical staffing partner, make sure that you are asking what services they offer beyond the placement. While Talener would love to be everyone’s technical staffing partner, it is also important that you find the right fit and get the right services for you. If you want to learn more about Talener and what services we provide, please reach out at

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Posted in News, Talener Blog, Uncategorized

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