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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

The Case of Hiring Urgency: Reconciling Need and Experience

November 20th, 2017

A lot of stock is put into educational and experiential pedigree.  You wouldn’t hire a lawyer who didn’t go to law school. And, on a more granular level, you may not hire a lawyer who didn’t go to the right law school.  The same applies when you hire someone out of a company; it should be the right company.

It’s no surprise that these traditional methods of evaluating candidates spill over into how technology candidates are measured.  But is this traditional way of hiring a luxury that organizations can afford when unemployment in technology roles is so low?

Henry Boulos, Talener’s EVP of Client Services says it ultimately boils down to one thing: urgency.  Job boards are filled with descriptions for software engineers.  There is a need that isn’t being met.

And yet, thousands and thousands of resumes are available at the click of a button. The internet has revolutionized hiring. Candidates maintain LinkedIn profiles and updated resumes on job boards. The way in which candidates search for, network for, or stumble upon jobs has fundamentally changed.  So how is it possible that traditional candidates are difficult to hire?

“Information technology is near full employment. You can whittle down this already small list of unemployed candidates even further when you screen for traditional experience paths,” says Boulos. “There are more positions open than there are candidates – employed or unemployed.  Good software developers know that they have opportunities. Urgency is a one-way door in the employee’s favor.”

Boulos continues, “So why do we attempt to lure these candidates away from their current roles when there are plenty of opportunities for them to pursue at will? It’s like joining a singles’ dating site but only being open to meeting married people.  I want candidates who are engaged and excited to join us without having to convince them to leave their current role.”

So how do established companies reconcile their urgent need for engineers with their desire for unavailable engineers with the right educational and experiential pedigree? Sometimes they can’t. This gap can be filled by those who have not followed the traditional path.

“It’s a sign of the times, and a fact that hiring managers in technology have to face,” explains Boulos. “If you aren’t the tech company du jour, then you’re competing with everyone else. It’s up to you to decide whether non-traditional experience is prohibitive when it comes to hiring within your organization.”

There is some proverbial soul-searching that many companies need to do. If you are leading a team whose expansion is paramount to success, you may need to hire outside of your comfort zone. Market conditions dictate the supply and demand of highly-skilled technology candidates. If needs are urgent, sourcing flexibility is significant. Leaving unfilled roles within a team isn’t just a matter of needs not being met, it’s also a catalyst for employees to leave. Feeling overworked, under compensated, and in the wrong culture can easily turn one open role into two.

There are advantages to traditional computer science degrees and the foundation they provide. Just as there are advantages to having experience with the tech giants of the world.  But the ability to learn on your own or at coding camps has opened doors to motivated individuals who see value in taking the initiative to further themselves and their careers. From reputation points on Stack Overflow to showcasing work on GitHub; technology has allowed for these non-traditional candidates to highlight their abilities and engagement beyond the traditional resume.

Every time- engagement trumps current skill-level, experience, or alma mater.  Your future employee should be engaged with your culture, your work, and your company. This fosters greater engagement and leads to buy in.

“You have to meet people. It isn’t just about the resume.  It’s about hiring people for who they can be, not who they have been,” urges Boulos. “Some of our best candidates have been self-taught or have taken the initiative to join a coding academy. Isn’t this the type of person you’re seeking out; the person who is self-motivated to learn and hone their skills?”

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Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog

Canceling Your Interview

June 2nd, 2016

It happens: a family emergency, traffic, or an alarm that didn’t go off.  Even when you’ve meticulously prepared for it- sometimes it seems like the Job-Seeking Gods are against you.

If you have to cancel your interview, your best excuse is always an honest one.  Often, the most elaborate excuses raise red flags. We’ve heard them all. If you must cancel, consider (if possible) calling the interviewer or scheduler directly to convey your sincere regret for missing the scheduled time with them.  By letting the interviewer or recruiter know as soon as you are aware that you can’t arrive on-time (or at all), other arrangements can be made to salvage your chances at a second shot.

Talener asked its seasoned recruiters about some of the more interesting excuses they’ve heard over the years.


What excuses (real or not!) have you or someone else given when you needed to cancel an interview?

**The recruiter called Barnes & Noble to track down the wallet so he could interview— he got the job**


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Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog

Resources for Common Job Search Questions

March 4th, 2016

Employee dilemma with question marks on blank paper

Everyone’s job hunting situation is different. Perhaps you’re coming off of a 3 month contract or have left your job after 20 years. In either situation, you may have questions about how to explain past work history, a background check, what to do about references or counter offers.

We’ve compiled some great resources that can help with the basic questions you may have.  And as always, asking a Talener team member is the best way to get tailored answer to your situation.

What does a sample tech resume look like?

Should I accept a counter offer?

I was fired, now what?

How do I explain short stints on my resume?

Are references important?

Background Check 101

What do I do if I’m asked about my salary expectations?

I’m converting from a consulting role to a full-time role. What is the raw conversion?

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Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog

It’s Always an Interview

March 4th, 2016

Every day you are interviewing. Maybe not for a job, but you’re interviewing with every stranger that holds a door, sits down next to you on a train, or shares an elevator.  You never know who you will meet again. You never know if the receptionist at a company is the boss’s daughter.

What does this mean? It means you are interviewing before you even step foot into your meeting with your prospective manager.  From the moment you click send and your resume darts off into a company database, you have entered the interview process.

Your resume starts your story.  You’ve dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s.  Your resume is clean, concise, and has the perfect combination of experience and technology.  So why is it, that some highly qualified, and let’s say for the sake of argument, the best candidates on paper, can’t land a job?

It might be the interviews. While there is some debate about the merits of traditional coding interviews via white board, the fact of the matter is, many companies still use them as well as traditional interviews today.  So armed with a portfolio, references, and your resume- head into your interview confidently.

  1. You’re always interviewing. Treat the Admin like you would treat the CEO. We want to know if candidates coming into our offices are respectful of our admins. They see and hear everything and are great judges of character.
  2.  You’re late. Find your route to our offices or your prospective new employer. Then find another. It happens: traffic, accidents, delays. We understand, but when your livelihood is on the line – take it seriously. If you can’t arrive on time, let someone know. Part of interview preparation is having the contact information of the person that is interviewing you and assuring that you can reach them if needed.  Not showing up is a pretty solid guarantee that you won’t be putting in your 2 weeks notice.
  3. Know your audience. Are you going to a technical interview? Or is it with HR? Does it matter? YES! On paper, HR may be able to identify skills, but they are also looking for culture fit, how comfortable you are, and whether you can answer standard interview questions.  You should prepare to tailor your answers to someone who can/can’t understand technical lingo. If you aren’t able to explain technical jargon to HR, how could you do it in a client-facing position where they have no experience in web design or software development?
  4. Dress the part. There’s no harm in asking HR or your hiring manger what the atmosphere is like before you get on site. It’s insightful to want to be respectful by dressing and composing yourself at the appropriate standard. If they’ve told you it’s a jeans & t-shirts environment, a suit probably isn’t your best bet. But the opposite is true as well.
  5. Rehearse your answers. Know your resume inside and out. Make sure every last line can be explained or worked through and discuss how you’ve grown since that moment in your career. Be prepared to explain work gaps, short term contracts, and areas where you feel like you can improve. If you can’t (or don’t want to) improve your skills, you’re stagnant.
  6. Ask Questions. You’ve researched their backgrounds, scoured the company site, and even got in touch with someone who used to work there. Ask questions about current projects or shifts their seeing in their industry. Ask them why they left industry X to get into industry Y. Genuine interest goes a long way.
  7. Thank them. Thank them during the interview, send a quick email to thank them after, and make sure that you highlight anything about yourself that you may have missed.  Something short, sweet, and within 24 hours of the interview is suggested.
  8. Ask about follow up. Be clear about when they will follow up with you or with a recruiter. Or, ask when you can follow up directly. It’s OK to ask about a timeline as long as you aren’t pushy. Make sure that you send any projects or information that you promised during the interview.
  9. Check-in. If you are using Talener or any other staffing agency, check in to with your recruiter to discuss how it went and what your thoughts are post-interview. Are you still as interested? Did they mention something that sounded off to you? Is there something you’d like the recruiter to discuss with the manager? Discuss any potential issue so that your recruiter can get ahead of the situation.
  10. Understand why you did/didn’t get another interview.  You got a second round interview? Awesome! Why? Was it your personality? Willingness to grow & develop additional skills? Someone obviously thought it was important, so play up your strengths.  Didn’t get another interview? Find out why. Ask your recruiter to get specifics about the interview. Was it something you said? Culture fit? Or perhaps something you didn’t pick up on at all.

Check out the great interview advice links below from some companies that we have worked with:

Tech Interview Tips-

How to Nail an Interview in Software Engineering- Business Insider

Tech Job Interview Questions- Forbes

10 Tech Interview Errors- Monster

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Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog

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