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From Psychology Student to Technologist

March 19th, 2021

How Madeline transitioned to her new career as a full stack engineer during the pandemic

The Talener team has only recently gotten to know Madeline Stalter over the past few years. Her story and progression from a psychology student to a full stack engineer (with a tech recruiting stopover at Talener!) is an important one to share.

As we celebrate International Women’s Month, we acknowledge the achievements and visibility of women, particularly in STEM. But it is also a reminder to all of us that women are a minority in technology positions. Women make up half of the workforce, but only occupy a quarter of high-tech jobs. This number diminishes further in a tech-based, executive level job.

Madeline’s transition from a psychology degree to completing her full stack engineering training at the Flatiron School in NYC is important. The traditional four-year computer science degree still dominates the software engineering job market. But the demand for talent outweighs the pool of four-year CS graduates. Madeline sat down with us to talk about her transition, the challenges she’s faced, and some of the decisions she made along the way to change her career path.


My background is diverse. But there are three motifs that have been evident in all facets of my professional trajectory: the desire to be challenged, the ability to act to actively seek out what challenges me, and aligning myself with my passions. I stand by the phrase “you didn’t come this far to only come this far.” My desire for learning is ever present. My path to software engineering may seem curious, but it isn’t.

I studied psychology to focus on discovering the ways of the world; understanding why people behave the way they do. This is not all that different from computer science and engineering. At the end of the day, technology is all built around, for, and by people. We influence buying habits, build visually stimulating websites, and curb security threats from malicious minds.

But learning psychology wasn’t enough. I needed more. I sought out a student research position that relied heavily on statistical analyses using software like R, SAS, and SPSS to test hypotheses, create and maintain databases & publish scholarly articles. I was hooked and I worked harder. My mentor recognized my desire to push for more and promoted me to a paid position running the laboratory. From there, I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2017 and embarked on a research fellowship at the world-renowned McLean Hospital. Unfortunately, the position didn’t offer a lot in area analysis and I realized that research was likely not my forever career path as I had previously planned.

How could I have already hit my professional ceiling and growth when I had barely left college? It was time for a reevaluation. Not one to remain idle, I started my own pet care business and planned for my future very carefully. I didn’t want a job; I wanted a career.

I looked back at what I loved about psychology and immediately thought about manipulating data and creating databases– my link to software engineering. I wanted to build and maintain applications. But without a technology background, I needed to get as close to technology as possible without previous experience. This was a stepwise process, but I trusted it; knowing that I would put my full weight behind being successful. This led me to technical recruiting. I used my vast network of engineering candidates and tech-talent seeking clients to learn more and ultimately piece together how I could further pursue a career in technology.

I started independently studying open-source languages outside of work. This continued for a year until the pandemic opened an opportunity for me to go back to school and learn full stack web development. The most efficient way was through a fifteen-week software engineering bootcamp. Those fifteen weeks stood between me and the ability to build robust full stack web applications and completely transform my life. I chose the Flatiron School in NYC for its comprehensive program, distinguished staff, and post-graduate outcomes.

This process hasn’t been easy, but it has been worth it. The initial knowledge acquisition in the bootcamp was difficult. I had to rewire how I approached problems – becoming more creative in my solutions (as there are seemingly infinite ways to approach code). I also had to bolster my self-confidence. The term “imposter syndrome” has become quite colloquial these days, but it is real; especially with my non-traditional background and working in such a male dominated field. To ward off this feeling of inadequacy, I remind myself daily that I am worthy and capable of making significant impacts in tech as I “didn’t come this far to only come this far.”

I advise those who are considering making a career change/shift into technology to do so! However, do so wisely. Take the necessary steps to ensure your success. If you combine this methodological approach with your passion, very little should tangibly get in your way. Love the life you live – work included

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Posted in News, Talener Blog

From Transition to Transformation: Remote Work is the Future

March 5th, 2021

Nearly a year ago, companies were put into a position that seemed unfathomable: let your employees work fulltime from home.  Teams that were willing to pivot and invest in a fully remote workforce are thriving. In many IT based positions, deliverables are up and companies are enjoying a more diverse pool of candidates available to them. 

The forced changes over the past year make it clear that most technology positions should be considered remote first.  Thriving employers shouldn’t mandate their employees’ return to on-site work and should continue to hire a remote workforce after the pandemic is over.  

The argument to bring successful, productive employees back to work is impractical. According to Gallup, nearly two thirds of workers in the US who have been working remotely during the pandemic would prefer to continue their new routine. 
 

Remote Work Doesn’t Hurt Company Culture 

Increasingly, the Talener team is hearing the call from leaders and HR teams to bring employees back-on-site because the company ‘culture’ is hurting.  What is company culture, how is it measured and quantified? And what is the link between the time spent in a physical office and productivity?  

Culture should not be an argument for bringing a successful remote employee back into the office. Using culture to explain lagging company performance due to broader economic factors like changed customer behavior or pandemic related restrictions is not the answer.   

How do you tell an employee whose production and delivery are good that they need to come back on-site because of corporate cultural insecurities?  With so many remote opportunities, forcing good employees back to the office sets them up (particularly in tech) to potentially look elsewhere.  

It would be easy to blame attrition on lack of culture rather than a lack of employee growth or better compensation elsewhere. Not every job has an unlimited ceiling for growth. People change jobs for real personal and professional reasons – not because of physical proximity to their co-workers.   

The Transition is Over. This is Transformation 

Last year, we upset decades of work culture and business standards in the blink of an eye.  We completely altered how we work, when we work, and with whom we work. It was a fast and furious transition that left many organizations and employees behind in its wake. But now, it is time to stop treating the move to remote work as a temporary transition period.   

It is certainly a period where we continue to learn about how to function successfully, but it is not a temporary situation anymore. Changing the fundamental 9 to 5 routine, bookended by a daily commute has not been easy.  There was no roadmap for such a transition.  This was and will continue to be a learning experience where organizations are quite literally rewriting the history of labor, productivity, and business relationships in real time. We are transforming the future of hiring, employing, and retaining talent. 

It does no one any favors to fall back into comfortable norms like curating an on-site culture of standard production hours. In fact, it stifles the very thing that companies are trying to do; innovate and be the best in their industry.  We have the opportunity to use this forced change as a catalyst to expand workforce possibilities, erasing regional borders and tapping into a more diverse (and potentially more talented) candidate base.


The Talener team is ready to help you streamline your remote IT recruiting and hiring process. We can give you the tools to build a remote technology team. For more information, get in touch with us today.

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Posted in News, 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 social.media@talener.com.

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Posted in News, Talener Blog, Uncategorized

Hiring from Afar: 6 Ways to Prep for Successful Remote On-Boarding

July 22nd, 2020

Image of a woman with curly brown hair on a laptop screen on a wooden desk. There is a plant and computer monitor in the background. The woman is dressed in business attire.

If you’re interviewing and on-boarding candidates remotely, auditing your hiring process is critical.

Pre-pandemic, there was a quiet confidence that remote employees had (at some point) met another team member in person, had an in-person interview, or were available for an in-office meeting. Should the need arise, face-to-face interaction was readily available.

But even as many states start to re-open, some companies are opting for remote onboarding and full or partially remote work. However, with many offices closed, companies restricting visitors or practicing social distancing – the opportunity to meet someone before they start working, even once, has been limited.

While your current employees may be thriving remotely, they have a distinct advantage over new hires.  They’ve worked in-person together, understand their positions, and know their projects.  The rapport is already built. Expectations are clear.

But hiring and on-boarding someone you’ve only met via video chat is daunting if it isn’t part of your regular practice. There is a real risk of underperformance or lack of engagement from someone who otherwise would be a spectacular hire. Navigating these virtual changes, clearly defining the process, and accepting that you cannot hire the same way will lead to productive, remote hiring.

Define Your Hiring & Interviewing Process

While the overarching hiring process may not change – screenings, interviews, skills tests; the way in which these occur does. Defining the process means understanding the details. Who is taking on the responsibility for the process – who is managing it? Often, a hiring manager or HR manager will act as a point person on-site, introducing candidates to their interviewers, providing check-ins, and serving as the welcoming committee.  But virtually, this cohesive and automatic progression is replaced with meeting invites and email chains. 

Additionally, it’s important to audit your hiring process and adapt it to the current situation.  If timed skills tests are traditionally taken on-site, what is new procedure? Does a tech test now weigh more in the consideration process? Is it more important than hiring for the right culture fit or hiring someone who is eager to learn and be part of the team?

Defining the process gives a clear picture to internal stakeholders as well as candidates.  Everyone can expect and understand the interviewing timeline, the priorities, and what factors are the most crucial in deciding to hire.

Remote On-Boarding

The hiring process isn’t over when an offer is extended.  This is truly the beginning of building a rapport with a new employee. By accepting a position, an employee has bought into the job, but buy-in and engagement are critical every step of the way.  We think of ‘Day One’ as meeting colleagues, filling out paperwork, and observing company culture. But when this interaction disappears, who takes over to welcome and engage the new hire? 

The details matter. How are work authorizations being filled out? Will there be a virtual welcome happy hour? Has someone been in regular contact with the new employee; giving them an outline of what is expected their first week? It may seem like a lot of fanfare, but it’s a ritual we automatically perform when a new employee arrives on-site. 

Set Up for Success

Hiring is about filling a business need. Projects aren’t finished and goals aren’t met without the right talent.  And this means setting up your employees for success. Regular in-office contact and feedback is natural, but it’s easy to be out-of-sight and out-of-mind in a remote position, especially as the new guy. Remote employees (particularly if this isn’t your regular practice) aren’t adjunct members of the team.

Who is responsible for the new hire’s success?  Who can they go to with issues? Who will introduce them to managers or co-workers? Who will help them understand and thrive in the team dynamic?

Setting up an employee for success means starting on day one. It is your responsibility as the employer to provide this support and structure. It is less haphazard than sending someone down the hall to fill out forms or grabbing a coffee with a manager.

Defining Goals

Broadly defining the goals of the job should occur before the first interview takes place.  These goals should narrow and be explicit by the time your remote employee gets starts.  Without measured goals, you are setting up your new hire for failure.

It should be abundantly clear what the work product is the first days, weeks, or months. Both sides need to understand the measures of success and how evaluations will be performed.

Communicating Changes

What does remote on-boarding actually mean? Even if your organization hasn’t made formal return-to-office plans, it’s important to clearly communicate the expectations to your new hire. What is the narrative around returning to the office? Will some people continue to work remotely?

Be upfront about the changing situation.  Whether it is temporary, evolving, or unknown – it will save a lot of confusion and frustration later.

Hiring in a Vacuum

Don’t assume that you are the only company that is hiring. In areas like technology where unemployment continues to be at record lows – candidates have multiple competitive offers. They’re spending less time commuting and have more time to interview at their leisure. Whatever hiring process you define, consider the timing, be competitive with your offer, know what you want, and assume that you aren’t the only one pursuing this person.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to hiring during this time. Successfully hiring and on-boarding remotely is new for many organizations. It is likely more involved, and more process driven than what we’ve come to know as standard practices. But maybe this shake up will force us to audit ourselves and clarify what is most important.

If you are unsure how to begin to define your process or haven’t worked frequently with remote employees, Talener can help. From sharing current market data to helping you audit your hiring practices; we are available to provide insight and guidance to navigate the ‘new’ normal.

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Posted in Clients, News, Talener Blog, Uncategorized

Talener celebrates 10 years in the IT Staffing business!

April 3rd, 2017

Talener opened it’s doors on April 2, 2007 in New York City. Founder and CEO Michael Dsupin started Talener with the desire to offer the community an IT Staffing firm that placed a focus on contract and temp positions.

Mike has been in the IT Staffing industry his entire career, starting with Stride & Associates in 1995. After a successful run spanning 13 geographies and including startups and turnarounds, he found himself looking for the next challenge.  Stride had been a purely permanent placement agency. With a team of 5 former Stride owners backing Mike, he founded Talener, which began as an agency focused on the temp/contract space.  Starting with a team of 3 others (who were new to staffing), Talener generated $1.7 million in revenue in its first 9 months in 2007 (April-December) and $2.4 million in revenue in its first 12 months.

While Mike was always optimistic about his ability to grow a successful business, his only thought on that first day was landing the company’s first client and first candidate.  Talener’s first placement, in its first month, was Alex Nicholas at World Now; that same month, Talener made a second placement, Rahul Trivedi at Dexia Credit Local.  When asked if his vision has changed over the past 10 years, Mike was confident that his original vision is still the one he lives by today: “Success and growth of a business is never something that I take for granted.  It starts with a new client and a new job every day.  These are the lifeblood of our organization.  Delivering a great experience to every candidate and every client will ensure that we continue to grow into a great business”

While Talener has seen vast success over the past 10 years, they have also faced challenges like any other company.  Their biggest challenge has been the communication of their message.  “I know that every Client we call is not hiring immediately or today, but I know they will and when they do, I want them to think of using us.  I know that we are not able to fill every position we work, but I want an opportunity to fill them all… We are in the service business and providing everyone the full Talener experience can get lost in a phone call, in an interview and during some interactions with clients.  With the amount of attempts we make, it’s hard to guarantee that the message is delivered every time and that is something that I would never tolerate in any office/team that I sit in.”

Mike’s best advice he had to offer himself 10 years ago is to push yourself and step out of your box by doing something you never though you would: “Growing up, I worked in a Subway and worked with the owner very closely and I thought, after that experience, that I would never want to own a business.  When I was in College, I also said to myself that the last place in the world that I would ever want to work would be NYC.”  He also wishes he had “taken more notes/videos/pictures of all of the great times that I have shared with the staff, the candidates and the clients along the way.  Without them and all of their help, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”  Besides his family, Talener is the most important thing to Mike.  He defines success as the look on somebody’s face when they get a new job; that’s how it’s known that everything has been done to successfully complete the goals set.

While Mike doesn’t foresee himself slowing down anytime soon, he has a big vision of continued growth and success for Talener in the future.  He wishes to continue the building of deeper relationships with local communities, re-engaging with former colleagues who may have left the company, hopes to expand to new geographies while continuing to expand the business in other aspects. In the long-term when Mike eventually retires, he wishes to see Talener continue its journey to placing clients and candidates with the best position for them.

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Posted in Company News, News, Talener Blog

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