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All posts by Brianne Risley

The Marijuana Industry is an Exciting Place for Canadian IT Professionals

Brianne Risley By Brianne Risley,
Delivery Manager at Eagle

The Medical Marijuana Industry is an Exciting Place for Canadian IT ProfessionalsCannabis — growing, selling, legislating… as we lead into the October 17th legalization date, there has been hyper-focus on what effect this emerging industry will have in Canada. Whether you love it or hate it, the disruption in the market has created some fascinating gaps where enterprising Information Technology professionals can innovate, create, retro-fit, and grow into a brand-new field. Some of Canada’s most exciting IT jobs are in the Marijuana industry!

The rapid growth of the cannabis industry has created a network of competing, well-funded, start-up companies who are up against a time crunch to absorb people and processes to get product to market and the enabler for all of this is technology. The emerging and bleeding-edge skills that are in-demand and being implemented in this sector can fuel an IT professional across the next 10 years of their career! This industry has the exciting IT Career Buzzwords tech pros crave:

  • Automation: Automated or robotic systems are needed to fertilize, water, and control ambient temperature to maximize yield, decrease risk, add predictability to a harvest, and certainty around a supply chain. You’ve heard of Fin-Tech… this “Grow-Tech” has ramifications for all agri-food verticals.
  • Business Process Re-engineering: What are we doing today? Has anyone written it down? How can we make this bigger/better/faster? What technology hurtles are weighing us down? What can we innovate/change? Documenting and building frameworks of repeatable processes where none existed before is an exciting proposition.
  • Change Management: Disruption, M&A work, new systems, new employees, training – this is a perfect storm for helping people manage through technology and process change.
  • Data and Reporting: How can I track my supply chain? Are there predictive analytics that can help me with forecasting? How do I use reports to balance risk and the reporting requirements of a highly regulated healthcare environment? Data scientists and reporting specialists will be in demand to create models for this business.
  • ERP: There aren’t specialized ERP packages that deal with this segment of business yet. The opportunity comes from being able to retrofit mid-market packages to support the SCM, Manufacturing, and Pharma/Health aspects of the business, and customizing these elements for the future.
  • E-commerce: How do you build and deploy a scalable, user-friendly, and secure e-commerce website? The lessons learned in this space have broad-market appeal to any client in the Retail industry and is a highly desirable skill.
  • Remote Monitoring: Video feeds to control quality, control systems to adjust variables in production — the data storage systems required to track this, along with the infrastructure connectivity in field sites opens all sorts of interesting dynamics.
  • Security: Logical and physical security to ensure there is a safe product to sell to market.

Broadly speaking, this industry isn’t for everyone. Operating in “start-up” mode for companies that are going through heavy transition can create personal and professional uncertainty. In describing the ideal person for this kind of work, I would say the following: it’s your calling to build things — you see frameworks where nothing existed before. You will be at the forefront of building out a global manufacturing and supply chain network. You will customize, deploy, and adapt Cloud technologies to solve emerging issues in the ERP, E-commerce, and asset management space. You will build process and structure on demand where none existed before to become an industry leader in a burgeoning health field – Medical or Recreational Marijuana.

Eagle is currently working with several major Medical Marijuana clients who are looking to build-out their team with smart, information technology professionals. Willingness to relocate to Western Canada is key as we build-out these teams. If you are interested in finding out more about what a career in this field might entail, I would encourage you to create a profile on our job board and reach out to your Eagle recruiter.

Join us as we assist in creating the foundations of a lucrative new IT vertical!

If You Can’t Treat People with Respect — Get Out!

Brianne Risley By Brianne Risley,
Delivery Manager at Eagle

Eagle received the great honor of being recognized as one of 2018’s Best Workplaces for Inclusion by Great Places to Work.  I am proud to work in an environment where Diversity is celebrated, but creating that culture isn’t easy. Addressing attitudes, unintentional comments, or outright intolerance takes courage and persistence.

How do you address issues of intolerance in the workplace?  How can you tell a co-worker or acquaintance that they’ve crossed the line?  What does it mean to be an inclusive environment?

After discovering racial slurs at the US Airforce Academy’s Preparatory school, Lt General Jay Silveria took what I view as one of the best, clear, inspiring stands on the “power of diversity”.  This is a masterclass on setting a clear path to encourage Diversity in a workplace.  The message is simple, clear, and inspiring. I hope you watch it.

If you can’t treat people with respect – Get Out.

A Job Seeker’s Guide to Brand Building — How to get Started

Brianne Risley By Brianne Risley,
Delivery Manager at Eagle

A Job Seeker's Guide to Brand Building -- How to get StartedChances are if you’re engaging in a career search, you’ve heard about the key role Personal Branding plays in landing you the job you want. A brand is your elevator speech. It is your career and unique value proposition shared in 30 seconds. It is how you want others to view you — hiring managers, colleagues, peers, friends.

For as important as it is, it can be daunting to figure out where to start to build a personal brand of your own. I recently reviewed many articles and sources on this topic which all suggest this basic framework or something similar to it. Answer these questions simply and read the result aloud. The result should be the beginning of your 30 second elevator speech that you can tweak before your next interview:

Step 1: State WHAT you are — your primary job role.

“I’m a visionary coding artist who connects bipeds to binary”.  No.

“I’m a career Business Analyst….” Yes.

Be specific on what your primary job role is — two words. Don’t come with a long list of your capabilities, just mention the one that aligns well with the job you are interviewing for. A hiring manager won’t want to hear how passionate you are about Management Consulting when she’s interviewing you for a Business Analyst position.

Step 2: Share WHO you enjoy helping.

“I can work with anybody, I like People!” No.

“…. and I’ve enjoyed success partnering with Fortune 500 companies….” Yes

Mention specific industries? Business groups? Methodologies? Keep it short and simple. This line captures an element of what makes you passionate about your job. When you say it, it should get you smiling, or at least give you a charming eye twinkle.

Step 3: Say HOW you make their life/work better.

“…to give individual teams the chance to collaborate and voice design ideas. Small design stories have made the biggest impact on my best projects.”

Step 4: Give PROOF that you are credible.

“I am a proud holder of my CBAP designation…”

Results? Rewards? Credentials? Pick one to mention here.

Step 5: Wrap it up and turn it over to the manager.

“I’m looking forward to hearing more about your project team and how I can help”

You’re expressing interest in the role (ie: I want to hear more) and giving the manager an opening to do some of the talking about his/her project team.

Just like consumers who line up to buy the newest phone, hiring managers are making an emotional buying decision when they select a candidate for hire. A personal brand is your ticket — your bridge to move beyond just the skills on your resume and connect with your leader on a more personal level. It gives you access to that emotional buying centre. Invest the time, build your brand, and be prepared to really impress someone in your next interview.

Other Tips:

PRACTICE — Sit in front of the mirror, make eye contact with yourself, and practice it until your branding pitch is second nature. Focus on making sure you get a little sparkle in your eye when you say it — that’s how you know it’s personal enough, and it will help you connect emotionally with a manager!

VALIDATE IT — Use the dinner party rule. If you shared your brand with a stranger at a party, can you get through it without sounding ridiculous? A brand is personal and central — if you feel silly saying it, the statement needs fixing. “I’m a visionary coding artist who connects bipeds to binary”.  No.

IF YOU ARE STILL STUCK – If you don’t know where to start, LinkedIn is like the “Amazon” of personal branding. You can shop, browse, and select something that works. The “Whos” in your industry — how have they branded themselves? Is there anything that works for you? Ask people you know and trust what your brand is — how might they describe you to a person you don’t know.

From Standard to Stand-Out

Brianne Risley By Brianne Risley,
Delivery Manager at Eagle

Turning “Good” Interview Responses into “Great” Ones

From Standard to Stand-Out -- Turning "Good" Interview Responses into "Great" OnesAs a professional recruiter, I am often struck by how many job seekers answer common interview questions in the exact same way.  Technically, there is nothing wrong with giving an “OK” answer that 4 out of every 5 people will give.  It’s safe.  But for the job you WANT, your response to every question should help you Stand-Out and offer the hiring manager a taste of your ‘unique value proposition’.

Here’s an example of a common question that you can turn from a Standard response into one that Stands-Out!

The Situation: You are asked by the Hiring Manger to describe your experience with a tool / skill you do not have.  How do you tackle this?

The Standard Response: “It’s not hard… I can learn it.”

Consider this:

  • “I can learn it” is a nice sentiment, but you’re asking the hiring manager to essentially ‘take your word for it’ with no facts, figures, or scenarios to provide them context. “Trust me” isn’t a strong value proposition.  Give the hiring manager a map of how you’ve handled a similar challenge in the past and come out on top!
  • The skill is clearly a pain-point, or the hiring manager wouldn’t be asking about it. Sometime, somewhere, this manager had a bad experience with someone lacking this skill.  A Stand-Out response will acknowledge the skill as an important one, and offer a ‘sell-message’ outlining your past success learning new skills.

How does this help you stand out from other candidates who can also ‘learn it’, or worse, those that “have” it!  Here is a better way!

The Stand-Out Response: “I can see why that is important to you.  I haven’t yet had the opportunity to work with that exact version; however, as an Analyst at XYZ Company, I was faced with learning a similar tool with very little ramp-up time.  I reviewed training on my own time, collaborated with co-workers, and attended industry events to come up-to-speed and producing with the tool within 4 weeks.  Before leaving that company, I even had the opportunity to train new users on it.  Would that approach work in your environment, Ms. Hiring Manager?”

Here’s the framework:

  • Acknowledge the need is an important one
  • Provide a specific time and place where you learned/used a very similar skillset
  • Outline how you used your own initiative to learn it
  • Outline the success you had in learning it
  • Get the hiring manager’s acknowledgement that your approach would work in their environment.

That’s a response that a Hiring Manager can take to their boss or HR to argue in favor of hiring YOU over someone who has the skill.

Do you have an interview question that you’d like a recruiter’s perspective on?  Add a comment – we would love to take your response from “standard” to “stand-out”!