Talent Development Centre

Category Archives: Job Search

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to job searching.

The “ism” That Will Catch Us All… Eventually

The "ism" That Will Catch Us All… Eventually

Morley Surcon By Morley Surcon,
Vice-President Strategic Accounts & Client Solutions, Western Canada at Ea

As I work for a company that is considered diverse*, “isms” rankle. We are all familiar with sexism, racism, antisemitism, and ethnocentrism (there are many, many others as well!), but the one that I want to discuss in this post is Ageism — the systemic and systematic discrimination against persons of older age. Maybe it’s the result of my own aging, but I’ve been noticing this issue more and more over the past year or so. It is kind of a strange “ism” as it isn’t like many of the others where people who are not a certain way — and will never be that way — attempt to discriminate against others who are. With Ageism, although a person may not be older now, they will age like everyone else and will become part of this sub-group of society themselves someday. You would think that would give people pause and be a suitable deterrent in itself. Yet it happens… I’ve seen it and I’m sure you, my readers, have witnessed it too.

“1001 Old People Jokes” and tropes that include housecoats and fuzzy-slippers for elderly women and pants with belts riding high for the men. These can be fairly innocuous, and are often perpetrated by elderly people themselves as self-deprecating humor. But ageism turns more serious and, perhaps, even a little threatening when it results in questioning their ability to drive, making their own financial decisions, deciding where and how they want to live, and the sub-par level of care they may receive when it is time that they do need some help. Some of the COVID stories we’ve heard about what happens in retirement homes is shocking, disappointing and, frankly, disgusting.

One other version of age-ism is that older people can’t fathom technology. In our industry — Information Technology — this is particularly troubling. I’ve witnessed perfectly capable technology professionals passed over time and again for no other reason than their age: “they don’t fit into our culture”… “they may be looking to retire soon and we want someone who can commit over a longer period” … “not sure of their ability to keep up with the pace of work here…”.  All these “concerns” are rooted in stereotypes.

Older workers often bring experience that “youthful teams” may lack. They come from the generation where people often DID put down roots and stick with the same company for a longer term. Companies may actually enjoy better retention rates hiring older workers, despite their relative nearness to retirement. And people aren’t retiring as early if they love what they do! Pace of work is less a factor of age and more a result of individual motivation. Experience, as mentioned before, can more than compensate if in fact there is a slowing due to age. And age does not dictate a person’s technological acumen!  When one builds their career in IT, they pretty much have to commit themselves to life-long learning. As long as that commitment is there, people later in their careers are just as able to learn new technology as those in the beginning or in the middle of their careers.

But of course, we all know that.  Intellectually, we understand that this is so. Yet, I am surprised at how often ageism occurs. A US-based study (reviewing 40,000 resumes) stated that “The largest-ever study of age discrimination has found that employers regularly overlook middle-aged and old workers based only on their resumes” – and older women face even more discrimination than do older men. Instead of being actively sought-after, having much more experience than younger applicants is actually a detriment to being selected for a job. Older technical consultants and contractors struggle with this greatly. Despite COVID-19, the world is still supply-constrained when it comes to finding technically savvy workers. Many of these people found consistent contracting opportunities throughout their careers, even during the “slumps” that occurred in 2000 and 2008. Yet now that they are older, they struggle. They’ve never had more or better experience than they do today, they’ve never had a higher level of skills and knowledge, yet it is harder and harder to convince employers of this.

This is true: ageism happens. It is happening now. Here in Canada and around the world, it is a common occurrence.  And we all should be aware of this and actively fighting against it. After all, we’re all going to be there, ourselves, someday and wouldn’t it be nice if ageism was eradicated before we had to face its challenges?

* Eagle is WBE certified as a Women Owned/Managed Business. We have been recognized in “Canada’s Best Places to Work” for women and our workforce is made up of 75% visible minorities… including some of us older people 😉

L’importance du réseautage social

L'importance du réseautage social

Justin Ryans Par : Justin Ryans,
Conseiller en recrutement chez Eagle

Avec moins d’emplois et plus de concurrence sur le marché mondial, en raison de la pandémie, c’est plus important que jamais de se distinguer des autres.

L’un des moyens les plus efficaces et même les plus simples consiste à utiliser les réseaux sociaux.

Je ne dis pas nécessairement d’aller passer plus de temps sur votre téléphone ou votre ordinateur, mais vous devez trouver un équilibre. Ceci est d’autant plus important si vous êtes actuellement à la recherche d’une nouvelle opportunité de travail ou envisagez un changement de carrière.

Il est tout aussi important d’actualiser régulièrement votre réseau et profils en ligne que de garder votre CV à jour – peut-être encore plus en raison de la tangente numérique que prends le marché du travail en ce moment. Fini le temps où vous pouvez trouver facilement un emploi dans un journal ou sur le panneau d’affichage de votre restaurant local. L’heure est désormais au réseautage sur les médias sociaux. Il faut y passer quelques heures par semaine pour augmenter vos chances de réussite. Assurez-vous simplement de n’être pas dérouté de votre objectif à cause de vidéos de chat sans fin, ou de photos de repas alléchants de votre tante.

Alors, qu’est-ce qui compte comme réseautage social ?

Il s’agit de rencontrer des gens de toutes les manières possibles. Envoyez des e-mails, passez des appels téléphoniques, contactez des personnes sur des applications de messagerie, aimez ou partagez des messages que vous trouvez intéressants, rejoignez des webinaires, des réunions ou même des cours en ligne. Vous ne saurez jamais qui vous rencontrerez et ce qui peut résulter de cette relation.

Et si vous ne l’avez pas encore fait, créez un profil LinkedIn et un compte GitHub. Ce sont d’excellents outils pour montrer vos talents, se faire remarquer et se tenir au courant des tendances actuelles. Ces sites ouvrent également une banque d’offres d’emploi, de nouvelles entreprises et même des recruteurs qui, comme vous, souhaitent avoir plus de personnes dans leurs réseaux. Le travail d’un recruteur n’est pas seulement de trouver des talents pour un poste spécifique, mais aussi de nouer des relations avec les chercheurs d’emploi et les chercheurs de talents pour rendre la vie de chacun plus facile et plus efficace. Alors n’hésitez pas à contacter un recruteur afin de discuter de votre profil et de vos intérêts. Être persévérant ne peut pas faire de mal.

Pour finir, assurez-vous de vous connecter avec des personnes qui ont un ensemble de compétences ou un profil similaire. Bien qu’ils puissent être vos concurrents maintenant, ils peuvent être ceux qui vous recommandent pour un emploi plus tard.

Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Apply for the Same Job with Multiple Recruiters

Here's Why You Shouldn't Apply for the Same Job with Multiple Recruiters

Cherifta Daniel By Cherifta Daniel,
Recruitment Specialist at Eagle

In a world filled with worry and uncertainty during one of the biggest global challenges ever seen, unemployment rates have skyrocketed. Quarantine has inflamed and incited many emotions, one of which is candidate frustration with the job market. As a result, there has been an increase in the number of candidates applying for the same job with different recruiters. Is this okay? Absolutely not. The reasons why may surprise you.

In the wonderfully dynamic world of recruiting, this situation is called a “Double Submission.” It should be made clear that it is okay to work with multiple recruiters. In fact, this is encouraged as this can only increase your chances of finding a job because no one agency can cover all jobs in a local market. However, applying for the same job with different recruiters is no bueno.

It Doesn’t Increase Your Chances

There is a misconception that engaging with two recruiters to submit to the same job can improve your chances of getting an interview. This is not the case. Doubly submitting yourself for the same position is not like entering a raffle where the more tickets you buy (in this case resumes you submit), the greater your chances of winning the grand prize will be. This in fact has an adverse effect. Instead of getting you steps closer to your dream job, this is what can happen:

Blacklisted from the Hiring Company

Hiring companies use recruiters to gain access to top talent that they are unable to find on their own and to also streamline their recruitment processes. This is a way for them to also control the number of applications they receive — essentially serving as a direct prevention method for double submissions. By applying through different agencies, you are contradicting the purpose of this process and this can get you blacklisted from the hiring company. If you are blacklisted this means that you will automatically be disqualified from ever being considered for any future opportunities with this particular company. Additionally, you also run the risk of this company recommending other organizations in the same industry to not hire you. Your odds don’t seem too great anymore!

You Burn Your Bridges (Scorch Them)

When you work with a recruiter and you agree to have that person and company represent you for an opportunity, you seal this agreement typically in writing by email. This agreement is your word (your bond) that this recruiter (or recruitment company) is the only one allowed to represent you for this particular position — meaning you also cannot apply with any other agencies or directly to the hiring company. Going through multiple recruiters for the same position is a breach of ethics. You jeopardize the relationship that you have with your recruiter and create a lack of trust. Additionally, all of the hard work and efforts that went into your submission have now become futile.

Recruiter Wars

When you apply to the same position with multiple recruiters, no one wins — not even you. Additionally, this behavior can make the recruiting agencies that you are working with look as though they did not do their due diligence in securing your candidacy. In the end, this could create a situation where, if the client wants to interview you, you have a battle of agencies fighting over you because you gave them all the right to represent you for the same position. Companies do not like fighting over candidates, much less over who gets a finder’s fee. It is just too messy!

Time to take a beat. What’s the lesson here?

It is not okay to do and ask for forgiveness later. If you are unaware or unsure if you are applying to the same position with another recruiter, ask questions before you agree to be represented. Honestly communicate what your job search activity looks like. If you are also unsure about whether or not a recruiting company would 100% submit you for the opportunity, have an open conversation and work with a company that you can trust. Be subtle, yet impactful. Have a carefully crafted resume that mimics your personality, background, and skillset and submit this to only one recruiter. Be confident in your application and what you put out. Finally, be patient — it is a virtue!

Sick of People Pronouncing Your Name Wrong? LinkedIn Built a Solution!

Sick of People Pronouncing Your Name Wrong? LinkedIn Built a Solution!

Do you have one of those names? When you were a kid, while the teacher took attendance, there was a slight pause before reading your name, followed by a complete mess of what you thought should be an obvious pronunciation. And then it continued through the years. MCs, announcers, even your own friends completely mutilate your name, and they always find new, unique ways to do it.

Your professional life isn’t immune to these awkward situations either. When a recruiter calls for the first time, they slowly try pronouncing it three different ways until you finally interrupt and correct them. In an interview, your client-to-be confidently calls you something completely wrong… how and when are you going to correct this? Do you accept that this is your name for the duration of the contract?

A hard-to-pronounce name will never rule you out of jobs or hurt your chances of getting an interview. It does come with some frustrating moments in your career, though, so what can you do about it? The first-place recruiters, clients or employers learn about you is typically your resume, so why not start there? Resume experts have recommended a number of tactics:

  • Including an easier to pronounce “nickname” (this only works for a first name)
  • Writing out your name fuh-nEt-i-klee underneath the actual spelling
  • Including relatable tips on how to say your name (ex. sounds like _____________ )

You can also just include the address of your LinkedIn profile because the professional social network has stepped in to save the day!

LinkedIn’s Name Pronunciation Tool

Back in July, LinkedIn released a new tool that they say helps employers create a good first impression and build an inclusive workplace. As a bonus, it helps you minimize the many variations you hear of your name! The tool is extremely easy to use and quick to set-up, but you will need the LinkedIn mobile app to get started.

From the app, simply go to your profile and select to edit it. You’ll see an option by your name that says “Name Pronunciation”. From there, you can record yourself saying your name, slowly and clearly, as long as it fits within a 10 second timeframe. Now when anybody views your profile, whether in an app or a browser, a speaker icon will appear beside your name. When clicked, the user will hear exactly how your name should be said.

If you haven’t already, set-up your LinkedIn name pronunciation today. If you have one of those names, leave a comment in your resume or highlight in your LinkedIn profile, letting visitors know how easy it is to say your name properly.

LinkedIn's Name Pronunciation Tool

What’s More Important? A Certification or Experience?

Eagle’s founder, Kevin Dee, recently had the opportunity to participate on a panel in a webinar hosted by CPA4IT. The event, titled The Future of Work for Independent Contracting Webinar, set out to discuss how Canadian IT contractors can survive and thrive in this time and what practical tips that they can utilize to achieve success at work as an Independent Contractor.

An age-old question was asked to the panel: What’s more important — Experience or Certifications? Kevin Dee shared an adage that was passed around at one of his previous companies — “If you do the same job for five years, do you have five years’ experience or one year’s experience five times?” See the full discussion in the video below.

Eagle’s CEO, Janis Grantham, is joining the panel for the next webinar hosted by CPA4IT on Thursday, October 22nd. They’ll be building on the previous discussion and answering questions about the future of work for independent contracting in Canada. Click here to register today.

Quick Poll Results: Most IT Contractors Prioritize Service Over Rate

Top IT contractors are inundated with phone calls from recruiters and sometimes they’re all trying to sell you the exact same role. As that in-demand contractor, you choose who you will work with and, specifically, which recruiter represents you on that client’s opportunity. In last month’s contractor quick poll, we set-out to understand how you make that decision.

There are a number of factors you consider before being bound to a staffing agency for the length of your contract, and all are important. But we asked independent contractors which was their highest priority. The results are below and we learned that an overwhelming majority want to work with the agency who will give them the best service, while only a smaller percentage say that rate is the most vital factor.

Quick Poll Results: What is your top consideration when deciding which recruitment agency to partner with on a gig?

Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below!

Why Are Staffing Agencies Important for the Hiring Process

Eagle’s founder, Kevin Dee, recently had the opportunity to participate on a panel in a webinar hosted by CPA4IT. The event, titled The Future of Work for Independent Contracting Webinar, set out to discuss how Canadian IT contractors can survive and thrive in this time and what practical tips that they can utilize to achieve success at work as an Independent Contractor.

One topic discussed was the value of staffing agencies, both for clients in the hiring and contracting process, as well as for IT contractors looking for work. Below is a clip of Kevin Dee’s insight on the topic, including how companies are seeking to improve efficiencies, as well as protect contractors from being deemed an employee by the CRA.

Eagle’s CEO, Janis Grantham, is joining the panel for the next webinar hosted by CPA4IT on Thursday, October 22nd. They’ll be building on the previous discussion and answering questions about the future of work for independent contracting in Canada. Click here to register today.

Practical Tips to Make Your Next Job Application Get Noticed

Practical Tips to Make Your Next Job Application Get Noticed

Brianne Risley By Brianne Risley,
Director, Delivery Strategy & Development at Eagle

Job searching on the surface sounds fun, but after filling out endless forms and creating dozens of online profiles it can get tiresome. Let me share with you the best life-hacks to save you time, and increase your client response rate when you are shopping for your next career or gig! (NOTE: I’ve made the assumption that you’ve already created a resume you are happy with. If you’d like to make some last minute revisions, check out my guide to resume creation and interview preparation here. )

Make your resume ‘pop’. It may surprise you to learn that up to six people may review your resume before it ever lands on a technical hiring manager’s desk. Most of those reviewers are either computer systems, or non-technical people who are trained to eliminate anyone who is missing key skills or titles. Let’s make it very easy to match your resume for an open job.

  • Customize your resume Job Titles to match the job you are applying for (where appropriate). IT job titles are often very fluid – a Systems Analyst at “company A” can have very similar duties to a Technical Analyst at “company B”. If the job you are applying to is for a Technical Analyst, make sure your resume matches that title so that a reviewer is comparing ‘apples to apples’.
  • Pick out the top 3 skills in the job requirement, and make sure they appear early and often in your resume. If your target job asks for PowerBI skills as the top requirement, make sure PowerBI appears in as many places in your resume as possible. An applicant tracking system ranks your resume not based on experience, but on how many times a keyword is mentioned. When listing your skills, more is better.

Autofill is your friend. Much of your job application time is spent filling out repetitive, online forms. Make sure you have your browser’s form autofill features turned on to save yourself time. This also helps you keep track of all the usernames and passwords you’ll be asked to create for your company-specific online HR profiles.

Is an online application asking you to break-down your resume into custom text fields? Don’t agonize over it. Confidently parse, copy/paste the text of your resume – do NOT reinvent the wheel and spend time customizing text for these online fields. There is often only an automated system accessing the data on the other end, and no actual person is reading it. If a recruiter wants to know more about you, they’ll open the resume. Spend the same amount of time filling out custom text forms as the company does reviewing it – that means, spend as little time as possible once you have a well-written resume! Copy/Paste will serve you well here!

Subscribe to job alerts broadly, even for job titles that don’t immediately appeal to you. Job seekers often subscribe to job alerts for their narrow, perfect dream job. I would encourage you to not be too specific. You may want a Sales Manager job, but try typing in “Sales” to auto-select all the other titles that appear (ie: Sales Executive, Sales Leader, Sales Consultant). This opens you up to the maximum number of jobs in your area. The more applications you have, the greater chance you have at uncovering a great opportunity. This leads me to my next point…

When in doubt…Apply! As long as you’re qualified for the job, there is no down-side in applying, even if on the surface it doesn’t seem like your perfect gig. Job descriptions aren’t always flashy, and the best descriptions don’t always correlate to the best actual work environments. Don’t be too choosey when applying – it’s a numbers game. You want to apply broadly to start getting your name out there in the market! Think about job applications like restaurants – the $100 plate of food may look great on Instagram, but the $10 plate from the local hole-in-the-wall can be more satisfying when you try it.

Spend extra time on the applications that you are excited about. Applying broadly to jobs should give you an idea of what is on the market. When you come across something special – your perfect role – go the extra mile by making contact with the company via a phone call to increase your chances of a call-back.

If a role has been posted for a long time, just apply. The hiring process can be quite slow, especially given the current hiring environment with extra approvals or remote onboarding causing delays. If a role has been posted 30 days, it’s still worth applying. Applying to a role when it’s fresh on the market is always best, but your older application can also get you considered for the next time that role is released at the company ahead of the competition because your name is in their system.

Job shopping can be an exciting time! I hope these tips make it fast, easy, and enjoyable as you find your next, greatest role.

What Are the Most In-Demand IT Skills for 2020?

Eagle’s founder, Kevin Dee, recently had the opportunity to participate on a panel in a webinar hosted by CPA4IT. The event, titled The Future of Work for Independent Contracting Webinar, set out to discuss how Canadian IT contractors can survive and thrive in this time and what practical tips that they can utilize to achieve success at work as an Independent Contractor.

One topic discussed was the most in-demand IT skills for 2020. While there are a number of exciting and new technologies on the horizon, sparking demand from top employers, Kevin Dee explains in the video below that the traditional, basic roles are still in highest demand and are not going anywhere.

Eagle’s CEO, Janis Grantham, is joining the panel for the next webinar hosted by CPA4IT on Thursday, October 22nd. They’ll be building on the previous discussion and answering questions about the future of work for independent contracting in Canada. Click here to register today.

Navigating the IT Contract Extension Process

Navigating the IT Contract Extension Process

Graeme Bakker By Graeme Bakker,
Director, Delivery Strategy & Development at Eagle

Extensions are a major part of IT contract work and, at times, are as important as getting a new position. Not every contract is guaranteed to be extended but as a contractor, you should know how to go about getting that information and what to do with it.

When your contract is coming to an end, it is important to make sure that you are communicating with both your manager at your current client and the recruiter who you worked with to get you that position. The recruiter will always be working on their end to help and push extension discussions; however, depending on client processes, they may not have as easy access to those answers as you do.

Asking your manager and your recruiter at the same time about your extension will prompt both sides to begin the conversation sooner. Within the last month or two of your contract, start following up to see if there are any chances for an extension. Depending on the response, you can start to plan your next steps based on your preferences.

When There Will Be an Extension…

If this is a role that you want to continue in, make sure to let both your manager and recruiter know. It is especially important that you share that information with your recruiter so that they can work for you to get that extension done. Extensions and the process to approve them can sometimes take time and this is something that you don’t want to leave to the last minute. You want to make sure that both sides have all the information and that communication can be as clear as possible.

When You are Ready to Move On…

If you are coming to the end of your current contract and you are not interested in being extended, tell your recruiter by the last month of your contract. You want to give the recruiter the opportunity to let the client know that you will not be accepting any pending extensions so that you leave the position in the best standing. When possible, provide as much knowledge transfer and even referrals so your work can be transitioned as smoothly as possible. Communication about this is as important as the communication to get an extension.

When There Won’t Be an Extension…

Coming to the end of a contract without an extension can be daunting but there are things that you can do to make the transition of finding that new position easier. Keep irons in the fire! Know what is out there, even if you are still on the current contract, and report that to your favourite recruiters. Let them know what kind of roles you are hearing about in your network and what roles you will be looking for going forward.

What else is out there? Call your recruiter and ask them what roles they are working on and give them details on your current end date and what specifically you were doing on your current project. Clients want contractors that are ‘working,’ and if you are finishing up a current contract and getting your resume in front of hiring managers, it can be a benefit to them to know you are just finishing up and are ready to jump to the next opportunity.

No matter if you are being extended or not, the key is to be proactive. Your recruiter will help you find that next position or work hard on your extension process, but making sure they have ample time to do so will only benefit you in the long run.