Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: inside scoop

All posts in the Talent Development Centre, written by recruiters, with an inside look at Eagle and other staffing agencies.

Make Your Resume Pass a Recruiter’s 5-Second Scan

As though you are someone just passing them on the street, recruiters give you the quick up-and-down or pass by you all together. Like a bright shirt, there are tips and tricks to prompt recruiters to stop and give your resume a sufficient review.

Check out this video and make sure that your resume is wearing that bright shirt so it stands out from the crowd and demands to be noticed.

Save Time in your Job Search by Setting Up Job Alerts

In order to keep a steady flow of income, you need a steady flow of work. That means that when one contract ends, your goal is to start the next as quickly as possible. If you’re only reactively looking for jobs at the end of a gig, you risk a long gap of no work. Of course, a detailed search while you’re putting in hours for a client’s project also isn’t always feasible. That’s why we recommend setting up search agents and email alerts to do the work for you, and email relevant jobs as they arise.

Did you know that Eagle’s job board has a feature that does just that? It’s been one of our job board’s core functions for over 5 years and thousands of IT contractors are already taking advantage of it, gaining an advantage as the first to apply to new jobs! Here’s a quick video that show you how you can set one up right now.

Why Recruiters Ask You to “Rewrite Your Resume” for an RFP Response

Crystal Nicol By Crystal Nicol,
Delivery Manager, Eastern Canada at Eagle

Why Recruiters Ask You to "Rewrite Your Resume" for an RFP ResponseI was recently at a networking event and overheard IT contractors discussing how their staffing agency was having them basically rewrite their resume for an RFP response and they couldn’t understand why they were having them do all of the work. There was mutual agreement around the group that they’ve all experienced this and that they weren’t happy about it. I thought that was a great time to introduce myself and apologize for interrupting, but I couldn’t help but overhear their topic.

I asked them if their agency educated them on why they require the information they were asking for. All of them explained that they were simply sent a set of instructions and were told that they had to “send everything back” before the deadline. I took some time to discuss the reasons to them and after a lot of back and forth questions and answers, they understood the importance.

Remember, you, as the consultant, are the person doing the job every day. Between yourself and your recruiter, you are the only one who knows what you did, how you did it, in what context, with whom, what tools were used, etc. The last thing we want to do as an agency is guess or assume your experience. This is why your recruiter comes back to you to ask you to update your resume with the details. Yes, they can help you put your thoughts together but they need you for the details.

After discussing why it’s important to have a “federal government” formatted resume with the group consultants, I sent them this Talent Development Centre post I wrote a year and a half ago. It is a great starting point when any consultant is getting ready to respond to a Federal Government RFP.

Do You Have Questions? Here’s How to Get Answers Directly from Eagle’s Recruiters

Do You Have Questions? Here's How to Get Answers Directly from Eagle's RecruitersIt’s an AMA, Talent Development Centre style! We often see comments across social media or hear from IT contractors directly who have a variety of questions. So, for today’s special post, we’re asking our readers what they want to know from Eagle’s recruiters.

Are there specific job search tips you’d like to hear? Do you want to learn more about hiring processes at staffing agencies? Would you like to know what’s happening inside a recruiter’s head at any given time? Whatever the question, we want to answer it.

Leave your question in the comments section of this post below. We’ll collect all of them and send them off to Eagle’s most experienced recruiters. Then watch the Talent Development Centre and we’ll share the answers at the end of the month.

Land More Jobs by Building a Relationship with Your Recruiter

Crystal Nicol By Crystal Nicol,
Delivery Manager, Eastern Canada at Eagle

“Communication–the human connection–is the key to personal and career success.” - Paul J. MeyerWhen you’re an IT contractor, working with recruiters is inevitable in your career, so maintaining a strong candidate/recruiter relationship should be top priority. Having an honest, open and trusting relationship with your recruiter is beneficial as you make major decisions throughout your career.  Just as every strong relationship has give-and-take, so is the one between the job seekers and the recruiters. Recruiters provide expertise, industry knowledge, industry contacts and job leads. They can also provide tips and guidance to improve your chances and direct you to the best job opportunities for you. So what’s the role of the IT contractor as the job seeker?

First, you need to help recruiters find you so you can do your part to build relationships with them. It is a known fact that more senior recruiters have an easily accessible pool of highly qualified candidates. These are people in their network that they often refer to first when they are recruiting for a job opportunity. If you’re not in that pool then you’re making your job search a lot more difficult. The internet and social media are swimming with candidates who are constantly applying to positions and you need make sure you are standing in front of the competition. So, start by building your social media presence including LinkedIn, Twitter and any local boards. Recruiters often use job boards and social media to find their candidates so make it easy for them to find you. If you get unsolicited calls or emails from recruiters, take them and respond. If the job opportunity is not what you’re looking for, then the best advice is help them with their search by recommending people you know who are a fit. Recruiters remember candidates who are helpful, so it’s the perfect way to start building a relationship.

Another way to ensure you are building a strong relationship with your recruiters is to have conversations with recruiters in real-time. Meet your recruiters face-to-face whenever possible. Provide them with regular updates on your status and any exciting projects you are working on. Also, put in an effort to understand their business, how recruiting works, their recruiting cycle timelines and how you fit into that scenario. It is also important to gain expectations in the beginning. Having this general understanding can help you figure out which relationships to prioritize. You would want to prioritize recruiters who specialize in what you do.

Developing a relationship with recruiters benefits your future job search. Even if you aren’t immediately looking for a new job or if a particular job opportunity isn’t quite right for you, it’s worth it to find out more and use that time to develop that relationship. Recruiters are often the link to many potential employers. They know what’s happening internally at these companies and before most, know where the next vacancy will be. So always welcome opportunities to speak to recruiters.  Keep an open mind and you might be pleasantly surprised.

“Communication–the human connection–is the key to personal and career success.” – Paul J. Meyer

Recruiters Love (and Need) Your Feedback

Recruiters Love (and Need) Your FeedbackAs with any top-performing professional, great recruiters strive to improve so they can better help IT professionals find the right job with the right client. Also like all professionals, recruiters can only get better if they know how to improve. They take the same approach you would to deliver better service to your clients (reviewing past successes and failures, professional development, etc.) but they too can only fix the shortcomings that have been identified to them.

Perhaps you consider giving feedback to a recruiter uncomfortable or even unnecessary, but there are several benefits to you that will make you thankful you did. First and foremost, as we already alluded to, feedback is the only way your recruiter can truly improve. Both positive and negative, when recruiters know what they’re doing right and in which areas they lack, the best ones will build off their strengths and work on their weaknesses. The result will be more positive experience next time you work with them.

If you don’t believe it’s your responsibility to help a recruiter with their professional development, then consider that it is your shared responsibility to ensure proper communication. Especially when you’re dissatisfied with what’s happening, talking about anybody behind their back will not solve the issue. Instead, by expressing concerns and sharing your feedback, you create an opportunity for dialogue. Often in these cases, miscommunications and misunderstandings of expectations are identified and processes can start to be fixed. Finally, sharing feedback with a recruiter helps relationships. A humble recruiter always appreciates feedback and when you demonstrate a genuine effort to help them improve, they will remember it next time a job comes across their desk that fits your skillset.

How Can You Give Feedback to a Recruiter?

Excelling at giving feedback is a challenging task for anybody and recruitment agencies understand that. Most will provide multiple options for you to give feedback, but here are just a couple common ones:

  • Contact the Recruiter Directly. The obvious one is to call, email or arrange a face-to-face meeting. Tell your recruiter exactly how they’re doing or how they did, what they should keep doing and where they need to improve. This is the best solution if you want dialogue but also the most awkward and may not suit everyone’s personality.
  • Surveys. When you receive a survey from a recruitment agency, complete it. Not only do you get to respond at your convenience, but it is the easiest way to give them what they want to know AND rant about anything else you feel is relevant. More importantly, survey responses are almost always guaranteed to be seen by your recruiter’s manager. If you feel your direct feedback wasn’t received properly, this will deliver the message.

Giving feedback — both positive and negative — is a natural part of a successful career. It’s a good habit to provide feedback to your teammates, partners, clients, and of course recruiters. In addition to giving it, it’s even more important to be able to accept feedback. For many, that’s an entirely different challenge.

How You Can Contribute to an Awesome Onboarding Experience

Alison Turnbull By Alison Turnbull,
Delivery Manager at Eagle

How You Can Contribute to an Awesome Onboarding ExperienceWe’ve all been there – starting a new job always means lots of uncertainty, heightened levels of stress and a general sense of discomfort.  Clients and employers have come a long way to ensuring the onboarding of both permanent employees and contractors is pleasant. In doing so, they strive to mitigate the stress that starting a new job tends to have on the vast majority of people.

Back in the day, it was common to have someone point to an empty desk, hand you a bottle of Windex and say “Off you go, figure it out!”  Luckily, companies have since recognized the importance of a robust onboarding program including socialization, training, wide spread introductions and announcements – all of which go a long way to fostering a feeling of inclusion.

As an IT contractor, independent professionals are accustomed to starting new positions on a fairly regular basis so tend to roll with the punches more so than most.  A good agency understands the importance of you having all of the tools and information you need to start an assignment successfully, and will do everything that they can to assist with that process.  But the contractor has a role to play in that as well.  In speaking with our back-office onboarding team, we asked what some of the common misconceptions or missteps were.  They confirmed that if you focus on just these four areas in the days leading up to your contract start date, it will ensure a much smoother onboarding process for all.

  • Have all requested paperwork completed. More importantly, complete all required fields, on time, and submitted as requested.
  • Ensure that all business paperwork is accurate. Everything you provide needs to be clear and correct. For example, confirm that your HST # is valid and that your chequing account is under business name rather than personal.
  • Know where to go for information. Your agency cannot (and should not) act as an accountant, a lawyer, or a business assistant. Be sure you have your own business considerations covered
  • Realize that staffing agencies can have different processes. Just because the recruitment agency you worked with last did things one way, it doesn’t mean it was the “right” way. You may have to adapt to a new (and potentially better!) way of doing things.

When you start a new contract it’s your job to get acquainted as quickly as possible and to hit the ground running.  Ensuring that all of your i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed from an administrative perspective will go a long way in allowing you to focus on what is important — doing a stellar job for your new client.

The Job Interview is YOUR Time to Shine… Be Sure to Prepare!

Graeme Bakker By Graeme Bakker,
Delivery Manager at Eagle

The job interview is your chance to sell yourself.  The recruiter found you, helped update your resume as necessary and submitted you to the client.  We can prep you and give you insight into the culture and even specific questions that the hiring manager is likely to ask but as the candidate, this is where you need to shine.  Preparation is what is going to set you apart from the rest.

As a contractor, you know there’s fierce competition in every role you apply to. Putting in the effort to be prepared and knowledgeable will always give you the advantage in this stage of your job hunt.  This infographic from Ropella has a few tips to help you get there.

The Job Interview is YOUR Time to Shine... Be Sure to Prepare!

Building Your Resume to Respond to Government Matrices

Crystal Nicol By Crystal Nicol,
Delivery Manager, Eastern Canada at Eagle

Building Your Resume to Respond to Government MatricesDeciding to move into public sector IT contracting? One of the biggest challenges a contractor faces is getting their resume ready to respond to large RFPs and extensive government matrices.

Here are some guidelines to help with the process:

  1. You must have a detailed PROJECT description for every position you list in the resume. The project description should include:
    • The project type (transformation, migration, implementation, etc.) along with any main systems or main technologies used.
    • Describe what the goals/objectives are of that project. If applicable, discuss any project successes/failures
    • What was the team size?
    • What was the project budget?
    • Any other relevant information that can help to explain and understand the project.
  1. When you list your work experience, be sure to include the following information for each position:
    • Job Title (including the level)
    • Employer’s name and city
    • Duties and accomplishments
    • Supervisor’s name and phone number (this is particularly good to have when an RFP requests a reference for each project listed in the matrix)
    • Start and end dates (month AND year)
  1. It is often a requirement of an RFP response that you send supporting documentation, including proof of education, certifications or security clearance. It is always a good idea to keep a scanned copy of these documents ready to send if necessary.
  2. Organize your resume information. You may want to consider sub-headings for different flavors of your resume. This will allow you to add bullets to your resume easily for targeted matrix responses or remove bullet points or sub-headings from your resume if the experience is not relevant to that particular job posting.
  3. You should never submit a resume to a job posting without updating the responsibilities section of your resume. It is important that you demonstrate that you are qualified for the role and gear your resume updates toward demonstrating this. Review the qualifications of the job posting/matrix for the position you are targeting. By reviewing this it allows you to better understand which of your qualifications you should emphasize and elaborate on in the resume. Matrices actually provide a major competitive advantage in a job search because the client reveals exactly what they are looking for. Go through the matrix, item by item, and highlight all the relevant experience in your resume. If more detail is needed, tailor your experience in your resume and explain how you meet each requirement.
  4. Keywords, keywords, keywords. Look for Keywords, such as repeated verbs or technical terminologies that are listed in the job posting or matrix. Once you have identified these words then use them in your resume and more importantly provide proof that you have the experience by elaborating on the context of how you gained the experience. A good way to do this is to use numbers, provide examples and focus on the outcome of your activities to emphasize results.
  5. Update job titles frequently. You may need to change your job titles to better fit the job description, such as changing “Project Producer” to “Project Manager” or “Data Scientist” in a private-sector job to “Data Architect.”
  6. Go long. Federal resumes are always longer. Use as many pages as needed to provide a thorough review of your work and education. Be detailed and remember, you’re using your updated resume to make your case and prove that you’re the best fit for this job.  That being said, carefully open with your key qualifications and avoid losing your reader/qualifiers. You could also add a profile statement or qualifications summary to the top of your resume to highlight your most noteworthy and relevant accomplishments.
  7. Proof read your resume. Similar to other resumes, editing and reviewing is important. Not only are you outlining your qualifications but you are also submitting a writing sample. Proof read and edit the resume at least 3 times before submitting your resume for a job posting.

What Makes a Client Hire Quickly… or Take Forever to Decide? (And Why Independent Contractors Should Care)

Morley Surcon By Morley Surcon,
Vice-President, Western Canada at Eagle

What Makes a Client Hire Quickly or Take Forever to Decide? (And Why Independent Contractors Should Care)Many factors impact just how quickly a company will progress through the hiring process.  Having a sound understanding of the speed of hiring can help a contractor immensely.  For example, if you are on contract and your assignment will be wrapping up, knowing how long the hiring process will take ensures you begin earnestly looking for your next “gig” at the correct time – not so soon that a new offer comes in before you’ve fully completed your assignment; and not so late as to have an uncomfortable gap in your work and income.

Having multiple offers in hand is a great scenario for a contractor but having multiple interviews on the go and one mediocre offer in hand is a little more difficult to manage.  Do you turn down the offer in the hope that one of the better interviews results in some business?  After all, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.  Having a solid understanding of the timelines involved may help you to determine whether you can wait to provide your acceptance of the present offer or whether you need to jump at what you’ve got for certain.

The following is a list of factors that lengthen or shorten the hiring cycle and why:

  • Reason for hire: Is the company initiating a brand-new project?  If so, there could be delays in the process.  Or are they replacing a key person within an ongoing project?  This could indicate a need for someone very quickly.
  • Interview Process: How many interviews will be required as part of the client’s hiring process.  It isn’t uncommon for some companies to have one interview and make an offer.  However, some clients like to have multiple interviews before settling on their candidate of choice.
  • Market conditions: When supply of contractors is robust vs. the demand for work, we often see companies taking more time to make a hiring decision.  The opposite is also true… tight labour markets mean that qualified contractors need to be snapped up more quickly or risk losing them to another company.
  • Complexity of the job description: Some customers ask for a “shopping list” of qualifications and experience that is so long that no-one exists with everything that they want. These clients need to scale back their “must-haves” and will begin interviewing the candidates that have portions of what they desire.  These customers are often slow to make a hire, hoping that some unicorn-candidate will magically become available.
  • Number of candidates being considered: If a company interviews 2 or 3 potential candidates, they tend to make quicker decision than companies who interview 7 or 8 or more.
  • Motivation of the hiring manager (or lack thereof): Deadlines, looming vacations, competing priorities all factor into the level of urgency hiring managers will have.
  • Level of bureaucracy: Some companies have an extensive internal hiring process that require levels of approvals and sign-offs that can drag offers out for weeks.
  • Dynamism of the environment: Many corporations have a very fluid environment, where programs and projects are continually in flux.  Timing of hiring is often impacted when this occurs as they attempt to coordinate the entry of the new contractor(s).  Depending on the situation, this could speed up the hiring process or slow it down.
  • Timing of other, similar projects in the local market: Projects may be delayed or fast-tracked based on other projects of a similar nature either starting up or winding down elsewhere in town.  For example, if there are a number of simultaneous SAP projects already in-flight in the local market, a company wishing to start one of their own may delay their hiring to coincide with one of these other projects winding down.  The opposite can also be true… back when everyone had a Windows 7 implementation in their plans, the companies who moved fastest to hire/build their teams were able to acquire the cream of the crop… they were motivated to move quickly.

These are just some of the things that can impact the speed at which an offer is made.  Be sure to ask your recruiter about these the next time they speak with you about a new opportunity and you will understand the issues at play – the better the information that you collect, the better your decision making will be.