Talent Development Centre

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All Talent Development Centre posts written by a member of the executive team at Eagle, Canada’s premier staffing agency.

Canadian Job Market Update

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee,
Chairman of the Board at Eagle

Canadian Job Market UpdateIn the second half of 2018 the general message to technology job seekers is a positive one, and below I will explain why, and also why there is some caution to that statement.

On the face of things a 5.8% unemployment rate is as good as it has been, and Canada has created 240,000 jobs (mostly full time) in the last twelve months which is all good.  The downside for the economy is that a large portion of those jobs have been public sector, which while good for the job seeker today is not at all good for Canada’s economy.  As we have seen in Ontario, a change in political power means that investment in public sector jobs can change quickly as Ontario has a hiring freeze and a pay freeze for executives.  Overall I expect there to be plenty of opportunity in the public sector due to the large numbers of retirees that will need to be replaced, even if new jobs are curtailed.

Canada’s economy, like most of the world, is doing well. The TSX as a representative market indicator is in around the 16,500 points which is about 1,500 higher than last year.  The price of a barrel of oil is up around 65c which is much better than the $50 we saw perhaps a year ago.  As indicated above, the unemployment numbers are also good.  The Canadian dollar has ranged between 75c and 80c for a while, but NAFTA negotiations, the trade war with the US, the potential carbon tax impacts, loss of investment in Canada, the continuing oil patch debacle and recent labor law changes in Ontario can all conspire to change the situation.

One of the drivers of opportunity for jobs in Canada is the success of the US market, which has added jobs consistently, month over month since the last recession.  The stories of skills shortages, particularly in tech are common.  The TechServe Alliance attributes the slowing in growth of IT jobs to the growing skills shortage in the tech space.  We are seeing, and will continue to see large Global companies with headquarters in the US opting to add capacity in Canada, where there is an educated workforce, in similar time zones and within easy reach of head office.  Amazon, Facebook, Google and others have announced such activity in recent months.  So opportunities will exist for people willing to relocate to the US, in addition to jobs in Canada being created by US companies.

The GTA is Canada’s largest market, and is home to more head offices than any other city in Canada by a large margin.  The financial sector is largely headquartered here and is a huge employer of technology resources.  The telecommunications industry also has a large tech base in the GTA.  As the fourth largest city in North America the GTA represents 60% of Eagle’s business and probably 60% of tech jobs in Canada.

Tech job activity is relatively strong in most markets across Canada.  The one exception would be Calgary, which has not returned to pre-oil crisis levels of activity but is still busier this year than last.

The type of roles that have been in most demand at Eagle in the recent past have been developers, business analysts, project managers, Sys Admins, Architects and database admins.

In summary, people with tech skills should have little difficulty in finding employment, either contract or perm for the foreseeable future.  A willing ness to relocate to the bigger centres will only increase their marketability.  The only potential downside is whether Canada can maintain its competitiveness given the aggressive approach of the US administration in supporting US business.  I expect our government to act at some point to provide relief to Canadian business.

Our advice to clients is to ensure there are clear, clean hiring practices that move quickly through the hiring process.  It is a candidate market again and that means the best talent is snapped up quickly, often with multiple offers.

That’s my look at the Canadian Job market to date in 2018.

Baby Boomers v.s. Millennials: How to Communicate and Overcome the Generation Gap

Breigh Radford By Breigh Radford,
Director, Human Resources at Eagle

How many times have you heard that the key to a good relationship is communication? Probably forever! But how well do you communicate with the different generations. Recently, I was told by a Baby Boomer (ages 54-72) that Millennials (ages 22-37) only know how to communicate through text. Shortly after, I was told by a Millennial that Baby Boomers are demanding and unappreciative. That got me thinking – they both have so much in common, but they don’t listen and tend to interpret the message into their own words.

Now, I belong to Generation X (ages 38-53) and lately I’ve been feeling a bit stuck in the middle of these two large demographic groups. It is exhausting being their mediator, so here are some tips you may want to consider:

Tips for Baby Boomers

  • Appreciate and take advantage of the energy and curiosity of a Millennial. They can likely do a task quicker via an app or a Google search. Try and get sucked into their energy and world, it could be fun!
  • Engage them! Millennials are more than an employee or an annoying team member, they want to feel that there is meaning in their life and job and be heard (so listen!). Instead of “Yes, but…” try “Yes, and…” – it is a sure way to show you are open to their ideas.

Tips for Millennials

  • Take advantage of the wisdom and experience the Baby Boomers have. They were young once and may give you a different perspective to consider.
  • Consider communicating to the Baby Boomer in their preferred method, not yours. Improve your influence factor by learning how to present to a different demographic in a way they understand. Use the original Facetime perhaps? Do your homework and when making a ‘pitch’ be professional, present all sides of the argument, and talk facts, not feelings.

Tips for All

  • Respect goes both ways. Be sure to ask questions, learn and never assume.
  • Clarify and confirm what you have discussed. For example:
    • “Just to clarify, you want me to begin the research project today and get back to you with an estimated completion date by tomorrow at the end of day?” OR
    • “Regarding our last meeting and discussion, I have thought further about working from home and I understand the policy as it relates to my role. I want to confirm that you are aware that I won’t be working in the office two days a week. I’ll start this program next Tuesday.”

Good communication always starts with a conversation, whether it be in person, phone, email or text. Either demographic can start the dialogue, but let’s start it and leave the Gen Xers out of it for a while.

Some of the Best IT Jobs are in Canada’s Financial Sector

 

Frances McCart By Frances McCart,
Vice-President, Business Development at Eagle

Interested in a Technology Career in the Banking Industry? Get an Exclusive Invitation to a Networking & Hiring Event in Toronto

Some of the Best IT Jobs are in Canada's Financial Sector

Forget everything that you thought you knew about working in a big bank’s Technology Group. The financial world has changed and FinTech is driving the way they do business!

The traditional banking model is undergoing massive change. Banking clients expect more from their banks than ever before so getting the right technology in place is more critical now than ever. Being ahead of the game in technologies including AI, mobile apps, data analytics and cloud computing is a huge differentiator for banks and is essential in gaining an edge over their competitors.

In the past, banks followed and implemented the latest technologies as they were released. Now, Canadian banks are actively involved in building the latest technologies. Rather than sitting on the sidelines and waiting, they’re putting themselves at the forefront of change by getting involved with technology labs like CommunitechMaRS Discover DistrictOneEleven and DMZ.  Several banks have also launched digital factories and innovation labs of their own to help cultivate ideas that address clients’ needs, as well as streamline processing all with a focus on technology.

Eagle works with all of Canada’s top banks and in the past year, we have seen a massive influx of both contract and permanent opportunities with their technology groups.  The focus has changed from merely acquiring the latest technology to leading technology innovations. Banks offer ambitious techies the opportunity to lead the way with new developments in AI and blockchain, and be part of creating new software.

For instance, many banks are employing an increasing number of data scientist and data engineers.  The engineers and developers work in an active DevOps environment where code can be deployed in months… and sometimes even weeks.  The technology world, in large part due to FinTech, has changed and the Banks are evolving with it. Teams are agile and work in cross functional groups. The technology environment within today’s banks resembles the environments traditionally associated with Silicon Valley companies such as Google.

There are great career opportunities at all of Canada’s major banks.  Many offer hard core technology resources the chance to be part of a culture shift and take their career to the next level, while being supported by institutions with long histories and sound financial backing.

Eagle is currently working with a major banking client to build an exclusive guest list for an upcoming IT networking and hiring event. As well as the opportunity to meet with the organization’s top hiring executives, attendees will enjoy the opportunity to hear from an industry-leading Big Data guest speaker and will gain preferred access to current full-time job openings in the data space. For the opportunity to attend this event, complete this quick online form.

Exciting times are ahead within the technology groups in all of Canada’s major banks.  When you consider your next job move, take a fresh a look at this exciting industry.  You may find your own little part of Silicon Valley on Bay Street.

Related Articles

Customer Service – A Challenge for the Service Industry

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

A common challenge for any company in the service industry is building and maintaining strong, positive customer service. One airline in Canada recently sent out an email campaign thanking us for voting them the “best airline in North America, again.” I won’t mention names, but think about ANY airline that you know – there is so, so, so much room for improvement with all of them. You’d think that if they wanted to be honest, they wouldn’t say they were the best airline industry in North America, instead they’d use the slogan “we suck less!”

Staffing agencies struggle with this as well – yet we absolutely offer legitimate value in the service we provide. Without staffing companies, hiring would be extremely inefficient. Our industry’s intense focus on this one aspect results in our use of people, processes, and technologies that wouldn’t be cost-effective for individual companies to purchase/hire. The staffing industry saves our economy millions of dollars vs. what would need to be spent if there were no agencies. And from the consultant’s perspective, it is very hard to work on assignment and still find time to market themselves. Agencies have insight into opportunities that would be near impossible to find on their own.

Yet, our industry has an image problem. We are often seen as a “necessary evil”, rather than being embraced as a partner. As hard as we try, we are not able to please everyone all the time. Some relationships become strained and the result is dissatisfaction. At Eagle we try to be as reasonable as possible. But we still have a business to run, staff to pay, and technology in which to invest. We make it a point not to take advantage of people, but we cannot allow people to take advantage of us either. We try to set realistic expectations with both clients and consultants and do what we can to remain true. Sometimes business realities change and make it impossible to hold the line set. But when this happens we try our best to work through things with as much fairness and transparency as possible.

Eagle is ISO 9001:2015 certified, meaning that we have a quality framework that we use to manage our business and that the management team and staff are knowledgeable about our processes and committed to delivering quality always. Part of being certified is measuring how we are doing against our quality goals. For this we conduct monthly surveys with both our consultants and our clients to solicit feedback – what we’ve done well, what we’ve done poorly, and we look for opportunities to make our processes even better. All in all, this has worked well for us over the years.

However, the staffing industry, despite having strong industry associations such as ACSESS and the NACCB, requires no/limited licensing or certification requirements to participate. Anyone can hang a shingle on their door and they are a recruiter. Published codes of ethics for agencies exist and most follow the code set out by ACSESS, but they are not compulsory. Here at Eagle we have also implemented our own code of ethics. But a few bad apples can spoil things for all.  A case in point is the new “protective legislation” that the Ontario Government has put into place. The legislation is meant to protect at-risk temp workers, but as is often the case, the unintended consequences result in burdens on our industry and in some cases, the legislation actually hurts the very people that they were intending to help.

And what about incorporated consultants and contractors? They provide a service too. Their company is part of the service industry and has many of the same customer service challenges. If a consultant contracts directly to the end-client (a practice that has seen dramatic reductions thanks to some of the government legislation and CRA deemed-employee rules) then their client is the company that they work for. If, however, a consultant works through an agency then they have two clients – the agency who hired them and the company at which they are providing their services. Do contractors think of the agency as their client? Do they treat their agency as they would with other clients? The most successful consultants work in partnership with their agencies, coordinating and collaborating to find lucrative and successful engagements. These contractors are re-engaged by the agency for other opportunities as often as possible. Consultants offering poor customer service are not.

The service industry can be exciting, fast-paced, and rewarding. But it is hard as well. Any services-based company relies on their reputation to win new and (especially) repeat business and a big part of this is the level of customer service that is provided. This is important to Eagle as evidenced by our extensive investment in and commitment to our ISO quality standards. Managing a services business, regardless of its size, requires one to treat both customers and suppliers well. This is true for all companies within the Service Industry – airlines, staffing agencies, and for independent incorporated contractors alike.

Job Hunting – The Devil is in the Details

Kelly Benson By Kelly Benson,
Branch Manager at Eagle

Job Hunting - The Devil is in the DetailsThey say that you never get a second chance to make a first impression and there is so much truth to that in the hiring process.  While there are a lot of different ways that a job seeker can differentiate themselves from the pack when applying for roles, one surprising differentiator is an attention to detail.

In the past 20 years, I have seen some great resumes, some terrible resumes and a lot that fall somewhere in between.  I once had a client compare receiving a resume to going on a first date and it was a comparison that I have never forgotten… one would never go on a first date without a little extra effort, so it stands to reason that we should do the same to impress a potential client or employer.

Here are a few quick tips to craft a great first impression through the application process:

  1. Avoid Senseless Mistakes– review your resume for typos, grammatical errors and inconsistent tense. When hiring managers receive a high number of applicants, often the first round of candidates to be eliminated are those that don’t make a great first impression because of grammar or spelling errors.
  2. Follow the Application Instructions– instructions in a posting are the first step in the evaluation process and small “traps” are often included to catch people who might “skim”.  If you are asked for a cover letter, produce one.  It will be used to evaluate both your written communication skills AND your ability to follow instructions.
  3. Customize Your Resume– focus on the role that you are interested in and match the relevant details in your resume to the job posting, but don’t duplicate the job posting.  The author of the job posting wants to see your experience and professionalism – they do not want to see their work plagiarized.
  4. Fact Check– make sure everything on your resume is accurate.  If you share any links (portfolio, websites, LinkedIn, etc), make sure they work as expected. Also, keep in mind that background, employment and education verifications are very common – in addition to traditional references.
  5. Google Yourself– you should expect that you will be searched at some point in the hiring process and often it is earlier than you think.  Do you need to clean up your social profile or adjust privacy settings?

Once your resume lands you the interview, here are some tips on how to knock the interview out of the park.

IT Industry News for June 2018

Kevin Dee By Kevin Dee,
Chairman of the Board at Eagle

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on July 11th, 2018.

This is my 30,000-foot look at events in the ICT industry for June 2018. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of June in previous years

Tech NewsFive years ago, in June 2013, Salesforce.com purchased marketing technology company ExactTarget for $2.5 billion, which was the big buy of the month. Other acquisitions included Irish mobile company Three’s purchase of O2 Ireland for $780 million; SanDisk paid $307 million for SMART Storage Systems; Cisco bought Composite Software for $180 million; IBM bought cloud company SoftLayer Technologies; and Buytopia.ca was on a spree with six acquisitions in the last year.

June 2014 included some significant deals announced, with Oracle paying $5 billion for Micros Systems; Sandisk paid $1.1 billion for solid state storage company Fusion-io; and Google continued its push into home automation, witnessed by its subsidiary Nest paying $550 million for cloud-based home monitoring service Dropcam. Google itself paid $500 million for Skybox Imaging, a satellite maker to enhance the Google Maps capability. Twitter paid $100 million for mobile marketing platform Tap Commerce and Red Hat paid $95 million for eNovance.

In June 2015, Intel paid $16.7 billion for semiconductor company Altera Corp. Cisco paid $635 million for security firm OpenDNS in addition to picking up OpenStack company, PistonCloud Computing. Microsoft bought 6Wunderkinder, maker of task management app Wunderlist; Ricoh Canada bought Graycon Group, a professional services firm headquartered in Calgary; and finally, IBM bought OpenStack company Blue Box Group.

June 2016 was certainly an interesting month, with the Brexit vote upsetting the markets and causing uncertainty; and there was plenty of M&A activity. The big deal was undoubtedly the Microsoft purchase of LinkedIn for a whopping $2.6 billion. There were other billion dollar deals that month too: Salesforce paid $2.8 billion for e-commerce platform maker Demandware and Amazon announced an extra $3 billion investment in its India operations. Other significant deals included Daetwyler Holdings AG paying more than $877 million for Raspberry Pi maker Premier Farnell Plc; Red Hat paid $568 million for API management software company 3Scale; and OpenText paid $315 million for HP’s Customer Communication Management products. Other noteworthy deals included an investment group’s purchase of Dell’s software arm; Microsoft bought natural language start up Wand Labs; and Samsung bought cloud computing company Joyent. Also, Google Capital announced its first investment in a public company, investing $46 million in Care.com, an online personal services marketplace platform.

June 2017 saw Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. Westcon-Comstar’s American business was being bought by Synnex for approximately $800 million. US fintech provider, Fiserv, purchased British financial services technology firm, Monitise for $88.7 million. Microsoft purchased Israli cloud startup, Cloudyn, for a price between $50 million and $70 million. Rackspace acquired TriCore in an effort to increase their business from customers who want help running their critical applications. Ebix Inc. entered into a joint venture with Essel Group while acquiring a majority stake in ItzCash for $120 million.

Which brings us back to the present

June 2018 saw a fair bit of M&A activity, the biggest deal seeing Synnex pay $2.43 billion for call centre company Convergys and AT&T pay $1.6 billion for advertising tech company AppNexus. Palo Alto Networks is paying $300 million for Security company Evident.io; PayPal is shelling out $120 million for fraud detection startup Simility; Splunk is paying $120 million for incident management platform company VictorOps; Ribbon Communication is paying $120 million for Edgewater Networks; and Sharp is paying $36 million for Toshibas PC business. Other companies out shopping include Cisco who bought WiFi analytics company July Systems; IBM bought maintenance and repair company Oniqua and Shopify bought app company Return Magic.

Skills shortages were a theme around the world as hiring plans in most countries are positive. Confidence is high in many economies, including Canada’s despite the storm clouds surrounding NAFTA negotiations and the trade war with the US. Speaking of the US, their economy continues to roll along with very favorable indicators almost everywhere.

That’s what caught my eye over the last month, the full edition will be available soon on the Eagle website. Hope this was useful and I’ll be back with the July 2018 industry news in just about a month’s time.

Walk Fast and Smile.

Regional Job Market Update for Toronto

Brendhan Malone By Brendhan Malone,
Vice-President, Central Canada at Eagle

Toronto… The Place to Be for Technology

Toronto, Ontario CanadaToronto has long been recognized as a centre of technology in Canada.  That reputation only grows with each passing month and year.  Toronto is among the best cities in the world to work in technology and there are over half a million working in the technology space in Toronto.  This number is growing fast as is the roughly 25% of those that are self-employed. Plus, a recent study by the Compass Group showed that Toronto’s tech growth is outpacing the rest of the country almost 5-1.

What is responsible for this growth?  It is a number of things and anytime in economics or business that there are numerous factors to growth, that is a very good thing.

Let’s look first at the straw that stirs the drink for Toronto’s Tech sector — our major financial institutions.  The Big 5 are all headquartered in Toronto and in 2018 continue to invest massively in technology.  Cloud computing, security, application development, risk management through technology, customer experience, are all areas that the banks continue to invest in.

The Major Telco’s equally influence the Toronto Technology sector.  The intense competition for customers has led to significant investment in a better customer experience through technology.  This competition also drives investment in the latest network and cellular technologies to bring faster speeds and better experiences for their customers.  2018 has been a huge year for this type of infrastructure investment in Toronto and elsewhere.

The new world business Goliaths such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter have all recently invested money and resourcing in Toronto and continue to grow their presence in 2018.  In today’s world of technology, you can never really be a true world technology hub without their presence.

And let us not forget the importance of a vibrant environment for start-ups.  Uber, Airbnb, Facebook, were all start-ups at one time, making it critical that Toronto maintains a not only viable but an exciting environment for start-ups to take root.  Companies like Top Hat, Bridget, and others are following in the footsteps of more established start-ups like Shop.ca and Fresh Books.  2018 has seen an incredible number of start-ups show us exciting things in Toronto.

The landscape is bright for technology in in Toronto in 2018.  The battle for talent is fierce but it also shows that this is where a huge pool of talent resides.  The healthy mix of factors described above has Toronto in a good place for years to come.  If you are technology professional in Toronto it appears you are in the right place.

Regional Job Market Update for Edmonton

Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Regional Vice President at Eagle

Much has been made of the continuing recession in Alberta and the fact that we may finally have hit rock bottom means things can only get better from this point on. An interesting statistic takes a look at the sales of new vs. used cars and found that the sales of new vehicles fell 18% during the period between 2014 and 2016, while the sale of used vehicles rose 10%. This same trend was noted during the recession of 2008 to 2009. During that recession new vehicle sales fell 27%, a huge decline and an indicator that things were bad.

So what’s happening now? According to recent stats, as Alberta’s economy gradually gains traction, new vehicle sales are rising once again. They rose 11% in 2017 and signs point to that trend continuing.

Much like the trend in new car sales, the market for Information Technology professionals declined during the recession. The Edmonton market was not as heavily impacted as the Calgary market during this time however, there was a definite decrease as companies and organizations took a cold, hard look at their spending. Edmonton is supported by its large Public Sector and while much of the private sector was hunkering down and keeping the lights on, government at the municipal and provincial level didn’t have that luxury, as taxpayers were clamored for increased and improved services. Additionally, the newly elected government in 2015 brought in a large number of policy initiatives and changes and the result was the reorganization and/or implementation of new systems and processes, which created a consistent level of activity. Things felt a bit slower, but there still seemed to be a demand. If you were an experienced architect, project manager, business analyst or .Net developer, there was little shortage of requirements and opportunities.

What we’re seeing today is different. Those roles continue to be in demand, but we’re seeing (and hearing of) major projects either in the planning stage or already on the docket and ready to go. Clients in traditional sectors seem to have greater confidence and are moving projects from planning to implementation. And new companies and partnerships are springing up in response to new opportunities and legislation, such as the legalization of Cannabis. This is driving innovation and opportunities in technology, especially around data, security, mobile apps and the cloud.

So what roles are clients looking for? As mentioned earlier, project managers, business analysts, and developers continue to be in demand. But we’re definitely seeing the introduction of roles pointing towards the changes taking place in the market.

You may begin to find your skills are in high demand, if you possess the following expertise:

  • Data Scientists
  • Cloud Specialists, specifically “integration” architects
  • ITSM/Workflow Consultants (Service Now)
  • Front End Developers (JavaScript and associated tools)
  • QA Specialists

Regional Job Market Update for Calgary

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

Calgary Job Market Outlook: The New NormalCautious optimism.  That is how the job market in Calgary might be best described.  Eagle has witnessed more new hiring over this past quarter than we’d seen of any previous quarter in the past couple of years.  Still at far lower levels than prior to the Oil & Gas meltdown, it represents a marked shift as a broader range of companies have participated in the hiring.

Economists from the National Conference Board and ATB are predicting that a lot of the growth will be seen coming from new, smaller and start-up companies.  There certainly appears to be more activity in these areas.  As the City has made significant efforts to diversify its corporate company-base, new-to-Calgary and start-up companies are building on their infrastructure.  They tend to have fewer requirements than the traditional O&G corporations, but there are more of them.  Certainly, a trend to watch over the coming months and years.

Supply of resources available also appears to be returning to normal levels.  In March, Eagle’s Calgary office had significantly fewer people apply to online job postings compared to the same period in 2017.  Rates have remained stable for quite some time now after having been knocked back due to the local recession.

Top IT Job Titles from this past month include:

  1. Developer
  2. Business Analyst
  3. Systems Analyst
  4. Support
  5. Quality Assurance

There hasn’t been too much variability in these top requests over the past months.  However, new requests for people with skills in Cloud and Cyber Security have been growing.

One disturbing trend that we have noticed is that there have been fewer contract extensions offered vs. times past.  Despite the uptick in new roles coming out, there is trend across the industry seeing a drop in extension rates.  The reason for this is not exactly clear but could be a sign that companies are shifting the way they use contingent labour.  Certainly, there are more companies that have implemented maximum tenure rules and that may be having an impact as well.  But it is something that we plan to follow closely.

What does the future hold?  It is still difficult to say with any level of surety.  I do expect that new, smaller companies will continue to drive innovation and will be a source of new opportunities here in Calgary.  Should some of this pipeline mess be resolved in favor of new capacity, there would likely be a “bounce” in the O&G market, with Oilsands companies, particularly, having some relief.  Regardless, it will take some time for local investment by the O&G industry to come back.  A lot of investment dollars have been committed to projects (and acquisitions) elsewhere, often south of the border.  Clear and decisive government intentions/policy will likely be needed before true confidence returns to this industry.

Has IT contingent labour hiring turned the corner for good? The last 3 months would indicate an improved and sustained hiring environment.  But only time will tell if this will be a long-term trend.  I expect that until the end of June, at least, there should be stable demand for IT resources.  Then the summer months will hit, and all bets are off.  Some summers can be very busy, while others are quiet.  When we came out of the 2008 – 2009 general recession, the summer was super-busy as people worked hard to make up for lost time.  However, that particular slow-down (although sharp and deep) was short in duration.  Things bounced back quickly.  This time around, we have been dealing with a depressed market for 2+ years, our economic muscles have atrophied, and companies have made structural/fundamental changes to their IT organizations.  This makes it difficult to predict whether our local economy continue to drive the need for jobs over the summer months.  As time goes on, be sure to watch the Eagle job boards, confer with your recruiter contacts, and keep active in your professional networks to gauge for yourself what is to come.

Best wishes for good business in the upcoming months!

Always Finish Strong

Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Regional Vice President at Eagle

“Starting strong is good. Finishing strong is epic!” – Robin Sharma

Business People at Finish LineHow many times have you seen people who fail to finish strong either because they know they are almost done with a project, job, or even a work-out, typically because they become fatigued, bored or otherwise disinclined to continue to put the required effort needed to stand out.

Starting new projects or initiatives is always a time of excitement and for some contractors, that adrenaline rush of experiencing new challenges and meeting and influencing new people or environments is exactly what keeps them going in the contracting world.

But one of the most common problems I’ve witnessed and one that absolutely changes the client’s perception of the contractor’s overall performance is what happens in the final stages of the project when most of the work is complete and things are wrapping up. Feedback up until that point was extremely positive, everything along the way was good news (or no news). And just when extending the contract or finding the individual a new contract seems to be a no brainer, the wheels fall off.

It’s at this critical time, just as a contract is about to be completed, that a contractor can cement their reputation as being an absolute pro or conversely, and unfortunately, a dud! Here are a number of things to avoid if you would prefer to be the former, and not the latter:

1. Do More Than is Required

“What is the distance between someone who achieves their goals consistently and those who spend their lives and careers merely following? The extra mile.”

And do more than is required right up until the last day and hour of the project that you were contracted to deliver. If you keep that mindset as an independent contractor, you will build a reputation in the marketplace as a professional who consistently brings value to the project right up until its conclusion.

2. Don’t Let the Hunt for Your New Gig Get in the Way

“There are only two options regarding commitment. You are either in or you’re out. There is no such thing as life in between”

It’s true that as a contractor, you are responsible for “self-marketing” to ensure that you have your next contract in hand while wrapping up the contract you are currently on. But too often, contractors start fixating on their next contract. And so the work on their current project suffers. Attendance becomes spotty and deliverables suffer. Sacrificing the hard work and solid reputation you’ve earned at the very last stages of your contract is not wise. Not only will you risk angering a client who might still be considering you for other projects or an extension, but that disappointment could lead to an even earlier termination, making the issue of your next contract even more serious.

3. Don’t Rob Peter to Pay Paul

In other words, don’t let the fear of a “gap” in projects prompt you to accept a new contract prior to the end of your current one. This is typically mishandled for a number of reasons.

The contractor is embarrassed or afraid to quit so they invent a reason why they have to leave the contract early. The lie is usually uncovered at some point and there goes your hard-earned reputation.

They begin the search months before the contract is scheduled to end under the assumption that it is never too early to start looking. Well in fact, it is. Now you have an excited recruiter and client who believe that you are ready to start a new contract on their timeline. Either way, you’re guaranteed to make someone unhappy whether you accept the new contract and quit the old early, or stay with the current and turn down the new contract.

In the rare event that both parties accept the overlap, you end up promising both parties that you can deliver and then fail miserably at one, the other, or both.

4. Work with your Recruiters(s)

Plan a schedule of communication with your current recruiter so that you can help each other plan any transition. Share information and project knowledge to determine if there is an extension coming your way or if there are new opportunities on the horizon that correspond with your contract end. If you attend an interview prior to your contract finishing, let the interviewers know when you are expected to finish your current contract. Set the expectation with them that you will complete your current contract, that it is a part of your service delivery approach. If anything, it should impress upon them that you are a professional with integrity. And if things don’t line up perfectly, you can always offer to do project prep work while finishing up your current gig. This can always be done at home, on the bus or during weekends.

Starting new projects is always fun but it can be a challenge to finish strong. Commit to staying connected to your end goal which should be providing service and value right up to the last day of the project you are on. Don’t let yourself get waylaid by impatience or worrying about your next job. Trust that your training, experience and reputation will play a big part in the successful transition to a new contract. And work with professional recruiters to augment your search.