What To Do with Your Hands During a Job Interview

As Kelly Benson pointed out back in July, when you’re job hunting, the devil is in the details. Every little step counts, from the spelling in your resume to how you format your resume to how you submit an application. And if you’re fortunate enough to receive one, that attention to detail needs to carry-on to your interview. When you arrive, how you dress, and what kind of handshake you give will all affect the client’s perception of you.

If we’re going to talk about small details, let’s take a look at a really small one we rarely think about — what you do with your hands during the job interview. Business Insider thinks of everything to help you succeed in your job search, and this video is no different. Take a look so you’re more cognizant next time you’re sitting across the table from someone. It’s amazing what kind of effect simple hand gestures can have on whether ornot you win an IT contract.

The Cool New Things You Can Do with iOS 12

Earlier this week, Apple finally released iOS 12 and reviews have been pretty exciting so far. While many features are unchanged, there are at least 19 new things you can do on your Apple device that you couldn’t do before. The even better news is that, rather than having to discover the new features on your own, Gizmodo did the heavy lifting for us! Here’s a summary of their list, and you can see their post for all the details.

  1. Create your own Memoji
  2. Add stickers and text
  3. Spot repeated passwords
  4. Clear notifications quickly
  5. Share photos more easily
  6. Search for photos more easily
  7. Tackle your smartphone addiction
  8. Browse for ebooks more easily
  9. Measure objects with augmented reality
  10. Enjoy shared AR experiences
  11. Be disturbed less
  12. Get more from Siri
  13. Browse the web in peace
  14. Use Google Maps in CarPlay
  15. Update iOS automatically
  16. Get more from Stocks
  17. Use gestures on your iPad
  18. Build your own Siri Shortcuts
  19. Make group video calls in FaceTime

The Most Effective Way to Apply to Jobs

A lot of effort goes into an effective job search. Searching for the best jobs, networking through companies and preparing resumes are all labour intensive and require significant amounts of time. Once you’re prepared, submitting the actual application is quick and easy; however, it should still receive as much attention as any other step. After all, you’ve done all that work, why waste it by being careless during a company’s online application process?

The simple action of applying to a job is not complicated but failing to pay attention to the details could cost you an interview. These simple items help you stand out when you submit a job application online:

  • Ensure you definitely qualify. Review that job description once more to guarantee that you meet the absolute must-haves of the job. This includes a willingness to work at the location. If you’re not willing to move and they want you in their city, then don’t bother applying.
  • Review the name of your resume file. Naming your resume “Resume.doc” is not very helpful to a recruiter looking at multiple files. At the minimum, include your name in the filename. It’s also wise to include your title and the date it was last modified.
  • Provide multiple contact options. As much as a good recruiter will always contact you in your preferred manner, there are always exceptions. Give them as many options as possible if they need to speak with you immediately — email, phone, cell phone (are you open to texting?), and LinkedIn are all helpful.
  • Complete all requested fields. Staffing agency job boards often ask for additional information to help keep their records up-to-date and match you with future opportunities. Even when it’s not mandatory, it’s a good practice to complete all fields. This helps you appear in future searches and recruiters will call you as job opportunities arise.
  • Avoid Creating Multiple Profiles. We see this happen often at Eagle. Candidates start using a new email address and end up creating a separate profile under their new address. The result is duplicate profiles in a database, which will cause confusion and you may miss out on future opportunities.
  • Save Information from Your Applications. Tracking all of your job applications means you can follow-up later and know the status of all jobs. Specific details you’ll want to reference when following-up with a recruiter include: Job Title, an ID number associated with the posting, the location, and the date it was posted.
  • Follow-Up… but be Realistic. Speaking of following-up, we always recommend it. If anything, it gets you in contact with a recruiter and helps you network. That said, be realistic about it. Following up hours after applying does not give a recruiter enough time to review all applicants and you will not get a good response. You should also avoid following up too frequently and keep in mind that it’s not worth arguing when you don’t receive a favourable answer.
  • Save and Return Later. Finally, there are going to be situations when you want to apply to a job but don’t have time to complete all of these suggestions. That’s OK. Save the job information and the application then return to complete the details at a more convenient time.

As the old saying goes “A job (application) worth doing is worth doing right.” The more you pay attention to detail and provide the right information, the easier you make the job of a recruiter, and the more likely you are to get that interview.

Quick Poll Results: Do IT Professionals Follow IT Security Best-Practices

It should be a fair assumption that the more knowledge we have about threats, the more cautious we will be. For example, a hiker who is educated about dangerous animals, poisonous plants and harmful bugs is going to proceed down a nature trail much more carefully than the casual jogger who knows little about the forest. By that same thinking, an IT professional who understands security threats should be more cautious when navigating the Internet, right?

Last month’s contractor quick poll set-out to prove that theory. We asked IT contractors which password mistakes they made recently. As expected, everybody takes the odd shortcut, but surprisingly, 80% of respondents said they use the same password in multiple places and don’t change their passwords frequently. Are you shocked with these results or are they what you would expect?

Quick Poll Results: What password mistakes have you made recently?

History’s Most Embarrassing Software Bugs

Do you remember a year and a half ago when a developer at Amazon made a mistake and broke the Internet? That was embarrassing, but it was fixed relatively quickly and didn’t cause too much damage, at least not compared to some other technology mishaps.

This infographic we found on graphicspedia.net highlights five of the most legendary bloopers in software history, all because a bit of code wasn’t written properly by a developer. These aren’t small mistakes and the companies are well-known — AT&T, Pentium, NASA, Microsoft and Apple. If these intelligent IT professionals can make a mistake like this, then maybe you shouldn’t feel bad when you slow down your client’s services for a few minutes.

The Embarrassing History of Software Bugs - Infographic

It’s Alright to Quit and You Need to Know When

It’s healthy to set complex goals that are a stretch but will force you to step outside your comfort zone and work extra hard to accomplish that goal. Sometimes those goals are personal and sometimes they’re professional. Sometimes they’re attainable and sometimes… they’re never going to get completed. So, is it alright to quit? According to this video from Med School Insiders, it’s not just alright, it’s encouraged!

An important step to working on any project is knowing when to evaluate and know when you need to keep pushing through or when it’s time to quit. As the video explains, the decision is not easy and requires many considerations, but it’s an important question to ask yourself in order to maintain maximum productivity and, more importantly, your health.

As Kenny Rogers says “You gotta know when to hold’em, and know when to fold’em.”

Contractor Quick Poll: Would you ever go back to being an employee?

There are so many great benefits to being an independent contractor in the IT space. You get to set your own hours, work on projects you love, be your own boss, and take advantage of tax incentives. But let’s face it, independent contracting is not for everyone. Some technology professionals prefer not to live in the risk of hoping they have work next year or managing the extra expenses that come with the position.

In over 20 years of working with independent contractors across Canada, we’ve worked with thousands of IT workers as they made the change from a permanent position as an employee to independent contracting. Some of them absolutely loved it while others realized it wasn’t for them. In this month’s contractor quick poll, we’re asking IT contractors how they currently feel about their career decision.

Regional Job Market Update for British Columbia

Cameron McCallum By Cameron McCallum,
Regional Vice President at Eagle

Vancouver SkylineWhile the job market in Vancouver and BC might be seen as being relatively flat this year and there have been signs pointing to a softening of the economy, those more qualified than I point to an economy currently operating at near capacity. In general, employment numbers are high and unemployment low. According to Central 1, B.C.’s job vacancy rate is highest amongst all provinces, pointing to a shortage of skilled workers across industries. This is certainly true in the IT sector where specialized skills remain in demand and finding suitable resources remains a challenge. Is the local market tapped out? Not quite, but again, a fairly robust economy, not to mention business and client expectations, means that there are a lot of changes underway. And change, more often than not, leads to opportunity.

So what does the current market offer IT professionals in BC?

We’re definitely seeing an uptick or continuation in the popularity of SAAS and if you combine it with Service Management for example, you should be taking notice of the number of Service Now initiatives taking place not only in BC but across Canada.

More and more of our clients are also in the midst of cloud transformations and there is a need to find project specialists who can assist with managing changes to the delivery of IT to the organization.

Large scale infrastructure projects are also widespread, everything from more basic, but urgent, Windows upgrades to very large deployments of hardware and software. We’ve also noticed a demand for virtualization experts in recent months.

On the application development side, it depends on what you are programming for. Microsoft still controls a large portion of our corporate client’s landscape and we continue to see a need for .NET programmers. But mobile and web developers who have worked with Java or JavaScript related tools such as Node.js, Angular or React will also find a pretty healthy demand for their skills.

What roles are our clients looking for? Despite all of the tech buzz that exists in the market, we continue to network with and recruit senior level Project Managers, Business Analysts, Architects and Testers…the bedrock of any IT project. With all the initiatives underway, project managers who have a strong record of delivering projects from inception to completion will find lots of opportunity in the Lower Mainland. Business Analysts fulfill all kinds of needs on a project. It may be straight forward requirements analysis or there could be aspects of change management and communications or process mapping and reengineering. Enterprise Architects are in short supply and in demand as well and finally testers, both automation and manual varieties are needed.

If you have any of these skills, you should feel pretty good about your employment or engagement opportunities in BC. The public sector and crown corporations are robust. Work, especially in the health sector, has exploded and there is no reason to believe it will slow down. The private sector has a good mix of large, traditional corporations delivering products and services along with a steady influx of startup and app centric software shops. All in all, BC currently offers lots of opportunity but as always in Information Technology, having a bit of a specialization will help open doors.

IT Industry News for August 2018

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

This post first appeared on the Eagle Blog on September 10, 2018

This is my 30,000 foot look at events in the Tech industry for August 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 August in previous years …

Five years ago in August 2013 IBM paid $1 billion for Trusteer, a cybersecurity company specialized in the financial services sector;  Qualcomm sold its fleet management software unit for $800 million to private equity firm Vista Equity Partners; and the other big dollar buy was AOL paying $405 million for online video company Adap.tv.  Facebook bought speech recognition company Mobile Technology; Software AG bought analytics firm Jackbe; Opentext paid $33 million for cloud based software company, Cordys; and SAP bought ecommerce company Hybris.

Intel logoAugust 2014 saw no blockbuster deals, however a number of big name companies were out with their cheque books.  Intel paid $650 million for the LSI Axxia networking chip business; Vmware bought application delivery provider CloudVolumes; IBM bought Lighthouse Security Group to bolster its cloud based identity and access management capabilities; Google bought two startups, Emu to boost its messaging capabilities and Directr for its video advertising business; Facebook bought a security startup Privatecore, and the last BIG name saw Yahoo buying app company Zofari.

IBM logoThree years ago in August 2015 there were two billion dollar deals.  Symantec sold Veritas (which it paid $13.5 Billion dollars for 10 years ago) to a group of investors for $8 Billion.  IBM also paid ”big bucks”, shelling out $1 billion for Merge Healthcare.  Smaller deals saw Calgary based Above Security bought by Hitachi; Transcomos bought 30% of Vietnamese daily deals site Hotdeal; Freshdesk bought live-chat company 1Click; and PLDT bought ecommerce startup Paywhere.

The apple logo and apple with a bite out of itAugust 2016 saw a fair bit of M&A activity although there were no billion dollar deals.   The largest deal saw global staffing company Randstad buy one of the larger job boards, Monster for $429 million.  A similar sized deal saw Intel shell out $408 million for artificial intelligence company Nervana.  Hewlett Packard Enterprises paid $275 million for SGI (what was left of Silicon Graphics); Apple paid $200 million for artificial intelligence company, (there is a pattern here), Turi; Salesforce bought business analytics company Beyondcore for $100 million; and ScanSource paid $83.6 million for telecom cloud services company Intelisys Communications.  Other acquisitions saw Microsoft snap up two companies, artificial intelligence scheduling software company Genee in addition to their XBox division buying interactive livestreaming company Beam.

Last year August 2017 was relatively slow on the M&A front.  Symantec sold its website security business to DigiCert for $1 billion, plus a stake in the larger entity.  Cisco paid $320 million for hyperconvergence company Springpath, CGI bought a Pittsburgh consulting company, Summa Technologies and Accenture bought a Toronto consulting company VERAX.  While not a pure tech play the biotech world saw Aclaris pay $100million for Confluence.

Which brings us back to the present …

Cisco logoAugust 2018, saw a fair amount of M&A activity, a lot of smaller deals, a few significant moves and some recognizable names out buying companies.   The big deal of the month saw Cisco pay $2.35 billion for access security company Duo Security.  In other deals VMWare paid $500 million for cloud management company CloudHealth; and HP splashed out $500 million for Europe’s largest print provider, Apogee.  Apple snapped up Augmented reality startup Akonia; Accenture made two small acquisitions in the digital space, Mindtribe and Pillar Technology; Intel picked up a small AI company Vertex.Ai and Vonage paid $35 million for video company TokBox.

Apple was also in the news because it became the first public company to reach a $1 trillion valuation, and they were quickly followed by Amazon.

Jobs section of the newspaper under a microscopeGeneral job indicators were good in Canada and even better in the US, which continues to see strong job growth.  There were several reports indicating a growing skills gap for key roles, particularly in tech, both in Canada and the US.  Elsewhere around the world job indicators were relatively strong, with a few exceptions due to Brexit or other external factors.  Of course Canadians continue to watch the unfolding sagas of NAFTA negotiations and the bungled oil pipeline, concerned about what that might do to our economy.

On a final note, “digital” continues to be hot, with Canadian firms expected to spend more than $16 billion on digital tech and services this year.

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 September 2018 industry news in just about a month’s time.

 Until then, Walk Fast and Smile!

The Game of Life, Freelancer Edition

Life is a journey, not a destination” — words once spoken by American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, and then sang again by Aerosmith in their song Amazing. It’s definitely a journey — a long, unpredictable, sometimes-good-sometimes-bad journey, and independent contractors are not immune to the volatility.

The classic board game “The Game of Life” makes light of the ups and downs of the average life and how single decisions can impact your future, but Freshbooks felt it still doesn’t portray the life of a freelancer so they created this fun infographic. Sure, there are only 23 steps compared to the thousands you’ll have to take in your career, but it still gives an accurate depiction of independent contracting at a high level that’s easy to understand. If you’re exploring a career as an independent IT consultant, then get started by reviewing this infographic and to see what you’re in for.