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Hire a Veteran: Roadblocks and Solutions to Supporting Vets

HIring a vet makes strategical
and financial sense

by Ed Maldonado

Call it a case of good intentions: While the idea of supporting vets by adding them to your employee pool sounds great, it doesn't always come to fruition. Whether it's more qualified applicants, scheduling issues, or simply a poor fit, while you might hope to hire a veteran, it's sometimes hard to follow through. Still, if you're dedicated to making sure vets have a place in your company, there are ways to increase the chances of adding the right people to your team and hiring veterans.

Hiring Roadblocks

One of the issues facing companies hoping to hire vets is simply that of a rapidly moving job market and veteran job-seeking knowledge. Veterans are not aware of the opportunities that are in the marketplace. The jobs in the IT industry move fast; by the time a job is posted and searched for, it could be filled by someone relatively quickly due to a high demand of IT professionals.

Some vets have also been out of the job market for a long period of time. That can translate to a lack of updated resumes or knowledge of the best ways to seek and apply for jobs across the board. Therefore, it's not a matter of companies being specifically unwilling to hire a veteran, but that other qualified candidates snag the job beforehand.

Vet Benefits

Unlike any other subset of the job market, vets are uniquely qualified and primed for quality work. Think about it: They're highly trained, have unsurpassed work ethic, understand how to lead and love a challenge. The result is a motivated employee who becomes an invaluable part of your team from day one. Vets are primed for "missions." Instead of punching a time clock, they're used to sticking around until the mission (task) is finished.

What's more, employers who hire veterans may also qualify for tax credits — some in the neighborhood of anywhere from $1,500.00 to $8,000.00 per hire. Not only does hiring a vet make strategical sense, but it could have an impact on your bottom line as well.

Making an Effort

Employers ready to make more of an effort in hiring vets have no shortage of resources available to them — and vets can take advantage of the same organizations and websites. Take Hero2Hired, a virtual job board that allows employers to post jobs specifically for vets seeking employment. The Wounded Warrior Project provides support and job placement opportunities to vets injured in the line of duty. Of course, there are also state programs available — check your state administrative website for initiatives and incentives for hiring vets.

Hiring a vet makes good business sense, but posting ads might not be enough. By understanding the benefits hiring vets offers for an organization, it's easier to find the right channels to make those connections. Thinking beyond the job board may be the key to hiring a well-qualified and highly motivated veteran.

 
 
 

Tips for Contacting a Hiring Manager After Your Interview

All post-interview activities should
go through your recruiter

by Valerie Emery

You've just completed a job interview and you walk out of the office thinking, "Nailed it!"

So what happens next when you're working with a recruiter?

In the past, applicants were advised to simply sit back and wait for a phone call from the hoped-for employer. These days, there are several proactive steps you can take to remain "top of mind" with the hiring manager, which is precisely where you want to be.

The key point to remember is that all post-interview activities should go through your IT recruiter — not the person who interviewed you. Why? Because your recruiter is in the best position to know the most appropriate methods of staying in touch.

During the Interview

The best first step should actually take place during the interview. As the conversation is nearing the end, inquire politely what will happen next. The interviewer can give you some idea of the time line involved (interviewing other job candidates, meeting to decide on finalists, etc.), which should help lessen the suspense involved in waiting.

Send a Thank-You Note ASAP Through Your Recruiter

It's surprising how many job candidates neglect to follow up after an interview with a short and sincere thank-you note. There's no better way to indicate your interest in the open position and to build on the favorable impression you made during the interview itself.

What should go into this thank-you message? Here are a few suggestions, depending on your particular situation:

  • Thank the interviewer for his or her time.
  • Remark how your interest in the job has increased, based on the interview.
  • Reaffirm your conviction that you feel you're a "great fit" for the job opening.
  • Politely ask for any update on the time line.

The most important elements in a thank-you note are promptness (don't wait longer than a day to send your message) and a positive tone. You're mainly trying to keep the favorable feeling of the interview alive in the days that follow.

Once your thank-you note is composed (and you've proofed it several times to ensure there are no typos or misspellings), send it to your recruiter. This person can tell you if the message has the right tone and content. If so, he or she will be happy to pass it along. 

Should You Follow Up With a Phone Call?

In most cases, a follow-up phone call to the hiring manager isn't a good idea. First of all, the hiring manager is swamped with resumes, interview appointments, etc., and likely won't have the time to chat. A better option is to follow-up with a phone call to your recruiter instead.

Is it possible that stopping by the would-be employer's office in person might tip the odds in your favor? In the vast majority of cases, the answer is no. Hiring managers are extremely busy and probably won't welcome a surprise visit.

When You Get the Verdict

Hopefully, you've done everything right during the interview and in the days afterwards. The recruiter calls with the happy news that you've been offered the open position.

But it's a good idea to be prepared for the alternative situation. If the news is bad, keep your cool. Ask your recruiter to thank the interviewer for the opportunity to apply. Ask if the hiring manager can share any feedback about your interview performance with the recruiter. Also ask if it's acceptable to stay in touch with the hiring manager (through your recruiter). If so, plan to occasionally send news of any changes in your job status, an article related to the industry you work in or a request to join the hiring manager's LinkedIn network.

 
 
 

Contract Employees: Giving Contract Work a Second Look

Hudson IT offers flexible and
challenging IT contract roles

by Mark Paolini

When it comes to full-time employment, "contract" can be somewhat of a four-letter word. A negative connotation often follows the inclusion of a contract exception on a job posting, which can make it less enticing to the right candidates. But contract employment opportunities have come a long way, especially in an increasingly flexible workforce. While employers may still have to sweeten the deal, contract employees can enjoy specific benefits if willing to sign on for something other than a traditional full-time position.

Overcoming Objections

Contract work isn't for everyone, but you might be missing excellent opportunities if you turn a blind eye. The most common objection to contract work is that employees may feel that, with the job being temporary in nature, it's less stable. Another reason is lack of the full complement of benefits. Hudson makes it clear that we offer health insurance, but the lack of time off (holiday, sick, vacation pay) in contract positions could turn some people off.

Employers hoping to hire contract employees may need to brainstorm benefits to entice professionals to shift focus away from traditional, salaried and full-time positions, while pros should consider the advantages to a contractual agreement.

Contract Benefits

While it's true that you may miss out on the same benefits extended to full-time employees, don't skip over a contract job during your search. In fact, contract work can have an advantage over a more traditional opinion. Since the full benefits package is not included, the average contract position pays 25-30% more than the same job would pay a salaried employee. Also, as an hourly employee, the contractor is paid for all the hours they work, and in some cases (depending on the type of job, and the state in which they work) they can make time and a half for any hours worked over 40. So it can be quite lucrative. While you may not be considered a salaried employee, you could stand to make a significant amount more and have the option to choose your own benefits when buying as an individual.

Sweetening the Deal

It's up to employers to make a contract deal sweet enough to make it enticing for IT professionals and hopefully, eventual contract employees. As a job seeker, ask about the potential length of a project or contract — this can help ease your concerns about a short-term position. You can also do your own networking: See what other contract workers say about the office environment and what its attitude is toward contract employees. Of course, employers should make sure their reputation for accepting and working with contracts is impeccable.

While it may not be the ideal situation for everyone, don't make the mistake of completely skipping over contract opportunities. If the employer is willing to sweeten the pot and compensate for the lack of a salaried role, you could end up with the perfect position.

 
 
 

IT Staffing Firms: Dos and Don'ts

Teaming up with an IT staffing
firm will put you in front of
the right person.

by Mike Bryan

Thanks to the competitive nature of IT jobs, it's not uncommon to get sucked into the "black hole" of IT applications. You know the drill: You send off a cover letter and resume, never to hear from the company again. By teaming up with an IT staffing firm, you increase the chances of getting noticed and eventually scoring the job. IT staffing firms often work directly with hiring managers to get details of the actual job needs. A firm often has access and insight to ensure the candidate's resume and profile gets in front of the right person.

If it's your first time working with an IT staffing firm, you might not know what to expect. Luckily, with a little prep work — and some general etiquette rules — you can make the experience more efficient and profitable.

IT Staffing Firm Do's:

  • Choose a firm whose goals and priorities align with your own: Not all staffing agencies are created equal: relationship and reputation are critical. Research and work with one, two or three recruiters/firms that have a good reputation. Check out LinkedIn and ask for colleague referrals to find the best firm for you and your needs.
  • Be honest: Remember that a staffing firm isn't the enemy. Instead, look to a firm as your ally in helping you get hired. Avoid glossing over touchy subjects, like why you're leaving your current job. Be up front about your strengths and your weaknesses so the firm has a better chance at matching you not with just any job, but the right job.
  • Be flexible: The IT firm is working for both you and a number of IT organizations looking to interview candidates. The more willing and accommodating a person is will help in being considered for the opening. The more willing a candidate is to provide references in a timely manner, the better for them and the agency.

IT Staffing Firm Don'ts:

  • Rely solely on the IT firm: While it's true that a firm can help you get a job, it doesn't mean you should give up the search either. Continue checking out job boards, LinkedIn, career sites and using your connections for the best chance at identifying and applying for the job you want.
  • "Double submit": Don't apply to a company directly after a recruiter has made you aware of an opportunity and agreed to present you for consideration. Many companies will eliminate candidates from consideration who have been "double submitted" either by two agencies or by an agency and the candidate's direct application.
  • Waste time: The IT organization pays the IT firm to find the right candidates. If you're not serious about the job search or aren't ready to take on a new opportunity, don't play games and end up wasting everyone's time.

Best Practices

A lot of candidates have had bad experiences with agencies mainly related to lack of communication. If you've been burned in the past, you can pinpoint the right recruiter by asking plenty of questions. The best recruiters are more interested in the long-term relationship between you, the firm and the client, rather than quickly putting you in an ill-matched job. By coming prepared with questions and making sure you're ready for a new opportunity, you'll get more out of working with IT staffing firms — and hopefully, the job you want.

 
 
 

Recruiting the Best IT Candidates

Top companies vie for the
best IT candidates.

by Sunil Krishnamurthy

In today's recruiting word, the demand for quality talent far outweighs the available talent pool. This causes intense competition, as all the top companies vie for the same qualified candidates. In this case, recruiters often find themselves as salesmen. What makes this position better than all the other opportunities out there? Here are some tips on recruiting the best IT candidates:

Understand the Candidate's Motivators

In a candidate conversation, you need to understand what the candidate wants and what would prompt him to make a change. Different factors are important to different job seekers. For example, those that prefer permanent or full-time positions may be most interested in the benefits package, training & education opportunities within the organization or what kind of career growth a job offers. Others may care more about work environment/work-life balance, a team-oriented workplace, or just the lure of a larger, more stable organization. Of course, salary and compensation packages (such as a 401K, bonuses and flexible spending) are almost always a motivating factor.

For contract positions, the motivations might be different. These may include hourly rate and duration or of the contract or benefits the consulting agency offers. Others are more intrigued by the kind of work the position offers and the technologies and skills that they could add to their repertoire.

Once you have an understanding of the candidate's motivators, you can begin focus on those points during the conversation to make the opportunity more appealing and you will be in a better position to sell the role to the candidate.

Access Assess the Candidate's Interest

After you present the opportunity spotlighting the main motivators for the candidate, you can begin to assess their level of interest. Ask them straight: "So, how do you feel so far, based on the information we presented to you?" You should might get a positive interest response, especially if you targeted the position based on their motivating factors. If you find that their response is lukewarm, this should prompt further questioning to determine other potential motivating factors (or a possible change in their criteria). Ask questions such as, "What other factors are important for you in a new position?" or "What are the plus and minus positive and negative points per your search criteria that you see in the position I just presented to you?" What they don't like about a position is a significant factor – it's an opportunity to either retool your search or present selling points that might overcome their objection. This is where the "Selling" part of the job opportunity comes in and you have to make sure you have all of the information and tools you need – from the job description and skills, to the benefits, perks and any other factors – to effectively "sell" the job opportunity to the candidate. Let Encourage them tell you to share how they're feeling and go from there.

Use a Gentle Professional but Firm Approach

Approaching the conversations with a gentle, honest but firm hand presents a professional front. It's important to keep in mind that you may cross paths with these candidates again and building a professional & trustworthy relationship will open doors to networking opportunities and will help you differentiate yourself from the competition. It's important to be judicious and mindful with your time spent on conversations with candidates – especially those who are passive and are not really looking for a new position - although these candidates might definitely be tapped at a later date if their situation changes and could be a good investment of time. Occasionally a hard sell might work in these situations, but you should evaluate these on a case-by-case basis.

In today's recruiting world, the ability to sell an opportunity to a candidate is an extremely important skill for any recruiter, especially with candidates getting more savvy about picking between their multiple options. Show the candidate why the position is unlike any other – and blow them away with your understanding of their key motivators.  Do these things properly and you'll consistently be recruiting the top IT candidates.

 
 
FROM GREAT PEOPLE TO GREAT PERFORMANCE®

Hudson IT provides solutions necessary for technology leaders to deliver business value. Hudson IT consulting services deliver expertise to implement critical initiatives, specializing in Healthcare IT and Learning & Performance programs. Our staffing services provide specialized professionals on an as-needed basis, allowing companies to maintain IT service levels with reduced costs. Backed by global recruitment resources, Hudson draws upon multiple capabilities to design the best solution for each company’s need.