IT recruitment
Sourced - IT Recruitment

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Three Mistakes to Avoid at Your Next Interview

12 Nov 18 by 76

Interview Mistakes


So, you’ve got your foot in the door and landed that coveted interview. While it's easy to get caught up in the stress of the big day itself, the key to giving yourself the best shot at success lies in doing all of the hard work in the lead-up. The way that you prepare for a job interview is critically important and can make the difference between an average interview and a fantastic one. Below, we’ve used our expert knowledge and experience in the IT recruitment industry to guide you through a few of the most common interview preparation mistakes we see candidates make, so that you don’t fall into the same trap.

Lack of Understanding of the Organisation

Knowing how to research is arguably the most important skill you need to interview successfully. Arriving on the day without an understanding of the organisation doesn't look good, and you’ll likely find yourself ill-equipped to answer the questions that are put to you. Especially in today’s world, where the basic information you need is almost always easily accessible online, you risk the interviewer interpreting a lack of understanding as a lack of commitment.

Employers want to see that you are genuinely interested in working for them, so be prepared for questions that gauge what you know about the organisation. As a baseline, get familiar with what the company does and the products and services it offers. Add to that an awareness of the history, key stakeholders and any other relevant information, such as recent developments in the industry, and you'll be well armed for your interview. The good news is that with company websites, social media and industry press publications, researching and preparing for an interview has never been easier.

Not Researching Your Interviewer

Another one of the biggest mistakes we see candidates make is not knowing the person who is interviewing them. Prior to the interview, it's likely that you will have had some level of correspondence with the interviewer, if only to set the interview up. As soon as you know their name, a quick search on LinkedIn or Google will help gain an insight into the person who they’ll be sitting opposite. It might only take a few minutes of your time, but chances are there will be plenty of useful information available.

Details such as how long they've been at the company and what they were doing prior to that will not only offer insight into their professional background and personality but can also help to break the ice – maybe you both went to the same university or had similar roles in the past. In addition to this, if you’re working with a specialist recruitment agency, we’ll be able to help you prepare for upcoming interviews and provide insight into your interviewer as well.

Using Stale Answers

It may be tempting to read a few articles online and memorise seemingly 'perfect' answers to interview questions. The problem with this approach is that all too often, the interviewer has heard them before, and they know exactly where you got them from. Not only that, but it demonstrates a lack of thought, interest and originality. An experienced interviewer will be able to spot fabricated answers a mile away, which is why it's crucial to provide genuine answers that relate back to real experiences instead.

When answering interview questions, reflect on your work experience and identify a number of examples that you can use. Think carefully over past achievements, positive feedback, successful projects and value added, and use this to stand out from the competition. On top of that, don’t be afraid to discuss previous mistakes and the lessons learned, as this demonstrates your ability to improve and grow professionally.

Summary

No matter the level of your career, when it comes to interviews, the importance of preparation cannot be overstated. To give yourself the best chance of landing the job you want, put aside the time to research and prepare. Remember, the more insight you are equipped with, the better your answers will come across.

For more advice on how to prepare for an interview or if you're looking for your next IT job, get in touch today – we're always happy to help.

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The ‘F Word’: Understanding Flexibility at Work

12 Oct 18 by 75

Understanding Flexibility | Sourced - Christchurch IT Recruitment


Often when we talk to candidates, the word 'flexibility' is offered up as an indication of what they are looking for in their job search – sometimes even more so than remuneration! In our latest Sourced Report, which provides insight into the trends and changes occurring in the Christchurch and Auckland IT sectors, work/life balance and the importance of flexibility really came to the fore. However, what does flexibility actually mean to candidates and how should it be approached by employers?

Understanding Employee Needs

As changes to daily work patterns and new technology open up the opportunity for flexibility in the workplace, it's become more important than ever for employers to understand what their employees are looking for.


This was certainly something we noticed when comparing respondents who were not currently receiving flexibility with those who were. Of those in roles where they were not receiving flexibility, 46.32% stated that they were currently seeking a new role, as opposed to 30% of those who were. This emphasises just how much the use of flexible working initiatives can impact retention. Work/life balance and flexibility have featured highly as an employee priority ever since we started surveying IT professionals four years ago, so it’s a trend that is likely to stick around long-term.

The ‘F Word’

However, when we talk about “flexibility”, what do we mean exactly? The word is often shrouded in a great deal of ambiguity, prompting understandable concerns from employers, who fear that it’s solely about remote working, which can have a significant impact on the day-to-day running of a business. In reality, from the conversations that we have with IT professionals, it’s clear that the idea of flexibility means different things to different people. Remote working is just one strategy amongst a wide range of flexibility options that are being explored by employees, and we’ve found that the majority of people aren’t even looking to work from home on a regular basis.


Research from the UK shows that key reasons for wanting flexibility include having more control over work/life balance, cutting down on commuting time, opening up more time to pursue study, and caring for children or other dependents. People don’t necessarily want to replace the time the have in the office, but rather, re-order it so that it works better for them overall.


So, for employees, rather than just labelling it the ‘F Word’, it’s important to be specific with what flexibility means to you. Sometimes it can be as simple as having the freedom to pick up the kids after school, spending slightly longer at the gym at lunch time, having more time to pursue further study, cutting down on commuting time, or taking a few leave days during winter to go skiing. As with any negotiation, clear communication is key to getting the desired outcome.

Navigating Risks and Obstacles

Employer concerns around the ‘F Word’ almost always comes from a ‘how business actually works’ perspective. Employers are looking to build tight-knit, agile teams that can thrive in a Tech environment where change happens quickly and constantly. A heavy remote-working component – which is often the assumption of what flexibility entails – can be a threat to this if it isn’t implemented in the right way.


When it comes to flexibility, our research shows that the value is there for employers when it comes to retention. The challenge once again lies in the communication; opening up the conversation with team members and understanding what they’re actually looking for and how that aligns with your needs as an employer.


Remember, neither party in a discussion thinks that they’re the bad guy, it’s about negotiation and compromise. Be clear and simple in your communications, and take the time to listen to what the other is saying. Appreciate their perspective (or ask them questions until you do!), offer alternatives and be accommodating where you can, and you’ll likely end up working towards a solution that works for both parties.

Summary

As flexible working becomes a key requirement for IT professionals, it becomes more important for organisations to weigh up how flexible working can benefit them. Although our research has shown the impact that it can have on retention, it’s clear that working from home isn’t the be all and end all of a flexibility working policy.


To understand more of the trends and changes affecting your local IT market, view our latest Sourced Report here. Or for help with your IT recruitment needs, get in touch with the team at Sourced.

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Do these before applying for your next IT job

30 Aug 18 by 74

Key Things You Should Do Before Applying For Your Next IT Job


When you’re just starting out in a job search, it’s tempting to jump headfirst into the market without too much thought; sending out CVs and applying for any job that’s relevant to your experience. There is one problem with this approach though; preparation will often be overlooked.

  

Outlined below are four key things to do before applying for a job in the IT industry. 


Update Social Media Accounts

If an employer is interested in an application, the first thing many will do today is take a look at the applicant’s social media presence. A lot of what we say and do online can end up in the public domain and it’s surprising how much can actually be found out online.


Before sending off any applications, it’s important to check your LinkedIn and other social media accounts. Are they up-to-date and accurate? Would you be happy for a potential employer to see what’s visible?


When updating your LinkedIn profile, ensure that it’s aligned to your CV and representative of any experience, achievements and career goals. If you have recommendations from previous managers and clients, it can also help strengthen your personal brand.


It’s not just about LinkedIn though. Read through recent posts on other social media platforms (anything that can be seen publicly) such as Twitter and Facebook. If you wouldn’t be comfortable having an employer see what’s there, take a look at the privacy settings and then do another check.


As an extra precaution, it can also be a good idea to Google yourself to find out what someone else would see. 


Review Your CV

The CV is still one of the most important parts of the recruitment process and will usually be one of the first things that a potential employer reads about you and your application. That’s why it’s crucial for it to be in the best shape possible.  


Have you reviewed the content before sending it out? This is especially important for IT professionals who have been in the same job for some time, as it will most likely need a refresh.


Make sure it’s updated to reflect the value that you’ve added in recent positions, as well new skills and experience gained during that time. Emphasise any key accomplishments that are going to stand out on a page. After all, this is what employers will be looking for. 


Don't Forget About Networking

Today, more and more tech jobs are being filled without being advertised at all, so be aware that conventional methods might not cut it when it comes to your job search. This is why making connections with people and building your network is more important than ever. Whether it’s through social media, local industry events or meetings, making connections can help open doors to future opportunities.


Even if a new job isn’t currently on your radar, it’s a good idea to continually build your network; it’ll help to strengthen relationships and raise your profile in the industry! With that in mind, ask for introductions, keep in touch with old colleagues and reach out to specialist recruitment agencies and other contacts.


Check in With Referees

How does your referee list look? Especially if you haven’t been in the market for a while, it’s the perfect time to reconnect and update them on your employment situation. Make sure they’re still relevant to the roles that you’re applying for and ask yourself whether there is anyone that could be added who might add more recent value.


Although references are unlikely to be checked until later in the recruitment process, it’s good practice to get in touch with any potential referees early. This not only gives them a heads up, but the more prepared they are, the better the reference will be. No one likes to be called up out of the blue! If you check in with them early, you can also gauge their feedback on strengths and areas for improvement, which might help during your job search.


Summary

Before making yourself available and starting a job search, make sure you’re well prepared. Taking the time to follow the four steps outlined above and bringing everything into shape will be sure to give you the best start possible and help set you up for success in your job search.


For further advice to help you prepare for your job search, or if you’re in the market for a new IT role, get in touch with us here.

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Hiring Candidates with Potential

30 Jul 18 by 73

Hiring Candidates with Potential


When there is a need for a new team member, whether as a replacement or to support growth, the most obvious solution for an IT employer is to hire the person with the closest relevant skills and experience.  However, good hiring decisions are not merely a question of experienced vs. inexperienced employees. Past performance doesn’t necessarily correlate with success in the future, or automatically qualify someone for the job.


Sometimes, finding the ideal candidate requires looking beyond the obvious choices and recognising candidates that have the potential to not only thrive within the current role but continue to add value to the business in the long term. There are also other benefits that come with hiring someone based on their potential, including significantly expanding your potential talent pool, reducing salary costs and growing your pipeline of future leaders. With this in mind, here is our advice on how to identify and recruit candidates with potential.


Identifying Potential in Job Candidates

Potential is described as the capacity to grow, improve and develop into something in the future. When hiring for potential rather than simply hiring for experience, it’s important to expand the initial search parameters before you even begin to review CVs. This will help to bring new candidates into the mix who may not have previously made the cut due to some areas of their experience not matching the role requirements.


Once you have an expanded pool, there are several opportunities to identify potential during the recruitment process: the CV review, the interview and the references.


When faced with just a resume, it can be very challenging to spot candidates that are likely to continue growing and developing their existing skills. There are a few tell-tale signs that can indicate a candidate has potential when you’re considering experience vs. ability. These include:

  • Examples of learning new skills, such as by completing in-house training in the past.
  • A commitment to improving the way things are done rather than sticking with the status quo.
  • Instances where they have overcome challenges or hurdles in their job.
  • Quantifiable results, such as direct contributions to team or business goals.


Likewise, you can look for similar signs during the interview stage, but there are often more opportunities to recognise them or probe for further details. It’s also important to ask the right questions to help identify the core attributes of candidates with potential, such as passion, grit, determination and self-belief. Questions to consider include:

  • Those relating to the company and its values, which can show whether a candidate has come prepared. E.g. “Do you resonate with one of our values in particular, and why?”
  • Questions that focus on the candidate’s goals and ambitions. E.g. “Where do you see yourself in five years from now?”
  • Industry-related questions to assess whether the candidate keeps up-to-date with industry developments. E.g. “What is your opinion on this new innovation/event?” 
  • Questions about the candidate’s real-world experience. E.g. “Describe a time when you encountered a problem in a job. What was the result, and would you do anything differently next time?”


If you’re still unsure whether a specific candidate has the potential required to succeed in your organisation, speaking to people that they have previously worked with will provide added insights to help you make your decision. In this scenario, it can be helpful to provide the referee with an overview of the role the candidate is expected to perform and the future goals associated with. This way, the referee can provide feedback on the candidate that is specific to the challenges they may face.


Summary

Hiring for potential is no easy task, which is why many IT employers resort to looking for the exact experience needed at the time rather than thinking long-term. By changing your hiring strategy, you can equip your organisation with talented, engaged employees that will continue to grow, add value and build quality leadership well into the future.


If hiring potential is the best approach for your business, partnering with a specialist IT recruitment agency will give you the support you need to succeed. For more information on how we can help, feel free to get in touch with the team at Sourced.

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Two Simple Tips To Finding A Job You Love

28 Jun 18 by 71

Two Simple Tips To Finding A Job You Love


Although most of us aren’t necessarily unhappy with our current job, being in a job that you truly love is another story.  We spend a fair amount of time at work (in fact, most of us spend over 2,000 hours a year at the workplace) so being in a job that you’re passionate about can make all the difference to your overall happiness. At Sourced, we’re pretty good at matching people with their dream IT jobs, so if a change is on the cards for you, here are two simple tips to finding a job you love. 


Discover What Makes You Happy at Work

Two Simple Tips To Finding A Job You LoveBefore starting a job search, take some time out for a little personal reflection. What makes you happy at work? There are a number of factors that contribute towards job satisfaction, and their importance will vary depending on you. Perhaps it’s job security, autonomy, engaging work, the team environment, or a combination of these. Either way, knowing what makes you happy at work is the first step to understanding what you’re most passionate about.


Think about your current job. Are you happy in it? If not, why and what would need to change to make you feel happier? What goals have you achieved and where have you fallen short? 


Reflect back on your career and take a look at your skills. What is it that you love doing? What do you do best? What do you take pride in? Whose career do you admire and why? The answers to all these questions may provide some clues to the path that you want to take and help map out any long-term goals.  


Take Steps To Move In This Direction

The next step is to work out a plan to move in the right direction. Think about some of the answers to those big questions and set yourself some realistic goals, working backwards and breaking it down into actionable steps.


You don’t necessarily need to quit on the spot. If you’re working towards a long-term goal, it might mean starting out as a hobby on the side. Remember that the grass isn’t always greener and the more research and preparation you do, the more beneficial it will be in the long run.


Here are a few of our tips to get you started:


Reach out to people who hold similar roles to the job you want. Perhaps you’re a Web Developer looking for a move into Big Data. Speaking to someone in this space will help with inside information and understand the steps that need to be taken, whilst highlighting any mistakes to avoid along the way. Building relationships with people in the industry is also a great way to get yourself in front of more of the right people, learn about openings and find out what’s happening around you.


Two Simple Tips To Finding A Job You LoveTake charge of your own development and make a habit of obtaining as much knowledge as you can. Learning and development is a continuous process and you have the most to gain from growing professionally. Look at skill gaps and upskill where necessary to help you move in the right direction.


Find a mentor who can support you in reaching your goals. A great mentor has been in your shoes and can offer guidance and support to help you get to where you want to be. They can expose you to new ways of thinking, and although you don’t want to rely on them for contacts, mentors can be a great asset to networking.  


Consider freelancing to further expand your experience. A lot of technology companies not only support this now, but actively look for candidates who freelance.


Volunteer in an area to get further exposure. You’ll not only gain valuable experience, but it’s an opportunity to try out certain jobs before committing yourself completely.


Closing Thoughts

By discovering what makes you happy and taking some steps to move in that direction, you can get a lot closer to being in the job you love! If you’re hoping to find your perfect IT job, we’re here to help so get in touch with the team at Sourced.  

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6 Ways to Mitigate Recruitment Risks for Tech

18 May 18 by 70

6 Ways to Mitigate Recruitment Risks for Tech Companies


Techweek kicks off on 19 May and over the next nine days, there is a whole calendar of events in and around Christchurch (and the rest of the country) in support of New Zealand’s annual festival of innovation. If you’re looking to get out and make the most of next week’s events, take a look at what’s happening in the city during Techweek. When we were looking at the line-up for the upcoming week, there was one in particular that caught our attention.


Recruitment can be a Risky Business

In an increasingly complex and changing environment, the event, "With New Innovation Comes Great Risks", looks at the transformational journey in business, and the value killers (or risks that have the greatest impact on tech companies). Reading over the summary got us thinking about some of the risks in the recruitment process when hiring – here are a few that are having the greatest impact on tech companies, and how to avoid them:


6 Ways to Mitigate Recruitment Risks for Tech Companies


Relying on the Current Job Description and Previous Data

Does the job description actually reflect the current demands of the role, let alone the future challenges within this role? A job description and previous hiring data are great places to start, but you need to go beyond this to consider where the business is going, what problems you’re trying to solve and what skills are really going to get you there. This could be a very different proposition altogether. 


Wanting to see a Certain Number of People

Having a number in mind to aim for may seem like a reasonable approach to ensure you’re seeing the best in the market, but it is more important to find someone who meets your expectations, whether they happen to be the 2nd person you’ve interviewed, or the 5th. Especially if you’re after a specialist IT skill that it’s short supply! Being clear on essential and desirable criteria from the outset and having a flexible shortlist will ensure you don’t risk missing out on a great hire simply because you hadn’t seen enough candidates, and they’d moved onto another opportunity by the time you realised.


Only Considering People Who Respond to Your Job Advert

Relying on a single approach (such as job adverts), will provide an inaccurate representation of available candidates in the market, resulting in many candidates being overlooked. Instead, open your search up to a variety of different channels. Have you reached out to your network, or asked for referrals internally?


Forsaking Culture-Add for Culture-Fit

We are big fans of culture-fit, in fact we’ve written a blog on this topic before.  The benefits of diversity have been widely talked about, so our cautionary tale would be to check that you’re not hiring “sameness” in the guise of culture-fit. Be rigid on values-fit but embrace different thinking and seek this out.


Only Considering Candidates with the Best CVs

If a CV is the key determinant for success, why bother with an interview? Although it may be tempting to restrict your search to certain criteria found on paper, it pays to open up the competition and consider a wildcard candidate. Ensure you have phone screening in your process, it might just help you uncover a gem!


Moving Too Slow or Too Fast

In the race to hire top IT talent, speed to hire is vital. A lengthy process with impractical steps, multiple interview stages, work tests and samples can often lead to a process that take weeks, even months before a final decision is made. Dragging your feet will only see the best candidates picked up by more nimble competitors. It’s a balancing act, though, as not having enough rigour in your process, can be costly.


Judgement Reigns

Although there are definitely a few risks to avoid, there are also some that can be worth taking. It might be a job history with too many temp or contract jobs, or a lack of industry/New Zealand experience. On the surface, they may seem like red flags but digging a little deeper often pays off when new capability is gained through global IT experience, new industries and challenging IT projects. Consider how this will add value to your business.


Summary

If people are the greatest asset in any organisation (and we think they are!), recruitment remains the most important yet often the most challenging task for any leader. There is no one right answer, and there’s always going to be an element of risk in hiring, but by reassessing some of your hiring processes, you can avoid getting into some of the traps discussed above.


“With New Innovation Comes New Risks” is just one of the many events taking place across Christchurch during Techweek. If you’re going to be out and about next week, see the full programme here.


To get the most out of the events, check out our resource guide, here.

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Women in Tech in New Zealand – The State of Play

15 Mar 18 by 68

Women in Tech in New Zealand – The State of Play


Every six months, we conduct a survey of IT professionals in both Christchurch and Auckland for our Sourced Report, asking a range of questions around their roles and the sector at large. With International Women’s Day last week, we thought it was a great time examine the state of play when it comes to women in the Tech industry in New Zealand, so we split the data we’d collected by men and women and compared the results. This produced a number of interesting findings, and showed that while great progress is being made, there is still some way to go before true parity is reached.


What Women Want

In what may come as a surprise to some, when looking for an IT role, women and men both look for the same three key things: challenges, work/life balance, and career opportunities. These are the three pillars that IT professionals find important in a role no matter what gender they are, although there is some discrepancy between men and women in Auckland. Men in Auckland tend to value career opportunities (74.24%) above challenges (68.18%) and work/life balance (65.15%), whereas women put work/life balance first (77.43%), with career opportunities (62.44%) and challenges (50.71%) in second and third respectively. In Christchurch, results are virtually identical – with work/life balance coming in ahead of challenges and career opportunities.


These priorities are reflected in what women find important when it comes to culture. Flexibility again ranks highly (#2 in Christchurch, #1 in Auckland), as do support from management/leadership teams (#1 in Christchurch, #2 in Auckland) and professional development (#3 in both areas).


The overarching story here is that there’s little difference between what men and women actually want out of their work, and yet, when we look at benefits, we can see a fairly significant difference in what they end up getting. In Christchurch, the types of benefits and the level to which they’re received is fairly comparable. In Auckland however, this isn’t the case, with a third of women respondents stating that they do not receive any of the benefits listed, as opposed to just 20% of men – despite both men and women essentially wanting the same things. Yet, across the board the percentage of women receiving each benefit was less than the percentage of men. In some cases, there was a fairly dramatic difference. For example, just 16.81% of women stated they received professional development as a benefit, as opposed to 34.85% of men – less than half.


Ongoing Challenges

This brings us onto the key issue often discussed when it comes to gender differences in the workplace: salary. While unhappiness with salary is a trend across the whole dataset, in Christchurch we can see a clear disparity in the percentage of men who are happy with their salary. 44.12% of women said that their salary was lower than their expectation, as opposed to 38.13% of men. 


It’s not as if salary is less important to women in either. When we asked our respondents to rank the importance of salary on a scale of one (very important) to five (not important at all), women actually came in as slightly more salary driven than men (a 2.31 average versus a 2.54 average for men). Comments reflected this, with many emphasising the importance of being paid fairly for their skills.


I am presently looking for a new job because my employer would not meet the market rate when I specifically outlined this and demonstrated exceptional performance.

[Salary is] very important, as it is the reward of the hard work and needs to match the responsibilities under the current role. A very good and fair salary allows you to have a good standard of living and plan for the future.


In Auckland the issue was less pronounced. Less women than men stated that their salary was lower than expectation (41.67% vs 47.69%) however, not one woman in Auckland stated that their salary exceeds their expectation. Once again, there was little difference in how important salary was between men and women, with men scoring 2.24 and women scoring 2.25, and comments around the importance of salary made this even clearer.


Within IT there are always changes and unknowns. As I need to be on standby or work overtime, unplanned time away from family must be compensated for with a fair and good salary. Above the average market salary.

Salary is very important. When issues arise in the workplace it is nice to know you are being paid well.


Unique difficulties faced by women didn’t just exist in relation to salary either. When asked to rate how easy or difficult it was to progress a career in IT in either Christchurch or Auckland, a greater percentage of women than men stated that it was more difficult. In Christchurch, 14.29% of women stated it was extremely hard, compared to 7.91% of men. In Auckland, this number sat at 34.23% of women, as opposed to 19.70% of men. In both cases, we can see a very significant difference.


Closing Thoughts

While the above might make for some alarming reading, it’s important to remember that progress is being made. More women than ever are moving into the IT industry, with organisations recognising the strong link between diversity and success, and we’re also seeing progress with the gender pay-gap and opportunities for women in the Technology sector. 


However, while big-picture progress is good, it’s important to remember that we’re still not there yet. There are still inequalities to be overcome, and it’s only by remaining focused on those and working together that we’ll be able to build an industry where everyone has the opportunity to succeed. 

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Tips - Turning Your ‘Offshore’ Status to ‘Onshore’

27 Feb 18 by 67

Tips for Turning Your ‘Offshore’ Status into ‘Onshore’


New Zealand boasts a coveted lifestyle with a tapestry of incredible landscapes, rich culture and a burgeoning tech sector which employed a staggering 120,000 people last year, according to a report from the New Zealand Digital Skills Forum. Software programmer jobs were especially highlighted with an 11% increase in demand annually. This heralds IT as the fastest growing and third largest proponent of our economy. Given that, it’s unsurprising that Immigration NZ has placed it on the long-term skills shortage list, making it an attractive option for overseas talent looking for a change. With an overload of information out there, where do you start? What do you need to know? Where do you need to look? The following tips can help you start to plan your passage from an offshore candidate to an onshore one. 


Opportunities Abound for Offshore Candidates

Last year New Zealand had an annual net migration of 70,000, with an 11% increase in those arriving on work visas. Many have prescribed to the skills-shortage list, which is updated annually. Chronic talent voids in Christchurch and throughout NZ are seen in positions such as: Systems Analysts, Software Engineers, Software and Applications Engineers, Computer Network and Systems Engineers, ICT Project Managers and ICT Quality Assurance Engineers to name a few. Before embarking on your life-changing journey, take the time to research this list as well as the advertisements on job boards to ascertain what you want and especially what you can offer. What sort of impact will your suite of skills, qualifications and experience have on a prospective employer here? Are these attributes reflected in your CV and cover letter? It may be a good idea to explore the Sourced evaluation of Top Tech Trends in IT at the moment. This little bit of planning will get you ahead of the game in a competitive marketplace. 


With Labour in the hot seat after the election, we will see a tech friendly government, with grants for young start-ups and some big investments in infrastructure projects, which will trickle more revenue into the IT sector by default. The Sourced Report from September last year showed a clear pattern of growth in hiring due to new work and projects. In Christchurch alone 81% of employers have hired someone in the last six months. What is even more interesting is that 24% of these recruited for five or more positions. With another Sourced Report due to come out this month, we will gain an even greater insight into the patterns of growth in not only Christchurch and Canterbury, but Auckland as well.


Find the Right Person to Oversee Your Move

There is a certain amount of research and planning that you can undertake to steer your rudders the right way. However, the most important box to tick is enlisting the help and advice of a licensed immigration adviser. The New Zealand Government’s Immigration Advisers Authority has some guidelines in ensuring your consultant is licensed and how to go about getting one.


Tips for Turning Your ‘Offshore’ Status into ‘Onshore’


With the aid of an immigration adviser, you can deduce which type of working visa is best suited for your circumstances as there are many and each have their own criteria for approval. The New Zealand Immigration website hosts a variety of useful information on the visa options available, from Skilled Migrant Visas to Temporary Visas and Residence from Work Visas. 


Most companies adhere to strict legislative requirements and in most cases must make an attempt to fill a vacancy locally first before seeking an offshore candidate. The silver lining here is making contact with an established recruitment company who may be able to offer some guidance whilst you’re still at home. Researching the companies that you would like to work for could reap opportunities as well. Use LinkedIn or websites to gauge their culture and hiring trends.


Research Life in New Zealand

How much do you really know about ‘The land of the long white cloud’? It may be all well and good revelling in the prospering IT industry, but life can’t be based only on salary – can you actually live here? Is there a particular city that has piqued your interest? Search the Internet and cherry-pick anecdotes as well as testimonials from forums to see what type of lifestyle awaits you. Ask questions of people who may have at least visited before and get some candid opinions. 



With Christchurch and Canterbury providing offshore candidates with some of the best IT roles, you may wish to read up on living here. Not only are the vistas breathtaking, but it includes an international airport, great schools and the University of Canterbury, which offers world-class courses such as Computer Science and Software Engineering. Given the average salary for an IT professional can range from $65K for a Data Analyst to $130k for an IT Manager, renting affordability is quite achievable with average rents advertised at $1,600 per month. Arming yourself with this critical information will help you to make a better-informed decision. 


If the grass does look greener and you’ve joined forces with a licensed immigration adviser, don’t forget to tie up some loose ends:

  • Update your resume with the correct style and a focus on achievements.
  • Know what to expect from a Kiwi workplace and understand your employment rights.

Summary

With such an array of jobs beckoning in the tech Christchurch and tech Canterbury marketplace, and such a large volume of information to work through regarding migrating, we urge offshore candidates to go through the practical steps first to ensure the best chance for success. When it comes to the crunch a licensed immigration adviser is the only one who can give proper, detailed, legal information on the process of migration. After that, feel free to get in touch with the team here at Sourced to discuss making your next career move count. 

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Unhappy in Your Job? Map Your Next Move in IT

17 Jan 18 by 66

Unhappy in Your Job? Mapping Your Next Move in IT


Are you suffering from a serious case of “new year, same job”? Going back to work after the holidays and realising that you aren’t on a satisfying career path can get anyone down – especially in an industry like IT where there are so many different career paths to choose from. Whether or not you love what you do, you’ve likely given some thought as to what you’d like to do next. Should things change in your current workplace, or if you’re ready for a fresh start right now, it’s important to position yourself well for this change and be prepared. If you’re ready to shake things up, then follow these three steps and get yourself set for success in 2018.

Assess Where You Currently Are 

Consider your job right now, and if you’re happy in your position. Have a look at your past year; what goals did you achieve and where did you fall short? Be honest with yourself and assess what you’ve accomplished. If you didn’t hit the goals you wanted to, don’t despair – you can start today with a renewed focus on where you want to go!


Maybe you’ve found that you crave more responsibility and want more challenge in your current role. On the other hand, it’s possible that you might prefer a new position altogether. Is your lack of interest due to a fundamental issue with your current employer or your daily duties? Consider whether the source of your unhappiness is your actual job, or if it’s something external to the work itself.


Take note of the job tasks you enjoy, and those that make you drag your feet. Going through this process can help to zero in on what exactly you find fulfilling. Then explore options that include those attributes.


Where Do You Want to Go?

Once you have an idea of what you’ve done well, what you can do better, and what you like and dislike about your current situation, you can start thinking about how to take steps to get you where you want to go.


First think about your long-term career goals, and then work backwards, keeping your goals front of mind. Whether it’s getting in touch with a recruiter to explore job options, or going back to university to study a whole new field, there is no better day than the present to start on your way to a fulfilling career.


If you are looking to jump into an entirely different field, do your research. It’s easy to idealise a job that’s different to yours as glamorous or exciting, however things almost always aren’t what they seem. Interview people who have experience in what you’re interested in. Are you currently a Web Developer but aspire to work with Big Data? Speak to someone who does and ask them questions about their daily routine, struggles and triumphs. Not only will this give you further insight into the role, but it will also give you more realistic expectations, and an idea of what it would take to get there.

Addressing Potential Skills Gaps

If you’d like to stay in your field and develop your skills within your workplace, speak to your manager and express your desire to advance, so they can help you identify ways to expand your responsibilities. Check what training programmes are available within your current workplace; some organisations offer excellent refresher courses, such as systems administration, digital marketing, or even training in cloud management, as well as sometimes offering more formal professional development programmes.


But don’t stop there. Maximising work opportunities within your present company is a great way to gain wider recognition and display capability, not to mention your ambition to further develop. Look into wider personal leadership endeavours, like facilitating a mentoring programme for junior staff, or driving community or fundraising initiatives. This would showcase your take-charge attitude, confidence, and ability to lead. A desire for continuous personal development outside of your immediate job is a key characteristic of many influential business leaders, so you’d be following a successful example!


All these actions send an important message to colleagues and management, exemplifying your emphasis on personal development and indicating that career advancement is something you take seriously. In addition to helping you stand out internally and strengthening your expertise, external courses also prepare you for further study should you choose a new path, and look great on a CV, should you decide to make the jump to another company.

Starting the Conversation

Like most journeys, there is rarely one path to your career goals. Think about the different options you have, and which ones work best for your current situation. Would you be better served by staying with your current company, perhaps in a different role, or is it time for a bigger change?


It’s worth considering whether your current company could offer you a fresh challenge, in a familiar environment. If it’s a secondment or internal move that you’re looking for, book a meeting with your boss, and be transparent about your aspirations. Even if you’re unsuccessful in gaining an internal move, at the very least management will appreciate your proactive approach to address the issue instead of becoming demotivated.


If the problem is interpersonal, such as with a manager or team member, seek advice early on from someone you trust as to how best improve communication as you don’t want to discount fulfilling work because of an unhealthy professional atmosphere.

Making the Big Move

If all else fails, and you’ve decided that your only option is to leave, then don’t rush into anything too quickly. Carefully weigh up your options. Working with a recruitment agency will help introduce you to new opportunities, plus, speaking with someone who better knows the industry or sector you’re looking to break into might help to shed light on options you hadn’t considered.


Remember to take everything in your stride, be patient, and evaluate potential roles against your plan. Keep in mind that the period immediately after the new year can be intensely competitive, so any preparation will be a great investment. If you’re offered a position you’re not excited about, ask yourself why – after all, you don’t want to wind up just as unhappy somewhere else. Aim to find a new role that is worth your time investment, and will bring you the happiness and professional satisfaction you deserve.


As always, if you need to speak to an expert in the Christchurch IT market, feel free to get in touch with the team here at Sourced to discuss making your next career move count.

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Top Tech Trends for 2018

14 Dec 17 by 65

Top Tech Trends for 2018


As another year goes by, we've seen some significant changes to the tech landscape as old technologies come into their own and new technologies open up opportunities for IT professionals. As the importance of technology in our daily lives continues to increase, and more industries go through digital transformation, the tech sector itself grows too. With a number of exciting trends on the horizon that have the potential to disrupt the market, we're taking a look at the areas we expect more demand for in 2018 and beyond.

VR Becoming Viable

While VR has yet to actualise its full potential, it's starting to find its feet as it works its way into applications outside of just entertainment. VR is atech solution in its truest sense, allowing users to immerse themselves in virtual realities and problem-solve in new and innovative ways. Its applications are not just limited to the tech industry, or even just for product-driven industries. More and more industries are finding a use for VR as part of their training programmes. VR not only allows employees to live out a nearly real-life scenario, but also to learn from their mistakes in a safely in a sandbox environment. There are an incredibly wide range of applications for VR, and it's a classic example of how far-reaching technology can be, with everything from entertainment to HR to education having the potential to be augmented by VR. 


As VR becomes a more viable option for more industries, the skills that go along with it, like 3D modelling, game development and UI/UX, become increasingly more transferable. We wouldn’t be surprised to see the number of startups developing VR focused products, or established companies adding VR as a specialisation, drastically in increase in 2018 as organisations look to add this capability to their repertoires. While understanding the concepts behind development and programming would naturally be useful, there will likely be an opening for people joining the industry with animation or 3D modelling backgrounds.

Blockchain

If 2017 was the year of anything, it was arguably the year of Bitcoin, with the cryptocurrency's value raising by over 1000% since this time last year. The result has been a significant but divisive impact on the financial services sector, and an increasing number of organisations are looking for people with the right knowledge to help them understand and harness this disruptive force. Not only will they need to understand it, but as more services flirt with the decentralised nature of Bitcoin, people with the skills and knowledge to integrate it into new or existing platforms are going to become exceptionally valuable.


However, while Bitcoin has been one of the year’s most visible successes, the technology behind it – the blockchain – is a concept with arguably even greater potential. Blockchain is a technology that could possibly revolutionise much more than just the financial market, but it is still in its infancy and is a while away from coming into its own. However, it is growing, and as a platform that breeds trust by cutting out the middle man, it's likely that a greater number of forward-thinking companies will look to using this as an alternative. To give an insight into exactly how the blockchain can provide innovative solutions in a variety of different contexts, one only need look at the already enormous range of blockchain solutions for various different problems. For example, Primalbase uses blockchain technology as a way of simplifying rental relationships, whereas CarTaxi uses the technology as the backbone for an automated car towing service.


While a healthy degree of scepticism should be taken as an investor, if you’re an IT professional then it's a good time to get ahead of the game and get to grips with the tech behind the cryptocurrency. Understanding the concepts behind blockchain is critical (so get studying!) and a basic knowledge of economics and financial services is a nice-to-have. A number of blockchain and cryptocurrency startups have already started to pop in New Zealand, so there’s no time like the present to get acquainted. After all, the applications of blockchain are seemingly limitless.

AI and Internet of Things (IoT) Continue to Grow

Gone are the days when AI was the purely the stuff of science fiction; welcome to a world where it's here and it's here to stay. While AI in the Top Tech Trends for 2018context of drawing insights from big data analytics is still a key trend, the advent of Air New Zealand's "digital human" Sophie is a clear sign of what's to come. And while large corporates are embracing more developed forms of AI, it's in your home as well. As tools like Siri and Alexa become more consistently more advanced, smart appliances become more common, and more self-driving-capable cars hit the market, AI becomes more deeply imbued in the our now-connected every day devices, and AI becomes more tightly woven in with our ever-expanding Internet of Things. It’s a match made in tech-heaven, with the vast amount of data generated by IoT devices needing to be disseminated and delivered in real time. When working in tandem, AI and the IoT could allow companies to solve new problems and draw fresh insights.


However, there are drawbacks to the increasing connectivity we're seeing. With numerous examples of hacks, leaks and poor security throughout 2017, it's clear that something needs to be done. We predict that organisations will go into 2018 and beyond with a renewed focus on security, which means that experience in this sector will become hugely valuable. Those who have focused on organisational security in previous roles, especially in directing and implementing new security systems and processes, will find themselves in high demand.


Furthermore, self-driving vehicles (another big story in 2017), are also an AI-driven innovation. As the production of these increases and more of them arrive on our shores, our roads need to be fully prepared for a large-scale introduction. That means smarter infrastructure, smarter laws and guidelines, and smarter road rules – all of which will need input from those with tech backgrounds, both in the planning and implementation stages. We’re already seeing the impact of this in Christchurch with the launch of Ohmio Automation, a company that makes driverless shuttles, which are currently being trialled at Christchurch airport – so there are job opportunities in this space locally.

Summary

With so many technologies coming into their own this year, it's clear that next year could see real demand for IT professionals who can help organisations to embrace the new technologies that can help them drive their businesses forward. 2017 has been an exciting year for tech and it looks like 2018 will bring with it more developments and opportunities – and hopefully a few more interesting trends we can write about next year!


If you'd like to discuss this further, contact us today.

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Investment in IT: Post-Election Wrap Up

10 Nov 17 by 64

Investment in IT: Post-Election Wrap Up


Well, it’s all over. National is out, Labour is in – and so are Winston and the Greens – and New Zealand has  voted for change. With the election still fresh in the minds of people across the country, we wanted to recap on our previous blog looking at what each party’s policy platform might mean for the IT sector. When that blog was written, National were odds on to trample their opposition on their way to an easy majority in Parliament. However, after Jacinda Ardern, replaced Andrew Little as Labour leader, the momentum shifted drastically. With a three-party coalition toppling National’s nine-year government, the future certainly looks different for New Zealand. But what does this all mean for our industry?

Labour-Led Future

As we stated in our previous blog, Labour’s main message during the election was about providing a fresh direction, something that saw no change under Ardern’s leadership. The key points in their policy when it comes to technology – the Future of Work commission and their Young Entrepreneurs policy – should provide some stimulus to the sector. Under the Young Entrepreneurs plan, New Zealanders aged 18 to 23 will be able to apply for up to $20,000 to start a business based on an innovative idea; odds are that most of these ideas will be driven or supported by the Tech sector, if not within it.


The new government will also see the Green Party hold their first ministerial portfolios, with Green Party leader James Shaw taking up roles as Minister for Climate Change and Minister for Statistics, along with Eugenie Sage becoming Minister for Conservation and Julie-Anne Genter becoming Minister for Women. This bodes well for the Technology sector; conservation and technology are inextricably linked and Green Party influence on policy will likely drive greater investment in renewable energy and other sustainability initiatives – many of which are powered by our IT community.


This raises the question of whether we’re really missing out on anything in tech, under a Labour-led government as opposed to a National-led one. Truthfully, in terms of pure budget expenditure towards the tech sector, there likely won’t be much difference, but the progressive Labour and Green outlook may give them the edge as a tech-friendly government. That said, there is also the matter of economic and social policy on a macro level. It’s not unfair to say that National is generally the more business-friendly party, and much has been made of the decisions to increase the minimum wage (to $16.50) and slash immigration (by 20,000-30,000), with a lot of speculation about how this will affect businesses.


While wage growth will likely have little impact (this is an industry where very few professionals are earning the minimum wage), migration cuts could have a serious effect. Many technology professionals in New Zealand have come from overseas, and we sometimes rely on these people to bring knowledge of technologies or projects that local talent simply hasn’t had the chance to have experience with. That said, it could all turn out to be much ado about nothing. Little has been given in the way of detail around where these migrant cuts are actually coming from, and Labour’s pre-Election rhetoric around the policy targeted low-skilled workers and students. While it may become more difficult to bring people in from overseas (and equally, it may not), any talk of these changes gutting the technology sector of its talent and pushing New Zealand back to the Stone Age is premature at best, and drastically overblown at worst.

The Winston Effect

As seen in many aspects of this past election, Winston Peters continues to be a talking point here. With the Deputy Prime Minister being a 72-year-old man representing the rural Northland region, and many of his voters coming from the same demographic, you may think it’s difficult to see him as a someone who is going to be an advocate for the tech sector. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. While he might not be the most affable character, Peters is an astute politician who understands the importance of technology to the future of New Zealand.


While it’s unlikely that all, or even most, of his policies will be implemented, Peters has shown a willingness to be progressive when it comes to technology. Some of his policy points in the lead-up to the election included enhancing access to telecommunications infrastructure for consumers and businesses, standardising digital privacy controls, and increasing the digital literacy of senior citizens.


Peters’ influence on the new government has already made itself apparent, with Labour’s mooted $200m regional development fund being increased to $1billion after Peters’ involvement. While a great deal of this money will be going towards infrastructure projects like new rail connections, it’s not out of the equation to suggest that the regions could benefit from some investment when it comes to technology. While our major cities are the hotbeds for technology in New Zealand, providing support for tech startups or initiatives in the regions could promote innovative ways to solve the problems that these regions face. It would also have the added benefit of creating pathways for work and learning in areas that are traditionally challenged when it comes to employment and education. Just an idea!

Moving Forward

Love it or hate it, we have a new government. While we’ve seen a few hair-trigger hot takes from the perennial media panic brigade (Minimum wage?! Immigration?!), as of yet there is nothing to suggest that our nation’s change in leadership will have a significantly negative effect on the state of the Tech industry. If anything, signs are that things will continue as they have been, with technology continuing to become one of our primary exports and IT being a key sector for national growth and development. All in all, there’s no need for alarm. Let’s see where we are in 2020.

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How to Handle a Request for a Pay Increase

1 Nov 17 by 63

How to Handle a Request for a Pay Increase | Sourced Christchurch IT Recruitment


I have met many managers and employers who agree that one skill they will inevitably need (and at times, dread) is being able to respond effectively when a staff member eventually makes the overtures for a pay rise. Now that we’re heading into the end-of-the-year Christmas bonus territory, you may be facing a spate of such requests! Often, having an employee policy that addresses pay review frequency will manage this for most organisations. However, there may be times when employees ask for a pay rise outside of the usual annual pay cycle for various reasons. Even if the company policy states that remuneration is reviewed at a certain time each year, there are always those who feel that it is too far away. Each scenario is unique, and the individual merits of the situation should be considered. Before the request comes out of the blue, here are some pointers on how to achieve a positive outcome for all involved.

Why Do People Request a Pay Rise?

To create an optimum result for yourself, the employee and the business, it is best to understand the reasons why your employee has initiated negotiations for a pay rise in the first place. There can be a single justification or a combination of many. Some of the common ones we see include:

  • The employee feels the raise is warranted due to quality performance, going beyond what is required and what is measured by KPI’s.
  • The market is offering more, and this is further intensified by conversations with external peers. This is especially prominent in competitive markets like IT, where salary isn’t as much of a taboo topic (though many people still find it difficult to raise with their employer).
  • Finding out the salaries of colleagues who do similar work – this could include gender pay gap issues.
  • The work they are now undertaking has changed from when they were hired and may encompass extra responsibilities or the need for an increased set of skills.
  • Could be based on a change in the company’s fortunes and a better ‘bottom line’.
  • They have been offered another job but would rather stay. Although this is not the most ideal circumstance and may need a counter offer, it still happens.
  • For any number of reasons, they are experiencing financial hardship.


There is a common thread of fear amongst employers, where they feel they can’t say no in case they lose their team member. But what are the wider implications for other members of the team if you say yes? What needs to be deliberated? Are your employee’s intentions clear and are they staying for the right reasons? What if the pay rise is refused? How can you ensure that morale doesn’t wane and there is no disgruntlement? There are steps you can take to navigate what can be an emotional minefield and help reinstate the equilibrium.

Steps to Take:

Take Time to Respond

Try to refrain from the urge to respond straight away. This is the time to actively listen and understand the reasons behind the request that may justify the pay rise. For most, asking for a raise can be quite stressful, so empathising with your staff member can go a long way in strengthening relationships, which can help if the pay rise is denied later. You may need to consult with other departments before a decision can be made, so don’t feel pressured to give a definitive answer immediately. What’s more, be aware of your body language, tone of voice and facial expressions so they don’t betray your initial emotions. Thank your employee for bringing this to your attention and offer them an acceptable time-frame or date which you will get back to them.

Request More Information

To make an objective and well-informed decision, you need as much information from your employee as possible. On what grounds do they feel they deserve a pay rise? What are the key drivers for their request? Discuss their performance reviews and the current remuneration policies of your business. By getting as much information as you can from them, you are further showing that you are taking their request seriously and not dismissing their concerns. Continue to remain neutral and assure them that you will carefully consider and manage their request.

Acknowledge the Request

Let your employee know that you appreciate their courage in bringing their pay issue to your attention. Remember the levels of anxiety the last time you had to put yourself in such a sensitive situation. Most of us find the money conversation difficult, so conveying gratitude for the opportunity to have these discussions goes a long way to develop trust and confidence regardless of your ultimate decision.


Evaluate the Request

Once that initial discourse is over, it is time to examine and deliberate all the information and facts. Evaluate the value the person offers not just to the role but to the team and organisation. Consider how their pay compares with their internal peers and the external market, and what they might be paid if they were working for another company doing the same work. What are the current market rates for the industry you are in? Will the employee still be driven to be successful and challenged if they are assured of a pay rise now?

Assess any Limitations

Sometimes it simply isn’t prudent or financially viable to increase pay for certain positions. There may be budgetary constraints, or the job may have reached its pay peak, and the employee may need to move to a different role to receive the benefits they are after. For those who excel in specific projects as opposed to consistent high performance, offering a one-time bonus, or other reward offers the recognition they deserve. You may also need to consider other pros and cons of your decision to award a pay rise. Will others in the team start doing the same? Is your stance reflective of market expectations? Is the business able to sustain the pay rise?

Involve the Relevant People

In many organisations, HR teams are involved in evaluating increased pay requests and can offer the best advice regarding such cases as well as the fairness of your employee’s remuneration. Involving your boss or other key decision makers can also help to make the process more equitable. If you believe you have a great performer who deserves a pay rise, then be prepared to put together a business case for granting it. Communicate this to the relevant departments and people to bring the raise to fruition. They don’t know your employee like you do and sometimes it is worth going to bat for something that is outside current policies if you have solid rationale. From here, there are two possible outcomes.

Time for the Good News

You might be tempted to tell them the good news and rapidly move onto the next thing on your plate, but best practice involves a more conservative standpoint. Position the acceptance of the pay rise as a shared decision involving the HR department, management or other key decision makers. Emphasise that it was an in-depth analysis and not a conclusion that was made flippantly. You want your employee to feel as though they have earned their reward through continual achievement and added value, rather than relentless lobbying. This is also a great time to offer accolades for a job well done and to reinforce their compensation with positive acclaim.

Time for the Bad News

Delivering bad news can be worrying and challenging. The best approach is to be as candid and as honest as possible and start a discussion outlining how the decision was made through all the pertinent channels of the business, be it HR or senior management. If you can, share all the collated facts and research that were used to come to a decision, such as external industry data demonstrating comparable compensation. Your employee will appreciate the transparency and processes involved and will be assured that you have taken their request seriously. Avoid any negative commentary about their performance and continue to reference the business’s pay and performance policies, as well as giving them an outline of what they need to do to reach the level they’re aiming for.

How to Handle a Disagreement

You may find yourself in a situation where you are certain that your above average team member is justified in the raise they are after, but it simply isn’t granted. You have battled for them and demonstrated all the facts to the key decision makers. Unfortunately, they don’t agree with your argument. Remain neutral when speaking to your team member and deliver the message as a united front. As mentioned earlier, engage in open discussions explaining the steps the business took in coming to that decision. Showing your employee how much you appreciate their contributions to the team and business can bolster low morale. Shift the focus to the future. Devise a career plan with strategies to be implemented within reasonable timelines that can increase their chance of compensation down the track. Avoid making guarantees, but do adhere to these timelines and your employee’s career growth.

Handy Hints

You shouldn’t wait until your top performers ask for a pay rise if you can reward them earlier. This helps to show them that they are valued in the business and there will be no need for them to seek greener pastures. If you’re dealing with a counter offer situation, then that’s a whole other story!


Increased compensation is not the sole reward you can use. There is a vast array of tools that can be utilised as sweeteners to show gratitude and acknowledge achievements. You can add a treasure trove of ways to appreciate your employees and boost morale without pulling on the monthly purse strings, for example, supplier discounts, travel allowances, vouchers, or work from home days.

Final Thoughts

Mediating pay rise requests and attenuating the emotions that embrace it are some of the fundamental challenges facing a leader in an organisation. Take time to understand the reasons for your staff member’s enquiry and treat them with respect. It can be intimidating and difficult for many to have the courage to initiate this type of negotiation, so ensure they are aware of the steps and parties involved in coming to a decision, the research undertaken, as well as the business’s remuneration policies. When you punctuate the dialogue with praise and positive reinforcement, and provide transparency regarding your decision, the outcome can be positive regardless of whether the pay rise is approved or not.


If you’d like to discuss this article or any of your recruitment needs, contact the team at Sourced today.

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Traditional Leadership Approaches in IT?

28 Sep 17 by 62

Do Traditional Leadership Approaches Work In IT? | Sourced Christchurch IT Recruitment


Up until quite recently, the commonly held view of working in a business environment was that it was hierarchical, middle management obsessed, and filled to the brim with red tape. Whether that was accurate or not, in recent times, things have started to change. This has more than a little to do with the rise of the technology industry as a cornerstone of our working environments, expanding its reach a long way beyond Computer Science graduates and hobbyist programmers. Companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon are famed for their company cultures, which put an emphasis on making all employees feel like part of the bigger picture. Gone are the leader/follower archetypes of the past, with terms such as “servant leadership” coming en vogue. Watching the IT landscape, a rapidly advancing and changing environment that is at the forefront of our new knowledge economy (where employees know more about their task than their managers do), it is clear that the sector is in a prime position to lead the charge for leadership change.

The Weaknesses of Traditional (Authoritative/Directive) Leadership

Most of us would have worked under this leadership style at some stage, a style of, essentially, “because I said so” management. This is the old school, traditional model going back centuries. A style where the success and/or failure is dependent upon the one person to drive things through. While this style does have its benefits (it’s especially useful in times of crisis), it also has a number of shortcomings.


Let’s face it, unless you are the person who is the authoritarian or dictator, this style of leadership is not that much fun. It doesn’t empower employees, with the focus being almost entirely on doing as you’re told. There is little required in the way of thinking, and instead success is achieved by effectively following instructions, which makes it a difficult environment for innovation to flourish within.


Another key issue is communication. With communication essentially being one way, the assumption is that the people in charge are best suited to make every decision. While leadership should take responsibility – at least to a significant degree – it’s also important to know where your knowledge ends. In these environments, tasks are deferred for approval constantly, which makes for inefficiency, and means there is little room for higher level process improvement.


The calibre of leadership also becomes a limitation in these scenarios. Outside of just making the decisions, employee motivation is entirely down to management due to the style of communication involved. If this motivation isn’t there, then it tends to undermine the whole system, with performance often suffering as a result. This can also provide a platform for negativity and conflict to grow internally.

How IT Has Changed Things

IT is a disruptive industry by nature. This means that innovation, agility and creativity are key to driving forward – things that are often stifled by authoritative leadership. Because of that, we’ve seen a number of alternative approaches to leadership be showcased at some of the world’s biggest companies. Use of alternatives like servant leadership, “distributed leadership” at Google, “transformational leadership” at Facebook or a “holacracy” as trialled by Zappos are becoming more normal as companies strive for a better way forward.


On a more local level, we’ve seen the same kind of impact – albeit potentially for different reasons. As New Zealand isn’t filled with the likes of the Facebooks and Googles of the world, our IT sector is dominated by small to medium businesses. In these smaller organisations, the authoritative style simply isn’t as practical when it comes to working with a smaller team, as well as not promoting growth as effectively.


As an industry with a tendency to lean younger, IT is the industry at the forefront of our current generational shift. With digitisation bringing sweeping change to the world and the way we work, we’re not starting to see digital natives take up high-level roles in organisations. Workplace priorities are changing and leadership approaches are starting to reflect what employees are looking for at work.

Being Careful in the Future

It’s often tempting to look to implement these new working styles just because they seem to be leading edge methodologies. “Hey, Google does this, Facebook does that, it has to be great, right?” while potentially sounding like good reasoning, doesn’t mean it will work for everybody. Even the case of Zappos’ “holocracy” can be seen as a cautionary tale, with attrition heavily increasing after its introduction.


The key here is to not disrupt or innovate for disruption or innovation’s sake. In some organisations or departments or teams, authoritative leadership will be more effective due to the nature of the work or the make-up of the teams. There isn’t anything wrong with that. You must ascertain what is right for your team or business.


Bringing change as such into an established organisation can be a long, tedious and painfully drawn out affair, so it is not surprising that a lot of these implementations are attempted in the start-up and SME world. While it might be an exciting thing to talk about, even (in fact, you could argue, especially) the more democratic or laissez faire leadership styles still require a framework around it. Without it there are risks of an organisation becoming chaotic, putting businesses in serious trouble – with our recent Sourced Report showing that start-up churn is a serious issue for small businesses in the competitive IT market.


At Sourced, we love seeing innovation in play and are intrigued at all the different models, which are turning up in our environment. Change is possible and achievable, if you are brave enough to try. If you’re inspired to try something different to the norm, or you’re looking for someone to lead change in your business, call us here at Sourced. We’d love to hear about it and talk to you about what we have seen.

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Job-Hopping Vs Stability and Your IT Career

24 Aug 17 by 61

Job-hopping vs stability

As more IT businesses grow increasingly receptive to employees with varied and transient job histories, the concept of ‘job-hopping’ has become more acceptable throughout New Zealand. However, when it comes to your career, is it better to periodically change jobs every few years or find stability with one employer?


Of course, how you answer that question would depend on what stage your career is in. For example, research from Statistics New Zealand found that the average tenure for 25-34 year olds was only three years, whilst employees aged between 55 to 64 stayed with a single employer for more than three times longer. Whilst this isn’t surprising, it does highlight that your career stage could change your view on tenure. We’ve created this guide to help you understand the benefits of each approach and whether job-hopping or greater stability could help you move your career forward.

Long Tenure

Working with one or two businesses for several years can provide great benefits to your IT career but also come with its own challenges. Sticking with a single company for a long period of time can promote commitment and loyalty with that employer and in return, can give better job security, particularly during an economic downturn. Your commitment could also be financially rewarded, as a survey found that Australian employees with five or more years’ experience in a single company received higher raises compared with those who job-hop.


A key risk, however, is that professionals with long tenure can often be negatively perceived as having stagnating careers or difficulty adapting. To ensure this isn’t the case when you’re looking for your next role, it’s crucial that your CV reflects how you’ve evolved. Over the span of your career, your role’s demands, responsibilities, challenges and success indicators would have changed and you may have moved around the business as a result. Showcasing how you’ve reacted to these changes, whether it was through changing roles or taking on more important responsibilities, can help show prospective employers your potential, adaptability, and ambition.

Job-Hopping

As expectations and attitudes change within the workplace, more employees are deciding to take a hands-on approach to their career and reshaping their relationship with employers. In fact, half of New Zealand employees who earn salaries or wages have been in their current role for less than 18 months, with a higher rate of turnover in younger workers. The reality is that the national skills shortage has created a candidate-centric market, which means most people who job-hop find plenty of opportunities, but many employers still perceive those with short-term tenure as unreliable or untrustworthy.


If you’ve worked for several companies within a year or two, it’s important to ensure you’re presenting yourself in a way that highlights your achievements, skills and qualifications, and not just your tenure. When you’re discussing your previous work history, put yourself in a prospective employer’s shoes and ensure you cover for any shortcomings. This includes using your cover letter to address any problems by connecting the experience you have with what the advertisement has asked for, and also highlighting any actions that you’re taking to develop skill gaps. This could include explaining each role’s purpose, responsibilities and outcomes, and your motives behind key moves and how the new position has further developed your skills and career.


Another example is if you’ve had several short-term roles because you’ve been contracting. In this case, ensure you group these together on your CV and if you’ve worked for the one organisation for a long period of time, but have had a number of roles within this company, ensure you list all of them. If you think these questions are better covered through a direct conversation, call the employer to discuss.

References

Possessing excellent references is a great way to negate many challenges both job-hopping and long tenure can present. Having your previous Manager testify to your abilities and skills can squash any concern an employer might have over a stagnating career or skillset. At the same time, a solid reference can also attest to the fact that you left your previous employer on great terms and not because you were hard to work with or unreliable.

Summary

As modern-day workplaces continue to change, it’s easy to get caught up in the debate between job hopping and stability, but you shouldn’t lose sight of what’s important: your career. Career satisfaction looks different for everyone so it wouldn’t be true to say that one approach is better than the other. Whether you’ve been with the same business for years or periodically change jobs, evolving your skills to keep pace with your career aspirations should always be your priority.


Asking yourself whether your current role is helping you to develop yourself professionally can help you reach your own decision. If you feel like you are stagnating, find out if your current employer has any internal opportunities you could pursue and if there aren’t, then it might be time to return to the market. If you are ready to move your career on, speak to us today to find out how Sourced can help you find your next great IT role.

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Invest in IT: What the Election Means - NZ's Tech

18 Jul 17 by 60


In case you haven’t been following the news, this year is an election year in New Zealand. As industries continue to become more digitalised, technology is a major policy point for parties in the lead up to voting day (and not just in relation to hidden cameras). With these policies having a significant potential impact on both employers and professionals in the IT and technology field, we thought it’d be a good idea to dive into each party’s plans and find out what they have in store for the IT sector – without telling you who to vote for of course!

National

As the incumbent, and current odds on favourite to come out of the election as winners, National’s key focus is on achieving surpluses and building a stronger economy. Naturally, technology is a big part of that, and the sector is a key area for business innovation which leads to growth – with the likes of Xero, Vend and TradeMe being some shining examples of that. Their 2017 Budget has significant investments in the technology and science fields, and their commitment to free trade could be a win for Kiwi startups looking to make waves abroad.


They also have a plan in place to update the education system and introduce children to digital technology as early as possible, earmarking a $40m investment to ensure that children are digitally fluent. With digital disruption being such an important topic in the world of employment, making sure that the next generation is prepared for these changes is key to success in this field. This could open up opportunities for businesses aimed at integrating technology into the education system.


Labour

As National’s main opposition to power, the Labour party’s main message is about providing a fresh direction after 9 years of National-led government. When it comes to technology, Labour’s key policy points are their Young Entrepreneurs’ policy and their involvement in the Future of Work commission.


The Young Entrepreneurs’ plan is essentially a way for young New Zealanders to dedicate themselves to a business idea instead of pursuing further education. In their words, any New Zealander aged 18 to 23 will be able to apply for up to $20,000 to start a business based on an innovative idea; provided they have been through an accelerator business training programme, have engaged a business mentor, and have their plan approved by an independent panel of experts. This grant could be a massive incentive for young technology entrepreneurs and would give them the support to see their ideas through.


In December 2014, Labour leader Andrew Little announced the Future of Work Commission, aimed at understanding our changing workforce and putting a plan in place to ensure sustainable employment. The commission had input an independent, external reference group, comprised of economic, tech, and employment experts; with the committee also involving members of other parties. You can read the report here. Whilst not an immediate investment in the technology sector at the surface level (although their plan to turn Dunedin into a digital hub shows that they are prepared to do this to some degree), the report recognises the changing employment landscape, and the need for a long-term investment in technology to get it right.


Greens

The Green Party have been the perennial dark horse in the past two New Zealand elections, growing in profile and moving away from strictly environmentalist policies in favour of providing a broader left-leaning alternative to the Labour Party. However, as the country’s third largest party, a Labour and Greens’ coalition government isn’t out of the equation as far as election outcomes go.


For the technology sector, that may also come with some benefits. Technology and environmental sustainability are often closely intertwined, and investment in clean energy will create opportunities for innovative New Zealand businesses. However, the most interesting tech-related Greens policy, is their plan to institute a Minister for Manufacturing in cabinet. This would provide leadership across the sector and continue a push towards technological innovation, whilst still looking to preserve jobs. To this end, the Green Party have also been involved with Labour’s Future of Work plan. 


Fringe parties

However, there are more than three parties contesting this election, and some may have significant influence depending on the result: with NZ First, the Maori Party and a resurgent ACT likely to have the most significant impact on the coming campaign. Unfortunately, the Maori Party’s 2017 manifesto wasn’t available to access at this time, but we’ll likely have further insight on that closer to the election.


New Zealand First (another party that contributed to the Future of Work) commission, are focused on changing the way the telecommunications sector operates, with the aim of dividing infrastructure more evenly between providers. Another key point for them is to ensure that New Zealand businesses are given the first opportunities for Government ICT tenders, as well as introducing stricter immigration policy which could impact access to overseas talent. ACT, on the other hand promise support for businesses in the form of free trade agreements, as well as wanting to review regulations to ensure the viability of autonomous vehicles.


In Closing

There are a variety of other parties, all of whom will have some kind of outlook on tech (including the very much tech-focused Internet Party!) – but each of them has one thing in common: the understanding that investment in technology is crucial to the future of New Zealand. While they have may have different ways in which they will make that investment, it’s certainly an exciting time for the New Zealand technology sector.

For now, it’s up to you. 

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How to Pick Out Interview Fraudsters

13 Jun 17 by 59

How to Pick Out Interview Fraudsters | Sourced IT Recruitment


It’s hard to spend even a moment online without someone giving you advice on how to find the perfect candidate, and yet, every hiring manager we talk to has a story of a poor hire. Someone who was instrumental in them reviewing or changing their recruitment process, as well as keeping them up at night, full of regret. In reality, it’s just not that easy. Sometimes, you have to accept that poor hires happen. We are dealing with people after all! However, hiring someone who dupes you by seducing you with the power of their personality, convincing you that there was no one better than them available, perhaps even persuading you to cut your process short because they left such a great first impression – that can leave a particularly bad taste in one’s mouth.


Another thing to consider is that, just as we as Interviewers prepare for interviewing our candidates, candidates are (well, should be) preparing to be interviewed by us. A keen candidate will do various types of research, and the Internet holds all kinds of information on us. People can and will find out about us, tailoring their answers to their perception of what we will love. Employer review sites like Glassdoor.com are gaining more traction too. These sites allow people to rate and rank employers, even sharing interview questions asked in interviews.


Finding out through the fullness of time that confidence and personality weren’t the only things they were full of, is a horrible lesson to learn. Interviewing is an imprecise process, but you can improve your ability to evaluate candidates by asking questions that elicit facts instead of opinions and charisma. We are always on the lookout for fraudsters or for “professionals” who have the depth of a puddle and no substance. Here are some of the signs that can start alarms for the prudent.

Buzzwords

If you’ve heard enough jargon to make your head spin after 10 minutes, take pause and think about what exactly the candidate is trying to say. If there is nothing in the candidate’s answers but well-placed buzzwords designed to make person sound hip and smart, ask more questions. Dive deeper to find out if they really know what they are talking about, or if the words are just filler. Einstein was quoted as saying “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” It’s just the same if people have a need to dress their answers up to make them seem smarter than they really are, which is a big red flag when considering someone for a job.


Over-talking

Ever been in an interview where the person just tries to baffle you with long-winded, tangent filled answers? Whilst they may eventually get to the point, these tangents fill you with doubt, and invite more questions than they answer. Don’t get bored into submission, assuming that somewhere in that answer was what you were looking for. The length of answers does not always equal quality, and 1.5 hour interviews aren’t always a good sign, so watch out for candidates who veer from the point.

Name dropping

Whilst this is used at times to showcase strength of network and connections, if not done in an appropriate manner it can feel insincere and inauthentic. Sure, they may be awesome names to drop and hear, does it really make a difference towards their potential success in your role? Often you may find that these names are being dropped to impress, and mask other short-comings.

Taking over the interview

If you notice a candidate trying to take control of an interview, this could be a sign that they’re trying to hide their imperfections by bluffing. Be careful, as this can happen a lot, especially if you’re less experienced as an interviewer. If you feel like the candidate is guiding the conversation towards questions that they want to answer, rather than questions you want to ask, then don’t hesitate to get the interview back on track. A great way to do this is to go back and get them to expand on another answer, for example by asking “You mentioned earlier that you had experience with managing people, can you tell me a little bit more about that?”

Follow up questions, ask for specifics

If you notice a candidate using the word “we” a lot, you might want to take heed. Whilst it could imply they are a great team player, it could also mean that they didn’t really do anything in particular. Like that person in your group projects at school, who got that great mark you all deserved, but maybe only wrote up the bibliography. Sales people, for example, must know the budgets they were working towards and how they are tracking towards them. Managers, must know the budget they control and the teams they manage, and cite difficult decisions they had to make. If you feel someone is being vague, don’t hesitate to ask the hard questions, dive in further, and gain clarification.

Too much charm

Do you know that person who relies on smile, charm and general personality to coast through life? In an interview, you’ll often find them flattering you and the company, making the interview all about you rather than themselves. Whilst it is fun to be the centre of someone’s attention, you’ll end up getting to the end of an interview feeling really good about it, only to realise you have absolutely no idea about the person’s capability for the role. Be aware!

Prepare

Is your interview structured in such a way to allow you to find what you need? Is the interview the best way to make a great hiring choice? Have you thought about different ways of assessing candidates? Audition style? Role simulation? Put the time into your preparation, know what you are looking for, and structure your meeting to find this out. Going in cold, with just a resume and a “I’ll know what I’m looking for when I see it” attitude, will not get the results you want.

Too scripted

If someone is sounding really scripted, and overly prepared, throw them a curve ball, ask them something different. Get to find the “real” person. Sometimes, you need to shake things up to get to reality. Although this might confuse people, you’ll gain a better understanding of their true self and their capability for your role.

Get a second opinion

This is not a failing, it is a necessity. If the role is really important to your company, get a cross section of people involved in the meeting, all with an equal voice. We do not want to elongate the process, but only having one point of view is a genuine risk when hiring.

Don’t be afraid to check references to confirm or deny your initial thoughts about an interview. Interviewing is an essential and important part of your recruitment and business process. Every hiring decision you make will have current and future ramifications for your business, and it’s a decision that’s too important to allow yourself to fall victim to fraudsters.

In Closing

Whilst hiring is definitely a business decision, there is also human emotion involved, and it is hard remove that factor from an evaluation. To take the persuasive charmer on the basis of what they have achieved, not on how they have made you feel, is challenging. To admit, that we may have been charmed, bullied or duped and have based our hiring decision on no tangible reason is humbling. However, it’s better to do this before you hire, than to see your mistake reflected in a distinct lack of performance, costing the business more money and potentially harming your reputation. We have helped businesses to hire hundreds, if not thousands of people over the years, if you ever feel you are getting too close to the process or the candidates, talk to us, we will help you navigate these tricky seas.

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How to Write a CV for the Digital Era

5 May 17 by 58

How to write an IT CV | Sourced - Christchurch IT Recruitment

There is a myriad of CV writing advice out there but all of it would agree on one crucial point; keep your CV updated. After all, it is your key to getting your foot through the front door and into an interview. However, as an IT professional, unless your CV works in synergy with your online brand on sites such as GitHub, LinkedIn or Dribbble, you’re missing a big opportunity to add value to your next job application.


The world is more connected now than it has ever been. The Internet of Things is driving the inter-networking of essentially anything electronic, from your car, mobile phone to even your house’s security system. Many managers in the technology sector are now expecting the same level of synergy from your CV.


In fact, it’s almost inevitable that employers will look you up online so it’s important you direct them to the content you want them to see. To ensure your CV doesn’t let you down when applying for your dream job, here are several things you should consider the next time you’re re-writing it.

The Basics of a Great CV

No matter how much technology changes, it will always be good practice to ensure your CV incorporates all the basic elements. So, here’s a quick breakdown of what your CV should cover in chronological order:

What Should a CV Include? | Sourced - Christchurch IT Recruitment

Click here to download our CV template.

Bringing Your CV Into the Digital Age

As a professional in the IT space, you likely own one or more online accounts that showcase your professional skills, examples of your work or status within your industry. Below are a few examples of several accounts that we’ve seen included in strong applications.

LinkedIn

Should LinkedIn be on my CV?  | Sourced - Christchurch IT RecruitmentTo get the most out of your LinkedIn profile, it is a good idea to consider it as an extension of your CV. This means that it should go beyond showcasing the same information that could be found on your CV but it’s essential that you make sure both are consistent especially regarding dates of employment. One way it can do this is through having strong recommendations from previous managers and clients that you have worked with who can vouch for your skills, experiences, achievements and work ethic.

If you want to fully leverage your LinkedIn profile, it’s important to be as active as possible. LinkedIn is a fantastic platform that enhances both your network and your personal brand when used correctly. Frequently liking, commenting and sharing content is a great way to build your personal brand and posting your own articles and keeping your profile updated will make you more visible to recruiters, which in turn can lead to more career opportunities.

GitHub or Bitbucket

If you’re a Developer, your GitHub or Bitbucket account is a fantastic resource to include on your CV because it demonstrates examples of your work. It can also provide insight into your community and industry reputation through the contributions you’ve made and the number of people following you. When employers have a few high calibre candidates to choose from, this extra level of detail can often help to influence their decision.

It’s also worth noting that even if you don’t include links to your accounts on your CV, managers and recruiters can still find your code repositories online. So, our advice is to check what is publicly available and keep your portfolios clean by removing any old or forgotten repositories. Finally, if your GitHub or Bitbucket are bare and you’re not working on any commercial projects right now, it can be worthwhile to include any personal projects that positively reflect your skills.

Dribbble or Behance

Dribbble and Adobe’s Behance are both excellent networks for anyone specialising in design. They are both great platforms that can be used as your online portfolio. Including a link to your account on your CV provides managers with the chance to see clear examples of your web or graphic design and illustration work. A few examples include:


Building a strong Dribbble or Behance account can take dedication and a lot of hard work but the payoff can be huge. As with many social media networks, the key is to build up your follower count and the best way to do that is through actively posting new work so your account is more likely to be seen, promote the work of others and become associated with other great designers.

Summary

In that first moment when a prospective employer reads your CV, you need to leave an impression that’s going to make them want to know more. In today’s world, your CV can’t do everything you need it to on its own, so solely relying on it will rarely achieve that. Instead, you should use social media like GitHub, Dribbble or Behance to create an experience that highlights why your skills and experiences make you a great fit for the job. If you’d like to know more, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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Annual Performance Reviews are Dead.

27 Apr 17 by 57

Performance Reviews are DeadAs you'd expect, it's our business to know why people are looking to move on from their current employer. One of the most regularly cited reasons is that they want a new challenge, yet when we strip away the platitude, often they are looking for better, more meaningful feedback about their work performance and their contribution to the business. Annual reviews, whilst designed to provide meaningful feedback, are often the least popular time of the year among employees and managers. So, if the crucial method of delivering feedback in an organisation doesn't work - is there a better way to manage these conversations?

Why Annual Reviews Aren't Enough

In many companies, annual performance reviews remain the only thorough one-on-one discussion employees have with their managers throughout the year. So is it little wonder that they often become one-sided with the manager dominating the conversation, because they are more prepared with more to say, as they focus on reviewing the KPIs they've been tracking. If the annual performance review is also linked to annual pay reviews, don't expect your employees to offer up too much in the way of areas they need to develop. They've too much riding on them presenting themselves in the best possible light to have honest and frank conversations about performance, job satisfaction and future development.


Another problem is that performance reviews are usually set for the specific time of year for all employees which can exacerbate the pressure to just get through the process if you have a large number of direct reports. It's not uncommon that managers lack the performance data from the whole year, or that the data is inconsistent or irrelevant due to the fact that the business strategy has changed. Even if they have the evidence needed, it can be skewed due to the effect of primacy and recency. Having a discussion about year-old performance keeps the focus of the review in the past, instead of the future. Because of a lack of feedback during the year, some of the conclusions (and usually it's not appreciating the employee's accomplishments) can come as a surprise and leave a bitter taste with both managers and their team members.


As an industry, we've been talking for years about why, despite the best of intentions, annual reviews don't work. Research from Deloitte, conducted in 2014, states that 58% of companies don't see annual reviews as an effective use of time and research from CEB (now Gartner) suggests that 95% of managers aren't satisfied with the way performance management is done in their organisation.


Adobe, Microsoft, Dell and Juniper Systems, are a few examples of the businesses who have substituted annual performance reviews for more frequent informal sessions. Following the principles their IT teams applied at work, these changes have made them more agile and responsive to change, while it has also encouraged greater collaboration and efficiency of work.

Implementing Real-time Feedback into Your Business

As annual reviews fail to deliver the constructive feedback employees have been longing for, more frequent conversations on performance could be the way to encourage a trusting and coaching environment within teams. Moving away from annual appraisals to having more regular performance conversations may seem counterintuitive and it isn't easy, however, once regular appraisal sessions become a natural part of work, they quickly pay dividends. After all, companies that did away with performance reviews entirely saw a 28% drop in the performance of their top performers, and the quality of management conversations fell by 14%. Here are a few points that may help you begin your ad-hoc feedback journey.


Focus on the Discussion

Focus on the Discussion

Keep your ad-hoc feedback sessions informal. Focus on the discussion rather than the process of how the review should be done. The conversation must feel natural and aim to help the employee to develop their competencies. The session doesn't always have to be based on the hard data. Sometimes, it's more checking how they are doing and getting them comfortable in discussing their performance with you.


Run Them when Needed

Run them when Needed

It's good practice to have feedback sessions as soon as there's a need. This helps to avoid the feedback being based on a lack of evidence or when the most recent (excellent or terrible) performance overshadows the overall yearly results. Link your feedback discussion to the recent situation and make it feed forward - focus on what to keep and what to leave in the future.


Be Available

Be Available

Setting a regular time for individual feedback keeps the door open for your employees when they need it, so they play an equal role in driving the performance discussions.


Consider Group Feedback

Consider Group Feedback

Group feedback works especially well in project based work. Stepping back and facilitating the discussion, rather than leading it, helps the managers to promote open feedback where the team members come up with their own new ideas and suggestions. The insights managers gain from these discussions work as the valuable points that they can build on during the individual review they will have with each team member.


Embrace Technology

Embrace Technology

In the past few years, we've seen a boom of the technology tools that enable feedback collection. Some companies use online apps for ad-hoc reviews or even develop their own. At GE, they started using their own PD@GE app in 2015 and IBM launched their own ACE (Appreciation, Coaching, Evaluation) app for their internal use in 2016. There are many off-the-shelf tools that vary in complexity - some enable simple polls for quick feedback (Polly for Slack), others are fully featured feedback tools (Impraise, Reflektive). Make the most of the reporting functionality of any technology you use; dive into the analytics to look for trends across your team, and your business. Is there a predictive element to this? Are there times of the year when your team is under more pressure, where adding an extra resource could help lift performance and improve engagement as well as results.


Summary

Back in the days when talent was in abundant supply and you had to decide which employees to keep, reward or let go, the process of rating and ranking employees in terms of their performance may have had a place. In the tech sector, where having the best people and keeping them is a key source of competitive advantage, listening to and developing your people is the overriding objective. Although granular feedback is a great idea, formal reviews (at the end of the quarter, biannual or annual) still have their place. Ad-hoc reviews significantly help to collect enough evidence along the way, support continuous conversations and ensure negative feedback doesn't come as an unwanted surprise.


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Interviewing in the Information Age

27 Mar 17 by 56

Interviewing in the Information Age | Sourced - Christchurch IT Recruitment


If you’ve recently applied for an IT job, chances are you’ve done so expecting an invitation for an interview. Being prepared is the best advantage you can have before walking into the interview room. With so much helpful information now freely available, you’re undermining your own chances by not taking advantage of this accessibility and finding out as much as possible.


Although being prepared to respond the employer’s questions is crucial, your research can also help you find out whether the organisation is one you want to devote a major part of your life to. That should be a huge motivation to spend some time doing your research, no matter whether you’ve applied for the job or if you’re being presented with a job opportunity by a Recruiter.


What Company Are You About to Join?


Obvious resources, like company website, should serve as the first source of information. Besides core business related information, bigger companies often have careers sites where you can find all job-related information: current job openings, perks and some of the key few people representing business (not necessarily the board members, but people who may be your managers or others you might interact with on a daily basis).


Problem with a static company website | Sourced - Christchurch IT Recruitment

Although these resources can be useful, the issue is that they only express what the company wants to tell you. Ideally, what your future employer claims reflects what they actually do. But how can you look behind the public persona to find out what everyday life in your future workplace looks like?  If you’re lucky, you can find some company reviews on Seek, Indeed and Glassdoor. However, bear in mind there aren’t many of these yet, as these reviews are quite new to NZ (although you might expect IT companies would be amongst the first ones to appear there). Another way you can get a broader view of the organisation is to find out about their presence in the wider IT community. One way to do this is by seeing whether they feature in any mainstream IT related news; whether that’s as a thought leader in the industry or due to other initiatives they’re involved in. The likes of ComputerworldCIO and even the Technology section of the NZHerald or the Central Canterbury News are good places to start your search.


Social media is another basic source of information that can give you an insight into your prospective employer. When searching for information about the company, don’t stick to what they post. Invest your time into scanning the comments that the company’s users (customers) leave. The overall impression customers get, and the way company responds to them, may give you an interesting perspective on your future employer’s company culture. While these responses are often carefully crafted by a marketing department, the way the company deals with their customers often reflects how they interact with their employees too.


What Exactly Are You Going to Do?


Technology dinosaur | Sourced - Christchurch IT RecruitmentBefore the interview, ensure that you know the job advertisement inside out and you’re aware of the job requirements. What technologies, systems, methodologies, application servers and platforms are you going to encounter? What’s the level of process automation? What database servers do they use? These are critical IT questions that may be important to you. You probably don’t want to join a technology dinosaur and deal with technologies that should’ve been forgotten by now. Thorough information about your future job is usually hard to get unless you know somebody from the company. If that’s not the case, IT related forums like Geekzone, might also be of help.


If you’re working with a Recruiter, you’ll get a detailed brief either in person or by phone, highlighting the exact requirements of the role, both technical and non-technical as well as further insight into what they’re looking for in a candidate. As they already have a relationship with the organisation, Recruiters will also often be able to give you the inside word as to how the team works, what the culture is like and the opportunity the role presents to you.


Who Are the People You’re About to Meet?


No matter how much autonomy you may have in your new role, or the degree of isolation, your future colleagues matter. Your Managers and the people you work alongside can make your 9-to-5 job a pretty good place to spend your day or ruin it completely. Nowadays, you no longer have to wait for the interview to get an insight into your future Manager. Take on the role of investigator (but not stalker!) and do some research beforehand about your hiring Manager, for example; who they are, what they’ve done throughout their career, what they do in their spare time to see if you share any interests or industry involvement. You’ll then have advantage of approaching the interview as a discussion between real people rather than simply names and titles, which can help to build rapport early on in the interview process.


Sometimes, obvious resources like Google, LinkedIn and other social networks or company websites (although all of these are a great place to start) don’t tell you all that much. Not all people share their lives (both professional and personal) with the rest of the world. Local technology events such as IT conferences, meet-ups or workshops may sometimes serve you as a useful resource as you may find the person among speakers or attendees; and you may meet other employees of the company at these events who can answer your questions and create a clearer picture of the work environment.


Summary


Research takes effort, but done right it will reap huge benefits. You will end up with useful information to help you feel more confident within the interview, and enable you to make a well-informed decision about your working future. If you’re struggling to find information in this digital age, this absence of information could also tell you a lot about the company and its current requirements or its future direction. Don’t forget that the interview itself is also a good space to find out more about your job and team. Here are some great questions to get you started or you can always contact our team at Sourced for up-to-the-minute market advice. 

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Flexible Working: Is It Right for Your Business?

22 Feb 17 by 55

Does Flexible Working work?

As working from any location suddenly appears more realistic through new technology, flexible working has become an increasingly popular idea. As an employer, it is tempting to offer this as a benefit, because it appears to be the right thing to do for your employees' wellbeing, many of your talent competitors have embraced it and the technology to support its implementation now exists. However, what’s now clear is that flexible working isn’t always right for every business or isn’t right for each employee. 


Is Flexible Working Right for Employees?

The general consensus is that flexible working arrangements are a major employee benefit and allow people to juggle their work and life responsibilities more effectively. In practice, however, the reality can often be quite different.


The first issue is that many people actually like having a clear divide between their work and personal life. Going to work every day at regular hours provides routine and allows other events to be planned around this. This said, knowing the flexibility exists to collect the children early one day due to sickness, or to work from home for a couple of days due to an unexpected personal situation, is nearly always a positive.


If routine isn’t an issue, then the other two big issues can be personal performance and isolation. Whilst work output may be consistent or even higher, if an employee spends more time out of the office than in it, there is the risk of going unrecognised. With achievements undervalued and progression opportunities being missed, isolation is a fairly obvious risk. The interaction within a workplace often creates friendships and inspires social events due to shared interests. To an extent this can be replaced remotely but technology isn’t quite at a level where it can substitute the relationships built up in person. 


Is It Right for Your Business?

There are a few published cases that suggest positive flexible working policies have a substantial effect on business results, and it’s generally agreed that having some form of flexible working arrangement adds to your technology business’ ability to attract top talent. These two points don’t mean you should flip the switch and immediately embrace a flexible workforce. These are just some of the considerations that you should review.


Role Type

This is the most important element to consider because not every role is suited to flexible work. Firstly, the most obvious role type that is suited is one where the individual works alone and doesn’t have to complete any physical work. For example, this could be a Software Tester completing a repetitive test and then sending these results off to be analysed by another party.


Yet even in this scenario there could be areas where team interaction is required. This is the most common constraint to flexible work. It is possible to communicate remotely through project management and chat tools such as Trello and Slack but neither of these products, nor their peers, have yet been able to replace one-on-one contact. Too much reliance on these more often than not leads to the death of a cohesive team environment. The only exception here could be gamers, as this group of people are the furthest ahead when it comes to effective online collaboration! Telepresence (participation remotely with the appearance of being present) looks to be the solution to this restriction. It’s in early stages at present, but this video from Facebook gives a good indication to what we can expect.


Jobs that require any variety of physical labour are currently impossibly suited to remote work. This doesn’t mean this group of people can’t receive a certain amount of job flexibility, for example, flexible hours but they can’t be completed from home. This could all change in the next few years as telerobotics (people in one place operating machines in another) has a significant amount of research dedicated to it. 

Management is the last category that isn’t easily suited to flexible working. Unfortunately for Managers, communication is the biggest restrictor for them. Working remotely for a period of time or having varied working hours is likely to massively impact their ability to effectively manage people. 


Summary

If you’ve made the decision to roll-out a workplace flexibility policy, ensure you’ve carefully thought through how this may apply to all areas of your business. Considerations should include; the roles within your company, your existing company culture, the availability of required technology and also the ability to manage this change.


Then, whether it’s during an interview or a conversation with an existing employee, discussions around workplace flexibility often tend to be fraught with emotion. It’s therefore important to approach individual requests on a case by case basis and to ensure that both parties clearly understand what each other is trying to achieve.

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6 Critical Traits - Breaking into IT Management

12 Jan 17 by 54


How to move into IT ManagementFor many experienced IT professionals who’ve set their sights on moving into management, it’s often difficult to work out how to take that first step. Ultimately, your goal is to prove that you have potential to be a leader by showing you have the right mentality and skillset. To help you do exactly that, here’s our six tips for breaking into IT management.


1. Be Results-focused

Be results-focused as ManagerPutting it simply; delivering results and showing you understand the importance of meeting targets and expectations is paramount as a leader. To be more results-focused, think with the end in mind and look at what actions will lead toward your objective. When you’re identifying what tasks should take priority, consider the 80/20 rule and focus on the 20% of tasks that provides 80% of your results. It’s also important to turn everything you do into a case study and find a way to measure your outcomes. Doing so will help you to promote your own work and analyse where you can make improvements.


2. Be a Problem-solver

Be a problem-solver as ManagerStrong problem-solving skills are the amalgamation of resilience, logic, and creativity, and it is crucial for Managers to possess these. Many talented IT professionals are great at analysing what’s in front of them to reach out-the-box solutions. However, before using your own analytical skills to showcase you’re a problem-solver, you need to develop the level-headed and proactive mindset of a leader.


To develop this mindset, consider changing the way you approach an issue. Instead of telling your boss that a problem exists and waiting for direction, take the time to identify obstacles and examine your options. Doing so will enable you to provide a series of solutions when you present the problem to your Manager. It can also be a good idea to use the same mentality with your role, and find ways to improve your productivity by testing solutions and supplying evidence. This forward thinking will highlight your proficiency as a great problem-solver.


3. Show You Can Listen

Listening Skills as a ManagerIf good leaders talk, great leaders listen. Being mindful of those you work with and actively listening to them can help you to receive better information and make better decision. When you converse with people, consider the impact your body language and attentiveness has. Show that the person in front of you has your full attention by removing any distractions whilst being mindful of your posture. Negative body language, such as crossing your arms, can have a detrimental impact on how comfortable the other person is talking to you.


Keep an eye out for the other person’s body language as well during the conversation. Does their posture make them seem hesitant? Are they avoiding eye contact with you? As you pay more attention to their body language, you’ll become better at spotting these nonverbal cues. Understanding what is and isn’t being said is key to becoming an attentive listener, and will enable you to gauge what people are truly thinking and feeling.


4. Expand Your Vision

Expand your vision as a ManagerAn effective leader needs to have a 360-degree view of their employer and industry. Although this can be a challenge for IT specialists with specific roles, do what you can to actively expand your vision. Start with the basics and research your employer as if you were interviewing for a job; find out your employer’s mission, business objectives, and goals to get a sense of the direction they’re headed in. Then, compare your employer to its competitors to get a sense of the position your organisation is in within the industry.


Next, consider the internal workings of your organisation beyond your team or department. Identify which areas of the business you don’t understand and find professionals you know in those areas. Ask for a chance to work in projects that involve the cooperation of other teams or departments, or to be involved with your employer’s Health & Safety committee. These opportunities will enable you to learn about the other key business functions and people throughout your company. Showing that you’re interested in more than just your own job will help impress your Manager, and build a better understanding of how each department comes together to contribute to your employer’s success.


5. Gain a Reputation of Integrity

Have integrity as a ManagerFor a leader to be taken seriously, their peers need to respect them for their integrity. For you, this means to show exemplary behaviour to your peers. Even though you’re not a supervisor yet, display a great work ethic by being respectful, approachable, reasonable, punctual, and honest, at all times. Avoid office gossip and aim to build a reputation of being someone everyone can trust and depend upon.


6. Take on Small Management Opportunities

Take on small management tasks

One of the best ways to show your capacity to be a leader is to take on leadership responsibilities. When you’re ready to start managing, ask your direct report for the chance to take on small opportunities to manage people or projects. Ask your Manager if there’s anything you can take off their plate to help them, such as training new hires or leading meetings. This will help you to build your management skills and you’ll start being viewed as a leader yourself.



Summary

Soft skills can often be difficult to improve, hence why taking that first step towards becoming a leader can be strenuous. However, I hope the above short guide has helped to give you direction so your Manager can see you as the right choice when a leadership opportunity next arises. If you need more leadership advice or you’re looking for great management jobs in New Zealand, don’t hesitate to contact us today. 

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A Simple Guide to Upskill for 2017's Tech Jobs

14 Dec 16 by 53

Upskill Yourself for 2017's Tech Jobs | Sourced: Christchurch IT Recruitment


Since technology is constantly evolving and transforming, new skills and abilities are continuously required to fill new positions. With the IT industry having such a huge focus on skills, it’s important to stay a step ahead and expand your own skill set. There are many resources available both online and in person to do this, and the summer is a great time to get started. When you give yourself time to upskill, you can give your career the boost that it needs and help yourself to stand out to potential employers.


The festive season is a great time to take new skills on board in your spare time, or at work. So we’ve put together a simple guide to upskill yourself for the New Year and beyond.

Give Yourself a Career Check

In our previous blog, we mentioned that evaluating your career can give you the opportunity to assess your overall career and goals. Secondly, when you’re able to reflect on what you enjoy, or don’t enjoy in your job, it can help you see whether a change is needed within your career or not. You might be interested to look for a new job, work within a new industry, or simply stay put in your current role. Either way, reviewing your career can help to give you a clearer picture of how you’ve performed, whether you’ve reached your goals, and if you need to improve on anything. If you’re looking to upskill, knowing where you stand in your career can give you a better idea of what you might want to pursue and learn, and how that might benefit you.

How Can You Upskill?

There are various ways to stay productive over summer if you’re looking to pick up new skills. Whether you have a thirst for more knowledge, or you want to get involved with online tech communities, here are our four top ways to upskill yourself.


Learn a New Programming Language

Whether you’re already a programming whiz or you’re looking to get started, you may enjoy learning a new programming language. Codeacademy is a free service that allows you to can start at a beginner level and work your way up to more advanced functions. There are many tutorials on Codeacademy, from learning how to code in Python, to building a game with JavaScript or creating a basic website. Similarly, Laracasts is a platform that hosts many tutorial videos and webinars on Testing, JavaScript, and advice for Web Developers.


Find a Great Tutorial

In your spare time, tutorials can be a great way to learn new information and expand your knowledge. Tutorials can be found both in-person and online. In-person workshops are a great solution if you’re looking for a more social learning environment, or alternatively, if you’re short on time, online tutorials can be more convenient for your schedule. With so many online learning platforms out there, it can be hard to pick just one, but the great thing is that you don’t have to. As well as the aforementioned Codeacademy and Laracasts, some notable names include, Coursera, Udemy, and O’Reilly Media, which hosts a range of downloadable technology books, magazines, research, and tech conferences.


On the other hand, if you enjoy watching speakers present short, powerful talks, TED Talks is another great platform. This list of the Top 10 TED Talks for Techies is a huge hit among tech enthusiasts, touching on everything from bionics to big data.


Get Involved in the Online Community

Although finding great tutorials is a great way to help you expand your knowledge and skill set, putting those skills to the test by getting involved in the community is another way to sharpen your expertise. Open Source, GitHub and Stackoverflow are all big platforms that encourage collaboration between developers, users, and organisations. These platforms give you the freedom to work on your own projects, share your current assignments, and to work alongside talented and like-minded individuals who are passionate about technology. As well as enabling you to give back to the community by opening up your own work to new ideas, you’ll often find yourself stumbling across innovative solutions that you can bring with you into your own career.


Upskill Yourself for 2017's Tech Jobs | Sourced: Christchurch IT Recruitment

Work on Your Network

Whether one of your New Year’s resolutions is to find a job, or if you’re an experienced professional simply interested in gaining more knowledge about your industry, networking can connect you with valuable opportunities. With that said, it’s near impossible to attend every networking event. Instead, think of which events cater to your specific needs and career goals. Once you’ve determined the events that seem worthwhile to you, note them down in your calendar.


Over the summer period there are many networking opportunities in Christchurch. Our previous blog highlights some of the local technology events and workshops, including the annual Canterbury Tech Summit. Canterbury Tech NZ also has a number of monthly Meetup groups around the Christchurch and Canterbury areas. There are also a number of national events that attract crowds each year which are worth keeping an eye out for.


Another way to improve your network is to find a mentor within your industry. Our Mentor Connection Programme connects talented IT professionals with skilled and experienced people. These mentors are able to provide guidance, expertise, and knowledge to people that are looking to advance their careers. If you’d like to find out more about getting involved as either a mentee or mentor, please get in touch with us at Sourced. 

Hottest Tech Skills for the New Year

Generally, the skills needed for IT continue to change due to new demands and new roles constantly cropping up in what is a very dynamic sector. Staying informed of what employers want is more important than ever, and can be hugely beneficial for your job search. So, what skills are needed for you to land your dream job? We took a look at four crucial soft skills for technology professionals in our previous blog, and this global survey focused on the most in demand tech skills that can get you hired in 2017. By keeping these in mind when you’re looking to expand your skillset, you’ll give yourself options if and when you look to move on.


Summary


Learning new skills over the festive season doesn’t have to be a chore. There are proactive and engaging ways to get involved with the community, build your network, and grow your skillset. Using the festive season to upskill yourself can be beneficial to your career and your own personal development. Find something that works for you and, most importantly, something that you enjoy! 


For more resources or advice on how to upskill yourself and boost your career, don’t hesitate; check out our blogget in touch today.

 

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How to Make a Good First Impression at Work

24 Nov 16 by 52



How to Make a Good First Impression at Work  | Sourced: Christchurch IT Recruitment

Although starting a new role can be exciting, it’s important not to get caught up in the moment and forget to make a solid first impression with your new colleagues, Manager and employer. The way you’re dressed, how you speak, and your overall attitude can have a big impact on how others perceive you. Presenting yourself in a positive light from day one can set you up for a successful career start. Follow our top tips and discover how you can make a positive first impression at work.

How to Make a Good First Impression | Sourced: Christchurch IT Recruitment


Maintain a Positive Attitude


With a new role, there will be new challenges, responsibilities, and tasks. Although learning new systems, processes and skills combined with meeting new people might bring stress, showing that you can keep a positive attitude is a great sign. Remaining positive demonstrates that you can handle pressure in a professional and upbeat manner. Remember your strengths and focus on what you hope to gain from the overall experience.


Do Your Homework


A great way to set yourself up for success is to understand what your Manager wants from you. To do this, try to find out what is important to your Manager, and familiarise yourself with the company’s overall mission, goals, and objectives. What are your Manager and colleagues trying to achieve and what direction are they heading in? Knowing more about the company, colleagues, and your Manager’s strategy can put your role in context and help you see how you’ll fit in, and what value you can add to the role.


To know more about what your company does and who they are before you start, it’s good to do some research ahead of time. If you’re active on social media and LinkedIn, you can easily check out the company’s presence on those channels, as well as looking at their website to find out more about their background and activities. Are they a leading voice in your industry? Do current and former employees give positive testimonials? There may even be positive news coverage on your company for getting involved with charitable causes or doing other work in the community. If the company’s values and mission are important to you, and if they are in sync with your own values as well, then try to find out about these in advance.

How to Make a Good First Impression | Sourced: Christchurch IT Recruitment


Dress to Impress


Whilst starting a new job may not necessarily require a wardrobe overhaul, it’s a good idea to double check the dress code of your new employer. Think back to the interview; how was everyone dressed? Was everyone wearing formal attire or ‘smart causal’ clothing? If you’re struggling to find this out, check with your Manager or Recruiter who can help ensure you don’t over or underdress on your first day.


Be Mindful of What You Say


Ego and personality clashes are two of the primary reasons for workplace conflict, hence why getting off on the wrong foot with a colleague is best avoided. Instead, try to be mindful of what you say to everyone because you might offend someone without realising it. To avoid this scenario, steer clear of office gossip or controversial topics. Overall, what you say (and what you keep to yourself!) is part of the good first impression that you’re trying to make, so be sure to be considerate and respectful to everyone.

How to Make a Good First Impression | Sourced: Christchurch IT Recruitment


Learn the Formal and Informal Office Rules


Familiarising yourself with the company culture can help you adapt to the formal and informal office rules. Begin by learning how others behave in the office, such as each employee’s day-to-day routine, and what the environment is like. Observe what software, equipment, and programs are regularly used. For example, does the workplace provide devices such as laptops and tablets? Perhaps the office is quiet and reserved, or louder and upbeat. Look at how people communicate with each other, and what procedures are followed. As the new employee, it’s essential that you learn and adapt to the new company culture as best as you can.  


Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Feedback


Over your first few weeks in the role you’ll be taking in a lot of information, but keep in mind that you aren’t expected to remember everything in one go. Your colleagues and Manager are there to help you succeed, so they’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have. After three months at your new company, it’s a great idea to ask your Manager for a performance review. Then you can discuss your accomplishments and challenges, as well as a plan for how you can improve and further develop. 
 

How to Make a Good First Impression | Sourced: Christchurch IT Recruitment

Get to Know Your Co-workers


When you meet new people, it can often be daunting trying to remember everyone’s names. Reading your team’s bios on the company website in advance will help you to get a general idea of who each person is and what they do. Either way, learn each person’s role in your team and get to know them. Something as simple as grabbing a coffee with your team on your lunch break can make you feel more comfortable and familiar with each person. Having positive interactions with your team is bound to be noticed by your employer as well.


Summary


Before you begin a new role it’s good practice to reflect on how others may perceive you from the way you speak, dress and approach other people. With any new role, remember to be yourself. People will respect you if you’re honest, transparent, and present your likeable personality upfront. If you need any more advice on how to leave a good first impression or have any questions, feel free to get in touch with our expert Recruiters at Sourced.  

 

How to Make a Good First Impression| Sourced: Christchurch IT Recruitment

 

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Defragging Your Career

15 Nov 16 by 51

Career Review | Sourced: Christchurch IT Recruitment


As the end of year approaches, many are doing their best to tie up any loose ends at work so they’re prepared for the new year ahead. Whilst the Christmas season can be quite busy, it’s crucial to use the down-time to defrag your career and work out if you’re headed in the right direction. To help you get a fresh start after the holidays, take a read of our helpful guide on how to give yourself a career review.


Spotting the Obvious

It can sometimes be difficult to differentiate stress from career dissatisfaction, especially when you’re working hard over a busy period. To help you work out which is which, take a step back and look at your job and ask yourself how satisfied you are with what you do and where you are. Are you constantly bored? Do you lack passion and dread coming to work? Do you feel you don’t fit into your employer’s culture? Is your performance suffering, or do you feel you’re not living up to your full potential?


Whilst answering yes to any of the above questions is not an absolute certainty that you’re in the wrong job, frequently experiencing them could be a sign that something is amiss. The Christmas holidays, although they can be a busy period, can also offer an opportunity to take a closer look at these signs and decide if a change of job, employer or industry could be the answer. If you do need to change jobs, it’s worth noting that a lot of vacancies start appearing now for the year ahead, so this is the perfect time to ponder if you are thinking of looking at other options.


Think About Your Career Goals

Career Review | Sourced: Christchurch IT Recruitment

If you haven’t already put together your own career plan, it can be useful to sit down and jot down your short-term and long-term goals. Evaluating your career goals can help you visualise what you’ve accomplished so far compared to last year, and it can help you prepare for the year ahead. Short-term goals are often based on personal development, and can range from reaching a target to undertaking more responsibilities within your role.


On the other hand, long-term goals are often the “big” goal of where you want to be with your career in the next few years. Regularly reflecting on your progress can be a great tool for self-assessment, tracking your own performance, and seeing what goals you’ve achieved so far. Ask yourself: "is what I'm doing helping me reach these goals?" If not, change it.


Consult Other People

Having your own career review and checking your own performance is a great start, but it can also be helpful to get an insight from other people. Colleagues, your peers, and your managers can give you an unbiased opinion of what stage they think you’re at in your career. To achieve this, you can request regular performance reviews with your employer, or fill in your own self appraisal forms. From here you can receive constructive feedback and be made aware of anything that you might need to improve on. Bear in mind that formal annual reviews only focus on your performance, rather than your overall career aspirations and long-term plan, so these might not give you what you’re looking for.


For extra advice and an honest assessment, you can also consult a respected and reliable person in your industry. This person can act as a mentor and someone that you can trust for advice. At Sourced, we have a great mentoring programme which aims to match experienced professionals with emerging IT talent.  


Working Out What’s Next

Before you decide to jump ship, you need to find the root of what’s causing your dissatisfaction. Start by examining what’s right and wrong with your job, employer and career. Focus on what you enjoy about your job as much as what you don’t. This will enable you to write down specific and honest reasons for what’s causing your dissatisfaction. Does your job not challenge you enough? Are you under too much pressure from your workload? Perhaps you work in an industry or for an employer you’re not proud to be a part of? Or maybe the morning commute just makes you sick to your stomach. All of these are valid reasons.


Career Review | Sourced: Christchurch IT RecruitmentOnce you’ve highlighted the specific reasons behind your desire to move on, you can start planning what you need to do to solve those problems. For example, would a job with more flexible working arrangements solve your commuting problem? Perhaps a role with more leadership responsibilities could take your career to the next level. Once you know what you’re looking for, you can start taking the steps to find it.


Moving On

At the start of your job search, make sure you research the industry. Google and Seek are good starting points, but the best advice always comes from specialists. Industry specialist Recruiters spend every day networking and connecting professionals to great IT Jobs, so even if they can’t directly help you, they can certainly point you in the right direction.


Look at your current skills and expertise in relation to the IT industry and decide whether you need to upskill yourself. For example, use LinkedIn to find people who currently hold jobs you want, and look at what skills they’ve learned and the paths they’ve taken to get there. A Recruiter can also help here by providing an insight into the kind of skills and experiences that are currently in high demand in the IT sector.


Summary

Giving yourself your own career review, and putting a plan together can be a good way to hash out both your short-term and long-term career path. It can also help you get back on track and remain focused on what’s important to you. Above all else, if you aren’t truly happy within your role, it may be time to move on. A new role can be invigorating and it could be exactly what you’re after to reignite passion for your work.


For an extra hand with your annual career review, or if you need help to be pointed in the right direction with your career, feel free to get in touch with our experts at Sourced. 


Career Review | Sourced: Christchurch IT Recruitment

                     

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Get the most out of Local Tech Events

4 Nov 16 by 50

At Sourced we are passionate about the local Christchurch technology sector and our team loves to get involved with a variety of local events. We often get feedback from both candidates and clients that they don’t know where to find out what is on or crucially how to personally get the most out of these events.


The Canterbury Tech Cluster (CTC) does a great job of providing an overview of the events and Meetups in our local region, so rather than re-invent the wheel we thought we would share this information with our network. In addition we have provided information on events not included on CTC and our guide to getting the most out of professional networking.


Canterbury Tech Event Listings

Events generally fall into three categories: informal get-togethers, workshops and professionally organised conferences / speaker sessions. 


The best place to find out information on local get-togethers is Meetup. Meetup is an online network dedicated to getting people with similar interests (professional or personal) to meet up offline. There are a wide range of well-established Meetup Groups in Canterbury, CTC have compiled this list of 25 Groups which includes most of those related to the Christchurch technology sector. In additional this CTC page keeps track of the events that are planned over the next 30 days.


Other Events

The annual Canterbury Tech Summit (formerly Canterbury Software Summit) is the South Island's largest Tech event, and is well worth a visit. Besides this, we have a number of upcoming technology events to watch out for this year, including SingularityU NZ Summit on 14-16th November and Christchurch Hacker Conference on 12th November.


There are also four workshops run by the IT Professionals (ITP)

these include:


Getting the Most Out of Events

As you can see there is always plenty going on in Canterbury. Your reasons for attending events such as these will obviously vary depending on your professional and personal goals and interests.


Often events are a great place to learn and hear from others who may be working on something similar to you but know a different way of doing it. They can also be a great place to relax and talk with like-minded people outside of a work environment.


The most significant other reason for attending events is to network with the objective of finding new job opportunities or to learn more about a company you are potentially interested in working for. With this in mind Sourced has prepared a short guide to help make your networking efforts a little easier.


Event Networking

Do Your Homework

The days of going to events without knowing who else is attending are long gone. Sites such as Meetup allow you to see all attendees prior to the event. If you can’t locate an attendee list, research the people at the companies that are sponsoring or hosting the event.


Once you have found an attendee who could be of interest, spend a little time reviewing their LinkedIn profile and GitHub account to understand their work experience and projects. You can also often generate warm leads by engaging with attendees on Twitter in advance of the event, or use it to find potential areas of shared interest outside of work. This follower list is a good place to start looking for Christchurch Technology people who are on Twitter.


Interact / Move Outside of your Comfort Zone

To make yourself noticed be prepared to ask questions of the speaker and contribute to the group discussions. Also try to speak to at least one new person at every event you attend.


Make Conversations Personal

People don’t always wish to talk about their work, often the best conversations are about subjects that have nothing to do with the event itself.


Attend the After Event Drinks

Post-event there is often a smaller group of attendees that will head out for dinner or drinks. By attending you will likely get the opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with people who have been otherwise engaged during the event itself.


Connect Online

To get the most out of an event, it is helpful to continue to network afterwards. The easiest way to do this is to remember to connect on social networks such as LinkedIn with the people you interacted with at the conference. This way you will both have a method for getting back in touch and they can also find out more details about you.


Speak / Present

This takes networking a step further, but if you are really keen to get noticed then volunteering as a speaker or organiser of an event is a great way to do this. Your expertise will be on show to a captive audience, making it more likely people will approach you to talk and hopefully other attendees may even blog or tell their employers about you.


Help is at Hand

We understand that all of the above points can take up a lot of time and effort, which as a busy technology professional you likely don’t have in available in abundance. If you would prefer someone else to represent your brand on your behalf please feel free to get in touch. We are connected with a wide range of local technology employers and are always happy to promote you as part of your job search.  




Download the Sourced Event Networking Infographic

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Managing a Multigenerational Workforce

28 Oct 16 by 49


The number of New Zealanders aged 65 and over is predicted to almost double in the next 10 years. More than ever, these older workers are now staying within the workforce, either by choice or out of necessity. At the same time, the first of a new generation – dubbed “Gen Z” – are just beginning to reach employment age.


We are now in an unprecedented time where we have four generations in the workforce simultaneously, and addressing and managing the potential conflicts and benefits that arise from a multigenerational workforce is becoming a major focus for organisations. But what are these conflicts and benefits? Does having a multigenerational workforce really change anything?


New Generations, Same Old Workforce

With a wider range of generations, and thus people, represented in the workforce than ever before, organisations are predictably panicking about how to handle this situation. “How do we cater to the needs of our experienced, long-serving Baby Boomers, whilst also making sure that Millennials are kept happy?”


Essentially, the debate is about focusing on the past (your veteran presence who have perhaps taken a step back in the business), present (your current leaders and key contributors) and future (the bright sparks in junior positions who you’ve earmarked for future success) of your organisation. However, does choosing between them really need to be an option?


Though the emergence of this multigenerational workforce has created much in the way of workplace trend hyperbole, nothing much has really changed. Though it may not have been so pronounced previously, there have always been people of different ages within organisations. The key is that each person within those generational groups is different, and can’t all be compared under a catch-all term like “Gen-X” or “Millennial” that handily sums up their motivations, skills and preferences.


Age is just one changing aspect of workplace that’s becoming more diverse across the board. In reality, you can’t manage a generation in the workplace, so ensuring that you’re communicating effectively with individuals and providing them with the resources and environment to thrive is crucial.   


Managing Your People

As our workplace becomes more diverse, leaders need to break free from old, rigid leadership models and embrace greater flexibility so they can better understand each individual in the workplace. In turn, this will allow them to unleash their potential and encourage a better environment for employees to collaborate in.


In practice, this means carefully considering each employee’s traits, including their strengths and weaknesses. For example, although Millennials might be seen as the “tech savvy generation,” doesn’t make it a blanket rule. If you have a Baby Boomer employee who is tech-savvy and a quicker learner, then you may well want to buck the trend have them be the first to test a new system or technology. Similarly, if a Millennial is showing more in the way of leadership potential than a Gen-Xer, then you may want to give them more responsibility within the team over other, older employees.


Across your organisation, from business practices to performance reviews, tweak your approach to cater to the wants and needs of the individual, regardless of which generational group they belong to. Though it may read like pandering, it’s far less condescending than treating “Millennials” differently from “Baby Boomers.” Really it’s just common sense: do your best to make an employee feel comfortable and that will probably be reflected in their performance.


Summary

Beyond the panic and bluster, your multigenerational workforce is much the same as any other workforce you’ve ever had. At the end of the day, if you promote an environment where everyone feels comfortable enough to bring their own views and ideas to the table whilst feeling respected, you’ll have a healthy and successful internal culture; no matter how many Gen-X-Y-Zers you might employ.


Don’t forget to check out our blog for more recruitment and job searching advice, and our LinkedIn for the latest industry trends and insights.

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Four Crucial Soft Skills for Success in IT

10 Oct 16 by 48

crucial soft skills to ensure success in IT


The IT industry can be a challenging and dynamic environment. So, in order to be successful, IT professionals often have to go beyond focusing on just their technical expertise. Skills such as effectively explaining a complicated product to an end user, or quickly adapting to challenges from an unexpected service outage, can be extremely valuable.


Whether you’re just starting out as a Junior Programmer or you’re already a Senior Developer, possessing the following four soft skills will significantly help you to achieve your career goals. 


Communication Skills

In the IT industry, communication is one of the most vital soft skills to possess. From the perspective of an IT employee, you’re going to have to explain complicated problems, solutions and processes in way that’s clear to understand. At the same time, whether it’s a new piece of software, technology or a product ready to be rolled out, there’s always something new to learn. Knowledge share is crucial within this field. A lot of learning occurs on the job and hence, being able to teach and explain things to others with clarity and patience can really bolster your career.


As well as being able to convey an idea in a way that can be easily understood, intently listening to others is equally as important. Listening closely to exactly what your client or manager wants is key to ensuring you deliver precisely what is expected. If there’s anything within a brief you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to clarify it before you begin working.


Honing your communication skills can have a positive impact on your career. Being able to better communicate with your peers, managers, clients and stakeholders, can enable you to build better and stronger relationships all-round. This can have a direct influence on opportunities later on in your career and serve as a stepping stone to leadership responsibilities.


Flexibility

A career within the IT sector can come with a lot of sudden changes, whether from setbacks caused by technical problems or last-minute issues with vendors. If you’re someone who is adaptable, positive and keen to immediately find a solution, then you’ll be highly sought after. In an industry which faces frequent disruption due to the latest innovations, embracing changes head on can help lead you to stronger career opportunities later down the line.


Due to the dynamic and flexible nature of the IT industry, contracting has become hugely popular. Developing your own adaptability whilst being quick on your feet can hugely benefit you if you’re looking to strike a better balance between your work and personal life, through being a contractor. If you already have these soft skills but not sure if contracting is the right career choice for you, read our guide to discover more.


Teamwork

It can often be tempting for an IT professional to isolate themselves at work, preferring to work alone to get a job done. However, a group of experts can bring a huge variety of talents, skills and perspectives to the table. It’s for this reason that a strong team will always accomplish far more than what one person can do alone. Demonstrating you’re a team player can allow you to work achieve great results whilst highlighting your communication skills, especially your ability to negotiate.


When you’re working as part of a dynamic IT team in a high results driven environment, there can occasionally be conflict. Being able to find common ground, negotiate and resolve issues are excellent skills to have in this, or any, industry. Practicing them can go a long way in helping you stand out for possible team leader positions or roles which require conflict resolution, such as Account Management.


Innovation

The IT industry is constantly at the forefront of innovation. To stay ahead of the game, employers need to be creative and develop solutions and products that meet the constantly changing needs of consumers. This has led to innovation and creativity to become a critical skill for employees to possess. If you can prove that you’re a creative innovator, then you’re much more likely to stand out from the crowd.


However, it’s one thing to be able to create a great product to a brief, it’s another entirely to offer an innovative solution to a problem. An employer will want someone who is a creative problem solver, who can think on their feet and take the initiative to offer creative solutions, and not just temporary fixes. Don’t allow your creativity to be stemmed, instead embrace it and use it to get ahead in your career, as this can really set you apart from the crowd.


Summary

When it comes to being successful throughout your career, proving you have the technical skill is half the battle. Demonstrating that you’re excellent at communicating, a flexible team player and a creative innovator can highlight you as a strong employee and a potential leader. If you need some help with getting connected to fantastic roles that will let you utilise both your technical and soft skills, get in touch with one of our recruitment specialists today.

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How to Hire For Team Fit

28 Sep 16 by 47

Hire for Team Fit | Sourced: Christchurch IT Recruitment


When hiring, you may come across a candidate that has great qualifications, experience, and skills – but there is one final question left to answer: are they a good fit for your team? Hiring someone who is a team fit means that the new employee’s personality fits in well with the company culture. When you’re working with someone every day, team fit is just as important as getting the job done. The wrong fit can have an impact on your company and your team, so knowing you’re hiring the right person is crucial. But how do you know if the person you’re hiring is a good fit? We’ve put together our best tips to get you on the right track.   

How Do You Know if an Employee is a Good Team Fit?

Happy Employees | Sourced: Christchurch IT Recruitment

Before you can measure a candidate’s cultural fit, you need to be able to define your organisational culture – it’s values, goals, and practices. Then you can incorporate this into the hiring process. By doing this, you’ll have a good idea of what characteristics and personalities would fit your company. You want someone that is comfortable working in an active setting. as opposed to someone who prefers a quiet and small office space. You need someone that can adapt to your work environment and also remain productive. 


Also, take your current employees’ specific personalities into account; Is there a mixture of personalities? Can they work effectively together? Do they each help the team to function? If an employee feels like their personality contributes to the company, they’ll be happier in their job, which can lead to a 12% increase in employee productivity. Bear in mind, not everyone has to be exactly the same and a new kind of personality whether they’re quiet, loud or lively, can help to balance a team out. 

Make the Most of the Interview

As the interviewer, try to keep an open mind and don’t just rely on your intuition unless you have evidence to back it up. Remember that how you perceive others comes from your own unique point of view. For example, if you believe someone comes across as smug in an interview, someone else might describe them as confident and determined. 


Employee Turnover | Sourced: Christchurch IT Recruitment

Looking through a wider lens to ensure you’re representing your company, and the team the candidate will be joining, is crucial. With research indicating that total costs associated with employee turnover can cost 90% to 200% of that person’s salary, hiring someone who isn’t a fit for the company is not a risk worth taking. You cannot know for sure if someone will fit in with your organisational culture, but using the interview process can help you get a feel for the person’s personality and decide if they’re a good fit for the job. 


The interview is where you’ll get a feel for the kind of person that candidate is and whether they’ll be a good fit for your team. Get the most out of the interview process and use your organisational culture to form your behavioural questions. This will show you whether a candidate aligns with your company vision or not, and whether they’re a good fit for your organisation’s values. Understanding this is crucial, as personality doesn’t tend to be something you can change or teach, unlike technical skills. However, by using the interview process to ask behavioural questions and carry out assessments, you can discover the core elements that make up the interviewee’s personality.

Behavioural Interview Questions

Interview | Sourced: Christchurch IT RecruitmentThe focus of behavioural interview questions is to uncover a candidate’s soft skills. These soft skills are skills that are part of a person’s personality, such as teamwork skills, problem solving skills, and communication skills. Whether you require much in the way of soft skills depends on the role you’re interviewing for. For instance, when hiring a Software Team Lead you would be looking for excellent communication, leadership, and problem solving skills.


Based on your requirements, ask the interviewee a time they demonstrated the skill you’re looking for in the workplace. For example, “Tell me about a time where you struggled to meet a project deadline?” or another question, “Tell me about a time you overcame a conflict within a team.” By getting specific examples and understanding how they have reacted you’ll be able to determine whether their approach will be a suitable fit for your company. If you’d like to know more about which interview questions to ask, you can take a look at our previous blog on this year's top 10 technology interview questions.

Psychometric Assessments

Psychometric assessments can be very useful when hiring, however there seems to be a bit of misinformation, and unfortunately, misuse, of what is otherwise a very powerful tool. Understanding when and why an assessment is to be used is critical, as is the selection of the type of assessment you're going to use. Remember that these are not 'tests' to be passed or failed, and psychometrics should not be used for selection purposes in the way you might assume.  


Personality assessments are a helpful tool in understanding aspects of personality and preference, but first consider what you’re getting from the experience and define some profiles that you are and aren't looking for with your assessment provider. To ensure assessments are evaluated in an appropriate context, a lot of pre-work needs to be done. There are a wide number of different types of psychometric assessment available, but most centre around cognitive and personality questionaires that measure a candidates’ personality, behavioural preferences and sometimes, knowledge, against an appropriate group of peers and respondents. They bring a scientific approach to the art of team building and selection, and can give you a better insight into the needs of your preferred candidate in a range of work related and interpersonal scenarios.


Psychometric Assessment for Team Fit | Sourced: Christchurch IT Recruitment


The end result is that you can develop more tailored training initiatives, and ensure the new employee will be supported to contribute to your company long term. Although for employers, psychometrics can be a helpful hiring tool, they can also be used as a development tool for both employer and employee, identifying aspects they may need to improve on and helping both parties long-term. Before conducting any assessments, we recommend asking for expert advice. A specialist recruiter, such as Sourced, can discuss with you which assessments (or one of Sourced's talent solutions) best suit the needs of your company and hiring process in order find what you’re looking for when it comes to team fit. 

References Team Fit | Sourced: Christchurch IT Recruitment

References

Although interviews can give you an idea of a candidate’s personality, that idea is only based on one interaction. By effectively using a candidate’s referees, you can back up any data or evidence that you’ve gathered. The referees a candidate provides will have built strong professional relationships with them throughout their career. Though it might seem obvious, getting in touch with referees can give you testimonials from former employers, colleagues, or tutors. While able to back up the candidate’s skills and experience, referees can also speak on their personality.

Summary

When you're hiring someone, the most important thing is to have a strong understanding of who your team and your company are. Although you can never know for sure when it comes to team fit, using facts and evidence to augment your own brand awareness give you a better idea of what to look for. A good hire is someone who is competent, motivated and a successful team fit. When you have all three of these components, they’ll add something special to your team and contribute to your company long-term. If you need assistance and want to feel more confident with your hiring choices, get in touch with our experts at Sourced.

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An Onboarding Guide for IT Employers

26 Aug 16 by 46

 

What is Onboarding?

In the fast paced IT industry, making a good first impression when it comes to welcoming a new employee on-board can be crucial to getting them off on the right foot. The purpose of onboarding is to make employees feel connected and informed as quickly as possible. This is a process that should get underway before an employee starts, continue throughout their first three months and continue as long as needed beyond this.


As an employer, you will be able to evaluate technical skills and get an idea of cultural fit during the interview process. However, all this good work can be wasted if an employee is not given an onboarding plan. This makes good onboarding an essential platform for new starters. If done poorly, onboarding can lead to confusion and an unhappy employee, who may well leave before they really begin to add value. A successful onboarding strategy in the IT industry can help you retain top talent whilst decreasing staff turnover.


Before an Employee Starts | Sourced: Christchurch IT Recruitment

Before an Employee Starts

As part of onboarding, you can keep the candidate interested by moving through the hiring process quickly and smoothly. One of the main concerns for candidates during this process is that they don’t know what it’s like to work at your organisation day in, day out. Address this by clarifying their role before they start. Let them know how they will contribute to the organisation and how they’ll fit into the big picture. You can even invite them into the office before their first day. Introduce them to their team and the people they need to know before they start, in order to familiarise them with the environment.


Another way to ensure a new starter has a great onboarding experience is to take a more strategic approach. Put an onboarding plan together in advance, and learn from your previous onboarding efforts. Speak to current employees who have been onboarded and are now fully embedded with the company. Get their feedback on your processes. Based on this feedback you can decide which tactics were the most effective for current employees, and what might have been lacking in their experience. If necessary, switch it up and make changes to your onboarding plan to achieve better results for future employees. Some initiatives you could use in your onboarding process may include: mentoring, a buddy system, FAQ guides or a company handbook. 


IT Equipment | Sourced: Christchurch IT Recruitment

IT Equipment

IT is often a very hardware-heavy industry. That means that new employees will need all of the devices and tools they require to be in order on the day they start. If you offer a range of options for workstations, make sure the new starter communicated their choices before you set anything up; for example, Mac or Windows or a laptop versus a desktop. It might seem obvious, but ensuring that your new starter's workstation is set up, the necessary software is installed and all of their equipment is ready to use will go a long way to getting them off to a successful start. If you're using a cloud system such as Dropbox, making sure that new employees have access to all of the files they'll need access to avoids the risk of them not being able to find what they need; even if it can be a bit of an information overload at first.


Of course you will also need to provide any login or set-up details for emails, phones, as well as security access. Consider the impact if your new hire is left to chase various people around the office if various software isn’t installed. Aside from the obvious productivity issues, your new starter could end up feeling alienated, and more of a hindrance than a contributor. By getting the basics right and ensuring that an employees workstation is ready for use, you strongly increase the chances that their first day will be a positive experience. 

Week One | Sourced: Christchurch IT Recruitment

Week One

The first day is a crucial chance for you to interact with your new employee through training and orientation. Ensure that the basics are understood. Clarify job expectations once again, discussing the purpose of the position and who they will be reporting to. To keep a new employee engaged, put the initial focus on orientation and socialisation, meeting people and generally getting involved, and leave any non-essential paperwork until later.


For the rest of the week it’s a good idea to arrange some fun activities for an employee. When it comes to the company tour, don't be afraid to stray from the norm and have a more social focus. Putting together a welcome package that might include some company branded merchandise is another way you can immediately make the employee feel more at home. In IT, it can be a good idea to include some tech-related items in the package, such as company branded flash drives, headphones or a keyboard, in order to set yourself apart from the t-shirt crowd (although t-shirts are a proven people-pleaser!).


Working in an unfriendly environment can take its toll on everyone involved, so welcoming a new employee into the fold effectively can have a significant impact on their future at the company. If an employee has already been introduced to their co-workers prior to starting, make sure to refresh their memory so that the new starter feels like part of the team. Pictures are a good way to remember names, and can also be worked into the onboarding process. At Pinterest, for instance, every new hire takes a group photo centered on a theme, which then goes into the company yearbook. Encouraging this social atmosphere can result in a much more positive environment, and make new employees feel more relaxed.


The First 90 Days | Sourced: Christchurch IT Recruitment

The Next 90 Days

After ensuring that a new starter has a great first day, following this experience through over time is key to getting the most out of their skills. Making sure that communication within the workplace is clear and open is the most important step in achieving this. Using upward and downward communication effectively will give new employees the support they need from others within the business. Socialisation, job instructions, and feedback are the key points to focus on when it comes to this. Continue to communicate what needs to be done and by when. Provide regular feedback through meetings and debriefs to keep the new starter up to speed.


Setting up a mentor for the employee can be a great way to help an employee settle in and socialise with new people. 

Effective upward communication helps an employee to raise any concerns with their manager, whilst directing technical questions to their mentor or buddy. The key part of making these communications successful is to set up regular meeting times to get your new hire comfortable in talking to you, as well as talking about their performance.


The first three months for an employee is where a crucial part of their development and learning will take place. Creating a plan of measurable milestones that an employee can work towards as part of a Personal Development Plan is a key step in rounding out your onboarding process. Hold one-on-one meetings every few weeks to keep up contact and check progress, and arrange for a comprehensive three-month meeting to evaluate performance and plan the next steps.

Summary

When implemented well, onboarding can be the difference between a happy employee who can fulfil company expectations and a dissatisfied employee who'll look to leave much sooner than expected. Effective onboarding can have a significant impact on staff retention, as well as protecting and enhancing your employer brand. The IT industry and technology scene is constantly changing. If you are having difficulty onboarding technical talent and are in need of some guidance, download our Sourced Onboarding Checklist here, or get in touch with one of our specialist IT Recruitment Consultants.  


Onboarding Guide | Sourced: Christchurch IT Recruitment

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A Guide to Choosing a Winning Reference

11 Aug 16 by 45



Regardless of how far down your career path you are, you would have regularly experienced a need to produce one or more referees for a job application. Depending on the role, you may be asked to put down a character reference, a professional reference, or a combination of both. So, how do you ensure that your referees can give you a competitive edge? Well, here are some tips.

Before you begin searching for suitable referees, you should be aware that there is a significant difference between a professional reference and a character reference. Your professional reference confirms your previous experiences, level of expertise and work ethic. This type of reference should come from your former managers, colleagues or any other professional connection.


How can my referee influence whether I get a job | Sourced IT Recruitment

Shortlisting Referees

On the other hand, it‘s possible to include industry associates or contacts from volunteering or personal projects outside of work as your character reference. Although not many employers would ask for a character reference, when they do, their aim is to discover more information about your personality, soft skills and cultural fit.


When you’re looking for a professional or character reference, it’s a good strategy to reflect on your performance and what your referees may say about you. Is there any particular feedback, or a comment that stands out in your mind? Even the smallest comment about your work habits can influence a Hiring Manager’s decision, so make sure your referees can testify positively on your punctuality or reliability. Furthermore, if you’ve previously had conflicts with other team members, it may limit what your referees can say about your teamwork skills.


You may also wish to take into consideration the length of your employment, the job title you held, the responsibilities of your role, and reasons for leaving that position as well as your performance on the job. If you are considering a career change, try to find a referee who can explain how your previous skills or experiences can give you an advantage in your new role. If your previous workplace did not suit you well, choose a referee who understands this and is able to represent you fairly. 


Referees Can Help You Boost Your Professional Reputation

When you’re going through a list of your previous managers and team members, you’ll begin to have a better understanding of how others see you as a professional. You can take this opportunity to reflect on your professional reputation, which is a first step toward creating a better reputation for yourself and can help you become more authentic in your communication with Hiring Managers. This is a great way to showcase your integrity and earn the confidence of your prospective employers.


Checklist for choosing a winning reference | Sourced IT Recruitment Asking for Permission

It is much better practice to get in touch with your referees first and ask for their permission before including their contact details in your CV. In fact, if you don't ask a referee for permission and they are subsequently approached by the employer, the employer could be at risk of breaching the privacy act. Gaining a reference's explicit permission in advance will avoid this risk and can have some benefits for you as a job seeker. Doing this will also give you the chance to ask them about your strengths and weaknesses. This approach will give you valuable insights about how to improve your professional reputation, as well as giving referees a chance to gather their thoughts before they provide a formal reference. If it’s been a little while since you had last been in touch with your referees, you should consider forwarding them your latest CV and a copy of the job description. After that, update your referees about your progress, and thank them for providing a good reference.


Managing Weak References

If you’re worried about weak references, it’s much better to be upfront about the issue than to let it come as a surprise. Tell your Recruiter or the Hiring Manager that one of your referees may comment on a situation in the past, a lack of expertise, or any other concerns about your performance on the job. Explain why you anticipate this, and describe how you have improved your professional standards since. For example, if there was a particular manager that you didn’t work well with, describe the steps you have taken in order to improve your relationship with the manager and improve your performance. However, double check that your referees are fully aware of your endeavours, so that they can support your case.


Can your social media presence undermine good reference | Sourced IT Recruiter

Social Media May Trump Character References

According to research, 93% of Hiring Managers will now review a candidate’s social profile as part of the recruitment process. 55% of respondents also report having reconsidered their hiring decision based on what they found on social media channels. Even if your formal reference has been excellent, your professional standing could be undermined by a poor social media presence.


This means that you should be wary about what you put out on social media. Hiring Managers may use your social profile to find out the same information that they would get from your character references. 38% of Hiring Managers report being influenced by what they found on social media channels, including the background information that supports professional qualifications, so make sure that your online presence is up to professional standards.


Summary

While you’re on the job, don’t be afraid to seek feedback on your performance and your interaction with team members. There’s no need to feel that you have to maintain a perfect professional reputation. In the long run, your career prospect can improve significantly from identifying and overcoming your weaknesses.


What your referees say about you has the power to make you win or lose the job you’re applying for. So, choose your reference carefully and take time to reflect on your professional reputation. If you need more information about the topic, please don’t hesitate to get in touch

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Retaining Your High Performing People

28 Jul 16 by 44


A lot has been said about the trend of tenures becoming shorter and staff turnover increasing, with much of the blame for this being placed at the feet of the relatively-newly emerging IT industry (and, of course, the job-hopping “millennials” within it). Whilst it may not be fair to lay the blame squarely on our industry, it is clear that job tenures within IT tend to be shorter than elsewhere. In New Zealand especially, job tenure is generally low, with government statistics showing that half of the population has been in their role for less than 18 months. With people who are high-performers or those who are early in their career, it’s not uncommon for us to hear about them staying in a role for a year, or sometimes even less, before moving on elsewhere.


In today’s job market, with the often talked about “talent shortage” plaguing employers, retaining top staff is more important than ever. So, with that in mind, what can employers do to keep their best talent with them for longer?

Engaging in the Right Way 

Having a strong retention strategy starts with a great first impression | Sourced - Christchurch IT Recruitment

Having a strong retention strategy starts with a great first impression. When it comes to engaging talent, consulting with a specialist recruitment agency can be a great idea. We can handle many of the time-consuming and complex stages of the recruitment process, resulting in a far simpler and less stressful hiring experience for you and the candidate.


Throughout the hiring process, it’s important to be honest with the candidate about what working with you is going to be like. If what they encounter once they start working with you doesn’t match what you had promised during initial discussions, then you could run into an immediate trust issue.


This is why it’s so important to have a strong employer brand and be able to back it up. With the support of your employees as brand ambassadors, you’ll be well placed to get that top talent through the door. We’ve written in-depth about the importance of employer branding, which can be found here.


Another key part of getting off on the right foot with top talent is to have an effective onboarding programme. Ensure that the candidate has everything they need to settle in and that you and your team are supporting them in doing so. We’ll be covering onboarding in greater depth in one of our upcoming blogs, but If you’re looking for onboarding inspiration in the meantime, take a look at what other successful companies are doing. There is a lot to be learned about the process from famous examples such as Netflix and Zappos.


Creating a Culture 


Though it’s important to get off to a good start, in the long-term it’s essential to maintain that level of support. While the need for support will be lessened once the person is settled in and comfortable in their new role, maintaining an open line of communication is an important step in making someone feel like they are part of the team. This communication is a significant part in creating a good environment and fostering a strong company culture. At Facebook, management (including CEO Mark Zuckerberg) work alongside everyone else in open offices to further reinforce that sense of unity.


Your internal culture should be a fundamental part of your organisation | Sourced - Christchurch IT Recruitment

Culture is one of the aspects we hear most about, with employers telling us that cultural fit is a crucial part of their criteria. Many candidates are also telling us that a good workplace culture is the main thing they’re looking for in a new role, sometimes even more so than salary. In IT especially many of the ‘dream’ workplaces include companies who are famous for their culture, like Google, Facebook and Apple.


Despite the many misconceptions, workplace culture in IT isn’t all foosball tables and flexible working hours. People are quick to latch on when culture is just window dressing, rather than part of a company’s ingrained ethos. That means that your internal culture should be a fundamental part of your organisation, and constantly reinforced from the top-down.


It might seem obvious, but when people enjoy coming to work they’re less likely to leave and more likely to produce better results. However, workplace culture isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept, and one approach likely won’t work for everybody. Find out what makes your office tick, whether that’s putting on regular social events or putting incentives in place for good performance, and see how you can integrate this in your day-to-day operations.

Reward & Progression 

Rewarding success with internal progression is a powerful incentive | Sourced - Christchurch IT Recruitment

One of the key ways of doing this is to implement system to reward top performers. Everyone likes to be recognised for their hard work, and even though you might be used to a certain standard from your top performers, that doesn’t mean that it should go unnoticed. Recognising and rewarding success is a key driver for employees; whether that reward is intrinsic to the role or financial in the form of bonuses or other incentives. Much like with your culture however, these rewards are not one-size-fits-all. Finding out what drives each specific person is critical in being able to effectively reward them for their work.


These rewards will only serve to further motivate them, which will produce better results and increase their morale. However, for top performers, one of those drivers at work is ambition. That means that regardless of being rewarded for performance, these people will likely move on if their desire for growth isn’t being satisfied. Giving that opportunity is one of the most effective ways in which you can ensure that you retain your top people.


When employees can see a clear path towards the role they want in an environment they are comfortable in, taking that path will always be a better option than moving on elsewhere. If you already have people in high-level roles who have moved there from other areas or progressed from other positions in the business, showcase them as an example of the kind of upward mobility that is possible within your company.


Other ways to nuture progression for top performers include: helping them undertake courses or other kinds of professional development, or simply by giving them the freedom to take up other responsibilities within the business. This type of support is crucial in helping top performers develop and reach their goals; which can in turn help you achieve your business objectives. Creating your own internal development framework where your team can experiment, innovate and grow, like companies such as MYOB have done to great success, will increase employee engagement and happiness at work.

Summary

In and around the hysteria of a talent-tight market, retaining the best and brightest has taken on a new level of importance to employers. However, in a high-turnover industry such as IT, organisations who successfully hang onto their top performers are invariably those who engage in the right way, have a strong internal culture and reward their people effectively, along with providing clear pathways for career development and progression.


If you’re looking for help in building the structures to retain and attract top talent, or you’re looking to work for an organisation who does those things well, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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8 Tips - Stay Productive When In-Between Jobs

14 Jul 16 by 43


Depending on how you spend your time, being in between jobs can be either the most refreshing experience you’ll ever have or the worst. From an employer’s perspective, the way you spend that time can say a lot about your work ethic and how you’ll fit into their organisation. Although it takes a lot of determination to stay productive while you’re out of work, here are eight tips on how to take advantage of your free time and increase your chance of finding the job of your dreams.


Many jobseekers are familiar with the cliché that job searching is a full-time job. Although it is true that job searching takes a lot of time and effort, scrolling through job boards for 24 hours a day is not the way to go. Focusing your efforts on your priorities can make a world of difference to finding that next job. If you’re looking for a job in a specialist industry, you should focus on the companies operating in that market and free up some time to perfect your personal branding.


First Tip on How to Stay Productive When You’re In-Between Jobs | Sourced IT Specialist Recruitment

Focus Your Efforts on What is Most Important

Many jobseekers are familiar with the cliché that job searching is a full-time job. Although it is true that job searching takes a lot of time and effort, scrolling through job boards for 24 hours a day is not the way to go. Focusing your efforts on your priorities can make a world of difference to finding that next job. If you’re looking for a job in a specialist industry, you should focus on the companies operating in that market and free up some time to perfect your personal branding..

Second Tip on How to Stay Productive When You’re In-Between Jobs | Sourced IT Specialist Recruitment

Identify Key Elements You’re Looking for in a Job

This is your chance to dream a little. Think on your ideal job: what are the aspects that you cannot sacrifice and which can you compromise on? It doesn’t hurt to be ambitious, and your dream may lead you to very exciting opportunities.


Third Tip on How to Stay Productive When You’re In-Between Jobs | Sourced IT Specialist Recruitment Continue Your Professional Development

Take the time you have away from the daily grind to reflect on who you are and who you want to be. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are your goals and how can you reach them? Take the time to assess the areas you need to improve on  and see how you can address these weaknesses to become more well-rounded. You should also look for  courses or other self-improvement exercises that can help you upskill.


Fourth Tip on How to Stay Productive When You’re In-Between Jobs | Sourced IT Specialist Recruitment Keep Up to Date

Keeping up to date with the latest developments in the industry will keep you sharp and demonstrate your strong work ethic. This is especially important in the fast-changing IT industry, where new technological breakthroughs can shake up the entire industry sector. It is a good idea to subscribe to LinkedIn groups, the official communication channels of well-known companies or blogs of industry thought leaders.


However, you should be careful when choosing which information channels to follow. There’s a lot of information out there, so it’s important to be selective about what you read and sieve out unreliable sources.


Fifth Tip on How to Stay Productive When You’re In-Between Jobs | Sourced IT Specialist Recruitment Contracting, Interning and Volunteering

It’s also a good idea to look for other ways to keep your skills sharp. Is there an opportunity to take on short-term contract work? Another good strategy is to seek an internship, freelance or a volunteering opportunity with the companies you would like to work for. Though it’s not guaranteed, there’s always a chance that these opportunities may turn into a full-time role. In fact, surveys reveal that you have a 7 out of 10 chance of being hired by the company you interned with.


Sixth Tip on How to Stay Productive When You’re In-Between Jobs | Sourced IT Specialist Recruitment Stay Alert

The most obvious advice is to keep a close eye on job boards and career sites by setting up job alerts. If you employ the service of a recruitment agency, it’s important to keep in touch with your Recruiters. It’s quite easy to miss the opportunity of a lifetime just because the opening was filled before you had a chance to apply.


Seventh Tip on How to Stay Productive When You’re In-Between Jobs | Sourced IT Specialist Recruitment Expand Your Network

Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to let your insecurities get in the way of networking in a room full of strangers, especially if you’re in-between jobs. However, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be bold, so get out there and talk! The Canterbury Software Cluster offers a great opportunity to meet other professionals in the IT industry. If there are specific companies you’re interested in, see if you know anyone who’s employed by them through the grapevine and talk to the employees about what it’s like to work there.


Eighth Tip on How to Stay Productive When You’re In-Between Jobs | Sourced IT Specialist Recruitment Follow Up

When you’re applying for jobs, it’s crucial to follow up after interviews or initial phone calls. If you don’t hear from your interviewer by the time they said you would, then don’t be afraid to ask for an update. This will demonstrate that you’re proactive, which will give you an edge above other candidates.


Even if you receive that dreaded rejection call, a good follow up can turn that rejection into an opportunity. Take time to find out why you didn’t get the job, and what you should do differently next time to increase your chances. You should always ask for direct feedback from the interviewers, rather than making your own assumptions.


Summary 

Too often jobseekers choose to work with a company that isn’t aligned with their personal values or career objectives because they cannot afford to be out of work. However, your job satisfaction is an integral part of your personal well-being, and your performance on the job can have a lasting impact on your self-confidence. Many of these jobseekers end up leaving again, only more frustrated than before.


Do not despair! By taking a proactive approach, you can turn your downtime into an opportunity and find the job that you always dreamed of.


If you need help finding the best match for your skills and expertise, we can help you explore your options and discover opportunities in the IT sector. Please feel free to get in touch with us today.

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3 Steps to Closing the Deal on Technical Talent

29 Jun 16 by 42


Talk of a talent short market and the difficulty of sourcing great candidates has been stirring up debate in the technology recruitment space for quite some time now. In one of our previous blogs, we focused on the secrets to recruiting top candidates in a tight talent market and discussed how, as an industry, we need to stop looking at how the market must change, and start looking at what we could be doing better.


However, sourcing a great candidate isn’t the end of the road. The ways in which people are interviewed and engaged with can sometimes prevent an IT company from closing the deal and securing a great hire. The whole recruitment process has a strong impact on candidates’ impressions of your business, and thus their likelihood of accepting the offer. These three steps can bring you closer to closing the deal, and retaining that top candidate by creating a great candidate experience.


1. First Impressions

If you were to go to a job interview, what would you expect? Just as your first impression of a candidate plays a part in how you assess their employability, a candidate’s first impression of you will play a significant part in whether they want to work for you or not.


How important is a candidate's first impression

As with all first impressions, a lot of hard work goes into making a good one. Having a clear and concise job description on the initial application, which highlights all of the necessary information, is a good place to start. Including some information on your company – with an explanation of what you do and a little insight into the culture – can also be very useful, as the crux of all of this is to make your company stand out and explain to the applicant why they should work for you. Remember that during this process, it’s important to communicate clearly with all applicants. Communicating with those you have rejected – and those who have rejected you – can also be very valuable in giving you good feedback on your recruitment process, which you can then use to optimise your approach.


Having a clear application process with strong communication throughout will put you on the front foot by the time you get to an interview. When conducting interviews, try not to wear out the candidate with a one-hundred-step process. With 83% of professionals stating that a negative interview experience can put them off a role, it’s important to carefully consider every aspect of the interview and the purpose it serves. Ensure that the vacancy’s important stakeholders are involved in the interview process, as 53% of professionals mention that the most important interview they can have is an interview with their prospective manager.


It’s a good idea to even think about things like where you’re holding the interview; how this reflects your company and the impression it might leave. If you’re a fun and dynamic IT start up, give them a tour of the office and showcase the work environment. This will also give them a first-hand look at where they’ll be fitting into the team, and the style in which the team works.


2. Presenting the Offer

After the interview process is complete and a preferred candidate has been identified, the matter of how an offer is presented comes to the forefront. Research has shown that whilst 65% of professionals want to hear bad news by email, 77% of want to hear about good news over the phone – so if you’re giving someone good news, make sure to give it with a personal touch. Courier over your job offer along with a gift, or branded collateral such as stationery or a t-shirt. Follow this up with a phone call – or even better, a face to face meeting – and run the candidate through the key elements of the offer. An agency can assist you with this by being a point of contact between you and the candidate throughout the process, and providing that clear communication if you don’t have the resources or capacity to do so. Don’t rush them into accepting the offer, but do give clear timeframes.

What should a job offer cover

When making your offer, think beyond just the position in terms of what you can offer the candidate, and look at your culture and the opportunities within your company. Review your interview notes to remind yourself of their key drivers, and ensure that these are addressed in the offer. Also bear in mind that although these intrinsic factors are important, your remuneration package must also satisfy the candidate. It’s important to make a credible offer when making your initial approach, so that the candidate doesn’t get an unwelcome surprise when the offer comes in. If this isn’t possible, then you may need to readjust your expectations and look for different kinds of candidates.


It’s always a good idea to make an initial verbal offer at first. This way you can test the waters a little and revise your offer if necessary based on the candidate’s reaction. Liaising with a recruitment agency can help you formulate an offer that doesn’t risk insulting the candidate in any way, and jeopardising the hard work that was put into making a good impression.


This is another part of the process where you can implement a strong feedback loop. If the candidate accepts your offer, follow up with them and ask them how they felt the offer was presented; what they expected, what you did well and where you can improve. Candidates who didn’t accept the offer can also be great sources of feedback. Ask them what about the offer, or its presentation, caused them to not accept it, and look at adapting your strategy to address this. This is another point where an agency can help, following up with the candidates and keeping those lines of communication open.


3. Post-Acceptance

It’s easy to fall into the trap of not speaking with the candidate until the day they start work. However, if you’re looking to keep that candidate engaged and further improve your chances of retaining them, it’s vital that you continue to communicate even after the offer is made. 


What's important after a job offerOne idea to do this is to keep in touch with the candidate beyond their acceptance of the offer by inviting them to company social events or gatherings. This will lessen the lead time when they start and also has the benefit of your team getting to know the new starter. Doing things like getting the candidate to come along for drinks on a Friday afternoon can be a big help in maintaining their enthusiasm to start, and increasing their affinity with the workplace before they even turn up for their first day.


Consider the unique circumstances of your candidate too. For instance, if you’ve recruited an international candidate, or your candidate has had to relocate in order to take the role, then you might be able to assist them with their move. Even just speaking with them about the area, giving them tips on places to live, nearby facilities and things to do, can make them feel more comfortable in their new environment – which will help when the time comes for them to start.


When that time does come, having a strong on-boarding programme will help your new team member settle in and be more productive. Ensuring that their desk is fully set up and that they receive some kind of company welcome pack, for instance with a company branded t-shirt and notebook, will immediately make them feel welcome and valued. In addition to this, try to leave the drab paperwork until later in the week to put all the focus on getting embedded in the team. Composing an effective plan for the new starter’s first 90 days, and ensuring that there is a strong feedback loop in place, will improve productivity immediately and give everyone the best experience possible.


Summary

When it comes to closing the deal, ensuring the candidate has a positive hiring experience is just as important as being able to source top talent. If you want to secure these top candidates, it takes a strong first impression, a well-presented offer and clear communication and follow-through after the offer has been accepted. If these elements aren’t present, it becomes difficult to attract this talent, and to retain them even when you do. The way in which you control, manage and develop your recruitment process itself will often be the difference between closing the deal or falling at the last hurdle. Engaging a recruitment agency can solve a lot of these pain-points, especially when communication with candidates is so vital. If you’re looking for help with this, please feel free get in touch with us today.


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How to Resign Without Burning Bridges

12 Jun 16 by 41


Picture this: you’ve developed a great set of skills, worked alongside some excellent people, and really enjoyed turning up to work every day to fulfil your role. But now it’s time to move on. Whilst it may be the right time for a change, jumping ship after being an extremely loyal and dedicated employee can be a tough call to make.


Taking the wrong approach when leaving your current employment can put those important bridges you’ve spent years building in jeopardy. With so much on the line, how can you gracefully exit from your employer without damaging your reputation and your career’s future?


Honesty is Still the Best Policy

Always be honest with yourself and work out why you want or need to leave, and avoid making any rash decisions by talking it through with trusted friends and family, and if possible, even your Manager. The best career decisions are usually carefully thought and planned out. Moving out of a familiar environment and towards the unknown can be daunting. Don’t underestimate the value of conducting research on where you may move on to so you can be confident you’re not making a mistake, as there may not be any guarantee you can return.


However, if you do decide that resignation is the only way forward then make sure you do so properly and professionally; without burning bridges or lowering your level of performance. Write a resignation letter and hand it to your manager; Friday afternoon is often a good time to do this, as there is rarely much time for them to react immediately to your resignation, and gives them the weekend to take it in. This curtails the immediate, emotional reaction, which can sometimes result in conflict, before allowing you to come together on the Monday and discuss the matter calmly.


There is a chance that you will be presented with a counter-offer, but if you have chosen to resign then stick to your guns. Accepting a counter-offer often turns out badly for both employer and employee, as the employee’s initial problems are rarely addressed and the employer ends up having to persist with a disengaged employee. For more on counter-offers, take a look at our blog on the topic.


Avoid going public straight away and wait for all the details to be ironed out first, as providing feedback or criticism that wasn’t asked for can land you in hot water, and sharing negative messages about your previous employer on social media account never paints you in a good light. If you feel the need to speak your mind, your exit interview will give you a chance to clear the air. In your exit interview, explain the reasons you want to leave and how you think the company can address them. Be careful to be objective and to provide constructive criticism, otherwise it is very easy to come across as if you’re complaining.


During the TransitionInfographic on How to Resign Gracefully | Sourced - Christchurch IT Recruitment

Whilst notice periods can vary, the rule of thumb is that you should always work the length of time noted on your contract. Although, if you are in a crucial role, you could offer to stay slightly longer to help find and train a replacement. This avoids leaving your employer in a tough situation, and lets you leave in an even more positive light. If you need to, and if you can, offer to continue working after your notice period to show you’re doing everything you can to smooth out the transition process.


Don’t forget to leave with a good impression by finishing strongly. Decreasing your contribution during your final weeks at a work place can reflect poorly on you in the years to come, especially if you need a good recommendation. Keep in mind that your last four weeks is the thing that most people at your workplace will remember, so it pays to work even harder than before in order to leave a good impression. Remain focused on keeping your head down and getting work done. Disrupting the natural order of things and talking about your issues with the company with former or current employees could risk damaging your reputation and career if passed back to your Manager.


You want to make sure you leave on as good a note as possible, as this will have a positive impact not just on your current work environment, but also on your job search and potential new workplace. Giving 110% until you start elsewhere will leave you with a good reference, and continue your own personal culture of success.


Recognising Those Who Have Helped You

Throughout your career, there would have been a number of people who have helped you achieve success and played an important role in getting you where you are today. Whether it be in person or through a personal note, thank them and describe how they have had a positive impact on your working relationship. Even if you had a difficult boss, it can be worthwhile to find the time to thank them and show your appreciation whilst remaining genuine.


Doing all of the above will ensure you leave on great terms and maintain the connections you made throughout your time there. Keep in touch with former colleagues and bosses where possible in case your new job doesn’t play out as expected and you’d rather have your old one back. The key to not burning bridges when leaving is staying positive with everyone, from start to finish.


Recommendations and Endorsements

During your final days, you’ll have the unique opportunity to get real feedback on the areas you need to improve on. Approach your boss and those who have had to manage your performance since you started working with them. Ask them for their feedback, and take note of it so that you can implement it in your next role. Before you consider asking your Manager for a letter of recommendation, look at your employer’s policy on providing references, as you may have to go through your HR department in order to get one. If this is the case then discuss the possibility of requesting a personal reference on your performance instead, perhaps in the form of a LinkedIn recommendation.


Summary

Focusing on the best way to approach your boss, tell your co-workers and prepare to move into a new job whilst leaving a good impression, can be an extremely difficult thing to do when you’ve worked with the same people for years. However, if you find yourself leaving your current employer, but haven’t yet had a chance to secure the next step in your career, then speak to one of our specialist IT Recruitment Consultants in confidence about where you can see yourself going next.

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Using Job Rejection to Empower Your IT Career

27 May 12 by 40


Almost all of us have been rejected from a job we’ve applied to. In fact, despite New Zealand’s unemployment rate at its lowest in six years, securing a job isn’t a given.


Finding a new role in the IT industry can be a painfully long process, which can make post-interview job rejection leave you deflated and disheartened. But knowing how to handle this rejection whilst taking feedback on board, is key to moving forward in your job search and making yourself more appealing to employers.


It’s Not Personal, It’s Process

The interview process isn’t personal to employers and it shouldn’t be to you either. Avoid falling in love with a job description, even if it’s your dream job. Just in the same way you sell yourself during an interview, employers can sometimes over-sell the position. This makes it imperative that you properly weigh up the pros and cons before you start envisioning yourself working for the employer, which can result in the rejection hitting you twice as hard.

Job Rejection quote graphic 1 | Sourced - Christchurch IT Recruitment


In fact, it’s likely that after reviewing the vacancy, you may be less convinced the employer’s culture or working environment was the right fit for you, and being rejected could turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Whilst being a blessing for you, not choosing to hire you could turn out to be a mistake for the employer; as a staggering 95% of employers admit making bad hires every year.


Despite making it through the application process and various interviews, receiving a phone call from your Recruiter regretfully informing you that you didn’t get the role is when you are most in danger of letting rejection cripple your job hunting efforts. Whilst it’s only natural to question whether you did something wrong when talking to the employer face-to-face, it’s actually far more likely not to be a reflection of you as a professional, as employers fill more than 41% vacancies with internal candidates.


When Asking for Feedback

When you receive that dreadful rejection call, the first question on your mind should be; should I ask for feedback? If you think it can help you refine your skills or help you come across more confident in an interview, then the answer should always be yes.


Feedback is an excellent way to further yourself as a candidate, and if you’re not using a recruitment agency then you need to carefully consider the way you approach an employer. The golden rule of thumb is the timeless phrase we were taught as children: ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.’


Job Rejection quote graphic 2 | Sourced - Christchurch IT RecruitmentRemember, this is still a business communication and it can have an impact on your personal brand. It’s a good idea to always start by thanking the employer for the opportunity to learn more about them and their role, and end by asking them to keep you in mind should a position that better fits your experience come up.


Keep in mind that you’re asking for feedback, not a second chance, as interviewers are most likely to make their decisions within the first 15 minutes of you walking through the door. However, if their first choice is no longer available, you’ll be in their mind.


Improving Through Self-Evaluation

The feedback you receive is a great tool for self-improvement. If you find out you lack certain experience or skills, that gives you the opportunity to look at how to acquire them. Alternatively, you may have a problem with how you interview, such as talking too much without really answering the interviewer’s question. In this case, you could listen to their feedback and better prepare yourself for the next time you’re in this position.


You can cut out the process of asking an employer for feedback altogether by using a recruitment agency. If you are rejected from a role you interviewed for, your Recruitment Consultant will notify you over the phone and discuss your options going forward, as well as any available feedback.


Although, not every employer will offer you feedback on request, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn something from your experience. Self-evaluation is another particularly important part of improving yourself.


An interviewer will attempt to focus on your key strengths and weaknesses to get a complete picture of you. Ask yourself if they seemed satisfied with your answers or did they keep pushing the same question? Were they focusing on a particular section of your work history or skills? Paying attention to what questions they ask you can provide good indicators to what you may need to improve on.


However, if you find yourself being rejected before having a chance to talk to an employer then you may have an issue with your CV, and should consider the assistance of a specialist Recruiter to help secure an interview.


Summary

Being rejected when you’re just looking for a chance to prove yourself or wanting to move on with your career can hugely impact your confidence and motivation, but don’t think you’re alone. Most of us have been rejected for a job we wanted, but remember that every rejection is an opportunity to learn and move forward stronger.


As a specialised and experienced IT recruitment agency offering guidance to IT professionals in Christchurch, Sourced can help you overcome job rejection and move your career forward. If you need help with your CV, interview technique or you’re just in need of general advice on your IT career, get in touch with one of our specialist Recruiters today. 

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Five Tips - Pick the Right Recruitment Agency

18 May 16 by 39



Whether you're struggling to find an opportunity or you're spoilt for choice, it's difficult to make the right decision when it comes to your employment. There are many different factors to take into account when it comes to different roles and employers, and you may not be sure how to secure the best outcome for you. This is where utilising the services of a Recruiter can have vast benefits, from having access to a network of industry experts to regular advice on career development and contract issues. However, New Zealand is a home to numerous recruitment agencies, each with their own strengths and approaches, which makes choosing one difficult. If you’re already considering signing up to a recruitment agency but are unsure which one is the best option for you, then here are five key points to ensure you’re getting the support you need. 

1. Assess Your Needs Before Approaching an Agency 

Before you contact an agency, you need to be aware of your own needs, the kind of work you are looking for, and what’s getting in your way. In order to identify what type of support you need from a recruitment agency, it is a good idea to assess your professional portfolio and career prospects. Don’t worry if you have little or limited knowledge of the job market, as a good Recruitment Consultant can uncover not only what you are interested in, but also what suits your skillsets and career goals. 

5 Tips Infographic | Sourced - Christchurch IT Recruitment

2. Specialist or Generalist? 

Are you set on a specific sector, or are you exploring your options? If you are open to variety or currently considering a career change, generalist agencies would be your first port of call. However, if you are trained in a specialised industry, such as IT or Engineering, you may want to find an agency that can connect you to the right network and can communicate smoothly in your own language. If your agency of choice can speak the language used by your industry’s experts, and have a thorough understanding of the trends and quirks of the industry, it can have a positive impact when they are presenting your case to potential employers.  


3. Ask Your Peers 

Researching recruitment agencies can be as simple as asking around. There is a high chance that your peers have heard of an agency’s reputation through their own network, and have possibly even been in touch with them themselves.  As Recruiters are hyper-connected social people, you might be surprised to find how much information you can discover by just tapping into your immediate network. Ask your peers for a recommendation. See if anyone in your immediate network has worked with any agencies you’re currently considering, and soon you will be receiving honest feedback from sources you can trust.

4. Look at Their Website: Team, Job Board and Resources 

When you are looking at an agency’s website, start by looking at the team’s profiles. This is where you can find out more on the experience, strengths, and personality of each of their Consultants, and by extension, the agency itself. Secondly, scroll through the job board to see if you can find any job descriptions that match your preferences. If you can, then you are on the right track. And finally, read through the resources that are available on the website, making note on how active the agency is at helping its candidates, and how knowledgeable it is in the areas that you need the most help with.  


5. Follow the Agency’s Social Media Channels

Find an agency that stays in touch with the latest developments in the job market, as well as having a reputation for success. As social media is the preferred medium of communication for many people, good recruitment agencies tend to post regular updates on their social channels in order to stay in touch with their network of clients and candidates. While LinkedIn is the preferred channel of communication for many agencies, it is also worthwhile to check their Facebook for a better understanding of their key characteristics. 


Summary

New Zealand is home to numerous recruitment agencies across many different industries and specialisations. Being so spoilt for choice, many jobseekers find it difficult to take the first step and approach an agency, even though they are in need of support. However, sometimes all it takes to find the right agency is to simply talk to one about what you need. 


Sourced is a specialised, experienced, and local recruitment agency that provides guidance to many IT professionals in Christchurch. If you are still unsure of which agency is the best fit for your needs, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to find out more.  

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What Talent Shortage- Recruit Top Candidates

22 Apr 16 by 38


The main point of discussion in the recruitment industry at the moment, especially in the technology sector, is the talent shortage. There seems to be constant outcry, and a mass media hysteria, around how hard it is for companies just to find talent now, let alone engage it.


However, here at Sourced we haven’t experienced this. Sourcing great talent has always been difficult, but recently it hasn’t become more difficult than usual. Although finding and placing talent is our area if expertise, this does show us that the idea of there suddenly being a shortage of talent is slightly misguided. This would suggest, for example, that the growth of the New Zealand technology industry is stymied by a lack of ability for all companies to immediately scale (right now), and this is not representative of what we are seeing. As always, great talent is open to moving around / into the country when presented with a great offer; fair pay, a great working environment with great people, and projects that they can be passionate about.


The fact is, there is no one particular market factor or candidate motivation that is preventing employers from finding talent. With the tech industry bigger than ever, and still growing, perhaps one issue is not that the talent does not exist, but that the strategies companies are using to attract and engage this talent are falling short. Perhaps we need to stop looking at how the market needs to change, and start looking at what we can do better.


A Reason to Move

We’ve long been proponents of the power of a strong employer brand. In today’s market, with information being so readily available and candidates having an expectation to be able to access it, companies need to recognise and address this demand for transparency. Like in other industries, the tech sector’s top talent is likely already employed elsewhere. Partnering with a great recruitment agency is a good start on the sourcing side, but if you truly want to attract the cream of the crop then you’re going to need to give those top candidates a reason to move. That means you need to showcase your company’s culture, people, the role you want them to take and the work they’ll actually be doing.


Tom Peters Quote - What Talent Shortage? | Sourced: Christchurch IT RecruitmentShowing off your swanky cafeteria or impressive array of ping-pong tables might be a good strategy to attract the freshly graduated engineers straight out of University, but if you want to get those higher, senior level candidates, you have to offer more than that. Autonomy, day-to-day diversity and being granted some flexibility in where and how they work are key motivators for that level of candidate. If these aren’t a part of your employee value proposition, then you’re already at a disadvantage when it comes to engaging this talent.


To satisfy those needs and bring these candidates in, you need to make your company a great place to work. Although it might sound simple, it’s certainly easier said than done. A key point is to find out what your employees want in a workplace, and to try and build your culture to reflect that. Create an environment that your employees enjoy being in and you will find that they will be happy about coming to work, and won’t be able to wait to tell others about how much they enjoy working with your company.


To find out more about how you can tailor your employer brand to attract top talent, take a read of our guide to employer branding.


Compromise

John Sullivan Quote - What Talent Shortage? | Sourced: Christchurch IT Recruitment

Changing your talent attraction strategy is one thing, but the job isn’t done after getting top talent interested. You still have to close the deal and bring them in. It’s at this point that we can often see a disconnect, as companies have different expectations to the talent, which can create friction between the two parties. It's at this stage where compromise becomes key to getting the right person.


Part of the issue that companies are having engaging talent is that they aren’t able to find talent at the level they need for the price they are willing to pay. We're not suggesting that you have to bend to a candidate's every whim, but we are in a candidate driven market and we can't keep using the same old strategies. The interview process is the perfect place to address this. Interviews have changed, and are now more two-way than ever. Candidates are looking for more information when speaking to a potential employer, and they aren't afraid to ask an interviewer about anything they might want to know about. Because of this, you need to be prepared to be interviewed yourself when you’re interviewing a candidate. They will want to ask about your company’s culture and work environment, and are savvy enough to shrug off generic answers.


5 Questions Candidates Will Ask You - What Talent Shortage? | Sourced: Christchurch IT RecruitementWhen you’re asked these questions make sure to have a specific example in mind, or go one further if you feel like you want to progress with the candidate. Don’t be afraid to give them a taste of what it’s like to work at your company. Show them around the office, and introduce them to the team (especially the people they’re working with) and think about inviting them round for an informal event or gathering. There’s nothing wrong with inviting them around to the office on a Friday afternoon so that they can get familiar with the people and the environment before they start.


These are all great ways to get great candidates excited to join you, but you probably won’t get the chance to implement them if your interview process is long and strenuous. The hiring process is taking longer than ever, and the patience of top talent is starting to wear thin. Although it’s understandable that companies want to undertake aptitude tests to ensure they’re making the right hire, unnecessarily putting candidates through the wringer leaves a negative impression on applicants and leaves you with a vacant role. Keeping the number of interviews and testing procedures as low as possible avoids both of these, and may actually result in better hires. Top candidates don't tend to be on the open market for long, so speeding up your hiring process will make sure those high-demand candidates stay engaged throughout.


Summary

In every scenario involving top talent, compromise is key (to a degree). The talent is out there, but employers need to adjust to the current market conditions and take the steps necessary to thrive in it. If that means that companies need to review and overhaul their employer brand, or be more flexible in the arrangements they offer to candidates, then that’s what it takes. We are not suggesting that you change anything that is core to your values or existing team, but simply that If you make yourself an attractive proposition to candidates, by understanding what you are offering, their motivators and the state of the market, you’ll find yourself asking the same question we are: “what talent shortage?”


A great first step in doing this is to give a read of our guide to employer branding, which is full of useful knowledge and advice to help you discover, implement and share your employer brand.


For some extra reading, we also recommend visiting our friends at Concentrate and downloading one of their free eBooks covering principles that apply as much to your internal brand as they do to the external: http://info.concentrate.co.nz/fix-your-foundations

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IT Graduates: A Guide to Securing Your First Job

24 Mar 16 by 37


With the arrival of Autumn, the coming weeks will see many Canterbury University Students attending their graduation ceremonies. This will result in a sudden influx of tech talent into the market, which for graduates means that there will be strong competition for those valuable first job placements. Landing a job is a different type of challenge to university work, so how can you set yourself up for success after graduating and secure that perfect first role at the company you want?


Personal Branding

Snapchat Resume Screenshot - Sourced: Christchurch IT Recruitment

Having a strong personal brand makes a great first impression and allows candidates to stand out from the crowd. A well-structured CV is a good starting point for forging a personal brand, however, setting up an online presence is an important second step.


Social media is key to a successful digital network and it’s where most employers can go to find your contact information and examples of your work. Public profiles, like Facebook, can contain unfavourable content, such as images or updates which may turn off a potential employer. It’s good practice to remove any unfavourable content from public view on your social networks, as well as ensuring that your profiles are up-to-date with your recent experience and contact information.


Applying a little creativity with your brand image is a good way to get noticed. Elski Felson turned his back on traditional paper CVs and decided to apply for a role at Snapchat, by capturing his ‘resume’ with their social media app and then uploading the footage to YouTube. Whilst unfortunately, it’s unclear if Elski heard back from the app giant, his video resume has now been watched over a million times.


LinkedIn is designed to be a professional platform and it allows you to showcase your recent experience, skills and interests. Whilst it is common for employers to pre-emptively search applicants on LinkedIn, it can provide a head start when job searching as you can sometimes locate contact information for potential Hiring Managers that you can directly approach.


GitHub and Stack Overflow are networks specific to the IT sector, and can be used to assist your job search. GitHub is the largest code sharing platform to date, and is a fantastic place to showcase work from previous projects, allowing users to build credibility within the community. Stack Overflow is an educational question and answer forum and is where programmers of various levels of experience go to find, or provide, solutions to problems posed by its community. It also contains a built-in credibility system. If you use either, then consider including them on your applications. For a more detailed guide on personal branding for graduates and students, click here.


Keys to Success for IT Graduates - Sourced: Christchurch IT Recruitment

Networking

Utilising professional networks is great for accelerating your career after graduating. Your network has already begun to take shape; as your University Lecturers can play an influential part in it. They will have valuable information on conferences, job vacancies, internships and places you can go to find more information on how to further your career.


University Graduate fairs are a good place to start as they’re designed for candidates in your position and will be attended by recruiters interested in young talent in your area. By approaching and engaging recruiters you can promote yourself and your skills. If you take full advantage of these fairs, you can make a strong first impression to those who attend.


Your experience with a Graduate Fair will give you some insight into what attending a conference will be like. Conferences are usually annual events, specialising in a particular field and often attended by professionals from all over the world. Attending conferences will provide you with direct access to influential and inspiring people. If you would like to learn more on finding conferences in your area and how to make the most of them, then click here.


Interning

For those graduating next year, it’s quite common for graduates to find their first full time job from completing an internship. Getting involved in Summer Graduate Programmes such as Summer of Tech can be a great way to get your foot in the door. Some efficient methods of securing an internship is either via your University or by approaching employers directly. Landing an internship can allow you to show a potential employer how hard you work and your enthusiasm by getting stuck into everything they throw at you, but remember to avoid the trap of being an eternal intern. If you’re after more information on securing internships, then click here.


Freelancing

You know the old saying, practice makes perfect? Freelancing is a popular choice with many programmers as it offers a deal of flexibility and ample opportunity to practice your skills. The rise in popularity in freelancing has seen a number of dedicated networks appear, which offer help to those wanting to explore freelancing further. These include Freelancer, Upwork and Elance, which allow people to post projects and hire technical talent to complete them.


Be Persistent

Airbnb tweet - Sourced: Christchurch IT Recruitment

Everyone has an ideal company they want to work for. Contacting yours directly, and finding out as much as you can about potential vacancies in your area, can promote your genuine interest in their company. Even if they don’t have any roles at the moment, they may have a junior role coming up soon and will often keep impressive CV’s to review again once the time is right.


A mixture of persistence and ‘outside-the-box’ thinking may get your resume noticed right at the top! Nina Mufleh’s dream was to work for Airbnb, and she simply wouldn’t take no for an answer. After months of sending emails and applying to vacancies but not getting much response, she decided to take a different approach, and recreated her CV in the style of Airbnb’s website. Nina decided that her web CV would not focus on her past experiences, but on what Airbnb’s next venture should be. Despite her unique approach paying off and her website being seen by Airbnb’s CEO; Brain Chesky, Nina instead secured a role overseeing the growth of freelancers on one of the largest freelancing platforms; Upwork.


Setting yourself personal milestones can be a great way to provide you a way to measure your progress, and may also keep you focused on your objectives.


Summary

Breaking into the job market after graduating is a daunting process, but if you know where to look there are a vast number of resources ready to be used. Your journey may have already begun, but dedicating time to build your current network and strengths can really make a difference. Looking at the above two examples, you can see the amount of hard work needed to be succeed. If you’re after more advice on setting up your personal brand, expanding your network or simply need help looking for job vacancies, then feel free to contact us.

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Putting the Spotlight on Your Employer Brand

19 Feb 16 by 36


We often tell our candidates that they need to have a strong personal brand in order to propel their career to where they want it to go. However, what about the other side of this? As illustrated in our recent Sourced Report, candidates have been more and more vocal about the importance of working for an organisation that has a great culture and treats their employees well, in addition to more obvious motivators such as flexible working hours. In today’s competitive market, this perception can give companies the edge, especially when it comes to snaring top talent. So how do you showcase your company in order to attract great people who are a perfect fit? The answer, showcase your workplace culture through employer branding.


What Exactly is Employer Branding?

There still seems to be a reasonable amount of confusion about what employer branding is, and who is responsible for it. Recent surveys have demonstrated a huge disparity in respondents’ understanding of who “owns” employer branding, what its goals are, and even whether their company has one or not.


Your employer brand is an external representation of your internal brand. Sometimes this is driven by a company’s set of values, but more often it manifests itself naturally through the way employees interact with and within the company. Traditionally this was communicated externally through word of mouth, advertising and your recruitment partners (such as Sourced), however, tools such as Glassdoor, LinkedIn and more recently Indeed, have changed the landscape.


Shaping your employer brand requires a long-term strategy that encompasses what you want to achieve; whether that’s attracting talent or simply positioning yourself better in the marketplace. In order for your brand to be successful, you need to know who your target audience is, what your brand is, and how to make that brand appeal to your chosen audience. 


Why Proactively Take Control of Your Brand?

With everybody using some kind of digital or social media, and information so readily accessible, employer branding is now more important than ever. Candidates, and competitors, can learn about your company within seconds, so it’s essential to be aware of what can be found out about you publically and to control this content. It's also fundamental to attracting top talent. With 51% of New Zealand professionals ranking a company's employment brand as the deciding factor when looking at a company to work for, the way you present yourself as an employer can be the difference between recruiting a high value candidate and not. Orion Health or SLI Systems are great examples of organisations that don't have highly visible consumer brands but are hugely popular when it comes to their employer brand. 


However, branding doesn’t just speak to candidates. Though establishing yourself as a great place to work is of course a great tool for candidate attraction, it also has knock on effects and sheds a better light on your brand for current employees and consumers. Research has shown that companies with a strong brand have a 28% lower turnover rate than companies who don’t. 


Discovering Your Brand

Before you can show off your brand and reap these rewards, you need to figure out what your brand actually is. Though you may feel you already have a good idea of what it’s like to work for your company, it is highly likely that there will be many different opinions of what it should be throughout your company. This is not to say that people do not enjoy working at your company, but rather that how they view the employer brand, and what they see as the company’s priorities, strengths and weaknesses will be different dependent on what they do. Although in a small company it is fairly easy to decide on a vision for the brand, this proves more difficult in larger organisations. For instance, a company’s IT department may see the company in an entirely different light from their counterparts in Accounting.


So how do you solve this problem? The solution is not to come to a compromise on what the brand is, but rather to tailor multiple employer brands for each type of role you are recruiting or looking to appeal to. In specialist IT companies, this may not be such a significant problem, but it pays to keep this in mind when recruiting for a non-IT role. If you are recruiting for an accounting, sales, or marketing person, you may need to present your brand differently than you would to a web developer or programmer.


When developing your employer brand, ask yourself what the most attractive and compelling attributes of your organisation are to current and potential employees, what your company culture is, what roles are critical to your success, what your employees’ perception is of working with your company, and how all of these elements align with your external brand. Another essential step is to build brand personas for your ideal audiences. Include the demographics, skills, experience and interests of the ideal people you want to attract, and keep this in mind when building your brand. ­­­You can also consult external stakeholders, like applicants to roles and your recruitment agency, to get an objective, unbiased take on your employer brand.


Most importantly however, you should make sure your employer brand has input from across the company. Holding focus groups where employees from across the board in terms of role and personal background are represented is a great way to get their view on how your employer brand stacks up. After taking these opinions on board, compare the ideal audience from the brand personas you built to the results from your employee focus groups, and see if those you want to attract are different from those you have attracted. If there is a disparity between these, then either adapt your employer brand to fit what your employees are saying, or change your day-to-day practices to reflect the employer brand you aspire to. Above all else, it’s vital that your employer brand is genuine. If your company’s brand doesn’t reflect its relationship with employees then it will quickly be exposed by unhappy employees who are not working in the environment they expected.


Getting Your Brand Seen5 Employer Branding Tips for Tech Startups - Sourced Christchurch IT Recruiters

Knowing what your employment brand is, however, is only half the battle. You also have to showcase your brand in the most effective way possible in order for it to be successful in drawing great candidates. The most important part of this is to get your employees involved. Your employees are your employer brand’s biggest stakeholders, so they should also be its biggest advocates. Any attempt to showcase it to the world without their support is bound to fall flat on its face at some point.


The best way to do this is to celebrate your staff internally and externally and produce content that they will be happy to engage with. Many companies have internal award programmes, but often these are not publicised on external company channels. Celebrate employee achievements on your company website (with their permission of course), even for things that may fall outside of work, such as side projects or personal milestones. Query your employees on the kind of media they are consuming, or the kind of content they would like to see, and look into featuring this on your company’s blog.


Social media is a fantastic tool for enhancing your brand. With so many different channels available, it can be quite overwhelming when you first dip your toes in. It’s important to select the right channels for your brand, as although some brands may suit every social network out there, others may only find success on one or two channels. A combination of channels, each of which can be linked to each other in various ways, is usually the best option. For instance, using Facebook to share your employees’ achievements, using LinkedIn to post industry related news, Instagram to show candid snapshots of your office and YouTube to host your recruitment videos.


It’s also important to keep your competition in mind, especially in a hotly competitive field like IT. When you’re competing with a menagerie of funky startups, maintaining your authenticity is even more significant. Candidates have heard more than enough from companies about table tennis and breakout zones, so if you’re a large, mature corporate, don’t act like you’re anything else. On the other hand, if you are a young, agile new business, try to differentiate yourself. Understand that you are one of many companies trying to sell candidates the same environment, so think about what else you offer, or can offer, in order to make your company stand out.


However, one advantage of being in an industry such as IT is that there are plenty of opportunities to make your brand visible. With a wealth of conferences and events to attend, these can make for great platforms for your brand. Get some banners printed, kit out your team in branded t-shirts, and send them down to industry events as ambassadors for your company. This gets your employer brand seen and heard, and represented by the best possible sources: your employees. Another option is to sponsor (or start) local MeetUp groups. Engaging with the local tech community is a great way to get people engaging with your brand who perhaps would not have previously, and may also be a good source of talent.


Conclusion

Employer branding is now an essential part of talent attraction. What your brand is, the way you build it and how you show it to the world can be the difference between attracting top talent and falling behind your competitors. If you’re looking for an objective appraisal of your employer brand, or you’re looking to engage those top level candidates, feel free to get in touch with us here at Sourced.

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Beat the 10 Technology Interview Questions

18 Jan 16 by 35


Job interviews take a lot of time and practice to get to a point where you are comfortable. However, most of us are lucky enough to not have to do too many of them, which means that they remain a daunting prospect for a large number of people.


With whiteboard exercises and code sample requests becoming fairly commonplace, IT interviews are adding another layer of complexity. On top of this, many companies have introduced “curveball” tactics, asking candidates unusual questions just to view their thought process.


This guide is designed to even up the scales by preparing you for some of the key interview questions you are likely to face in 2016.


The Staple Interview Questions

Some things never change. We’ve probably all heard these interview questions before, but they get asked for a reason. These questions are the basis for any interview and the way you answer them can be the difference between getting the job and not. These questions are designed to test your soft skills and the way you communicate.


1. What do you know about us?


It’s important to do your homework on the company you’re applying to work with for many reasons – not least because it’ll give you some hints as to what you’ll actually be working on. Not knowing anything about the company can lead many interviewers to just writing off the candidate then and there, figuring that if they haven’t bothered to do their research on the role, they probably don’t want it enough. However, showing off too much knowledge can backfire, so make sure you don’t go into obsessive levels of detail. Finding out what the company does, what field they operate in, the product or service they provide, what your role would entail and what technology or methods they use is sufficient in most cases.


Whilst we’re talking about research, these days it is also possible to research the person who is interviewing you. This will give you more of an idea of what to expect, and provide topics of mutual interest. Sites to start your research are the company About Us pages, LinkedIn and Twitter.


2. Why do you want the job?


This question is often a tricky one to answer. Answers often vary so much dependent on the candidate and the job, but there are certain things you should avoid saying in an interview situation. Saying that you want the job for the pay or benefits package is a big mistake. Though some interviewers might respect your honesty, others will see you as someone who does not care about the work or company itself, meaning that you will move on the moment a better offer comes in.


Think about the things that attracted you to the role in the first place; are you looking for a new challenge? Is the company in a particular sector or field you would like to work in? Does the role have any unique traits you’re interested in? Is the company renowned for having a good culture? These are all great reasons that any interviewer likes to hear. However, if your biggest priority is the salary or perks, there are still ways you can express this. For instance, if the role offers flexible hours or remote working, talk about how you like the flexibility and work/life balance that the role offers.


3. What is your biggest strength and your biggest weakness?


When thinking about your biggest strength, think about both technical and soft skills, and what skills are best suited to the role. You might have many great strengths, but if they aren’t applicable to the role then the interviewer will likely find them irrelevant. If you’re interviewing for a programming role, perhaps you could talk about your C++ skills, whereas if you’re going for a project management position, it would be better to talk about your communication skills.


Though you might be tempted to say that your biggest weakness is that you’re a perfectionist (don’t be that person), it’s important to answer this question honestly and not bluff or beat around the bush. However, that doesn’t mean you should rattle off everything you’re bad at and leave it at that. Pick one or two weaknesses and make sure to follow it up with the actions you’ve been taking to address them. For instance, if time management has been a problem for you then say that, but follow it up by saying that you’ve been tracking the time you spend on each activity in order to improve yourself. This shows that you’re honest enough to admit when you have a fault, but also that you’re motivated and self-aware enough to address it yourself, which is a great combination.


Top Behavioural Interview Questions | Sourced - Christchurch IT RecruitmentBehavioural Interview Questions

Behavioural interview questions are now a standard part of job interviews. These are the kinds of questions that are  based around specific situations, designed to make candidates reveal how they act in certain environments. These questions are asked on the principle that past behaviour is a good predictor for future behaviour.


4. Tell me about a complicated problem you’ve had to solve


This question is aimed at understanding your method of problem solving. The way that you identify issues and implement solutions is central to the way you work, especially in IT, where problem solving makes up significant proportion of most roles, particularly the more technical ones.


Think about a specific example and prepare it before you go into the interview, this way you’re ready if the question is asked. The best kinds of examples for these questions are complicated issues that you tried to tackle multiple times before succeeding. Talk about the times that you failed, what you learned and how that knowledge helped you to come up with a better solution. With this kind of answer, you demonstrate your willingness and ability to learn from your mistakes and make something better.


5. Tell me about a time you worked in a team


Expect an interviewer to ask you about a project you worked on as part of a team, how you functioned within that and how successful your role, and the project itself, turned out to be. Do you need a lot of direction when in a team, or do you work self-sufficiently (even though it may be at the detriment of others’ work)? Are you a good communicator and easy to collaborate with? It pays to ask yourself these questions before you walk into the interview too, so that you can give yourself an honest appraisal of how you work in a team and answer this question in more detail.


6. Tell me about a time you’ve overcome a conflict


Whether it’s how you dealt with a particularly difficult co-worker, or how you reacted to an approach you disagreed with, this question is all about understanding how you handle adversity.


Like most behavioural questions, you should try to prepare an example in advance. Think about a project where you ran into some kind of interpersonal conflict, and talk about what you did to remedy the situation and create the best outcome for the project. Just try to avoid making yourself look bad with your example, so avoid examples where something you did caused the conflict in the first place, or times when somebody else solved the conflict. Remember that the focus here is on you.


Technical

If you are interviewing for a technical job, most of the time you can expect to have some technical questions thrown at you.


7. Let me just grab this whiteboard…


This method can take a number of forms, from asking candidates to explain concepts on the whiteboard, to solving mathematical or thought problems, or straight up writing out code. These kinds of exercises are used to test whether you can come up with something useful, or solve a problem, on the spot.


Getting you to write out code on a whiteboard might seem slightly pointless at first, considering that you’re going to be using a computer for all of your coding. However, it tests how you write code without the safety net of an IDE, and also forces you to give reasoning about the code you’re using. This shows that you have a deeper understanding of the code beyond just what it looks like.


8. Do you have a sample of your code?

Cracking the Coding Interview | Sourced - Christchurch IT Recruitment


Most companies will ask you for a code sample if you’re applying for a programming role. Make sure that you submit this, or make it available online, in advance of your interview, so that the interviewer has enough time to look over it. Expect questions to be asked of your code, and understand that this isn’t necessarily because it is bad. Most of the time these questions will be asked simply to check your reasoning and make sure you understand the code you’re writing.


When you’re asked for a code sample, you need to ensure that you are actually allowed to share it. Normally, work you’ve done for a client at another company remains their intellectual property. This means that you cannot share it with another party, or risk being sued. However, if the code is publicly available, like an open-source app or a public website, then you can use this code as your sample. Using code from your own projects is also a good idea, as you own the code and it shows the interviewer that you have the drive to construct something in your own time.


Curveball Interview Questions | Sourced - Christchurch IT RecruitmentThough we are expert IT recruiters, we aren’t expert coders or web developers. Books like Cracking the Coding Interview, which covers every kind of technical question you could run into, and sites like Interview Cake, are great resources for practicing questions before an interview.


9. The Curveball


The curveball is becoming a more and more popular tactic amongst interviewers. After companies like Apple and Google started to ask questions like “How many gas stations are there in America?” and “How many windows can I wash in a day?”, many started following in their footsteps by asking other odd, slightly off-putting questions. And of course, the point of these questions is to be odd and put the candidate off. They are meant to put you off your guard, just to see how you react to being surprised by such a question.


When you’re asked a question like this, don’t be thrown. These questions are meant to test your creativity and ability to think on the spot. Being able to improvise and have a little fun with your answer can have a real positive impact on your prospects.


And finally…

10. Do you have any questions?

This question is going to be asked in every interview, and it’s an opportunity many candidates don’t take advantage of. It’s your chance to show you’ve been paying attention by presenting thoughtful questions and showcasing any strengths that may have been missed, and it’s also an opportunity for you to interview the interviewer and make sure the role is right for you.


Guiding the conversation to the company again is another good move. Asking about the organisation’s long term plans, how any recent developments might change things, future projects, and about your own long-term career path with the company, will show that you’ve done your homework and that you’re looking further than the next paycheque, and will end the interview on a positive note.


Summary

With so many new job opportunities opening up already this year, we hope this guide helps you to get your job search off on the right foot, and walk into that interview more confident and ready to succeed. If you’re looking for more interview advice, or you’re looking for a new role in the Christchurch IT market, feel free to get in touch.


Good luck.

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Counter-Offers: What You Need to Know

16 Dec 13 by 34


Most of us can expect to receive or give a counter at least once in our professional lives. Because of this you’re probably also familiar with the often quoted, but un-verified statistic, that 80% of the people who accept a counter-offer end up leaving their job within the following six months. Though in most cases that holds true, there are times where counter-offers can be beneficial to both the employer and the employee.

Candidates

Although counter-offers can feel flattering, it is important to not allow this feeling to steer your decision. In nearly every situation a counter-offer is a knee-jerk reaction to an unexpected event: you submitting your notice. 


This is because often employers are usually unaware that you aren’t happy in your current role, and it takes an event such as this for them to realise something isn't right. It is then logical and economical to attempt to retain the existing talent, rather than go through the costly and time-consuming exercise of finding a replacement.


Generally, counter-offers will at least match the remuneration of your new job offer, but they can also come with a promotion, change in role or even a move to another area of the business.

Reviewing Counter-Offers

Whatever the offer, it’s crucial to be clear with yourself on your reasons for seeking alternative employment. This is because change, in this instance a decision to change jobs, tends to happen at a point of exasperation, where the status quo is no longer tenable. Therefore there was likely at least one significant reason driving you to explore alternative employment opportunities, has this improved offer satisfactorily addressed this/these?


If it was exclusively monetary, perhaps an increase in salary at your current employer will solve this problem. Similarly, if you wanted to leave for career advancement and you have now been offered it, this problem might also be solved. However, in both cases you must ensure you are confident that you will continue to receive future advancements in-line with your performance.


If your reason for change is a fundamental problem with your employer, then it is likely that the counter-offer, whilst tempting, will simply paper over the cracks. Taking an offer like this will invariably result in you being one of the referenced 80% who leave their role in the next six months.


It’s also worth noting that accepting a counter-offer can put you in an awkward situation with the employer that has offered you a new job. In some markets this can negatively affect your personal brand and potentially impact your future chances of securing a role.

Employers

As an employer, when you’re chasing a candidate and they’ve accepted your offer in principle, at some point they will have to hand their notice in to their current employer. If they are valuable employees (and they should be if you’re trying to hire them!), their employers will likely counter-offer. There is no way to prevent a company from presenting a counter-offer, but you can prepare the candidate for it. For example, here at Sourced, we make sure that all of our candidates are aware a counter-offer will be made, and how best to deal with it, during the applicant’s first interview with us.


Sometimes a counter-offer is simply too good to turn down, or it genuinely addresses the candidate's key reasons for leaving. In these situations there is not much that can be done, so providing you have put your best offer forward in the first instance, it’s best to move on.

 

Holding onto your Talent

If you’re in the unfortunate situation of having one of your employees hand their notice in, it can often feel like you have very little time to address this issue. This is largely true as the employee will expect you to accept their resignation almost instantly. If you would like to retain them, simply ask for 24 hours to come back to them with a response. There is no need to mention a counter-offer, simply ask for the time so that you can carefully evaluate your options.

Allowing people to leave provides the opportunity to bring in fresh new talent. - Counter-Offers: What You Need to Know


As we’ve already mentioned, most accepted counter-offers only prolong the employee's decision to leave, so ensure you are clear on whether a counter-offer is to avoid short-term pain or if you truly would like the employee to remain with your business for a longer period of time. The worst case scenario is to retain talent only to have them become increasingly demotivated with the situation.


It pays to also look on the positive side of an employee leaving. Though it will definitely cause short term pain and probably result in added costs, it provides the opportunity to bring fresh, new, motivated talent into your business. It also gives you the chance to conduct an exit interview, which you can use to gain some valuable insights into how your business could be improved to retain other talented employees.

Summary

There is very little fact based data around this particular subject area. We believe this is because each and every situation has a different set of variables. Employees, receiving a counter-offer is a highly probable scenario, so be ready to handle it when it occurs and go with whichever opportunity truly excites you. Employers, review both the long and short term benefits and also be prepared to acknowledge that every now and then, an offered candidate will change their mind. It's human nature!


Here at Sourced we’re committed to getting the best solution for our candidates and clients, and it’s for this reason that we spend a considerable amount of time discussing this subject with all parties. This way, there are no unpleasant surprises.


If you find yourself faced with a counter-offer scenario and would like some independent advice feel free to get in touch.

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9 Things to Consider - Evaluating a Job Offer

26 Nov 15 by 33


Getting a job offer is always an exciting prospect. Getting that call can often feel like all your hard work searching for a job has paid off. However, this in itself shouldn’t be the main reason for accepting the opportunity. Even if your situation is pressing, taking a job offer without carefully thinking about it is almost always a bad idea. Before you accept an offer, here’s our top nine things that you should always consider.


Role - 9 Things to Consider When Evaluating a Job Offer

1. Role

Most importantly, you need to make sure that the role is something you’re looking for, or willing to do. This is what you’ll be doing every day, so make sure that you’re going to be happy with it. What kind of role is it? What will you be doing day-to-day? If you’re currently in a job, is this prospective role an upgrade? These questions will likely have been answered in your interview, but it pays to look back at these answers when considering the offer to ensure that you are clear on what the new role entails.



2. Fringe benefits

Many employers offer other benefits as part of their remuneration packages. It’s wise to consider these, as these benefits can often save you significant amounts of money. Whether it’s a phone or a laptop/Mac that you can use for personal use, training schemes, healthcare benefits, monetary bonuses, stock options, or even just a car park, some of these benefits can be far more valuable than they first appear.


Culture - 9 Things to Consider When Evaluating a Job Offer

3. Culture

Naturally, one of the most important things to look at when evaluating a job offer is the company itself. During your interview you’ll have likely been able to do a little people-watching, and got a sneak peek at what the company is like to work at. Is it more formal or casual? Is it an isolated, cubicle divided office, or is it more of an open plan, collaborative environment? Furthermore, what are the people like? If you know anybody there already, probe them about who you’ll be working with, what management is like, and whether there’s much in the way of office politics. A great salary and benefits package is nice, but if the cultural fit is all wrong then the paycheque can quickly fall by the wayside.




Methodology - 9 Things to Consider When Evaluating a Job Offer

4. Methodology

One of the most important parts of a company’s culture is their methodology. In IT, this often comes down to Agile versus Waterfall, two distinct methods of development. Both have their pros and cons and thus cater to different types of people and projects, with Waterfall being a very linear, planned process, as opposed to the constantly iterative Agile method. Considering that this is the way you will be working in this new role, it’s important to think about which approach you prefer, and whether this company offers that.


Challenge - 9 Things to Consider When Evaluating a Job Offer

5. Challenge

Another thing to consider is whether or not you’ll be challenged in this new role. Though being overworked and overstressed is never a good thing, a role that provides new challenges, learning opportunities and a platform for professional development is a big positive for your career. If you’re going to get bored quickly in your new role, it might not be worth the move, as you’ll find yourself wanting to move on sooner rather than later. Moreover, being in a role for a long time and not being challenged may have a negative effect when it comes to getting your next role, as your skillset will not have developed as it should have.




Technology - 9 Things to Consider When Evaluating a Job Offer

6. Technology

Another important point in IT is the kind of technology you’re going to be working with, and the level 

that it’s at. If you’re working with the latest and greatest tech in your current role, then think about the consequences of downgrading on that front. Though it may not seem like an important point at first, getting used to a new workflow, and dealing with the possible slowdowns and compatibility issues that may come with that, may well make you more frustrated than you first imagined.



Location - 9 Things to Consider When Evaluating a Job Offer

7. Location

Even if the company has a great culture, and offers you all the latest and greatest technology in an agile environment, you still need to physically get there. A commute might seem like something you can shrug off, but it soon starts to become a draining process when three hours of your day is taken up in travel time. If you need to re-locate for this role, think about how much time, effort and money that is going to cost, and whether your new employer will make allowances for that.




Work/Life Balance - 9 Things to Consider When Evaluating a Job Offer

8. Work/Life Balance

Recent Sourced Reports have shown that work/life balance is a huge motivator for IT professionals. Priorities have shifted from financial rewards towards more intrinsic, life-focused motivators, so ensuring that your new role allows for a healthy balance is important. Will you still have time to continue all of your outside-of-work activities? Are flexible hours an option? When do you start accruing holidays? These are all questions to ask if you want to know how this new role will affect your work/life balance.



Salary - 9 Things to Consider When Evaluating a Job Offer

9. Salary

This is often the first thing that people look at when they get a job offer, but it’s last on this list as it ties into each of the above factors by posing the question: is it worth it? A $3,000-5,000 rise in your annual salary may not be a significant enough increase to encourage a move, as that number quickly gets smaller when looked at in terms of your regular paycheque. Some employers are open to negotiate salary for all but entry level roles, so don’t be afraid to open up the conversation if you’re not happy with the initial figure (as your recruitment partner, we will happily help you with this). Remember that you’re likely going to be on a set pay level for at least one year, so make sure it is enough to support you or your family before accepting it.




Take your time when going through the pros and cons of an offer. If you’re hesitating to take a job offer, feel free to get in touch with us here at Sourced and we’ll help you with your decision. 

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The Sourced Guide to Contracting

18 Nov 15 by 32


So maybe you’ve made the leap and have decided to ‘go contracting’, or perhaps you're currently in a permanent role and trying to find out more information. Who can blame you? Contracting is an excellent opportunity to capitalise on your experience and expertise in a particular field, and in most instances, be well rewarded for it. But is it all it’s cracked up to be? How does it work? What are the benefits and where do you start? This blogs aims to answer these questions, hopefully allowing you to decide whether contracting is right for you.


What is a Contractor?

By definition, an independent contractor is somebody who runs their own business, works for clients on a temporary or fixed term basis, and has a well-developed set of specialist skills. Contractors can often work for multiple companies each year, and on occasion work for more than one company at once.


The concept behind contracting is that you see yourself as a business rather than an employee, and charge out your services to clients. In the current market there are usually a range of different contracts available, providing a wide variety of work options. Contracts can be anything from a few weeks through to more common 6-12 month arrangements.


The major noticeable difference is that as a contractor you aren’t entitled to the same benefits as employees, such as sick pay, holiday leave, ACC contributions and Kiwisaver. To compensate for these factors, and the increased levels of role insecurity, contracting nearly always carries higher rates of pay. 


What are the Benefits?

Depending on where you are in your career, contracting can come with many advantages over traditional employment. For more experienced professionals with a proven track record and a well-honed skill set, the benefits include greater flexibility, exposure to varied and high profile projects and less involvement with company politics.


Benefits of contracting - The Sourced Guide to Contracting

On the contrary, if you don’t have a wealth of experience but feel like going independent might be for you, then contracting could be a viable option for a number of reasons. For example, contracting can give you the opportunity to ease yourself into the workforce. If you’re straight out of study or coming back into the workforce, contracting can give you a chance to start off part time, or on a fixed number of hours per week. This can be extremely useful if you’re feeling unsure about immediately working full-time after a break.


Right now is arguably the best time in the last few years to start contracting. The IT market is exceptionally busy meaning skills are in high demand and expected to remain this way for the foreseeable future. Our experience has been that most contractors regularly have their contract extended and if not, can pick up a new contract within a number of weeks, effectively leaving no gap in employment.


In addition to this, with the advent of cloud computing, so much of what we previously had to be in the office for is now accessible from the comfort of your home. This allows for even more flexibility than contractors previously had, and gives many the opportunity to work from home for at least some portion of the week.


Is Contracting for You? 

Though there are many benefits to contracting, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t bring its own responsibilities. There are certainly things you need to know before venturing out. First, assess whether you could conceivably not work for a proportion of the year, or be without work at relatively short notice. Contractors are also often the first people to go if redundancies are being made, as they are usually higher paid and it is easier to cancel a contract than to dismiss a full time employee. It’s also important to keep in mind that contractors are only paid for the hours they do. So, for instance, if your company is shutting down over Christmas, you won’t be getting paid for that time.


Contractors’ taxes are not withheld, which means you have to pay your own taxes. This way of earning can be stressful, and requires sound budgeting. If you don’t pay your year-end tax bills, even by accident, you can get into serious legal trouble, so it is wise to consider getting an accountant. Contractors also need to cover their own liability insurance, which is an added cost. However, if you contract through an agency (such as Sourced!) then this is often covered.

The Pros and Cons of Being a Contractor - The Sourced Guide to Contracting


Take things like the time of the year, or the projects currently happening in your area, into account too. Are there certain projects going on around you that you can contribute to? Is there a certain time of the year where your skills are more in demand? If so, try and plan out how much you’ll be earning in that time.


Because of this whole new world of taxation, levies and insurances that contractors have to manage, you’ll need to get the right advice early on (alongside some careful budgeting) to ensure you’re protecting yourself and your future earnings.


You also have to think about your skills and the demand for them. By positioning yourself as a business, you have to present yourself like a business. Make sure you’re able to demonstrate to clients that you have a deep set of specialist skills that are worth paying for.


Part of this is being able to sell yourself, as your personal brand is a vital part of contracting. Work on that elevator pitch, and get your skills across clearly and succinctly. For more on this, take a read of our guide to personal branding to get yourself off on the right foot.


If you cannot see the demand for your specific skills in your geographical area, then you also have to think about whether you’re comfortable with working remotely, or, more likely, moving to somewhere that you are more valuable.


How do You Start? 

Contracting is an excellent career choice for those seeking a more flexible working arrangement, and who are confident enough to manage themselves as a business and handle everything that comes along with that. In addition to the above, networking and strengthening your personal brand are also great pieces of advice for anybody looking to step into contract work, and our guides to those topics may be of use to you.


Contracting through a recruitment agency carries several benefits. For a full guide on what it is like contracting through Sourced please click here. If you’re looking for a contracting opportunity, feel free to get in touch with the team here at Sourced, and we’ll see how we can help you take charge of your career.

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Boosting Your Career: Sourced’s 6 Top Tips

27 Oct 15 by 31

Here at Sourced we interview a large number of technology professionals every year. Many of these are in full control of their career and looking to make their next strategic move in line with their goals. We also meet a number of people who aren’t so satisfied, and worry that they aren’t achieving their potential, are stuck in a rut or in the wrong job altogether.


We have noticed that those in the in-control category share a lot of similar traits and attributes. If you’re one of those who isn’t currently career satisfied, here are the top six influencing factors that are regularly mentioned to us as positively affecting people’s careers.

1. Give Your Career a Warrant of Fitness

The feedback we’ve received has shown that making sure you regularly check how your career is tracking against your goals is one of the most important things to consider when looking at giving your career a boost.


As we’re coming to the end of the year, this is a great time to do just that. To give yourself an effective review, our advice is to use some of the holiday period to review the following for your job, team and employer:


Sourced - Career Warrant of Fitness / Career Review


Once you have reviewed this information you will have some indication of the changes you need to make in order to achieve your career goals. This could result in the decision not to change anything, to look for somewhere new to work, to seek a new type of job, to stay where you currently are but transfer into a different department or to try something completely different altogether.  


2. Seek Out Additional Skills

With technology changing so quickly these days, it’s always good to keep up to date with the latest trends and technologies. After your review, if you’ve decided you need to expand your skillset, a good idea is to pursue additional certifications or training.


Tertiary studies, whilst expensive and time-consuming are the obvious option. We’ve noticed that advanced degrees are becoming more and more desirable, especially when it comes to applying for management positions. Postgraduate education will not only develop your skillset, it will often also expand your business network.


However, learning new skills doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money. It’s easy to take a little time out of your evenings or weekends to learn something new. Free video tutorials on YouTube, like TastyTuts, can help you get up to speed with Adobe products, which can be very useful if you’re looking to diversify your skillset. There are lots of other online courses available such as Seek Learning or Udemy, and Google also provides official certifications in AdWords and Analytics. These all provide tangible qualifications that you can use to take on new roles and responsibilities, and to propel your career forward.


Gaining new skills isn’t just something you can do outside of work. Put yourself forward at work and volunteer in different departments to find out more about what you enjoy and what you’re good at.


3. Improve Your Soft Skills

Your degrees and certifications might have made you skilled in coding languages, but if you can’t speak the same language as your colleagues or clients, you’re going to run into trouble at some point. We’re not saying that you need to learn German, Chinese and French, but being able to translate highly technical concepts into ideas that every day, non-specialist people can understand, is an immensely valuable skill.


Joining Toastmasters or Pecha Kucha groups can significantly improve your public speaking and presentation skills. Going to and presenting at Meetup events, though these often have more specialist audiences, can also help to improve these skills. You can also start writing blogs, which not only builds your personal brand and credibility, but will also develop your ability to turn your ideas into something everyone can read and understand. Taking these actions will improve your confidence when speaking to other people whom you may not know, presenting ideas that others may not be entirely familiar with, or managing people in your workplace; all of which can open up new career opportunities.


4. Find a Mentor Sourced's Guide to Finding a Mentor

Having someone who is available to bounce ideas past and also to give you advice/tricks of the trade is hugely valuable when shaping your career. By sharing their experience, achievements and failures, a mentor can help you emulate their successes and avoid making the same mistakes as they have.


Seeking out a mentor is something that many people find challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. To find a mentor, identify someone you respect in your industry or region who is realistically attainable (i.e. don’t try to approach Richard Branson). Then see if you can identify a mutual connection that can put you in touch with them.


Whilst if asked, many experienced professionals are happy to share their knowledge and expertise, be careful to be very clear about what you are looking for in a mentor. You may even want to consider informally interviewing a number of prospects to find the person best suited to helping you. Also, remember that their time is a limited resource, so make the most of the time you spend with them.


5. Network and Brand Yourself

In today’s constantly connected environment, it’s not just your LinkedIn network that you should be trying to maintain. Your personal brand exists outside of social media too, and networking in person builds trust and credibility, along with putting you in touch with people who can have an impact on your career. In the past we’ve written some great blogs about personal branding and local industry events, so give those a read if you need help with your branding and networking strategies.


6. Follow Your Passion

The key feedback from people who are in-control of their career is that they have all followed their passion. Very few of them were working in roles that they weren’t passionate about or would at least help them progress towards a role that they are passionate about. The good news is that experience with technology is currently a high-demand skill-set, this means that it is possible to be more selective in the type of roles you undertake.


Summary

Being in control of your career is crucial. Hopefully these tips will help you to start to regain control, however if you’re looking for more tips or if you’ve realised your not currently following your passion, give the team here at Sourced a call, we might be able to help!  

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6 Steps to Building Your Personal Brand

30 Sep 15 by 30

How to define your Personal Brand - Sourced


Whether you’re looking for a job or trying to establish yourself as a thought leader in your field, having a strong personal brand is now a vital part of professional life.


The Importance of Personal Branding

There is now an expectation to be able to find out more information and verify credibility of a brand or product online, for example how TripAdvisor and Airbnb have become so prominent in holiday planning. The same expectation now exists for people, and in this case, the product is you.


This is especially true in IT, an extremely competitive industry where employers are more tech savvy. In Jobvite’s 2014 Social Recruiting survey, 93% of employers said they reviewed a candidate’s social profile before making a hiring decision and 55% of employers have said that they have reconsidered a candidate based on looking at their social profile. For a hotly contested role, this means that just one Google search of your name could decide whether you are hired or not.


Job tenures in IT also tend to be shorter than in other industries, due to an increasing amount of work being project or contract based. This means that branding is even more important for IT professionals. If you’re not taking care of your brand then you may unknowingly miss out on your next big opportunity.


Attracting Talent

Personal branding is equally crucial for organisations. Potential customers, employees, or even buyers, are going to be looking at the strength of your workforce. This is reinforced by our recent Sourced Report which shows company culture as a key attraction for potential employees. Because of this, the days of employers hiding their workforce from public view are long gone.


SIX STEPS TO BUILDING YOUR BRAND

1. Defining Your Brand


The most important thing to do before you start building your personal brand is to decide what you would like it to represent. It’s important ask yourself the following questions:



If you are unclear on what your brand is, then this will be reflected in the brand itself and you will come across as unfocused to your audience.  


2. Social Profiles


When building your personal brand, it is critical to go through all of your social channels and make sure that they are credible. A stray swear word or unprofessional picture can really damage your chances of obtaining a new role.


Review tags on Facebook - Sourced

Once you have checked your existing online content, ensure that you get to review every post you’re tagged in on Facebook before they’re posted to your timeline. You can change this in the “Timeline and Tagging settings” section of Facebook’s settings menu (below).


Once you’ve taken full control of your existing brand, it’s time to start strengthening it. A good place to start is on LinkedIn, as this is the vital social channel in the professional world. If you don’t have a profile we would advise you to create one, and make sure you take it to ‘All-Star’ status. This will ensure your profile is findable and credible. There are plenty of guides to building an ‘All-Star’ LinkedIn profile, including this one.

Sourced guide to LinkedIn All Star Status - Sourced


Most people stop once their profile is at ‘All-Star’ status, however this limits your LinkedIn profile to being a shop window. To get the most out of LinkedIn it is a good idea to start building your network.


First, connect with all the people in your existing network. You can do this by manually searching for people or importing your address book from your email account. Next, join a number of groups that are relevant to you, such as alumni or industry-focused groups.


Beyond that, you should start expanding your network by connecting with industry peers, such as those you meet at conferences, or even people you haven’t met but who are obviously part of your local industry. Most people these days are open to connecting with other people who share similar interests or skills.


In IT it can also be useful to look at more specialised social networks, such as GitHub or Behance, where you can showcase your work and build a more detailed portfolio. Nowadays, many hiring managers expect to see code from you, so GitHub is a great place for this. Behance is more geared towards visual or design centric work, which makes it a great tool for showcasing UI/UX and web design work. Take a look at these GitHub and Behance pages for a good example of how you could set up your profile.


3. Communicating Your Message


Once you’ve constructed a professional online profile, you can build on this by establishing yourself as a credible voice in your industry. People such as Bill Bennett and Jason Kemp have used blogging as a tool to build a great personal brand. Though we’re not suggesting you need to be at their level, they're good examples of the positive impact blogging can have on your brand.


Start expressing your thoughts and opinions by blogging on social networks, such as LinkedIn Publisher. You can also start your own personal blog or website with tools such as Medium or Wordpress.


When deciding on a topic to blog about, think about things that are pertinent, whether that’s a project you’ve worked on or a conference you’ve attended, or just something that’s been on your mind. As long as it is relevant to your audience, it can turn into good blogging material. Once you’ve decided on a topic, do a little research on it. Find similar articles to see where your concept is different, so that you can emphasise these unique aspects.


Sourced Guide to Blogging - Sourced


Regardless of where you are in your career, if you consistently provide good insight you will become a thought leader in your industry.


4. Getting Heard


Once you’ve written your blog, you have to share it with people in order to get your brand out there. This will get the people in your network clicking through to your content. In addition, ask people in your network to share it with the people they know. This dramatically expands the reach of your content and thus, your brand.


Facebook and LinkedIn are the most effective channels for this kind of activity, but Twitter can also be effective given you put the time and effort into building a network there. One of the ways to do this is by participating in Twitter Chats, online networking events where Twitter users get together to discuss a certain topic.


Another way to extend the reach of your brand is by guest blogging. Don’t be afraid to get in touch with credible outlets within your industry and see if you can write some content for them. Guest blogging gives you instant credibility by associating you with an already established brand, and also gives you an opportunity to promote your own blog or social profiles by linking to them.


5. Branding is a Marathon, Not a Sprint


The digital landscape is always changing, so it’s important to ensure that your personal brand is dynamic enough to keep up with the constantly moving environment of social media. Letting your social accounts grow stale with out-dated information is a sure-fire way to undermine the initial work of setting them up and making them appealing to employers and fellow professionals.


Expand your blogging strategy to a greater social media strategy, and stick to the schedule you outlined. Get into the habit of making small updates to your social profiles regularly, and whenever you get a blog idea note it down so that it doesn’t end up on the eternal backburner. This will keep your audience engaged and ensure that your online presence does not get neglected and become out-dated.


6. Follow Through Offline


It’s crucial to remember that your personal brand doesn’t just exist on the Internet. Building a credible online brand is all well and good, but it amounts to nothing if you don’t carry it through in person.


At work, or at conferences and events, present yourself the same way you do on your impeccably branded social media accounts. Industry events, whether they’re formal conferences or Meetups, are a goldmine of networking opportunities. For more on how to get the most out of these, have a read of our guide to capitalising on local industry events.


Bringing your online brand through to in-person interactions will reinforce the credibility you have built up online, and further your brand across new networks. This can lead to more opportunities, such as speaking engagements, as you meet more people and establish yourself as a thought leader in your field.


Summary

Building and maintaining a strong personal brand will help you network with other professionals, establish you as a credible voice in your field, and produce career opportunities that may not have come up otherwise. If the idea of building your personal brand seems daunting, don’t worry, here are three easy steps you can take right now:

  • Define your personal brand.
  • Go through your Facebook profile and take control of what is public.
  • Identify three thought leaders in your field and see how they have branded themselves.


If you need help in crafting your personal brand, get in touch with the team here at Sourced.

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An IT Pro's Guide to Christchurch

12 Aug 15 by 29


Christchurch has a lot to offer for IT professionals


Christchurch has a lot to offer for IT professionals. With its amazing surroundings, booming technology sector and exciting lifestyle opportunities, there’s plenty of reasons to move to the Canterbury region if you’re an IT professional in New Zealand, or abroad.

 

Introducing: Canterbury

The Canterbury Plains, the Southern Alps, the Pacific Ocean, Arthur’s Pass; Christchurch is beset by the incredible on all sides. Here at Sourced, we’re always hearing from people from all over the world who we’ve helped find work in Christchurch about how they’ve fallen in love with the region. The beautiful landscape, laid back atmosphere, friendly people and amazing lifestyle opportunities always get a glowing review from recent movers, and it’s easy to see why.


In the winter, the mountains and ski slopes are just a couple of hours away, and any extreme pursuit you desire, from hang-gliding to water-skiing, is readily available. In the summer, the weather presents a wonderful opportunity to hike or cycle through the nearby national parks, and the west coast beaches offer soft sands and great surf.


The recent earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 devastated the community, but the rebuilding that has resulted from it has made inventive solutions a necessity, as demonstrated by the Cardboard Cathedral and the Re:START Mall. This mentality has turned Christchurch into a hotbed for inspired start-ups and technological innovation, and working here gives you the chance to be a part of something very special by helping to get this great city back on its feet.


IT in Christchurch

A recent report by Flux profiling the companies in the Canterbury innovation and technology sectors identified that there are over 500 firms in the region. These firms employ around 7,000 people and contribute 6% of Christchurch’s GDP, triple what they represent as part of the population. 

Christchurch has a lot to offer for IT professionals and expats heading home


The Christchurch IT sector is projected to grow significantly, and is expected to employ over 10,000 people by 2031, contributing to an increase in Christchurch’s GDP from $12.4Bn to $21.7Bn. This growth is down to a commitment from the council and government to invest in the city; with $40bn being spent on construction and infrastructure costs (including first-rate utilities, digital networks and services).


As we know, IT is a diverse industry, and Christchurch is no different. This graph (right) highlights the split across core sectors. At Sourced we work with clients in each of these, ranging from leading healthcare providers such as McKesson to a global travel provider in House of Travel.


The IT community in Christchurch is also very active, as can been seen in our last blog post on the number of technology events taking place locally in the next six months.


Custom-Built Christchurch

One consequence of the earthquakes is that many commercial buildings in Christchurch have become uninhabitable, forcing many companies to move further out from the city. This has resulted in many companies building modern, custom-designed offices in areas like Riccarton and Addington. These areas lie just a few kilometres outside of the city centre, and have become conducive environments for both established and up-and-coming tech companies in the wake of the earthquakes.


As the city’s recovery continues however, tech companies are starting to move back into central areas. One of the trailblazers in this regard has been the Enterprise Precinct Innovation Centre, or EPIC. EPIC houses 20 high tech, innovation focused IT companies in its state-of-the-art, centrally located building, and has managed to turn a heavily earthquake damaged area into a hub for innovative start-ups.


With a wide variety of tech companies in the region, Christchurch covers a broad range of professional preferences. Whether you like the funky, independent, small office start-up approach, or prefer a larger, more organised corporate environment; there really is something for everyone.


Working in Christchurch

The average annual salary in the Christchurch tech industry is $74k NZD. This level of salary, coupled with the lowest overall cost of living in New Zealand’s largest three cities, make Christchurch a very affordable city to live in. Rent for a three-bedroom house outside of the city centre comes in under $2,000 per month, and the average house price is around $450,000.


Looking internationally, we see a similar story. Christchurch house rentals are 60% lower than London, and yet salaries are only 12% lower.


Outside of the technology sector there are plenty of jobs for the rest of your family. There is a large demand for construction and engineering, but also for healthcare, accounting, HR, marketing and tourism professionals. The median household income citywide is $65,000 NZD.


Living in Christchurch

Aside from the incredible landscape, lifestyle benefits and career opportunities, Christchurch is also a great place to live from a practical point of view. There are great schools at every level, one world-class university in the city, and another one within reasonable driving distance in Dunedin.


Living outside of the city centre is a far smaller stumbling block than it is in larger cities, as the average commute time in Christchurch is only 25 minutes. Public transport is efficient and affordable, and although most international air traffic in New Zealand goes through Auckland, Christchurch is well connected. Its international airport offers direct flights to 9 major cities in New Zealand and Australia.


In addition, high-speed fibre Internet is available in Christchurch. Over 80,000 homes are fibre-capable right now, and fibre uptake has increased enormously in recent months, more than trebling in the past year. So, whenever you’re not skiing or hiking, you have world class internet at your disposal.


Summary

The IT sector in Christchurch has a very prosperous future ahead of it, and the excellent talent that gets drawn to Christchurch from across the globe will only enhance this. Here at Sourced, we’ve seen many fantastic candidates make the Garden City their home, so if you’re an aspiring expat have a look at our guide on relocating to New Zealand, or view these useful links below. If you’re in New Zealand already and would like to explore the possibility of living in Christchurch, please get in touch with us today.


http://resources.ccc.govt.nz/files/Homeliving/informationformigrants/Migrants-OnlineGuide.pdf

https://www.newzealandnow.govt.nz/move-to-nz

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Best Use of LinkedIn for Professionals

31 Jul 15 by 28

Linkedin, is it working for you?


By now, you have heard about LinkedIn. Many of you go on to have created slick profiles on it. Some of you even manage to land a job through using it. That’s a great start. However, do you know how to fully utilise LinkedIn? Like many other social & professional online networking tools, LinkedIn has plenty of usefulness. However, its usefulness depends mostly on how effective you are in using it.


Below, I will share with you a few tips and tricks that will not only bring you to new level of LinkedIn experience but also make sure you gain the most out of this popular professional networking tool.


Advanced Tips to Get the Most out of LinkedIn


  • Connect your LinkedIn account to professional content online news portal


    In the age of social media driven news content, you have a lot of power to choose which online news outlet you want to follow. However, there are two online news portals stand out so far - LinkedIn Pulse and Newsle.com. The former is an official application from LinkedIn that promotes and displays news content from industries leading experts. While the latter allows you to receive a stream of news on your contacts. Both these news portals scour industry publications, local, national newspapers and more to give you proper news on your contacts (not simply status updates).


  • Use tags to organise your contacts


    LinkedIn allows you to use up to 200 tags, and each contact can have several tags. You can do it by clicking on ‘Connections’ under the name of a contact: Tags - add new tag.


  • Use custom labels to enhance your website links under contact info


    Doing this will ensure that you are able to showcase stuff that you may choose to display on your own website, for example. You can do this by editing your own profile and choosing ‘Websites edit’.


  • Think about how you are using the space on your profile and tighten your profile


    Time is money and people avoid reading and scrolling through long profiles. Multiple roles in one company can be summarised in one longer term role and the description can list them one by one to save space. Think about “less is more” if you can make the roles substantial and showing progress.


  • Used Advanced Search to find relevant contacts


    Doing this will allow you to find a more targeted list of connections. To do this, you need to click ‘Advanced’ on the top bar, next to magnifying lens icon. You can also start with a broader search and drill-down by selecting filters on the left column.


Tips to Enhance your LinkedIn Experienced:

  1. Add all emails to your account


    Adding every email you have ever used professionally or academically, in addition to your private email, enhances the chances that prior contacts will find and connect with you. All invites will end up in the email you designate as your primary email, but LinkedIn will recognise that your contacts are trying to reach YOU.

  1. Have a great photo!


    Modern profile shots are a clear headshot of you and possibly also include a setting, as appropriate. It should not look like it is cropped out of a group of friends.


  1. Be selective about posting into groups.


    Let posts be the best of you. Randomly sharing articles or asking ‘Anyone in the group from Milan?” will brand you a ‘newbie’ on LinkedIn. Better to do a search and discover who is in Milan, than hope that the ones in Milan are reading our post at the right time.

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How a Recruitment Agency Can Help You

19 Jun 15 by 26

Choosing an Agency That’s Right for You.

If you’ve ever used recruitment consulting services, you've probably noticed that there are many options to choose from.


The fact is, utilising the services of a recruitment consultant will have vast benefits. Some examples include that you’re tapping into a huge network of people (and therefore job opportunities) through that consultant. You can get advice from the consultant, who should know the company well, as to what they’re looking for in an interview and what the work culture is truly like. However, this article isn’t to convince you to use an agency. The fact that you’re reading this means you are probably already aware of the benefits of doing so.

What we would like to do is give you a few tips on how to choose the best recruitment consultant or agency for you.


The reality of it is that there are numerous recruitment agencies throughout New Zealand. Some people choose a scatter gun approach and fire their details through to anyone and everyone. The problem with this is that you may not be giving yourself the best opportunity possible by doing so as some agencies do not take a quality service approach with their candidates and won’t assess them properly for each role. If this happens and you’re sent through to companies willy-nilly then you may come across as a serial applier in the market which can give your name a reputation you don’t want. So choosing to work with one or maybe two agencies that suit your needs is very beneficial.


Some agencies are small, some are large in size. Some specialise in a certain sector or region. Some work internationally. Of course, no one size fits all, however, there are pros and cons to the aspects of agencies and consultants that you’ll want to consider before choosing who you’d like to have representing you to potential employers.


Here are our key tips to finding a suitable agency/consultant and maximising your chance to find the best job opportunity possible:


  1. Find an agency that meets your needs and wants

    What kinds of job are you wanting? Are you set on a specific sector (like IT) or are you open to other areas as well. If you’re set on a specific kind of work, like most, then you’ll want to work with an agency that specialises in that space as well. You can uncover this by asking around with people currently in that industry or at networking events or just doing a bit of research online. You want to work with a recruitment consultant who's got strong industry knowledge - number of years in the industry is important when you’re talking network size. If you’re open to a variety of industries, a generalist agency may be the way to go, or working with a couple of agencies that specialise in those areas which interest you most might be effective too.
     
  2. Only work with a consultant you feel comfortable with.

    This isn’t just about being able to have a conversation with someone. It’s about feeling listened to and understood. A good recruitment consultant should be working to uncover not only what you’re interested in but also what you’re suited to. They’ll be matching that with their clients requirements and culture. Of course, bear in mind, that if you have expectations of the jobs market that are unrealistic, a good consultant will bring that to your attention. One key is to listen to your gut feeling. If you don’t feel that this person has your best interests at heart, feel free to withdraw your application. Remember you are in control of where your resume goes and have the right to ask an agency not to represent you anymore. No explanation needed.
     
  3. Find someone who has a reputation for success.

    You want to work with someone who’s genuinely concerned about your wants and needs. The best way to uncover the quality of a consultant is by asking people you trust. Talk to people that have gotten work through the consultant and ask about how things worked out for them.

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Don't hide your current location

29 May 15 by 25

Where exactly are you?

The quantity of applicants we often get for an advertised vacancy is huge. Effectively managing and screening the large number of applications is one of the reasons companies come to Sourced in the first place and we view this as one small way our experienced Consultants add value to the recruitment process. We do our best to work through the applications as quickly as possible, our clients are often wanting to fill the vacancy promptly and we fully appreciate that you, the applicant, wants to know where you stand as well.


There are things you can do to help us with our assessment process:


1 - Don't hide your current location.

You do not need to mask the fact you are not currently living in Christchurch. We often receive CVs with a NZ phone number and an email address but absolutely no indication of where the applicant is currently domiciled. Knowing this information up front helps us in many ways (like not calling you in the middle of the night, wherever you are) and does not necessarily make the applicant unsuitable if they are not in Christchurch.


Mentioning your location in your cover letter is definitely recommended if you are moving around NZ and don't want to keep updating your CV.



2 - So you want to move to Christchurch?

That's great!  Now, more than ever our city is dependent on people bringing their expertise to Christchurch.


It is often very surprising how many applicants say they "Love Christchurch" and have done their research but upon further questioning, have never visited our city and  don't even  know about the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes and the myriad of challenges the city and its people still face.


If you want a competitive edge over and above other applicants who possess similar skills and experience then you need to back-up your application with a compelling and honest reason for your intended move.


We understand that some applicants are in urgent need of finding employment and will move to the first location from where an offer is made, however, how  you present your reasons for moving to Christchurch is really important as our clients will need to be convinced that you will move if you are offered employment and that you have the knowledge and support networks to settle quickly.

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Want to work in New Zealand?

21 Aug 14 by 22

I’m interested in working in New Zealand. Where should I begin?


Candidates who are based outside New Zealand are constantly approaching us for work opportunities - excited about the prospect of living here, and understandably so! New Zealand has world class qualities as a place to live and work in. Some of these include:

  • a strong reputation for being a stable and well-governed country. The national budget is in the black afterall!

  • holds work-life balance as a core value.

  • ranked #1 in the world for quality education (for the second of the year in a row by the Legatum Institute’s Prosperity Index).

  • a reputation for being ‘clean and green’. The scenery is particularly special (not to mention, usually very close by)!

  • an economy that has held well through the Global Financial Crisis and remains strong.

  • strong medical coverage for residents.


So, what steps should I take in considering a move to New Zealand?


  1. Work out what what is important in your work and the way you like to live.
    The last thing we want is to see you moving to a city or taking a new job only to find in 6 months that it’s “not really you”. You need to know what matters to you and figure out whether New Zealand could match those priorities before you make any life changing decisions.  Think about what kind of lifestyle you’ll want to have, how you’d like to spend your time, where you’d like to be located and, of course, how you’d like your career to progress. Bear in mind that there’s no perfect job or living situation, but there is often ‘better’ jobs and living situations.


  1. What is required of you, immigration wise.
    Before looking too far into further details, you’ll need to assess your immigration options to make sure you can actually move here legally. The easiest way to do this is with a certified Immigration Advisor (see our recommendations below). They can give you all your options in an easy to digest discussion and will often do all the paperwork for you. Alternatively you can visit the Immigration New Zealand website, figure out your options through the information provided online and apply yourself. This is absolutely achievable, but if speed and accuracy is of high importance to you, you’re probably best to go with an agent. A certified Immigration Advisor can give you tips for getting through the process faster and optimising your chances.


  1. Research your costs.
    This is vital. You’ll need to do homework on the living costs of the area you’d like to live in, the cost of transport you’d use once here and the cost of housing. You’d also be wise to look into the average price of food bills for a family of your size, schooling costs and medical costs. For goods and services, browse the internet or online stores for price lists and compare generally. Expense may not be as much of an issue for some people, but we still recommend getting a feel for living costs so there are no surprises. See our links below.


  1. Talk to the people. 
    There’s really nothing that beats hearing what living in a certain country is like than talking to people that actually live there. Bear in mind that opinions will vary. Your best chance for finding out what it might be like for you is to talk with someone who’s relocated to New Zealand from the same country or region as yourself. There are numerous facebook pages and websites dedicated to helping people understand from their own countrymen’s perspective. This should highlight any potential issues or confirm your thoughts about moving here.


After these four points, you should be able to answer the question “do we want to move to New Zealand?” and “can we move to New Zealand?”. If the answers to these two questions are “yes” then you’ll want to start taking steps to make this happen. In terms of finding work, contact the recruitment specialists in your field of work that are working in the region you’d like to be based in. They’ll be able to tell you more about where your skill set fits into the market and should be able to advise you on the best opportunities for you within the market.


Helpful Resources

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Do you need a new role, and fast?

21 Aug 14 by 21

We understand that finding a new job is crucial, but there is a 'right' way to go about it

There are a wealth of reasons why people apply for a new job, a seriously considered career move, boredom, learning opportunities, the chance to join a high flying company  or perhaps it just comes down to the fact that the person next to them is a constant sniffer or a pen clicker.


All of the above scenarios are the “lucky ones”, the candidates who are in employment, they enjoy a regular salary and can take their time to plan their next move.


But what about the candidates who are not quite so lucky, those who are currently not working or perhaps their work / student visa is about to expire and for whatever reason would quite frankly  take the first job that comes their way.


We see this often, the same candidate applying for every job we have advertised without a cover letter explaining their interest and seemingly regardless of their qualifications, skill set, experience level or general suitability.


Here is the issue - A scatter gun approach to applying for jobs does not demonstrate to recruiters (and in turn the hiring company) a planned and streamlined employment search.


Applicants who do this will always be in competition with and fall short against candidates who can exhibit a targeted employment search or career path.


Yes , there are candidates out there with a very broad skill set, who may choose to specialise with one particular skill set or domain area. An experienced recruiter will be able to identify the relevance of their application.


As professional recruiters, we are engaged by companies to find the most suitable candidate for them.  It is that simple. We take the time to learn about the company and its culture, the team, the project, the technologies used and the skill set required.


This isn’t one sided - we do this for both the company’s and the candidates benefit. Our aim is to facilitate the best match possible for both parties with a long, healthy and successful employer / employee relationship in mind.

So, what do you need to do?

Our simple advice is: When you apply for a job add a succinct cover letter or email to your application, show some interest in the role and within a few points highlight your relevant experience and skills.

Give us a reason to call you!

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Job application and that initial phone call

5 Jun 14 by 20

So we have arranged to call you on the telephone (or Skype for that matter) to discuss your job application; what do you need to think about?


The telephone screening is as important as a face-to-face interview, as it is your first formal interview contact with the organisation. A telephone screening can be used to ‘screen’ a candidate for a face-to-face interview or can replace a face-to-face interview if the organisation is located outside of Christchurch or New Zealand. You may have one or more interviewers on the telephone.


Below is the list of tips you can take to prepare for a phone screening:

  • Prepare the same as you would for a face-to-face interview.
  • Ensure the telephone number you give is correct.
  • If the telephone connection is a bad one, ask the interviewer to call you back in an attempt to secure a better quality line.
  • Make sure that on the scheduled day and time of your interview you are in a private room i.e. one that is free from noise, distractions and interruptions.
  • If you use a cordless telephone ensure that the battery is fully charged.
  • If you want to have notes in front of you during the interview, make sure they’re easily visible. Rustling through papers while the employer is listening does not give a good impression.
  • Visualise the interviewer asking the questions and respond as if they were in front of you i.e. smile and make gestures. Finding an object to focus on, such as a picture on the wall, may assist you in this.
  • Vary the tone of your voice and ensure you have clear pronunciation and are matching the voice pace of the interviewer.
  • Dress for the telephone interview as you would for the face-to-face interview to help you get into an appropriate frame of mind for the interview.
  • Consider standing up. This helps you stay alert and can impact the energy you project to the employer.
  • Do not feel obliged to speak if there is a silent patch during the telephone interview as the interviewer is likely to be processing your answer and taking notes.
  • Finally, take a deep breath and relax. Let yourself be the best you can be on the day.


Employers use telephone screening as a way of identifying and recruiting candidates for employment. Phone screenings are often used to screen candidates in order to narrow the pool of applicants who will be invited for in-person interviews. They are also used as a way to minimize the expenses involved in interviewing out-of-town candidates.


While you're actively job searching, it's important to be prepared for a phone screening on a moment's notice. You never know when a recruiter or a hiring manager might call and ask if you have a few minutes to talk.

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What to do - Do You Have Any Questions?

16 Apr 14 by 19

What do you when asked in an interview: "Do you have any questions?"


Imagine this: You’re feeling pretty good about how the job interview has been going so far. Then you hear the question that strikes terror into the heart of many interviewees: “Do you have any questions?” What should you do? Should you ask questions? Or just put on the biggest smile you can?


As recent graduates, some of us are not experienced with interview techniques. unless you have been vigorously applying for jobs and landing yourself interviews. In this case, when you have reached the end of questioning from the interviewer(s), the above scenario is your time to shine! Nothing sticks out better in an interviewer’s mind than a few polished, intelligent questions at the end of an interview. On the other hand, ending the interview with, “No, I think we’ve covered everything” means missing out on not only a chance to make a real memorable impact but the opportunity to really learn more about the role, the interviewer, company and management style.


We often forget that interview is not an one-way questioning session (i.e. getting asked questions by the interviewer), rather it is an opportunity to interview the company just like they’re interviewing us.


Here is the list of questions that you could use to ensure you’re able to ask questions and leave a good impression. It is important because let’s face it, everyone is trying to get an advantage ahead of the other candidate, and you might as well leave a long-lasting impression in the mind of the interviewer.


  1. What would a typical day be like for a new staff member?
    Asking this will normally convey a message that you’re interested in the organisation.This is an opportunity to get into what the day-to-day responsibilities and expectations of the role will be and be sure you understand the scope of what they’re asking, and what they’re expected from this role.
     
  2. What do you like the most about working here?
    Judging their response, how quickly they respond as well as how excited they are or aren’t’ can help you decide if it’s a place you’d like to work as well. It could also be an opportunity to get even more excited about a role you like.
     
  3. What is the culture of this firm? or What is the team culture like here?
    You should be able to gather the company culture from your research prior to the interview, but asking about the team culture can give you a little more insight into what the day-to-day will be like. This also tells you whether your fit is what they’re looking for.
     
  4. What are the qualities of a successful employee in this particular role?
    Giving interviewer an opportunity to explain their “ideal employee” helps you understand what they’re really looking for in an employee and can give you ideas about the company and team culture, as well as creating the way for success in this role with an understanding of what their expectations are right away.
     
  5. What are the success metrics (or performance appraisal system or KPI) in this job?
    Getting them define what success in this role, and within the company, is invaluable information for you to decide if this is a place that you would want to work and feel that you would bring value and be successful. If you do get the job, you’ll want to know what they’re looking for when it comes review time!
     
  6. What is the career path for this role within this firm?
    Asking this question can mean two things: employers want to know that you’re someone that will be committed for the long haul, and learning to grown within the company. This also shows that you’re ambitious and want to grow. Be careful to not focus too much attention on the “next role after this one” in the interview though! They might not want to re-hire again in a year if you decide try to promote in the company so this is where you can read them and find the balance.
     

  7. What is the organisation’s management style here?
    Getting a little insight into how the upper management operate will help you find out if the firm’s style is conducive to what you’re looking for and how you best work.
     

  8. Is it possible to transfer (either within divisions, to other cities or to other countries)?
    This question is related to point 6. A tricky question to ask but conveys good message: this means that you’re looking to grow with the firm in the long term and you’re always open to internal opportunities that may be beneficial to your growth. However, be careful to not focus strongly on this as you might be seen as uncommitted.
     

  9. What is the organisation’s attitude to further study?
    Asking this question usually shows that you’re open to further learning and the firm should be confident in putting you through their training programmes.
     

  10. Do you have any other feedback regarding my fit for this role?
    This can be a very scary question to ask, especially if it’s a role that you really want and maybe aren’t so sure how the interview is going from the hiring managers point of view. But, this is an opportunity to gain incredibly valuable feedback from the hiring manager about how they see you as a fit for this role. It also gives you a chance to speak directly to any reservations they might have about you and dispel concern they might have.



These questions don’t by all means guarantee you will land a job. However, asking them will show the interviewing team that you’re prepared and have initiative to interact further with the hiring team. Try to pick three or four questions that will give you enough insight into the firm as well as leave a good impression in the mind of the hiring team.

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5 traits needed for working in your business

27 Mar 15 by 24

In light of some recent movement towards freelancing or contracting in our local IT and Tech scene, I thought I’d twist the popular topic “5 traits you need to work from home” into “5 traits you need to work in your own business, at home”


Everyone has to start somewhere, and it is a reasonably safe assertion that most people will kick their businesses off from a room in their own home, even if just for a month. It is also reasonable to suggest that most will experience similar feelings and situations, which means the traits below will be valuable in helping many through the startup phase of business.


Here are five traits that I think are top of the list in the early stages of setting up or running a business. Some of these lessons were recognised while looking back, but some are just pieces of good advice that it would be rude not to share.


  1. Discipline.

    This is in all that you do, be it turning up to work on time or ensuring that your work/business processes are completed to the same level every time. Some people like to dress up in a suit, walk around the outside of the house and head in the back door to start their work day. This isn’t for everyone, and in some ways is counter to the idea that working from home creates flexibility in your schedule. However, if that is what you need to do to ensure you don’t eye up the pile of papers on your desk and instead opt for a cuppa and a console game, then you jolly well do it.

    On your business, discipline covers many facets, the one thing they all have in common is your customers’ experience. Make it amazing for them. All the time.


  1. A brave face

    It’s tough, let’s not kid ourselves. You’ll try to please your clients all the time, and yet there will be a time where you feel like packing it all in for a cushy pool-boy job in Bora Bora. Money might be tight in the early stages (or at any stage). You need that brave face, not just for false bravado, but to continue to say “the client is right” or to change your focus and go drum up some more work. Which leads me to the next point…


  1. It’s not about the money - change your focus

    Well, it is, but…
    It is very normal to be concerned about cash flow, especially early on. You will have a comprehensive business plan with forecasts that we like to call ‘realistically optimistic’, but there is a bigger picture issue here:
    If you focus on doing what you do well, with all the good and the uncomfortable things that come with that, cash flow will take care of itself. Trust that you are that good (see point 5). Simple.


  1. Savvy

    This is probably the most common trait you’ll see in articles like this. Let’s go a little further into it.You need to be:

    • IT savvy
      Self explanatory really. You need to know how to run what you have. This means making sure you opt for the right packages before you open the doors. You’ll be responsible for the printer malfunction at 3am, just hours before your deadline. This, in my opinion, is where a lot of people come unstuck. Every tool you buy, every piece of software you install needs to work in a way that you understand, right down to your smartphone and flavour of Calendar

    • People savvy
      Let’s face it, if you have made the leap into running your own business, you’ve probably got this one covered. Just remember point 2, you’ll mostly have it in the bag if you are doing the right thing, juggling expectations and personalities. But you will be surprised by someone, some time. If you have this savvy in spades, you’ll carry on like nothing happened, if you don’t, you’ll feel like you’ve been sucker punched in the guts. Next time you’ll have more though, accumulating this skill will see you through pretty much anything that your future clients/partners/colleagues can throw at you.

    • Where-the-hell-do-I-get-one-of-those-from savvy
      ‘WTHDIGOOTF savvy’ can also be called ‘Who-the-hell-does-that? savvy’. One of our most favorite clients shared a story the other day that highlights this beautifully:

      Someone thought that while they were sound proofing their 3D printer, they might as well check it for emissions at the same time(?).

      Check seek.co.nz for a 3D printer emissions tester, a pretty rare role I’d guess. Anyway, you need to know everything that will impact your productivity and where to go to mitigate any stoppages/slow down/breaks in the chain of productivity..

    • I-need-help savvy

      ‘INH savvy’ might be the best one. This is an elusive cultivar of savvy in the new business owners head. You need to be able to spot when you need help (hopefully early in the piece) AND have the intestinal fortitude to ask for it. On top of this, you need to be able to ask for the right type and calibre of help, and this will entirely depend on how honest you are being with yourself


  1. Confidence

    Confidence to say:

    • I can adapt what I am doing to meet the demands and criticisms of others

    • I have the requisite skill and knowledge

    • I’ve done enough for today!

    • I can do this


In essence, you just need to trust that the process you went through to establish your new business, was balanced and based on sound thinking. It’s easy to forget that you might be peerless in your field, or that you have a distinct competitive advantage, or even that you just want to do a great job on your own terms.


Wrap up


There are so many more points we can talk about here, these traits are the ones that seem to pop up the most when I’m talking to others about their ventures

If you take one thing from reading this, I would encourage you to focus on point 3, you’ll never look back!

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Personal Branding - Students and Graduates

23 Jan 15 by 23

If you’re an university student or a recent graduate, implementing a personal branding strategy can give you a significant edge (i.e. make you stand out from the crowd) in the competitive job market place.


What is personal branding?

It can be defined as a practice of people marketing themselves and careers as brands.


Why is it beneficial?

There are a few reasons why creating a personal branding can be beneficial for students and recent graduates:


  1. Personal branding makes you stand out
    It’s without doubts that every students and recent graduate compete for limited amount of jobs out there. In order to stay ahead of the pack and keep yourself stand out, personal branding helps you to make relevant impression. When you use your personal branding to construct your CV etc., you’re putting your best foot forward because most students don’t have any personal branding. It becomes obvious to recruiters whom they will take interest in when they compare your resume to others.
     
  2. Personal branding shows your passion
    “What are you passionate about?” That is actually one of the questions that is always asked in any interviews across the board. Having a personal brand that is searchable online can immediately allow potential employers and recruiters answer that question. It’s no secret that many employers are very thrilled to know job seekers who are excited about their industry and niche. This also helps when it comes to finding a job that aligns with your passion as you can easily show recruiters how you have been advocating for the relevant industry.
     
  3. Personal branding establishes your expertise
    All you have learned through your university courses, internships, job placements and extracurricular activities can be shared through personal branding. When you enter the job market, you’ll without any doubts be competing with others who may be more experienced than you. Personal branding will come in handy in this situation as it may help you compensate for your lack of experience because it showcases what you have learned through your university and extracurriculars.
     
  4. Personal branding keeps your social media and online profiles recruiter-friendly
    These days, an impressive CV might get you noticed, but it won’t necessarily land you a job interview on its own. You need a well-rounded presence on social and other online media. It’s no surprise that the first thing an employer going to do is to google you out. Imagine having something negative pop up … Yes, you know how it feels. In the absence of negative things, having nothing come up doesn’t really say much about your level of seriousness in terms of being out there and professional.  



How to build an impressive and relevant personal branding?

Now that you have already understood the benefits of having a personal brand, here are a few ways to create yourself a personal branding:


  1. Remember who you are and what you have to offer
    Personal branding starts with some soul-searching to ensure your brand is authentic and personally yours. You need to ask questions: what drives you? What are you passionate about? What kind of activities give you meaning? What are you great at? What would you do all-day long without getting bored? These questions help articulate the ‘why’ and ‘what’ parts of your personal brand. It reveals your intentions genuinely and clearly and why employers will pay you for.
     
  2. Build a professional online presence with personal touch
    Once you have established your personal brand, it’s time to set up a professional online presence with your very own touch. Online media like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and others. Having a presence on these online media helps recruiters and potential employers get a feel about who you are before getting invited in for an interview. However, not all publicity is good publicity as students and recent graduates need to be careful with what they share on social and online media.
     
  3. Use social and professional media to market your new personal brand
    Once you have created an effective, personal and attractive brand for your desired audience, share your new self with your network. One of the best online media to highlight your skills, knowledge, abilities, experiences, accomplishments, and successes is through LinkedIn. It has becomes the standard bearer with regard to your online reputation and it is often the first Google search result that shows up when an employer searches for you. It’s important to note that a strong online profile (such as one on LinkedIn) can project your brand very effectively, and since LinkedIn is a professional networking site, you’re sure to hit your targeted audience.
     
  4. Network in-person to understand the expectations of your industry
    Social and online media presence doesn’t necessarily replace networking - they simply make it easier to find the right people with whom to network. While it can be a great tool in the job search process, these online profiles don’t replace the power of building relationships. It’s extremely important to present yourself well in person as you don't want you personal brand to tell employers that you are passive. The right professional brand will continue online and offline networking.
     
  5. Grow yourself to grow your personal brand
    As a student or recent graduate, your personal brand will eventually grow as you gain more experience through extra curricular activities or a job. It should not be static, but instead develops organically with you. The best personal brand will be relevant, sustainable, and adaptable to current trend in your industry of choice throughout your career.

In a nutshell, personal branding gives students and recent graduates the power to define themselves and make a long-lasting impression that will be even more memorable than a cover letter.

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Contracting: Is it Time For You to Venture Out?

23 Jan 14 by 11

So you’ve made the leap and have decided to ‘go contracting’. Where do you start? Contracting is an excellent opportunity to capitalize on your depth of expertise in a particular field, and in most instances, be well rewarded for it. But is it all it’s cracked up to be?

Before you pluck up the courage and hand in your notice on your permanent job, make sure you can answer YES! to these 5 points:

  • Are your skills unique?
    Are you able to demonstrate to a prospective clients a deep and specialist set of skills that they would be prepared to pay for?
     
  • Have you done your market research?
    Is there an immediate demand, for your specific skill set, in your immediate geographic region?
     
  • Have you visited your accountant?
    Contracting opens up a whole new world of taxation, levies and insurances to manage. You’ll need to get the right advice, and early, to ensure you’re starting out as you mean to continue and protecting yourself and your future earnings.

 

  • Do you have sufficient financial resources to see you through quiet periods?
    While there is no denying that contracting rates are attractive, and offer significant and immediate financial benefits, it is also a fickle earning method with no guarantee of work from month to month. Can you afford to ‘not work’ for at least ⅓ of the year, or to be without work with as little as 2 week’s notice?

 

  • Are you comfortable with business development?
    Whether it’s securing a renewal on your current contract, or seeking out new contracting opportunities with new clients you are going to need to be able to sell your services. Having a succinct and compelling message outlining your capabilities will ensure clients understand your true value.


Contracting is an excellent career choice for experienced Senior IT professionals seeking a more flexible working arrangement, who are also able to manage the ups and downs of market demand. Contractors tend to network widely with others, opening up opportunities that may otherwise not be available, so ensure you keep yourself open to these relationships.

Surround yourself with the right advisers, and take this advice early. Enjoy the experience! The contracting market does experience high highs, and reasonably low lows, so while the going is good, make the most of it!

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How to Make Your CV Count

23 Jan 14 by 10

Your CV should tell a story, and attempt to anticipate and answer any questions the reader has in their mind. It’s the story of your career since it began, and like all good stories, leaving a chapter out is confusing and will probably mean the reader loses interest.

Here are a few quick tips, that for us as recruiters, really help make your CV count:
 

  1. If your expertise, or the role you are applying for requires a technical skill set, put in a technical summary. It’s helpful to include the technologies you have used, when you last used them, and what proficiency level you would give yourself, say on a scale of 1 – 5.
     

  2. Give us the month/year your role started and ended. Months are critical, without them, you’re getting the reader to guess – did he/she work 2 months or 2 years at that company?
     

  3. Include a brief cover letter. You don’t need to restate your skills, but give us the ‘story’ that your CV can’t. Why are you leaving / looking / relocating? Do you have residency / work permit / citizenship?
     

  4. Think of your CV as a ‘legal’ document and don’t embellish or omit. Even if some of your jobs were a long time ago, add in a table with your career history by date and title only, and then go into detail on your most recent and relevant roles only.
     

  5. Do include an ‘objective’ at the top of your CV. Give us some context – so your current objective is to do what? Do tailor your objective to the role you are applying for (remember to change your CV when you apply for different roles!)
     

  6. At a crossroads and considering your options? If you’re applying for more than one type of role, we recommend you have more than one version of your CV. For example, if you have worked as an IT Manager, and also been a Project Manager, you may wish to now specialise in one, but would consider either. As these are quite different roles, it stands to reason that by having two versions of your CV, you can give more detail to the skills and experience that suit the job you’re applying for. This doesn’t mean omit things, it means, be brief on some aspects and detailed on others, to suit what you are applying for.


Remember, your CV tells the story of your career, make that story good, engaging, and run the spell check!

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Internships: What are They and How do They Work?

23 Jan 14 by 15

Definition of an Internship

Internship is often defined as an opportunity offered by an employer to potential employees to work at a firm for a fixed, limited period of time.  It’s going by a few names, such as, “work placement” or “industrial placement”


Internships provide real world experience to students looking to explore or gain the relevant knowledge and skills required to enter into a particular career field. Internships are relatively short term in nature with the primary focus on getting some on the job training and taking what’s learned in the classroom and applying it to the real world.


Internships are usually done by usually students in their second to final and final year of study. These students are normally known as “interns”. In some cases, university graduates who have not yet found employment.


Its Importance

Doing an internship has become a norm in this increasingly competitive nature of graduates employment market. Many students pay a lot of attention to doing an internship every time they can. Why?


Because doing an internship provides a great opportunity for prospective employees (i.e. students) to gain experience in a particular field or industry. determine if they have an interest in a particular career, create a network of contacts, or gain university course credits. Moreover, Interns may also have the possibility of putting themselves forward for forthcoming opportunities for paid work, i.e. getting employed in a permanent full time position. Finally, putting your internship experience will actually boost your CV as most of the time potential employers look for candidates that have been exposed to professional experience.

Types of Internship

Internships are divided into 3 categories. They’re as follows:

  1. Paid Internship
    It’s probably the most common type of internship out there, as most commonly found at engineering, legal, business (especially accounting and finance), information & technology, medical, science, and advertising sectors.


  1. Unpaid Internship
    The least common type of internship, this is still utilised by employers in the highly sought after professions, such as marketing and politics, demand that graduate level job candidates undergo a period of unpaid "work experience" before being able to get paid work. In most cases this "work experience" is actually simply unpaid work.


  1. Research Internship
    Usually known as “Final Year Internship”, it is usually undertaken by students that are in their last year of academic study. For a research internship, a student will undertake research for a particular company or a faculty. The company may have something that they feel they need to improve, or the student may be able to choose a topic within the company themselves. The results of the research study will need to be accumulated into a formal report and presented to the company and to the university institution the student is studying at.


The saying, “Practice makes perfect”, is directly relevant to the internship/job experience.  If you have successfully carried out an internship you have all of the necessary skills to do the same for employment.  When the time comes for you to seek and find your “Dream Job” you will be well prepared and groomed to get what you want in life.

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LinkedIn guide for Recent Graduates

23 Jan 14 by 9

If you’re an university graduate who doesn’t have a job yet, spending your time searching can be terrifying, demoralizing, and heartbreaking. AWMAIGAT!!! At least you can use all that time at your parents’ place to do something you’re probably doing anyways: hang out on social media, especially LinkedIn.

In today’s electronic age, LinkedIn is an essential tool for all graduate job seekers. Because the site is an online network for over 8.5 million experienced professionals, many hiring managers and recruiters scour LinkedIn profiles to find top quality candidates.

This article will focus on a few ways to use LinkedIn for recent graduates.

  • Getting started
    This is very important, because, you won’t get started unless you create an account with LinkedIn. Your first step is to create your profile. Always Aim for 100% completion so you show up in more searches. To do this, you’ll need to include your educational history, current position and any other if possible, write a summary,upload a photo, and, finally, get a few recommendations from your connections.
  • Build your network
    Build your network to increase the likelihood that your profile will come up at the top of the list when hiring managers/recruiters are looking for candidates. Invite a few people a day, every day, to join your network and you’ll be amazed at the results. If you’re a graduate in Marketing, you don’t want to show up on page 10 when people are looking for marketing graduates. You want to be on page 1. The more contacts you have the higher you’ll be noticed and showing up in the searches.
  • Join groups and take part in discussions
    Join as many groups as possible, but concentrate first on those whose members are people who could hire you (hiring managers) or can help you find a job (recruiters/executive search consultants). You may also want to join job search support groups and industry groups.
        1. Larger groups allow for more potential contacts and allow you to contact fellow group member even if they are not in your direct network. This can be very valuable in your job search.
        2. Groups are a great source of like minded individuals and are great places search in order to expand your network.
        3. Many universities have alumni discussion groups on LinkedIn. Use this friendly space to figure out how LinkedIn groups work, and to keep your eyes peeled on alumni who are hiring. A shared alma mater can help you get out of the resume slush pile.Share your insights and answers to questions on discussion boards thus demonstrating your knowledge and desire to contribute. Post questions or discussion topics yourself. This will help you make valuable connections while building your personal brand.
    • Explain why you’re connecting
      Once you’ve found someone to connect to, DO NOT just send them LinkedIn’s preset connection request. Most of the times they will click IGNORE. Instead, take the time to explain your situation, and what you’d like to learn from this person.
    • Identify your target companies
      You can identify companies by industry and geography to expand your list of target companies. You can filter your LinkedIn list by exploring the company’s website and job postings.
    • Research recruiters and interviewers.
      Once you have done #5, you can identify hiring managers and HR managers for additional information and potentially informational interviews. If you’re sending your job application to an individual, LinkedIn is a great resource to do some research and personalize your cover letter.
    • Spend time on LinkedIn
      LinkedIn, like any other social media platform, is a very powerful tool to land your first job. Ensure that you fill out your profile completely, and use keywords so others can search and find you easily. If you think your hours of procrastination is not enough to teach you about LinkedIn, then head to the LinkedIn Blog, where every nut and bolt of LinkedIn is dissected.

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    Linkedin Profile: What it is, and Why You Need it.

    23 Jan 14 by 6

    LinkedIn is fast becoming the tool of choice for companies looking to head hunt talent, assess competition in their respective markets, and promote their business as an employer of choice both to active job seekers and future potential staff.

    Once marketed purely as a professional networking site for individuals, LinkedIn is being increasingly used as a powerful marketing tool, an advertising mechanism both for individuals hoping to demonstrate their skills and credentials, and companies looking for these very same individuals. In addition, LinkedIn is used to connect industry professionals and open opportunities to network, collaborate and contribute.

    Whether you like it or not, if you have a current LinkedIn profile you are being assessed, you are marketing your skills and experience, and making an impression in your local market.

    So – let’s be honest – if I browsed your LinkedIn profile right now, would you be happy with the impression I walked away with?

    Here’s a quick fire guide to making sure your LinkedIn profile not only represents you in the best light, but sees you well placed to attract career opportunities, professional/industry invitations and the endorsements you deserve.
     

    • Keep it current. Think of your LinkedIn profile as your online CV. Make yourself the person I ‘need to know’.
    • Don’t be afraid to highlight your achievements. While you may take your professional achievements for granted, if you don’t recognise them, how will I know about them?
    • Seek recommendations – Nothing adds credibility to your achievements than a personal recommendation from a respected industry professional
    • Connect connect connect. It’s not always what you know but who you know right? The larger the network, the larger your opportunities within LinkedIn. Connect!
    • Contribute. LinkedIn offers huge scope for collaboration, contribution and connection with like minded professionals. And just like your connections, it’s who you know that counts – meeting people just like you has never been easier on LinkedIn.
    • Be prepared to be contacted. Whether you like it or not, if you choose to exist on LinkedIn this is going to happen. It may be by a recruiter, it may just be by your future employer, but if you’ve got a great LinkedIn profile – expect to be noticed!
       

    The days of the paper ‘CV’ are over, as are the days of promoting your business operation in the local newspaper. LinkedIn is more and more being tapped into as a resource to evaluate talent, compare companies and individuals, and most critically, to evaluate ‘worth’ in terms of future opportunities.

    Don’t miss the boat – ensure your LinkedIn profile is as sharp as the best CV you would present for your dream job!

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    The Recruiter and Jobseeker relationship

    23 Jan 14 by 8

    The vast majority of companies pay for the services of an IT Recruiter to help them find and secure good talent. This relationship between recruiter and company is usually one built on trust, experience and confidence in one another, and puts your recruiter in the best possible position to help you find the right company and role for your next career step.


    So how do you make the most of this relationship between the recruiter and your next potential employer?

    1. Be very honest about what you want (and don’t want) for your next role. We, and our clients can spot incongruence pretty quickly, so honesty is best and will result in greater success for you.
       
    2. Be clear and realistic about your salary expectations. Some employers are flexible, others have set pay bands. Recruiters advise clients of your pay expectations based on what you advise us. Therefore changing your expectations part way through the process isn’t in your best interests.
       
    3. More than ever, companies are putting a greater emphasis on ‘fit’ versus expertise. One of the key things our clients want to know from us is, what are you like? Do you fit their culture? And, from your perspective, will you be happy in their culture? The more you tell us about what you like and don’t like, the more we can gauge this ‘fit’ for you.
       
    4. Work with a recruiter you trust. Thinking back to the points above, you need to trust your recruiter to represent the company you’re applying to and you, with honesty and integrity. Do you trust that your recruiter understands what you want? That they know their client and their requirements?
       
    5. Keep track of where your CV has gone. Sometimes if a candidate is returning home from overseas, or new to the market, they’ll apply for many jobs. It’s crucial you run a list of who you have spoken to and know where your CV has gone. Unfortunately it’s not like lotto – the more times your CV lands on a clients desk, it does not increase your chances of getting the job! And, should your CV then get sent somewhere without your knowledge or permission, you are then in a position to lay a complaint (we would never do this!).
       
    6. Don’t burn any bridges. There aren’t many IT Recruiters or IT employers relatively speaking, and some of us have been in the market a long time. If you need to withdraw your application, or take another role because you’ve been lucky enough to have a choice, keep us in the loop. Chances are we’ll work together again in the future as your career progresses.
       
    7. Remember why you applied! You may get a counter offer once you resign. Take the time to sit with your recruiter and go back over what you were looking for and why you applied in the first instance. This will help you get clarity. Statistics show most people who accept a counteroffer end up leaving again within the following year anyway!

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    Get results from Recruiter Client relationships

    23 Jan 14 by 13

    We all want to make the most of what we have, so here’s a few tips I think every person who works with Recruitment Consultants should know to ensure they get the most bang for their buck:


    Communication is Key

    We all know the basics, but how many of us stick by them? Set out your expectations from the start of how you want to work with your Recruiter. They’ll likely ask this of you anyway, but it pays to think about it first. What’s even better is to periodically review and consider if things are working well in the recruitment process and how they could be improved. In terms of communicating throughout the recruitment process – keep this regular! If you really need a role filled yesterday, don’t neglect communications with the people who are trying to make that happen for you. Our aim is to help you increase profitability by finding the best people for your organisation.


    Move quickly on candidates

    There’s nothing worse than being caught in the cycle of doing “urgent/non-important” tasks at the expense of “non-urgent/important” tasks (like organising that job brief meeting with the Recruitment Consultant or reviewing the resumes of a couple of potential candidates for that role you’re desperately trying to fill). I would argue that anything to do with recruitment of a specific role is important and urgent because it involves your greatest asset: People.When applying for a role, candidates are on a tight-rope-like excitement curve and this excitement can drop off any second, the longer they are not kept engaged.


    You can do this by providing feedback to your Recruiter immediately after a candidate been submitted to you, or interviewed by you, and also by locking in interview times as soon as possible. If a candidate is not of interest for your role, you want to provide the Consultant with the same speedy responses because a candidate’s experience (even if they don’t get the role) will be remembered and word will travel to other potential candidates (and other recruiters) of what you’re like to work with.


    Consider an exclusive agreement

    With a Recruitment Consultancy (or two – though you’d be wise to put Sourced in the mix!). There are huge benefits in choosing to limit the breadth of recruiters you work with. Most significantly is the time and money saved in that you only have one point of contact rather than six different recruiters, half of which you don’t see many good candidates from anyway. As people who work with many agencies will know, often candidates are known to multiple Recruiters. So if you get an agency you don’t normally work with trying to tempt you with unnamed resumes (you may want to check they’ve actually gained permission from candidates to send these resumes in the first place), chances are that the Recruitment Consultants you already work with know them.


    Of course, you also want to work with someone who has an extensive network in your area of expertise and a history of success, so you’ll need to do some research, or depending on your preference a formal PSA may be appropriate for an ongoing recruitment relationship.


    As a client, discuss what’s going to work best for you and then follow through on it. If your initial expectations aren’t clear enough, then chances are they won’t be met. Let your recruiter know what’s working and what’s not.

    Happy recruiting and may all your employees exceed your expectations!

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    Technical skills - how visible are yours

    23 Jan 14 by 5

    A Technical Recruitment title is one of those vague titles that unless you have worked in this space generates a large number of unknowns. What is a Technical Recruiter?


    Like all recruitment roles our job is; simply put, ‘to find the strongest person available on the market for our client’. The required skills of this job are more complex and largely involve translating incredibly specific project detail and determining if the skills acquired during this project will be of value in our clients environment, and here is where things get tricky.

    A technical recruiter deals with the most complicated product line imaginable – you. Our strengths lie in pitching you into this new work environment, an environment where we have never worked, where the specifics of the project you will be working on are confidential, and the technologies with which you work we understand only from a high level perspective – along with a high level perspective of every other role within our chosen area of expertise.

    When working with a technical recruiter, your challenge is to highlight your specialist knowledge and how this can be transferred across the industry in your CV.

    We initially screen all candidates for a checklist of skills required to qualify for a closer examination of your experience. This checklist will be detailed in the advertising material which brought you to this recruiter. Advertisements will stipulate things like: Seniority level, leadership experience, industry qualifications, your right to work in NZ, and specific background experience, to indicate that our Client has made this a requirement of the role. We as the recruitment team do not have the power to override the client on these points no matter how strong the rest of your experience is. If you believe you have comparable skills you must make this very clear on the first page of your CV AND include a cover letter outlining how your skill set matches those required by the advertiser. We in the Technical Recruitment field will always read your cover letter as only you can highlight just how closer match you experience really is.

    A second look at your CV will be gauging the technologies you are familiar with and do you have the required level of competency in these technologies. My advice is to dedicate a section on the front page of your CV to highlighting your specialist knowledge. The easiest CVs to work with are those that provide sections detailing the relevant tools you have worked with; hardware, firmware, software, testing tools etc. It does no harm to indicate the level of experience you have alongside these skills as in number of years of proficiency, a self rated assessment of your expertise is less useful.

    A final look at your CV focuses on the project work you have done over your career. This is far more important than a background to the work the company you work for does. We want to see how you specifically contributed to the project team, what impact you personally had on the project, and where you exceeded the expectations of your team lead. This is where it pays to have examples of your achievements as proof of your abilities. The CVs with the greatest impact in modern recruiting are those that are evidence based, be specific, and again approach this segment of your CV as to how this experience might be of value in another technical environment. All of this assessment takes place before we pick up the phone and give you a call.

    In the world of technical recruitment, a proactive candidate will stand head and shoulders above the masses. Sign up for regular updates of roles available through the local job boards, send a specifically tailored application through to the recruiter, and my advice, ring the consultant 24 hours later to “see they have received your application”, if they are not available to speak to you at the time you ring, make a time to ring back for a brief call – it will bring your application to their attention and invariably gives your CV a second look.

    On a final note, make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date, check your Inmails, and if your contract is coming to a close or you are officially actively looking for a role – state this in your Professional Headline on your profile. Any recruiter of value is constantly scouting LinkedIn for the best talent for their client, make it easy for them to find you.

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    Skype Interviews – Dos and Don’ts

    20 Apr 18 by 69

    Skype Interviews - Do's and Don'ts | Sourced - Christchurch IT Recruitment


    For most people, a job interview is an easy way to send their heart rate through the roof. The anxiety as you wait to meet your interviewer, the first handshake and whether you were too firm or too soft, the nervousness as you try to remember all the answers and examples you memorised the night before. Now, imagine a scenario where you aren’t even in the same room as your interviewer. Your reaction will give you a pretty good idea of how well you’d comfortable you’d be with a Skype interview. While you may not have come across one yet, it’s only a matter of time, as more and more companies are using Skype interviews, especially when it comes to overseas candidates.


    Here are a few Dos and Don’ts to get you through a Skype interview, whether you’re the interviewee or the interviewer.

    Interviewee

    Do: Prepare Your Notes

    One of the best things about a Skype interview is that due to limited visibility, you can have your notes in front of you. Prepare notes with research on the company, the people interviewing you, industry goings-on and have a copy of your resume handy. Instead of scrabbling to remember all your intense research, you’ll have a reminder. It’s important to try to keep your notes to a page to minimise rustling, and also to bullet point them. Having bullet points makes them easier to read as well as ensuring that you don’t sound like you’re reading off a script.

    Don’t: Forget That it’s a Job Interview

    While it’s easy to feel relaxed because this interview is essentially on your own turf, it’s vital you take it just as seriously as a traditional interview. That means dressing appropriately and doing all the things you would do to prepare normally. Ideally, you want to ensure that your background is as plain and unobtrusive as possible, you want the interviewer to focus on you. Remember to keep good eye contact by looking into the camera lens when speaking and ensuring it is at eye-level or slightly above will ensure the best camera angles. Keep kids and pets at bay and remember to do it somewhere well lit. All of these steps will help you come across professionally and give you the best shot at acing the interview.

    Do: Make it Clear You’re Listening

    Just like with a traditional interview, it’s good etiquette to ensure that you are paying attention to your interviewer. While general home life can be distracting, it’s important you keep your focus on the interview. Your concentration needs to be on the screen, so close your internet browser and put your phone on silent. Another great tip is to use headphones, even if you’re in a quiet room. Headphones momentarily block out the world and signal to the interviewer that they have your attention.

    Interviewer

    Do: A Pre-Interview Technology Check

    The one big downside when conducting Skype interviews is the reliance on technology. No one is a stranger to technical issues, but as the party running these interview, these issues can make you look unprofessional and unprepared. Run a test call with a colleague before you call the candidate. Ideally, make sure that the colleague is using a different internet connection in order to get a more accurate idea of what the candidate will actually experience.


    Always have a plan B, whether that’s a phone interview, FaceTime or another alternative. You and the candidate have both carved out precious time to do this interview, so try make sure the time isn’t wasted. Also be aware of other technological factors, like the fact that Skype can sometimes lag and freeze, which is important to anticipate when conducting the interview.

    Don’t: Conduct the Interview in a Crowded Office

    Try to find a quiet spot to do the interview as office noise can be distracting to everyone involved and isn’t a great look for your organisation. Ideally, find a private room you can use, but be sure to ensure that you have an appropriately professional background. Double check that no one can be seen walking behind you and ensure that you have the best lighting possible – daylight actually provides the best light for on camera work.

    Do: Organise a Second/Face-to-Face Interview

    While Skype interviews are a great tool for an initial screening interview, especially if it’s a candidate you would like to meet but logistics don’t allow you to do so. However, they aren’t a replacement for a traditional face to face interview, and we strongly recommend following up a successful skype interview by bringing candidates in for a meeting. It’s also important to note that Skype interviews are not great for detailed technical assessments either, so these would have to be done later or in between interviews.

    Summary

    While a Skype interview is similar to a traditional interview in a lot of ways, it pays to be prepared. Interviewees and interviewers alike should remember to prepare ahead of time with interviewees preparing simple notes and interviewers ensuring the technology on their end works. The setting might be slightly different, but neither party should forget that this is still a job interview.


    With these video interview tips you should be off to a great start. To see how we could help you prepare for your next interview, get in touch today.