06 March 2018
As the need for new technology continues to grow, the demand for IT professionals with specialized technical skills continues to rise as well. However, IT professionals shouldn’t expect that their work history and technical skills are enough to land them the job. What else are employers looking for in their latest IT hires? A strong set of IT soft skills. “While your technical skills might land you an interview, your soft skills could secure you the job,” says Tricia Demosthene, a Senior Technical Recruiter in The Execu|Search Group’s Information Technology division. “Employers are looking for employees who not only possess the technical skills needed to do well in the role, but also the soft skills necessary for evolving with the organization and moving the business forward.” To put yourself on the fastest path to success, here are the IT soft skills you should emphasize: Communication Skills Regardless of your area of specialization, your ability to interact with non-IT employees will be a key factor in whether you’re who a hiring manager is looking for. However, it’s important to remember that strong communication skills go beyond the ability to convey a particular issue at hand. “As the workplace becomes increasingly reliant on technology, it’s becoming more important for IT professionals to articulate technical processes, issues, and solutions in a way non-technical staff can understand,” says Tricia. Demonstrating Initiative In your career as an IT professional, have you ever spearheaded a project or taken it upon yourself to formulate new Standard Operating Procedures? If so, don’t forget to mention it when you apply for jobs! Since critical needs and changes can come up at any time, employers want to see someone who regularly demonstrates initiative by staying on top of current trends and innovations in the industry. By showing this is among your IT soft skills, you’ll become one of the first people management turns to when seeking guidance on how to keep the business up-to-date with evolving trends. Teamwork / Interpersonal Skills Long gone are the days where most of your responsibilities can be handled behind a computer, especially if you want to move into a management role. As a result, it’s important to show a hiring manager that you’re able to work well with others. “Today, it’s rare to find a position that doesn’t require you to collaborate with multiple teams,” Tricia says. “While being able to work independently is a valuable skill, you also want to make it clear that you’re capable of contributing to a team in order to achieve the best possible outcome.” After all, collaboration is often required for innovation! Presentation / Leadership Skills With executives turning to IT leaders for advice on critical business decisions, your presentation and leadership skills are key. “You must be able to do more than walk staff and business leaders through a PowerPoint presentation,” says Tricia. “You need to confidently make your case about why the company should be investing in certain hardware and software, especially in regards to how it will be beneficial in the long run.”
06 March 2018
How many times have you been late to an interview because of public transportation? Now, sprinkle on some heavy snowfall or treacherous rainfall and you have every job seeker’s worse nightmare! Inclement weather coupled with poor transportation undoubtedly can put most prospective candidates in an awkward position as these situations are typically beyond your control. As a result, if you’ve ever found yourself running late or considering rescheduling your interview due to inclement weather and transportation, we’ve answered five of the most frequently asked questions about how to proceed: 1. What should I do if I wake up to inclement weather? In the event that the inclement weather is unexpected, the first thing you should do is check for weather updates and how it may change throughout the day, including how this might impact traveling. As a best practice, try not to cancel last minute (the night before) if bad weather has been forecasted for a few days as it can make you look uninformed or absent-minded. If the weather will impact public transportation, aim to leave for your interview 30-40 minutes before you would normally need to in order to make up for possible delays. Similarly, if you intended on driving, search for alternative routes to be able to arrive on time. Remember, use your best judgment—most interviewers will understand if you need to cancel or reschedule if it is too dangerous to travel. 2. When is the appropriate time to contact my interviewer? As a general rule of thumb, use your best judgment when you are unsure if your interview can be rescheduled due to challenging conditions. In cases like these, unless you are contacted by your prospective employer about rescheduling your interview, you should plan to arrive on time as scheduled. In the unlikely event that you are stuck on a train or in traffic and you know for certain that you will be late, you should contact your interviewer to update them on your current status. To show your respect for their time, it’s important to stress your willingness to either meet later in the day or reschedule for another time. 3. How should I dress? You should dress appropriately, taking into account the weather and the need to be prepared with professional attire. Whether it snows or downpours, wear the right protective gear (i.e., hat, umbrella, boots, etc.) and carry an extra pair of shoes or outfit to wear during the interview. Always allow yourself a few minutes to change and compose yourself after traveling through inclement weather. Keep in mind, your appearance can set the stage for how well the rest of the interview goes, so a messy or unprofessional look could hurt your chances of landing the job. 4. What should I do if I need to reschedule? You should only rely on rescheduling as a last resort if you’ve exhausted all possible options of getting to the interview. Since you want to show the prospective employer you are genuinely interested in the position, be as flexible as you can when discussing a different day/time. Remember, the more difficult you are, the more likely the prospective employer is to move onto a more accommodating candidate. 5. What’s the best way to communicate? As a prospective candidate, communication is key when inclement weather is involved as it will demonstrate how you manage unforeseen complications. You should call the person responsible for scheduling the interview the moment you expect you will be delayed or realize you cannot travel. A conversation or voicemail will relay information in the timeliest fashion and will convey ‘in the moment’ emotion (i.e., excitement, frustration, anxiousness, etc.), which a prospective employer may be more empathetic to than an email. In the end, how you choose to deal with the inclement weather and getting to your interview will be a direct reflection of your professionalism, so be sure to respect your interviewer’s time and willingness to accommodate your travel needs.
06 March 2018
Executive assistants can be the secret weapon for a small company’s success. Acting as gatekeepers and problem solvers, they keep the company organized, boost morale, and increase productivity. Despite these facts, the position is often overlooked when hiring staff. “Many small business owners may be hesitant to invest in administrative staff because they still view their work as secretarial,” says Tessa Ganassi, Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Office Support & Human Resources divisions. “However, the role of an executive assistant has evolved over the years, and today, they do so much more than just answer phones and file paperwork. The top administrative professionals can handle a broad scope of responsibilities and contribute to complex projects; all while ensuring operations run efficiently and keeping costs to a minimum.” Executive assistants act as the backbone of an organization. And while the return on investment is not always measurable in concrete units, there is so much to gain from hiring one or two talented assistants. Here are just a few reasons why small companies should consider investing: 1. They offer an extra level of customer service: In lieu of having reception coverage, many small companies have individual employees meet their clients or customers in the lobby. However, having someone at the front desk is not only a great way to establish strong first impressions, but also ensure unexpected issues are addressed and resolved immediately. Having someone dedicated to greeting guests can also help them feel more valued and welcome. “Administrative professionals may remember small details that make a big impression,” says Tessa. “For instance, they might know whether a client prefers coffee or tea, and be prepared to have it ready upon arrival. They make every visitor feel like they are in good hands.” 2. They expand productivity: While it’s true that technology has enabled business leaders to handle certain administrative tasks, executive assistants can help your day-to-day run more efficiently. By having someone you can trust to manage your phone line, schedule your meetings, and handle your travel arrangements, you can focus on bigger tasks that impact the business. 3. They take on special projects + initiatives: Finding an individual to take on special projects or initiatives that don’t fall under a specific department is a common challenge for small companies. This is where a talented EA can step in. “Today, admins can be considered a jack of all trades,” Tessa says. “For example, vendor negotiation is just one thing they can handle. Rather than running to a corner store to buy office supplies, they develop relationships with vendors and negotiate contracts. This is something that can save the company a substantial amount of money in the long run.” At smaller companies, it’s also common for the assistant to manage company benefits, oversee internship programs, and assist with hiring. 4. They can build company culture: When you’re managing a small business, cultivating a strong company culture is certainly easier said than done. Nevertheless, it is a critical to increasing employee engagement and reducing turnover, especially with today’s crop of young, talent culture-minded candidates. This is just another area where an assistant can make a significant impact. From organizing holiday parties and happy hours to setting up employee appreciation initiatives, they can help make the company a better place to work. If you are interested in hiring an executive assistant for your organization, we are happy to help! Please contact us, here.