January 15, 2016

How to Ask for a Raise

As the calendar turns over to a new year many employees turn their attention to their jobs and more importantly, their salaries. With companies beginning their new budgets and often having extra money, now is the time when many people decide to bring up the dreaded question of a raise.

Asking for more money from your employer can be nerve wracking and often a treacherous navigation through dangerous waters, but if done properly it can be extremely rewarding in the financial sense. Here are some basic tips to succeed (and survive) the request process.

Know your worth

Employers like numbers and data, not ideological arguments like “ I am the heart and soul of the team.”  When asking for a raise, come prepared with data on how much revenue you have brought in or money saved, or how many positive changes you have brought about in the company.  Your goal is to re-sell yourself to the company.

Choose the right moment

Money is always a sensitive issue. You will want to approach your supervisor at the right time to ask for more money in your paycheck. So avoid asking in the staff kitchen or in an informal moment. Find a less busy time of the day or week and ask your supervisor if you can meet with them.  When the time comes for the meeting, if you sense your supervisor is busy or stressed out, ask them if they can meet another time.

Don’t complain or make threats              

Asking for money is a moment when you must above all else be professionally composed. Pointing out that you have not had a raise in X amount of months/years or that other people had larger or more frequent raises are bad strategies. Additionally, saying that you have other job offers or companies on the table that will pay more is a quick way to get yourself sacked.

Avoid sob stories

All supervisors are human beings and have a heart (as hard as they may seem to believe at times), but again, this is a professional setting and conversation. Avoid stories about how many children you have or hardships outside of work.  Instead talk about your accomplishments.

Look to the future

In addition to focusing on your recent accomplishments, talk to your supervisor about your plan for the coming year and how you fit into the company’s future. What new responsibilities do you want? What are your goals? This shows an employer that you are not a mercenary, but rather “in it to win it” with them and therefore worth an increased investment.

Have a Plan B

If you cannot get a raise, propose an alternative form of compensation such as more paid time off or a better healthcare plan.  Of course, the easiest way to get a raise is to find a better paying job.

Hopefully these tips help to make 2016 a more financially rewarding year for you!

 

 

January 8, 2016

New Year, New You… New Job?

As soon as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve a good portion of the population declares that this will finally be their year. Maybe that means finding a significant other, reconnecting with old friends, dropping a few inches from their waistline, or, as studies show, make it a point to find a new job.

So where do you start? What’s the best plan of attack?

January is the biggest month for job seekers. Unfortunately, the number of job openings doesn’t increase at the same rate as the employees looking to jump ship and head for greener pastures. So how do you make sure your chances are better than everyone else’s?

First, be committed. The perfect opportunity rarely finds you, you have to find it. Be diligent in your searches and check the job boards regularly. Finding a new job can be a fulltime job in itself. Treat it that way.

Second, network, network, network. Talk to hiring managers, talk to friends of friends in careers you’re interested in, make recruiters your best friend, basically, make it a point to chat with anyone who can give you any advice or direction. This can open doors you never even knew were closed, and getting on the right persons good side may end up landing you a role down the road somewhere.

Lastly, don’t feel defeated. Searching for jobs can be a long, extremely drawn out process, and the feeling of defeat can make it easy to throw in the towel. Don’t.  The right job will come sooner or later; you just have to believe it.

In the meantime, stack the odds in your favor with a team of recruiters who will fight for you from start to finish. Those recruiters are here at RedStream. Check out our About Us section and give one of our amazing recruiters a call and your 2016 will only get better. 

 

 

December 30, 2015

Interview Disasters, and How to Avoid Them

 

In our line of work we encounter a lot of amazingly talented individuals. We have seen candidates who were so strong and impressive that they got the job after one short telephone interview.  Unfortunately in our time doing recruiting we have also encountered some interview situations that look like they are straight out of "Office Space". Below are some real life interview mishaps we encountered along with some advice on how to avoid them.

 

Incident: A candidate had a phone interview. He decided to completely blow off the call, and when reached later by RedStream to find out what happened, he told us "I had something else to do."

Advice: If you are no longer interested in taking a job interview, whether it is because you had second thoughts about pursuing the job or you got another job offer, tell the recruiter or interviewer. They will likely not be mad and will probably be grateful that you were professional enough to alert them to your cancellation. Interviewers block off parts of their days for interviews, so if you no-show, that is 30, 60, 90 minutes etc. that they could be doing something else. Completely no-showing guarantees that you will be blacklisted from that company or recruiting firm forever.

 

Incident: A candidate arrived 45 minutes late for a job interview because the subway train they were on encountered massive delays.

Advice:  Either leave as early as possible or take a cab. We always recommend that you give yourself twice as much time as needed to get to the interview. Public transportation is unreliable and often problematic. If it ends up working correctly and you arrive early, just walk around the neighborhood of the interview site or find a quiet spot to review your interview prep notes. But be careful, you don't want to arrive at the office too early…

 

Incident: A candidate arrived 40 minutes early for an interview. The hiring manager had just arrived at the office herself and was in the middle of a meeting with her staff. The early arrival put her in a bit of a bad mood. We can't say for sure if that single handily eliminated the candidate from the job, but it certainly did not help his cause either.

Advice: We recommend arriving 10-15 minutes before your scheduled time. By that time the people who will be interviewing you are either ready for you or are about to be. You never want to be late for an interview, but showing up extremely early is often just as unprofessional.

 

Incident: One candidate interviewing for a Start Up took the work culture there a little too far and showed up for the interview in shorts. He was promptly eliminated from contention for the position.

Advice:  We have all heard the stories about certain Silicon Valley companies eliminating people who dared to wear a suit to an interview and we have our doubts about how true those anecdotes are. Unless the person inviting you for the interview tells you that you don't need to dress up, always come in professional attire. If a company does not hire you solely because you came looking professional for the job interview, you probably don't want to work there anyways.

 

Incident: A candidate kept looking at his phone in the interview.

Advice: TURN IT OFF! This should go without saying, but for some reason we find we need to remind people regularly. Whatever Facebook post your friend made will still be there for you to "Like" after the interview.

 

Incident: During a phone interview a candidate admitted that he had not been trained properly in the skill set that was most important for this job. On top of that, he started crying.

Advice: Firstly, don't ever get emotional during an interview. Should you be funny? Yes. Professional? Yes. Tearing up? Never.

 

If there is something you do not know or an area you do not feel strong in try to turn it into a positive. Point out how you have adapted to new work cultures or skill sets in other jobs. Highlight how you are familiar with skills similar to the one that is being focused on in the question. And most importantly, do not throw your previous employer under the bus. That will tell the interviewer that you like to pass blame around and avoid responsibility. Instead of saying that you were not trained properly, re-word that to say that you were not given enough opportunities to learn skill XX and that is why you are now applying for a new job.

A lot of this advice may seem self-explanatory . But interviews can bring out the best (or worst) in people. Here is hoping there are less bad interviews in 2016! 

 

DECEMBER 17, 2015

Don’t Be a Fake!

It may seem hard to believe, but in today’s ultra-competitive job environment the number of “fake” resumes on the job boards is astounding. For whatever reason, whether it's to cover up a poor work history or to get one’s foot in the door somewhere, people lie on their resumes/CVs and sometimes even forge the entire thing. We like to think that we know a thing or two about how to vet out the fake people from the real ones, so here are the major red flags we look for. 

Listing General Information

One of the easiest ways to determine whether a resume is fake or not is to see if a candidate lists their name and contact details in full. It is understandable why some people may not list a phone number in order to avoid annoying and repetitive calls from recruiters. But not listing your last name, home town, or e-mail address is the fastest way to get your resume reassigned to the dustbin. We want to know who you are, where you are located (for commuting purposes) and how to contact you.

Not Listing Your Previous Employers

Unless you are working for the CIA or MI6, your current/previous employers are not a state secret. Trust us, you are not the first person to work for a popular search engine company or a major hedge fund. Not naming your employers only makes it look like you are hiding something. Recruiters have little time in this fast paced job environment to play guessing games with a candidate.

Not Having a LinkedIn Profile

The fastest way for a recruiter to verify the veracity of your posted resume is to look up your LinkedIn profile. Not having a profile does not necessarily mean your resume will be labelled “fake” but it certainly does not help its cause either. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, get one.

Months AND Years

Another common trait amongst the fake resume crowd is to only list the years they worked at a company. Why people do this is a mystery to us. Saying that you worked somewhere from 2012 - 2013 could mean that you started in December and finished in January, or that you began in January 2012 and finished in December the following year. Two months vs. nearly two years at a company is a huge difference in work experience. So if you want your resume to avoid being overlooked, reacquaint yourself with the Gregorian calendar.

Bolding Keywords

One of the odder traits of fake resumes is to bold keywords. Maybe “Control F” didn’t work for the original creator of fake resumes? Bolding the sections of your resume like “Work Experience” and “Education” are fine. But we can find “Java” and “Agile” without the large bolded font.

Hopefully these tips help you avoid making a fatal resume mistake and keep things looking “real”. 

 

December 9, 2015

How to make your resume stand out

It’s no secret that recruiters look at more resumes in a day than most people will in their lifetime. We’ve seen everything from photos of the applicant and their cat at the top of the page, to enough spelling errors that we can hardly get through the first paragraph.

Don’t let your resume be remembered as a horror story.

When it comes to technical resumes (the kind we see most often) there are key points our talent researchers and recruiters look for. There are also common mistakes that will get your resume thrown out almost immediately.

We’re nice people over here at RedStream, so we figured we’d give you some friendly advice to help make sure your resume finds its place at the top of the pile, and not lost among the masses. Here are our biggest do’s and don’ts:

Use Keywords. You don’t have to be an SEO expert to know that keywords can help get the right eyes on your resume from the start. And while industry jargon and company specific slang may help you seem super cool to your coworkers, odds are no algorithms on Monster.com are using that specific word or phrase when telling recruiters to look your way.

For example, if you’re looking for a technical position, include the specific names of programs you’ve worked with and are familiar with. Use phrases like “mobile”, “iOS”, and “Android” instead of just mentioning one or referencing phone support. Think of how you would be explaining the position to a recruiter in layman terms, and then use those same phrases and keywords in your resume. Having the correct wording will help things standout to recruiters while they scan your resume, and that could make all the difference.

Do Not Use Template Resumes. Sure, resumes can be tricky to write if you aren’t doing it day-in and day-out, and sometimes using a reference can be extremely helpful. Use a guide you find online as simply that, a guide.

Odds are hundreds, if not thousands, of people have used this same template. Follow it too closely and your resume might as well be their resume. We see 100’s of resumes a day with the same exact font, the same exact tables, and the same or similar wording. That doesn’t make you stand out from the pack-- even with the best experience in the world this will land you smack dab in the middle of it.

Be Specific. But not too specific. We want to know what you did in your last job, it matters, and it’s completely relevant. What we don’t want to know via your resume is how you like your coffee in the mornings, or what story Sharron told around the watercooler on your first day. Explain the responsibilities of your job, highlight what makes you a sought-after candidate, and save a little something for the interview.

Take Your Resume Online. This doesn’t just mean throwing a resume up on a job board and crossing your fingers. Take the time to craft your LinkedIn profile to be as stellar as your resume (yes, this matters!) Your digital footprint is as important as your paper one, and if we can’t find you on LinkedIn but we can find the guy who submitted his resume right after yours, and his LinkedIn is awesome—well guess what? You just got beat out.

LinkedIn has a great tip guide for making your LinkedIn page all-star status. Check it out.

Include Your Contact Info! This seems like a no-brainer, at least that’s what we thought, but you wouldn’t believe how many people forget to include simple things like their contact info on their resume. No email address listed? Don’t expect an email from your next employer. No phone number? Don’t expect a call. No last name? We aren’t going to bother trying to find any additional info.

You put your resume out there because you want to hear about new opportunities, we want to contact you because we want to tell you about them. Help us help you.

Hopefully this short guide will help you avoid some of the most common mistakes we see made on resumes on a daily basis. Keep checking back on the RedStream blog for more tips and tricks to landing your dream job. 

 

December 4, 2015

How to Survive a Tech Job Interview

The job interview: Often the final boundary between you and a life changing job/career.  Yet in technology jobs an interview can often be more of a quagmire than a coronation no matter how skilled you are in your respective field.

A new generation of hiring managers have come into the fray, many of whom have come through the ranks of the company and know the technologies required for the position backwards and forwards.

As a result tech job applicants have to adapt and be prepared for almost anything in a job interview. But do not fear. This is an opportunity to show off your skills and sell your brand! Here are some helpful tips to ace your next tech interview.

Know your technology and express it

It may sound obvious or self-explanatory, but it is really  not. Hiring managers are now more astute and polished than ever in tech. They will throw detailed complex questions at you and look for the smallest mistake or area of weakness. Giving examples of your how you used the specific skills in a current or previous job gives you more clout and credibility.

Be ready for anything

“Expect the unexpected” may sound like a cliché but it has never been truer than in tech job interviews and throughout the hiring process. Hiring managers want to see what you are made of and how you respond to various situations and different types of pressure.  One IT hiring manager was renown for not introducing himself or conducting small talk and going straight into detailed questions. Other companies have been known to bring in members of the team you would be working on to “tech you out” and to provide additional feedback to hiring managers during the interview.  Almost anything is possible these days in a tech interview, so go into one with an open and flexible mind.

Demonstrate people skills

Your tech skills and qualifications and experience may be the crème-de –la- crème, but these days that is only gets you halfway. Hiring managers and companies for that matter now focus on personality almost as much as qualifications and work history. Tech environments are often small and rely on strong teamwork skills.  Hiring managers will look to see how well you open up in an interview and personable you are.

All things are good in moderation though. While hiring managers like to see how friendly and outgoing you are, no one wants a chatterbox either.

Ask questions

Hiring managers want to see if you are interested in the job and how well you actually listened to them. Avoid the generic questions like “How will I be challenged?” and find specific topics based on the information the hiring manager or recruiter gave you during the interview. Not asking questions can show a lack of interest in the role. 

 

 

September 12, 2013

 

It’s photo shoot day for the new website. Lots of activity. Everybody’s in the way, constantly over-foot. Pieter’s in his office, keeps changing his shirt. In the bullpen, Stephen’s trying to hit a two point shot into the trash can and misses. Lib says it’s because she’s such a good blocker, but I say he would have missed those shots anyway. Some things he’s good at. Trash-can basketball? Not so much. (Jeez, people, can we get some work done around here!?) Just came out from having my photo taken. Pieter used a treat to entice me to pose adorably. What he doesn’t know is - and let's just keep this amongst ourselves - when it comes to posing adorably, I’d do that without the treat.