Tech Job Interview Red Flags: 7 Things Great Candidates Never Do

Monday, June 26th, 2017 | Posted in Articles, Hiring Resources, Interviewing | No Comments »

Article from Inc.com We Wanted to Share:

Tech Job Interview Red Flags: 7 Things Great Candidates Never Do

If you assign a skills-based challenge during a tech interview, don’t just assess task completion. Also evaluate how the candidate behaves during the process.

Unlike a “standard” job interview, tech interviews can often be very different. Many include having the candidate complete a well-defined task. (Either before, as a qualifying assessment of skill, but also often as a formal part of the interview process itself.)

For example, the interviewer could give the candidate a list of numbers and ask for an algorithm that will find the smallest number in the most efficient way possible, and then ask the candidate to write code that generates the solution.

While the assessment approach can certainly help evaluate skill levels, testing also can reveal other things about the candidate — some of which are definite red flags.

The following is from Tigran Sloyan, CEO of CodeFights, the skills-based recruitment platform that provides coding challenges to help users improve coding skills and even land new jobs. (For companies, CodeFights helps identify skilled programmers and, with the individual involved’s permission, contact that person about a potential job.)

Here are seven red flags to watch for during a tech interview:

1. Lack of attention to the task description.

 If hired, the candidate who can’t follow instructions or has a problem understanding instructions correctly due to sloppiness will cost your organization in the future.

Candidates who are confused or unsure after reading the task description should ask questions and clarify issues as they appear.

2. Shutting down after getting stuck, instead of trying to talk through the problem or attempting alternate approaches.

The real-life engineering problems tend to be complex and not straight-forward. Great engineers also pioneer new way of solving technical problems. So, if a candidate demonstrate a tendency to give up easily when facing uncertainty or obstacles, this might not be the person you are looking for.

3. Sloppy and inconsistent coding style.

For example, using inconsistent formatting, lacking spacing and indentation, using unnecessarily terse variable names, or having code duplication.

This could be a potential disaster in a team environment, where other engineers on the team will need to understand this person’s codes to debug or to integrate to other codes. It also signals that this person does not have an adequate level of ‘attention to detail’ to do the job well.

4. Ignoring the interviewer’s suggestions and hints.

Some candidates will do what they think is correct, even if interviewer says the opposite. While you do want employees to push back at times, in a skill-based interview the goal is to assess specific skills, not necessarily to allow candidates to express their individuality.

Not paying attention to cues, much less direction, could be a sign that the candidate will not be not a great team player. If that’s what you need, working with that person might not turn out to be efficient or even enjoyable.

5. Not considering edge cases or inputs that might break their code.

This is an essential sanity-check step in writing professional codes. Candidates who stop short of completing this step are definitely waving red flags.

6. The candidate doesn’t know what your company does.

The fit between candidate and company is as important as the candidate’s skills in making a good hiring decision. If a particular candidate doesn’t really know what your company does, that means he or she is looking for a job, maybe any job… not a specific job at your company.

Successful members of teams are often people who are passionate about what the company does. A candidate who is not — and can’t even be bothered to find out if they might be — is not a candidate you want to hire.

7. The candidate can’t share a specific learning experience from a past mistake.

Everybody makes mistakes: Solid, experienced engineers, consummate professionals, novices… everyone. That’s a given.

What you want are employees who 1) are humble and mature enough to recognize when they make mistakes, and 2) are able to learn from their mistakes.

Smart people — and smart hiring managers — see mistakes as just another form of training.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
PUBLISHED ON: JUN 26, 2017

Article We Wanted to Share: Employers must use caution when basing pay decisions on prior salary history

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017 | Posted in Articles, Food for Thought, Hiring Resources, Industry News | No Comments »

Here’s an article we wanted to share:

Employers must use caution when basing pay decisions on prior salary history

Imagine a scenario where an employer hires two individuals – a male and female – to fill two identical jobs (i.e., same job qualifications and same job duties). Both individuals satisfy the educational, skill and other technical requirements for the job and they have similar employment histories.

However, at their prior places of employment, one individual earned $50,000 at his/her prior place of employment, while the other earned $60,000. The employer agrees to hire both individuals at 10% more than their prior salaries. Thus, the starting pay for one hire is $55,000 while the starting pay for the other is $66,000, leading to a pay differential of $11,000 (20%) during the first year of employment.

The two individuals eventually learn about the difference in pay and the lower-paid employee questions whether the starting pay differential is legally permissible.

This question is at the heart of a current Department of Labor – Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs investigation into compensation practices. According to OFCCP’s investigators, during an onsite audit of the subject company’s California headquarters, a company representative stated that the business asks prospective hires about their most recent salaries and then offers up to 20% more when setting starting pay.

As a result of these alleged statements and alleged preliminary indicators of potential gender-based pay disparities, the OFCCP is seeking information regarding 2014 salaries, as well as several years of salary history information, for approximately 20,000 employees. The company denies that there are any gender-based pay disparities with respect to employees performing the same job and thus far has refused to turn over the requested information.

While litigation in this matter is ongoing, employers should be aware that both the OFCCP and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission take the position that, in light of historical societal differences in pay based on gender and race, Executive Order 11246, Title VII, and the Equal Pay Act prohibit employers from justifying differences in pay based solely on salary history.

Further, decisions from the federal courts on this issues are mixed, with courts in the Seventh, Ninth, and Eighth Circuits allowing employers to rely on prior pay as a defense in certain circumstances and courts in the Fifth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuit rejecting the use of salary history as a defense to allegations of discrimination.

Finally, in an effort to reduce the reliance on salary history as a justification for differences in pay, multiple jurisdictions – namely California, Massachusetts, New Orleans, New York (limited to state agencies), New York City, Philadelphia, and Puerto Rico – have passed laws that prohibit employers from using prior pay as a defense to discrimination. And, in some cases, these laws even prohibit employers from asking about salary history altogether. In addition, Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Washington D.C. are contemplating similar laws.

With this in mind, employers should be mindful of the risks of relying on prior salary history as a lone or significant factor in setting pay and should avoid consideration of prior salary history in those locations with prohibitions on questioning or using prior salary history in making pay decisions. Where prior salary history is used as a factor for pay decisions, employers should take the following steps to have the best defense to claims of discrimination:

· Ensure that compensation policies and practices comply with the law in all applicable jurisdictions;
· Avoid reliance on salary history alone when establishing starting pay;
· Document all factors that contribute to an initial pay determination including, but not limited to, educational history, degree, prior employment experience, special skills and expertise, individual candidate negotiations, market factors, and other position-specific factors;
· Document how each factor contributed to pay and the specific reasons for the rate of pay chosen;
· Periodically evaluate whether initial differences in pay should be reduced over time when employees have substantially similar job duties and responsibilities;
· Conduct regular, privileged compensation analyses to assess pay equity and ensure non-discriminatory treatment; and
· Consult with legal counsel regarding any questions or concerns.

This article originally appeared on the Foley & Lardner website. The information in this legal alert is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as specific legal advice.

Carmen N. Couden

Carmen N. Couden

Carmen N. Couden is a partner and litigation attorney with Foley & Lardner LLP.

Listening Matters on the Job and in the Job Search

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 | Posted in Food for Thought, Hiring Resources, Interviewing, Job Search | No Comments »

Teamwork

Listening is sometimes an underrated concept. There has been much focus on making yourself heard and having a loud presence and so on and so forth…but what about listening? Have we forgotten that listening matters also? When it comes to doing well in a team setting at the office listening matters. When it comes to interviewing for a new job…you guessed it…listening matters. You get the point.

We have conversations everyday and we are all very busy people with busy minds and a long list of things to do. With busy lives comes distractions. Think about this concept…do you really listen when people are speaking to you? Maybe you get so used to your home life and the people that are around you everyday that you don’t need to REALLY listen. But this is not a good thing to do…you need to listen! So listen up now…well read up and pay attention.

The interviewer in your next job interview will want to know that you are listening intently. So, look them in the eyes and focus and pay attention. Do not look at the plant on the file cabinet in the corner of their office. Do not look out the window in the conference room you are in and start seeing what birds you see in the sky. To listen you need to focus your eyes. Listening intently involves your eyes and your ears.

Let’s look at some other expert tips on how to listen with purpose so that you can accomplish more of your personal and professional goals and be the best version of yourself.

  1. PURPOSE – It matters – think about the purpose of the conversation you are having…why are you having the conversation? What project are you discussing? What job are they talking to you about and why is it important? 
  2. PAY ATTENTION – This is self-explanatory, but it is true. You need to focus. Having eyes open and ears open is what matters to really pay attention.
  3. EXPRESS THAT YOU ARE CURIOUS – You should be interested in the topic you are discussing and listen when the other person is talking about the key points to the topic. If you are truly interested in the project at hand or the position you are interviewing for, you need to show to you are truly curious and that you want to know the details.
  4. DO NOT INTERRUPT – Be considerate. Practice good manners. Listen and do not speak until it is your time to speak and the other person is done talking.

Some information and listening tips taken from/inspired by this article by Inc. Magazine

 

What Do Hiring Managers Look For When Hiring?

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015 | Posted in Food for Thought, Hiring Resources, Interviewing, Job Search | No Comments »

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Business Insider  looked at this topic of hiring managers. What exactly do hiring managers look for in job candidates? In the Business Insider article they specifically looked at what skills and traits employers seem to value the most when looking at new candidates. What are the findings on this? We agree with the article that the traits and skills can depend on the industry, but we also agree with a key finding in the article…that personality matters. Today, more than ever before, personality can make or break your chances of landing the job. According to the expert in the article, Lynn Taylor, “When you reach a job posting, you’ll see many adjectives that will seemingly clue you into the ‘right’ personality to project.” She says that in order to give off this trustworthiness you will need to do certain things in your interview:

  • Listen, pay attention, show that you care
  • Be human, show your human side
  • Be confident
  • Show curiosity and interest
  • Be yourself

The expert says that “The overriding super trait that supersedes all others in countless studies is trustworthiness.”

Being trustworthy is key to getting the job. Hiring managers obviously want you to have skills that the job requires, but they also need to be able to trust you, and the team you get places on will also need to be able to trust you. 

Land the Job, Get the Promotion, or Just Get Ahead: How to Impress

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015 | Posted in Food for Thought, Hiring Resources, Interviewing, Job Search | No Comments »

Handshake

Everyday or whenever we meet someone new which is more often than not, we form opinions of others and they form opinions of us based on impressions. When you’re job hunting or just looking to get ahead, especially professionally speaking, impressions matter. 

According to Inc. online’s partner website The Muse, “Some experts estimate that 85% of your financial success comes not from your skills or knowledge, but from your ability to connect with other people and engender their trust and respect. Within seconds, everyone you meet forms an impression that largely determines whether they’ll like, trust, and respect you. Whether you’re job-hunting or fundraising or leading an organization, making a good impression is absolutely critical.”

So, I think you get the point. Making an impression matters, whether you like it or not. Impressions matter in both our personal and professional lives, but making a good impression in a professional setting can be tough to master. If you want to land your next job or get a promotion or just make a good impression on your coworkers, there are some tips that can assist with this. Obviously it is important to be your self and do your best to be the best employee you can be, but free advice that can help you get ahead is hard to pass up. So, that being said, read on for some tips on how to make a good impression within seconds.

Tips:

  • Neutralize the situation — Take the effort to be mindful of your immediate signals. Evaluate the meeting and make sure there is positive air and if it does not seem that positive vibes are flowing, try to neutralize this meeting and show interest. 
  • Be aware of personal space — mind your own personal space and be aware of the personal space of others. Follow the other person’s cues. Take note of their gestures and see if the situation is relaxed and make sure the positive vibes are felt.
  • Be yourself — this will allow for consistency when it comes to  your general image. By being yourself from the beginning, this will leave little room for surprises later with a different side of your personality.
  • Body language matters —Actions speak louder than words…or so they say, and it is essential that you are approachable. Make sure your facial expressions are positive and inviting.
  • Stay positive — this goes with all the other tips above, so it is self-explanatory.
  • Control your attitude — again this goes with the positive vibes and being inviting in general. Give off good energy. Whatever energy you give off in your first meeting will establish the impression you give to the other person.
  • Dress for success — look presentable and approachable (yes approachable again! key word!) so that you can give off a nice first impression that shows you are a conscientious person and you care about your job and general well-being. Be yourself while also being professional and meeting the standards of the work situation. The way you are dressed sends a message about who you are and what your package is like. Be your own personal brand. Determine what your personal brand is, and then maintain this image.
  • Have a personal statement — yes your personal statement is what you are as a brand, but have an actual verbal personal statement that you would like to share upon meeting someone new at work or in your next interview or meeting.
  • MAKE EVERY MEETING COUNT! – NO EXPLANATION NEEDED HERE 

 

For more tips on how to give off a great impression check this out :

https://www.themuse.com/advice/13-tricks-for-impressing-anyone-you-meet-in-under-30-seconds

 

 

Lead Your Team At Work and All Will Be Happy

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015 | Posted in Articles, Food for Thought, Hiring Resources | No Comments »

A few days ago, a LinkedIn article was posted titled “The First Rule of Leadership”, and the title caught my eye. Is there one first rule of leadership? What really defines leadership? Does being a leader help you hire good people or get a job yourself? I think there really is no negative side to being a leader. Having leadership skills can take you over the hill you may be climbing to land your dream job or get that promotion you’ve always wanted. What do you think the first rule of leadership is? Any guesses? Let’s explore some options that could be the first rules, or just good rules in general, when it comes to being a leader to others.

  • Being prepared to manage the space around you is IMPORTANT — by managing this space you allow your employees and coworkers to do their best job and be the best version of themselves in a work setting   

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As the author of the LinkedIn piece, John Hicks, says, “Of course, you will need to know the direction and objectives for your business or organization, but if you don’t have the right factors for enabling your staff to have the best shot at achieving their goals, quite simply you are not going to be successful.”

Now, you know that managing the space around is crucial to being a leader. So with knowing this fact comes other questions. A question you might ask…what do you need to manage that space? Here are some key things you need to do to be a leader at your office or in your team or just at your day to day job, even if you don’t manage others.

  1. X-Ray Vision — see the world around you at work!
  2. Big Ears — be a good listener!

So, yes, there are only two things listed above. Looking and listening are key! Let people know you are aware of all of the activity and scenarios that are happening in your office or on your team. Have X-Ray vision. Look out for what is going on amongst the other members of your team. If you see someone who doesn’t seem to be on the ball, reach out to that person, and then listen to their concerns. X-Ray vision will let you see what is under the surface…well at least try to see down to the root of how your team members are doing in their day-to-day work lives.

Find out your people’s strengths and weaknesses. See what it takes to highlight their strengths and let them shine and benefit your whole organization. Listen to any thoughts they have on barriers that are keeping them from shining and being a superstar in your office. Notice your surroundings and take note of your team. The author is a professional and he notes the types of listening that he thinks are essential. 

  1. Listen to what you are hearing and what you are thinking internally. Listen and take time to figure out what you need and what you need to know to help your team members be more productive. This type of listening can make you a leader. 
  2. Focus intently on the team member when they are speaking. Be present. Don’t be distracted. Focusing makes you a better leader and makes your organization flourish in the process, because when you focus, there are less problems that were missed.
  3. Energy is a factor. Understand the energy you are giving off and the energy you are receiving from your team.
  4. Focus on direction. If you are a leader, be a leader. Know what needs to get done. If you don’t know, then your team definitely won’t know.  If you are guiding them, then truly guide them. Give direction, but collaborate, too.

Common Workplace Challenges

Monday, June 1st, 2015 | Posted in Articles, Food for Thought, Hiring Resources, Industry News | No Comments »

We all know that workplaces can be filled with some challenges. Some offices more than others. Different challenges for different people. According to Recruiter.com there are 5 clear top workplace challenges today. Here are the top 5 workplace challenges as of May 19, 2015, and my added advice on understanding these and taking on these obstacles.

  1. Employee engagement — According to Recruiter.com, 31.7 percent of U.S. workers are engaged in their jobs. We can do better than that! Work with you team in your office to bolster pride and a community feeling. Plan after work events. Organize volunteering at a local charity event so that employees can engage with one another on the weekend.
  2. Time management – This shouldn’t be a surprise. We are all very busy people; some people are busy due to home life and work life balance. Some are busy for other reasons. Whatever the reasons, try to be organized and stay on top of your work. Work life balance continues to be a topic for discussion. Try to plan out what work you will do in the morning and what you will do in the afternoon if you are in a traditional setting with a lunch break.
  3. Overwhelming workloads –Workloads vary from job to job. But there is no denying that Americans a lot. The heavy workloads can make work life balance and time management tough. Try to plan ahead. Planning ahead and strategizes before you start a new project at work or complete new tasks can help. I cant say enough about how much time planning ahead can save you when it comes to completing a big task at work.
  4. Employee turnover –In 2014, the average turnover rate across all industries was 15.7 percent. Much is to be done to improve this number, but creating a positive work environment and encouraging employees to engage with one another can assist in decreasing turnover. Create a community at the office and collaborate with colleagues. Try to look out for the new guy or look out for that employee that seems to be struggling and might want to leave. A positive work environment with strong work relationships can lead to productivity and happiness for employees.
  5. Open communication — Communication is key. All of the above common workplace challenges have to do with communication in some way. Engage! Collaborate! Communicate! Results will follow.

The Competitive Salary Your Next Employee Will Expect

Thursday, April 16th, 2015 | Posted in Articles, Hiring Resources | No Comments »

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Good candidates don’t go unnoticed. The talent you want on your team is probably coveted or being courted by several of your competitors. Moving fast when you can is a given, but being a quick draw is not enough. Recent studies found that 42% of candidates turn down the offer. A truly competitive salary acquires talent that your team can’t afford to lose. (more…)

Temporary Employees Are Where Hiring Is Going

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 | Posted in Articles, Hiring Resources | No Comments »

Temporary Employees

Over the last 6 years, temporary employees have stepped out of the shadows to become a larger part of the workforce. CareerBuilder reports that temporary employment services have grown 57 percent from 2009 to 2014, and it’s not just for clerical roles or day laborers.

Anyone from accountants and system analysts to developers and machinists can now be ordered to fit a business’ workload fluctuations and short-term niche projects. That has very far-reaching implications for the job market. (more…)