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Is Your Technology Hiring Process Screening Out Great Candidates?

Published September 9th, 2012 by Mak

Is Your Technology Hiring Process Screening Out Great Candidates? 

The current wisdom about the job situation in the U.S. is full of contradictions:

  • There are no jobs.
  • There are jobs but no skilled workers.
  • There are skilled workers but they are not qualified for the available jobs.
  • Qualified workers exist for the available jobs but there is a problem with matching up the workers and the jobs.

Why is this happening and how do we fix it?

According to USA Today a study by Beyond.com indicates one problem is the way job descriptions are written, especially for technology hiring. Job descriptions seem to go from one extreme to the other; either they are so vague that job seekers are unable to identify the position or the description contains a lengthy list of specific language or tool experience unlikely to be found in a single individual.

Much of it comes down to poor screening tools with limited options. The software so many companies use to try to screen out unqualified candidates is not very flexible or intuitive. It often runs best on lists of software languages, accounting terms, or systems experience that are not as essential as being able to bring a team together and get a project out on time. But the skills for the latter are difficult to program into the filter.

When the filter is created from these lists it sorts through the incoming applications and weeds out any candidate that does not perfectly match. The longer and more specific the list of requirements, the lower the likelihood of finding a candidate that meets them all. At the end of the process, there is nobody left standing. The hiring manager can’t understand why no candidates are being referred for interview while HR sees plenty of resumes but no one appeared to be qualified.

To correct this problem hiring managers must first determine exactly what skills a position truly requires. Then they can decide which skills could be taught and which skills must be present at the time of hire. Working together with HR and recruiters, a realistic description of these skills can be used to prepare a more effective filter that is capable of screening out truly unqualified applicants and producing a short list of candidates who may not have every skill desired but who may be able to the do the job with some training.

If you are experiencing a similar problem within your organization, connect with your recruiters to ensure that job descriptions are accurate and great candidates are not being missed. To learn more contact us.

Forbes: Tech companies look for that just-right resume in the hiring process.

Published August 31st, 2012 by Mak

Forbes: Tech companies look for that just-right resume in the hiring process.

Software engineers, according to Gayle Laakmann McDowell, author of ‘Cracking the Coding Interview,’ need to pay particular attention in the hiring process on how they write their resumes, according to her post on Forbes.com, “What Are Common Mistakes That Applicants Make When Writing Their Resumes for Tech Companies.”

Even though her overview is written with the tech applicant foremost in her mind, her tips do apply across the board; furthermore, she focuses on what she classifies as “the most common serious mistakes” in writing the resume.

Before you get too deep-in-the-weeds in a detailed resume, take to heart her pithy reminder that “resumes are not read; they are skimmed for about 15 seconds;” furthermore, a screener is unlikely to read the entire piece.

That said, here is a summary of the most common missteps in writing the resume:

  • “1. Long Resumes:” Short and concise with no more than 2 pages is her advice.
  • “2. Paragraphs/Lengthy Bullets:” Readers abhor paragraphs…and don’t use more than 1-2 lines in the bullet copy; “…ideally, no more than half of the bullets should be 2 lines.”
  • “3. Team/Group Focus:” Take credit up front for the projects you worked on, designed, created, etc. Leave out the team association, the reader is interested in “you.” Here it’s all about “accomplishments and achievements.”
  • “4. Messy Resumes:” She believes software engineers should not be creating “their own templates…If you’re not good at design, why are you doing this?” Keep your pages uncluttered and easy to read. McDowell has no problem with using a well-designed template, one with columns, which makes it easier for the reader to scan important info.
  • “5. Listing Responsibility instead of Accomplishments:” Break down the responsibilities and then use bullets. Pick out 3-5 accomplishments in the roles you’ve chosen to highlight, and repeat for each role or assignment.
  • “6. Leaving out Cool Stuff Because It’s Not ‘Resume Material’: The takeaway in all the material you might be considering for your resume comes down to this: “start thinking about if something makes you look more or less awesome.”

Our global clients are always looking for that ‘just right’ candidate on a contract, contract-to-hire and even full-time employment. Contact us for more information on how Comrise can help you marketed your IT skills, education and experience.

IT Job Seeker Tips: 7 IT-Specific Questions You’ll Get Asked in Job Interviews

Published August 16th, 2012 by Mak

IT Job Seeker Tips: 8 IT-Specific Questions You’ll Get Asked in Job Interviews

We’ve all seen the standard list of interview tips and questions that every employer will ask, like “What are your strengths” and “Describe a situation when…” You’ll always need to describe your skills, education and background, regardless of whether you’re applying to be an accountant or construction worker.

But if you work in the information technology or computer industry, you can expect some IT-specific questions during your job interviews. Be ready to answer these questions with poise, confidence and just the right amount of detail:

1. Can you take a codility test?

Here you’ll need to write actual code in a programming language to confirm you have actual practical programming skills. It’s like a driver’s test — you can’t just tell the interviewer you can parallel park, you have to get behind the wheel and put the car between the cones.

2. What development tools have you used?

Companies want to make sure you’ve got experience using the latest technology. How do you troubleshoot IT issues? This speaks directly to your problem-solving skills in an industry-specific context.

3. What’s your opinion of on-site vs. cloud solutions? (assuming the applications are functionally equivalent)

Your answer demonstrates your knowledge in this emerging field. Form a thoughtful opinion that weighs the pros and cons of both.

4. What is your production deployment process?

Project management has always been a key skill for IT companies — you’ll need have a general framework memorized to let interviewers know that you’ll manage each project thoughtfully and efficiently.

5. What software vendors have you worked with, and which do you prefer?

Every company has its favorite companies it likes to work with, and is always looking to expand their network.

6. How important is it for you to work directly with users?

The answer to this question might indicate how people-friendly you are. Make sure you mention that you’re open to working directly with users, when appropriate.

7. How do you define documentation? Why is it important?

Good documentation is a core skill valued by almost all IT employers, so it’s important that you have a clear answer to this question.

It will help you remember your answers, plus add clarity to your thoughts, if you actually write out your answers to these questions beforehand. Make sure you also ask some questions of your own, and brush up on your communications skills while you’re at it.

Looking for take that next step in your career? Let us help! Comrise’s clients are constantly on the lookout for professionals who can answer the questions above and more. Contact us to learn more.

Comrise Receives Approval for Job Candidate Prioritization Patent

Published June 16th, 2012 by Mak

Comrise Receives Approval for Job Candidate Prioritization Patent

Comrise, a global consulting firm specializing in Managed IT, Big Data, and Workforce Solutions with offices in the US, Hong Kong and China, and their spin-off, RightFit are excited to announce the approval of their patent for Systems and Methods for Prioritizing Job Candidates based upon a Decision-Tree algorithm.

The patent was filed in November 2013 and was officially approved by the USPTO on Friday, June 27th, 2014. This patented algorithm is the key ingredient for RightFit, a candidate prioritization application which is built in the form of a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) plugin, and can integrate with any Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and Talent Management Platform. The algorithm was developed using 30+ years of hiring data from Comrise, Inc., which was then processed on HPCC Systems, the open-source Big Data Platform from LexisNexis.

“This is a huge step forward for the teams at Comrise and RightFit. We’ve been working extremely hard on building this algorithm for close to a year now – and this is a huge win for us as we prepare to go to market,” says Rob Bigini, VP of Global Operations for Comrise. “We truly believe this algorithm can have a strong impact on improving key metrics for recruiters and talent acquisition professionals, such as time-to-hire and cost-to-hire.”

RightFit is currently in beta with a few global enterprises across multiple industry verticals, as well as finalizing integration with ATS’s in the U.S. and the UK, and a Vendor Management System (VMS) enterprise.

Big Data and Financial Services: How Big Data Will Help Detect Card Fraud in Real Time

Published January 22nd, 2012 by Mak

Big Data and Financial Services: How Big Data Will Help Detect Card Fraud in Real Time

Big data and the financial services industry are starting to work in tandem with one another in a variety of areas that help detect and analyze information. One area that’s needed more growth is in fraud detection on bank cards. During the holiday season, particularly, the chances of fraud on someone’s bank card can significantly increase and potentially cost banks millions of dollars to repair the situation.

Fortunately, big data has already been there recently to help weed out information to track down fraud. During that process, banks detecting fraud on bank cards usually meant an immediate freeze and a significant delay while they investigated. Now, with some improvements, one company is developing a real-time big data solution to detect fraud without requiring delays. Fraud Detection Without Disruptions A company called HortonWorks and their systems integration partner Pactera have developed a new analysis tool that allows continued use of a card without interruption thanks to a quicker analyzing process.

The system they use evolves big data even further and shows how analyzing vast amounts of structured and unstructured data in less than a minute can give a real-time picture of card fraud. The above works through a four-tiered system that can gain an accurate idea of whether someone else has used your bank card to make a purchase. This works by acquiring data, analyzing predictive models, integration, then an accurate decision. But it’s a program called Apache Storm from HortonWorks above that’s helping to analyze the data even faster.

When integrated into Hadoop, it’s becoming a powerful new tool that’s going to revolutionize the time it takes to analyze data. What Apache Storm Can Do This program touts being able to process one million messages every minute with extreme accuracy. It helps prevent and optimize various situations for any type of industry, though going after fraud for the financial industry is becoming one of its notable strong suits. It also can detect compliance violations in mere seconds. Big Data and the Impact on Future Holiday Shopping In coming years, consumers may not have to worry about card freezes when fraud suddenly occurs. It’s a true miracle to think card fraud can be scoped out in real time without disturbing consumer purchases, particularly during the holiday season. This also saves plenty of embarrassment for a consumer getting their card denied in the middle of a store transaction.

Big data has finally come to a point where it’s showing the true benefits of what it can do and will do before the end of the decade. For those who operate financial institutions, employing big data now is going to eliminate much of the risk that’s been so prevalent in that industry. Here at Comrise, we provide big data solutions for the financial industry as well as many other industries.

With 30 years experience managing IT and providing workforce solutions, we’re now a leader in big data and integrating all of our services into major companies across the country. Contact us so we can analyze how your financial institution can benefit from big data. We use quality HPCC systems and the programming language ECL as the best industry methods to process data faster than you ever thought possible.