J Patrick + Associates Blog

7 interview tips to blow it out of the water

Posted by Glenda Gregorio on Thu, Apr 18, 2019 @ 03:23 PM

Are you prepared for your job interview?

 

Preparing for the interview takes more than a simple Google search of common interview questions. To make a great first impression you should use every tool in your toolbox to make you a remarkable applicant. Preparing for the interview will help to ease your nerves and ensure that you are ready to speak about your skills and accomplishments like the expert that you are! Here are some interview tips to help you shine.

 

Self-preparation

 

1. Start with your Resume

You will have to speak about everything in your resume in great detail. Make sure to have key points to talk about your resume. Review your resume to make sure that you have not stretched the truth in certain areas. Also, be sure to bring extra copies of your resume to pass out.

 

2. Question Preparation

Spend some time preparing for the actual interview questions, think about ones that may come up and develop answers that will address what the employer is looking for. Also, formulate questions that you'd like to ask the interviewer, such as "what was the most challenging project you have worked on while your time in the company?" or "what is the next step in moving forward?" Rehearse your potential answers, but on the day of the interview make it sound natural and not rehearsed. The job description is also a good place to look for question ideas.

 

3. Company Research

Do in-depth research on the company. Learn about the company's mission, history, news events, conferences, and future development. Don't forget to check out the company's social media accounts to discover what the company is doing on a day-to-day basis and its interaction within their industry. You'd be surprised by how much information you can find on companies' social media accounts! Nicole, a Hiring Expert at ManpowerGroup says, "By thoroughly researching the employer you increase your chances of making a positive and memorable first impression. I would recommend digging deeper than just general knowledge about an employer.

  • What are the services/products that the company offers?
  • How large is the company? Other locations? How many employees?
  • What is their philosophy or mission statement?
  • Do they have other locations?
  • Have they won any awards or received recognition?
  • Do they give back to the community?
  • Who are their competitors?
  • Research the executives and the person you are interviewing with.

"The more you have the better impression you will make and be more confident you will feel in the interview."

 

4. Leverage Your Network

Make sure to use all of your resources to learn about the internal aspects of the company, especially your LinkedIn connections. Do you know someone who works in the company? Have you attended events of conferences that the company has also attended? Mentioning current employees and events or conferences attended by the company can show how much you know about the company and how quickly you can assimilate to their company. This is also a great way to show off your communication skills!

 

5. Talk to Your Recruiter

Make sure to talk to your recruiter! Your recruiter is one of your most valuable resources and should be used to prep and coach you for the interview. Your recruiter will have valuable information on the company that can boost your interview such as specific questions to prepare for, the personality of the hiring manager or the qualities searched for in candidates. Your recruiter can be your potential lifeline and make a difference in the outcome of the interview.

 

Day of the Interview Preparation

 

6. Arrive on Time

Make sure to arrive at least 15 minutes before the interview, to allow for time to fill out additional paperwork. It will also make a great first impression on the interviewer.

 

7. Interview Outfit (Attire)

Make sure to look as professional as possible! While some companies have a more business casual atmosphere, others prefer the traditional button down and pressed suit image. Make sure that your attire matches the company dress code. For either type of company, make sure your clothes are clean, ironed, and your shoes shined. As the old saying goes "the first impression is the most lasting."

  

Need help with your job search? Check out all our current openings by clicking here. Or connect with a recruiter to find a job that's a great fit.

 

Need more career advice, job interview tips, or wondering how to go about a vtc interview? Check out our Blog for more helpful information!

 

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Tags: Recruiter Tips, Job Interviews

Cybersecurity Sales Engineers Are in High Demand

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Tue, Apr 16, 2019 @ 10:24 AM

Cyber Sales Engineers are in High Demand.png

  

According to projections from Cybersecurity Ventures, the cybersecurity sector is on track to see $1 trillion in spending between 2017 and 2021. With the refocusing of malware to phones, tablets and IoT devices (the internet of things), and the growing number and severity of attacks on consumer, institutional and government institutions in 2016, these projections might even need to be revised upward.

In essence, bad news for the security of our information is good news for the industry. And where there's a boom, there's a demand for talent. One field that's feeling the full effects of this expansion is cyber sales engineers.

With an annual salary range between $65,000 - $200,000/year, sales engineers in cybersecurity are in the fortunate position of not only being in demand but able to negotiate terms. (Median salary estimates - 101,420 per year)  And in an environment where talent is at a premium, and the demand is outpacing the supply, candidates who are in the job market often are fielding competing offers, as well as counter-offer from their current employers.

What this means is, if you're a sales engineer you have the opportunity to really consider your career trajectory and take the offers where you feel you'll be most challenged and valued.

If you're a hiring manager charged with hiring cyber sales engineers, you already know that the competition for talent is fierce. You also know that you might have to push your budget to get the level of talent you need to keep your company's and/or your customer's data safe. And you probably also understand there's tremendous value in interviewing candidates even when you don't have an immediate opening. But there are a few other key issues to keep in mind.

 

Lose The Checklist

When you're faced with a competitive market and top talent comes at a premium, you have to be willing to look beyond your checklist. The best candidate may not carry all the certifications you want to see, or they might carry ones you never considered important. They might come from a different sector or not have the years experience you're looking for.

 

Understand the Power of Soft Skills

As the bridge between the technology and the customer, a sales engineer's ability to manage and communicate effectively with customers needs to be a prime consideration. Since they are in daily contact with customers, they are your eyes and ears in the field and having someone who is an agile communicator about the human experience (as well as the technical experience) is invaluable to you.

 

Hone Your Game

And speaking of soft skills, in order to attract the best talent, you need to have a company culture in place that both values and invests in their employees. We already know that the best retention and recruiting tool is to make employees and candidates feel valued.

When you're hunting for top talent in a crowded field, always make sure that you have the best position on offer.

 

Looking for a cyber security sales engineer to join your sales team? Click Here to let us know what you’re looking for!

 

Related Questions:

How do I handle a counter offer?

How do I create good employer branding?

How do you enhance diversity a workplace?

 

 

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Tags: HR and Hiring, cyber-security, cybersecurity

The Pros & Cons of Contract Work

Posted by Glenda Gregorio on Mon, Apr 15, 2019 @ 12:32 PM

PROS__CONS.png

 

The word on the street in Silicon Valley is that we are currently in a “gig economy.” What that means is that more and more people are opting to work as independent contractors, as opposed to traditional full-time employment. According to new research, conducted by labor economists Lawrence F. Katz and Alan B. Krueger, between 2005 and 2015 the number of Americans seeking alternative work arrangements swelled by 9.4 million. The swing toward contract employment can be explained by several factors, such as the need for flexible work hours, to the desire for increased autonomy.

But, if you find yourself thinking about joining the growing ranks of contract workers, you need to first understand the pro and cons of this kind of work.

 

PRO: Potential for Higher Earnings

Companies looking to hire contract staffing because it provides the flexibility they need, it saves time, money and resources. However, they are looking to hire experts, not neophytes. They do not want to invest in training or other on-boarding expenses. A contractor who knows what to do and how to get it done in a timely manner is worth top dollar. They come in, do the job and don't put any further drain on company resources.

 

CON: Increased Uncertainty

The potential for higher earnings is a great benefit of work-for-hire, but there’s no guarantee you will keep working once a contract expires. (no guaranteed job security after contract) And since the nature of the work you’ve been hired to do is finite, you have no guarantee that you’ll make the money you thought you would. Another thing to consider is that the project you were hired to work on can be unexpectedly canceled. All of these factors can add up to increased financial instability --if you’re not working, you’re not getting paid.

And finally, there’s no way of knowing the amount of time you’ll spend between contracts, or during your next job search.  

 

PRO: Lifestyle Flexibility

According to Randstad’s Workforce360 Study, about 86% of independent contractors reported their level of job satisfaction to be good/excellent. With this kind of work, arrangement comes more freedom, you’re able to control your career path without having to wade through office politics for a promotion, pay raise, or time off. You negotiate to get the employment packages that suit you best, and you take as much or as little time off in between contracts. If this type of flexibility is appealing to you, then contracting out may be the best of all worlds.  

 

CON: Outside Looking In

All that flexibility may be nice, but the price you pay is that you’ll always be the outsider.  Contract work makes it difficult to create connections that might help advance your career further down the road. There’s also the fluid and ever-changing nature of social engagement at work. As we all know, you spend more time at work than at home, so your social life tends to stem from your work life. Relationships are fleeting and long term bonds are rarely formed.

 

PRO: Increased Technical & Professional Knowledge

You’re an expert in your field and have a certain skill set that companies in your industry want. But, contract work also provides the opportunity to sharpen your expertise and work in different sectors. It allows you to broaden your experience in your field and perhaps gain new skills in other industries. You’re at liberty to choose the skills that you would like to further develop in other industries, allowing you to enhance your CV and marketability for future jobs. It can also be part of your story when explaining an employment gap to a potential employer.

 

CON: Career Development

The freedom provided by contract work to broaden your technical and professional skills means that you are in charge of your own development. Great, right? Maybe not. Although it feels empowering to be in charge of your own career development, it is a heavy burden to bear. You no longer have the human resources department or a talent management team to ensure that you’re properly trained and qualified for the job. It is now up to you to make sure that your skill set is up to par with the current trends of the industry.

Like everything in life, contract employment has its benefits and drawbacks. Although it might not be a career-long plan, if you’re returning back to the workforce or need a flexible work arrangement, contract work very well might be a great option. Although there’s no fixed amount of time you can guarantee being unemployed between contract positions there are definitely a lot of pros to short term positions.

 

Job seekers looking for contract jobs or a full-time job, be sure to click here to check out all our currently available positions!

 

Related Blogs:

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Tags: Job Search, Job Interviews, Career Strategies

Have What It Takes To Be An AV Technician? ( Hint: You do! )

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad Sullivan on Thu, Apr 11, 2019 @ 04:38 PM

Being an AV Technician

  

Let's start with the basics, who and what is an AV Technician?

 

According to Study.com, “Audiovisual technicians set up, operate, maintain and repair equipment used to enhance live events, such as microphones, video recorders, projectors, lighting and sound mixing equipment. They record meetings and presentations with video cameras, operate spotlights, adjust amplifiers, coordinate graphics used in displays and provide technical support for teleconferences, webinars, and distance-learning classes. Technicians may also edit, copy and store videotapes and DVDs, track inventory of equipment and order supplies.” 

 

With this being said, a study conducted by InfoComm states the next three years will be a time of consistent growth for both AV sales and service sales worldwide. This is an industry that has seen a consistent growth rate of 3.10% per year since 2004. Accordingly, the demand for well-qualified AV techs is expected to continue to rise at an expected 15,000 new jobs each year.

 

With a full-time audiovisual tech making a median salary of $55,671, an av technician with a few years of experience can expect to earn between $48,000-$66,000. Similarly, a part-time audiovisual technician can bring in anywhere from $15-$30 an hour depending on experience.

Average salary for an av technician

 

The beauty of many of these jobs, unlike many in the IT sector, is you don't need a raft of previous experience, hefty certifications or specialized degrees to enter the field.

 

Here's what you need, and what you can expect from a career in this field:

 

What You Need To Get Your First  AV Technician Job:

  • A high school degree is necessary, however a bachelors degree will certainly be helpful but is not always viewed as vital
  • A good facility with technology- this could be as simple as a strong working knowledge of consumer goods (TV/DVD Players/Game Systems) as well as a degree of comfort with cable-ing and connection conventions.
  • Working knowledge of electrical safety. Again this can be as simple as understanding the fundamentals of rewiring, grounding and wiring outlets.
  • Experience in either music, theater or other live events can be helpful. (Did you volunteer with a local community theater and help setting up audio equipment? Perhaps you played in a band or are your family's go-to-guy for all issues with TV and accessory set up.)
  • Any kind of facility with AV equipment will serve you well, but the real key quality you need is the drive to keep learning.

 

Typical AV Technician Job Description:

Regardless of the vertical, you find yourself working in (Video, Audio) or the sector the company serves (consumer, commercial, industrial) most job descriptions will include the following requirements:

  • Install, set up and adjust audio-visual equipment on site
  • Test equipment for faults then repair
  • Train customers on operation and basic maintenance
  • Perform routine checks and maintenance of equipment
  • Troubleshoot problems in the field
  • AV technician is responsible for being team members
  • AV technician needs to learn their particular audio visual systems

(There will also be different audio visual technician skills recommended based on the job.)

 

Click here to check out J. Patrick's current AV Tech jobs available!   

 

The Typical AV Technician (Or Not!):

While there might be the typical job description, that doesn't mean there is such a thing as a typical AV technician. AV techs hail from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Some come from the music industry, others from entertainment, while still others are attracted to the field as a way into the larger IT world. Whatever direction you're approaching the field from you ought to have the following:

  • The desire to travel and to be exposed to a wide variety of environments. One week you might be working in a school and the next week you might be installing a video wall in a retail environment.
  • Flexibility and creativity to troubleshoot on site.
  • Good communication skills for both reporting to managers and supervisors as well as being able to field and manage customer concerns.
  • A passion to create cool stuff.

 

The beauty of beginning your career in AV/IT if you become an AV technician is that working in the field can prepare you for a variety of roles down the road. And with new integration opportunities blossoming all the time, AV/IT shows no sign of slowing any time in the future - neither will your career!

 

Lastly, know there are many different names for AV Technicians. Some of which include, AV Installer, AV Specialist, AV field engineer, AV customer engineer, etc.   

 

 

Sound like you? J.Patrick & Associates has multiple AV Industry Jobs which we encourage you to check out!



Related Blogs:

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HOW TO GET PROMOTED FROM AV TECHNICIAN TO LEAD TECHNICIAN 

 

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Tags: Job Search, AV/VTC/UC

Leaders Are Made, Not Born. Develop Your Leadership Skills Now.

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Wed, Apr 03, 2019 @ 04:30 PM

bigstock-Transparent-ball-with-inscript-93653684_opt.jpg

 

Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” - Jack Welch

Let’s get this straight from the get go; there is no such thing as a natural born leader. Regardless of how much power and influence one may have been born into, leadership is a learned skill. Sure, it comes easier to some and we can’t ignore that there are those who enjoy a quicker route to the top, but in order to stay there, to keep growing their influence, they had to cultivate some key qualities.

Leadership is not a title, it’s a mindset, a way of being. Whether you have your sights on management, the C-level Suite, or run your own business, you’d do well to begin integrating these qualities into your everyday life now, for habits only become habits with practice.

 

Here are 6 things great leaders know.

 

  • They Speak Less, Listen More

The only way to get a broad understanding of any situation is to first listen to what other’s have to say. Take everything in, consider all sides of the story before formulating your response. Then, once you’ve considered what it is you want to contribute, concision is the key to effective communication.

When you are willing to listen more and speak less, others will feel more valued if you are willing to hear them out. When you do speak, people will be far more apt to listen.

 

  • They Value Integrity

A good leader, one who motivates and drives a successful team, is first and foremost a model of reliability and accountability. Reliability is won by doing what you say you’re going to do, when you said you’re going to do it. And then going one step further to take responsibility should things go sideways.

 

  • They Are Always Adapting

There has to be more than one solution to any given problem, and a good leader knows this to be true. Rigidity kills innovation, leaving no room for new ideas to bloom. Certainly there may be standards and procedures that must be adhered to, but a good leader leaves room for creativity to bloom.

 

  • They Communicate

While this may sound at first like a contradiction of Speak less, Listen more, it’s in fact an important pillar of good leadership. Assumptions not only cause conflict and wasted time and resources, they diminish trust. Once again concision is the key - it takes less time to communicate clearly with your boss, your team, your customers than it does to clean up the mess left behind by confusion and miscommunication.

 

  • They Know It’s All In The Timing

Patience is a virtue, so we are told, and it’s also a key to understanding what true leadership means. Now is not always the best time to hold that meeting, to send that email, to ask your boss to assign you to that project. Just as entrepreneurs know that there must be a period of sacrifice before success, planning ahead and being willing to be patient often means the rewards will be all the sweeter.

 

  • They Know the Goal.

The point of being a leader is not glory or accolades, or even the biggest office. In business, the goal it to build a strong company and ensure that everyone succeeds. Ego, selfishness, competition and other cut-throat tactics might get you ahead in the short term, but a career to be proud of is built on stronger material.

Great leaders are not born, they are made from integrity, respect and hard work.

 

Are you looking for a new position to help you meet your leadership goals? If so, let J.Patrick & Associates hunt for you!

Tags: Career Strategies, management

Making The Most Of An Employment Gap

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Wed, Apr 03, 2019 @ 10:00 AM

Make the most of an employment gap

 

Returning to the workforce after a hiatus (either planned or involuntary) accounting for a gap in employment can be daunting. But whether you’ve been out of the job market for a few months or a number of years, there are a number of things you can do to ensure that prospective employers view your hiatus as time well spent, rather than damaging blank space on your resume.

 

Embrace the Gap

As much as you may want to try to make an employment gap disappear when getting back into the workforce, you must embrace it. You are much better off accounting for it, than trying to make believe it never happened. If for example, your hiatus was devoted to raising children, include it as such on your resume: 2011-2016 Time off to stay at home with my children/care for parents etc. Be clear and honest, and know that having taken time off doesn’t make you a less valuable employment prospect.

 

Highlight Volunteer Work

It may be tempting to minimize the impact volunteer work may have on your career, but if you step back, you you'll see that you gained valuable skills and experience by working with a non-for profit institution or school. By highlighting this experience you are showing prospective employers that you are willing to use your skills to be a positive force in your community, that you are passionate about certain causes, and you are engaged in building new skill sets.

infographic3.2.jpg

Don’t forget to avail yourself of those connections you made when volunteering when you’re looking for your next position. Even if they are not able to help connect you with prospective employers, they can write recommendations for your LinkedIn profile and provide you with endorsements.

 

Keep Learning

Employers will be less apt to balk at a gap if you’ve been busy working on your education. And understand this is not a bias that’s limited to University or degree work. Take the time during your hiatus to get current with certifications and trainings and learn new skills. Employers will see you’ve been dedicated to keeping your skill sharp, and are returning up to date with the latest trends in your sector.

 

Practice Your Story

When it comes to the interview, you need to be able to explain your hiatus in a way that allows you to be seen as an exciting prospect. Don't fall to the temptation to apologize for your hiatus. All that's called for is a concise explanation to help remove any doubts of your readiness and appeal to a potential employer. Know what you have to offer and be ready to voice it in just a few sentences. Understanding how to tell your story may take some time and practice, but it will deliver dividends when you are pitching yourself for a job.

 

Practice telling your story with both friends and people who don't know you so well - it will help strengthen your pitch and work out any hesitation or weakness.

 

While there may be a pervasive bias against people who have left the workforce for a hiatus, how you handle it can make all the difference in your job search.

 

Related Blogs: 

TELL YOUR SOTY TO GET THE JOB

LINKEDIN REFERRALS: ONE MORE REASON TO PROPERLY OPTIMIZE YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE

If you’re ready for to end your hiatus, or are looking for a new job, contact one of our recruiters here at J.Patrick & Associates.

We are an Executive Recruiting firm that focuses on Executive Management, Sales, Marketing and Technical roles within Information Technology markets. We have over 20 years of experience recruiting in every aspect of AV/VTC/UC, Application, Storage, Information/Network Security, Mobile Technologies and Telecommunications.

 

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Tags: Recruiter Tips, Job Search, Networking, Job Interviews

The Bottom Line: The Pros & Cons of Contract Work

Posted by Glenda Gregorio on Thu, Mar 28, 2019 @ 12:46 PM

Contract Work

 

The word on the street in Silicon Valley is that we are currently in a “gig economy,” that is, more and more people are opting for contract work as opposed to traditional full-time employment. According to new research, conducted by labor economists Lawrence F. Katz and Alan B. Krueger, between 2005 and 2015 the number of Americans seeking alternative work arrangements swelled by 9.4 million. The large move towards contract employment can be explained by several factors from the need for flexible work hours to increased autonomy.

But, if you find yourself thinking about joining the growing ranks of contract workers, you need to first understand the pro and cons of this kind of work.

 

PRO: Potential for Higher Earnings

Hiring contractors provide the flexibility companies need as it saves time, money and resources. Companies are also going to hire you because you’re an expert in your field. You know what to do and how to get it done in a timely manner, which is what companies look for in contractors. It is important to understand that most contractors are considered experts in their fields, so you will be rewarded for your expertise.

 

CON: Increased Uncertainty

The potential for higher earnings is a great benefit of contract work, but there’s no guarantee you will keep working once a contract expires. And since the nature of the work you’ve been hired to do is finite, you have no guarantee that you’ll make the money you thought you would. Another thing to consider is that the project you were hired to work on can be unexpectedly canceled. All of these factors can add up to increased financial instability --if you’re not working, you’re not getting paid. And finally, there’s no way of knowing the amount of time you’ll spend between contracts.  

 

PRO: Lifestyle Flexibility

According to Randstad’s Workforce360 Study, about 86% of independent contractors reported their level of job satisfaction to be good/excellent. With contract work comes more freedom, you’re able to control your career path without having to wade through office politics for a promotion, pay raise or time off. You negotiate to get the employment packages that suit you the most, and you take as much or as little time off in between contracts. If this type of flexibility is appealing to you, this will help boost your professional and personal satisfaction.  

 

CON: Outside Looking In

All that flexibility may be nice, but the price you pay is that you’ll always be the outsider.  Contract work makes it difficult to create ties, connections which might help advance your career further down the road... There’s also a lack of social engagement. As we all know, you spend more time at work than at home, so your social life tends to stem from your work life. Some in-house employees may not be inclined to get to know you because you’ll be with the company for a limited amount of time.

 

PRO: Increased Technical & Professional Knowledge

You’re the expert in your field and have a certain skill set that companies in your industry want. But, contract work also provides the opportunity to sharpen your expertise and work in different sectors. It allows you to broaden your experience in your field and perhaps gain new skills in other industries while you’re at it. You’re at liberty to choose the skills that you would like to further develop in other industries, allowing you to enhance your CV and marketability for future jobs. It can also be part of your story when explaining an employment gap to a potential employer.

 

CON: Career Development

The freedom provided by contract work to broaden your technical and professional skills means that you are in charge of your own development. Great, right? Maybe not. Although it feels empowering to be in charge of your own career development, it is a heavy burden to bear. You no longer have the human resources department or a talent management team to ensure that you’re properly trained and qualified for the job. It is now up to you to make sure that your skill set is up to par with the current trends of the industry.

Like everything in life, contract employment has its benefits and drawbacks. Although it is not a career-long plan, if you’re returning back to the workforce or need a flexible work arrangement, contract work might be a viable option.

 

Related Blogs:

HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF AN EMPLOYMENT GAP

TELL YOUR STORY TO GET THE JOB

 

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Tags: Job Search, Job Interviews, Career Strategies

AVIXA CTS or Crestron? Weighing the Importance of AV certs

Posted by Daniel Lehman on Tue, Feb 19, 2019 @ 12:05 PM

 

If you are considering career paths, there is a lot to be said about exploring the many avenues the audiovisual industry has to offer!

The tsunami wave of new technology and the many segments of the industry may leave candidates feeling dizzy. Live events, which accounts for a considerable chunk of AV, may sing to your inner audiophile. On the other hand, tech-savvy professionals have made their entire careers servicing videoconferencing technologies such as Cisco WebEx and Zoom.

 

Then there is AV Integration, more like the construction business, or the designing and installing, troubleshooting, and maintaining of these complex audiovisual systems. The demand here for qualified techs is especially high. Every business, big and small is seeing the value in a new conference room complete with videoconferencing, complex sound and lighting, and large format displays. And with software videoconferencing like Webex, they have upped the ante on smart rooms: with network integration so systems can be remotely integrated, controlled and supported.

 

Conference room, videoconferencing, AV

 

As our world becomes smaller and the goal of staying connected remains a global imperative, AV integration has experienced the most dynamic growth. AVIXA, the board which handles licensure for the Audiovisual Industry, has marked this trend. AVIXA Board of Director Jeff Day, cited that by 2023 AV Integration (ProAV) will be a “230 Billion Dollar Market..which equates to 3.8% Predicted Compound Annual Growth.” This outpaces our country’s projected GDP rate considerably. So it stands to reason that getting a job as a field engineer or AV Installer in the AV Integration space should be relatively easy with this influx of new business, right?

 

Here’s the kicker...there seems to be some confusion as to what technical experience hiring managers are looking for in candidates that are applying for the job. AVIXA’s Sean Wargo, Director of Market Intelligence, elaborates:

“The market for AV solutions is consistently strong; the industry must continually grow to meet the demand..the challenge is finding the qualified labor to staff the influx of AV design and integration projects.”

Simply put, there are not enough qualified technicians and designers to step into these roles opening up at the AV Integrators. In fact, many hiring managers at integrators will screen candidates coming from other roles in AV such as Live Events, Acoustics, and Conference Room Support and elect to take a pass.

 

cat5 cable, wiring, AV So what qualifications are in demand for these hiring managers?

For an AV technician, knowing the ins and outs of basic installation such as pulling and terminating cat5 and cat6 cable, soldering, installing LEDs, projectors, and microphones are definitely crucial skills and they have their place. But is it enough to advance past an entry level technician job? Like most technology businesses, AV integrators margins are shrinking when it comes to building and selling hardware systems, and trending more towards software-based solutions. It seems that it is in the best interest for savvy AV technicians to invest in the right vendor certifications to get ahead of the curve. Here’s the issue, there are almost as many industry certifications as there are racks of gear being pumped out of the warehouses of these integrators. You have the AVIXA CTS and its- I, and- D variants, the slew of Crestron certifications, Extron, Biamp, Tesira, and the list goes on. Not to mention, they tend to be on the pricey side. For example, the CTS prep course (highly recommended) is around $1000, and the test itself is $175 so getting them all is an expensive and time-consuming undertaking.

 

So if you’ve spotted your dream job in AV integration what training should take priority if you want to take your career to the next level?

There are no simple answers. This author’s job involves talking to experienced candidates and hiring managers in the audiovisual industry. So throughout the day, I started asking the question: in your experience, what is the best experience? Over several conversations between candidates and managers alike certain patterns began to emerge. There seems to be a lot of agreement on the AVIXA CTS: it has value and is recognized everywhere. However, it’s value to hiring managers is that it covers broad industry knowledge. In this way, it is more of a ticket to play as opposed to any indication of specific knowledge or experience. More credence might be given to the CTS -I (for AV Installation) and CTS-D (for Design), in that these tests are regarded as more difficult and deal with specific job functions in AV. Still, the CTS certs serve the valuable purpose of helping you gain visibility amongst hiring managers and recruiters. In one manager’s words, a CTS is never required but shows the individual is “self-motivated and passionate about AV.”

 

XLR cable, wiring, AV

The general consensus seems to be that vendor specific training is much more applicable in the field. While every integrator’s process is a little different, there is considerable overlap in the technology being utilized. So certain vendor certs appear to be worth their weight in gold when it comes to getting recognized by hiring managers. As stated earlier, many of these certifications line up with the trend of AV moving from hardware to software business. Crestron, which is the Windows software used to program audiovisual components in smart rooms, is ubiquitous in commercial settings. Installers that possess certifications from Crestron, such as the DCM-E-4k, consistently have an edge up in the marketplace. When a hiring manager asks you: “Your programmer is offsite and sends your files to upload, how do you get it onto the system?” Candidates applying for Field Engineer need to know that the answer is using Crestron Toolbox, and should also know its basic functions. Many techs hear “programming” and want to run for the hills, but the training is not as scary as one might think. According to one candidate with 30 years in ProAV:

Crestron’s training program is fabulously well run and gives plenty of time for test preparation.”

DSP vendor certs such as Biamp, Dante and Tesira also score high points on the application. Again, integrators will vary in their choices, but Biamp’s offerings in particular thoroughly cover the “audio” in audiovisual.  Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC) is one specific area that is covered, to achieve maximum speech quality in audio in a conference room. Many integrators will have at least one key contact on staff that is Biamp certified and serves as a channel partner to the Oregon Based equipment provider. So you can bet engineers that are Biamp certified and can write DSPs programs to improve sound will be highly sought after by many AV integrators.  

 

With all this said it may come as no surprise that to hiring managers, experience trumps most anything. Still, if you’re not yet working on the complex AV systems of your dreams, it may be smart to get exposure to the technology hiring managers are looking for by seeking out these certifications early on. It is true that many firms will pay for training, but what if you are not currently employed or climbing the ranks at an integrator? If coming out of pocket yourself is not an option, many of these vendors have free online training to get you started (links to crestron and Biamp page). Targeting AV integration projects that are using these technologies and seeking an entry-level spot is also a strategy worth considering.

 

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Seal The Deal: The Sales Engineer Product Demonstration Interview

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Tue, Apr 11, 2017 @ 11:05 AM

Sales Engineer Interview

 

The road to a job offer for a Sales Engineer can look a bit different from other roles after the initial stages.

After impressing the hiring manager during your call or video interview, you've had a technical screen, interviewed with a senior sales engineer or perhaps some peers SEs. You might have even been screened by 1 or 2 of the sales reps you'd be supporting.

Now it's time for the final hurdle of the interview process -- the product demonstration interview. 

Whether you've been a SE for years, or this is your chance to step up into the role, there are some key factors to keep in mind as you prep for the demo.

 

The Ideal Candidate Marries Aptitude + Attitude

The ideal candidate for any SE role obviously has to have the technical knowledge and facility needed to support the product. But you know if you hadn't passed the technical screen you wouldn't be preparing to give a demo.

So, your job during the presentation goes way beyond being able to explain the back end of the product. The real point of the demonstration interview is demonstrating that you are relatable, passionate and creative.

Hiring managers are looking for SEs who can both make the tech accessible and clear while instilling trust in the clients. Your job is to be an evangelist for the product, to transfer your enthusiasm and to tell the story of why this is the perfect solution for the customer.

Conveying that you have the perfect combination of aptitude and attitude during your presentation will put you within reach of an offer.

 

Confidence is Key

Since you aren't doing a demonstration for customers you don't have the benefit of discovery or a pre-call. And while you will have done your research on the hiring team, you're not pitching the product to fill a real need for them. In fact, you might even be in the position of having to demo the hiring company's product for them.

And puts you at a disadvantage. Whereas you're accustomed to being the expert in the room, suddenly you're in the position of having to sell people who know more about the solution than you do.

But, that doesn't mean you can't knock this demo out of the park.

And the key to that is confidence. 

We're not talking cocky swagger here. This is the confidence born of practice, research, and deep, well-structured preparation. It's the ability to hold your agenda and convey your enthusiasm.

In some ways, a room full of skeptics is the best test of your talents. If you can convincingly sell a panel of Senior Sales Engineers, the VP of Sales and the hiring manager on their own product, then you can face the toughest customer challenges out there.

 

Share Your Passion

If your presentation is on the subject of your choice, choose something you're passionate about. Pick something you've done the deep research on, and that you can speak with perfect authority about.

We had a candidate do a demo on remote-controlled helicopters - a subject that had absolutely nothing to do with the company's product, but it was a topic he could be an evangelist for.

He nailed the demo and got the job.

 

Close the Deal

Whether you're presenting on your current product, the hiring company's product or your favorite hobby, a successful Sales Engineers knows how to make any set of circumstances work.

You might not wind your demo looking for the sale, but you do want to bring the pitch to a clean close. Just as you know how to convert prospects into customers by from a position of knowledge intent on finding a solution, use that power of creative know-how to get the job.

Engaging with the room honestly - one person to another. Stay on target, explain the functionality of the solution and convey your passion for helping them put a solution to work.

 

Related Blogs:

CYBERSECURITY SALES ENGINEERS ARE IN HIGH DEMAND

HIRING SALES ENGINEERS? OPEN YOUR MIND WHEN IT COMES TO REQUIREMENTS 

 

Looking for your next move? Check out our available Sales Engineer Jobs

                                                            

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Yes, You can Rescue an Interview After a Bad First Impression!

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Tue, Apr 04, 2017 @ 11:04 AM

Rescue your interview after a bad first impression

 

First impressions matter. In fact, they're more powerful than facts. Research has shown that we form our most lasting impressions of someone within the first 5 seconds of meeting them and that we rarely change these initial ideas even in the face of hard evidence.

 

5 seconds.

 

That’s hardly enough time to walk in the door of an interview and take your seat, let alone make a strong case why you’re the best candidate for the job. But, it is enough time to blow an interview. Stumbling over a bump in the carpet, offering up a weak handshake, poor eye contact, or misjudging your wardrobe can all cost you dearly.

Prevailing wisdom dictates that it takes at least 8 positive interactions to overcome a bad first impression. And while that may sound insurmountable, the good news is there are some steps you can take to hit the reset button and reverse your losses.

 

1. TAKE A CUE FROM PERFORMERS

Think back to the last time you were watching a live performance and a dancer slipped, or an actor flubbed their lines. The dancer who seamlessly continues on with the choreography or the actor who allows the gaffe play in their favor often winds up as audience favorites. It’s the ones who pull a face or get so flustered they can’t find their place that loses the audience’s favor - something no amount of raw talent can make up for.

Handling mistakes with grace goes a long way to mitigate their potential damage. Allow yourself a brief moment to recover, make a small joke or offer a polite apology appropriate. What is important is to dust yourself off and get back to the business at hand. You’re there for a reason - to get the job - now is the time to focus on that.  

 

2. REMAIN POSITIVE

Running yourself down or trying to overcompensate with ongoing apologies will only serve to highlight your flaws. Unless you’ve been summarily dismissed from the interview, you still have the opportunity to turn things around. It’s important that you turn your attention from yourself and your embarrassment and toward your interviewer.

Demonstrating that you are flexible and can bounce back from setbacks is attractive to potential employers- use this as an opportunity to demonstrate your resilience.

 

3. PIVOT

Now is the time to return the full force of your focus to the interview. Leave the mistakes behind and communicate in an open, expressive manner. Let the interviewer see who you are and your core competencies. Shine a light on what you bring to the company and try to help them see you in a new.

A word of caution: Don’t push. Overcompensating with only serve to further alienate yourself and could do even greater damage than the original slip-up.

 

4. FIND COMMON GROUND 

Even a bad first impression can be softened if you and the other person share something in common. It is more difficult to affirm the negative ideas we formed when confronted by similarities. If you and your interviewer share a point of view or interest, they are less likely to hold their initial reaction against you.

 

5. CLOSE STRONG

Just as first impressions are important, the end of an interview can have lasting effects. Arriving prepared, having done your homework and presenting your interviewer with well-considered solutions can help stem the tide that was flowing against you. There’s no reason to allow a poor beginning to set the tone for the entire interview- you’ve come to sell yourself, don’t sell yourself short.

 

6. LET IT BE

There are also those things that are outside of your control. All that you can do it make certain that you are professional, and have communicated the value you bring to any position clearly. Focus on the things that are in your control and let the blunders and mistakes be your teachers for future interviews. After all, if you chose to wear grey shoes to an interview and the hiring manager absolutely detests grey shoes, there’s nothing you can do about it.

 

Related Blog:

5 WAYS TO BLOW YOUR INTERVIEW OUT OF THE WATER

 

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J. Patrick & Associates, Inc is an Executive Recruiting firm that focuses on Executive Management, Sales, Marketing and Technical roles within Information Technology markets. We have over 20 years of experience recruiting in every aspect of AV/VTC/UC, Application, Storage, Information/Network Security, Mobile Technologies and Telecommunications.

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