J Patrick + Associates Blog

Is A Cover Letter Important?

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Fri, Dec 06, 2019 @ 03:00 PM

Is a Cover Letter Important

When talking about job applications, I always used to say that a cover letter was useless. 

It’s just more stuff to write.  I wasn’t a fan of the cover letter, to say the least.  While they were the norm until about ten years ago, thanks to online applications cover letters have become arguably outdated and certainly less-used.  

Today, the rule of thumb seems to be to not include a cover letter unless an employer specifically asks for one.  In fact, many employers disregard the cover letter when they see it. They just skim through the resume and throw the cover letter out like last week’s leftovers. 

Unfortunately, these employers miss the importance of the cover letter.  


The Importance of a Cover Letter

A cover letter actually gives the employer a great opportunity to really see who a candidate is prior to the interview.  

When well written, they can be a powerful communication tool.  Now, crafting this tool can take some serious word-smithing. So don’t just breeze through the writing process. Your cover letter should be a work of art and it can make you or break you in the eyes of a possible employer.  Consider this: your cover letter creates your first impression in the mind of the reader; definitely do not take it lightly.  

That said, a cover letter gives you a great opportunity to showcase your strengths in a longer format.  You can use a cover letter to really focus and elaborate on the specific qualities that make you the right fit for a position. They are the first step to getting that interview and eventually getting that job.


Cover Letters Can Help You Stand Out

These days, in the eyes of some, the cover letter is a dying document. Maybe it’s true that employers just don’t have the time to read through both the resume AND the cover letter.  And, yes, even recruiters don’t need a cover letter to place somebody, either. I can’t complain. Like I said before, I despise writing cover letters. But in reality, cover letters count. Without one, you miss the early chance to put yourself above the competition and really showcase what makes you unique.


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Tags: Recruiter Tips, Job Search, Job Interviews, Career Strategies

How To Get The Best LinkedIn Recommendations

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Fri, Dec 06, 2019 @ 08:45 AM

Get the best linkedIn Recommendations

We often think our first opportunity to make a good impression is during the pre-screen phone call, or when we walk into the office for an interview. But the truth is, employers, recruiters, even customers are checking us out online long before the point of the first contact. Your LinkedIn profile very well may be optimized and vibrant, but people are looking for social proof that what you say about yourself is true. 

Just like the restaurant in Duluth that claims to make the best pizza needs reviews on Yelp to validate and support their claims, you need recommendations to bolster and shine your reputation.

Methods for Acquiring the Best LinkedIn Recommendations

 Follow these steps to request LinkedIn recommendations:

  1. From your LinkedIn profile, hover over View Profile As
  2. Choose Get Recommendations
  3. Choose What Do You Want To Be Recommended For from the drop-down
  4. Choose Who Do You Want To Ask from your contacts.

You can choose up to 3 contacts at a time, but I'd caution you against it. Personalize your request and avoid the automated asks.

Choose Wisely

Endorsements on LinkedIn are the equivalent of a thumbs up on your profile. They’re a friendly way of saying, ‘yes this person does what they say they do.’ But they don’t carry much weight. So while you might collect endorsements from anyone who clicks an automated prompt, recommendations are a different animal and need to be well considered.

Ask people who know you well, who’ve been in the trenches with you and have seen you shine. Someone who has seen you step up in a crisis, sat on a committee you led or co-managed a project with you, is best equipped to speak to your strengths.

Bonus Points: Recommendations also show up on the profile of the recommender as searchable text, thereby further increasing your social currency.

Be Specific In Your Ask

Once you’ve identified who to ask, now you need to get specific. While you can use the LinkedIn tool to make contact, we’d recommend that you write a separate email. There’s a better chance of your request being seen via direct mail, than through LinkedIn, and you want to avoid generating several asks.

When composing your note, know that a generalized “will you write me a recommendation” will, at best, garner you a generalized note, leaving you with an enthusiastic, yet horribly generalized recommendation. While well-intentioned, these kinds of recommendations leave you sounding the Manchurian Candidate: “Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.” A faceless, non-specific "great" guy.

Remind your recommender of a specific problem you solved for them, or the time you took the lead on a particularly difficult project. Giving them guidance on what skills or traits you are looking to be recommended for will help them craft a more meaningful letter.

Pro-Tip: Recommenders must be a 1st degree LinkedIn connection for their words to carry the weight you need them to.

Variety Is The Spice of LinkedIn

You want the recommendations to reflect the breadth of your career, so ask an equally wide variety of people in different capacities. Think about former managers, colleagues, customers, project teammates, and yes C-level executives. While C-level executives are valuable recommenders, though leaders can be just as powerful. Be certain to also consider contacts outside of work, perhaps people who have done service with you in the community or other volunteer work. You want to present the well-rounded person you are, so make sure to cover your work life from all angles.

Give Thanks

While your contacts may be more than happy to take the time to write about you, it is time out of their day. Once you’ve received the recommendation, and seen it go live, take the time to write to your contacts to thank them. An email is lovely, but a handwritten note is even better. And always offer to return the favor. Not everyone is comfortable asking for other people’s time, so make it easy for them to get a piece of yours. And always be certain to act in a timely manner -- don’t wait for 3 weeks to pass before extending your gratitude.

When you get the right kinds of recommendations from the right kinds of people, you're well on your way to providing that all-important social proof and enhancing your online brand.

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Tags: Job Search, Networking

Comparing AVIXA CTS Certifications for AV professionals

Posted by Joseph Barrera on Wed, Dec 04, 2019 @ 08:45 AM

Weighing the Importance of the AVIXA CTS Certifications

Anyone who is anyone in the Audiovisual industry knows all about AVIXA. Formerly, known as InfoComm, AVIXA is the international trade association that represents the professional AV industry.

AVIXA Certifications (CTS, CTS-I, and CTS-D) are highly regarded and recognized globally, as the leading AV credentials.

Which certifications you choose to pursue are dependent on your current experience in AV, as well as your desired career trajectory. 

Let’s take a deeper look into the three AVIXA CTS credentials and outline which is most appropriate for you and your career.

What is the Certified Technology Specialist Credential (CTS)?

The Certified Technology Specialist Program (CTS) is considered globally as the leading credential for AV professionals. Currently, there are over 12,000 CTS holders, 2,000 of which have a specialized credential (CTS-I, CTS-D). 

These three certifications are ANSI accredited under the ISO and IEC, which represents a “symbol of excellence, recognized by worldwide employers, industry leaders, hiring managers, and credential holders.” - ANAB (National Accreditation Board)

What are the benefits of a CTS?

Earning your CTS offers a wide variety of benefits:

  • Improves core competency with AV equipment
  • Improves credibility among colleagues
  • Improves marketability to potential employers and clients
  • Showcases willingness to learn and improve skill set
  • Showcases professionalism and technical proficiency
  • Improves career options and salary

What is the AVIXA CTS Certification

The AVIXA CTS or Certified Technology Specialist is the most general AVIXA certification. As a CTS specialist, you will be able to create operate and service AV solutions, and manage AV activities that best services the client’s needs. 

Requirements for AVIXA CTS

There are no prerequisite courses or experiences required before applying (Though AV experience would make the test much easier). 

Is the AVIXA CTS for you?

If you are new to the audiovisual industry, the AVIXA CTS should be one of the first certifications that you acquire. By doing so, you will establish the baseline knowledge that you need to be an entry-level AV technician or installer

What is the AVIXA CTS-I Certification

The AVIXA CTS-I (Installation) installs and maintains audiovisual systems. 

  • Follows specification and safety protocols
  • Administers Installation Process Logistics
  • Troubleshooting and problem-solving AV systems
  • Communicates with clients, and other designers to ensure the best AV solutions

Requirements for AVIXA CTS-I

In order to apply for your CTS-I exam, you must have a valid CTS certification and a minimum of two years of experience installing AV equipment.

Is the AVIXA CTS-I for you?

If you have a few years of experience in the AV industry and you are looking to go from an entry-level AV technician to a Lead technician or field engineer than the CTS-I can be an incredibly valuable certification for you. 

The emphasis of the AVIXA CTS-I certification is the installation of commercial AV systems. Many managers at AV Integrators on the install side (i.e. Field Operations Managers and Technical Operations Managers) possess this certification. Also, a fair amount of Crestron Programmers will have the CTS-I as well. They are involved not only with software solutions but in writing the control logic for Crestron’s hardware installed in integrated conference rooms. 

What is the AVIXA CTS-D Certification

The AVIXA CTS-D (Design) designs audiovisual systems.

  • Designs AV systems
  • Prepares documents for design
  • Communicates with vendors and clients to create AV solutions that meet client requirements. 

Requirements for AVIXA CTS-D

In order to apply for your CTS-D exam, you must have a valid CTS certification and a minimum of two years of experience designing AV equipment.

Is the AVIXA CTS-D for you?

The CTS-D is highly regarded in the AV industry and one of the most difficult certifications to acquire (Under 20% pass rate). It is important for every higher AV support department to have a CTS-D on staff who can initiate AV installation projects by collaborating with consultants and integrators and writing a scope of work. Furthermore, having a CTS-D level engineer on staff allows integrators to bid on certain commercial and/or government projects.

If you are looking to move into the design or engineering side of the AV industry (Design Engineer, project engineer, solutions architect) then the CTS-D is the appropriate certification for you. Any Management level positions overseeing a design team, such as an Engineering Director, or Manager of Pre-Sales Engineering are often required to have a CTS-D.  

How much does each AVIXA certification cost?

The cost of the AVIXA certifications varies based on country, AVIXA membership, and certification type.

AVIXA Certification Fee (2018)

  USD Member USD Non-member Euro Member Euro Non-member GBP Member GBP Non-member AUD Member AUD Non-member
CTS 375 475 320 400 280 360 490 630
CTS-D 475 575 400 490 350 440 630 760
CTS-I 475 575 400 490 350 440 630 760
Retest/Reinstatement 130 110 100 170
Renewal 130 110 100 170

AVIXA CTS Handbook

Is there an advantage to being dual-certified? (CTS-I & CTS-D)

There are currently over 12,000 AVIXA CTS holders, still less than 500 with both the CTS-I and CTS-D certifications. AV professionals who are dual certified are respected amongst their peers, highly sought after by employers, and considered leaders in the AV industry. 

They are considered to have a mastery of two of the most crucial phases of the project life cycle: the design phase and installation phase. 

Are the AVIXA CTS credentials worth it?

As previously mentioned, the CTS credential is highly regarded in the Audiovisual Industry. While they are not cheap, these certifications allow you to position yourself as a professional in the AV industry, they earn you credibility among colleagues, and can dramatically put your career in AV on the fast track to promotion. 

If you are passionate about AV and see yourself working in the industry in the long-term then yes, the CTS credential is definitely worth it. 

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Tags: AV/VTC/UC, certifications

6 Reasons You Should Close On New Hires Before The End Of The Year

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Mon, Dec 02, 2019 @ 08:55 AM

6 reasons to close new hires before the end of the year

The run-up to the holidays has begun and now begins the full-court press to the end of the year. Budget requests are either in or due, annual numbers are getting tallied and performance reviews being conducting.

Looking at the bigger picture it might seem counter-intuitive to want to get that new hire started before the end of December, but here are 6 key reasons you should be doing exactly that.

6 Reasons to Close New Hires before the end of the year

1) It's A Seller's Market

The talent pool in many IT sectors is, at best tight. You don't have to look any further than the Cybersecurity job market to know that top candidates are in demand. There's truly little need to sit around and wait for a company that's slow to pull the trigger for many IT professionals. And while you may have tantalizing benefits and enviable company culture on offer, chances so do your competitors.

2) You Risk Losing The Slot

Whether it's due to expansion in your sector, the growth of your customer base, or the loss of a team member, you have the opening for a reason. You didn't initiate bringing a new employee in on a whim, you've got a need you need to be met.

And while you may be certain that the budget for the new year includes funding this opening, just remember: the only thing you can count on is change. There are a number of unknowable variables that might affect your budget for the new year - beat the uncertainty by getting the talent you need in place now.

3) Top Talent Waits For No One

This might be considered a corollary of #1 above, but the best candidates are simply not on the market for that long. Not only do they not need to wait for an offer, but they also won't.

While it is never advisable to make hiring decisions under duress, it's equally as ill-advised to surrender to a long and drawn-out hiring process.

You've got to be willing to move decisively to get the talent you want. 

4) You Risk Surrendering To The Void

Once we hit the end of the year the harder it will be to assemble everyone you need to sign off on hiring decisions. Vacation schedules, end-of-year travel, and meetings can make it near impossible to get decision-makers assembled and focused.

It's important that you get what you need to shore up your department before everyone scatters and decisions have to be tabled.

As for candidates, conventional wisdom counsels one pull in the oars and not think about looking for a new position until the other side of January. The time between Thanksgiving and New Year then becomes this kind of looming void which top candidates and valuable talent are looking to avoid like some kind of gaping sinkhole that's temporarily swallowed up the job market.

What this means for you and your open desk is if you wait until after the holidays to start final interviews or moving toward an offer, it very well might be mid-to-late January before you get any momentum going.

Can you really afford to wait that long?

5) Shore Up Your DNA

Keep in mind the effect an unfilled opening has on the rest of your team. The more your team members are asked to pick up the slack, the more focus gets scattered and productivity goes down. The long term effects on your bottom line can be very damaging. Remember, one of the very best retention tools you have at your disposal is keeping employees engaged and stimulated. Over-taxed is the polar opposite of what you want.

On the plus side, new hires shore up your company DNA. They inject new energy, drive and focus. The contributions they add not only help drive success and profit as a direct result of the work they are doing but also in terms of keeping your business a thriving place to work.

6) Embrace The Void

The end of the year is the perfect time to get a new hire on-board. With fewer distractions, fewer calls to be made, half the number of meetings on the docket, your new employee has the time and ability to get through the necessary training and/or certification processes they need to do their job well.

There's likely no other time of the year, not even August, that will afford you the same kind of a slower pace to get your new hires up to speed.

It's time to begin thinking of the end of the year as the perfect time to get your new hires on board so that you can hit the ground running in the new year.

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Tags: HR and Hiring

5 Hiring Mistakes That Will Cost You Top Talent

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Wed, Nov 27, 2019 @ 08:55 AM

Avoid These 5 Hiring Mistakes

With top talent at a premium in sectors from cybersecurity to AV/IT, hiring great employees is more challenging than ever. And the last thing any company wants to face is hiring someone who doesn't work out. After all, replacing an employee can cost as much as 6 to 9 months of that employee's annual salary.

Here are 5 hiring mistakes to make certain you avoid.

1. Chasing Perfection

All too often we see hiring managers clinging too tightly to their checklists. Of course, there are certain prerequisites of any position, but if you are too set on an ideal you run the very real risk of missing out on a truly great candidate.

Or perhaps you are set on the idea of what your team should look like, the hiring equivalent of choosing from a take-out menu: one from column A, two from column B, etc... But if you let go of pre-set ideals and consider candidates with diverse backgrounds and unexpected skills, you will enhance the team as a whole. An outsider's perspective can be refreshing and add the kind of new energy and boost your need to move the needle higher.

Remember: working with people who are different from us makes us more creative, more diligent and harder-working.

2.  Not Truly Knowing The Job

It's one thing to know what function you're hiring someone for, but it's another thing to really understanding how the role functions on a day-to-day basis.

One of the best tools at your disposal to understand any given role on your team is the exit interview. And while that might sound counterintuitive, it makes perfect sense. After all, what better way to understand what works and what doesn't than to hear from people who are on their way out?

Yes, certainly there will be those employees whose opinion you will have to take with a grain of salt, but if you take care to ask the right questions and really listen to the answers you receive, you stand to learn an awful lot about the job you are now faced with filling.

So before you go into interviews to fill a role, take the time to talk to the people who have done the job. If you do, you'll not only be able to represent the position accurately, but it will also help you look for the candidate best suited to do the job.

3. Forgetting That Time Truly Is Of The Essence

Every search has its own parameters. Some jobs demand to cast a wide net due to location, skillset or competition for talent. Others need to be filled as quickly as possible in order to ensure that critical concerns are handled. But no matter the extenuating circumstances your company needs to have an established hiring protocol.

While it may seem an obvious system to have in place, too many companies do not have clear hiring policies in place. But taking the time to build a set of protocols not only makes it easier for your hiring managers, but it also sends a stronger message to candidates that you are a desirable company to work for.

In terms of how long you should spend on a search, that will depend on the job you're filling. But take care to never allow the process to go on for too long, otherwise, candidates will either lose interest, continue to take meetings at other companies, or decide you are not interested in them and take themselves out of the running.

4. Trying To Get Away With Less

Trying to undercut the competition might look good on paper, but it will not help you to attract top talent. If you're offering compensation that is not in line with your sector you are not only going to be less appealing to candidates but you're also selling yourself short.

The best guideline to follow is a candidate's current compensation package. If you are not able to meet what they are currently making or beat it, adjust the candidates you are considering. Otherwise, you'll just be wasting your time as well as the candidates.

5. Forgetting You're Also Selling

It's easy to forget that while you're vetting a candidate, they too are interviewing you. They're looking to see if your company supports a culture where they'll feel at ease, supported and can foresee an upward path for themselves. Since more of our time is spent at work than at home with friends and family, the contemporary worker wants to know that they'll be spending their time somewhere they'll feel valued.

Just as college recruiters have become marketing machines, pitching students why they're the best choice for their education, you too have to sell candidates on why your position is the one that they should take.

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Tags: HR and Hiring

5 Little known Reasons to Job Search During the Holidays

Posted by Joseph Barrera on Mon, Nov 25, 2019 @ 08:45 AM

why you should continue your job search through the holidays

Job hunting can be a struggle. With the holidays fast approaching, you may think it is the ideal time to take a break.

You may be thinking “I’d much rather spend time with family than making phone calls and doing phone interviews. Companies aren’t hiring now anyways. I’m sure it can wait until January… right?”


By taking a break during the holiday season, you are actually missing out on an opportune time to find your dream job.

Here are 5 reasons why you should continue your job search through the holidays

1. There is still business to be done

When many of us think about the holidays, we think of putting on cozy socks, sitting around the fireplace, and drinking eggnog. The most ambitious and successful companies, however, know that there is still work to be done. They know that the ideal candidate is a dime a dozen and by sitting on the sidelines until January, they are giving their competition the opportunity to swoop in and steal their potential employees. 

2. Efficient Onboarding

Often times, businesses seeking to hire during the holiday season are doing so out of necessity. Whether they’ve acquired new business or lost a key employee, there are business-critical roles that need to be filled and it cannot wait until the new year. If you want to expedite the hiring and onboarding process, now would be the best time to get your foot in the door.

3. Fewer candidate applications

Fewer candidates applying for open positions means you are in greater demand. It’s simple economics. Furthermore, prospective employers appreciate the fact that you are a hard-worker, seeking to advance your career (while your colleagues are seeking a second helping of apple pie).

4. Networking Opportunities

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… for networking. 

Holiday parties and social events are the perfect time to connect with people who can help you with your job search. Plus, while business is slow, hiring managers will have plenty of time to schedule an interview

5. Have a Happy New Year

When your colleagues are frantically searching for new job opportunities in January, you will have peace of mind knowing that you already secured your future. With one less task on your New Year’s resolution list, you can focus on getting back to the gym, or spending more time with your family.

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Employer Branding Is The Key To Successful Recruiting

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Fri, Nov 22, 2019 @ 08:45 AM

Employer Branding

In the search for top talent, employer branding has increasingly become is a key component of any good recruitment strategy. Particularly in the tech sector, where there is a shortage of skilled talent, companies can no longer simply rely on databases and candidate tracking systems. Well-qualified candidates have choices, they know they can shop around for the best placement.

In order to attract the best talent, you have to make certain that candidates arrive at interviews pre-disposed to working for you, and one of the best ways to achieve that is to make certain your employer branding is up to date and reflective of your company culture.

Here are 5 Strategies for updating your Company’s branding

1. Culture Is Key

Millennials, unlike previous generations, are looking for a work experience that places a high value on their overall well-being. And in the search for a placement, they are willing to accept lower pay in exchange for an employer that puts the focus on professional development, performance recognition, clear communication, loyalty, and respect. In other words, they are looking for a satisfying work/life experience.

Companies that fail to create a culture geared toward employee engagement and satisfaction are finding that they suffer higher turnover rates. In fact, 80-90% of employees (not only millennials) who have left a position, report it was due to a clash with company culture or management. Or, to put it in a more positive light, engagement leads to better performance and increased loyalty. And since your employees are your best brand ambassadors, you must focus on creating a satisfying work experience.

So how do you do that?

2. Set Clear Expectations 

If you haven’t already, develop a robust and honest picture of what it takes to be a successful employee. Showcase in your branding the skills and talents you are looking for while painting an accurate, yet enticing picture of the work-life you offer. In order to attract relevant talent, (and talent that’s invested in working for you for the long term) make it clear what it is you offer, be it flexible hours, a specific technology you work with, diversity, etc.

3. Give Your Employees A Voice

Offer your workforce outlets to tell their stories. Feature employee profiles on your website, blog and/or newsletter. Celebrate their achievements and big wins, showcase their talents. In other words, put a spotlight on the individual, not the position. By encouraging employees to act as “brand ambassadors” in social media you’re not only engaging your target audience, you’re also letting it be known that employees are thriving and are valued.

4. Foster and reward innovation. 

Rather than seeing workers who challenge parameters, as a threat, create incentives for intrapreneurs. Always give credit where credit is due and be certain to include employee created innovations in your branding materials.

Just as you offer training and opportunities for education, leaving room for employee-led innovation is a powerful way to demonstrate that you are not only investing in your employee's futures, but you also make it clear to candidates that there’s room for growth.

5. Test It

Once you’ve looked at these areas, you want to be certain to test it. There’s no point in creating an employer brand that is not reflective of the actual work-a-day culture. In order to make sure that your branding matches the actual experience of employees, poll them on their perception of your brand:

  • Does their experience match the brand you are touting?
  • If not, how does it skew? What are you missing/ under-representing?
  • Do they feel valued?
  • What percentage of your employees would recommend their friends come work for you?
  • Are they invested in the company’s success beyond their paycheck?

And on the Candidate side:

  • Are your job postings garnering the right kind of candidates?
  • Does the interview experience match what was promised?
  • Do new hires complain that the company culture they were sold on is not, in fact, what they find in the day-to-day work experience?

If the answers to any of these questions are not what you are hoping to hear, then chances are you’re putting out a skewed picture of your business, and need to align the actual experience with how you represent your company culture.

All of this is by way of saying, it’s important to present your business as you are, not as you hope to be, or wish to be one day. As in all things, by being clear, transparent and honest, you are ensuring that the right kind of talent will be attracted to come work for you.


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Tags: talent acquisition, employer branding, recruiting

5 Pro Tips For Recruiting Top Talent

Posted by Glenda Gregorio on Wed, Nov 20, 2019 @ 08:45 AM

5 Tips

Every company wants to hire the best, most dynamic and highest performing talent they can. But when unemployment is hovering around 5% and the IT sector is in a growth phase as it now, you have to make sure you are on top of your game if you want to attract top talent. Candidates have lots of options available to them, and you have to make sure that you stand out from your competition. So, how can you improve your hiring strategy to attract top candidates?

Check out these 5 ways to attract top talent for your openings!

Turn Job Descriptions into Stories

A good job description needs to tell a story. Savvy candidates are looking for more information than the standard listings of responsibilities, they want some insight into the heart of the company. Use words that evoke emotion, not corporate jargon. Appeal to the candidate’s desire to connect with their employer, to be a part of a culture they can believe in, and not just punch the nine to five. You must think like the candidate. Remember, your job description is as much a sales pitch as your marketing materials are.

Define Exceptional Performance not an Exceptional Person

Many hiring managers think they should only be looking at candidates that meet each and every one of the listed job qualifications. But by doing so, are you limiting yourself by looking through too small of a looking glass? It is crucial to widen your scope and avoid overvaluing your hiring checklist. You need to focus on the abilities and past performance of the individual, and how these correlate with the position you are looking to fill. Remember, that the candidate who meets all your desired traits may not necessarily mean that they’re the best match for your open position or your company.  

Refer to Your Network

You’ve built a large network of connections, and now is the time to make it work for you. Post job openings within LinkedIn groups and keep your eyes open for interesting prospects at conferences and events. You should be looking for top talent wherever you go. But, most importantly, if you aren’t already doing so, you should be working with a recruiter. Recruiters offer specialized experience and a database of contacts in your industry.

Streamline the Hiring Process

It’s a seller’s market. The last thing you want to do is deter candidates with a difficult hiring process. Job candidates, especially the top 25%, know their worth and they know there are many opportunities available for them. So, if your company takes too long to respond, or the application process is too difficult, candidates will most likely move on to the next opportunity. It is crucial to maximizing the candidates’ experiences throughout the entire hiring process by making the process faster and easier.

Show Off Your Company’s Value

An interview is as much for the candidate’s benefit as for yours- they’re weighing the benefits of working for you against other potential employers. Compensation, company culture, available training and opportunities for advancement are important to potential candidates. You want to show off the perks that your company offers to employees. Define the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) to capture the attention of top talent.

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Tags: HR and Hiring

To Hire The Right Candidate, You Need To Do This First

Posted by Dylan Rivera on Fri, Nov 15, 2019 @ 08:45 AM

How to Hire the Right Candidate

Hiring managers know that filling vacancies can be time-consuming. Reading through resumes, conducting phone interviews, and vetting potential candidates can end up taking you away from your other responsibilities.

But taking the time to get the job done right from the very beginning, even before you start collecting resumes, can end up saving you time, money, and headaches. Spare yourself the struggle and do it right the first time.

Here are some important aspects to consider before you start seeing candidates for an opening.

Understand The Company

Let your mission statement be your guide to success!

A well-crafted mission statement, one that reveals the character of your company is one of the best ways to attract desirable candidates. Make sure that the key qualities that your company values are easily identifiable in all of your materials. If a company’s main focus is “Going Green” and the potential candidate disregards the practice of taking care of the environment, then maybe they're not the best pick for the position. When interviewing a candidate, ask how their personal goals intersect with the company’s goals. If both are in alignment, you could have a very good match on your hands.

Understand the Role

Before the interview process, it's important that you understand the open position and obligations that are embedded within it. Any vacancies should be thoroughly explored before you hand a job description off to human resources. Discover faults or pain points in the role. Find out why the position requires certain specifications.

A study from the National Business Research Institute has shown the two leading factors that attribute to a failed hire are poor skills match and unclear performance objectives.

This isn't to say that you need your human resources department to become experts on all company roles. However, you do want them to be familiar with the tasks that are performed during an average day, so the filtering process can run at a much more efficient pace. Putting yourself in the shoes of the candidate could further help your search to find the most qualified employee.

Also, take the time to understand why this certain position was left vacant. See if you can look through old employee concerns and reports. If you can assign a problem, then you can apply a solution. 

Now, Take Your Time (But Not Too Much Time)

Hiring managers need to strike a balance between finding qualified candidates and doing so in an efficient and respectable amount of time. Taking too long to close a hire can result in the loss of a worthy applicant, and rushing the process can lead to a bad match. According to the National Business Research Institute,  43% of employers cited that filling vacant positions in a limited amount of time resulted in unfit and unqualified hires.

You can think of the hiring process as oddly similar to the dating game. In a technical aspect, two parties engage, shape a bond, and establish goals that pursue together. When a company hires someone, they are granting them access to numerous resources and assets. An unsuccessful match can result in loss of time, money, and in some cases, can lead to security vulnerabilities.

Having to refill a position after a failed hire is a time consuming and costly endeavor. Find your balance and place the right candidate the first time.  

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Tags: Job Interviews, HR and Hiring, recruiting

4 Ways to make the most of an Employment Gap

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Wed, Nov 13, 2019 @ 08:45 AM

How to Make the Most of an Employment Gap

As a job seeker, ready to return to work after a hiatus (either planned or involuntary) accounting for a gap on your resume can be daunting. But whether you’ve been out of the job market for a few months or more long-term, 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 in your work history.

4 Ways to Make the Most Of an Employment Gap

1. Be Honest About Your Employment History

As much as you may want to try to make an employment gap disappear when getting back into the workforce, you must embrace it and fill the gaps. You are much better off explaining gaps in employment 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: 2014-2019 Time off to take care of a sick family member, etc. Be clear and honest, and know that having taken time off doesn’t make you a less valuable employment prospect.

2. Highlight Volunteer Work

It may be tempting to minimize the impact volunteer work may have on your career, but if you step back, 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 hiring managers 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.


Volunteering as a pathway to employment

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.

3. 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 training and learn new skills. Employers will see you’ve been dedicated to keeping your skills sharp, and are returning up to date with the latest trends in your sector.

4. Practice Your Story for Job Interviews

When it comes to the job 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 about 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


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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.

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