J Patrick + Associates Blog

AVIXA CTS or Crestron? Weighing the Importance of AV certs

Posted by Daniel Lehman on Wed, Jul 10, 2019 @ 04:39 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 av 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 or CTS D or CTS I 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 CTS exam 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 Being AVIXA CTS holders: 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 certification 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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Weighing Your Options Between Two Competing Offers

Posted by Dylan Rivera on Thu, Apr 25, 2019 @ 01:39 PM

Two Competing Job Offers

  

Congratulations!

Your job search and interview process have finally paid off, however with two competing offers, with each presenting certain benefits that make it a good fit.  

The first thing you should do is just take a moment and remind yourself that some people would riot to be in the position you are in.

Now, let’s break down some points to help you evaluate how to best handle the “tow job offers” situation.  

 

Written In Ink

When presented with multiple job offers, it’s natural to start comparing them immediately. However, it’s not wise to do so until you have a physical copy rather than just verbal offers of both opportunities. You want to be able to weigh several vital factors, such as health benefits, vacation time, maternity leave, commute time against each other. All of these important data points should be measured as concretely as possible.

Also remember, without a written offer, your negotiating power is limited since you're basing all of your facts off a verbal agreement.

So get it in writing and don't forget to read the fine print!     

 

Be Honest

When you encounter this kind of situation, it’s common to ask yourself if you should tell one company about the other offer.  In some cases, one offer may require a decision before you've received the specifics from the other proposal. If you have the opportunity to review both offers without spilling the beans then you should do so. It’s possible for a company to feel as if you're trying to shake them down or force them into a bidding war by revealing the other offer.

If you’re cornered and have no other option but to tell the company about the other offer, then do so carefully. An example would be:

“I am appreciative of your offer, and the thought of joining your company is very exciting, but I will be honest and tell you that there is another offer that is currently pending, and I’d like some time to weigh all my options.”

You will always run the possibility of them saying no or stripping the deal; however, hopefully, they’ll respect you for being honest. And in the end, you can thank them for making your decision a lot easier.

 

Break-It-Down

Once you have both written offers in hand, you should start with writing down what specifically you want from the new job, but also keeping an eye out for any red flags. Health insurance, good company culture, there are so many different variables to take into accounting especially with multiple offers.

This shouldn't be a quick process where you immediately run to the offer with the highest salary. You’ll be spending a good deal of your time in this new position, so make sure to consider all factors and not just the obvious ones. To make this process a little easier, consider making a S.W.O.T analysis or another form of a comparison grid.

Before considering the negatives, start mapping out all of the benefits from each proposal. Only after you’ve compared the potential benefits is it time to move on to review the negatives. Factors, such as work environment, travel distance, and your overall happiness should be given the utmost consideration.

The simple act of physically writing them down allows you to grasp a better understanding of the benefits of both offers.

 

Take A Walk

Take a break. After all, it’s what you do when you need to blow off some steam or if you've hit a rough patch at work. It’s essential that you give some yourself some time to think and clear your mind. When you're stuck in one way of thinking, find some sort of distraction, whether it be watching a movie or reading a book. Just make sure you get out, let loose, and let the two offers be the last thing your mind for a little while.

Though this kind of situation can become stressful, you must ultimately choose what feels right for you. Consider everything that is important, make your decision, and never look back.

We all have that inner wisdom lying in the bottom of our stomach -- Listen to it.

 



Hoped you enjoyed our blog about choosing between two jobs! If you’re a job seeker looking for more career advice please click here to check out more of our blogs!

 

 

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Why Vacation Is The Key To Success At Work

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Mon, Dec 12, 2016 @ 11:11 AM

Success at Work

 

The American workforce can be described in many ways: driven, diverse, tenacious and dedicated. It can also be described as incredibly stressed out!

Taking time off is not something Americans do well. In fact, according to a 2014 survey conducted by Project Time Off, 41% of Americans did not plan to use their vacation days. Among the reasons cited in the survey were: 
  • A fear that they’d return to a mountain of work that would leave them playing catch-up for too long (40%)
  • 33% said they could not afford to take time off
  • They don’t want to appear replaceable (22%)
  • 28% of respondents think that by not taking a vacation, they are demonstrating greater dedication

All these reasons are perfectly logical. But they are also incredibly flawed. There are several key reasons for taking your vacation time actually enhances your chance for advancement and is the key to success at work.

 

Everyone Needs To Recharge

There’s only so long a person can keep performing at the peak of their abilities without time to rest, recover and regroup. If you need inspiration, you need to look no further than at how elite athletes use rest to enhance performance. Just as they must be careful not to overtrain lest they suffer from burnout and staleness, so too must the dedicated employee. And burnout doesn’t only affect your mood, the health implications are real. 

In order to remain healthy, productive and effective you have to learn to step back to recharge. Just like a car battery, you’re valuable only as long as you’ve got a full charge.

 

Creativity Needs to be Fed

Even if you’re not a fan of musical theater, chances are pretty high that you’re familiar with the phenomenon that is Hamilton: An American Musical. And if you’ve heard even one interview with the show’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, then you know that he was inspired to create the show after reading Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton, while on VACATION. What Miranda thought would be an interesting beach read, turned out to be the seed for an amazing creative breakthrough. For a business related example, you need to look no further than Kevin Systrom, who dreamed up the idea for Instagram while laying on the beach. Now, I’m not suggesting that taking vacation will lead you to write the next great American musical, or the next disruptive tech idea,  but there is an important lesson to be taken from these examples. Allowing yourself time away from the demands of the office, of deadlines, and day-to-day business makes room for your mind to wander. Science has given us very convincing insight into the virtues of daydreaming, and the impact it has on creativity. It’s your ideas that make you stand out at work; give yourself the time and space to dream some new ones up.

 

Build Alliances

Relationships are everything in the workplace. No matter where you are on the corporate ladder; trust, faith, and cooperation among team members are key to success. And just as one weak link can threaten the entire chain, so too can one burnt out, exhausted, running on the empty employee. By taking vacation days you are not only taking care of yourself, but you are also presented with the opportunity to enhance the bond you share with your team. Planning coverage, or training someone up to watch your desk fosters cohesion and cooperation.  

A word of warning here: if you don’t feel like you can trust your co-workers or manager to ensure things run smoothly, it might be time to look for a new placement!

 

Appear More Productive

Project Time Off found that “People who take all their vacation days have a 6.5% higher chance of getting a promotion or a raise than people who leave 11 or more days of paid time on the table.” While this may fly in the face of conventional logic, the reason is simple: managers perceive happy employees as more productive. Now, this isn’t to say that taking vacation time is a magic salve guaranteed to fix everything that ails you, but it can give your brain and your body important time to recuperate and gain some new perspectives. If you want to know how to get ahead at work, begin with taking some well-deserved time off.

 

$$$

If nothing else can convince you, not taking time off means that you are spending those allotted days working for free. You may be the most dedicated employee or the hardest working team member, the one who doesn’t think twice about working overtime in order to get the job done, but if your boss flat out asked you to work without compensation for 10-12 days a year, would you?

If your goal is to get ahead, get that job promotion, prove yourself a great employee: you owe it to yourself, your co-workers and your boss to take time off, feed your creativity and rest your body.

For some great vacation ideas that don’t have to cost a lot of $, check out this list of the 16 Best Affordable Destinations in the US.

 

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How To Transition From AV Tech To Management

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Tue, Oct 11, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

AV Technician To Management

 

The road from AV technician to management is not always direct. Certainly, there are the fundamental skills and attributes you need in order to move from tech to lead (for more on that, read here), but the route to promotion isn’t always linear or all that clearly marked.

What we do know, is that a great AV technician with good fundamental skills is primed to move into management. They are knowledgeable, reliable, thorough. They’ve got good communication skills and know how to handle customers on the job site. And more than that, they have to understand that their Technical Operations Manager is swamped. While the Ops Manager is in charge of the job, their days are filled with juggling meetings with upper management and clients, all while monitoring budget concerns, schedules, parts orders, and troubleshooting day-to-day disasters. If they’re the equivalent of commissioned officers, what they need are reliable, knowledgeable and trustworthy sergeants out in the field running interference for them.

So, how do you get from field technician (foot soldier) to field manager (sergeant)?

Let’s explore three fundamental routes an AV technician can take to go from hands in, to hands off.

 

It’s Organic

Sometimes it just happens. Okay, I know that sounds too easy, but think about it. You have a team that’s taxed on both ends -- managers who are trying to keep a job on time, on a budget, and on quality, and technicians who are racing to get the work done. Who better to act as the intermediary than someone who can do everyone else’s job.

If you’ve proven yourself to be trustworthy, reliable, knowledgeable, punctual and have good communication skills, then you’re naturally going to be given more and more responsibility.

 

Find A Hole And Fill It

Okay, so let’s say you’re everything you should be, but no one is offering you a bump up. If you think you’re ready, ask for more responsibility. Make it your job to ensure that the job site is kept clean, that the customer is happy, that everyone is following procedure. This is not to say that you make yourself the self-appointed boss, but if you manage to keep an eye on the big picture of an install rather than just your little plot of ground, you’ve put yourself in the position to become indispensable. There are many managers out there who are simply too busy to stop and look for the help they need.

If you want it, you’re going to have to ask for it.

 

Go Out And Get It

It’s possible that you’re doing everything you should be: you’re motivated, reliable, trusted and a great mentor to the other guys in the field. And yet, you still can’t find a way to move up in your company.

If that’s the case, it very well might be time to move on. Not every company is well-suited or prepared to foster in-house talent. Or perhaps they’ve given you the added responsibility but are not in a position to bump up your compensation. This is the time make sure your resume is up to date, and get in touch with a trusted and knowledgeable recruiter.

There’s a great deal of opportunity out there today for motivated and well-rounded techs, make sure you don’t get left behind!

 

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How to find Candidates with the People Skills you need

Posted by Nicholas Stearns on Wed, Sep 14, 2016 @ 11:47 AM

Candidates with People Skills 

Everyone wants to hire a Rock Star, aka the perfect candidate. You’re looking for skills, experience and depth of training. But there’s another quality that makes someone stand out, and that’s their ability to communicate.

So here are a few tips on how to improve your ability to find and hire candidates with great people skills.

 

Awesome Descriptions Drive Traffic

Designing a killer job description is the first way that you’ll start attracting talent with strong interpersonal skills. Be certain to highlight specifically what people skills you’re looking for. Do you need someone to be customer facing? Someone who can deal with complaints well? Or just someone who can work well in the office? Identifying exactly what you require and being clear about it will help attract the brightest candidates..

 

Resumes With Meat

While a resume helps you find people with the necessary technical skills, it cannot necessarily tell you how proficient a candidate is with people. A resume that touts “good communication skills” isn’t a specific description of the candidate’s soft skills. So, start by looking for specific examples of their ability. Has the candidate headed up a team? Do they cite specific customer facing projects supported by metrics and data? Someone writing “skilled at dealing with a wide variety of people” indicates they’re aware of their ability to work with multiple types of personalities.

 

Interview (Should) = Reality

The best way to see how a candidate  communicates is to communicate with them. If they say they’re experienced in dealing with difficult customers, look to test that. Stage a mock sales call in which the customer gets angry or confrontational.

Also observe how they communicate with others in your office. Are they able to easily communicate or do they falter and stumble? This is also a good way to see if the candidate, and their communication style, is a good fit with your organizational culture.  

 

Willingness to Argue

As counterproductive as it sounds, someone who is able to argue effectively can be a great employee to put in front of customers. They can represent your company even in the most difficult settings.Candidates who show they can handle tough situations, and work to defuse even the most tense situation, are the people you want representing your company.

Give them hypothetical arguments to make. Have candidates defend a previous decisions they made in another organization. Point out to them some hypothetical flaws. Ask them what argument they would make if you told them you didn’t think them a fit for the job. How they handle the stress tells you how they’ll handle it in the field.  

 

Not all Follow Ups are Created Equal

Every candidate should, of course, follow up after an interview. But if you're looking for people skills, look for those who include personal or especially specific information. Do they remember every person they met, from all levels in the company? Doing so is indicative of someone who is detailed oriented, and knows how to make an impression.

People skills are what makes the difference between a competent candidate, and a real rock star. There may be plenty of qualified people out there who meet your technical qualifications, but it’s the great communicator who will help move your business to the next level.

 

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How To Resign From Your Job In Style

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Mon, Aug 22, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

How to Resign from your Job

 

Congratulations! You’ve gotten yourself a new job; taken another step up the ladder. Time to celebrate and daydream about all the future holds for you. But before you pop that champagne, you have to resign from your present job first.Handling a resignation well requires forethought, planning and professionalism. Consider the following as you prepare to step out of one position into the next.

 

First Things First

As tempting as it may be to rush to resign as soon as you get an offer, don’t. Offers fall through, negotiations break down, budgeting gets pulled. Wait until you’ve got a signed offer letter in hand, a start date and your benefits package all figured out before letting your manager know you’re leaving. There’s nothing worse than jumping the gun then finding yourself empty handed.

 

Make A Plan

Before you schedule a meeting with your manager make a plan of how you intend to ease out of your position. Offer a schedule to transfer accounts, information etc… to co-workers or your replacement, and make recommendations of how best work can be reassigned or shifted. Make certain to include a road map for any unfinished projects and clean up any files that are in less than pristine shape.

 

Write TWO Resignation Letters

The first letter you’re going to write is solely for your own use. This is the letter where you air all of your grievances -- you say everything you’ve ever wanted to say. Think your present boss is a moron? Say it. Hate the way your co-worker laughs? Say it and tell them if you never see them again it would be too soon. Still angry that you were passed over for an important project? Let it all out.

Doesn’t that feel good?

Yes it does.

Good. Now delete the file, burn the paper, empty the trash. No one else on the entire planet needs ever see it, and in fact it’s probably wise to destroy it as soon as you type the last period

Now sit down and write the second letter -- the real one. Keep it short, clear and always professional. State what you are grateful for, what worked for you and what you will carry with you through the rest of your career. Be certain to say thank you, and of course include the date for your last day.

And unless you’re as clever as the guy who sent a condolence card, keep it simple, straight forward and professional.

 

Schedule An Appointment

Unless you work on one continent and your supervisor is on another, always offer your resignation in person. And alway schedule a meeting -- a drop in is not the way to handle this kind of information.

Make sure you let your direct supervisor know first-- you don’t want word leaking out before you’ve had a chance to handle it yourself. Once they’ve been informed, ask your boss how they’d like you to manage letting other people in the office know. They may want to get out in front of the information first -- if so, respect their choice.

 

Be Prepared For the Counter Offer

There’s every chance that your well-planned resignation will be met with a counter-offer. And it may be sweet -- more money, added benefits, extra time off. Your boss may be very motivated to keep you around. But be wary.

No matter how valued you are, you’ve already identified yourself as a flight risk, so even though the company is fighting to keep you around, they also know you’ve got one foot out the door. When the time comes for cut backs or reorganization, your name very likely will be at the top of the list.

You went looking for a new job for a reason, is more money really enough to make you want to stay? Not likely. Stick to your plan to move on and up.

You can read here for more about counter-offers.

 

The Best Laid Plans

 Your perfect resignation scenario probably looks something like this: You book a meeting with your manager, hand them your letter, offer two weeks and share a hearty handshake. You then spend the next two weeks easing the transition, saying goodbye, having your exit interview and preparing to move on.

But there’s every chance that the company wants you gone that day. So be prepared, have boxes at the ready, make sure you’ve cleaned up your company computer and be prepared to be walked out by security with little time to wrap anything up.

 

Finish Strong

Resigning a job isn’t only about what happens next. It’s about what happens three, five, ten years down the road. You want to exit the company on a positive note. Be helpful and constructive in your exit interview, consider what you say carefully and aim to be an asset up until the end. Then say thank you and wish everyone well. If you exit on a high note, then you’ll have even more to go out and celebrate.

 

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8 Pro-Tips To Make Relocating For A Job Easy(ier)

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Tue, Jul 19, 2016 @ 10:30 AM

how to Relocate for a Job

 

Congratulations! You’ve landed a new job, in a new city. Maybe you’re moving to a new company for a job with better pay and the promise of advancement, or perhaps your current employer has chosen you to open up a new branch or expand a branch in another city. Whatever the reason, you’ve got a new job in a new city and now it’s time to start planning your transition.Whether it’s just you and your pet goldfish, or the entire family, you have a lot of work to do. You have to find a new home, get your bearings in a new city (or country) and master a new job all at once!
Here are 8 Tips to Make Your Relocation Easy(ier)



Organize
Just as you may have made a list of Pro’s and Con’s when considering taking this new position, lists are going to be your friend when planning the move. You’ll want a list for both ends, leaving and arrival. Be certain to include not only the big things, like turning off/on the electricity and internet connections, but also close out local accounts and make sure you picked up the dry cleaning that you keep forgetting about. It is best to leave no loose ends dangling so that you can hit the ground running in your new town, be certain to get organized early on.



Do Your Research
Even if your job offer came with reimbursement of moving expenses and a fully staffed department devoted solely to relocating employees you have to do your own research. Many large corporations have preferred provider agreements with movers, realtors and shippers. You want to make certain that you are not only getting the best service you can, but also not endangering reimbursement. Work up a detailed and specific list of anticipated costs- and don’t forget to account for items such as your car and your pets.
If your move is taking you overseas, be certain to understand in what currency you will be paid, and what penalties you might incur when switching currencies.


Build In A Buffer
Whether your offer allows you a month before your move, or two weeks, you must insist on having some time to do your research. If you are not able to physically visit the new city, then cyber research will have to do. Read the local papers, talk to people in your network who live/work there, contact the local chamber of commerce to find out the best resources for new residents.



Get Social
Now more than ever, your friends, associates and extended social network can be your life line. Join local professional organizations, sign up for meet and greets and get a handle on where people in your industry are flocking to. Your new employer very well may have a lot of valuable information for you, but don’t rely on anyone else to help you feel grounded in your new town- that responsibility is, and should be, yours. If you’re moving with your family ask colleagues for recommendations on schools, neighborhoods and after school activities. But always do the research on your own, no one knows your needs as well as you do- don’t take someone else’s word for it.

 

Create A Calendar
There’s nothing as stressful as rushing things at the last minute. But chances are high that you’re planning this move while finishing up at your old job, or starting at the new one. So, regardless of the time frame required for your move, schedule as much as you can in advance. Calendar everything! And I mean everything, right down to what day to pack up the kitchen, and when to put in the change of address at the post office.
Remember, you’re taking this leap for the best of possible reasons, don’t sour the experience by allowing stress to take over.



Leave Things Behind
Take the opportunity of pack up your home to leave some things behind. You’re starting fresh in a new town, you can go ahead and leave that ratty set of towels behind, or even the recliner you’ve been toting around since college. I’m not advocating for putting yourself in a position of having to replace costly items on the other end, but this is a perfect time to do an inventory of what you need, want and what you’ve unnecessarily been clinging to.


Take Your Deductions
If your new employer is compensating you for your move, you must first find out if those monies will be counted as income. If that’s the case, then you must take the deductions due to you for these expenses. Understanding the tax benefits becomes even more important if you are footing the bill yourself. Make certain that you understand the local tax laws and stay up-to-date on federal rules and regulations.


Consider The Possibilities
Even though this may look like your dream job in your dream city, there is always the possibility that things might not work out. You may find that while that new town looked great on paper, once on the ground you might just not ever feel right. And the same goes for the new job. A position can look very different from the outside than it does once you are in it.
Now, careful research should mitigate the possibility of the move going south, but you have to plan for contingencies. So, whether that means moving back from whence you came, or trying something new, it always pays to have a plan in your back pocket.

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MOVE IT: RELOCATING FOR IT JOB OPPORTUNITIES ON THE UPSWING

 

Looking for a new job or to relocate? Give one of our recruiters a call!



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.

 

Tags: Job Search, Career Path

HIRING: How to Get the Perfect Organizational Fit

Posted by Nicholas Stearns on Thu, Jun 30, 2016 @ 02:00 PM

How to get perfect organizational fit

The most important consideration when hiring is that the candidate is qualified for the job...  Right?

Not completely. Beyond that you have to ask yourself, “How will this person fit into my company?” You certainly don’t want to hire someone who won’t feel comfortable coming into work every day. An unhappy employee that doesn’t fit in could pose difficulties to the rest of your team by changing your carefully maintained company atmosphere. Even if you're using all of your best hiring practices, you could be overlooking something.

Here are a few things to look for in order to make sure that a new hire fits your organization culture. 

 

Getting their message across

Every company has its norms, its customs and habits, and how your employees communicate is a vital part of company culture. How do your employees tend to talk to each other, or with managers? Do they email, instant message, call, make appointments in a calendar app, pass notes or face time? 

Take some time to examine how the potential hire communicates. Do they seem like a good personality fit, and is are they an effective communicator? Vast differences in communication and work styles can cause disruptions with others, and lead to problems with productivity. Make sure that you screen for these things before you pull the trigger on a new hire.

 

Level of Supervision

Management style is a fundamental aspect of company culture, and it’s important to note when considering a candidate. When one of your employees is undertaking a task, how often do you or another manager check in on them? How often do you offer assistance? And how much do you expect to be contacted for help?

It’s necessary for a candidate to understand how much they can reasonably expect to be managed. Make sure that your organization's preferred method is one that the candidate will thrive under.

 

Social Time:

Do your employees take breaks together, or is it an ‘every man for himself’ situation? Neither is better than the other, but if a candidate isn’t a good match, it can make for an uncomfortable workplace. Go ahead and ask them what they're used to doing on their lunch break. Do they bring food, do they like to go out with co-workers, or do they order takeout with others? Checking on these traits can make the difference between a lifetime employee and a two-year hire.

 

The View From The Bottom

A big part of company’s culture is what employees and managers define as winning, and how that’s achieved. Make sure you know what traits are highly valued in your company. If that’s the ability to work alone and come up with a perfect product, or to be an excellent team member, then you should test your candidate for these things. Asking about their work style (if they prefer to work alone, or in teams) can be a very good indication of whether or not they are a good match for your company.

 

Is your Office Space a Picture of Harmony?

How personalized is the office? Are there pictures of your team's success, or are you as spartan as can be? Do your employees heavily customize their space, or is everything there specifically utilitarian? Having an overall pleasant space and making sure that your current employees and potential hires have similar or complimentary styles can help to create a unified atmosphere in the workplace.

 

Use What You’ve Learned

Now that you’ve examined your company’s traits, make sure you start looking for harmony right from the beginning with a new hire. In your interview:

  • Ask candidates how they preferred to communicate in their previous job.
  • Ask how how they are accustomed to being managed, and if they are flexible in their style. 
  • Ask yourself if this candidate shares your company’s values.
  • Give your team a chance to meet them, get their feedback, and absolutely
    let it inform your judgement.

Remember, there’s a person behind behind that resume, and some candidates are adept at making themselves look good on paper. Dig a little deeper and get to know who they are.

 

Related Blog:

EMPLOYER BRANDING IS THE KEY TO SUCCESSFUL RECRUITING

 

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Tags: HR and Hiring, recruiting, Career Path

Want To Get Ahead At Work? Take A Vacation

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Tue, Jun 14, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

Even at J. Patrick executive it and audivisual recruiters take breaks for their careers

 

The American workforce can be described in many ways: driven, diverse, tenacious and dedicated. It can also be described as incredibly stressed out!

Taking time off is not something Americans do well. In fact, according to a 2014 survey conducted by Project Time Off, 41% of Americans did not plan to use their vacation days. Among the reasons cited in the survey were: 

  • A fear that they’d return to a mountain of work that would leave them playing catch-up for too long (40%)
  • 33% said they could not afford to take time off
  • They don’t want to appear replaceable (22%)
  • 28% of respondents think that by not taking vacation, they are demonstrating greater dedication

All these reasons are perfectly logical. But they are also incredibly flawed. There are several key reasons taking your vacation time actually enhances your chance for advancement.

 

Everyone Needs To Recharge. There’s only so long a person can keep performing at the peak of their abilities without time to rest, recover and regroup. If you need inspiration, you need look no further than at how elite athletes use rest to enhance performance. Just as they must be careful not to overtrain least they suffer from burnout and staleness, so too must the dedicated employee. And burnout doesn’t only affect your mood, the health implications are real.

In order to remain healthy, productive and effective you have to learn to step back to recharge. Just like a car battery, you’re valuable only as long as you’ve got a full charge.

 

Creativity Needs to be Fed. Even if you’re not a fan of musical theater, chances are pretty high that you’re familiar with the phenomenon that is Hamilton: An American Musical. And if you’ve heard even one interview with the show’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, then you know that he was inspired to create the show after reading Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton, while on VACATION. What Miranda thought would be an interesting beach read, turned out to be the seed for an amazing creative breakthrough. For a business related example, you need look no further than Kevin Systrom, who dreamed up the idea for Instagram while laying on the beach. Now, I’m not suggesting that taking vacation will lead you to write the next great American musical, or the next disruptive tech idea,  but there is an important lesson to be taken from these examples. Allowing yourself time away from the demands of the office, of deadlines, and day-to-day business makes room for your mind to wander. Science has given us very convincing insight into the virtues of daydreaming, and the impact it has on creativity. It’s your ideas that make you stand out at work; give yourself the time and space to dream some new ones up.

 

Build Alliances. Relationships are everything in the workplace. No matter where you are on the corporate ladder; trust, faith and cooperation among team members are key to success. And just as one weak link can threaten the entire chain, so too can one burnt out, exhausted, running on empty employee. By taking vacation days you are not only taking care of yourself, but you are also presented with the opportunity to enhance the bond you share with your team. Planning coverage, or training someone up to watch your desk fosters cohesion and cooperation.  A word of warning here: if, you don’t feel like you can trust your co-workers or manager to insure things run smoothly, it might be time to look for a new placement!

 

Appear More Productive. Project Time Off found that “People who take all their vacation days have a 6.5% higher chance of getting a promotion or a raise than people who leave 11 or more days of paid time on the table.” While this may fly in the face of conventional logic, the reason is simple: managers perceive happy employees as more productive. Now this isn’t to say that taking vacation time is a magic salve guaranteed to fix everything that ails you, but it can give your brain and your body important time to recuperate and gain some new perspectives.

 

$. If nothing else can convince you, not taking time off means that you are spending those allotted days working for free. You may be the most dedicated employee or the hardest working team member who doesn’t think twice about working overtime in order to get the job done, but if your boss flat out asked you to work without compensation for 10-12 days a year, would you?

If your goal is to get ahead, get that promotion, prove yourself a great employee: you owe it to yourself, your co-workers and your boss to take time off, feed your creativity and rest your body.

For some great vacation ideas that don’t have to cost a lot of $, check out this list of the 16 Best Affordable Destinations in the US.

 

Looking for a job? Check out all our current openings here!

 

 

 

Tags: Career Strategies, Productivity, Career Path

What Gets Enterprise Sales-Leaders Excited These Days?  - Part 1

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Tue, Jun 07, 2016 @ 12:00 PM

Attaracting top sales talent and recruiting with j patrick

 

Hiring managers and candidates alike know that recruiting and retaining an A-level sales team is key to the success of any company offering an enterprise solution. No matter how compelling the product, without top performers on your team, success is going to be elusive. Every company wants them, and yet, not every company can get them.

Certainly considerations such as compensation, company culture, the degree to which a company is willing to invest in training, ongoing learning and career development all carry weight with candidates. But what we find is that these are not necessarily the factors that drive top talent to leave one position to take another.

 

What does it take to attract top Enterprise sales talent?

In a word: Pre-IPO. Well funded start-ups that have not yet gone public are enormously enticing to our sales candidates right now. And while there are risks associated with moving to a new/unknown entity, the rewards can be enormous. That is, if you’re moving to the right company.

 

So, what is the right company?

Well, of course that answer is going to be different for every candidate, but driven to get involved with what could be the next great technological leap, here’s what top sales leaders are thinking about when considering a new position:

 

Disruptive Technologies with an Achievable Plan.

A disruptive technology is one that either displaces an existing technology or introduces a ground-breaking product that opens up a new industry. It’s exciting, it’s cutting-edge and it’s potentially important. You won’t find better salespeople than those who are looking to be engaged with the product they’re selling, who need to feel that they are helping to build something new, innovative and/or helpful. And truly, what salesperson worth their salt doesn’t want to be selling the world’s next great technological breakthrough?

But above and beyond the technology itself, savvy salespeople are considering the marketplace for this product. How corded is it? Are there too many players, is the company engaged in a red ocean or a blue ocean strategy?

 

Confidence.

A top salesperson got where they are based on the value of their relationships, and the depth of their network. There’s no point in making a move where you can’t carry those relationships forward with you. It’s not enough to only believe in the product you’re selling, it’s vital to consider if it’s one you can sell to a marketplace/customer base you know well. How well will you be able to leverage your existing network?  And, more importantly, does this new product solve a real problem your current customers?

 

Top-Level Management.

When it comes to startups, who is just as important as what. Top management leaders who’ve scaled a company before, who have the knowledge, experience and following to build a successful company are nearly as important as the technology itself. Savvy salespeople look to the management team as a good barometer for potential success. They’re looking for managers they not only they feel they can work with, but who have a track record of success and can move the company toward profit and beyond.

It’s also important to remember that more people cite lack of faith in, or a conflict with, their manager as the number one reason for leaving a position. And while you can’t know how you’ll get on with a manager, doing due diligence about the people you’ll be reporting to is a key consideration to make.

 

High-Scaling.

Look, salespeople know a worthwhile lead when they see it, and they can also recognize a dead-end long before it comes into view. Yes, there has to be a belief in the technology and an investment in the worth it adds to business, or society at large, but more than that, there has to be the potential for a high return.

Always consider who is involved. Is this a purely VC backed venture, or PE? Where are they in their funding? While getting into a company while they are still in series A funding might promise higher returns later on, we are currently finding that the majority of our sales candidates are interested in series C or beyond. This may be attributable to the fact that the first quarter of 2016 has seen the lowest number of companies going public, or it may be that they are looking to move only to companies that are further along in their development. Either way, the real potential has to be there for a company to attract top sales talent.

Getting in on the ground floor of a disruptive technology insures that a salesperson is both challenged, engaged and invested in the company’s success. The only gamble of course, is whether the tech will catch on or not. If they’ve judged well and have gone where the smart money is sitting, they can expect to find themselves post-IPO in a very comfortable position, and their reputation as a sales leader greatly enhanced.

 

Related Blog:

5 PRO TIPS FOR RECRUITING TOP TALENT

 

 

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J. Patrick and Associates serves Information Technology firms that are looking to improve or expand their teams in mission-critical functions, where the success of the firm is highly dependent on the quality of certain hires. Whether you’re a candidate looking to move to one of our top-end customers, or a vendor looking to build your sales team, contact us today. 

Tags: enterprise, HR and Hiring, Career Strategies, Career Path