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Are You the New Kid on Zoom? Tips for Meeting Co-Workers as a New Remote Worker

Common aspects of everyday life came to a standstill in 2020. But after a period of uncertainty in the spring, employers began hiring again.

If you started a new job or are about to change careers, you will meet your co-workers online. First impressions matter more than ever, so it’s helpful to be thoughtful about those interactions. Use these tips to make those first few meetings more productive — and a little bit less awkward.

Ask New Questions

“Hi, how are you?” It’s the most straightforward conversation starter there is. However, you can do better for those first interactions. Skip the “how are you doing” during the first meeting. You don’t have a baseline to work from; you don’t know what ‘good’ means to them. It’s also a hard question to answer right now.

Instead, keep it positive and ask a question with a concrete answer. Instead, you might ask:

  • What did you do this week that you loved?
  • What’s been the highlight of the week?
  • What are you working on right now?

These are casual questions that help you get to know each other, keep it professional, and avoid perfunctory answers.

Choose a Fun Background

Zoom backgrounds are a fun way to express yourself and show off a bit of your personality. They’re free, and there’s no shortage of them available.

However, do remember to keep it professional. You might use a background photo of your current city or home town, the backdrop of your favorite sports team, or even a generic backdrop that expresses your interests. For example, you might put yourself in a beautiful library if you love to read.

Remember Your Body Language

One of the tricky things about Zoom is the over-reliance on verbal language. Even with video, delays, low-quality cameras, and the concept of video in general means it’s harder to communicate.

Be sure to keep an eye on your body language. It’s perceptible even on Zoom. Be sure to position your camera so that it captures your upper body when sitting up straight. When on the call, sit back from the camera so your co-workers can see your gestures. And as always, when in doubt, smile and nod.

Ease into a New Role with These Zoom Tips

Zoom is imperfect, but it’s a valuable tool that most companies now use to conduct everything from onboarding to essential business. You can make those first interactions meaningful by remembering Zoom’s limitations and working to overcome them by communicating as effectively as possible. Remember, these tips aren’t just great for daily meetings. They’re also helpful interview tips.

Are you looking for a new role in 2021?

RightStone can help! Visit our jobs board to look for your next move.


The Importance of Screening: 3 Ways to Ensure You Find the Best IT Candidates

Keeping your talent pipeline full and moving is a core part of business operations. Creating an effective screening process is a significant part of the process.

Screening applicants ensures you only move the candidates best-suited for the job forward. It also saves you a significant amount of time both in the initial review and later in the hiring process.

Applicant screening can include a wide range of processes. Here are a few of the best techniques for hiring the best IT candidates.

Skills Testing Technology

You know what skills are mandatory and what ones are nice to have. Most of your applicants come to you with those skills in some form, so if you want to screen them successfully, use skills testing.

Technical skills screening is simple to administer and delivers precise results. By employing this technique, you’ll cut the wheat from the chaff and narrow your candidate pool without adding more to your plate.

Paid Trials/Short Contracts

Often, a hiring decision is a close call between two or three highly-qualified people. But those qualifications may not mean the new hires work out. Trial periods can dramatically reduce employee turnover, dropouts before the start date and ensure you also get the right candidate for your culture.

Paid trial periods or projects give you both a chance to see their performance on the team without a commitment. It’s low risk for both parties, and when it works out, you have a better employee who is also prepared for the demands of the job.

Outsource the Initial Screening

Do you find yourself sorting through dozens or even hundreds of resumes? It’s not uncommon to have only 30 seconds to dedicate to each application received. While technology can do this job for you, many companies, particularly SMEs, still prefer to have the human touch.

Why not use a staffing firm to go through the big pile of applications? They can use your goals and their experience and resources to pull out the best from the pack. The process gifts you a smaller pool to make the final decision, so you can focus your energy and resources where it matters most.

Screen for Success

Screening your applications will produce better employees and shores up your hiring process. There are many ways to go out about the screening process, which means you can ensure it matches your business and talent pipeline needs.

Are you looking for new IT consultants who come pre-screened and match your organization’s needs? Get in touch to learn more about the RightStone 360 process.


3 Reasons IT Professionals Should Consider Switching to Contract Work

In 2018, one in five U.S. jobs was a contract job, and the number continues to grow. By 2030, half of all workers could work on temporary contracts rather than a permanent basis.

An increasing number of IT jobs also fall in this category, and if you’re currently in a full-time role or looking for one, you might wonder if a contract job might suit you better.

Here’s when and why you should consider switching to contract work.

You Want a Pay Raise

The best way to get a pay raise in today’s economy is to get a new job. And one of the surefire ways to make sure the salary bump is more than negligible is to take on a contract.

Contract jobs pay roughly 20% more than full-time employment for two reasons. First, a contractor won’t get the same benefits. Though benefits vary by agency and contract, and we’ll come back to that later. Second, paying contractors looks different on a balance sheet than paying employees. Unlike employees, contractors aren’t a “fixed cost,” so clients are more willing to spend more even if they keep the contractor around as long as an employee.

You Are Returning to the Job Market

Getting your foot in the door for a permanent position can be tough if you have a gap in your employment history. Whether you are a new grad or returning to work after several years, employers still tend to overlook you for candidates already in a similar role.

Contract roles come with no strings attached, which makes it easier to step into them if your employment history works against you, in part because employers (and investors) see investing in contractors differently than a permanent employee, who costs more in the long run.

You Want to Specialize

It’s not uncommon to see a permanent IT post come with the responsibilities of an entire IT department in one role. Hiring managers want to get the most bang for their buck for permanent staff. If that expectation doesn’t appeal to you, then a contract job may suit you well.

Employers tend to bring on contractors for specific and often specialist roles. If you want to increase your knowledge and experience in areas like cybersecurity, data center management, or ERP, you may find you have more opportunities as a contractor.

Becoming a consultant can open up a whole new world of work for many IT professionals.

Are you looking for your next role?

Visit our jobs board and get in touch to learn more about how we place IT consultants with the perfect client.


3 Tips to Keep Remote Employees Productive without Micromanaging

Many businesses didn’t choose to go remote in 2020: it became the only suitable option overnight. As a result, there was no time to prepare a remote management plan or brush up on new skills.

If you have micromanaging tendencies, then you may have found them stretched during the past year. But micromanaging is just as counterproductive out of the office as it is when you’re co-located. Micromanaging leads to poor morale, a lack of confidence, and stress, which all contribute to lower productivity and higher turnover.

How do you make sure employees remain productive without getting in your own way? Use these tips for remote management inspiration.

Use Team Management Software

Clear, measurable goals are the ticket to productivity. When you have a good team and a crystal clear deliverable, you can almost count on it getting done.

To help you avoid micromanaging a project — even one with a defined goal — use goal tracking systems, like team management software. The right software enables you to see where your team is at a glance, which cuts down on wondering, emails, and unnecessary Zoom calls. 

Software also makes teamwork more transparent, so members of each team can see where their colleagues are and collaborate easier. There are plenty of options out there, from enterprise systems to freemiums like Asana. Just be sure to choose the right one for your team’s needs and get them onboarded so they can hit the ground running.

Provide a Daily or Weekly Focus

If you find yourself wondering what your team is up to, then your team may not have a focus. Make life simpler for everyone by pulling out a daily or weekly focus for each goal and communicate it with the whole group. Make the focus clear and ensure it ties into the overarching effort.

Using this method not only helps you stay on top of what’s happening in the short-term, but it helps keep employees on track even when other projects may be calling their name.

Tip: Weekly focuses tend to work best for longer projects or sprints. If there’s a pressing project or need, you might use a daily goal.

Build Relationships Based on Trust

No system or method can save you from micromanaging if trust isn’t the foundation of your working relationships. You have to earn trust, and it takes hard work. However, it is the best way to avoid relying on harmful management tools and boost productivity overall.

Remember: you set the standard for behavior. So if you want to earn trust, you need to give it. Check out this research from the Kellog School of Management on what it means to build trust and build a stronger remote organization.

Is the missing piece of your productivity puzzle a new employee?

RightStone can help you build the remote team you need to exceed your goals in 2021. Get in touch to learn more about the RightStone360 process.


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