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Charge Up Your IT Career by Upskilling

For the last decade, career advice has boiled down to a simple maxim: if you want a promotion, you need to change your job.

As more top-tier companies work to retain top talent, this advice no longer applies. Now, upskilling is one of the best ways to change the course of your career. By seeking new skills and reaching for new opportunities, you can find ways to move laterally or vertically in your company or into a new one.

Here’s how you can get started with upskilling in your career.

Make It a Habit to Learn Every Month

Upskilling works best when you commit to it long-term. However, you don’t need to enroll in a new certification or course every month. Instead, using bite-sized learning opportunities to pick up a new skill every month can help set you up for career-long learning.

Find something you’re passionate about, and get to grips with it piece-by-piece. You’ll find that you keep your learning achievable while also finding new ways to apply your lessons to your work today.

Learn from Team Members

Digital learning platforms are all the rage among Fortune 100 groups, but they can miss out on important learning opportunities that are right in front of you.

Your team members have more knowledge and skills than you know about. You can work together to ‘knowledge-share’ as a form of upskilling, which allows you to swap technical skills and practice teaching.

Invest in Your Soft Skills

Whether you work with technology or in technology, it’s important to remember that tech skills aren’t everything. Soft skills are also in need of continuous development, and they often get neglected.

Dedicate some of your time to developing yourself as a leader and a co-worker and honing your emotional intelligence. These skills will help you make the most of your tech skills and better position you for new opportunities.

Upskilling Can Change Your Life

Upskilling can do more than help you take the next step in your career. It’s also an opportunity to develop your passions, grow your life experiences, and enhance your ability to work and connect with others.

So whether your current employer offers a complete continuing education program or you need to cobble your learning experiences together on your own, upskilling is a worthwhile investment.

Are you looking to share your skills with the right client?  Visit RightStone’s job board to see what opportunities await you.


Leveraging a Staffing Firm During High Unemployment

Over the last year, the U.S. has watched the unemployment rate take some deeply worrying turns. Although unemployment is now bouncing back slowly, the consequences of mass layoffs and upended industries are still making themselves known.

A staffing firm can be a valuable ally during times of turbulence, including this period of high unemployment. Here’s why working with a staffing firm could be the right business decision for your company.

Staffing Firms Hire Faster at a Lower Cost

With more people out of work, more talented candidates are on the hunt for a new role. As a result, you’re more likely to see a deluge of applications for every open post, which complicates the hiring process.

Staffing firms are more adept at sorting through large applicant pools, including greater numbers of unqualified applicants. They also have existing talent pools that they can leverage to shorten the time from job advertisement to hire.

In short, staffing firms have the resources to shorten the time to hire and manage hiring during high unemployment while staying on budget.

Staffing Firms Help Manage the Risk of Hiring

High unemployment often coincides with a difficult business environment in which organizations need more staff, but the associated costs can be a risk.

Staffing firms can work with you to fill contract roles that allow you to get the help needed without committing to permanent roles with benefits. Temp-to-Hire can be a smart option if you see the need extending in the medium to long-term, but your tolerance for risk is low for the short term.

Additionally, recruiters have a keen eye for the hiring process. They’re better able to find you better quality Temp-to-Hire or contract consultants, which add value to your business and are more likely to turn into long-term partnerships when the time is right.

Get Started with Hiring Experts

High unemployment grants businesses access to more talent with less competition, but these periods of instability rarely leave businesses themselves unscathed. Working with a strategic partner to manage your talent pipeline can ensure you mitigate risk and stay on budget while also ensuring you get the help you need in the office.

Get in touch to learn more about RightStone nurtures consultant and client relationships to find the right fit every time.


5 Tips for Interviewing a Candidate Older Than You

Sitting down to an interview with someone older than you is not as uncommon as it sounds.

Whether you need to hire for a very senior role or you have an applicant who took a detour on your career path, there are many ways you could find yourself interviewing someone who started their career while you were still in school.

Although the initial realization may feel awkward, interviewing an older candidate than you doesn’t need to be different from any other interview. Here are five things to remember when you find yourself in this scenario.

Don’t Bring Up Your Age or Theirs

Age is just a number. So, please don’t feel the need to make light of your age or ask questions about theirs.

What’s important is their experience and whether they fit the bill for the job. Bringing up the age gap will just increase the awkwardness. Make it a point to leave the conversation at the door and focus only on their qualifications.

Do More Research Beforehand

Research the candidate’s background to better understand what their experience and skills bring to the team. Doing so will give you a chance to ask more in-depth questions, which caters well to candidates who are more experienced than you are.

Rely Heavily on Emotional Intelligence

For some people, returning to an entry-level or mid-career job is part of a big life change, such as returning to the workforce after years or decades of raising a family, overcoming an obstacle like an illness, or finally getting the chance to pursue their dreams.

Empathy and emotional intelligence will help the candidate feel more comfortable. And they will remember how you made them feel above all else.

Go for Common Ground

What experiences do they have that you also have? Finding a point that you can both relate to, whether it’s a course or certification or project, will help the candidate open up and create a more conversational interview style.

Consider Outsourcing the Process

If you want to hire to bring on a more senior position than you currently have at the company, then you might consider outsourcing the recruitment process. Recruiters with expertise in your field will forgo the awkwardness associated with age or experience and have a better eye for the kind of candidate you need.

Are you looking for a new senior role in IT? Get in touch to learn about the RightStone 360 process and how we place the right consultant with the perfect employer. 


Bored at Work? It Might Be Time for a Change of Scenery

When you read about modern work, you hear a lot about the dangers of overwork. Overwork and the stress that goes with it are huge problems for workers and organizations alike. But there’s one feeling that’s more prominent than burnout: boredom.

Being bored at workisn’t the result of running out of things to do. It’s an emotional state where the things you have to do no longer stimulate you creatively. Maybe it’s repetitiveness, or perhaps you feel unchallenged. Either way, being bored is common, and it’s not good for your career.

Are you bored at work? Here’s what to do next.

Why Boredom is Booming

Boredom is perhaps a greater symptom of modern work than overworking. Many things that used to take decision-making, skill use, and relationship building are now automated, particularly in industries like IT, marketing, and customer service.

There’s an app, tool, or streamlined process for much of our work, and with the rise of AI, machine learning, and eventually, quantum computing, many of the tasks left today will disappear.

Does Boredom Mean It’s Time for a Change?

Being bored at work doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to seek out a new role. In some cases, it’s a sign that you can be doing more in terms of challenging yourself. If you’re bored, you could upskill, take risks, and set bigger goals.

At the same time, much of what it takes to remove boredom from the workplace comes from the top down. Hiring better managers, increasing collaboration, reinventing workflows, and ensuring the job is as great as the person who occupies it remains up to leadership.

However, if you work somewhere where boredom is part of the furniture and your team isn’t receptive to the idea of reinvigorating your days, then it may be time to seek out greener pastures.

Whether You Stay or Go, Think Carefully About What You Need

Being bored at work isn’t necessarily a sign that you need to get out of your job. However, a company culture that is uninterested in shaking up the status quo could be a sign that things won’t change (and even that your organization isn’t sustainable).

Before jumping ship, think about whether you’re bored and why. Then, think about what it could take to help you enjoy your job again. Once you have an answer, you’ll be better able to decide whether it’s time for a new role and even what that new role should be.

Looking for a Change of Scenery?

Are you looking for a role that will challenge and inspire you? Let’s talk. We’re ready to listen.Get in touchwith RightStone to learn how we place candidates with the right employer. 


4 Reasons Why Temp Work Might Be Right for You

Traditional job hunt wisdom says you should seek out a full-time, permanent role. However, you have more options available to you than looking for a permanent position.

Temporary or contract jobs continue to grow in popularity among both employers and workers. Temp jobs and temp-to-perm jobs offer more flexibility for everyone involved.

Should you consider temp work? Here are some of the reasons workers prefer a contract.

1. You Prioritize Company Culture

More workers find that company’s culture is the most important aspect of their day-to-day life. But it’s hard to get a true sense of a company’s culture from their website, through their interview process, or even after a week on the job.

If you want to work somewhere with a specific culture, you may benefit from temp-to-hire work. It will give you a better idea of what it’s like to work in the office after the sheen of being a new hire wears off, which will indicate whether you hang on after the contract or decide to move on.

2. You Want to Practice New Skills

If you are in a career transition or hoping to make a lateral move within your industry, you may benefit from a temp job.

Even after training, it can be hard to walk into a position without a few years of experience with your new skillset.

When a job is temporary, many employers are willing to take a chance on promising candidates without direct experience in the role.

3. You Want to Get Hired Quickly

Companies hiring for a permanent job take their time during the hiring process. They don’t want to have to re-fill the role in a few weeks or months.

Because temp work comes with an expiration date, there’s less focus on finding exactly the right fi. You may find that you go through a speedier hiring process, particularly as temp jobs are used to fill roles that companies need to fill now.

4. You Want to Try Out a New Industry

Ultimately, temp jobs are a great way to gain experience quickly. And temp jobs make it possible to experiment while gaining that experience. You can transition between companies or even industries with less effort than it takes to change roles in permanent positions.

With the right team behind you, you can find the best fit before settling into a permanent role.

Try Out Flexible Employment with Temp Work

Permanent employment isn’t the only option on the table anymore. And for some workers, temp work or temp-to-permanent contracts can be a better fit because they offer more flexibility and room to experiment.

Are you looking to make a career transition? RightStone can help you take your career to the next level.Get in touch to learn more about the RightStone 360 process.


Keeping the Interview Conversational: 5 Ways to Conduct an Interview Like a Pro

The best interviews flow like a conversation rather than an interrogation. Conversations work because it gives both the interviewer and the interviewee space to think laterally and creatively, which allows both parties to share more about themselves.

But how do you keep an interview conversational when you have so many to complete and little time to do it?

Here’s how to get the most out of an interview.

Break the Ice First

“How are you?” is the most obvious question you can ask, and you won’t glean much from the candidate by asking it. Instead, ask them a more specific question that allows you to make a minute or two of small talk.

Some questions include: 

  • What’s the best thing to happen to you this week? 
  • How did you find this job post? 
  • What are you watching on television at the moment? 
  • Tell me something you’ve learned this week.

These are questions that open up the floor for discussion but don’t veer far enough into the personal to be jarring. 

Practice Asking Open-Ended Questions

If the answer to a question is yes or no, then you’ll get a yes or no answer. While it may provide a perfunctory answer, you won’t learn much, and your questions will seem more like an interrogation.

Practice answering open-ended questions to get more from candidates. These questions usually begin with “why” or “how” rather than “can” or “do.’

Ask Questions (and Follow-ups) Relevant to the Interviewee

You won’t find cookie-cutter candidates because there aren’t cookie-cutter people. So, don’t ask every candidate the same list of questions. Instead, use their resume and their previous answers to riff on their experience and ask questions relevant to the candidate’s history specifically.

Lean on Your Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is an often-overlooked part of the interview process. You don’t give anything away by being kind, warm, and yourself with a candidate, even if you aren’t sure they’re a good fit.

Lean on building a natural rapport with each interviewee where possible to keep the conversation flowing. Not only does it improve the process, but it also gives you a better sense of the candidate’s emotional intelligence too.

Let the Conversation Flow

Candidates regularly say that the best interviews feel more like conversations. And these interviews leave them with a positive experience, even if they don’t land the job.

Rather than rattling off a list of questions, let the conversation flow by demonstrating emotional intelligence and keeping each interview personal. You’ll find you both get more from the process when you do.

RightStone Can Help With Hiring!

Are you struggling with the hiring process? Let the experts help. Get in touchto learn more about how the RightStone 360 process places qualified consultants with the right businesses.


Keeping Talented Employees Can Be Difficult: 4 Tricks for Retaining Them

Everyone wants to attract the best talent. But what are you doing to retain the talent you already have? If you’re like many organizations, you’re not doing enough.

Employee retention needs to be a core part of any business strategy, but many organizations put it on the backburner in favor of more “tangible” value-adding processes. Yet, attracting your best employees not only stops employee churn but promotes a stronger culture through experience, loyalty, and leadership.

So how do you keep employees when your competitors are actively recruiting them? Here are four tricks for employee retention.

1. Keep Their Compensation Competitive

A well-known maxim in today’s market is this: if you want a raise, then you need to get a new job.

Financial stability won’t keep employees who want to leave, but it will stop otherwise committed workers from quitting. And it will make your team more difficult to poach.

Do some research and make sure you’re offering a competitive package. If you’re not, start talking to your team to learn more about what you can do to close the gap.

2. Hire the Right Employees

Hiring an employee who is the right fit for the role and the culture is the best thing you can do to retain talent. 

So rather than filling a gap now, wait for the right fit to come along, and make sure you use a comprehensive hiring process to filter candidates.

3. Create a Robust Professional Development Process

Regular reviews, investment in skills, and mentorship are the building blocks of employee retention, and they’re all simultaneously an investment into your company.

Employees who continue to grow their skills and take on new challenges in their jobs are more likely to stay. And it will build into the final piece of the employee retention puzzle: employee recognition.

4. Recognize Employees’ Contributions

All your employees are pulling for the same team: your company. But it’s important to recognize their individual efforts. Be sure to recognize their contributions both privately and publicly to remind them how much you value them and to inspire others.

Remember to keep the recognition specific. Let them (and others) know exactly what they did right and celebrate both personal and team achievements.

Employee Retention Benefits the Whole Organization

Employee retention tactics come in many different forms, and each one is worth the investment. When you work hard to retain your employees by ensuring they feel valued, providing opportunities for growth, and recognizing your efforts, you build stronger teams and a more stable organization.

At RightStone, our consultant retention rate is far above the industry average.Get in touch to learn how we build decades-long relationships between clients and consultants.


3 Tips for Working in a Different Time Zone Than Your Co-Workers

Remote work became the theme of 2020, but it’s not a fleeting idea. According to one survey, 74% of workers expect remote work to transition from a contingency plan to a standard form of practice.

As people find more opportunities for remote work, they will continue to spread out between timezones. And those changes can present opportunities as well as challenges.

Are you joining an organization that operates across timezones? Here are three tips for maintaining those relationships.

Be Mindful with Meeting Times

Working between Central and Eastern time can be done with a bit of consideration and extra effort. But the difference between Eastern and Pacific? It’s a different story.

Do your best to keep meetings within normal working hours. When that’s not possible, make sure you don’t consistently burden one party with the unsocial hour. For example, if you work on EST and you have a colleague in Australia, you can take turns with anti-social meeting hours so that one party doesn’t consistently find themselves online at 8 PM or 6 AM.

Use Calendars to Set and Share Schedules

Encouraging calendar sharing is the simplest way to set deadlines, schedule meetings, and manage expectations.

For example, if you want to schedule a Zoom call, you can send out an invitation and hope it works for everyone. However, when you share calendars, you can go into the organization calendar and look for a time when you’re free.

You may also find it helpful for people to schedule out-of-office events, deep work hours, or hours generally out-of-bounds for video or phone calls. Then, you’ll schedule mutually agreeable meetings and avoid rescheduling.

Keep Cultural Norms in Mind

American work culture insists that 7:30 AM meetings are part of life. In Britain, setting a 7:30 AM meeting makes you a tyrant.

Cultural norms impact working hours and days as well as pace, workflows, and collaboration. Being understanding of how others use their work time will go a long way in ironing out issues before they become contentious.

 

Are you looking for your next role and hoping to land a remote option? Visit RightStone’s job board to find a new opportunity to work with coworkers across the United States and beyond.


Spring is a Time for New Beginnings: Should a New Job Be One of Them?

Leaving the cold, dark days of winter behind always brings a sense of renewal. For some people, things start to feel easier, and some of the past stress falls away. Your job feels easier, your tasks less stifling.

But sometimes, spring can be a chance to try something new. A new job can set you up for an excellent spring, summer, and even career.

Is it time to be looking for a new job? Here are a few signs that it’s time to move on.

1. You’re Unmotivated Even in the Sun

For many people, cold dark winters can zap the productivity right out of us, even if you aren’t engaged with your job. Often, the good weather can make even bleak days feel brand new.

But if your Sunday Scaries persist even into April, May, and June, the issue may not be the weather. It may be your job.

Rather than waiting for something to change, it may be time to create that change for yourself.

2. You’re Browsing Job Boards

Do you find yourself on LinkedIn or other job boards just to see what else is out there?

If you are looking at new posts and thinking seriously about applying, then there’s likely something amiss in your current job. Subconsciously, you may not feel challenged or believe you’ll get the growth opportunities you want. Or you could be looking for a different culture or benefits.

No matter what’s on your mind, if you read job advertisements with interest, it may be time to start making a move for a new role.

3. You’re Struggling to Recover Each Week

Do you start every Monday feeling even more tired than you did on Friday? Are you struggling to make the most of your time off? It may be time for a new job.

The ability to rest, refresh, and recover from a workweek is a core part of staying engaged in your current role. If the job or the culture won’t allow you to take a beat and breathe, then it may be better to get out before you burn out.

 

Do you recognize some of the feelings described in this post? RightStone can help. Get in touch to learn how the RightStone 360 process perfectly matches consultants with employers.


Creating a Culture of Development: 3 Ways to Teach New Skills to Current Employees

These days, it’s very easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day work of reacting to new challenges and just trying to stay afloat. But one of the ways companies can keep themselves in operation and spend less time reacting to changes is by preparing employees in advance.

A culture of development gives workers room to upskill, future-proofing their jobs and preparing for new eventualities. It also keeps employees engaged, which is vital in a world where 7 out of 10 U.S. workers don’t feel connected to their job.

How do you create a culture where development opportunities are not only available but taken? Use these three tips to get started.

Emphasize and Facilitate New Connections First

Conferences, classes, and workshops work wonders for development. However, by focusing only on those resources, you miss out on very real development opportunities. These are the opportunities that come through making new connections.

Mentorship has a huge impact on an individual’s career, and it offers insights you won’t find in a webinar. Yet, mentorship programs are often optional.

If you want to create a meaningful development culture, you may be better placing mentorship above other learning opportunities and allowing employees to ‘opt out’ of mentorship rather than encouraging them to ‘opt-in.’

Even better, nine in 10 workers who participate in career mentorship programs are happier with their jobs. Happy workers want to stay, learn, and grow.

Set Every Employee up with a Development Plan

Before expecting employees to find ways to upskill, you need to provide them with ideas, resources, and a plan of action.

Employee development plans provide the groundwork needed to pursue educational opportunities. They consider personal, professional, and organizational goals and identify the resources needed to get there. Even better, they provide an action plan that everyone agrees on, giving workers a chance to get started as soon as they’re ready.

Provide Adequate Funding for Development

Before you go to workers and ask them to do more, ask yourself this: what is your budget for professional development?

According to one report, there’s a real disconnect between what employers think they offer and what employees get.

So go back to the drawing board and ask: are you granting enough money for development?

Upskilling Workers Benefits Everyone

A culture of development benefits workers, teams, and the whole organization. However, it requires more than handing out passes to conferences. You need to start with a solid foundation to show employees what’s possible and how to get there. And then, you need to provide the resources they need to make it happen.

 

Would you like to learn more about building a development culture and what it means to staff it? Get in touch to learn how RightStone pairs consultants and clients to build relationships and broaden teams.


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