Posted by & filed under Job Search.

Working as an independent contractor offers several great benefits. For starters, you’re your own boss: You’re in charge of your working hours and work environment, and you’re free to negotiate the terms of a project with a client.

But as great as that sounds, there are a number of important factors to consider when seeking work as an independent contractor, such as the need for a clear and complete contract. In this “new” economy, contractors work from contract to contract, rendering only the services for which they are hired.

How then, do you and the client know what services are involved?

This is where a contract comes in.

As employees, we’re often used to having a contract prepared for us—all you need to do is read and sign. On the other hand, as an independent contractor, you need to draft the contract, making sure to define the following:

  • Scope of the work done for the client
  • Deadline for the project’s completion
  • Project budget
  • Project liabilities for both client and contractor
  • Relationship between you and client, and relationship with subcontractors (if any)

The problem with foregoing a contract

But why bother with a contract when you can just have a verbal agreement over the work to be done? Think of it this way, people tend to forget things, and when that happens, remembering specific conditions and agreements about the project can get tricky.

In any business transaction, a contract is critical to preserving understanding of both parties to their responsibilities and rights. Ideally, it should spell out in very clear terms who gets what, what services should be rendered, and the circumstances in which the contract can be ended.

More importantly, a contract offers protection against confusion and disagreements, which can lead to potential legal claims, such as, but not limited to, a breach of the agreement between contractor and client. This leads us to our next point.

A contract contains the terms for addressing client feedback

A contract should also stipulate both parties’ liabilities. For your part, it’s important to outline a process deals with feedback, which includes:

  • Responding to feedback
  • Steps to resolve a project issue
  • Communicating the resolution to the client

This may seem like a minor detail, but putting a resolution policy in writing ensures that all parties know what to do and expect when encountering problems in the project, helping minimize disagreements.

Learn more about how to avoid the common pitfalls of working as an independent contractor from Integrity Staffing Professionals. With more than 50 years of experience providing workforce management and job search advice, we know the executive search process by heart. Contact us today to learn more!

 

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Posted by & filed under Leadership.

Let’s face it, if you’re a small to medium enterprise, there’s probably no way you can build a swimming pool in your office grounds, or have an in-house chef to make everyone fancy work lunches. But many employment agencies know that these perks, along with salary increases, are not the only ways to offer competitive benefits that keep your employees happy and productive. You may not be able to compete with the big names like Apple and Google, but there are many ways to offer great benefits to your staff without blowing your operating budget.

Below are four common sense benefits to keep your workers happy and productive.

1. Flexible Working Conditions

Flexibility in workforce management, particularly in terms of working hours and conditions, is one work benefit sure to be attractive to employees, so much so that many people will happily keep a job that pays less if it means striking a better balance between work and life. Whenever possible, and if it doesn’t negatively impact productivity and customer service, let your people work fewer hours, or allow them to work remotely from home.

2. Competitive Healthcare Plans

Healthy employees are productive employees. One of the best ways to make your employees feel valued is to offer a comprehensive healthcare plan with low upfront costs. Offering great healthcare coverage can also attract top-notch talent to your business; in fact, many small businesses go as far as covering the costs of all healthcare premiums for staff and their families because they know it fosters loyalty.

3. Separate Sick Days and Paid Time Off

Although many large companies have already transitioned to a Paid Time Off Policy, offering sick days that don’t take away from vacation time can be a huge morale booster, as it shows you genuinely want your people to take time away from work to rest when necessary. If you want to build good will, don’t punish your employees for being sick. Allow them to rest at home without making them worry about lost vacation days.

4. Offer Parental Leaves

Being the parents of a new child can be a huge challenge and having to take unpaid time off from work can make the situation much harder. Fortunately, many companies understand that employees who are given time and financial support to care for their new children are more likely to be happier and more productive than parents who have to take unpaid time off. Again, this is all about building goodwill and loyalty, intangible concepts that encourage employees to work harder.

Learn more workforce management tips from Integrity Staffing Professionals! With over 50 years of experience helping job searchers and employers, we pride ourselves on being a leading executive search firm!  Contact us today to learn more!

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Posted by & filed under Top Candidates.

Candidate #1 – SSRS/T-SQl Report Writer

A highly skilled and innovative programmer analyst with a specialty in reports development and a proven track record of applying strong analytical, technical, and client service skills to deliver lasting solutions.

  • Responsible for programming, writing and modifying T-SQL Stored Procedures, creating SQL reports and using SQL Server Management Studio.
  • Developed 150+ reports using SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) report builder and T-SQL Server Management Studio platform, such as:
    • Sales Reports: Graphical reports used by management to assess sales trends YOY, MOM and across product lines and regions in real time, informing business strategy
    • Purchasing and Inventory Reports: Comprehensive reports used by management to inform inventory investments and operations management strategies
    • Accounting Reports: Accounts receivable and accounts payable reports used to ensure optimal cash flow position and short turn on unpaid invoices
  • Used C# in all programming logic development, including several SharePoint 2010/2013 solutions:
    • Automated State-By-State Tax Reporting: Replaced time-consuming and costly manual reporting by creating monthly tax reporting SharePoint applications, which generated product monthly returns serialized into an XML file and e-mailed directly to each state; used C# for back-end logic and libraries such as Entity Framework, Linq-to-sql to generate XML file
    • Real Time Sales Data: Created an ASP.NET  Winforms application for sales departments for each company under Kretek umbrella that displays live and constantly self-updating sales data by team and salesperson; this application allows user to select different parameters by which they can view valuable, personalized metrics; later converted app into SharePoint.
  • Gained extensive SharePoint experience including:
    • SharePoint Migration: Administered and migrated all data and objects from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013; architected the overall site structure and look and feel of the SharePoint 2013 environment; configured each component within SharePoint and AD integration
    • SharePoint Administration: performed adds, removes and changes of groups and users as well as customization of built in SharePoint APPS using technologies such as jQuery and CSS; Development in SharePoint 2010 & 2013 to create Visual Web Parts using the SharePoint object model and WPF and XAML to create Windows applications
  • Worked with Great Plains data tables to create data structures and complex joins in the creation of SQL Queries, Stored Procedures and Functions

Candidate #2 – Sr. Ruby on Rails Software Engineer

Senior Ruby on Rails full stack software engineer with over nine years of industry experience dedicated to producing innovative products and service architectures which deliver creative, customer-centric solutions to interesting problems.Expertise: MVC, client-side MV*, SOA, mobile web dev, lean startup methodologies, AWS architecture, TDD, VoIP/telephony, Containerization, scrum methodologies, customer dev, CI/CD

Technologies: Ruby on Rails, Sinatra, RSpec, AngularJS, Knockoutjs, Highcharts.js, NodeJS, MySQL, Git, Jenkins

  • Responsible for leading all front-end development.
  • Introduced team to modern front end tools and processes: KnockoutJS, Bower, Grunt, Jasmine, CDN
  • Managed and mentored front-end development intern who joined the team after completion.
  • Developed and applied skills in lean startup methodologies, market validation, customer development and marketing.•
  • Developed several stand-alone RoR applications/tools with purposes ranging from network switch configuration management to social data mining platform to customer visualization tools.•
  • Designed and drove telephony IAAS API (Sinatra, Freeswitch) to beta and adoption by product.•
  • Founding team member, front-end developer & telephony design for internal startup.
  • Software development mentor to operations staff transitioning to a DevOps culture. Held trainings and office hours to develop best practices around TDD, code reviews and documentation.
  • Called upon as resident expert for all ROR applications.
  • Lead engineer on major clinical application rewrite (RoR, MySql). Delivered on requirements for rapid adaptability, learnability and optimized UI for high risk, time-critical use cases in healthcare.
  • Successfully pitched adoption of open source RoR stack. Established robust team dev processes through introduction of new tools, practices (including scrum agile), libraries and presentations.

Candidate #3 – Sr. Net Software Engineer

  • 20 years of progressive experience as Programmer, Senior Software Engineer, Project Leader and Architect. Involved with full software development life cycle, including but not limited to gathering requirements, system analysis, design, development, debugging, testing, user training, deployment and production support of software projects.
  • Extensive experience in Internet, intranet, client server, mobile, online shopping projects and data warehousing applications.
  • Extensive experience in the Web-based business application development using C#, ASP, ASP.NET, VB.NET, XML, XSLT, AJAX, JavaScript and VB Script.
  • Experience in creating custom controls for Windows and Web applications.
  • Experience in credit card online payment & FileNet server documents view web services development.
  • Experience in generating comprehensive Web-enabled reports using Crystal Reports, Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services and Siberix Report Writer.
  • Experienced in database development, maintenance and administration.
  • Extensive experience in data modeling, design and creating tables, views, stored procedures and triggers using SQL Server, Oracle and Sybase databases.
  • Migration development experience from Visual Basic, ASP applications to .NET architecture.
  • Scrum board project management lead.
  • Demonstrated ability to work well independently and within a team at various levels.
  • Made constant efforts in acquiring exposure and have delivered successfully beyond expectations in all previous assignments. Quick learner and an effective communicator looking for challenging assignments.
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Posted by & filed under Job Search.

Whatever your normal line of work may be, when you’re sitting in a job interview, you’re selling yourself.  You’re selling your skill set.  You’re selling your training.  And you’re selling your experience.  So for that brief period of time, be a true salesperson and do what salespeople do.

The best salespeople live and die by several core clichés.  One of them is to always be prepared.  So how can this be applied to the job interview process?  It’s quite simple, actually.

Step 1: Analyze the job description. Find out as much about the company as you can.  Then analyze how well your experience, qualifications and attitude match what the company is looking for. Even more important is identifying the gaps.

Step 2: Prepare your “patter” – the things you’re going to say that demonstrate you’re the perfect fit. For every question your interviewer might ask, have an answer ready. Learn these responses by heart. While this applies to everything that may be discussed, pay particular attention to any gaps in your resume, weaknesses in your skill set as they relate to the job, and points about your background that you are particularly keen on the interviewer knowing about.

Step 3: Practice these little speeches until you can deliver them smoothly. Have a friend, a spouse or a sibling listen to you deliver them and tell you where the weaknesses are.

The next sales cliché is that you never get a second chance to make a first impression.  So make that first impression a good one.  Do:

  • Show up early
  • Dress appropriately
  • Be properly groomed
  • Avoid strong colognes and perfumes
  • Walk into your interview looking as though you belong

The next cliché says the salesperson is two ears and one mouth, in that proportion. What this means is listen before you speak. And don’t just listen – hear. Respond to what the interviewer says. Don’t be guided by articles that say you have to take control of the interview. It can’t be done – the interviewer is in charge. What you need to do is guide the interviewer where you want him or her to go. Always remember that salesmanship is the gentle art of giving the other guy your own way.

And here’s yet another cliché: If the prospect doesn’t have a problem, the salesperson can’t make a sale. That’s what a sale is – giving the prospect a solution to a problem. In this case, the solution is going to be you, so what you need to know is: What’s the problem? This may have come out in researching the company or analyzing the job requirements, in which case you’ve already prepared for it. If not, you’ll have to find out from the interviewer. Exactly why is this job available? Is someone leaving? Being promoted? Fired? Or is it a new position altogether?  Whatever the problem is, identify it. Then, if you can, give an example of how you solved a similar problem elsewhere in the past. If you can’t do that, show how the qualities you have are well suited to solving it.

Want to talk more about additional interview strategies that can help you land the job of your dreams?  If so, contact Integrity Staffing Professionals today!  After all, that’s what we do!

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Posted by & filed under Consulting, Leadership.

Millennials, people born from the early 1980s onward, now comprise 35 percent of America’s workforce, so finding ways to recruit and retain them matters more now than ever.  Unfortunately, it’s a very misunderstood generation, which can make the hiring and firing process nothing short of a headache.  Many people feel that millennials are lazy.  Others think millennials feel as though they should have everything handed to them.  And still others believe they need to be coddled like small children.  Probably the biggest misconception of all is that they don’t care about money, which couldn’t be farther from the truth.  In reality, money matters, but it’s not the only thing that does.

So, what else is important to millennials?

Flexibility – both in hours and in location

If possible, allow people to work where they want and when they want. Just make sure you police this by clearly defining objectives and monitoring performance. Flexible hours and being able to work at home often garners a more loyal and productive workforce.

Praise and encourage – then do it again

Sometimes you have to point out that a job hasn’t been done very well. When this type of situation occurs, remember that millennials respond better to the pill of constructive criticism when it’s sugar-coated with acknowledgement of their worth and value. Criticism on its own will be counter-productive.

Develop an attractive workplace culture

Millennials expect more from a workplace than just a desk, a computer and a locker to store the Lycra they cycled to work in. A shower, a gym, a place for relaxation and an attractive cafeteria-style open dining area will all make your job offer desirable. Make sure there’s good Wi-Fi in leisure areas since millennials grew up with social media and they don’t want to be without it. Encourage after-hours socializing (but don’t force it on those who don’t want it), and during the holidays, plan holiday parties and events.

Make generous break-time allowances

Docking pay for bathroom and cigarette breaks are anathema to millennials, even though a majority of them don’t smoke. Make it clear that you expect your staff to recharge their batteries by taking time out of their workdays in that well-stocked breakroom you provided for them, or walking around the gardens you put in place to create a happier work environment.

Build teams

Millennials like working together, so build collaborative teams and give them the technology to share documents and revise them together. Keep one thing in mind here, however: Millennials don’t like an endless amount of meetings.  Yes, old-style formal meetings are still necessary for disciplinary cases. For almost everything else though, get rid of them. Let people talk casually to each other when they need to and provide meeting rooms where they can do so.

Whenever possible, promote from within

If your millennials don’t believe they have a career path in your company, they’ll find another company where they do. So, whenever possible, help your people grow into their jobs and promote them to the next stage.

Looking for a top-notch staffing agency to help you find the best millennials in town? If so, give Integrity Staffing Professionals a call today and let’s talk about your needs!

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