Category Archives: Blog

3 tips for finding the right IT professionals in a candidate short market

As the pandemic recedes, many organisations are returning to projects that were postponed due to COVID-19 and are needing new contractors and permanent hires to hit the ground running. Additionally, some organisations that were relying on offshore capability are finding that this is not currently viable with COVID-19 conditions and restrictions varying across the globe.  This is leading to recruitment difficulties for many in IT services, as the demand for qualified candidates outstrips supply across many key roles, including developers, engineers, business analysts and architects.

While a candidate shortage is not an easy challenge to address, there are some avenues you can consider if this is impacting your business.  Here are my tips for finding the right IT hires in a tough market.

#1 Speed up your hiring process

What we are seeing, particularly in larger businesses and the public sector, is that organisations are missing out on the right candidate due to delays in the hiring process. While it is, of course, critical to make sure you are bringing in the best candidate, in a tight market, it’s also critical to move quickly when you find the right person.  Otherwise,  with so many job vacancies, the candidate is likely to have accepted another position.

Staying in touch with the candidate and letting them know what is going on at each stage of the recruitment process is also key to keeping them engaged.

#2 Hire for cultural fit, train for skills

While you will need a mid-level or senior person for some roles, it’s worth considering whether you can consider an associate-level candidate for a specific position.  Of course, this takes a commitment to training and developing the person, but there are many benefits if you are prepared to do so.

We have some great associate-level candidates who are talented and eager to learn, and adding some fresh blood into your team can prove a competitive advantage. Firstly, it’s a cost-effective approach.  Not only is it cheaper to hire someone at a more junior career stage, but you can potentially offer your clients a more competitive pricing model because your staffing costs are lower.  Thinking long term, you can also develop the candidate’s career, leading to cost-effective internal promotion and potentially a great ongoing asset to your business.

Secondly, you may also benefit from hiring someone who doesn’t approach the role with a pre-conceived notion of how things should be done. You can really mould your new hire, ensuring they fit into your culture and develop an approach that truly works for your business.

One of the other side benefits we are seeing in this is that many senior people relish the opportunity to mentor a more junior team member, so it can be a great way to engage the entire team.

#3 Work with a reputable recruiter

In a candidate short market, it can be even harder to find the right applicants when you are going it alone.  One of the great benefits of working with a recruiter who has significant experience in the industry is that it can take a lot of the headache out of the process.

At PPS, we have extensive experience in the industry and a solid network of IT professionals who are ready to go.  We have an onshore and offshore resourcing capability, giving you the confidence that we can identify the right person for your role in a quick timeframe.

If you are looking at a contractor position, we can leverage our network to have the right person in as little as 48 hours.  For a permanent position, we can help you speed up your recruitment process, giving you a talented pool of candidates quickly.

If you are finding it difficult to hire the right people for your IT roles, drop us a line. We’d love to chat about your recruitment challenges and how PPS can help you grow your business in 2021 and beyond.

Career goals: What you need to do if you want to switch in 2021

After a weird 2020 when many of us worked from home, cut off from the office and our daily routine, it’s understandable that some are re-thinking their career options. 2021 feels like a fresh start.

In any year, it’s not unusual to see people suffering from the post-Australia-Day blues. That first full month back at work can be tough, even more so if you’re still effectively a prisoner in your own home and only edging back into office life one or two days a week.

My personal experience this year is a little 50/50 on whether it’s career change time. Some of our contacts are feeling a little anxious about shifting and moving on, while others are seeing plenty of opportunities out there as business looks to get back to normal service.

Whenever I’m asked whether now is a good time to move, my answer is generally ‘no more or less so than any other time’. If you are looking to move, here are a few tips on making sure you’re in the best position to find the role you want.

  1. Don’t cram your CV

Like many areas in life: less is more when it comes to your CV. Streamline your approach, and don’t cram it full of long-winded explanations of every job you’ve ever held.

My rule here is to highlight and elaborate on only the core skills and experience that help you make that next jump in your career. Writing ‘War and Peace’ in your CV won’t make you more employable, it’ll just bore the hell out of the person reading it. You’re much better off being succinct and to the point on your achievements, calling out those that are important and not padding your CV with superfluous dribble.Think about it this way: What would I want to highlight about myself to make me attractive to someone hiring for the role I want?

  1. Check your social media

 Here’s a free tip: Most potential employers will look at your public information, and that means your social media accounts. It’s not rocket science that what you put out there on social media will be reviewed and analysed by businesses looking to bring you in. It’s all part of a wider background check on you…shock, horror that recruiters and employers don’t just rely on your references alone!

Firstly, make sure your online presence is consistent. For example, if your CV says you were a General Manager, but your LinkedIn profile says Sales Executive, don’t be surprised if you don’t receive a call back.

Secondly, if you want to keep it personal, then make your personal social media accounts private. That way, any of your personal opinions and views can’t be used as a part of making a hiring decision. It also eliminates you having different stories on different platforms and contributes to that consistent message point I made earlier.

  1. Know what you want

This one sounds like basic common sense, but you would be surprised how many people want to switch careers without knowing what they want to switch to.

Idealism is awesome in many areas, but for your career, the reality is that you’ll most likely have to make compromises in what you want at a career level (unless you’re in the top 1%).

Knowing where you want to go is crucial to getting it right. Test it out with your current employers; if they can’t get you there, then you’ll know it’s time to find it somewhere else.

A good starting point is to get it down on paper. Create a list and share it with any recruiters you’re working with. It’ll help them find the right type of roles for you and put you in the game. It will also help sharpen your thinking so that you won’t just grab any role available. Often knowing what you don’t want is more valuable than knowing what you do.

Want to discuss your career options? DM me here or email me at steve@projectprofessionalservices.com.au.

 

 

Bored at home: Is working from home losing its shine?

It’s been one of the comments of 2020: “I love working from home, it’s so much more productive”. And for some people, it really is. We’ve had a work-from-home culture in the Australian workplace for some time now, and for a good number of people doing a day or two at home has long been part of the working norm.

The pandemic changed that to being a full-time scenario for many workers. At the time, we wrote a piece talking about it and how it worked for many of us. For those who already loved it, it was paradise. For those that missed the human interaction in the office, it was a nightmare.

One thing I’ve noticed though in recent times, both in conversations in my network and in the media, is that even some of the more ardent supporters of work from home are starting to sound a little, well…jaded. Could it be that full time working from home wasn’t all it was touted to be?

We still like working with people

In the end, we’re all social creatures. For many roles, social interaction is crucial to your success and is a key part of your working life. For all the annoying things about the office, there are many positives and I think people are starting to miss it more than they thought they would.

Everyone loves their partner/family/flatmate etc., but 24/7 contact with no breaks? It’s enough to test anyone. I’ve certainly experienced it in my life. My partner is working from home full time and I’ve noticed that she’s very keen to chat when I get back from the office. I think she misses that day-to-day human interaction too!

We can’t replace human connection through video and phone alone. We crave it, and I think that’s why we’ve seen an uptick in people going back to the CBD. It’s so much easier, for example, to brainstorm with a colleague or ask a key question when you’re there face to face. And much more interesting than talking to your cat all day.

For roles like ours, where its heavily sales focused, video and phone can be limiting. Communication is about so much more than audio, for example it’s much harder to read someone’s body language from his or her head alone on a video screen.

Mental health

There’s also the mental health aspect. Think about those that live alone as an example, I’m sure there’s people there that miss that daily interaction. I know I would.

Working is a big part of our lives and while video is great it just can’t replace human contact.

CBDs are built for work 

There’s also the fact that our CBDs in places like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane have seen huge investment in recent times. The office spaces in places like Barangaroo are state of the art and provide the best environment for work we’ve ever had. Infrastructure like the NBN is optimised for these locations to ensure we can work to the standards we need.

Then there are the hospitality and retail businesses that are being smashed by the double whammy of COVID and a huge drop in traffic through their businesses.

At PPS, we’ve always had a flexible working arrangement and that won’t change. But even I’ve noticed more of our team spending time in the office. So, to answer my own question: Yes, I think the full time work from home gloss is wearing thin, and there will be more people ready to return at least part of their working week to the office in the near future. .

What do you think? Keen to hear what you think; DM me here or email me at steve@projectprofessionalservices.com.au

Going online: Is there still a need for physical salespeople?

Every day, it feels like more of our world moves online. In a very weird 2020, it seems this is more pronounced than ever, and people are questioning whether we’ll ever go back to the old ‘norm’.

For salespeople, it has been a strange change to our lives. Pitching via video has become the norm, as have video interviews in recruitment, as we move to less face-to-face and more face-to-screen.

I’ve heard it before and, given the changes this year, it’s raised its head again; people questioning the future of the sales profession in an online everything world.

Will we need a sales role into the future? Or are we destined to be replaced by a virtual AI, data-driven computer sales ‘person’? My answer is…sales people are needed more than ever!

People like dealing with people

How often do we hear people bemoaning the loss of being able to speak to a ‘real’ person? In customer service, it happens all the time and has been a source of pain for the profession in the past. In my opinion, it’s no different for salespeople.

I’m a passionate believer in the rule that ‘people buy from people they like’. The ability for a great salesperson to build a strong relationship with their client, built on mutual respect and trust, is still one of the core tenets of business. Sure the role has changed, but the fundamentals remain the same.

Will the human race ever deal people out of the equation? I don’t think so. Sure, some roles will change but, ultimately, working with another human being is so much more satisfying than interacting with AI. I believe we will always have sales roles as a part of the process, we’ll just be armed with more data about our clients than ever before.

It’s just a change to the role

The best sales people are already utilising technology to better complete their role. We all use social media now as a standard business practice, and that’s just one example. Granted, there are plenty of salespeople that could up their social media game and not just use it as a ‘fire at will’ blast that annoys your clients more than it helps them, but that will continue to evolve and change for the better in my view.

Savvy sales professionals see data and technology as their friends in the sales battle. The more armed you are with data, the better. Our role has already adapted through the Internet age, as clients needed less product information from us – Google makes that easy to find. Instead, salespeople became more of a guide through the process of optimising the sale, helping clients make the right choices around their options on a product or service.

A great sales person is a game changer

Ultimately, businesses and clients alike value a great salesperson. It’s why my role in finding the best talent is so rewarding; we can literally change a company’s performance by helping them build a modern, high performing team.

So, are salespeople on the way out? Hell no! It’s never been a better time to be in sales and I think the profession is set for a strong 2021 as businesses rebound and we start to focus back on the future.

What are your thoughts? I’m keen to hear what you think. Email me at sarah@projectprofessionalservices.com.au.

Why project services? A different approach could help your business

Working in project services, I’m often asked by those outside the IT space exactly what it is I ‘do’. Coming from a recruitment background, it was much easier to explain to explain what it was I did, even if there were a few preconceived ideas about the industry in general (ok…some of them are correct!).

‘Project services’ is one of those terms that can be very open ended. For my clients in the IT space however it’s a game changer, and given our current circumstances where businesses are under pressure to cut costs often for their very survival, it’s one that I believe more organisations will look at as a way of delivering projects in a much more cost-effective fashion.

Project services 101

Outsourcing projects isn’t a new theory – businesses have been doing it for decades. In our space however it’s very industry dependent, something that I think will change over the next period.

Given that I run PPS’ IT business, project services is core to our approach. For our business, project services allow us to take on an IT project in its entirety, as opposed to simply dropping a body into a role for a set fee. It means we provide an entire range of services in sourcing resources for an entire project. For example, we can actually hire and pay the resources delivering the project for our client and they simply have the work done in the timeframe required without all the additional headaches of running the project themselves.

As the resources we work with are often very specialised and required for a set period of time, it’s a model that our clients love. Finding specific talent for a project, say for an organisation running an Agile model, can be both time consuming and ultimately unsuccessful. There’s plenty of demand for good quality people and having to hire them in for one set project, for a set period of time, can be a logistical nightmare. Taking a project services approach removes that frustration, as we utilise our networks and consulting capability to find and deliver the right capabilities when you need them.

It’s valuable in the ‘new norm’

In the end, delivery on any project is important but that’s being put to the test through the current environment we work in. While we are moving towards a more normal state of affairs, this ‘new norm’ suits a project services model even more than before.

Being able to outsource the resourcing of an entire project, for example a CRM implementation, has some obvious cost benefits but also provides a great amount of flexibility. Bringing in resources is expensive and finding them is difficult.

It also has some huge time-saving benefits. The reality is that we are better placed than most at finding the resources you need: We run multiple projects at any one time and have a bank of consultants to call upon. One client I recently worked with had spent months in an ultimately fruitless search trying to find a project lead with very specific qualifications/skill sets. When they turned to PPS for help, we found the resource for their project in under 48 hours. A project services approach gives you a faster route to delivering and implementing your project, with fewer delays.

What does a good project look like?

The answer is: Whatever works for you! In our IT business, most of our clients have a tech stack they’re working on and we seamlessly clip into projects to help deliver various components of that stack. The key for us is discussing your requirements.

Keen to discuss how a project services approach to resourcing might work for you? We have experience across a range of verticals including IT, Telecommunications, and Civil. Keen to discuss your requirements; DM me here or email me at jay@projectprofessionalservices.com.au.