Workbridge Associates: Where People Meet Performance

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Category: Advice (130)

  • How Picking the Right Job is like Picking the Right Pair of Shoes

    By Cory Eustice, Division Manager of Workbridge OC

    You you may be laughing right now or scoffing at this topic, but I kid you not, you will agree with me (if you don't already) by the end of this entry.

    I have been doing IT recruiting for years now, but I am not going to pretend that there is a "silver bullet" for recruiting, finding the perfect job, or even how to get the perfect job once you find it. But, what I do know is that every candidate I have ever interacted with, got an interview for, or placed, shares the same thought process..."does this feel right?" and "how do I know for sure?" Well by the end of this entry, I hope that the path to getting those answers is a lot clearer.

    I don't know about you, but when I am shopping for shoes, I already have a look and feel in mind for what type of shoe I'm looking for. I go from store to store searching for the designer that shares my vision, and I'll admit that it is beyond frustrating when I sometimes leave for the day, no shoes in hand. From my experience of working with countless job-seekers, I find that they go through the exact same process.

    They start off their job search with the perfect job in mind; great salary, great benefits, an awesome team, and a 5 minute commute. I don't have to tell you that nothing is ever perfect, and as the job search drags on mindsets begin to change because they feel that their perfect job may not actually exist, when in reality it just might. When I help job seekers with their search, a lot of times they don't ask themselves the tough questions simply because they know what the answer is and they don't like it. Sure, I would love to rock some Italian leather shoes that cost half my house payment and I am sure my wife would love to wear 7 inch stilettos to work, but that just isn't practical. When I start asking myself, "can I wear these with multiple suits?" or "can I wear these at night and during the day?" or "can I even pull these off?", I know what the answer most likely I tell candidates the same thing. Is it more important to have a 5 minute commute, or is it more important to get up in the morning, wanting to go to work? Is it more important to have a huge salary, or is it more important to have a great work-life balance? We all would love to have everything, and a lot of times that is what candidates expect from recruiters like me. But, when people start to really ask themselves what is most important to their life, and honestly answer themselves, they start to see what is really important and they jump at the job when they see it. Just like when you find a pair of shoes that is both practical and affordable, you buy them.

    When I speak with candidates about making a decision about a job, they always go through the process of determining if this is the right role for them and what my thoughts are. Honestly, I always tell them the same thing, "if this is the right job for you, then everything else will work itself out. If it's not, then we move on and find something else, it is your search and your life." When you shop for shoes, you try on the pairs that you like and walk around in them to get a feel for them. When you are searching for a job, you do the same thing in the interview process. I tell all of my candidates that when they are in their interviews, to imagine that they are in a meeting with the other people and try to get a grasp of how they might interact with them if they worked together. At the end of the day, if you don't like who you work with, you won't be happy at work, so that is key (the shoes have to be comfortable).

    The second thing I tell them, you don't have to jump at the first job, but it's OK if you do. Sure, we would all love to interview with multiple companies and make sure that we had all our options on the table before we make a decision, but it doesn't always work that way. Sometimes, the first job you see is the right one, and it is important to jump on that. Unlike shoes, you can't put the job on hold. The company is going to continue to interview other candidates, because they need to find the right person for them too, so they can't always afford to wait. My advice would be that if you find the right job, and you ask yourself the tough questions, and they all point towards that job, take it. The company will see how excited you are about the opportunity and they will be more likely to offer you a better package. If the answers don't point towards that job, then move on, it's not right for you anyways. The right one is out there, just be patient.

    The most difficult question every candidate goes through is, "how do I know for sure." My answer unfortunately is that you don't. All you can do is make sure you have your priorities straight, understand what you are willing and not willing to bend on, and be honest with yourself. Just like when you are shopping for shoes, they may feel right, look right, and be the right price, but you really don't know if they are right until you wear them. A new job is the same way, you won't really know for sure until you take the job and start working there. And yes, sometimes you buy the wrong shoes, or take the wrong job. But I bet that when you made that decision you weren't being honest with yourself about some aspect of it. Be honest with yourself and what is best for you, and you will end up with the right pair of shoes every time.

    In Orange County & want to talk tech jobs or shoes? Feel free to reach out to Cory:

    Email: [email protected]

    Phone: 949-833-1300

  • Getting Through Your 1st Round Interview Successfully

    By Joe Schurig, Practice Manager at Workbridge New York

    After hearing countless amounts of interview feedback from our clients and job seekers, I feel like we have almost heard it all. Considering the strength of the technology market, we might be experiencing the most competitive candidate market...ever.

    The U.S job market as a nation is struggling, in tech however, there are more open positions than qualified candidates with new companies and positions popping up daily. For obvious reasons, there has been a growth towards the expectations and talent of any potential employee when hiring. To put it simply, it is becoming much harder to get through an interview successfully. Furthermore, job descriptions are outlandish; they often appear to be a wish list of the best candidate ever -someone that may not exist. These expectations combined with the strength of the market are leading to almost impossible first interviews.

    The initial interview to begin the process is where first impressions are made. Whether it is of you specifically, or your impression of the organization, it’s something that will last in one's mind forever. The amount of candidates on the market who are reachable is going to favor the organization: they can be picky.  Regardless, it is imperative to have a strategy!    

    1)   Do your homework. Make sure you are aware of what technologies the company you are interviewing with is using, it's important to study up.

    2)   Describe your background and prepare to explain how it is relevant with their company. Your resume usually doesn’t tell the entire story.

    3)   Questions gauge their interest. People love to speak about themselves, or their company. Ask questions about both

    -       What type of a team they work on?

    -      Overall employees, tech stack, seniority of company.

    4)   State your true thoughts and feelings! Most tech-focused first round interviews last less than an hour. If you are interested, best time to state your feelings is NOW.

    5)   Your enthusiasm, not your resume, will get you the job. Feel the need to go above and beyond: People hire People.

    With all of these things listed above, the philosophy is that the interview will hopefully flow to a natural dialog. The general rule of thumb is that you, the candidate, should do about 65% of the talking.  If you can represent yourself in the most honest way possible while following these general rules and suggestions, you will do just fine. Good luck!

    Want to speak with Joe regarding the New York job market? Reach out!

    Email: [email protected]

    Call: (212) 271-5100


  • Making The Move To Mobile

    By: Jesse Forristal, Recruiter for Workbridge Los Angeles  


    I want to start off by saying that I do not have a technical degree or any programming experience. However, I have something that some might consider more valuable – an ear to the market (and an eye for talent if we’re keeping with the body part metaphors). 

    One of the biggest trends I’ve come across in my search for talented mobile developers (I specialize in placing Java and Mobile developers) is that everyone wants to be one. Many engineers either want to be a mobile developer or they claim they already have become one. You don’t need professional experience if your primary purpose for moving to the Android platform is to make a tip calculator for fun; however, if your goal is the title “Mobile Developer” at an established company, you need some experience. Now this proves to be somewhat of a Catch-22. You can’t get that job without experience and you can’t get experience without that job. No one wants to hire an inexperienced mobile developer.

    So where do these mobile engineers even come from? Well, with most companies embracing the mobile platform – iOS, Android, Windows, BlackBerry OS etc., students are starting to focus their entire Computer Science degrees on mobile development. This is a brand new trend considering the relatively recent inception of these mobile platforms. This trend brings about an ever changing landscape for both established and aspiring developers.

    Through my experiences as a recruiter of mobile developers, I’ve started to become a de facto adviser to aspiring mobile developers. A couple pieces of advice for those who want to get into mobile development:

    1. Play to your strengths. If you are a Java developer, mess around with Eclipse and build an Android application to have something to show off. Port it to the store and get some downloads. This cannot be said enough. Without an actual application, your experience is theoretical.
    2. Know that you might have to take a pay cut. Until you have professional experience, you might not command your expected salary.
    3. Take a class. Take an in person class if you have the time; take an online class if you don’t.
    4. Go to meet-ups. This cannot be stressed enough. You’ll meet people from all walks of life that can influence your career path in countless ways.
    5. Find a friend or colleague who does it for fun, or better yet, does it professionally. Pick their brain. Ask if you can contribute to their project.
    6. Ask your manager at work if there’s a chance you can work on a mobile project. Chances are that if you’re working right now, and your title isn’t related to mobile, a mobile developer will be added to your team sometime soon. Maybe that could be you. Prove you have the ability.

    Don’t worry if you can’t get that mobile position just yet – the mobile platform is just beginning its takeover. Just do what you can and, slowly but surely, you’ll get there.

  • Announcing Tech in Motion: OC's Latest Event On JavaScript

    Workbridge Orange County is thrilled to be hosting Tech In Motion:OC event next week with speaker Einar Ingebrigtsen. Einar is visiting Orange County from Norway on business, and we were lucky enough to secure him for a talk on Javascript. He will be explaining Javascript's history and doing a live coding sample next Wednesday, February 27th down at DuoCampus in Irvine, CA. 

    Einar Ingebrigtsen has been working in the software industry since 1994. He started his career writing games for platforms such as the Playstation, Super Nintendo, and DirectX for Windows. Later, he went on to write software for broadcast TV and since 2002 he has been doing enterprise ready line of business application, primarily on the Microsoft stack. Einar is a Microsoft MVP and tries to engage in the community as much as he can. A frequent speaker in Norway at user groups and conferences, he is actively involved inthe open source community. He is the author of Balder, a 3D engine for Silverlight, co-author of Bifrost, application development framework, and also projects like Forseti, a headless JavaScript test runner, Yggdrasil, a Windows 8 IoC Container. Together with 3 other partners, Einar runs a company called Dolittle focusing on delivering quality software to clients. 


    Workbridge OC was able to ask Einar a couple of questions before his travels. 

    WB: How did you first get involved in Javascript?

    EI: First time I got involved in JavaScript was back in 2002 on a Web project were I basically just treated it badly and not seriously - and I guess as many developers have been doing; trying to stay away from it. I decided 3-4 years ago that I was going to change how I looked at JavaScript and decided to really go in and embrace it. It resulted in the creation of a JavaScript test runner; Forseti, front-end part of Bifrost completely written in JavaScript - both Open Source projects that I've started. 

    WB: What is your favorite thing about writing code and working as a developer?

    EI: Tough one; to me its more of a lifestyle. I started writing code when I was 9 years old. But I guess the joy of just being able to create things, the creativity that goes with it and also the ability to engage with users to get things right for them; solve problems for end users.

    WB: Being an international coder, do you find that coding is an international language? What are some of the pro’s of traveling as a programmer for work?

    EI: It is certainly an ice breaker and makes it easier to get conversations started. To me the traveling lets me meet people, learn new things and gain perspective on how to solve code problems, a big plus. One gets to see the world, which to me is a major thing; I'm curious by nature.

    WB: What advice do you have for young techies? 

    EI: Never forget who you're making the software for; end-users. We're seldom the users of our own software and we must never forget that. Don't sacrifice quality because someone else is trying to dictate deadlines, engage in the planning instead, try to be realistic in estimation so that you can deliver quality products rather than tons of features at the cost of poorer quality. Also; don't get caught up in the this is better than that thingy. Chances are that there is room for a variety of technologies to solve the end-users problems.

    WB: You've discussed what you think will be the "next big thing" in technology - so on the flip side, what do you see fading in the near future?

    EI: I think the focus that companies like Microsoft, Google and Apple wants to have end-users think about; the operating system is a fading thing. End-users don't really care that much what the name of the OS is, as long as they can get their job done. Also I think a lot of established truths in software architecture and design is about to change, mainly because some of the practices are based on the fact that they got established in the 70s and the 80s with poorer hardware, but maybe even more importantly, less users and less demand from users. Users are waking up and demanding more of the software we're making, this puts pressure on our software, which leads to new ways of thinking. Established things like SQL and classic N-tier architectures I think are prime subjects for change and from my experience, something I want to see less and less in my software. 

    This is going to be a great experience that's really a once-in-a-lifetime event in Orange County! Make sure you RSVP to secure your spot by clicking here. 

  • Tech in Motion: The DevOps Movement

    Wednesday night at the Microsoft NERD Center, Tech in Motion:Boston hosted their monthly meet-up with a discussion on "The DevOps Movement." Thomas McGonagle, Senior Software Engineer at Red Hat and Rich Paret, Senior Engineering Manager at Twitter (previously Crashlytics) gave presentations on a few different aspects of DevOps followed by a Q&A session. 

    The night started off with Tom's presentation on the coding side of DevOps. Focusing on "agility, application and automation," he discussed how to implement DevOps by using measurement and incentives to change culture, unified processes, and unified tooling. His lecture also touched upon Cloud Infrastructure Automation and Configuration Management using the software tools Puppet and Chef. To view his presentation slides, click here.

    Rich then dived into the logistics of building a successful DevOps team within a corporate setting. Stressing that actual tech skills can be learned and improved but someone's behavior seldom will change, we left with the feeling that behaviors, not skills, are critical. Rich pulled from his personal experience and offered great insight on how to build a strong and collaborative product team. 

    Overall it was a fantastic night and we want to thank everyone who came out to join us as well as Tom and Rich for their insightful presentations. 

     Want to hear more from Tom and Rich?  Follow them on Twitter:



    Tech in Motion Interview Series: We had the opportunity to ask Tom McGonagle a few questions about his engineering experience and any advice to give techies that are just starting out.

    WB: Did you always want to be a Software Engineer?

    TM: "No, I had a more operations/systems engineering path to becoming a software engineer. My first job was at the Volpe National Transportation Center where I worked as an operator on the FAA's Air Traffic Management Network. It was a very large distributed Linux network, and we used a proprietary (it didn't even use TCP/IP for networking) system for configuration management and command and control of the hundreds of servers. My employer paid for me to get a graduate degree in Information Technology, and it was in graduate school that I focused on mesh wireless networking. Eventually, I heard about the DevOps tool Puppet and it clicked with me, because of my distributed and mesh wireless networking experience. Puppet was basically an advanced version of the system I used at the FAA, and a tool I desperately needed for configuration management and command and control of large mesh wireless networks. This sent me down the path of specializing in Puppet for the last several years. Based on this experience I was hired to work at Red Hat as a Senior Software Engineer working on OpenShift. Red Hat's free auto-scaling Platform as a Service (PaaS) for applications. As an application platform in the cloud, OpenShift manages the stack so you can focus on your code."

    WB: You have so much experience working with different platforms such as Linux, DevOps, Puppet, and OpenShift, what is your favorite to work with?

    TM: "I experienced a "gestalt" the first time I heard about Linux, Puppet, and OpenShift. Each technology clicked with me, and I have recognized each to be the "the next big thing". If I were to choose a favorite, I would probably have to say Linux. I got into it when I was 19 and in college, and it has been the foundation that I have earned my living from ever since." 

    WB: What advice can you give people starting out as a Software Engineer?

    TM: "It can be hard to do, but try to focus on an up and coming language or technology that you expect will become popular. Node.js is an example of one such language; it is being touted as the "next Ruby on Rails". Another would be R the analytics language or even Big Data (Hadoop, etc.) in general. It can be difficult to identify the up and comers, and it will be hard work developing the skills, but getting in early on a technology has its benefits. In order to figure out what the next big thing is, attend meetups, talk to lots of people, read blogs, and industry periodicals. Try to make an informed decision, try to get a sense for where things are going and then jump in with both feet. It will certainly be an adventurous and wild ride."

    Tech in Motion:Boston is a monthly meetup group centered around anything and everything tech. We have a lot of exciting events in the works so stay tuned and be sure to check out our Tech Mixer on March 13th from 6:30-8:30pm at Lir on Boylston St. We hope to see you there.

    In the market for a new tech job? Check our listings here.

    Follow Workbridge Boston on Twitter: @WorkbridgeMA

  • The Importance of Structuring Initial Contact with a "Purple Unicorn"

    By: Stephen Vaughan, Lead Recruiter of Workbridge Boston


    This is the most difficult market to hire quality technical talent since the dot com boom. And unless you have been living underneath a rock in an obscurely deep, dark cave on the South Shore or are new to the hiring scene, you are probably already aware of this.

    Highly talented technical engineers are so few and far between, that holding out for that perfect person to help grow your team with is akin to a Buffalo sports fan holding their breath in hopes for a championship.

    To properly introduce myself, I specialize only in Java and open source languages (PHP, Python, Ruby) specifically within the 495 loop of Boston.  The location and languages I recruit for are among the most difficult positions to fill nationwide across any industry – it certainly is no walk in the park.  After about a year of feeling the pressures in the front line, the Boston Globe reported on the hardships of tech hiring (and again, here).

    So what do you do when you are actually introduced to somebody who does have the skills or the potential to fit the role of that perfect person?  (From here on out I will be referring to this perfect person as: the "Purple Unicorn.")  The knee jerk reaction is to speak with that individual on the phone and to make sure that their personality/ cultural aspects are as great as their technical skills, right?


    I can’t stress how many times I consult and then witness my new clients miss out on that “Purple Unicorn” by sticking to their "typical" hiring process.  The hiring market is constantly moving no matter what the demand cycle is and unfortunately, the current market is moving at a pace at which many people may deem uncomfortable. 

    The number one thing to do, and what we do here at Workbridge Associates, is to set up a time to meet with that “Purple Unicorn” face to face.  70% of communication is non-verbal and by taking the exact same amount of time out of your day to meet with that candidate rather than putting a phone up to your ear allows you to cover 70% more. This puts your company well ahead of the other 500 opportunities he/she is checking out.

    By meeting with candidates every single day and understanding their ongoing job search activity, we make such a stronger connection meeting face to face. The proof is in the pudding. Workbridge physically meets with and sits down with any and every candidate who might be qualified for our clients.  By doing this we truly understand what these Purple Unicorns are looking for in their next adventure and where the companies they have been interviewing with are falling short.

    Remember that information is power and the more knowledgeable you are about those Unicorns, the higher your chances are to land one. HAPPY HUNTING! Don’t hesitate to give me a call at my office if you have any questions. The advice is free.

    Want to hear more from Stephen Vaughan? 

    Follow him on Twitter @SteVaughan15

    Connect with him on LinkedIn

    Shoot him an email or give him a call at (617) 622-2600

  • Interview tips from Workbridge Boston

    Interviewing for that new job can be stressful. This is your one time to make a first impression with hiring managers and it's important that you do all you can to make sure it's a good one.

    Alexandra Hoge here at Workbridge Boston is one of our Practice Managers on our .NET team and she has 6 interview tips to help you rock your interview.

    Tip 1: Do your research! Make sure that you have researched the company and come prepared with questions.

    Tip 2: Arrive on time- don't be late!

    Tip 3: Make sure that you dress and look professional. This is your one time to make that first impression.

    Tip 4: Start off with a firm handshake and look the interviewer in the eye when you do so.

    Tip 5: Do not guess on questions you do not know! It's important to be honest in what you know and what you don't know. If there is something you've never worked with before, you can turn that into a positive by explaining how you would go about learning it

    Tip 6: Follow-up with a "Thank You" note after any interview, reiterating 3 main points:

    1. Thanking them for their time.

    2. Saying what interests you about the position.

    3. Why you feel you would be a good fit for the position. 


    If you want more interview tips, follow us on Twitter @WorkbridgeMA.

    If you are in the market for a new Tech Job, check out our open positions!

    To contact Alex:

    Connect with her on LinkedIn.

    Follow her on Twitter: @HogeAg

  • Workbridge Boston Recruiter Spotlight: Andrea Sullivan

    We take pride in all of our recruiters here at Workbridge Boston and we like to recognize them once in a while! This week our recruiter spotlight shines its light on Andrea Sullivan, a member of our Open Source team. Every day Andrea comes into the office and helps Web Developers and Engineers find their dream job. 

    A graduate of UMass Amherst, Andrea started at Workbridge Boston in June of 2012. A social person by nature, Andrea's people skills help her relate to job-seekers and hiring managers to find the perfect fit for open positions. She loves having the chance to help people find new opportunities.

    "There's nothing like walking out of the office after a long day and knowing that you positively impacted someone's life in one way or another. That's when all the hard work pays off."


    When Andrea is taking a break from all-star recruiting, she can be found spending time with friends and family. 

    How to contact Andrea:

    Email: [email protected] 

    Connect with her on LinkedIn.


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