Workbridge Associates: Where People Meet Performance

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Category: Advice (132)

  • How to Avoid Being a "Digital Ghost" in Your Job Search

    By Crystal Rothberg, Practice Manager of Workbridge San Francisco

    I recently visited a social media client and in our discussion, the hiring manager said he did not want to interview ‘Digital Ghosts’.  I asked him what he specifically meant by this term ‘Digital Ghost’ and he stated that if a candidate had less than 100 connections on LinkedIn or wasn’t active on Github or didn’t have Facebook/Twitter, why would they be a good fit to work for a social media start-up?  His thought was if candidates are passionate about social media and technology, they would be active users of these sites in their day-to-day lives. 

    Now, do I agree that you should disqualify a candidate because of this?  No.  I think there are plenty of people who shy away from social media because of privacy issues and other personal reasons.  However, I do believe having a strong online presence can only help you with your job search – specifically having robust LinkedIn and GitHub profiles when looking for a Software Engineer or Operations (DevOps) job.


    In regards to LinkedIn, upload a professional (with personality!) picture, create a strong headline, be detailed in the summary and add information from your resume into description of each job you listed. A good gauge of this is your Profile Strength that LinkedIn provides for you – the more content you add to your profile, the higher the strength.  Don’t forget to use keywords that are searchable for a hiring manager or recruiter.

    Also, with each job, ask for recommendations from your coworkers and supervisor.  While it may seem forward to ask for recommendations, I find that most people do not proactively do this for you, so just ask.  The best case scenario is that a potential hiring manager knows the person who recommended you, which adds value to your personal stock.  I hear many times of hiring managers pinging a mutual connection of a candidate before an interview to get ‘the scoop’. 

    Finally, connect with people!  Connect with your coworkers, friends, people you interviewed with, or someone you met a meet-up.  Add yourself to relevant groups as well.  All this increases your profile’s visibility. 


    When looking for Software Engineers and DevOps Engineers, most hiring managers are now using Github and therefore, it’s important to grow your presence on this open source code repository and revision control site.  With the ability to see your work, we are shifting away from just using a resume to land an interview.  I’ve also found that hiring managers gauge the candidate’s passion for technology on whether or not they use Github actively.  To state an obvious point, hiring managers want to hire people who love what they do – and contributions to the open source community is a great way to show this.

    Github can also help when your resume isn’t as ‘textbook’.  For example, we were recently representing a candidate whose only experience were short term Ruby on Rails contracts.  The hiring manager was reluctant to interview based solely on the resume. However, after reviewing the candidate’s Github account, he brought the candidate in for an interview and eventually ended up hiring him. 

    The moral of the story is that in the modern era of the Internet and social media, the job search isn’t just a cut and dry resume and cover letter anymore. It’s important to be aware of what hiring managers value highly in their talent acquisition strategy and working with a recruiter can help with that, but no matter what, always make sure you do your research.

    We love these success stories at Workbridge and I feel like are many more out there.

    Have an interesting job search success story? Share it in the comment section below!

  • Market Knowledge Monday at Workbridge Boston

    The lack of sleep due to Daylight Saving Time did not stop our recruiters from tackling this Monday with hard work and some research. Another Manic Monday means another Market Knowledge Monday where Workbridge Boston keeps on track with and up to date on everything going on in the Boston tech community and hiring scene. This week's winner was recruiter, Andy Kahan on the Network Infrastructure team who shared with the office a map of Boston start-ups that he found while reading the Boston Business Journal.

    "Kinvey, a well-known startup based in Cambridge since graduating from TechStars Boston in 2011, this week moved its offices to Boston's Downtown Crossing neighborhood — and released a map highlighting the growing concentration of startups in Boston proper."

    Not only does the map showcase the shift from startups typically being located in the Cambridge area to the expansion into Boston proper, it also highlights the fact that Boston is a hub for entrepreneurs who work hard to have their ideas come to life and their companies started. Full article here.

     Other honorable mentions:

    Mass Tech Leadership Council's Annual Meeting in Boston. Governor Deval Patrick will join the Boston tech leaders to discuss how to make the tech ecosystem in Boston even better than it is already. 

    The BBJ announces the 2013 Pacesetters. Last Tuesday Boston Business Journal announced a list of the region's fastest-growing private companies, 70% of which located in Massachusetts. 

    New Neighbors! An Israel-founded firm, Nipendo, whose cloud technology aims to improve B2B trade processes is making the move to Boston and opening up their Headquarters in Cambridge.

    The $100M club: 5 Boston tech firms with $100M in VC. An article from the BBJ discussing the VC funding of a few Boston tech firms.

    Looking for a new job opportunity? Check out our open positions!

    Don't forget to follow us on Twitter: @WorkbridgeMA for the latest tech news, job openings, and Tech in Motion information.

  • 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

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