Rob MacLane on IT Demand

Rob MacLane, The Intersect Group Director of IT staffing, discusses contract hiring, contract-to-perm hiring, and direct hiring.

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The Big Debate: Do I go offshore or stay close to home?

Over the last few decades, companies have been faced with a difficult decision. Do I outsource my technology and/or product development?  Do I send it offshore or keep it close to home?

The answer is multi-fold and depends heavily on how mature your System/Product Development Life Cycle is and what stage you are in.  There is often confusion between the different decisions of outsource/insource and onshore/offshore.  There are multiple combinations that should be thoroughly evaluated – again depending on criticality and maturity.  When exploring the options, we strongly encourage clients to keep their development onshore (whether insourced or outsourced) while development efforts are still in prototype mode. Platforms that require extensive interaction with business users that all too often have ill-defined parameters should remain close to the business.

Once thorough design has been completed, and clear parameters have been set, offshore may become an option. Unfortunately, few firms have the time and discipline to complete this analysis correctly up front; Interaction with end users in this stage is of vital importance. An offshore model can present a variety of complications including communication barriers on either side, not to mention time zone issues.

At The Intersect Group, we also encourage companies to look at total cost of ownership as well as the entire lifecycle of the platform. Will there be a substantial cost savings without potentially losing confidence with key business users?

Companies must first optimize their process with key business users and devote time to building and maintaining trust before shipping anything out of house and/or overseas. Only then should the sourcing model be evaluated.  For example, different resources are needed for building platforms versus simply maintaining them. Once in maintenance mode, it can be cost advantageous and efficient for a company to host offshore.  Beware here too; many times, there is not extensive documentation to give an offshore partner a base code of where things currently stand and thus they risk breaking one thing while developing or fixing another.

One example of how a combination can work:  One of our global clients needed a complicated analytics application related to pricing across multiple products and service lines. Because the specific expertise did not exist in house, they outsourced the design and prototype build to us.  We ran very short term sprints in an agile framework interacting almost daily with the business users to get the algorithms and functionality down.  Then we had to work with multiple databases on the backend to ensure clean and accurate sources of information – again working with the business outputs.  Once we got the prototype up and running consistently and well documented, maintenance can be now be evaluated for outsource or in house/off-shore and phases 2 and 3 of development are being carried forward by in house onshore resources with supplemented staff expertise.

The critical decisions are really when and how to source.  Whether one combination is better than another completely depends on criticality, maturity and timeframe. What we know works well is when something is mission critical, ill-defined, and time sensitive, keep it close to the business with very rapid loops – don’t outsource to an offshore partner introducing time and communication barriers risking extreme frustration with the business “customer.”  Get it well developed, functional and documented before you ship it off.  If that happens to soon, you might save money but you will most certainly trade short term gain for long term pain.

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Interviewing Tips to Land Your Dream Job

All interviews typically follow the same format.  You have the initial meet and greet, followed by the interview session, but there are a few tips you should follow to ensure that your interviewer is left with a strong impression of you and the benefits you will bring to their company.

Conduct yourself with confidence and determination to get the job.  You have other options and your interviewer knows this, but wants to think that you want a job with their company.  Don’t play coy and make sure you sell yourself and your skills.  Present a positive attitude to the prospective employer and don’t seem disinterested or appear to be job shopping.

  • An interview is a two-way conversation and it is expected for you to ask the interviewer questions.  This will show your interest in the company and the position.  Asking questions also enables you, as the interviewee, to gather the right information to make an intelligent decision.  The questions that you’ve prepared prior to the interview can be posed to each person that you meet.
  • Remember that the objective of the interview is to obtain an offer.  Therefore, it is imperative that during the interview you gather enough information concerning the position to make a good decision.
  • It is to your advantage if a subject of mutual interest arises, but do not fake knowledge.  Be yourself.  Poise, confidence, and self-respect are of great importance.

An interview can be stressful and it’s important to make a good impression, following these tips will bring you one step closer to obtaining that job offer.

To receive the entire resource book entitled Tools to Help Your Career: Candidate’s Career Handbook from The Intersect Group, please contact us at: info@theintersectgroup.com

 

 

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What Should I Wear?

Your resume is perfected and you’ve landed the interview, now what to wear?   Walking into a job interview you want to “dress for success” and present yourself as professional and polished, and The Intersect Group’s Candidate’s Career Handbook can help.

Below are the go-to rules of interview attire and appearance for both men and women.

Appearance: Men

  • A dark suit is appropriate for most positions.  Be sure that it is cleaned and pressed.
  • Shirts should be white, freshly laundered, and well pressed.
  • A conservative tie: stripe, solid, or geometric pattern (diamond, circles), is suitable for a first interview.  Avoid loud colors and busy designs.
  • Jewelry should be limited and subtle.
  • Use deodorant and avoid colognes or fragrances completely.
  • Shoes that are black and freshly polished (including the heels) are a safe choice for an interview.  Belt should match the shoe color.  Socks should match the suit color.
  • Fingernails should be short and clean.
  • Hair should be clean, well groomed, and freshly trimmed.
  • Maintain good eye contact.

Appearance: Women

  • Wear a suit or a conservative tailored dress.  Blouses should also be tailored and color coordinated.  Do not wear big bows or ties.
  • Hair should be neat and clean.  Makeup should be light and natural looking.
  • Use deodorant and avoid colognes or fragrances.
  • Jewelry should be limited and subtle.
  • A close-toed shoe that is color coordinated with your outfit appropriate for an interview.  Avoid open-toed shoes or sling-backs.
  • Fingernails should be clean and manicured if possible.
  • Maintain good eye contact.

While clothes don’t make the man (or woman!), as the saying goes, they do make an impression.

For more information on how to land the job offer, please contact us at: info@theintersectgroup.com

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The Key to a Successful Job Hunt: The Right Resume

Your resume is the most important tool an employer uses to determine if you are a good candidate to set up an interview, so without a great resume you can kiss your chances of landing an interview for your dream job goodbye.

Below are the top 5 Do’s and Don’ts of the resume:

Do:

  1. Format your resume into recommended categories, including: Professional Experience, Education & Certifications, and Associations
  2. List professional experience for the past 10 years, anything further into the past is not as relevant
  3. Use bullet points to highlight accomplishments, not tasks
  4. Clearly identify measurable results and accomplishments: dollars saved, percentage increases or decreases, time it took to accomplish goals, etc.

Don’t:

  1. Add personal information such as height, personal description, hobbies, or taglines.  These tell your employer nothing about your abilities to do the job
  2. Advertise negative and unnecessary information: laid off, fired, reasons for leaving, or previous salaries.
  3. Write in the first person—“I”, “me”, “my”
  4. Embellish or stretch the truth regarding dates of employment, duties, accomplishments, or experience
  5. Overlook spelling mistakes or grammatical errors on your resume, this shows a lack of attention to detail

The job search can be difficult and stressful, but your resume is one part of the hunt that you can control. It is an employer’s first impression of your skills, abilities and accomplishments, so make sure it is a good one.

To read the rest of our Candidate Career Handbook, please contact us at: info@theintersectgroup.com

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Top 6 Ways to Rev Up your Job Search

We’ve all been there…you’ve sent out countless resumes, but the callbacks have stopped and your job search has stalled.  Searching for a job and the rejection involved can be taxing on anyone, reducing your motivation to continue in the hunt; however there are a few things you can do to jump-start your stalled job search and get you out of your slump.

  1. Self-Assessment:  Conducting a self-assessment can focus your job search efforts, and make sure you land in a job that is right for you.  Assess what you want out of your next position personally and professionally.  What type of company would you ideally like to work for (industry, culture, size)?  Is it time to look into other opportunities?  A new career?  Go back to school?  Develop new skills?  Determine what makes the most sense for you at this point in your life and what will lead to your future success.
  2. Market Assessment:  Assessing the current market before diving in headfirst is an excellent way to ensure that your job search is fruitful.  Take time to do your research.  Look at the current market in which you work, is there growth potential there?  What do the city’s unemployment numbers look like?  Are more companies hiring in the market than laying off employees?  Is there better opportunity for professional growth in another city?  Is there opportunity for growth in your industry?  Is the industry you want to work still suffering from the recession (banking, construction, real estate), or is the industry in which you want to work a growth area like mining and energy? The DOL provides monthly insights into which industries are creating jobs and which industries are losing jobs. In fact, the DOL has provides occupational outlook information by state.  This information can be found at http://www.doleta.gov/business/projections/eta_default.cfm.  The DOL also provides insights into which states have the lowest unemployment rates.  It might be time to move. Asking yourself these questions and assessing your current market will help you make realistic decisions surrounding your job search.
  3. Create a Job Search Plan:  Throw out your old plan, and start with a white sheet of paper, if your job search has stalled.  One of the best ways to get out of a job hunt slump is to put together a personalized Job Search Plan, which is a like a roadmap with measures, distances, contacts and attractions.  For example, your Job Search Plan should lay out your five-year plan for professional growth and development.  Where do you see yourself in five years? What are the top five companies you would like to work for?  In addition, your Job Search Plan should outline the tactics you are going to use to find a job, how you plan to use them, the amount of time each day you will dedicate to each tactic and provide you with a way to measure success.  Maybe it’s LinkedIn, a staffing firm, or a reference from friends and family?  Did you know that 1 in 6 workers use social media networks, like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to find a job?  Whatever the tactic may be it should be outlined in your plan to provide direction and accountability.
  4. Network: We’ve all heard about the importance of networking, but are you really putting in the necessary work?  Stay involved in your chosen industry by getting involved with professional organizations even when you’re out of work.  Be a connector.  If you know people who should know each other, organize networking lunches.  Get published.  Come up with compelling topic ideas for articles for your industry’s trade journals, and then build relationships with editors, offering to write a column or an article. Prepare an elevator pitch about you, your industry, your experience and your accomplishments.  Every time you meet someone new, either in a personal or professional context deliver your elevator pitch.  Let people know what you’re doing and what you’re interested in. You only have one chance to make a first impression and you want to make sure it’s a memorable one.  Also reach out to your professional network on social media websites like LinkedIn. Let your network know that you’re looking for employment and don’t be afraid to ask for a reference for that dream company in your Job Search Plan, after all, nearly 10% of job hunters last year got a job referral from LinkedIn.
  5. Build a strong online presence:  We are all aware of the pervasiveness in which social media networks have come into our personal lives, and the same is true for our professional lives.  Today social media networks can be used for more than just funny pictures and short updates on your day.  Think of your social media sites as opportunities to brand yourself. When used correctly, social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can be job-searching jewels.
  6. Build a relationship with a respected staffing firm in your area:  Professional staffing firms can often help you tap into the hidden job market and get your resume into the hands of the right company.  Many times, jobs aren’t advertised through online job boards, or on corporate websites, but rather are sourced through a staffing firm. Staffing firms are dedicated to their candidates and clients and to providing the best talent for the position, which leads to a win-win situation for everyone involved. Today 90% of Fortune 500 companies are working strategically with staffing firms to fill positions.

At The Intersect Group we deeply value both our candidates and clients.  Through our Flexible Delivery Model we provide our clients with the top talent resources, at the right time and value to help them meet all their mission-critical goals.  It is our mission to “succeed by serving.”

In the midst of a job search slump is a difficult place to be, but the most important tip is to assess yourself and what you want, and then take every step possible to push toward success.

Let The Intersect Group help you get out of your job search slump.  If you’re looking for a job in finance and accounting or information technology The Intersect Group can help!  Contact us today at 770-500-3636.

 

 

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Ray Wilson on the changing skills of CFOs and Controllers

The Intersect Group’s Ray Wilson, managing director of staffing in Atlanta, discusses the changing skills of CFOs and Controllers over the past 30 years in the latest episode of Intersect TV.

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Catherine Dixon on when to bring in outside help

Catherine Dixon, director at The Intersect Group, discusses when your company should bring in outside help in the latest episode of Intersect TV.

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Ray Wilson on what makes The Intersect Group a different and better business partner

Ray Wilson, managing director of staffing in Atlanta, discusses The Intersect Group’s core values— impeccable character, deep relationships, trust and commitment– and what makes the company a different and better business partner, in this latest episode of Intersect TV.

 

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Big Deals: M&A, IPOs and Raising Capital in the Current Environment

Today, almost every CEO is being challenged by their board to grow which can prove a difficult endeavor in the midst of a national economy that has yet to recover from the Great Recession and a global economy that seems to be facing a downward spiral.  Therefore, companies are looking more inorganically for growth and some are even breaking out into new lines of business.

STRATEGY

The key is strategy.  It is imperative that a company has a long-term strategic plan around M&A and business development.  This will enable a company to be in a state of constant readiness for a transaction, allowing it to take quick advantage of a transaction that, without preparation, could not be achieved for several more years, says Brain Sadler, CFO of Chamberlin Edmonds.  Alfred Barquin, managing director of global business development for GE Energy suggests laying out a business development game board during the first quarter of each year.  This allows a company to take a “clean-slate approach” and sets up a clear decision-making process.  As a part of any growth strategy, companies should look toward high revenue quality companies that add value, as well as look into new platforms and gray space; however, in any deal a company should not pay more than eight times EBITDA, according to Stockton Croft, executive director of Arcapita.

THEN AND NOW

So what are the differences facing the diligence process now when compared to a few years ago?  Overall, the basics are the same.   Today, however, companies must prepare for and expect a downturn in the market when making projections and ensure that the capital structure of the company can withstand it.

As corporations are now sitting on trillions of dollars worth of cash, corporate buyers appear to be more skittish than ever, with much higher levels of risk aversion.  Today’s buyers have become smarter in the market and learned lessons from their past mistakes.  With this corporate buyer reality in mind, companies should anticipate that buyers will delve deeper into a company’s past, its numbers and customer sentiment.

AFTER THE SIGNATURES

The deal has been made, now what?  According to John Heyman, CEO of Radiant Systems, as the buyer, the company must have an integration team prepared and ready to hit the ground running on day one of the integration, if not, the company may fall behind.  But what about management changes?  Should you change the company’s leadership in the midst of an already confusing and uncertain situation?  There is nothing more impactful for a company following a deal than changing the CEO, according to Croft.  Management teams can be changed for great impact because in many cases, the team you have following a merger is not necessarily the team you need to get the job done.

Overall, every decision made and each step taken around an M&A deal should be done with your customers’ best interest in mind.  Al Cochran, CFO of Greenway Medical Technologies insists that the number one focus be on the customer and what will make them successful.  Analyze the marketplace and fast-forward 10 years; will the deal you’re working on now help your customers prosper down the line?  If the answer is no, it may be time to take a step back and re-consider.  If the answer is yes, focus on executing your strategy.

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