Staffing 360: Exploring the World of Staffing From All Angles

Employees Are Back In Control. 4 Tips On How Companies Can Adapt.

Posted by Jerry Brenholz on Tue, Mar 03, 2015 @ 08:00 AM

The most important trend in workforce management right now is that the balance of power between employer and employee has shifted and the employee is back in the driver’s seat. Articles about this are everywhere. It’s a change that has been developing for a while, accelerating over the last six months or so, and is now acknowledged in multiple business and industry publications as officially the current state of things. Across many, if not most, industries and job categories demand is going up for workers, and the supply of those with the experience and skills employers want isn’t growing at the same pace. This puts workers in a better position to be deliberate and selective. 

This means that you have to rethink your strategy across the board in terms of workforce management, recruiting and hiring, and this includes any contract positions that you expect to staff. Your ability to attract and hire new talent, whether on a contingent or permanent basis, will absolutely be affected. Particularly in IT, those looking for a job have more choice than they have in years. We’ve seen higher rates and multiple offers being made more quickly than ever become the norm rather than the exception. Gone are the days when there was a plethora of good candidates to choose from and you could take all the time you wanted to make decisions.The recession and subsequent stagnant to slow economic growth of the past few years has made some employers complacent and overconfident. Don’t make this mistake. It’s critical to recognize that things have changed and react. The following are three things that you should consider if you want to succeed in this competitive, candidate-driven hiring market:

  1. You will need to sell the contractor on the job and your firm.From your job descriptions to the interview process you’ll attract the best people by making them feel excited to be a part of your company, your team. Help your staffing firm and recruiters sell the best parts of the job – the important work that you are doing, the new technology and systems they will be working with or developing, etc. Make sure that your hiring managers and anyone else involved in the interview process are friendly, knowledgeable, and understand how to sell your company. Arrogance and apathy must be banished and in their stead you need people who can excite top candidates and convince them to accept the position.

  2. Your rates must be competitive. In a candidate driven market salaries go up. The top performers and those with the hardest to find, most in demand skills are going to cost more. It is as simple as that. Tapping into the passive candidate pool, those employed but not looking, is also a great way to find the skills and experience that you need, and recent surveys show that many IT workers are ready to leave for contract positions, but the pay must be right. Recognizing where you can’t afford to go without and making competitive offers to fill those positions will be necessary. No one likes to pay more for things but keep in mind the true costs of an open position or settling for a less experienced contractor just to save money.

  3. Your process must be streamlined to be faster. In a highly competitive market, the best candidates won’t last long. Multiple interviews over days or weeks and delays in making a decision will no longer work. For the most sought after candidates you need to get back to the recruiter the same day if possible. Eliminate bottlenecks or red tape wherever possible; if the process becomes cumbersome or stalls at any point you risk.

  4. Your onboarding must be faster. Candidates understand that a certain amount of paperwork is inevitable before they can start but when they are in this nebulous in-between period they are at risk of being courted away. Onboarding that takes too long, 2 weeks or more, should be examined for opportunities to simplify and speed it up. Background checks and document preparation need to be done but are they being done as efficiently as possible? Can you reduce a layer of review or hire with contingency if they don't pass something? Where there isn’t room for compromise are you ensuring that approvals are gathered as efficiently as possible? Can some steps be handled simultaneously to save time? Look for small administrative changes that could cut out a day or two in the onboarding process. It might make a big difference.

The sooner you recognize that things have changed and change your approach and recruiting behavior, the better off you will be. Don’t waste time thinking or wishing that it isn’t true. While you waste time you may continue to lose out on great candidates.

Jerry Brenholz
CEO and President
ATR International, Inc.

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ATR Employee Necia Chase Demonstrates the Importance of Certifications

Posted by Jerry Brenholz on Thu, Feb 19, 2015 @ 08:00 AM

Michael ToothmanLate last year we published Do Certifications Really Help Job Seekers which looked at some of the current hot skills to have and whether or not certifications and other continuing education helps your career. Today, we want to share the story of Necia Davis-Chase, who works for ATR at Kaiser Permanente as an HR Staffing Coordinator responsible for working with employees on workplace issues ranging from unions and workers comp to benefits and family and medical leave.

Necia attended UC Riverside and was recently profiled on their website. As the article points out, Necia came to the HR field after stepping into an HR void at the aviation company she worked at. Wanting to be better prepared for the work she was doing she enrolled in a Labor and Employee Relations course and then joined the program to earn her certification in Human Resources. This in turn led to an opportunity to consult at a nonprofit organization, and then to working with ATR at Kaiser. 

As Wendy Sun, our VP of Recruiting, pointed out in the article, certifications help. They’re not the only thing but they help. First, they help you get noticed and stand out from other candidates. It’s also lets employers know that you have a solid foundation on top of which you’ve added real world experience. Finally, it’s a powerful signal that you are committed to your career and to doing the job well, and willing to invest your time to stay current in terms of skills and knowledge. 

Necia’s story shows how an educational investment can pay off. When changes were made at the aviation firm that resulted in a layoff, she had a combination of on the job experience and formal training that helped her land a consulting position at a non-profit organization and then to be prepared for the position at Kaiser. Necia also demonstrates another thing that we tell hiring managers and candidates all the time – attitude and personality matter too. Necia showed her dedicated nature the moment she took on responsibility for the things that needed to be done at her first company, and then further solidified it by enrolling in school to be better at the job. We immediately recognized the powerful combination of experience and knowledge that she possessed when our recruiter saw her resume, and our client was obviously impressed too, they interviewed and then hired her for the position.

We think Necia would be a great permanent employee for any organization and support her goals, although we don’t want to lose her either! What we are sure of is that no matter what, she’ll be in demand as an HR professional and we expect her career to continue on a successful path. She’s a wonderful example of what happens when you combine so many good things – education, experience, a strong worth ethic and great attitude. The lesson is that no one thing is going to be all you need, or all that employers are looking for. It’s better to have the full spectrum and educational credentials are one important part of that.

Jerry Brenholz
CEO and President
ATR International, Inc.

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Tags: temporary employees, career advice, opportunity

Are Your IT Contractor Pay Rates Competitive? They Need To Be.

Posted by Jerry Brenholz on Tue, Feb 03, 2015 @ 08:30 AM

“They were the perfect candidate…had the exact skills…the hiring manager loved them…the compensation offered just wasn’t enough…they accepted a better offer.”

We hear this conversation daily inside our office, sometimes it seems like hourly, and it’s becoming more frequent. Of course we could shut the door, but it’s better to listen and learn. These conversations are a sure sign that the talent wars are heating up. People actively looking are able to be more selective and demand higher pay, and the passive candidates are even harder to connect with and harder to lure away.

What this means for those who hire IT contractors is that it might be time to review your rates. Many companies negotiate pay rates and long term contracts with their suppliers. This can help streamline the purchasing process as well as help keep costs down, especially on items with stable market costs and where buying in bulk achieves savings for the client while allowing the supplier to be successful too.

When it comes to employees though, the market can move quickly, especially in the technology industry. Rates that were negotiated 2 or more years ago may be quite out of date. In some IT job categories this is even more pronounced. If you aren’t offering competitive compensation you are likely losing talent to others, period.

You don’t have to be Google or Microsoft to need good IT personnel; technology is mission critical to almost every business these days from Amazon to UPS to General Motors. You are competing with not just technology firms but leading companies in other industries for the top IT talent. The tide is turning and the worker is back in the more powerful position and no one is immune. At one point in their history, Google gave a 10% across the board salary increase to stop the exodus of employees that were being lured away by higher compensation at Facebook, Apple, and others.

How do you know if your rates are competitive or are holding you back?

  1. If you see IT positions remaining open longer than normal, even when you source from multiple firms, that’s a sign. 

  2. If your hiring managers are complaining about the quality of the candidates they are seeing, that’s another sign that your current rates may not be attracting the level of skill and experience that your IT department really needs. 

  3. If you are losing candidates at the offer stage to other firms, the rates you’re paying may be an issue. 

Your first thought may be, why should I pay more? I can’t fully answer that because each individual business is going to make its own decisions on where to spend or save, what they are willing to, or must pay a premium for. Only you know how badly you need a particular person with certain skills or experience. Depending on your need, you may be willing to pay quite a bit, or quite a bit more than the other guy. There are always tensions between saving money and getting what you want but keep in mind that there can be hidden costs to simply saving money by offering lower compensation.

  1. How much is it costing your company to have that position open?  What work is not being done?  On a multimillion dollar project saving $25,000 dollars (roughly an additional $10 per hour) on a contractor could be very shortsighted. 

  2. The work is getting done? How?  If other department members are covering you are jeopardizing burning them out and losing them. 

  3. Filling your positions with candidates who accept your rates?  Beware of people who will take anything until something better comes along.  Those contractors may be more susceptible to a better paying offer.  It can be smarter in the long run to secure a great IT professional at a rate they like so they stay through to the end. 

We start by asking our candidates what they want to be paid and make every effort to meet that if they are qualified. My feeling is that if someone is happy with what they are making it pays off in many other ways; they arrive on the first day of work happy, motivated, and feeling respected.  As noted above, they are also less likely to leave for another offer. I’m not suggesting indiscriminately paying people whatever, but very often what people ask for is reasonable. When you don’t have to convince someone to take $45 an hour instead of the $55 or $60 they deserve you start off in a better position overall.

We’re here to help our clients. We want to be able to do the best job possible for our clients and find the talented IT professionals they need but it is much harder to do that if we can’t offer competitive compensation. In 1914 Henry Ford revolutionized the way workers were paid by introducing the then unheard of wage of $5 a day and a profit sharing plan. Workers lined up to take on work that had previously been considered repetitive and mind numbing. Attracting, hiring and retaining workers was as much a concern for Ford as it is for 21st century managers. He understood that it took good pay to get and retain the best workers.

Spending wisely is always the goal and if you want to land the top performers, spending wisely cannot just mean saving money and paying the lowest rate possible. It has to also mean paying what you need to get the type of person you need to do the job. Ensuring that your workforce compensation strategy is helping you attract the right talent is a huge competitive advantage for your company overall. Make sure yours is helping not hurting.  

Sticking to the status quo might be costing you much more than you save!

Jerry Brenholz
CEO and President
ATR International, Inc.

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Tags: JerryBrenholz, IT staffing and recruiting, IT contractor retention, Pay Rates

Supplier Diversity And Getting My Morning Coffee

Posted by Angelique Solorio on Wed, Jan 28, 2015 @ 08:22 AM

For years, I have been getting coffee each morning at Starbuck’s before work. Along with many of you reading this, I had contributed to making them the successful giant in the industry that they are. A few months ago while on lunch, I tried The Coffee Bean with someone because it happened to be her favorite.  I can’t tell you enough how much it changed my coffee world! From the sweet aroma when walking in the door, to the service and method they use, I instantly loved their coffee! Now it’s not exactly on my way to work, and certainly much farther than Starbuck’s, but I don’t hesitate to make the extra time and effort to drive the distance.

Thinking about it, I realized that Starbuck’s was never my favorite coffee or my favorite coffee house experience but I kept going (the coffee was not bad but it wasn’t really worth the price to me either). Why?  At first it was for the experience but then I went out of convenience more than anything else. Most people won’t go that far out of their way to buy coffee, you get into a routine and get used to the comfort of the familiar and the trend. If you’re a huge fan of Starbuck’s that’s not a problem. Or maybe it is. How do we know when something better is out there? If we always stick with our current coffee, how will we find the other, maybe smaller, place with better coffee at a better price? Sometimes we stay with something we’re not even totally happy with just out of convenience or habit. Obviously it’s even harder to consider alternatives when you’re satisfied.

Now you are probably thinking what is the point to this story about her changing where she buys her coffee? Well since I generally buy my coffee on the way to work, it wasn’t that hard to make the leap from my own experience to the workplace. How does any business decide who their suppliers should be? How do they know when to stick with their current suppliers and when to try out someone new? It seems to me there is a fine line between the security and continuity of the current and the possibility of the innovation and new ideas that other companies could provide. And not just other industry giants, like choosing between McDonald’s coffee or Starbuck’s but the smaller companies that aren’t giants. 

I went to The Coffee Bean for the first time because someone else was going there – no coupon or advertising brought me in, which is often what happens in our business. A referral from another client or just a casual conversation can be the start of something. It’s easy to do when someone is going for coffee but maybe not as much when it means considering a new supplier. Change is hard, on many levels. 

But my coffee experience showed me how important it is to try new things and to fight against this bias or reluctance to change (it also feels nice to help another business grow as well, one that certainly deserves the support). It can’t be constant but some amount of new needs to be part of a company’s supplier strategy. A blend of trusted, familiar suppliers and new, qualified firms can help ensure that you get the best of everything. 

Keep your eyes open to possible "Coffee Bean" opportunities in your world; the chance to try something new or work with a new company. It may confirm that your current choice is the best one for you or you may find yourself with a new business partner providing a great product, a great price, or maybe both. 

Angelique Solorio
Corporate Outreach Manager
ATR International

Reasons, Supplier Diversity, Business Strategy

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One Simple Trick Will Improve Response Rates To Your Job Postings

Posted by Wendy Sun on Tue, Jan 20, 2015 @ 08:30 AM

Finding the right person for the job is a challenge. You only need to try and fill one open position to find that out! It’s a process that is a both a bit of an art and a science. It’s hard to attract people with the skills you really need, interview effectively, impress the best candidates appropriately, make a competitive offer, etc. – and things can get bogged down or go awry at any stage. You want to do everything you can to ensure you get it all right so you can maximize your odds of hiring a really great employee.

Start with the job description. It’s one of the first things that will impact a potential candidate. It’s how you get them in and it’s the first way they begin to learn about your firm. There’s an art to writing a good one but following a few basic best practices in this area can really help, including:

  • Be clear, clean and concise in your writing, and try to avoid too much jargon and boilerplate language. The job description is one way that a candidate begins to experience the culture and personality of your company, so don’t turn people off with stilted writing. 
  • Be reasonable in listing minimum or “must have” skills so that you don’t needlessly weed out talented individuals with the capacity to learn.
  • Convey excitement. Give the person a chance to see how their work would make a difference, be interesting, and rewarding for them in ways beyond salary and benefits. These are important to people, especially top performers who have their choice of offers.

There’s also a bit of science involved. One interesting new finding comes courtesy of Software Advice, a site that researches applicant tracking systems, who wondered whether something as simple as the design of an online job posting could make a difference in how many people applied (read the full article).  Online job seekers have millions of postings to look through; would the addition of visual content provide an advantage?

They surveyed potential job applicants to see if images or videos in an online job posting made the company that posted it more attractive. The results:

  • 51% of respondents would be more attracted to a company that had job postings with visual elements (images or videos) than to a company that didn’t.
  • Respondents were more attracted to companies that have images in their job postings than to those that have videos (45% versus 31%).
  • The company’s products or services would be the most attractive subject matter to applicants for both images (30%) and videos (28%).

What does this mean?  Well first, as far as I’m concerned, any advantage in attracting good candidates is a good thing. Despite the persistent buzz about slow economic growth and resilient unemployment, it’s still tough to find the right people, and in our business, IT staffing, it’s incredibly competitive.

Second, it’s a relatively easy thing to accomplish, especially when you consider result #2, that images performed better than video. Video is much more time consuming and costly to produce. A simple image will get the job done.

Third, an image that highlights your products or services is likely to be something that you have on hand.  Not that it might not be a good idea to develop some specific images such as the examples given in the study results but until then, you could potentially achieve better results by adding a photo that you already have. Done and done.

As I said before, there are many steps in the hiring process and this is a small addition to one part, albeit a very important part of the process. But if a simple design element can give you an edge, take it!

Wendy Sun
VP of Recruiting
ATR International, Inc.


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One Simple Way To Gain A Hiring Advantage Over Your Competitors

Posted by Jeff Monaghan on Wed, Dec 17, 2014 @ 08:36 AM

hiring advantage

Discrimination. Prejudice.  Bias.  Not positive words.  Human nature has its dark side and discriminatory behavior is one manifestation that we all need to fight against for obvious moral reasons. To start, the United States is founded on principles of equality that demand this.  In business these words and behaviors are as dangerous as in any context or situation, not only for moral reasons or the threat of legal repercussions but also because it means that you are overlooking great talent and missing out on the contribution that could be made to the success of your company. Simply put, companies that make a conscious effort to factor out prejudice and bias in the hiring process will have a competitive advantage over those that don’t.

Generally we think of discrimination based on race, and that certainly is a primary example and one that greatly initiated sensitivity to the issue and many of the protective laws we have to combat it and provide recourse. But we have also recognized that prejudice is based on other things – gender, religion, age, or sexual orientation, and so we try to avoid and protect against that too. The truth though is that bias can crop up in many different ways and you may not even recognize that it’s happening, especially during the hiring process. 

Let’s start with just one example – would you interview someone who has been out of work for more than a year?   

Last year, a study for the Boston Federal Reserve Bank by Rand Ghayad, a visiting scholar at the Boston Fed and a PhD candidate in economics at Northeastern University, and William Dickens, a professor of economics at Northeastern University, showed that the long-term unemployed (defined as six months or longer) were less likely to get a call back. Resumes for fictitious people were submitted to job openings with the resumes being identical except for variances in how long they'd been out of work, how often they'd switched jobs, and whether they had any industry experience. Everything else was kept constant. The candidates were all male, all had randomly-selected (and racially ambiguous) names, and all had similar education backgrounds.

The study found that long-term unemployment trumped other qualities. Employers called back candidates with less industry experience or those who had switched jobs frequently before they would call back someone with a lengthy period of unemployment. The bias towards unemployment was stronger than the positive of industry experience (something that for most employers is a must have) or the negative of job hopping. There is no evidence showing that long-term unemployment is a good predictor of future performance, so it’s troubling, at the least, to find that people are discriminating in this way. 

Companies that think this way are hurting themselves and missing out on potentially great employees because they are prejudiced. The study, and others over the past few years, show that some companies intentionally throw out candidates with LTU or advertise that the unemployed shouldn’t even apply but there are others who may not even be fully aware that they are doing so. Of course there are some unemployed people who are unemployed for reasons that relate to their performance, skills, or lack thereof, but you need to find out about this specifically and not assume that all unemployed people are a risk.

What other biases are at work when someone reviews resumes?

Well let’s think about it – do you weed out candidates who didn’t graduate from Stanford, MIT, or a similarly well-known universities? Do you put a person in the “no” pile based on their previous title(s)? Are you more impressed by someone who works at Apple or Google than someone who works at a company you may not have heard of? These are examples of prejudice as well, and falling prey to any of these has the potential to keep you from finding great talent. Other factors such as industry experience, a positive attitude, the ability to learn, or being a good team player can be more important to consider in evaluating a potential hire and are better predictors of success than graduating from a certain university, working at Google, or their employment status. 

So let's repeat the most important point: companies that make a conscious effort to factor out prejudice and bias in the hiring process will have a competitive advantage over those that don’t. In the IT industry, where competition for good employees is especially fierce, this is more important than ever. When you make hiring decisions based on sound criteria instead of biased thinking, you’re doing yourself, your company, and our economy as a whole, a big favor. Be aware of the potential for prejudicial thinking when you’re hiring and take steps to avoid or mitigate it and you'll find yourself with some great new employees that others have overlooked!

Jerry Brenholz
CEO and President
ATR International, Inc.


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The NMSDC Conference - Turning a Negative into a Positive

Posted by Jeff Monaghan on Thu, Dec 11, 2014 @ 08:23 AM

NMSDC Business ConferenceI attended the 2014 NMSDC Conference and Business Opportunity Fair last month and wanted to share a particular experience I had with all of you. It caught me a little by surprise at how important it turned out to be, and how simple it could have been to miss the chance to turn a negative into a real positive.

It’s something we’re taught from the time we’re children: if life gives you lemons, make lemonade; look at the glass as half full, not half empty.  In theory, it sounds good, but in practice it can be harder to achieve. Well I was reminded big time why it’s worth trying your hardest to make the best of a bad situation when I checked in to the conference. There was a major computer glitch on Sunday that caused the registration process to have to be done manually. These things happen and the conference personnel did a good job of finding alternative solutions as quickly as they could. 

Still, there was a long – a very long – wait in line. Business travel can be challenging and delays like that one very frustrating.  It’s tempting to let your emotions get away but I didn’t, and mostly no one else did either, although there were some frayed tempers. At a time like this many people retreat to their phone or tablet, put the earbuds back in, or pull out a book. All good options for keeping your cool and passing the time but a missed opportunity to start your conference off on the best foot.

First I started talking with a gentleman in line with me. He turned out to be in procurement at an American multinational medical devices, pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods manufacturer. After they arranged us alphabetically, I started talking with another woman. First it was simply comparing notes on what we’d heard about the delays but it soon turned to where we were from and worked, what we were doing at the conference, and then on to general topics. Before I knew it, that sense of frustration was gone and we were having a nice conversation. Others standing nearby joined in at times too. Suddenly, an hour long wait was a pleasant experience and I had made several new friends, or if you prefer, business contacts!

Isn’t that the reason we attend conferences and industry events? To network and meet new people? Of course we’re there for the formal opportunities to meet: ATR had a booth and I spent my day visiting the other booths during the trade fair, as well as attending the workshops, keynote speeches, receptions, and other conference events. But this unexpected opportunity to meet people was different. We ended up making a personal connection because of shared experience that was different than exchanging contact and company info at a booth. As I continued to see these folks throughout the conference the conversation continued, and our relationship deepened a little more. I know for sure that at least a couple of us will absolutely stay in touch.

You can’t manufacture these kinds of opportunities: I certainly don’t condone hacking into computer systems to cause delays or any other shenanigans! You can only be ready to take advantage of what the world offers us. We usually think of that in terms of good things happening – be ready to go after that promotion or benefit from paid training. But when something bad happens it may not be as easy to see the chance for something good but try to. It worked for me!

Angelique Solorio
Corporate Outreach Manager
ATR International

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Do Certifications Really Help IT Job Seekers?

Posted by Jeff Monaghan on Tue, Dec 02, 2014 @ 08:16 AM

confusedAs an IT professional you know how quickly things can change.  Innovation and new technology constantly drives the industry forward.  Smart IT professionals know that they have to stay abreast of changes and developments both so they can bring the latest technology and best practices to their company and so they remain relevant and highly employable in their career. 

Certifications are promoted as one way to accomplish this, but is it true?  Is it worth it?  And if it is, what should you get certified in? 

A recent article in Computerworld, reprinted in CIO, highlights the results of a study by Foote Partners that analyzes what IT skills are or will be in demand and talks about the value of certifications as well.  Another CIO article lists the top 10 skills that have increased in demand, and InformationWeek’s Network published 7 Super Certifications for IT Pros earlier this year (lists included at the end of this piece).   

There’s a lot of information here, so Staffing 360 asked Wendy Sun, ATR’s VP of Recruiting, what we’re seeing in the marketplace – whether these articles rang true to her. 

“First, the certifications do help. I’ve seen many of our customers require or highly prefer certifications, especially PMP and CISSP; it does distinguish them from other candidates.” However, Wendy cautioned that it’s important to remember that a particular certification “isn’t the only qualifier to be considered for a job.  A combination of work experience and education is just as important as a certification. Companies often look for work experience with similar projects or similar type companies/industries.”

In the Computerworld article, Foote Partners commented that “the value of certifications with employers [had] declined” in some ways.  “Standards were loose, [which] raised doubts about the value of a certification. Improvements have been made, however, and certification in some of the more demanding areas, such as architecture, may [now] depend on successful examination by a peer review board, similar to the process a university might use for a student defending a thesis.”  Wendy agreed with this saying, “a certification alone doesn’t prove your ability to do well in a job and companies may be wary of what the certification actually proves. So many companies still conduct extensive interviews to vet a candidate’s knowledge and experience. But the right certification can help.”

As far as the top IT Skills, Wendy agreed that “we’ve seen high demand for big data/Hadoop, Information Security professionals and Cloud professionals. Over the past year we’ve also seen a sizeable increase in demand for candidates with cloud/virtualization backgrounds as many of our clients are virtualizing their systems.” So getting certified in these areas makes sense. She also told us that, “there has been a big push for mobile as everyone is moving their technology to be mobile ready. We’ve also seen a big demand for security professionals, especially after the Target, Home Depot and other breaches that occurred. We’ve heard some of our clients have large projects being approved for 2015 to improve security.” So she concurs with the InformationWeek and CIO articles. “It’s what we’ve been seeing.”

As far as the certified and noncertified skills that Foote Partners lists as hot, Wendy said that many of those skills “haven’t yet trickled down to us yet for the jobs we’ve seen from our clients.”  She did point out that “we have consistently seen demand for business performance management software and systems professionals, Scrum and Mobile” and also commented that “SAP tops the list 4 times with different products – many of the clients we work with don’t have SAP implemented so that is why we don’t see it in high demand but certainly SAP skills are in demand at the companies that do.” Reinforcing the quick pace of change in technology though, she laughed and said “those that I’m not as familiar with may well be the skillsets we will see in demand in the near future!” 

So, now you know and you can make a more informed choice. Understanding what employers are, or will be, looking for and making sure that you are ready with the skills and knowledge that they demand will help you achieve a more meaningful and financially rewarding IT career. It’s an investment of your time and money to get certified. If your employer is offering to help – through reimbursement and/or being accommodating with your schedule, take advantage of that! But no matter what, it can really be worthwhile if you pay attention to what employers want and get certified in areas that are in demand.

Wendy’s last piece of advice, “if, or when, you’ve got those skills, get in touch with me. ATR can help you find a great new position!”

Network’s 7 Super Certifications

1.   PMI's Project Management Professional
2.   VMware VCP-Cloud
3.   The (ISC)2's Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
4.   Oracle Certified Professional Advanced PL/SQL Developer Certification
5.   Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert -- Routing and Switching
6.   Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer
7.   CompTIA Mobility

CIO’s Top 10 Skills with Increased Demand

1.   Puppet
2.   Cybersecurity
3.   Big Data
4.   NoSQL
5.   Salesforce
6.   Hadoop
7.   Jira
8.   Cloud
9.   Information Security
10. Python

Foote’s Top 10 noncertified skills:

1.   JavaFX
2.   SAP BODI (Business Objects Data Integrator)
3.   Business performance management (software/systems)
4.   SAP GTS (Global Trade Services)
5.   Predictive Analytics and Modeling
6.   Oracle Exadata
7.   Scrum
8.   SAP FI - FSCM (Financial Supply Chain Management)
9.   SAP MM (Materials Management)
10. Mobile operating systems

Foote’s Top 10 certified skills:

1.   SAS Certified Advanced Programmer
2.   GIAC Certified Penetration Tester
3.   InfoSys Security Management Professional (ISSMP/CISSP)
4.   SAS Certified Base Programmer
5.   HP Master ASE - Storage Solutions Architect V1
6.   Microsoft Certified Solution Linux Professional Institute certification
7.   CWNP/Certified Wireless Network Administrator
8.   HP/Master ASE - Data Center and Cloud Architect V1
9.   Oracle Certified Master, Java SE Developer
10. Developer: Applications Lifecycle Management


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Happy Thanksgiving

Posted by Jeff Monaghan on Wed, Nov 26, 2014 @ 02:38 PM

describe the imageHappy Thanksgiving!

It’s that time of year again – when we collectively take a moment to slow down, reflect on our lives, and give thanks.  In 1621, Pilgrims at Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts celebrated a bountiful harvest and the assistance of the Native Americans who helped them learn to farm the land in their first difficult year.  The feast lasted 3 days and was repeated in 1623 to acknowledge the end of a long drought which has again threatened their crops.

During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress designated certain days of thanksgiving during the year, and in 1789 George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the government, with successive presidents following.

In 1817, New York became the first of several states to officially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday, and in 1827, editor and writer Sarah Josepha Hale launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday.  It took 36 years, but she finally succeeded and in 1863 Abraham Lincoln established it as a national holiday.

It is easy to see why it quickly became so popular, and in some ways hard to fathom that it took so long to make it a national holiday.  There is something very simple and wholly satisfying about stopping to count your blessings, to give thanks for what you have instead of thinking about what you don’t.  Moving forward, looking ahead, wanting more and better for our self and our family is a natural human reaction.  Taking stock and giving thanks are too – we just need to remind ourselves to do so.

So this year, as in years past, I am thankful for my wife Maria, my daughter Andrea, my extended family, friends, and colleagues.  The richness of our lives is not measured in material possessions but in the people one knows and who enrich our lives each and every day.  We must all take a moment to also be thankful that we live in a free nation that, while far from perfect (what is?), affords us the opportunity to protest peacefully and change things for the better through our election process.  Finally, we should all give a special thank you to the men and women in our military, emergency services, hospitals and nursing homes who keep us and our loved ones safe and healthy, and who are giving up their holiday, so that we may more fully enjoy ours. 

Tomorrow, wherever and however you celebrate the holiday, enjoy and give thanks!   Happy Thanksgiving!

Jerry Brenholz
CEO and President
ATR International, Inc.



Tags: JerryBrenholz, thanksgiving

ATR International Awarded 2014 Supplier of the Year

Posted by Jeff Monaghan on Wed, Nov 19, 2014 @ 08:17 AM

nmsdc, award winnersATR International was awarded the "2014 Class IV Regional Supplier of the Year” award at the annual conference and business opportunity fair hosted by the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) in Orlando, FL on November 5th. This four day event attracts more than 6,000 corporate CEOs, procurement executives and supplier diversity professionals from top multinational companies, as well as leading Asian, Black, Hispanic and Native American business owners and international organizations.

The annual Supplier of the Year awards presented by the NMSDC is the most prestigious supplier diversity event in the US. This was ATR’s first year in contention, having been nominated by Wells Fargo. This annual award recognizes ATR’s outstanding efforts and accomplishments as a certified Minority Business Enterprise. According to the panel of judges, ATR’s submission, which included growth rates, client letters of recommendation, charity efforts, a volunteer time off program for employees, and concerted efforts to support the supplier diversity community, was scored the highest in the western region.

“ATR is proud to be recognized by a leading organization like the NMSDC,” said President and CEO Jerry Brenholz. “Our goal as a certified MBE is to provide staffing services for our clients with an unmatched level of service and quality. We do this while also supporting the communities around us through our supplier diversity initiatives and our volunteer time off (VTO) program.”  

About ATR International, Inc.
ATR International is a leader in IT and enterprise-wide staffing services. The company recruits, screens, and places thousands of IT and other employment categories of critical talent for technology-based organizations across the country.

Tags: AngeliqueSolorio, SupplierDiversity, 2014, supplier of the year, award