The Procom Jobcast

How prairie dogs could teach us to be better at networking and friendship

See? These two are totally pals.

See? These two are totally pals.

Do you know all of the words to the Golden Girls theme song? We do, too. Solid friendships are the basis of a strong community, and if those friendships involve cheesecake and wisecracks, then all the better.

Humans aren’t the only animals with social networks. I mean, we’re sure you’ve spent as much time Googling “animal friendships” as we have. But scientists are tracking the complicated cliques present in the lives of prairie dogs, and the results are actually pretty interesting:

Greet kisses are an important part of prairie dog life, and they happen when two individuals approach each other, lock teeth, and kiss. “It can be a sign of who’s in your group and who’s not in your group,” said Verdolin. “If they belong to the same social group, they kiss and part ways. And if they don’t, they break apart and fight.”

By being able to tell which prairie dogs belonged to which cliques, they were able to predict (and therefore prevent) the spread of communicable diseases between animals. But it wasn’t just as simple as who hung out with who:

“Certain prairie dogs were bridges, connecting otherwise separate groups. Others were hubs, interacting with prairie dogs from many groups.”

So, indulge us for a moment and think of your own network as a group of prairie dogs — note, they are not actual dogs — and opportunities as communicable diseases. (Help, this allegory is going terribly). Who are the bridges? Who are the hubs? It is important to figure out!

If you are looking for work, make sure to let your “bridge” friends and your “hub” friends know! That will spread the work into networks you might not have access to yourself.

Probably you won’t even have to lock teeth to do it. Although, who can say?

Happy Monday — We can’t find Ottawa edition

This is what the world looks like. Handle it.

This is what the world looks like. Handle it.

Here is a fun fact about us: if a video game or a book has a map in the beginning, we won’t even consider playing or reading it. We’re just not the sorts of people who want to go on a quest.

But it’s not that we don’t have any opinions about cartography. We mean, Peters Projection all the way, right? So today we have pulled together an all-map-related collection of links to chat with your co-workers about on this Monday morning.

1. Apple iPhone 6 map of Canada confuses Toronto, Ottawa

tl;dr – If you had gone to to pre-order an iPhone, you would have seen a map of Canada that had Ottawa where Toronto should be, Toronto where Ottawa should be, and Edmonton to the west of Calgary. A comment from Apple was not immediately available.

Ask your coworkers – Can you draw a map of Canada without looking at one?

2. Google Earth Engine to help predict malaria on maps

tl;dr – Health care workers will upload data about where and when malaria cases are happening, which will then be cross-referenced with weather and other environmental conditions. This will be used to predict where new cases are likely to occur, so pesticides, bed nets, and antimalarial drugs can be concentrated in those areas.

Ask your coworkers – What is the most interesting thing YOU have ever used Google Maps for?

3. The NSA has a plan to map the entire Internet. It’s called ‘Treasure Map’

tl;dr – The goal of this program is to map the Internet, including everything from large traffic channels to every smartphone, tablet, and computer. It will be accessible to intelligence agencies from Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Ask your coworkers – Do you believe in internet privacy anymore?

That’s it. Go be blow everyone’s minds with map facts. Let us know how it goes.


Where Does My Resume Go? Part 4: My contract is almost up, where is my recruiter?

If you’re looking at your calendar, wondering when or if your contract will be renewed, read on! In this week’s blog post, we’ll explore the complexities of contract termination and renewal to help you answer the question that often comes up as your contract is winding down: “Where is my recruiter?”

On this week's episode of "All My Applicants": Recruiter Sally Maywell finds herself stuck in a contingent workforce love triangle, trying to balance the needs of her client with those of her contractor.

On this week’s episode of “All My Applicants”: Recruiter Sally Maywell finds herself stuck in a contingent workforce love triangle, trying to balance the needs of  her contractor with those of her client.

Recruiters, clients, and you: a messy love triangle! Although recruiters rejoice in getting you a great gig and want to keep you working, they also have the client company to consider when deciding whether to renew a contract.

“Clients sometimes wait until the last minute to contact us about renewing their contractors’ agreements. Often a staffing firm will have an agreement with the client that forbids us from re-engaging that contractor until their assignment has ended,” says Wendy Kennah, Procom’s Director of Recruiting. This agreement between a staffing agency and its client reduces competition by ensuring that an agency’s recruiters don’t “poach” contractors from one client to fill the job orders of another.

Clients want to have their cake and eat it, too. Your hiring manager may not want to renew your contract, but she doesn’t want you to leave before it’s up, either. So, chances are that whether you’re renewing your current contract or seeking a new one, you’ll have a very short time frame to do so.

If you call your recruiter and let them know you’re looking for a new contract, it could go one of three ways:

  1. If your recruiter doesn’t have to wait until your contract is up, he will contact you with a suitable position as it opens up.
  2. If your recruiter must wait until your contract is up, he will hold out and contact you with a suitable position that becomes available after your contract ends.
  3. If your recruiter must wait until your contract is up, but the client intends to keep you, the recruiter will wait for the client to approach you with a new contract before offering you any open positions from other companies.

None of these scenarios are bad ones, if you play your cards right. The key is keeping the lines of communication open.

If you are keen to renew your contract, speak directly with your hiring manager about the future of your assignment. If she can’t give you a clear timeline, ask for further details about the scope of your current project(s), the company’s hiring budget, or team dynamics. If any of these factors have changed, you may no longer be needed. If they seem stable, you might be looking over a new contract shortly. However, remember: nothing is guaranteed!

Your best bet is doing your job well while remaining receptive to new opportunities:

  1. Keep the lines of communication open with your recruiter — make your recruiter aware of any developments with your contract and inform him that you’re interested in new opportunities should your contract be terminated.
  2. Keep your resume up to date — this is true regardless of your employment situation. You never know when a new opportunity will arise!
  3. Keep your network intact — just like you would with your recruiter, you should make your peers and former employers aware of your recent activities and accomplishments.
  4. Be discrete — If you want to network but worry about the rumor mill, play your cards close and keep the conversation about the other person. Let your companion talk about their work life – you’d be surprised how many hiring clues you can glean from small talk!

In the end, the quality of your work and the professional relationships you form with your recruiter, your company, and your peers will prove invaluable in guiding and growing your career.

We hope that the “Where Does My Resume Go?” series has answered your questions about the job hunt.

Did we miss something? Tell us what you’d like to know about the job hunt below!

How your jaw line affects your bottom line

We bet that this guy has the best smelling T-shirts in town.

We bet that this guy has the best smelling T-shirts in town.

Here is your fun fact for the day: In 2005, a study determined that if a woman smelled a man’s T-shirt, she was able to accurately guess how symmetrical his face was. Why would someone do that study? We can’t figure that out for the life of us, but we recommend y’all test it out in your spare time.

The shape of your face doesn’t only affect how your T-shirt smells, it also determines how much money you make. Specifically, if you are a man. Extra specifically, a man with a round face.

Wait, what? Well it’s true! Any guesses as to why? Well it turns out that men with rounder faces just don’t back down.

Researchers found that moon-faced men were “less cooperative negotiators compared to men with smaller facial ratios,” which allows them to “claim more value when negotiating with other men.”

But only with other men! This didn’t happen at all when they were negotiating with women. We guess women are immune to the charms of a round face? Or at least for the purpose of negotiating?

We’ll leave you to go stare at your face in the mirror for a bit and wonder what parts of your face are holding you back — or propelling you forward — in your career.

When you come back, tell us what you learned in the comments!

Freddie Prinz, Jr.’s One-Sided Feud With Keifer Sutherland – Why You Shouldn’t Trash Your Ex-Boss

Nobody cares, pal.

Nobody cares, pal.

So whoa, here are two big time shockers:

  1. Freddie Prinz, Jr. is still out there in the world just living his life.
  2. He has opinions about Kiefer Sutherland and he thinks you might like to hear them.

So five years ago, Freddie Prinz, Jr. worked with Kiefer Sutherland on the TV show 24 (which Sutherland executive produces). He recently tried to drop this truth bomb about what that was like:

“Kiefer was the most unprofessional dude in the world. That’s not me talking trash. I’d say it to his face. I think everybody that’s worked with him has said that.”

This was Sutherland’s reply, via one of his spokespeople:

“Kiefer worked with Freddie Prinze, Jr.more than five years ago, and this is the first he has heard of Freddie’s grievances. Kiefer enjoyed working with Freddie and wishes him the best.”

And that is what we refer to as a genial mic drop.

Who do you think comes off better in this exchange? The one who seems to be picking a fight out of the blue for attention, or the one who shrugs it off without even sounding mildly annoyed.

More importantly, what can you learn from this exchange?

Basically, don’t publicly trash your ex-boss, especially to the person you hope will be your next boss. For one thing, they might know each other. Even if you think there is no chance of it at all, you’d be surprised at how small the world can be sometimes. Second of all, it will make them wonder how long it will be before you are trashing them to someone. That’s not going to inspire a lot of trust.

Look, we get it. An ex-boss can feel a lot like an ex-boyfriend sometimes, and the need for venting can be strong. And also, sometimes it really does feel important to communicate in a job interview how toxic the situation was that you were leaving. But there are other ways to do it. offers up some great tips: Like trying to balance out your criticisms with positive comments, as well as making sure it’s clear that you learned from the situation and will handle things differently next time.

Most of all, unless there is a dangerous dynamic you feel you need to make public, don’t try to go toe-to-toe with someone who has a bigger audience and more credibility than you do. It rarely ends well.

Have you ever complained to a new boss about an old boss? Tell us in the comments!

How’s The Market? Fall Heats Up for Business Analysts

It’s finally starting to feel like summer, but fall is fast approaching. Just like the weather, the job market isn’t cooling down anytime soon – job activity has increased 10.95% since the spring quarter and Business Analysts jobs have experienced the most growth since last quarter.


What trending skill sets are Procom recruiters looking for this quarter?

Mobile Development, Responsive Design(PhoneGap, CSS3), and Big Data (hadoop, NoSQL, Mapreduce)



2 Ways to Find Top Talent Without Spending Like a Tech Giant

CIOs from non-tech sectors, particularly the public one, are having a tough time hiring IT talent in the United States. In Silicon Valley, tech giants like Google, Salesforce, and Twitter offer incomparable salaries, perks, and prestige, leaving CIOs in other industries at a loss for skilled IT labour. Canada’s tech sector is experiencing a similar boom, with Facebook and Amazon offices hiring in Vancouver, tech workers earning 60% more than the provincial average in British Columbia, and homegrown tech companies like Hootsuite hiring 10 new employees per week.

So, how can government, financial, or manufacturing CIOs compete? Tech sector vets may be out of a non-tech CIO’s reach financially, but their skill sets don’t have to be. Here are two ways to find top talent without spending like a tech giant:

When looking for new hires, consider a"fixer upper" with potential.

When looking for new hires, consider a”fixer upper” with potential.

  1. Hire for Potential.The key to getting Google-quality IT talent isn’t hiring Google-quality IT talent, it’s hiring talent that has the potential and desire to posess that level of skill and expertise. “Recruit for attitude, not for skill,” advises Chris Morgan, an executive coach at Morgan Alexander. Try to hire someone who sees their position as an ongoing challenge and constantly seeks out resources for building their skill set. Then, keep them around by cultivating a company culture that nurtures their growth. Consider these candidates affordable “fixer uppers.” You’re spending far less in the hopes of increasing your investment’s value in the long haul. So instead of spending on hiring and getting into bidding wars with deep-pocketed tech giants, invest in recruiting that will get you a candidate with the right attitude.
  1. Embrace Contract Work.  Hiring a fixer upper might not be plausible if you have a huge project to finish and need a specific skill set. Although hiring contractors appears to come with a larger price tag, they generally hit the ground running very quickly and they pay their own benefits; not to mention that they are easy to downsize if and when you need to. “Contingent labour is a very efficient and effective measure for corporations with resourcing needs,” says Alex MacKenzie, VP of Business Development at Procom, “the key to utilizing it effectively is to have a good understanding of the market conditions and to work with a staffing partner who has access to the talent you may need.”

When Google programmers in Silicon Valley are making 3 million in cash and restricted stock  per year, the bar for wooing new IT hires may seem impossibly high. But studies show that Generation Y workers aren’t always in it for the paycheque. Working for a huge tech company might not appeal to workers looking for warm company culture and growth opportunities. If you are desperate for a skill set today, use contract labour to fill in your holes, then focus on leveraging mentorship and skill-sharing opportunities to develop less experienced, but highly motivated permanent hires. They may not be ready to work for Google or Dropbox now, but with encouragement, they will be soon. The good news will be that they’ll still be working for you!

How would you feel if you had to pay your Staffing agency bills twice? How Bill 18 Could Impact You

Imagine hiring contract staff through a staffing agency, paying the bills for the worker’s services and then finding out that the agency neglected to properly pay the workers. Now imagine that you are on the hook for those wages! With the Provincial Government’s latest changes to Bill 146 – now  called Bill 18 – Stronger Workplace for Stronger Economy– double payment could be a reality.

There are also important changes to injury and accident costs for you as a client engaging contract workers. Currently, agencies are responsible for the WSIB premium and accident costs for the workers they hire. A new amendment to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (Subsection 2 (1), Section 83)  proposes that responsibility for insurance premiums and accident costs of worker injuries would be put on you, the client.

Although the changes made to Bill 18 offer many protective measures that benefit workers, there are some unfortunate implications for your organization which can only be avoided through due diligence and transparency. Make sure that the staffing agency and/or contractor payrolling provider that you utilize does things properly and helps you avoid scenarios such as this.

Procom makes it a priority to stay up-to-date and compliant with the latest legislation, so we can help you protect your business. If you’d like to know more about these or other legislative changes, please reply to your Procom Account Manager to schedule a discussion.

Related links



Happy Monday — #GameOverGate edition

Zoe Quinn: Total Hero

Zoe Quinn: Total Hero

Probably you all spent all weekend reading up on fall fashions. According to our readings, get ready for novelty prints, fairy tale inspired fashion, and animal embroidery. We’re presuming that last one is embroidery of animals rather than embroidery done by animals, but if fairy tale fashion is also where it’s at right now, we guess that could go either way.

In case you don’t want to spoiler your co-workers about your upcoming outfits, we’ve pulled together some tech news for you that you can claim to have read over the weekend instead.

1. Zoe Quinn claims 4chan was behind GamerGate the whole time

tl;dr – This headline is kind of misleading. Quinn doesn’t just “claim” that 4chan was behind “GamerGate”, she outright proves it. In case you don’t know, Quinn is a game developer whose ex-boyfriend recently started claiming that the positive reviews garnered by her work were written by people she had dated. Any thinking person could see it for the nonsense it was, but because not every person is a thinking person, Zoe went undercover in a 4chan-affiliated chat room to document the recapping of the attack on her, as well as shine a light on the hackers’ upcoming plans to target other women.

Ask your coworkers – Have you ever gone undercover?

2. Gotta pay for all those servers somehow. Amazon takes out a $2B credit line

tl;dr – Don’t even worry about your credit card balances, folks. Amazon has just gotten the green light to borrow up to two billion dollars from the Bank of America, in part to help it meet the demand for the Fire Phone. Whatever that is.

Ask your coworkers – Will you be waiting in line for the Amazon Fire Phone is?

3. A New College Textbook Makes It Impossible To Cram

tl;dr – After realizing that most doctors were forgetting half of the information they quickly learned before their exams in medical school, Ulrik Christensen decided to invent a new kind of book. The SmartBook highlights what you need to know, and lets you do quizzes as you go, to make sure you are actually learning, internalizing and building on concepts, not just shoving a bunch of facts in your head in advance of a test.

Ask your coworkers – What was your studying style in college?

There you go, everyone! Enjoy our chats, and don’t spoiler us on the most recent episode of Project Runway. We haven’t watched it yet.

This single question could prepare you for an entire job interview

 Power looks like a lot of things. For example: this badass person.

Power looks like a lot of things. For example: this harder-than-nails individual.

Writing assignment: Spend the next 5 minutes quickly brainstorming how you would answer this question:

“Tell me about the first experience in your life when you realized that you had the power of change or the power to do something meaningful?”

Good news! Once you get an answer you like, you are now well-prepared for a job interview. Why? Because if you can answer this (and you should, whether it is asked of you or not!) you’ve communicated your skills, values, and ability to problem solve.

To test out this theory, we asked this question on one of our personal Facebook walls. Here is one of our favourite answers:

“For me, it was when my child was diagnosed with a disability. I realized that by using my communication skills, I could advocate not only for him, but for other kids. I started talking, and people actually listened. It gave me hope and solidified my future direction.”

First of all, let’s all pause to give this person a mental hug and high-five. Now lets see what we learn about her with this answer:

Her values: She doesn’t only have concern about the needs of her own family, but other families who are also struggling but maybe less equipped than she is to take on an issue.

Her skills: She briefly touches on the fact that it was her communication skills that she put towards helping these kids. She is well poised to give more detail in a followup question.

Her ability to problem solve: We don’t know what concrete change her work has brought about, but it is clear there has been an impact. She has piqued our curiosity to ask what changes have happened, which is a great position to be in.

As with all questions you prepare for, your interviewer might not ask it word-for-word. But if you have this answer ready, you can easily work it into other questions. We believe in you.

How would YOU answer this question? Tell us, in the comments

Lean on outsiders, and other advice from Diane Wang

Listen to this lady. She knows what she's talking about.

Listen to this lady. She knows what she’s talking about.

Some people are sheer forces of nature. Diane Wang is one of them. While her career began working for other companies, like Cisco and Microsoft, Wang’s entrepreneurial spirit eventually caused her to build digital empires of her own. She’s built not one but two massive e-commerce sites: Joyo, one of the very first e-commerce sites to flourish in China, which was eventually acquired and transformed into Amazon China; and DHGate, which allows buyers to connect with sellers and suppliers both large and small, and has been operating since 2004. It comes as no shock, considering her accomplishments, that Diane Wang is often approached for advice. She’s compiled a list of 6 ways for aspiring entrepreneurs to clear the hurdles that stand in their way. One particular piece of advice stands out, both for it’s clarity and because it’s slightly surprising: Wang advocates that entrepreneurs “lean on outsiders to fill [their] gaps.” Most of Wang’s advice involves staying focused on the task at hand, approaching entrepreneurship as a lifestyle, refusing to take short cuts and other exhortations to keep your eyes on the prize, this is a reminder to also make sure to listen to outside voices and avoid becoming too myopic in your vision. Wang advocates making sure you stay connected with experts in your field who are not a part of your company, for impartial advice and a broader range of knowledge. She also recommends reaching out to other companies for collaborative opportunities, seeking outside investors to keep things fresh, and working with other managers for skill-sharing and team-building opportunities. While it’s crucial to give your work all the time, energy and attention it demands, Wang’s advice is an important reminder not to shut ourselves off from the rest of the world as we build our dreams. After all, the two companies that she built her career on were about connections and collaboration, matching buyers and sellers and filling mutual needs. As important as it is to stay focussed, making sure you’re open to the possibilities of joining forces with like-minded and talented colleagues outside of the walls of your own company will keep your vision broad and your dreams big.

Where Does My Resume Go? Part 3: How do I get my resume noticed?

In this second edition of the “Where Does My Resume Go?” blog series, we answer a question often asked by job seekers: “How do I get my resume noticed?” A recent study shows that recruiters spend an average of 6.25 seconds scanning your resume. If that isn’t disheartening, consider that almost 50  percent of resumes are weeded out by an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), which 90 percent of companies now use. This means that if your resume lacks a certain keyword or cannot be easily parsed by an ATS, your resume might not even be considered for the role you’ve applied to.

Even the hottest resume can get lost in the shuffle

Even the hottest resume can get lost in the shuffle


To make it past the ATS, start by familiarizing yourself with the basic criteria of your prospective employer or client.

Try to include keywords and experience levels as they appear in the original job posting, but make sure they’re actually an accurate reflection of your own experience.

“If it were as simple as copying & pasting keywords from the job description, wouldn’t every Tom, Dick and Harry get their resumes past the ATS?”

Companies have caught on to this keyword mirroring technique, which is why recruiters now include alternate keywords when filtering applicant resumes. For example, a recruiter may be looking for “web-based software specialists;” if you’re an Saas whiz, why not include alternate keywords such as “web-based software,” “on-demand software,” or “hosted software” in your resume to ensure that this recruiter finds you.

Sometimes, it’s the little things that can trip you up. For instance, you may be harder to find  if you’ve had unconventional job titles in the past. Even if your previous position fits the bill for this new opportunity, if it’s called something different, it may get lost in the shuffle. Consider finding a more mainstream equivalent to your title so that it won’t be excluded in a recruiters search. Likewise, your resume may slip through the cracks if you use abbreviations instead of fully naming your province/state, or if you forget your  Postal or Zip Code ! If you type “ON” instead of “Ontario,” an ATS will only recognize the abbreviation as the word “on,” rather than the province.

“Once my resume makes it past the filters, will the recruiter notice it?”

That all depends. Wendy Kennah, Procom’s Director of Recruiting recommends keeping summaries short, so recruiters don’t have to scroll to the next page to see your work experience. She also recommends a chronological rather than functional format. Recruiters want to see your most recent experience, not necessarily you’re most relevant. That’s because if your most relevant experience is decades old, you may not be right for the job.

“It’s confusing to see that relevant work experience at the top when it isn’t the most recent, and it might annoy a recruiter to have to scroll through pages before finding your most recent job,” Kennah advises.

Now that you’ve formatted and optimized your resume to beat the system, you just might get a call. Know what to expect when engaging with a recruiter, and address the less tangible criteria that recruiters search for in a candidate. Stay tuned for next week’s “Where Does My Resume Go” blog.

Happy Tuesday — death by robots edition

Better not click on those pictures, just in case.

Better not click on those pictures, just in case.

Labour Day weekend is bittersweet we know. On the one hand, we get to sleep in on Monday. On the other hand, even thought you likely work in the same office you did this time last week, the “back to school” angst hasn’t really gone away since we were five years-old. “Where will I sit!? Will I have any friends!?”

Well, maybe today is your day to make a new friend at work. Here are three articles to talk to them about!

1. This is why you shouldn’t click on the naked photos of Jennifer Lawrence

tl;dr – We trust that you are all decent humans who respect the privacy of your fellow humans, or that you are at least afraid of bad karma and glad no one is hacking your phones. But we wanted to flag it just in case. These pictures were not meant for your eyes, and you do not have consent to look at them. So don’t! Okay, great.

Ask your coworkers — Do you ever worry about getting hacked?  

2. A WikiLeaks for wildlife gives whistle-blowers a way to turn in environmental criminals

tl;dr – Did you know that wildlife crime is a $17 billion a year industry? We didn’t, either. But the folks behind WildLeaks did, and set up a platform for anonymous tips. As this article outlines: “When tips come in, they are put through a lengthy verification process and then turned over to law enforcement or other organizations for follow-up.”

Ask your coworkers — What is your favourite wild animal?

3. Futurist warns robots may one day kill us all as an act of kindness

tl;dr – So, uh, at some point robots might get so evolved that they decide the best things they can do for us, inferior beings that we will doubtless be, is to put us out of our misery. According to futurist Nell Watson, “Having a kind intelligence is not quite enough, because any sufficiently benevolent action is indistinguishable from malevolence.”

Ask your coworkers — Are you worried about being killed by robots?

There you go, everyone! Have some great conversations, and don’t look at nudes unless the person in them sent them to do. In which case, still don’t look at them at work.

Don’t overpump your handshake, and other job interview tips

We know it's exciting to be interviewed by Groot, but still, exercise some restraint.

We know it’s exciting to be interviewed by Groot, but still, exercise some restraint.

We’ve all met people that we immediately, instinctively trust and feel comfortable around. Of course, the flip side is also true – there are people who get our hackles up straight from the get-go, no matter how polite or considerate they may seem. You might attribute these reactions to your amazing psychic abilities — and maybe you really are psychic, who knows?— but for those of us who don’t have the second sight, much of the way we feel when meeting a new person can be attributed to their body language.

It can’t be overstated just how important body language is during a job interview. So here are a few tips to help you (literally) put your best face forward.

1. Giddy Resting Face

Does your face tend to naturally settle into a frown when resting? If yes, try to keep your mouth either in a straight line or slightly upturned at the edges. People will take this as an indicator that your overall demeanor is happy and friendly.

2. Walk This Way

Keeping a quick, confident stride will help convince employers that you’re enthusiastic and capable. Avoid walking slowly or hesitantly, and definitely don’t slouch, as these are all indicators of nervousness. No need to be nervous, you’re going to be great!

3. Palm Reading

Your dad wasn’t wrong when he told you that you can tell a lot about a person based on how they shake hands. Keep your handshake firm and maintain eye-contact. Avoid too firm of a grip or overpumping your potential employer’s hand up and down too quickly – you don’t want to give off the vibe that you’re aggressive or insecure.

4. Assume The Position

If fathers are stereotypically obsessed with handshakes, then mothers seem to always be credited with telling their kids to sit up straight. No matter which parent imparted this wisdom on you, they were totally right. Keep your spine long and straight, but don’t sit stiffly – let yourself relax instead of tensing up all of your muscles. This will give off the impression that you’re comfortable yet respectful. And definitely DON’T fidget. Nobody wants to hire someone with ants in their pants.

5. Beat A Bold Retreat

Don’t slink out of the office once your interview is done – repeat the same upright, confident stride that brought you into the room. First impressions are important, but last impressions can make a difference, too!

Now get out there and knock ‘em dead, kid!

How a skill testing question could replace admissions screening

This is Xavier Niel. From here on out, we're calling him Professor Xavier.

This is Xavier Niel. From here on out, we’re calling him Professor Xavier.

Imagine a post-secondary institution that doesn’t charge tuition. Not only that, but there are no teachers, no textbooks, no student centres. There’s just a big room deep in the heart of Paris filled with Macs and eager students.

Oh, and this school? Is harder to get into than Harvard.

This is École 42, the brain-child of Xavier Niel, an institution that aims to turn out well-trained, highly qualified software engineers. Niel, a billionaire several times over, started the school with a €70,000,000 donation. His hope is that alumni will get amazing jobs and then donate enough money to keep the school afloat.

École 42’s educational model might best be described as “programmer survival-of-the-fittest.” Students are given increasingly difficult programming challenges, which they must solve by consulting each other or finding the steps to a solution online.

There are no educational requirements for École 42. Many of the students have no previous experience with programming and, in fact, haven’t graduated from high school. On the flip side, some students have already graduated from Stanford or MIT. In this way, École 42 is an amazing way of leveling the playing field in post-secondary education – you don’t need money, you don’t need a diploma, you just need to be good at what you do.

Well, not just good. You need to be really, really good.

See, the only admission requirement for École 42 is a series of tests. Last year, 70,000 people attempted the online qualification test. Of that group, 20,000 completed the test and of those, 4,000 were selected to spend a week in Paris working on coding projects. Finally, 890 students were selected to be part of École 42’s first class.

If you’re good at crunching numbers, you’ll be able to quickly figure out that this means that École 42’s admission rate is only a little bit higher than one percent. Harvard accepts six percent of total applicants.

It will be fascinating to see how École 42 grows and develops, and if it really can sustain the model they’ve created and turn out the promised crop of brilliant new programmers. Because if this works, it could completely change the way we think of post-secondary education.

Where Does My Resume Go? Part 2: How do I keep a recruiter interested?

Congrats! You’ve gotten a call from a recruiter. It’s almost as rare as sighting the Loch Ness Monster. Now that you’ve gotten a recruiter’s attention, how do you gently lure that majestic but elusive beast to the side of your boat, or even get it to give you some money? OK, this metaphor got a little confusing, but the point is that job hunting is faster-paced and more competitive than ever, so building a strong rapport with your recruiter is a great way to increase your chances of landing your dream job. Keeping a recruiter on the line can mean the difference between getting that first round of interviews and sealing the deal.

It's a big one! To snag an opportunity, keep that recruiter on the line.

It’s a big one! To snag an opportunity, keep that recruiter on the line.

Has a recruiter asked you to modify your resume? Don’t take it personally! That special attention means that the recruiter wants you to succeed. Even if you’re on a first-name basis with a recruiter, she has hundreds of other applicants who may have more suitable resumes. When a recruiter runs into something that detracts from your resume, such as missing keywords or bad formatting, she will have a harder time selling you as a fit. A recruiter who takes the time to address these issues with you, rather than discarding your resume and moving onto the next candidate, is actually doing you a huge favour. Be sure to make the recommended changes quickly if you’re serious about pursuing the opportunity.

Does discussing salary expectations make you sea sick? Job hunters are told not to sell themselves short when negotiating salary, but it is hard not to low-ball when the question of salary expectations first arises.  Procom recruiter Josh Pryor advocates an upfront approach: “It makes the conversation go a lot easier and faster if people tell us what they are expecting so we can work with them on that position and future opportunities.” Just as a recruiter helps you modify your resume, he may also offer hints to help you modify your salary expectations: “We’ll always give you a range that represents the client’s ‘sweet spot’ for a role, but there is some flexibility if the applicant has all of the required skills and ‘nice to haves’ [on his or her resume],” says Pryor.

Doing your research goes a long way, too. “People often price themselves out of opportunities based on what the market was last year, or what they were making in another industry.” So, while you should never undercharge, it is important to be realistic about how well you fit into a role, the position’s industry standards, and the client company’s expectations.

How do I show off without bragging? Mastering the humble-brag may be the most coveted soft skill of the modern job hunter. Striking that balance between selling yourself and sounding smug can be tough, but it’s a worthwhile goal for a few reasons. The first, obvious reason to rattle off a few boasts is that it will give recruiters a better idea of your skill set and experience. The second reason is that it demonstrates your ability to communicate and tell a story about yourself, your company, and/or your work. Staying quiet about, or downplaying your accomplishments does nothing for you. Trust us.

Keeping these tips in mind should help you maintain a good relationship with your recruiter, so even if the first opportunity isn’t a fit, you may be kept on file for future openings.

See an interview on the horizon? Avast ye, matey! You’ll have to navigate the murky waters of contract negotiation. Keep sailing the seas until next week`s installment of “Where Does My Resume Go?” a blog that answers the question How do I get my resume noticed?

What makes someone a better computer scientist: math, or community service?

Don’t let your alumni association turn out like this.

Don’t let your alumni association turn out like this.

How is this for a truth bomb?

“The GRE is a better indicator of sex and skin color than of ability and ultimate success.”

That is the thesis of a recent essay by physics professors Casey Miller and Keivan Stassunis. They make a pretty convincing case against the current admission process to graduate school. Namely, the use of the graduate record examinations (GRE) — a standardized test introduced in 1949 that is an admissions requirement for most US graduate schools.

They claim that:

“De-emphasizing the GRE and augmenting admissions procedures with measures of other attributes — such as drive, diligence and the willingness to take scientific risks — would not only make graduate admissions more predictive of the ability to do well but would also increase diversity in STEM.”

Even if you don’t think that the latter is important, the former sure is. The PhD completion rate in the US right now is sitting at about 50 percent. All of these smarty pantses with their great test results don’t necessarily have what it takes to actually finish their work. Turns out test scores aren’t a great predictor of that.

What does predict PhD completion, then? Turns out it’s a combination of college and research experiences, key relationships, leadership experience, service to community, and life goals. The good news is, this is information that isn’t too tricky to find out. The bad news is, the best way to do that is in an interview. And many universities don’t want to take the time to interview scores of applicants.

But they should. The University of South Florida has recently folded an interview into their admission process, and has been seeing great results. Namely, PhD completion rates above 80 percent, and an increased diversity in their students. Which will ultimately make the whole world better.

Surely that’s worth a half hour interview? We think so. What do you think? Let us know, in the comments.

Happy Monday — “Have you seen my phone?” edition

We’re sure there is a pretty good story here.

We’re sure there is a pretty good story here.

Okay honestly we’re not even sure why we are posting this blog today, because obviously you already have something to talk to your coworkers about today: HOW AMAZING BEYONCE IS. If you missed her performance at the MTV VMA’s, we’re not even sure we know who you are anymore.

But we guess you can’t just talk about Beyonce all day? I mean, our own experiences to the contrary. So here are three article about tech or whatever.

1. Why shutting Uber down is poor regulation by India’s central bank

tl;dr — The whole point of Uber is that you save the two-to-ten minutes it takes, on average, to pay for a taxi. But India’s central bank is cracking down on credit card transactions that happen without the card being present at the time (Uber lets you enter your credit card in advance, and you don’t need to show it again to the driver). They are giving Uber until the end of October before pulling the plug.

Ask your coworkers — What is the longest it has ever taken you to pay for a cab ride?

2. Pwned By A Girl! Women Gamers Now Outnumber Teenage Boys

tl;dr — Handle this, dudebro gamers: “Women over the age of 18 currently represent 36% of the game-playing population, whereas boys aged 18 and under claim a mere 17%. Further, females are quickly inching towards becoming the dominant gamer, claiming 48% of the pie.” Amazing. If you’ve got some time to spend and want to get super annoyed, feel free to read the comments on the article. Barf.

Ask your coworkers — Do you consider yourself a gamer?

3. Are you suffering from smartphone-loss anxiety disorder?

tl;dr — We’re afraid of losing our smart phones, no big surprise there. But this fear isn’t only because we’ll be out of contact while we get a new one. We’re also afraid of what information is stored on there. Just, it seems, not afraid enough to back things up or use remote locking options. We don’t like admitting it could happen to us.

Ask your coworkers — Have you ever lost a cellphone?

So there you go, kids. Enjoy your banter, and back up your phones already. Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re going to go YouTube some more Beyonce videos.

Is your career stalled? Take an improv class!

Uri Alon, one of the funniest people in physics today.

Uri Alon, one of the funniest people in physics today.

“In the middle of my PhD, I was hopelessly stuck,” confesses scientist Uri Alon. “Every research direction I tried led to a dead end. It seemed my basic assumptions stopped working.”

Does that sound familiar? It sure does to us. Okay, minus the PhD in physics. We tend to get hopelessly stuck on things like “Trying to think of a good joke about TED Talks”. But we all have our own struggles. No shame in that.

Anyway, Dr. Alon is an improv actor as well as an physicist. And making up goofy skits on the spot is what helps him get unstuck in hard times. See him explain how, in his TED Talk below. Spoiler alert: He sings a blues song on a ukelele about the pressure to publish scientific papers.

Bring it on, ALS! Procom CEO Takes on the Ice Bucket Challenge

This morning, Procom’s founder and CEO Frank McCrea braved this chilly August weather to complete the #ALSIceBucketChallenge. ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease affects thousands of Canadians each year and kills 2 to 3 Canadians every day.

Procom and its employees believe in enhancing the health and well-being of our local and national communities by supporting health-related organizations, which is why we’re proud to participate in this exciting challenge!

Just because we dunked the boss, doesn’t mean we won’t be donating! Procom has made a donation ALS Canada and is challenging our friends from the following corporations to do the same:

    • Terry Power of Eagle
    • Tom Turpin of Randstad
    • Dave Hayward of Modis

Terry, Tom, and Dave you have 24 hours to join Procom in the fight against ALS!

Where Does My Resume Go? An Introduction

Our new “Where Does My Resume Go?” series aims to answer that very question, as asked by countless job seekers. Since most employers now rely on Applicant Tracking Software (ATS),  finding out where your resume goes isn’t as simple as it used to be.  Understanding how staffing firms filter and vet your resume may keep it from falling by the virtual wayside.

Don`t let your resume fall by the virtual wayside

“This poorly formatted resume will make for perfect birdcage lining!”

The job market is trending toward contracting and the promise of temp jobs becoming permanent has led to more job seekers signing contracts instead of traditional employment agreements. No matter what kind of job you’re looking for, you’re likely entering your CV into the resume management database of either an internal recruitment department or an external staffing firm.

So then, what happens from there? Will it get seen? If you’ve sent your resume to a staffing firm, when and how does the company hiring you come into play? And what about when you land a position: who do you call when you have questions or concerns? The answers to these questions are more complex in the digital age.

In our opinion, the first step to getting your resume through the proverbial door and signing your name on that dotted line is understanding where it goes and how it’s vetted. Once you’ve done that, you may have questions about how to best engage with the recruiter who has contacted you, when to re-engage with your recruiter or staffing agency, and whether your contract will be renewed once its finished.

The “Where Does My Resume Go?” series — which we’re going to call WDMRG for short, because we like catchy acronyms — will explore the following issues:

Week 2 – How do I keep a recruiter interested?

Week 3– How do I get my resume noticed?

Week 4 – My contract is almost up – where’s my recruiter?

After reading this series, you should be able to navigate every stage of your job search with confidence.

Have questions about the job hunt that Procom isn’t answering? Feel free to ask them in the comment section below! 

Is being ignored at work worse than being harassed?

Someone please pay attention to this man.

Someone please pay attention to this man.

Is negative attention better than no attention? That is the questions asked and answered by a new study out of the University of British Columbia.

You know the feeling of telling a joke in a room of coworkers, and nobody laughs? Imagine every day being like that. Is your stomach in knots yet? Ours too. It turns out that kind of feeling, sustained over time, is actually more detrimental to your mental health than workplace bullying or harassment.

Not convinced that’s true? Let this sentence break your heart:

“We’ve been taught that ignoring someone is socially preferable — if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” said Professor Sandra Robinson, from the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business, who co-authored the study.

“But ostracism actually leads people to feel more helpless, like they’re not worthy of any attention at all,” Robinson said.

We don’t want to lay too much #realtalk on you, but we can really relate to that. Researchers found that while most consider ostracism less harmful than bullying, feeling excluded is significantly more likely to lead to job dissatisfaction, quitting and health problems.

The thing is, ostracism isn’t always malicious. More often than not, it just looks like entering a room, saying “hi,” and no one even looking up from their computer. Or realizing that all of your co-workers have been going out for drinks every week and you’ve never been invited. Or no one noticing when you come back from vacation. It’s like death by a thousand cuts.

Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in at work? Have you ever befriended an awkward co-worker? Tell us, in the comments!

Happy Monday — “Wait, The Onion is satire?” edition

REALLY, people??

REALLY, people??

Wow it got super cold this weekend, hey? How did you cope? We did a lot of knitting. And by “did a lot of knitting”, we mean looked at a LOT of knitting patterns on the Internet. In between hours on Ravelry, however, we managed to pull out three stories you can chat with your co-workers about this morning. You’re welcome!

1. Apparently, Facebook is experimenting with a ‘satire’ tag for fake news

tl;dr – Oh thank god. Hands up if your incredulous relatives post stories like “Busch Gardens Unveils New 9,600-Mile-Long Endurance Coaster” as if they are real. Keep those hands up if you feel like you’re the only one who keeps pointing out that the story isn’t true, only to not be believed by your Uncle Doug. Facebook is going to start tagging stories like this as “satire,” for all the good that will likely do.

Ask your coworkers – Have you ever seen the website of people who believe the Onion?

2. Norway’s Chess Olympiad shocked by two deaths

tl;dr – Two participants have died within hours of each other at the Chess Olympiad in Norway. Does this sound like a season six episode of the X-Files or a second-rate Stephen King story or what? So far, police are saying these are natural deaths. Right.

Ask your coworkers – Would you ever watch a chess competition?  

3. The Man Who Invented Pop-Up Ads Says ‘I’m Sorry’

tl;dr – Remember When Ethan Zuckerman worked there, he unleashed something awful on it that he still regrets. He says: “At the end of the day, the business model that got us funded was advertising. Along the way, we ended up creating one of the most hated tools in the advertiser’s toolkit: the pop-up ad.”

Ask your coworkers – Do you have a pop-up blocker installed?

There you go, kids! Have great chats! Oh also we told you to write a poem last week. So if you did, paste it into the comments here.

You make me wanna wear dresses: what women in tech really look like

Polyvore's Cindy Chu could fully kick your ass.

Polyvore’s Cindy Chu could fully kick your ass.

It is 2014. Most of us are carrying around a small computer with access to all of human knowledge in our pockets at this very moment. Despite the fact that we live in the future, women in tech are still spoken about with an odd mix of confusion, reverence and hostility. It is like we are mythical creatures who are somehow able to develop apps and operate video game controllers, even though we aren’t men.

Look everyone. We have been the core of the tech world from the very beginning; the first computer programmer in the world was a woman named Ada Lovelace. But still, women’s presence is constantly questioned and fretted over. This real-world anxiety about women in tech frequently translates into pop culture, where female characters are often absent from shows that engage with the industry, or are shown to be confounded by or uninterested in technology.

This lack of representation inspired ReadWrite to photo document  some of the real women of Silicon Valley and beyond. These photographs capture the styles and personalities of these brilliant women, as well as their diversity of strength.

Many of these photographs combat the stereotypes about how women (and everyone) in tech look. As photographer Stephanie Chan explains, “That monolithic look, gendered by definition, excludes men and women. Through my interviews and photographs, I learned that the female equivalent of this stereotype just isn’t out there. It’s not because there aren’t any women in tech. They just aren’t being represented properly in media, and this creates a cycle where real, living women who pursue technology as a career don’t read as such.”

The stereotypes is that a woman can be either stylish or capable, never both. So capturing photos of women who clearly and unapologetically break that stereotype becomes a very important act. These women are battling misconceptions just by being who they are, and that is pretty radical.

Is your presentation going badly? Here’s what not to do.

What would you rather do, speak in front of a crowd, or die? It might not surprise you to hear that many people say they prefer the second option. Many of us just hate being the centre of attention, and are convinced we are going to screw up and embarrass ourselves forever and have to move to a new town.

There are endless lists of how to improve your presentations, how to be more relaxed in front of a crowd, and how to be engaging and informative all at once. Sometimes, however, there’s nothing quite as educational as a lesson in what not to do.

Lucky for you, we have a perfect example.

At Samsung’s CES 2014 presentation, Transformers director Michael Bay was speaking about Samsung’s new Curved 105-inch UHD TV. He was supposed to get up there and talk about how this screen will be the best way to experience his  action-packed and special-effects-drenched films. Like, if you like explosions … imagine explosions on a curved screen. Anyway.

It didn’t go so well, though. There was a teleprompter error, and, well:

So the next time that you’re feeling a bit sweaty-palmed and week-kneed while giving a power point presentation at work, take heart. At least you are not Michael Bay, whose meltdown will live forever on Youtube. You’re crushing it, by comparison.

How do YOU feel about public speaking? Tell us, in the comments!

You + Your Job = true love always?

Don’t worry, you don’t need to wear one of these.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to wear one of these.

We are always surprised at the types of things people seem resigned to not liking. How often have you heard an “old ball and chain” jokes about someone’s spouse from someone who has a Dilbert comic posted in their cubicles.  Like, if you don’t enjoy your work life or your home life… I guess you are just miserable all the time? Okay.

While job complaints are very common, it’s alarming to think that so many people are unhappy with something they do with such a huge chunk of their time. Wagepoint unearthed some pretty unhappy numbers that illuminate the scope of this job hate:

  • 75% of employees are unhappy with their jobs
  • Only 13% feel engaged by their jobs
  • While 63% are not engaged, even if they don’t identify as actively unhappy
  • A whopping 24% of workers downright hate what they do

But, it doesn’t have to be that way! Being stressed and unhappy is extremely unhealthy, physically and mentally.  Doing something that we hate takes a serious toll on our well-being.

While tough economic times have made many people scramble for any kind of paid work at all, we should try as much as possible to hold out for a good fit.

The problem is, how do we know what is a good fit? Many of us have been stuck in jobs that are dissatisfying for so long that we’re not sure what to even hope for.

Here are some hints that you might be on the right track to a job love:

  • Does your employer respond to you quickly? Are they jumping all over you right from the get go?
  • Are you interviewed by someone with decision making power in the company, and someone you will be working with closely? Do they want to get to know you in an honest, genuine way?
  • Is the conversation between you open and clear? Are they trying to build a relationship with you?
  • Are they concerned with hiring someone whose personality, attitude and values match their company mandate, as much as your skill set?
  • Are negotiations frank and comfortable, and free from pressure?

If you can answer yes to all of those questions, you may have just found your employment dreamboat! Congratulations!

Do YOU love your job? Tell us, in the comments!

Three reasons people hate recruiters

We bet THIS guy never forgets any facts about his clients!

We bet THIS guy never forgets any facts about his clients!

To be a recruiter is to be both adored and demonized. When everything is going smoothly, you feel like a complete hero. The kind of hero who plays match maker between job-seekers and employee-seekers, until everyone is completely stoked with the results.

Getting to that point isn’t so easy, though. Sometimes recruiting is a complex, three way square dance that can put recruiters in a pretty hate-able position.

What’s a recruiter to do to keep the slings and arrows at bay? HR Hardball has a few excellent tips for keeping everyone on both sides of the fence happy.

Here is your what not to do list:

  1. Pass Clients Around: If a client responds to an inquiry and shows interest in a recruiter, it can feel pretty crummy when they find themselves immediately handed off to someone else in the recruitment office (especially that recruiter’s less highly-ranked colleague). If you make contact with a client, make every effort to serve them personally. If you do feel like you need to make a hand-off, make sure you are only doing this when you believe someone else can genuinely serve them better.
  2. Have a Memory Like A Sieve: It can be hard to remember every detail about every single client, but make every effort to keep your facts straight. It doesn’t inspire confidence if a client feels you probably have no idea who they are.
  3. Doing Too Much Digging: Too much research can also be off-putting, so if you’ve done a ton of scouting on a particular client, keep things professional and surface-level at first. You don’t want your clients to feel like you tracked down their LiveJournal.

Do you have anything to add to these rules? Are there any recruiter bad habits or behaviours that would make your top-three list?


Happy Monday — 18 corgis who are stoked about Buzzfeed’s venture capital funding edition

If you need us, we are dead from cute.

If you need us, we are dead from cute.

Did y’all see the Supermoon? Don’t lie. If not, you need to get it together. It’s the summer! Don’t just refresh Facebook all weekend, go outside! The internet will still be there when it gets cold out.

Anyway, speaking of the internet, here are three stories you can talk to your co-workers about to distract from the fact that you missed the Supermoon.

1. Hope you’re having a good weekend. BuzzFeed certainly is, with $50M in A16Z money

tl;dr – Here is some stuff you might not know about your favourite source for “18 Books Perfectly Described Using Emojis:” it has 100 technologists on its team, as well has 200 editors and writers ( including Pulitzer Prize winning Chris Hamby). That was good enough for Andreessen Horowitz, who gave the news site 50 million dollars in venture capital this weekend.

Ask your coworkers – What is YOUR favourite Buzzfeed list?

2. This Bug’s Bite Can Turn You Into a Vegetarian

tl;dr – Hundreds of people across the United States can no longer eat red meat because of the ironically named “Lone Star tick”. Here’s the science: “The lone star tick carries alpha-gal, a sugar found in red meat. It’s harmless when humans ingest it by eating beef, pork, rabbit, or venison. But when it comes from a tick bite, the body’s immune system goes on high alert—causing a severe allergic reaction that could be deadly.”

Ask your coworkers – What would you do if you got bit by this tick?

3. Nest Smart Thermostat Can Be Hacked to Spy on Owners

tl;dr – While it’s pretty cool that this thing learns your preferences — it tracks when you turn the heat up and down — hacking it doesn’t even sound hard!

“Yier Jin and Grant Hernandez of the University of Central Florida, along with independent researcher Daniel Buentello, demonstrated that by holding down the power button on a Nest device for 10 seconds, then plugging in a USB flash drive, one can inject malicious software that can take over the device.”

Ask your coworkers – Would this make you less likely to want this kind of thermostat?

There you go, kids! Have great chats! And do something crazy this week, like writing a poem.

Sustainability in business isn’t just window dressing

These are pretend. We don’t have these.

These are pretend. We don’t have these.

As consumers become more well-informed, they become more careful about the choices they make. Everyone wants to make whatever difference that they can to make the world a slightly better place, right?

For a lot of companies, this has translated into making more ethical options available to their customers. This goes beyond product choices, however: consumers and clients just don’t want a green product, they want to know that the companies who make those products are also sustainable.

As Fast Company expertly points out, sustainability is about so much more than employing a buzz word or “window dressing.” Companies that prioritize environmental concerns, and make efforts towards transparency enjoy more benefits than simply good karma.

Overhauling your environmental practices means shifting your thinking. In order to get that shift happening, here are several myths about sustainability in business practice, and some of the tangible benefits to be gained from being willing to change:

  1. Profit doesn’t have to mean plunder. Impact investing and creative company designs are showing more and more that business models can do real good in the world while still being intensely profitable. Often these business models are more creative and nimble than their traditional counterparts.
  2. Doing good is a kind of investment. Doing real good in a community that goes beyond a dollar amount and has a palpable impact on people’s lives and the environment around them builds communities, relationships, and ultimately is beneficial and profitable for the company.
  3. Sustainable companies outperform their unsustainable colleagues. While unsustainable models have short-term gains, nothing beats sustainability for big-picture performance.
  4. Consumers vote with their money, and they’re voting for sustainability. Companies that can’t keep up will eventually get left behind.
  5. Sustainability is essential to the survival of every industry. It’s not just a feel-good choice, but the absolute best way to ensure a company’s continued profitability and success in the future.

How much does sustainability impact YOUR consumer choices? Tell us, in the comments!

If inventors don’t care about patents, why should any of us?

Patents have been awarded to some pretty weird things.

Patents have been awarded to some pretty weird things.

Serbian-American inventor, engineer and futurist Nicola Tesla was one of those rare minds who seemed to have been born long before his time. He is known for his high-voltage, high-frequency power experiments in New York and Colorado Springs which included inventions and ideas used in the invention of radio communication.

In spite of the fact that Tesla himself lived off of the proceeds of his patents, his name is honoured by the Tesla electric car company who, is a startling move, recently made all their patents freely available to competitors.

When CEO Elon Musk originally made this announcement, many were quick to call it a foolish decision. Most company protect their patents jealously, and are quick to launch litigation about competitors who come too close to copying their work.

Tesla’s move, however, may in fact strengthen their brand rather than weaken it, and Harvard Business Review points out a few key reason why this may be the case:

  1. There is historical precedent for patent sharing. Everything from steel production to open source software has benefited by sharing rather than restricting knowledge.
  2. Sharing patents ensures Tesla will attract the most talented employees and engineers, and will allow more likelihood that those potential workers will be more familiar with their products and inventions.
  3. Sharing patents builds community and trust, helping to foster large and mutually beneficial professional networks.

The most crucial thing that Tesla making their patents freely available has revealed, however, is what the company sees as their competition. As Musk has stated, “our true competition is not the small trickle of non-Tesla electric cars being produced, but rather the enormous flood of gasoline cars pouring out of the world’s factories every day.” Right now, Tesla is more concerned with giving their fledgling technology the best chance it can possibly have, and that means being as open about their innovations as possible.