The Procom Jobcast

What hotels are trying to learn from Airbnb

Your hotel wants to get to know you better.

Your hotel wants to get to know you better.

Earlier this year, Airbnb rebranded itself with a new logo — a symbol they called the “Bélo,” meant to indicate connection and belonging — and the motto “people, places, love.” It was a move clearly meant to highlights of the service, which allows people to open their homes and properties to travellers looking for a place to stay: personal connections. Rather than the formal distance of a hotel stay, Airbnb users are staying in someone’s home, and whether their hosts are present in the space or not, patrons have many more opportunities to interact. Whether this means sharing space with their hosts and chatting every day, or simply interacting through correspondence and reviews before and after a stay, there is a personal touch, and the chance for connection, that other kinds of travel accommodations don’t provide.

That kind of connection and personal attention is what the creators of Voyat, “a social CRM tool aimed at the hotel industry,” are hoping to bring back to the hotel experience. Benjamin Habbel, one of Voyat’s co-founders, created the service based in part on his own travel frustrations.

Online booking made his hotel stays anonymous; staff had no idea who he was, what his personal needs were, or what his history as the hotel’s client might be. In contrast, Airbnb, which also uses online booking, created a direct connection between clients and hosts.

Voyat’s strategy is twofold: first, the service allows clients to connect their social media profiles, such as Facebook and Google+, to a loyalty account. This will help hotels not only get to know their clients better and more closely, but also let them track what those clients are saying about their hotel stays on various social channels, both positive and negative. Secondly, the service enables hotels to better track their clients travel habits, the frequency of their stays, and their needs, and offer individually tailored rewards

Online booking has thus far led to completely different experiences for clients of traditional hotels and services like Airbnb: while the former has become more distant and anonymous, the latter has found opportunities for personal connections and relationships. Voyat’s hoping to make hotel service personal again — do you think their model is a recipe for success?

Procom’s Spooky Programming Languages Graveyard

Here lies Mesa...

Here lies Mesa…

 

With Halloween around the corner, we decided to get as spooky and scary as one can on an IT staffing blog and take you through our graveyard of dead programming languages.

PEARL

It’s possible that PEARL’s big problem was that the similarly named Perl came along and started confusing everyone. Seriously, try Googling PEARL programming language right now. Almost all the hits are for Perl. The language received it’s last standardization in 1998, and PEARL’s page at the Deutsches Institut für Normung, Germany’s national standards body, which was responsible for said standardization, produces a 404.

FLOW-MATIC

FLOW-MATIC was the first English-like programming language. It was designed by computer science foremother Grace Hopper in 1955, after she found that the business customers who were buying the then-state-of-the-art, size-of-your-dining room UNIVAC I were uncomfortable using the mathematical notations required to make the thing go. While FLOW-MATIC itself became antiquated quite quickly, several of FLOW-MATIC”s core concepts made it COBOL, the next programming language that Hopper helped develop, which is still in use today.

We’re hoping FLOW-MATIC will be reincarnated as an old school rapper.

Mesa

Mesa was created in the 1970s by Xerox PARC, the company’s research arm, and was used to create Xerox GlobalView, Xerox’s technically brilliant but commercially unsuccessful Graphic User Interface. While it was eventually replaced within Xerox by Cedar, it’s been acknowledged as a major influence on the development of Java.

ZOPL

A Canadian product, ZOPL was created by Markham, Ontario’s Geac Computer Corporation in the early ‘70s for use on mainframe computer systems for banks and libraries. It’s name stands for Version Z, Our Programming Language. Except for a couple companies using some very old legacy code, ZOPL has been out of circulation since the late’ 80s.

 

Which languages or technologies are you mourning the loss of this Halloween? Tell us in the comments!

Happy Monday — Trolls in jail edition

We wish they could at least talk to each other.

We wish they could at least talk to each other.

October is rushing by, everyone. The mornings are getting darker, you might have pulled out an extra blanket or two, and your Hallowe’en planning is kicking into high-gear.

In case you don’t want to tell your co-workers that you spent the last three days trying to source the perfect Groot costume, here are some tech articles you can say you were pouring over all weekend.

1. Internet trolls could face 2 years in prison if British proposal becomes law

tl;dr — The U.K.’s Justice Secretary Chris Graying told the The Daily Mail he will be introducing a proposal to quadruple the country’s current punishment for online abuse, from six months of jail to two years.“These internet trolls are cowards who are poisoning our national life,” he said.

Ask your coworkers – Do YOU think trolls should go to jail?

2. Facebook to DEA: Stop impersonating people and trying to sell drugs

tl;dr — Facebook has sent a strongly-worded letter to the U.S.’s DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) telling them to stop creating accounts on the social network to impersonate real people and try to catch criminals. This comes shortly after the government agency was revealed to have used a real woman’s identity to message others offering drugs, eventually getting the woman wrongly arrested.

Ask your coworkers – Are you eyeing your FB friends a bit more suspiciously now?

3. BBM goes all Snapchat with new ephemeral timer feature

tl;dr — Blackberry is following in the footsteps of numerous messaging apps with an ephemeral “timer” feature, a trend that was popularized in recent years by Snapchat. With the timer, you will be able to control how long your messages and pictures can be viewed within BBM.

Ask your coworkers – Do you think this is a smart move for the company?

There you go, kids! Have great chats! And we’re really excited to see your Hallowe’en efforts, even if your coworkers aren’t.

Why Hootsuite’s CEO says we need to make “girls who code” a priority

 

We want all girls to get this excited about coding!   (Photo courtesy of Jon Lim, http://www.jonlim.ca)

We want all girls to get this excited about coding!
(Photo courtesy of Jon Lim)

Pop quiz!  Rank the following companies from highest percentage of women on staff to lowest percentage of women on staff:

  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Twitter
  • eBay
  • Yahoo
  • Linkedin

We’ll wait.

Okay here it is:

  1. eBay
  2. Linkedin
  3. Yahoo
  4. Facebook
  5. Google
  6. Twitter

But before you give eBay too many high fives, it’s worth noting that even though women make up 42 percent of their staff, they still represent only 34 percent of its tech positions.

Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite, has three great ideas about how to get more women into tech:

1) Culture: Tech’s “hostile macho cultures”

Excerpt:

Companies that enable or encourage fratboy, brogrammer antics—be that in the form of tasteless jokes or rude lingo or general narrow-mindedness—actively alienate women from their workforce. How they can possibly afford to do so—when tech talent is so hard to come by—is another matter altogether. (As entrepreneur and advocate Dan Shapiro notes, “To literally handicap yourself by 50 percent is insanity.”) Given the apparent pervasiveness of this kind of antagonistic environment, it’s little wonder that a gender imbalance persists.

2) Nurture: Girls who code

Excerpt:

Something is deterring young women from entering the field in the first place. But when is this happening and why? By the time girls are in high school, tech has often already been ruled out as a career option. Only 1 percent of high school girls express an interest in majoring in computer science in university, according to a report from the American Association of University Women.

3) Breaking the cycle

Excerpt:

Finding ways to interweave entrepreneurship and tech—and get young women interested not just in engineering but in creating their own businesses—is an absolutely critical step in changing tech culture and addressing the gender imbalance. Women founders, after all, have the opportunity to create their own workplaces, actively redefining the atmosphere and attitudes in the startup world.

We’re always impressed when male CEOs have clearly given so much thought to gender equality in their business. We hope other tech leaders take note of Holmes’ suggestions.

Do you feel like YOUR place of work does enough to encourage women to tech positions? Tell us, in the comments!

Is your resume skim-able? Here’s how to make sure

This resume is not skimmable, it's in lorum ipsum.

This resume is not skimmable, it’s in lorum ipsum.

Not everyone reads the same way, and no one reads the same way all of the time. The way you might settle into a good book is very different from the way you might carefully comb through a legal contract or breeze through a friendly email. When composing any kind of document, whether it’s a heartfelt message or a quick, informative memo, it’s important to consider exactly how the recipient is going to read what you’ve written, to make sure that you’re communicating in the most effective way possible, and that the most important information comes across.

This is vitally important when writing a resume. Let’s be honest: anyone screening your job application is not going to hunker down with a microscope and carefully go over every detail of your qualifications and experience; they’re going to skim. Any potential employer needs to be able to tell at a glance whether you’re a good candidate for the job, and you want to make sure that your resume communicates clearly enough that you make it past that first look and on to more in-depth consideration.

How can you make sure your resume gets past the all-important first look? Mashable has put together a series of handy tips to make sure that your resume is highly skimmable!

  • At-a-glance formatting. Little things like aligning text to the left and dates to the right, and not justifying or centering your text, makes your resume easier to read and means more important information will be absorbed from a quick look.
  • Use emphasis wisely. The way you choose what to bold, when to use bullets, and how to deploy all-caps (very occasionally) can have a big impact on how easy your resume is to read.
  • Separate your skills. Having a section where you list your relevant skills is a great way to make sure recruiters, HR departments, and potential employers can tell with one look if you have what they are looking for.
  • Keep it clean. A consistently-formatting, tidy resume that isn’t too cramped is much easier to read than a wall of text. Giving your resume some space to breathe is better than listing everything you have ever done.

While you always want a potential employer to consider you in-depth for any position, you need to get past the first-glance stage, and keeping this in mind when you’re writing a resume will help you get past the all-important skim test!

It’s always darkest before the dawn. Should you wake up anyway?

Late For WorkWhat is your morning routine like? Are you up with the birds, writing in your journal and collecting your thoughts for the day? Or do you sleep with your phone under your pillow so you can blearily reply to work emails from bed at 8:45 and hope no one notices you aren’t there yet?

Well, after reading over and over again that basically every productive human in the entire universe was an early-riser, Fast Company’s Rachel Gillet decided that for two weeks she was going to shift her morning routine to wake up two hours earlier.

The bad news:

She still couldn’t get to the office before 8:30am.

The good news:

She felt revived and energized and creative once she got there.

The verdict:

She’s going to stick with it.

But don’t rush out to the alarm clock store just yet (even if those do exist, which seems unlikely.) Because there is compelling research that night owls are actually more intelligent than folks who get up with the sun.

From the article:

For example, those with a childhood IQ of less than 75 (“very dull”) go to bed around 23:41 on weeknights in early adulthood, whereas those with a childhood IQ of over 125 (“very bright”) go to bed around 00:29.

Late sleepers are also anti-establishment, get time to daydream, and are more open minded.

So, there is no obvious answer here. We hate when that happens. We’re going to stick with our hit-snooze-3-times-then-attempting-t0-d0-yoga-but-give-up-after-10-minutes routine in the mornings. We’ll let you know how it goes.

What is YOUR sleep schedule like? Tell us, in the comments!

If you don’t have doubts and insecurity, you can’t be successful

Who recruits the recruiters? Well, a lot of people. One of those people is named David Hume, who’s a principal at a company called HR Network. He’s also blind. You should take a few minutes to find out what he has learned in his three decades in this business.

We’re not a fan of the approach of holding up people with disabilities as ways to inspire able-bodied people, so we are not going to do that. But David’s blindness is relevant, because he feels it has been a strength for him. He doesn’t get caught up in appearances, and feels he can empathize with those he is interviewing in way that sighted people might not be able to.

Also, if you’ve ever wondered how a blind person is able to use technology, this interview is a great crash-course in screen readers and braille typewriters.

Want to work better? Learn to play better.

Just do this at home, okay? And without the gross sexist cardboard cutout.

Just do this at home, okay? And without the gross sexist cardboard cutout.

Are you someone who is super smug about replying to work emails at 2am. Chances are, you are also someone who makes a Facebook invite for her birthday party while on a conference call at work. As work becomes ambient, so does play. That is the thesis of this essay in the Harvard Business Review, and it’s pretty compelling. Facebook and Twitter report that their busiest times of day are between 9 and 5. And while it sometimes actually seems like every single person is a social media strategist, we know that’s actually not true. People are goofing off at work, because they’re working when they should be goofing off.

What does this mean for productivity? Michael Harris, author of The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection, doesn’t pull any punches. “Constant connection means that we’re “always at work”, yes, but also that we’re “never ‘at work’ — fully.”

He recommends looking to France for solutions. A labour law there forbids any place of employment from emailing employees at 6p.m. This gives staffers a chance to really disconnect, and have their leisure time be filled with family time, and the kind of unwinding that doesn’t look like reading over KPI Reports while marathoning The Mindy Project in the background.

The flip side of this, of course, is that when you are at work you actually need to be present. Not trying to invent a new hashtag, or looking at Pinterest to figure out what to make for dinner tonight. Which, we admit, sounds pretty grueling. But it might not be after you’ve had what was truly a night off.

Do YOU separate your work time and your play time? Tell us, in the comments!

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 researcher Jennifer 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 (oh 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?

Love to look at data? Meet Dadaviz

Love to look at Data? Well you're in luck! Get it? Get it?

Love to look at Data? Well you’re in luck! Get it? Get it?

Like so many great ideas Dadaviz started out as something entirely different, and then discovered their true identity almost by accident. Originally launched as Wikibrains, it began as a web app that allowed people to translate data from Wikipedia into simple, bubble-based visual maps. When they looked at their traffic, however, they noticed a surprising trend: users were much more interested in looking at the visualizations that other users had created, and spent far more time browsing them than they did making their own.

Rather than just think that was interesting and move on, CEO Jishai Zevers decided to instead completely change their business model. The data they received demonstrated that people were interested in a source for data visualizations and infographics (which can be difficult to search for and vary widely in quality). Thus, Dadaviz was born, a service that seeks to create a highly-curated, quality data visualizations. They aim to be the primary source for this kind of information, the same way that YouTube has become synonymous with online videos.

Dadaviz is in the early stages of it’s ambitious plan, and so it isn’t entirely open for business yet. While anyone can check out their library of visualizations, only a very small group of approved experts can submit new ones, so the influx of new data is kept in a tight bottleneck right now. Once they work out the kinks and have the algorithms in place, however, anyone will be able to submit visualizations that they admire or have created themselves, and the best examples will rise to the top. This illuminates another important aspect of the Dataviz model: that it will be social, with users able to interact with and rank the visualizations on the site, to make sure the best are seen by more people.

Is something like Dadaviz a service you would use regularly? Is this mildly interesting, or something you’ve been waiting for?

Happy Monday — Sliced up fruit edition

 

Looked at like this, the game is actually completely terrifying.

Looked at like this, the game is actually completely terrifying.

It’s October, everyone! That weird time of year when you grudgingly take all of your cardigans out of storage and bid a tearful “see you later” to all of your cute floaty sundresses. The dream is over.

Since all of your coworkers likely want to have depressing conversations about how summer is really over now, distract them with these articles you can claim you read over the weekend, while you were actually trying to remember where you put your space heater.

1. Beats By Dre Banned From The Heads Of NFL Players

tl;dr – Since Bose is now “the official sound of the NFL”,  players and coaches are no longer allowed to wear other headphones during televised interviews.

Ask your coworkers: Have you ever bought an expensive pair of headphones?

2. London’s Red Phone Box Goes Green as Solar Powered Charging Station

tl;dr – This is such a cool idea! “The solar paneled phone boxes provide a clean, carbon-neutral source of energy for phones, tablets, cameras and other devices. Costs are covered through in-booth advertising space enabling the public to power-up free of charge.”

Ask your co-workers: How much of your day do you spend looking for places to charge your phone?

3. Fruit Ninja overhauled with big update

tl;dr – The new update promises to shake up the Fruit Ninja world. To quote a description that will either thrill you, or confuse you utterly: “All the blades and dojos are there not just for simply slicing fruits but will affect the gameplay as well with their new powers. The upgrades also have an effect and are not just cosmetic anymore. You can create harmless bombs, add points to combos and there is now also a power-up boost system.”

Ask your co-workers: Do YOU play Fruit Ninja?

There you go, folks! Plenty to derail all of the “sure is getting dark early now!” chats that you don’t want to have.

Watch Steve Jobs using WiFi in 1999

In 2014, WiFi is so ubiquitous that we basically expect it to be everywhere.  Think about the number of times you’ve complained about a café or restaurant saying “Yeah, the espresso/sandwiches/goulash is great, but they don’t have WiFi. It’s such a drag.”

In 1999, though, WiFi was basically a miracle of science. Don’t believe us? Here’s a video, courtesy of Business Insider, of Steve Jobs debuting the iBook’s WiFi capacity by casually picking it up and walking around with it while still surfing the web. The crowd absolutely freaks out with applause. They cannot believe this is happening. He even passes the laptop through a hula hoop to prove he’s not using some sort of tiny, see through wire.

 

Should we put the robots in charge? Experts disagree!

We said stand up straight!

We said stand up straight!

There’s a lot of talk right now about altering people’s behaviour by using technology. From forks that try to slow down your eating to jewelry that buzzes when you slouch, it seems like a lot of folks are keen to get virtual scoldings to keep themselves in line.

We can definitely see the appeal. So many of us are perpetually preoccupied that little reminders can really help us keep track of habits we’re working to change. But not everyone feels like that’s the road we should be going down, as a culture.

In an article for Venturebeat, Michael A. M. Davies praises these types of devices:

Sustained engagement with a wearable device or complementary service depends on its ability to help the user form and stick with new habits. Psychologists define habits as automatic behaviors or routines that are triggered by situational cues, which are then followed by some form of reward. Habits have three key components: cues, routines, and rewards. The best wearable devices have the potential to make the process of habit formation more effective and efficient than ever before.

Sustained engagement beyond initial habit formation with a wearable device or complementary service depends on its ability to motivate users effectively. Social connections are a particularly powerful source of motivation that can be leveraged in many creative ways. In addition to using social connections to influence behavior, social media and networking sites can be exploited to alter habits for positive outcomes. This includes the communication of social norms through “postings” or “sharing” of thoughts, pictures, and comments with one another.

But an article on The Wall Street Journal website, Evgeny Morozov dissents:

There is reason to worry about this approaching revolution. As smart technologies become more intrusive, they risk undermining our autonomy by suppressing behaviors that someone somewhere has deemed undesirable. Smart forks inform us that we are eating too fast. Smart toothbrushes urge us to spend more time brushing our teeth. Smart sensors in our cars can tell if we drive too fast or brake too suddenly.

These devices can give us useful feedback, but they can also share everything they know about our habits with institutions whose interests are not identical with our own. Insurance companies already offer significant discounts to drivers who agree to install smart sensors in order to monitor their driving habits. How long will it be before customers can’t get auto insurance without surrendering to such surveillance? And how long will it be before the self-tracking of our health (weight, diet, steps taken in a day) graduates from being a recreational novelty to a virtual requirement?

What do you think? Can technology provide a useful reset buttons on old habits? Tell us, in the comments!

Meet your new career role model: Britney Spears

Meet your new career counselor.

Make Britney Jean your new career counselor.

Meet your new career role model: Britney Spears

Okay, just hear us out on this one.

We admit that, at least in the public imagination, Britney Spears doesn’t exactly have a reputation for being a paragon of great career-based decision-making. Despite her less-than-sterling track record for good choices, the former pop star has, nonetheless, recently made a pretty savvy career move: quitting before she could be fired.

After Spears served as a judge for a single season of the talent-hunting reality show The X Factor, the star stepped away from the gig. Departing from her place the judge’s table was a choice she made in direct response to recent rumours that indicated Spears would probably be fired from the show, and rather that sit around and wait for that inevitability, Spears chose to depart on her own.

While there are some pretty significant differences between Spears’ situation and the average employees, the singer’s decision to leave a job before she could be fired from it is not the worst choice. In fact, the choice she made reveals some pretty interesting insights into when it might be the right time to walk away from a gig.

If you’re thinking about quitting your job, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will it ultimately look better to a future employer or collaborator if I walk away from the position, rather than if I was fired from it
  • Are you certain that your position is about to be eliminated?
  • Do you have strong job prospects elsewhere if you walk away from your current position?
  • Will you ultimately be happier and healthier if you quit?
  • Are you certain there isn’t anything you can do to improve the situation or ensure you won’t be fired?

If you wind up answering yes to all these questions, then it’s probably in your best interest to follow in Britney’s footsteps and quit before you’re asked to leave.

Should you be nicer to your staff? Experts disagree!

Maybe not the guy you want to emulate in terms of management styles.

Maybe not the guy you want to emulate in terms of management styles.

Everyone has had at least one terrible boss in their employment lifetime – a supervisor or manager whose bad moods and unrealistic expectations were a thing of legend. The character of the awful boss is a popular one in film and television because of how many people can relate to this everyday villain, from the ruthless Miranda Priestly of The Devil Wears Prada to the blustering and foul-mouthed Gordon Ramsay of Hell’s Kitchen and Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. Despite their overwhelming meanness, however, not everything about these hardened, heartless authority figures comes across as negative; to the contrary, they are often portrayed as being really, really good at what they do.

One of the greatest myths that clings to the archetypal figure of the terrible boss — and, unfortunately, to their real-life counterparts — is that treating employees poorly actually yields better results as a management strategy. Those jerks may be unsympathetic and cruel, but they are also portrayed as being as incredibly competent, in no small part precisely because they treat anyone who works for them terribly.

While it’s frequently portrayed to the point of becoming cliche, research suggests that being a jerk to your employees is not the best management strategy after all. In addition to making you a pretty terrible person, employing a management style that rules through fear has a whole host of negative consequences, including:

  • reduced creativity and risk-taking from employees
  • lessened productivity
  • limited engagement and trust
  • additional stress and reduced emotional well-being
  • resistance to following instructions and reluctance to collaborate.

As much as it can be tempting to see mean bosses as single-minded crusaders who just want to push their employees to get the best results possible, the research shows that most jerk bosses are just, well, jerks, and are not to be emulated.

Have you had a mean boss? Did they push you to do better, or over the edge? Tell us about it in the comments!

How working for free can help you get paid

A cake this this could be yours. Think about it.

A cake this this could be yours. Think about it.

First of all, we want to acknowledge that there are a lot of people who cannot afford to work for free. If you have a dependent, and don’t have a bunch of savings to live off of, devoting a chunk of time to volunteering is basically a luxury you cannot afford.

Which is bad news for job seekers, because more and more career paths are expected to take a detour into Unpaid Town. The silver lining here is that this doesn’t necessarily have to mean a full time job without remuneration at a company that is fully rolling in dough. Instead, you can spend some time making the world better as a volunteer, while also picking up skills that will help you out on the job search.

That is exactly what Spencer Gordon did, after seven months of job searching had left him pretty demoralized. Then Superstorm Sandy hit, and his family was without power for 10 days. Once he was safely at his mom’s house, he thought about how not everyone had a warm and safe place to wait out the literal storm.

So he signed up with Team Rubicon, and less than a year later was part of rebuilding New York City’s memorial for Vietnam veterans.  Did that immediately get him a job? Well, not exactly. But we’ll let him tell in his own words the impact it had on his career:

“Using the spark of energy from those summer service projects, I reevaluated and refined all the tools in my job search toolbox, and the fresh energy and enthusiasm helped me showcase my potential at the IAVA’s Operation Deploy: Madison Avenue career fair during Advertising Week, which ultimately landed me in my current career as an Advertising Operations Associate with MediaCom.”

Congratulations, Spencer!

What do you say, readers? Has volunteering ever helped YOU find a job? Tell us, in the comments!

Looking for work? Pretend you’re running for mayor

This guys is the first Flickr search result for “perfect employee”. Draw your own conclusions.

This is the first Flickr search result for “perfect employee”. Draw your own conclusions.

First piece of bad news:
Future employers are very likely to Google you.

Second piece of bad news:
It is no longer enough that they just don’t find anything bad. They now want to get a sense of who you are, and make sure that they will like you before hiring you.

First piece of good news:
There are steps you can take to make sure they will like what they see.

As this article on Brazen Careerist outlines, what you should do is pretend you are trying to get elected rather than hired. Looking at things through this lens will make sure you do more than just trying to ensure the internet never sees you holding a beer.

So what does a successful politician make sure people find when they Google her? Here’s a good starting list:

  1. Likeability. We trust people we like, and we are more likely to hire or vote for people we trust.
  2. Endorsements. Who else thinks you are great? Is that person a benefit to you, or a liability?
  3. Shared values. Want to work in a youth home? Probably you don’t want to be a member of the “Children should be seen and not heard” Facebook group. We’re just saying.

Not sure if you’re on the right track? Get your friends to Google you and tell you the impression they get based on what they find. Add, or try to delete, things accordingly.

But don’t MS Paint yourself into a corner too quickly. Make sure that whatever image you are portraying online is sustainable. Don’t, like, make up a pretend wife or pretend that you are really into Russian literature if you’re not prepared to bring someone to the Holiday Party and bluff your way through discussions of War and Peace with co-workers who are stoked to have finally found a comrade.

Would YOUR online image get you elected? Tell us, in the comments!

You’ve got mail. Do you know?

Basically, our worst nightmare

Basically, our worst nightmare

When you think of notifications, the first image that comes to mind depends on the way you interact with your smart phone. Depending on your preferences, your phone is either silent and stoic until you check it, or a buzzing, beeping cacophony. While these messages from the electronic world may come from disparate sources, they all essentially work in the same way: an alert pushed to your phone in the form of a sound, a vibration, or a visual alert on the screen, regardless of context.

Notifications in their present form might be perfectly adequate for smartphones. But as “smartification” comes to more and more devices, the model is no longer as useful as it once was. With the increased use of wearable tech like watches and wristbands and headsets, a more refined and specific approach to notifications is needed.

This is where the concept of Contextual Micro-Alerts (or CMAs) becomes extremely interesting. Chris Davies coined the term as an alternative to the standard notification form. He feels we’re going to need a way to navigate the undifferentiated flood of data from apps and services that demand our attention.

Some of the potential models for this type of notification that he envisions include:

  • light-based reminders that are integrated into the home and workspace
  • smart televisions with carefully filtered data feeds
  • notifications specifically tailored for video game consoles

The goal of CMAs is to make whatever device or screen someone is currently using not only capable of transmitting information, but to make sure that information is most useful at that time and context. We can’t pay attention to everything, so having notifications that are carefully chosen according to what is most useful at the moment can help keep us from feeling overwhelmed by information, or tuning it all out.

Stock photography round up — YOU’RE HIRED

You might not appreciate it, but we work pretty hard not to accompany our blog posts with boring or generic photos. No woman sitting at a laptop with her arms raised in triumph here, no ma’am!

Not everyone is as creative as we are, sadly. As demonstrated by the huge stock photography industry. Every so often we search for recruiting-related photos and put together a little collection to show you what you are missing. This month’s search term was “You’re hired!”

Here we go!

Stock 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow this photo asks a lot more questions than it answers. Who is hiring whom? I feel like the dude on the left is making this relationship needlessly adversarial, no matter what is going on. Simmer down, dude on the left.

Stock 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay you are super good at doodles, pal, but this drawing is all over the dang place. Pick one of these phrases and make a zine about it. You’ll feel a lot better.

Stock 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a GREAT Who’s-On-First way to prank yourself into the job. Show up, point to your name tag and say “Am I Hired?” They’ll be forced to say “Yes”, at which point there is nothing left for you to do but run around the room collecting high-fives.

CUPCAKE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re not sure who said “You’re hired” to this… melting cupcake with an empty thought bubble, but we’re just gonna go out on a limb and say that person is gonna regret it big time.

Stock 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a history assignment for y’all: Who is being hired in the above inexplicable piece of old-timey stock art? Your prize is literally nothing, but we would still be really impressed if anyone told us.

Stock 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No.

Stock 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay we did the math on this one. First of all those aren’t even numbers displaying on your calculator so you should probably return it to the store. Second of all, your messy Pollyanna hairdo and soul patch are shattering our morale. You are not hired.

There you go, kids! What is the most appalling photo illustration YOU have seen lately? Tell us, in the comments!

 

Happy Monday — If you believe we put a man on the moon edition

See? Totally real.

See? Totally real.

It is officially fall. You probably spent the weekend apple picking and riding a hayride to a corn maze while drinking pumpkin spiced everything. Here are some things you can talk to your coworkers about to keep them from getting too jealous of your  insanely wholesome autumn weekend.

1. Neal Stephenson’s failed $500,000 video game and the perils of using Kickstarter

tl;dr — After raising more than half a million dollars to make a sword-playing video game, the author of Snow Crash has pulled the plug on the whole venture, because it’s boring to play. Aside from a few T-shirts, donors are walking away empty-handed.

Ask your coworkers – Have you ever given money to a crowdfunding venture?

2. NVIDIA’s new GPU proves moon landing truthers wrong

tl;dr — Some people believe the moon landing is fake, because of something to do with the way the shadows appeared in the documentation. This has been debunked repeatedly, most recently by NVIDIA, who used “GPU-powered recreation of the Apollo 11 landing site that uses dynamic lighting technology to address common claims of moon-deniers.”

Ask your coworkers – Are there any conspiracy theories you actually believe?

3. Intel Smart Wireless Charging Bowl will arrive late this year

tl;dr — Imagine being able to come from work and throw all of your rechargables into a bowl by the door and have them all charged by morning? The future is now! Intel is planning to release this magical device just in time for the holiday season.

Ask your coworkers – How badly do you want one of these?

There you go, everyone! Everyone is going to find you fascinating today! Let us know how that goes, in the comments!

Recruiters are moving to the second largest search engine. Are you?

Are your job seeking efforts ignoring the second largest search engine?

When it comes to search engine optimization, most companies, including recruiters, develop their strategies with the largest search engine in the world in mind: Google. So traditionally, that’s where job seekers have gone, too. You put your resumé on your website and LinkedIn, using all the right SEO-friendly words, and then you start searching for gigs. But more and more, recruiters are adding to their digital talent search by using the second-biggest search engine to find employees, as well.

It might even surprise you to learn which site actually is the second largest search engine; it’s not Yahoo or Bing, but YouTube. The video site is an absolutely massive platform, boasting over 800  million unique users who, together, have logged over a trillion views. When you consider the sheer size of that potential audience, suddenly incorporating YouTube into your recruitment strategy makes a heck of a lot of sense.

Here are just a few of the reasons employers are making video a bigger and bigger part of their recruiting strategy.

  • job listings with videos are views 12% more often and receive 34% more applications;
  • having a video on your listing can boost it to the top of search engine results;
  • and videos more accurately and concretely communicate important information about your corporate culture, attitude and mission statement.

That last point means it’s good for job seekers, too. You get a better sense of what the day-to-day is going to be like, and have a bit more of an idea of everything from dress code to how your potential boss’ surname is pronounced. Plus, you get to spend the afternoon watching videos while being able to honestly tell people you were on the job hunt all day.

Have you used YouTube to search for jobs? Tell us about it in the comments!

using-youtube-for-recruitment-infographic

Meet a Procom recruiter: Christa Mancino

Technical recruiter extraordinaire and Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks career blocks leader Christa Mancino.

Technical recruiter extraordinaire and Laurier Golden Hawks  career blocks leader Christa Mancino.

Christa Mancino joined Procom about a year ago, and has been setting the world on fire ever since. Find out what this former collegiate hoops star loves about working at Procom.

How would you describe your job?

Dull moments are far and few between, its fast paced and competitive and the people make it interesting, both consultants and colleagues.

How did you get into recruiting?

A friend of mine was a recruiter and suggested that it might be a good career fit for me, and he was right. I’m the kind of person who thrives on competition and gets bored without it and  I’ve always had “the gift of gab,” if you will. They’re important skills for this job so I applied and interviewed. And then 12 days later I moved my life to the Big Smoke.

What were you doing before Procom?

A year prior to starting at Procom, I had wrapped up my undergrad at Wilfrid Laurier University and moved back to my booming hometown of Port Colborne ON, population 19,000. I was taking classes at Niagara College and bartending. I still make a mean Caesar.

 

What’s the best part of your job?

I enjoy the satisfaction of helping someone find a new job. You never know where that job will take them and its nice to know you had a part in that. Aside from that, I enjoy the competitive nature of the job itself.

 

What would you tell employers about using a recruiting firm?

Using a recruiting firm can be advantageous to employers, but I would advise them to choose their firm wisely; they should do their research and know what they’re paying for. Choose a firm that has low turnover, thorough training processes and conducts business in a manner focused on quality and transparency. Clients don’t want to to have their time wasted, and a bad hire can cost a company thousands of dollars. They need to ensure the recruiters are doing a quality job on their end, due diligence is key.

 

What would you tell job seekers?

Become the “go to” candidate. Establish a good rapport and relationship with your recruiters. Choose two or three recruiters who you trust, rather than reaching out to entire departments in various companies. You will be the first person that comes to mind when a job comes up, and they will be loyal to you as a candidate. Additionally, choose recruiters which know your area of expertise exceptionally well; we all tend to be stronger in one area than others. Hopefully this person will have identified you first, but if not, make sure you are working with someone who will be focusing on filling positions in your area.

How would you describe the culture of Procom?

Its open and entertaining, we have an eclectic bunch of personalities. Everyone is friendly and supportive.

What do you do when you’re not at work?

I’m a foodie and I love uncovering those diamonds in the rough. To compensate for my weekend food binges, I hit the gym with some of the Procom boys, and every once in a while I like to school fellow recruiter Adam Lewin in a game of hoops or two.

Tell us something about yourself that will surprise us

I’m proud Golden Hawk Alumna and former captain of the women’s varsity basketball team at Wilfrid Laurier. I still hold the record for most blocks in a career, and am third in career rebounds and points.

 

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 apple.ca 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.

CBSnews.com 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)

 

MostHiredRoles_Fall

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!