We hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, filled with the people (and food!) you love.
To all the wonderful technologists we work with:
We’re currently accepting submissions for our first annual holiday card photo contest. If you, or a friend, are interested in having your photographic artwork featured on this year’s MACRO.CCS holiday card, please see the below document for details on how to submit your entry.
The artist responsible for the selected photograph will receive a $250 gift card to Amazon.com
Entry deadline: 5pm, Monday November 18th. A winner will be selected & notified by 5pm, Friday November 22nd.
We look forward to seeing your submissions!
Your goal in any interview should be to get a job offer. Even in an “informational interview” setting, well-prepared and aligned professionals can find themselves with offers –sometimes with jobs created just for them. But while you’re working hard to sell yourself, it’s vitally important you don’t forget to vet the interviewer and company as well. After all, while you want the offer – you also want to make sure this is not just a job, but a place you will thrive in your career.
This is where cultural fit comes in.
So as a job-candidate how do you evaluate the company culture? We suggest a two-pronged approach.
Research & Questions
Research: This is crucial to better understanding the business and coming across as an informed, interested, and active participant in the interview.
- Start with the company: What’s the company’s mission statement? How many employees are there? Where are their offices? Have there been any recent news stories on the business? What problems do they seem to be encountering that might relate to the job you are interviewing for?
- Does anyone in your network (see: LinkedIn) work at this company? Talk to them about their work experience there. Likes/Dislikes.
- Next, research your interviewers. LinkedIn is a great tool for this to get an idea of their backgrounds and skill sets. It doesn’t hurt to check out their social-media pages either (Twitter, about.me, Facebook, Github, etc…). From these pages you can learn about interests, personalities, or even how important their work is to them.
- Finally, websites such as Indeed and Glassdoor can also prove useful to gain insight into a company and its employees. Though make sure to evaluate the role of the person writing the review (i.e. are they in corporate? warehousing? a retail location?), and take everything with a grain of salt as many times it is only the unhappy employees who take to the internet to voice their opinions.
With this research complete, you will be better prepared to create a set of well thought out questions to ask your interviewer. Asking questions is KEY. We’ve heard this many times from clients, and saw it recently articulated to us by a former fortune-500 CEO:
“If I asked someone at the end of an interview if they had any questions for me and they answered ‘not right now’ I would mark them down and move on.”
While there are many questions one could ask that would be telling and useful, we suggest the following five (5) questions as a start to help guide your way in your next interview:
- 1. What does your company take the most pride in regarding its people, products/services, and environment?
- 2 . Can you describe your most successful employee? What makes them so successful?
- 3. What is the future trajectory for this position? How does the business foster employee growth?
- 4. How do people in this department/company communicate and how are decisions made?
- 5. What are the standard work hours and locations (i.e. is the team working together, on site, or do many people work remotely?); does the team ever meet outside work for fun/team building? What is the standard attire/dress code for this organization?
Listen closely to the answers you receive when you ask these questions – they are telling as to what your future might look like at the company.
For example: when the hiring manager describes the most successful employee, you are mostly likely hearing what and how they’d like all their employees to function. The hours, the personality, the approach.
There is no right or wrong answer to any of these questions, but do make sure only to ask the questions that are important to you and phrase them in an open-ended manner. Questions like ‘what is work-life balance like? How many people work over 40 hours a week?’, while important, are leading and can unfortunately cause many employers to assume you are not willing to put in hard work. By phrasing the question as ‘what is your typical work week’ you come across more open to different work schedules.
For those currently looking for contract or permanent work in the IT and high-tech sphere on the WestCoast, give us a call. Our account managers and recruiters spend time getting to know both our candidates and our clients well, so we can determine the best possible fit for both parties. We’ll also work with you, as a candidate, to help you with questions and concerns regarding the interview process.
A sunny Seattle summer day, a nice round of golf, and hobnobbing with your fellow technologists? We certainly can’t think of a better way to spend a Monday afternoon. If you find yourself nodding your head in agreement, you might want to plan on using some of that PTO you’ve been hoarding all year to join us at the 20th Annual Seattle SIM Golf Tournament , Monday – August 19th.
Monday, August 19th, 2013
at Bear Creek Country Club
What is SIM (Society for Information Management)?
Their website does a wonderfully succinct job at describing it: “SIM is an association of senior IT executives, prominent academicians, selected consultants, and other IT thought leaders built on the foundation of local chapters, who come together to share and enhance their rich intellectual capital for the benefit of its members and their organizations.”
The Seattle group is a particularly active & successful chapter, sponsoring monthly member meetings featuring local thought leaders. Members are also encouraged to participate in events at the National level – including a leadership development program (RLF), and the Members in Transition program which helps IT executives prepare for their next career more.
Vickie Stovall, MACRO.CCS Division Manager, has been an active SIM chapter member since 2002 and previously served on the organization’s board. The relationships she has developed as a result of her involvement in SIM have been invaluable. She will be participating in this year’s golf tournament, and will be bringing with her some fun goodies to share with other attendees (think Blues Brothers…) so track her down and say hi!
For more details on SIM & to sign up for the tournament, visit their website: http://www.simnet.org/members/group.aspx?id=63405
Less cross-pollinate our scalability knowledge!
In an effort to show love for developers and environments of all varieties – this month’s meetup for the Los Angeles High Scalability group moves away from our standard open-source, noSql, conversations and will broach the subject of scaling with Microsoft technologies.
More specifically, Bruno Denuit-Wojcik – a former architect on Microsoft Azure team & Current VP of Engineering for EnPlug – will be discussing with us the challenges that Microsoft went through in moving Sql Server to The Cloud with its product Sql Azure. And, since he’s currently involved in a blended Microsoft/MongoDB/RabbitMQ environment, he’ll be able to discuss the differences in the technologies as well.
When: July 23rd, 7pm
Where: Factual HQ, 1801 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 1450, Century City
What: Presentation by Bruno Denuit-Wojcik, former architect on Microsoft Azaure team & Current VP of Engineering for EnPlug
7:45pm, The Presentation
For more information and to RSVP visit our meetup page: http://www.meetup.com/scalela/events/128743372/?a=ra1_vl&_af_eid=128743372&_af=event
The shift from demand for IT contractors to demand for direct-hire employees generally signals an accelerating economy. When things are bad, companies hire more contract personnel as it requires less long term financial commitment. When the economy starts to improve, purse strings loosen and businesses start hiring more internal employees who can be with them through their immediate project needs, then support and maintain systems once they have been implemented.
Right now we’re in one of those swings to direct-hire.
Over the past couple of years, we at MACRO.CCS have noticed a large push for internal IT employees and away from contractors. The rationale makes sense – contractors cost a premium. If you bring someone in-house, you can typically save money in the long run, as well as have someone there who knows your system intimately, to support it.
So what’s a contractor to do?
For those that appreciate this shift and are looking to move out of the contracting realm this is probably great news. But there are some hurdles you’ll have to overcome to get yourself into these direct-hire positions. Most significant to your quest: Your background as a contractor.
Contracting can be great – it pays more and offers new challenges and experiences. You won’t find yourself stuck with older technologies because your organization can’t afford (or can’t decide) to upgrade. If you need three months off to travel, you just schedule it for the end of your contract. And if you find the company’s culture is not a great fit, you know you’ll only be there for a short time. But your appreciation of all this makes employers nervous to bring you on as a permanent employee. The worries? You want the job only because it’s a job. Once something better comes along, that pays more or employs a new great technology, you’ll be gone. There goes their investment in you, there goes your corporate knowledge, and even worse, they’re back to hiring again – often an expensive proposition for a company.
So before you make this step out of contracting and into a more permanent position you need to ask yourself:
Are you REALLY ready to take a large pay cut for this opportunity? Many specialized contractors make upwards of $100-$120/hr, while permanent salaries for the same positions rarely top $140k. That’s a huge cut.
Not to say there aren’t benefits to perm work you can’t get in contracting, like upward mobility, less travel, stability, benefits, vacation time, and some consistency to your resume (if you stick around long enough!) that makes you all the more valuable and marketable in your next position.
If this is really what you want, you’ll need to determine the best way to present yourself – to build confidence from your potential employer that you are serious about this move and in it for the long haul. Not just a year or two – but a good 3+ years.
- Put your objective clearly on your resume, so it is the first thing potential employers see. Include a brief explanation of why you want to make this move to direct hire, and be prepared to elaborate on it in an interview if requested.
- Couple contracts for the same company under one heading, so employers can easily see the total amount of time you spent at that firm (and that you were valuable enough to bring back).
- Work with the right partner that can help you get your foot in the door and vouch for your interest in a change towards direct-hire.
And for those that want to stay in contracting? Specialization never hurts. Nor does a good partnership with a company that you trust – that can present you great opportunities that will build upon your experiences, and keep you employed and challenged.
Want to discuss further? Give us a call.
Thanks to the help of our lovely IT consultants, we are back up and running. We can access our calendars, our email, and the database – woo hoo! Huge sigh of relief over here, that’s for sure.
Any emails sent between 9am – 1pm sill haven’t made their way to our in-boxes just yet, but we should have them in our hands soon.
To say the least!
A few of our servers have decided to take a ‘nap’ this morning and are nonoperational. This means no access to our emails, our calendars, or our database of contact information at the moment. But we’re still here – so if you need anyone in our Bellevue of Los Angeles offices, have a previously scheduled call, or interview with us today, please do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a ring.
We will let you know when things are back up and running (lets just hope its soon & we have full heads of hair remaining at that point!)
For those of you in the Los Angeles area, we’d love for you to join us and the Los Angeles High Scalability Group at eHarmony while we discuss highly scalable development practices in eHarmony’s match-making models.
Date: Tuesday, June 18th
Time: 7pm – 9pm
Overview: eHarmony was one of the earliest, fastest growing and still one of the largest online dating sites. From the beginning, eHarmony has had data centric models at its very core. Every pair of users that are introduced to each other must pass through psychological compatibility models. Years of matching and communication data is combed through to generate models that predict communication. Over the years eHarmony has evolved its models to more and more sophisticated models that require an ever increasing amount of data, both during training and even more critically during the match creation process.
This presentation, by eHarmony architect Ryan Barker, will start with a brief overview of of the various architectures spanning the last 13 years, followed by an in depth analysis of the current hybrid SOA + Hadoop based architecture. Machine learned dynamic code generation scala models, JMS and REST based services, spring wired Hadoop jobs and various back end processes all producing and consuming a protocol buffer based data model.
Food and Beverages will be Provided by MACRO.CCS.
(Psst: non alcoholic beverages only, though there are talks of doing happy hour afterwards at a Santa Monica bar if anyone is down…)
MACRO.CCS is proud to sponsor the involvement of our employees in their charitable endeavors and encourage all our team members to get involved in the community in any way they can. Here’s a glimpse at some of the charitable events MACRO.CCS employees will be involved in this spring:
Most of you probably don’t know this, but Bellevue-office team member Kevin Reiman is an ace on the soccer field. Before moving into the world of technology and recruitment, Kevin spent time playing professionally with the Real Salt Lake Team out of Utah, and later as an assistant coach at USMC. While his day-to-day work life now focuses on meeting top tier IT support and infrastructure talent, he still finds ways to stay involved in the Soccer world.
Case in point, his involvement in next weekend’s Cap Hill Soccer Jam.
The Cap Hill Soccer Jam is a 4×4 street soccer tournament that uses the power of soccer to combat homelessness across the United States. All proceeds of the tournament go to Street Soccer USA, which views homelessness as a breakdown in community, and looks at soccer as a way promote a positive and supportive atmosphere to rebuild those otherwise lost community connections. Money raised at this event will provide coverage for registration fee’s, travel, and equipment needs for homeless soccer players to be a part of city-wide teams/leagues, learn essential life skills, and be exposed to rehabilitation programs throughout Seattle. For more information about this cause, go to: http://www.caphillsoccerjam.org/about/
Down in our Los Angeles office, our California Account Manager, Kelsey Searles, will be participating in Pedal on the Pier , on June 2nd, with her team Tour de Philanthropolis. At this event, teams share a stationery bike posted up on the Santa Monica Pier, and take turns pedaling a total of 100 miles in 5 hours (can you say bruised bums?!)
Teams raise money to reserve their bikes, and all funds raised by the teams will benefit the Harold Robinson Foundation. This organization helps keep inner-city kids off the streets during the summers by sending them off to summer camps, where they can obtain value life experiences around making new friends, team building, risk-taking, creativity, not to mentioned – just having a good, safe, time. For more information on this event and the Harold Robinson Foundation, click here: http://pedalonthepier.haroldrobinsonfoundation.org/
Our founder, Marjie Peterson, has always held an active position in the business community over the years. From serving as President, and later Chairman of the Board, for TechServe Alliance, to her involvement in groups like the Association of Women in Computing, the Society of Information Management, and the former Data Processing Management Association, where Marjie has helped support technology, employment, and small business initiatives. And that’s just to name a few!
Next week, on May 7th & 8th, Peterson will join the voices of Washington small business at the Association of Washington Business (AWB) Spring Board meeting at the Davenport Hotel in Spokane, Washington.
AWB acts as a Chamber of Commerce on State issues, interfacing with the state legislature to ensure the needs of small business are understood when new legislation is proposed.
A member of this organization since 1994, Peterson became active in 1998 when AWB joined Washington State Digital Media Alliance (now Washington Technology Industry Associates) in urging the legislature to make Washington State overtime laws consistent with federal laws. She soon after joined the Board of Directors of this business focused organization.
For those not in the know, California branch manager, Kelsey Searles, does a lot of work in the e-commerce arena. With one side of her family thoroughly embedded in the retail industry, and the other side in technology, this was a natural direction for her career.
Those that work in e-commerce technology know, this is an area that is constantly evolving and improving. So, in order to stay on top of those changes and the latest technologies in web development, Kelsey has to stay pretty active in the user community. Yeah, TechCrunch, RISNews, and Wikipedia are useful, but you never learn from these sites quite as well as you do straight from the source: the developers themselves.
This month, Kelsey will be helping to host LA High Scalability Group’s next event on August 21st:
The event will feature speaker Robert Vandehey from Rovi, who will be talking about his experience in migrating .Net/memcache/SQL to Java/Linux/Hadoop/Mongo (though you probably already guessed that from the event title!)
The event starts at 7pm and is going down at Factual Inc., which is right next to the Century City mall on Avenue of the Stars. Factual has ever so graciously agreed to not only provide the meeting space, but also food and drinks for the group (THANK YOU!)
Directions and more details on the event are available on the MeetUp group website.
Come join and learn something new
While we tend to promote ourselves as technology generalists, working with technical and functional folks of all varieties in the IT industry, one area where we’ve had a lot of success has been Oracle.
Granted, that’s a rather broad area. Oracle is a behemoth company that encompasses many different hardware systems and software products. But as a generalist firm that works in ton of different industries, we have touched on a lot of Oracle products and thus are always looking to expand our Oracle knowledge and networks.
That’s where the 2012 Northwest Oracle User Group Conference comes into play.
Next Monday, August 6th, we’re shipping off our company President (Marjie) to Portland to meet some new Oracle people and learn some new Oracle things.
The event takes place at the Downtown Portland Waterfront Marriott and has four different ‘tracks’ tailored to each sector of professionals that will be attending: Application Track (i.e. EBS), Technical Track (i.e. Systems and Databases), Vendor Track, and the Oracle Corporation Track.
Considering attending to learn something new & hobnob with Marjie? Check out the conference page here.
Hope to see you there!
PS: To read about some of our recent projects with Oracle and other application technologies, check out our website here.
As of February 1st, 2012 our Los Angeles office will be located in the Miracle Mile district on Wilshire Blvd.
Our new address will be:
6535 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 253
Los Angeles, CA 90048
We look forward to showing off our new space with you!
PS: 2-hr Parking will be available for visitors on Sweetzer.