Bracing for impact: Do hiring managers have a plan for the coming market correction?

Is it here already?  Coming next quarter? Next year?  I’m talking about the inevitable and –so say the economic pundits and talking heads–impending recession, market correction, or economic slowdown (pick your favorite moniker). The laws of economics and the historical business cycles, plus market indicators, say some sort of downturn is coming.  

First, a caveat:  if you believe impending economic doom is a relic of the distant past, please reveal your trusted sources of news and economic data. , Perhaps you are intentionally in denial, simply not paying attention or continuing to buy into the all things must go up philosophy. If you read daily news feeds from sources like CrunchBase and VenturePulse there is not a day that goes by without crowning a new “unicorn” (gosh I do loathe that term). And yes, I would be remiss to not acknowledge that last month, the U.S. added more jobs to the economy, and the unemployment rate hit a 50-year low. Consumer spending continued to remain optimistic, and the Fed is anticipated to make another interest rate cut at the end of the month. The economy, despite continued global uncertainty and the threat of ongoing trade wars, remains resilient.    Not to stereotype, but many younger hiring managers and entrepreneurs (read millennials) are still hyper bullish on the near- and long-term market outlook. Ah yes, the benefits of optimistic, blissful youth!   I would love to be wrong; I hope you are all right; and I wish all of you the best. 

But, it’s not just today’s 24/7 news cycle– talk long and hard enough about recession, and perhaps it will eventually happen (“See, I told you!”)–creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of an economic correction. Real economic downturns happen, and they will again.

I’m old…enough.  I’m old enough to have lived through, and survived, the early 2000s dot.com bust, and the debt-driven macro-economic collapse of 2008-09, which wasn’t that long ago. Further back, though I was not in the workforce, I do remember the stock market crash of 1987.  But I’m also young enough to remember how, during all three economic downturns, most companies reacted to the news; some by responding in more proactive and measured ways than others. Many, especially in 2008-2009, took the “crash” as opportunity, especially when it came to capturing market share when other companies were bleeding. 

So, for those (old, young, or feeling either way), who do believe we are due or overdue for some choppy economic waters, let’s proceed. To carry forward with the metaphor, it really doesn’t matter if we face a full-fledged economic tsunami or a few bumpy white caps. 

The question we at Ursus ask of our clients, namely our hiring managers, is are you are ready for it?  Or better yet, do you and your company have a plan in place that will guide your response to harsher economic conditions? Riding out a (by nature) indefinite period of macro-economic pain and hoping/waiting for the pain to go away, does not count as a plan.  Hiring managers should start to plan and think ahead and prepare regardless of the impact and severity of the economic downturn. There are options and alternatives to the knee jerk slash, burn and cut to reduce headcount, which is what too many companies do when they have failed to plan ahead.

Now, what to actually do?  I know a coach, who coincidentally happens to work in finance, who is constantly reminding his players about the five P’s: Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.  This adage is true; in sports, in school, really in any aspect of life, but these precepts also should apply to planning a hiring manager’s human capital strategy in the face of an impending business slowdown. 

Based on our working relationships with hundreds of business leaders and hiring managers, regardless of company size, we recommend that hiring managers implement the “five Ps” as follows: 

  • Model worse and best-case scenarios
    • Take the time to run projections. What percentage rate slowdown necessitates preemptive reduction in force (RIF)? If you do RIF what is the impact to top line productivity and bottom-line cost?
  • Ask yourself the tough questions
    • What key performance indicators will provide your headlight data to put a plan into action before the company is in fact reactive, rather than prepared and proactive? The decision-making process, starting with choosing to focus on the most useful indicators, should be reasoned, not reactive; careful, not capricious. 
  • Stack rank 
    • If you do have a RIF, who can you afford to keep or worse who can you afford to let go?
  • Contractor v Full Time v Human Cloud resource?
    • Full time employee costs include burden (payroll taxes, benefits, pensions). Is there a path to replace full time employees with contractors without sacrificing quality or production? 
    • Do your contracted employees need to be on site, or can you leverage human cloud workforce options from remote locations?
  • Hire now before you lose budget?
    • If there are considerable layoffs in the relevant vertical market, is this an opportunity to hire talent that you may not have been able to during a tighter and more competitive labor market?
    • With the opportunity for previously unavailable talent, can you grow market share while competitors that failed to plan are caught flat footed?

Implementing the Five “P”s – Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance—while competitors delay can never hurt, and is a worthy exercise, even if you believe sunny economic times will persist for years to come.  Wouldn’t you rather be the leader and the company who is prepared, ready with an existing plan that you can both present to executive management and communicate rapidly to the workforce, rather than the one caught off guard and frantically reacting? 

We can’t predict the timing or depth of the next recession. But we can predict that if, as a hiring manager, you don’t have a business staffing plan that is ready to respond to economic pain, you may be one of the first to feel it.

The best deterrent to the “Great Resignation”??? Become a better manager!

Above and beyond all else, lousy management is what makes your employees start looking for new job opportunities. Yes, it’s true that money, support (or lack thereof), and remote/hybrid/flex work opportunities are also triggers for employees to take a call, email, or LinkedIn message from, or worse, proactively reach out to a recruiter. However, poor managers are the biggest factor to drive employees to the exits. How do we know this? We are a technical and creative staffing company, and it is the top reason many of our candidates indicate for looking at other opportunities.

Over time, ongoing poor management will result in an overarching negative or toxic work environment that sends employees to look for greener grass. Unfortunately, too many managers, and the companies they work for, still have not acknowledged this, or refuse to address this fact despite the record candidate movement also referred to now as “The Great Resignation”. Those that don’t act and adapt will continue to bleed talent to their competitors.

I will note one overarching caveat to the statement above; It’s important to acknowledge that in some cases, no matter how good of a manager you are, the larger forces of a toxic corporate culture or rigid policies, or agendas may be insurmountable no matter how good of a manager you are or become. For example, if your company has not embraced and formulated either a remote work, hybrid-work, or flexible work model they are putting you and your team at an immediate disadvantage. In PRO Unlimited’s November 2021 Labor Market report, 96% of workers making $65 per hour preferred remote work. 96%!!!

Of course, some job functions require employees to physically be on site to perform their work but that is not the worker population I’m referring to. Software developers, system administrators, UI/UX designers, product managers, the list goes on and on but includes pretty much any job function where you don’t have to be in contact with the product or service you are delivering to be performed remotely. I can already hear the counter- arguments; “I have to see my employees to manage them!” Bah!! That argument is tired and a cop out! How many managers fail to manage (provide direction, guidance, inspiration, feedback, coaching, teaching) regardless of whether the employee is 3 feet or 3,000 feet from them? With the onslaught of evolving technology and video conferencing software, managing employees remotely has never been easier.

So how should you respond? The answer is simple, but it takes effort. Become a better manager yourself or provide the resources for your management teams to develop leadership skills. Too often top individual contributors are promoted into management because they are good at their jobs, not because they have the aptitude, potential or even in some cases the interest to truly manage others. Just like writing code or designing graphics are skills, so too is managing humans and it’s not necessarily for everyone. The remote work proverbial train has left the station, and it is not coming back. This movement is your opportunity to become a better manager and defend against the Great Resignation!

Some questions to ask yourself as a manager of remote employees.

How often do you regularly interact with your employee and how?

I will refer to my earlier comment about paying attention to your people, whether they are 3 feet or 3,000 feet from you. As a manager, you are the source of so many things for your team: information, inspiration, guidance, coaching, expectations, encouragement. Slack, Teams, and email are wonderful but a 1:1 phone or video call to check in on a regular cadence or impromptu, as needed, goes a long, long way. Do you ask the team how they are feeling and via polls or tools like Sense to take a broader pulse of mood and morale? Talk to your people, they want to connect with you! And yes, without question, there is no substitute for in person and team meetings which, dependent on your company, remote policies should always be in play.

Do your employees goals map to larger team and company goals?

Job specific, individual KPI’s, quotas and goals are important, but not the end all be all. In support of your culture building, it’s crucial to set personal development goals that are mapped to the overall department or company goals. Make sure your employees know what their individual contributions mean to the success of the team and the overall company objectives. Whether your employee is part of a 10, 100, or 10,000-person company, your employees’, (remember they are humans), inherently want to contribute and be a part of something bigger than themselves.

Do you work to make your employees jobs easier?

What? Work should be hard right? Yes, sometimes work is hard but are you looking for opportunities to provide training or continuing education to your employees to help develop their skills, their craft, and support their long-term career objectives so they can become experts at what they do? Do you look at technology investments or process improvements through the eyes of your employees to put more time back in their day or become more productive?

Do you reward and recognize your employees?

Rewards and recognition against quantifiable metrics are important and expected by most employees. Do you also reward and highlight for actions that support your culture; supporting or collaborating with a fellow teammate, going above and beyond to assist a client, representing the company and the team in community volunteering or charity. This can be achieved via “story telling” in all hand’s meetings or through peer-to-peer employee recognition tools like Bonusly. Again, your employees are human, they want to be part of something bigger to be proud of and inspired or motivated by their fellow employees.

Do you build, promote, and contribute to your unique team culture – everyday?

Culture is one of the most overused corporate-speak words. It’s easy to say the words, to put it on a PowerPoint, social media post or website. But the reality is that building and maintaining culture takes constant vigilance and action to sustain and grow. Companies and teams are organic, constantly changing groups of people who all come to the workplace with agendas that are not always aligned. People are messy and unpredictable, they have real problems, fears, motivations, let alone personalities, that make them wonderfully unique but also unpredictable even volatile at times. Some of the most positive company culture exist in incredibly demanding industries with high performance expectations and hard driving employees but are also environments where employees find enjoyment in the work, their teammates who they know they are working together on similar bigger goals, that work-life balance is rewarded. – create, embrace, and promote culture and work life balance.

Some of the tactics outlined above may be applied slightly different in a remote work environment than in an on-premise setting but they work and are relevant for any manager looking to become a more effective.

Data Science Recruiters: Let Us Find the Top Talent for Your Workforce

Is your business ready to bring in a new data scientist?

Hiring someone with the right skills, experience, and traits is far from a straightforward process. Finding the perfect fit for your team doesn’t have to be a game of trial and error. With Ursus, we not only find you great candidates, we also find you candidates that match your unique work culture.

Our data science recruiters maintain a huge database of potential candidates and employ our refined data analytics recruitment process to uncover professionals that fit your requirements.

Slash your hiring time and save money by removing unqualified, inexperienced candidates from day one. We plug into your team to understand what makes your business tick and go where other data analyst recruitment agencies don’t.

Transform Data into Value When You Hire Data Scientists

Harness the power of data within your business and make it work for you with data analytics recruitment firms. Don’t accept anything but the best when you hire data scientists.

What can a data scientist do for your organization?

  • Monetize your data
  • Mitigate business risk within your organization
  • Get unique insights and benefit from new opportunities
  • Optimize your forecasting
  • Make better business decisions

Data is what makes the world go round. From health to digital marketing to retail, industries across the country are transforming their data into business assets that contribute to their success.

With data science headhunters from Ursus, work with the top talent in this industry and take your brand to the next level.

We strive to find the right people, whether you need someone temporarily or permanently. Supercharge your hiring process and be a more agile company with one of the industry’s best data analyst recruitment agencies.

Our Data Analytics Recruitment Services

Do you have an open position for a data scientist?

Ursus has the candidate to fit for your business. Whether you’re a growing team or a flourishing industry pioneer, get top-tier talent and hire data scientists with the potential to accelerate your business’s growth.

Temporary/Contract

Need your next hire to meet an urgent deadline or to reduce the burden on your workforce during a rush period?

Hire a data analyst on an hourly basis. We take care of everything when making a short-term hire, such as unemployment insurance, general liability insurance, and workers’ compensation.

Unlike other analytics recruiting firms, we go the extra mile and even perform in-depth background checks on every Ursus data scientist candidate.

Contract-to-Hire

Be confident when you make your next direct offer. Trial a new data scientist and see how they perform within your unique setup.

Gauge your data scientist’s results, watch how they interact with your team, and be 100% sure that they are the right professional for you.

Try as many candidates as you need to with data scientist recruiters that let you try before you buy.

Direct Hire

Do you have an open position that you need to fill?

Discover the best in the business with Ursus data scientist recruiters. Our direct hiring services recruit, interview, and perform background checks into candidates before showing you the shortlist.

For a small fee based on your new hire’s starting salary, this is an investment in your future success.

Why Ursus?

Bringing in a new face is always nerve-wracking. Take advantage of a recruitment process that has been refined and defined repeatedly to meet the needs of the modern business.

We save you time, we save you money, and we save you countless headaches on your journey to find your new data scientist.

Deep-Diving into Your Business

Unlike other data analyst recruiters, we deep-dive into your business to find out what makes your brand and your team unique.

Collaborate with our team, and we will find you a data scientist who will fit in with your organization’s core values and ethos.

Non-Stop Hustle

Our team works around the clock to cut the time it takes to compile your hiring shortlist.

But the speed at Ursus doesn’t mean compromising on quality. Cutting corners and taking shortcuts are simply not within our DNA.

We are scientist recruiters known for our tried-and-tested recruitment process that gets results every single time.

Perfection

Other analytic recruiters consistently fail to look beyond the basics found in a resume. We look beyond the qualifications and the experience to uncover the little things that make each data scientist unique.

It is our attention to those little details that guarantee access to the top talent for our clients.

Adapting to Be the Best

The world of data science is forever changing. The recruitment practices of five years ago are not the recruitment practices that will yield fantastic results today.

Our data science recruiters are not just creative recruitment specialists, they are also plugged into the nuances of the industry.

We are constantly adapting and evolving to match the needs of modern-day business, regardless of the industry.Reach your potential and outflank the competition with Ursus data science recruiters now. We have the staffing solutions you need.

The Importance of a UX Designer’s Portfolio

Hear from Nicole Christos our Senior Creative Recruiter here at Ursus on The Importance of a UX Designer’s Portfolio.

Reviewing UX portfolios is one of the best parts of my job. As an ex ad agency account director, and more recently creative recruiter, I’ve viewed thousands of portfolios and have worked with many candidates and employees to help them streamline their portfolios. I’ve also volunteered at local universities and design schools to help mentor graduating seniors as they prepare to enter the working world of UX. Ironically, it’s not how many years of experience you have that indicates if your portfolio is solid or not. I’ve seen fabulous portfolios from college students, and terrible portfolios from candidates that have 20 years of experience.

Resumes are fine and required, but it’s the portfolio that seals the deal. This is the visual confirmation of what’s on your resume. You worked at Apple, or Google, or Mama’s Hometown Pizza? Great, now let’s see the visual representation of your time there, the projects you worked on, and the skills you gained.

When it comes to marketing and creative recruiting for our clients in the midst of their digital transformation journeys, I always put myself in the shoes of the manager. What will grab their attention? What will make them spend more than 9 seconds looking at YOUR portfolio? Managers don’t have a lot of time and they know what they are looking for. Below are a few key components that I’ve found will help YOUR portfolio stand out:

– Please, please, please have your own online portfolio. If you’re a UX Designer and only have a PDF of your work or a Behance portfolio, you’re doing yourself a disservice. You’re a UX designer, so this is your opportunity to let your skills shine – create a portfolio that will impress managers with your top-notch UX skills. Some creative managers will even immediately disqualify candidates that only have a PDF or Behance portfolio.

– White space. It’s Design 101. Don’t clutter your website. Give your work room to breathe. It makes the viewing experience so much better if we can easily focus on what you’re trying to show us. And don’t use a dark or black background on your website. It’s too much.

– You’re a UX designer. Make sure the ‘user experience’ of your site is top-notch – make it user-friendly. If I can’t find the ‘home’ button or it takes me 3 clicks to get to an actual work sample or view a case study, that’s a fail. Managers won’t take the time to figure out how your website works – they want it to be simple and they want it now.

– Focus on the process. Managers want to see more than just the end result of your projects. They want to see your entire process – from what the challenge is, to the personas, to research, whiteboarding, wireframing, the result, and the summary conclusions. Visuals are imperative, but the more narrative you include to tell your story, the better. You’re telling a story – tell it well.

– Keep your portfolio up to date. Managers want to see your recent projects. Keeping older projects in your portfolio is fine – it shows your breadth of experience. But they don’t only want to see work samples from 2015. Showing your recent work further proves that your skills are current, regardless of what’s on your resume.

– Don’t forget to include your contact info in your portfolio. I’ve viewed some amazing portfolios, but they forgot to include a Contact page or their email or phone number isn’t listed. You hooked a manager, but now they either pass you over or have to jump through hoops (search you out on LinkedIn) to connect with you.

Top 3 Resume Must-Haves for 2020

What Do Talent Acquisition Recruiters Look For On A Resume? What Should I Include To Not Get Overlooked?

If you are reading this article, then you must have a vested interest (personal or professional) in the hiring process and the materials you need to be successful. This blog post is for the motivated job seeker who is looking to stand out to talent acquisition recruiters.

A common statistic thrown out about resumes is the “six-second glance.” This means supposedly, on average, a recruiter will look over a candidate resume for only six seconds. Although this number was pulled from a limited study, its implications are so relevant for the hiring world today: that resumes are vital first-impressions and accuracy is of the utmost importance.


  1. Length
    • Contrary to popular belief, your resume shouldn’t stay one page forever. It is a common practice for recent graduates and entry-level job seekers to have a one-page resume. This is because these candidates often don’t have extensive experience in their field yet. So, they sometimes can make the mistake of overcompensating by adding irrelevant experiences or skills just to make the resume fuller. This practice negatively impacts a candidate hiring chances.
    • However, once you have been working for 10-15 years and are a mid-career professional, you can consider including a second page. This should only be done if the work experience is relevant to the opportunity you are applying for. Your resume should never exceed 3 pages.
  2. Quality Content
    • Don’t compromise your chances of being selected by padding your resume with frilly words and irrelevant information. Marketing staffing agency recruiters will see right through this and remain unimpressed. Focus on highlighting your experience and skills in an engaging, yet concise manner.
  3. Visual Structure (good spacing)
    • One of the most overlooked practices in resume building is visual appeal. This is especially important if you are skilled in design or other creative fields. Your resume should visually reflect your creativity. Even if you are going into the technical field, your resume should be easy to scan, well-spaced, and appealing. Ursus specializes in both creative and technical staffing, so you can rest easy knowing that all your bases are covered.

Here at Ursus, we care about the hard part, matching candidate and company. At the end of the day, it’s as simple as finding the right people, with the right skills, for the right job. As a cloud marketing and creative recruiting firm, we strive to create the best possible match between candidate and company. Your resume should accurately portray your background and skills so that you can be placed in a job where you flourish.

What You Need to Get A Job in Fin-Tech

Financial services businesses have undergone more change in the last three years than in the last three decades and the market is expected to accelerate for the foreseeable future. For decades the prevailing stereotype of a technology finance professional was one who was conservative to adopt new technologies, either due to internal policy or the complexity to move off of antiquated, rigid systems (yes, I’m talking about VAX systems and green screens that are still in use today) and outdated and monolithic data schemas.

FinTech, which is defined as the evolving intersection of technology and financial services, including all sorts of companies that may operate in insurance, payments, asset management, and personal finance management, demands that engineering, product, and creative design teams within financial institutions (both the incumbents, startups, and upstarts) need to respond quickly to market dynamics, underlying technical changes and improvements to their services. To accomplish this, the need for the right talent, with the right backgrounds is imperative to compete and represents massive new opportunities for software engineers.

I remember in 2009 when the personal finance site, Mint first arrived on the scene. I was taken by the ease of use, the ability to manage multiple accounts via a single pane of glass. It was a game-changer, and not surprisingly they were quickly gobbled up by Intuit for what now seems like a steal at $170M. They were the precursor to what we are witnessing today; a purpose-built architecture designed to scrape, aggregate, analyze and present financial data in engaging, even fun interfaces that appeal to the next generation of users whose default experience demands immediacy, accessibility, and “instant gratification” society that demands 100 percent functionality — no exceptions! The pandemic has accelerated the pace of innovation and investment as in-person banking (which already was on its way out) is not only inconvenient but for some deemed as dangerous.

This is not just about startup disruptor companies of which there are hundreds with billions invested. The push for innovation continues to drive change in how banks deliver services. The household big bank names are all in. JPMorgan employs over 50,000 software developers, product managers, and designers. Bank of America is the world’s largest blockchain patent holder. Increasingly, even small regional banks are partnering with fintech startups. Over the past several years, the Fintech job market has exploded from below 100,000 jobs in mid-2015 to nearly 750,000 in 2019 with 37% of these jobs’ software engineering.

Today’s fintech engineers need to have the skills to navigate problems their predecessors never had to deal with — problems like full cloud integration, rapidly changing technology, daily release schedules, remote workforces, and experience with the latest cloud and end-user security technologies. Just because the services are delivered differently doesn’t mean that security, compliance, and regulation no longer matter.

As a technology staffing focused on cloud talent and marketing/creative talent representing several established household financial clients and well-funded startups, we have reviewed thousands of resumes and know what it takes for a software engineer to rise to the top of the applicant stack. Here are the top skills you ideally have to enter into a career in the fintech industry.

Cloud Computing

Today, odds are any new application is developed, tested, and run in the cloud. Even better odds that that cloud is one of the Big 3 cloud providers, AmazonMicrosoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform. It’s important that you know how to work with data across various remote networks, rather than data stored in one location. While certifications are not necessarily always required, they do help get you noticed, however, certification(s) without any practical experience may not get you past a first interview. Managers want to know what you’ve managed and at what scale; how many instances? Service calls? Data size? Etc. Many of the boot camps offers today teach to the test not to learn the required skills. In response to this, Ursus launched a Cloud Apprenticeship program that offers both self-paced and 1:1 instruction. For more details visit the Certify-U Cloud Apprenticeship program overview.

Microservices

For engineers, building applications used to be a matter of creating one cohesive system with many built-in components. On one hand, this made it easy for engineers to work with all of their data points under one roof. On the other hand, it made it difficult to make small changes to scale an application. Think managing an aircraft carrier versus thousands of PT boats. Today, most engineers work with microservices — stand-alone services with individual goals that all work together to build larger applications. As a successful Fintech engineer, you need to be comfortable with this multi-faceted approach.

Continuous Integration & Continuous Deployment (CICD)

Companies are shipping software today in minutes. Yeah, you read that right. Minutes. Not hours, not weeks, months, or longer. Minutes. The quarterly release schedule is dead and thus, it’s important that you know how to write code that can get to your users quickly and never lose functionality when changes are made. There are myriad CICD tools used today. Make sure you are comfortable and proficient with more than one.

Security & High Availability

In fintech when billions of dollars are being processed, it can be devastating to a business and customer with a network goes down. Remember, these companies in some form are you are dealing with what people and companies value most, their money! A data breach can be the death knell of many of these companies, especially the startups. Systems must maintain 100 percent operational if you want to be known for trusted and failure-proof technology, which means you need to know how to build and work with high availability systems and ensure that those systems are secure. The best way for fintech to safeguard its future is to keep an eye on circumstances driving its adoption, break with outdated security traditions that do not align with its trajectory, and over-engineer to prevent fraud and breach. Developers with a security background and practical experience are as valued and in demand as any.

Verbal & Written Communication Skills!

Whether you choose contract work or full-time employment the odds are high that you will need to collaborate with remote workers. The ability to communicate (verbally and written communication) remotely, work with a wide variety of people, and manage cross-country or international working relationships will make you more employable (and promotable).

For software developers, there are incredible opportunities to be part of teams contributing new ideas and services that will change the way people transact for years to come. There are numerous niches to be filled, new markets to serve and the market is hungry for new solutions to serve the market better than ever before. All of these companies’ innovators will need experienced software developers to lead them down the path to success in this new world.

After all, any new idea is only as good as its execution.

The Covid-19 Impact On Recruiting and Staffing and How Ursus Can Help

Finding qualified candidates has never been a simple task for companies. The Covid-19 pandemic has only heightened employers and job seekers frustration with the process. This conundrum is what makes our cloud talent recruiting firm all the most useful in today’s climate.

“As recently unemployed professionals flood the job market, employers are poised to experience an applicant overload,” iHire President and CEO Steve Flook said. “Although this will intensify the quest for qualified candidates and attribute to the ‘applicant black hole,’ we are optimistic that organizations will continue to make progress in addressing these challenges.”

The survey found 77.1% of employers are struggling to hire talent that checks all their boxes. In addition, 39.0% of employers said “receiving unqualified/irrelevant applicants” was their No. 1 challenge when recruiting through a job board.

Despite struggles with creative and technical recruiting, when it comes to hiring, 72.8% of employers said they were actively hiring despite the pandemic. This means that while the way in which companies are conducting business is changing, the need for qualified talent is consistent.

The survey also found 21.5% of candidates said they first go to industry-specific platforms when searching for a job, which is a substantial increase from 17.1% in a similar survey conducted in 2019.

The main takeaway from this study is that hiring and retention of creative and technical cloud talent is trickier than ever. Here at Ursus, we’re all about finding the right people, with the right skills, for the right jobs. Let us help you navigate the challenges that have come with Covid-19 and a saturated talent market.

**Included in the survey were 343 employers and 2,841 job seekers across 56 different industries.

Job Seekers Top 10 Do NOT Do List

What NOT to Do to Be Noticed by Cloud Talent Recruiting Firms:

  1. Do NOT misspell the interviewers or anyone’s name for that matter when you are corresponding with them. For example, my name is spelled “Jon”, not “John”. I don’t personally care if you misspelled it but as a hiring manager for a recruiting firm, it shows you did not take the time to look and pay attention to the detail. By the way, some people DO take great offense to their name being misspelled.
  2. Do NOT forget to include your LinkedIn profile. This just in….there is 675 MILLION users on LinkedIn, odds are more than one or 100 that share your same name. Make it easy for the Cloud Marketing and Creative Recruiting Firm to find you.
  3. Do NOT misspell words or make grammatical errors. Download Grammarly. It’s Free!
  4. Do NOT forget to send a ‘Thank You’ note. It takes but a few minutes. If you don’t, many hiring managers will discard you for consideration. Back in the good old days, you were expected to mail a handwritten note. An email takes no more than five minutes. Just do it.
  5. Do NOT wait until 2 minutes before your video interview to test if your microphone, camera, background lighting is set up properly. Not all video conferencing has the same settings – Zoom, Google Hangouts, WebEx, GoToMeeting, Amazon Chime (I know right?  Amazon has a video conferencing service?) Blue Jeans, RingCentral all have different default settings. A 30-minute interview goes by FAST, don’t waste precious time fussing about with your mic or camera. We are 5 months into the Covid-19 era, the “I’m not used to this” excuse doesn’t play anymore. Cloud employment is becoming more and more commonplace and you need to be prepared.
  6. Do NOT neglect to do your homework on the person and the company you are interviewing with or for.
  7. Do NOT come to the interview without prepared questions based on your research/homework (see #6 above). Your questions demonstrate to the interviewer that you in fact did your homework.
  8. Do NOT, not, have a LinkedIn photo and make sure the photo is professional. Party pictures are for Facebook and The Gram.
  9. Do NOT talk too much. Listening and understanding what you are hearing is part of what is considered effective communication.  When you listen, you may pick up on clues on what the recruiting manager likes or dislikes and what is really important
  10. Do NOT forget to send a ‘Thank You’ note! Yes, I know this was #4 on the list. I’m repeating it for emphasis and to make sure you are paying attention. In addition to your email ‘Thank You’ note, you should also connect with those you interviewed with on LinkedIn along with a personal note. One more way to show you care enough, want the opportunity, are doing your homework, and took the time to follow up.

If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to reach out to us here at Ursus! Our team is here to help you!

Never mind the toilet paper shortage. What about Cloud talent shortages?!?

Still, to this day, I never understood why folks hoarded toilet paper during the pandemic and I’ve yet to hear an explanation from any scientist, psychologist, politician, or supply chain expert. Were that many people suddenly going potty more than before? Alas, thankfully we can now regularly find toilet paper in our stores!

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Cloud Technical talent. Pre-COVID demand was at all-time highs and have been exacerbated as companies scramble to find cloud talent to support remote-based workers and pivot or increase more of their operations and sales models online.

There are simply not enough trained and experienced humans on the planet to meet the demand. Unlike our TP scare, there is not a short-term, fix-it answer like cutting down and processing more trees faster. So, what do we do to address the problem?

Every day spent searching — unsuccessfully — for the right talent in a shrinking candidate pool, results in productivity and revenue loss. With demand for cloud talent at all time, and the talent pool as all-time lows, what are C-level executives to do? Hint: Look at your current technology team, there may be undeveloped cloud talent diamonds right under your nose!

The same old hiring practices will not yield results.

The human resources and talent acquisition response to the current environment goes one of two ways as companies grapple with the shallow cloud talent pool. Many invest in internal recruiting teams and increase online job advertising to attract attention and create “gravity” all in an attempt to draw a larger pool of candidates, and, hopefully, find the proverbial “needle in the haystack.” The problem with this model is twofold.

First, most corporate recruiters don’t recruit, or source to find net new candidates from competing companies, but rather “catch and sort” resumes that come inbound from corporate websites and job boards.

Second, if they’re lucky enough to receive a qualified candidate on paper (note the essential distinction between what’s listed on paper versus relevant experience and applicable skills), the recruiter has to be able to sell the company, and more importantly, the position. This task is not easy to do. The best technical talent wants — and has earned the right to — pick and choose which companies and projects are of most interest.

I’m not suggesting companies stop looking. And I’m certainly not suggesting to not use cloud marketing and creative recruiting firms, like Ursus, that specialize in finding cloud talent. What I am suggesting is in addition to the ongoing search, look for alternative methods and programs to fill the creative and technical talent gaps. One solution is to offer training on the job in the form of apprenticeships; that is, providing employees training that is relevant to the work needed by the company or the work the employee aspires to ultimately do within the organization. The benefits include not only filling positions that cannot be found outside of the company as well as employee retention and loyalty and an increase in the company’s bottom line.

Rather than continue to bang our heads against the wall we decided to do something that we believe provides an alternative solution to this problem. Introducing Ursus Certify U! Cloud Apprenticeship! The launch of our apprenticeship program helps our clients develop high-potential technology professionals via a proprietary program that merges hands-on 1:1 training and mentorship combined with self-paced online training, course work, and real-world projects. Certify U! is not a technical Bootcamp designed to cram information down a learner’s throat to simply pass a certification exam. Certify U! is an apprenticeship program designed specifically for talent with a substantial baseline of technology experience and success that are poised to migrate to cloud-based positions within their current employer organization or elsewhere as they advance their careers.

Stop Talking!

Our team is in the middle of an exercise that we are calling “90 Days of Excellence”. In lieu of work travel and events, we are taking advantage of the “downtime” to sharpen our proverbial saws.   At our last quarterly meeting, each team member shared two personal development goals that they were going to focus on, track, and report back progress to the group the specific actions taken to not necessarily achieve the two goals but to be aware of steps taken towards improvement.

One of my two goals, was to STOP TALKING and listen more, especially when my team was presenting, solving and working problems.  Like many founders, CEO’s and managers, I have developed some annoying habits including but not limited to;

  • Commenting on every conversation and topic rather than just shutting up and letting the team do their work.
  • Stating my opinion or recommendation first rather than just listening or asking my team what or how they believe they should react or respond to a situation
  • Dare I admit it…micromanaging?!?!

I know my intentions come from a good place.  This company is my baby.  I love it and the people who run it, built it and will take us where we all aspire to go.  In the last 45 days, by simply not talking and instead listening, I’ve been able to remind myself that we are a company comprised of really smart, experienced and passionate professionals.  Sometimes the best thing to do is get out of the way and let the team do their jobs!  The byproduct of my efforts has allowed me to delegate more to the team which leaves me more time to focus on the “bigger picture stuff” and to look ahead to what’s next versus the day to day that the team was hired to do.

When I do chime in now, my hope is my words are more impactful unlike in the past where I now realize I was competing with my own signal to noise ratio.  If I was growing tired of listening to myself, I can only imagine how my team must have felt.  As with anything else, the law of supply and demand holds true: If you constantly share your opinions, no one will seek them out. If you only say what you’re thinking on occasion, or only make a point one time instead of over and over, your words are likely to have more weight.

I have to admit it has not always been easy to shut up and, like any skill (and it is without question a skill), it has taken practice, patience, and discipline.  I want to jump in because I care but I now have my “Stop Talking” business card taped front and center on my monitor, and I invoke Stephen Covey’s adage to “Seek first to understand then to be understood.” several times a day. Sometimes, silence really IS golden…