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Do you think of yourself as creative? You need to.

Do you think of yourself as creative? You need to.

According to a LinkedIn study, creativity is the most in-demand soft skill for this year, but it’s not about being artistic. Continue reading to find out what it really refers to. Can you guess the top hard skill? Anything related to cloud computing, which is probably no surprise to people in the IT industry.

To start off, let’s define what I mean by “hard” and “soft” skills. And as I provide clarification of what is meant by hard skills and soft skills, I’ll also take a look into the most popular skills in each category for the year 2019.

Hard skills

When I refer to hard skills, I’m talking about the prerequisite degrees, technical skills and specialized knowledge at the core of a technical profession, for example accounting or programming. These types of hard skills are acquired though a technical education. They are, of course, essential for any technical professional.

The specific nature of hard skills makes them much easier for potential employers and recruiters to evaluate. With a brief look at a candidate’s CV, diplomas, grades and experience, you can get a good idea of his or her technical ability. You can also ask for a demonstration, and their skills will be evident.

Some of the most in-demand hard skills for 2019, and relevant to my work with technology professionals, include:

  1. Cloud Computing
  2. UX Design
  3. Mobile Application Development
  4. Software Testing
  5. Data Science

These are just a sample of the most sought-after hard skills for the year. As you can see, cloud computing tops the list of desirable hard skills for the year 2019. Cloud experts can congratulate themselves. Companies and organizations are actively recruiting in competition with each other to offer cloud computing positions in their organizations.

“Hire on CV” was an old way of recruiting. In this scenario, recruiters just looked at the resume of potential candidates and picked the one with the highest test scores, the most prestigious academy, or a bulk of experience. Things have changed, however. You will find that today’s recruiters tend to take a more balanced approach. They include soft skills in their analysis before any hire.

Soft skills

This is where things get interesting because soft skills are hard to quantify. By soft skills, I mean all those extra abilities that help a candidate shine. They help complete and improve existing hard skills.

Soft skills include social networking, being an effective team player or leader, creativity and efficiency. They are skills linked to behavior and personality rather than academic excellence. Ethical behavior can also be counted amongst soft skills. Honesty and positivity are assets for employers, as they tend to increase productivity, but also deliver better performance.

These skills were often thought to be innate with some candidates having them while others did not. In truth, soft skills can be acquired and developed. They are certainly worth having. An individual that can do their job, but has also demonstrated an ability to adapt to emergencies, for example, trumps someone who can’t.

As you can imagine, soft skills aren’t as easy to calculate as hard skills. Hard skills will get a candidate through the door, but the candidate’s soft skills repertoire will be the determining factor for recruiters when choosing between candidates.

Take a look at the year’s most sought-after soft skills, according to LinkedIn:

  1. Creativity
  2. Persuasion
  3. Collaboration
  4. Adaptability
  5. Time Management

Topping the list of sought-after soft skills this year is creativity. Note that this is not the traditional concept of creativity, which entails an individual creating something from scratch. Rather, we are looking at the ability to work within a system, analyze it, and come up with more effective ways of getting the job done. In this new nuanced definition of creativity, problem solving comes to the fore as a desirable attribute, followed by innovation.

Bill Gates said it best: “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job, because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”

Of course, the idea is not to encourage laziness in your employees. What the CEO of Microsoft was implying is that good work trumps hard work. In a successful enterprise, the “creative” employee implements an innovative way of thinking that makes life easier for the entire organization.

According to LinkedIn’s study, more than half of leaders define soft skills as the more determining factor when recruiting. Read the full article with additional links here. 

At Concero, our team meets with hundreds of candidates – and finds viable positions for them. I can tell you first-hand that developing your soft skills truly pays dividends in today’s competitive tech market. So, how creative are you???

Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Senior Client Relationship Executive

Watch Jason’s Spotlight video or connect with Jason on LinkedIn.

Becoming a Network Engineer — Reality versus Expectation

Becoming a Network Engineer — Reality versus Expectation

Network engineers have the hefty responsibility of setting up an organization’s IT network, ensuring that it is as efficient and as secure as possible — but their role doesn’t stop there. They also need to maintain and develop the network on an ongoing basis, while this might seem simple, it can be very demanding. Good network engineers are vital to a company’s success.

Network engineers must be able to work as “free agents,” while being an effective member of a team, meaning they prioritize their own workflow and responsibilities while being mindful of their overall contribution to the company. Another important task is troubleshooting any issues the network may face, as well as helping upgrade and develop a network depending on the organizations current and/or probable future needs.

The complex and many demands made on network engineers means that the expectations of newly graduated professionals sometimes don’t match the reality of the job at hand, so let’s explore what network engineers can expect when entering the job market, and what makes an effective and sought-after network engineer.

What does it take to be a network engineer?

Multitasking

First things first, a network engineer needs to be a very organized multi-tasker. This is intuitive, considering the varied tasks that are asked of him/her. The ability to maintain an effective and professional approach to different tasks, sometimes at the same time, is a must-have. Though most new graduates understand this, they tend to assume that they will have to concentrate on the technical aspect of the job when the truth is that the communications and leadership demands of the profession can take a greater share of their working day than most expect.

Communication Skills

Excellent communication skills are another quality that early graduates should cultivate before entering the job market, since the engineer will be called upon to explain and train colleagues, staff and clients. Communicating with people from different backgrounds and who may have a limited understanding of IT is another important role for the engineer. If you want to be successful in your career, customer service tends to be just as important as network design and technical skills.

Creativity within Budgetary Limitations

Creativity and the ability to think outside the box is an important trait for a successful network engineer, too. The employer will require the most effective network possible (sometimes with limited resources). The engineer may be asked to work and improve on an older and obsolete design, putting a premium on engineers who are able to balance the needs of creating and maintaining an effective network with the available resources and equipment. Shopping and finding the right equipment and software is also within the engineer’s domain. Having a sense of costs and the financial impact of purchasing equipment or implementing solutions can be another unexpected skillset for people in this position.

Leadership

New graduates should work on developing their leadership qualities. Creating a network is one thing; enforcing the standards needed for maintaining the effectiveness and security of said network is another. An efficient engineer needs to be able to guide, educate, and impose a certain degree of discipline and accountability amongst network users — preferably without being heavy-handed and dictatorial.

Continuous Learning and Self-Improvement

The ability to learn on the job and move with the times is an important aspect of the job description, the engineer will need to stay updated on new software, equipment and techniques so as to provide the best service possible for their company. This necessitates continuous professional development, while still balancing daily demands of the work at hand. A love of learning will help network engineers feel professionally fulfilled in their careers and make them more valuable employees, too.

A Dynamic Approach

Flexibility and adaptability are premium attributes of today’s successful network engineer. Engineers need to adapt their work schedule and troubleshoot on a regular basis, jumping from task to task. Successful candidates and new graduates will benefit from an attitude that allows them to get the job done regardless of the challenges. Most network engineers enjoy solving complex problems and like having the answers and figuring things out until the desired goal is achieved.

These are some of the qualities and issues facing newly graduated network engineers. Aside from book learning and technical proficiency, today’s network engineers need to stand out with a goal-oriented, professional approach and possess a high degree of communication and leadership skills. For those that choose this career, it is a dynamic and ever-evolving position that is integral to the success of any business.  

At Concero Technology Group, we help people in all phases of their IT career. Whether you are a recent graduate or a seasoned director or IT manager, we will be your guide on the side connecting you to the right people and right positions.

Aaron Schwander

Aaron Schwander

Professional Recruiter

Watch Aaron’s Spotlight video or connect with Aaron on LinkedIn.
Concero Chosen as One of St. Louis’ Best Places to Work

Concero Chosen as One of St. Louis’ Best Places to Work

Each year the St. Louis Business Journal holds the esteemed Best Places to Work Award. For 2019, Concero was selected as the winner in the small business category of this esteemed and competitive designation.

“We’re appreciative of this recognition,” says Jay Murchison, president and senior managing partner. “Our people are driven, compassionate and fun. We encourage them to be CEOs of their own careers, but we’re proud to provide stability and support of being a part of a bigger team.”

In previous years, Concero was a finalist for the award, so being selected as the winner meant a great deal to the entire team. Over 250 nominations were submitted for the St. Louis Business Journal’s Best Places to Work Awards.

One of Concero’s main tenets is creating authentic and memorable connections. In October 2018, Concero moved to a new, larger office that was designed facilitate easier conversations, especially in regards to the interview process. Complete with comfortable interview spaces, Kaldi’s coffee on tap and an endless array of snacks, the new office is inviting and bright.

“We want both our employees, our consultants and our clients to feel the positive energy when they come to Concero,” explains Murchison. Read more about Top 10 Reasons Why Concero Makes Interviewing Fun and to see photos of the office.

Concero offers contract, contract-to-hire and direct-hire placement services to organizations looking for technical and industrial/engineering professionals — from entry level to the c-suite — in the greater St. Louis region.

The companies were grouped by size and ranked by Quantum Workplace to determine the most employee-friendly workplaces in St. Louis. The process included an in-depth questionnaire, as well as evaluating and scoring of a variety of metrics, including: team effectiveness, retention, employee alignment with company goals, individual needs, team dynamics, and trust in leadership, among others.

The Business Journal announced the winners of each category at an awards breakfast on Thursday, March 7 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. More information can be found on The St. Louis Business Journal website.

Recognizing When You’re Unhappy With Your Job

Recognizing When You’re Unhappy With Your Job

As the old saying goes, do what you love and you will never work a day in your life. It’s a nice sentiment, but it is something that is harder to accomplish in real life than it is on paper. Lots of people are dissatisfied with their jobs. Recognizing when you are unhappy with your job is the first step in finding a career that truly suits your goals.

The next step is to figure out your plan of action to get to the point where you are happy. Odds are good that even if you do not love your current job, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to quit without notice, so there will be some work to do before you can shift into a more meaningful career.

Don’t despair. The job you love is within your reach.

Signs of Job Dissatisfaction

You Hate “Mondays”

If you outright hate your job, that dissatisfaction is probably obvious. You might dread Mondays more than the average person or find yourself calling in sick or taking time off just to get away from work. Other signs of job dissatisfaction are less obvious, but still impact your mood, your quality of life, and of course, your performance at work.

You’re Clock-Watching

Are you counting down every minute from the moment you get to work until the last second of the workday ticks by on the clock? This suggests that 1. you are neither stimulated nor challenged by your work, and 2. you do not want to be there.

If you love your job but are feeling like you’re not doing enough, it’s a sign to take on more work or more responsibilities. If you aren’t enjoying your job, however, and the thought of doing more of it to pass the time is unappealing, quit clock-watching and start considering a new career.

Your Work Affects Your Personal Life Negatively

What happens when you aren’t at work? Do you spend your time complaining about your job or dreading the alarm going off for work the next day? If you find your life is revolving around your work and how much you dislike it, something has to change.

You Feel Unwell

You may notice physical or emotional maladies that, if you dig deeper, could be related to your workplace woes. Frequent illnesses, headaches, sleep problems, substance abuse, or appetite changes can signify stress, anxiety, and poor coping brought on by job unhappiness.

If you are unhappy, overwhelmed, or otherwise less than positive about your work, and it’s not something that can be fixed by changing your job responsibilities or talking to your management team, take notice and start strategizing for a new job.

Figuring Out What Job is For You

Most careers come with some stress and a few challenges along the way. It’s the fact that you’re doing rewarding, motivating, and interesting work that will keep you enjoying your job, even when the going gets tough.

Your ideal job is one that suits your personality. Whether you work well in large groups or thrive individually, require a lot of heavy hands-on guidance or are a self-starter, or you are seeking something innovative rather than traditional, it is important to choose both a career and a workplace that embodies your preferred corporate culture and leadership style.

Your industry of choice will also largely impact job options. You may have the kind of training and career interests that allow you to jump from one industry to another or you may have to re-train or re-educate yourself to make a switch. Perhaps you are happy in the industry you’re in, but want to work in a different sector of it. Consider your personal values, interest, and willingness to adopt new skills and knowledge to land in the right industry.

Landing a Rewarding New Job

You’ve identified your workplace frustrations, figured out what kind of job may be more satisfying, and now you are ready to make a change. Let us help you connect with an organization that is the perfect match for your needs, jump-starting your new career.

We know that a job change can make people anxious, but at Concero Technology Group we have guided many people through seeking and finding a new career — we will help you, too.

To us, you’re the hero in this story! We want you to win and be fulfilled in your work.

Our technology recruiters get to know you, so we understand your career goals. With our close relationships with hiring managers across the tech sector, we will use that information to link you with agencies, positions, and sectors that will suit your employment dreams.

There’s no reason to wait… let us know how we can help you be happy in a new job.

Danielle Goldsmith

Danielle Goldsmith

Professional Recruiter

Watch Danielle’s spotlight or connect with her on LinkedIn 

What Does it Take to be a System Administrator

What Does it Take to be a System Administrator

System administrators play a very important role in IT departments and within organizations as a whole. That’s because system administrators are in charge of developing and operating the entire computer network or system for the company, from local area networks to intranet and internet systems.

If it requires a computer or device, the system administrator is the one making it happen behind the scenes. If any problems come up, it’s the system administrator who figures out what’s going wrong. And, even if all is going well, that’s because the system administrator is maintaining, evaluating, and bettering the infrastructure all the time.

What Does it Take to be a System Administrator?

Computer science or information technology degrees are a starting point for many tech experts and that holds true for a lot of system administrators, although equivalent experience can often substitute for formal education.

For system administrators working with Microsoft products, a Microsoft Certified Systems Ad-ministrator certification can be a useful and valuable undertaking. A similar Linux certification is the Red Hat RHCT. Cisco Certified Network Associate and Cisco Certified Network Profession-al are also options for tech professionals.

Depending on the size of the organization and the scope of the system administrator’s job, they may be expected to do some coding and programming to maintain and debug the network.

What Makes Some System Administrators Better Than Others?

System administrators who are the cream of the crop are those who are comfortable working with a wide variety of people. While some tech professionals get into the field to work with ma-chines, not humans, a system administrator is the point of contact for departments outside of IT, which can require a lot of patience. A terrific system administrator understands that people will be coming to them with problems, and that users will likely not have the knowledge base IT pro-fessionals possess.

System administrators with an eye to the future are aware of how cloud computing is impacting their roles. The cloud reduces the demand for on-premise maintenance, but increases the need for operations and monitoring on-site. Virtualization, security, and other cloud-related issues are in the purview of system administrators and those who want to be the best of the best will evolve their skills as technology evolves.

System Administrator Responsibilities

System administrators handle both large scale and smaller detailed tasks that involve IT infra-structure for an organization. That includes:

• planning the system
• installing its components
• supporting users as they access the system
• troubleshooting any network or infrastructure issues
• monitoring for efficiency and errors
• performing maintenance, and installing updates and security patches
• working with other IT staff and IT vendors
• strategizing for any future upgrades or changes
• planning and implementing security protocols
• monitoring the network’s security
• and working with non-IT staff to promote secure practices

Skills Needed

As with all tech positions a system administrator will have to be technologically inclined and able to solve problems, with attention to detail and organization. A system administrator needs to know a lot about every piece of the system, but also be able to put that information into easy to understand terms for non-IT users who will be accessing the network.

System administrators have to be able to handle a fast-paced, high-pressure environment. There are a lot of moving parts to any given IT infrastructure setup. Add in the requirements of regular maintenance and updating, along with those emergency situations that call for IT help as fast as possible, and system administrators are busy people with wildly varying days. Some organiza-tions require on-call work in the event of an outage or other problem after hours, so system ad-ministrators should be prepared for that possibility depending on their employer.

System administrators need to be able to commit to confidentiality. Being in charge of the entire organizational network means having full access, with a high likelihood of coming across confi-dential information.

System administrators should constantly be updating their knowledge and staying on top of in-dustry trends and predictions. Technology evolves rapidly and as the future of IT becomes the present, it is up to the system administrator to take that information and translate it into real-world solutions that aid the whole organization on all levels.

What I have found is that while all system admin positions are different, typically employers are looking for people to have a broad knowledge of IT, but it’s also beneficial to have at least one area that is his or her strong suit.

If system administration sounds like something you would be good at and interested in, excellent! We look forward to working with you to find a tech employer that is an excellent match for your sys admin skills. Concero Technology Group is dedicated to matching tech experts with the companies who need them, and we work hard to ensure a good fit for everyone.

Get in touch with me today to learn more about the demand for system administrators and how you can capitalize on this to land in the job of your dreams.

TJ Eggleston

TJ Eggleston

Technical Recruiter

Watch TJ’s Spotlight video or connect with TJ on LinkedIn.

Top 10 Reasons Why Concero Makes Interviewing Fun

Top 10 Reasons Why Concero Makes Interviewing Fun

After experiencing consecutive years of growth, Concero, a leader in IT and industrial/engineering recruiting in St. Louis, expanded to a new location. After months of planning, the company relocated to a more spacious office to create a dynamic and inviting environment for both its team and consultants.

A core belief of Concero is that interviewing should be more than figuring out if “a person is a good fit,” rather the outcome should focus on authentic and memorable connections. So, this led the company to ask — how can the interview experience be improved?  

“We think there are some fundamental flaws in the recruiting business, specifically, that there’s too much focus on formal interviews, stilted questions and fake interactions. All of this makes it hard to get to know the ‘real’ person,” says Jay Murchison, president of Concero.

“Ultimately, we wanted to provide something different that changes the hiring landscape for people and businesses in IT and engineering in St. Louis,” explains Murchison.  

Many talented people in IT and engineering are frequently contacted by recruiters, but not everyone is skilled at active and engaged listening. Concero’s belief is that much of the challenge of being a good listener is a result of the places and spaces where these conversations are happening.

Patrick Ruzicka, COO, explains, “As we were building our new office, instead of putting in the standard features, we decided to focus on how we can create an atmosphere that encourages genuine interactions. What we’ve created is totally unique to our industry and the Greater St. Louis area.”

Why is it more fun to work with Concero:

  1. Comfy interview spaces — no 8×8 boxes with bad artwork. Instead, people have the choice of booths in an open area or private spaces that can be reserved.
  2. No cold sterile, conference rooms — the Concero team can hold meetings in a more comfortable “living room”… complete with couches and lamps.
  3. Actual privacy — we love our team, but sometimes we can use a little peace and quiet if we need to talk to our consultants about something sensitive.
  4. Kaldi’s coffee — ON TAP!
  5. A variety of beverages and snacks — so. many. snacks.
  6. Our own Concero bar — we can host  events and meetings for candidates and clients alike, complete with a bar for adult beverages with local brews on tap.
  7. Fancy technology — Sonos speakers and TVs for entertainment, as well as plug and play technology that allows for easy presentation capabilities on large screen displays.
  8. Smiles — we like our teammates and helping people.
  9. Cause it is!
  10. Did we say snacks?

“Internally, we already have a culture that is energetic, fun and full of camaraderie. We regularly get feedback from our candidates about how they can tell that Concero team members enjoy going to work and being around their colleagues,” says Ruzicka.  

There are also other features that aren’t typically found in office environments, such as the shuffleboard table and scenic wall art of ocean waves or forests. The overall décor is modern and bold, but inviting – much like the company itself.

“This office is a visual representation of how much we care about the people we work with – our own employees, of course, but it’s also about those who trust us with their careers and livelihoods,” says Murchison.

“At the end of the day, we want our consultants to have the best experience when working with us and that starts with creating a welcoming and fun environment from the minute they step in the door.”

Check out the gallery below to see photos of Concero’s new office.

Jay Murchison

Jay Murchison

President

Connect with Jay on LinkedIn