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Is going travelling good for your career?

Paul crossing the Thorong La Pass at 5,416m the climax point of the Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal, the Himalayas

Paul crossing the Thorong La Pass at 5,416m the climax point of the Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal, the Himalayas

Time and time again people mention travelling as one of the best things you can do to learn about life, yourself, what makes you happy & how to get there.


But do hiring managers, IT recruiters or potential employers view travelling as a positive?


I think it gives you perspective, especially after travelling in developing countries, learning how little people need to have an honest living, with smiles & taking joy from the small things, and sharing a meal with their family & friends.


How do you know what good looks like? I found it gave me a great perspective, allowing me to realise how good we have it here in New Zealand.

Paul arriving home after a long stint working in IT recruitment in the UK

Paul arriving home after a long stint working in IT recruitment in the UK

Understanding the cool things about how different cultures do things, taking some of their neat ideas, experiencing weird & wonderful food, learning about their history opens your mind to possibilities.

Working in different companies in new countries & cultures across the world also breaks down some of the key fundamentals & requirements to be a great professional & add value. Turning up, putting in an honest days work, being genuine, communicating well, admitting when you screwed up & owning it, working together, to achieve a common goal and enjoying / sharing success together. Learning what ‘good’ and ‘bad’ looks like.

We put it out on Facebook to see what some other professionals thought:

‘Expands the mind through education, opportunities and experiences’. - Nick (Head of Engineering)

‘Travel and working elsewhere has given me a great deal of perspective and insight I would never have gained by staying here (NZ). It’s probably a win for my employers as well, but they certainly don’t value it’. - Sharyn (Programme Manager)

‘All round the world yes opens everyones eyes.’ - Charles (Manager)

‘Personal travel for broadening my mind? Yes critical for business / career.’ - Andrew (Patent Attorney)

‘As someone who went overseas and came back, I'm always looking for other boomerangs as I can see the benefit of my time overseas’. - Ruth (Management Consultant)

I think for me it’s all the amazing people you meet, the opening of your mind to try & do things differently, take on peoples different opinions & perspectives - look at things differently, be dynamic & open to change…and come up with creative solutions to solve problems, sometimes in sticky situations…It also gives you confidence, meeting new people, especially solo backpacking is great for this & so much fun!

For IT professionals, Aussie, London, Europe and the US have been great places to go and work, experiencing a range of different IT projects, domains, companies & cultures. The only problem is sometimes it’s hard to extract yourself and make it back to New Zealand, and now there’s increasing global uncertainty which will have an impact, although to what extent, we’ll have to see.

Both myself & my partner Steph were both in the UK wondering if there were jobs challenging enough back in little old NZ!?!? We were pleasantly surprised with a number of interesting organisations & companies, some exporting interesting products or savvy tech, and that coupled with the kiwi, no hassle lifestyle is so refreshing than the hustle & bustle of some overseas living and to be home close to family & friends is just golden for us.

Not only this but to go back to the original question…do hiring managers, IT recruiters or potential employers view travelling as a positive? Well, it depends! But from my experiences, it can help people to be more open to trying different things and being resourceful, creative & solution orientated and can often be more resilient to roll with the ups & downs. Will it actually improve your career opportunities? Hard to say but you’ll certainly have a great time & learn a lot about yourself which is extremely valuable.

So get out into this amazing world do your OE (Overseas Experience) for a few years and learn stuff, meet life long friends and when you’ve returned and you’re at home in NZ, those travelling memories will be extremely fond (especially for those of us who have wee people in their lives!)

I'd be very interested to know your opinion so please make a comment below :-)

I'm Paul, I love coffee, Founder & Principal Consultant of Sunstone, an IT Recruitment & HR company specialising in recruiting IT roles within software, web, mobile, blockchain, big data, cloud infrastructure, security & networks in Christchurch & South Island of New Zealand.

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How did I lose my IT intern? Some key points to snaggle great IT interns!

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I often see great IT interns not get hired by the company they’re working for…there’s a couple of reasons for this:

  1. They didn’t fit the role / culture

  2. There wasn’t an opening for them

  3. They took another role


But often I hear back from IT interns that they didn’t hear back from the company at all and had taken another opportunity.

We sometimes get feedback that when a company goes to offer that great intern a new role but they’ve already accepted a new IT graduate role with another company.

The key message here is to ask them at the start ‘What are your career aspirations’? They might be looking for that overseas opportunity with Google or Palantir in Sydney or London etc or they might be looking to stay here in Christchurch and would love to work with you. If they head off on their OE (Overseas Experience) good on them, wish them well, give them a great experience & hopefully they’ll be in touch on their return.

IT Recruitment is a short-term, medium-term and long-term game.

The other key message is to be up front and ask them if they have any current offers and to let you know when or if they do get something to let you know so at least you can make an offer and be in the mix not to miss out on securing that great IT intern.

Also don’t forget to keep in touch with the interns from the year before who have a year left of study & are best contacted a couple of months before they finish their final exams.

There’s lots of positives with interns including them bringing fresh ideas, new energy, working on sand pit projects you’d like exploring, good PR for your industry being active in the graduate market, but of course the best thing about interns is that it’s ‘try before you buy’ for both parties and you often land your next rock star before your IT graduate recruiting even starts :-)

I'm Paul, Founder & Principal Consultant of Sunstone, an IT Recruitment & HR company specialising in recruiting IT roles within software, web, mobile, blockchain, big data, infrastructure, security & networks in Christchurch & South Island of New Zealand.

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Why are IT Recruiters so paranoid about giving out company information & always want you to send them your CV?

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Very simply security of Information. 

Candidates asking for info on a client ‘who’s the company?’ can potentially be tyre kickers. IT recruiters want to see some form of commitment & this is signified by updating your CV & sending it through to them.

It’s a trust thing.

But what about just using your LinkedIn profile? 

Well yes nearly everyone has one but we often want more technical detail on the projects you’ve worked on & again producing an updated CV shows you’re ready to go...

But what if I don’t want to be put forward to that company? 

That’s fine. Good IT recruiters won’t do this but they want to have the conversation with you, so they can answer your questions & tell you what you want to know about the role, culture & company. This is vital information that you can’t find out on the web, earnt through hours of experience spent by the IT recruitment consultant working with a client over many months or many years.

If you don’t have a CV that’s ok we really encourage catching up for a coffee to discuss your career and are always happy to help you with advice on the market, how to grow, be successful & happy.

An experienced IT recruiter only has so many hours in the day & if they’re talking to you it’s often because they strongly believe the role has potential to be a good match. Trusting them to get you in front of clients can reap the best IT contracts or permanent roles in your career.

On the flip side If they’re not talking to you, they probably don’t have something for you.

In the digital age it’s often easy to search and find companies to send CVs to. Often a company has chosen to work with an IT recruiter for two main reasons.  Time and effort.  Usually they have built a relationship with an IT recruiter they trust & have them work through all the people that contact them, and reach out to until they find the right ones for their company.  It saves them a lot of their valuable time and means they can get on with making their business successful and only meet people who are likely to be right for them.

Clients are often time poor & trust experienced IT recruiters that when they send through that CV of a rockstar Dev it’s because they believe that person can add significant value to your team.

It’s a very outcome based model, in which IT recruiters only get rewarded on success which drives & motivates strong results for both candidates & clients.

Choose & work with experienced, specialist IT recruiters in a market they know thoroughly & they will be able to give you superb advice on how to maximise your potential in the IT job market or find your next superstar candidate who could take your software products to the next level!

I hope this is helpful for both IT candidates & IT clients & gives a useful insight into the mindset of the IT recruiter….

I'm Paul, Founder & Principal Consultant of Sunstone, an IT Recruitment & HR company specialising in recruiting IT roles within software, web, mobile, blockchain, big data, infrastructure, security & networks in Christchurch & South Island of New Zealand.

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Does the IT Job Market in NZ slow down in the lead up to Christmas? NO it's actually the opposite

Classic Kiwi Buzzy Bee christmas ornament, photo by Sunstone

Classic Kiwi Buzzy Bee christmas ornament, photo by Sunstone

I often get asked what's the IT Job market like in the lead up to Christmas? Does it slow down? It must get slow in December right? Does IT Recruiting stop?

NO. it's actually the opposite.....

Since my return from the UK over 8 years ago I've made offers to IT candidates in Christchurch right up to the day before Christmas EVERY year!

Now there's a few reasons for this....Line Managers often have outstanding openings in their teams they desperately want to get them sorted before they head off on summer holidays, at least getting the contract signed so they know that their new dev is secured & will start in the new year! They don't have to start in December but they know the contract is signed and and they can merrily head off on their well deserved summer break, knowing on their return the new team member will be starting in January or February.

There's also quite a bit of movement in the market around this time - it's spring heading into summer, people are out & about, bumping into old colleagues, having BBQs, maybe not getting that bonus or promotion in November gets them a little itchy for that better opportunity so you see a few people swapping in and swapping out of IT jobs.

We also have some great candidates returning from the UK or overseas coming back for Christmas to spend time with the family....summer is a nice time to return home and catch up with friends & family while soaking up the summer vibes and taking their time to find a new IT job and check out the NZ IT job market. They often plan to get something in the New Year but will inevitably start looking at the IT job market in November / December and if the right opportunity is there then BOOM it can happy all rather quickly and they will often start in January, like I did when I returned from the UK.

Yes it's a busy time - everybody wanting to get their IT projects delivered before the Christmas deadline and before everyone heads off for Christmas (most people take time off after Christmas 25th December and will return 7th or 14th January 2019) and some companies have a 2 week shut down. Other companies will close a few days before Christmas but I still find our IT clients, although busy will make an hour to interview a good potential new team member. In fact, it's like that all year round when working in an 'IT skill short market' you can't predict when a great IT candidate turns up and when they do you have to jump on them and be proactive to meet any good potential IT talent & get them on board!

If people don’t take their summer holiday in January, they will often in February (the best weather in average in NZ). Good IT recruiters / Line Managers & HR know this and it can be hard to get all the key decision makers to make the hire around this period, so again it’s great if you can get that great IT candidate over the line before Christmas and before the Jan / Feb holiday season it’s a good strategy.

Into January we also see IT candidates making that New Year's resolution, maybe doing a little 'Life Audit' and putting that into action by getting out on the IT job market so it can be a good time to find new IT candidates looking for a change in the New Year, as we know the IT industry never stops….

For our current Live IT Jobs in Christchurch & South Island please go to:

https://sunstonetalent.com/it-jobs-christchurch-nz/


I'm Paul, Founder & Principal Consultant of Sunstone, an IT Recruitment & HR company specialising in recruiting IT roles within software, web, mobile, blockchain, big data, infrastructure, security & networks in Christchurch & South Island of New Zealand.

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How to get WIN WIN WINS by using part-time IT Contractors

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Recently we’ve seen some really great results from companies utilising IT contractors on a part-time basis.

One of our clients came back after 3 months wanting to extend our contractor with…..

‘We're really impressed with their work - they’ve really allowed our project to progress, accelerate and boost our confidence that we'll actually get the project over the line’.

We were chuffed to hear this as it really is a WIN WIN WIN for the development manager, team, business & contractor, for everyone.

In this instance instead of hiring an intermediate-senior developer we’ve had a senior developer / architect work for 20 hours per week (4 hours per day) bringing hard to find Cloud & NoSQL skills to deliver tangible results for a similar total annual cost of a permanent full-time head count, without the risk of a permanent person not working out.

There’s no doubt you need core members of your team for BAU & the intricate domain knowledge & IP but sometimes contractors can tackle some problems that have been tried & failed or to give an injection of new skills & expertise, invigorating the team and lighting the fire to ignite a project.

It also often suits professional contractors who will have 10-20 hours of on-going work from previous clients (often systems they’ve built previously which they continue to support / maintain / add features to) so it works quite nicely for everyone.

Often it’s argued by clients that ‘Our code base takes X amount of time for someone to get up to speed on ie 5 or 6 months’ so why not pair a contractor with a senior dev to work alongside them? This way there’s cover / risk mitigation when the contractor moves on. This also means where there is some skill transfer you can retain in-house.

As work cultures are moving to becoming more outcome based models, business owners, directors & managers are under pressure to achieve their goals and using short-term IT contractors on a part-time basis is a great way to create significant value by getting fast, tangible results for the business.

if you’re looking for an IT contractor to work on a project or you’re an IT contractor who’d like to catch up please feel free to get in touch for a chat over coffee on: paul@sunstonetalent.com 

I'm Paul, Founder & Principal Consultant of Sunstone, an IT Recruitment & HR company specialising in recruiting IT roles within software, web, mobile, blockchain, big data, infrastructure, security & networks in Christchurch & South Island of New Zealand.

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