How to Find Your Dream UX Job: Q&A

A couple weeks ago, one of our Michigan Account Managers, Joe Tebben, had the honor and pleasure of serving as both a guest panelist and sponsor at Detroit’s User Experience Monthly Meetup. The group, informally known as DUX, is made up of approximately 550 members ranging from seasoned UI/UX professionals to recent graduates and folks still working towards becoming UI/UX professionals.

This particular meetup, titled “Finding Your Dream UX Job” allowed Joe, along with 6 others, to serve as a sounding board for DUX who had several great questions for the group of panelists. Some of these questions included:

  • What types of UX jobs are available?
  • What skills/experience do I need to get a UX job?
  • What types of software/prototyping tools should I be able to use?
  • What are some important do’s and don’ts’s in a UX interview?

While these were just a few of the many questions asked at the meeting, the conversation shared some great insight on what candidates and hiring managers both look for in a UI/UX position. For more information and pictures from the event please visit the DUX Meetup Website. Missed out on the event, but still want to talk to someone about UI/UX positions? Give our Michigan office a call at (734) 667-4126 and ask for Joe!

4 Ways to Ensure You are Working Effectively With Your Recruiter

Working effectively with a recruiter relies heavily upon an open line of communication between both the recruiter and the candidate. To match the right candidate with the right position, there are a few things both the candidate and the recruiter can do to make the process go smoothly.

  1. Ask Questions

You can never ask too many questions and there is no such thing as a stupid question. For a recruiter, it’s crucial to find out as much as you can about a candidate before submitting their resume. Same goes for a candidate. It’s important for you to know everything you can about the role before you interview and accept the position.

2. Be Honest

There’s nothing worse than getting to an interview and finding out the position was not what you thought it was because the recruiter was not open about what the role entailed. It’s also equally upsetting for a recruiter to submit a candidate who may not have been completely honest about their qualifications. Honesty is the best policy when it comes to recruiting.

3. Stick to Deadlines

Going through the on-boarding process is something no one particularly likes to do. Between the paperwork, background check, and potential drug screen, who has time for all of that with their busy schedule? To make the process as pain-free as possible, it’s important for the recruiter not only to get the process started on-time, but also for the candidate to fill out the paperwork and go through all other screenings in a timely manner.

4. Meet in Person

So much can be lost in translation via email or telephone. Meeting with a candidate or your recruiter is a great way to break down any communication barriers. You might even have time to knock out some on-boarding paperwork over a cup of coffee.

An effective relationship takes two. The recruiter and the candidate both have to buy in to the process. While there are definitely more ways to work effectively with a recruiter, these have proven to be the simplest and, well, most effective, in our experience, at creating long-lasting recruiter-candidate relationships.

 

City Series Pt. 3 | Orlando, FL

Our third, and final, stop in the City Series lands us 1,100 miles south of Detroit in the beautiful Sunshine State. Not widely known for its tech industry, Orlando is quickly earning a spot among the fast growing cities in the nation. Orlando, home to Conexess’ newest office, is showing great growth opportunity and is poised to continue pushing the envelope. Just this year we’ve added 2 recruiters and we’re looking to add a 3rd member to the team by the year end.

General Business Overview

In the past year, Florida has seen over 260,000 jobs created and for the fourth month in a row, its growth rate has been number one among large states according to the Orlando Sentinel. Forbes has even named Orlando one of the Best Cities for Future Job Growth in 2015.

Orlando IT Market Snapshot

According to the South Florida Business Journal, Technical Occupations are ranked as the 3rd highest-paying jobs in South Florida. Forbes also named Florida, one of Top 10 Fastest Growing States for Tech Jobs in 2015. With a growth rate of 4.27%, technology has quickly become Orlando’s second largest industry behind tourism.

Thousands of software developer, computer programmer, graphic designer and engineer positions are opening and we’re eager to fill them. Our Orlando team has already done a phenomenal job establishing Conexess as the go-to recruitment firm in the area and we couldn’t be more proud of all their hard work has accomplished. The future is looking bright for our Sunshine State team!

If  you are interested in a position in the Orlando or surrounding area, please feel free to give our Orlando Office a call at (407) 988-3965 or send an email to admin@conexess.com. We’d love to chat with you about your next career move!

Data was gathered from the following sources:

Orlando Sentinel//Forbes//South Florida Business Journal//Fox Business

Conexess: The Best & Brightest

We are both excited and honored to be named among the Best and Brightest companies to work for in the Metropolitan Detroit area. The Best and Brightest competition identifies companies who excel in communication, work-life balance, employee education, diversity, recognition and retention. Follow this link for more information: http://101bestandbrightest.com/companies/conexess-group/

At Conexess there’s no set formula we have for creating a “great work environment”. We hire fun, hard-working, intelligent individuals who share the same passion for business and success, and in the end it creates a really awesome work environment.

Here are some of the reasons our Detroit employees love where they work:

“Life at Conexess is like working with your family & friends.  We constantly push, learn from and compete with each other in the way siblings & friends do.  Between the quarterly competitions, drive to succeed and overall fun atmosphere we get to work in everyday, Conexess is completely different than any other staffing & recruiting firm in the industry.  Rather than being metrics driven we measure our work from an accountability standpoint so that everyone is self-aware and responsible for their own success!”-Account Manager


“The individual freedom gives me the opportunity to work harder and smarter than I ever have before in my career.  This is a value that you don’t see in most companies these days.  I can honestly say I look forward to coming into work every day.”-Sr. Technical Recruiter


“For a variety of reasons, there’s an appeal associated with ‘underdogs’. In the case of Detroit, MI, we’ve long been the butt of jokes for comedians and generated negative impressions for the vast majority of people in the nation. Yet, as evidenced by the recent rebirth in downtown Detroit, we now have a new moniker as America’s Comeback City.  While new restaurants, bars, stores, arenas, rail systems provide a visual confirmation of improvements, it’s ultimately all about JOBS. For the Conexess Detroit office, this lands us in a great position on this area’s timeline. Our Detroit office began as a bit of an ‘underdog’ too. Starting in a bedroom office, transitioning to four people crammed into a small office, through the current location in downtown Plymouth with 11 employees, finally eyeing our end-of-year destination to our own building with space to grow; Conexess Detroit directly aids the Metro Detroit area by filling our client’s critical staffing needs with our high-quality candidates.

As our reputation has grown in SE Michigan, we’ve been adding new clients, industries and positions. We’re on the cusp of some tremendous times in MI and it’s an honor for the Conexess Detroit office to be a direct participant in Detroit ultimately shedding the ‘underdog’ label.”-Account Manager


“At Conexess you can be yourself; you don’t have to put on a ‘work persona’ and act different than you would outside the office.  Everyone gets along and you can have fun while working. As long as you are doing your job you have the freedom of a flexible schedule which is hard to find with a lot of other companies in our industry.” -Technical Recruiter


“I like the fact that the office is less than a half-mile from my house and I can ride my bike to the office (weather permitting). It’s great going a work week without even getting into my car and being able to go home and eat lunch with my little ones.”-Technical Recruiter


 I love the freedom of being able to meet candidates for coffee, lunch, happy hour etc. One meeting can make a world of difference when building relationships and getting referrals.”-Technical Recruiter

 

To close, I will leave you with this parting thought: “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first”- Simon Sinek

Spotlight on Matt Baker

As difficult as it is to follow last month’s Spotlight (Ryan Seelhoff), the Orlando office is proud to put the Spotlight on Matt “the Touchdown Maker” Baker! Matt’s dedication and work ethic is paying off in a big way this year as the Orlando office continues to grow and mature in a very challenging market. When Matt isn’t spreading the good word about Conexess, he facilitates sports training sessions in his home town of Saint Cloud, Florida. Conexess is proud to have this beast of a team player on OUR team!! Go Matt!

Best thing about living/working in Orlando:

Being close to family, and the amazing weather year round.

Favorite part about being a recruiter:

Having the opportunity to help people find the perfect career path.

Nicknames:

Baketrain- I’ve had that name since the high school football days. (Toot…toot!)

What is something you are passionate about?

Fitness and helping develop young athletes.

Little known fact about you:

I have huge addiction to workout sneakers. I must own over 20 pairs.

Best place to eat in Orlando:

Jimmy Bear’s BBQ.

What is your favorite weekend activity?

Boating and spending time with family and friends.

Connect with Matt on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter!

The Nerdiest Blog Post You Ever Did See

Or, as most of us would say, Happy Valentine’s Day! Working at an IT Staffing company, nerdiness just comes with the territory. In the spirit of the upcoming “holiday” (thank you, Hallmark), here are our best geeky pick-up lines. Enjoy!

“Roses are #ruby

Violets are blue,

It’ll make my day

If I get a call from YOU” 

“Do people call you Google? Because you’re everything I’ve been searching for.”

“You are hotter than the bottom of a laptop that has been in use for 5 hours.”

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“If I had a bitcoin for every time I saw someone as attractive as you, I’d have one bitcoin.”

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“Talk nerdy to me.” – Jason Derulo

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*User discretion is advised – these lines have been known to make Trekkies and computer programmers alike go weak at the knees. Just make sure you’re prepared to catch the intended recipient when he/she falls.

 

Lessons Learned while Networking

If you don’t get a warm and fuzzy feeling when you hear about an upcoming networking event (and by warm and fuzzy, I don’t mean about to hurl), never fear – that can change! Speaking as a former wallflower, I can now confidently say that I genuinely enjoy networking events. If you had told me that I would feel this way 10 years ago, I would have laughed in your face. Or more realistically, giggled timidly and then awkwardly shuffle-walked away. Attending networking events well is all about perspective. The first networking event that I went to by myself was a little bit terrifying – nerve-inducing to the point of giving myself an audible pep talk in my car in the parking lot. It went a little something like this:

“Kayte, you are a big girl, you can do this. They won’t be mean to you, and if they are you can leave immediately. Just walk in, order a drink, take a quick lap, meet one person, and then you can leave.”

I ended up staying for 2 hours. I had a wonderful time, and made connections with people that I still keep up with nearly a year later. Since then, I have tried to attend one event each week. Not because I’m a cat lady and have nothing better to do with my free time, but because every time I go to a networking event, I walk away with something new (and not because I’m pickpocketing people while I’m there). Here are a few tidbits that I’ve picked up along my networking journey; I hope they are helpful to you!

  1. Set a goal before you walk in: my goal is always to meet at least one person. I don’t let myself leave until that happens. Decide what you want to glean from the event, and don’t let yourself bail until you have achieved exactly what you intended.
  2. Practice makes perfect: turns out that my high school lacrosse coach was right – the more you practice, the easier networking becomes. The hyperactive butterflies in your stomach will subside, you’ll begin to see familiar faces as you attend regular meetings, and before you know it, friends you drag along will comment that you seem to know everyone in the room – imagine that! So allow yourself to make awkward conversational faux pas in the beginning, stumble through a discussion with a CEO without realizing he’s the CEO until it’s too late to recover, and forget your business cards – you will learn from all of these experiences! And as painful as the situation might seem in the moment, odds are that no one will remember you as “the girl who spilled wine on herself” at the next event. Keep practicing! It gets easier, I promise.
  3. You just never know who you’ll meet: making valuable connections is the whole point of networking. If you have registered for the event via a site like Eventbrite, you may have access to the guest list and can then mentally prepare for the people you will meet there. Otherwise, you can just walk up to someone and start a conversation – that person could be your next employer/best friend/business partner/boyfriend/girlfriend/etc. You just never know!
  4. Humans are better than the 9:00 news claims: I cannot tell you how many times the strangers I’ve met at networking events have offered to help me. Whether it is a videographer suggestion, or recommending a friend of mine for a job opening, people (in Nashville at least) are pretty great. And while you never know what someone might be able to offer you, you also don’t know how you’ll be able to help them. This has been perhaps my favorite aspect of networking – getting caught up in the “how can I help you” mentality that everyone seems to share.
  5. Clinging to your safety raft gets you nowhere*: Bringing a few friends or coworkers with you to a networking event is great. BUT if you only talk to them all night, you might as well have gone straight home from work and watched Netflix because you will be missing out on all of the benefits of networking. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be intimidating, but taking the easy road is often not the most beneficial in the long run. So let go of that safety raft and make some new connections, you won’t regret it.

Here are a few of the networking events that I have attended in the Nashville area. Check out their websites, and I hope to see you at an event in the near future 🙂

Nashcocktail

Nashville Geek Breakfast

Network After Work

12th & Broad events

WiTT events

Girl Geek Dinner

What are you favorite networking events? Any tips to share? Leave a comment below.

*Unless it’s a literal safety raft and you’re stranded in the middle of the ocean, <my nightmare> then please hang on for dear life.

The Reason for the Season

Last week, our Nashville office had the opportunity to volunteer at the Salvation Army warehouse. We had no idea what we would be doing, and upon arrival learned that we would be “shopping” for the Forgotten Angels. Are you familiar with the Angel Tree program? Families that cannot afford to purchase gifts for their children can register their kids for the Angel Tree. A form that lists their clothing sizes, “want,” and “need” items is then placed on a tree in a mall for passerby to select, shop for, and then bring the gifts to the Salvation Army warehouse. Although it is a wonderful program that benefits numerous families around the country each year, there are holes in it. Unselected forms that are left on the trees signify the “Forgotten Angels” – kids that will not receive any Christmas gifts if left as is.

Our job at the warehouse was to take a Forgotten Angel form, and get the child his “needs,” and 2 medium sized toys or “wants” from a large selection of donated goodies in the middle of the warehouse. We put the gifts for each child into a large sack, reminiscent of Santa Claus (ho, ho, ho), and sorted them by family to be delivered.  I was not expecting to become so easily attached to these faceless forms, but seeing items like “coat, shoes, undergarments, baby wipes, and diapers” listed as “needs” was incredibly sobering. It was so special to see my coworkers working together to find the best possible gifts for their Angels. While we will never know for sure, I like to imagine that the faces of our Angels will light up on Christmas morning when they see presents waiting for them under the tree. The part that we played was so trivial in the grand scheme of things, but it feels great to know that we made a small difference for these kids. As heart-wrenching as it is to think that the biggest concern for some of these children is where their next meal will come from, the fact that they will get to escape from reality for even a moment to unwrap their gifts and feel the joy of Christmas is what our volunteer experience was all about. That thought brings a smile to my face and a tear to my eye each time I think about it – how lucky are we that we had the chance to help these nameless Angels?

While we were working to give to the Forgotten Angels, they inadvertently also gave to us. Volunteering with Salvation Army was a great reminder of the reason for the season – spending time with people you care about, and helping others. Collectively, we have been so very blessed this year at Conexess, and want to say a heartfelt “thank you” to those of you who been part of our journey throughout 2014. We wish you Happy Holidays, and all the best in the New Year. We also encourage you to consider volunteering this holiday season – here are a few links to get you started in the Nashville area:

http://www.hon.org/

http://www.paradisedivision.org/Nashville

http://secondharvestmidtn.org/

Conexessgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! It is safe to say that we have all been incredibly blessed at Conexess this year. With so much to be thankful for, we wanted to share a few of our thanksgivings with you 🙂

Wendy – I am thankful for my children.

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Kim – I am thankful for coffee!

Miles – I am thankful for my family.

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Ryan – As a participant in No Shave November, I shaved off my first beard attempt because it was too itchy….that being said, I’m thankful that my second beard attempt hasn’t been as itchy!

Kelsie – Thankful for my family.

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Matt – I’m thankful for friends and sweet tea.

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Carly – I’m thankful for my boyfriend.

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David – I’m thankful for my son, Grant Escue.

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Kayte – I’m thankful that I live in the South where it’s warm 🙂

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Michael – I am thankful for the opportunities that Conexess has provided me.

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Jenna Kay – I’m thankful for friends who feel like family.

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Meg – I am thankful for my friends and family.

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Peyton – I’m thankful for golf.

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Jerry – I am thankful for good health.

Dan- I am thankful for my baby girl, Olive, the new life in my life.

 

We are also thankful for all of YOU! What is something that you’re thankful for this year? Tell us in the comment section below!

Surviving the Holiday Party Cycle

November 1st through January 2nd is a crazy time for everyone. It doesn’t matter what you do or don’t celebrate, that 2 month stretch is the busiest time of the social calendar year. A holiday cocktail party followed by a gingerbread house building competition, followed by an ugly sweater party, followed by a tree lighting ceremony, holiday parade, office party, dinner with friends, the list goes on and on. ‘Tis the season to be jolly…However, the endless barrage of events can be exhausting, expensive, time-consuming, and have the potential to turn you into a grinch. Let’s avoid that, shall we? Here’s how:

  • Don’t overcommit – You will undoubtedly receive invitations to parties/events that are on the same night. When that happens, PICK ONE! There is no need to be a crazy person and try to run around town to make appearances at multiple places in one evening. This tactic will keep you sane, and help you to be present at the party you choose to attend, rather than glancing at your watch every 5 minutes to make sure you’re on schedule.
  • Watch your <spiked> eggnog intake… – Holiday parties are fun on their own. The tacky sweaters, the gingerbread, the white elephant gift exchanges, the music, all combine to create a Winter Wonderland. While alcohol can definitely enhance an event, you absolutely do not want to be the employee who has one too many and tries to kiss your boss’ wife under the mistletoe. Enjoy, but keep it under control- you should know your limits by now.
  • “The Holiday 15” – Did you know that the average American gains between 10 and 15 pounds from October to January?? YIKES. Drinking wintery beverages and eating heavy food is to blame. And the fact that it gets dark at 5:00 does nothing for evening workout motivation. The weight gain can be avoided by consciously looking for healthy options at parties you attend. Eat the veggies and hummus instead of the double chocolate oreo truffles. OR go big and eat the truffles, just make sure you get to the gym the next day. Life is about moderation, people.
  • Budget, budget, budget – Post holiday credit card statements can cause shock induced panic, and reactions like “there is no WAY I spent that much.” The solution? Create a holiday budget well in advance, and stick to it! Buying gifts adds up quickly, and once you include the dinners, cocktail parties, and travel expenses, you might feel like you need to pull a Thelma & Louise just to breakeven. If you give yourself a budget with a little wiggle room, you’ll be able to avoid robbing a bank…otherwise known as being a responsible adult.
  • Keep it all in perspective – “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”…..right?? It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season; make sure to take the time to step back, take a deep breath, look around, and appreciate who you’re with. The most important part of the holiday season is spending time with loved ones, don’t let that be overshadowed by the busyness that goes hand-in-hand with this time of year.

This season, don’t let yourself be sucked into stress traps. Take our advice, and enjoy your time at holiday parties with friends and family 🙂 What are some of the ways that you avoid turning into Scrooge around the holidays? Tell us in the comments section below!