Tech Hiring: Have You Considered H1B Candidates?

The number of job openings is currently at a 14-year high in the US with nearly five million job openings. In 2014, 129,600 tech jobs were added for a total of 6.5 million tech workers, representing the fourth consecutive year of growth in tech jobs. This has created a shortage of available talent for highly skilled technical workers. Organizations are now being forced to turn to non-traditional resources for hiring needs, including intern and apprentice programs and online freelance sites, just to name a few. If your needs require an experienced, full-time and (hopefully) longer-term resource, the options are more limited - and the competitive landscape for that talent is significantly more fierce. If this is where you find yourself, one possibility to consider is leveraging the H1B visa program.Tech Hiring: Have You Considered H1B Candidates?

(Before I go on, let me first acknowledge the debate that continues to rage about the merits of the program. If you aren’t familiar, did a special report linked here that I highly recommend.)

So why should you consider hiring from the H1B labor pool?

Quite simply, the H1B program provides employers access to a vast number of highly-educated workers, with some of the most in-demand skillsets. Just how big is that talent pool? From the Dice article linked above, the number of H1B visas issued over the six-year period ending in 2012 was nearly 800,000. Of those, estimates are that approximately 500,000 H1B visa holders work in IT. With just over 2.5 million total IT workers in the US, this means that H1B visa holders make-up nearly 20% of the available workforce! If that isn’t compelling enough for you, here are a few other things to consider:

  • H1B workers require sponsorship, which can be a complicated process for the uninitiated (more on that later). For that reason, many companies choose not to even consider these workers in their hiring plans – thus reducing overall competition for these highly-skilled individuals.
  • Many workers applying for H1B visas are interested in permanent residency or citizenship within the US companies who assist in this process. These companies often benefit through increased loyalty and longer tenures from these hires.

In my role as Immigration Manager at MATRIX, I have witnessed firsthand that the demand for highly skilled H1B employees has consistently increased over the last few years. The benefits of successful H1B sponsorship are significant, but as mentioned above, the process of identifying and obtaining an H1B visa can have several risks if not handled correctly.

If you are considering H1B visa sponsorship to fulfill your job openings, here are a few things to keep in mind:

H1B candidates require a sponsoring employer. They cannot be hired directly unless they are sponsored.

  • There is a limited number of H1B visas issued each calendar year.
  • There are no guarantees of being awarded an H1B visa and legal fees and filings are not refundable.
  • The person whom you are considering for sponsorship can have multiple potential sponsors. They are under no legal obligation to accept your offer, even if your visa application is approved.

Time and cost.

  • Obtaining a new H1B visa is done seven months in advance of the employee being able to begin working on their H1B visa.
  • The average time to initiate the H1B visa transfer with premium processing is three to five weeks and does not account for a notice period.
  • Costs vary between $5,000 to $6,000 per H1B visa.

Limited time allowed – Six years is the maximum allowed for a H1B.

  • H1B visas are issued in two-three year increments. This time can only be extended if the H1B employee has gone through PERM/Green card process with PERM Labor certification and an approved I-140.

Cultural and communication barriers.

  • Adapting to the US business environment can prove to be very challenging for some H1B candidates. In most cases, English is a second or third language.

To sum it all up, hiring an H1B employee can be a great solution to your IT hiring woes - but can also be very difficult to navigate on your own. If you’ve done the research, and the task just seems too daunting, you might consider getting outside help. An immigration lawyer is a good option, or you could partner with a company like MATRIX who is intimately familiar with the process, and who has experienced resources in place to help deliver the talent you need.

If you would like to learn more about how MATRIX can help with your H1B hiring needs, please feel free to contact me or reach out to your MATRIX Account Executive.

About the Author: 

Robert Bouchard is the Immigration Manager at MATRIX. He possesses almost ten years of IT staffing experience and has served in his current role with MATRIX since July 2013. He is responsible for managing all immigration related matters across the organization. Robert earned a BBA from Georgia Southern University and lives and breathes Atlanta Falcons football. Please connect with him on LinkedIn.

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Hiring Manager

7 Ways to Spice Up Your Work Life This Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is here, and it’s time to celebrate the Patron Saint of Love! In addition to loving those in your personal life, try to spread a little love in your workplace as well. We spend 160 hours per month at work, so why not make it something that that we love? Life is much too short to work at something that doesn’t make you happy!7 Ways to Spice Up Your Work Life This Valentine's Day

Here are 7 ideas to use Cupid to spice up your workplace this February:

  1. Understand Your Why.

    Why do you do what you do? Why does your company do what it does? Connect the dots and find more love on the job. With greater understanding of the big picture, you’re more likely to crashproof your career.

  2. Give More Than You Get.

    Relationships are based on mutual need and benefit. Give a little bit more than you get and see your value in the organization rise and your job satisfaction soar.

  3. Just Drop It.

    Have a longstanding feud with a coworker? Drop it! Now is the time to drop the past, share the love, and move on to a better work relationship. Maybe you've been wronged or overlooked, but now the past is gone. Forgive and move on to bigger and better things.

  4. Manage Up, Down, and All Around.

    Manage yourself, manage your interactions with those around you, and yes, manage your boss. When you choose to manage all aspects of your workplace relationships, love for your job increases—and often so do your earnings.

  5. Hone Your Craft.

    Be sure to work on making yourself better while doing your job. Constantly seek ways to improve your skills and abilities in your craft. It's your responsibility to grow yourself, not your company. Find ways to get better and see love for your job and earnings increase.

  6. Take a New Route.

    Let's face it: sometimes work is a grind. No way around it. Try taking a new way to work to spice things up a bit. It could literally be driving a new route, rearranging your workspace, or maybe making a small adjustment to your way of working. Sometimes variety adds just enough spice to our work to make it more meaningful and rewarding.

  7. Choose Fun.

    No one said that work has to be drudgery. Whether you’re driving a cab or chairing the big annual board meeting, take the opportunity to have a few laughs. Spread the love by using humor, and you’ll help strengthen your network and crashproof your career. 

So, as you get flowers for mom,  make reservations at the hottest new restaurant for your loved one, take some time to spread the love in your job and enjoy the benefits. You’ll do better at the job you have today, and you’ll help crashproof your career for tomorrow!

About the Author: 

Jon Davis is Executive Vice President at MATRIX . He has 20 years of experience in leading sales teams and corporate recruiting efforts in all verticals ranging from startup companies, mid-market organizations and the Fortune 100. Follow Jon on Twitter for more career tips: @JonDavis12.

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How to Get Your First Job As a Software Developer

During my last two years of studies, I interviewed with many different companies. Most of them required some experience in a programming language: Java, .Net, Php, etc. I had many friends that had part-time jobs working as web developers. For them, it was easier to secure a full-time job after graduation. For me on the other hand, the lack of experience hurt my chances to start my IT career right after graduation.How to Get Your First Job As a Software Developer

To help you get your first job as a software developer, I recommend you follow these tips:

Gain experience
The sooner you start your professional career, the better chances you have securing your first job as a software developer. Working part-time and going to school at the same time is no easy task. I highly recommend finding a part-time job during summer or finding an interesting open-source project where you can apply your knowledge. Employers want students that not only have academic projects on their resume, but also real life projects.

Keep investing in your education
Information Technology is a fascinating field. It is always changing. With this in mind, you have to keep investing in your education. If you learned .Net or Java during college and you feel that having learned those programming languages is enough, you are wrong. Pick up a new programming language. Right now, Javascript skills are in high demand. Perhaps you want to learn Ruby on Rails, or Python. What about mobile development? Android and iOS developers are also in high demand. I encourage you to buy books or subscribe to online courses to help you learn new languages.

Embrace change
The only constant is change. Embrace it. A few years ago, Android and iOS didn't even exist. However, every year we saw that phones were becoming smaller in size and more powerful. People began to refer to phones as mini-computers. Software developers need to be ready to change. The technology that is popular today may not be popular tomorrow. If you're a software developer, always have an open mind to technology change.

I hope these tips help! Leave your comments or questions below.

About the Author: 

Raymond Sanchez is a Senior Software Engineer currently working for Verizon Enterprise Solutions. During the day, he develops with C#, Javascript, SQL Server, TFS, Git, HTML and CSS. Lately, he’s been writing code in Ruby, Rails, Python and Django. Follow Raymond online at his blog or connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Job Seeker

Millennials + Technology: The Good, the Bad and the Awkward

Millennials - critics have scrutinized this generation from many angles in recent times, with varying conclusions. Narcissistic, demanding, and lazy seem to be common. Although these characteristics may speak some truth, they do not tell the whole story. One thing is for certain, Millennials have been immersed in technology practically since infancy. They have been raised in the midst of skyrocketing technological advances.Millennials + Technology: The Good, the Bad and the Awkward I still remember as a child, a friend’s mother saying, “I wish that there was a way you could talk to your phone and it writes the text for you.” Nearly ten years later, this feature has become a staple in smartphones. 

So how does technology impact millennials?

The Good

With nearly everything going digital and rapid technological progressions, adaptation is crucial. For millennials, this skill comes instinctively given their exposure to gadgets and smartphones. You see this in the workplace among interactions with Generation X and Baby Boomers. Previous generations often seek the assistance of millennials for training on untapped features and shortcuts, on both personal and professional levels. Trainings are executed, and sometimes these processes come easier for the younger generation. This kind of humbling collaboration can build a stronger, more dynamic team.

In my current internship, it’s not uncommon for me to get questions like: “How do you set this up?” “Can you help me manage MY Twitter account?” and “That feature exists?! I had NO idea!”

Rationally, I get that not everyone understands things unanimously, but experiencing this in the workplace was initially an eye-opener for me. Ultimately, this technology/generational gap offers a learning opportunity for everyone, and sometimes we just have to laugh about it. It’s created a light-hearted environment and open communication throughout our staff. There is no segregation or judgment – we just accept each other’s strengths and weaknesses and do our best to help each other out.

Having access to technology has also enabled me to be more productive and prompt. I can contact whomever–coworkers or peers–I need to from any device. I can access documents wherever I am. Multitasking is easier and deliverables are timely. Without resources like WiFi or laptops or tablets, I would be forced to be in-office or on-campus. Or worse, I would have to use the U.S. Postal Service to mail documents– is this honestly daunting? For someone who is used to efficiency, yes. In my personal opinion, technology is simply a wonderful thing.

The Bad

Instant gratification is also frequently linked with millennials. Because the internet and society’s beloved Google is just a quick search away on any device, it is so easy to have an immediate answer. With this instant gratification comes impatience and boredom. However, there also comes curiosity and a strong yearning to learn. Those qualities result in a drive for accomplishment and the ability to multitask. Having multiple devices and the internet allows the ability to solve problems quickly and uncover new perspectives. The accessibility to a vast amount of information means this generation gains more knowledge more quickly than any generation before.

The Awkward

A downfall to this technology immersion is impaired interpersonal skills. Although millennials are more globally accepting (thanks to multiple social media outlets), it can be hard for them to connect to the individual standing five feet away from them. Constantly hiding behind a device, whether it’s a computer, tablet, or mobile phone, has hindered a social skill that previous generations have mastered. Millennials will strategize what they post to create a certain perspective on how they are perceived on social media. Rather than having real life conversations, they provide virtual snippets of their lives. Can millennials improve these interpersonal skills? Like most things, yes. However, it does not come as naturally as it has in the past.

At the end of the day, the intimate relationship between millennials and technology is permanent. Having a generation that has been surrounded by technology has its pros and cons, but each generation brings something different. Despite the negative connotations associated with millennials, technology highlights new positives.

About the Author: 

Lily Van is a Social Media Specialist at MATRIX, pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing at the University of Texas at Dallas. She currently manages multiple social media accounts, providing engagement among followers, and supports the marketing department. She loves music and attending festivals, dance, and most importantly, food. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn.

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Recruiters Gone Wild: The fake resume experiment

It’s a great time to be a skilled worker in the IT industry...

but it’s not all a bed of roses.

We frequently hear stories about candidates dealing with overeager, or just plain annoying, recruiters.

So to support our New Year’s resolution of being different, we decided to conduct a little experiment.

We created a fake resume for a developer and posted it online for five days. The results were unbelievable. Check out our video to see what happened:

Let us know your own stories in the comments. Keep it clean please :)

About the Author: 

Jennifer is the Digital Content Specialist for MATRIX. Her primary mission is to understand what information our various communities want and need from MATRIX, and to deliver it to them in ways that are enlightening, engaging and in sync with who we are as a company. She loves pop culture, Oklahoma football and the great state of Texas. Feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn.

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