Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Will Companies Invest In and Train High Potential, Low Experience Candidates?

I want you for the Navy promotion for anyone e...
I want you for the Navy promotion for anyone enlisting, apply any recruiting station or postmaster: United States recruiting poster for women to enlist in the Navy, World War I. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The economy is coming back (right?) and qualified people are looking to either trade up for a better job or just get a job for the first time in a while.  How do you get the job, be rewarded appropriately for your experience and get the training you need to be successful in your new position?

The real question you need an answer for, however, is: will a potential employer recognize the opportunity you present as an experienced worker with many skills that may not be directly relevant to the position?  Will they invest in you, train you and help you to help them succeed? (Remember... this is really about what you can do for THEIR business, not the other way around.)

I think that some companies do invest in candidates with high potential but low experience.  Not all companies will, especially if they have recruiting processes that are over thought and set in stone.  Some, though, will realize that high potential, low experience candidates offer considerable benefits, especially when candidates have experience in a related position that doesn't necessary directly transfer but with skills that could add real and lasting value.  It comes down to risk and reward for the employer though.  If a candidate is too high of a risk they won't be interested at all.  If they are a medium-risk candidate but are asking for a top salary then it may still be too much for a potential employer.  To get hired, the candidate probably needs to lower the employer’s potential risk and ask for less salary.
Salary is a reward and when you come in with less transferring experience but asking for a higher reward you become a “high-risk” candidate.  There’s an assumed higher rate of failure among candidates with less experience.  When combined with a higher salary ask it’s just too much and you’ll price yourself right out of a job.  It doesn’t matter that you have relevant but not directly transferring skills to them, they can find someone else that fits their cookie cutter mold better and at a price they are more comfortable with.
So, consider more creative options if they're open to it.  Rather than demanding a high salary up front, ask if they'd be open to a bonus after three or six months.  You could also ask for an early performance review.  These things cost a perspective employer little, and in the meanwhile they get access to someone with your phenomenal skills at a discount.  Agreeing to a bonus is a one-time cost for your employer… and if you don’t perform they don’t have to give it to you.  Asking for a higher salary is potentially a multi-year commitment though.  Same thing with an early performance review… it costs them little and if you don't make the cut you won't get a raise.  Think outside the box to meet your up-front salary goals and create a plan for how to get from your initial salary to your desired salary over time.
This is where training comes in.  If you are going to take a personal risk on a lower salary, make double sure you have all the tools you need to train up and get the experience you'll need when it comes time to make the case for your bonus and / or raise.  This may involve asking for additional training or learning materials.  You may need to shadow someone more experienced.  Since you are coming in with extra skills but at an average salary level you should have some leverage to ask for training.
Half-Dollar-Rev (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Want to know what happens when you come in at a high salary?  Your employer will expect you to outperform everyone with a lower salary (makes sense, doesn't it?).  These are people who potentially have less overall experience than you but that have much MORE experience in a role that is entirely new to you.  You just cut your own leg off and made it much more difficult to advance and succeed by coming in too high.

Instead, use this as your chance to come up to speed quickly, hit the ball out of the ball park and show off your skills.  Yes, you'll be earning a wage that is lower than you would like, but it’s more important to out-perform in a sub-par salary range than it is to get top dollar and have super-high (and unrealizable) expectations.  Knock their socks off, get your bonus and ace your review.  You'll be on a much healthier salary / increase path.
Patience, grasshopper!
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Google De-Emphasizing Apps?

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

Wall Street Journal reporter Clint Boulton blogs that Google is de-emphasizing its efforts in online productivity tools that compete with Microsoft.

They seem to be focusing on their core business of search and increasing the social networking market share of Google+.

The shift in focus is apparent in recent changes of leadership in the Google Apps division and in the black hole in leadership within the division since the departure of long-time vice president of Apps, Dave Girouard.  Girouard isn't the only departure, either.  Several other key employees have left or been reassigned recently.

Do you use Google Apps?  Are you worried about the future of your service and considering alternatives?

See Dave's article at
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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Is My Office 365 E-mail Secure? - Part 1: Outlook

I've had a number of questions come up lately about the security of sending e-mails in Office 365.  People want to know:
  1. Is my e-mail traffic is encrypted when I send it to or receive it from Office 365?
  2. Are e-mails sent from Office 365 encrypted when being transmitted to their eventual destinations.

So the answers are #1 maybe and #2 generally.  To clear up that mud let's dig in to Office 365 a little bit.  In this first part I'll address #1.  Your answer to #2 follows in Is My Office 365 E-mail Secure? - Part 2: The "Cloud".

When you set up a workstation with a full Outlook (2010 in my example, other versions are similar) client to connect to Office 365 it creates an Outlook Anywhere session between your local computer and the Office 365 service.  Outlook Anywhere is a feature where normal Outlook communications are encapsulated within HTTPS traffic - meaning you don't have to be near the server to connect to it.  HTTPS, for those of you who aren't familiar with the difference between HTTP and HTTPS, is how you connect securely to web pages on the internet.

If you look in your Outlook settings (File - Account - Account Settings) and go to the properties for your e-mail account you can see for your self.


Once you see your e-mail accounts listed choose the account listed as type=Microsoft Exchange and click the Change button.

Next click More Settings.

From the Security tab you can verify that communications between Outlook and Exchange are encrypted.

Next, from the Connection tab click on the Exchange Proxy Settings button.  The top line should read something like  If you see HTTPS there you are using a secure connection.

Finally, for the last bit of verification look at the drop-down box in the same window.  If NTLM Authentication is selected then you are not transmitting your password in plain text to establish the HTTPS connection - you are secure.

I haven't answered the question regarding use of the web mail version of Outlook, Outlook Web Access yet though.  The simple answer is that since your browser lists "HTTPS://" in front of the web address for Outlook Web Access in the browser's URL field you are assured that your entire session including all e-mail and other data is safe from prying eyes.

So, to summarize, your internet session to Office 365 is encrypted from the start and your username, password and e-mail data are all protected.  If you installed Office 365 correctly, Outlook doesn't even need your username and password because the Microsoft Single Sign-on (or Active Directory Federation Services for larger customers) did the hard work before you even opened it.

Check back for Part 2 ... Is My Office 365 E-mail Secure? - Part 2: E-mails on the Internet.
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