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by Evangeline Hunt
The question of outsourcing your recruitment to a consultancy or not is something that most businesses consider when looking to hire...
The question of outsourcing your recruitment to a consultancy or not is something that most businesses consider when looking to hire new talent. The common reason not to is the cost involved – most recruitment agencies charge a percentage of a candidate’s annual salary.
This may seem an unnecessary cost for many businesses who believe they can source talent themselves. Yet despite this, the best recruitment agencies will save you money (and time), as well as giving you access to the best possible candidates.
Recruiters can get you the most suitable candidates, faster
Internally sourcing your talent can be very time consuming. Posting a job advert on a job board might attract a lot of applications, which then need to be looked through. Often these applications are unsuitable or don’t have the right qualifications, making the whole process a waste of time. And of course, you’ll have to pay for the job board.
This is one of the main benefits of a recruiter – they source suitable candidates for you, taking out the most challenging and time-consuming element.
A great recruiter will have taken the time to understand you and your business and then fine-tune applications to a targeted number of candidates who match your company’s needs, meaning you waste no time reviewing irrelevant applications.
The time saved by using a recruiter can be huge. This equates to money saved in the short term, as you waste none of your precious time. While also ensuring the best possible candidate, who you are more likely to retain for the longer term, therefore further reducing the true cost of hiring.
The best recruiters are specialists and only recruit in your industry
Most recruitment agencies have a large pool of specialised talent specific to your industry, meaning they only introduce you to professionals that fit your criteria and they know them and their skills inside out. At Franklin Fitch, we focus on IT Infrastructure alone, meaning we are experts in our field and your job market.
We understand the technology on the job spec, meaning we’re able to ask candidates all the right questions to ensure they’re the right fit for your job. We also get to know our candidates to the same level of detail to ensure there is a great cultural fit.
Our knowledge gives us a very good overview of market trends, which can be a helpful addition to the hiring process.
In addition, recruiters are able to source the so-called “passive” candidates who wouldn’t be looking on job boards. This unlocks a cohort of the best possible talent, who wouldn’t normally react to a traditional job advert.
Recruiters can present your opportunities to the right candidates
Hiring is a two-way street, and often the best candidates aren’t on the market for long. Recruiters have skills in sales and persuasion and can encourage the best candidates to take your role over other offers they might have received. As long as it is right for both parties.
They also speed up the hiring process, meaning less time for the ideal candidate to be lost to a competitor or another company.
The relationship built between the recruiter and the candidate fosters trust and honesty, so you know exactly what you’re getting with each candidate.
Good recruiters want to foster a long-term working relationship with you
The best recruiters aren’t just focussed on today’s hire but hope to establish a long-term working relationship in preparation for future collaboration.
By establishing this partnership from the get-go, it creates efficiences in your entire hiring process meaning improved hiring techniques, cost savings and enabling you to have more time doing the job you’re employed to do!
Recruiters are able to support you in the entire recruitment process, from screening candidates, facilitating interviews, and following up once the candidate has started. Almost like an extension of your HR and internal recruitment department.
We’ve only scratched the surface of the benefits of working with a recruitment consultancy. If you have a vacancy within IT Infrastructure that you’re struggling to fill, or even if you’d just like to find out more about industry trends feel free to get in touch!
by Steven Ewer
Video calls and online chats are important social tools for many of us, so why not use them for business too? At a time when meeting face-to-face is...
Video calls and online chats are important social tools for many of us, so why not use them for business too? At a time when meeting face-to-face is being discouraged in a bid to contain the outbreak of Covid-19, many firms are doing just that and using virtual methods, such as video conference calls, to encourage business continuity.
In the recruitment business, interviews are key. They are the chance for candidates to meet their potential employer, get a feeling for the people and the business, and also to showcase who they are and what they can do. For employers, they are the chance to meet the potential employee, get a feeling of whether they would fit in with the office culture and obviously, to quiz them about their skills and experience. Doing this over the phone or by video link rather than face-to-face is a very different proposition.
Remote interviews can save time and stress
“Remote interviewing is nothing new,” says Steven Ewer, head of Franklin Fitch’s UK and US operations, adding that many of his clients have been using it for the initial interview stage for a long time. “Collaboration tools are so strong that actually there is no reason why the quality of your interview process needs to change.”
In reality, remote interviews can save time and stress both for the candidate and the company. Individuals need to set aside less time as they don’t have to travel and can fit a video call into a lunch break or even before work. Similarly, companies can schedule more interviews if they don’t need to spend time showing each person into the office.
That however, is a concern for some people. Steven says he has clients who are concerned that candidates want to see what the office environment is actually like and there is also the issue of how you check technology knowledge that would normally be tested in the confines of a controlled environment. In actual fact, he believes the company culture is the people and you can get a good feeling for that from a video call.
Treat it the same as any interview
“You need to treat a video interview in the same way you would a face-to-face interview,” says Steven, adding that many people forget they can be seen and can become easily distracted. He believes a video interview is preferable to a phone-only interview as it not only helps concentration and focus but you also get a better sense of the individual’s character. He does point out however, that it can be harder to gauge reaction and that body language is hyper-exaggerated on screen – not a big issue, but something to be aware of.
“And if you really want your candidates to see the office, the technology is there,” he says. “You can do virtual walkthroughs if you want and thanks to Google it is now even possible to see into buildings.”
“You don’t miss much by interviewing remotely,” he says. “It’s more of a mental issue.”
Companies need to adapt their hiring processes
Given the current situation – many European countries and much of the US is on lockdown and the majority of office-based staff are working from home, face-to-face interviews are a no go for the time being. Companies that want to hire – and there are still plenty of them – will have to change their recruitment processes and adapt.
There are signs this is already happening. Global downloads of business apps that facilitate remote interviews and working such as WeChat Work, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Slack have risen nearly five-fold since the start of the year, according to data from app analytics firm Sensor Tower. In the first week of March there were 6.7 million new users across the App Store and Google Play, compared with 1.4 million in the first week of January.
So, gone are the days of being judged on your pre-interview handshake. Now, if you get it wrong, it’ll be the quality of the video backdrop that you’re remembered for. So don’t forget to move away from the drying washing!
We're still hiring
For anyone looking for a position in IT infrastructure or companies with roles to fill, we are still here and busy making the most of the technology on offer to continue hiring both for ourselves and clients as normal. Give us a call on 0203 696 7950 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remote interview advice for candidates:
Remote interview advice for interviewers:
by Claire Shoesmith
by David Annable
It’s official, the coronavirus is here. Yesterday the UK Prime Minister advised people to avoid non-essential travel and where possible to work...
It’s official, the coronavirus is here. Yesterday the UK Prime Minister advised people to avoid non-essential travel and where possible to work from home to help slow the spread the of the Covid-19 virus that has already killed thousands of people around the world. Many European countries and parts of the US are already on lock-down. At Franklin Fitch we are heeding the advice and from today, most of us are working from home.
Thanks to technology such as Skype, Microsoft’s Teams and Zoom Video Communications, to name but a few, remote working is relatively simple. Provided you have access to a computer and an internet connection, most people can continue doing their job in the same way they would in an office. Meetings, document sharing and even interviews (we will return to this in a separate blog) can all be done remotely online – it just requires a bit more planning and perhaps a little more discipline from the individual workers to ensure they remain engaged and motivated.
It's about collaboration and communication
Some companies had already made the decision for their employees to work remotely before yesterday’s announcement, but it was one that was not taken lightly at Franklin Fitch. Ultimately we are a business built on collaboration and communication, and while this can be successful at a distance, it is something that David Annable, the firm’s founder, believes is even better done face-to-face.
“We are all about collaborative working,” says David. “And what’s the easiest way to achieve that? – to sit at a desk with other people.” For him, there are huge benefits to sitting in an open-plan office surrounded by colleagues doing a similar job. As well as the collaborative aspect, he believes the learning and emotional support provided by nearby colleagues is very important.
“Being present in the office means you are more aware of what is going on with your colleagues and are able to see the visual clues to help you provide the right emotional support at the right time,” he says.
People can work just as well remotely
Still, the government advice is very clear and we fully support the move to reduce close contact in the office, especially when our employees can do their job just as well remotely. We will continue to offer the same level of training and support to our staff and engagement with our candidates and clients via email, phone and video conferencing.
For many, flexible working is nothing new – in fact, according to a study by business payment advisers Merchant Savvy, 61% of global companies already allow their staff to work remotely for at least some of their working week. But for those who usually travel into an office each day and not only enjoy the company of, but also learn from, the colleagues sitting around them, the isolation of home working can be difficult. We at Franklin Fitch are very aware of this and will be keeping in close contact with all our employees, candidates and clients to ensure that not only business continues as usual, but also that their health, both mental and physical, remains strong .
We are open for business
Contact us on 0203 696 7950 or email email@example.com
by Luke Killick
Since the advent of Uber’s cheap ride-hailing service in 2009, fears over the replacement of traditional jobs with technology have been...
Since the advent of Uber’s cheap ride-hailing service in 2009, fears over the replacement of traditional jobs with technology have been steadily increasing. Whilst Uber’s rise doesn’t wholly depend on automation (one-tap-app wizardry notwithstanding), it brings into focus the important question of whether the evolution of technology, and with-it self-healing networks, comes at the cost of well-established jobs.
At first glance, the idea of a ‘self-healing’ network seems to logically imply that fewer engineers are needed; after all, if it can fix itself, what’s left for the engineer to do? According to Michael Bushong, Vice President of Enterprise and Cloud Marketing at Juniper Networks writing in NetworkComputing.com, the answer isn’t quite so simple. “Automation is about growing, not cutting,” he says, adding that the goal of automation is to grow and support scalability. As the company grows, it will in turn need to increase its headcount, not reduce it.
Technology is changing, and engineers need to change with it
David Mihelcic, the Federal Chief Technology and Strategy Officer for Juniper Networks writing in Nextgov.com, says the move to automation will redefine a network specialist’s remit to focus on software programming rather than network management. In effect, technology is changing, and engineers need to change with it, he says. This might not be palatable to everybody though, for the obvious reason that many specialists are happy with their role as it is. But network engineers, of all people, are used to technology constantly adapting - obsoletion is a core part of the industry, so they should be happy to go with it.
It goes without saying that the shift to a software focus is massive. Those who wish to remain more hands-on and hardware focused will still obviously have a place, however, as these upgrades can’t be performed by AI. The competition for these roles will arguably be lower, too – network specialists who wish to pursue a more software-defined track, and even those on the fence, will be won over by the inevitably higher rates and salaries on offer. SDN and machine learning specialists are in high demand, and understandably companies are willing to pay more for such skillsets.
Somebody still needs to automate the job
So, the answer to the question of whether engineers will still have a job once networks are fully automated is most likely yes, they will. As Bushong points out, a business’ ultimate goal is to scale up, and when the business scales the network will too – and that’s something that can’t be automated. The goal of automation is to aid scalability, and scalability entails more jobs. Another factor is risk: in an enterprise-scale network, there are a lot of variables that can and will go wrong. According to Gartner, network downtime can cost on average $5,600 per minute. 10-20 minutes of downtime, and a fully automated company will likely be rethinking whether it was a good idea to cut back on network engineers.
With all that said, the spectre of automation is not unique to IT. A study by PwC estimates that 30% of jobs are at potential risk of automation by the mid-2030s. This only suggests that the job could be automated, however. Somebody still needs to automate the job, and to remain on hand to make sure the automation goes smoothly - lending more fuel to the fire that an engineer may need to shift their focus, not necessarily be replaced.
To date, we’ve managed to keep Skynet (the fictional AI supercomputer from the Terminator movies) at bay. It seems that, at worst, engineers will be forced to adapt and take a more software-centric approach to networking, picking up some programming along the way. Fears of automation are spread across every industry, but perhaps the theories of job replacement can be mitigated by adaptation.
by Ben Makepeace
Multi-context firewalls - what are they and what do they do?
Just six weeks into the new year and reports of cyber-attacks are rife in the...
Multi-context firewalls - what are they and what do they do?
Just six weeks into the new year and reports of cyber-attacks are rife in the media. According to IT Governance, a provider of cyber risk and privacy management solutions, several major incidents occurred in January, boosting the total number of records breached to 1.5bn.
Just yesterday, ZDNet reported that the personal information of 10.6 million guests who stayed at MGM Resorts hotels was stolen and posted to a hacking forum this week. Already in February, the servers at the United Nations have been compromised and a quarter of the Iranian internet has been disrupted.
In addition, Christine Lagarde, the head of the European Central Bank, has expressed her concerns about the global implications of cyber-attacks, telling an audience in France that a well-organised cyber-attack on major financial institutions could lead to a financial crisis.
So, what should businesses be doing about this? Cyber security is one of our focus areas at Franklin Fitch and as a recruiter, I am frequently asked by service providers and large enterprises to find people with experience in multi-context firewalls. Quite often when I ask candidates if they have used them, the response is: “what is that? “or “I’ve never heard of it”.
For me personally, a lot of my technical knowledge is gained from in-depth conversations with my candidates about how they use a specific piece of hardware and what benefits it brings. So, if you, like me, are wondering what multi-context firewalls are, read on and find out more.
Cisco ASA supports multiple firewall contexts, also called firewall multimode or multi-context mode. Multi-context mode divides a single ASA into multiple virtual devices, also known as security contexts. Each context operates a single device, independently from other security contexts. In routers, this is similar to Virtual Routing and Forwarding (VRF).
When would you use multiple security contexts?
A network that requires more than one ASA
A service provider that needs to offer a different security context to each customer
An enterprise that needs to provide distinct security policies for each individual department or users and require a different security context for each one
When wouldn’t you use multiple security contexts?
When VPN Services are required such as remote access or site-to-site VPN tunnels
If dynamic routing protocols are required
If QoS is needed
If multicast routing needs to be supported
If threat detection is required
Context configuration files
In multi-context mode, there are three types of configuration files:
The system configuration – a standard single-mode configuration where the network administrator adds and manages the security contexts
The admin context – no restrictions and can be used as any other security context
The context configurations/user context – for each individual security context. They contain the security policies and interface configurations specific only to that context
ASA Packet Classification
Packets are also classified differently in multi-context firewalls. In multimode configuration, it is possible for interfaces to be shared between contexts, therefore the ASA must distinguish which packets need to be sent to each context.
The ASA categorises packets based on three criteria:
Unique interfaces – 1:1 pairing with a physical link or sub-interfaces (VLAN tags)
Unique MAC addresses – shared interfaces are assigned Unique Virtual Mac addresses per virtual context, in order to alleviate routing issues, which complicates firewall management
NAT configuration – if the use of unique MAC addresses is disabled, then the ASA uses the mapped addresses in the NAT configuration to classify packets. This isn’t very common
In certain cases, you may need to assign a unique MAC address to a shared interface in order to alleviate routing issues, which complicates the firewall management.
Multi context mode offers active/active fail-over per context. Primarily forwards for an individual context and secondary for another. The security contexts divide logically into failure groups, with a maximum of two failure groups. There will never be two active forwarding paths at the same time.
Important to consider
In order to change from single mode to multiple mode or back, the commands must be done from the command line (CLI) and not via the ADSM GUI interface. When changing from single to multimode, the ASA will convert the running configurations into two files, creating a new system configuration file and an admin context file. The original system configuration file is not saved.
By default, all security contexts have unlimited access to the ASA resources. Depending on the environment, resource management may need to be configured to limit some contexts that may be starving other contexts. This is done by configuring resource classes when assigning to contexts.
Multimode offers advantages in certain situations particularly for service providers or an enterprise with multiple departments that require individual security policies. The requirements should be carefully considered before implementing the solution. However, there are also limitations and whilst the number of physical devices you manage may decrease, the complexity of those device configurations may increase.
by Charlotte Drury
A new year, a new you, or so the saying goes. For some this will mean a new job, for others it will be new resolutions, but for the remainder, it...
A new year, a new you, or so the saying goes. For some this will mean a new job, for others it will be new resolutions, but for the remainder, it will simply be a continuation of the same, picking up where they left off sometime before Christmas. Even if it’s the latter, there’s no room for complacency. The IT world is constantly changing, and so should you if you want to keep on top of your game and get the most out of 2020.
Whilst we at Franklin Fitch have many skills, unfortunately crystal-ball reading isn’t one of them. However, being involved in two of the fastest moving industries – IT Infrastructure and recruitment, we have no doubt that 2020 is set to be an exciting year. So, what do we expect the first year of the new decade to bring, and more importantly, what can you do to ensure you stay ahead?
Here we look at the five top trends we expect to be dominating the market over the next 12 months and how we believe you can use them to your advantage.
There are several reasons for this: unemployment is at its lowest rate for more than 40 years (the latest figures from the UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) released in December show the unemployment rate fell to 3.8%, its lowest level since 1974) and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Britain’s departure from the EU. The upcoming change to the IR35 legislation is also having an impact, but we will examine this in more detail in another article.
Finding individuals with the required skills and experience to fill roles in cutting-edge sectors, such as serverless and cloud technology, DevOps, containerisation, networking and cyber security has never been easy, but it’s now harder than ever. Not only are there not enough Britons out there seeking these positions, but we are now faced with a likely shortage of skilled migrant workers thanks to the uncertainty around Britain’s future immigration policy. While there is much talk of an Australian-style point-based system, which would allow those with the necessary skills to take these roles, David Annable, Franklin Fitch’s founder, says that all the uncertainty is reducing the attractiveness of the UK as a place for non-Britons to work.
While the tight market makes it more difficult for businesses looking to hire highly-skilled security architects, network engineers or chief information (security) officers, it is also an opportunity for the UK’s top technology talent.
The knock-on effect of a shortage of candidates is obviously an increase in salaries. With fewer people to fill the roles, particularly in the highly-skilled areas of networks, servers, security or data, it goes without saying that those individuals capable of doing the job will need to be paid more to attract them to, and keep them in, the role.
Another feature of a tight employment market is that it places the power very firmly in the hands of the candidate. Employers will need to work harder to attract and retain the right people, says Annable.
Training and development will be key to ensuring employees remain engaged and hopefully prevent them being enticed away to other roles. In our 2019 Market and Skills Report, the opportunity to progress featured highly, just behind salary, in the rankings of what candidates consider to be most important when choosing a new job.
Getting the right work-life balance has long been a talking point. While no definitive solution to the age-old challenge has been found, organisations have become much more open to alternative ways of working, including flexible hours, job sharing and the option to work from home. This is understandably not an option for all roles, but in today’s tight job market, organisations are going to have to pay more attention to the requests of individual employees and seek to accommodate their demands to attract the top talent. Again this offers a great opportunity for job seekers.
Improving diversity and inclusion is not just a box-ticking exercise. Organisations are at last starting to realise the benefits of a diverse workforce. According to the latest figures from the UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS), just over half of the 6.5 million Britons working in professional occupations are women. While this is indeed progress, it has unfortunately not filtered through to the IT and telecommunications’ sectors, where the ratio is just one in six.
However, the IT sector fares better when it comes to ethnic diversity, with the latest ONS figures showing that of the 1.84 million professionals who work in science, engineering and technology, 85.1% are white, compared with 87.6% across the UK workforce as a whole.
While the debate rumbles on as to how to achieve increased diversity in gender, ability, ethnicity and sexual orientation, you can expect organisations to try their own variations of quotas and targets to help achieve their goal. For some individuals, this will be an opportunity.
To conclude, there is no doubt that the tight employment market offers highly-skilled IT candidates the chance to shine and move ahead of the curve, but they aren't the only ones. The market situation also creates a significant opportunity for recruiters to face up to the challenge of finding the right person for the right role in a market where organisations themselves are likely to struggle.
If 2020 is looking like a good year for candidates, then it's also not looking too bad for recruiters.....
by Leonie Schaefer
Diversity and inclusion are very important topics for businesses across all industries. We want to shine a light on the topic specifically for those...
Diversity and inclusion are very important topics for businesses across all industries. We want to shine a light on the topic specifically for those working within IT Infrastructure.
We’ve seen a lot of women in tech initiatives over the years yet still only 10% of participants in this market and skills report were female. Although we were hoping that this is not a representative number, day to day conversations with industry specialist show a similar result.
We are supporting events like CYBERWOMEN 2019 in Germany and hope that initiatives like these will give women and girls the confidence to take on a career in IT Infrastructure.
Although we are huge fans of initiatives encouraging women and girls in tech, we think that this is not enough. Diversity & Inclusion is not only about the female-male divide. It is about tackling biases based on gender, race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sexual preference and age (just to name a few) and ending discrimination completely.
We would like to provide a platform for those working within or interested in IT Infrastructure to share their experiences with us and to come up with possible solutions together.
We are conducting interviews with industry experts who are willing to give us their opinions and insights on diversity and inclusion within IT Infrastructure.
Interested? Contact Leonie Schaefer for more information +44 203 696 7950, firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Charlotte Drury
Are you a Network Visionary?
The Network Architect
Do you want a thriving IT career? This is the roadmap to becoming a successful Network...
Are you a Network Visionary?
The Network Architect
Do you want a thriving IT career? This is the roadmap to becoming a successful Network Architect.
Compared to a traditional Network Engineer, who is focused on implementing and troubleshooting, a Network Architect designs computer networks. This means constructing layouts for the usage of hardware and software and creating models to predict future network needs, using network modeling tools such as Opnet, OMNeT++ and NS2. Furthermore, architects are involved in the analysis of business requirements, project planning and budgeting, and often require softer skills including stakeholder management to complement their technical abilities. This requires a lot of diplomacy and consultancy skills.
But, Network Architects are among the highest paid employees in the IT-world.
Skills & Certifications:
The role of a Network Architect usually requires a bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, several network certifications are highly recommended. These include Expert level certifications, such as Cisco Certified Design Expert (CCDE) or Cisco Certified Internet Expert (CCIE). Also beneficial are certifications such as ITIL and TOGAF or even the Cisco Certified Architect (CCAr).
Knowledge in key areas such as cloud computing, virtualization, programming, security and application design are also in high demand.
However, it should not be forgotten that building your experience is as important as having a degree.
If you put in the time and effort into gaining professional skills, certifications and experience in the networking field, the position of Network Architect could be the ultimate goal in your IT career.
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