Friday, April 29, 2011

Stafflink Attends Regent Park School of Music Spring Fundraiser

Ryan, Tim and Neil at RPMG Fundraiser
We had the enormous honour of attending Cresendo, the annual Spring fundraiser for the Regent Park School of Music at the Steam Whistle Brewery on Wednesday.

Our relationship with RPSM began a couple years ago when I worked with the Board of Directors to recruit and hire Richard Marsella, their current Director. This isn't our normal line of business but I was thrilled to help out.

It was beautiful to see people giving back to this event in support of the children. The choir and the individual performers were extremely talented and entertaining. Jim Creegan of The Barenaked Ladies not only performed with the students but spent weeks prior to the event practicing and no doubt inspiring the kids.

RPSM Performs with Roger Waters

The choir was fresh off of a performance at the ACC with Roger Waters of Pink Floyd where they sang the chorus of the "Another Brick in The Wall". These kids were inspiring. You could see a true love of music shining through them.

The Regent Park School of Music started as a safe haven for youth after school. For the first two years they worked out of the basement of a church. Now they are operating out of a brownstone townhouse. RPMG is about to move into a new building as part of the revitalization of the area. The school has set a goal of having 3000 students enrolled within the next five years.

I am confident that they will meet that target. I've met the board members and the current Director Richard Marsella is an amazing individual who has accomplished great things with the Regent Park School of Music already. The future is very loud and vocal for this little school that is rapidly evolving into a renowned school of music.

Donate to the Regent Park School of Music

Written by:
Tim Collins, President and Owner, Stafflink Solutions

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Could AI and RIM Cure Blindness?

Wonder by Robert J. Sawyer
What if there was an artificial intelligence that helped us distill the collective knowledge of the Internet into a Blackberry device that enabled a blind girl to see?

Let's say that this AI could see through any firewall and had unlimited access to everything on the Internet. It claimed that its primary intention was to improve the net happiness of the world. Then it demonstrated its goodwill by comparing the results of every study and presented a cure for cancer?

Big Brother?
That AI would be immensely powerful. More powerful than any government. Would the benefits outweigh the risks? I wonder.

Wonder is the title of a novel I just read by Robert J. Sawyer. It's the third book in Sawyer's WWW series. It's a sci-fi page-turner with philosophy, politics and Canadianna. Much of the action revolves around the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics in Waterloo.

The heroine is a blind teenage girl who regains her sight with the help of an AI named Webmind, a Japanese doctor, the Perimeter Institute and a Blackberry (nice plug for RIM). Caitlin goes through some of the typical teenage things like high school dances. But her connection with Webmind puts her in front of the United Nations and at the center of a major world transition. Need I say more? You gotta read it :)

Who Really Controls the Internet?
This book makes you question the limits of technology, smartphones and who really controls the Web. I kept asking myself, should somebody or some organization control the Internet?

The Internet as a Political Force
This novel reminds me of how often social media has headlined in the news lately. Facebook recently signed a deal with the largest social networking site in China. How about President Obama's appearance at Facebook HQ for a Town Hall meeting. Many countries are attempting to limit or control information flow but people still find ways to coordinate protests online.

WWW Equals Hope
What I liked most about Wonder is how it explores the potential of the collective of the World Wide Web to make the world a better place through crowdsourcing. What would happen if the Internet woke up and became a conscious of itself? Let's hope that AI would be a synthesis of the best that Web has to offer.

Related Links

Written by:
Tim Collins, President and Owner, Stafflink Solutions

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Where are the Women? Connecting Women and Technology

It has been almost a year since I began my career as an IT Recruiter at Stafflink. As my one year mark nears, I've started to reflect on my experience in the industry and all of the wonderful IT professionals I have met. However, I am still left with one recurring question… “Where are all the women?!”

It is hard to ignore the fact that a very small majority of IT professionals I have encountered are women. However, this discussion is not meant to focus simply on the lack of women in technology but rather focus on the importance of women in technology.
Did you know that… the average teenage girl sends approximately 3,330 text messages a month? How about that 77% of Groupon’s subscription base is female? And if you want to know who the average social gamer is; it’s not your thirteen year old brother… it is your 43 year old mother. (Christina Brodbeck, CEO of TheIceBreak,
Women are clearly engaged and excited about technology so why aren’t many of us pursuing careers in technology? Educators and industry leaders are asking the same question.

The photo on the left was taken at a forum hosted by The Peel District School Board to explore careers for women in Information Technology on International Women's Day. (Students Explore Career Paths, Brampton Guardian, March 8, 2011)

I believe that the only way to encourage women to pursue technical careers is to educate women on their power in the field and nurture their love for technology. Women need to see examples of other women’s success in the field so they have role models they can look up to. Here are just a few to get the conversation started:

Limor Fried, Founder of Adafruit

Limor is a “do-it-yourself” goddess that sells DIY kits that assist people with hardware hacking. One of her most popular products is a DIY kit that disables the cellphone signals of those around to help students who are studying and crave absolute silence.

Kelle Santiago, President and Co-Founder of thatgamecompany

Kelle heads a small team of 12 people that have proved they can stand among the corporate gaming giants. Her company, thatgamecompany, created the game Flower which was ranked in Sony’s top ten Playstation games for 2009 and 2010.

Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss, Co-Founders of Rent the Runway

These Harvard graduates embraced technology when they created their highly successful website that allows women across America to rent luxury dresses and accessories instead of purchase them. The site acts as a reservation site where women rent items for special occasions for a period of 10 days and then return the item once the event is over.

Recommended Reading

Women and Tech: Focus on Female Consumers and the Founders will Follow
Executive Forum on Gender Diversity – A Step toward Full Parity
ITAC Gender Diversity Forum Provides Primer on Building an Inclusive ICT Workplace
Students Explore Career Paths


About the Author

Michelle De Rubeis ,Technical Recruiter, StaffLink Solutions Ltd.

Monday, April 11, 2011

How to Ace Your Interview

I created this video blog to help my candidates prepare when I send them in for an interview with one of our clients. It basically covers everything you need to know to leave a lasting positive impression with an interviewer and hopefully get a job offer:

  • How to get ready
  • What to bring
  • What to wear
  • How to make a great first impression
  • How to answer the question, "Tell me about yourself"
  • Tips for answering the tough questions
  • What questions to ask
Here's the video. It's less than 5 minutes long. Your comments and questions are welcome!

All the best!

Related Articles:
How to Handle Behavioural Interview Questions
Interview Tips for Jobs: Why Should We Hire You? The Great Answer
What Should I Wear to an Interview for a Job?
How to Sparkle in a Room Full of Diamonds
How to Land a Job in 7 Seconds

About the Author:
Neil Wiseblott, Technical Recruiter
Stafflink Solutions

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Design and WINNING!

I’m a strong believer that a company’s website design tells a story that can make or break a business. Research backs me up. Colors, typography, logo -- these seemingly small things are actually major factors in your success. When people visit your website for the first time, the colors and design give them a subconscious feeling for your company and whether they want to deal with you.

Research backs it up

Sports companies study jersey colour and pattern to find out how these correlate with winning. Some have determined that winners wear red. This relates back to all businesses. Paul Haft is a Toronto color guru who has been helping his clients find winning color strategies for decades. He designed the immensely successful Pink ribbon logo for the Canadian Cancer Society.

Recruiter by day, design buff by night

I’m by no means an expert but I do have a passion for design and these are things I notice. I’m not saying a failing company can resurrect its self by changing its branding, but it’s definitely possible. A fresh new design has the potential to carry a company to a new level of success.

Colour matters

Technology companies often use blue with white and yellow/orange/grey accent colours. This is a great colour palette as blue has a feeling of crisp/clean and business. Depending on the tones it can be regal or soft and inviting. Whenever I walk into a white and blue Apple store, I feel compelled to buy something. Banks often have green carpet runners. We all relax when we see the sand tones at spas.

Black and white

Look at websites like RIM. Their user experience is fantastic. They have excellent design and functionality. This isn’t just because they’re a huge conglomerate company. It’s because RIM puts innovation and passion behind everything they do. The black differentiates them from the white favoured by their arch rival Apple. Black gives a feeling power and authority that's good for business.

What story does your company tell?

This leads me to BMW’s new campaign slogan, “JOY”. What does that word mean to you? Is it freedom of sitting at the cottage on a lazy Saturday afternoon? Is it the walk on a crisp autumn morning with your Golden Retriever? Is it the feeling of flying down a black diamond ski hill? Joy is the perfect word to describe the feeling of owning and driving a BMW. The point is that they’re selling a car on a feeling! And that's what design and color does for your company too. 

Written By:

Ryan Ayres
Technology Recruiter