WE HELP SMART PEOPLE FIND EACH OTHER

IT/IQ ARTICLE IN BUSINESS IN VANCOUVER: BUILDING AN EMPLOYER BRAND

In case you missed our article on Business in Vancouver, here it is, reprinted in full.

Building brand is the key to retaining great employees

What’s really happening with Vancouver’s job market? For every report citing that the recession is in the rear-view mirror, there are equally emphatic reports that indicate we’ve only just started to feel the impact of a looming economic dip. But what do the national reports mean for our local market? Or, even more specifically, how has our IT industry been impacted?

To put it simply, IT is thriving. While no industry is completely recession-proof, IT comes close. IT is an elastic vertical; when the economy dips, companies look to IT to improve efficiencies to cut operational costs. When the economy booms, so too do investments in new technology and development. Either way the economy moves, there’s likely always a demand for technical resources. To add to Vancouver’s growing reputation as an IT hub, there is also the added pressure of big names setting up shop, like Amazon, Microsoft or Facebook – just three of the big names that have joined the local market.

And why wouldn’t American shops want to open Canadian offices? With the soft Canadian dollar providing a 25% discount off the top, there is an immediate savings to be leveraged. Combine that savings with Vancouver’s lower IT compensation levels, which often lag behind Seattle’s by 5% to 10% and behind Silicon Valley’s by as much as 35%, and Canadian resources are a bargain. Vancouver offers a treasure trove of talent without having to worry about time zones or language barriers. The bottom line is the tech industry is facing a significant shortfall.

But what exactly are they looking for? Well, to borrow the eloquent words of Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s former CEO, “Developers, developers, developers. Developers. Developers!” Not coincidentally, that’s what a majority of local employers are seeking, and the demand is only increasing.

So how do employers stay competitive in attracting candidates to supplement their technical teams? More importantly, how can employers retain the great people they are able to find?

The quickest answer is to commoditize development and increase rates and salaries for skilled developers – which may work, but only for a while. Local employment experts at IT/IQ Tech Recruiters are actively helping dozens of local employers to refine lasting attraction and retention strategies. While tactics like staying competitive with market rates certainly play a role, they are only a part of the overarching strategy of building an employer brand focused squarely on the types of people you want to see walking through your doors – and staying there.

“One of the exciting things our team gets to do is to help our customers realize their own position in the market, and how to capitalize on it,” says Feras Elkhalil, IT/IQ’s president and founder. “Often, they have one idea of how they’re perceived in the market, but the reality can be completely different. Our team is plugged into the IT community, and we hear it directly from the source. We help our customers take ownership of their message, and use it to attract the right people for their environment.”

Your company’s employer brand can be completely separate from the product or service brand. Although every company may have challenges, the key is to be honest in assessing unique selling points as an employer, to recognize internal challenges and address them in a meaningful way. Once the employer brand is defined, it’s a matter of using it to effectively – and accurately – position the company as a desirable employment option. The most important point is that you control the messaging; this is your story after all.

The good news is you don’t need to do it alone; IT/IQ’s team is ready to help spread the word about your organization, exciting opportunities and unique culture.

About IT/IQ Tech Recruiters

Formerly known as WPCG, IT/IQ is a specialized IT recruitment firm providing contract, permanent and payroll services to the top employers in the Vancouver area. For more insight into the IT employment industry, or to speak with one of our team about trends we have tracked in the local market, please visit our website at www.it-iq.com.

IT/IQ ARTICLE IN BUSINESS IN VANCOUVER: EMPOWERING IT

In case you missed our article on Business in Vancouver, here it is, reprinted in full.

Empower IT to help solve your business challenges

For the past decade, the debate has been raging about whether information technology (IT) is a cost or profit centre. While most business leaders agree that, in theory, IT does more than keep the emails flowing and the website online, the reality for most organizations is that IT is still being managed as a cost centre. All too often, IT is still seen as one of the first stops when the time comes to trim operational costs.

In some cases, even organizations that operate on a global scale are under-utilizing their IT departments, and are letting opportunities to improve their bottom line pass by on a daily basis. IT is easily overlooked while focusing on driving revenues; however, forward-thinking business leaders should start to recognize the role their IT department can play as a business intelligence centre.

Time and again, we see IT leaders reporting in to the CFO, and at the first hint of an economic slowdown, IT projects are the first to be shelved or cut completely. And it seems logical on paper – cutting unnecessary expenditures is responsible fiscal management, after all – but, too often, cost-cutting ends up hurting the bottom line. Instead of treating IT as the first fat to trim, we strongly encourage business leaders to invite IT to the table.

Organizations have recognized hidden gems within their midst just by inviting their IT leaders into their executive meetings. It may not make sense to involve IT in discussions around business issues on the face of it, but chances are IT is already connected to the issue in one way or another; you may be surprised at the technical solutions that may be readily available to address the challenges at hand.

Some organizations look to sales departments to gain a larger piece of the pie. Other organizations looked instead to optimize internal business systems to make up the difference in their top-line revenues, either through increasing efficiencies or identifying new opportunities for growth. This can mean implementing IT-driven technologies that can have a significant impact on the bottom line – like business intelligence (BI) systems, for example.

Although BI is not a new concept, a well-executed BI solution can help streamline your business while lowering costs. For example, the right insight can help make your inventory and asset management processes leaner and eliminate unnecessary overhead costs. As inefficiencies in business systems and processes can be equated to a death by a thousand cuts, this is an important tactical initiative – but it only scratches the surface of the value business intelligence, and IT on the whole, can provide.

The true value of IT goes well beyond simply maintaining the status quo; IT can provide organizations with the insight to operate more strategically. As a leading IT recruitment agency, IT/IQ has had the opportunity to support the technical initiatives of dozens of local employers.

“More often than not, the clients that work hand in hand with IT throughout their initiatives are more successful,” says IT/IQ president Feras Elkhalil. “Business leaders need to recognize the value of the people and tools at your disposal; IT leaders can help you leverage technology to find creative solutions to improve the business, to optimize systems and processes and, in some cases, to create new revenue streams. My advice to any business executive is to invite your IT leaders to strategic business meetings, and leverage technology effectively.”

While not every organization is financially positioned to overhaul its technical infrastructure, there are several ways for business leaders to capitalize on soft market conditions. Having supported business initiatives of all sizes, IT/IQ is uniquely positioned to see the effectiveness of different strategies in different market conditions and is always open to sharing insight with local business leaders.

About IT/IQ Tech Recruiters

Formerly known as WPCG, IT/IQ is a specialized IT recruitment firm providing contract, permanent and payroll services to the top employers in the Vancouver area. For more insight into the IT employment industry, or to speak with one of our team about trends we have tracked in the local market, please visit our website at www.it-iq.com.

IT/IQ TECH RECRUITERS AMONG CANADA’S FASTEST-GROWING COMPANIES

Profit 500 Canada's Fastest Growing CompaniesIT/IQ is excited to have been included in the PROFIT 500 ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies for the third straight year.

Canadian Business and PROFIT has included IT/IQ on the 27th annual PROFIT 500, the definitive ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies. Published in the October issue of Canadian Business and at PROFITguide.com, the PROFIT 500 ranks Canadian businesses by their five-year revenue growth.

IT/IQ made the 2015 PROFIT 500 list with five-year revenue growth of 91%.

“The PROFIT 500 represent the highest tier of entrepreneurialism in Canada,” says James Cowan, Editor-in-chief of PROFIT and Canadian Business. “They should be lauded for the positive economic contributions they’ve made to their communities—and the entire country. They are examples of what can be accomplished with innovation, discipline and determination.”

About PROFIT and PROFITguide.com
PROFIT is Canada’s preeminent media brand dedicated to the management issues and opportunities facing small and mid-sized businesses. For 33 years, Canadian entrepreneurs across a vast array of economic sectors have remained loyal to PROFIT because it’s a timely and reliable source of actionable information that helps them achieve business success and get the recognition they deserve for generating positive economic and social change. Visit PROFIT at PROFITguide.com.

About Canadian Business
Founded in 1928, Canadian Business is the longest-serving, best-selling and most-trusted business publication in the country. With a total print readership of more than 600,000, it is the country’s premier media brand for executives and senior business leaders. It fuels the success of Canada’s business elite with a focus on the things that matter most: leadership, innovation, business strategy and management tactics. We provide concrete examples of business achievement, thought-provoking analysis and compelling storytelling, all in an elegant package with bold graphics and great photography. Canadian Business—what leadership looks like.

About IT/IQ TECH RECRUITERS
IT/IQ is an Information Technology recruitment agency committed to the idea that when smart people connect, incredible things happen. IT/IQ’s team of IT recruitment specialists provides the leading employers in our market with a customized array of recruitment, staffing and resource management services. We help smart people find each other.

IT/IQ ARTICLE IN BUSINESS IN VANCOUVER: TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR CAREER PATH

In case you missed our article on Business in Vancouver, here it is, reprinted in full.

Six ways to take control of your career path

Many IT professionals mistake organic job progression for career management, but actively taking control of one’s career path is vastly different from passing time in a job. Keeping a close eye on what’s around the corner will keep you engaged and developing professionally.

Here are some basic approaches to keep your career developing, and progressing in the direction you want to take it:

RESEARCH AND SET GOALS

The first and most critical aspect of effective career planning is to think about what defines success to you; if you don’t know where you want to go, how will you know when you get there? What professional goals or milestones can you work towards? What technologies or methodologies are most interesting to you? What roles or responsibilities would be most fulfilling?

When prioritizing your goals and motivations, remember to include factors that impact (and are impacted by) your career. For instance, consider your personal life and interests, your health and personal growth. Your priorities will likely change throughout your career, but it’s important to be honest with yourself about what will actually provide satisfaction. Changing your mind is fine; you just have to remember to revisit your career path when your goals fluctuate.

 

TAKE STOCK OF YOUR CURRENT SITUATION

One of the biggest challenges with long-term employment is becoming comfortable. Make a point to pause and reflect on your role and responsibilities. If you aren’t learning anything new or taking on any new challenges, your marketability to other potential employers may be at risk.

Be realistic when considering the impact you’ve had on the company’s bottom line. If you feel like you may be stagnating, try volunteering to help out in new projects. If you can’t identify any opportunities to learn new technologies or skills with your current employer, you may want to explore new opportunities.

AVOID OBSOLESCENCE

In many industries – particularly in IT – people working with a specific tool or technology can lead to specialization, which in many cases can result in higher compensation and a greater range of career options.

Be careful, however, not to hitch your wagon to anything that has a limited shelf life. Too many great employees have become domain experts, only to have that domain disappear when the tool or technology becomes obsolete. Technologies, and the people who support them, are relevant only until the next tool comes along to replace them. If you’re working with a legacy tool, make sure you have exposure to next-gen tools to build your exit strategy.

IDENTIFY YOUR TARGET MARKETS

If you decide to specialize in a unique skill set, be aware of your marketability and growth potential within your local industry. As your focus narrows, so too does your base of potential employers. Becoming an expert in a rare technology can be a great way to demand higher rates, but be aware of where you will be able to take those skills.

Rare skills are generally in high demand for project work, so be prepared to travel. Hired guns can demand premium rates, but that can often come at the expense of routine – and possibly relationships.

CERTIFIABLY STRATEGIC

Some certifications are required to be eligible for certain positions, such as a PMP for project management, CISSP for information security, or Cisco certification for networking. In many cases, however, certifications will be the icing on the cake – nice to have, but not really factoring into the decision-making process. In order to move from one role to the next, it is strongly recommended that you supplement your on-the-job experience with relevant courses.

Additional certifications and coursework will help solidify your candidacy for a step into a new role, but be strategic when selecting courses. Focus your self-development on shoring up areas that are directly relevant to your career trajectory –- learn skills that will be necessary for your next role. Also, be aware that knowledge gained through coursework is indispensable, but experience trumps theory every time; certification alone can’t be expected to get you to the next step along your career path.+

SEEK OUTSIDE ADVICE

When considering the options available to you, it may help to seek the insight of an expert within your industry. A good agency recruiter will be able to share his or her experience in helping others navigate similar situations and will likely be able to identify career options available to you that you had not considered. Plus, a recruiter can introduce you to opportunities that are not publicly available.

There are countless factors that can impact your career arc – some that you can plan for, and some that you can’t. Be flexible, and understand that no road to success is a straight line. As long as you are working towards meaningful goals and objectives, your career will continue to progress. We invite you to reach out to the team of specialized IT recruiters at IT/IQ to discuss your career aspirations and goals; we help smart people find each other.

 ABOUT IT/IQ TECH RECRUITERS

Formerly known as WPCG, IT/IQ is a specialized IT recruitment firm providing contract, permanent and payroll services to the top employers in the Vancouver area. For more insight into the IT employment industry, or to apply to any of the positions we are actively recruiting for, please visit our website at www.it-iq.com.

WPCG TO IT/IQ TECH RECRUITERS: MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THE CHANGE

It’s been nearly a week since we’ve started a new chapter in our business. WPCG – the brand that carried us from my parents’ basement when I first started out in 2002 – has been retired. Monday morning was bittersweet – naturally, I’m excited to unveil the new brand, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little sad about saying goodbye to something that’s been a big part of my life for the past 13 years, but change is for the brave – change is growth.

Defining a company brand is a difficult challenge; a challenge made all the more difficult having built over a decade of existing brand equity. Despite the challenge, I felt that in our case, it was necessary for a number of reasons.

What did WPCG mean? Anyone that speaks with our team can quickly see what we stand for and how we operate, but nothing about that name explicitly (or implicitly, for that matter) connects with the people working in information technology. IT/IQ speaks to our industry and the people we work with every day. And our new tagline, “WE HELP SMART PEOPLE FIND EACH OTHER”, is a nod to the brilliant tech professionals on both sides of the hiring equation.

Furthermore, we started WPCG as “West Pacific Consulting Group”, which clearly links us to the West Coast. At the moment, this is fine; aside from notable exceptions on Vancouver Island and in the Interior, nearly all of our clients are based right here in the Greater Vancouver area. As I take a long view, and chart the course for our future growth, I know that while BC will always be our home, we have no intention of slowing down once we’ve completely saturated the BC market. One of the strategic imperatives that drives our team is to expand our footprint locally and beyond. IT/IQ is the perfect name to carry our team beyond the provincial boundaries when the time is right.

So, that’s a glimpse into my thought process behind the decision. Initial feedback has been coming in, and the consensus appears to be quite positive among our friends and partners in the tech community, and I’m glad. I’m confident that IT/IQ has a firm grip on the wheel as we move forward into the future.

And from where I sit, the future looks bright.

I look forward to experiencing it with you.

Best,
Feras Elkhalil
President

WPCG REBRANDS AS IT/IQ TECH RECRUITERS

MEDIA RELEASE

WPCG REBRANDS AS IT/IQ TECH RECRUITERS

  • “We help smart people find each other” adopted as brand promise
  • Head office relocating to downtown Vancouver
  • New website and logo unveiled

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

West Pacific Consulting Group Managed Services, Inc.

VANCOUVER, BC, August 24, 2015 — West Pacific Consulting Group, Vancouver’s leading Information Technology recruitment agency, announced that it has adopted IT/IQ as its brand name. WPCG has unveiled a new logo and brand promise, “WE HELP SMART PEOPLE FIND EACH OTHER”, effective immediately. With the adoption of its new brand, IT/IQ has simultaneously launched their redesigned website at http://www.it-iq.com and head office relocation to downtown Vancouver.

IT/IQ has opted to rebrand itself to more accurately reflect and encompass the industry and community that has facilitated its growth since 2002. This transition to the IT/IQ brand is aligned with the company’s long-term strategic imperative of expanding into new geographic markets, while maintaining specialization in Information Technology (IT).

“This transformation is very exciting and long overdue,” says founder and President, Feras Elkhalil. “Although WPCG has been a recognizable brand in our industry for years, it doesn’t accurately describe who we are, and it doesn’t resonate with the people we work with every day. IT/IQ perfectly captures our team’s single-minded focus on IT, and our brand promise accurately describes our clients and the thousands of IT professionals we work with every year. This transformation truly represents a new era of growth for IT/IQ.”

The relocation of IT/IQ’s head office to downtown Vancouver is a physical extension of this transformative initiative, offering clients and candidates convenient access to their team of recruitment professionals. “The move is going to be fantastic for our clients and candidates,” says Elkhalil. “We’re in the heart of downtown Vancouver, and right on the transit lines. We’re just around the corner from most of our clients and in a much more convenient location for candidate meetings and interviews.”

IT/IQ has deliberately taken a bold step in launching a simple and modern website focused on user experience and efficiency. “The site stands alone amidst a field of carbon-copies,” says Elkhalil. “We made a conscious decision to focus on the aspects of our site that the users want and eliminate the rest. www.IT-IQ.com provides a completely unique user experience that puts the right tools immediately within reach.”

About IT/IQ, a tradename of West Pacific Consulting Group Managed Services, Inc.
IT/IQ is an Information Technology recruitment agency committed to the idea that when smart people connect, incredible things happen. IT/IQ’s team of IT recruitment specialists provides the leading employers in our market with a customized array of recruitment, staffing and resource management services.

Media contact:
Steve Sakamoto
Manager of Project Delivery and Communications
604-294-1200 ext. 143
[email protected]
www.it-iq.com

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