Meet some of the AIS Recruiting Team – They’re going to talk you through some of their top recommended job interview tips.

(Transcript)

My name is Francesca Hawk. My name is Rana Shahbazi. My name is Kathleen McGurk. My name is Jenny Wan. My name is Denise Kim.

Tip #1: Be Open, Transparent & Direct

I think it’s important for candidates to be authentic and transparent throughout the entire interview process.

Keeping the line of communication open through the interview process is really important for both sides. If you have other opportunities on the table, say that. The recruiters are your advocates and an essence kind of your best friend. Being direct – give us, you know, enough feedback – if you are not interested, or if you if the commute is an issue, or if you want more money, if your clearance was an issue – just let us know.

Tip #2: Know What You Want

So before even searching for opportunities you have to figure out what you’re looking for in a company. And then once you figure out what you’re looking for – whether it’s the culture of the company, the location the company – definitely asked questions with the recruiter prior to the interview so while you’re at the interview you have a little bit of that information.

Tip #3: Be On Time & Be Prepared

You always want to make sure you’re on time. Generally, you want to arrive about 15 minutes before your interview. You know where you’re going to park, make sure that you look up directions ahead of time. And just be prepared in general.

Preparation is extremely underrated in the interview process, so really doing your research getting familiar with the company and the culture there. Go online. Check out, you know, the general website, check out the job description. Make sure you’re aware of the skills and qualifications and what they’re really looking for. Glassdoor always provides really good reviews from the current employees. I think the company website and certainly LinkedIn is a huge aspect – social media in general.

Tip #4: Ask Questions

Ask questions or have questions ready to us ask. Ask about the process ask about the expectations who you’ll be potentially meeting with, what the potential duration could be. The company can’t provide information unless you ask for it.

You also have to make sure that you are interviewing the company just as much as they’re interviewing you. Ask the interviewers is about the culture because you’re going to get a different response from everybody but if they all seem to check out or are the same then that means the culture is pretty good.

Just make sure that you feel comfortable with the environments that, you know, you’re going to be working in.

Tip #5: Make Sure You Understand the Role

Really use the opportunity to understand the position and then to sell your strengths and also kind of tie it back into your accomplishments.

Make sure that you talk about what you were individually able to accomplish in a project. So you were personally able to
bring to the table and not necessarily what the team accomplished as a whole.

Tip #6: Show Your Interest

I think your presentation and the way you present yourself to the interviewers and anybody that you interact within the interview process is extremely important.

So not just what you say, but how you say it. Eye contact and body language say a lot about your interest in the position and the company as a whole.

Showing your interest makes a recruiter feel that you’re confident and that you can certainly do the role, and also that you are
excited about this opportunity.

I think you should be excited about interviewing a company that you’re interested in. And that sounds silly, but I think that going in excited and I think that’s why body language and eye contact are all very important aspects.

Tip #7: Listen

People are so busy thinking about what they’re going to say next that they don’t actually pay attention to the questions being asked.

So making sure that you’re hearing what they’re saying and then taking the time to respond is really important.

Tip #8: Follow Up

Certainly, you know, asking for next steps is very helpful and also that is another way of expressing your interest. You know, definitely being responsive. I would say the general rule of thumb is within 12 hours of turnaround time. If you’re not interested
and that’s okay if we’re not at AIS where this opportunity is not number one and that’s okay, we like to know that as well.

You definitely want to send a thank you note – it goes a long way and it shows you’re very interested in the company and it always leaves a great impression.

We’re Hiring!

AIS is always looking to connect with talented technologists that are passionate about learning and growing to staff exciting new projects for our commercial and federal clients. If you’re interested in working at AIS, check out our current career openings.

It started off as a small idea – a donation drive to support a local organization – and quickly expanded into multiple drives across the country.   

The AIS Women’s Network began in October 2018 as a small group of 10 individuals and quickly grew to 54 members strong.  To support part of our mission, we set out to lead an effort to help a local charitable organization. But it quickly became apparent that the logistics of multiple offices across the country supporting one organization wasn’t an easy task. But through these challenges grew an even better idea: Why not support multiple organizations? 

This month, the AIS Women’s Network launched the AIS Community Drives. Thanks to the hard work and creativity of each local office lead, AIS was able to support five worthy organizations across Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas. Each organization received non-perishable foods, household, paper, baby and personal hygiene products, plus gift cards, monetary donations, and many more items! 

AIS Community Drives

“Everyone got extremely creative in finding ways to gain participation in their offices – from Pi Day in Dayton [Ohio], to an ice cream social in Reston [Virginia] to soliciting User Group members in Raleigh [North Carolina]!  It is this kind of out-of-the-box thinking that made this event a great success!” 

 -AIS Women’s Network Member

The donations collected went to five worthy organizations, each one local to an AIS office, including:

  • Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center, a multi-service crisis intervention center in Columbia, Maryland that provides 24-hour crisis intervention services, emergency, and transitional shelter, and community education. (You can read more about our work with Grassroots here and here.)
  • LINK, Inc., a nonprofit charity that provides emergency food to people in need in the Herndon, Sterling, and Ashburn communities in Virginia.
  • Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, a nonprofit organization that has provided food for people at risk of hunger in a 34-county service area for over 35 years.
  • Feed the Creek, an organization that provides food for children in the Beavercreek, Ohio area in order to reduce childhood hunger and promote healthier bodies, minds, relationships, and grades.
  • Austin SAFE Alliance, a human service agency in Austin, Texas serving the survivors of child abuse, sexual assault and exploitation, and domestic violence.

“Thanks for your support! You are now classified as a go-to donor. 

  -Monteith Mitchell, Grassroots 

 “It’s just what we neededthank you, thank you, thank you! 

 – Joe Kruse, Grassroots

Please visit the links above to learn more about the incredible work these organizations do across our AIS communities! 

The mission of the AIS Women’s Network is to unify and organize those who are interested in empowering the women of AIS, by way of creating a nurturing community in which they can develop and foster their leadership, technical, and professional skills. 

Grassroots Crisis Intervention logoAs I was nearing retirement from the Air Force, I received briefings reminding me that the world outside of the military is nothing like the one inside of it. It’s a dog eat dog world out there; companies only care about their bottom line; companies won’t help anyone else unless it’s beneficial for them, etc.

When I came onboard with AIS, however, I was told that our Managed Services practice provides pro-bono support for the Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center. I was taken aback to learn that AIS is the total opposite of what I’d been taught. This company really cares for the community — and doesn’t just say it, but proves it.

About Grassroots

Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center is the only homeless shelter in Columbia, Maryland that provides beds and round-the-clock support for those in need of professional crisis intervention, suicide prevention, or outreach services for personal, situational, mental health, and domestic violence crises. In 2018, they fielded 38,914 calls on their 24-Hour Crisis Intervention Hotline, served 2,028 clients in their various shelters, and ensuring the safety of 262 children. While Grassroots is a private non-profit agency and receives funding from grants, private foundations, community donations, and local businesses, it’s simply not enough to ensure their IT is ready to handle the day-to-day demands Grassroots volunteers endure.

Grassroots was lucky to have a volunteer donate their time to providing IT support. Unfortunately, there’s only so much one person can do for an organization like Grassroots. They continue to grow and face new IT challenges each day.

Providing 24/7 Support for a 24/7 Organization

AIS offered to help Grassroots’ volunteer IT person manage their needs and growth at no cost. Our Managed Services team worked with them to define their needs and bottlenecks so we could best support them. The result was an arrangement where the Grassroots volunteer IT staff handle onsite demands, while AIS Managed Services support any IT needs that can be handled remotely, 24/7/365.

In the past year, we’ve helped resolve over 100 different issues ranging from account creation/deletion and email connectivity problems to agency-wide network outages. Managed Services resolved each one of these tickets with a 100% satisfaction rate. Along with resolving tickets, the Managed Services team also provides basic IT training to Grassroots counselors to help increase their understanding of the system… so that they can quickly get back to the important work of helping people.

Service Before Self

In the Air Force, one of our core values was service before self. It’s refreshing to see that AIS is a company that puts community service ahead of self. It makes this veteran honored to work with this company and their support of the Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center.

CMMI ML3 logoThe AIS Team is very proud to announce that we’ve successfully completed our first appraisal under the CMMI Institute’s Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) for Services at Maturity Level 3 (ML3).

So…what does that mean? It means that after an extremely rigorous approval process, CMMI has independently validated and recognized AIS’ excellence and dedication to continuous improvement in our Service Management practices. It means our existing and future customers can count on continued increases in quality, productivity, efficiencies, and performance…while seeing decreases in defects, re-work, and risks.

Attaining CMMI ML3 means that we’ve defined our processes at the organizational level and take a proactive approach of continuous process evaluation and improvement to meet the business goals of our clients. We consistently improve upon existing organizational delivery standards, processes and procedures instead of redefining them on a project-by-project basis. This ensures that the best practices of AIS (and our industry) are not just adopted or implemented once, but captured over the long term. It also means that our team members can move seamlessly across multiple projects and exiting employees won’t take critical business information away with them.

CMMI not only rates the maturity of our processes, the distinction provides a level of assurance that AIS will always complete our work in both the time and price quoted for the project. CMMI ML3 allows organizations to improve consistency and deliver cost-effective solutions for current and future projects. And that consistency results in less money spent on detecting errors, less remediation and less manpower spent reworking old solutions.

In short, this achievement means we will always meet our customers’ demands, and consistently and predictably deliver the products, services, and sourced goods they want, when they want them, and at a price they’re willing to pay. All very good things!

Congrats and a big thank you to the AIS Team members who worked extra hard over the last year to make this happen.

AIS CMMI team members

Steve Iacovelli & Fred Elleman
A small delegation from AIS joined Stephen Iacovelli, his family, and his military peers to recognize his promotion to Brigadier General and observe the Change of Command ceremony.

Brigadier General Iacovelli took command of the 94th Training Division based in Ft. Lee, Virginia. The Army expressed their appreciation for AIS’ support of Stephen as he completed the Army War College and our continued flexibility that allows Stephen to balance his work responsibilities with those of a citizen Solider.

Fred Elleman, speaking for AIS, summed up perfectly how we all felt that morning: “Thank you for recognizing our company; our contributions seem trivial compared to what each of you does for our country. We thank each of you and Stephen for your service and for the opportunity to be here today and play a small role in this event.”

Microsoft US SI of the Year Award at Microsoft Inspire
AIS won the 2018 Microsoft US SI of the Year award for Azure Performance at Microsoft Inspire in Las Vegas. The award recognizes AIS’ work in Azure consumption values, as well as our success as the #1 United States Co-Sell Partner in the Microsoft Co-Sell Initiative. With over $26 million in Azure consumption and over $12 million in total contract value, AIS assisted Microsoft in retiring over $1 million in Azure goals.

Microsoft generated more than 11,000 co-sell wins with partners like AIS during the past 12 months, equating to roughly $5 billion in contract value through the channel. The figures are the result of Microsoft’s newly-formed One Commercial Partner (OCP) roll-out, designed to drive deeper collaboration between internal direct sellers and partners.

Microsoft described the OCP-driven co-sell program as the “largest sales transformation” in decades.

“In less than a year, AIS partnered with the OCP team to conceive and deliver our co-sell offerings with market-leading results,” said Larry Katzman, AIS Vice President of Marketing and Sales. “We leveraged our Cloud Adoption Framework, which is a collection of services we’ve delivered multiple times while helping our clients adopt Azure. We also included our Legacy Modernization offerings.”

AIS will be expanding our co-sell offerings to include our Office 365 and Dynamics 365 adoption programs in the coming year,

“Congratulations to the OCP Team and the AIS Marketing and Sales Teams for turning the OCP vision into a reality so quickly,” said Tom O’Connell, AIS Managing Partner. “This is only the beginning. We built a solid pipeline and see even better results in FY19.”

AIS Team Members Accepting Award

2018 Microsoft US SI of the Year Award

We can do this for you too! Check out our Azure QuickStart offering here.

I just finished teaching my Azure Master Class for Cloud Solution Architects and wanted to provide a quick recap:

Motivation

The motivation for organizing this class was three-fold:

  1. Like many companies, AIS has many open CSA (Cloud Solution Architect) positions that we are unable to fill. So the only solution is to take folks with a strong background in non-cloud environments (on any development stack for that matter) and “rewire” their brains for cloud computing 😊
    Note – Please refer to Gartner’s cautionary note [1] about Azure (the only note of caution in what is otherwise a very positive report on Azure). Gartner claims that that lack of deep technical expertise is impacting adoption.
  2. An effective CSA needs an understanding of a broad array of key concepts. Even though new features are being added to the Azure platform every day, the key concepts of availability sets, fault and upgrade domains and managed identity don’t change that often. My goal was to discuss each of these concepts in depth along with practical tips, guidance, and pitfalls.
    Note – Please refer to the list of key concepts [2] that I covered during this class.
  3. Engender a “Cloud Thinking” mindset. Cloud thinking is a mindset that goes beyond moving an existing application to the cloud (lift-n-shift) or starting out using a cloud-native service like Functions. Cloud thinking is a solution-focused approach to building cloud applications that maximizes the benefits that the cloud has to offer, including considerations like monitoring, cost, governance, HA and of course, compliance and security.

Format

  • The class spanned three intense days.
  • No hands-on lab – I expected the attendees to fork the repo and work through the samples on their own time. I also encouraged attendees to review Azure Essentials before attending the class.
  • I focused on building a conceptual understanding of key Azure topics. I relied on concept slides combined with focused demos.

Read More…

Best of Texas AwardTwo years ago, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) came to AIS with an outdated online budgeting tool called the “Texas Reality Check” for middle and high school students. The application, designed to give students a clear sense of how much their desired future lifestyle will cost and what education and career choices will support it, was plagued by performance and accessibility issues…and its young target demographic was simply tuning it out.

AIS modernized the site for teen sensibilities, streamlined the underlying information architecture for easier use, overhauled the content strategy and user experience, and made it fully compliant with the latest accessibility guidelines.  You can read more about our work on this project here.

The new and improved Texas Reality Check has since gone on to become the most popular application of the Labor Market and Career Information Department (LMCI) of the Texas Workforce Commission. And now it’s been honored with a 2018 “Best of Texas” Award for Best Application Serving the Public. The awards highlight the Texas state government’s top creative tech implementations of the year, for both internal improvements and public-facing services like TRC.

“Governmental and educational leaders in Texas are leveraging technology to improve cybersecurity, enhance citizen service and advance emergency response, among many other things,” said Teri Takai, executive director of the Center for Digital Government. “Congratulations to this year’s Best of Texas winners for the vital role they are playing in advancing information technology in Texas.”

We’re really proud of our work on this project and thrilled that school students all across Texas have responded to the site in such a positive and engaged way. We hope the application continues to inspire them to dream big…while also equipping them with the knowledge and tools they need to achieve their goals.