Saturday, April 21, 2007

Hiring IT professionals

The other day a colleague talked to me about the temporary position that he is hiring for. The position is at intermediate level and has been advertised and the deadline has closed. He was going through the stack of resumes to shortlist qualified candidates. He was asking about what to do with resumes that obviously doesn't qualify and those that are questionable and wondered why folks would apply for positions tha they are unqualified for. For example, the position asked for at least 2 years of related work experience and there are many resumes from recent graduates of technical programs who don't have the required minimum years of work experience. I sympthazie with these folks as I was in that exact same situation when I first started out. I mean, how are you supposed to get experience if no one is willing to give you an opportunity to attend that experience? Well, one quick solution is to volunteer just to get the experience necessary and this can be done while at school or even after while seeking employment.

The other group are from folks who are not even remotely qualified as in no IT experience what so ever. For these folks, I would suggest that you go and register in some IT certification program.

The last group are from folks who are obviously over-qualified and yes, I've been there before. I have a couple of suggestions and the first one, being to tailor your resume to the position that the employer is hiring for. For example, instead of showing that you have been this or that (in terms of IT managerial positions), if the position calls for a hands-on technical person, then summarize your IT managerial positions and grouped them so that they don't take up 90% of the resume. I would further suggest that the cover letter contain an explanation of why you are seeking this technical position given the breadth of your IT experience. For example, prefer to be hands on with technology than to manage people or you have been hands on for the last x number of years and enjoyed the work tremendously. Obviously you will have to word it positively so that your potential employer doesn't think that you are a nutcase with mental problems.

It's not easy and the hiring process is a two-way street with the employer looking to hire the "best" candidate available and the candidate looking to join the "best" firm available. Each group has different drivers for what would consitute the "best". For example, the "best" candidate is someone who has the required skills and experience plus is a good fit for the organization in terms of the "corporate culture" and personality. I would also look for "passion" or "desire" in there too as I would definitely want an employee who is passionate about his/her profession and has the desire to add to their knowledge and experience.

For the candidate, "best" could be the best fit in terms of the whole compensation package with the desirable technical environment/challenges, balance between work and personal life (the individual's lifestyle), etc. I know that it's easy to say that the candidate is looking for all this when they are out of work but remember that the "ideal" period to be looking for employment opportunities are when you are still employed and not after.

For those of you looking and for those you hiring, good luck and may you find the "ideal" employer/candidate.

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