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Unrealistic Demands

SAP AG

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Today I received a couple of job proposals and while reading them I had to crinch about the ignorance and lack of knowledge of recruiters and HR departments when posting positions:

One position read:

1) Senior SAP FI Functional Consultant (AR, AP, Banking)
Ideal Candidate needs to have:
• At least 7 years of SAP FI implementation experience in AR, AP and Banking areas on ECC 6.0.
The problem here is that SAP ECC6.0 was not released until 2005/2006.

Release to Customer: Available 24.10.2005
Default Release: Available 06.06.2006

This makes it in my eyes impossible for somebody to have 7 years of experience in ECC6.0. Even if somebody would have gotten hold of the very first release on 24.Oct. 2005, this person would have less than 6 years of experience on this release.

I recall my first upgrade from 4.6c to ECC6.0 did not happen until early 2007.

No further comment on this. If anybody has similar experiences about recruiters or organizations having unrealistic demands I would like to hear about it.

Please comment below.

Thank you.

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Social Networking Your Way to a New Job

UNTIL just a few years ago, looking for a job was a relatively straightforward process. Write a résumé. Scour job sites or the classifieds. Submit an application for listings that seem appropriate. Reach out to recruiters. Then, wait.

In 2008, Oliver Schmid, an I.T. consultant based in Los Angeles, lost his job with a German technology company. Jumping into the job market for the first time in 20 years, Mr. Schmid did what job seekers have always done ….

Read more about my experience and what I learned and have to say about it at the New York Times in “Social Networking Your Way to a New Job”

Recruiters – Do they know what they are doing?

After being unemployed for one year now, due to downsizing after being over 20 years with the same company, I have had many encounters with all sorts of recruiters. Some of them have been valuable and pleasant, but the majority of them had been just a waste of time. Then again, maybe it was not a waste of time. At least I learned everything about the various types of recruiters and recruiting agencies.

In today’s times and with companies hiring less and for the few hires they do they are on a tighter hiring budget. Veryfisherman1few organizations go through the pre-hiring process themselves. This pre-hiring process involves finding a candidate and screening to see whether the candidate is a fit for the position.

In the good old times, recruiters or headhunters, as they are called also, were only used when retained_recruitertrying to fill high-level management positions. All other positions were posted in local and regional news papers and screening and interviewing was done directly at the hiring level. It was more effort but at the same time the company had more control in the selection of the perfect candidate. The retained recruiters usually were specialized in certain areas, whether it was Sales, Management, Information Technology or else. They had an area they specialized and had the expertise in.

Then when the first job boards popped up and when financial times were better, many organizations were using retained recruiters for a wider range of positions. Meaning a recruiter was hired to find a certain candidate. A retained recruiter usually is paid a “retainer” (same as the a.m. executive headhunters), which is a certain fee plus a commission upon hiring of a qualified candidate.

This retained recruiter usually had a detailed knowledge of the requirements through personal interaction with the hiring organization. A retained recruiter usually has the technical or business skills to understand the requirements of a position and therefor can evaluate a possible candidate much better and really only present a potential employee that has all the skills and experience as outlined. These retained recruiters would also personally interview potential candidates before submitting them to their client. This all made the hiring process for all parties (recruiter, hiring organization, potential employee) involved much more pleasant and painless.

Today, in the age of increasing numbers of  job boards, a new breed of recruiter has become more prevelant. The so-called contingency recruiter. A contingency recruiter is not paid any retainer fees but only a commission upon hiring.

I compare these contingency recruiters to professional modern time fishermen.  The sea they are fishing in are the job boards. They have tools to scan job postings at job boards and certain career sites. Then they scan all job seekers that have posted their resume on one of the job boards or career sites and try to match them up against specific jobs, using key words that are a match. The problem with these keyword searches is that they are very inaccurate, since they are done on a very high level. This method will provide a list with more than just a few candidates. I am not sure but I think depending on the job and the how good or bad a job description or resume was written, this list can be in the hundreds. The contingency recruiters usually know that most of these hits are not a fit. Either due to the skills or because they may have come across a stale resume. At that time they send out emails to all these candidates with a job description to inquire whether any of these candidates is still in the market and are interested in this position and if yes to please forward an updated resume.

Here is my first beef I have with this. They pulled my resume of a job board and any serious job seeker has always his or her latest resume posted.

In most cases, once you send them the resume, the recruiter then takes that resume as it is and forwards it to the hiring organization.  No further upfront check has been done whether a candidate will be a fit for the position. Using this method, a hiring manager will get less resumes as if the job was advertised direct by the company but still a lot more than if they would were using a retained recruiter.  But it also means that the hiring manager, who is usually a person in HR, will do the next step of screening candidates and due to the number of submissions for the same position from different firms this process may also be very high level. These HR folks usually know a little bit more about the technical job requirements than the contingency recruiter but still not enough to qualify a potential cancidate. The HR person now does a further screening based on her knowledge and maybe with some short cross check with the department that is hiring.  loc_fish-market

Using this process, or candidate-fishing, has it flaws. In an essence it is like commercial fishing with a drag net.  You pull your net through the sea and once it has been brought aboard the fishing boat the fishermen through everything back to sea what is very obviously no what they have been looking for. During this process some potentially good fish may also be thrown back into the sea. The rest will be brought back ashore, where the next screening process happens. This screening process is done again on a presumption that is based on a higher rate of probability of sale. Again a process that has the risk of throwing out some good fish for a potential unknown buyer. Only marketable fish will be selected to be brought to the market and the rest gets discarded. Presented on the market a buyer walks buy and selects according to the specifics he has. Not finding necessarily a 100% match they go with the 90% match, not knowing that somewhere in the back somebody threw out a 100% match unknowingly, since he did not know the buyers specifics in detail.

I am sure you understand what I’m leading to.  When an organization managed the whole hiring process they were fishing with a single fishing rod, evaluating every fish they pulled whether to keep or throw back and this way eventually caught the right fish. They may have selected a not 100% fit at that time, but were fully aware of the decision they had made.  With a retained recruiter a company told a person what type of fish they are looking for with very detailed specifics and then told that person to go fishing and to bring back a handful fish so they could select. This fisherman knew much better what their one client was looking for and could serve him a lot better.

The problem I am having today now is about the qualification and the business practices of contingency recruiters. Many don’t have any technical skills and there for do not understand the job requirements or a candidates potential. They see a job description that may say SAP Business Analyst with technical experience in 3 or 4 certain areas. Now they come against a resume that has somewhere in the resume the word SAP in it and BANG you get contacted and your resume gets submitted, even the job-seeker had only SAP data entry experience or was a SAP Business Analyst with functional skills. I had recently a recruiter contacting me for a Technical SAP Business Analyst position with experience in 4 modules, even my resume stated clearly that I am a functional SAP Business  Analyst and I matched only one out of the four areas, but had experience in other areas that were of no interest to the hiring organization. I told the Indian recruiter (more to this later) about it, but he insisted to forward my resume anyway.

As I said the recruiter was from some recruiting firm in India and his English language skills were extremely bad. It took me forever to understand what he was talking about, since I could not make out most of the time what he was saying. For all I know at times it could have been Indian. In a matter of fact with this particular recruiter I lost my cool.

My next beef I have with contingency recruiters and recruiting firms is their lack of coordination. It is not enough that I have 4 different recruiting firms contacting me for the same position, but then  get calls or emails from different recruiters within the same firm offering me the same position.

I could on and on and I may write more about this issue at a later time. At this time I just have one more issue and that is the hurry up an wait attitude. I have recruiters calling me asking to send them my most up to date resume and my salary or rate requirements very urgent. Once I had one calling me when I was on my way out of the door to bring my wife to the airport to catch a flight. He asked me to have that resume sent to him within the next 30 minutes. I told him that the earliest I could do would be maybe in 2 or 3 hours, but he was so persistant … and by the way it was the same Indian recruiter I lost my cool with … and he said it was extremely urgent. So I booted up my laptop and quickly send him one of my standard resumes, not rewritten specific to the job. On my way to the airport he called me on my cell and had some more question, which I tried to answer as good as I understood them. Then I told him that he could not forward my resume to any potential employer without telling me first who the company was. He then proceeded to tell me he had to talk to his manager first, since his manager would be forwarding the resume to their client and that his manager would be out of the office for 2 to 3 hours. By the way getting this across and trying to understand him took half the way to the airport and this is when I finally lost my cool with him. Hurry it is urgent and then we cannot submit your resume anyway for another 3 hours. Hey by that time I would have been home and been able to send a resume specific to the job description.

I then learned at a later time, at a similiar incidence that it was only urgent, because they wanted to be the first presenting a client to the hiring organization. Also, often I get to hear that this is an urgent requirement and I send out my resume within the hour just to never ever hear back. No response even to any follow up emails. Whentrying to call I usually end up somewhere in a voicemail system but hardly ever hear back from tis recruiter again.

At this time I would like you to share your recruiting experiences.

Thank you

Oliver B. Schmid