Business Intelligence vs. SQL Developer Job Trends

Job Trends
SQL Server Developer Job vs. Business Intelligence. There’s plenty of buzz around business intelligence and analytics being in the top 3 CIO initiatives for 2011 and 2012. Take a look at job trends between these two roles and let it help your focus as you pursue recruiting initiatives for 2012.

Java Developers vs .Net Developers
Young developers always want to know which to focus on, which is more lucrative, has more growth potential. etc. Well… here is your answer.

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Why Professionals Are Rude to Recruiters

Written By Obi Ogbanufe – (Published on Recruitingtrends.com)

Rude Candidate Recruiting Call

Is there ever a good reason for a person to be unprofessionally rude to a recruiter? As mature individuals, we want to believe that there isn’t a valid reason for rudeness in any professional communications, but reality is that every now and then we come across as rude even when we don’t think we are. And other times we act out our feelings of frustrations from prior experiences.

Talking to a few candidates to find out their thoughts on this, they agreed that even though they did not start out seeking to be rude, the conversation may have inadvertently ended that way. And here are some of their reasons.

The #1 reason cited was recruiter non-responsiveness – when recruiters never call back or follow-up. From a candidate’s perspective this may be a good reason to be rude to the same or a subsequent recruiter who calls. If a candidate has not received a call back from a recruiter, chances are one or more of these could be the reason.

a) Bad Resume – The candidate’s resume did not catch on. It needed some revamping and the recruiter probably had too much going on to try to work with the candidate to polish their resume. If this is a regular occurrence, then a candidate may need to go through a resume makeover.

b) No Open Position –The position had been filled and the recruiter felt no obligation to call to let the candidate know.

c) Unreliable Recruiter –Though crude, this does happen. The recruiter is just not reliable.

The #2 reason for rudeness to recruiters is when a recruiter assumes he knows what a candidate wants/needs. This is especially true when a recruiter has recruited and filled several positions similar to what the candidate seeks. In this case, recruiters may heed the saying that no two people/positions are the same and always seek to act as an advocate for the candidate by getting answers to candidates’ questions, not assuming that similar situations will have same answers.

The #3 reason is when recruiters start asking questions before establishing intent. People will answer most every question posed by their doctors or mortgage consultants because they know the answers make for successful diagnosis or loan approval respectively. When a candidate feels that a recruiter has no valid reason to ask some types of questions, then it creates tension and a situation where the recruiter and candidate are each struggling to keep their cool. The candidate is feeling, ‘why in the world is a person I just met on the phone asking me these questions’; the recruiter is feeling, ‘does this candidate have something to hide, why isn’t she giving me answers, doesn’t she know that I’m trying to help her?’

In a case like this, the recruiter should always state the reason for the call, and even after that, if the candidate is not immediately forthcoming with answers, tactfully withdraw from the conversation. Possible withdrawal tactics are (a) apologize if it’s in your nature to do so, (b) if apologies are not your forte, then ask for a do over, reason is because you want a cordial recruiter-candidate relationship, (c) ask if it’s OK to call back at another time.

Furthermore, remember that recruiting is not an act of helping. When we say we’re recruiting because we like to help other people, we ought to make sure we don’t fall into the trap of presenting ourselves as doing a favor for the candidate. Helping is something we do without seeking or wanting a payback in return. Recruiting is a service of attracting, screening, and selecting qualified candidates for organizations for a fee. Sometimes, we offer helpful advice within the constraints of recruiting, like when recruiters clean up a person’s resume, and give helpful interview tips; this is all for the benefit of the end goal – which is presenting a hire-able and qualified candidate to an organization.

The #4 reason is when candidates feel superior which results in speaking condescendingly to recruiters. This can happen when a candidate perceives that a recruiter does not have adequate technical knowledge. In this situation, the recruiter should stand their ground and stay confident in the fact that the knowledge you have in recruiting may be equal or more than the knowledge the candidate has in his profession. That being said, it is extremely beneficial for recruiters to learn the language of their candidates, whether it’s IT, engineering, medical, etc. Imagine going to an auto repair shop and not being able to explain what’s wrong with your car. The mechanic will take you for a ride to say the least.

In conclusion, the recruiter-candidate relationship is symbiotic; they need each other, so be responsive, advocate for your candidates, establish your intent, learn to speak the language of your candidates, and stay confident and true to yourself. Who can resist all that in a recruiter?

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The Art of Performing Technical Screening

Written by Obi Ogbanufe for ERE.Net

Technical Screening

Technical screening is testing candidates in order to identify those with particular characteristics listed in a job description. This can be done in order to avoid the unnecessary cycles of presenting several candidates for interview who are rejected either because the job description was misunderstood or the candidate screening process was ineffective, or a combination of both.

I get into this more in an upcoming Journal of Corporate Recruiting Leadership, but wanted to give you a taste of all this concept today.

During a training session with technical recruiters, we reviewed a C# Developer job description that was posted on their corporate website. The job description was seeking a mid-level developer with 1 to 2 years development (C#, ASP.NET, SQL Server, and Web Services) and analytical experience, who also had experience in SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) and SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS).

On reviewing the job description, I saw bright red flags and proceeded to explain.

First the notion that a mid-level developer would have 1-2 years experience is not entirely correct. Mid-level experience is closer to 4-6 years. The second flag is the requirement for the mid-level C# developer to have experience in SSRS and SSIS. It is very possible for a mid-level C# developer to have experience in SQL Server, but not to the extent of having experience in SSRS and SSIS. After highlighting other mismatches in the job description, it was very apparent to me that the hiring manager was looking for a SQL Server Developer with C# development experience and not a C# Developer. No sooner had I finished that sentence than a recruiter in the session informed me that the candidates sent to interview with the hiring manager were rejected, and that the hiring manager later informed the recruiter that the requirements and title of the position were to be changed to SQL Server Developer instead of C# Developer. The hiring manager had found out during the interviews that their need was for a SQL Developer instead.

This was a case of a misunderstood job description. For the issue of ineffective candidate screening, Kerri, a technical recruiter with 11 years’ experience asks “How do I validate technical skills to know if the candidate really has the skills or not?”

The answer is simple: Technical Screening. It involves three steps:

  • Evaluate the Job Description
  • Review the Resume
  • Create Technical Screening Questions

Job Description Evaluation: Job description review is where technical screening and skills matching starts to either come together or fall apart. The first thing to do is to ensure that all the skill sets and technical terms are understood, i.e. what they mean and how they are used in the context of the job. The second is to find and answer all the questions that arise from the job description with the help of the hiring manager.

Resume Review: Aside from matching the technical skills of the requirements with that of the candidate’s resume, there are other aspects of the position and its technical environment that affect the compatibility of a candidate to a job. These are the pace of development/work, the project team makeup, type of organization, etc. Review the resume to find questions and answers that either complement or are inconsistent with the job description.

The graphic  below is an example of disparity between a candidate and hiring manager after a job description and resume review. It becomes clear that this may not be a good match, irrespective of how compatible the resume is with the job description.

Suitability Matrix

Technical Screening Questions: At this point screening questions should be building up from reviewing the job description and resume. What can we find out about this candidate that will be attractive to the hiring manager (vice versa)? What makes this candidate tick? Looking at a SharePoint Developer (.Net) job description and resume, these are some questions that may be asked.

Background

  • What is the makeup of your development, testing, and production environments? How many servers do you have in each environment?

Specific to Job Description

  • How did you start your career in SharePoint development? Am I correct to say you have about five years (interject the years of experience you’ve heard the candidate say) experience in SharePoint Development?

Specific to Resume

  • Could you tell me about the MOSS and .NET based Enterprise Content Management System — what problem did this solve?

The great thing about technical screening questions is that the answers can be verbiage used by the recruiter to create captivating candidate profiles that describe key strengths to the hiring manager. The most important of all the advantages of this screening process is that the recruiter is able to recognize (with supported information), if the candidate has the characteristics listed in the job description.

Using the tips outlined above, you see that the screening process starts with understanding the intent of the job description. Every minute spent learning more about the job description helps boost a recruiter’s confidence and ability to validate technical candidates for a successful match. When you continue to do this on a regular basis, don’t be surprised when three things start to happen: a) your clients request your recruiting services on an on-going basis, b) your candidates send you more referrals and c) you are able to do more in less time.

Copyright (c) Obi Ogbanufe

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Using Mail Merge for Candidate Follow-up

Article Written by Obi Ogbanufe for ERE.Net

Recruiters have taken a lot of hits for not following up with candidates even if only to say, ‘Sorry, this job did not work out but I’d like to have your permission to call you for the next one?” This is evident in a post titled Recruiters Need to Follow Through by Stephen Dufaux and an open poem to recruiters written by a candidate on Indeed.com’s technical recruiter forum, lamenting about this practice.

We all can agree that following up (or the lack of it) with candidates is a big differentiator in recruiting or any other career for that matter. The question now is how one can go from being a non-responsive recruiter to one who follows up. To address this we have to first identify the reasons recruiters don’t follow-up.

  • Procrastination: Putting things off until we convince ourselves that it wasn’t important in the first place.
  • Insensitivity: We feel that candidates should already know that a no-response from a recruiter means that they were rejected, so why would one require a phone call/email for that?
  • Fear of Conflict: We’re afraid of the conversation that might ensue after we tell someone that they were rejected.
  • No Automated System: There is no automated process for performing candidate follow-up, and doing it the normal way takes a lot of time.

The first, second, and third reasons are easier to fix because they require mindset changes that can be induced by understanding the un-mined benefits of candidate follow-up.

Following up can be a matter of choice (for the contract/independent recruiter) or can be made mandatory and incorporated as a business rule in any recruiting software for corporate and 3rd party recruiters. In either case, following up is good for business for a number of reasons. It builds credibility, which is the main ingredient for candidate and client referrals. When candidates know that recruiters don’t think of them as numbers and perceive that recruiters care about their job well being, candidates will respond in kind with the natural next step of referring recruiters to other people in their network.

The last reason for not following-up is more difficult to fix because it requires the use of a software system that may not be readily available to all recruiters. For recruiters who already have a software system in the form of a CRM (Customer Management Systems) or ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems), it becomes easy to add a workflow that provides a process for automated follow-up, if not already in place.

For other recruiters who do not have a system, here’s a simple way of putting the technology you may already have to another use, thereby maximizing your software investments.

Mail Merge: It’s a tool in Microsoft Word that can be used to send individualized (mass) emails. You can use this for candidate follow-up.

So you talked to seven candidates for a particular requisition and for different reasons have identified only two to advance to the next stage of hiring process. What do you do with the other five? Instead of procrastinating till you’re labeled a non-responder, you can send them individualized emails using mail merge at the end of each week or day depending on your bandwidth. Here’s how.

Create a new contact folder in MS Outlook and name it accordingly; example, NotNowCandidates.

Right-click on your inbox -> click New folder -> type NotNowCandidates in the name box -> In the ‘Folder contains’ pull down menu, select ‘Contact Items’ -> In the ‘Select where to place the folder’, select a containing folder for your new NotNowCandidates folder contact folder. Click OK and you have created a container where all your identified candidates are stored.

Add identified contacts to this new NotNowCandidates folder: To add the rejected candidates to this folder …

Right-click an email item from an identified candidate -> Click Move to folder -> Find and select the NotNowCandidates folder created in the last step -> Click OK. Do this for all the candidates you want to follow up with.

Create a form letter in MS Word that contains the message you want to send to each person. You can download a sample form email

  1. Open Microsoft Office Word
  2. Locate and Open the downloaded sample form email, and click OK.
  3. On the ‘Mailings’ tab, in the ‘Start Mail Merge’ group, click ‘Start Mail Merge’ and then select ‘Email Messages.’
  4. In the ‘Start Mail Merge’ group, click ‘Select Recipients,’ and then click ‘Select from Outlook contacts’
  5. Locate and select the contact list you created earlier, and then click OK.
  6. To add unique messaging to each candidate, select the X located after Hi.
  7. On the ‘Mailing’ tab, in the ‘Writing and Insert Fields’ group, click ‘Insert Merge Fields’ and then select the ‘First’ for the first  name of your candidate from the contact list.
  8. In the ‘Previewing Results’ group, click ‘Preview Results’ to see the results of the merged fields.
  9. In the ‘Finish’ group, click on ‘Finish & Merge’
  10. Select ‘Send Email Messages,’ and then in the ‘Merge to Email’ window, ensure that ‘Email’ is selected in the To: drop down list box.
  11. Enter subject of your choice in the ‘Subject Line’ text box; e.g.  ‘Job Follow up’
  12. Click OK to send the individualized and unique emails to all the addresses on your contact list.

In just a few steps you are able to follow up with your candidates, sending individualized emails to 2 – 300 or more candidates at one time. I hope you use this to put your candidates’ minds at rest and begin to change the view candidates have of recruiters one follow-up email at a time.

 

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Business Analyst Week

Who is the business analyst (BA), what are her tasks, who does she work with to accomplish her tasks, and how can you identify an established BA and one in the making?

Business Analysis - Photo by Salvatore Vuono

Wikipedia and the IIBA has a lot of useful information on who this person is, the question now is how you converse with the BA and perform technical screening on her/him.

I’ll be adding prescreening questions on this post

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I want the technical recruiter to know more about IT

Technical Recruiting Book

Technical Recruiting Book

As a member of a LinkedIn Group – GIA – I saw some comments by IT Professionals who were asked what their recruiters could do to help them. Their response can basically be summed up in one statement – ‘I want the technical recruiter to know more about IT’. This is as simple as it gets.

Part of what I’ve done with my book ‘Technology Made Simple for the Technical Recruiter’ is make this a reachable goal for technical recruiters – corporate, independent, contract, agency recruiters alike. So if you’ve ever felt like you don’t know enough about today’s technologies to be able to perform your job to the best you can, or feel you want a little boost in your technology-ese to be able to perform skills validation or technical screening, then Technology Made Simple for the Technical Recruiter is for you. It’s available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or the book website at www.technicalrecruitingbook.com in print and ebook versions.

 Chapters 1–3 discuss The Technical Job Requisition, Technical Resume and Technology Team in detail. Starting out as a recruiter, transitioning from another career – this is a great read to get you started. Chapters 4–5 displays Fundamentals of Networking, Operating System Fundamentals…See the rest at book website www.technicalrecruitingbook.com

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The Thing about Blogging

Blogging is a thing, a big thing in some circles. But the thing is you kinda have to have something to say in order to blog, or else its nothing, meaningless. Right? Today I have at least 3 developed thoughts that I want to write about that include IT Risk Management, Information Security Management, the new aspects of Predictive Analytics in Business Intelligence but today isn’t that day.

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The Myth about Recruiting as an Act of Helping

By Obi Ogbanufe:

Technical Recruiter

Technical Recruiter

When we tell ourselves that we’re recruiting because we like to help other people, we ought to make sure we don’t fall into the trap of presenting ourselves as doing a favor to the candidate. Helping is something we do without seeking or wanting a payback in return. Recruiting is a service of attracting, screening, and presenting qualified candidates to organizations for a fee. Sometimes, we offer helpful advice within the constraints of recruiting, like when recruiters clean up a person’s resume, and give helpful interview tips; this is all for the benefit of the end goal – which is presenting a hire-able and qualified candidate to an organization.

Your thoughts?

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IT Recruiting Book Trailer

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Stay connected with Technology!

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Reading IT Articles – Make it a Daily Regimen

Though there’s already much to do in one day for a technical recruiter, it’s still worthwhile to state just how important it is to always be in the know of what’s going on in the technology space. As a technical recruiter, that’s the space you play in.  Yes, it’s changing very fast. The key is – don’t try to chase it, you’ll find it frustrating – instead let it come to you. How? In way of Really Simple Syndication (RSS). You’ve seen it, used it, or tried to. Now put it to good use. The reasons we need to read IT Articles and make it a daily regimen are as follows:

  1. To increase your technical vocabulary. This is not so you can be a masterful technology wordsmith, but so you can know your terminologies, and how they interrelate, their purposes and correct usage.
  2. To keep abreast of changing technologies. It changes very fast, faster than we really know, so don’t bother chasing it, you’ll never catch up. Know the basics of mobile computing, development, and networking etc. Follow the innovations of companies like Google, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM etc.  Develop a keen interest in technology. Think sports recruiting – they know their statistics!
  3. To know what your clients and candidates are going through. This is a good thing especially if your candidates and clients know that you understand their plight. Imagine how you feel when a specialist (auto mechanic, doctor) understands your problems and can speak to the symptoms you’re facing. You are that specialist. Read to understand your candidates and clients symptoms.
  4. To start and maintain conversations. Talk shop with IT professionals. Speak the language. This will surely distinguish you from other recruiters.
  5. To increase your confidence level. Ok maybe just half a notch. Seriously this will increase your confidence level. Imagine how it feels when you know that you know your stuff!

Though there are so many IT resources to keep us informed, most of them are geared towards IT professionals but I’ve listed three here that I believe are more generic and that can help you get started.

| http://www.informit.com/topics/ | http://www.toolbox.com/ | http://www.eweek.com/

These links talk about the future of IT, with content for business professionals as well as technical professionals. With this information, you can now set up a daily reading regimen to scan the interesting articles and newsletters.

Here’s how you do it.

  1. Click on any of the links, for example – http://www.informit.com/articles/index.aspx
  2. Select the topic that suits you from the left pane  – for example Databases
  3. Then click on the ‘subscribe to this topic’ on the right pane.
  4. If you have MS  Outlook
    1. Copy the link (URL) then go to Outlook
    2. Click on Tools – Account Settings – RSS Feeds Tab
    3. Then enter the RSS URL you just copied – OK
    4. In the next dialog box – ensure the feed name is one you can recognize (if not change it to desired name)
    5. In the Delivery Location  – click on Change Folder – to add the feed into a new folder
    6. Select the RSS Feeds folder – click the New Folder button – Enter a name  – Ok –OK
    7. Check the box – Download the full article as an html attachment – click ok
    8. In Outlook, expand the RSS Feeds folder to display your named folder and you should start seeing the feeds coming through.
    9. If you don’t have Outlook, click to subscribe and it’ll be added like a bookmark (in FireFox – in the bookmark toolbar) or like a favorite (Internet Explorer – in the Feeds tab)

 

YouTube has lots of videos that help in adding RSS. You can search for these videos using keywords – ‘RSS for Outlook’

Add reading to your daily task. Start reading the articles. Just an article a day will go a long way.

Additional Information: You can also create a list of the makers of the applications and tools you recruit e.g. CRM, ERP, .Net, Java, PHP, SQL etc. Go to their respective websites, search for the technology and create an RSS or bookmark on these links. Here are a few for Dynamics Basic, CRMOnline, SharePoint, and SQLServer

What other links have you used in the past?

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