Tom Sweeney

It's a coming of age tale….

Archive for July, 2009

Globalive chooses technology built at Alcatel-Lucent’s Ottawa facility

Posted by sweens on July 30, 2009

By Krystle Chow, Ottawa Business Journal Staff

Wed, Jul 29, 2009 12:00 PM EST

Technology developed at Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU)’s Ottawa research facility will form the backbone for Globalive Wireless’s new countrywide 3G mobile network, Globalive announced Wednesday.

Toronto-based Globalive – which only recently won $442-million-worth of spectrum to provide wireless services across Canada, except in Quebec, through Industry Canada’s advanced wireless services spectrum auction in 2008 – said it’s awarded a multimillion-dollar, three-year contract to Alcatel-Lucent to help build the new high-speed network.

Alcatel-Lucent is providing its 3G radio access network solution that’s ready for migration to the new long-term evolution, or LTE, technology, as well as a variety of services including site acquisition and construction, radio frequency network design and optimization, and overall network planning and design.

The company noted that the Globalive deployment leverages technology developed at Alcatel-Lucent’s Ottawa operations.

Globalive, which also operates long-distance calling service Yak Communications and Canada Payphone, is expecting to launch its wireless voice, text and data services in select markets beginning 2010.

The telecom firm also recently chose another Ottawa company, DragonWave Inc. (TSX:DWI) to provide its Horizon Compact technology to support the need for bandwidth for its new network.

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Playing branch manager…

Posted by sweens on July 28, 2009

Well this week I have been playing branch manager as I cover for my VP as he is off on holidays.  Quickly I am learning more and more about the industry and what it takes to run a branch of a staffing firm on a daily basis.

 It was not what I thought it would be.

 The biggest challenge has certainly been managing my time accordingly.  I still have my usual recruiting duties to attend to – which includes two of the most difficult positions I have ever been assigned to – on top of all the other things that are coming up along the way. 

 I could get used to this though.  I enjoy being the go-to guy…

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News Update: Ericsson dials Nortel auction up with $730M bid

Posted by sweens on July 24, 2009

News Story
Ericsson dials Nortel auction up with $730M bid
By Ottawa Business Journal Staff
Thu, Jul 23, 2009 9:00 AM EST

Swedish telecom giant Ericsson has jumped into the battle for Nortel Networks Corp.’s wireless businesses, topping the high bidder – private equity firm MatlinPatterson – by $5 million.

Ericsson on Tuesday submitted a US$730-million bid for Nortel’s CDMA and LTE, short for code-division multiple access and long-term evolution technology, according to a Globe and Mail report that cited sources familiar with the bidding process.

Besides besting the $725-million proposal earlier announced by MatlinPatterson, which has said it intends to build a stand-alone business based on Nortel’s wireless assets, Ericsson’s offer is also higher than the $650-million “stalking horse” bid made back in June by Nokia Siemens Networks.

Research In Motion Ltd. (TSX:RIM) is also trying to make a play for the wireless division along with other unspecified Nortel businesses, although Nortel earlier rejected its bid as RIM had not submitted the offer along court-approved guidelines.

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Big Dollars in SAP: If I knew then what I know now…

Posted by sweens on July 22, 2009

Well once again I am back on the SAP train searching for SAP professional to fill a contract position I am working on.  Again I find myself jealous at their pay rates.  I wonder if people who look back on their careers today, would make a change in their career if they applied what they know now today, back when they were entering university.

 I once took an object oriented programming (OOP) class in University which I struggled immensely with.  I could never have imagined myself doing that type of work as a career.  But now that I have a career and I place people with OOP skills, I might have put more thought into it then – now that I see the potential they have.

 But there is potential everywhere, isn’t there?

 I have a friend from high school who has been asking me to review his CV as he gets more professional experience to put on it.  He is currently working as an SAP ABAP programmer.  I wonder if he knows what kind of money he can be making in three years, because I certainly know where he should be!

 Does anyone else have these thoughts?  Would anyone else have made a career switch had they had more information?  As Rod Stewart would sing “I wish that I knew what I know, now when I was younger”.

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Committing to a rate: Is it the best option for a company?

Posted by sweens on July 16, 2009

I am going through an exercise today where I am trying to come up with ideal rates that my firm can submit to a prospective client of ours. This is known in the staffing industry as a ‘rate card’. It is fairly common for buyers to set up a rate card with the sellers, but it may not always be the best solution.

Firstly, I understand the motivation for any buyer to want a rate card. It stops the price of professional services from increasing past a certain point and it allows the buyer to plan how much money they need to budget in order to complete a given project with ‘x’ amount of resources.

However, as we have discussed before, market rate for professional services always fluctuates. There is a direct correlation between the demand for professional services and the supply of professional services which drives the market value. While stopping an increase in rates for professional services is likely the ultimate goal of a rate card, it can affect the buyers ability to properly bring in resources should the market value for professional services increase significantly.

What I mean by this is that when a firm bids on a rate card, they would normally use current data and plan for a bit of fluctuation. So if for example I bid a senior programmer/analyst at a rate of $600 per day that would give me a competitive rate in today’s market. However, if for some odd reason, next year the market value for a senior programmer/analyst was at $800 per day, I would not be able to attract the quality of resource my client is looking for.

It is for this reason that clients need to be educated and understand both the good and the bad of rate cards. While the rate card can serve as a pricing and safety net when it comes to the rates of professional services, it can also cause challenges if the firms and the consultants are held to out-of-date rates due to an old rate card.

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Nortel is back in the news…

Posted by sweens on July 15, 2009

I find this humorous but I was driving by the Nortel buildings on my way to dinner last night and I thought to myself – I have not heard much about Nortel lately.  Well much to my pleasure I see that Nortel is back in the news. 

 CANADA-US-FRANCE-NORTEL-THREATAccording to Yahoo News, French employees of Nortel who are being laid off threatened to blow up the facility if they were unable to secure decent layoff terms.  The employees placed gas cylinders around the plant – but they turned out to be empty.

 I wonder if all employers expect this kind of reaction to a lay-off.

 It is good to hear a lighter side of a Nortel news story for a change.

 Please read the full article at:

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Summer lull…

Posted by sweens on July 14, 2009

Well it is confirmed.  The summer lull of employment has arrived and the steady flow of Government business has slowed down.  Those of you wishing to contract into the Government had better bear down wait for what we all hope will be a busy end of August and early September. 

 If it makes any or all of us feel better, at least we have not had any consistent nice weather for everyone on those extended vacations to enjoy.  Unfortunately it seems to always be cloudy on the weekends when I try to hide at my cottage.

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You’ve got to love the close ration…

Posted by sweens on July 10, 2009

I love how a good ‘close ration’ – the ration between the positions you present candidates on and the ones you actually win – for this industry is around thirty percent. When I think about that, it is demoralizing to think that two thirds of the positions I recruit will never close.

Do candidates know this? If they do not I think they should be aware that the close ratio for any given firm is not likely what people would expect.

I guess I will just have to keep doing what I can to increase that ration. Come on fourty percent!!

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Presenting to the client: How tough is it?

Posted by sweens on July 8, 2009

In the recruiting business, getting a position that needs to be filled can be one of the most challenging pieces of the puzzle, but not always.  My office spent a few hours today discussing how we are going to continue responding to our Government bids moving forward – which has gotten me thinking that this is also one of the biggest pieces to the overall puzzle.

While the Government is unique in how they want to be presented with candidates, the ability to understand the presentation required in order to please your client is a key step to the whole process.  Often times, simply sending in a quick note about your candidate and a copy of their resume is not enough for your client, so you need a bit more.

As mentioned before, I do recruit some positions for partners of ours (System Integrators) and each partner has their own unique presentation style.  While the concept is the same for each, there is always a bit of difference from firm to firm.  Understanding these differences was ultimately the goal of my meeting today and we wanted to set up some best practices moving forward.

I wonder if other recruiters (ones who are hopefully reading this) go through similar exercises with their firms.  Is it common practice for staffing agencies to have templates and guidelines for how to deal with candidate presentations?  How about guidelines/expectations that they need to convey to their candidates?

Since my only tenure in the recruiting business has been with the same firm (which is not a bad thing) I have only been exposed to ‘our’ way of doing things and can only get bits and pieces of outside information on how other firms proceed with presentations.  I am asking for enlightenment, so please share!

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Tis the season?

Posted by sweens on July 7, 2009

Perhaps this blog is inspired by the holidays I took last week, but we have now entered ‘vacation’ season. This is something active job seekers need to take into account as the summer months continue to slow down the hiring process of any organization.

With the hot sun and kids out of school now, more and more employees are cashing in their banked holidays and taking a long needed rest from the usual ting florescent bulbs make over the next two months. What does this mean for the active job seeker?

This means that the hiring process for most organizations is going to slow down until the middle of September. Personally I would like to see some statistics on this, but it is something I have observed and something I hear from others in the industry. And frankly it just makes sense. Hiring managers and top executives who are needed to sign off on new hires or to conduct interviews are not going to be in the office as much over the next few months to drive the hiring process as quickly as possible.

 And let us all be honest here, when it is 30 degrees out and sunny on a Friday afternoon, where is the last place you want to be? WORK!!!!

What this means to the active job seeker is that you need to be prepared for a slower hiring cycle – especially in organizations that are large and have a lot of ‘red tape’ (organizations like Government departments or huge companies like IBM). It is not by their desire that the hiring process gets slowed down, but often times the people who are needed to sign off or authorize a new hire are just not around to do it.

All in all, I would say the next two months likely represent the two worst months of the year to be looking for a job. The economy is slow and so are the organizations who are still hiring. If you talk to any Government contractor who has contracted for a while, they typically try to avoid coming off a contract during the summer as to avoid this hiring cycle.

So hang in there and keep looking. Try to enjoy the nice weather while you’re at it!

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