Tom Sweeney

It's a coming of age tale….

Posts Tagged ‘Interview’

Working with a ‘Systems Integrator’: The demonical side of recruiting

Posted by sweens on May 20, 2009

While the title of this blog may seem harsh, my intent is two fold.  Firstly, to illuminate my frustrations in recruiting positions for system integrators, and secondly, to have an attractive headline that hopefully brought you to this blog.

But all jokes aside, recruiting positions with, or for systems integrators, is usually a very frustrating experience for me.  I find these positions more challenging to recruit then other positions where my firm is the only company involved in the search.  My frustrations stem from two spots:

1 – There are too many companies trying to make money off the contract
2 – There are too many people involved in the process

 Firstly, when two companies are involved in presenting candidates to an ‘end client’, you have entered a situation where two companies are trying to make margin off the same candidate.  Often times, the client has a price in mind, so you subtract the margin from one firm, then the second firm, and you are usually left with a pay rate to the candidate (the person who is actually going to do the work) that is much lower then the market value.

 While I understand the reasons behind this – companies exist to make money for the exchange of a service – it is frustrating as a recruiter because I often see good candidates slip through the opportunity, or I have to talk my candidate down to a much lower rate. 

Secondly, when multiple companies become involved, there are too many players in the process, which ultimately slows it down.  Scheduling interviews and getting feedback suddenly becomes a painful process as the schedules and timelines for at least 5 people are now thrown into the mix.

While I see the prospect of staffing for system integrators, I can also see (and experience) the challenges associated with this piece of business.

Posted in Recruitment | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Rejected: Moving on after the interview

Posted by sweens on April 2, 2009

I was reading a blog yesterday that talked about how recruiting a position is a lot like setting a friend up on a blind date.  Trying to match two people and hoping there is a connection there – similar to bringing a candidate to an interview and hoping they make a connection with the hiring manager.  And while this blog was geared towards retention, I think this analogy applies to many scenarios in the staffing industry.


Let us focus on a very difficult issue for many people along the windy road of landing a new position.  You make it all the way to an interview but do not get selected for the job. 


Why?  What went wrong?  I thought it went really well.


 Those are all pretty common responses for candidates who leave an interview thinking that they have a good chance of closing on the position and are interested in what the position can offer them.  But a lot of the time, you do not end up getting the position and where do you go from there?


Many candidates are often looking for that aspect of closure following a lost opportunity.  It helps them move on or better prepare themselves for the next interview.  Similarly to breaking up with someone you have dated.  Was it me?  Was it them?  Do I need to change something?  I think the simply reality that people need to realize is that not everyone matches with everyone.  I have had candidates that are excellent candidates and many organizations would jump at the chance to hire them but they blow the interview.


This is not to say that the candidate can not interview, but sometimes you just do not match the person on the other end.  It is no ones fault, just the way things work out.  That being said, telling that to a candidate likely is not a viable option.  They want something concrete, something tangible that will explain the hiring decision.  And unfortunately, you do not always get that answer.


It is not common practice for employers to offer a post interview debrief as to why you did not get the job.  Recruiters can do a better job of getting this information for you since they work with the hiring managers but often times the information is not shared with all parties involved.  There are internal politics, budget cuts, family emergencies, etc; that can all get in the way of someone getting an offer – but that is unlikely to be shared with candidates.


While a recruiter should always do their best to debrief their candidates following an interview, candidates need to accept that at times, information will simply not be made available to them (including the recruiter) and accepting that they did not get the job is the only answer they are going to get.


I know it is not the most desirable situation for anyone to be in, but it is just the way interviewing works. 

Posted in Recruitment | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Private VS Public: The challenges in dealing with the Government

Posted by sweens on March 13, 2009

One of the big challenges the Ottawa market faces in the work force is the difference between the private sector and the public sector.  Both represent large beasts that struggle to be tamed on a frequent basis.  Let us look at some of the major differences in trying to gain employment in both.


I would suggest that the two main differences between the two are the method of getting in and the way in which you are evaluated.  To get into the Government as a permanent employee takes a long time and usually the more people you know, the better.  I have already discussed the hiring cycle with the Government so let us not repeat such a thrilling topic. 


If you are tired of waiting to get in as an employee you can contract in.  In order to do so, you need to find a procurement vehicle to get in.  Most people end up using an agency that stay in business by placing people into the Government on contract via these procurement vehicles.  While it can be frustrating, this is the way the Government works.  They can not just say “I like Steve Smith and I want to give him this contract.”  They need to begin a competitive process so that others can compete for the business.


Private sector companies do have this ability to work with someone or an agency and simply hire the individual that is of interest to them.  They often provide a list of requirements to an agency and review resumes accordingly while evaluating the candidate based on what their needs are and then proceed to an interview.  This is not always the case with the Government. 


Government usually has candidates fill out detailed skills grids demonstrating their experience.  This process is usually not very labour intensive but certainly slows the process down.  This is done so that everyone who is submitted against a competitive bid can be evaluated in the same manor and everyone can view what the requirements are.  This also leaves the department less vulnerable to someone challenging their hiring decisions as candidates are screened, scored and evaluated the same way based on a specific requirement.


While some candidates may prefer dealing with the private sector or the public sector over the other, understanding how the evaluation for each side is done is essential to finding gainful employment on either side.  Private sector values work experience and places importance on the interview.  Public sector values metrics and places importance on how you compare against similar candidates.


Oh, I forgot to mention that price ALWAYS plays a key in hiring decisions. 


So whether you are interested in public or private sector opportunities, you need to be aware that both sectors have different values when it comes to making a hiring decision.  Understanding this decision is an important element to your job search.


I also forgot to mention, that the Government spends Billions of Dollars every year on contracting.  Something to think about as the private sector slows down right now.

Posted in Recruitment | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Post Interview Feedback…

Posted by sweens on February 3, 2009


An important step in the recruiter/candidate relationship is the post interview feedback.  This can easily be a step that gets passed over from one opportunity to the next but it is one that can be very beneficial.  Recruiters on the whole want to be kept up to date anytime a candidate gets to interact with their clients so it certainly makes us feel good.


This step also allows a recruiter to find out what how the client interviews.  What types of questions they ask.  What they are interested in during an interview?  It is not uncommon for a client to say we are looking for “x” and once they interview someone who has “x” they tell that candidate that “x” is not important to them at all.  Letting your recruiter know what questions were asked can allow any miscommunication to get sorted our sooner rather then later.


The feedback any candidate can also provide to a recruiter following the interview will allow the firm representing you to appropriately seek out the hiring manager for feedback and allow them to have an informed conversation on your behalf.  All in all it is a quick 2 minute conversation that helps the process.  What have you got to lose?

Posted in Recruitment | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »