Monday, October 08, 2007


Enterprise Architecture: Making yourself recruitable...

I was thinking about my career and choices I have made and realized that I need to consider ways to make myself more recruitable...

Whenever a recruiter performs a search for an enterprise architect, I tend to be the first one contacted. I, of course blog every day, which causes my name to appear very high in search results. Likewise, you can track me down at industry conferences and find me on sites such as LinkedIn. Being easily findable makes it easy for recruiters to track you down but still doesn't address how easily one can be recruited.

I used to think that the best way to recruit enterprise architects was to talk more about human aspects of technology such as whether the employer allows contribution to open source, whether they are process-oriented or people-oriented, whether they have eschewed or embraced patriotism outsourcing, etc. The phrase, competititve compensation tends to mean mediocrity where they don't pay below the line, nor will you be highly compensated but will simply end up in the middle of the pack. Likewise, job descriptions that mention strategy as a selling point feel weird at some level, because that is what enterprise architecture is. Of course, if it had operational components then this is a predictor that the job isn't inappropriately titled.

I realized something about myself in that I tend to ignore recruiters who want to arrange interviews, but do pay attention to recruiters who arrange conversations. I guess, at some level I don't want to be interviewed and would like for someone to know a little about me before we arrange a chat. Sure, they can read the fine resume but being recruited usually requires someone to have done some homework on you in advance. If they outsourced the homework to an external recruiter then it probably means that they didn't think at enterprise architecture wasn't important enough in terms of their schedule and this is a predictor of things to come.

Sometimes recruiters are directed to pursue named candidates. In this situation, the interview is more about a two-way conversation vs the usual question/answer format. At some level, it makes sense for candidates to uncover how a recruiter got their name. This is not to say that one should ignore recruiters since the vast majority of their activity is chasing the unknown, as many of the folks who employ them don't really know what they are looking for in the first place and that sometimes they add value in helping educate their clients.

Most recently, an SVP of a Fortune 100 enterprise attempted to recruit me (directly) and was almost successful. The conversation we had was intimate and personal. It wasn't just about the job and whatever responsibilities I would have but more about where I wanted to go with my career. This executive didn't assume that just because I am an Enterprise Architect today, that I somehow wanted to continue being one in a new company. At no time did he talk about history and all of the wonderful things I accomplished in the past but did focus on things I aspire to become. What was especially attractive was how the bonus plan was aligned with this notion as well.

We came to the conclusion that I would be a great fit for his newly minted organizational structure and that there is only one thing that wasn't a good fit. We not only agreed to stay in contact, but I know that if I changed my mind at a later date, all doors would remain open. Unlike, traditional recruiting this didn't feel transactional where the job requisition was closed and was a lot more personal...

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