Wednesday, May 12, 2010
What does it take to recruit James McGovern?
Let's start with some analysis of the most typical recruiting call I receive which starts out with acknowledging that I am an Enterprise Architect for a large company that sells insurance. What do you think are the odds that I would like to transition to another large company that sells insurance in the same exact role I am doing today with no real career path (regardless of what the HR documentation says)?
Do you think that a few thousand dollars more a year is enough? While the vast majority of candidates are money chasers, do you think that I am? I am passionate about leveraging technology to realize successful business outcomes and therefore you are more than likely to catch my attention by telling me that my potential new employer is leading edge and not a follower when it comes to technology adoption.
Have you spent any time figuring out that there are some enterprise architects who are savage about process and romance notions such as outsourcing, CMMI, rationalization and other cost-savings constructs while other enterprise architects prefer to instead be on the side of innovation and building out new capability? Which side do you think I reside? It feels as if recruiters almost never know this aspect of the position.
Generally speaking, I tend to return the calls of recruiters who work for the employer over those who are headhunters for a variety of reasons. Mainly, I tend to be somewhat skeptical of headhunters in terms of being successful as the bar tends to be set a lot higher. Headhunters may charge 30% of first year salary as a fee to their clients and if a client can get a candidate without paying the fee then they will which makes it kinda dumb for any candidate to want to work with them. I have always advised my friends to avoid headhunters for positions that are with large companies and to instead apply via job boards or other direct methods. Headhunters should only be used to find jobs in companies outside the Fortune 2000.
Another quirk of working with a headhunter is that it actually takes more energy. They will send you lots of questionnaires that need to be completed before your paperwork is submitted to their clients. They will ask you to make numerous changes to your resume. While this may put you in a better light, it also makes the job search become more extended than it need be. I am of the school of thought that a headhunter should take charge of editing of resumes to improve readability on the candidates behalf and not ask the candidates to do this themselves especially if the candidate is already employed full-time. This is the headhunter's full-time job where at best the candidate would work on such activities after-hours when they aren't at their prime.
If you are an IT employee for any length of time, you may have heard of the likes of Martin Fowler, Grady Booch, James Gosling and so on. Sadly, the vast majority of recruiters haven't heard of these individuals and may only think of them as a name and a skill. If a recruiter doesn't truly appreciate whom they are communicating with and desire for everyone to be walked through the same process then end clients will suffer as well. Recruiters need to do a better job of being able to distinguish between a rockstar and a nobody before a discussion of resume even occurs.
The one aspect of managing a career is the ability to know what one wants to be when you grow up. Many have attempted to articulate this in terms of an objective section on their resume but this doesn't really work in most scenarios.
For example, there are several alternatives that I would be very open to. I would love to become an industry analyst and work for a firm that allows me to work with end customers. The role of enterprise architect by definition requires you to have strong relationships and interactions with C-level executives and therefore is compatible. I would be equally open to being a product manager or even CTO of a product company. The role of enterprise architect as overseer of a portfolio of products is also inline with this role. I think you are starting to see a pattern emerge that simply isn't considered by most recruiters.
There is a big distinction between travel and commute in my mind and these words shouldn't be used interchangeably. I am willing to travel say 25% but that is different than commuting. Many of the industry analysts I know travel where they visit one client one week and a different client the following week, where consulting firms such as Accenture do what I refer to as commuting. It is guaranteed that the client I see on Monday is the same client that I will see next Monday and the following and so on. See the difference?
So, if you see opportunities that fit my background, please do not hesitate to contact me as I am easily recruitable. Hopefully you have gained a few perspectives on what it takes to recruit top talent...
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