Saturday, July 04, 2009


Recruiting Elite IT Talent

I frequently get asked why do IT recruiters consistently look for candidates with three years of experience in a certain technology when the technology has only been in existence for one year. Figured I would share insights into the challenges of recruiting...

The two recruiters in my travels that I have been most impressed with are Jordan Haberfield and Lisa Matkowski. They do not know all the latest buzzwords nor even are developers by trade, yet they excel at what they do. They are savage in terms of networking, of the highest ethical character, their moral compass is strong and they care about the human condition. I believe it is less important for a recruiter to understand the job request and more important for them to focus on finding the right talent.

So, this begs the question of who is really at fault. If you receive a half-cocked job requirements document and the recruiter is attempting to do their jobs with integrity, should we blame the recruiter or should we look towards all those non-technical managers in senior positions that don't deserve them. After all, they have been entrusted to run multiple million dollar operations yet have zero clue as to how to even hire the right people. No wonder IT can't align with the business.

It comes as no surprise to anyone in IT that folks in India outright lie on their resumes. What is surprising is that some managers can simply turn the other way and pretend that there is no problem. If you hired me to build your house and later found out that I didn't know the difference between a plumber and a carpenter, wouldn't you be concerned about my ability to lead? How come the business isn't asking this question of IT? How can a nation of people in such a beautiful country such as India lower bar with unethical behavior?

Every resume states Spring experience, yet when asked what Spring is – the answers vary from “an MVC framework to components for the web to a nice time of the year to a coiled steel wire”. When the person already has various other technologies that would lead you to believe that they could learn and understand a next level technology. But you can’t get this person past the interview stage; yet the guy sitting around memorizing answers to interview questions is the next non-technical person on your project.

Doesn't our business people deserve more value for their money than this? The first course of action for any enterprise that wants to truly achieve business/IT alignment is to be savage in the elimination of this type of hucksterism. World class organizations are built on foundations where people can trust each other and don't have to second guess the ability of the team. If you find yourself in a shop that doesn't get it and you stay, maybe you are getting exactly what you deserve...

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