While The Revere Group, a 14-year-old technology consulting firm headquartered in Chicago, uses a slew of IT recruiting approaches, the most valuable is employee referrals. That's because good tech skills aren't the firm's only hiring qualification. What's just as important are soft skills such as communication and team work, and professional skills such as leadership and passion.
"We're willing to bring on junior people in some roles if they have the tech foundation, the communication skills and if they show potential," says Bob Stephens, who serves as the VP of The Southeast Infrastructure Practice for Revere, which has more than six US offices and an India-based operation.
The Revere Group, LLC consists of about 400 IT employees at various positions nationwide. The Southeast Region, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, has is about 110 tech staffers. Stephen's group, based in Orlando, Florida, has about 25. Revere is the North American business unit of NTT Data, a $10 billion multinational with 8000 employees.
As HR Director Anna Dugan notes, an employee recommendation is a solid indication that the job candidate has the work ethic and attitude Revere is looking for in an employee.
"With the job market tight, some IT professionals tend to display a sense of entitlement, or are looking for another job with the pure focus of a higher salary. They're not looking to build a career path. Since we heavily invest in employee training we want to make sure that training stays with us," she says.
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In reviewing candidate resumes Dugan hopes to get a "feel" for the person behind the paper and what they're looking for in a job. Both she and Stevens say that deception in a resume is the worst thing a candidate can do—even if its minor embellishment of their role or achievement.
The HR department does initial resume screening and due diligence during an initial phone interview. It's at this point, while talking about experiences and tech abilities, that Dugan says she catches resume discrepancies.
Once a viable candidate passes the initial phone discussion point they're invited in for a round-robin set of interviews where they meet with different business leaders and other staffers. One participant will serve as the technical interviewer and quiz candidates on tech areas and past tech experiences
Everyone's opinion of the candidate counts. As Stephens points out, he often even asks the receptionist for their feedback of a candidate. "After all, the receptionist is the first person a candidate comes in contact with in our company," he explains. Stephens and his managers use a matrix score card in logging feedback from the interviewing managers.
What Dugan is looking for during the interview process is a technically skilled professional with the right personality for the consulting field. Consultants interact with everyone from internal business departments to customers and the soft skills are invaluable.
"You can train people on any tech skill, but it's nearly impossible to train people on some soft skills such as the ability to interact with many different groups and dealing with customer-facing issues. We're looking for a proactive type of professional whose interest in the job might actually extend further than the initial job role we're offering," Stephens explains.
Good candidates not only have a well written and truthful resume and the required soft skills but also exhibit the ability to listen during an interview and answer questions directly. Also, the right candidate will ask questions revolving about the new role—not how much time off or vacation is given.
"When the first few questions they ask are about days off and benefits it's a red flag to me," says Dugan.
A good indication of a candidate's commitment to a career path are IT certifications, say both hiring managers. Revere encourages certifications as it's a partner with several application and networking vendors, including SAP America, Microsoft, Oracle/PeopleSoft and Cisco.
"Even having the baseline certifications shows that the candidate has initiatives. There are critical business reasons we look for certifications as well—benefits on the product side of the equation in terms of being able to provide clients with valued expertise," notes Stephens.
Yet even if a job prospect has certifications and good tech expertise, honesty and truthfulness as part of the work ethic are critical.
"I want them [job candidates] to be honest. I'd rather they tell me 'I don't know' when asked about something then try to fake it. The best answer we want is the candidate who says 'I don't know but I'm eager to learn about it or find out more,'" says the tech leader.
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