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I try. I really do. I want to help the nGenera software engineering team so much that I’ve been trying to write Ruby on Rails code. The only problem is, I don’t have what it takes. I’m just not a good programmer. Oh, sure, I USED to be an awesome programmer, but that was before I moved into the frou-frou world of “Talent Acquisition.” Today, my programming skills are creaky, and I’m not even capable of putting together the simplest of “Hello World” programs in Ruby on Rails. I’m so disappointed in myself – I am ready to run upon my sword.

But, then I took a step back and thought… People read this blog (well, a couple, at least). Maybe some good programmers will read it. In fact, maybe YOU’RE a good programmer. And if you ARE, I am betting that you can take this code and fix it with one click of the keyboard.

puts ‘nGenera is the absolute coolest company in the world. It’s the greatest, even!’

If you can spot the bug, we would really like to hear from you, because we have some cutting-edge Ruby on Rails code we want you to write for us.

If you can fix it and you want a job, just comment below or send me an email at ktierney@ngenera.com. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Please save the software engineering team from their well-meaning recruiter. Please??

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One of the worst parts of being a virtual employee is that I rarely get the opportunity to physically interact with my coworkers. I sit in my office at home, and use the phone, Skype, Twitter, and Instant Messenger to communicate with the other BSG Alliance folks. So, when I have the opportunity to fly to Texas and have some face time, I always jump at the chance.

This week, my chance was the People Team meeting in Austin, TX. We’re sitting around, drinking copious amounts of diet Coke and discussing plans for making sure that we can effectively innovate solutions for our human resource challenges.

As part of the meeting, we had a working lunch from Jason’s Deli. They brought in a big platter of sandwiches, cookies, brownies, and a big old bag of ruffly potato chips. As we were eating, my boss held up a chip and said:

Wow! This looks like Texas!

Our Texas-marked chip

And it did. So Katie “Rockstar” Meenan, our new recruiter for the New York office, decided that it might be fun to put the potato chip up on eBay. As she was adding the eBay entry, our brainstorming took hold, and we had her add a link to the BSG Alliance careers site. After all, BSG Alliance paid for the potato chip, so we should get some benefit from Katie’s eBay sale!

Katie started the bidding at 50 cents. Within minutes, the bidding was up to $2.00. This morning, it’s at $3.25. Bidding ends next Monday. I fully expect that Katie’s winning bid will be well over $5. And I hope that the word-of-mouth we generate helps establish BSG Alliance as the kind of fun, innovative company that people really want to join.

UPDATE – 1/29/08 – 2:02 PM CST

Katie is donating the proceeds to the Austin Parks Foundation. Get those bids up there!

The bids are up to $74.  Let’s get this puppy above $100 and show Austin Parks Foundation that people really DO care!

First, I have a crazy sense of loyalty to Steve Papermaster. The man gave me my first job out of college, and kept in touch with me in the intervening years. When he was ready to start BSG Alliance, he asked me to be a part of his team, even though I’d been out of the paid workforce for 6 years. He’s engaging, funny as all-get-out, and someone who people just naturally want to follow. I love BSG Alliance because it’s a place where I have the opportunity to work with Steve again.

Second, BSG Alliance has given me the opportunity to embrace an entirely new career path. I’ve always been a people person – I freak out my family with my ability to remember names and faces (an ability I am proud to have passed on to my oldest child, Emma), but I was also a very good programmer (if I don’t say so myself). When Tom and I made the decision that I would stay home to care for our kids, I really didn’t know where I might fit when I decided to come back to work, which I knew I would. BSG Alliance has given me the opportunity to use both my people skills and my technical knowledge to really a make a difference.

Another reason I love BSG Alliance is because my co-workers really care about whether or not I succeed.  This week, one of my colleagues (Mike Corino) took time away from his wife and 2-year-old son to give me an excellent overview of the Financial Services marketplace.  He also took the time to really understand my constraints (both budgetary and time constraints), and I feel that it gave us both a great foundation for a strong working relationship.

There are lots of other reasons I love BSG Alliance.  For example, many years ago, I zipped one of my co-workers in a suitcase.   I get to work with him again.  How cool is that?  And, I get the opportunity to use all sorts of Enterprise 2.0 technologies.  6 months ago, I don’t know that I would have been able to tell you what a wiki is – today, I use a wiki constantly, and I understand its benefit! I also get to help people find career paths that are in line with what they want out of life.

BSG Alliance is a great place. It’s a place where excellence is not only rewarded, but expected.  It’s a place where you can grow your career, and a place where you have mentors to help you move forward.   It’s a place you should consider joining.

Have a great week!
-Katie

Okay, this is more a call for help than a real blog post. If you’ve got input, please feel free to comment….

I am in the process of looking for an expert in C++ performance tuning. The person I need must understand high-volume, real-time transaction processing systems, and must have experience in tuning those systems in the past. I’m not going to be using third parties for this search, so I’m working to find the candidate myself.

My first step is always to use the job board to which we are subscribed. I didn’t find anyone using my standard Boolean searches on the board:

C++ and (“performance tuning” or “performance enhancement” or “improved performance”)

Coming up empty-handed, I moved on to my super secret Google searches. Well, they’re not super-secret. I use inurl and intitle to help me limit my results to resumes, and I use standard Boolean logic to construct the search (thank goodness I was a programmer before I became a recruiter, and I actually deeply understand Boolean logic). So, I run a Google search that looks like this:

(inurl:~resume OR intitle:~resume) “New York” C++ (“performance tuning” OR “performance enhancement” OR “improved performance”)

This isn’t all that fruitful, either. So, I pull a trick from the Bag o’ Recruiter Stuff, and start to think about where I might find a website where C++ performance experts congregate. Maybe I could find a niche board. I’ve had good luck with niche boards in the past – fixprotocol.org, for example, is an excellent place to post for people with experience in FIX Protocol implementations. I commenced searching. And, much to my chagrin, came up with very little. Where do all the C++ programmers hang out? I found a community that focused on Quantitative Finance, but it’s run by a publishing company, doesn’t appear to be very vibrant, and has no job board. I also found a couple of C++ usenet groups, but they don’t allow job postings.

I’ve searched LinkedIn, and even though I’ve got over 2.5 million people in my LinkedIn extended network, I haven’t come across anyone with the skills I need. I’ve got a trial of ZoomInfo, so I’m going to try that, although I’ve been warned that it’s more focused on higher-level executives than mid- to senior-level programmers. I don’t mind cold calling – I’ve just got to get the names.

So, here’s my plea… Some of you awesome recruiters out there must have some thoughts on where to find these stellar C++ experts. I could use your guidance. I’m still new at this, and I know when to ask for help.

Thanks, and have a great weekend!

-Katie

About two months ago, we had two people not bother to show up for interviews at our New York office. I had set up the interviews, the interviewers had made an effort to be available, and I had confirmed with the candidates two days earlier that the interviews were still scheduled. And yet, they didn’t bother to show up, nor did the bother to call and let us know that they would not be there.

After the no-shows, I called both candidates. I got voicemail for both. I left messages. Two days went by, and I didn’t hear anything. I emailed both candidates. I got no response. About a week later, I emailed again, just to follow up and close my process. One candidate responded that he was really sorry he hadn’t made it, and would call me that day to explain. You guessed it… he never called. Oh, one other important point: both candidates had submitted their resumes to us. These were not passive candidates, they were actively seeking out new opportunities, and sought out BSG Alliance.

When I called my boss to see if that was something to be expected, she was pretty surprised. She’s been in recruiting for a long time, and she hadn’t really encountered that behavior. But, she’d never been a recruiter in New York, so she thought that maybe the very tight labor market allows people to get away with such poor behavior. It’s hard to find good people in New York, and I guess that some of these candidates figure that they can get away with whatever they want because employers are desperate for good talent. Well, I can tell you this: BSG Alliance is always looking for talented developers, but we’re not “desperate” by any means. We look for people who will help us build a team, not people who think so highly of themselves that they can’t show common courtesy to others.

So, you’re asking why I am bringing this up so long after it happened. Well, it’s because I had a similar situation last week. A candidate found a BSG Alliance job posting, and submitted his resume. I scheduled a phone interview with the candidate for the following day. I blocked off an hour on my calendar, which gives me enough time to really get an idea of what makes the candidate tick. I made the phone call to the number provided, and… I got voicemail. Now, I have to admit that this isn’t unusual – sometimes my candidates are in a meeting from which they can’t extricate themselves, for example. What was unusual is that I left a message, and never got a return call. I called back about 15 minutes later, and still got voicemail. I left another message, and followed up with an email asking to reschedule. All were ignored. This candidate now finds himself on my “NBM List” (Not BSG Material – a holdover from my days as a sorority girl).

I also had a candidate recently who was unavailable during the time we had scheduled to call. Actually, he had been “unavailable” twice before, but had rescheduled both missed calls, so this was my last shot with him. The number he gave me for this particular call was his home number, and one of his family members answered, none too thrilled to hear from me. I waited for a 1/2 hour for the candidate to return my call, and when he didn’t, I sent an email letting him know that we were no longer interested. About 5 minutes later (when I was preparing for another call) the candidate called my cell phone. Since I knew that I didn’t have time to devote to an interview, I let it go to voicemail. The candidate proceeded to call me back at 3 minute intervals for the next 45 minutes, leaving 5 voicemails. I finally spoke to the candidate, and explained that after the amount of time I spent scheduling and rescheduling, only to have him miss a third appointment, I didn’t think he was a good fit for the organization. I almost felt sorry for him, because he didn’t seem to understand that his behavior was a pretty big red flag for me.

I guess this all brings me back to the concept of bridges – more specifically, the burning of such. I like to keep communications open with all candidates, whether or not they’re a good fit for BSG Alliance today. And I hope that people see the value in keeping contact with recruiters who might be able to help them in the future. When someone doesn’t show up for an interview, or is unavailable for a scheduled phone call, and they don’t offer a valid explanation, they find their way onto my NBM List, and they burn my bridge.

At BSG Alliance, we pride ourselves on respecting the time and talents of every candidate we encounter. Common courtesy says that the candidates should also respect our time and efforts. If a candidate can’t show that respect during a job search, then I fully expect that they will be unable to show respect to their co-workers on the job. They are not the kind of people I want on my team.

So, long post short: If you don’t show up for an interview, or aren’t available for a scheduled call, you’re going to make it onto the Recruiter’s list of people that they won’t consider for employment – EVER. Not a good place to be.

Have a great rest of the week. Make sure to check out my cool jobs on the BSG Alliance website.

-Katie

When I was just getting started in the Recruiting business, a very successful recruiter told me that one of his red flags was a typographical or grammatical error in a resume. His point was that a resume is the most important document a person uses to “sell” his/her skills, and he/she should make darn sure that there are no errors. My mentor told me that a lack of attention to detail on something as important as a resume often indicates an overall lack of attention to detail on the job.

I found a resume on a job board today, for example, where the job seeker meant to type “skillset,” but instead typed “skillets.” If he were looking to be hired as a cook at Denny’s, that might have been okay, but since he was looking for work as a Senior Developer, his skillet experience doesn’t quite fit. Although, now I’m craving an omelette.

But I digress… Lately, I have noticed typos in resumes that aren’t necessarily indicative of a lack of attention… Instead, they’re more likely a result of English being the job seeker’s second language. A good example of this kind of typo is one that I come across frequently: using “familiar in” instead of “familiar with” to describe exposure to technologies and concepts. Missing “a” and “the” qualifiers (“I am Java developer” instead of “I am a Java developer”) are also common errors in these resumes. Oftentimes, this is how people who have learned English as a second language speak, so it doesn’t appear incorrect to them when they type it on their resume. And, I’ve checked in Microsoft Word… the grammar checker doesn’t always pick up these types of errors.

When I see a resume like this, with minor grammatical errors, I stop myself before making a judgment call. These job seekers have worked very, very hard to learn a language that is nothing short of incredibly difficult to grasp. There are nuances to this language that don’t exist in a lot of other languages (the sheer volume of irregular verbs, for example), and it can be very difficult to learn. Heck, many of my fellow Americans can’t even speak the language properly, so I feel I should give some leniency to those who were born elsewhere and took it upon themselves to learn the language.

This makes me think about what my resume would look like if I had to write it in Spanish. My guess is that it would look something like this:

Sra. Katie Tierney

Calle Rojo
Chaska, Minnesota

Yo soy una “recruiter” de una compania de software consultado en Tejas.

As you can no doubt tell, my Spanish resume would really suck.

I do have a suggestion to the job seekers out there who don’t speak English as a native language. Take the time to have a native speaker review your resume. A native speaker will probably be able to help you flush out some of the errors that might not be evident to you, but can be very evident to hiring managers. It doesn’t take too much time, and I know there are lots of people out there who would be willing to help.

And, once you’ve got it all proofed and prettied, take a look at the jobs on BSGAlliance.com.

Have a great week!

-Katie

Today was a good day. Today was one of those days that energizes someone like me. Today was a day full of really good candidates, a glowing reference for someone we’d really like to hire, and an overall renewal of my faith in Generation Y.

The day started with an excellent conference call with the BSG Alliance Recruiting Team. Yes! We’re now officially a team! Leeanne Hallquist, a former BSGer and stay-at-home mom like me, joined us last week as a Recruiter, and has hit the ground running at warp speed. I’m so happy to be able to have her as a support system, and as someone I can bounce ideas off. She and I talked with our boss, Susie “Recruiting is in my veins” Buehler, and made a lot of progress.

Then, I went right into interviews. My days lately have been one big blur of phone interview after phone interview after phone interview (which explains why I haven’t been blogging very much). And I’ve interviewed some good candidates, but a lot of them haven’t been exactly the right fit. It gets kind of discouraging when you think you may have found the right fit, only to find out during the interview that the skills you expect aren’t there, or that the candidate isn’t actually interested in the opportunity you’re presenting.

Today, though, it seemed like everyone was a great fit. I talked with a database developer who had just the right skills for one opportunity, a business analyst with a great background and a beguiling voice, a project manager whose skills seem a perfect match to our requirements, a fascinating discussion with someone providing a reference for another candidate, and, finally, the culmination of my day…

I talked to a gentleman who will be graduating from a very prestigious university this Winter. He came through in the interview as driven, articulate, detail oriented, hard-working, and willing to work to make a difference for BSG Alliance. After talking with a lot of young people, and reading a lot of interesting studies and statistics on the behavior of Generation Yers, I’d started to lose my faith in Generation Y. I can say that this young man singlehandedly renewed my faith in the youth of this country. A word to the Recruiting Animal (my hero!): it looks like not ALL Generation Y employees have a “what’s in it for me?” attitude.

In any case, it’s been a long week already (can someone explain how I have managed, since Sunday, to already work my 30 hours?), but I am excited to get into the office tomorrow and find some more rocking candidates for my rocking job openings.

Thanks to everyone I talked to today. Thanks, especially, to Susie Buehler, who gives me more guidance and mentoring that she can imagine.

Have a great rest of the week!

-Katie

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