How do you know if a candidate is the best for the job requirement? How do you pick one candidate over another? What are the deciding factors? What tools are available out there to help you make the decision?
Speaking to candidates is time consuming and I don't like to do it unless I know I have a worthwhile candidate, based on initial criteria. The million dollar question is how do I separate the worthwhile from the not so worthwhile?
Well here is my list for identifying the Toyotas in the garage vs. the Mercedes Benzes…. PS: This list is not targeted towards finding permanent employees but rather an expert consultant or sub-contractor.
RESUME : First, let's take the resume and dissect it. Are there any large gaps between the projects? Do the projects flow nicely from one to another in terms of skills. i.e. Is the candidate jumping all over the board or are they focusing on their core competence? We are looking for a resume that shows the candidate has command of their area and has delved into several different areas / industries but always complimentary to the main skill. e.g. Someone might have a core competence of Workflow and all their projects show this skill in use but they also show some with UWL, Web service integration, Extended notifications, SAP EM integration experience. This demonstrates that the candidate has detailed skill in their area. There are many good places to learn how to format a good SAP resume but I like to see people stick to the following few points: 1) No fluff stuff 2) Go in chronological order with the latest experience up front 3) Skill set summary up front 4) Short, concise description of each project with client / industry, duration, skills used, versions used
TOOLS : I would suggest the candidate uses LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com) to showcase their skills. I'm not saying mine is the standard but you can use it as an example (http://www.linkedin.com/in/erpgenie) Put your skills summary under the summary section and list out the various projects under the experience area in more detail. Link to your blog, website and downloadable or HTML based resume.
REFERENCES : If I can get a validated reference by reading it then I've saved time from having to contact someone and I've validated that the candidate is worthy of more time then I can research a couple references further.
TOOLS : Once again I like to use LinkedIn and it's recommendations feature. Sure candidates can choose to ignore recommendations from people but there are a couple of things to note here. Watch out for missing recommendations from clients. i.e. Gaps in the recommendations. Also, follow the link of the person giving the recommendation to ensure they have a history at the client that your candidate was working. Here, you are looking to verify that the person is a team player, sharp, hard working expert in the area you are looking for
GOOGLE : Google them - I use "First name, last name followed by SAP" as the search term. e.g. "Kevin Wilson SAP" and then follow the links from there to see what contributions they are making to the SAP community and what else they are up to. See that they have a presence on the following sites:
LINKED IN : Coming full circle here… Follow their links to presentations they have done, follow the links to their SDN / SCN profile (if they have), read their recommendations (received and given), read their linked blog if they have, see what events they are attending, where they are travelling…. What you want to see is if they are integrated into the community in terms of their skills. E.g. If they are selling themselves as an FI Consultant then why are they attending TechEd and reading "Teach yourself ABAP in 21 days"? I'm all for someone extending their knowledge but try to keep it closely related to your core skillset
TWITTER : Not so important for me but if the candidate does tweet then take a read what they have to say. I don't like to tweet about day to day life as some people do but I rather keep it relevant to commenting on any SAP related happenings that I find interesting (http://www.twitter.com/erpgenie) . If the candidate applies the same philosophy then I could see that in a positive light ;) Once again, I am not saying that I do it right, I am just saying that I like it when a potential candidate uses some initiative and shows interest in the overall SAP industry and tweeting around it shows this interest.
SCN - SAP Community Network : Is the candidate an active contributor to SCN? Check up their forum posts, their blog posts, their wikis. I found one person who was trying to sell me on them being a workflow expert, when I found the most arbitrary workflow 101 question being asked by them on the SCN forum a year earlier… Rightly or wrongly, I noted their experience down as a year. Remember that what I want to do is get to the Mercedes Benz of candidates so any of these red flags leaves the candidate hanging out there a little.
Of course, having gone through all this checking and knowing that this is not an exact science you would take your top 3 candidates and go about the formal phone interview followed by actual interview route. Social media helps limit the choices but ultimately it plays a minor role in the final decision….