1 June 2002
Value table: Strategy job seeking
By Ellen Fussell
Even in the midst of a recession, there are still jobs out there. "But when you go into a recession, companies become far more selective about whom they hire," said David Perry, managing partner in a technology search firm and author of the book Workinsights. This selectivity is what Perry calls the new value table.
"More than ever in our history, we're reaping value from smart ideas and the winning technology level they create," Perry said. In filling senior positions of the past, companies were looking to "fill in a box," he said. But now high-tech companies are looking for "something more nebulous: a senior person who can provide quality, not quantity—someone who can explode out of an open-ended, initiative-driven space."
Perry and his team at Perry-Martel International in Ottawa interviewed nearly 2,000 employers to figure out what they valued; they identified seven main qualities. Whether they're looking for someone to fill a high-tech position dealing with bits and bytes or an engineer, "employers are now looking for someone to create new intellectual wealth—to add to a company's intellectual assets," he said. "They look closely at a candidate who has a consuming desire to make something new or cut a new path."
Employers also want someone for whom their work is an integral part of their life, not just a job. And money can't be the deciding factor anymore, Perry said. "Companies want someone who has internal pride-someone who wants to leave a legacy signature on their work."
Companies have also become far less public about announcing available jobs. If a company is looking for a software engineer, it won't advertise in the paper or even tell its own employees.
In the first few pages, the book explains the new reality for employers. "Here's how you have to articulate your worth. Here's how you build a resume to deliver that information—to imply that value. Here's how to use the technology—the same way recruiters do—to headhunt your own job," he said.
Perry said he makes extensive use of search engines such as Google. "We typed in 'systems engineer' and the area code of the city we were searching. Then we put in 'resume' and 'apply.' We found 179 jobs in Ottawa alone for systems engineers, and none of those were in the paper," he said.
WHAT ARE THEY LOOKING FOR?
"They're looking for something that's worthy of their time," Perry said. "The thing that seems to elude most people is that work can be purposeful—you can have fun."
But to get one of the fun jobs, you have to work at it, do the background research, meet the people. "You have to be willing to say, 'No, you don't fit my profile,' " Perry said. "Most people spend more time planning their honeymoons than working on their marriage-with predictable results."
"People want to stay put," said Richard W. Hucke, president of a personnel consulting firm by the same name in Raleigh, N.C. "When you're dealing with people who're established with families, you definitely don't see the quick impulse to relocate for great opportunity," he said. Hucke said people's inclination to stay put rather than take that great job in a new town is because they'll know nobody—and may soon find themselves unemployed. "Some people are willing to take a lesser position just for the stability," he said.
|Dan Ross joined Optiant Inc. as CEO and chairman. . . . Enraf named Ricky J. Pritchard vice president, finance, and chief financial officer. . . . Transmation Inc., a distributor and marketer of test and measurement instrumentation and calibration, elected Carl E. Sassano president and CEO, succeeding Robert G. Klimasewski. . . . Aspen Technology Inc. promoted David L. Quillin to president and CEO, effective 1 October 2002.|
But that's not necessarily a bad thing. Onetime high-priced computer programmers who find what they think is interim employment in another field sometimes find that's a better lifestyle, Hucke said. His advice: Don't close the door on unfamiliar options when you're job hunting.
Perry said he believes the industry that's going to "lead the technology group out of the black hole" is e-commerce.
"Over the last few years, it's been 'build a Web site, and they will come,' " he said. "Now people are looking to tie their front-end Web site in to their back-office applications. It's becoming part of their business."
However, engineers haven't seen the same slowdown, according to Perry; they're still in huge demand—and they always will be, Perry said.
"Technology is ubiquitous," Perry said. "The only major competitive advantage that employers have anymore are the minds of their technology people.
"Software and hardware are just tools—they allow you to do more in a day with less effort. Technology will be a slave to people rather than the other way around. Orwell's predictions are not coming true." IT
Behind the byline
Ellen Fussell is Assistant Editor at InTech.
JOINING FORCES . . .
Nematron Corp. and Chartwell Electronics, Inc. in Markham, Ontario, will partner to provide Nematron PC-based control technology, industrial computers, human-machine interface, and Ethernet I/O through authorized distributors. . . . Control.com, a global online community for control professionals, partnered with the Control System Integrators Association. The firms are launching a new series of services to enhance interaction within the integrator community and deliver manufacturers with a suite of fully supported open control systems.
NEW MARKETS . . .
Sequencia Corp., a supplier of Web-based product life-cycle management solutions for the process industries, and ProSight Inc., a portfolio management software company, will expand Sequencia's processPoint PLM solution by incorporating ProSight's portfolio management software. . . . Dow Chemical Co. signed a multimillion-dollar agreement to expand the use of AspenTech's software solution in Dow's global manufacturing operations. . . . U.K.-based Active Sensors Ltd., a manufacturer of linear, rotary, wire-operated, and LVDT sensors, opened a sales and distribution office in Indianapolis.
MAJOR DEALS . . .
ABB won a $29 million order from the U.S. Air Force, $22 million of which funds the replacement of two 40,000-hp motor/drives with two new 69,000-hp AC ABB medium voltage drives and motors, at the Arnold Engineering and Development Center's Propulsion Wind Tunnel facility in Tullahoma, Tenn.
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