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Speaking to candidates is time consuming and I don’t like to do it unless I know I have a worthwhile candidate. Those of you in the industry as a recruiter will most likely disagree but I’m speaking from my point of view where I have little time to waste with unqualified candidates and I need to focus on my consulting services. 

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 contractor

  1. 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 the 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.

  2. 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

  3. GOOGLE : Google them – I use “First name, last name 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:

    i. LINKED IN : Coming full circle here… Follow their links to presentations they have done, follow the links to their SDN 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

    ii. 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.

    iii. 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.

    iv. ERPGENIE : Of course, as the founder of ERPGenie.COM (http://www.erpgenie.com) I like to add this twist in there. If the candidate has a skill for which we have an online exam available then I will go ahead and ask them to register as a jobseeker (http://www.erpgenie.com/jobs-and-resumes) and take the appropriate exam. It should take them around 1/2 hour and I can check out the results (the ABAP exam alone has been taken 661 times to date!). I can then check out how many times they took the exam, how long it took them to complete the exam and what their score was. I would match that up against the others who have taken the test to see where they fall in line. It’s not completely scientific but it certainly helps to know if a candidate achieved 10% for the FI exam or 90%.

    v. Other forums : If the user pops up answering forum questions on other SAP related forums then all the credit to them as long as the answers are credible 😉 

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….

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  1. Kevin Wilson Post author
    Just a quick comment on the blog myself 😉 I intentionally left out Facebook. I see it more of a private social network medium and not aligned as well as LinkedIn to business use.
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  2. Jarret Pazahanick
    Excellent blog and great information. I would also recommend that any client looking to supplement their team with SAP consulting resources follow this list. By doing the due diligence and checking social media it becomes very clear who the true SME experts are in the various areas.
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  3. Daniel McWeeney
    Here are a few I would like to add:

    Do they contribute to any open source  / community projects  If so, what does their code look like?  CodeExchange will make this more “prevalent” as it moves forward.

    Have they given talks at TechEd / Sapphire?  Nothing brings top talent like visible top talent, top talent likes to work with other top talent.

    I firmly believe that anything you do online is a reflection of you personally and professionally, which I also think is fair game for perspective employers.

    -d

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  4. Nathan Genez
    Regarding your first point…  yes, it is important to show some consistency and logical project sequencing in your work.  This is mentioned several times in other similar blogs/articles and is valid to a degree.  But I think the point that is missed is that there are many people work on spot engagements.  I’ve spent nearly half of my career working on short term assignments that range from 1 week to 3-4 months tackling a small set of issues.  I think I once went 3 years without working on a full life cycle implementation because I was busy cleaning up issues and data in Production systems.  In your WF example, I’ve been on projects where a niche skill like that was brought in for a period of weeks or months to solve an issue, and then left before the system went live.  There is nothing wrong with that.

    I agree with the premise but I don’t yet sense that customers are following these steps.  They should or they risk utilizing consultants that are fed them by the SI or 3rd party recruiter without truly vetting them.  That’s a mistake and they pay for it in the end with substandard work and suboptimal SAP processes.  If someone is truly a professional consultant but they don’t have a LI profile…  well, what does that say about them?  Just how serious are they about their skill set in this industry?

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  5. Claudine Lagerholm
    Hi Kevin,
    Another great blog!  Since your blog is about finding contractor talent, I wonder if you’ve used any of the emerging online contractor marketplaces, like Elance for instance (www.elance.com).  The contractors on those sites are typically only reviewed by former clients.  And on LinkedIn it’s possible for friends to post recommendations about each other and for these postings to not really be legit. Cheers,
    Claudine
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  6. Vijay Vijayasankar
    First off – this is an excellent article !
    I am in agreement with all of it.

    However, looking at my own resume – I never stayed in any one SAP area for long. Doing the same thing over and over is not something that suits the way I am “wired”. So I have moved around every 2 or 3 years. I started as an ABAPer, did some SD and FI work for a bit, then on to IS-Insurance, then BI, SEM, CRM…not all of which have a common thread other than they are all SAP products. And now, I am managing a fully non-SAP project. So now I should probably be a bit worried that in case some one looks at my CV, I might look like a guy with no real focus.

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  7. Anurag Chopra
    Hello Kevin,

    Great Blog!

    I believe the ideal scenario would be the services of the sites you mentioned could be consumed in the HR system of companies. May be some text analysis could also be of some help.

    And I think SCN has lot to offer and I fully agree with you that these sites could actually help us do the initial filtering.

    One thing I find missing is that One has to explicitly search the candidate either you do on google or SCN itself. May be Career Center could play a major role in offering this service.

    Every Member has a S-user ID and May be In Career Center if we could actually see the contribution made by the member and May be on top of it Some text Analysis from BOBJ Product Portfolio.

    Regards
    Anurag Chopra

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  8. Andy Klee
    Kevin, excellent post.  I think your resume suggestions are “write-on”, and it would save a ton of time for all recruiters if candidates followed your suggestions.

    Andy

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  9. Tarun Pareek
    What if a person hasn’t contributed much on SCN or hasnt written any white papers etc ? Does this mean that he is not good and would you filter him out straight away ? I dont think its the right way to do any filtering. No one can make fool of a good interviewer. If you know what you are looking for than there is no need to check these social network sites or even SCN.I am not defending myself or anyone, but if you consider my case, I may not have contributed to SCN or may not have been active on LinkedIn ever since I created my account but beleive me I am damn good in my area. And I dont think I would change myself and start contributing on SCN after reading your blog..I never got so much time to look for problems on SDN and answer them..I am sure there are many more in this world like me 🙂
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