CXO

An ERP career expert offers advice

Kevin Rosenberg, the managing director for the California-based executive search firm BridgeGate, provides advice to ERP professionals on some difficult career issues, including compensation negotiation and hot skills for the next 12 months.

Kevin Rosenberg, the managing director and partner for the California-based executive headhunting firm BridgeGate, addresses some difficult enterprise application career questions, such as how to transfer your skills if your current employer goes under and choosing between risky IPO riches and more traditional employment.

TechRepublic: How should I evaluate an offer from a potential employer?
Rosenberg: First, and foremost, the money always works itself out for the right person, and you will be duly rewarded for your work and commitment to the firm. When you are Iooking for another job, be suspicious of the employer who lowballs you and the one who wants to pay you too much. If the package is too generous, there is something wrong.

TechRepublic: What advice do you give companies to help them determine a potential employee’s skill sets? How does a candidate gauge his or her fit with a company?
Rosenberg: When we advise our clients, companies that are hiring, we suggest that they hire the person who brings between 60 and 80 percent of the tangible skills to the table, but 80 percent or more of the intangible skills, such as attitude and enthusiasm. We recommend that candidates think along the same line. Will this company leverage 60 to 80 percent of my current skills, and accordingly allow me to learn 20 to 40 percent more than I already know? Furthermore, consider if the people that you will be working for have the drive and objectives that you value.

TechRepublic: How should a career change mesh with my long-term career plans?
Rosenberg: You have to examine the intrinsic value of the job and its correlation to your long-term career objectives. It is BridgeGate’s mantra that a career is something actively managed. Every knowledge worker should have a game plan for their career that should include what they want to do, when they should be doing it by, and what level of responsibility they think they should have. It is imperative to have a game plan that includes job changes that support your long-range goals. If the position is consistent with your long-term goals, don’t play for stock options or signing bonuses.

TechRepublic: Do you think that many knowledge workers have become disillusioned with IPO riches and are looking for more traditional employment?
Rosenberg: We’re not seeing a slowdown, but we are seeing more of an investigative job seeker. They are more critical of the types of dot-com opportunities. It doesn’t necessarily have to have a dot com to be attractive. In fact, to some that is a turn off. Candidates are spending more time investigating a company’s senior management team, financial backers, and the competition vs. just looking at the number of options. Still, there is no substitute for a well-backed and well-managed start-up. We are witnessing continued enthusiasm and growth in technology companies that target a defined space.

TechRepublic: We frequently receive questions from readers, especially those involved in Baan implementations, concerned about how their ERP skills will transfer to another ERP product or another area of IT. What do you advise?
Rosenberg: The skills are highly transferable, provided people understand that it is their knowledge of business processes and the application of technology to the business process that matters the most to an employer, not necessarily forcing the technology on the business process. So, when you interview, you interview with your general domain knowledge of the business process, be it manufacturing, distribution, or order processing. You must give examples of the technologies that you applied.

TechRepublic: What skill sets do you think will be in demand over the next 12 months?
Rosenberg: Currently, we are seeing companies becoming more focused on the convergence of traditional back-end systems and the Web-based front end, especially e-procurement solutions.

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