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Weak pool of applicants

By NetTek ·
My IT dept. is looking to hire a junior network technician. We are almost entirely a Microsoft enterprise using TCP/IP, with a half-dozen third-party apps. Responsibilities include desktop support, basic network troubleshooting, and light admin worksuch as creating user accounts. Given our salary allowance of $38-40k, I figured I could not get an MCSE with 8 yrs. of experience. Accordingly, I screened resumes for people with 2-4 yrs. of experience with MS platforms, and have thus far interviewed 10 candidates.

I have been utterly amazed at the lack of basic networking knowledge of the candidates. Not one of the candidates could properly answer more than one of the following questions:
1. What is the difference between a hub and a switch?
2. What file system is supported under Windows 2000 that was not supported under NT?
3. Besides a client IP address, what other IP addresses can a client receive from a DHCP server?
4. In a Windows domain, what is the difference between a local profile and a roaming profile?
5. On a Microsoft network, what is a Default Gateway?
6. What is Microsoft's command line utility to map a network drive?

I think these are basic questions that anyone who has worked on an MS network for 2-4 years should be able to answer. Am I wrong? Are these questions too difficult? Or did too many people enter the IT field when it was hot, and many simply shouldn't be there? Some of these candidates claimed to have an MCP, Network+, or A+ certifications. It appears the market is saturated, and I may have to search long and hard for a qualified candidate.

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The truth shines bright

by Oz_Media In reply to Weak pool of applicants

"Or did too many people enter the IT field when it was hot, and many simply shouldn't be there?"
As a person who always bitches that ANYONE and EVERYONE has an MSCE, I just had to jump in here.

An MCSE cert these days is as common as a drivers licence, and almost as easy to get in some schools. Granted you're not expecting to hire an MCSE but this is just one of the many MS certs that are handed out in Cracker Jack boxes these days(sorry to everyone who has worked very hard to achieve MCSEstatus and is now lumbered in with the masses of useless IT Staff).

Your questions are not too challenging at all, howvere, are you looking for someone to LEARN or someone who already has these qualifications and will move on shortly for better opportunities.
I think in your case, if you can allocate the time, you should look at a student who is sincerely looking to enter IT and has a decent working knowledge of the systems and products. this person wil probably spend more time doing it right and learning on his/her own time to do better. Look for EAGER and ABLE instead of "certed" or qualified.

You can probably offer a lower entry level salary ,with increases as needed, and get better results if you think outside the box and findsomeone with the drive and motivation to do well.

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That was my initial idea...

by NetTek In reply to The truth shines bright

I wanted to bring in someone fresh out of tech school who was bright, eager, and grateful to get a job. I wanted to start them low on the payscale and give them raises as they grew in knowledge and experience. However, our HR department, in its infinite wisdom, has established salary ranges for particular positions from which I cannot deviate. I cannot hire someone with no experience and then justify paying them what HR says I have to pay them without having my director scream at me. I'll just have to keep searching.

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HR?

by Oz_Media In reply to That was my initial idea. ...

Why does HR play such an important role in many companies?
In Canada, the only use I've ever seen for HR is to have someone to ***** at about payscale.
Why is it that some unqualified personell have been given the task of understanding all the roles of a particular company and it's employees.
They probaly couldn't tell you what ASCII is yet alone qualify someone to work in the field!

I'd tell them to let you hire somone as an intern that is still in school or sponsor a new recruit and payfor his tech education, if you pick the right person for this, the loyalty and dedication will be amazing.

Sure glad i'm not in your shoes, I'd tell HR to F-OFF and deal with the boss myself when they complain, perhapse suggesting new HR staff atthe same time.

Good luck

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Knowledge

by Brian158 In reply to HR?

I have been working in the IT field for many years now. I can do pretty much anything. But as if I was to go to an interview for a job and asked quetion like those I proable could not answer them. But I could do the task because I have do them. I know what to do and how to do it. I learned all my knowledge for the military. I took a job working for a small company so I could spend more time with my family. I do most of my work from home. (PCANYWHERE Got to love it) But as for asking the questions, why not just test them to see if they could do it for real. Some people can not just blot off the answer out of their head but can do the job from memory because they had done it many times. I know if I was interviewing someone I would rather seethem do the things because then I would know that they are just not book smart but physically able to do the job.

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So true!

by Oz_Media In reply to Knowledge

As a former mechanic, I saw soooo many people who could ace the tests but put them in a shop looking at a rusty oily undercarriage, and they are lost.

One guy wanted to wear gloves all day so that he could protect his hands. Ever try threadinga 3/8" bolt into a tight place with gloves on? If you have, send me the photos, I need a good laugh.

hands on knowlegde is a lot more imoportant than book knowledge. I started a career as a contract network administrator without ANY certs, not even a good working knowledge, just an ability to comprehend, analyze and learn. It was several years into this chosen career (not really a career because I've always got other irons in the fire and mainly work in the music industry)before I even hadA+ cert, now hold Master CNE cert but who gives a crap, it's only a piece of paper not an ability.

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Because...

by Tim Heard In reply to HR?

HR is around to try to keep the managers, and companies out of hot water. Because managers have a way of asking questions like, "Are you married?" or "How old are you?" Or they sometime hire in people at absurd rates and leave their employers opento charges of age or race discrimination.

Also, HR exists at the wishes of the managers, to provide a layer of insulation between them and the candidates, and recruiters such as myself. In today's work environment in which many layers of management have been eliminated, hiring managers don't have the time to field calls from every candidate that calls in looking for a job, or prescreen every resume that gets submitted. Often they hardly have the time to review the "top picks" that they getsent from their recruiters.

Really, you can talk badly about the HR departments all you want, but you're really lucky to have them or things would be even more inefficient.

Oh, and it's the HR departments who are working their rear ends off trying to keep their wages competitive from year to year. Granted, they don't always wield a lot of power, so a lot of their ideas get shot down by company CFOs, but they really are trying to do everything within their power to improve your lot in life.

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like I said, who needs HR?

by Oz_Media In reply to Because...

"Really, you can talk badly about the HR departments all you want, but you're really lucky to have them or things would be even more inefficient."
I don't have an HR manager. I'm self em[ployed and in my company I hire new staff (less than 30 so it's pretty easy)and control their wages.

"Or they sometime hire in people at absurd rates and leave their employers open to charges of age or race discrimination."

If my staff complained about what other staff members were being paid, I'd fire them. It is NONE of their business how much other employees earn. I hire people based on specific industry skills and contacts, if one person brings more to the table, they get paid more, bottom line.

As a former mechanic, if I was to complain that BOB the trnsmission specialist made moer than me the Engine Machinist, I would be walking around looking for a job in no time. NORMAL companies keep employee information private, it isn't anynoe's business what another person gets paid, that why we ALL have different skill sets and levels of ability. Otherwise I'd go clean the dumpsters for Microsoft at a software Engineer's rates.

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Best wishes...

by Tim Heard In reply to like I said, who needs HR ...

Well, Oz, I wish you the best. I don't recall offhand how large a company must be before it becomes subject to antidiscrimination standards, but I suspect you're close.

Still, I tend to agree with you that for such a small company, a full time HR manager would be a waste of money.

However, my point remains that in larger companies, they play a vital role - though admittedly a very unpoular one.

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Never met a useful HR dept.

by Oz_Media In reply to Best wishes...

It should not require multiple annual salaries (for any company) to keep a company from breaking the law. Is your company run by morons who don't understand what politically correct or labour standards mean?
Labout standards are not written by some secret group of witches. This information is as available to employers as it is employees, this is why employees jump at the first sign of abuse.

I have never had a company win a lawsuit against me when I sue them. I have also never had an employee successfully sue me. Most of the time, they have a misconstrued understanding of the law and think they are entitled to something they aren't.

I have worked for some EXTREMELY large global corporations handling in the field of quality assurance and marketing and never saw the reason for HR other than cutting paychecks or deposits.

My brother is a corporate lawyer and partner of the largest cable/video corporation in the country, HR has only a basic, working knowledge of employment laws/standards and in no way can be seen as corprate legal protection, otherwise they'd be getting HIS paycheck (I know I wish I was).

They are there because someone named a department HR, to be politically correct as opposed to Payroll chick or Hiring Gal's, every company feels a need to have an HR department, otherwise they just wouldn't be seen as 'important'.

Next time your company faces a lawsuit, send your HR team instead of a lawyer, the boss will be happy to save all the legal fees but the lost suit may be expensive.

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antidiscrimination standards

by Oz_Media In reply to Best wishes...

"antidiscrimination standards, but I suspect you're close."

How so? I don't live in the States, in Canada we can take a little smack in the face without crying about our personal rights being violated. Our Premier gets away with choking people that **** him off, you think that I would lose a lawsuit for firing someone that I deemed incompetent?
Bottom line, if I fired someone for being fat and ugly, all that needs to be said is that I don't think the person has lived up to company expectations or that the person didn't do his/her job to MY satisfaction.
Welcome to the unemployment line. HR my ***, talk about a manufactured role!

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