The Art Of Hiring: 10 Worst Mistakes in a Cover Letter

by Dmitry Kirsanov 30. March 2012 01:25

An offer that you can't resistThis is my first article about the hiring process, even though I’ve been on both sides of the barricades for many years and for a long time thought and even taught people about some aspects of hiring process, as well as accumulated knowledge from them.

As you know, I am training IT specialists, and their reason for training, either explicitly expressed or subtle, is to find a better opportunity which would return the investment into training. In other words – to change the job.

Even though it’s not the beginning nor the end of the hiring process, and even not the most important part of it, the cover letter could either “make or break” the first impression of the HR (human resources) manager of your future employer.

More...

Tags:

Corporate

Proactive Thinking as The Most Precious Ability

by Dmitry Kirsanov 11. February 2012 18:20

butterfly in a jar“You see, there is only one constant. One universal. It is the only real truth. Causality. Action, reaction. Cause and effect.”

Merovingian, The Matrix Reloaded

Sometimes I think that lack of proactive thinking is a root of all evil. Buzzwords aside, I am talking about the analytical skills and using them.

By coincidence or not, but for the last few months, when I am analyzing the cause of someone’s failure in any area, it appears that lack of analytical skills, or thinking 2 steps ahead, was the paramount part of it.

As a metaphor to understand what I am talking about – let’s take a car. Imagine, that someone has created a car without brakes. Because he was only thinking about taking off, and not about how his journey would end.

A friend of mine once left home with about 120$ in her pocket. She took a ticket to a plane and fled to England. No plans, no language, nothing at all. She was 15 years old somewhat naïve girl. I wish I could have a better example of real-life lack of proactive thinking. More...

What You Should Know About Modern IT Certifications - at Glance

by Dmitry Kirsanov 12. December 2011 22:30

Microsoft Certifications SchemaOne of the most frequent questions I get as a trainer, is about certifications and their real value. Opinions regarding certifications vary from “useless piece of paper” to “paramount” and the reason for so diverse opinion is either experience or lack of it. In this post I will try to explain modern IT certifications from a more practical point of view.

During my career of Information Technology Trainer, while spending most time training system administrators and software developers in various disciplines, I’ve also got a lot of valuable feedback from HR specialists and business owners. I’ve organized seminars on certifications to explain their value or in some cases – lack of it, and realized that certifications are like Terra Incognita for vast majority of HR specialists and even IT managers. But it shouldn’t be that way, so this post is also for HR and those who aren’t certified yet but think about whether it’s necessary or not. More...

Two words about employment

by Dmitry Kirsanov 28. November 2011 03:12

It appears like in some things Chinese have more sense than the rest of the world. According to the article, they are going to cancel majors (i.e. higher education programs) which don’t lead to employment. They are going to analyze the stats of employment for those, who finished their majors and how lucky they are to land a job. So, if you are teaching Turbo Pascal and call it “Computer Science”, your days are numbered. If you teach it in China, of course.

I wish the same would be implemented in EU. During my career I found out one thing – an IT specialist with higher education is less preferable than the one without it. The reason is simple – higher education in Eastern Europe works just like in “Profession” – novel by Isaac Asimov. Dumb memorizing of irrelevant data which won’t do any good for business. They are not taught creativity and open-mind behavior.

Besides, the situation with employment becomes so interesting for those mentally challenged IT administrators, that some of them become very… I almost said “creative”… In finding a new job opportunity.

According to Security Week, a 26 year-old Hungarian male called Attila Nemeth hacked into the network of American hotel network Marriot through some dumb social engineering technique, and then… Tried to extort the employment opportunity at that company, at his terms. And as if it wasn’t stupid enough, he sent them a copy of his passport, and used plane ticket paid by Marriot to come for his job interview. After he was “interviewed” by Secret Service “HR personnel”, he’s about to be employed by one of American prisons for next 15 years and during that time he will have to pay up to $ 1 million to Marriot.

This makes me think, that Hungary has problems with two things, and one of them is employment.

Talking about employment and HR, a new research shows, that there is a direct relation between intellect and the sense of humor. Apparently, the sense of mirth is a reward given by brain when you discover the logical error in statement. According to my own experience and opinion, research results looks valid and natural. Bad news for people with undeveloped sense of humor.

See the forest behind the trees

by Dmitry Kirsanov 8. November 2011 19:29

Today I was walking by the city and suddenly seen the car of one of our local IT companies. The motto on the side of the car said – “we see further”. Yeah, right.

For years it was a dream of each and every CEO to look one step further than others. To be what they call “visionary” or even “strategist”. To keep the hand on the pulse of technology, you know. To use possibilities before others react.

However, funny thing is that most of them don’t see the forest behind the trees. They fail not only to predict, which is more or less ok, as sales guy is not necessarily an analyst. They fail to see the trend in their own niche, living processes inside their own organization. So what you can read in LinkedIn and similar resources is mostly chewing out the same “enlightening” gum .

The biggest and most consumed chewing gum these days is the cloud. Cloud computing that is. Without understanding of what cloud is, usually CEOs think about the same features of it:

  • No more server room, we can place everything in the cloud, so this will save us money.
  • All of our clients will use our solution which is placed in the cloud, so we won’t funk up with servers and this will save us money.
  • We will save money on IT staff – less nerds in staff is always good.

Et cetera.

Recently I met a solution plan which was designed with pink glasses of SAAS (Software As A Service). That is a currently successful corporate application which is about to “go cloud” so all customers will use one web site and won’t need to install the application locally. The (rather hidden) problem is – this application will require administrative privileges on customer’s Active Directory, which means – all computers of the company. And all customers will use the same instance of that application. And there are nuclear power plant operators among the customers.

I would say – “one ring to rule them all”, but you remember the story, right?

Corporate PR specialists run into social networks without insight. They don’t understand the consequences, they are just playing poker. They don’t understand, for instance, that what they are doing is less effective than using a computer program to do the same thing. And when they are starting to use that program, they themselves become useless, as creativity (the only genuine thing that computers don’t have, but can imitate) can be borrowed through outsourcing or simply dismissed.

The same is with HR and some other specialties – it becomes more automated, then it will become a “cloud” application and then it will become part of someone else’s responsibilities to operate that application. Which will always be more effective than most human specialists.

These days, creativity, speed and precision alone are not enough. You need the knowledge, which is always neglected and seems like always will be. ‘Enlightened CEO’ was the core of the dot-com bubble problem and is the same with any technology-related  hype. Because technology is based on knowledge and decision-makers just lack it.

Look at the top players in IT business. The most successful ones are the ones founded and led by scientists, not by entrepreneurs. Talking about software companies, Apple and Google were found by scientists. Microsoft as well. When CEOs were not scientists, like in Google, they didn’t make any technological decisions, like what their product will look like and how it will work.

However, most other IT companies are led by entrepreneurs, sometimes with insignificant experience in IT, who make key decisions. And fail.

So, the morale of the story. You can’t just use someone else’s knowledge and experience, mainly because you won’t have complete access to it, but only to public portion of it. You must have your own. And prove to yourself that you have it.

 

The devil, as you know, is in details. There was a  time when you could just copy what others did and chances are – you would be fine (remember IBM PC?). These days, with the cloud and SAAS and other buzz terms that may come to your mind, the frontier is much wider and you should be a great analyst in order to understand why someone else’s solution works this way with such success – because there are many details which are hidden from view, hiding somewhere in the cloud and won’t apply to your case.

Think what you’re doing, don’t look at others.


Month List