J Patrick + Associates Blog

The Hiring Habits of Managers Are Changing

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Mon, Aug 19, 2013 @ 10:30 AM

The Hiring Habits of Managers Are Changing: How Has the ‘Traditional’ Candidate Transformed in the Telecom Industry? 

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As early as 2010, telecom experts were predicting a wave of consolidation throughout the industry, particularly in the case of small and medium-sized firms.  As the market continues to improve globally, the pace of mergers and acquisitions has also accelerated.  What has this meant for telecom hiring practices? One might expect the number of job opportunities available for experienced telecom professionals to contract due to the effects of consolidation, as newly merged entities optimize their workforce and seek to enhance profitability.  However, the result has been the opposite.

In fact, the effects of consolidation have been paradoxical, though they can be explained at least in part by the effects of other forces currently transforming the telecom industry.  Likely driven by an ever-increasing demand for mobile broadband, many telecom companies are trying to fill more positions rather than less.  This is especially the case in the area of sales engineering and sales engineering management.  What we are witnessing is the development of a new set of hiring practices within the industry as firms compete for a limited supply of ‘traditionally’ sought-after candidates.  Does this mean that it’s a seller’s market for the job seeker? Not necessarily, but recognizing these trends can give candidates a distinct advantage in their job hunts. 

What it means for the prospective employer looking to grow his or her workforce is that it is increasingly clear that they are unlikely to find that “perfect” candidate on paper--the person who has earned the degree from the right school, has worked at all the right places, and has built a long track record of work experience--making them tailor-made for the position they want to fill.  Instead, hiring managers are increasingly focused on aptitude and attitude, rather than experience and skill sets, as criteria driving the hiring process.

As a job seeker, how can you take advantage of these new industry trends?

To help answer that question, we caught up with Ben Edmond, an experienced telecom professional and currently the Chief Revenue Officer of Global Capacity, a leading provider of network connectivity.   Mr. Edmond agreed to provide us with some insights regarding the changing employment landscape in the telecom industry.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, what changes have you seen to telecom hiring practices?

We have seen telecom hiring at larger firms go through significant downsizing and change.  However, at the small to midsize network providers such as Global Capacity, we have seen a strong hiring focus that not only seeks to identify whether the candidate has the required skillsets, but also looks to assess whether the candidate fits the firm’s culture, pace and direction. Finding and retaining high-quality, talented individuals remain one of the highest priorities for telecom firms, including Global Capacity.

Do these changes seem to take hold more aggressively in any particular departments?

My view is that IT and sales seem to be the most aggressive departments with respect to seeking talent. In both cases, there is a strong focus on recruiting and bringing aboard the right team members--it’s mission-critical.

How has this affected the metrics used at Global Capacity to assess a candidate’s ‘fit’ for a position?

Increasingly, the hiring practice is a combination of traditional interviewing coupled with validation points to assess whether the candidate has the capabilities we are seeking.  For example, this may be a demonstrated win, and the documented process of how that win happened, or it could be project implementation proof points. In addition to these validation points, we as well as others use tools to test aptitude and personality.  These metrics are then incorporated into the overall candidate fit analysis.  

What advice would you give a telecom job seeker looking for senior or otherwise executive-level employment?

Talk to executives in small, medium and large telecom firms. Seeking employment at an executive level starts and ends with the network of people that you know, either personally or professionally, and leveraging them to help identify opportunities.  Look  not only for positions that happen to be available, but that are suited for your skills.  This helps differentiate you from a large pool of potential job seekers.  In addition to networking strictly within telecom, understand and explore affiliated industries such as data centers, private equity, hardware, IT services, and the application industry.  All of these present different avenues to gain knowledge or identify an opportunity to leverage telecom skills and apply them to a new business.