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The Internet: A double-edged sword in the battle for top database talent

The Internet has been embraced far and wide as the hiring panacea managers and human resource directors in the data management field have been searching for. But while sifting through thousands of candidates with a few keystrokes seems like an easy and cheap way to hire, relying on the Internet actually hurts one's chances of landing top data management talent.

The entire practice of hiring candidates found online rests on the assumption that these candidates are good ones. Unfortunately, this assumption is usually false. When was the last time you saw Bill Gates' resume online? Do warehousing guru Bill Inmon or Oracle President Larry Ellison have their resume on a job board? Not likely.

These examples, though extreme, highlight a fundamental truth about Internet hires: The best people typically don't have their resume online. If they do, they are often sorely out of date.

The best data management people are generally not out beating the streets, simply because they don't need to.

It's true that employed DBAs, even good ones, surf job sites. But that doesn't mean these casual surfers have their resume online, they're typically just window shopping. Industry job posting professionals believe many qualified pros do indeed peruse positions on the Web. But finding a great-sounding position and acting on it are two very different matters, indeed.

Why don't the best candidates have their resume online? Simple--they don't need to. People come to

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them with potential opportunities, especially in the technical world. These techies get used to not making the first move, and thus don't take proactive measures such as keeping an updated resume on hand.

General Electric CEO Jack Welch's famous quote rings as true today as it did a decade ago: Companies reward the top 20% of employees, train the middle 70% and fire the bottom 10%.

So who is generally out beating the street for new positions? Certainly the bottom 10% and the 70%'s lower rung. The Internet has not changed this paradigm; it's simply allowed mediocre candidates to cast a wider shadow. The millions of resumees online have created an illusion in the minds of HR and hiring managers that an abundance of quality candidates are just a keystroke away. Yes, some resumees online are excellent. The problem is, you're searching for needle in one heck of a large haystack.

The high demand for DBA and Data Warehouse talent also contributes to companies lowering their standards. Vacant positions and looming deadlines combined with seeing such a huge pool of resumees tempts hiring authorities to justify subpar hires.

Keep in mind that hastily filling a position can stop the leak in your department. But you've just slapped on a band-aid, and the talent pipeline will likely burst again.

 

About the Author

Kevin Kapaun is president of Emerging Technology Services, a recruiting firm specializing in placing Oracle and data warehousing candidates. Kapaun can be reached at 952.443.4141 or Kevin@SpecializedRecruiters.com. Emerging Technology Services is a member of the Top Echelon Network. Kapaun is a member of Top Echelon, the world's largest network of recruiters.

 

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This was first published in April 2001

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