Monday, November 29, 2010

CCIE Recruitment and Placement

The CCIE community for years before the beginning of the CCIE Agent’s efforts was treated with little regards or respect.  In fact back in 2007 and 2008 the salary surveys were underreporting CCIE salaries because little contact was actually being made with most of them.  There was a demand for them which had been building, yet wages, quality of life, training and incentives were treated as if the CCIE was no different than a Microsoft professional. 

There was a healthier economy for one thing and recruiters could focus on harvesting whatever low hanging fruit was out there.  So they chose to recruit what was easiest to place in IT, developers, database and server admins and any flavor the client asked for in any given week.  Like some lowland gorillas lulling in the sun they got lazy.  Then the economy started to change and the job of recruitment became hard work.  The IT jobs began to dry up and with this change came the knowledge that some companies like Cisco were still making a profit.  As many of the small and large shops began to die CCIE Agent™, Ltd experienced a time of growth. 
Sourcing and recruiting CCIEs seems to have become a fad these days and with that fad comes a string of companies trying to shift their focus to the requirement that existed all along right under their noses.  Yet knowing how to spell CCIE and knowing CCIEs are two very different things.  The need for help in educating the highest demand sector for networking professionals became a priority for the CCIE Agent™ team.  This is why the journey began for Eman the CCIE Agent™. 

The history is fun and has been quite a ride for the best known recruiter in the world.
Back in 2007 when the first CCIE Agent™ initiatives began they followed on the heels of the single minded focus Eman brought to his newly found profession, recruiting.  Recruiting was an incidental need in previous management roles so he had learned the ins and outs of IT recruiting as the demand fluctuated from season to season.  But there was a reoccurring discussion coming from his clients about network engineers and the need to provide these professionals to them for projects and to join their staffs.  As the TAC manager for Bell Atlantic Eman had helped develop and hire one of the largest pools of CCIEs in the early days of the program.  Since there was no organized training easily available he helped his team develop a lab and a mentoring program.  This became a very successful program within the organization and many of the company’s network and telecomm engineers were lining up to use the lab and to connect with a mentor.

It was no stretch to return to that CCIE focus. 
With a history that started with the Top Gun program and the new CCIE program back in the 1990s it was a simple task to see that the CCIE community was under-represented and poorly regarded.  So Eman began to help the CCIE community with the first CCIE salary survey that was responded to directly by CCIEs from around the world.  His suspicion was that wages were under reported and might be depressing the offers CCIEs were receiving.  Previous surveys at the time claimed $108k as the average salary.  Yet offers in the Eastern USA were commonly much higher.  So after the CCIE Agent survey was completed Eman published the figures and discovered that in the USA the average was $120k, a vast difference from the surveys that used hiring managers and HR representatives for the details.

The CCIE Flyer was launched in 2008 and grew to become the largest single effort to provide CCIE information to the community and those interested in retaining CCIEs.  The new focus and announcement that an agent was available to the CCIE, one who did not function as a recruiter stirred interest from many sectors.  It was about this time that Cisco started an effort to provide the Channel Partner resellers with sources for hiring talent to assist in their growth.  There are many companies that do recruitment and the typical tactics included poaching and bait-and-switch techniques which left many resellers in need of help.  The Strategic Recruitment Program (SRS) was developed by a new team at Cisco.

The SRS program rules were simple; provide the best in-class recruiting firms to the Channel Partners while ensuring quality and integrity.  The highest demand for CCIEs come from the Cisco Channel Partners so it was logical to try and secure the services of the best known and only recruiter solely focused on CCIE staffing.  The CCIE Agent was asked to consider the new initiative.  Eman was asked to do two things to begin with;

1-start recruiting CCIEs for the Cisco reseller community only

2-no more poaching CCIEs from one channel to another
What this meant was Eman had to give up clients that were not supporting the sales of Cisco solutions and that he would not Actively Recruit out of the channels.

No Brainer!
The salary survey taught the CCIE Agent a couple of things and the most significant was that the Channel Partners paid the best average wages of all companies interested in hiring CCIEs.  It was not a hard decision and the CCIE Agent became one of the first to be inducted into the SRS program.  It became evident that the Channels also needed help to understand the unique requirements of CCIEs professionally and educationally.  The CCIE Agent presentations began in locations such as Atlanta, Dubai, Cape Town, London, San Jose, Zurich, Brussels, Cairo, Athens, NYC, Johannesburg and Toronto.  The Channel Partners needed help and it soon became apparent that CCIEs also needed support beyond the typical body shop mentality.  The fact that anyone would risk focusing so keenly on the careers of CCIEs was registered as a bold step and accepted broadly by the reseller community.  The CCIE now had a voice to help them by educating the highest demand sector seeking them out.

PEP, not just talk but results!
What has evolved from this growth for the CCIE Agent, LTD team is a new concept to further enhance the integration and CCIE hiring efforts for Eman and his team?  Partner Enablement Program (PEP) has become the product for CCIE Agent, LTD.  It is now being rolled out in countries like India, Africa and the Middle East.  PEP is composed of several aspects which are targeted to help emerging markets and Channel Partners that are focused on growing.

Training – Not just Network Engineer certifications but CSM and specialized training required for reseller certifications.  Eman has worked to support the Cisco Authorized training providers as they distinguish themselves from the Grey Market.  Now he is organizing those same training companies to offer reduced rate and specialized offerings specific to the needs of Channel Partners.  While Grey Market training companies are trying to offer recruiting as they poach from the ranks of their students and clients, authorized support for channels is growing.

White Label – Not just contractors but dedicated resources that can support the Channel Partner as an integral part of their team.  These dedicated resources will help the Channels achieve success in delivering solutions to clients and in supporting their efforts to gain Silver and Gold certification.  Available as Consultants, Contract-to-Perm or Temp-to-Perm these CCIEs will soften the blow to the bottom line while earning their place on the team.

Staffing – Not just CCIE anymore!  While Eman remains focused on the CCIE demand his team is now helping the Channel Partners with the growing demand behind the need for CCIEs.  Sales, Presales, Telecomm professionals, Virtualization, Storage, Data Center, IT Professionals and the rest of the Channel Partner’s unique requirements that equip them for success.

New Offices
CCIE Agent, Ltd now has offices and representatives in the USA, UAE, India and UK with more coming soon.  The virtual nature of recruitment has caused it to lose the personal touch many organizations and candidates need.  Eman has traveled the world and held CCIE mixers, attends Cisco Live and GITEX as methods for remaining a real person in the lives of many of his clients and the CCIE community.  The fact is many people do not trust the social media alone to support their careers.  So the demand for real people to help them as they grow is now being satisfied by a real presence.

What’s next?
What do CCIEs need?  You can count on Eman to grow not just with the demand but with the CCIE community’s changes.  The demand of Channel Partners is driven by solutions and their changes.  The demand for the CCIE Agent is driven by his advocacy for CCIE careers!

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