What constitutes a “qualified” IT candidate?

Interesting what General Dynamics looks for in determining if  a candidate is “qualified”.

General Dynamics Information Technology (IT) Staffing Lead Robert Cellich, based in Tampa, Fla., seeks qualified individuals to fill on average 300 positions a year to support General Dynamics IT’s military services sector. But what constitutes a candidate as “qualified”? The right combination of hard and soft skills, credentials and attitude.

Roughly nine out of 10 jobs that Cellich fills require security clearances, a determination by the United States government that a person or company is eligible for access to classified information. “Cleared individuals aren’t hard to find,” he says. “What’s difficult to find is a cleared individual who has the right qualifications for the position.”

“I’m looking for individuals who have polished hard and soft skills,” he says.

For ‘hard skills,’ Cellich looks for demonstrated, hands-on proficiency in the technical areas the job he is seeking to fill. When considering a candidate for a higher level role, he scrutinizes the positions listed in the candidate’s resume—the type of position, the type of company, and length of tenure—to see if the person has relevant, quality experience.

“I’m not going to hire somebody for a senior role who has only a year or two of experience because they’re just not ready for that type of role yet,” Cellich says. When filling a system administrator position, for example, Cellich will prefer candidates who have performed that role. “Whereas the person who has been in a help desk role for 10 years—whose resume shows no discernable system administration experience, lacks steps taken to grow into system administration, fails to demonstrate an effort to get their MCSA (Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator certification)—is still at the help desk level and is unlikely to be prepared for system administration.”

Training and certifications can be huge, especially if a candidate lacks experience.

IT-related training, certifications and degrees can help candidates with less experience. For Cellich, an IT certification gives the candidate credibility by demonstrating that the individual has the capacity and the motivation to learn the trade. “Our customers often want individuals with certifications, because it shows that the person has the capability of doing a specific type of work.”

Cellich has one caveat: “Don’t just go and take the training and not get the certification. It’s almost a negative, because my first question will always be ‘Why didn’t you get the certification?’”

Entry level candidates with an IT certification can still have difficulty obtaining full-time IT work experience in a tough economy, and Cellich recommends that IT job hunters volunteer or obtain a part-time position working with IT as an alternative. “Anything you can put down on resume shows that you have used some of the things you have learned will put you a step ahead of the person who hasn’t done that.”

It’s highly likely that the way General Dynamics defines “qualified” is the way many companies do.  So be sure to stay-up-to-date on skills and knowledge.  At the same time utilize various avenues to gain experience if you don’t have it.

Head over to the source for some tips on that resume.

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About brvanlanen

Just a thirty-something guy currently hanging it up in the greater Green Bay area. My post-high school educational background is mainly in the Information Technology field. Specifically I have an A.A.S. in Computer Network Systems and a B.S. in Information Systems Security, both from ITT Technical Institute, in addition to A and MCDST certifications. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking and sports. My Christian faith is also important to me as a Missouri-Synod Lutheran and all my children attend a Lutheran grade school. When it comes to political leanings I am a conservative first and foremost which you will discover rather quickly. As for sports I am a huge fan of the Green Bay Packers.

Posted on January 5, 2012, in IT Support, Jobs, Network Administration, Technology News and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on What constitutes a “qualified” IT candidate?.

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