In an economic recession, IT employers are inundated with job applications from qualified candidates – right?
Wrong. At least, that’s not been Guy Guckenberger’s experience as general manager of MTCI’s IT consulting division in Cincinnati.
“People have the misconception that in a down economy, there are a lot of qualified people looking for jobs, but that simply hasn’t been the case for us,” he said. “We interviewed maybe five people last year – and they didn’t have what we were looking for.”
Which is precisely why – as an employer – Guckenberger has become a big enthusiast of the IT-Ready program.
“As an employer, I am looking for people who are truly passionate about IT – who drive themselves to learn more and be better in their field,” he said. “IT-Ready does an excellent job of vetting those people – those passionate, intellectual, willing-to-learn people.”
As a full-service unified communications solutions provider, MTCI defines, develops and executes efficient, functional and cost-effective voice and data communications programs on behalf of its clients. Guckenberger is general manager of the company’s voice and data implementation grid.
“I’ve been in the IT field for 25 years, having worked my way up through the ranks, and I enjoyed sharing some of what I know with the IT-Ready students,” he said. “You could tell from talking to them that they were truly excited about what they were learning about.”
Williams later sent Guckenberger resumes of students to consider for a possible apprenticeship. MTCI offered a position to Adam Henson, who started work in July shortly after graduating from the program.
“Adam had been with us only about 30 days before we said, ‘Hey, we gotta hire this guy full time,’” Guckenberger said. “He’s a really sharp guy.”
What appeals to MTCI – and, Guckenberger suspects, other similar employers – is a well-rounded and committed job applicant: Someone with quantifiable IT problem-solving skills, certainly, but someone who also demonstrates “softer,” qualifiable professional skills such as commitment and loyalty.
“We’re not making widgets on an assembly line, so we’re not interested in people just looking for a paycheck,” Guckenberger said. “For us, there’s a significant expense associated with bringing someone in and training them to succeed within our environment. We’re making an investment, so we’re looking for people who want a long-term career with us. We want to hire people who don’t want to leave.”
Guckenberger said one of the biggest challenges IT-Ready likely faces when recruiting new employers is the skepticism he felt when first learning about program.
“As an employer, I know my first thought was, ‘This sounds too good to be true,’” he said. “You’re going to screen applicants for intelligence and passion? And teach them applicable IT skills? And all we have to do is try them before we buy them? What’s the catch? But there is no catch. IT-Ready is everything it says it is.”