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I hope this isn't too far off topic. We are currently recruiting for a Network Engineer position and have gotten a very little response. I'm curious if this is common or is there something objectionable about the position, requirements, pay, etc that might make the position more desirable. We've advertised in the usual big job resources such as Monster and Dice, the local paper, The Chronicle of HE, Educause, etc. Here's the recruitment. http://www.evergreen.edu/employment/jobs/2012-022sm.htm I would appreciate any feedback or advice regarding the position, requirements, pay, etc or recruitment that might bring in good candidates. Thanks, -James James Gutholm Assoc. Dir. Computing and Communications The Evergreen State College 2700 Evergreen Parkway NW , Olympia, WA 98505 360.867.6635 ********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

Comments

I don't know for sure if it is a trend, but here at Washington University in St. Louis, we have been recruiting for a network engineering position for some time and have so far only seen applicants with introductory-level experience.  Perhaps the job market upturn has been more rapid in this specialized area.

For anyone who may be interested, you can view our open position here:

https://jobs.wustl.edu/psp/APPLHRMS/EMPLOYEE/HRMS/c/HRS_HRAM.HRS_CE.GBL?Page=HRS_CE_JOB_DTL&Action=A&JobOpeningId=23234&SiteId=1&PostingSeq=1

- John


John Bailey - Assistant Director, Student Technology Services
Washington University in St. Louis - Information Services and Technology
6601 Shepley Dr. - Campus Box 1245 - St. Louis, MO 63105 - (314) 935-4570



James, GRCC (just a bit north of you in auburn) tried to hire a network engineer for 1.5 years without any real qualified applicants, before deciding to train up an internal applicant from the server team who wanted to cross over. We marked it down to pay (less than you are offering) and the job market. I don't see any issues with your job posting myself. The only unexpected point I noticed was that I would expect a senior engineer to require 4-5+ years of experience rather than just 2. Wyatt Schill Network Engineer - Packet Wrangler Green River Community College 12401 SE 320th St. Auburn, WA 98092-3622
After doing cost of living differences between here and there, it looks like the salary is on the low side. For your market, I would consider $7,100/mo to be a better top end. Especially if potential candidates can't tell if there is room to grow beyond the top of range advertised. That being said, I am a huge proponent of growing the team internally and back filling the more entry level positions. Kenneth V. Mattson III Director - Network and Data DoIT Creighton University 402-280-2743 402-981-1140 A password is like a toothbrush: Choose a good one, change it regularly and don't share it. ________________________________________
I forgot to mention that the line: "Assess campus IT security needs and identify future trends and consult on security plans and maintain campus security program" may scare some people off. Do you have a CISO? If you do, you may want to mention that on this line. Many people who want to be Sr. Network Engineers do not want the headache of being policy creators. If this person will be performing a CISO role along with the engineering duties, then you are waaaay low on salary. Kenneth V. Mattson III Director - Network and Data DoIT Creighton University 402-280-2743 402-981-1140 A password is like a toothbrush: Choose a good one, change it regularly and don't share it. ________________________________________
I would echo Wyatt's comments, we have quite a bit of trouble hiring qualified engineers due to the competition in the Northern Virginia / metro DC region. We would consider someone with a BS degree and several years of experience to be mid-level in most cases, and most of them are expecting a salary of about $100k or better. Because of that we often hire entry-level people to work in Network Operations starting with monitoring, layer two problems etc. and try to develop them into the higher-level design jobs. We've got a relatively large and complex network, it generally takes a year or more to really understand how it all fits together. Here's our current opening: https://jobs.gmu.edu/postings/28209 Randy -- Randy D. Anderson Director, Network Engineering & Technology George Mason University 4400 University Drive Fairfax, VA 22030 phone: 703-993-3445 On 7/17/2012 3:17 PM, Wyatt Schill wrote: > James, > > GRCC (just a bit north of you in auburn) tried to hire a network engineer for 1.5 years without any real qualified applicants, before deciding to train up an internal applicant from the server team who wanted to cross over. We marked it down to pay (less than you are offering) and the job market. I don't see any issues with your job posting myself. The only unexpected point I noticed was that I would expect a senior engineer to require 4-5+ years of experience rather than just 2. > > > Wyatt Schill > Network Engineer - Packet Wrangler > Green River Community College > 12401 SE 320th St. > Auburn, WA 98092-3622 > > > >
We've tried this approach over the years for different positions, and there is one potential pitfall, at least has been for us here in small town USA.  Once you invest in getting your entry to mid level people trained and up to speed, they immediately go for those higher paying jobs - and you lose them.  This leaves you in a constant position replacement and training cycle, with unpredictable system coverage.  In other words, you paid to advance their careers and may not get a pay back.

I will only caution that if you try this approach, be sure to include training costs and productivity loss against potential salary savings, as well as the cost of the potential continued position turn over.every year or two.  For smaller institutions like ours, these can be serious issues.  For larger institutions with actual network "teams" consisting of many admins, it may be workable, but hardly optimal.

Personally, I'd love to come up with a model that would guarantee that if the institution pays for their training, they must work so long or be required to repay for a portion of that training should they leave early.  Has anyone developed such a model?

---
Dave Koontz
Associate Director IT
Mary Baldwin College


On 7/17/2012 4:41 PM, Randy D. Anderson wrote:
I would echo Wyatt's comments, we have quite a bit of trouble hiring qualified engineers due to the competition in the Northern Virginia / metro DC region.  We would consider someone with a BS degree and several years of experience to be mid-level in most cases, and most of them are expecting a salary of about $100k or better. Because of that we often hire entry-level people to work in Network Operations starting with monitoring, layer two problems etc. and try to develop them into the higher-level design jobs. We've got a relatively large and complex network, it generally takes a year or more to really understand how it all fits together.

Here's our current opening:

https://jobs.gmu.edu/postings/28209

Randy

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

Yes, that is a big drawback. About all you can do is strive to keep the job interesting and the workplace accommodating, and hope it is enough to retain most of them. There are non-monetary benefits to working in a higher ed environment that are valued by many, but that won't keep all of your folks satisfied forever. Another drawback to the train-up approach is that the engineers have only learned "how it is done" at your institution. I think it's important to bring in people with broader experience when possible, to infuse new ideas and different perspectives. So overall, I believe you have to somehow get salaries up high enough to retain key senior-level individuals but also have to face the fact of continually training your promising entry-level technicians to keep things running. Randy On 7/17/2012 5:57 PM, Dave Koontz wrote: > We've tried this approach over the years for different positions, and > there is one potential pitfall, at least has been for us here in small > town USA. Once you invest in getting your entry to mid level people > trained and up to speed, they immediately go for those higher paying > jobs - and you lose them. This leaves you in a constant position > replacement and training cycle, with unpredictable system coverage. In > other words, you paid to advance their careers and may not get a pay back. > > I will only caution that if you try this approach, be sure to include > training costs and productivity loss against potential salary savings, > as well as the cost of the potential continued position turn over.every > year or two. For smaller institutions like ours, these can be serious > issues. For larger institutions with actual network "teams" consisting > of many admins, it may be workable, but hardly optimal. > > Personally, I'd love to come up with a model that would guarantee that > if the institution pays for their training, they must work so long or be > required to repay for a portion of that training should they leave > early. Has anyone developed such a model? > > --- > Dave Koontz > Associate Director IT > Mary Baldwin College > > > On 7/17/2012 4:41 PM, Randy D. Anderson wrote: >> I would echo Wyatt's comments, we have quite a bit of trouble hiring >> qualified engineers due to the competition in the Northern Virginia / >> metro DC region. We would consider someone with a BS degree and >> several years of experience to be mid-level in most cases, and most of >> them are expecting a salary of about $100k or better. Because of that >> we often hire entry-level people to work in Network Operations >> starting with monitoring, layer two problems etc. and try to develop >> them into the higher-level design jobs. We've got a relatively large >> and complex network, it generally takes a year or more to really >> understand how it all fits together. >> >> Here's our current opening: >> >> https://jobs.gmu.edu/postings/28209 >> >> Randy >> > ********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE > Constituent Group discussion list can be found at > http://www.educause.edu/groups/. > -- Randy D. Anderson Director, Network Engineering & Technology George Mason University Fairfax, VA 22030 Voice: 703-993-3445 ********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.
A few random comments:

"Interpret legal and policy requirements and plan and implement solutions to meet those requirements"

That would scare me. IANAL.

For me, there is a disconnect between the job title and the minimum qualifications. Is it an entry level job with an impressive title (to draw candidates)? Is it the top job with minimal experience requirements (to draw candidates)?

People with long tenures in higher ed tend to be in higher ed for more than the money. Some like the (more) relaxed pace and intellectual atmosphere. Some like work schedule flexibility. Some like the tuition remission benefit. Some enjoy the typical trade-off of lower pay but more time off.

It's good that you allude to your generous benefits. If you think they are a selling point, explicitly enumerate them rather than make the applicant click thru a link to the benefits page. (If you provide a link, make sure it's the right one! 

           
Rand
 
Rand P. Hall
Director, Network Services                 askIT!
Merrimack College
978-837-3532

If I had an hour to save the world, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute finding solutions. – Einstein



We are running into similar issues, but more with entry level where we have the biggest need lately. For entry level jobs I am becoming convinced that it is better to find someone with qualities such as the ability to approach a problem methodically, as well as initiative, curiosity drive and people skills than someone with a little more experience but less of those qualities which are much harder to teach than basic networking skills. We are trying to come up with some good questions to reveal those qualities, and if anyone has any suggestions I would welcome them. Along the lines of the training a good athlete in technical skills approach, can anyone recommend training resources that they have found particularly helpful? (And please, I am not asking for vendors to recommend themselves as I already know you all think you are great). Pete Morrissey Director of Networking Syracuse University
I could not agree more. Brian Network Services Manager St. Bonaventure University
While it's difficult to get this through the various Human Resources elements (who tend to want SPECIFIC skill set requirements - which of course will be obsolete in a few years - and SPECIFIC experiences - most of which, if outside of a university environment, are irrelevant), I've always tried to make sure I tweak the requirements of any position so that I can hire the smartest person that applies (this will come out in a combination of phone interviews and face-to-face). Networking skills can be taught. Again, trying to finagle that through the HR systems is usually the hardest task. Once on board, having a solid mentoring program within the work group can't be beat and having the new person shadow a specific mentoring team member for about 3 months will usually do it (especially if all of your process documentation is solid). Of course if a particular task area only has one position associated with it and you're trying to fill that one position, you're screwed. -- Jim Gogan / UNC-Chapel Hill
I like the try before you buy approach.  Not always possible when you need a guy yesterday.  I have begun to recruit students from out technical programs, i.e. cyber security.  I lean on them heavily and hire them for summer work.  That way I have a group of entry level folks who I know first hand.

John Kaftan
Infrastructure Manager
Utica College

----- Reply message -----
From: "Kellogg, Brian D." <bkellogg@SBU.EDU>
Date: Fri, Jul 20, 2012 8:52 am
Subject: [NETMAN] Recruitment difficulty
To: <NETMAN@listserv.educause.edu>

I could not agree more.

Brian
Network Services Manager
St. Bonaventure University

Chris, I like your idea for any mid-level engineer interviews. I haven't had to interview candidates for a mid level position, but I love the idea. We have done something similar for our entry level positions, usually during their second interview which is in person, which has revealed some surprising responses. During the interview, we will have a pair of switches (non-auto MDI-X) connected with a crossover cable. At some point during the interview, we cut the cable. We simply tell them to make the lights blink again and we continue on with the interview. We will have new ends, a crimper, a pile of crossover and straight through cables, media converters, crossover adapters, basically there are probably six or seven different ways to make the switches talk again. We then proceed on with the interview while they figure out what to do. We do not time them. They do not get rated higher for one solution over another. We just want the lights to blink by the end of the interview and to observe how they handle the exercise. We have been surprised at the number of people that will not even attempt this exercise, even engineers with many years of experience. Let's face it, an interview is a fairly stressful thing for most people. On the flip side, so are network outages. The purpose is not to be difficult in this exercise as it is a very, very simple task and they have many solutions right in front of them. It is a simple as picking up a cable off the desk and plugging it in. They don't have to crimp a new end on the cable with knowing the right color codes. The purpose of this exercise is to gauge how well they can handle doing a simple task under what could be a stressful situation. We also like to see how well they can multitask. Mark Strandskov Associate Director ­ Networks Central Michigan University Office of Information Technology 100 Telecom Drive, 007F Woldt LL Mount Pleasant MI 48859 989.774.6881 On 7/20/12 9:00 AM, "Chris Fabri" wrote: >
Message from paul.keck@usg.edu

On Fri, Jul 20, 2012 at 09:00:01AM -0400, Chris Fabri wrote: > For our mid level engineer interviews, we have constructed network outage > scenarios with multiple different failures within them - in other words, > nested failures that when the first one is resolved, the problem still > continues, but for a different reason. We have 3 failure points in 2 > different scenarios. We don't actually care if they can necessarily give > us the exact commands or no exactly how to resolve the problem in some > case, but it does give a good view into how the interviewee's mind works > when solving problems. Similarly to this, I like to use a printer problem as a window into the applicant's problem-solving process. I think up a network printing problem (just one, Chris sounds like a sadist), and tell them to treat me like the user and ask questions to figure it out. For instance- bad network card in a printer. Or bad cable on the user's computer. I'm hoping they'll ask things like, "Can you print to this other networked printer? Can you browse this website?" and try things like "Can *I* print to the affected printer?" A lot of people get bogged down in trying to update printer drivers and stuff like that before they even get to trying to confirm the computer itself has connectivity. ********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.
Message from spiro.mitsialis@mcgill.ca

I was once put through a test with a printing problem. I found the problem within seconds. They had turned the power bar off. They had guys troubleshooting for more than 30min and even took the printer apart. Spiro Mitsialis -----Original Message----- From: The EDUCAUSE Network Management Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:NETMAN@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Chris Fabri Sent: Monday, July 23, 2012 11:24 AM To: NETMAN@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU Subject: Re: [NETMAN] Recruitment difficulty
Thanks everyone for the comments and suggestions. Just to follow up a bit, this is the highest level network position at the institution. I was shooting low on the min quals hoping that it might help expand the pool a bit. Based on the suggestions I've received, we are going to bump the salary a bit and re-advertise. -James James Gutholm Assoc. Dir. Computing and Communications The Evergreen State College 2700 Evergreen Parkway NW , Olympia, WA 98505 360.867.6635
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