Gotta Love Those CIRs - Part Two – Covering the Shortfall
You'll recall that I was interviewing the very well presented Mr. K., a CIR from Miyazaki. We'd already checked his language skills to our satisfaction. After 3 years in the sticks, we find that most CIRs acquire a high level of polite spoken Japanese. Mr. K. was no exception. He'd explained to us that his reading and writing were pretty basic, but for the positions that we hire for, this is usually not an issue. So, with personality and language squared away, the remaining item on my checklist was appropriate job skills. It was in this area that Mr. K. was unprepared. In the 3 years he'd been working in his particular city office, he'd focused on the job at hand, and now with his contract coming to a close knew that he wanted to move on, but hadn't laid down any follow-on skills.
I discussed with him what he wanted to do, and his preference was a technical role -- something which I ordinarily would have counselled against, but considering he had a minor in Computer Science at least he'd proven his aptitude for technology. I warned him that switching careers to such a different skill set would put him on a lower salary and at risk of dismissal if he couldn't produce results within the probation period. But he was quite adamant that he wanted to go into technology. "Ok, I thought, here is a guy who has set himself a goal and is committed to it -- that's a good sign."
Then I suggested his doing a crash course in networking over the next 3 months, in preparation for a phone test from one of our engineers to see what he is able to remember. I suggested that in the networking space at least, focusing on attaining some specific industry-related certifications would be an excellent start, such as a Microsoft MCP rating, followed by an MSCE. Then he would need to supplement this study with some hands-on experience at the local university computer lab or at an NPO that doesn't mind someone messing around with their servers and network.
If he successfully passes the test - theory about networks and servers - then he will be offered a job. Of course studying for 3 months doesn't make him an engineer, and there is much criticism about "paper engineers" having insufficient practical experience to fix even the simplest of problems. If the inexperience was hidden, yes, it would definitely be a problem. But for us, having suggested the process in the first place, it proves his commitment and ability to absorb and retain concepts. These, along with positive language and personality traits, make him an ideal employee for a technology and services organization such as ours.
Yep, you really gotta like the raw capability of those CIRs...