Hiring ERP and CRM Professionals: The Four Knowledge-Domains to look for in Any Candidate:
Over the past 2 decades, DyNexus Recruiting has recruited, placed and hired hundreds of ERP and CRM consultants for VARs, ISVs and ERP & CRM end-user companies. In evaluating candidates for most ERP/CRM positions, there are four areas of knowledge to be considered: (1) Business Processes, (2) Industry, (3) Application, and (4) Specific Software Package.
In a perfect world, we would look for a strong background in all four areas. But, often the world is less than perfect, and we find ourselves considering compromising under the theory that we don’t want “perfect” to get in the way of “very good.”
So, this requires weighing the importance of the four factors, and determining where weaknesses can be better tolerated, and mitigated with training. Here are some thoughts about how to handle this compromise, in descending order of importance:
- Business Processes – I list this first because in my experience this is both the most important factor, and the one that takes the longest time to acquire. If a candidate understands the business processes involved, he can understand the overall environment he’s dealing with, and is better able to understand the needs and challenges involved. There is no way of short-cutting gaining this knowledge, and there is no way of faking it.
- Industry – Each industry has its own unique personality (language, environment, regulations, etc.). Industry knowledge is closely related to knowledge of business processes, as processes generally are similar in most companies in the same industry, but there are differences. Lacking a strong business process background, sometimes a strong industry background will lay enough groundwork to acquire the required understanding of the processes used to run the business.
- Application – Then there is the specific application you’re supporting (AR, AP, Inventory, PM, Payroll, HR, etc.). These functions tend to be fairly common to all industries, so the learning curve from one industry to another is relatively straightforward, and can be migrated from one industry to another.
- Specific Software Package – Oddly, this is the one that we tend to focus on most, even though knowledge of one package in a particular domain gives a huge leg up on gaining familiarity with another package in the same domain. Some are more similar than others (e.g. Microsoft Dynamics AX and Sage X3 are more similar than Dynamics NAV and SAP Business One). Furthermore, given a solid background in 1, 2, and 3, gaining competence in a particular package is at most an effort of weeks or months, while competence in the other factors may take years to acquire.
Balancing and weighing these knowledge-domains effectively can greatly expedite the hiring process for ERP/CRM candidates, with an acceptable level of compromise. Actually, this probably is equally true for many other kinds of positions as well. It’s an art that, with some difficulty, can be learned to real advantage. It’s not easy, but . . .
IF IT WAS EASY, CHILDREN WOULD BE DOING IT.