Nigel Frank International’s SharePoint and Microsoft recruitment experts Alec Porter, Team Leader SharePoint Contracts Division across North America, and Paden Simmons, Business Manager for Office 365, SharePoint and Azure across US and Canada joined Collab365 live on May 10th.

Alec and Paden discuss how SharePoint and Office 365 candidates in contract and permanent roles can ensure they stay ahead of the competition.

Here we summarize some of the key points discussed in the presentation, and be sure to click to watch the video below for the full session recording.

Key Topics Covered in the Session: 

1. Most common career paths of a permanent vs contract SharePoint/Office365 professional

Contract Microsoft professionals typically have worked for a minimum of 6 years and they tend to work as developers or solution architects on projects ranging from 3 to 6 months. Contractors have the training and certifications to come on board and deliver a project to a client as an expert, they can upskill clients internal teams and help grow them.

Permanent candidates are generally graduates out of school with an IT or business degree, depending on the technical or functional route the candidate takes. Permanent candidates usually start by working for a Microsoft customer, either as an end user, or a power user where they gain product knowledge and experience and hands on experience with configurations and upgrades. After 2 to 3 years permanent candidates tend to join a Microsoft partner, gaining client facing experience. Permanent candidates then move to a senior role with the partner.

2. Why Companies Need Contract or Permanent SharePoint Specialists

Contract – In the past 5 year clients have told us that contractors were the best way to directly impact best practice and training in their teams so that managers & CIO’s can continue with business as usual. Contractors add a huge amount of value as experts in the field and businesses should get the most value out of them in a short period of time.

Permanent – There are opportunities for contractor to move back into permanent positions as managers, where they can leverage their technical skills, client based ability, and utilize experience with multiple products and projects.

3. Motivations for Candidates to Move from Permanent to Contract

The approach to have candidates move from contract to permanent and vice versa is ultimately a personal circumstance decision and it is down to what the candidate is looking for.  Sometimes a permanent opportunity can tick all of the boxes for a contractor due to the location, client and long term options. It is up to Alec and Paden and the Nigel Frank team who have the connections and expertise, to pose the question to the candidate if they know it suits their needs and the candidate can be quite willing to hear more about a permanent opportunity if it ticks all the boxes for that candidate.

4. Why Recruitment is Like Match Making

Matching candidates and clients can be described as match making, Alec and Paden and the Nigel Frank recruitment team match a candidates’ experience and role expertise to create a match with the client.  The recruitment consultants at Nigel Frank specialise in the market, working with 86% of Microsoft partners globally and can recognize the training and qualifications needed.  Alec and Paden will attend industry conferences, and user groups where they are involved directly with the SharePoint community, getting to know the community and its candidates and are able to find the insights and experiences to make that match.

5. Remote Work and Virtual Teams

We are seeing a shift to remote and virtual teams, within Azure, Office365 or any specific technology there is rapid rate of upgrades and changes, the candidate pool, therefore, becomes smaller and smaller. Clients have to be open to remote workers to gain the expertise needed, and we are seeing the shift. The amount of work people are doing from home has certainly changed, especially in the US where cities are so far apart, so businesses are becoming more open to remote work and virtual teams if they want the best talent.

Alec and Paden explained that it is their job to make sure clients have access to the best candidate pool so they can choose from the best and that might mean that your SharePoint contractors are sat in Florida in the sunshine while they are doing their work.  Our Salary Survey shows these trends. Our Technology for Business Salary Survey shows these trends.

6. Current Challenges Hiring Managers Face in the SharePoint and Office 365 Market

SharePoint candidates need to know how to architect, administer, how to be a developer and to be someone who wants to advance their career.  During interviews the candidate needs to speak to the client to push their skill set and product expertise to be the voice in the company. An issue within the industry is that administration jobs, developer and designer jobs are very different and when clients are accepting resumes from agencies who don’t necessarily understand what SharePoint and Office365 jobs are specifically about, when those client and candidate conversations start they are then not actually matched to the role. Nigel Frank can educate clients and match the candidates exactly by utilising candidate feedback, and niche industry knowledge and understanding.

7. Tips for Candidates:

Regardless of your skill set or product, stay ahead of the game by following these simple tips.

  • Make sure your CV Is up to date and on point.
  • Keep your CV short – In the permanent market CVs can be 2 – 3 pages, while contract market CVs are 3 -5 pages. Keep your CV to the point so clients will take the time to review it.
  • Give yourself availability to interview.
  • Make sure you’re open minded to look at different jobs – cloud and mobile are giving people a new range of opportunities you may not have been open to previously.

Stay tuned for our 2nd session for clients – SharePoint – Candidate Trends and the Recruiting Market.

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