In providing contract/consultant staffing support to our clients, SMCI utilizes the resources of project specific hourly and salaried employees drawn from an extensive active database of Information Technology professionals. By employing a project-specific approach to providing solutions we are able to quickly respond to diverse requirements with superior candidates over a broad range of position types and skill sets.
- Technical skills and applications backgrounds that are currently prevalent in the commercial data processing marketplace. .
- Emerging technologies that are gaining acceptance. .
- Skills specific to the installations of existing clients and organizations with which we are attempting to form business relationships. .
- Screening Results. Information pertaining to the results of the screening that is described elsewhere in this document (e.g. interviews, technical testing, etc.).
- Availability for assignments.
- Performance Information (In the case of consultants who have performed contract assignments for SMCI or whose performance SMCI’s technical managers have had an opportunity to observe first hand).
- Screened Placement Suitability Information. Information which concerns a consultant’s suitability for placement at a particular client site (e.g. the consultant will only accept assignments at client sites with flexible work schedules or only wants placements within a certain driving radius of home, etc.). .
Because our approach to providing contract resources is not dependent upon whether we have appropriate resources “on the bench”, we are able to provide our clients with the contract support they require in a timely manner and on a cost-competitive basis. In that a high proportion of our consulting requirements are met on an ad hoc recruitment basis, training for new technologies is rarely an issue. Candidates with appropriate expertise are identified based on the nature of an individual assignment. This flexible approach is particularly well suited to these times of rapidly emerging technological change.
SMCI maintains IT resources throughout the country with major databases in California, Arizona, North Carolina, and Texas that contain in excess of 180,000 IT professionals. To date, approximately 55,000 of these professionals have been through our screening process and we currently screen new potential resources at the rate of 3,000 per year. The following criteria are used in selecting candidates for screening:
The result of this approach has been the development of a significant pool of qualified resources whose skill sets and applications backgrounds encompass those areas of expertise that are significant to the IT organizations of major commercial enterprises which form our client base. Because this pool of resources is our main source of candidates for client requisitions, we maintain extensive data that relates to appropriateness for placement in addition to the data that relates to the individuals professional skills and background. This includes:
This information also pertains to a consultant’s suitability for particular types of assignments (e.g. poor oral or written communication skills might disqualify an otherwise technically qualified candidate from placement when the position involves extensive user interface and the development of a user requirements documents).
When a client provides a requirement, we turn first to a search of this pool of resources to locate appropriate individuals. We maintain frequent contact with screened candidates to track current and future availability. Because of the large number of qualified candidates in our system with whom we maintain contact and who have completed our screening process, we usually are able to satisfy a client’s requirement from this pool of resources.
If we are not able to identify appropriate candidates from these resource pools, we work with our extensive network of referral relationships and, lastly, we work with candidates we find through our sponsorship of user groups, professional organizations and Internet postings/searches. We utilize DICE, Computerjobs.com, Hotjobs.com, and numerous specialized posting sites for client specific requirements and to ensure a stream of new resources to keep our resource databases fresh.
SMCI’s business approach is to understand a client’s business, technical and cultural environments so that we can fully appreciate its staffing requirements. Our goal is to identify and present only those candidates who are appropriate for each client requirement. Perhaps, In looking for the ideal resume, you’ve overlooked the ideal candidate.™ At SMCI, we Hire People. Not Resumes.™
We believe that it is our job to find the best candidate for the job based on a solid understanding of the client’s environment and a strong sense of the type of person who fits well into its culture. With this perspective in mind SMCI typically only presents one or two candidates for any given client requirement.
SMCI’s screening process for Consultant, Contract-for-Hire and Direct-Hire candidates to meet our client’s staffing requirement consists of the following four qualification steps:
- Personal Interview
- Technical Qualification
- Previous Assignment Reference Checking
- Background Screening and Drug Testing as appropriate to a client’s specifications.
Personal Interview by an SMCI Information Technology Recruitment Specialist. The personal interview is a one to one and one-half hour in-depth interview with the applicant which focuses on the following areas:
- Applicant experiences
- Communication skills
- Professional interest
- Personal strengths
- Level of professional expertise and ability
- Educational background
- Employment history
- Professional demeanor
Technical Interviews, as appropriate to the position, are performed once a candidate has successfully completed their personal interview. SMCI utilizes two approaches to verify technical competencies. Our primary approach is an in-depth technical interview by a member of SMCI’s Technical Staff. Each SMCI technical staff member specializes in technical interviews that are consistent with their background and current responsibilities.
Rather than employing a textbook question/answer methodology, we employ a conversational approach which enables us to determine the depth of the candidates general IT knowledge and ability, as well as their level of knowledge in those areas of expertise that bear on a client’s particular requirements. These interviews generally last between 45 minutes to hour. This primary approach is utilized for most technical interviews.
A secondary approach is used in those instances where our primary interviewers are overbooked or when the skill being tested is not a part of their expertise. This secondary approach uses TeckChek (primary) and Brain Bench (secondary) web-based testing. TeckChek is nationally recognized for its validity in technical screening. SMCI has been using TeckChek for several years and has found it to be valid in measuring technical knowledge and ability across a wide range of technical skills. We use Brain Bench for those technical areas not covered by TeckChek.
Employment reference checks from the candidate’s previous managers. The employment reference checks consist of two to four conversations with the applicant’s previous and current managers discussing the following areas:
- Technical skills
- Analytical skills
- Writing skills
- Communication skills
- Professional demeanor
- Interpersonal skills
- Attendance and punctuality
- Observance of company rules
- Observance of dress codes
- Work ethic
- Work quality and performance levels
Background Checks and Drug Testing. Once a consulting candidate has been accepted for assignment with a client, SMCI utilizes the services of a professional background check service to perform those specific checks required by the client. These may include educational verification, credit history, DMV checks and checks for criminal history as well as client-specified drug screening.
It is important to note that consultant resources that are obtained by SMCI from third party business partners on a sub-contract basis are screened by SMCI applying the same screening approach used for SMCI-recruited resources.
Resources provided to SMCI by our clients on a payrolling service basis are not screened by SMCI unless we are specifically requested to do so by the client. (It is not uncommon for our clients to ask us to technically qualify these resources.) However, SMCI will perform background checks and drug screening for these resources according to the client’s requirements.
SMCI actually carries out the level of screening that we commit to. It has become “standard” in the industry to detail the extent of screening done. However, reality often does not comport with the promises articulated. SMCI is willing to document its adherence to its articulated screening practices.
SMCI provides a complete orientation (or “onboarding”) program for all its consulting placements. This program is not dependent on the length of an assignment and it is provided, completely at SMCI expense, for all SMCI consulting staff assigned to a client. These orientation services are provided for all SMCI resources regardless of whether they were recruited by SMCI, provided to SMCI via a sub-contract arrangement with a SMCI third party business partner, or are a resource for which we are providing payrolling services for our client.
SMCI’s orientation plan covers general topics relating to employment as a contract professional as well as topics that are tailored to each individual client. SMCI account executives work with a client’s contract management and IT Departments to develop orientation topics specific to the client’s needs and requirements.
At a minimum, these would include the client’s regulations regarding smoking, alcohol consumption and illicit drug usage while on assignment. Other client specific topics are developed as the business relationship matures with individual client departments and organizations (e.g. topics specific to remote client locations).
SMCI orientation takes place between the time of offer acceptance and the start date. This orientation for contract professionals provided to our clients consists, at a minimum, of the following topics:
- Appropriate professional behavior while on assignment at a client site: e.g. issues regarding attendance, punctuality, professional demeanor, avoidance of local politics, etc.
- Client specific topics as outlined above.
- Administrative details, e.g. record keeping, payroll reporting, parking, work hours, reporting location, start date and time, etc.
- Specific issues or concerns related to individual project assignments as set out by the hiring authority.
- Other specific client related issues such as particulars in the work environment, dress code, rules and regulations, travel and expense reimbursement.
Our clients frequently ask if payrolled consultants are treated in the same manner as consultants recruited and provided by SMCI. Yes – payrolled employees are in all respects treated the same as other SMCI employees and within this context are provided with the same client orientation at the beginning of an assignment.
At the Beginning of an Assignment
During the first week of an assignment, the SMCI account executive responsible for a particular resource, confers with both the SMCI contract resource and the client manager to ensure that the placement has gotten off to a successful start and to identify and resolve any issues that might later interfere with the successful completion of the assignment.
During the Term of an Assignment
- The SMCI account executive(s) meet or speak with all consultants and managers (if allowed by the client’s vendor policies) at least once every two weeks. We seek ongoing feedback so that any problems that arise are addressed early to ensure the continuity of the placement;
- As deemed necessary, we address any issues regarding: attitude, punctuality, personnel and technical issues;
- During the assignment our account executives and recruiters maintain regular contact with all SMCI resources on client assignment. We regularly visit our consultants, listen to them, stop by with small ad hoc gifts, provide them with gifts and “awards” on their birthdays and various employment anniversaries, take them out to lunch, and participate with them at after hours gatherings. Open communication and sincere appreciation encourages our employees to satisfy their commitment, accept assignment extensions as offered by the clients, and seek our assistance for their next assignment.
And again, we believe that it is of significance that we do not distinguish between SMCI recruited resources, client payrolled resources or resources provided to us on a sub-contract basis by third party SMCI business partners in the maintenance of these relationships.
Problem Resolution and Escalation Procedures
One of the main benefits to an ongoing monitoring approach is the opportunity to identify and resolve potential issues before they actually manifest themselves.
Of course, when the client articulates specific concerns they must be immediately addressed with an appropriate resolution that meets with the client’s expectations. This resolution and follow through are primarily the responsibility of the account executive for the client. However, there may be issues which are outside the scope of these responsibilities, instances in which the client is not satisfied with the resolution carried out by the account executive.
To address these instances SMCI maintains a formal escalation process to ensure that the client is aware of the appropriate avenues available it for problem resolution. The following is a statement of this escalation process:
- SMCI’s escalation process is single tier, with immediate access to the President and CEO of SMCI, two tiered, or three tiered, depending on the nature of the issue.
- For issues involving a breach of SMCI’s Code of Ethics, business practices of questionable ethics or legality, or operation of a regional office with respect to professionalism, escalation is directly to Spencer L. Karpf, President and CEO. Mr. Karpf can be reached at SMCI’s corporate office in Glendale, CA.
His contact information is:
Tel: 818.240.3177, x213 (24-hour paging)
For issues involving SMCI consultants’ performance or behavior, escalation is three tiered.
- First line of response should come from the Sr. Account Executive assigned to the account.
When the account executive is not available because of scheduled holidays, vacations or unscheduled illness, another senior member of the regional office team will be informed regarding management of the account and will function in the primary account executives absence.
- Second-tier response, in the event that the client’s management personnel are not satisfied with the response of the account executive to the issue raised, is to the Regional Office Manager. The individual with this responsibility is: .
- Third-tier response, in the event that the client’s management personnel continue to be dissatisfied with the resolution of the issue they have raised, is directly to the President and CEO, as detailed above.
|Southern California:||Robert Maltzman, Vice President, Business Development
Tel: (818) 240 – 3177, x214
|Northern California:||Goretti Heinz, Vice President, Business Development
Tel: (925) 463 – 1111 x201
|Arizona:||Deborah House, Vice President, Business Development
Tel: (602) 230 – 5100, x14
|The Carolinas:||Jeff Whitesides, Vice President, Business Development
Tel: (704) 588 – 8011
For issues involving the behavior of the SMCI Account Executive assigned to the client account, the escalation process is two tiered with the initial contact directed to the Regional Manager and then to the President and CEO as described above.
At the end of the assignment
- Our account executives meet or speak with the resource’s client manager to discuss the consultant’s assignment and get any feedback of the consultant’s level of service.
- We also ask the manager to provide us with formal feedback by of filling out an “SMCI Consultant Evaluation” form at the end of an assignment. This evaluation becomes part of the consultant’s permanent record and contributes to a determination of whether and in what circumstances we will utilize the consultant’s services in the future.