Wanted: Inexperienced IT Workers

Ralph DeFrangesco
There has been a lot of press lately over the comments that have come out of Interop 2009, Las Vegas. Some data center managers have stated that they are looking to hire candidates that are energetic and passionate, have a broad set of skills and an eagerness to learn, versus candidates with hard technical skills and experience.I totally disagree with this way of thinking. Many hiring managers feel that IT skills can be taught, but softer skills are brought by employees. This has some truth to it. However, we need competent people that can draw on their experience to get the job done. When systems start failing, backups are not done, and monitoring is overlooked, these IT managers will quickly change their way of thinking.I look for candidates with the technical skills first. If I wanted to hire a Unix/Linux administrator then I would look for that skill set on their resume. If I didn't see it, then their resume would make the round file and they would never get a chance to show off their soft skills.I do believe that there is a place for entry-level people -- I was one once myself. A good team is made up of entry level, mid-level and senior people. Mid-level people get to share their experience with entry-level people since they started with the organization and know what has to be done to move to the next level in the organization. Senior-level people get to mentor mid-level and entry-level people and hopefully this will help them to grow both professionally and personally.In closing, I just wanted to say to those managers at Interop that made the comments that I think that in an economy where there are many laid-off IT workers and so few jobs, that these remarks were very insensitive, and about as smart as the comment made by Al Gore when he said that he invented the Internet.


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Jun 1, 2009 11:30 AM Michael Stagar Michael Stagar  says:

1. You have hit the nail on the head!

2. No skill = no employment!

3. If soft skills are first, then hire "Dr. Phil or Oprah"; then teach Dr. Phil & Oprah IT.

4. Human communications and relational interaction begins at birth. You may be able to bend these relational interaction skills, but seldom will you be able to change them as an employer. This will be gain insight through a comprehensive interview process.

5. Hypothetical Analogy: Sinking of the Titanic - Soft skills played musical instruments and lamented as the ship went down : Technical skills got the boats and anything that would float to save children, women, and men as the ship went down.

Semper Fi

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Jun 3, 2009 1:49 AM Rashawd Smith Rashawd Smith  says: in response to Michael Stagar

I guess because I am trying to break into the database field I am bias. However I find that most times the database workforce involves some soft skills to deal with customers.  I mean let's face it, if the customer is not comfortable with you then you won't be working for too long.  I think that the day of the softer DB admin is coming.  Even though skills are needed, I think that they should be balanced with the CSR so that we don't get the person who does nothing else but sit in a room and code all day, but a person who gets out into the customer's arena, and interacts with them.  That is the person who will be more able to give the customer what they need by bridging the gap between administrator and end user.

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Jun 3, 2009 2:00 AM Thomas Thomas  says:

Did you every stop to think that maybe the primary motive is cost and not the technical factors at all? Right now many managers are looking for ways to cut IT costs. Just a thought...

Frankly, there is absolutely no excuse for the IT professional who has worked in the industry for 10 years or more (what most people consider expert or experienced now days) to lack relational abilities. If they do, they should be replaced.

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Jun 3, 2009 2:36 AM Ralph DeFrangesco Ralph DeFrangesco  says: in response to Rashawd Smith

Rashawd,

I agree with you. I am referrring to data center people; server administration, network engineers, operators, etc. A DBA should have softskills as they do bridge that gap between IT and the business.

-Ralph

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Jun 3, 2009 2:37 AM David Levin David Levin  says:

I'm not interested in inexperienced workers, however, I'm looking for the individual who tips the scales towards the customer service side. I will hire a less experienced person if it can see they will work well with my clients.

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Jun 3, 2009 2:47 AM Ralph DeFrangesco Ralph DeFrangesco  says: in response to Thomas

Thomas,

I have twenty-five years in IT. Yes, I know exactly why data center managers are looking for inexperienced people. However, cost can not be the only factor. Quality of work, worker reliability, and the ability to get the job done are major factors in chooseing experienced workers. If costs were the only factor, then why not hire all inexperienced workers? I think that you could agree that that this would not work. So then how many inexperienced works do you hire 10%, 30%, 50%? Of course this will vary with the amount of experienced staff you have, their ability to train inexperienced workers, and your overall staffing needs.

It's not a cut and dry answer. However, I get back to the last statement in my original blog that it's very insensitive to announce the hiring of inexperienced IT workers in a market where so many of us are laid-off right now. Timing is everything.

-Ralph

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Jun 3, 2009 2:49 AM Ralph DeFrangesco Ralph DeFrangesco  says: in response to David Levin

user693761,

A totally differnet animal all together. I was referring to data center people, not customer facing people.

-Ralph

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Jun 3, 2009 3:29 AM Mel Jones Mel Jones  says:

I am not sure if I agree with anyone on this subject. I have worked in and around IT for 24 years. I have spent nearly as much time in Customer Service as in high end IT. It is true that people skills are essential for any organization to get and retain customers, but to many times IT managers are as narrow in their thinking while pouring over resumes looking for key words as are the few key words on the resume. Clarification, I have had to dismiss people who mis-represented themselves on their resume. However, hoping that someone who looks good on paper will gain the trust and respect of clients is just as wrong. I've been fortunate enough to have worked in government most of my career. While the perception is that government workers are slow and lazy is scary and totally wrong. Don't confuse me with the guys who have the sign up saying "Men Working" and everyone seems to on break. I don't get breaks and rarely leave before an hour after quitting time. I don't know about private industry, but in government you are given 60 days to show your stuff. If you do not, you do not get an annual contract. I must justify my existence every year. But, I bet a full paycheck that my resume doesn't look anything like yours and I can do exactly what you do and much, much more. I am not picking a fight here, that last statement was to whoever would be looking over my resume before tossing it into the trash. Thank you, Ralph. I combined two separate issues into one. Please pardon the mistake.

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Jun 3, 2009 4:06 AM Ralph DeFrangesco Ralph DeFrangesco  says: in response to Mel Jones

User1095393,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I respect your opinion and the fact that you work for the government has nothing to do with your abilities. I know a few government workers and they are every bit, if not more competent, than non-government workers.

-Ralph

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Jun 3, 2009 4:11 AM Michael Stagar Michael Stagar  says: in response to Mel Jones

Dear user1095393:Quote: "Let's face it, if you have been dong this work for years, you're going to lie about your experience."

First serious legal issue: Resume fraud to obtain a position is an alleged civil tort and may be allegedly construed to be a criminal act. Pursuant to the discovery of a resume fraud and the filing of a formal civil and or criminal complaint filed with federal and or state authorities, said alleged actor will need legal counsel.

Second serious legal issue: Defamatory allegations in written communications (libel) or by oral communications (slander) is an alleged civil tort if said allegations of 'resume fraud' is found to be untrue as stipulated. The individual, group of individuals, or firm that perpetrates a defamatory allegation that is proven to be untrue will need legal counsel.

Wherefore, one must exercise 'due diligence' in the preparation of said resume and 'due diligence' when allegations have been tendered.

Semper Fi,

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Jun 3, 2009 11:34 AM Rik Rik  says: in response to Michael Stagar

Whew....

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Jun 3, 2009 11:45 AM Rik Rik  says: in response to Michael Stagar

You absolutely must be able to deliver the goods. And, you had better be able to communicate too. I don't know about everyone else here, but every company that has hired me - present one included - did so primarily on skills basis. Interpersonal and cultural fit factors are significant; but skills are the 70 to 90% (closer to 90%). If you have the goods and can deliver, you'll get the pay you need even without asking. If you don't have the goods, you won't even get an interview. People are value investments, especially today. Companies want the best value for their dollars. That means honest, dependable, competent professionals who don't fall down on the job.

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Jun 4, 2009 10:43 AM Beoweolf Beoweolf  says:

Once again, an example of placing additional burdens on an already overworked "Lean and Mean" or "right sized" staff.

I am all for passionate workers, but even more - I want knowledgible workers. Its well an good to accept a slightly less qualified candidate, until you place the burden of bringing this individual up to speed on the existing staff.

As mentioned, this smells more of poorly thought out vision of building a better mouse trap, without regard to the fact that the reason you are hiring is to bring in someone that can relieve overcommited staff in the shortest period of time. As famously quoted more than once; its not the time to have a discussion on how to drain the swamp ... while you are up to your hip-pockets in alligators.

Businesses have down-sized, laid-off, right-sized and outsourced jobs over the last 10 years at an alarming rate. Any company that had "extra staff" has been disabused of that practice long ago. In most companies even taking on an upgrade or migration will usually be handled by consultants. Due in part to running staff at reduced levels to the point that taking on an involved, precision project will suffer time delays or planning problem when you start pulling staff off day to day tasks which must be completed (as mentioned, backups, disaster recovery, preventative maintenance, Documentation can not be postponed, nor delayed).

In addition, management wants to hire less qualified individuals because they have "potential"? Just who will be following along behind them to confirm correct completion of tasks or more important, explaining all the pre and post task detail documentation that a Trained, experienced worker knows is required - not to mention, alerting management, staff when potential problems arise? Its much better to prevent an issue, rather than respond to it.

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Jun 5, 2009 1:53 AM user905727 user905727  says: in response to Michael Stagar

Wow, I believe that for any of that to be true there would have to be verifiable damages other than lieing to an employer! Wasting time is not the same as theft... Lieing on a resume or overstating your experience may be wrong but it is in such a grey area that civil courts would reject any suit based on these allegations. Paper law is not the same as practical law. Its not what you believe its what you can prove...

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Jun 5, 2009 4:14 AM Michael Stagar Michael Stagar  says: in response to user905727

To all readers:

Sorry, but from my professional position, I would highly suggest that these statements from user905727 neither be accepted, nor adhered to. A call to the US Marshals Office, OIG, IRS, DOJ, FBI, or DHS will put to rest the issue of resume fraud.

Semper Fi

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Jun 6, 2009 5:05 AM Michael Stagar Michael Stagar  says: in response to Mandog

Dear Mandog:1.FBI longitudinal correlation stats:Sexual predators, child molesters, domestic terrorists, foreign terrorists, felons, smugglers have a common traceable paper trail:resume fraud (one independent variable among others).2.The terrorists that arranged, plotted, and carried out 9-11 all had committed fraud on their personal resumes and or governmental applications (resume) to obtain work and education in Germany, England, and the US.3.If an individual falsifies a federal, state, county or local government application for employment (resume) and receives said position for that employment (salary), when it is determined that said individual has falsified the federal, state, county, or local employment application, then the full benefits received by said employee have been obtained through an alleged fraud.If said full benefits (inclusive of salary) are greater than $500 (some states differ as to the base level {$500 through $1000}, then a 'FELONY' may be brought in a criminal complaint against said employee.4.*Fun part = If the alleged employee, during the federal investigation (for a federal position) lies to federal agents, who interview said employee about the falsification of the employment application (resume), then additional felony criminal charges may be brought against the alleged employee (Example of a person who lies to federal agents = Martha Stewart).Therefore, pursuant to the United States Sentencing Guidelines (depending upon previous criminal record of the alleged actor) may be sentenced from 1 to 5 years in a federal penitentiary.If said employee had received certain clearances, additional charges may be brought against said employee.Therefore, "the time, money, and heartache in proving it" will be spent to keep our communities, nation, allies, families, and children safe and secure "against all enemies, foreign and domestic."Semper Fi,To All Readers:Listed below is a 'short summary' of civil cases involving 'resume fraud'.(Note:Omissions, such as the omission of a criminal record constitutes fraud.)74.125.47.132/search?q=cache:km_nrT1Ol88J:www.aele.org/law/Digests/empl226.htmlfbi%22resume+fraud%22&cd=6&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=usResume fraud or job application omissions and falsehoods:Fifth Circuit upholds the rejection of a minority police officer applicant who had concealed his termination and falsely claimed still to be working as an officer at the time of application.Smart v.Geren, #08-50448, 2008 U.S.App.Lexis 24995 (Unpub.6th Cir.).Rejected Haitian applicant for state trooper position failed to establish that he was qualified, after a supplemental investigation revealed six discrepancies in his application:(1) false statements to the Social Security Administration;(2) omission of having filed for divorce;(3) omission of school transcripts;(4) omission of a physical altercation with his wife;(5) automobile insurance fraud;and (6) fraud in applying for a Florida driver's license.Gaston v.State of New Jersey, #08-1831, 2008 US App (3rd) 1572, 2008 U.S.App.Lexis 23576 (3rd Cir).Arbitrator orders the reinstatement of a Bureau of Prisons employee in spite of her failure to disclose an investigation of her at another location.She had an excellent work record and was cleared of charges.Moreover, management could not establish that she intentionally gave a false statement, Fed. Reply

Jun 6, 2009 5:06 AM Michael Stagar Michael Stagar  says: in response to Mandog
Bur.of Prisons and AFGE L-0922, FMCS Case #07-02327, 125 LA (BNA) 573 (Nicholas).Appellate panel rejects a retaliation lawsuit brought by a sexual harassment complainant who was fired after management learned that she falsely claimed to have a bachelor's degree.Kosan v.Utah Dept.of Corrections, #07-4261, 2008 U.S.App.Lexis 18381 (10th Cir.).Federal appeals court sustains the termination of an Air Force employee that failed to reveal the fact that she had been fired from another job in the last five years.Even if the appellant assumed that the question related solely to federal employment, the form clearly indicated discharges from "any job." Wolfbauer v.O.P.M., #2008-3173, 2008 U.S.App.Lexis 14706 (Unpub.Fed.Cir.).Arbitrator upholds discharge of an insubordinate worker, where management offered after-acquired evidence that the grievant had falsified his employment application to hide criminal conduct.Bi-State Development Agency and Amal.Transit Union L-788, FMCS Case No.0830/59822-A, 125 LA (BNA) 54 (Daly, 2008).Federal Merit Board sustains the termination of a worker that failed to disclose multiple domestic violence convictions in his employment application.Christopher v.Dept.of the Army, Docket #AT-0752-07-0092-I-1, 2008 MSPB 2.Federal Merit Board overturns an arbitrator that upheld the termination of a FLETC instructor for falsifying her educational qualifications.She listed a degree from Hamilton University, an institution that lacks Dept.of Education approval and grants credit for "life experiences." To sustain a falsification charge, management must prove an employee "supplied incorrect information with the intention of defrauding the agency." She did earn a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Hamilton, but the arbitrator focused on the value of the degree.FitzGerald v.Dept.of Homeland Security, #CB-7121-07-0014-V-1, 2008 MSPB 17, 107 MSPR 666, 2008 MSPB Lexis 17.Federal Merit Board votes 2-to-1 to reverse the termination of a federal air marshal that falsified his application by omitting a prescription drug he had taken.Asking an appellant to disclose the medications he is taking prior to extending a job offer violates 42 U.S.Code 12111(d) and 29 C.F.R.1630.13(a).The majority relied on Downs v.Mass.Bay Transp.Auth., 8 AD Cases (BNA) 447, 13 F.Supp.2d 130 (D.Mass.1998).The dissenting member wrote that the Supreme Court's decisions in LaChance v.Erickson, #96-1395, 522 U.S.262 (1998) and Bryson v.United States, #35, 396 U.S.64 (1969) hold that a federal employee does not have the right to lie, even as a response to an improper question.Evans v.Dept.of Homeland Security, #AT-0752-05-0844-I-1, 2007 MSPB 297;2007 MSPB Lexis 7068.Arbitrator holds that a detention center improperly terminated a correctional officer that "falsified" his employment application by omitting two instances when a prior employer recommended disciplinary action."From the time the grievant falsified his pre-employment application, a period of 44 months elapsed until he was terminated and the misrepresentations of the grievant on his pre-employment application were not material to the employer at the time of his termination." Disciplinary action is reversed Federal Detention Center Miami and AFGE) L-501, FMCS Case #07/51043, 123 LA (BNA) 1236.(J.Wolfson, 2007).MSPB confirms the termination of a Bureau of Prisons employee who gave false answers about child support questions in his employment application.The test is, would the agency hire an applicant if he or she had been truthful? Reply
Jun 6, 2009 5:07 AM Michael Stagar Michael Stagar  says: in response to Mandog
Cameron v.Dept.of Justice, #DE-0752-04-0155-I-1, 2004 MSPB Lexis 3178 (Rptd.2005).An employee cannot use the FMLA (or other civil rights laws) to claim retaliatory termination when he was properly fired for falsifying his job-application, and there was no evidence that the employer's rule punishing untruthful applications is applied more harshly to employees who make legal claims against the company than against other employees who falsify their applicant forms.Aubuchon v.Knauf, #03-1382, 359 F.3d 950, 2004 U.S.App.Lexis 4347, 9 WH Cases2d (BNA) 711 (7th Cir.2004).GAO targets phony degrees held by federal workers.A Senate Committee asked the GAO to investigate the use of diploma mill degrees to obtain positions and promotions and whether those degrees were paid for with federal funds.Arbitrator sustains the firing of a worker who consciously omitted listing prior surgeries and disability claims in her pre-employment application.Birmingham Steel and U.S.W.A.L-9777, FMCS Case #00/08457, 116 LA (BNA) 61 (Doering, 2001).Arbitrator sustains the termination of a county employee who, in her job application, omitted the fact that she had resigned from a criminal justice job, while under suspension.Multnomah County and M.C.Employees L-88, AFSCME C-75, 115 LA (BNA) 1499 (Calhoun, 2001).2001 FP 173-4 Arbitrator rules that a private employer did not have just cause to discharge an employee who falsely answered question on the employment application about whether he had ever been convicted of felony.He worked for over a year without incident and appears to be rehabilitated.Trailmobile and PACE, 112 LA (BNA) 1108 (G.Cohen, 1999).Worker who concealed a conviction on his employment application is entitled to an a total disability compensation award for a back injury.The concealment was unrelated to the claim.Falls Church Constr.v.Laider, #962627, 8 (24) Wrk.Cmp.(BNA) 607 (Va.1997).Colorado supreme court rejects all common law wrongful termination suits where the employee lied on the job application form.Crawford Rehabilitation v.Weisman, 938 P.2d 540, 1997 Colo.Lexis 491.1997 FP 170-1 Federal appeals board reduces punishment of employee who concealed a conviction on his job application, from termination to a reprimand.Perez v.U.S.Postal Service, 1997 MSPB Lexis 833, 75 MSPR 503.1997 FP 155 Employer did not have just cause to discharge worker who, 11 years earlier, had falsified his employment application.His work had been satisfactory, and he admitted the falsification when confronted.Plymouth Tube and UAW L-1448, 108 LA (BNA) 1016 (Heekin, 1997).Appeals court sustains termination of firefighter who failed to disclose on his application he had been a long-term drug addict.Brennan v.Kaluczky, 641 N.Y.S.2d 176 (A.D.1996).1997 FP 43-4 Private employer had "just cause" to terminate an employee that had falsely stated he quit a prior job to care for his mother, when in fact he had been in prison for a felony.Amer.Comm.Vehicles and UPIU L-7785, 107 LA (BNA) 1 (Bittel, 1996).Federal court affirms an arbitration award reinstating an employee who gave a false name to conceal the fact he was an illegal alien at that time.Termination was without just cause in light of his nine years of faithful service and naturalization as a citizen.Great Atlantic and L-338 RW&DS Union, 1996 U.S.Dist.Lexis 5255 (S.D.N.Y.).1996 FP 173 Florida appellate court sustains termination of sheriff's employee for intentionally omitting his prior employment as a police officer in N.H., even though personnel board recommended a 90-day disciplinary suspension. Reply
Jun 6, 2009 5:08 AM Michael Stagar Michael Stagar  says: in response to Mandog
Philbrick v.Co.of Volusia, 668 So.2d 341 (Fla.App.1996).{N/R) Fed.app.ct.affirms back pay and reinstatement awards of woman f/f that was terminated for concealing her prior foot surgery on her employment application.Jury found the omission was not a serious medical problem and that fire dept.discriminated against her because of her fall from a fire truck and a back injury.Thomlinson v.Omaha, 63 F.3d 786 (8th Cir.1995).Employer had just cause to terminate an employee who, in his employment application, concealed a conviction, lied about his education and failed to disclose a term in prison.Trane Co.and Electronic Workers, 104 LA (BNA) 1121 (Johnson, 1995).Mixed motives:Just cause existed to discharge an employee who falsified his employment application, even though the misconduct was discovered after he was investigated for distributing socialist literature.Cone Mills v.AC&TWU, 103 LA (BNA) 745 (Byars 1994).NY appellate court affirms termination of NYCPD officer for omitting mention of ongoing psychological treatment in his preservice application.Gray v.Dept.of Personnel, 592 N.Y.S.2d 376 (A.D.1993).1994 FP 28 Federal appeals court allows an otherwise wrongfully terminated employee to collect double back wages up until the time an employer discovers misrepresentation in the employment application.Kristufek v.Hussman Foodservice Co., 985 F.2d 364 (7th Cir.1993).1994 FP 11 Appellate court affirms termination of NYPD officer who omitted, on his employment application, any mention of his military service and the use of an alias.Angelopoulos v.N.Y.Civil Serv.Cmsn., 574 N.Y.S.2d 44 (A.D.1991).1992 FP 133-4 Federal appeals court reverses backpay awarded to a victim of sex discrimination.Later discovered evidence of a falsified application voided her otherwise valid claim of wrongful termination.Milligan-Jensen v.Michigan Tech.Univ., 975 F.2d 302 (6th Cir.1992);Cert.Dismissed, 114 S.Ct.22 (1993).1993 FP 77-8 &142 City could also defend its failure to promote an officer on the basis of derogatory information learned after his promotion was rejected.Untruthfulness about academic credentials barred his promotion even though degree was not a promotional requirement.Gilty v.Vil.of Oak Park, 919 F.2d 1247 (7th Cir.1990).Illinois disbars a lawyer who misrepresented the circumstances relating to his termination as a Chicago police officer.In re Thomas W.Jordan, 478 N.E.2d 316, 1985 Ill.Lexis 21.Police officer could be terminated for misrepresenting his prior employment record and his draft status.Purdy v.Cole, 317 So.2d 820, 1975 Fla.App.Lexis 13837.A conscious omission of medical information from one's employment application is "untruthfulness" and warrants termination of a police officer.Puckett v.City of San Francisco, 25 Cal.Rptr.276 (App.1962).

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Jun 6, 2009 9:04 AM Mandog Mandog  says: in response to Michael Stagar

Having just sent a kid through Law school, and having had over 40 years experience, I find that it is not only "what you can prove" but also does someone want to spend the time, money, and heartache in proving it.  Pyhrrical victories are typically what you will get and, although, you might think you have won, you have only done more damage to yourself than you realize.

Based on my experience in the IT field for over 40 years, it really depends on what kind of business you are running.  In government, ok, technical wins out.  However, if a company is trying to compete by putting product out (let's say pricing data in stock market every single day has to be on web at a certain time or you lose money) then also technical.  However, if your business sales requires interaction with your technical staff, then please have a more soft skill experienced person with a "Chief" or "Lead" technical person in partnership to interact with your customer.  So, to summarize, my short examples bring home the point, that everything "depends" on what it is you are trying to do.

Semper Fi, Do or Die, Gung Ho!  Did you know that "Gung Ho" is Chinese for "Working together".  A phrase Marines have used since the Boxer Rebellion, i.e. Teamwork wins the day.

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Jun 21, 2011 12:34 PM Jeremy Baldwin Jeremy Baldwin  says:

I see where you are coming from.   But, on the same coin, how is an entry-level person suppose to gain experience if no one is willing to give them that first job?

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