Suggestions on recruiters in Chicago area

I have done some search (indeed, dice, careerbuilder...etc) but only got about 10 positions related to CCVP with base salary >= $90K. I excluded CCNP openings as I am not that interested. Submitted my resume a week ago. Now there's only 1 response for a phone interview scheduled next week.

Kind of disappointed. My current job is OK, just low pay (less than $80K). Can't afford of losing it in this economy so I don't want to post my resume on monster...(Company HR may find it as I am the only Cisco Telephony Engineer). Maybe the effective way is to go through recruiters? I have very little experience on recruiters. Need your help/advice/sharing on recruiters in Chicago area! I am all ears.

Or am I asking too much in Chicago?

Comments

  • FlyingputFlyingput Posts: 114Member
    OK. Looks like all guys are out of town for the spring break? icon_cool.gif I'd like to update this thread on a weekly basis. Hope it's OK. If not, BM pls tell me and I will shut up.

    The past week was a little encouraging. I talked with the hiring manager for almost an hour over phone. Then their HR called me for the face-to-face interview.

    Right after this conversation, another company HR called me directly for a similar position. I submitted my resume more than a week ago though. I missed the call and couldn't reach her on Friday. I will follow up on Monday.
  • FlyingputFlyingput Posts: 114Member
    OK. Let me continue this "spam" thread. :D

    The 2nd company is already on CCM so their questions were more specific and deep. The pleasant phone interview lasted almost an hour. At the end, the hiring manager gave me some positive feedbacks (excellent match with their requirements) and scheduled the on-site right away.

    I am still in touch with several other recruiters. Let's see what they can bring next week.

    The job hunting started on 3/14/2010 with 13 resumes submitted. So far both phone interviews were successful.
  • FlyingputFlyingput Posts: 114Member
    It's me again. What a hot spring we have got here in Chicago!

    I met team members, managers, directors.... and was bombed by quite some technical/team work/project management questions. I did a good job on questions related to my previous/current work or emphasized by Jeremy in his video clips. For something that is out of my self-study or current work, I told them frankly I don't know but I will pick it up quickly. There were 2 or 3 questions I failed sadly so I found the answers and sent them in my follow-up emails. At the end hiring managers looked satisfied and all promised to give me the result in 1 or 2 weeks.

    After I got back home, I tried my best to write down all questions they asked, my answers and other important info. At least it's an excellent reality check on my CCVP knowledge.
  • ciscog33kciscog33k Posts: 82Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Flyingput wrote: »
    It's me again. What a hot spring we have got here in Chicago!

    I met team members, managers, directors.... and was bombed by quite some technical/team work/project management questions. I did a good job on questions related to my previous/current work or emphasized by Jeremy in his video clips. For something that is out of my self-study or current work, I told them frankly I don't know but I will pick it up quickly. There were 2 or 3 questions I failed sadly so I found the answers and sent them in my follow-up emails. At the end hiring managers looked satisfied and all promised to give me the result in 1 or 2 weeks.

    After I got back home, I tried my best to write down all questions they asked, my answers and other important info. At least it's an excellent reality check on my CCVP knowledge.

    I'd be interested to see the types of questions asked. I live in canada so you won't ever have to worry about competing for the same jobs. :)

    It sounds like things went well for you though so hopefully you'll get a positive response.
  • FlyingputFlyingput Posts: 114Member
    Sure thing I will post most questions after everything is done. I'll be very glad to contribute a bit back to the CCVP forum.

    I prepared several typical troubleshooting cases for the interviews, including topology, call flow, action plans and summary. They absolutely liked them! Plus these cases helped me to steer topics back to something I am familiar with.
  • FlyingputFlyingput Posts: 114Member
    No material progress in the past week. No call no email. Doesn't bode well, LOL
  • FlyingputFlyingput Posts: 114Member
    Happy Friday guys!

    No result from either on-site interview so far. They both told me to wait. OK.

    Started to talk with recruitors from last week. Pretty much all that they have can be searched on Job Search | one search. all jobs. Indeed. I managed to schedule another phone screen & an on-site interview earlier next week. Gotta send my shirts and suits to the laundry store again. :D

    After 1.5-month searching, I am positive on my CCVP skills and personalities. It's a big reward to myself that I can clearly answer questions right on top of my head in talks with somebody I haven't never met. More important, during the process of preparing phone/on-site interviews, I refreshed my memory on many aspects in Cisco IP Telephony world, and corrected some misunderstandings or confusions that I didn't pay enough attention to. What a thorough review.

    Also I learned what I need to prepare for the next level. CCIE Voice ab-fvcking-solutely is rare in the market. CCVP+CCNP looks hot and high-pay. Call centers are migraing to VoIP as well so experience+cert will open some eyes for sure.
  • aaaa2209aaaa2209 Posts: 12Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    Thank you for sharing. Keep us updated. I assume you have 3+ years experience in IP telephony.
  • FlyingputFlyingput Posts: 114Member
    You are welcome buddy! I will keep updating this thread until I stop hunting. Then I will post all phone/on-site questions here.

    Got done another face-to-face interview. The hiring manager gave me very positive feedback at the end. Went through another phone interview and I am sure they will invite me to their office. After the first 2 interview opportunities, now I don't even look at my scripts any more. Any time they call me, I blah blah blah to drag them down for about 1 hour. Nervousness? Not a bit! LOL

    During these conversations, I noticed there are more CCVPs than I thought or expected. I was/am/will be compete with CCVP in the market. Most of them failed in phone screens as I learned from hiring managers in a subtle way. Again, ****4sure can NOT do sh!t on interviews. Employers borrow CCVP/CCIE V to do phone screens as "known secrets".
  • FlyingputFlyingput Posts: 114Member
    Looks like it's toward the beginning of the end. In the past week, I got a rejection (2nd interview) and entered salary negotiation steps with the 1st & 3rd interview companies.

    The rejection email was not surprising as I sensed something "cold" during my follow-up call. At the end they found a better match and notified me. On the other hand, I felt pretty positive on the other 2 as they either came back to me quickly on salary expectations, starting date.... or dished out similar appreciation on my skills 2 weeks after the interview. I still remember when dating with girls in the college: it's not difficult to tell whether she likes me or not. The signals are straightforward.

    There was an excellent matching position in a trading company but somehow I didn't even pass their resume reading machine. Maybe I don't have enough buzz words in my resume? Curious how to improve dealing with stupid reading machines.... :D

    I didn't try salary negotiation last time. Now in such a slow economy, and an obviously favorable job market to employers, I have to think about my strategy carefully this weekend. I did a good job back in Dec & Jan to ignite car dealers dog-fighting each other bloodily. Wish me good luck!
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Posts: 5,031Inactive Imported Users ■■■■■■■■□□
    Good luck. When should you find something out?
  • FlyingputFlyingput Posts: 114Member
    Some Nortel guys just don't get it.

    In our current company, we still have Nortel sites so I am OK with that bulky cabinet. During job-hunting it has been very common to be asked on Nortel experience. I told them frankly I am good only at basic operations. Usually just fine.

    This week, I am kind of tired of more interview but recruitors pushed me into 2. Both are Nortel shops and might be looking to migrate to VoIP (that's why I am not interested). I mentioned one of my career goal is to stick with No.1 vendor Cisco IP Telephony because blah blah, as a standard answer. Guess what, the interviewer interrupted me: Cisco is not No1. Avaya is No1 coz Nortel is part of it. Nortel is AAAAAAAAA. Nortel and Cisco are in different markets.....etc. What can I say? LOL. I replied word-by-word: right, Nortel is not Cisco's competitor NOW. He understood it since then the chemistry of conversation changed and we ended it quickly.

    The 2nd one was similar. They focused on Nortel and switched the topic back to it again and again. I played politely but lost my patience 20 min later. Of course they sensed it and made it straightforward: we are currently looking for a Nortel guru. I was not happy on wasting half hour here so I smiled: "There are way more Nortel guys than Cisco guys in the market. Good for your guys." They pauzed a second and we ended the talk shortly.

    Will kick ass on that recruitor! :D I am not professional today, LOL
  • pitviperpitviper CCNP:Collaboration, CCNP:R&S, CCNA:S, CCNA:V, CCNA, CCENT Posts: 1,376Member ■■■■■■■□□□
    You need to screen your interviews better :) I love when you get a recruiter who, after they ask “do you have VoIP experience” thinks you can support anything and everything voice related. My 70 year old uncle “technically” has VoIP experience from talking to his kids via Skype :)
    CCNP:Collaboration, CCNP:R&S, CCNA:S, CCNA:V, CCNA, CCENT
  • laidbackfreaklaidbackfreak Posts: 991Member
    I'm not quite sure i'd use your strategy to break talks but can understand the frustrations. There are a lot of traditional pbx shops out there that are looking for voip guys to come on board, those of us who come from the R&S background adapt to this far quicker than the old school pbx's bods. I've come across this a fair few times over years.

    I'm more than happy to pass over roles that dont suit my skills and they are easily identifiable once you get a job description you can see where the focus of the role is, trad pbx or voip.

    From what I read over the 2009 period for the us cisco's market share was around the 20% mark, Avaya's 15% and Nortel around 10%.

    Interestingly I've also found that most voip roles this side of the pond look for Avaya or Mitel.

    I know when I'm dealing with recruiters I let them know I'm a IT guy not a PBX guy. Usually works out ok but occasionally get a duff 'un.
    if I say something that can be taken one of two ways and one of them offends, I usually mean the other one :-)
  • FlyingputFlyingput Posts: 114Member
    Absolutely true. I need to work smartly with recruiters.

    In fact I asked each recruiter what they are looking for. Both answered firmly that they need CallMananger & Nortel PBX. Since it's pretty common to have hybrid systems considering we are in the transition time from TDM to VoIP, I gave it a try.

    Turned out to be: CallManager clusters are in their labs. WTF!? :D
    pitviper wrote: »
    You need to screen your interviews better :) I love when you get a recruiter who, after they ask “do you have VoIP experience” thinks you can support anything and everything voice related. My 70 year old uncle “technically” has VoIP experience from talking to his kids via Skype :)
  • FlyingputFlyingput Posts: 114Member
    laidbackfreak,

    Thanks for your reminder! I am with you on keeping my temper all the way. Maybe today it's just not for any interview.

    I have seen similar data as you posted. Nortel IS phasing out. I talk with Shared Tech technicians whenever they come to our PBX site. In 2009, more than 75% of their PBX guys were let go. Last month I learned (take it on your own) there are only a handful large (5000 or more ports) PBX systems left in Chicago area, including a few hospitals, Northwestern Univ....

    By the way, I turned down my first offer by asking $6k more. No go, LOL.
  • FlyingputFlyingput Posts: 114Member
    Let me post all questions I met so far. :D



    Q: Introduction of your current work (VoIP experience, project history, size....etc)

    Q: Your understanding of CCM Partitions & CSS (numbers go to partitions or partitions go to numbers, line CSS VS phone CSS, why, any special things need to be careful....etc)

    Q: IP phone (7940/7960) boot up process

    Q: Troubleshooting examples

    Q: Compare MGCP/H.323/SIP. When use which, why.

    Q: Previous VoIP project experience

    Q: LDAP and CCM

    Q: if your coworker needs your help on a problem, will you collaborate with him or do it
    on your own?

    Q: What you expect in a small team or a large team.

    Q: How did you setup CCM labs

    Q: MPLS/WAN/QoS considerations on VoIP design

    Q: Ever played with Asterisk

    Q: SRST details

    Q: Centralized voicemail system, after MGCP --> SRST, how to use VM?

    Q: Active Directory integration with CCM

    Q: Unified messaging system installation (with CCM)

    Q: H.323 GW programming process and main points

    Q: QoS troubeshooting process/actions/experience

    Q: Internal ticketing systems

    Q: No dial tone, action plan to troubleshoot it

    Q: Echo/1-way audio, where to start to troubleshoot it

    Q: 3 strength + 3 weakness.

    Q: Connect Microsoft Office Comm to CCM

    Q: PBX -- SIP box -- CCM. How to set it up on CCM
  • notgoing2failnotgoing2fail Posts: 1,138Member
    This is an excellent thread. What's the latest? Seems like you've been through quite a bit of interviews?
  • TurgonTurgon Posts: 6,313Banned
    Flyingput wrote: »
    I have done some search (indeed, dice, careerbuilder...etc) but only got about 10 positions related to CCVP with base salary >= $90K. I excluded CCNP openings as I am not that interested. Submitted my resume a week ago. Now there's only 1 response for a phone interview scheduled next week.

    Kind of disappointed. My current job is OK, just low pay (less than $80K). Can't afford of losing it in this economy so I don't want to post my resume on monster...(Company HR may find it as I am the only Cisco Telephony Engineer). Maybe the effective way is to go through recruiters? I have very little experience on recruiters. Need your help/advice/sharing on recruiters in Chicago area! I am all ears.

    Or am I asking too much in Chicago?

    PM Mike. He's in the Chicago burbs..

    There are boat loads of opportunities for Voice peeps if you have the goods. I might add that also means if you have *potential*. Just sell yourself and then work very hard when you get a break. The VoIP stuff will be second nature to a CCVP so learn the PBX stuff as well as possible. Migrations need both hats and work with PBX people who can teach you a few things.

    As for recruiters, hawk the CV around and see what happens. If you came to the UK there is lots of work here in Voice.
  • FlyingputFlyingput Posts: 114Member
    Summary page:

    2 and half months. 6 phone screens, 3 on-site interview, 2 offers. But I turned down both offers due to various reasons. Simply put, not to my expectations.

    I end up w/ my current company + a part-time contractor job in a Cisco partner. Facing this reality, I am working on more certi/labs. Based on my job searching feelings, CCIE Voice is no.1 demand; CCVP+CCNP no.2; CCVP+UCCX no.2.5.

    Let me beef up 8GB memory to my Dell server and start to learn: how to run CUCM pub, CUCM sub, Unity, UCCX, and Presence, all at one time on Vmware! :D
  • FlyingputFlyingput Posts: 114Member
    hmm, it's me again. :D I can't remember who said so on this forum: only golden partners know the value of CCVP. Mike? Turgon? Suddenly 4 Cisco partners contacted me for voice positions.

    1. Directly to face-to-face talk w/ a sharp CCIE voice. I showed him my daytime work based on my resume, and my homework around my lab diagram. Obviously he was attracted to the lab part. I explained briefly how I built it on old gateways (1760, 26xxXM, 3640) yet common connections (FXO, FXS, T1 PRI, T1 CAS, SIP, no E1) were all implemented. He nodded "I did the similar thing on my CCIE voice". From that moment, we switched topics to gossips in the area, industry, other firms..... LOL. 2 hours later I got their email offer.
    2. A phone screen w/ the manager, another CCIE voice. I used the same approach to show him my daytime & homework. We laughed together when he said, ah ha, I did my own lab too on CCIE.... About half day later, they extended an offer.
    3 & 4 similar cases, no result yet. A potential team member did ask me several pure tech questions:
    A,B,C 3 CCM clusters. How to connect them together for internal WAN calls;
    QoS setup and troubleshooting;
    Partitions & CSS, especially line CSS VS phone CSS and its useage;
    Set up a senario, build route patterns;
    CAC on CCM & gatekeepers;
    H323 VS MGCP, why;
    CME/CUE, voip dial peers, voice codec class;
    Local route groups (from CCM 7). I haven't used it so he explained it to me nicely;
    Fax pass-through VS fax-relay (added 8/20/2010).
    .... (If I recall more, I will add them here later)

    I will make the decision soon then post their openings. A position from Fusion Storm really pays high ($60/hr, considering I am only CCVP) but there might be some drawbacks.
  • mikej412mikej412 Posts: 10,090Member
    Flyingput wrote: »
    Suddenly 4 Cisco partners contacted me for voice positions.
    Sweet!! icon_cheers.gif It will be fun to see if you go 4 for 4 on the interview/offer ratio icon_cool.gif
    :mike: Cisco Certifications -- Collect the Entire Set!
  • FlyingputFlyingput Posts: 114Member
    hohohoho, 50% as of right now is gooooooooood enough already!

    I am comparing them for a stable environment in the next 3 years so I can be focused on CCIE voice. Looks like they all will provide 2800 serious gateways....
  • mikej412mikej412 Posts: 10,090Member
    Flyingput wrote: »
    I am comparing them for a stable environment in the next 3 years so I can be focused on CCIE voice.
    I was wondering if you were going to move the CCIE Voice to the top of your certification wish list. icon_cool.gif

    It is a win-win if you don't have to agree to stay x years in return for paid lab attempts, training reimbursement, etc.... (but free paid lab attempts would be nice :D). You'll make them money doing Voice. You'll make them even more money as you get even better. And in a perfect world you'll get your CCIE Voice and be so happy at the company you'll choose to spit at a job offer from your most ruthless competitor (that would double your salary) just so that you could finish grinding them into ground and running them out of town.

    Hopefully the sudden interest of several Cisco Business Partners to "staff up" means that the Chicago Tech job market (and economy in general) is showing signs of life.
    :mike: Cisco Certifications -- Collect the Entire Set!
  • aaaa2209aaaa2209 Posts: 12Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I am so glad for you. You are my idol, flyingput!
  • QHaloQHalo Posts: 1,488Member
    Not that I'm even in the same arena as you but awesome thread. I live in Chicago and it's nice to see some of the feedback you're sharing on the recruiters around here. GL out there.
  • howiehandleshowiehandles Posts: 148Member
    This is an excellent thread. I'm getting back into I.T., after being out several years. I'm hoping I ace my interview Tuesday for a NOC position. Not what I want to do, but it gets my foot in the door, and I'll be able to focus on finally working on my certs, with a steady "contract" position.

    My background is more WAN, so I'm probably knocking out my CCNA, but also considering MCITP, as recruiters and employers seem to want you to know everything.

    I'd love to get into Cisco Voice or Security, and its interesting to gauge the interest in Chicago market. While I've been out of I.T. for a few years, with no certs, and my degree not complete, I've had a helluva time just to get an interview. The market, for both management and I.T., has been rough.
  • FlyingputFlyingput Posts: 114Member
    Please forgive my shameless bump again in this thread. :D

    After the 1st month working in a Cisco gold VAR, I am surprised to know how difficult it is to find solid VoIP engineers in Chicago land. Our team still has 2 positions but can't even get one. Several other gold VARs are facing the same situation according to recruiters.

    On the other side, quite some customers can't, either. They are not "mama papa shops". But we always find PBX guys in their telecom/network teams.

    Considering the current slow economy, IP Telephony is absolutely an exception.
  • skinsFan202skinsFan202 Posts: 87Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Flyingput wrote: »
    Please forgive my shameless bump again in this thread. :D

    After the 1st month working in a Cisco gold VAR, I am surprised to know how difficult it is to find solid VoIP engineers in Chicago land. Our team still has 2 positions but can't even get one. Several other gold VARs are facing the same situation according to recruiters.

    On the other side, quite some customers can't, either. They are not "mama papa shops". But we always find PBX guys in their telecom/network teams.

    Considering the current slow economy, IP Telephony is absolutely an exception.
    What type of experience are you looking for in these solid VoIP openings? What type of questions do you ask them upon interview?
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