GE sponsors recruitment effort for fire dealers

Monday, September 1, 2008

BRADENTON, Fla.--GE Security’s dealers have been increasingly asking for help finding installers and programmers, people with technical skills who can help sell and install the increasingly sophisticated fire and security systems GE is putting on the market. It had reached the point where the dealers were stealing GE’s internal people and the company was sort of letting it happen, if only to help move more product out into the market.

That’s when they turned to recruiter Noel Glacer and AnswerQuest. As part of a 90-day trial program, sponsored by GE Security, Glacer and a team he has assembled is working with 10 of GE’s fire-products strategic partners to try to find as many technically skilled workers as possible to place with companies looking for talent. Forty-five days in, partner companies had made five hires, and Glacer was confident he’d reach his “home run” goal of more than a dozen.

Chuck Rizzo, president and CEO of Eastern-Time, Inc., a GE dealer with offices throughout Pennsylvania, said “it’s always been an issue how we recruit talent. We’ve used newspaper ads, some job fair opportunities, some associations we’ve had with [vocational schools], but it’s always been hit and miss. Then, when you deal with new media and dot-com sites, the results are spotty. It all depends on how the wind is blowing.”

“They’re spending thousands of dollars on Monster and other job sites,” said Glacer of the typical independent dealer, “and that’s just sourcing [the potential hires], never mind getting it down to the one or two that are actually close.”

Using his former method, Rizzo said, “easily half of the applications were totally unqualified, and then we’d have people in the next tier that couldn’t pass the basic background checks and drug screens.” With AnswerQuest, “anyone that comes to us from them are skilled at the level that we ask and they’re pre-qualified and pre-screened. They don’t bounce.”

Following the trial period with GE’s fire business, Glacer said he may then work with GE’s security systems dealers, but he expects to be able to offer his services to the industry at large by the fourth quarter of this year. “I’m looking to create a beehive of activity,” he said, “a place where guys and gals can go for information or entry into the industry.” He said he’s finding a lot of great candidates in the pool of people coming out of the military and in the universities, but that, in general, there isn’t an obvious feeder system into security.

“It’s the education of the security industry as a whole that’s lacking right now,” he said. “People think security and have a false pretense of what that is,” assuming it’s guards and guns. “I’m looking for young and aggressive people who are looking for an industry that’s ready to explode.” He said that companies like Cisco, IBM, and EMC entering the field is making his job easier.

“I’m loving that. I’m thriving on that,” he said.