By Leslie Goff
Finding a permanent staff position on a Notes/Domino team within a corporate IT organization seems something like the hunt for the elusive Blair Witch: The signs are all around, but does it actually exist?
Trek into the forest of IT job search sites, and the elusive permanent IT staff gig takes on similarly mythic proportions. The majority of Notes jobs posted at sites such as www.justnotesjobs.com , www.lotusnotesjobs.com , www.lotusprofessional.com , www.computerjobs.com , www.techies.com and www.dice.com are with Lotus Business Partners, other consulting firms or contract agencies.
Most companies with Notes installations maintain no more than a handful of Notes professionals on staff, opting instead to work with consultants, notes Carol McDuffy, senior systems consultant at CIGNA Corp., Philadelphia, and a board member of the Philadelphia Area Notes Discussion Association (PANDA).
McDuffy is the only on-staff Notes pro at CIGNA, which has a significant Notes-based collaboration application that enables teams from sales, marketing, claims processing, legal and other departments to jointly service customer accounts. She has an on-site Notes contractor who, after three years, has become "part of our extended family."
"Rarely will you find a large Lotus Notes team in corporate IT," McDuffy says. "Maybe if a company is migrating to R/5, but the number of people will drop off after implementation."
The IT job search sites turn up full-time Notes jobs in corporate IT shops in major metro markets, but those positions are seldom posted directly by the employer. Recruiters reign in this area.
"If you're serious about finding a Notes job in an internal IT department, it's beneficial to deal with a headhunter," says Mark Kravetz, managing director, Lotus Notes Specialty Group, Concepts In Staffing Inc., New York.
Kravetz, who typically has 50 to 75 Notes and Domino openings at a time, estimates that internal IT jobs probably make up about 60 percent of the overall Notes job market. "But, they're harder to find because companies that run large Notes installations ... mostly deal with agencies because they don't have time to focus on finding Notes professionals."
Take Darryl Catts, a CLP in Notes R5 administration and development, and president of the Baltimore Lotus Notes User Group (BALNUG). Even though he was initially approached by the IT manager he later went to work for, Catts says he had to go through a recruiter for his job as a systems engineer at the Baltimore-based IT division of insurance firm Zurich U.S. Catts says the manager told him about the job at a BALNUG meeting, but put him in touch with a headhunter to begin the interview process.
"I had a rapport with him, but he doesn't like to directly recruit people away from other companies, so he uses a headhunter," Catts explains. "You see a lot of networking like that take place at user group meetings."
Catts was with a consulting company when he joined Zurich U.S. four years ago, and says he prefers working on a corporate IT team: "You own your projects and you get to see things through to conclusion as the product rolls out."
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