Thursday, December 16, 2010

Blogging and Recruiting

There’s a group in Linkedin that’s aptly called the Social Media Recruiting Group.  The group has acknowledged the value of multiple social networks in recruiting and its use in staying competitive. It also explores creative ways to combine various online sources for candidates.

The use of Social Media and Networks, though as non-traditional as it may be, is now an accepted strategy for sourcing and recruiting candidates.

“Word-of-mouth” is the force that is driving social media.

News travels fast among IT professionals and leveraging social media to announce job openings is a key sourcing strategy. You can also talk about the company (albeit anonymously) and the benefits of working with that company. It would be like having an online recruiting brochure.

Sysgen, as an IT staffing and recruiting company now recognizes social media as a critical component in their sourcing and recruitment plans. With the advent of Web 2.0 and social media, the power of word-of-mouth is much greater than before.

Blogging is a form of social media, and having said this, Sysgen is now applying blogging to recruiting. We are convinced that the use of recruiting blogs may be a good alternative to the old help wanted ad. Advantages of using recruiting blogs include giving the advert a more personal touch; having a feedback mechanism; and encouraging conversation.


Two weeks ago, we sought the assistance of bloggers in trying fill up the thousands of job openings that we are currently working on.  Their role was to blog about our job openings and act as sourcing channels for potential candidates.

As promised, we will be giving a Sysgen Digital Clock to the first five bloggers who blogged about our job openings... and they are:
  1.  Andresito Villato -
  2.  Liaochiling -
  3.  Miss K -
  4.  Prudence -
  5.  Paige -

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Back to the 70's Christmas Party

Last Friday, the whole Sysgen family transported themselves back to the 1970’s and held its annual Christmas party at Cafe La Carmela.

People candidly entered the venue in their 70’s attire as if it was again the disco era. I came as a long hair dude in a double knit suit. Of course I had to explain that this was how a lot of teenagers looked during their proms in the 70’s.

I was tasked to deliver an inspirational message, and after seeing all the staff and consultants celebrating Christmas together, nothing could be more inspring.

Being in the IT Staffing and IT Staff Augmentation business, it was truly inspiring to see all the head office people and all the consultants come in their retro 70’s attire. I was honoured to welcome all our consultants... thanking them for being there and for being part of the Sysgen family.

Planning for a Christmas party is never an easy task. There's
  • the party theme to think about
  • the venue that’s both cosy and accessible
  • the good food that is a must for a successful party
  • the overflowing drinks
  • the band and performers that truly entertain
  • the fun and cool games
  • the game prizes and raffle prizes.
Congratulations to this year’s Christmas Party Committee for doing a great job and to the rest of the Sysgen family for making it a night to remember.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hey Blogger! How would you like to earn an endless stream of revenues?

As CEO of Sysgen (and as a blogger myself), I am pleased to announce that we are currently seeking strategic partnerships with job and career bloggers.

Being a leader in the IT staffing business, Sysgen is currently working on thousands of job orders that need to be fulfilled and is seeking the assistance of all influential bloggers out there.

We would like to call on all job and career bloggers to work together with us to fill out these openings by acting as a sourcing channel for job applicants. All a blogger needs to do is:
  1. blog about our job openings with a link to
  2. ask IT Professionals to send their resumes to ; and
  3. ask all referrals to put a link of your blog’s URL.

As an incentive, we will be giving P 5,000 (USD 110) for every referral hired by our clients as a result of your blog.

In addition, the first 5 bloggers to blog about our job openings gets a free Sysgen Digital Clock. Simply come back to this page and leave a comment on this page with a link to your blog and we will send you the digital clock.

Money tree image by Francesco Marino

Friday, November 26, 2010

Remembering my grandfather for who he was...

Last night, we were invited to watch “100: Insular Life’s Musical Journey in C Major” - a  musical narrative of Insular’s rise from being the first Filipino owned life insurance company founded in 1910 to one of the biggest in the Philippines today.

As a non-commercial production for its employees, retirees, and special guests, we were invited on account of being a descendant of a man who helped insular grow to what it is now... that man was my grandfather...Emeterio Chavez Roa Sr.

I always knew that my grandfather was at one time the GM of Insular. As it turns out, he was the general manager of Insular when World War II broke out and was instrumental in seeing Insular through those tumultuous years.

Watching the musical brought me back to memory lane. I fondly remember my grandfather for who he was. He was a kind and patient man, a man with superior intellect and an outstanding sense of humour. My fondest memories of him was when he quipped  to me that “he doesn’t mind a liar, but a stupid one is something else ” – this was after he caught me delivering an obvious lie.

He had a PhD in Math and was the first Actuary in the Far East - a feat he accomplished in the 1920’s as one of the first American “pensionados” sent to the U.S. to study. As a scholar in the University of Michigan, he established a record of having a perfect grade of 1.0 in all his subjects.  In the 1950’s, he together with 3 other Roas (my father, an uncle, and a granduncle) and 3 other Actuaries founded the Actuarial Society of the Philippines.

My grandfather during his senior years (holding a cane)
with his siblings Tecla and Mickoy
The love of his life was of course my grandmother, Candida Capistrano. She was 6 years his junior and happened to be a high school student when they met – HIS high school student! He was a teacher (and a stalker?) who fell in love with his student and followed her home every day.  Prior to leaving for the U.S. as an American pensionado, he professed his love to her and promised to come home and marry her. .. the rest as they say is history.

Coming from a clannish family, I remember all the Sundays we had at their home at Bohol Avenue, Quezon City. Sunday was always a party at their house wherein my dad’s family would all gather for Sunday lunch. I always looked forward to those Sundays when we’d be among our cousins playing games like “agawang base” and “patintero.”  (Of course, there were the occasional squabbles but that’s another story).

During their latter years, he and my grandmother decided to move back to Cagayan De Oro which I think he really considered as home.  Though he passed away 29 years ago at the age of 85, I still have very fond memories of my grandfather.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010



Get a free Digital Clock this Christmas by simply promoting the Sysgen Referral Program. All you need to do is:

1. Announce the Sysgen Referral Program in your blog.
2. Make sure to use this link 
3. Come back to this page and leave a comment on this page with a link to your announcement.

The first 5 bloggers to announce the referral program will get a free Sysgen Digital Clock. The promo will last from November 24 to November 27. The lucky winners will be announced in this blog.

The Referral Program Mechanics are really simple. A referrer only needs to refer IT professionals with at least 2 years of experience in Java, C++, or .Net. Each referral will entitle a referrer to one raffle ticket and a chance to win and Ipod Shuffle. In addition, Sysgen will also be giving a referral fee of P 5,000 for every referral hired by a client.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Innovation in recruiting...

The IT staffing and recruiting business in the Philippines is currently experiencing tremendous growth. This is primarily due to the continued growth of the offshore business process outsourcing (BPO) industry as well as the establishment of back office operations by global companies.

Peter Drucker, the American Educator and Writer says that “Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship.”

To survive the IT staffing and recruitment business, a firm needs to be as innovative as possible in sourcing and adding names to its candidate database.  Traditional recruiting channels include:

1.     job sites
2.     job boards
3.     college placement offices
4.     job fairs
5.     poaching
6.     adverts

Recruiting innovation has brought about new channels such as:

1.     social networks
2.     SMS
3.     mobile recruiting
4.     search engine marketing
6.     referral programs

As a result of these channels, Sysgen has so far more than 20,000 processed names in our database and another 30,000 digital resumes that need to be processed.

Sysgen is currently running a referral program with the objective of generating new names for our urgent requirements.  These urgent requirements include Java Developers, C++ Developer, and .Net Developers.  In the process of getting new names, other benefits of a referral program include creating awareness for Sysgen and its urgent job openings.

The Referral Program Mechanics are really simple. You only need to refer IT professionals with at least 2 years of experience in Java, C++, or .Net. Each referral will entitle you one to raffle ticket and a chance to win and Ipod Shuffle. In addition, Sysgen will also be giving a referral fee of P 5,000 for every referral hired by a client.

We have thousands of IT positions to fill. As a matter of fact, one client is setting up a research and development centre in the Philippines that will ultimately house 1,500 IT Professionals. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My First Job and Some Realizations

Now I know what it feels to be a working student. In between work, assignments, social and domestic obligations, I just realized how far back I am on an on-line course I am currently taking.

Though I am officially enrolled in a class, let me be the first to admit that my situation is far from that of the working students that I admire.

I've always had a high regard for students who had to work just to go through school and how they managed their time and studies. I am always struck with awe when I see a waiter or a fast food server having to work during the day and study at night. It's no different from call centre agents who work at night and continue to study during the day.

I admire these people so much... we have so much to learn from them.

I used to consider myself fortunate that I did not have to work to get myself through school. Now I think working students are somewhat fortunate in the sense that they realize early in life the value of hard work and the zeal to succeed in life.

Flashback to 1985....

I was 25 when I decided to take a COBOL programming course at STI. Six months after the course, I landed an on-the-job training at Pan Pacific Computer Centre (PPCC). They eventually hired me as COBOL Programmer for the IBM mainframe.

I am what an uncle once said “a late bloomer”. My first job did open my eyes to some realities.  For some unexplained reason, it suddenly dawned on me that I was getting too old to be a kid. It felt good to be earning money, to be waking up early, to be working hard, to be among co-workers, to be somewhat financially independent and to enjoy your hard earned money.

A year into my employment, I was moonlighting as a freelance programmer for two companies. It was through friends and family that I acquired both clients.

Another vital lesson learned in life is that your network plays an important role to your success. Friends, family, and the people you meet will always be a good source of referrals and new businesses. Some of my former officemates at PPCC are now holding senior positions in other companies and have become Sysgen’s client at one time or another. As a matter of fact, PPCC itself became a client when it needed IT staffing service during the Y2K era.

My life as an employee was short lived. After one year as a Programmer, I realized that I wanted to be an entrepreneur and a businessman more than anything else. Among other things, I wanted to be my own boss and I knew the best option I had was to get into business.

Monday, November 8, 2010

My First True Shot As An Entrepreneur

The year was 1974 when my two buddies and I decided to go into the retail business. We were 13 years old and in grade 6 at an exclusive school for boys run by the Jesuits.

Our target market – teenage and pubescent classmates who like us had raging hormones to quite down. We had a captured market that had daily allowances to spend. So, just as Facebook’s origin may have been due to a rush of testosterone, we decided to get into the adult magazine retailing business.

Wikipedia defines a target market as a “group of customers that the business has decided to aim its marketing efforts and ultimately its merchandise. A well-defined target market is the first element to a marketing strategy.”

It furthers adds that “the target market and the marketing mix variables of product, distribution, promotion and price are the two elements a marketing mix strategy that determine the success of a product in the marketplace.”

Without really knowing it then, we had the perfect marketing mix strategy:
  1. we had a target market.
  2. a product that met a basic need.
  3. a distribution channel that did not require middle men nor expensive locations.
  4. marketing promotion  that went viral without the luxury of today’s social network.
  5. a relatively affordable price considering some rich classmates' daily allowance.

In effect, we identified a need within a readily available market.  We had a product that went viral within the day and profit margins most entrepreneurs can only dream of. 

Our costs:
  1. The bus ride to Avenida Rizal where are suppliers were located.
  2. The cost of the magazines.
  3. The limitless excuses we gave our parents as to why we got home a little late.
It was a short lived business venture that lasted for a month. Like all illegal and immoral business ventures, it was bound to end suddenly with calamitous repercussions. Luckily for us, we were busted by a veteran teacher who talked to us and brought us to our senses instead of throwing the book on us.

I have since then stuck to businesses that are moral and legal.

About 5 years ago, my company (Sysgen) was approached to staff a project to develop an adult website for an American firm. It meant revenues in dollars and hourly rates that were above the norm. The project would have earned us a hefty amount but without giving it much thought, we politely said no to the project.

I have found that integrity and honesty are the cornerstones of a good business. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Why I Became An Entrepreneur

Though I was fortunate to go to the best schools in the country, I was never an achiever in terms of academics. In grade school, I was happy-go-lucky and was always finding ways to enjoy my childhood to the fullest. My mom would always find me playing in the streets of our village instead of burying myself in textbooks. I would wonder why my two older brothers would study more than two hours a day, while I’d be up to something else.  But then, I guess it was no wonder why they were both in the honors class of Ateneo and I was always in a regular class. High school and college were no different… those were the “good time” years and I lived them like there was no tomorrow.

They say necessity is the mother of taking chances. My decision to become an entrepreneur was borne out of the fact that I did not have the credentials to climb the corporate ladder… nor the patience to climb it. I reached a conscious decision that if I was going to work hard, then I was going to do it for myself and not for anybody else. It just didn’t make sense to me to work hard and make others (i.e. my employers) enjoy the fruits of my labor.

I also assumed that being an entrepreneur meant having the freedom to choose when to work. That assumption though quickly faded as I started my first business. An entrepreneur is 24x7 profession. Owning your business requires you to be on top of everything especially during the start up years. You need to be ready to wear different hats and perform all the roles needed to get the business going. You need to be ready to have sleepless nights when collections aren’t good and cash flow is slow. It’s only when the business is established and you’ve hired good people when you truly enjoy the fruits of your labor. At Sysgen and Sysgen Outsource, I have been fortunate enough to work with the best managers in the business… managers who are entrepreneurs in their own way.

The morale of the story is that anybody can be an entrepreneur as long as they put their heart and mind into it. Having good grades in school is not a prerequisite to setting up your own business, though being knowledgeable is a definite plus.

By the way, it always helps to have a family that supports you all the way. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Being lucky requires a lot of hard work.

We very often hear business people refer to the “pain point” and that business opportunities revolve around that pain point. In 1997, the Y2K problem (or the Year 2000 problem) was fast approaching its deadline. For those too young to remember, the Y2K problem was a problem in the computer world resulting from the practice of abbreviating a four-digit year to two digits. Thousand of computer programmers were needed to solve the situation by changing the computer codes to accommodate 4 digits instead of 2 digits.

Identifying pain need not be a flash of brilliance. It was obvious that the I.T. industry would need IT staffing support to address the problem. Since the Y2K was a temporary but urgent situation, the need for IT Staff Augmentation became essential for the IT companies addressing the problem… this gave birth to the Sysgen IT Staff Augmentation business.

What started in 1997 continues to be a profitable business for Sysgen. What started with me alone being the business developer, account manager, and the recruiter has grown to 2 people doing business development, 5 people doing account management and 12 people doing recruiting. Sysgen’s a annual revenues from IT Staff Augmentation is in the neighborhood of Php 80M (USD 1.8M). Currently we have almost 200 IT Professionals deployed to different projects.

Thomas Edison once said that “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

Being able to identify opportunities is the true mark of an entrepreneur. Making the best out of the opportunity is what makes you lucky… being lucky requires a lot of hard work.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Not your everyday job fair...

Sysgen recently closed a new client who needed to hire 50 C++ and Java Developers within 2 weeks. The client, a leader in the mobile phone industry, is setting up a research and development centre in the Philippines that will ultimately house 1,500 IT Professionals. (Hurray for the Philippines!)

You ask: “What is so difficult about hiring 50 C++ and Java Developers within 2 weeks?”.  Well imagine moving the Himalayas to Manila. In short, we had an impossible goal ahead of us.

Of course, our first task was to manage the expectations of the client... to realistically say that 50 hires may be impossible... and that 10 may be workable. We then drew up a recruitment plan that included a “ mutant job fair.”

Typically a job fair is held in a multi-purpose hall that could accommodate thousands of people. Thousands of people can only mean long lines and numerous booths to weed through. What’s more, most job fairs are not industry specific and have not proven to be a successful tool for hiring experienced IT Professionals.

Ours was different. Ours was targeted towards a specific group... a pre-qualified group that would come for a one-day processing event from exam to hiring.

With one week to work on, we formed a recruitment team of 5 tasked to source, call, and pre-qualify hundreds of possible candidates. The objective was to have 50 confirmed pre-qualified candidates come to the event.

As expected, only 40% or 19 people showed up. Only 1 person was hired as a direct result of the “mutant job fair” ... a 5% hiring rate.

Was it a success? Or a miserable failure?

If we were to take the hiring rate of 5% alone, then it was a huge success relative to the usual 2%.  My point being, “mutant job fairs” can actually produce a good number of hires with more days to source, call, and pre-qualify. It should only be done though as part of bigger plan. Alternative channels also need to be put in place.

In the end, after implementing the rest of the recruitment plan, we were able to hire 8 people in 2 weeks.

Good job Team Sysgen!