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Gabriel Rimmer 16-Mar-2022 14:49:36 4 min read

SAP recruitment: Are your consultants barking up the wrong tree?

3 years ago, almost to the day we got our first dog - a 3 month old puppy.

As we watched him grow in both physical size and personality it would have been easy to think, “this dog is great, it doesn’t need training”.

He walked on the lead, sat down on command (sometimes!) and even went to sleep at night.

At first glance any onlookers would think, “what a well trained, well behaved dog”, but anyone who hung around for a little longer would have started to see his true character - his real personality.

But what’s this got to do with SAP Recruitment you’re probably thinking… well quite a lot.

The challenge of recruiting SAP Consultants

Imagine the situation…

A new project has been approved. As is often the case timelines are tight and you don’t have all the required skills in-house.

You need to bring in some SAP consultants to deliver a new project or even become part of an existing team.

After your HR department have located some good matches you begin interviewing, likely having a strong technical SAP person along with you to ensure the candidate is a good skills match.

Fortunately everything goes well and you find a talented new recruit with the right skills who’s worked on similar projects before.

Day 1 and your new recruit, Daniel, is onboarded and all the usual introductions take place. You’re thinking, “well dressed, well spoken, good communication… we’re onto a winner here”.

(A bit like those onlookers before thinking my new puppy was perfectly behaved).

As the first couple of weeks pass by, all seems well, but there is the odd comment about Daniel’s sloppy timekeeping. Nothing to worry about though - he’s still settling in.


The problem with SAP recruitment: When consultants go bad

By week 4 things haven’t got better.

You’re receiving comments about Daniel being a too outspoken in meetings, making inappropriate interjections, and generally being a bit of a pain.

You decide to ask the Project Manager to ‘have a word’, thinking this will do the trick.

But Daniel is not a puppy who is eager to learn new behaviours - he’s in his mid 40’s and deeply set in his ways.

6 weeks into the project and Daniel is causing some major issues, both with the project team and also with the client.

At this point you decide to intervene and have a chat with Daniel yourself.

Daniel is all smiles when you meet - he takes onboard the feedback you provide about punctuality and to be more aware of his actions during meetings. In fact, just like when you shout at a young puppy, 9 times out of 10 the instant fear prompts an improvement in behavior - however short lived.

Fast forward another 2 weeks and you receive a phone call from an irate project sponsor - you guessed it - Daniel went one step too far.

The project sponsor tells you Daniel turned up late for the project scope review with the business and then went on to tell them how they could no longer change scope or have the functionality they wanted - all with a very condescending and arrogant manner.

The final words from the project sponsor are, “get this guy immediately removed from the team, before we totally screw up this project and alienate some key stakeholders”.

It’s the age old tale of SAP consultant gone bad.

How to effectively recruit SAP Contractors

So how come these problems occur time and again when it comes to recruiting SAP consultants and contractors?

Well, your HR team are likely experts in finding the person with the right technical SAP skills, but even after an interview with the PM or team lead it’s almost impossible to assess the overall character of your prospective new SAP Consultant.

But it’s things like personality and soft skills that often have the biggest impact on a project, especially when it comes to working with major stakeholders and the wider business.

So what do you do?

When it comes SAP staff augmentation or finding an SAP consultant with the right fit for your project you can’t rely on the traditional methods of recruitment, whether that’s your own HR team or a dedicated recruiter.

Either of these options will be able to provide you with the right technical skills, and they can even provide you with nice, happy, friendly SAP contractors - but there’s no way they can be sure their candidate will fit in with the culture of your project.

So how do you do it?

The only way to make sure you’re choosing the right person that’s the right fit for your project is to recruit someone you know, or to work with a business-side consultancy that understands your culture and will place a trusted member of their network in the position.

By investing the time early on in the recruitment process to ensure you choose a contractor that is the right fit for your business, you can avoid the alarm bells and major issues further down the road - and you won't be stuck trying to teach an old dog new tricks.