Data Center Frontier has partnered with Pkaza Critical Facilities Recruiting as the source for our new Data Center Jobs Board, which provides access to hundreds of quality job listings for data center professionals. To help our readers learn more about the jobs board, we got together with Peter Kazella, the Founder and President of Pkaza, to get his take on careers in the data center market.
Data Center Frontier: What are the trends in hiring now? What’s hot and why?
Peter Kazella: Rich, everything is hot right now. As you know, many enterprise data center locations are rapidly moving to colo and the cloud. There is also a huge push with AI and video streaming. At the end of the day, data keeps growing exponentially, transaction speeds keep increasing, and there is no end in sight. New data centers continue to be built to keep up with the high demand.
As a result, more data centers need to be designed, built, commissioned and maintained as well as sold. That’s where Pkaza comes in: by finding the subject matter experts that can fill these hiring needs. Pkaza has relationships with many candidates that go back over 11 years, and that is key in helping to fill these important talent voids the industry is experiencing.
Data Center Frontier: What are some root causes behind the challenges within the data center market?
Peter Kazella: It’s a few things. First, a lack of proper training. This industry should create a roadmap for different data center careers. Some positions don’t require a degree, some do. Some require a PE and others require special certifications. Some clients prefer military – Naval Nuclear Power as an example.
Second, this industry is not in the mainstream of public awareness. What I mean by this is that many go to websites or go on social media sites but just think of the IT aspect and don’t realize that the other half of the puzzle is the facility that needs to be up and running 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with a 99.9999% reliability.
I’ve been noting some improvements in the industry. My local 7×24 NYC Chapter holds an annual event for college engineering majors called the Educational Challenge. Schools compete to design and create innovative concepts for data centers for scholarship cash. My AFCOM NYC/NJ Chapter also offers annual scholarships in the field of IT and data center facilities. iMasons promotes the industry to the younger generation as well. If we all get involved in these type of activities it will help the industry as a whole.
Data Center Frontier: What do you see as some of the biggest hurdles of hiring in DC’s given the lack of supply and great demand for these skilled workers?
Peter Kazella: We are seeing more and more data centers are popping up throughout the nation, and not every city will have a skilled labor force to keep up with the demand. There is a trend to building data centers in isolated markets that have an advantage of lower power, cooling and real estate costs.
We are also seeing hiring challenges with our client’s HR departments and hiring managers having to source themselves in order to hire more subject matter experts. It costs money when you can’t pursue new business because you lack manpower, and if it’s the hiring manager who is trying to find talent, then they are not out billing customers either! Some companies regard using recruiters as an added expense, but they need to look at the larger picture. A hiring fee is a small amount compared to the long term cost of keeping the job unfilled or hiring a less qualified candidate because you lack sufficient candidate options. That’s where Pkaza can help. Our goal is to give you additional options and partner with your HR Departments.
Data Center Frontier: What was happening in the job market in 2017 for job seekers?
It’s a little bit of everything. In 2017 there were a number of mergers and acquisitions in the data center industry. As can be expected, most of these newly-formed companies reorganized and downsized. We can be a great resource for candidates in this situation, and have helped many of them land safely with new companies. Of course, as our industry continues to grow in leaps and bounds, it creates more jobs. Like most industries, many workers are looking for better compensation and career advancement. It’s a great feeling to be able to help these folks advance their careers by placing them in new jobs.
Data Center Frontier: What advice would you offer candidates in the job search within the critical facilities industry?
Peter Kazella: Even though the industry is growing at a rapid pace, it’s still continues to be a rather small industry so it’s always important to do the right thing. Always leave on good terms, don’t burn any bridges. Also if you have a job interview scheduled whether phone or face to face, don’t cancel it on the last minute. Be prepared and presentable for your interview. And never take a counter offer! Do your job, keep it professional, and always stay in good standing with the people you have worked with. Lastly, don’t wait until you need a job to start looking. Our most successful candidates are those who connect with us 6 months to a year ahead of a possible career switch, this gives them time to evaluate the general job market and choose their best opportunity.[clickToTweet tweet=”Peter Kazella: It’s still a rather small industry so it’s always important to do the right thing. Always leave on good terms.” quote=”Peter Kazella: It’s still a rather small industry so it’s always important to do the right thing. Always leave on good terms.”]
And if you are looking to keep your search confidential or if you are already working 50 hours a week, who has time to search the internet for a new job? At Pkaza, we have a firm handle on which companies are hiring, what locations in the country are active, and what salary expectations should be for a given position / location as we are pretty savvy with data center salary levels in most major data center markets.
Data Center Frontier: Most companies are using your services to find experienced data center talent. Are there any options for candidates that haven’t worked in a data center?
Peter Kazella: Great question. Pkaza has great success placing our military veterans in excellent careers. One example is the Navy’s Nuclear Power program. Navy Nukes transition great into positions within critical facilities operations, field service, and data center commissioning roles. They have worked in a critical environment, have received extensive 6 year training program through the Navy, are familiar with SOPs and MOPs and either have a mechanical or electrical background. It’s a great match for our clients’ needs and they know they are hiring a reliable employee. We have also had success with candidates whose previous experience has been maintaining healthcare facilities. These sites are also critical in nature, and feature similar power and cooling systems, so the candidate’s skill set translates quite well.
Data Center Frontier: Tell our readers a little more about the new job board and the listings they’ll find there.
Peter Kazella: We are very excited to partner with DCF to offer your readers some of the best job opportunities in the data center industry. Our job board is refreshed almost daily, so your visitors will always be able to look at new postings. Stale job boards have always been an issue with many career websites. We also updated our website Pkaza.com with a fresh new look and some great new content to help both job seekers and employers.
Data Center Frontier: It seems everyone has a story about how they got into the data center industry. How did Pkaza get started?
Peter Kazella: When I graduated from college, I was an IT recruiter, aka “Head Hunter.” I found that I liked technology, helping people, and I always liked being in a sales role. Every day was a new challenge of trying to line up potential candidates with better career opportunities. After about 9 years working for other companies and crafting my skills, I had the opportunity to start my own firm. We launched with two employees working out of my house and focused on outsourced recruiting for EYPMCF.
In the course of 13 months, we were able to place 130 new employees with data center engineering and commissioning experience as engineers, managers and executives. EYPMCF went on to get acquired by Hewlett Packard soon after and I’m proud of our role in building a great team. After that project, we weathered the storm of the recession of 2008 but grinded it out and are thriving in today’s market.
Data Center Frontier: What do you see as the important factors for success in recruiting?
Peter Kazella: Unlike many other recruiting companies, we don’t try to be a jack of all trades and master of none. For starters, we only focus on recruiting for the data center / critical facilities market. A mechanical engineer who designs HVAC systems for a data center is different than one who designs for hotels or residential units. We know the criteria, and how to find this type of engineer. Some of our competitors who recruit for multiple industries often miss these distinctions.[clickToTweet tweet=”Peter Kazella: We don’t try to be a jack of all trades and master of none. We only focus on recruiting for the data center/critical facilities market.” quote=”Peter Kazella: We don’t try to be a jack of all trades and master of none. We only focus on recruiting for the data center critical facilities market.”]
Also, we do not recruit for IT jobs. We have six core areas of expertise: MEP Engineering Design, Construction, Commissioning, Facilities Operations / Maintenance (O/M), Field Service, and Sales. We also have great success with C-level searches.
Like the data center industry, we are very process oriented. It’s all about following up with our candidates and clients in a timely manner, managing their expectations and delivering results ie, candidates placed.
I can’t say enough about my team who do a great job supporting both our candidates and clients. Also, because finding the right job is one of the most important things one can do in life, it’s a very personal experience. Our company regularly attends 20 to 30 data center conferences every year. This allows us to build personal relationships with many of the leading industry players – “press the flesh” as they say. I’m a regular on the conference circuit, including 7×24 local and national, AFCOM local and national, CapRate, DCD Nationally, and Imasons, etc. And lastly, plain old persistence. Here’s my card!!!!
I feel very lucky to be working in this industry. The hundreds of professionals I meet throughout the year are some of the nicest people I have ever worked with. Many times I have the chance to help them either find a job or the right candidate to help take their business to the next level. If Pkaza can ever support your readers in any of these endeavors, please contact us. I hope to see many of you at the next big event which is AFCOM Data Center World Conference in San Antonio next month.