5 Tips for Hiring an SAP Pro

SAP offers robust business solutions software that requires an equally robust installation process, whether your company is undertaking an initial installation or a customization.

You’ll need professional help to get SAP up and running, to customize it and to maintain it. Unfortunately, a helpful SAP genie is not part of the software package.

The global use of SAP by more than 251,000 businesses translates to a high demand for knowledgeable personnel, so how do you locate, lure and land the perfect candidate? Follow these five tips for success:

1. Know Your Needs

Take the time to assess your situation and identify your goals. Do you need a consultant, a project manager or a full-time IT employee with SAP experience?

A midsize accounting firm, for example, might require a consultant to help choose and configure an SAP financial package. A large manufacturer, on the other hand, could require several full-time SAP engineers to continually update and manage the client/server architecture.

Once you know what you’re looking for, make sure the candidate’s qualifications meet your needs before you start interviewing.

2. Consider Competence, Communication and Collaboration

Look for knowledgeable IT professionals who communicate effectively and work well with others. If an applicant speaks fluent geek, but is not able to hold a conversation outside of the IT department, he is likely not the best fit for the job. This is especially true for SAP experts, who must stay on top of frequent product updates and changes, maintain clear communication about project expectations and work with users.

SAP engineers are also expected to have Java and ABAP programming chops, in order to customize the product to meet your business demands. If you need help vetting for complex technical skills, consider using a specialized staffing firm like Robert Half Technology.

3. Reel ‘Em In

Smart, experienced IT professionals expect top-dollar salaries, so it helps to dangle something other than the ordinary carrot when recruiting. A recent Robert Half Technology study found that 68 percent of IT workers feel that “the ability to acquire new skills is very important when evaluating a job opportunity.” Employers who provide continuing education options have a competitive edge when making offers to SAP professionals, many of whom will want to maintain or acquire certifications.

Add an appealing work environment — a la Google — and you’re looking pretty good to job seekers.

4. Snatch ‘Em Up

Slow hiring processes can undermine your ability to snag the perfect catch. When interviewing for a particularly in-demand position, streamline your hiring procedures. Don’t skip steps, but look for ways to be more efficient.

Sweeten the deal for full-time employees with incentives such as signing bonuses, relocation packages and company-provided hardware such as laptops and mobile devices. Consider also the appeal of telecommuting. Although initial SAP installations may necessitate an on-site presence, technical maintenance can often be performed from afar. Flexible scheduling is an attractive prospect to many potential employees.

5. Prepare for the Future

SAP is not standing still. As business needs change and the trend toward mobility broadens, SAP has begun to offer cloud and mobile solutions to meet client demand. IT support for these resources will be necessary for businesses that wish to innovate or even just stay relevant. Plan ahead by hiring well-rounded IT professionals who understand the mobile environment and SAP’s approach to it.

Find a good fit for your company by following the above recommendations, and you’ll be up and running SAP in no time.

Do you have any tips about how to hire the best SAP professionals? Share them in our comments section.