By Mark Emery
Pandemic or no pandemic, LeaderQuest grads continue to get hired in new information technology careers.
In the last few months alone, even as the coronavirus has reared its hideous head and clamped its fangs on the economy and job market, hundreds of people we’ve trained and helped certify are now gainfully employed in entry-level I.T. jobs.
Part of that is the industry itself. Information technology was a thriving field before the pandemic struck, and it has proven to be more resilient than most in the face of COVID’s many obstacles. It makes sense — with companies increasingly operating online, I.T. pros have become the straw that stirs the drink.
But the quality of LeaderQuest grads themselves is a huge factor in our employment rate. We take tremendous pride in the training they receive during classes and the study help we make available ahead of certification exams.
Once they’re certified, it’s time to help get them hired in information technology careers — the most important (and enjoyable) step of the process for us. And fortunately, due to their hard work and positive attitudes, it’s generally not a very difficult one.
But what makes LeaderQuest grads so attractive as candidates for entry-level I.T. jobs? Rather than us trying to explain, we figured we’d ask some of the people who love to hire our graduates.
Below are quotes from recruiters at three of our employer partners. They’re folks who think well enough of LeaderQuest grads to hire them — and hire them often.
‘Our Clients Love the Enthusiasm’ — Apex Systems
LeaderQuest has worked with Apex Systems in Colorado Springs on hiring for a few years now. Kyndall Smith, a delivery lead, estimates that Apex has hired 10-15 LeaderQuest grads for information technology jobs just in the past year.
“I will usually reach out to LeaderQuest when we have job openings that will allow their grads to get into the workforce to start gaining hands-on experience,” she says. “From there I’ll reach out to the grads individually to go over the job details and tell them more about our company so we can start working together.”
Kyndall says that many of Apex’s clients require certifications from candidates. She knows that LeaderQuest helps with this, and even coordinates with us on when exams are being taken so she can schedule interviews around them.
“Collectively, the grads are all very excited to join the workforce,” she says. “I can tell they all have the drive to jump in and hit the ground running, and that they want to do the best that they can in any role they get. Our clients love the enthusiasm and it’s refreshing to work with people who are excited about all of the awesome opportunities we have.”
According to Kyndall, most of the roles are entry-level I.T. jobs, such as desktop and service-desk positions, often with government clients. She says that working with LeaderQuest on filling these roles has been “absolutely amazing.”
“Very quick to respond and easy to communicate with,” she says of our staff. “I love working with people who have the same values; you can tell everyone at LeaderQuest really just wants what’s best for their graduates, and wants to help them better their lives.”
‘They Are Open to New Challenges’ — TEKsystems
Hayden Eskridge, a technical recruiter with TEKsystems in Fort Worth near our Dallas campus, has partnered with LeaderQuest for about a year, although the relationship between the two organizations goes back much further. In that year, he estimates that his company has placed at least 20 LeaderQuest grads in new information technology careers.
“[Employer Engagement Manager] Jesse DuBose always does a great job to ensure I have plenty of LQ students to speak to,” Hayden says. “Most often we start with a simple phone call, but we also attend career fairs and have students come directly into our office for meetings.”
Hayden’s favorite characteristic of LeaderQuest graduates: eagerness!
“LQ always has students hungry to break into the industry,” he says. “They are open to new challenges and are not afraid to start from the bottom.”
The “bottom” he refers to includes tier 1 help desk roles and entry-level networking positions. But from there, “the possibilities are endless.”
In filling these information technology jobs, he calls LeaderQuest his “go-to partner.”
“LeaderQuest has people on their staff that match my intensity level and sense of urgency,” Hayden says. “The LQ staff truly has their student’s best interests in mind, making them the ideal placement partner.”
‘Motivation Is One of the Traits We Value Most’ — Valdez International
Since then, Valdez has hired seven candidates from LeaderQuest, including Jamie West recently.
“Integrity, motivation, and humility,” Corey says, characterizing the typical LeaderQuest grad. “Coming into the environment with the desire to learn and being humble enough to really take it all in is key.”
In another word: attitude. That goes a long way with Valdez.
“Many are there because they decided to change their situation and improve themselves professionally,” Corey says. “Motivation is one of the traits we value most.”
As with any successful business relationship, the one between Valdez and LeaderQuest has been fruitful for both sides. It typifies the way we work together with all of our employer partners.
“I have enjoyed working with LeaderQuest,” Rays says. “I have attended multiple hiring events where LeaderQuest was in attendance. We would team up at those events. Any candidate that Valdez spoke with needing certifications, we would direct them towards the LeaderQuest booth. And any candidates LeaderQuest spoke with that had the certifications and I.T. background, they sent to our booth.”
‘A Passion for Technology’ & ‘Customer Care’ — Concentrix
Brooke Knighton, a senior recruiter, says the two organizations have worked together on placement for information technology jobs for three years so far.
“Members of the talent acquisition team have attended classes just to go and speak about available positions with students,” she says. “We have also attended job fairs that are set up by the career counselors. Even when we are not able to get the LeaderQuest office, Bridget Scrogham and Brian Morgan (the career counselors) will send resumes and/or let me know once their students have applied.”
Like LeaderQuest, Concentrix has made a commitment to working with veterans and their family members. That, too, has solidified the partnership.
“We find that many of the Leader Quest students have recently got into the field or they are coming out of the military and working on a new skill,” Brooke says. “Our technical role, which is entry level, is a great foot in the door to get some experience in the technical field.”
That entry-level I.T. job could lead to big things, Brooke says — and fast. According to her, 78% of management roles are hired from within the company, and upward mobility can begin as soon as 90 days after training.
What are the characteristics that set candidates apart?
“A passion for technology is one of the characteristics that we are looking for,” Brooke says. “Whether it’s an avid gamer, a tinkerer who likes to build computers, or just a person that just has to have the latest tech, that is the kind of person we are looking for. However, on the flip side, customer care is our focus at Concentrix. We are fanatical about our customers, clients, and staff. We want to make sure our staff has that same enthusiasm for taking care of the customers.”
‘LeaderQuest is a Top-Notch School’ — EVO Payment Systems
Janice Carter, a talent acquisition associate, says job fairs play a big part in that. But even when there isn’t one, she always emails Employment Development Manager Michelle Slaughter about open positions.
Janice likes the polished products that our courses produce. Asked what makes them such appealing job candidates, she notes the “education, training and professional graduates that attend LeaderQuest.”
She also likes that some graduates do have prior experience with technical support — a big plus for EVO Payment Systems.
It all ads up to 25+ hires and counting — a testament to a flourishing business relationship.
“The LeaderQuest staff that I have worked with are excellent, top-notch representatives,” Janice says. “I really enjoy working with Michelle, Miranda Murphey, and Bob MacIntyre. The staff keeps me well-informed and their follow-through is excellent. Whenever I am networking, I always mention LeaderQuest as a top notch school.”
We Can Help You Get Hired, Too
If you’re interested in I.T. and love the idea of having help breaking in, LeaderQuest might be for you.
At all five of our campuses, we have a Career Services team with their own employer-partner relationships they’ve developed over time.
Our Career Services staff are explicitly dedicated to helping grads find work. Whether it’s resume editing, interviewing practice, or, yes, the all-important phone call to a hiring manager, they’ll do whatever they can to secure that offer letter.
At LeaderQuest, we talk often about the journey from enrollment to employment. Employment is the goal that drives the I.T. pros of tomorrow forward from Day 1, and LeaderQuest doesn’t want to help out all along the way, with training and certification prep, only to watch our grads stumble at the finish line. That’s why our Career Services team is just as important to the LeaderQuest experience as our instructors are.
To learn more about how we can help you get trained, certified, and ultimately hired in a new information technology career, fill out the form below.