Ingram Micro Helps VARs with Hiring

By D.H. Kass

June 13, 2008

Amid a deteriorating labor market and a skyrocketing unemployment rate, distributor Ingram Micro Inc. is launching its first ever job fair later this month in New York City to help VARs find qualified candidates to fill technical and sales support positions.

The event, which will be held on June 25th at the Chelsea Piers complex, is tied to the distributor’s annual Night of Solutions for its vendors and VARs. Job candidates pre-screened by Ingram will meet with VARs seeking to fill technical positions in four areas--Cisco Systems network engineer, Microsoft certified system engineer, managed services sales representative and remote desktop support.

Ingram’s IT Staffing Solutions, part of the distributor’s IT Services division, is hosting the job fair. The staffing unit has been in place for about a year, according to Michael Giambanco, Ingram Micro IT Staffing manager. It provides recruiting services to VARs such as resume searching, technical screening, background checks, scheduling interviews and quality control, he said.

“This is a unique event,” said Giambanco. "It’s one of a kind, the first career fair that we, or any distributor, has ever hosted,” he said. “We want VARs to realize that there are good job candidates available, and if we can help one of our customers to find someone and their business goes up because of it, that’s what it’s about to us."

Giambanco said that the current economic climate hasn't lessened the event's appeal. “We’re not seeing a decline in interest. Right now we are fully booked with candidates and VARs,” he said.

Ingram expects 24 VARs to attend the job fair and to interview six applicants for each of four technical positions, resulting in a cumulative 144 interviews conducted during the two-hour event, Giambanco said. The interviews are pre-arranged with candidates prepped by Ingram. “Under ordinary circumstances, it might take us months to arrange 144 interviews,” Giambanco noted..

Should a VAR fill an open position with an Ingram-generated person, the distributor takes a fee equal to 15 percent of the accepted candidate’s annual salary. VARs and job applicants are not charged to attend the event.

One VAR planning to attend the job fair said Ingram’s staffing services enables him to outsource searches for skilled personnel. “It’s a handy resource that saves VARs like us time in performing interviews, reviewing resumes and helps us to grow our staff with qualified, pre-screened candidates,” said Deepak Thadani, president of SysIntegrators LLC, a Woodside, N.Y.-based VAR selling Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and Cisco products and services. “I know how hard it is to hire good people. To minimize the amount of time I have to spend on it, I prefer to outsource it to Ingram."

The New York event is the first of three that the distributor plans to conduct this year. Similar job fairs are slated for Chicago and Houston in the next few months, also tied to a Night of Solutions in those venues.

Along similar lines, Ingram is taking additional steps to address the challenging competitive environment for VARs. Through its 130-person technical support department, the distributor has sent information to the channel on how to benefit from the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, specifically for special bonus depreciation incentives for technology equipment bought this year.

“It’s a tough environment, and we’re trying to educate and empower our VARs to be more competitive from a business and technical perspective,” said Bill Brooks, Ingram senior director of technical support. To help boost sales, VARs have been sent information on how the bonus depreciation incentives work and the associated benefits for customers and VARs. Brooks said that Ingram does not charge VARs for the service.