Sonoma Partners Microsoft CRM and Salesforce Blog

My faith is restored in higher education

Wednesday I posted about our experience with on campus recruiting at the University of Illinois. I'm glad to report that our experience with the students was much better yesterday. While one person did blow off an interview and another guy showed up late, most of the people we spoke with on Thursdsay seemed very well prepared.

We're very excited about a few of them, and we'll be inviting them to our office for an onsite interview in a few weeks.

On campus recruiting at University of Illinois

With the runaway worldwide success of Microsoft CRM, we can't hire enough great people to keep up with our customer demand. And if you're not a great employee, then you probably won't be a great fit at Sonoma Partners. Of course we could hire 20 contractors tomorrow, but we've never really had any luck finding great contractors. Therefore our hiring strategy has been to hire direct, and try to find as many talented people as possible.

To that end, we're at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign today and tomorrow recruiting for software developers. We posted a job description with the career services department a while back and then pre-selected a handful of students for interviews.

We're looking for people with computer science or computer engineering majors who performed well in the classroom (GPA 3.0 or higher). Since the University of Illinois is one of the top ranked computer engineering programs in the United States, this is as good a place as any to recruit.

The engineering career services has a nice setup here, including wireless Internet access. As you can see from the picture, we're here with other companies such as Caterpillar, General Mills and Quaker/Tropicana/Gatorade. Of course we have just one interview room reserved, while Caterpillar has TWELVE different interview rooms. That's a lot of interviews!

After conducting some interviews today, a few thoughts jump to mind:

  1. Two people we interviewed today didn't even invest 5 minutes to read our company website to find out what type of business we're in. They didn't know anything at all about Sonoma Partners, and that was very disappointing. If you're going to interview with a company (any company) you should at least spend some time to read their website. You would think this is common sense, but I guess not.
  2. Computer science majors here have worked mostly with Java and C++, but very few of them have worked with any .NET programming languages like C#. I know that universities like to focus on theory versus practical applications, but I wish that schools would at least touch on the world's most popular programming platform (.NET)!
  3. Related to point #2, the current computer science major requirements flat out ignores the web/Internet side of software development. None of the required courses focus on web/Internet at all. Call me crazy, but I am pretty sure this Internet thing will be around for quite a while...I guess it just takes time for the university courses and curriculum to catch up.

With that said, we still found some promising developer prospects today and I hope we'll find a few more tomorrow.

If you're interested in working at Sonoma Partners, please contact us! You can find a list of our current job openings on our website.

The end of the Internet Explorer crashing problems is finally here

Over the past month, we've been battling the Microsoft CRM crashing problems caused by a recent Internet Explorer update. Well yesterday the Microsoft CRM team blog posted a link with an Internet Explorer fix that solves the problem with crashes in Microsoft CRM! The hotfix describes the error as "When visiting a Web page that uses a custom pop-up object, Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 can close unexpectedly and generate an error in the Mshtml.dll file."

We immediately downloaded and tested the update and it seems to work great. Before installing the update it was very repeatable to crash Internet Explorer in Microsoft CRM, particularly in the Advanced Find section or with the More Actions link. With the update installed, it's been smooth sailing with no more IE crashes.

Now hopefully we won't have to post on this topic anymore!

*Updated 9/21 to correct the broken link. Thanks to David Wasserman for pointing this out!

Express yourself with Microsoft CRM Mobile Express

It's here! It's here! Microsoft posted the Microsoft CRM 3.0 Mobile Express software to the Sandbox website today. They teased us with this great looking software back at the partner conference in July, so it's great to finally get our hands on it. How much does it cost you ask? Well it's free so go ahead and get this up and running in your deployments ASAP.

CRM Mobile Express for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 is a shared-source initiative sponsored by Microsoft that offers a lightweight, mobile browser client for viewing and editing data in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0. Now you can manage important Sales, Service and Marketing information from your Windows Mobile, Smartphone and HTML 4.0 compatible devices! CRM Mobile Express for Microsoft CRM also includes a Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 Administration Console that can be used to customize your mobile data objects - such as adding custom CRM entities to CRM Mobile Express, set data object read and write permissions, and configure mobile forms according to your CRM system's design. This community project comes complete with three documents - an Installation guide, a User guide and a Developer guide, as well as the application source code for both the CRM Mobile Express Client and Administration Console applications. Developers can use Visual Studio.net 2005 to extend and modify both applications as they see fit. So go ahead - Express yourself with CRM Mobile Express for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0!

Now we just need to figure out how we can make time to install and test this. On the plus side, one person already posted on the message board he got the software installed and working in 30 minutes. That's a great sign.