“Ask Patra!” Column … Edition #001

Posted by Patra Frame

Each week, Patra Frame, a frequent presenter at the Cleared Job Fairs will answer a job seekers question. These are questions that are either asked at the Cleared Job Fairs or sent into Patra. If you could like to send in a question to Patra, you may do so here. The questions can range from job searching, interviewing, or career strategy.

This week’s questions:

Q: Are lots of companies advertising positions that they have no intention of filling until the economy picks up?

A: Let’s talk a bit first about how companies fill positions in a poor economy.  Many list their positions first internally and ask employees for referrals as well.

Some use their own website listings and other inexpensive industry or trade group sites.  Some turn to job fairs for mission critical or revenue producing needs.  Larger companies with more vacancies also are more likely to post on a variety of job boards, at least for their most common needs.  Since most of the external methods cost money and some are quite expensive, in a downturn many companies limit their external postings to only their most critical needs.

There are two main exceptions to this:

  • Defense contractors often have a large number of needs where they are one of several companies who may supply the person for the position, which means several companies could be advertising what is actually the same position.

  • Plus many government contractors are awaiting a contract start authorization but have to have it staffed quickly once that comes through and thus must build a contingent work force.

And finally there are the scammers who often want resumes as a way to obtain your personal data for other purposes. Clues to these are that many are ‘blind ads’ – that is there is no company name shown and the contact info is not traceable. Some also call themselves agency recruiters although they often are not willing to give you much information about their ‘company’ or wait for you
to check them out.

Q: I have a security clearance but all the jobs I am finding want some form of polygraph. Can I get that done or obtain one myself somehow?

A: The basic answer is “no you cannot.”  However, if you currently work for an organization that has jobs with higher level clearances, you may want to learn more about those jobs and see if you qualify. Your current company is much more likely to be willing to sponsor you for higher level clearances since they know your work is top quality.

If you do not currently work for a firm which can sponsor you, you can educate yourself on the requirements and make it clear when you are contacting potential hiring managers that you are willing to get the higher level.

About Patra Frame

Patricia Frame is an experienced human resources consultant and executive. She has managed development of HR and administrative functions, organization development, employment, process restructuring for productivity, compensation, training, and the human resources aspects of mergers, acquisitions and divestitures. For more information, please visit

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 26, 2009 10:43 am

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