NEWS + ADVICE
Interview with A Recruiter, Amy Cody-Quinn, GeoLogics
Amy, tell us about yourself and your company
I live on and have been recruiting from the Big Island of Hawaii since 1993. Initially my career focused on Object Oriented technologies in Austin, TX. But over time I have expanded my network nationally and extended my knowledge base to fill positions ranging from field engineers to CTO’s, and Sales executives. I joined GeoLogics in January of 2012. GeoLogics specializes in engineering, IT, communications, software, systems development and research and development and provides software, IT and engineering services, mission critical solutions, recruiting services and technical support primarily to the Defense and Aerospace industry, various agencies of the U.S. federal government and commercial clients.
At what point in their transition should a service member start looking for a job with your company?
This is a bit of a tricky question. There is no cut and dried formula for timing due to the wide variety of individuals and skill sets. Someone with a super-hot skill set may not need to dust off their resume until the day after their discharge while someone with a solid skill set in a less demand would need to more pro-active. But that being said, I would suggest that start investigating options and applying for jobs a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks prior to anticipated availability.
What’s the best way for someone transitioning from the military to get a job with your company
There are four steps to improve your odds in landing a job with GeoLogics. These would likely work with any company.
- Number one would be check out GeoLogics ClearedJobs.Net postings regularly and also bookmark our site (www.geologics.com) to search the job postings frequently. Our jobs change almost daily and many of our positions have a small window of time open for application and are not publicized on or populated out to other job boards.
- Once you find a job of potential interest carefully read the entire posting and ensure you have all – or at least the majority of — the required skills and experience. This seems like common sense, but I have to send a lot of rejection letters due to lack of required skills and qualifications.
- Submit resumes that are targeted for the position. The hiring managers spends about 15 seconds scanning a resume to determine his interest. To grab their interest, the top 1/3 of the first page of that resume needs to speak specifically about your skills and experience related to the job. Wherever honestly possible mirror your experience with the requirements.
- After you have passed the initial screen and are provided with an application, follow directions and complete every blank with the information requested. That seems like a common sense step, but a lot of folks either get frustrated with the process or are in a hurry and end up leaving blank spots on the application forms. That results in at best a delay of consideration, and possibly a rejection.
What’s it like for transitioning military to work for your company
This is a tough one. Since the majority of our positions are project centric, our employees are often working on site with our clients, so not every hire is working within a GeoLogics facility and the transition process isn’t really managed or monitored for those remote hires. We do offer internal communication and support for all employees and have a dedicated new employee contact to assist with any issues.
Any words of wisdom for cleared job seekers using social media
Yes. Don’t put anything online you wouldn’t want your next boss to read and consider as part of your application. Facebook pictures and profiles are visible with a simple search of your name unless marked as private. Friends and family may think that picture of you passed out in a pink tutu is hysterical but your potential employer may be a teetotaler who takes you off the ‘hot list’ on the assumption you’re a partying fool. Candidates should Google their own names now and then to see what kind of a public face they are showing and if needed take steps to remove or privatize anything that could be construed as controversial.
Tell us about the hiring process with your company
It is a safe assumption (and a sad sign of the times) that all positions will require drug testing. Depending on the project, the position and the client, the time through the process varies significantly, but in general the process for project roles includes a paper screen (insuring the candidate has all required skills), application, clearance verification, telephone interview, and an offer contingent upon reference check and employment verifications. For full-time positions, there will be a face-to-face interview between the telephone interview and reference and background checks completed, prior to the offer being extended. Time from application received to the offer going out can range from 2 to 6 weeks depending on the manager’s priorities. That’s not a great answer but it’s an honest one.
What types of cleared positions do you fill
Our positions vary wildly in scope and requirements. As a sampling off my desk, today I’ve got active searches for:
Chief Scientist of Semantic technology (full-time position), 3 DTO Network Engineers, an IT specialist with a hardware background, a Mechanical design engineer, an antenna designer with experience in cell phone antennas, and a J2EE/Java developer. All of those roles require clearances.
What type of certifications or training can you recommend for someone looking to get a job with your company
Since our requirements are so varied, there is not really a pat answer for this. For network engineers, a CCNA or a JCNA would be desirable. For a Project Manager a PMP may be required. I’d suggest job seekers research the positions they are most interested in and determine what certifications are in demand for their field — or listed under required or desired skills – and pursue professional accreditation wherever physically and financially feasible to do so.
What are the toughest security cleared positions for you to fill and why
The toughest to fill for me are the roles that require both extensive technical and people skills….for instance that Chief Scientist role. Not only do we need someone who has a doctorate and experience in semantic technologies, this person will also be responsible for managing a team of 15 other PhDs as well as interfacing with clients and determining the path of future offerings. Oh yes, and they need to have an active clearance. It’s fairly easy to match technical requirements with the candidates technical skills on the resume, but it’s hard to discern whether or not they’re a visionary or a good manager.
What do you see security cleared job seekers doing wrong that you want to tell them to stop doing
Probably the worst thing is applying for jobs they aren’t qualified for. Or applying to every job posted. Second worst is listing every technology they’ve worked with since the beginning of time. If you haven’t used a skill in the last 10 years, odds are it’s too rusty to be of relevance.
What’s the craziest thing a job seeker has ever said to you
I received a response to a rejection letter accusing me of being prejudiced against military applicants stating “Not all vets are messed up like me.”
Of course the rejection was based on lack of qualifications, not on his military experience or mental state. It was sad because I knew the email had been sent in frustration. At the same time, that comment didn’t exactly make me want to keep the candidate on file to consider for future positions.
What do job seekers need to know about your job as a recruiter
I think the most important thing for them to know is that I’m on their side—my paycheck is directly affected by the number of successful hires, and I’m motivated to get them hired. At the same time, I can’t help them if their resume doesn’t reflect the required experience. I have to meet the manager’s expectations. Also, that I have a personal policy to respond directly to every applicant. I don’t ever forget that there’s a person on the other end of that resume who deserves fair treatment and respect. The responses may not always be what the applicant is hoping for, but at least they’ll know their resume was received and read by a real person and didn’t get caught in a spam filter or the black hole of cyberspace. Whenever possible, I provide feedback to assist, or at least encourage, the job seeker.
What’s the most inappropriate thing you’ve seen on a resume
Swear words. That was an interesting one. The summary began with a brief description of skills and ended with “I need a d*** job!”
Give us a commercial. Why do I want to work for your company
GeoLogics offers an exceptionally competitive array of benefits for our employees, including: Health Insurance (w/ Dental & Vision), Life & Disability Insurance, Long-Term Care, Flexible Spending Accounts, PTO, and a Retirement 401k Plan. GeoLogics Employee Benefits Program (EBP) reflects our abiding interest in and commitment to meeting the needs of our diverse workforce and providing financial security for both our employees and their families.
What advice would you give a job seeker who is uploading their resume/cover letter on ClearedJobs.Net, and who wants you to be able to find them
For the more senior full time positions, I may request that a candidate tailor a cover letter for the employer. But during my search process, I have to be honest and say I seldom look at the cover letters. My focus during my search stage is entirely on the resume. First and foremost, they should remember their resume is their first, and possibly only, chance to make a good impression. They should cast a critical eye and check for and correct grammatical and spelling errors and then double check to insure their resume concisely and accurately reflects their abilities, experience and accomplishments. If they’re coming out of the military, they should do their best to minimize the military acronyms and translate what they’ve done into terms relative to civilian requirements. Make sure dates given for employment and degrees are accurate and that your skill level is honestly represented. Resumes shouldn’t be overly long or provide excruciating detail of every project. Remember that average of 15 seconds that the managers spend looking at the resume? Recruiters only give it 7 or 8 seconds before moving on so you want to make sure your summary provides enough relevant information to make me want to keep reading.This entry was posted on Monday, January 14, 2013 7:30 am