NEWS + ADVICE
Interview with a Recruiter, Rob Cellich, GDIT
From time to time we bring you Q/A sessions with recruiters, who provide insights on their company, its hiring practices and job search tips.
Rob Cellich, General Dynamics IT
Tell us about yourself
I serve as the staffing lead for the Army Sector within General Dynamics Information Technology’s (GDIT) Intelligence Solutions Division (ISD). I’ve been with the company for seven years. As our sector has positions and customers worldwide, we typically hire approximately 300 individuals annually, of which 95 percent are Top Secret Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) cleared and can be immediately “read on” once hired.
At what point in their transition should a service member start looking for a job with your company?
In general, the search and transition time can be greatly reduced if the individual has Top Secret clearance with caveats (SCI, CI Poly, etc.). My advice is to begin preparing as early as possible. Each individual should take the time to research and identify his or her goals. It’s surprisingly common to speak to individuals at job fairs who are unsure of what they are actually looking for in their next job. Once the job seekers establish their occupational criteria, I recommend they review listings while taking note of what certifications and specialized training are requested. For example, most Network Technician/Administration positions require or prefer Cisco Certifications. If the network arena is of interest, the individual should consider pursuing Cisco Certifications. Individuals who do this and have an upper level clearance will minimize the time it takes to find an opportunity when they transition.
What’s the best way for someone transitioning from the military to get a job with your company?
For those who have a clearance and are still within the military, I suggest that they have a periodic investigation performed by their agency. A periodic investigation is a review that is performed every so often to ensure the individual granted a clearance is still in “good standing.” Often times, individuals may have a review scheduled but once they put in orders to transition into another area, the review will not occur. This can inhibit opportunities as once the clearance is out of scope, an investigation is required.
What’s it like for transitioning military to work for you company? Easy transition? Anything special that you do to help them acclimate?
General Dynamics IT hires a large contingent of our employees from the military. Therefore, we have a solid grasp on what it is like for those individuals in transition. We have a process in place so that all new employees know what is expected, which allows the transition for both former military and non-military employees to be as smooth as possible. To help facilitate this transition, we have staff dedicated to ensuring individuals joining the company receive personalized attention and that we address any questions or concerns as soon as possible. Finally, we consistently review our processes and take actions to improve them. We want to maximize the positive experience a new employee has when joining our organization.
Any words of wisdom for cleared job seekers using social media?
While social media channels do offer new outlets for providing resume credentials and connecting with potential employers, it is still important to handle personal information with sensitivity. Information posted online can easily be targeted and can be very difficult to ever completely remove, so it is very important for candidates to be conscious and cautious of what information they post. And of information that others may post about them as well.
As a general rule of thumb, resumes, whether they are online or in hard copy, should not include a social security number, place of birth, or date of birth. This information is not necessary until later in the hiring process. Providing it prematurely can be a sign of inexperience and can put the individual at risk of identity theft.
Resumes should include clearance information along with relevant contact information such as phone number(s) and email. I would also recommend that anyone unsure about what clearance or job-related information can be included in their resume or social media profile to check with their local Specialized Skills Officer (SSO).
Tell us about the hiring process with your company
The hiring process can vary greatly as the nature of our work depends on, and fluctuates with, the continually changing world of contract wins and task order bids. I always ask individuals that I contact to keep in touch. The majority of those who recruit appreciate an email update on a candidate’s status. It allows for a better flow of communication, which is essential given how many candidates there are, and how many positions we are staffing.
Feedback on positions typically takes a couple days to a couple weeks. The longer timeframe is often due to the fact that various locations have ongoing projects which demand the attention of the hiring managers.
What types of cleared positions do you fill?
We fill a wide variety of IT related positions. For example; Network Administrators/Engineers, System Administrators/Engineers, IT/IA Security Engineers/Administrators, Database Developers/Administrators, Tiers I, II, III Help Desk Technicians, etc.
What are the toughest security cleared positions for you to fill and why?
Typically, the positions that involve newly evolved technology applications or hardware are difficult to fill. The challenge is that it is difficult to evaluate candidates on a skill set that is fairly new. This is often compounded if the new technology is adopted broadly, creating a supply and demand issue.
What do you see security cleared job seekers doing wrong that you want to tell them to stop doing?
A common mistake of job seekers is to make assumptions about clearance processes. It is critical to ensure that you meet the criteria of the job description. If a job seeker applies for a job that is beyond their clearance level, it poses the question – “Did they read the job description?” It is also a common mistake for job seekers to ignore or overlook the location of a position. This can also be a red flag to recruiters as qualified candidates can easily be dismissed if they are not available or willing to move to the job location. Like anything else, one should check on the status with their SSO and strive to understand the exact clearance they possess.
What’s the craziest thing a job seeker has ever said to you?
It is surprising when individuals believe they should get a job based on their clearance level alone. This is only one component reviewed when evaluating a candidate. They must also understand that qualified IT skills are valued more, and are the key factors that truly differentiate one candidate from another.
What do job seekers need to know about your job as a recruiter?
I think it is difficult for job seekers to fully understand the true volume of inquiries and candidates that recruiters receive and review on a regular basis. It’s important to find individuals who match a position with the appropriate skill set in addition to having the work ethic and personality that complement the position and the overall work culture.
This can be a very difficult task as the ratio for qualified candidates versus unqualified are often as high as 1 out of 100+. Individuals who make a clear case for why they are a good fit for the position and take a proactive and assertive approach in reaching out to and connecting with recruiters typically rise to the top as candidates of interest.
What’s the most inappropriate thing you’ve seen on a resume?
I commonly see email addresses that are not professional. Fortunately, this can be fixed quite easily by taking five minutes to create a new email account that isn’t going to scare off a recruiter reviewing your resume.
If I’m a security cleared job seeker interested in working for your company, what should I do?
Apply to positions for which you are qualified on our website: www.gdit.com/careers. Be sure to pay attention to clearance required, geographic location of position, and ensure you review any unique requirements, such as, “deploying to hazardous duty locations,” “frequent travel required,” or “shift work required.”
I just lost my job, what are the three things I need to do?
- Give serious consideration to your career goals and identify the key characteristics of the next job that you seek. Research items that may influence your search. For example, ask yourself, “Are there a lot of openings in my local geographic area?” If not, then ask yourself, “Can I relocate?” If so, this will impact your search accordingly. Doing this can immediately impact your chance of success vs. those that wait for desperation mode to set in.
- Create and/or update your resume.
- Stay active and search for positions on job boards, corporate websites, and social networking sites. Network with personal and professional contacts to share information about what position(s) you are seeking. Also, develop your elevator pitch and always be prepared to quickly and clearly define and profile your qualifications and interests.
Give us a commercial. Why do I want to work for your company?
General Dynamics is one of the top five U.S. defense contractors. General Dynamics IT offers a variety of job roles and functions – all of which provide great potential for career growth – that serve several markets including defense, federal civilian government, health, homeland security, intelligence, state and local government, and commercial sectors.
Furthermore, we provide an excellent overall compensation package, including benefits such as medical/dental/401K/vacation etc. Most importantly, we have a reputation for taking care of our employees, helping to make General Dynamics a truly great company to work for and a place where employees can enjoy a long-term career. There are employees that have been with General Dynamics for decades and the General Dynamics culture is one unlike any other that views employees as an extended family.
Is BRAC having an impact on your company or its hiring needs, and if so how?
BRAC has had an impact on our workforce, as we have had some employees whose positions have relocated. In most cases, we have worked closely with the customer to determine how BRAC will affect our workforce and are able to plan accordingly. As such, for most of the positions that have relocated due to BRAC we have found that the majority of employees have elected to relocate as well to stay with General Dynamics IT and maintain their position.
What advice would you give a job seeker attending a Cleared Job Fair?
Be prepared, do some research prior to the fair, learn about the companies that are going to attend and what types of opportunities they have available. Prepare some questions to ask when speaking to the recruiter or company representative.
It is rather impressive when a job seeker prepares a resume specific to the position(s) for which he/she is interested. Specifically, make sure the skills you possess match the ones requested for the position and are highlighted so someone skimming the resume can immediately see the connection. In addition, be prepared to speak clearly about the position/company you are looking for and the qualifications you offer.
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?
It is imperative to make a resume clear and concise. Job seekers should make sure they clearly align skills with the position criteria so that a recruiter can easily and immediately see the connection. The cover letter should expand on the information included in the resume and explain or provide examples for why the candidate is qualified for the position.