Interview with a Recruiter, Edessa Reed, PSS

Posted by Rob Riggins

Edessa ReedEdessa, tell us about yourself and your company

I have been in the recruiting industry for nine years. About seven years ago I decided to move into an Information Technology Recruiting role. Presently as an Intelligence Technical Recruiter with Preferred Systems Solutions (PSS), I  am responsible for supporting several government efforts with multiple openings. All these openings require at least a Top Secret/SCI up to Top Secret/SCI with a Full Scope Polygraph clearance. Most of the positions I recruit for are located within the Northern Virginia, DC Metro and Maryland areas.

Since 1991, PSS has been providing reliable, cost-effective solutions to meet our clients’ goals and objectives in the core areas of information technology, engineering, and program management.

We have a strong and diverse government and commercial client base with key customer relationships with the Department of Defense, Intelligence and Civilian agencies. Our customers include the US Army, the US Navy, the US Air Force, the Department of Homeland Security, the Defense Logistics Agency, the Department of State, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Commerce.

PSSWhy do I want to work for PSS

PSS is a mid-size government integrator. Unlike other big companies we are personable. Everyone at our corporate office is approachable and accessible.

We offer a great salary and benefits package that is very competitive, as well as more options than what most companies offer. As an employee with PSS you are treated as a person and not just as a number. We remember birthdays and anniversaries of every employee, which today if you ask me, is very rare to see.

Do you target transitioning military

Yes, we do. We make sure to attend transitioning military hiring events and workshops several times every quarter. We also stay in touch with the military transitioning coordinator’s and provide our list of openings and stay in touch with the folks we meet at these hiring events.

What types of cleared positions do you fill

Unix/Linux System Administrators, System Engineers, Software Engineers, Software Developers, Web Developers, Database Developers, Storage Administrators, Technical Project Managers, Project Integrators and Helpdesk Support Specialists.

View PSS job openings.

Do you use Google / social media to screen job seekers at any point in the hiring process

I typically like to see if my candidates are on Linkedin. I like to see if their most recent position is listed and other positions they have had just to compare with their current resume. I also like to see what others have said about them on their recommendations page.

What are the toughest security cleared positions for you to fill and why

Software Developers and Programmers with Full Scope Polygraphs. These types of skill sets are a little harder to find as these candidates do not stay in the job market for very long because there is a higher demand for both their level of clearance and technical skills.

What do you see security cleared job seekers doing wrong

Sometimes I talk to candidates that are just not flexible on anything – salary, location etc. I understand that we all have our wish list when it comes to our ideal commute and the amount of money we want to make. But in this day and age and the market trend, cleared candidates should really consider applying some flexibility in their wish list. Especially in regard to salary.

What’s the craziest thing a job seeker has ever said to you

During one of my phone screens a candidate told me that my managers did not need to interview him because he already knew how to do the job and that we just needed to hire him and he would show us how good he was!

What’s the most inappropriate thing you’ve seen on a resume

One candidate had this as his resume objective: “To be the overlord of the galaxy.”

What do job seekers need to know about your job as a recruiter

There are ups and there are downs to being a Technical Recruiter. We are always in a time crunch to find the perfect candidate and to fill all of the open positions we have. The due date for all of these are usually by lunchtime! But at the end of the day, the hard work you put in generates great rewards.

As a recruiter you’re also changing the lives of people and helping provide them with career opportunities. Overall the IT recruiting job is unpredictable and keeps you on your toes, but it is also exciting, rewarding and one of the few careers where you can actually see benefits for both sides involved in the sales process. Seeing candidates happy in an opportunity that you helped provide makes all the ups and downs worth every minute.



This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 13, 2014 7:09 am

15 thoughts on “Interview with a Recruiter, Edessa Reed, PSS”

  1. Hi Edessa,

    I am interested in talking with you regarding opportunities with your company. Please feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience.

    Thank you.


    Cell: 813-495-1781

  2. Very nice interview. I am a cleared job seeker. The problem I am having is translating my law enforcement skills into ones that match non law enforcement positions. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Laneshia,

      Thank you for the kind words! Regarding translation of your resume, what types of openings are you currently targeting? I would start with comparing a position which you are interested in applying for and lining the description up next to your resume. Looking at the required/desired skills and duties/responsibilities, I would ensure that if you have experience with any of the skills listed that you add these to your resume. I’d be more than happy to talk with you further regarding any additional tips! Just contact me at [email protected] or 703-663-2777 ext. 1134.

      Good luck!

      Sandy Hindman
      (Recruiting Manager, PSS)

  3. Do you subcontract work? I have a TS and have done a lot of DoD AD security/systems management type work.

    Please e-mail me and I will send you my phone number if you would like to discuss further.

    Thank you,

    Patrick Reilly

  4. Hello Ms. Reed, I have worked for the Federal Government for 19 years and the Private Sector for 13 years. I am certified for FAC-C II and I am looking for work. Please contact me on my cell, the number is 301-717-1288 or by email, me address is vangiesworld@

    Vangelia Campbell

  5. What is the “perfect” candidate? Why not give someone the opportunity to obtain a new skill and enhance their current skill set? Please explain why such a degree of clearance? It seems like a waste of money when a candidate has a secret clearance has the skills needed but overlooked because they don’t have TS/SCI.

    1. Hi William,

      Excellent questions and points! In my experience, the “perfect candidate” varies widely depending upon the position which is open. There are plenty of openings which allow candidates to obtain experience in a new skill set or to obtain a higher level of clearance – the trick is finding them! Often I will see hiring managers list the skills which they would be open to training someone in listed under ‘desired skills’ (so, something to look out for).

      Regarding clearances, because the process of clearing someone to a higher level can often take months (sometimes a year or longer, depending on level of clearance), candidates who have a lower level clearance (ex – Secret) are often not considered for a position which will ultimately require a higher level clearance (ex – TS/SCI). Managers are most often seeking individuals who will be able to work on and touch the technical systems right away without escort, and this is usually impossible without the right level of clearance. So, in short, individuals with Secret level clearances will most likely not be able to work on TS/SCI cleared systems, and managers are unable to wait months for the clearance to come through and ultimately the systems to be worked on.

      I hope that helps!

      Sandy Hindman
      (Recruiting Manager – PSS)

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