Interview with a Recruiter, Karen Ryan, Syntelligent

Posted by Rob Riggins

Karen, tell us about you and Syntelligent

I joined the Syntelligent team in June 2013. I’ve known the President, Stephen Synnott for several years and was very impressed with his professionalism, his Air Force and Intelligence experience, and his vision for his company.  He possesses excellent leadership skills, has a clear vision, brings a tactical and strategic direction to the organization, and is good to his people. My background is in supporting the Intelligence Community and IT/Engineering. As a Human Resources professional with a strong focus on team dynamics, it’s important for me to be aligned with an organization that shares my values.  When the opportunity to work with Syntelligent was available, I jumped at the chance.

My current focus is on Recruiting. We proudly support our Federal and private sector clients. We work within the Intelligence Community and professional services to include Intelligence Analysis/Operations, IT/Engineering, Cyber Security, Business Operations, and Program Management.  Our opportunities are in the Washington/DC area but also throughout the United States to include Ft. Meade, MD, Quantico, VA, Norfolk, VA, Ft. Huachuca, AZ, Florida, Texas, South Carolina, Nebraska, and Missouri. The majority of our positions require an Active Security Clearance and the ability to maintain the clearance.

Syntelligent is a SDVOSB and HUBZone Small Business Concern. We are excited to work with our partners as well as prime opportunities ourselves.

Why do I want to work for Syntelligent

Syntelligent was founded on the belief that honesty and integrity are central to a successful business. That belief extends to the relationship we build with our employees. Our employees work hard and ensure that our clients’ expectations are fully supported. We communicate with our employees so that everyone understands our goals and objectives of the organization and how they are a part of our success.  Everyone’s role in the organization is important and equally respected.

We welcome applicants transitioning from the military and individuals who want to bring their experience to support our clients’ critical mission needs. We offer competitive salaries and bonuses, opportunities for advancement, and an excellent benefits package to include medical/dental/vision insurance, Paid Time Off and Holidays, Disability/Life Insurance and a 401K.

At what point in their transition should a service member start looking for a job with your company

We often talk to service members six months out from their terminal leave date or transition date. It’s understandable that many military service members want to take time for their transition and we suggest they do that, particularly if they haven’t been stateside for awhile. We have worked with individuals who transition easily from military to civilian life, but it’s always an adjustment so we provide mentorship and training.

What’s the best way for someone transitioning from the military to get a job with your company

Our Syntelligent website is always up-to-date with our latest positions. Additionally, we are always looking for experienced individuals to support Cyber, Counter-IED, Counterrorism, Collection Management, GMTI, CI HUMINT and CI Instructors. We also receive great referrals from our candidates.

Check out our current job openings on ClearedJobs.Net.

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

We are heavy users of LinkedIn and connect via various groups. From a recruiting standpoint, anyone seeking career opportunities or who wants to network professionally should be on LinkedIn.

Tell us about the hiring process with your company

Applicants must always submit their resumes to our website or via ClearedJobs.Net. Once a qualified candidate is identified they are first sent an email with some preliminary screening questions and asked of their availability for a phone screen.

Then a general phone screen is conducted for about 15 minutes. It’s important for candidates to understand that some of the positions we have are for upcoming or contingent based on contract award. While the position may not be available in 2 weeks, the answers in your screening portion of the interviews are extremely important to help us identify your skills, experience and clearance for opportunities that are awarded.

The next interview will be with a technical manager or program manager and will be conducted either on phone, Skype, or in-person. All candidates must complete the Syntelligent application, a Security questionnaire, a reference check form, and an invitation to self identify. Some supervisory and technical positions require a written test.

Once a candidate is selected for the position, an offer is extended in writing to include information on their title, salary, start date, manager, security requirements, and job description. When a candidate accepts, they are then asked to further provide information for clearance requirements as necessary.

Our hiring process can take an average of 2+ weeks from screening to interview to offer. Additionally time is often included for contingent offers that are reflective of contract award start dates. For short notice/high priority positions – we can accelerate the hiring process to as little as 2 days.

What types of cleared positions do you fill

Most of our Intelligence Analyst positions require TS/SCI clearance. We also have positions that require Department of Homeland Security suitability or eligibility. Some of our IT positions require a Secret to Top Secret clearance. Additionally, we also desire those with Full Scope clearances. Our positions include:

All Source Analysts * HUMINT CI Instructors

Collection Managers * Counter Terrorism Intelligence Analysts

Security Specialist – Adjudicators * Network Engineers and Network Administrators

Systems Administrators * Help Desk (Tier 1 and Tier 2) Call Center Support

Administrative Security Specialists * Access Control/Customer Service Specialists

What type of certifications or training can you recommend for someone looking to get a job with your company

All Source Analysts * HUMINT Targeting * CEH, GCIH * CCNA * MCSA * CISSP * SharePoint * Security+, Nework+, and A+

What type of certifications or training can you recommend for someone looking to get into big data

We currently don’t have work in the big data area. However, we anticipate transitioning into this type of work within the next 12-18 months.  At that time we will be looking for applicants who have experience working with Hadoop and NoSQL databases.

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

Some of our intelligence analyst positions require very specific training. Often there are only a few individuals who are afforded the opportunity to take the training or have worked at a specific agency.  The candidates typically meet all the requirements except the one specific course.

The government is requiring Bachelor’s degree as a minimum requirement for many intelligence analyst positions. The majority of intelligence analysts come from a military background and have some education or are pursuing their degrees. While they may be qualified for the position, they don’t have the required degree.

What do you see security cleared job seekers doing wrong that you want to tell them to stop doing

When applying for a specific job – don’t just submit a generic resume. Tailoring the resume to the job helps the candidate stand out – and makes for an easier sell to a hiring manager or end-customer. Clearly identify specific experiences/certifications or training called out in the vacancy announcement.

What’s the craziest thing a job interviewer ever did during an interview

I was mentoring a junior recruiter during an interview with a candidate in one of our offices. When I was initially discussing our organization, our mission and the company environment, the candidate took out his lunch and started eating. He continued to eat his lunch during the entire interview. I told the junior recruiter that was the first time for me!

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

We get hundreds of resumes and try to identify those candidates that meet the requirements of our clients and our organization. We often receive great resumes from individuals with excellent experience but we don’t have an opportunity to use those skills sets at the time they apply. However, that doesn’t mean we won’t contact you in the future, when the need is present.

When we are supporting our clients, we are delivering those skills, certifications, and experience they require. We understand that everyone is willing to learn but often the required skills are just that.

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

Inappropriate name used for email accounts.


This entry was posted on Monday, September 09, 2013 7:52 am

4 thoughts on “Interview with a Recruiter, Karen Ryan, Syntelligent”

  1. I am a 29 year Fireman at Baytown TX, with 5 years as a Crash fireman in the Air Force (57170) Any jobs out there? I ahve submitted my info to Dyna Cor…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of updates to this conversation