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Interview with a Recruiter, Laura Letts, AECOM

Posted by Rob Riggins

Laura Letts AECOMWe recently talked to Laura Letts, Sr. Manager, Talent Acquisition for AECOM. Laura has been with AECOM for about 5 years in operations and maintenance supporting the Intel Community. That means taking care of the whole building from top to bottom, staffing with tradespersons such as electricians, plumbers, HVAC, custodians and more. The vast majority of the people Laura is trying to hire require polygraphs, which can be just as challenging as finding Java Developers with polygraphs.

Tell us about AECOM

AECOM is a global company in over 160 countries. When we hire you we don’t hire you for a contract, we hire you as part of our team. If you want the ability to grow in your career we’re a good solution because there are so many opportunities in a company with 100,000 employees. AECOM has tuition reimbursement and training programs, you can switch to different contracts, go overseas, etc. We want you to grow. That’s one of the reasons we always need a pipeline of incoming workers.

Why are some cleared positions so hard to fill

Tradespersons in general are hard to find because of our customers’ polygraph requirements. And there isn’t a pipeline of new cleared tradespersons to fill the void. For example transitioning military have other skill sets such as cyber security or logistics, or skills that will allow them to get higher paying jobs. We do have a customer that allows us to clear electricians on one contract which is helpful, but that is a rarity.

Our hardest to fill positions are Custodians with polygraphs. One of our customers has even allowed us now to staff Custodians with a TS/SCI. They prefer polygraphs as these folks are going into SCIFs, so the downside is in certain areas we need a security monitor to accompany them when they work. That increases the cost of the contract, but the customer will not allow us to get these folks clearances let alone polygraphs.

We always have at least 10 Custodial openings on one contract to fill due to the turnover. Typical employees in these type positions stay about six months because they want to move on to better positions with the customer, with AECOM, or wherever. Most people with a polygraph don’t want to clean toilets, even at $19 per hour.

We’ve seen a big change in the past couple years with many workers leaving the cleared community and the general job market improving. Before the government shutdown a couple years ago we were able to clear people, but after the shutdown that option disappeared due to cost constraints.

Another challenge for hiring Custodians can be a lack of technical abilities, so it can be hard to get them through the process. Everything we do is online, from application to offer process to onboarding, it’s all done electronically.

I wake up every day and say to myself, “What am I going to do today to try and find these people?”

View AECOM positions on ClearedJobs.Net

Are any cleared positions easy to fill

Finding linguists is typically not that hard, other than for specific customers who require native speakers with polygraphs. If they still have family overseas that can be a show stopper based on their foreign connections.

AECOMTell us about your hiring process

We’re pretty quick and straightforward. It’s usually one interview with the hiring manager, after the recruiter screens. Usually within 24-48 hours the hiring manager lets the recruiter know if they want to move forward.

We process the offer immediately, then the job seeker must go through background check and drug testing. We don’t lose many in background checks or drug testing. But we have lost some custodians through an inability to document a high school diploma or GED.

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

We are active on social media, but we do not vet potential hires on social media.

What’s your advice for cleared job seekers

Surprisingly people are still sharing inappropriate information and too much information. We see this especially with linguists from other countries who include how many kids they have, pictures, social security numbers and so on.

Or in many skill sets we see too many job seekers with long resumes that go back way too far. Really what I want to see is the work you’ve done in the past 5-10 years. That’s what’s relevant.

Lastly, job seekers must research the company they are interviewing with. Even if you’re coming in to interview as a driver, the hiring manager wants to see you wearing a tie, and wants to know that you’ve made an effort to learn about the company. Those things are important to management staff whether you’re a Logistician or a Custodian.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2016 3:43 pm

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