Tom Sweeney

It's a coming of age tale….

Posts Tagged ‘Application’

Can I submit my application with more then one firm?

Posted by sweens on January 14, 2010

Many of the candidates I deal with for Government contracting are aware that on most Government contract opportunities, they are unable to submit their resumes to multiple firms for the same opportunity.  This means that you have to go with one firm and one firm only.  This is not usually a huge problem but when you have a very specific requirement where there are so few resources located geographically, the competition for those few resources picks up quickly. 

 This is where time of recruitment becomes such a key component of success.  With that being said, candidates need to be aware that they are unable to circumvent this policy.  Candidates that do agree to have their resumes submitted by two different companies for the same opportunity will be ruled non-compliant.

 There are some exceptions to this and from time to time an opportunity can come up where you will be able to submit yourself with more then one firm.  This usually takes places when a company is being asked to bid a project team rather then one individual resource.  Candidates need to be aware if they can or can not bid with more then one firm before they approach numerous firms about the same opportunity.

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$13 an Hour? 500 Sign Up, 1 Wins a Job

Posted by sweens on October 22, 2009

By Michael Luo
Published: October 21, 2009
BURNS HARBOR, Ind. — As soon as the job opening was posted on the afternoon of Friday, July 10, the deluge began.

C.R. Engliand, a nationwide trucking company, needed an administrative assistant for its bustling driver training school here. Responsibilities included data entry, assembling paperwork and making copies.

It was a bona-fide opening at a decent wage, making it the rarest of commodities here in northwest Indiana, where steel industry layoffs have helped drive unemployment to about 10 percent.

When Stacey Ross, C. R. England’s head of corporate recruiting, arrived at her desk at the company’s Salt Lake City headquarters the next Monday, she found about 300 applications in the company’s e-mail inbox. And the fax machine had spit out an inch-and-a-half thick stack of résumés before running out of paper. By the time she pulled the posting off Careerbuilder.com later in the day, she guessed nearly 500 people had applied for the $13-an-hour job. “It was just shocking,” she said. “I had never seen anything so big.”

Ms. Ross had only a limited amount of time to sort through the résumés. While C. R. England has not been immune to the downturn, it has added significantly to its stable of drivers and continued to hire office staff members to support them. Ms. Ross was also trying to fill more than two dozen other positions.

The 34-year-old recruiter decided the fairest approach was simply to start at the beginning, reviewing résumés in the order in which they came in. When she found a desirable candidate, she called to ask a few preliminary questions, before forwarding the name along to Chris Kelsey, the school’s director. When he had a big enough pool to evaluate, she would stop. Anyone she did not get to was simply out of luck.

She dropped significantly overqualified candidates right away, reasoning that they would leave when the economy improved. Among them was a former I.B.M. business analyst with 18 years experience; a former director of human resources; and someone with a master’s degree and 12 years at Deloitte & Touche, the accounting firm.

Over the course of four days, Ms. Ross forwarded 61 résumés to Mr. Kelsey, while rejecting 210 others. The remainder never even got a look. Many were, in fact, never uploaded to the company’s internal system because there were too many.

Just before the advertisement was removed, a standard one-page résumé arrived from Tiffany Block, 28, who lived in nearby Portage and had lost her job four months earlier as an accounts receivable manager at a building company when it closed its Indiana office.

Someone she knew had applied for the job and had said so on Facebook. Ms. Block went to the company’s Web site and filed an application online, which many others had not. By doing do, her application went directly into the company’s system. She was hardly optimistic, since she had not had an interview in months.

Ms. Ross, however, passed it on the next day to Mr. Kelsey.

Attendance at Mr. Kelsey’s school has surged during the recession. Mr. Kelsey, 33, had just promoted one of his three administrative assistants, who handle the paperwork needed for drivers to hit the road. He needed a replacement quickly.

The overwhelming response astonished him. He asked Cheree Seawood, one of his current assistants, to go through the résumés and help pick out several to interview. To make the task easier, he decided they should be even more rigorous in ruling out anyone who appeared even slightly overqualified. Mr. Kelsey, an ardent New England Patriots fan, compared his personnel strategy to the team’s everyman approach.

“We like to get the fair and middling talent that will work for the wages and groom them from within,” he said.

In other words, he said, he did not want the former bank branch manager Ms. Ross had sent, or the woman who had once owned a trucking company, or even the former legal secretary.

He also realized that in this climate he could afford to be extra picky and require trucking industry experience.

The company eventually settled on eight people to interview, inviting in the first two just five days after the job was posted.

In the past, Mr. Kelsey had mostly ad-libbed interviews, but this time he asked his company’s human resources department for help. They sent him a list of 13 questions, as well as an eight-page packet with 128 questions grouped under 50 “competencies.” He decided he would ask them all.

At the end of each hourlong interview, he and Ms. Seawood each jotted down a rating for each applicant and then compared them.

Invariably, the candidates’ job search travails came up. One woman who lost her job had started working as a waitress and confessed she had come directly from her job on the overnight shift.

But Mr. Kelsey resolved to keep his personal sympathies at bay. “If you start judging applicants on want or need, eventually that want, or need, will go away when they get the job and their financial situation stabilizes,” he said. “Then you’re left with whatever skills they have.”

Before Ms. Seawood called Ms. Block to schedule an interview, she had been getting increasingly depressed.

“I felt like, I’m 28 years old, and I don’t have a job,” she said. “What am I doing with myself?”

But Mr. Kelsey was immediately impressed when she came in on the second day of interviews. Dressed in a conservative business suit, Ms. Block patiently answered all of the 100-plus questions. Mr. Kelsey liked that she remained consistent in her answers and showed independence.

Afterward, Mr. Kelsey gave Ms. Block a 9; Ms. Seawood rated her at a point lower.

The next week, however, Ms. Seawood gravitated to a different candidate. The woman had just had nose surgery and came in wearing a protective mask. Besides her qualifications, the fact she had not tried to postpone impressed Ms. Seawood.

But when Mr. Kelsey invited the woman back, the interview was a disaster. She grew visibly irritated amid his battery of questions.

Mr. Kelsey immediately called Ms. Block to ask if she could come in for a second interview.

Was an hour from now too soon?

Momentarily panicked, Ms. Block quickly assented.

Mr. Kelsey marched through many of his questions again. Then, trying to gauge her ability to be assertive among truck drivers, he added a new hypothetical: if she were in the stands at a baseball game and a foul ball came her way, would she stand up to try to catch it, or wait in her seat and hope it fell her way?

The other finalist had said she would wait. But Ms. Block said immediately that she would jump up to grab it.

Mr. Kelsey decided he had found his hire.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/22/us/22hire.html?_r=1&hpw

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Following up on a job: It’s like dating…

Posted by sweens on June 24, 2009

I think some candidates need to realize that at times they can walk a fine line between following up with a recruiter and stalking them.  I recently came in one morning and had 17 (no I am not exaggerating) messages from the same number.  However the messages only involved the sound of the person hanging up the phone.  No actual message.

 Naturally, the next day the number called me again and I was a little hesitant to answer the phone so I was hoping the person would leave me a message.  No message was left but another 12 hang ups were.  I mean really, enough is enough.  Leave me a message so I know who is calling and what you are calling about.

 We live in a world where almost everyone has caller ID – in fact I can not even think of someone who does not have caller ID.  This means that your call is showing up somewhere.  There are times throughout the day when I am busy and will not answer my phone.  Perhaps I am on my cell phone or even working down the hall in a boardroom.  God forbid I may even be interviewing a candidate and am simply unable to pick up my phone at that moment.  The solution to getting in touch with a recruiter who you are having difficulty connecting to is to leave them a message and let them call you back.

Calling a recruiter 15 times a day is not the solution. 

 Getting a recruiter to call you back can sometimes be like giving your phone number out at the bar.  Once you get that number, how quickly should you call them?  How many times should you call them?  Ultimately, there reaches a point where you just have to give up and say “he or she is just not interested in me”.

 I am not suggesting the a candidate give up, but candidates need to be aware that recruiters often work on tight deadlines and finding candidates as quickly as possible can usually be the best way to close business.  With that in mind, the position you want to talk to me about, may not be the number one thing on my priority list.  It does not mean that I will not call you back; it just means that right now I have something else I need to do.  While finding a job is likely your number one priority, the job you are applying for may not be my number one priority yet.

 I can appreciate the passion any candidate puts into finding a job and following up with me.  I just want to say – be careful of how aggressively you tackle this.  Candidates who call me too many times in a day remind me of trying to get a girl on a date and calling her 10 times without leaving a message.  It will just end up making me look bad and will act as a turn off.  Is she going to want to date me?

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Sending out your CV: Putting your best foot forward…

Posted by sweens on June 17, 2009

This morning I was looking over a CV for a candidate I just put forth on one of my open requirements. Before I got to the project details, he had a brief summary of 32 projects that he had completed over the last 13 years. I thought to myself, boy that is a lot of consecutive projects. He must be good!

Throwing his qualifications aside for a minute, I came across another reason why this particular candidate has been so good at continually finding contracts. His resume is awesome. Not only is it organized and easy to read through, but he took the time to highlight all the portions in his resume that were applicable to the specific position he was applying for.

This made my job very easy!

It demonstrated a few things to me as I quickly went over his CV. First, this candidate is likely a hard worker and is not lazy. Second, he understands the role. And third, he wants to stand out from all the other candidates. And to be honest he really did. I quickly wrapped him up and move forward with him with all the important information I needed perfectly presented in his CV which both I and my client are likely to appreciate.

 Moral of the story….taking that extra bit of time to prepare your CV before you submit it can go a long way!

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Keep your eyes on the prize…

Posted by sweens on June 10, 2009

And in this case, the prize is your newest job opportunity.  But in order to get that opportunity, you need to have a specific method of applying for opportunities.  This blog serves more as a reminder that when you (the candidate) are dealing with a recruiter or a staffing agency – you need to put yourself in their mindset.

 We look for ‘the’ candidate and not ‘a’ candidate.

 What does this mean?  It means you should avoid sending in your resume to a recruiter saying that you are interested in any positions they have open which may meet your skill set.  This translates’ into – you are open to any opportunity rather then the right opportunity.  This has the same effect as applying to multiple jobs with the same company or recruiter.

 I have said it before, but your resume should be tailored to a specific job.  Sending in the same resume for numerous jobs makes a recruiter wonder how you can be the right fit for one job, when you think you can do multiple jobs.

 Remember a company wants something specific!  Whether they go through a staffing firm or they do their own hiring – they have a specific list of requirements which you should try to meet with every application.  Aim to be ‘the’ candidate when applying for a job, rather then ‘a’ candidate…

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QA Analysts in Ottawa: Where are you…

Posted by sweens on June 1, 2009

I have had at least three Quality Assurance position assigned to me over the last 2 weeks and I have found them to be challenging.  The reason for my challenge is that I receive so few applications from local candidates.  Can anyone tell me why?

I receive many applications – I would say too many applications – however most of the applicants are from the Toronto or Montreal area.  While I have no problem working with out of town resources, I find it hard to believe that there are so few local candidates. 

I personally do not like being assigned an order by our Toronto office (corporate headquarters) and then submitting them candidates that lives 5 minutes away from their office.  This makes me feel like I am not doing my job.  Surely a recruiter in Toronto can find a Toronto based candidate who will travel – because I am certainly finding them.

Perhaps it is the situation of the labour market which is forcing people to expand the location they are willing to work in, but more and more candidates seem willing to accept a contract five hours down the 401 for the same rate they would get paid back home.

I am going to look into finding a ‘QA’ only job board because I am not turning up enough local candidates.  Perhaps they have something against traditional job boards like Monster and Workopolis.

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