Tom Sweeney

It's a coming of age tale….

Posts Tagged ‘Government’

Procom is Hiring

Posted by sweens on June 4, 2010

My office is looking for another recruiter to join our team as we continue to expand…  If your interested please reach out to me.

Recruiter  – Government & IT Consulting

Procom is seeking a recruiter with a proven track record in government recruiting to join its growing Ottawa consulting team.  As a Government focused recruiter you will be involved in managing the complete recruitment cycle and assisting Procom’s client’s in identifying top talent for their business needs. 

Why join the Procom team?  Procom is the largest IT recruitment firm in Canada and has been consistently recognized as one of Canada’s Best Small & Medium Sized Employers by Hewitt & Associates.  Procom’s Federal Government practice continues to grow, resulting in a need for experienced and highly motivated recruiters that are interested in competitive compensation. 

Profile of an excellent candidate

  • A proven capacity to manage and deliver the full life cycle of recruiting responsibilities, including but not limited to, sourcing, screening and interviewing candidates, developing references and managing salary negotiations
  • Strong knowledge of Federal Government procurement practices and commonly used IT consulting procurement vehicles.
  • Strong ability to complete candidate matrixes and scoring candidates to verify compliancy of submissions.
  • A track record of proactively developing relationships with passive and active candidates using a variety of methods, including cold calls, emails and referrals.
  • Utilize internal and Internet databases to source and identify candidates for current and future needs
  • Demonstrated competence in using in using cutting edge recruitment methods and tools in order to remain at the forefront of the recruitment industry and deliver the best possible experience to Procom’s clients and consultants.
  • Knowledge of the IT labour market and the ability to communicate trends and recruitment challenges to internal and external stakeholders
  • Working knowledge of IT systems and technologies and the ability to translate client technical requirements into a targeted consultant search strategy
  • Working experience with an applicant tracking system (CRM, Taleo, Bullhorn, MaxHire, PC Recruiter, etc)
  • Experience in recruiting consultants for complex ERP opportunities, including PeopleSoft, SAP and ectera
  • A positive attitude and strong commitment to providing our clients and consultants excellent service.
  • Career growth tasks such as market experts in industry sectors, mentoring junior recruiters etc
  • Such other duties and responsibilities as may be assigned from time to time which are compatible with the position.

Skills and Knowledge Required

  • University Degree or relevant experience
  • 2 – 3 years IT recruitment experience
  • Ability to handle pressure and meet deadlines
  • Ability to prioritize
  • Good interpersonal skills


  • Such other duties and responsibilities may be assigned from time to time which are compatible with the position.

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Crazy Busy…

Posted by sweens on February 4, 2010

I just needed to write a quick blog entry to take a mental break from all the recruiting I have on the go right now? Is everyone else as busy as I am right now? The Federal Government is pumping out orders like it is their job in an effort to spend any remaining budget they have before the March 31st fiscal year end. Some of my private sector clients are up and running again and buying professional services. And to top it off my colleague is off on holidays this week.

My overly active hobby as a referee is also ridiculously busy right now which isn’t helping my time to un-wind after work. How is everyone else doing right now?

As busy as it is, I can not help but think of how great it is being a recruiter right now.

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Labour market: Finally coming around?

Posted by sweens on June 23, 2009

This is more of a question then a statement for me.  I am curious to see how everyone else perceives the labour market these days.  For myself, I have been busier as of late then I have been over the past few months.  Is this the same for everyone else?

Based on the market I work in – a Government town – the market should be quiet right now as many employees take long and extended vacations.  However, I have seen a recent increase in Government contract opportunities.  While I have not yet seen a drastic increase in private sector hiring, it may be coming.

 Is anyone else experiencing a growth in volume of open positions?

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If it wasn’t for the last minute: Nothing would get done…

Posted by sweens on June 8, 2009

Well here I am again looking to screen candidates against tough Government skills grids at the last minute.  I find myself reminiscing of being back in University and staying up all night trying to finish my 50 page paper the night before it was due.  At the time, that was common practice for me.  I have always enjoyed and thrived while working under pressure – perhaps which is why I like refereeing so much!

 But this is still a stressful adventure.  I came into today, one day behind my deadline with two positions left to fill.  Coming in on the weekend did not really help lighten the work load, but luckily I got one position filled today, and have the other one about fifty percent done.  And really I have to thank the candidates who have given me the time of day to help me complete my work.

 Who knew finding Documentation Specialists would be so hard?

 I certainly did not, but am learning the hard way.  I think I more or less just wanted to say ‘thank you’ to everyone who has worked with my today although none of you are likely to read this.  I should be able to complete my project within the deadline – but like most projects – the last minute is sure to turn up some challenges…

Am I the only one who works this way???

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Networking: What I’ve turned to….

Posted by sweens on May 25, 2009

Suddenly I have embarked on a recruiting mission. I am involved in the recruitment of several IT professionals to fill a proposal for the Federal Government. While it sounds like a dream come to – things often seem better then they sound. The challenge for this particular recruit is that we are bidding for the right to do business with our client. And not bidding on actual business.

This poses many challenges for the recruitment process that come up in this type of recruit. Firstly I find it ethically wrong to broadcast or post these jobs because I do not technically have a job for anyone I am speaking to. Should my firm be deemed compliant from our bid, we may then be given some business by our client. All I can offer them is first right of refusal should the business be award to us.

Now this means that I have a tougher time finding people because I can not reach as many candidates as I usually do. But more importantly, it makes the candidates not as likely to help me with the process. As I have mentioned before, I do not come from a technical background, so when it comes to filling out grids for candidates I can only take it so far before I need their help.

Since I am not offering them an ‘issued’ contract, they are not as likely to spend time working on their CV or a skills grid. As such, I am hoping to rely on my network of trusted candidates. People I have worked with before and have relationships with who will hopefully see the long term possibility of working with me for this proposal.

Yeahhhh for networking….

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Best Overall Value: Price VS Score

Posted by sweens on April 9, 2009

For candidates who do not know how Government contracting works, here is a very brief crash course.  The main premise will be that they are looking for the best value for their dollar (their dollar being yours and mine tax dollars). 


Your typical requirement with a Government contract will come with a skills grid containing both mandatory and rated requirements.  You must meet all the mandatory requirements in order to be deemed compliant to have the technical authority score you on the rated requirements.


Once you get to the rated requirements, there is usually a minimum score.  This is typically sixty of seventy percent.  From there, if you pass the minimum score you are deemed compliant and then it becomes a mathematical calculation as to your score compared to your price where the best price per point wins. 




As such, candidates should be aware that the lower their per diem is the better price per point score they will achieve.  The onus is not only on the candidate to lower their per diem, as firms who are looking for a large mark up on the candidates per diem may also price themselves out of the competition.


Another fun fact to think about in the contracting game…

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Mandatory Requirements: No room for flexibility

Posted by sweens on April 6, 2009

Well once again I am working on a Project Management role and have had to turn down top quality candidates because they lacked a mandatory requirement.  Typically, Project Managers are not considered for contracts because they lack a PMP certification.  It really should be a PMP certification or equivalent experience (whatever that may be).


Unfortunately mandatory requirements on Government contracts are not negotiable and if you do not meet them will not be considered.  It is frustrating when you come across a quality candidate that does not have a particular product but has a comparable one, or a Project Manager who does not have a PMP designation but has been a Project Manager for 25+ years. Clearly they can do the job! 


Certifications are the biggest blunder for candidates being turned away on opportunities.  A certification – while useful – really means ‘get it, and then I will look at your CV’. 

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Private VS Public: The challenges in dealing with the Government

Posted by sweens on March 13, 2009

One of the big challenges the Ottawa market faces in the work force is the difference between the private sector and the public sector.  Both represent large beasts that struggle to be tamed on a frequent basis.  Let us look at some of the major differences in trying to gain employment in both.


I would suggest that the two main differences between the two are the method of getting in and the way in which you are evaluated.  To get into the Government as a permanent employee takes a long time and usually the more people you know, the better.  I have already discussed the hiring cycle with the Government so let us not repeat such a thrilling topic. 


If you are tired of waiting to get in as an employee you can contract in.  In order to do so, you need to find a procurement vehicle to get in.  Most people end up using an agency that stay in business by placing people into the Government on contract via these procurement vehicles.  While it can be frustrating, this is the way the Government works.  They can not just say “I like Steve Smith and I want to give him this contract.”  They need to begin a competitive process so that others can compete for the business.


Private sector companies do have this ability to work with someone or an agency and simply hire the individual that is of interest to them.  They often provide a list of requirements to an agency and review resumes accordingly while evaluating the candidate based on what their needs are and then proceed to an interview.  This is not always the case with the Government. 


Government usually has candidates fill out detailed skills grids demonstrating their experience.  This process is usually not very labour intensive but certainly slows the process down.  This is done so that everyone who is submitted against a competitive bid can be evaluated in the same manor and everyone can view what the requirements are.  This also leaves the department less vulnerable to someone challenging their hiring decisions as candidates are screened, scored and evaluated the same way based on a specific requirement.


While some candidates may prefer dealing with the private sector or the public sector over the other, understanding how the evaluation for each side is done is essential to finding gainful employment on either side.  Private sector values work experience and places importance on the interview.  Public sector values metrics and places importance on how you compare against similar candidates.


Oh, I forgot to mention that price ALWAYS plays a key in hiring decisions. 


So whether you are interested in public or private sector opportunities, you need to be aware that both sectors have different values when it comes to making a hiring decision.  Understanding this decision is an important element to your job search.


I also forgot to mention, that the Government spends Billions of Dollars every year on contracting.  Something to think about as the private sector slows down right now.

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Warning: Application may take up to one year to be processed…

Posted by sweens on February 27, 2009

When you are considering applying for a position with the Federal Government these days, you may get discouraged to see the following note on many of their application pages:

Please note that our recruitment process may take up to a year. We understand that during this time you may have questions or would like to know the status of your application. We ask that you be patient throughout the process and that you keep the contact information you have provided current. “

  While this message may seem discouraging, the truth behind it is even worse.  Having many friends who have been applying to Government jobs as of late, the hiring cycle is growing close to two years.  I know some individuals who have been caught up in this candidate pool for up to 22 months from the time they started the process to the time they finished it. 


Candidates who are applying to Federal Government positions should not be expecting a quick turn around with their application.  The norm is more like little feedback with long waits between each stage of the process.  With the number of the Government employees expected to retire within the next five years, the Government needs to address its current hiring cycle and speed the process up or else it will find itself in a position where the people coming in will not match the number of people going out. 


Please visit the Public Service Commission website to apply for most Federal Government of Canada jobs.

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