By Doug Munro
Spoiler alert – you’ve read this piece before. It’s been written by many great recruiters, but frankly the story never gets old for me. I hope others feel the same way.
Most of us run a constant risk of becoming bitter and jaded. More than likely all of us have slipped away to the dark side at least a time or two. We spend a great deal of time haggling with unreasonable hiring managers, unrealistic candidates, and disconnected executives. We chase purple squirrels, negotiate with intransient accountants masquerading as software developers, and try to live up to arbitrary numbers in a metrics-driven profession. It’s easy to question why we keep showing up day after day to subject ourselves to the abuse.
Sometimes, however, we get to go to Slidell, Louisiana. My company, as a subcontractor on a large team, won a piece of a very large federal contract. Our piece involves the migration of a DHS service desk to Stennis, Mississippi. I was able to join our partner for a two-day job fair at a little hotel in Slidell. There isn’t exactly an economic tide surging in that part of the country, so there was a huge turnout for the affair. We had collectively spread the word in advance and targeted some likely candidates, but couldn’t have expected the volume we saw. Most of the positions were Tier 1.0 and Tier 1.5 Service Desk roles, so the requirements weren’t terribly high compared to the high-level technical talent we typically source, but with the exceptional training our partner offers for service desk roles they were great entry-level roles.
I met people working three jobs to makes ends meet. I met waitresses from the Texas Roadhouse who knew nothing about federal contracting. I met industrious folks who had their own little computer repair companies. I met people who essentially ate Ramen noodles for a month to be able to afford to get an A+ certification. And we are hiring them. We are hiring smart, ambitious, hard-working people and they are getting jobs with full benefits and the opportunity to build lucrative IT careers in the federal space. We are helping good people build better lives for themselves and their families. What’s better than that?
We don’t have opportunities like this regularly, opportunities to work at an organic level, offering life-changing positions in an area in desperate need of them, but it reminds me of the essence of what we do and why we do it. We help people. We facilitate jobs. We build teams and further careers. We make a difference in people’s lives, something we should both cherish and respect. The struggles and frustrations are our price of admission, but that price is tiny compared to the pleasure of having an impact on real lives and real people.
Doug Munro is the Director of Technical Recruiting at Optimos, Inc., a strategy and enterprise information technology provider to the federal government. Find Doug on Twitter at @DoDRecruiterDC