Interview with a Recruiter, Bill Lewis, L-3 Communications GSES

Bill Lewis

From time to time we bring you Q/A sessions with recruiters, who provide insights on their company, its hiring practices and job search tips.

Bill Lewis, L-3 Communications GS&ES 

Tell us about yourself

I am a retired United States Army Vet with 23 yrs of service. I’m currently a recruiting manager for L-3 Global Security & Engineering Solutions (GS&ES), and have been in this capacity for four years. Prior to this I worked in different L-3 Communications’ subsidiaries. I actually transitioned out of the service to L-3 and I currently manage and conduct full life-cycle recruiting for positions globally.

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

In searching for any job, realistically a service member should start to research companies they may be interested in at least a year out from their transition. That’s about the time they get involved in a “Transition Assistance Program” in their respective military transition offices (ACAP, PSC’s, FFSC, or Work-Life Staff).

This career research is very important to conducting career exploration. Career exploration leads to narrowing down specific occupations which leads to gathering company information. Job seekers want to obtain as much information as possible on a company prior to actually applying. Remember the more information you have about a company the easier it is to identify transferrable skills and match them to the organization.

As a service member gets closer to the end of their service, let’s say within a 45 day window, they initialize their “plan” and start applying.  

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

Get organized and plan an effective job search. As with anyone interested in any organization, a service member needs to apply. Setup a profile in the company’s applicant tracking system so this system can work for you. ALWAYS remember to target your resume and maximize your chance for an interview. Please do not simply give up if you did not get a call on your first application. Keep applying.   

Most organizations have applicant tracking systems which are used throughout the company they are applying to. Applicant tracking systems give service members greater exposure within recruiting communities by housing an online submittal in a central database.

What’s it like for transitioning military to work for your company? 

L-3 is a great organization to transition to. My transition was really easy because I felt that L-3 GS&ES had a very smooth process in place which offered me a seamless transition. I feel that I had individuals with an understanding of the service I provided to my country, and the worth I would provide to them as an employer.

L-3 GS&ES does a really good job of acclimation, actually not just for service members but everyone who starts employment with us. We have a comprehensive orientation which does a good job to transition folks into a great culture. Our team here at L-3 GS&ES understands what a service member has sacrificed in their life and the service they have provided to our country. The biggest thing we do is provide accurate information about the company culture, the job, and expectations. 

Any words of wisdom for cleared job seekers using social media?

Word to the wise is to use social media. It is the new way to socialize and network. Recruiters are using it and companies are posting their career information.

The most important component is to protect yourself on these sites and consider restricting access to your profile, keeping your private information private, and not posting information which makes you vulnerable. Use common sense. Service members understand “Threat Awareness,” that is there are entities who exploit personal contact to position themselves for personal, economic, ideological, or nationalistic gain to the detriment of U.S. national interests. Be aware that foreign intelligence agencies use social networking sites. 

Tell us about the hiring process with your company

As a company primarily in the business of government services, our hiring processes can vary. Our goal is to get positions filled as quickly as possible with the most qualified individual based on their qualifications.

In a typical situation there are two interviews, and there will be a comprehensive prescreening conducted by telephone. Usually this is the recruiter. Then arrangements are made for a face-to-face on-site interview. But there are also panel interviews, and multiple interviews. It just depends on the position, contract, etc. The best thing for a job seeker to do is ask, “What may I expect in the hiring process?” 

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

Well, I certainly do not want to jinx our team, but we do a really good job of filling almost any position. It is not really about what are the toughest positions to fill. It comes down to where the position is and the market’s ability to have those individuals with the knowledge, skills and abilities a customer is seeking.

What is very interesting is job seekers can actually conduct research in their market. All this data can be found on the Department of Labor website.

What do you see transitioning military doing wrong that you want to tell them to stop doing?

For transitioning military there are a few challenges in general:

1) Unrealistic expectations – Many service members feel they will enter the civilian workforce with security clearance “x” and get a high paying position. That may be the case. However realistically they may take a pay cut because of the change in career, or to whatever salary the market pays. In the planning stages of your transition, please ensure you discover your needs through effective financial planning. Also remember that there may be others within the area you live who have the same clearance and are prepared to take job A for salary X. 

2) Credentials – Understand that civilian licensing and certification are on the rise, and these are usually based on education, training and even experiences, based on your career preparation obtained in the military. Remember to take the time and determine requirements for any credentials while you are still in the service. Take time while you’re in the military for your transition and accomplish your education, certifications, and license. Seek information to accomplish this at your nearest transition office.

3) Civilianize acronyms and military jargon – Be prepared to consciously think about words prior to using acronyms or even military jargon in any communication. Even if a position is supporting the government, different service acronyms mean different things. So always write the words out vs using the acronym. If an acronym is used, make sure you ask what the acronym stands for instead of assuming.    

What’s the craziest thing a job seeker has ever said to you?

I contacted the job seeker, stated my name, title and company. The job seeker asked, “What is this in reference to?” By the way the individual had applied and I was making initial contact to prescreen. They had made it past the first resume review. When you apply for a job, be prepared!

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

It’s one of the most fulfilling jobs there is, but it is a high-speed roller coaster.

Imagine our current economic situation in that we have a 9% unemployment rate. There a lot of folks seeking employment and applying for jobs.

A job seeker’s competition is all around them. The better a job seeker communicates their strengths  and achievements, then the better a chance of landing a job.

 An example of this is analyzing want ads, determing if you are qualified, and targeting your resume prior to applying. With the job market competition it’s paramount to be specific and write “What separates you through your knowledge, skills and abilities from the next individual.”       

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

An less than professional email address – Billlovestimeoff@email.com, versus Bill.Smith@email.com.

If I’m a security cleared job seeker interested in working for your company, what should I do?

As previously mentioned, for any company I would recommend job seekers go to a company’s website, search for opportunities and of course apply to those positions. Always spend the time to review the description, highlight the buzz words and target your resume prior to applying to any position. After applying be sure to print out the resume you applied with, the job description, company mission and information. Then take these documents and three-hole punch them to save in your handy, dandy “opportunity finder binder.” There’s multiple reasons to have an ”opportunity finder binder,” but one of these is to be prepared should you be contacted at any time on a given day, where you can easily refer to the information. Remember, a resume is a simple tool to gain you an interview. If you are using the wrong tool for the job, then you need the right tool. 

I just lost my job, what are the three things I need to do?

First, regardless of your current employment status, everyone should have a resume ready, updated with employment, clearance, education, certification, etc., or any changes. Your resume worked for the job you just got laid off from, so it would be a good starting point for the next opportunity. 

Secondly, deal with stress. Understand it’s a natural occurrence to have stress due to the change and uncertainty. Search out emotional support and attempt to remain positive.  Being optimistic will assist in your job search.

Third, remain organized and initialize a plan. If you’re a service member, seek assistance http://www.dol.gov/vets/, or http://www.dol.gov/elaws/evets.htm. You are entitled to this help.

What advice would you give a job seeker attending a Cleared Job Fair?

1) Plan ahead and conduct research on the companies attending. Take a strategic approach to landing a job.

2) Search the company career sites, locate opportunities, print out the opportunities and target your resume. Make two copies, one for the company and one to retain.

3) Have plenty of other resumes.

4) Create a 30 second commercial or elevator speech. Rehearse and prepare.

5) Plan to attend all day.

6) Arrive early, so you can review the Cleared Job Fair Job Seeker Handbook which contains information on the employers. Prepare to initially focus on the companies you have conducted research and targeted resumes. At least 5-10 companies.

7) Make contact with targeted companies. Always visit those recruiters like me because recruiters network your resumes and we give out great pointers!

8) Then visit everyone else. Attempt not to miss any company. Remember this is networking time. An opportunity might just be where you neglected to go. This is why they call it job hunting.

9) After the job fair follow-up with an email to any contacts you may have received.

What advice would you give a job seeker who is uploading their resume/cover letter on ClearedJobs.Net, and who wants you to be able to find them?

ClearedJobs.Net is an awesome website to seek out opportunities. Let us look into the advantages of uploading your resume: 1) It does not cost you anything, 2) Offers all kinds of advice, pointers, video’s, toolkits, events, and blogs from professionals, 3) There are lots of company recruiters searching ClearedJobs.Net resumes, 4) Locate yourself a job, and 5) Gain insight to companies attending ClearedJobs.Net career fairs — Cleared Job Fairs

If not today, then they will tomorrow. Is your resume on ClearedJobs.Net?

Good Luck on your strategies for an effective job search! 

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