Sunday, August 9, 2009

K-Bar List Jobs: 9 Aug 2009

K-Bar List Jobs: 9 Aug 2009

"Check out the “Featured Employers” section for additional positions not posted currently on the K-Bar List."
Use the info provided in the job notice to apply.
5. K-Bar List Article: The Interview – Taking out the Target

Shauna C. Torrice
Recruiting Analyst
The Columbia Group (TCG)
1201 M Street, SE, Suite 20
Washington, DC 20003


Job ID#: 2009-1223
# of Positions: 4
Location: Washington, DC
Type: Contingent
No Clearance Needed

Position Description:
Develop an implementation management plan for Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Acquisition and Logistics (OA&L). The implementation plan shall consist of the objectives, research initiatives, resources and timelines that will be required for the successful completion of this task. Assist OA&L in translating strategy and study vision into a detailed roadmap. Provide an implementation plan and an action plan to support the Concept of Operations (CONOPS) and the OA&L Logistics Transformation Support Plan (LTSP). Proactively coordinate and align financial, human resources, and Informational Technology (IT) components into the projects.

Veterans of all military branches are strongly encouraged to apply

This opportunity is contingent upon contract award.

Required Education Skills and Experience:
Subject Matter Expertise in Logistics and Supply Chain Management

Preferred Education Skills and Experience:
Ability to develop a program charters and validate strategic objectives and benefits
Ability to develop a CONOPS to address logistics strategic objectives within VA
Ability to prioritize initiatives
Ability to create a cost / benefit analysis with detailed financial projections
Ability to document prioritized implementation blueprint that includes interdependencies and resource needs
Ability to establish roles and responsibilities for each initiative
Ability to document and institute a sound governance model
Ability to establish policies and procedures for how the initiatives will be rolled out, tracked and measured
Ability to provide facilitation services (to include meeting agendas, read-ahead and meeting minutes) for review and analysis sessions (R&A)


Job ID#: 2009-1224
# of Positions: 4
Location: Washington, DC
Type: Contingent
No Clearance Needed

Position Description:
Logistics SME to recommended / develop processes for strategic sourcing within the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). Establish a Strategic Sourcing Program within the VA that produces information necessary to monitor and manage strategic sourcing initiatives. Implement pilot projects to demonstrate the effectiveness of their recommended strategic sourcing practice. Provide a notification methodology that will allow the VA to realize timely benefits that create self funding initiatives. Recommend strategic sourcing process to maximize the Return On Investment (ROI).

Veterans of all military branches are strongly encouraged to apply

This opportunity is contingent upon contract award.

Required Education Skills and Experience:
Must have subject matter expertise in logistics and strategic sourcing

Preferred Education Skills and Experience:
Ability to develop VA sourcing taxonomy
Ability to perform a spend analysis of VA wide expenditures
Ability to develop a cost modeling methodology and identify cost modeling tools to assist in strategic sourcing analysis
Ability to develop actionable sourcing ideas, estimate mission impact and potential savings by source, and categorize/prioritize sourcing solutions for the pilot efforts
Ability to validate strategic sourcing program mission and vision alignment with the overall VA mission and vision
Ability to develop and validate a commodity/portfolio management plan and recommended governance structure
Ability to develop and rollout a Transformation management framework to address building VA teams and VA support for the program
Ability to provide the initial Portfolio Manager training

Job ID#: 2009-1225
# of Positions: 3
Location: Washington, DC
Type: Contingent
No Clearance Needed

Position Description:
Develop and recommend a Veterans Affairs (VA) enterprise performance management system to enable the Office of Acquisition and Logistics (OA&L) and VA logistics to become performance-focused to effectively drive behavioral change. Understanding of management system, and key performance indicators which display operational and financial performance of supply chain operations with the VA. This initiative will impact all facets of the VA logistics and supply chain management, involving people, processes, and technologies.

Veterans of all military branches are strongly encouraged to apply

This opportunity is contingent upon contract award.

Required Education Skills and Experience:
Must be Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) model certified

Preferred Education Skills and Experience:
Ability to develop the VA SCOR model to provide standardize the process for the development of performance metrics
Ability to recommend methods to improve data reporting and report significant information gaps in the VA operations database
Ability to recommend and develop an Acquisition and Logistics Dashboard that summarizes VA procurement data which can be used by the OA&L to create reports and capture additional data
Ability to provide a baseline for current VA data and performance metrics
Ability to develop performance metrics and the data required to support the effective use of performance metrics by OA&L
Ability to develop a performance measurement strategy to ensure continuous quality improvement
Ability to develop and recommend execution methodologies that will allow OA&L to assign responsibility for the management of the performance measures and the achievement of results

Job ID#: 2009-1226
# of Positions: 3
Location: Washington, DC
Type: Contingent
No Clearance Needed

Position Description:
Recommend an effective process for the transformation of Veterans Affairs (VA) communication and branding policies. Understanding of Transformation as the ability of management engage all levels of an organization so that its members are ready, able, and willing to evolve policy and doctrine to support streamlined, and cost effective logistics and supply chain management practices. Document stakeholder concerns, experiences and recommendations for policy changes that will advance/streamline operational practice. Recommend to OA&L in the development of targeted strategic communication and branding materials, including but not limited to, briefings that showcase the mission impacts of a unified supply chain; evidence of how changes will directly impact the mission in a positive way; and debunk perceptions that may exist with key stakeholders.

Veterans of all military branches are strongly encouraged to apply

This opportunity is contingent upon contract award.

Required Education Skills and Experience:
Must have Strategic Communications experience

Preferred Education Skills and Experience:
Ability to develop a high-level OA&L branding plan and strategy
Ability to develop an OA&L strategic communication plan
Ability to tie planned communications to major program milestones
Ability to use communications to build ownership for transformation
Ability to use approved baseline processes as the source for all external communication;
Ability to obtain subject matter expertise (SME) input to tailor to stakeholder needs
Ability to maintain record of all stakeholder communications in a knowledge base.
The Interview: Taking out the Target

Most vets would rather stand in front of a firing squad than go for a job interview. Sadly, those that think and act this way normally end up with the same result: dead. But if you plan your interview like you would for an attack on an enemy target you have a much better chance of coming away victorious. Your target is the job; your enemy is unemployment…treat them as such.

Step 1: Research the Objective (Reconnaissance)
Ok, so you have been contacted by an employer because you applied to their website, or somebody networked you to them, whatever. You wouldn’t attack an enemy target without knowing everything you can about the enemy, their position, their capabilities, and their intention. Your enemy is unemployment. To defeat your enemy you need to take out the target; the job. The interview is the method you will use the take out that target and the better job you do on the interview the better chance you have of defeating your enemy. Like the Chinese military theorist Sun Tsu said, “know the enemy as you know yourself and in a thousand battles you will be victorious”….same concept.
You should know what job you applied for that got you the interview, but what do you know about the company itself. Yes, you want a job, but you may not necessarily want to work for that company. Remember, you are interviewing them as well. So go to their website and find out what they are doing and where. You may very well have applied for one position, yet the company may actually be interested in you for one or more others. In addition, say you applied for a position to work on the widget manufacturing line, but your desire is to actually design new widgets. If you tell them in the interview that you have ideas on new widgets that you can help them design, that might very well peak their interest enough to hire you. So know everything about the company and the position that you can. Don’t be afraid to seek-out current employees and ask them questions…think of it as prisoner interrogation if you have to, but get the info.

Step 2: Appearance and Attitude (Prepping the Battlefield)
Your appearance can make or break an interview. If you are going for a sales position, showing up with half a dozen earrings and tattoos is probably not the best technique…unless of course you will be selling body piercing and tattoos. Involved in that research should be finding out what type of atmosphere the company is known for. If you are being interviewed by a company with a very professional image then wearing a suit and tie would be most appropriate. If, however, you are interviewing with a small software company with a casual, jeans and sweatshirts atmosphere, then a suit might be a bad idea. Like I said, do your research, but when in doubt dress to impress. Special note: some guys like to wear a tie to the interview that matches the company logo color…personally I think that is a bit too much, but if you think it gives you the edge, go for it.
Don’t hesitate to ask the person who called you for the interview a few questions like whom you will be interviewing with, his/her position (HR, hiring manager, Vice Pres, etc.), and how many steps and how long is the normal hiring process. For some larger companies the process may take weeks. For a smaller one you could be interviewing with the person who will be hiring you that day. Once you find out who will be interviewing you, ask if you could get a biographical sketch or any other info so you know who you are facing. Knowing that the person interviewing you happened to have common military experience, same school, same hometown, etc. can be a great tool to create a good atmosphere and relationship with that person and result in a smooth interview…and hopefully a great job.
Don’t forget to bring the ‘tude.’ Be confident, poised, and professional. You obviously bring something to the table that the employer wants or you wouldn’t be there. That doesn’t mean act cocky, just be confident in yourself and your abilities. It is natural to be nervous, but have faith in yourself and your abilities and it will show.

Step 3: Showing up for the Interview (First Contact)
Don’t be lulled into thinking that the interview begins when you sit down with the hiring manager in the conference room….far from it. Your interview begins when they call to invite you to the interview. If your voicemail answers, “Yo, I’m not here, you know the drill.” You probably will not get a call back. You just showed the employer that you are not professional…oops. Make your voicemail, answering machine, etc. as professional as possible. If you have a 3-year-old (or a teenager that acts like one) who likes to answer the phone but doesn’t know how to take a message, then don’t put your home phone number on your resume; use your cell and answer it professionally. This can make all the difference in the world.
One of the biggest mistakes I have seen in interviews happens before you ever meet the person interviewing you. Remember that you are being interviewed my many more people than merely the representative on the other side of the desk. When you pull into the office parking lot you will more than likely be seen by at least three employees. If you get out of the car, light-up a quick smoke, then stomp the butt out in the parking lot…bad start…you can bet someone saw that.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that the cute young lady behind the receptionist desk is (a) checking you out because you look good in that suit, (b) has no bearing on your employment opportunity, or (c) is actually the receptionist. I have seen the president or vice president of a company sit at the receptionist desk when a potential employee is coming in for an interview just to see how they treat those that they may feel are below them. If you enter the office with a smug look and tell the receptionist to tell Mr. Big that Mr. Wannabee is here to see him, and by the way get me a cup of coffee…bad idea. If the person sitting there was the president or possible the person you were coming to interview with, interview is over…you are dead meat. Even if that indeed was the receptionist, she will walk into the interviewer’s office, tell him that Mr. Dipstick is here, and then proceed to tell them how rude you were…you are dead meat. Get the picture? Be professional and respectful to all you meet, that’s the bottom line.

Step 3: The other side of the table (Hand-to-Hand Combat)
Don’t be thrown by the fact that there are three or more people interviewing you…this is a good thing because it means that you are being taken as a serious candidate and you might be hitting two or more interview levels at the same time. Lots of companies make it a policy to have numerous people interview the potential employee to get several opinions on their personality, professionalism, capabilities, etc. Very often, especially for very technical jobs, the HR or hiring manager will ask someone who has a similar background to be part of the interview in order to verify the potential employee’s level of technical knowledge. Also, remember that just because the person sitting is sitting across from you, or at the head of the table, that doesn’t mean that he or she is the senior person. Address your answers to the person who asked, but make eye contact with each of them during the answer. Show equal respect to them all.
One of the toughest questions, and normally the first one asked, is “Why do you want to work for our company?” Be ready for it. If you can respond that you have researched what the company does and that you feel that your experience and expertise is a perfect fit…that is a pretty good answer. If you say, “I have done my research on your company and have found that (a) you are doing not only the type of work I am an expert at, but (b) your market share is growing in this field and therefore I can grow with the company, and (c) your reputation is one of a company with ethical values, a family-oriented work style, and you are not only involved in the community but encourage your employees to be as well.” Now you have their attention…providing it is true of course.
Another of toughest questions is, “Tell me a little about yourself.” Most of us would rather jump naked into a cactus patch than have to describe ourselves. Be ready for it. Just the basics that should read like the “30-second elevator speech” that opens your resume. Sure they have read it, but hearing that you know what it says means you truly believe what you wrote. And don’t be long winded; just say what you know how to do and how long you have been doing it. Be careful about adding things like volunteer work, family members, disability status and other personal info that they have no business asking. As long as you are physically able to do the job as described then your veteran disability status is none of their business. Also, don’t emphasize your combat experience during an interview unless it directly relates to the requirements of the position. Patriotism is a great thing, but trying to leverage that to get a job can backfire on you. If the question is asked, you can answer it…just don’t make it the focus of the interview that because you were shot at or have a Bronze Star that you deserve a job…doesn’t work that way.
Be prepared for the inevitable question, “Do you have any questions for us.” Yes you do…trust me. The things you need to leave the interview with are:
- What salary range are we talking?
- What benefits are involved?
- Is this a contract position? If so, how much time is left on the contract?
- What are my chances of growing with the company?
- Do you have an educational reimbursement program if I decide to further my education?
- Do you have automatic annual pay raises based on a percentage, or is there an employee evaluation process involved?
- What is the next step in the interview process (providing they didn’t offer you the job at the table)?
Make sure that you shake the hands of everyone at the table, thank them for their time, and tell them you look forward to working with them. Then shake the hand of the receptionist on the way out and get her business card.

Step 4: Follow-up (Securing the position)
Hopefully you will be contacted shortly after the interview to come in for an offer or be scheduled for the next level of interview. That is not always the case. Most companies are professional enough to call you back regardless of their decision, but do not hesitate to contact them.
One of the most underused, yet most successful, methods of showing appreciation (and often getting that next interview) is to send a Thank You card to those who interviewed you. NOT an email but an actual paper Thank You card on which you write an actual, hand-written note…yes, they still make those. Your interviewers probably gave you their business cards at the interview, but just in case they didn’t you can always get the office contact info from the receptionist on the way out or just look it up on their website. This can make all the difference and shows that you are professional in dealing with others…trust me on this one.
You should also follow-up with the recruiter or whoever scheduled the interview for you. If that person informs you that you were not chosen for the position you should ask for feedback as to why; be it your level of experience, your interviewing skills, the fact that you asked the receptionist for a date, etc. This kind of feedback can help you for your next interview.

Step 5: Accepting the Position (Victory!!)
The final step in the interviewing process is not the offer; it is the acceptance of the offer. Remember that you do not have to accept the first offer made and can make a counter-offer to them. Let’s say they offer you $50k and you make a counter offer of $55k. They could come back with $53k, etc. But be careful; the offer could be rescinded if you go back and forth too much.
Make sure that you understand the details of the contract you are signing. Is this a contingent contract and you get the job if they win the bid in 2 months, or is this an open position that you go to work on Monday? Is the contract running out in 3 months, a year, 5 years, etc.
One last thing; once you are a member of a team, act like it. Support the company, your division, your section, and your boss in every way you can. Your reputation will be built on the foundation you create over the first few months with the company. If you create a solid foundation then the company will support you and will do everything they can to keep you employed with them. If, however, you act like you are doing the company a favor by working for them, treat others with something other than total respect, and basically make yourself difficult to work with…start reading this article again…you are going to need it.

Ken ‘K-Bar’ Barker
Athena Technical Services