Just a Few Questions

June 29, 2011

If this were “Jeopardy!” the correct response would be “What is a PCA?” We had to call it something. It is the big, scary thing many people never check out. These are handled best in a conversation but can also be done as written exchange.

Our biggest battle is just getting someone’s attention long enough to show that the only interest we ever have is whether or not we might be able to bring some kind of value now or years from now. I thought we should put this out there so people can see what we’ll talk about even before we talk about it.

We ALWAYS have ‘hot jobs’ and great clients just like doctors always have pills but we don’t go into a conversation assuming anyone needs medicine.

So, if we are calling you or “InMailing” or emailing you for the first time it is probably for this and we are happy to answer your questions first. Here’s the PCA.


     Thank you for interacting with S e a r c h P a r t n e r. We specialize exclusively in the search for, and direct placement of, cleared technology professionals in the DC/Baltimore/N.VA. area. Most of our business is engaged (retained) so it is essential that we know the best people in our field as opposed to the ‘active’ people.

     One more reminder…We’ll be just as happy as you are if you never need to leave the company you are with now. A majority of people who complete this exercise are not planning any change at this time and it does not signal us that you are ready to do anything more than get to know us.

     Note that this form is for our internal use unless otherwise discussed with you. Please send whatever level of responses you are comfortable with. We are looking forward to possibly representing your interests even if that means confirmation you are already perfectly placed.

1)      Describe in detail what you would be doing in your ideal next position. What technology would you work with? Who would you report to? What types of projects would you be working on? Does it differ from what you do now? The more detail you provide the better for us to understand your career aspirations.       

2)      When were you happiest in your career and why?    

3)      Where are you willing to work?  How far are you willing to travel to and from work?  Is there any reason to even discuss relocation?     

4)      What is your total compensation package?  Please include base, bonus, incentives, stock, etc, and list each separately. Bear in mind this may need to be substantiated at some point. What kind of package do you expect in your next move?      

5)      Please tell us what you can about your security clearance. We are not fishing for info we should not have but we have found people usually can tell us about polys, badges and ability to work ‘on site’.      

6)       What could possibly motivate a decision to leave your current job? If you have not yet made that decision what factors would influence it. 

7)      Describe your search activity, if any, over the past 12 months. Please include any information about interviews and/or offers you have had as well as the types of positions you have evaluated. Who has your resume? If it is available publicly we need to know that now.      




I sent the message below to some folks on LinkedIn and regular email if we had it. We usually don’t do the ‘reactionary’ thing because we don’t have time, but this time it seemed worth a message or two just to make a point. We are offering people the ability to have choices about where they work. Some of the people who regularly discourage you from checking us out do so for a couple reasons.

One is that they know we are good at what we do.

Another is that it might make it more difficult for them to do the exact opposite of what we do. That is to send you an email or call on a  Friday or Monday and let you know that you and all your co-workers have a new employer and you don’t even get to interview.

Would it not be better to know senior management at a couple other companies? You might even end up making a bigger contribution to the mission if you end up with a different part of the customer. Or you could confidently choose to remain with the company you just got sold to if you know it’s a good deal instead of being told it is by the management team you just made wealthy.

It’s probably also good to note here that our clients have different budgets and they spend money in different ways. Some hire us. Some hire internal recruiters. Some drive really nice cars. It all comes from the money the customer pays your company. It’s just divvied up differently by companies that have varying philosophies.

We have no desire to cost the customer needless dollars. And we don’t when the occasional person ends up in a more productive position for money that is not a lot different because we all know money isn’t usually a reason to move. It can be if you are a bit behind the market but unless you talk to us how will you know?

Bottom line…if you all just did better in the acquisition, what does that say about the time you spent waiting for it? And if you didn’t do better why aren’t you getting to know us? What other fantastic planet has a situation where you get an agent/broker that you don’t even have to pay who wants nothing more than to see if he could ever improve you and your families’ lives ?

Usually we try to be a bit more subtle but this time we’re just spitting it out.  We spend a lot of time trying to help people understand that it is ok to have a contingency plan. A contingency plan is a good thing to have when you get sold to another company. Sometimes the new company is better. Sometimes it is not. Either way, it would be good to have a bit of an idea. Many of you don’t get back to us because you think we really mean ‘move right now’. Some of you know better. There’s never a bad time to confidentially get to know a couple other good companies without even having to fill out applications etc. Please send a regular email or phone for further correspondence. Maybe next time you’ll get a choice. For more, see Dave Staats’ blog link on his profile.

For the record, I don’t know many specific people at Pangia or CACI. I am just discussing the nature of the beast here. They are probably all fine people.

Everyone in those two companies was probably bought and sold at least once and some were placed individually by us.

Since I just found the WordPress App for LinkedIn and it glaringly displayed the ‘xxx Days Ago’ by each post I thought it time to come back to my faithful reader more regularly. Let’s call him Tom.

Tom loves LinkedIn the way cats love mice. I have learned to appreciate a few more of the facets but something I want to make a theme on here is the “Contact Settings -Interested In” feature of the LinkedIn profile. I’d love help from anyone reading this to preach the gospel of Contact Settings Awareness to anyone with a LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn claims a value of ,and displays a price of, about $10 for an InMail. I don’t know if anyone pays THAT, but they do cost money. I ask people about hit rates all the time and they are not very high. LinkedIn gives me all these stars for my InMails because mine are rarely rejected. I think they are rarely rejected because they are rarely read.

Maybe I should not expect more than a 10% or 20% return rate but even a person still gob-smacked by the lovelieness of Jamaicans with an inability to get really mad about stuff anymore can still get pretty annoyed by people who invite contact about what we do and then do not even bother to say ‘buzz off’ or ‘leave me alone’ after 6 or 8 InMail attempts.

I am not talking about some of my friends in the intel community who have 3 contacts because they log on to LinkedIn once a year. I am talking about the ones who have 100 to 500 contacts and obviously spend a lot of time on LinkedIn. It is just kind of rude when you said ‘Contact me about Career Opportunities’ to ignore these messages.

I am on the federal do not call list for phone calls. I have a right to get pissed when the burial plot people call me…and anyway I want to be in a baggie until someone scatters my ashes…well wherever they want since I won’t be there.  Just don’t get them in someone’s eyes.

I have the utmost respect for people with LinkedIn profiles saying “Is not open to yadayada” I also respect people who turn off the porch light on Halloween. Heck, after Thank You and Hello the first word they taught me when I got my first daughter in China was Bu Yao meaning “I don’t want it.”

In the overall scheme of life, this is a pretty small thing but it also doesn’t take much time to correct. Please tell everyone you know, when LinkedIn comes up, to review their contact settings. We are happy to go to the next porch where the light is on and the door is open or the candy is sitting on the front step.

Have fun! I know I am.