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Federal News Radio Interview on the Intelligence Community Virtual Career Fair – Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Intelligence Community Deputy Chief Human Capital Officer
March 12, 2010
So why go virtual? For that, we turn to Dr. Elizabeth Kolmstetter, Deputy Chief Human Capital Officer for the Intelligence Community in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Good morning, Dr. Kolmstetter. Thanks for joining us today.
ELIZABETH KOLMSTETTER: Good morning.
MS. NORRIS: So why did you decide to go virtual with the career fair?
DR. KOLMSTETTER: Well, we really believe this is a cost-effective way to attract a very tech-savvy workforce and it allows us a much greater geographic reach.
TOM TEMIN: And so when someone in their pajamas or otherwise – maybe even less, who knows – when they go to their screen to this job fair, what do they see?
DR. KOLMSTETTER: They’ll be greeted by an entry screen and a welcome screen and a little layout of the actual virtual fair with a layout including the auditorium, the exhibit hall and some other areas that they can explore. And then they’ll go into these areas and really explore the job opportunities and information available.
MS. NORRIS: And how do they interact with recruiters?
DR. KOLMSTETTER: Well, this is the virtual part. They will be in real time interacting with recruiters, program managers and experts through chats. They can have public chats where their questions and answers will appear to all participants or request a private chat to get into more depth of their own personal information.
MR. TEMIN: So it’s chat by typing. In other words, they can’t talk to the person or see them.
DR. KOLMSTETTER: That is true. Yes, that will all be through typing.
MR. TEMIN: And how many jobs are going to be listed? What’s the scope of this whole fair?
DR. KOLMSTETTER: Well, we really haven’t even counted all of them because we have so many agencies. We have nine, 10 agencies participating. And they are all still posting jobs that they have available right now. But across the government, as you know, in cybersecurity alone, there are over a thousand, probably 2,000 jobs available. And then we have hundreds more in other disciplines.
MS. NORRIS: Dr. Kolmstetter, will people be pre-selected for specific job openings?
DR. KOLMSTETTER: No, we have set this up actually as a very open event. There’s been no pre-selection. Anyone is available to come in and explore. We even know students who aren’t yet in the job market will be participating just to explore opportunities in the Intelligence Community.
MR. TEMIN: Now, the old saying goes, you know, when you’re on the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog. So at some point, you’re going to have to see these people in person and do some kind of verification. What’s the process to make sure that who you’re chatting with is the person that shows up for the job?
DR. KOLMSTETTER: That is absolutely a good question because of the virtual nature of this. In order to register, we have asked that applicants also include their résumé. Therefore we already are able to see some of their skills and abilities. And if they’re actually going to be talking with a hiring manager, they may ask some questions and be asked some questions about their background.
If there’s interest in a good match, we ask that they actually submit – and you can do this virtually – a real job application to one of the specific postings. From there, the hiring managers may actually invite one of these applicants in for an interview. And that is the process, really, where we’ll start to really be sure that we’re talking to the person with the same skills and that they really match some of the job qualifications.
MS. NORRIS: We’re talking this morning to Dr. Elizabeth Kolmstetter, Deputy Intelligence Community Chief Human Capital Officer of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. They’re talking to us about their career fair, which will take place Tuesday, March 16th from 10:00 in the morning until 8:00 in the evening.
So which agencies will be participating in this? Can you give us a little rundown?
DR. KOLMSTETTER: Oh, absolutely. We’re so excited to have – and this is the first IC-wide virtual fair. We are including the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Homeland Security, Defense Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, our own Office of Director of National Intelligence and the Office of Naval Intelligence. We’ll also have booths representing government-wide benefits, diversity information and opportunities for heritage Americans.
MR. TEMIN: And do you get the sense that interest in intelligence jobs has risen? I mean, intelligence has been in the news, the whole connecting-the-dot issue after Christmas bombing and so forth. Do you find that that’s causing people to say, hey, I’d like to help out here?
DR. KOLMSTETTER: Absolutely. Unfortunately, every time we do have these incidents in the news, that obviously creates more publicity and explains, really, our very, very important role in national security and in the front lines. And we do get a lot of interest. And as you can tell, we’re also trying to brand the Intelligence Community as a really wonderful place to start your career and stay with us for a career because we have so many agencies participating in our very important mission.
MS. NORRIS: And Dr. Kolmstetter, tell us about the special language skills that you’re looking for as well.
DR. KOLMSTETTER: Yes, as we have seen our threat environment go global, we really do need much more breadth in terms of foreign languages in the areas of Arabic, Dari, Farsi, Mandarin, Pashtu, Urdu, as well as just knowing more about these cultures. Cultural expertise in these areas is critically important to our mission.
MR. TEMIN: I imagine getting people that speak those languages well might at the same time also increase the diversity of the workforce.
DR. KOLMSTETTER: Yes, and we are always seeking to increase the diversity, and of course, with the different ethnicities and cultural experiences, but also just diversity of ideas. We see ourselves as a very innovative workforce, and bringing variety of background, experiences and ideas is critical to us.
MS. NORRIS: And so at this point, we are still a little ways away from the actual event on March 16th. Are you still accepting job applicants, and how do they find out more information?
DR. KOLMSTETTER: Yes, absolutely. We will allow registration all the way up until the very day of March 16th, next Tuesday. And interested folks just need to get onto our Web site, which is www.icvirtualfair.com, and they’ll get all the information there on how to register.
MS. NORRIS: Well, that sounds fascinating. I’m sure you have lots of registrants already. Can you tell how many applicants there are in queue?
DR. KOLMSTETTER: Yes, actually, it’s very exciting. We can pull the numbers just in real time, and we have just reached over 20,000 applicants across the broad spectrum of our job areas, and we’re just excited to have all these folks. And again, maybe some of these are not applicants today but are just seeking more information about career opportunities in our Community.
MR. TEMIN: And if they all show up, I hope your online staff won’t be swamped.
DR. KOLMSTETTER: Well, this is part of the good thing about being virtual. We actually are staffing this across our community in many different agencies. They’re not all going to be in one room, although many of the agencies have set up conference centers and rooms where the folks in the chat rooms will be together. But we are able to distribute our resources, as well, which will help a lot.
MS. NORRIS: And then, Dr. Kolmstetter, how do you share information between agencies and between applicants?
DR. KOLMSTETTER: Well, that’s a very good question, and we have really built more through-put in terms of sharing. Again, an applicant – a person interested in a specific job at an agency will have to apply to those positions. And those will all be available and posted, and they can download them at home and go through those.
But as we’ve been pooling our applicants, particularly in the cybersecurity area, if we don’t have enough positions in one agency, we are looking for ways to share the résumés across to other agencies that still have openings so that this is a much more efficient way to help applicants find jobs but also for us to staff.
MS. NORRIS: It’s a good idea. It really is. I foresee more of this happening, and I think this is a great thing, so thanks so much for joining us to talk about it today. We look forward to the career fair. Will you tell us how it went?
DR. KOLMSTETTER: Absolutely. I’d be happy to come back and talk to you. We’ll be tracking the numbers of applications we get and actual hires, so we are very excited. And thank you so much for the opportunity to speak with you this morning.
MS. NORRIS: All right, appreciate your time today, as well. That’s Dr. Elizabeth Kolmstetter, Deputy Intelligence Community Chief Human Capital Officer, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, talking to us about their virtual career fair, which will take place Tuesday, March 16th.
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