Monday, August 31, 2009

Job News, Notes from 8/28 OCA Meeting

Job News... Sue Dietrich has accepted a job with Clearwire, as their new Advertising Manager, and will start next Tuesday. CONGRATS, SUE!

Welcome new members:
- Greg Roberts, communications / reporter - previously with the Seattle PI.
- Sean Linton, CPG sales professional / account manager - most recently with Cintas.

Last week Marc Tolan of Kelly Resources met with the group to talk about Microsoft and marketing contract positions. He reviewed the differences between V- and A-dash resources, and we discussed a multitude of things, including:
- There are several 'types' of employees at Microsoft, the most common being A-dash, meaning "agency," and V-dash, meaning "vendor."
- Agency jobs can last a max of 12 months, then a contractor must take a 100-day break. They can be hired full-time by Microsoft at any point, and any time over 40 hours is paid time and a half. Marketing positions are usually paid between $25 and $45/hr, depending on experience and title.
- Vendor jobs are overseen by the contracting company, have more flexibility with pay structures (as often the work is just billed through the company), and there are no time constraints that need to be met.
- There used to be 9 agencies that Microsoft worked through, but the 'approved list' was just recently increased to over 25 companies that place staff. These include Kelly, Corestaff, Act-1, MAQ, Excell Data, Aquent, Filter, Creative Circle, Creative Group, and others. (A list of those that we have connections with is forthcoming.)
- Marc recommends working with multiple agencies, but to make sure that if you're applying for a particular job, you apply through only one.
- For each position that he is working to staff, Marc can submit up to a total of 4 resumes.
- Typical timeframe to place someone is 3 weeks, but it can happen as quick as a week and as long as several months - depending on how quickly the hiring manager within Microsoft is moving.
- With regard to the idea of looking for full-time work while contracting: If you are working as a contractor, there is no legal obligation to continue with that contract. (Washington is an at-will state.) Obviously, it's up to you how you handle giving notice, etc.
- When presented with an opportunity by an agency, ask them what rate they are targeting for you in the position.
- Marc recommends to stay in touch with him (every couple weeks or so), but that he is actively looking to place people. "We both benefit if you're working."

Resume Tips
- "Position your resume to the job that you want, not the jobs that you've done." Tailor so that your relevant experience speaks to the qualifications and responsibilities of the position.
- Make sure the experience on your resume, if it's the same, matches the job description syntax. If they don't match, screeners (human or machine) could knock your resume out of the pile.

Interview Tips
- Marc mentioned a few useful questions to ask during an interview. About 20 minutes in, ask "If I were to join your team, what would be my biggest challenge?" This can bring up any perceived weaknesses, which you can then address during the rest of the interview.
If you feel you may run into the "... but you haven't worked with Microsoft before" objection, a question to ask could be, "What did you do to be successful here at Microsoft when you joined?"
Another question to ask at the end of the interview is, "If I were to join your team, what strengths do you feel I would bring?" This makes them reiterate the positive attributes you possess and will be the first thing they remember from the interview.
- One of the OCA members mentioned that you should literally state your excitement during the interview. "Before we get started, let me just mention how excited I am about this opportunity." You can also end with, "Have I conveyed how much I want this job?"

Marc's contact info:
Marc Tolan
Staffing Manager
Kelly Financial Resources Microsoft Team

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