Job Search Advice From Overseas Contractors - 2008 by ggw17295


									     Job Search Advice
       From Overseas
     Contractors - 2008

Survey results, job search advice and work tips
  from more than 650 overseas contractors

                                                                photos courtesy of DOD

           Please feel free to forward this report to others.

 by William Beaver
 Editor & Publisher
Thanks for taking the time to read this special report.

Finding overseas contracting jobs is a process, with no easy shortcuts. To be successful,
you must:

       1. Network. Network. Network.

       2. Stay up to date on what's happening in the industry.

       3. Apply for jobs the way the companies want you to.

       4. Try to find out what companies hire for your field, and how they hire.

       5. Keep up on what contracts are in play and who has which one.

       6. Learn about new regulations as Congress and the Pentagon increase industry

And you have to do all these things without wasting your valuable time...

We help you stay informed of the on-going answers for those questions and much more.
In fact helping you speed up your job search is the whole purpose of Danger Zone Jobs.

During August and September 2008, we surveyed more than 650 contractors asking
about various aspects of working overseas, including tips and advice for finding jobs. We
hope this information helps you with your own job search.

                  William Beaver
                  Editor-in-chief / Publisher
                  Danger Zone Jobs .com

                       TABLE OF CONTENTS

                       3     Backgrounds of Surveyed Contractors

                       5     Surveyed Contractors - Career Path

                       8     Company Information from Working Contractors

                       10 Job Search Advice & Work Tips from Working Contractors

                       21 Advice From Companies Concerning Common Mistakes

                           Please feel free to forward this report to others.
                             Special Report … 3

Backgrounds of Surveyed Contractors
                             Special Report … 4

Backgrounds of Surveyed Contractors
                           Special Report … 5

Surveyed Contractors… Career Path
                               Special Report … 6

Backgrounds of Surveyed Overseas Contractors

                                                   continued... Special Report … 7
                             Special Report … 8

Company Information from Overseas Contractors…

                                        Special Report … 9

Company Information from Overseas Contractors…

    Other Company Benefits Mentioned…
     Monthly Bonuses                    Contract Completion Bonus

     Paid Vacation and Overtime         30 Days Paid Vacation

     Discount on Vehicle in US          Up to $860 for Airplane Ticket

     Tax Free Money                     9 Weeks On, 3 Weeks Off Paid

     Meals and All Bills Paid           45 Out/90 Home Schedule

     $44 per week food in Afghanistan   Hardship Pay
                                                           Special Report … 10

Job Search Advice & Work Tips from Working Contractors…

        Very few companies play nice out in the desert. We are primarily a commodity that
        can be used and discarded. Always keep your options open. Never ASSUME your
        company has any long range plans or dedication to you.

        I thought the experience would be marketable upon my return to the US but poten-
        tial employers have found it more interesting than a selling point (that is, helping
        me find a position in the US).

        I really liked it; there's nothing quite like driving in convoy when things get
        "interesting". It was hard on the family but for us the benefits made it worth it. In
        addition it has to me one of the most important and well paying jobs I've ever had.
        It was good to serve my Country in this capacity and it was the adventure of a life-
        time. I look forward to being rehired as soon as I become eligible again (KBR has a
        120 day waiting period for rehires).

    4   Find out as much as possible how to gear up, what to expect, and how not to bitch
        so much when you get over!

    5   In Afghanistan, there are a lot more talkers than capable people. Beware when you
        join a group for overseas construction... you should expect that the biggest talkers
        work their way into 'responsible' positions, but they are often the least capable.
        Braggadacio, ineptitude and croneyism push aside professionalism and capability.
        Leadership is sorely lacking overseas. Be ready to accept unwise and sometimes
        downright foolish 'leaders'. organizations and processes. Overseas work attracts
        (among others) people that don't fit in well, or can't prosper professionally else-
        where... but you have to live with them and their ways. Definitely takes the bloom
        off the rose, especially when they are protected by their patron higher up in the

        This type of work is not for everyone, it is very hard on the families back home and
        the mindset of some of the people over here is dangerous not only to them but to
        the rest of us, think this over and talk it over with your family before coming into
        the type of work.

        NonUS contractor dishonesty with TCN's forced early decision to leave. Fake rub-
        berstamp resumes & 40% return on bad repairs goes against the grain with me at
        DS/GS direct support sites (COB's) in Afghanistan, but gee the paperwork was terri-
                                                            Special Report … 11

Job Search Advice & Work Tips from Working Contractors…

   10   It is hard, people do not really appreciate what you do out there.

   11   Very dangerous for women. Constant sexual harassment. Serious reprisals/potentially
        deadly physical injuries reprisals and other setbacks for utilizing company means to end
        stalking, etc.

        Becoming a "contractor' is something you want to do. It is not a 9 to 5 kind of job. Be
        prepare, physically and mentally.. Being an 'Independent contractor (IC)' is a different
        way of life. You'll travel, meet people that will be your friends for the rest of your life.
        You will explore parts of the world that most people( you know) would never imagine.
        The band of brothers is like no other. BUT be smart. Look at the future, have a network
        of fellow IC's, always look ahead and stay ahead of the news. Think how it will affect
        your career choices. It is great start if you want money for college or a law enforcement
        career. I have enjoyed all my contracts and I try to make the best of the circumstances,
        like getting my continuing my college education. People will either like you or stereo-
        type you. Either way, your "bar" stories will be like no other…

        The company I work for offers no incentives to stay with them. If you want to go home,
        go. The only way you can get a pay raise is to get promoted. And now FICA and Medi-
        care it taken out of our checks. 6.25% and 1.25% They pay only 80 HRS of straight
        time for vacation but you can take up to 15 days. 8 hrs of pay per day up to 10 days.
        They only reimburse you for 860.00 for your plane ticket the balance you owe and it
        usually cost 1200.00 to 2000.00 per ticket. And they only pay you hazard pay for the
        first 40 HRS worked the other 44 hrs worked is straight time. You are required to work
        84 hrs per week. But at least its a job.

        Be sure to read every word of the contract you sign. If they offer anything to you and it
        is not written in the contract you will not get it. Sometimes even if it is you will not get
        it. I have a 3 percent pay raise written into my contract yearly. 2 plus years and I have
        not seen it yet! If it is not an American company you really do not have much rights. It
        is difficult to get things done on base through these companies. A lot of times they do
        not understand the concept of the military ways. It makes life more difficult than it
        should be. Each contract I have worked on here the pay has decreased considerably. It
        is very hard to find a position here as an American Contractor. The companies are all
        trying to make their dollars by hiring Foreign Nationals. If you have a degree (whether
        or not your proficient in it) it helps in getting jobs here. People with 100 percent more
        experience are not hired but the ones with degrees are. It is HOT here working in the
        desert. Keep your cool. There are a lot of hours put in over here and people get irri-
        tated. People get fired here for being stupid ie. arguing with gate guards, assaulting
        other workers. So keep it cool. Remember you can get a plane and leave tonight if you
        want. There are 1000 other people ready to take your job.
                                                           Special Report … 12

Job Search Advice & Work Tips from Working Contractors…

   15   Salary's are down, Most contractors and companies are going to a state side mind set.

   16   The best way to get a job overseas is to be overseas. Most companies want an asset
        who is on the ground and ready to move ASAP for "hot fills".

   17   Read your employment contract carefully, then have your attorney read the document
        BEFORE you sign it!

   18   It is the ultimate to work in danger zones not just because of the financial gain but be-
        cause I was in the military. It gives you that satisfaction when you succeed and every-
        body is happy. You need to be emotionally strong to succeed in these danger zones.

   19   Many times if not all, I get thanked for working overseas with the troops. It may only
        be a Midwest thing but its kinda nice knowing they know that your ass is on the line like
        the troops.

        Always get what they offer you in writing, make sure your private insurance will pay off
        if you get killed, and always look out for yourself..

   21   Always try to poll people who are working on a current contract about the quality and
        reliability of the in-country management. That is a controllable part of the contracting
        environment that should contribute to, not detract from, comfort, predictability, and
        reliability during deployment.

   22   Please have a goal in mind, ask questions and most of all remember that you signed the
        contract on your own free will.

        Working with/for the Military is an honor....more people who go my opinion
        need to remember they are why we are there. It is a privilage to work supporting them.

   24   Lots of battlefield promotions. Be prepared to work for someone who has less experi-
        ence than you and has been promoted beyond their capabilities.

   25   The network you build or work within means everything.
                                                            Special Report … 13

Job Search Advice & Work Tips from Working Contractors…

   26   It is essential that you be able to look at your surroundings and accept them as they
        are, not as you wish them to be. Be alert and watchful as you function on a daily basis.

   27   Be prepared to develop a new support system. All of my family and friends back home
        constantly put pressure on me to leave due to the dangers.

   28   Working overseas has been the most rewarding experience of my life. It has given me
        the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. I now have a better under-
        standing and appreciation of other peoples beliefs and cultures. The experiences that I
        have encountered overseas has made me appreciate the freedoms and the way of life
        that we take for granted in the US. The more simple lifestyle that other countries enjoy
        is like the US was 50 years ago when people had time to know the neighbors and enjoy
        spending time with family and friends.

   28   Before coming over make sure that you can deal with being away from your family for
        long extents of time. You need to have alot of patience. I think prior service personnel
        are the best fit for the positions overseas from my experience working overseas. They
        are more disciplined and know how to deal with people and the different type of reac-
        tions and living conditions.

   29   I would suggest applying to the company website and remembering to include ALL of
        the skills sets that you may have. I would suggest that you use various resumes and
        highlight the skill set required coinciding with the type of job you are seeking. Remem-
        ber even a temp job with skills of 'sorting & delivering mail' could land you a position as
        a Mail Clerk making 5 figures. Apply for various positions based on what you have done
        or are willing to do. No job in the US will closely resemble anything in Theatre, so don't
        worry about the will be trained. Also be willing to take an entry-level
        opportunity, knowing that in most companies you can "move-up" or even switch com-
        panies once you are over here. Good Luck!

   30   The money is great! But for me its seems that who you work with is more important
        than the money. I wish everyone good luck and hope they work with great team mates
        but don't ever put money ahead of keeping your pride and doing the right thing.

   31   Get in, stay at one company and not jump ship every month...Be a quiet Professional.
        No one cares what your background is, The only thing that the guys care about is what
        you can do now.
                                                            Special Report … 14

Job Search Advice & Work Tips from Working Contractors…

   32   The person who submitted the 30 points of advice (page 16) did an excellent job of
        informing. I have only 1 thing to add: NEVER give your notice and leave your current
        job until you have AT LEAST a signed contract for your new position, if not a plane
        ticket in your hand. You just never know when the tables will turn.

   33   Potential contractors have to understand one thing...there are no labor laws that will
        protect you while working as a contractor. You can be terminated or released without

   34   Be careful not to jump on the first offer you get. Do your research. Be aware that some
        depts. within a company have less amenities and are treated with different levels of
        respect than others.

   35   I've encountered a broad range of contractors. Some are great workers in great jobs,
        others just the opposite. Make sure you research the company you will be involved
        with, what is expected of you and if possible the people you will work with. I have to
        say I have been quite lucky so far in all regards. The whole pay issue is a load of BS.
        Yes it pays well but how many jobs in the US will work you 12 hours a day 7 days a
        week for extended periods of time, and don't forget it's in a dangerous place. We know
        all about the military pay and the hazards and risks faced by our military. Many of us
        used to be military. If you want to make a comparison to pay make it with government
        employees who go places, not military. When I compare my pay to what I made while
        working the same job as a federal employee, the pay is very, very close. As a federal
        employee I received the same danger and overseas pay, overtime pay (168hrs a pay
        period vs 80 at home!), all the normal benefits of health, dental, life insurance, etc. and
        I had job security of knowing if I wanted I could stay till retirement. My pay my have
        gone up marginally but I lost the job security. Retirement is now based on whatever I
        set up as investments. Anyway, don't let me drag on about pay. If you are looking for a
        job that might pay more, likely to have some exciting moments and risk involved, and
        you have the skills needed, then I wish you the best and hope to see you in one of the
        Danger Zones. Also, great site guys! Keep up the great work.

   36   Look at your contract read it. Be prepared for anything my employer has lied to its em-
        ployees and has changed the way it treats its employees since I arrived 9 months prior.
        They have cut salaries, stopped regular maintenance and up keep of vehicles and facili-

   37   The company i work for does pay lower then most. Not all money is good money, just
        putting up with all the politics sucks! But that's anywhere you are.
                                                             Special Report … 15

Job Search Advice & Work Tips from Working Contractors…

   38   You have to understand contracting is not for everyone and it is very dangerous. The
        money comes when you isolate yourself from the outside world and concentrate on the
        mission to support the troops. You cant worry yourself about things at home that is out
        of your control you are 4000 miles away.. remember this: IED's, mortars, and rockets
        kill so you have to have your head in the game all the time... even at camps that don't
        get hit there is no had to be there to understand what I’m say-

   39   If the money is your only goal, you won't last long. If, however, you still feel a commit-
        ment to our nation and our troops, then you can go with the up and downs of overseas
        contracting and you can be proud of your service.

   40   i just started at my company, it relied on networking to get its contract, networking
        help a lot ,there isn't a clear set procedures that's the downfall of it, you have to play
        their game.

        Make sure absolute, you have a mailing source back in the US, for supplies. READ
        BLOGS. BE informed about the little things.

   42   After spending nearly 2 and a half years overseas working for KBR, I find the comments
        made by this website's subscribers both interesting and quite true. Until you experience
        the Iraq, Afghanistan or Kuwait mentality of the company and the "institutionalization"
        within these countries, you don't truly understand it. One of the biggest problems with
        KBR is how they treat their employees within the war zone. Sure safety is huge and
        should be, but, even though the client is the military, please do not treat your employ-
        ees as if they are as well. The "cattle car" treatment is alive and well, and to some ex-
        tent I understand this when you are required to move around a large amount of people,
        but, organization of the process would go a long way to improve it. Some improve-
        ments have been made, but, much more needs to be done. The entire way the em-
        ployee is treated and managed says a lot about a company, and this should speak vol-
        umes about KBR and their practices. I particularly don't like being treated like a 3rd
        grader when it comes time for my departure on R&R and the processing for it and going
        through Dubai. KBR will not retain people without improving the employee human re-
        sources situation. Much, much work is required here. I see KBR as nothing more than a
        revolving door for people to come into the warzone, make their money, and exit...if
        they even get that far. Better training, and establishing a career path for employees
        that want to continue in contract type work would produce more productive results for
        the company as well as the client. It is all about the money and share holder value isn't
        it after all.
                                                        Special Report … 16

Job Search Advice & Work Tips from Working Contractors…
EDITOR’S NOTE: The comments below came from one individual and we thank him/her for
taking the time to share such an extensive list.

•   Learn about the Company before applying.

•   How long has the Company been in business? How many employees?

•   What Contracts has the company been awarded? How long are the Contracts? It
    will not benefit you long if you get a big salary for 4 or even 6 months and you are
    out of work because the contract has ended.

•   What is the leave policy for R&R? Sick Leave? Emergency Leave?

•   What are the promotion policies? How often does the Company promote? How
    High is their attrition rate?

•   Does the Company promote within Theatre (overseas)?

•   Or does the Company hire new folks from Stateside to be placed in promoted posi-

•   Always keep your resume updated.

•   Always check the internet for other companies that offer Contract Positions for your
    qualifications. Also research other positions that offer cross qualifications for you.

•   If possible speak with Contract Employees presently with the Company you want to
    apply to for employment. Ask these Contract Employees how they like the Com-

•   Big task "JUST LISTEN" do not give your opinions concerning their statements. Be
    neutral and absorb the information like a Sponge.

•   Once you accept the position and start to work with the Company overseas, be
    alert for warning signs.

                                                                 Continued on next page
                                                         Special Report … 17

•   How are you treated by co-workers, supervisors? How is the work environment
    with the staff? Professional or unprofessional?

•   Is the company downsizing in Theatre giving the job positions to the TCN'S after
    you train them because it is cost effective for the Company?

•   Set your goals. Save your money, Remember this is not a job forever, it can end
    tomorrow without notice.

•   Keep alert with the News regarding who takes office in six months. it may mean
    the difference of how long jobs are available in theatre for contractors.

•   Remember you are here to work. There is nothing else but work and sleep.

•   You are responsible for your SAFETY first. Be alert.

•   Living conditions will vary from tents, chicken coups, trailers, wooden hatches, bar-
    racks and apartments. You will have to share. You will meet people from all cul-

•   Your behavior, dress, and speech will have to adhere to the policies of your com-

•   Be prepared that some individuals who may be supervisors may or may not be
    knowledgeable about the work.

•   Employees may or may not be related to persons in the company. Some staff may
    receive preferential status.

•   Keep focused on your goals and family. Important to stay in touch with family it
    will help you keep matters real and in perspective.

•   You are not home any more and your "Rights" may not matter to the customs and
    traditions of the country you are working and residing in at the present time.

•   Keep your CAC card, Passport, and at minimum $100. 00 US dollars on you at all

•   You will learn a lot about yourself if you choose to learn and listen.

•   Remember this, " There are No Friends, There are No Enemies, ONLY TEACHERS."
                                                           Special Report … 18

Job Search Advice & Work Tips from Working Contractors…

   43   Military has definitely got a bad attitude about contractors. They refuse to accept a
        partnership that is here to stay. If I have a choice I stay as far away from the Green
        Machine as I can.

   44   If it's what you want to do keep knocking on doors…

   45   It is not only financial but the good feeling of supporting the troops, defending our free-
        dom at home and the jobs in US just don't pay enough to support one's family.

        The company i work for has grown over the past few years - from 2,300 employees in
        2005 to nearly 8,000 today. It is interesting to note that our benefits have reduced
        since i joined in 2003 - we used to be paid danger pay for example. also, the contract
        will expire in September 2009 so there have been decisions made where employees will
        pay for things that they never paid for before i.e. they provide a company car but they
        deduct fuel costs from my salary. they provide a company cell phone but they just
        charged me for the past 18 months phone bills which were over a post-determined
        limit, meaning, they don't have a company policy on this but they will deduct money
        from employees without authorization! it seems as we near the end of the contract, the
        employer is more and more interested in their profits and not with the employees. do
        they not realize they need employees to stay and work until September 2009!

   47   I feel that a lot of people have come over to find out it just isn't for them. I have also
        seen too many people "hooking" friends up with jobs and positions and that has caused
        a big "rub" against the military because the quality and level of work has suffered be-
        cause of that. Too many unqualified people padding their resumes to fit the job and
        then getting in the position and not knowing what they are doing. You see this a lot
        with KBR.

        I think if your primary, major motivation is the money you will have a very difficult time.
        If it's the money that motivates you, stay home with your family and be safe. On the
        other hand, if you believe in the mission, if you want to help our young service mem-
        bers and enjoy working with them as well as working with Local Nationals, then you're
        going to have a much better time of it. That's not to say you won't be exhausted and
        you won't at times be scared out of your mind. It's a tough life for everyone concerned.
        It had better not be about the money because it's never enough and with the proper
        motivation you'd like to do it for free.
                                                          Special Report … 19

Job Search Advice & Work Tips from Working Contractors…

        I have a problem with American companies hiring so many people form other countries
        because they can pay them less, this means the taxes do not go back to the US, plus it
        lowers the pay for everyone including Americans.

   50   Network while you are in the country...collect business cards from anyone you come in
        contact with. Always be aware that your company can be underbid at any time.

   51   It pays to network, if the project ends you have another opportunity to check out.

   52   Network, network, network!

   53   Establish & maintain a low profile. Eyes & ears open. Mouth shut. Be mindful of back-

   54   It is a great opportunity for work, pay is great, housing not so great; promotion and
        advancement is not what you know but who you know.

   55   Be sure you are aware what is on offer and that you satisfied with those conditions.

        It is a great opportunity for people to make a good salary and pay off your debts if you
        will do that. So many get deeper in debt due to the increase in salary they are making
        and then they end up losing everything.

   57   $$ was/is good but has cost me a good marriage and family. Had it to do over I would
        probably do some things different.

   58   The hazard pay brings my hourly rate to what I get paid in the US. It's just that I work
        84 hours instead of 40.

   59   I feel that working overseas is a rewarding job, you get to see how other people live
        and different cultures.
                                                              Special Report … 20

Job Search Advice & Work Tips from Working Contractors…

        Working overseas is great, the only problem being I am a single mother with kids and
        they don't offer any help with schooling but if you are with a company that is under-
        standing they will allow you to take off work for emergencies. The main problem I find
        is trying to find a job the right way. It doesn't happen. It is like a click here if you are in
        it you are safe and will grow if not you are a dead end. Trying to get a jo by applying
        online is a dead end and no one responds and if you talk to a recruiter they say apply
        online. It is not what you know but who know. Then again there is the updated version.
        It is not what you know but who you blow. Other foreign nationalities protect each
        other and help one another find jobs. But with Americans they always think someone is
        trying to take their place. I thought they should stick together but only if you are in the
        "clique". No way to move up by applying eternally because they already know who they
        want to hire and only do interviews as formality. I was working with ITT-GMASS, which
        is negatively labeled among contractors like wearing a Scarlet letter. Just a few words
        from someone who has been dealing with this for over 4 years.

        They think we make $250,000+ and think all of the workers just sit back and make all
        the money, while the soldiers are out in the field. We do our job, we keep up the camp,
        work in the middle of the night. I do my job and do what I said I would do when I
        signed my contract.

   62   Contracting is all about who you know not what you know.

        For a lot of people, contract work is an opportunity to fulfill the dream of traveling the
        world, gaining experience, and paying bills with ease. the time you spend away from
        home, always pays off in the long run; houses get paid off quickly, student loans are
        taken care, and it gives you the opportunity to be debt-free. "Just remember to file and
        pay your taxes"!!

   64   It's hard to find the perfect job. But it seems that once you get overseas it is easer to
        move up in pay/position .
                                                                   Special Report … 21

Advice From Companies Concerning Common Mistakes
The biggest issue we have is they [the job applicants] do not have all their documentation in order,
readable, usable images of their passport, licenses and certifications.

We have to repeatedly ask for usable documentation. The US Government has increasingly stringent
documentation requirements. If a person does not have the basis documentation we pass them by.

Richard Hill
Critical Solutions, Inc.

Biggest problems we face with [job] candidates are:

1) Applying for jobs where they clearly do not meet the specifications.

2) Not attaching their CV to their application.

3) Applicants looking to work overseas for the first time not doing any prior research about the im-

David Beck
Managing Director Chartered FCIPD. MIoD. MPRC. MCILT(UK)
The rpc Group of Companies

We find a few issues [concerning job applicants]. Here they are in no particular order:

•   We find CV’s/Resumes that do not have contact info on the header.
•   The CV’s lack specific dates or certificates earned.
•   We find the applicants are not prepared for the overwhelming amount of paperwork that abso-
    lutely must be accurate.
•   Some of the applicants are having an inability to return the pre-employment forms back in a
    timely manner
•   Not having a civilian passport (most military think their GVMT issued passport will carry them).
•   Finally, applicants are not prepared for the extensive hiring process that can vary from 1 month
    to 1 year depending on the level of clearance required for the particular mission.

Scott Gordon
Technical Advisor
Canine Operations Division
RONCO Consulting Corporation
                                                                    Special Report … 22

Advice From Companies Concerning Common Mistakes
What is the biggest mistake(s) you consistently see from people who apply to your company for
overseas positions?

Folks applying without necessary experience and qualifications and no idea of what it takes to oper-
ate in a true war zone.

Bill Waldron
General Manager
Rocky Mountain Group

•   Many candidates do not have the qualifications required, some even remotely.

•   Many do not say where they are located at the time they send their resume and when they will
    be available.

•   Some have holes in their resume and they do not explain why.

•   As a general rule, candidates could exercise more care on spelling and on clarity of employment

Gilles Bruneaux

I appreciate your interest in my perspective as a recruiter. In a nutshell, my response to your ques-
tion is that contractors (especially those with no prior military deployments) do not count the costs of
how their deployments will affect both them and their families.

While they are making money to perhaps help with financial hardships, often times they do not real-
ize the emotional hardship it can create on them and their relationships to be deployed overseas for
a year. I have so much respect for these guys and their families for the sacrifices they make.

Tiffany Keahey
Technical Recruiter
Worldwide Recruiting & Staffing Services LLC
a DynCorp International Company
                                                                   Special Report … 23

Advice From Companies Concerning Common Mistakes
  Name Withheld By Request
  Former Recruiter
  DynCorp International
  I’ll give you my thoughts from several perspectives, if I were to place myself in their position.

  Company Exec:

  The bottom line is profit. Profit, in some part, comes from employee and leader raw
  abilities and talent to accomplish the mission they were hired for. If I were a company
  exec, I would want them to know that their position and longevity with the company depends
  wholly on their ability to work both hard and smart enough to accomplish the mission as best as
  possible. That you are joining a team of talented folks, dedicated to both the greater vision and
  mission, the people we are there to serve (Afghans here for example), and our joint interna-
  tional missions (we are part of securing both a country and the global system in conjunction
  with many different countries in a war-zone). There is no time for second-guessing and mis-
  aligned priorities of our personnel.

  (NOTE: This is really NOT the case with a lot of individuals on these contracts, because of in-
  herently human nature – which causes some petty internal strife, “kingdom or domain-building”
  attitudes and other individualistic tendencies. This causes what can become internal inconsis-
  tencies and issues where it becomes extremely important to weed out those with tempers, per-
  sonality issues, volatile tendencies and any other issue that can become a liability to DynCorp
  and the US Govt.)

  So from that perspective, the biggest mistake people make when applying for overseas employ-
  ment is a lack of company vision and not weighing the emotional and psychological cost of an
  extreme/hostile environment. The applicant is either not informed properly by various recruit-
  ers (although the onus does not lie there, but with management!) of what to expect or does not
  investigate the complexity of their specific mission and living/working conditions well enough.

  Hiring Managers (the folks in-country we hope have the mission’s best interest in mind):

  The bottom line is getting the right person, at the right time, for the right position in
  the right team environment, that allows for an easy transition. New people create
  work initially, but will then quickly make up for it and drive on with the mission. Consistency in
  having clearly defined and written expectations and qualifications in personnel, and sticking to
  them, is a big problem. Too often, hiring decisions are based on personal preference with a
  disregard for previously defined and mandated qualifications. This is what is referred to as “the
  good-old boy” system.
                                                                          Continued on next page... 
                                                                  Special Report … 24

Advice From Companies Concerning Common Mistakes
  Continued from previous page... 
  So from that perspective, the biggest mistake people make when applying for overseas employ-
  ment is not understanding all aspects of the job, personal work environment, expectations and
  job requirements.

  But the onus here has to incorporate the hiring manager identifying prospective personnel,
  learning about that individual (not just their experience), clearly outlining expectations and as-
  sumptions, and then jointly coming to the best hiring decision for the individual, their family,
  their career path, and, most importantly, the success of the mission in relation to those already
  on mission.


  The bottom line is a mix of filling positions (keeping their own jobs – making the boss happy
  – and dealing with the plethora of competing responsibilities – e.g. reports, meetings, personal-
  ity issues, etc.), setting candidates up for success, and ensuring that the end-line em-
  ployer gets the right person for the right job at the right time.

  So from that perspective, the biggest mistake people make when applying for overseas employ-
  ment is a failure to adequately assess the totality of their entire situation (spouse, kids, fi-
  nances, etc), to plan accordingly (preparing to leave for an extended time-frame – this is espe-
  cially important for those with no military background and no experience dealing with extended
  deployments), and finally, to ask the hard and necessary questions to both recruiters and hiring
  managers, while simultaneously understanding that some things, especially in the contracting
  arena, you must simply remain flexible enough to not know in advance and still deal with effi-

  Recruiters need, again need because it is often the best option for all involved, to push candi-
  dates away when red flags are presented. I have found that the majority of problem individuals
  and the myriad of issues they create could be avoided if a more thorough investigation, or iden-
  tification and qualification, process was followed with each and every candidate for each and
  every position.

  Furthermore, the good-old boy system needs to be looked at. Contract companies need to be
  held to task in actually hiring the people with ALL the qualifications for the positions they
  hold. Not doing so, hurts the individual employee, the company they represent, the Depart-
  ment of State and Department of Defense (who oversee these contracting companies, the gov-
  ernment and population of the countries where we are working, and ultimately, to the U.S. tax-
  payers paying for it all.

To top